Theobald I of Navarre

Last updated
Theobald I
Theobald I of Navarre 2.jpg
Miniature of Theobald with the arms of Navarre
King of Navarre
Reign1234 - 1253
Predecessor Sancho VII
Successor Theobald II
Born(1201-05-30)30 May 1201
Troyes, County of Champagne
Died8 July 1253(1253-07-08) (aged 52)
Pamplona, Kingdom of Navarre
Spouse Gertrude of Dagsburg
Agnes of Beaujeu
Margaret of Bourbon
Blanche, Duchess of Brittany
Theobald II, King of Navarre
Beatrice, Duchess of Burgundy
Henry I, King of Navarre
House Blois
Father Theobald III, Count of Champagne
Mother Blanche of Navarre
Religion Roman Catholicism

Theobald I (French : Thibaut, Spanish : Teobaldo; 30 May 1201 – 8 July 1253), also called the Troubadour and the Posthumous, was Count of Champagne (as Theobald IV) from birth and King of Navarre from 1234. He initiated the Barons' Crusade, was famous as a trouvère, and was the first Frenchman to rule Navarre.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Count of Champagne Wikimedia list article

The Count of Champagne was the ruler of the region of Champagne from 950 to 1316. Champagne evolved from the county of Troyes in the late eleventh century and Hugh I was the first to officially use the title "Count of Champagne".


Rule of Champagne

Regency of Champagne

Born in Troyes, he was the son of Theobald III of Champagne and Blanche of Navarre, [1] the youngest daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre. [2] His father died less than a week before he was born, and Blanche ruled the county as regent until Theobald turned twenty-one in 1222. He was a notable trouvère, and many of his songs have survived, including some with music.

Troyes Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Troyes is a commune and the capital of the department of Aube in the Grand Est region of north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Paris. Troyes is situated within the Champagne wine region and is near to the Orient Forest Regional Natural Park. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town. Troyes has been in existence since the Roman era, as Augustobona Tricassium, which stood at the hub of numerous highways, primarily the Via Agrippa.

Sancho VI of Navarre King of Navarre

Sancho Garcés VI, called the Wise was King of Navarre from 1150 until his death in 1194. He was the first monarch to officially drop the title of King of Pamplona in favour of King of Navarre, thus changing the designation of his kingdom. Sancho Garcés was responsible for bringing his kingdom into the political orbit of Europe. He was the eldest son of García Ramírez, the Restorer and Margaret of L'Aigle.

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".

The first half of Theobald's life was plagued by a number of difficulties. His uncle, Count Henry II, had left behind a great deal of debt, which was far from paid off when Theobald's father died. Further, Theobald's right to the succession was challenged by Henry's daughter Philippa and her husband, Erard I of Brienne, Count of Ramerupt, and one of the more powerful nobles of Champagne.

Erard of Brienne-Ramerupt French noble

Érard de Brienne was a French nobleman. He was lord of Ramerupt and of Venizy, and also a pretender to the county of Champagne as an instigator of the Champagne War of Succession. He was a son of André of Brienne and of Alix of Vénizy.

Ramerupt Commune in Grand Est, France

Ramerupt is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France.

The conflict with Erard and Philippa broke into open warfare in 1215 as the Champagne War of Succession, and was not resolved until after Theobald came of age in 1222. At that time he bought out their rights for a substantial monetary payment. Some years later, in 1234, he had to spend still more to buy off Philippa's elder sister Alice, Queen of Cyprus. The settlement of 1222 did not end Theobald's problems, for in the following years he antagonized Louis VIII.

Louis VIII of France King of French

Louis VIII, called the Lion, was king of France from 1223 to 1226, the eighth from the House of Capet. From 1216 to 1217, he also claimed to be king of England. Louis was the only surviving son of King Philip II of France by his first wife, Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois.

Conflict with the crown

Unfortunately, once he came of age Theobald personal rule was initially marked by a series of difficulties.

Theobald IV came into conflict with Louis VIII of France (1223–26) over the restrictive policies the new king tried to enforce on Jews in France. In his Etablissement sur les Juifs of November 8, 1223, Louis VIII declared that interest on Jews' debts should no longer hold good (though at the same time it also ordered that the capital should be repaid to the Jews in three years), that the debts due the Jews should be inscribed and placed under the control of their lords. The lords then collected the debts for the Jews, doubtless receiving a commission. Twenty-six barons accepted Louis VIII's new measures, but Theobald IV did not, since he had an agreement with the Jews that guaranteed their safety in return for extra income through taxation. Theobald IV and his mother had relied on this extra income during the Succession War of his minority. Champagne's capital at Troyes was where Rashi had lived a century before, and Champagne continued to have a prosperous Jewish population. Theobald IV's refusal to enact Louis VIII's new antagonistic policies towards the Jews enlarged a growing feud between the two men.

Interest A sum paid for the use of money

Interest, in finance and economics, is payment from a borrower or deposit-taking financial institution to a lender or depositor of an amount above repayment of the principal sum, at a particular rate. It is distinct from a fee which the borrower may pay the lender or some third party. It is also distinct from dividend which is paid by a company to its shareholders (owners) from its profit or reserve, but not at a particular rate decided beforehand, rather on a pro rata basis as a share in the reward gained by risk taking entrepreneurs when the revenue earned exceeds the total costs.

Financial capital is any economic resource measured in terms of money used by entrepreneurs and businesses to buy what they need to make their products or to provide their services to the sector of the economy upon which their operation is based, i.e. retail, corporate, investment banking, etc.

Rashi French rabbi and commentator

Shlomo Yitzchaki, today generally known by the acronym Rashi, was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh. Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginner students, and his works remain a centerpiece of contemporary Jewish study. His commentary on the Talmud, which covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud, has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing by Daniel Bomberg in the 1520s. His commentary on Tanakh—especially on the Chumash — serves as the basis for more than 300 "supercommentaries" which analyze Rashi's choice of language and citations, penned by some of the greatest names in rabbinic literature.

During the siege of Avignon in 1226, part of the Albigensian Crusade, due to his disagreements with the king, Theobald IV performed only the minimum service of 40 days and then went home. Unfortunately, Louis VIII died of dysentery soon after he left, leading some to accuse Theobald IV of treachery. At the death of Louis VIII, Theobald's political situation was difficult: he had abandoned the king in his campaigns, there were rumors that he had poisoned him, and he was barred from the coronation of Louis IX (his mother Blanche went instead). At the beginning of the regency of Blanche of Castile, he abandoned a conspiracy against the French king, which also included Hugh X of Lusignan and Peter I of Brittany, [3] and cemented a strong relation with the regent.

Avignon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city, about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Albigensian Crusade 13th-century crusade against Catharism in southern France

The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in southern France. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and promptly took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but also a realignment of the County of Toulouse in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of influence of the Counts of Barcelona.

Louis IX of France 13th-century King of France

Louis IX, commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France, the ninth from the House of Capet, and is a canonized Catholic and Anglican saint. Louis was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the death of his father Louis VIII; his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom as regent until he reached maturity. During Louis' childhood, Blanche dealt with the opposition of rebellious vassals and put an end to the Albigensian Crusade which had started 20 years earlier.

Strong rumors began to spread that Theobald IV was having an affair with Louis VIII's widow, the regent Blanche of Castile, for whom he composed a poetic homage. Queen Blanche and Theobald IV's father Theobald III were both grandchildren of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The first chronicler to report the rumors about a love affair between Theobald and Blanche was Roger of Wendover. Wendover claims that Theobald, "tormented by passion" for the queen, tried to poison King Louis VIII at the siege of Avignon. Matthew Paris adds a story that the French nobles goaded the young King Louis IX to challenge Theobald to a duel to avenge his father's death, but that Blanche put a stop to the duel. Theobald IV was becoming increasingly influential at court, and the other great counts of France were becoming resentful. It is possible that the rumors of an affair with the queen were indeed unfounded, and merely fabricated by other barons jealous of his position at court. In general, the other barons were jealous of the strengthened County of Champagne which had emerged from the Succession War, and now presented a major rival to surrounding areas.

Whatever the case, the resentful other barons invaded Champagne from 1229-1230. Ironically, the alliances in the invasion were reversed from the arrangement they had been in during the Succession War: Count Henry II of Bar attacked Champagne from the east, prompting Theobald IV to ally with Lorraine to attack the County of Bar. Simon of Joinville, who had fought for the rebel faction during the Succession War, now allied with Theobald IV against the external threat, and aided him in ravaging Bar, which was on the northern border of Joinville's own lands. Unfortunately, the conflict with the County of Bar prompted the more powerful Duchy of Burgundy to invade Champagne from the south, led by Duke Hugh IV (his father Odo III, Blanche of Navarre's staunch ally, had died in 1218). This provoked Queen Blanche to intervene, in order to stop the spread of the conflict.

Theobald IV was able to repulse the attackers, but at great cost. Champagne's economy was so depleted by these two major wars, as well as the crusading debts of Theobald IV's father and uncle, that Theobald IV had to sell off his overlordship of the counties west of Paris that his ancestors held before expanding east to Champagne: Blois, Sancerre, and Chateaudun. Another major blow to morale came near the start of the invasion of 1229, when Blanche of Navarre died (of natural causes) while in retirement at Argensolles convent. Moreover, Theobald IV's second wife Agnes of Beaujeu suddenly died in 1231, leaving Theobald IV with only their five-year-old daughter, Blanche. This left Champagne in need of a male heir, prompting Theobald IV to remarry in 1232 to Margaret of Bourbon. The situation reached its nadir in 1233, when Henry II's elder daughter Queen Alice of Cyprus threatened to reprise the succession war of Theobald IV's minority yet again. Theobald IV was able to pay off Alice to make her abandon her claim, but this massive expenditure left him even further in debt.

Rule of Navarre

Theobald succeeded his uncle Sancho VII of Navarre as King of Navarre. Theobald was in Pamplona at the time of Sancho's death and he immediately affirmed the fueros of the realm. This greatly increased his resources (not to mention his prestige), and the remaining years of his rule were far more peaceful and prosperous. The lords and barons of Northern France who had been in conflict with Theobald IV in 1229 left him in peace, realizing that as the new king of Navarre, his position was too strong to challenge.

Domestic and foreign policy

As king, Theobald sealed pacts with the Crown of Castile and that of Aragon, and the Kingdom of England. He entrusted most of the government to nobles of Champagne and divided Navarre into four new districts based on fiscal functions and maintenance of public order. He began the codification of the law in the Cartulario Magno and set down on paper the Navarrese traditions known as the Fuero General , not systematically recorded until that time and kept up following Basque traditions in use on the different districts of the kingdom.

In order to gain the support of Castile, he had his daughter Blanche engaged to the future Alfonso X. By the marriage pact, Ferdinand III of León offered the lands of Guipúzcoa as long as Theobald lived, but not those of Álava to which the Navarrese monarchs had long laid claim. But with Guipúzcoa he would have attained direct access to the Cantabrian Sea. This alliance was never effected, however, as it would have meant the incorporation of Navarre as a feudum of Castile. The next year, Theobald engaged his daughter to John I, Duke of Brittany, the son of his close crusading ally Peter of Dreux.

Barons' Crusade

It was in 1239 that Theobald directed a crusading host to the Holy Land. Militarily, the Barons' Crusade was not glorious, but it led to several diplomatic successes. He spent much time dallying at pleasant Acre (where he wrote a poem to his wife) before moving on Ascalon, where he began the construction of a castle. Whilst marching the crusader army to Ascalon, a contingent of 400 knights led by Hugh of Burgundy, Henry of Bar, and Amaury of Montfort chose to engage Muslim forces at Gaza. [4] The contingent was defeated before Theobald's forces arrived to rescue them. [4]

Theobald negotiated with the Ayyubids of Damascus and Egypt, who were at odds with each other at the time, finalizing a treaty with the former (in the north) against the latter (in the south) whereby the Kingdom of Jerusalem regained Jerusalem itself, plus Bethlehem, Nazareth, and most of the region of Galilee with many Templar castles, such as Belfort and Saphet. [5] He also negotiated a truce with the Egyptians. [6] Some contemporary sources even imply that the whole of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean was put back in crusader hands.

It is debatable how much of the ultimate success of the crusade (the most successful since the First in territorial terms) was attributable to Theobald's intentions and how much was just fortuitous. He returned from Palestine late in 1240, before Richard of Cornwall arrived, because he did not wish to be present during any more debating over the leadership and direction of the enterprise. Souvenirs that he brought back to Europe included the rose called "Provins" (Latin name rosa gallica 'officinalis', the Apothecary's Rose) from Damascus, transporting it "in his helmet"; a piece of the true cross; and perhaps the Chardonnay grape which in modern times is an important component of champagne.

Conflict with Church and final years

An original charter and seal of Theobald's, confirming the sale of a wood to the abbey of Saint-Denis. Confirmation d'une vente de bois a l'abbaye de Saint-Denis par le comte de Champagne et le roi de Navarre Thibaut IV Le Chansonnier. - Archives Nationales - AE-II-246.jpg
An original charter and seal of Theobald's, confirming the sale of a wood to the abbey of Saint-Denis.

Theobald spent most of the remainder of his reign travelling back and forth between Navarre and Champagne. He was at odds with the bishop of Pamplona, Pedro Jiménez de Gazólaz, who held a provincial synod in 1250 to excommunicate him. He refused to respond to papal tribunals, but Pope Innocent IV conceded him the privilege of kings: nobody could excommunicate him save the Holy See. Theobald died at Pamplona, on a return from one of his many visits to Champagne. He was buried in the Cathedral of Pamplona. He was succeeded first by his elder son Theobald II and then by his younger son Henry I.

Marriages and issue

Theobald married three times. He married Gertrude of Dagsburg in 1220, [1] and divorced her two years later when he came of age. They had no children.

Secondly, in 1222, he married Agnes of Beaujeu. [1] The marriage produced at least one child:

Agnes died in 1231. Theobald married thirdly to Margaret of Bourbon. [1] Theobald and Margaret had six children:

Theobald had at least two daughters out of wedlock.

With an unknown mistress, he had Agnes, who married Álvar Pérez de Azagra, 4th Lord of Albarracín. [lower-alpha 1]

With Marquesa López de Rada, daughter of Lope Díaz de Rada and Brunisende of Narbonne, he had Marquesa Gil de Rada, who married Pedro Fernández, baron of Hijar, illegitimate son of king Jaime I of Aragon.



  1. In March 1238, Pedro Fernández de Azagra and king Theobald agreed on the marriage of Álvar and Inés. The agreement was reached in Tudela and is recorded in the Royal Charters, Tome II of the Archivo General de Navarra.

Related Research Articles

Henry I of Navarre King of Navarre

Henry the Fat was King of Navarre and Count of Champagne and Brie from 1270 until his death.

Blanche of Castile Queen of France

Blanche of Castile was Queen of France by marriage to Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX: during his minority from 1226 until 1234, and during his absence from 1248 until 1252. She was born in Palencia, Spain, 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, and Eleanor of England.

Peter I, Duke of Brittany French duke

Peter I, also known as Peter Mauclerc, was Duke of Brittany jure uxoris from 1213 to 1221, and regent of the duchy for his minor son John I from 1221 to 1237. As duke he was also 1st Earl of Richmond from 1218 to 1235.

Charles III of Navarre 1361 – 1425 King of Navarre from 1387

Charles III, called the Noble, was King of Navarre from 1387 to his death and Count of Évreux from 1387 to 1404, when he exchanged it for the title Duke of Nemours. He spent his reign improving the infrastructure of his kingdom, restoring Navarre's pride after the dismal reign of his father, Charles the Bad, and mending strained relations with France.

Theobald III, Count of Champagne Count of Champagne from 1197 to 1201

Theobald III of Champagne was Count of Champagne from 1197 to his death. He was the younger son of Henry I, Count of Champagne and Marie, a daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He succeeded as Count of Champagne in 1197 upon the death of his older brother Henry II.

Theobald II of Navarre King of Navarre

Theobald II was King of Navarre and also Count of Champagne and Brie, ruling as Theobald V, from 1253 until his death in 1270. He was the son of Theobald and the second Navarrese monarch coming from the House of Blois. After passing away childless, the throne of Navarre passed to his younger brother, Henry I.

Sancho VII of Navarre King of Navarre

Sancho VII called the Strong was King of Navarre from 1194 until his death in 1234. He was the son and heir of Sancho VI, whom he followed as the second king to hold the title of King of Navarre. Sancho VII was the first to use the chains of Navarre as his blazon, a symbol that later would become the main one of Navarre, and the last member of the Jiménez dynasty, which had ruled since the 9th century.

Kingdom of Navarre medieval kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque-based kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

Blanche of Artois Queen of Navarre

Blanche of Artois was a member of the Capetian House of Artois who, as queen dowager, held regency over the Kingdom of Navarre and the County of Champagne. She was first married to Henry I of Navarre, after whose death she became regent in the name of their infant daughter, Joan I. She passed on the regency of Navarre to Philip III of France, her cousin and her daughter's prospective father-in-law, but retained the administration of Champagne. She later shared the government of Champagne with her second husband, the English prince Edmund Crouchback, until her daughter reached the age of majority.

García Ramírez of Navarre King of Navarre

García Ramírez, sometimes García IV, V, VI or VII, called the Restorer, was the King of Navarre (Pamplona) from 1134. The election of García Ramírez restored the independence of the Basque kingdom after 58 years of political union with the Kingdom of Aragon. After some initial conflict he would align himself with king Alfonso VII of León and Castile, and as his ally take part in the Reconquista.

Blanche of Navarre, Countess of Champagne Spanish noblewoman

Blanche of Navarre (?–1229) was countess and then regent of Champagne and finally also regent of her native kingdom of Navarre.

Eleanor of Castile, Queen of Navarre Queen consort of Navarre

Eleanor of Castile was an infanta of Castile and the Queen consort of Navarre.

The War of the Succession of Champagne was a war from 1216 to 1222 between the nobles of the Champagne region of France, occurring within that region and also spilling over into neighboring duchies. The war lasted two years and de facto ended in 1218, but did not officially end until Theobald IV reached the age of majority in 1222, at which point his rivals abandoned their claims.

Margaret of Bourbon, Queen of Navarre Queen consort of Navarre

Margaret of Bourbon was Queen of Navarre and Countess of Champagne from 1232 until 1253 as the third wife of Theobald I of Navarre. After her husband's death, she ruled both the kingdom and the county as regent for three years in the name of their son, Theobald II of Navarre.

Sancha of Castile was daughter of Alfonso VII of León and Castile and his first wife Berengaria of Barcelona. Sancha was the fifth child of seven born to her parents.

Philippa of Champagne, Lady of Ramerupt and Venizy was the third daughter of Queen Isabella I of Jerusalem and Henry II, Count of Champagne. She was the wife of Erard de Brienne-Ramerupt who encouraged her in 1216 to claim the county of Champagne which belonged to her cousin Theobald IV, who was still a minor. This provoked the conflict with Theobald's mother, the Regent, Blanche of Navarre, which erupted into open warfare, and came to be known as the Champagne War of Succession. Blanche's son Theobald, who had the support of King Philip II of France, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eudes III of Burgundy, eventually emerged the victor. Philippa renounced her claim in April 1222, but Theobald was constrained to pay Erard and Philippa a large monetary settlement for his rights to the county.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Evergates 2007, p. 248.
  2. O'Callaghan 1975, p. 680.
  3. William of Puylaurens 2003, p. 81.
  4. 1 2 Burgtorf 2011, p. 331-332.
  5. Tyerman 2006, p. 767.
  6. Richard 1999, p. 325.
  7. Fray 2007, p. 270.


Theobald I of Navarre
Born: 30 May 1201 Died: 8 July 1253
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Theobald III
Count of Champagne
Succeeded by
Theobald the Young
Preceded by
Sancho VII
King of Navarre