Richard the judge

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Richard the judge (Latin: Richardus Justitiarius , French : Richard le Justicier ; * 858 ; † 921 in Auxerre ) was a Frankish nobleman from the Buviniden family . During the late 9th century he summarized the areas of old Burgundy west of the Saône under his rule and is therefore considered to be the founder of the medieval duchy of Burgundy, which corresponds to today's French landscape of Burgundy .



Burgundy since the end of the 9th century
Kingdom of Lower Burgundy (orange; Boso von Vienne)
Kingdom of Hochburgund (green; Rudolf I)
Duchy of Burgundy (brown; Richard the judge)

Richard was the son of Buvinus, Count of Metz and lay abbot of Gorze , and his wife Richilde of Arles. His brother was Boso von Vienne and his sister Richildis was the wife of the West Frankish king and later emperor Charles the Bald . Richard was also a nephew of King Lothar II through his maternal aunt .

From about 887/888 Richard was married to Adelheid, a sister of the Transjuranic Dux and later King Rudolf I of the Guelph family . His wife brought him the county of Auxerre as a dowry into the marriage.

Fratricidal struggle

After the death of Emperor Ludwig II (875), Richard and his brother Boso accompanied their brother-in-law, King Charles the Bald, to Italy, who was crowned emperor there in Rome by Pope John VIII . With the appointment of Bosos as Dux and Missus Regius in Italy , the Buvinids took on a leading position, especially in the Burgundian region. Around 877 Richard and the Guelph Hugo Abbas took over the office of Missus in Italy from his brother , after he had been recalled from there.

Richard himself first appears as a count in 876, probably in Sens . In 879 Boso used the death of King Ludwig the Stammler to rise to the rank of king in Niederburgund (Cisjuranien) and Provence . Richard did not take this step and remained loyal to the Carolingian kings Ludwig III. and Karlmann , which he was rewarded in 880 with the enfeoffment of the county of Autun and the investiture as lay abbot of Saint-Symphorien. In the same year he led a campaign against his own brother in association with the kings Ludwig III, Karlmann and Karl the Fat , whom he defeated near the Saône and captured Mâcon and Lyon . A first siege of Vienne in August 880 failed. After a second attempt in September 882, Richard and King Karlmann finally succeeded in taking the city. Boso managed to escape, but his wife and children were captured and placed under Richard's care in Autun.

After Boso's death (887) Richard promoted his sister-in-law Ermengarde as regent in Niederburgund and transferred his nephew, Ludwig the Blind , to the court of Emperor Charles the Fat, who adopted the boy.

Duke of Burgundy

After the death of King Karlmann (884) Richard supported the East Franconian Carolingian Karl the Dicken as the new king in Regnum in West Franconia . So he got into rivalry with the Robertin family around Count Odo of Paris , who was elected king after the deposition of Charlemagne in 887. Richard, however, together with William the Pious , Ramnulf II of Poitou and Archbishop Fulko of Reims, supported the underage Charles the Simple and in the following years seized Tonnerre and Nevers , while the Counts of Dijon and Chalon recognized him as their overlord. After these successes, King Odo found himself forced in a meeting in Chalon-sur-Saône in May 892 to recognize Richard in his united territory, who in turn took a more neutral stance between Carolingians and Robertinians. After that, Richard began to consolidate his rule in his area. In 894 he captured Langres and blinded the city's robertine bishop. In the following year he took Sens and Troyes and locked its archbishop, who had carried out the ordination of Odo, in a dungeon. He also appointed himself lay abbot of the abbeys of Sainte-Colombe in Sens and Saint-Germain in Auxerre .

During this conflict Richard was also engaged in the defensive battle against the Normans . They had invaded Burgundy in 888 and sacked Bèze . Richard took up their pursuit and beat them at Saint-Florentin . In the same year Richard's brother-in-law, the Transjuranic Dux Rudolf , had himself raised to the rank of king in his domain and thus established the kingdom of Hochburgund .

After the death of King Odos (898), Charles the Simple was generally recognized, who in turn recognized Richard as Margrave ( marchio ), which identified him as the first prince of Burgundy, which remained in West Franconian Regnum. After that Richard was still engaged against the Normans. These had attacked 898 Tonnerre and Montbard , whereupon Richard surprised and defeated them at Argenteuil-sur-Armançon . In 911 attacked the Normans under Rollo Auxerre. Richard allied himself with the Marquis Robert of Neustria , the Count Ebalus Mancer of Poitou and the Bishop Géran of Auxerre and in July 911 won a crushing victory over the Normans at Chartres , which led to the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte .

Since the year 918 Richard was titled as "Count and Duke of Burgundy" ( comes et dux Burgundiae ). He died in August / September 921 and was buried in the Abbey of Sainte-Colombe in Sens. The Aquitaine Duke Wilhelm the Pious founded the famous Benedictine abbey in Cluny in Burgundy in 910 .


Richard and Adelheid's children were:

predecessor Office successor
- Duke of Burgundy
Konrad Count of Sens
895 / 96-921