Theobald II, Count of Champagne

Noble person

1090 – 1152

65

Who was Theobald II, Count of Champagne?

Theobald the Great was Count of Blois and of Chartres as Theobald IV from 1102 and was Count of Champagne and of Brie as Theobald II from 1125.

He held Auxerre, Maligny, Ervy, Troyes, and Châteauvillain as fiefs from Odo II, Duke of Burgundy. He was the son of Stephen II, Count of Blois, and Adela of Normandy, and the elder brother of King Stephen of England. Although he was the second son, Theobald was appointed above his older brother William. Several historians have painted William as mentally deficient, but this has never been substantiated. That said, we know that his mother found him stubbornly resistant to control and unfit for wide ranging comital duties. Theobald had no such problems.

Theobald accompanied his mother throughout their realm on hundreds of occasions and, after her retirement to Marcigney in 1125, he administered the family properties with great skill. Adela died in her beloved convent in 1136, the year after her son Stephen was crowned king of England.

King Louis VII of France became involved in a war with Theobald by permitting Count Raoul I of Vermandois and seneschal of France, to repudiate his wife Eleanor, Theobald's sister, and to marry Petronilla of Aquitaine, sister of the queen of France. The war, which lasted two years, was marked by the occupation of Champagne by the royal army and the capture of Vitry-le-François, where many persons perished in the deliberate burning of the church by Louis. French teacher Pierre Abélard, who became famous for his love affair with and subsequent marriage to his student Héloïse, sought asylum in Champagne during Theobald II's reign. Abelard died at Cluny Abbey in Burgundy, a monastery supported by the Thebaudians for many centuries.

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