Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Danielle Ross


Danielle Ross


Susan Cogan


Sarah Gordon


King Louis IX of France, who ruled from 1226 to 1270, is widely considered to have been one of the greatest European kings of the Middle Ages. His rule was long remembered as an ideal period of good government and prosperity, and future kings sought and were expected to emulate him for centuries. Historians have often discussed the key role that the king’s pious exercise of his kingship played in his reign. In particular, historians have discussed the role that his belief in the twin missions of saving his subjects and making France into a Christian kingdom played in his style of kingship.

One angle that historians have not explicitly discussed, however, is masculinity. Some historians have begun to include masculinity in their discussions of medieval monarchy. They point out that characteristics of royal masculinity were essential qualities for a successful king to exhibit. This angle of masculinity, however, has not yet been applied to the study of the kingship of Louis IX. In this project, I wish to help to resolve this oversight in three essays examining the ways that living a pious lifestyle and ruling for his subject’s salvation were inseparable parts of Louis’s royal masculinity. I argue that aspects of the rulership of Louis IX such as government reforms, peacekeeping, abstemious living, and participation in religious rituals were not just acts of government or of personal piety but also were a critical part of the masculine, pious behavior that was expected of Louis IX as a king of France.