22

After a lot of googling on this - and thinking the crusades might provide an answer - the best I've come up with is Louis IX of France who died in Tunis on the 8th crusade. That's 920 miles 'as the crow flies'.

By furthest from home, I mean from the monarch's capital city.

EDIT

My reason for picking capital city over place of birth is that I am interested in how far monarchs got from their centre of power. And some English kings were born in France (and I guess some other European monarchs were not born in the country they ruled).

  • 7
    Monarch or Sovereign. Remember that there were several hundred sovereign Princes, Electors, Dukes, Counts, Marquesses and Bishops, etc. in the Holy Roman Empire at that time. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 3 '18 at 3:08
  • I'd like to make a shout-out for King Rollo of Normandy, who died in Rouen. There's speculation that he was born in northern Norway, some 3200km away. I won't put this as an answer however because there's such scant evidence to support the claim. – Strawberry Jun 3 '18 at 10:52
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    Honorable mention to Emperor Julian, who died near Samarra, Iraq in 363. 1,779.52 mi (2364 km) from Rome. – Spencer Jun 3 '18 at 22:25
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    @ Pieter Geerkens But the princes of the holy roman empire were not sovereigns, except in the limited sense that states in the USA could be considered sovereigns. @ Strawberry. There never was a king Rollo of Normandy. And once Rollo became the local count or duke, Rouen became his new capital city, and thus he died at his new home. – MAGolding Jun 4 '18 at 5:53
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    Not "middle ages" and I'm not sure Napoleon counts as a monarch, but Paris to St Helena is 7219Km. – Michael Kay Jun 4 '18 at 8:50
27

The Danish King Erik I Ejegod (The Good) died in Paphos, Cyprus, 1736 miles / 2794 km from the then capital of Denmark, Roskilde.

Erik, who was born around 1056 or 1060 and reigned from 1095 to 1103, was the fourth of five brothers (sons of Sweyn II Estridsson) who all became King of Denmark (not concurrently, they reigned at different times between 1076 and 1134). Before the pilgrimage, Erik also travelled to Italy in 1098-99, visiting the pope and founding a guest home for pilgrims in Piacenza. Erik seems to have been a physically imposing man with a strong personality; he had at least three illegitimate children. The name 'Ejegod' means 'eternal good', given to him because he upheld the law to protect the people from powerful men.

Erik I set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his wife Boedil Thurgotsdatter, probably in early 1103 (some sources state 1100), travelling via Novgorod and Constantinople. Despite falling ill in the Byzantine capital while a guest of the emperor Alexios I Komnenos, they travelled on to Cyprus where, on 10th July 1103, Erik died of a fever. He was buried in Paphos, though the exact location of his grave is unknown. Erik was the first king to go a pilgrimage to the Holy Land following the recapture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. He was succeeded as King of Denmark by his younger brother Niels (1104 - 1134) who was chosen ahead of the acting regent, Eric's illegitimate son Harald Kesja.

enter image description here One of the cemeteries in Cyprus where he may be buried. He reigned from 1095 to 1103. Image source: cphpost.dk

His wife continued on to Jerusalem (Mount of Olives) and died there, also in 1103 (1995 miles / 3211 km from home).


Note: One of the sources above wrongly states that Eric I was the only Danish king to be buried abroad. Canute (king of England 1016-35, Denmark 1018-35, Norway 1028-35) was buried in Winchester and his son Harthacnut (King of Denmark 1035-42, England 1040-42) is also there.


Other source:

Erik 1. Ejegod (in Danish)

  • 5
    A good candidate. Indisputably a monarch and the capital and place of death are very certain. – JLK Jun 3 '18 at 8:42
  • Can someone explicit what the year "1095" is referring to on that grave ? Wiki dates Erik's brith around 1060, and obviously he wasn't 8 years old when he died in Cyprus, so 1095 can't be his birthyear. – Evargalo Jun 4 '18 at 7:46
  • I think 1095 is the regnal year; the first year of his kingship. – Mark C. Wallace May 7 at 14:33
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    @MarkC.Wallace Yes. It's actually stated twice in the answer (in the 2nd paragraph and in the text under the image). – Lars Bosteen May 7 at 15:23
19

Very likely Grand Prince Yaroslav II Vsevolodich or one of the many other princes in Eastern Europe who were ordered to go to Mongolia and died there. Mikhail Yaroslavich of Tver was canonized for his bravery in making the trip to the Mongol capital of Sarai, knowing that the Mongols would probably execute him (which they did, on 22 November 1318), although this distance is less than some of the crusaders’.

While I found three contradictory accounts of his death, the posthumous winner might be Yaroslav, who traveled from his capital of Vladimir to Karakorum and died there or on his way back on 30 September 1246, a journey Google thinks is 5,176 km long, and also was an uphill trip that climbed 2.5 km in elevation. (It’s an even greater distance if you measure from his other title of Grand Prince of Kiev.) His son, Alexander Nevsky, also died on the return leg of a trip to Mongolia, although he made it most of the way back and is buried in Gordodets monastery.

  • ah, my bad - I think I misread what you wrote - probably you're right and it's more correct to count Vladimir as "home" of Yaroslav (and Novgorod can be counted only for Alexander who died in unknown location). – seven-phases-max Jun 3 '18 at 18:15
  • @seven-phases-max If you mean Alexander Nevsky, we know (I think?) which monastery he died in on the way home, and it’s not as far as the other answers. His grandson Alexander Dimitrievich “died among the Tartars,” but we don’t know where. By the time of Alexander Nevsky’s son Danil Aleksandrovich, the Mongols established a new capital at Sarai, which was much closer, and asked the Russian princes to travel there instead. (Danil refused.) It is therefore unlikely that any Russian ruler after him died in Mongolia. – Davislor Jun 3 '18 at 19:24
  • Another interesting one, though I wasn't thinking of vassals states - but worth serious consideration. – JLK Jun 3 '18 at 23:38
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    @JLK This raises a host of edge cases. The Byzantine emperor paid tribute to the Mongols as well, the King of England was for much of this period a vassal of the King of France, and so on. The Holy Roman Emperor had a complicated relationship with the Pope, to say the least. Not a clear binary distinction between a sovereign and a vassal. – Davislor Jun 3 '18 at 23:58
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    The King of England was never a vassal of the King of France for the Kingdom of England, only for land held in France so I don't see a problem there. For others, though, you certainly have a point about 'edge' cases. – Lars Bosteen Jun 4 '18 at 9:13
11

Just to throw in a few other names to add to Lars' answer:

  • Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem and Cyprus, born in France, died in Cyprus. (Nicosia is ~3,000km away from Lusignan, so it's actually slightly more distant than Erik I of Denmark, but Cyprus arguably was his home by then.)

  • Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa), Holy Roman Emperor, born in Germany, died in Armenian Cilicia (South East Turkey nowadays). The distance is a bit hard to gauge, as your metric of "capital city" makes Rome the capitol, but he appears to have lived mostly in Germany. Using the location of his German coronation, we get 1160 miles, 1867 kilometers.

  • Louis IX, King of France, born in France, died in Tunisia as you found already (922 miles, 1484 kilometers).

  • 9
    Lusignan doesn't qualify as Guy de Lusignan's home in the sense of the question, since it states "By furthest from home, I mean from the monarch's capital city." – Pere Jun 2 '18 at 17:39
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    @DenisdeBernardy while I understand that, if it really is as easy as a cursory Google search there's no good reason not to provide that information here. A complete answer should provide all the information. – bendl Jun 2 '18 at 23:15
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    @bendl The distance thing is actually a bit of a hassle for what the OP requested (as the crow flies). Google doesn't always throw up the same sites when checking distance. prokerala.com does the job nicely, though. – Lars Bosteen Jun 3 '18 at 0:13
  • 3
    Despite the name, I don't think Rome qualifies as the capital of the HRE. The HRE did not actually have a capital. If you want to measure distance from the capital, some arbitrary center of the Kaiserpfalz would be more appropriate. – Tom Jun 3 '18 at 20:20
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    @TomasBy: It seems to have been Aachen around then. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 4 '18 at 7:57
7

One possibility is Olav Trygvason who, according to one legend, died in Palestine.

For some time after the Battle of Svolder, there were rumors that Olaf had survived his leap into the sea and had made his way to safety. Accounts reported by Oddr Snorrason included sightings of Olaf in Rome, Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Europe and the Mediterranean. Both King Ethelred the Unready and Olaf's sister Astrid allegedly received gifts from Olaf long after he was presumed dead.

Trondheim - Jerusalem: 3927 km / 2440 miles.

4

Not as far as some others mentioned here, but I'd toss him in as a well known monarch:

Frederick I (Barabrossa) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire died near Silifke in Asia Minor on his way to the Third Crusade.

It's a bit complicated to set a capital for him, as the Stauffer kings had a moving court. Taking Mainz in Germany as the last central point where the court resided, he died roughly 2000km from home.

PS: I've just seen he has been mentioned before, but I do not have enough reputation to comment, and I think setting Rome as the capital is not correct.

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