Leaders of the Middle Ages


Papacy Italy & HRE France England Scotland Other
Alexander II 1061-73

Gregory VII 1073-85

Victor III 1086-7

Salien / Franconia dynasty (911-1137):

Henry IV 1039-1125

The Capetians (987-1328)

Philip I 1060-1108

Norman conquest:

William I the Bastard/ Conqueror 1066-89

  • William, duke of Normandy, was promised to be successor to Edward as king of England, but when the Witan elected Harold II, he gained support of the pope & sailed to England with his men who defeated & killed Harold at the battle of Hastings 14/10/1066
  • seized land of all Saxons who fought against him & created a feudal system with Norman lords owning it, except for vast tracts he kept for himself which he called crown lands. For tax purposes, he logged all properties & persons in the Domesday Book.
  • the Anglo-Saxon language took on parts of French


Duncan I 1034-40

Macbeth 1040-58

Malcolm Canmore III & Q.Margaret 1058-


Urban II 1088-99
  • Holy Wars
William II the Red 1087-1100
  • 2nd son of William I (his 1st son Robert, became Duke of Normandy)
  • a harsh ruler that few mourned when he was shot by an arrow whilst hunting
Alexander I
Pascal II 1099-1118

Gelasius II 1118-9

Callistus II 1119-24

Honorius II 1124-30

Innocent II 1130-43

Henry V 1106-25

Lothair 1125-37

  • 1122, by Concordat of Worms, surrendered right to elect Pope
  • 1127, Normans break Byzantine power in Sth Italy, expel the Lombards from Italy & wrested Sicily from Saracens
Louis VI 1108-37 Henry I 1100-35
  • 3rd son of William I
  • when his brother Robert returned to Normandy after the Crusades, Henry crossed the Channel & defeated him, thus becoming ruler of Normandy as well, giving both it and England an orderly, peaceful rule
David I
Celestine II 1143-4

Lucius II 1144-5

Eugene III 1145-53

Anastasius IV 1153-4


Conrad III 1138-52

Louis VII 1137-80 Stephen 1135-54
  • a gallant knight & grandson of William I, chosen as king by the barons who broke their promise with Henry I to recognise his daughter Matilda as ruler.
  • he was a weak king & throughout his reign, lawless barons fought private wars
  • allowed by Henry II to die on the throne if he decreed that Henry II would succeed him
  • Albert the beast (Albrecht) 1134-70
Adrian IV 1154-9

Alexander III 1159-81

Lucius III 1181-5

Urban III 1185-7

Gregory VIII 1187

Clement III 1187-91

Frederick I 1152-90
  • rising power of Pope & strong opposition to HRE rule of Italy by the rising Italian city-states & relative weakness of Italian feudalism
  • 1167 the Lombard League alliance of Nth Italy cities formed and banquished Frederick I from Italy in 1176 & by signing thePeace of Constance in 1183 had secured virtual autonomy
Phillip II (Augustus) 1180-1223 Henry II Plantagenet 1154-89
  • count of Anjou, grandson of Henry I, son of Matilda
  • 1st of the Plantagenet kings who were to rule 250yrs, modelled on the legend of King Arthur which had become popular.
  • by marriage & inheritance, came into possession of all western France where he spent most of his reign
  • one of England's great rulers, although non-English speaking!
  • established Common Law & grand jury systems
  • long & bitter struggle with his old friend Becket, who he allowed be appointed archbishop of Canterbury but who became self-righteous & asserted the church's independence & was viewed as a traitor to the king, and eventually was killed by 4 knights.
  • his many mistresses & bastard sons broke up his family, creating resentment from his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and her children Richard & John who would fight him for the throne.
Malcolm IV 1153-65


Celestine III 1191-8 Henry VI 1190-6 Richard the Lionheart 1189-99
  • the brave & reckless son of Henry II who fought the throne from his father, & was welcomed by the people as a celebrated king. 
  • after a few months on the throne left England for the crusade, but the country suffered little as Hubert Walter governed it better than Richard would have done himself
  • the era of the legendary "Robin Hood"
William the Lion 1165-1214
Innocent III 1198-1216 Philipp of Suabia 1198-1208

Otto IV 1198-1215

John 1199-1216
  • Richard's rival brother, who set up his own state & tried to gain the crown from Richard while he was away at the Crusades.
  • the most despicable & tyrannical of the English kings
  • by a series of blunders, lost almost all his French possessions except for the southwest corner
  • the angry barons force him to set his seal on the Magna Carta of English liberties in 1215, insisting that the king must govern to the law and signalling the end of despotism, although the Magna Carta was annulled by the pope.
Honorius III 1216-27

Gregory IX 1227-41

Celestine IV 1241

Innocent IV 1243-54

Alexander IV 1254-61

Urban IV 1261-4

Clement IV 1265-8

Frederick II 1215-50
  • made a final but unsuccessful attempt to crush the papal power

Conrad IV 1250-4

Conradin 1254

Interregnum 1250-73

  • 1266 Sth Italy & Sicily ruled by French house of Anjou 
  • 1282, Sicily placed itself under rule of Aragon after the Sicilian Vespers massacre the French in Sicily

Papacy controlled HRE 1254-1806

Louis VIII 1223-6

Louis IX (Saint) 1226-70

Henry III 1216-72
  • John's eldest son, crowned aged 9yrs
  • pious & well-meaning but incompetent & extravagant
  • opposed by the barons in Parliament
  • 1258, crown removed from the parliamentary rule of England by the Provisions of Oxford? - as important as the Magna Carta
  • 1264, barons rose against him in the Barons' Wars which ended when their leader Earl Simon was killed in battle and his body and knights butchered by Edward and his men
Alexander II 1214-

Alexander III -1286

Gregory X 1271-6

Innocent V 1276

Adrian V 1276

John XXI 1276-7

Nicholas III 1277-80

Martin IV 1281-5

Honorius IV 1285-7

Nicholas IV 1288-92

Celestine V 1294

Boniface VIII 1294-1303

Benedict XI 1303-4

Transition (1273-1410)

Rudolph of Hapsburg 1273-91

Adolphus 1291-8

Albert I 1298-1308

Philip III 1270-85

Philip IV 1285-1314

Edward I 1272-1307
  • son of Henry III
  • wisely accepted the limitations of the King's authority
  • 1295 Parliament called the Model parliament as it included representatives of both shires & towns as well as the Great Council
  • many of the laws passed exist in modified form today
  • conquered, subjugated & annexed Wales with Welsh becoming 2nd-class citizens.
  • the Welsh wars cost England 10x its annual revenue which he then attacked the English Jews, forcing them to wear yellow badges & hanging their leaders & drowning others => ethnic cleansing of Jews
  • failed to subdue Scotland despite:
    • humiliating & defeating Baliol 
    • live disembowelment of Wallace 
    • 1304 defeated Stirling Castle, the centre of Scottish culture
  • died on his way north to subdue an uprising by Scottish hero Robert Bruce
Margaret, Maid of Norway 1286-90

John Baliol 1292-6

  • signs treaty with France leading to war with England & Baliol's demise as ruler

Interregnum 1296-1306

  • ruled by England
  • Wallace ("Braveheart") led armies against England
  • Bruce created a civil war forcing him to leave Scotland before forming alliances & uniting the Scots
Clement V 1305-14

John XXII 1316-34

Henry VII 1308-13

Louis IV 1314-47

Frederick of Austria 1314-30

Louis X 1314-6

John I the posthumous 1316-7

Philip V 1317-21

Charles IV 1321-8


Edward II 1307-27
  • incompetent son of Edward I, defeated by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn, losing 4000 men
  • Scottish border raids invaded as far south as Yorkshire
  • alienated himself from England & parliament
  • deposed by Parliament in 1327
  • legend has it that Edward was killed by a hot iron thrust up his rectum by his wife
Robert Bruce 1306-29
  • Edward Bruce's army attempting to liberate the Irish from the Ulster English colonies fell on hard times with the great famine
  • Charles Robert of Anjou 1308-42
Benedict XII 1334-42

Clement VI 1342-52

Innocent VI 1352-62

Urban V 1362-70

Gregory XI 1370-8

Gothic period of art (~1350-~1550)

Charles IV 1347-78

Valois (1328-1498)

Philip VI 1328-50

John II 1350-64

Charles V 1364-80

Edward III 1327-77
  • son of Edward II
  • Hundred Years' War with France
    • 1346 his army won a brilliant victory at Crecy with a new English weapon - the long bow
    • 1348-9, war halted while waves of Black Death swept Europe
    • 1356, his son Edward, the Black Prince, won the famous battle of Poitiers but dies from dysentery in 1376
  • serf survivors of the Black Death demanded higher wages & formed alliances to resist the law supported by John Wycliffe's "poor priests" (Lollards) who denounced the landlords
David II 1329-71 Denmark:
  • the Valdemars (1353-1500???)
  • Margaret 1353-1439?


  • Louis I the Great 1342-82


  • Grand Dukes of Moscow (1328-1610)
  • Ivan I 1328-41
  • Ivan II 1353-9
  • Dmitry Donskoi 1359-89
Wenceslaus 1378-1400
  • not the one in the Xmas carol, he was born 10thC near Prague in Bohemia

Rupert 1400-10

Charles VI 1380-1422
  • civil war France 1407-
Richard II 1377-99
  • grandson of Edward III (controlled by his uncle John Gaunt) was 14 in 1381 when a great band of peasants led by Wat Tyler & John Ball marched on London wreaking havoc & death. The boy king went out boldly to meet them and agreed to promise to help them but his men autonomously attack Wat Tyler & kill him.
  • he did not keep his promise, and within a week, judges had hanged 1500 ringleaders of the peasant's revolt, but the feudal system could not be revived and the serfs became free yeomen, a new class of farmers
  • wife Ann dies from the plague
  • thirsted for absolute rule & came into conflict with powerful barons, killing or exiling all whom he feared were disloyal.
  • his cousin Henry, led a revolt that resulted in him being imprisoned in Tower of London & forced to abdicate & starved to death.

House of Lancaster (1399-1461):

  • 3 kings: father, son & grandson
  • reigns were filled with plots & rebellions, murders & executions
  • Parliament had made them kings & they needed its support to stay there so they consulted it on all affairs

Henry IV (Bolingbroke) 1399-1413

  • rival cousin of Richard II 
  • Richard II had exiled him to France
  • Henry IV imprisoned Richard II, starving him to death.

Henry V 1413-22

  • son of Henry IV
  • aimed to unite the previously divided British lords by declaring war on France.
  • dies from dysentery aged 35
Robert II 1371-90

Robert III 1390-1406

James I 1406-37

  • imprisoned in England, released in 1423


  • Olaf 1375-87
  • Erik of Pomerania 1389-1439


  • Mary 1385-95
  • Sigismund, son of Charles IV 1385-1437


  • Vasily I 1389-1425
  • Joan of Arc (b.1412, d.1431)

Charles VII 1422-61

Louis XI 1461-83

Henry VI 1422-61
  • 1453 the Hundred Years' War with France ends
  • 1455 the House of York & the House of Lancaster plunge into a long & bloody struggle for the crown called the War of the Roses:
    • Henry VI captured & killed
    • Edward IV spent most of his reign fighting to keep his crown

House of York (1461-85):

Edward IV (York) 1461-83

Edward V (York) 1483

Richard III (York) 1483-5

  • gained the crown when Edward's sons were declared not to be rightful heirs
  • peace came with Richard's death in the battle of Bosworth Field & marked the close of the Middle Ages in England.
James II 1437-60

James III 1460-88

  • Christopher III 1439-?


  • Albert II 1438-39
    • also Albert V of Hapsburg
  • Vlaszlo I 1444
  • Ladsilavs V 1444-56
  • Matthias I 1458-90


  • Frederick III 1430-93


  • Vasily II 1425-62
  • Ivan III 1462-1505