Clementia of Burgundy

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Clementia of Burgundy (c. 1078 – c. 1133) was a Countess consort of Flanders by marriage. She acted as regent of Flanders while her husband was on crusade, and ruled through both her husband and son for twenty-six years.

Family[edit]

She was the daughter of William I, Count of Burgundy and a noblewoman named Stephanie. Her family was heavily attached to the Catholic Church, with two of her brothers becoming archbishops and another brother becoming Pope Callixtus II.

In 1097, she married Robert II, Count of Flanders and became Countess of Flanders. With her marriage she brought an impressive dower, which included, "one-third of Flanders, including twelve towns located in the maritime and southwestern regions of Flanders, and stretching from Lille to Douai to Bapaume."[1] Because her dower contained so much land and so many towns, it created the opportunity for Clementia to build relationships with the people, which further allowed her to become the "patron of various monasteries, [to] develop bonds of friendship with important families, and help spread comital influence throughout the area. By doing so, [she] developed the power to participate in the rule of Flanders."[2]

Clementia and her husband Count Robert II had three sons together, and it was their son Baldwin that would come into rule after the death of Robert II in 1111.

Clementia as Ruler[edit]

When her husband, Count Robert II, left to go on the First Crusade, she became regent of Flanders.[3] As the ruling force she influenced the production of money, such as imprinting her own name on minted coins.[4] She was also asked to help deal with violent matters like protecting pilgrims from assault in Bapaume.[5] When Robert II returned from crusading though, surprisingly her power and influence did not end. They ruled together, with her name appearing on many of the charters instigated by her husband. Much of her influence after her husbands return becomes focused on her involvement with the church and specifically her patronage of multiple monasteries, abbes, and the donating of land for church use.

In 1111 Count Robert II died in a battle at Meaux. After his death their son Baldwin VII came into power. Because of his young age Clementia ruled with him through out his reign. Clementia was extremely powerful, in particular, during his first year of reign with all the charters of the time containing her name.[6] They ruled together with relative peace, until Baldwin VII began to form a stronger bond with his cousin Charles of Denmark who would later inherit the Count title in 1119 when Baldwin VII would be killed in battle. Clementia, however did not like Charles and after the death of her son would use her influence to raise an army against Charles. Unfortunately though she would end up losing the battle to Charles because of his capture of four of her dower towns, which led to the cutting off of resources for her army.[7] This caused Clementia to lose her power to rule Flanders. Regardless "Clematia continued to issue charters concerning her dower lands and towns until her death in 1133."[8]

Second Marriage[edit]

After her son, Baldwin VII, died in 1119, she married Godfrey I, Count of Louvain. This second marriage made her stepmother to Adeliza of Louvain, queen consort of England as second wife to Henry I. Clementia may also have been the mother of Godfrey's son, Joscelin of Louvain, although some historians consider the possibility that he was born of a mistress..[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p.111.
  2. ^ Adair, Penelope Ann, "Ego et Uxor Mea... :""Countess Clemente and her Role in the Comital Family and Flanders (1092-1133)," (PhD Diss, University of California at Santa Barbra, 1993), p. xiii.
  3. ^ Runciman 1951, p. 166
  4. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p.111.
  5. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p. 112.
  6. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p. 112.
  7. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p. 113.
  8. ^ Everglades, Theodore, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999, p. 112.
  9. ^ Sanders, I.J., English Baronies, Oxford, 1960, p.148

Sources[edit]

  • Adair, Penelope Ann. "Ego et Uxor Mea... :""Countess Clemente and her Role in the Comital Family and Flanders (1092-1133)." (PhD Diss, University of California at Santa Barbra, 1993).
  • Bouchard, Constance B. "Consanguinity and Noble Marriages in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries." Speculum. Medieval Academy of America. Vol. 56 No. 2. (April 1981) p. 268-287.
  • Bouchard, Constance B. Sword, Miter, and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy 980-1198. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.
  • Everglades, Theodore. Aristocratic Women in Medieval France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.
  • Rider, Jeff and Alva V. Murray. Gilbert of Bruges and the Historiography of Medieval Flanders. Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2009.
  • Runciman, S. (1951). A History of the Crusades: The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Vacant
Title last held by
Gertrude of Saxony
Countess consort of Flanders
1093–1111
Vacant
Title next held by
Hawise of Brittany, Countess of Flanders