Humbert II of Viennois

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Dauphin Humbert II.jpg
Grand sceau Humbert II.jpg

Humbert II de la Tour-du-Pin (1312 – 22 May 1355) was the Dauphin of the Viennois from 1333 to 16 July 1349. He was a son of the Dauphin John II and Beatrice of Hungary. Humbert was the last dauphin before the title went to the French crown, to be bestowed on the heir apparent.

To contemporaries, he was incompetent and extravagant, lacking the warlike ardour of his brother and predecessor Guigues VIII. He passed his youth at Naples enjoying the aesthetic pleasures of the Italian trecento. His subsequent court at Beauvoir-en-Royans had a reputation for extravagance. Unlike his predecessors, Humbert was not itinerant, moving continually from one dauphinal castle to another, instead preferring to settle in Beauvoir. He married Beatrice of Baux, daughter of Bertrand of Baux.

He depleted his treasury funding a vain Crusade to rescue the Holy Land, but after the death of his only son André (5 September 1333 – Grenoble, October 1335), he quickly gave up the idea and by 1337 was planning to cede his inheritance. In 1339, financial difficulties building up, he made an inventory of his possessions, with the hope of selling them to Pope Benedict XII. In May 1345, Humbert had left Marseille at the head of a papal fleet. The Crusade was against the Turkish Emirate of Aydin, and was intended to assist the recently captured Frankish port of Smyrna, but was attacked by Genoa near Rhodes. He was asked to intervene by Venice in the conflict between Bartolomeo Zaccaria and Guglielma Pallavicini over the marquisate of Bodonitsa. He returned before the Crusade had achieved anything notable.

The planned sale to the pope falling through, Humbert finally succeeded in completing a sale to Philip VI of France in 1349 for 400,000 écus and an annual pension. To save appearances, however, the sale was referred to as a "transfer". In order to prevent the title from going into abeyance or being swallowed up in another sovereign title, Humbert instituted the "Delphinal Statute" whereby the Dauphiné was exempted from many taxes and imposts. This statute was subject to much parliamentary debate at regional level, as local leaders sought to defend their autonomy and privilege against the state.

After ceding his lands, Humbert entered the Dominican Order gaining the ecclesiastical title of Patriarch of Alexandria within two years, and consecrating Rodolphe de Chissé as Bishop of Grenoble in 1351.[1] It is with these latter titles that his death is recorded in a necrology of Vauvert: in Clermont-en-Auvergne, at forty three years of age in 1355.

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  1. ^ The Diocese of Grenoble in the Fourteenth Century, C. R. Cheney, Speculum, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Apr., 1935), 165.

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