Odo II (Blois)

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Odo II (French: Eudes ; † November 15, 1037 ) had been Count of Blois , Châteaudun , Chartres , Reims , Tours and Beauvais since 1004 , since 1015 he was also Count of Sancerre and from 1022/1023 (as Odo I. ) Count of Meaux and Troyes ( Champagne ). He was one of the busiest people of his time, endowed with a warlike character, Odo became one of the most powerful princes of France in the 11th century and even challenged the emperor.



Odo was the second of at least three sons of Count Odo I of Blois († 996) and his wife Bertha of Burgundy († after 1010). After the death of his father, Odo's older brother Theobald II took over the extensive inheritance of the House of Blois , his younger Roger was earmarked for a spiritual career and was ordained Bishop of Beauvais in 1002 . The brothers were not of age when their father died, which led to a critical situation for the Blois family, as Odo's family was involved in a feud with the Counts of Anjou who lived next door to them . For this reason, both mother entered into a new marriage in the same year with King Robert II , who accepted the brothers at his court and influenced Anjou in their favor.

Fight against Normans and Angevins

Around the years 1003 to 1004, Odo married a daughter of the Norman Duke Richard I, who brought him half of the County of Dreux as a dowry. After the death of his brother in 1004, Odo finally became the sole heir of his family and immediately waged a war against his brother-in-law, Duke Richard II of Normandy , who reclaimed the dowry of his sister, who had died in 1005. After his defeat at Tillières-sur-Avre , Odo was saved by his royal stepfather and was still able to keep Dreux.

The situation changed, however, after the king of Odo's mother had to divorce for canon law reasons (she was his second cousin) around 1005 and instead married Konstanze von Provence , who was close to her mother the Anjous whose influence on the royal family Hof increased again as a result. Since the king continued to have an extramarital relationship with Bertha, the court was now split into two parties, each formed from the family members of the two women. As Odo's most dangerous opponent, Count Fulko III. von Anjou (gen .: Nerra ) had set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1008 , he took the opportunity and attacked Fulko's castles in Touraine, which was long disputed between the two houses . Fulko fought back after his return and put Odo in July 1016 at the battle of Pontlevoy , where Odo suffered a heavy defeat after initial successes after Count Herbert I of Maine had intervened on Fulko's side in the battle. Odo had to leave the Touraine to Fulko again, but the enmity between the two counts would continue.

Acquisition of Champagne

Possessions Odos in yellow

Held in the west by the Count of Anjou, Odo turned his expansionist efforts to the east, where new opportunities opened up with the heirless death of his second cousin, Count Stephan (Étienne) I of Meaux-Troyes , 1019/1021. King Robert II intended to add these economically important territories as settled fiefdoms to the crown domain , but Odo raised a claim to the succession of the deceased and secured rule over Meaux and Troyes until 1023 through his military superiority . The relationship between Odo and his former stepfather was strained from then on, because King Robert II did not recognize Odo's increase in power. In 1023 he managed to force Odo to give up his count's rights in Reims in favor of the Archbishop of Reims , and Odo also lost the County of Dreux to the king.

But compared to Odo's profit, these losses were hardly significant, because with the possession of Meaux and Troyes, which was soon also recognized by King Robert II, Odo established the clasping of the crown domain by his house, which would last for another two hundred years should and his family secured a significant influence on the further politics of the French Middle Ages. Since these two counties took up the greater part of the old Carolingian ducat of Champagne, this term was soon transferred to them as a whole, but it was only Odo's grandson Hugo who took on the title of "Count of Champagne".

Odo himself also took over the title of " Count Palatinate of the Kings of the Franks" ( Comes palatinus Francorum regis ), which was connected with the possession of Troyes, which was derived from the title "Count of the Franks" ( Comes francorum ). This was once awarded by King Lothar to Count Heribert the Elder to underpin the equality of his family with the Franconian kings of the Carolingians ( rex francorum ) and the Franconian dukes of the Robertines ( dux francorum ). Since the Franconian ducat virtually no longer existed when the Robertines or Capetians took over the throne, the Count Palatine were considered to be closest to the crown.

Battle for Sens

In the following years the conflict against Anjou flared up again, whereby Odo had to accept further defeats against Fulko Nerra with the loss of the castle of Saumur in 1025 and a failed attempt to recapture Amboise in 1027. The intervention of his son-in-law Alain III. from Brittany , which besieged Le Lude , had no consequence.

Odo therefore concentrated his efforts on gaining a geographical connection between his two dominant centers, Blois-Chartres-Tours and Meaux-Troyes, both of which were separated from each other by the crown domain. He had already taken a first step towards this in 1015 when he left the county of Beauvais to his brother, Bishop Roger of Beauvais , who gave him Sancerre in exchange .

Next, Odo operated the establishment of his rule over Sens , which was both a county and the seat of an archbishopric . In addition to the geostrategic importance, the loss of the prestigious Archdiocese of Reims was also to be mitigated. Odo seized the opportunity for this step after the death of King Robert II in July 1031; his widow Konstanze rejected her husband's succession plan because she preferred her favorite son Robert instead of the eldest Heinrich on the throne. Odo willingly sided with Constanze and received from her in gratitude the royal share of the rulership rights over Sens. The count's part was borne by Count Rainald II , who was expelled from Sens by King Robert II in 1015 and had joined Odo seeking help. Odo tried to secure the archbishop's share for himself by intending to bring a cleric he liked to the metropolitan seat after the death of Archbishop Léotheric in June 1032 . However, this was prevented by King Henry I, who was able to assert himself against his mother with the support of Robert I of Normandy and Fulkos of Anjou. In October 1032 the king forced the election of Gilduins von Joigny as the new Archbishop of Sens ; he was a cousin of Count Rainald II, who then left the Odos camp and went over to the king.

Odo refused Gilduin recognition and instead had Mainard, who was previously treasurer of Sens Cathedral , proclaimed the new archbishop. King Heinrich, supported by Fulk of Anjou, took up the siege of Sens, but Odo was able to defend the city successfully. Nevertheless, the political situation changed to his disadvantage after Queen Konstanze gave up in 1033, which was followed by Prince Robert. Odo's cousin, King Rudolf III, died in 1032 . of Burgundy, which is why Odo tried to find a quick compensation with King Heinrich. He recognized Gilduin in the Archdiocese of Sens, his candidate Mainard was compensated with the Diocese of Troyes . In 1034 Odo was finally forced to cede all rights to Sens to the king.

Odo's relationship with the empire - the Burgundian legacy

Since Odo took the Champagne to himself in 1023, he endeavored to expand his influence into the Holy Roman Empire , which bordered Champagne in the east. The background to this policy was the looming question of succession in the Kingdom of Burgundy ( regnum Aerelatense ) with the Odo, as a nephew of King Rudolf III. from Burgundy, connected own interests. In 1006 he not only recognized the feudal subordination of Burgundy to the empire, but also granted Emperor Henry II a priority claim to inheritance in the event of his death without heirs. With this decree, the Burgundy King ultimately also complied with the dynastic idea, since the Emperor, as the son of his eldest sister Gisela , was the first in the line of succession.

Nevertheless, Odo made contact with the powerful feudal nobility of Burgundy, who viewed the inheritance of the Burgundy crown to the emperor with suspicion. Furthermore, Odo showed his presence by having several castles built in Lorraine near the episcopal city of Toul , i.e. on imperial territory. Emperor Heinrich II took this as a serious threat and in 1023 allied himself with King Robert II of France, who at the same time was in dispute with Odo over the question of succession to the Champagne region. The emperor attacked and destroyed Odo's castles in Vaucouleurs and Bourmont . There were no further measures, especially since the emperor died in 1024.

Odo knew how to make a profit from the death of the emperor and the subsequent political misconduct of King Roberts II. Because of an incorrectly assumed internal political instability of the empire, King Robert II believed that he had room for maneuver for the gain of Lorraine, which was lost to the kingdom of West Franconia in 925. For this purpose the king supported on the one hand the aspirations of Wilhelm V of Aquitaine to the Italian royal crown and on the other hand he concluded a truce with Odo which also included the recognition of Odo's inheritance in Champagne. King Robert's hopes for Lorraine were quickly dashed, however, after Salian Konrad II was able to assert himself unexpectedly quickly on the German throne and also in Italy.

Fight against Emperor Konrad II.

Kingdom of Burgundy (10th to 13th centuries)

The heirless death of Emperor Heinrich II in 1024 brought significant changes to Odo's situation in Burgundy. Because through him Odo moved up to the first place in the succession in the dynastic ranking. Also that King Rudolf III. Odo favored his agreements with the emperor as having been terminated by his death. However, this met the resistance of the new king (from 1027 emperor) Konrad II. He was married to King Rudolf's niece Gisela , but she was dynastically behind Odo, as her mother was a younger sister of Odo's mother. Konrad therefore decided not to seek dynastic legitimation and instead claimed the Burgundian inheritance on the basis of the agreements between his predecessor and King Rudolf III. from the year 1006. Lending this emphasis, Konrad occupied Basel in 1025 , which forced King Rudolf to negotiate. In the summer of 1027, the Burgundian king finally recognized the new emperor in all contractual rights of Emperor Henry II, which called Odo's claims into question.

On September 6, 1032, King Rudolf III died. of Burgundy, whereupon Odo immediately took the initiative and invaded Burgundy with an army at the end of 1032. Favored by the absence of the emperor, who was on a campaign against Poland , he managed to take Neuchâtel and Murten . The Archbishop of Vienne , who sympathized with him , Leodegar (Léger), opened the gates of Vienne to Odo and although there was no coronation, Odo was already dubbed king in documents prepared in Arles and Marseille . The Salian chronicler Wipo reported in his Gesta Chuonradi II. Imperatoris that Odo did not claim the Burgundian crown at all, but only sought a dominant position over the new king ( semper magister esse regis vellet ). In view of the power of Emperor Conrad II, however, it is doubtful whether this corresponded to the fact, who would certainly not have accepted a ruling administrator in Burgundy in his place.

The reaction of the emperor took place in January 1033, who moved into Payerne via Basel and there he was elected king on February 2nd by the Burgundian greats present and crowned in the Clunician abbey . However, the emperor did not succeed in conquering the positions he had won, but strengthened his own by winning over the powerful Count Humbert Weisshand . After Odo invaded Lorraine, Emperor Conrad II allied himself in Deville in May 1033 with King Henry I of France , who was at war with Odo over Sens at the same time. While the king was taking up the siege of Sens, the emperor devastated the Champagne in August / September 1033; this forced Odo to settle with King Heinrich, through whom he had to give up Sens in 1034.

In Burgundy, too, the balance leaned in favor of the emperor, who marched there with an army in the spring of 1034 from the north and advanced as far as the Rhone . At the same time, Count Humbert, together with Archbishop Aribert of Milan and Margrave Boniface of Canossa, led an army from Italy to Burgundy, with which he allied himself with the Emperor at Geneva , who was crowned a second time there. This superiority moved Odo's partisans to change sides and after the emperor was able to take Murten in August, Odo withdrew from Burgundy with his army, with which he did not dare open battle.


Despite this defeat, Odo continued the fight, with Count Palatine Rainald I he still had a follower in Burgundy who did not recognize the emperor's rule. In the following years Odo moved several times to Lorraine, where he particularly devastated the area around Toul . Another opportunity to take offensive action against the emperor was presented to Odo after his former opponent Archbishop Aribert of Milan fell out with the emperor at a diet in Pavia in 1037 and encouraged the Italians to revolt. The archbishop, in league with the bishops of Piacenza , Cremona and Vercelli , turned to Odo to whom he offered the Italian crown as well as the imperial crown. However, the bishops' plot was uncovered by the widow of the Marquis of Turin , who immediately reported it to the emperor.

Odo and his army again marched against Lorraine with the aim of celebrating Christmas in Aachen , the palace of Charlemagne , as emperor. After conquering Bar-le-Duc , Odo was defeated on November 15 on the Honol plain , between Bar and Verdun , by an imperial army under the leadership of Duke Gotzelo I of Lorraine , Bishop Reginhard of Liège and Count Albert II. provided by Namur . In a hard-fought battle, the Lorrainers succeeded in defeating Odo's army. Odo himself was caught up with and killed by his enemies while fleeing. As a token of victory, Odo's banner was sent to the emperor's court in Italy, his naked and vandalized body was only discovered the day after the battle and could allegedly only be identified by a prominent wart on his dam .

Odo's body was transferred to his widow, who had him buried in the Marmoutier Abbey in Tours .


Count Odo II of Blois was a typical representative of that powerful group of feudal princes of France who took advantage of the weakness of the early Capetian kingship in the 10th and 11th centuries to pursue their own high ambitions. With a decisive influence on the fate of the kingdom, Odo finally established his family as one of the first in France, like the Dukes of Normandy, Aquitaine and Burgundy as well as the Counts of Flanders, Toulouse and Anjou. Odo was not alone among his contemporaries in his efforts to expand his power, at the expense of his royal liege lord or even to win a royal crown; in the following generation, men like Gottfried Martel von Anjou or Wilhelm von Normandie took over him Prototype, the latter even won the crown of England in 1066.

Later historians saw parallels in his lofty goals and his sudden end to the Burgundian Duke Charles the Bold , who also fell for a kingdom in 1477 in front of Nancy in Lorraine .



Pedigree of Odo II of Blois



Heribert I of Vermandois


Robert I of West Franconia


Rudolf I of Burgundy


Burchard II of Swabia


Charles III from West Franconia


Heinrich I of Eastern Franconia

Mathilde the saint

Great grandparents

Theobald the Old
Vice Count of Blois (? -942)


Heribert II.
Count of Vermandois (? -943)
⚭ 907
Adela of Neustria

Rudolf II.
King of Burgundy (? -937)
⚭ 933
Bertha of Swabia (? -966)

Ludwig IV.
King of West Franconia (921–954)
⚭ 939
Gerberga of Saxony (913–969)


Theobald I the deceiver
Count of Blois, (? -975)
⚭ 943/944
Ledgard von Vermandois (? -978)

Conrad III.
King of Burgundy, (? -993)
⚭ approx. 964
Mathilde of West Franconia (? -981/982)


Odo I.
Count of Blois, (? -996)
⚭ 983/986
Bertha of Burgundy , (? -1010)

Odo II,
Count of Blois

Marriages and offspring

In his first marriage, Odo was married in 1003 or 1004 to Mathilde, a daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy , who died in 1005.

In the year his first wife died, Odo married a second time with Ermengarde († after 1042), the daughter of Count Wilhelm IV of Auvergne . The couple's children were:

  • Theobald III. (* around 1010; † September 29/30, 1089), successor as Count of Blois ec., as Theobald I from 1066 Count of Meaux and Troyes
  • Stephan II (*? - † May 19, 1048), Count of Meaux and Troyes
  • Bertha (*?; † April 11/13, 1085)


predecessor Office successor
Theobald II. Count of Blois
Count of Chartres
Count of Tours
Count of Châteaudun
Theobald III.
Richard I of Normandy Count von Dreux
1003 / 1004-1023
Crown domain
Diocese of Beauvais Count of Sancerre
Theobald III.
Stephan I. Count of Meaux,
Count of Troyes
Stephan II