Thomas I of Savoy

Thomas I of Savoy

Thomas I or Tommaso I (c. 1176 – March 1, 1233) was Count of Savoy from 1189-1233. He was the son of Humbert III of Savoy and Beatrice of Viennois. His birth was seen as miraculous; his monkish father had despaired of having a male heir after three wives. Count Humbert sought counsel from St. Anthelm, who blessed Humbert three times, and it was seen as a prophecy come true when Thomas was born shortly before Anthelm himself died on June 26, 1178. He was named in honour of Saint Thomas Becket.

Thomas was still a minor when his father died on 4 March 1189, and a council of regency was established, comprising of his mother Beatrice, his father's cousin Boniface I of Montferrat, and the Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. He had reached his majority by August 1191. Thomas possessed the martial abilities, energy, and brilliance that his father lacked, and Savoy enjoyed a golden age under his leadership. Despite his youth he began the push northwest into new territories. In the same year he granted Aosta Valley the "Carta delle Franchigie", recognising the right to administrative and political autonomy. This right was maintained up until the eve of the French Revolution. Later he conquered Vaud, Bugey, and Carignano. He supported the Hohenstaufens, and was known as "Thomas the Ghibelline" because of his career as Imperial Vicar of Lombardy.

Family and children

In 1195 he ambushed the party of Count William I of Geneva, which was escorting the count's daughter, Marguerite of Geneva, to France for her intended wedding to King Philip II of France. Thomas carried off Marguerite and married her himself, producing some eight sons and six daughters.:# Amedeo, his immediate successor:# Umberto, d. between March and November 1223 :# Tommaso, lord and then count in Piedmont and founder of a line that became the Savoy-Achaea:# Aimone, d. August 30 1237, Lord of Chablais:# Guglielmo (William of Savoy), Bishop of Valence and Dean of Vienne:# Amadeo of Savoy, Bishop of Maurienne:# Pietro, who resided much in England, became Earl of Richmond, and ultimately in 1263 became the disputed count of Savoy:# Filippo, archbishop of Lyon, who resigned, through marriage became Count Palatine of Burgundy and ultimately in 1268 became the disputed count of Savoy:# Bonifacio who became archbishop of Canterbury:# Beatrice of Savoy, d. 1265 or 1266, married in December 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence (1209-1245) and was mother of four Queens-consort:# Alasia of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St Pierre in Lyon (d.1250):# Ágatha of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St Pierre in Lyon (d.1245):# Margherita of Savoy, d. 1273, married in 1218 to Hartmann I of Kyburg :# Avita of Savoy (1215-92) who married Baldwin de Redvers, 7th Earl of Devon and Robert Aguillon (d.1286).

Further reading

* Francesco Cognasso, "Il Piemonte nell’Età Sveva" (Turin, 1968)

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