William VI. (Montferrat)

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William VI. (Italian: Guglielmo di Monferrato ; † September 17, 1225 ) was a Margrave of Montferrat from the Aleramiden family . He was a son of Margrave Boniface I of Montferrat († 1207) and Elena di Bosco.

Wilhelm took over the reign of Montferrat as early as 1202 after his father had joined the fourth crusade . The father died in Greece in 1207 as king of Thessaloniki and was inherited there by his underage second son, Demetrius .

Like his ancestors, Wilhelm was a loyal supporter of the imperial house of the Hohenstaufen . Although he first recognized the Guelph Otto IV of Braunschweig as king during the German controversy after the assassination of Philip of Swabia , in 1212 he was the first Italian great who went over to the side of the young Friedrich II . He supported him on his journey through Lombardy on the way to Germany. He was appointed vicar for Burgundy ( regnum Arelat ) by Frederick II , but this brought him the enmity of the Counts of Savoy, Provence and Toulouse. At the fourth Lateran Council he appeared in 1215 as an advocate for the imperial cause against the Lombard League .

Marriages and offspring

Wilhelm had been married to Sophia von Schwaben, a daughter of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa , from 1187 , who died that same year. In his second marriage he was married to Berta di Clavesana from 1202, with whom he had several children:


After conquering Constantinople in the course of the fourth crusade in 1204, Boniface of Montferrat founded the Kingdom of Thessaloniki , and was then killed in the battle against the Bulgarians in 1207. In Thessaloniki he was followed by his second underage son Demetrius under the reign of his mother Margaret of Hungary . This succession arrangement was not without controversy among the followers of Boniface. A large group of Lombard knights under Oberto von Biandrate in particular favored the successor to Wilhelm VI. as King of Thessaloniki, especially because he was the eldest son of his father and also of the age to lead the fight against Bulgarians and Greeks. The revolt of the Lombards was put down by Emperor Heinrich in favor of Demetrius.

Wilhelm himself showed no desire to travel to the east of Greece to inherit a kingship threatened from all sides, nor to support his younger half-brother. The trobador Elias Cairel , who was associated with the House of Montferrat and who had participated in the fourth crusade, reproached him for this in the lament "Pois chai la fuoilla del garric" (Well, after the oak fell) and advised him to become an abbot To advertise Cluny or Cîteaux if he did not want to fulfill his duty to defend his younger brother. Wilhelm is just not a second Bohemond .

In 1221 Wilhelm was finally ready to take the cross after Cardinal Hugo von Ostia (later Pope Gregory IX) had promised him an expense allowance of 15,000 silver marks. He was supposed to support the Damiette crusade , which became obsolete in the same year due to the final defeat of the crusaders in the Nile Delta. In the meantime, his brother Demetrius was in ever deeper distress in Greece, the Byzantine despot of Epirus Theodoros I. Angelos had conquered the entire kingdom with the exception of the capital by 1223. Only now was Wilhelm ready to rush to his brother's aid. But when he set sail from Brindisi in December 1224 , Thessaloniki had already been conquered by Theodoros Angelos. Once in Greece, Wilhelm could not do anything there, he died there in Almyros ( Magnisia district ) in September 1225 of a fever, rumored to have been caused by poisoning. His family only retained the kingship of Thessaloniki as a mere title.


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  1. He is sometimes also called "Wilhelm VIII.", Not because he was the eighth Wilhelm as Margrave of Montferrat, but the eighth of his name in the Aleramide family.
  2. Vincenzo de Bartholomaeis : Un Sirventés historique d'Élias Cairel. In: Annales du Midi. Volume 16, 1904, ISSN  0003-4398 , pp. 468-494.
predecessor Office successor
Boniface I. Margrave of Montferrat 1207–1225
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Boniface II