On this day, 21 March, in the year 1076, Robert I of Burgundy, nicknamed “le Vieux” (the Old), died. Robert I of Burgundy was my 29th great-grandfather through his daughter Constance, my 29th great-grandfather through his daughter Hildegarde, and my two-times 30th great-grandfather through his son Henry.
In 1025, Robert’s eldest brother Hugh Magnus died. Robert and older brother Henry rebelled against their father, Robert II of France, defeating him and forcing him to retreat to Paris.
In 1031, Robert II of France passed away. With the death of his father, Robert I rose up against his brother Henry I, who was next in line for the throne. Their mother Constance of Arles supported Robert’s efforts. In 1032, peace between the brothers was achieved, when Henry relinquished Burgundy to Robert, thereby making Robert I Duke of Burgundy.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that he was a duke, Robert I was little more than a robber baron. He had little control over his vassals, whose estates he frequently plundered. He also raided Church properties, seizing the income of the diocese of Autun, confiscating the wine of the canons of Dijon, and robbing the Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre.
Circa 1033, Robert I married Helie of Semur. Together, Robert and Helie had five children: Hugh, Henry, Robert, Simon, and Constance.
In 1048, Robert I repudiated his wife. Not long after he turned out his wife, Robert I killed both her brother Joceran and father Dalmace I of Semur.
At some point prior to 1056, Robert I married Ermengarde d’Anjou. Together, they had one daughter, whom they named Hildegarde.
Two of Robert I’s sons predeceased him: his first son, Hugh, who died in battle, and his second son, Henry. Because of this, when Robert I died on 21 March 1076, in Fleurey-sur-Ouche, France, Henry’s eldest son, Hugh I, became the Duke of Burgundy.
Also, on this day, 21 March, in the year 1306, Robert II of Burgundy passed away. Although Robert II is not my direct ancestor, he is my 25th great-uncle. (His sister Adelaide of Burgundy is my 24th great-grandmother.) In addition, Robert II is the 6th great-grandson of Robert I (discussed above).
In 1272, when his father died, Robert II became Duke of Burgundy.
In 1279, Robert II married Agnes, the youngest daughter of Louis IX of France (my 24th great-grandfather). Together, they had eight children: Hugh V, Blanche, Margaret, Joan, Odo IV, Louis, Mary, and Robert.
In 1284, Rudolf of Habsburg invested Robert II with the duchy of Dauphiné. Unfortunately, this action resulted in two years of warfare; hostilities ceased when Philip IV of France (my 22nd great-grandfather) paid Robert 20,000 livres tournois to renounce his claim to the Dauphiné.
Robert II ended the practice of gifting parcels of the Burgundian estate to younger sons and as dowries to daughters. Because of this previous practice, the duchy had already diminished by earlier dowries and gifts. Upon Robert II’s death on 21 March 1306, the entire duchy passed to his eldest son, Hugh V.