Rohan - Encyclopedia

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ROHAN, the name of One of the most illustrious of the feudal families of France, derived from that of a small town in Morbihan, Brittany. The family appears to have sprung from the viscounts of Porhoet, and claims connexion with the ancient sovereigns of Brittany. Since the 12th century it held an important place in the history of Brittany, and strengthened its position by alliances with the greatest houses in France. It was divided into several branches, the eldest of which, that of the viscounts of Rohan, became extinct in 1527. Of the younger branches the most famous is that of Guemenee, from which sprang the branches of Montbazon, Soubise and Gie. The seigneurs of Frontenay, an offshoot of this last branch, inherited by marriage the property of the eldest branch of the house. Hercule de Rohan, duc de Montbazon (1568-1654) served Henry III. and Henry IV. against the League, and was made by Henry IV. governor of Paris and the Isle of France, and master of the hounds. His grandson, Louis de RohanGuemenee, the chevalier de Rohan, who was notorious for his dissolute life, conspired with the Dutch against Louis XIV. and was beheaded in Paris in 1674. In the 18th century the Soubise branch furnished several prelates, cardinals and bishops of Strassburg, among others the famous cardinal de Rohan, the hero of the affair of the diamond necklace. The seigneurs of Gie, a branch founded by Pierre de Rohan (1453-1513), a cadet of the branch of Guemenee and marshal of France, were conspicuous on the Protestant side during the wars of religion. Rene de Rohan, seigneur of Pontivy and Frontenay, commanded the Calvinist army in 1570, and defended Lusignan with great valour when it was besieged by the Catholics (1574-75). His son Henry, the first duke of Rohan, also distinguished himself in the Protestant army. His only child, Marguerite de Rohan, married in 1645 Henri Chabot, a cadet of a great family of Poitou. This marriage was opposed by her mother, Marguerite de Bethune, who put forward a rival heir called Tancred, whom she claimed to be her son by the duke of Rohan. This Tancred perished in the Fronde in 1649. The property and titles of Henry de Rohan thus passed to the Chabot family, which under the name of Rohan-Chabot produced some distinguished soldiers and a cardinal archbishop of Besancon. The male line of the Rohans is now represented by an offshoot of the Rohan-Guemenee branch.

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