Robert I, Duke of Burgundy

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Robert I of Burgundy
Robert le Vieux.jpg
Spouse(s) Helie of Semur
Noble family House of Burgundy
Father Robert II of France
Mother Constance of Arles
Born 1011
Died 21 March 1076(1076-03-21)

Robert I of Burgundy, known as Robert the Old (1011 – 21 March 1076) and "Tete-Hardi" was duke of Burgundy from 1032 to his death. Robert was son of King Robert II of France and brother of Henry I of France.[1]

In 1025, with the death of his eldest brother Hugh Magnus, he and Henry rebelled against their father and defeated him, forcing him back to Paris. In 1031, after the death of his father the king, Robert participated in a rebellion against his brother, in which he was supported by his mother, Constance of Arles. Peace was only achieved when Robert was given Burgundy (1032).

Throughout his reign, he was little more than a robber baron who had no control over his own vassals, whose estates he often plundered, especially those of the Church. He seized the income of the diocese of Autun and the wine of the canons of Dijon. He burgled the abbey of St-Germain at Auxerre. In 1055, he repudiated his wife, Helie of Semur, and assassinated her brother Joceran and murdered her father, his father-in-law, Lord Dalmace I of Semur, with his own hands. In that same year, the bishop of Langres, Harduoin, refused to dedicate the church of Sennecy so as not "to be exposed to the violence of the duke."

His first son, Hugh, died in battle at a young age and his second son, Henry, also predeceased him. He was succeeded by Henry's eldest son, his grandson, Hugh I.[2]


He married his first wife, Helie of Semur,[3] about 1033, and repudiated her in 1046. Robert and Helie had five children:

  1. Hugh (1034–1059), killed in battle
  2. Henry (1035–ca.1074). He died shortly before his father, thus making his son Robert's heir. By a wife perhaps from Barcelona,[4] he had children:Hugh I, Duke of Burgundy (1057–1093); Odo I, Duke of Burgundy (1058–1103); Robert, bishop of Langres (1059–1111); Helie, a nun (b. 1061); Beatrice (b. 1063), married Guy I, count of Vignory; Reginald, abbot of St Pierre (1065–1092);Henry, Count of Portugal (1066–1112), who became a vassal of León and ruler of the county of Portugal in 1093 - his son would be Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal
  3. Robert (1040–1113), poisoned; married Violante of Sicily, daughter of Roger I of Sicily
  4. Simon (1045–1087)
  5. Constance (1046–1093), married Alfonso VI of León and Castile
  1. Hildegarde (c.1056–1104), married Duke William VIII of Aquitaine


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kings, Rulers, and Statesmen, ed. Mark Hillary Hansen, (Sterling Publishing Co., 2005), 111.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Hallam, Capetian France:987-1328, (Longman Group Ltd., 1980), 30.
  3. ^ Burgundy, Constance B. Bouchard, Medieval France:An Encyclopedia, ed. William W. Kibler and Grover A. Zinn, (Routledge, 1995), 156.
  4. ^ That Henry's his wife was named Sybil has been discredited. The Barcelona connection is hypothesized based on her son Odo's use of the byname Borel, a name found among earlier Counts of Barcelona.
  5. ^ Georges Duby, The Knight, the Lady and the Priest, (University of Chicago Press, 1981), 90.


Preceded by
Duke of Burgundy
1032 – 1076
Succeeded by
Hugh I