Theobald I (Navarre)

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Theobald von Champagne composes a Minnelong


Theobald von Champagne ( French: Thibaut IV de Champagne , Spanish: Teobaldo I de Navarra ; * May 30, 1201 in Troyes , † July 8, 1253 in Pamplona ) was from 1201 as Theobald IV. Count of Champagne and from 1234 as Theobald I, King of Navarre from the House of Blois . He is also known by his nicknames: " Thibaut le Posthume ", the one born after the death of his father, and " Thibaut le Chansonnier ", the minstrel . He was a great-grandson of Eleanor of Aquitaine , the " Queen of the Troubadours " and one of the most famous Trouvères of the 13th century.


Origin and childhood

Theobald was the posthumously born son of Count Theobald III. the Champagne and Blanka of Navarre . While his mother ruled for him in the Champagne region , Theobald was raised at the court of his godfather, King Philip II of France. There he developed a strong affection for Blanche of Castile , thirteen years his senior , wife of the heir to the throne and cousin of his mother. He wrapped his passion for Blanche in songs and poems that he had painted on the walls of the palaces in Troyes and Provins , which earned him the nickname of a troubadour (or "chansonnier" in France).

War of Succession

While Theobald was a minor, his mother was claimed to have preserved his inheritance, which was not undisputed. Because Theobald's uncle, Count Heinrich II. , Who died in the Holy Land , had left two daughters who had a legitimate claim to Champagne, even if Theobald's father had once been recognized by the king as his brother's successor. In 1216 Heinrich's youngest daughter Philippa returned to the land of their forefathers with her husband Érard de Brienne and immediately claimed Champagne. This triggered a war of succession, which the neighboring Duke Theobald I of Lorraine wanted to take advantage of for his own gain in power by supporting Philippa and the revolting vassals of Champagne.

Countess Blanka, however, knew the king behind her, as well as Count Heinrich II. Von Bar , Duke Hugo IV. Of Burgundy and Emperor Friedrich II. Also Pope Innocent III. had spoken out for the countess. In 1216, through the mediation of Philip II, there was a brief armistice and the dispute was brought before the royal court. In early 1217, Érard de Brienne took up the fight again and was for it by Pope Honorius III. excommunicated.

Blanka's allies marched against Lorraine in 1218 and devastated the country. Duke Theobald fled to Amance and had to surrender in June 1218, robbing Philippa and Érard of their most important supporter. The struggle for succession was thus decided for Blanka and her son, their two competitors left France by 1222, went to their homeland overseas and never returned. Nevertheless, the danger from the Orient should not be over for Theobald.

Revolt of the barons

Theobald von Champagne, Peter Mauclerc von Bretagne and Hugo von Lusignan conspire against the regent

Theobald came of age in 1222 and took over the reign in his inheritance. Around 1224 he was recognized by his uncle King Sancho VII in Tudela as his heir in the Kingdom of Navarre . He then supported King Louis VIII in the conquest of La Rochelle (August 1224) against the English. At the same time he distanced himself from his king and came into the environment of oppositional forces around Peter Mauclerc and Hugo X. von Lusignan , who perceived the previous strengthening of the kingship against the feudal nobility as a threat to their own power. This situation escalated during the king's crusade against the Albigensians after Theobald, Peter Mauclerc and their sympathizers left the king in the lurch during the siege of Avignon in July 1226 after the specified 40-day period had expired and left the crusader army with their contingents. Although legitimate, this act was perceived by the royal court as an act of treason.

After the barons also attended the coronation of Louis IX. stayed away in November 1226, the Blanche of Castile, who ruled for him, took up the fight against the opposition. Theobald, who wanted to take part in the celebrations, was denied access to Reims by the regent .

The regent succeeded in January 1227 in Curçay to divide the ranks of the barons through clever negotiations. Theobald, who was the barons' negotiator together with Count Heinrich II. Von Bar, made himself suspicious of his comrades-in-arms because of his personal proximity to the regent. For fear of these, he and the Count of Bar changed sides and submitted to the Queen at Loudun . This weakened the opposition considerably, so that Mauclerc and Hugo von Lusignan were also forced to submit on March 16, 1227 in Vendôme . Her ally Richard of Cornwall also signed an armistice and withdrew to England.

The fight was to continue after Mauclerc tried to usurp the person of the king in Montlhéry , but this was prevented by the timely intervention of the regent. After Mauclerc failed to appear at the royal court at Melun on December 31, 1227 , the fighting broke out again. Mauclerc succeeded the king's uncle, Philipp Hurepel , and the gentlemen Enguerrand III. de Coucy to his camp. Theobald however immediately joined the king and brought him 800 knights, together they stormed Mauclerc's mighty Bellême castle in January 1228 . This angered the barons against Theobald, in diatribes they accused him of murdering King Louis VIII and accused him of having a sexual relationship with the regent.

The fighting, which Theobald also stoked, thus shifted to Champagne . He kidnapped the Archbishop of Lyon , making the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Bar and Nevers an enemy. Together with Enguerrand de Coucy, they invaded Champagne, burned Ervy and Saint-Florent, and besieged Chaource . Theobald's capital, Troyes , was successfully defended by his Seneschal Simon de Joinville . The regent sent an army to Troyes to support Theobald and weakened the barons in 1230 by forcing Philipp Hurepel to submit through her allied Count Ferrand of Flanders . After that, the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Bar and Nevers also stopped their fighting against Theobald.

The scales then tipped in favor of the regent and Theobalds, after Mauclerc had paid homage to the English king for Brittany in October 1229 and invited him to land with an army in France. This brought his closest followers against him, so Hugo von Lusignan gave up the fight in Clisson in January 1230 . After the king with an army, supported by Theobald, took several castles in Brittany and King Heinrich III. withdrew from England to England in October 1230 without any notable battle, Mauclerc and Enguerrand de Coucy finally gave up in 1231.

During this time Theobald had proven to be an important support for the regent and the young king, who placed their trust in him. In 1229, Theobald served her as an arbitrator in the negotiations in Meaux with Count Raimund VII of Toulouse , which led to the signing of the Meaux-Paris Treaty , which officially ended the Albigensian Crusade.

Alice of Cyprus

In 1233 the Queen Dowager of Cyprus and Princess of Antioch landed on the Mediterranean coast of France, which put Theobald in another threatening position. Because it was his cousin Alice , the second daughter of his uncle and older sister of Philippa, and just like her sister she too had a right to her father's inheritance, the Champagne. Alice had once taken over the assertion of these claims from her sister and continued what had caused Theobald additional problems during the uprising of the barons. Because the barons around Peter Mauclerc and Philipp Hurepel had also used Alice's claims as justification for their fight against Theobald. He himself did not recognize their rights on the grounds that their parents' marriage was illegal. Because her mother's first husband, Humfried IV of Toron , once never acknowledged the forced divorce from his wife.

In contrast to the conflict with Philippa, Theobald had no notable supporter against Alice who could have stood by him against her and the champagne nobility who sympathized with her. The royal authority, which the king personally assumed at this time, also held back. In 1234 Theobald managed to come to an agreement with Alice, she agreed to waive her claims for a one-off payment of 40,000 and an annual pension of 2,000 livres tournois . As patron of the great champagne fairs, the Count of Champagne was one of the richest princes in France, but even for him such a sum was exorbitant.

In this situation, the king intervened as a believer for the count and agreed to bear this financial burden. Alice traveled back to the holy land a little later , but Theobald was now in the uncomfortable position of debtor to his royal liege lord. To settle these debts he gave up his suzerainty over the counties of Blois , Chartres , Châteaudun and Sancerre in favor of the crown. A serious loss that ended the clasping of the Île-de-France by the House of Blois , founded by Theobald's ancestors, Odo II of Blois . In Champagne, Theobald had to tolerate the presence of royal officials who were supposed to monitor the pension payments for Alice and thus had considerable influence on Theobald's political room for maneuver.

These events actually signified the end of Champagne as a power-political force in medieval France. The region lost its princely sovereign position and was soon to pass into royal hands through the marriage of Theobald's granddaughter to King Philip IV the Handsome .

King of Navarre

After the death of Sancho VII in 1234, Theobald was able to take over his inheritance in Navarre. His right of succession was temporarily questioned there after Sancho had agreed a contract of inheritance with King James I of Aragon in 1231. Ultimately, however, Theobald benefited from the Basque nobility's partisanship in his favor and the use of Jacob in his conquests of the Balearic Islands and Valencia .

Theobald reformed the administration of Navarre based on the northern French model, but also filled newly created offices such as the Seneschalate and Chancellery with Basques. He codified the law ( Cartulario Magno ) and for the first time summarized customary law in Fuero Generl . In terms of foreign policy, he came closer to King Ferdinand III. from León on, from whom he received Gipuzkoa . A marriage project with Ferdinand failed after an objection from the King of Castile, who viewed Navarre as his feudum .

In the following years Theobald got into France with King Louis IX. in conflict after he married his daughter Blanche to the Duke of Brittany (a son of Mauclerc). He had also given the right of inheritance to Navarre to the marriage. Ludwig sensed a conspiracy and, together with his brothers Alfons and Robert , besieged Theobald's castle at Montereau . Only the mediation of Pope Gregory IX. , which Theobald had requested because he had taken the cross two years earlier, was able to make a peace in Vincennes in June 1236, but Theobald had to cede Montereau and Bray-sur-Seine to the king.

Crusade of the Barons

Theobald of Champagne in full armor (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 12615, fol. 1, detail, 13th century)

In 1239 Theobald decided to put his crusade project into practice and headed a crusade in which a large number of French barons (including Count Peter von Braine , Duke Hugo IV of Burgundy , Count Heinrich II of Bar , the constable of France Count Amalrich VII of Montfort , Count Guigues of Nevers , Count Wilhelm of Joigny and Count Ludwig I of Sancerre ). The company enjoyed the support of King Ludwig IX. who took over the full financing of Theobald. The crusaders actually intended to board their ships in Brindisi . Since Emperor Frederick II had closed the Italian ports for military voyages to the Holy Land, they were forced to embark in Aigues-Mortes and Marseille . They reached Palestine in early September 1239. The crusader army comprised around 1,000 knights.

The holy land after the barons' crusade

Since Theobald's passion was poetry rather than battle, the crusade was not particularly successful militarily. Theobald spent most of his time in safe and enjoyable Acre before moving to Ashkelon to rebuild the fortress. Crusaders who hurried ahead fought two minor battles against the Ayyubids . The first, a raid on a wealthy Damascus convoy under Peter von Braine, was a close victory. The second, the battle of Gaza against an Egyptian army in November 1239, was a devastating defeat in which the Count of Bar fell and the Count of Montfort was taken prisoner. At the same time, however, armed conflicts broke out between the Ayyubid states, which ran in favor of Theobald. He allied himself with Sultan al-Salih Ismail of Damascus against his nephew Sultan al-Salih Ayyub of Cairo. In return, Ismail ceded Galilee to him with the important fortresses Safed and Beaufort and promised him further parts of Palestine that could still be conquered by Ayyub , namely the areas west of the Jordan to south of Jerusalem. After Ismail's soldiers had refused to fight alongside Christians against Muslims, and some of them defected to Ayyub, Theobald used the opportunity to enter into a neutrality agreement with Sultan al-Salih Ayyub of Cairo, for which he confirmed the possession of Askalon and promised to cede to him the areas of Ayyub promised by Ismail and to release the companions of Theobald who had been captured near Gaza. Some important local barons were annoyed by the diplomatic change of sides, as they perceived it as a more urgent threat than Ayyub in their reigns in Galilee just received from Ismail.

Theobald did not wait for the implementation of the neutrality agreement, but left the holy land in September 1240, after he had paid a hasty pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A large number of the crusaders followed him, with the exception of the Duke of Burgundy and the Count of Nevers, who stayed in the country until 1241. Shortly after Theobald's departure, Richard of Cornwall arrived with an English crusader army who oversaw the cession of the territories to the crusaders and the release of the prisoners. Although Theobald had neither fought major battles nor actively engaged in diplomacy, the gain in terrain for the crusaders gained in the course of the crusade was the largest since the First Crusade .

Last years and death

In addition to a Damas rose, Theobald brought a piece of the true cross with him from the Holy Land , which he donated to the Church of Saint-Laurent-des-Ponts in Provins , which was later called the Church of the Holy Cross (Église Sainte-Croix). In 1241 he supported King Louis IX. in the Saintonge war against Henry III. of England and then devoted himself to the administration of his lands.

Theobald died on July 8, 1253 in Pamplona , less than a year after his beloved Lady Blanche of Castile, and was buried in the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real , his heart, however, in the monastery of the Cordelières in Provins .

He is the author of 71 lyrical compositions, including 37 love songs, in which he demonstrates great technical and verbal virtuosity, as well as extraordinary impudence and irony towards chivalry. Theobald von Champagne was the most famous troubadour of his time. It was considered its forerunner by Dante in the following century .

Marriages and offspring

Around 1217 he married Gertrud von Egisheim (* around 1203; † March 30, 1225), daughter of Albert von Egisheim , Count of Dagsburg and Metz , and widow of Duke Theobald I of Lorraine , in the hope of taking over the county of Metz to acquire. When hope was dashed, he cast Gertrud away.

In 1222 he married Agnes from the House of Beaujeu , a cousin of the future King Louis IX. des Heiligen , who had already been Theobald's playmate at the French court. Agnes was the daughter of Guichard IV of Beaujeu and Sibylle of Hainaut . She died in 1231 and was buried in Clairvaux Abbey . With her he had a daughter:

In 1232 Theobald concluded his third marriage with Margarete von Bourbon-Dampierre († 1256), daughter of Archambault VIII. , Lord of Bourbon and the House of Dampierre . Theobald and Margarete's children were:


  • Christopher Callahan, Marie-Geneviève Grossel et Daniel E. O'Sullivan (eds.): Thibaut de Champagne: Les Chansons. Textes et mélodies . Published by:, Paris, éditions Honoré Champion , cfm 46, Paris 2018, ISBN 978-2-7453-4800-5 . contents
  • Dietmar Rieger : Medieval poetry of France II. Songs of the Trouvères . Reclam Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 978-3150079430 .
  • Axel Wallensköld (ed.): Les Chansons de Thibaut de Champagne, roi de Navarre , critical edition, Edouard Champion Paris 1925
  • Friedrich Wolfenzettel: The medieval lyric poetry of northern France . In: Poetry of the Middle Ages Volume I, Problems and Interpretations , ed. by Heinz Bergner, 2 vols., Reclam Stuttgart 1983, p. 391-578, ISBN 978-3150078969 .

Web links

Commons : Theobald I.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Régine Pernoud : Queen of the Troubadours. Eleanor of Aquitaine . dtv 1461, 15th edition Munich 1979, pp. 145-160, ISBN 3-423-30042-6 .
  2. Friedrich Wolfenzettel: The medieval lyric poetry of northern France . In: Poetry of the Middle Ages Volume I, Problems and Interpretations , ed. by Heinz Bergner, 2 vols., Stuttgart, Reclam Verlag 1983, pp.465 / 466, ISBN 978-3150078969 .
predecessor Office successor
Theobald III. Count of Champagne 1201–1253
Blason region for Champagne-Ardenne.svg
Theobald V./II.
Sancho VII. King of Navarre 1234–1253
COA Navarre escarbuncles orle.svg
Theobald V./II.