Hugh of Vermandois

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Hugh of Vermandois (1053-1101CE) was a younger son of Henry I of France by Anne of Kiev. He was Count of Vermandois by his own right and a leader of the First Crusade. A notable braggart, even by Capetian standards, he was sometimes ironically called Hugh Magnus ("Hugh the Great") by his contemporaries, notably his brother Phillip I.

When Urban II preached the Crusade in 1096, Hugh was one of the first French nobleman to take up the cross and the first to arrive in Constantinople, traveling by sea rather than overland as his contemporaries did. His arrival, therefore, outstripped his contemporaries by months, which was fortunate -- he lost all his baggage in a shipwreck off the Byzantine port of Dyrrhachium. Upon his arrival in Constantinople, his arrogance and boastfulness quickly alienated him from Emperor Alexius I, who eventually compelled him to swear an oath of allegiance.

Hugh fought during the First Crusade and participated in the siege of Antioch in 1098. After the siege, he was sent to Constantinople to petition Alexius for aid, and rather than return to the Holy Land to assist in the conquest of Jerusalem, he returned to France.

There he was publicly scorned for failing to complete his vows to free Jerusalem, and in 1101 he joined the Crusade of the Faint-Hearted in an attempt to redeem them. He was wounded in battle with the Turks, and died in 1101 in Tarsus.