Duchy of Bar

Last updated
County (Duchy) of Bar

Grafschaft (Herzogtum) Bar(de)
Comté (Duché) de Bar(fr)
Barensis Comitatus (Ducatus)(la)
Map France 1477-en.svg
Map of France in 1477, showing the duchy of Bar in "Valois-Anjou" colours
Carte du Barrois.svg
The Duchy of bar in the 17th century, as against the modern administrative divisions of France
StatusVassal of  Holy Roman Empire
Capital Bar-le-Duc
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
 Divided from the Duchy of Lorraine
 Divided between France and the Empire
 Raised to a duchy
 United with the Duchy of Lorraine
 Passed by treaty to the French crown
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blason Lorraine.svg Upper Lorraine
Lorraine and Barrois Royal Standard of the King of France.svg
Part of the series on
Flag of Lorraine.svg
Flag of Lorraine since the 13th century

The County of Bar was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire encompassing the pays de Barrois and centred on the city of Bar-le-Duc. It was held by the House of Montbéliard from the 11th century. Part of the county, the so-called Barrois mouvant, became a fief of the Kingdom of France in 1301 and was elevated to the Duchy of Bar in 1354. The Barrois non-mouvant remained a part of the Empire. From 1480, it was united to the imperial Duchy of Lorraine.

Holy Roman Empire Complex of territories in Europe from 962 to 1806

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Barrois is a pays in eastern France. In the Middle Ages it was part of the Duchy of Bar, then bordering the Duchy of Lorraine. Today Barrois is a pays of the present-day region of Lorraine.

Bar-le-Duc Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Bar-le-Duc, formerly known as Bar, is a commune in the Meuse département, of which it is the capital. The department is in Grand Est in northeastern France.


Both imperial Bar and Lorraine were ceded to France in 1735, which then ceded Bar to the deposed king of Poland, Stanisław Leszczyński. According to the Treaty of Vienna (1738), the duchy would pass to the French crown upon Stanisław's death, which occurred in 1766.

Stanisław Leszczyński king of Poland

Stanisław I Leszczyński, also Anglicized and Latinized as Stanislaus I, was King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Duke of Lorraine and a count of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Treaty of Vienna or Peace of Vienna was signed on 18 November 1738. It was one of the last international treaties written in Latin. It ended the War of the Polish Succession. By the terms of the treaty, Stanisław Leszczyński renounced his claim on the Polish throne and recognized Augustus III, Duke of Saxony. As compensation he received instead the duchies of Lorraine and Bar, which was to pass to France upon his death. He died in 1766. Francis Stephen, who was the Duke of Lorraine, was indemnified with the vacant throne of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the last Medici having died in 1737. France also agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction in the Treaty of Vienna. In another provision of the treaty, the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily were ceded by Austria to Duke Charles of Parma and Piacenza, the younger son of King Philip V of Spain. Charles, in turn, had to cede Parma to Austria, and to give up his claims to the throne of Tuscany in favor of Francis Stephen.

County (1033–1354)

The county of Bar originated in the frontier fortress of Bar (from Latin barra, barrier) that Duke Frederick I of Upper Lorraine built on the bank of the river Ornain around 960. [1] The fortress was originally directed at the counts of Champagne, who had made incursions into Frederick's allodial lands. Frederick also confiscated some lands from the nearby Abbey of Saint-Mihiel and settled his knights on it. [1] The original Barrois was thus a mixture of the duke's allodial lands and confiscated church lands enfeoffed to knights. On the death of Duke Frederick III in 1033, these lands passed to his sister, Sophia (died 1093), who was the first person to associate the comital title with Bar, styling herself "Countess of Bar". [1]

In the law of the Middle Ages and early Modern Period and especially within the Holy Roman Empire, an allod, also allodial land or allodium, is a freehold estate in land over which the allodial landowner (allodiary) had full ownership and right of alienation.

Frederick III was the Count of Bar and Duke of Upper Lorraine from the death of his father, Frederick II, in 1026 or 1027 to his own death. His mother was Matilda of Swabia, daughter of Herman II, Duke of Swabia.

Sophia's descendants, of the House of Montbéliard, expanded Bar "by usurpation, conquest, purchase, and marriage" into a de facto autonomous state perched between France and Germany. [1] Its population was francophone and culturally French, and the counts were involved in French politics. Count Reginald II (died 1170) married Agnes, a sister of the queen of France, Adele. His son, Henry I, died on the Third Crusade in 1190. [1] From 1214 to 1291 Bar was ruled by Henry II and Theobald II, who secured the western frontier with Champagne by granting fiefs to French nobles and buying their homage. [1]

County of Montbéliard

The County of Montbéliard, was a feudal county of the Holy Roman Empire seated in the city of Montbéliard in the present-day Franche-Comté region of France. From 1444 onwards it was held by the House of Württemberg.

Kingdom of Germany 10th-century kingdom of Germany

The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia and Burgundy.

Third Crusade attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt by the leaders of the three most powerful states of Western Christianity to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan, Saladin, in 1187. It was partially successful, recapturing the important cities of Acre and Jaffa, and reversing most of Saladin's conquests, but it failed to recapture Jerusalem, which was the major aim of the Crusade and its religious focus.

In 1297 King Philip IV of France invaded the Barrois because Count Henry III had given aid to his father-in-law, Edward I of England, when the latter intervened against France in the Franco-Flemish War. [1] In the Treaty of Bruges of 1301 Henry was forced to recognise all of his county west of the river Meuse as a fief of France. [1] [2] This was the origin of the Barrois mouvant: a territory that was turned into a fief was said to have "moved" and entered the mouvance of its suzerain. It was subject to the Parliament of Paris. The Treaty of Bruges did not represent any expansion of French territory. The territory to the west of the Meuse was French since the Treaty of Verdun of 843, but in 1301 it became a direct fief of the crown, including its allodial parts. [3]

Philip IV of France King of France 1285–1314

Philip IV, called Philip the Fair, was King of France from 1285 to 1314. By virtue of his marriage with Joan I of Navarre, he was also King of Navarre as Philip I from 1284 to 1305, as well as Count of Champagne. Although Philip was known as handsome, hence the epithet le Bel, his rigid and inflexible personality gained him other nicknames, such as the Iron King. His fierce opponent Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, said of him: "he is neither man nor beast. He is a statue."

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and defeated the baronial leader Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Within two years the rebellion was extinguished and, with England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

Treaty of Verdun 843 treaty, signed in Verdun-sur-Meuse, that ended the Carolingian Civil War and divided the Carolingian Empire into 3 kingdoms among the 3 surviving sons of Louis the Pious

The Treaty of Verdun, signed in August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms among the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, who was the son of Charlemagne. The treaty, signed in Verdun-sur-Meuse, ended the three-year Carolingian Civil War.

The former ducal palace at Bar-le-Duc is today a museum, the Musee Barrois. Bar-le-Duc-Chateau des ducs de Bar-Facade (1).jpg
The former ducal palace at Bar-le-Duc is today a museum, the Musée Barrois.

Medieval duchy (1354–1508)

In 1354 the Count of Bar took the ducal title and was thereafter recognised as a Peer of France. [1] Père Anselme (died 1694) believed that Count Robert had been created a duke by King John II of France in preparation for the count's marriage to John's daughter, Mary. [2] The rulers of Bar were not created dukes by imperial appointment. The only title Count Robert received by imperial grant in 1354 was that of Margrave of Pont-à-Mousson. [5] This margraviate was frequently bestowed by the Dukes of Bar on their heirs apparent. In that same year the emperor raised the County of Luxembourg into a duchy and Bar fell between two duchies, Luxembourg and Upper Lorraine. [6] The ducal title was eventually accepted by the emperors, however, and the imperial tax register of 1532 records the "Duchy on the Meuse" (Herzogtum von der Maß) as a voting member of the Reichstag . [2]

John II of France monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1350 until his death

John II, called John the Good, was King of France from 1350 until his death.

The Imperial Register was a list of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire that specified the precise numbers of troops they had to supply to the Imperial Army and/or the financial support they had to make available to sustain the Army. An entry in the register was often viewed as an important indicator of the imperial immediacy of an Imperial Estate, although that was not always undisputed. The importance of the register for historical research is that all Estates were recorded in it. However, it also contains obvious errors.

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire) general assembly of the Holy Roman Empire

The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense; its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide.

In 1430 the last duke of the male line of the ruling house, Louis, died. [6] Bar passed to his great-nephew, René I, who was married to Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. In 1431 the couple inherited Lorraine. On René's death in 1480, Bar passed to his daughter Yolanda and her son, René II, who was already Duke of Lorraine. In 1482 he conquered the prévôté of Virton, a part of the Duchy of Luxembourg, and annexed it to Bar. In 1484 Peter II, Duke of Bourbon, regent for King Charles VIII of France, formally installed him in the Duchy of Bar. [7] In his final testament published in 1506, René decreed that the two duchies of Bar and Lorraine should never be separated. The two duchies remained joined in personal union permanently. [4]

Modern duchy (1508–1766)

On 2 October 1735 the preliminary Treaty of Vienna between France and the Empire ending the War of the Polish Succession granted Bar and Lorraine to the deposed king of Poland, Stanislaus Leszczynski. It was agreed that he should receive Bar immediately, but for Lorraine he had to wait until the death of Grand Duke Gian Gastone of Tuscany (which took place on 9 July 1737), so that the deposed duke of Lorraine could inherit Tuscany. In January 1736, Stanislaus formally renounced his claim to the Polish throne (although he was allowed to retain the royal title). In August, France and the Empire finalized their agreement concerning the exchange of territories. The emperor renounced his suzerainty over Bar and Lorraine. [8]

On 30 September 1736, Stanislaus signed a convention, known as the Declaration of Meudon, whereby the French king would appoint the governor of Lorraine. On 8 February 1737, Stanislaus took possession of Bar and on 21 March of Lorraine. [9] On 18 November 1738, the final Treaty of Vienna was signed. Stanislaus turned over the incomes from Bar and Lorraine to the French crown in exchange for a generous pension, which he used to fund construction projects in the duchies. [10] On his death on 23 February 1766 the duchies passed to the royal domain of France as per the treaty.

List of rulers

All the dates are regnal dates. All rulers before Sophia ruled Bar, but did not use the title "Count of Bar".

Counts of Bar

House of Ardennes
House of Montbéliard

Dukes of Bar

House of Montbéliard
House of Anjou

Margraves of Pont-à-Mousson

From the death of René II, the list is identical with that of Lorraine .


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Evergates 1995, p. 96.
  2. 1 2 3 Spangler 2009, p. 56.
  3. Moeglin 2006, pp. 231–32.
  4. 1 2 Monter 2007, pp. 15–16.
  5. Arnold 1991, p. 100.
  6. 1 2 Arnold 1991, p. 263.
  7. Monter 2007, pp. 23–24.
  8. Rudolf Vierhaus, Germany in the Age of Absolutism (Cambridge University Press), p. 133.
  9. Charles T. Lipp, Noble Strategies in an Early Modern Small State: The Mahuet of Lorraine (University of Rochester Press), pp. 135–36.
  10. Whaley 2012, p. 165 and n. 8.


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