|The hanging of Herbert II of Vermandois by Louis IV of France|
Spouse: Hildebranda, daughter of Robert I, king of France, and Beatrice
Reign: 907 – 943
Predecessor: Herbert I
Summary: Herbert became count of the wealthy county of Vermandois in his twenty-third year and ruled for thirty-six years. His marriage to the daughter of the usurper Robert I, king of France, the second in a line of kings that would soon rule France virtually unbroken until 1848, linked the Carolingians to the Robertines. The marriage also brought the county of Meaux in dynastic alliance with Vermandois. In 918, the Vermandois estates were further increased with the additions of Mézerais and Véxin. This made the count of Vermandois, the scion of an illegitimate branch of the Carolingians through Pepin of Italy, one of the largest and wealthiest landholders north of Paris. His power was so great that in 923, during Charles III's attempt to reclaim his rightful throne from Robert I, Herbert II imprisoned his cousin and allowed King Raoul (Rudoph) to rule.
Vermandois politics were about expansion, and Herbert left no chance untried. When the Archbishop of Rheims requested help, Herbert did so in exchange for a promise to promote Herbert's son, Hugh, to the archbishopric as his successor. Archbishop Hugh was only five at the time of his episcopate. When Roger of Laon died in 926, Herbert demanded the county for another son, Eudes, and he took it by force. Alienating his allies, in 930 Herbert took the castle of Vitry-en-Perthois from Raoul's brother, Boso. By this point, Raoul had had enough. He allied with Boso and Hugh, marquis of Neustria, and took the archbishopric of Rheims away from Hugh, the little bishop. The allies then moved into other Vermandois territories, taking Vitry, Laon, Soissons, and other family and inherited possessions. Vermandois had more cards to play, though. Allied with his brother-in-law, Hugh the Great, and William Longsword of Normandy, Herbert II retook Rheims and in 942, the situation was resolved with the assistance of King Otto I of Germany. Herbert never succeeded in solidifying the realm he sought, and he was probably executed by King Louis IV of France in an attempt to end his power play. Hugh the Great acted as mediator in distributing the lands between Herbert's numerous sons. Adalbert succeeded in Vermandois, Robert in Meaux, Eudes in Amiens and Vienne, Herbert in Troyes, and Hugh remained in Rheims. Despite a loss of the Frankish throne in 986, the Vermandois possessions would continue to be a wealthy inheritance to the Carolingians for another century.
Date of Death: 23 February 943
Successor: Adalbert I
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