Baldwin I, Latin Emperor of Constantinople

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Dutch: Boudewijn, Russian: Балдуин
Also Known As: "Empereur de Constantinople", "Baudouin VI de Hainaut", "Baudouin IX de Flandre", "Baldwin VI of Hainaut", "Baldwin IX of Flanders", "Latin Emperor of Constantinople", "of Constantinople", "Baldwin IX Count of Flanders and as Baldwin VI Count of Hainaut"
Birthplace: Valenciennes, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Death: June 11, 1205 (33)
Adrianople, Turkey
Immediate Family:

Son of Baldwin V, count of Hainaut & of Flanders, Margrave of Namur and Marguerite de Lorraine, Countess of Flanders
Husband of Marie de Champagne
Father of Jeanne de Constantinople, comtesse de Flandre and Margaret II, countess of Flanders
Brother of Isabelle de Hainaut, Reine de France; Philippe I de Hainaut, comte de Namur; Yolanda of Flanders; Henry, Latin Emperor of Constantinople; Sybille de Hainaut and 1 other
Half brother of Godefroi and Marguerite

Occupation: Comte de Flandre, Imperador de Constantinopla, Conde de Flanders e de Hainaut, Premier Empereur de Constantinople, EMPEROR OF CONSTANTINE EMPIRE, COUNT FLANDERS IX AND HAINAUT VI, LEADER OF 4TH CRUSADE, Emperor of Constantinople
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Baldwin I, Latin Emperor of Constantinople

Name variants: de L'isle, de Insula, Delisle, de Lisle, de Lillie, de Buc, de Bourg, ab Insvlanis,_Count_of_Hainaut#Family

Baldwin I (July 1172 – 1205, Bulgaria), the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, as Baldwin IX Count of Flanders and as Baldwin VI Count of Hainaut, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the capture of Constantinople, the conquest of the greater part of the Byzantine Empire, and the foundation of the Latin Empire, also known as Romania (not to be confused with modern Romania).

Early life Baldwin was the son of Baldwin V of Hainaut, and Margaret I, sister of Philip of Alsace and Countess of Flanders. When Philip died childless in 1191, he was succeeded in Flanders by Baldwin V, who ruled as Baldwin VIII of Flanders by right of marriage.

In 1186, the younger Baldwin married Marie of Champagne, daughter of count Henry I of Champagne. The chronicler Gislebert describes Baldwin as being infatuated with his young bride, who nevertheless preferred prayer to the marital bed. Gislebert claims Baldwin was "tied only to one woman", his wife. Through Marie, Baldwin had additional connections and obligations to the defenders of the Holy Land: Her brother Henry II of Champagne had been King of Jerusalem in the 1190s (leaving a widow and two daughters who needed help to keep and regain their territories in Palestine). Marie's uncles Richard I of England and Philip II of France had just been on the Third Crusade.

Baldwin's own family had also been involved in the defence of Jerusalem: his uncle Philip had died on Crusade. Baldwin's mother's mother was great-aunt of Isabella, Queen of Jerusalem and the Counts of Flanders had tried to help Jerusalem relatives in their struggle. Baldwin wanted to continue the tradition. Margaret died in 1194, and the younger Baldwin became Count of Flanders. His father died the next year, and he succeeded to Hainaut.

Count of Flanders and Hainaut Baldwin took possession of a much-reduced Flanders, for his uncle had given a large chunk, including Artois, as dowry to Baldwin's sister Isabelle of Hainaut on her marriage to King Philip II of France, and another significant piece to his own wife. Isabelle had died in 1190, but King Philip still retained her dowry, on behalf of Isabella's son, the future Louis VIII of France. The eight years of Baldwin's rule in Flanders were dominated by his attempts to recover some of this land, culminating in January 1200 in the Treaty of Péronne, in which Philip returned most of Artois.

In this fight against the French king, Baldwin allied with others who had quarrels with Philip, including kings Richard I and John of England, and the German King Otto IV. A month after the treaty, on February 23, 1200, Baldwin took the cross -- that is, he committed to embark on a crusade. He spent the next two years preparing, finally leaving on April 14, 1202.

As part of his effort to leave his domains in good order, Baldwin issued two notable charters for Hainaut. One detailed an extensive criminal code, and appears to be based on a now-lost charter of his father. The other laid down specific rules for inheritance. These are an important part of the legal tradition in Belgium.

Baldwin left behind his two-year-old daughter and his pregnant wife, Countess Marie. By early 1204, she had left both her children behind to join him in the East. They expected to return in a couple of years, but in the end neither would see their children or their homeland again. Marie was regent for Baldwin for the two years she remained in Flanders and Hainaut. Afterward, Baldwin's younger brother Philip of Namur was regent and also had custody of the daughters. Baldwin's uncle William of Thy (an illegitimate son of Baldwin IV of Hainaut) was regent for Hainaut.

Meanwhile, the crusade had been diverted to Constantinople, where the crusaders had captured and sacked the city, and decided to set up a Latin empire in place of the fallen Greek one.

Latin Emperor The imperial crown was at first offered to, and refused by, Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice. The choice then lay between Baldwin and the nominal leader of the crusade, Boniface of Montferrat. While Boniface was considered the most probable choice, due to his connections with the Byzantine court, Baldwin was young, gallant, pious, and virtuous, one of the few who interpreted and observed his crusading vows strictly; the most popular leader in the host. With Venetian support he was elected on May 9, 1204, and crowned on May 16 in the Hagia Sophia at a ceremony which closely followed Byzantine practices. During his coronation, Baldwin wore a very rich jewel that had been bought by Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos for 62,000 silver marks. Baldwin's wife Marie, unaware of these events, had sailed to Acre. There she learned of her husband's election as emperor, but died of the plague in August 1204 before she could join him.

The Latin Empire was organized on feudal principles; the emperor was feudal superior of the princes who received portions of the conquered territory. His own special portion consisted of the city of Constantinople, the adjacent regions both on the European and the Asiatic side, along with some outlying districts, and several islands including Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios and Tenos. The territories still had to be conquered; and first of all it was necessary to break the resistance of the Greeks in Thrace and secure Thessalonica. In this enterprise in the summer of 1204, Baldwin came into collision with Boniface of Montferrat, the rival candidate for the empire, who was to receive a large territory in Macedonia with the title of King of Salonica.

Boniface hoped to make himself quite independent of the empire, to do no homage for his kingdom, and he opposed Baldwin's proposal to march to Thessalonica. The antagonism between Flemings and Lombards aggravated the quarrel. Baldwin insisted on going to Thessalonica; Boniface laid siege to Adrianople, where Baldwin had established a governor; civil war seemed inevitable. An agreement was effected by the efforts of Dandolo and the count of Blois. Boniface received Thessalonica as a fief from the emperor, and was appointed commander of the forces which were to march to the conquest of Greece.

During the following winter (1204–1205) the Franks prosecuted conquests in Bithynia, in which Henry, Baldwin's brother, took part. But in February the Greeks revolted in Thrace, relying on the assistance of John (Kaloyan), tsar of Bulgaria, whose overtures of alliance had been rejected by the emperor. The garrison of Adrianople was expelled. Baldwin along with Dandolo, the count of Blois, and Marshal Villehardouin, the historian, marched to besiege that city. The Frankish knights were defeated (April 14, 1205); the count of Blois was slain, and the emperor captured by the Bulgarians (see Battle of Adrianople).

For some time his fate was uncertain, and in the meanwhile Henry, his brother, assumed the regency. Not till the middle of July was it definitely ascertained that he was dead. The circumstances of Baldwin's death are not exactly known. It seems that he was at first treated well as a valuable hostage, but was sacrificed by the Bulgarian monarch in a sudden outburst of rage, perhaps in consequence of the revolt of Philippopolis, which passed into the hands of the Franks. According to a Bulgarian legend, Baldwin had caused his own downfall by trying to seduce Kaloyan's wife. The historian George Acropolites reports that the Tsar had Baldwin's skull made into a drinking cup, just as had happened to Nicephorus I almost four hundred years before. At any rate, Tsar Kaloyan wrote to Pope Innocent III, reporting that Baldwin had died in prison. A tower of the Tsarevets fortress of the medieval Bulgarian capital, Veliko Tarnovo, is still called "Baldwin's Tower".

Family It was not until July 1206 that the Latins in Constantinople had reliable information that Baldwin was dead. His brother Henry was crowned emperor in August.

Back in Flanders, however, there seemed to be doubt whether Baldwin was truly dead. In any case, Baldwin's other brother Philip of Namur remained as regent, and eventually both of Baldwin's daughters Jeanne and Margaret were to rule as countesses of Flanders.

The false Baldwin Twenty years later, in 1225, a man appeared in Flanders claiming to be the presumed dead Baldwin. His claim soon became entangled in a series of rebellions and revolts in Flanders against the rule of Baldwin's daughter Jeanne. A number of people who had known Baldwin before the crusade met the supposed count and emperor and rejected his claim. In the end he was executed in 1226.


John C. Moore, 'Baldwin IX of Flanders, Philip Augustus and the Papal Power', Speculum, volume 37, issue 1 (January 1962), 79-89 Robert Lee Wolff, 'Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, First Latin Emperor of Constantinople: His Life, Death, and Resurrection, 1172-1255', Speculum, volume 27, issue 3 (July, 1952), 281-322

Baudouin VI de Hainaut, also called Baudouin de Constantinople.,%20HAINAUT.htm#BaudouinIXd...

BAUDOUIN de Hainaut, son of BAUDOUIN V Comte de Hainaut [BAUDOUIN VIII Count of Flanders] & his wife Marguerite I Ctss of Flanders (Jul 1171-in prison in Bulgaria 11 Jun 1205). The Chronicon Hanoniense records the birth "1171 mense Iulio…Valencenis" of "filium…Balduinum" to "Balduinus [et] Margharetam…Mathie comitis Boloniensis sororem"[512]. The Flandria Generosa names (in order) "Balduinum, Philippum et Henricum" as the three sons of Count Baudouin and his wife Marguerite, specifying that Baudouin was later emperor of Constantinople[513]. He succeeded his mother in 1194 as BAUDOUIN IX Count of Flanders, and his father in 1195 as BAUDOUIN VI Comte de Hainaut. Under the Treaty of Dinant 26 Jul 1199, he acquired Namur. He did homage to Philippe II King of France for Flanders and Hainaut, but then allied himself with Richard I King of England in Sep 1197. War broke out with France, and by end 1198 Count Baudouin had overrun northern Artois[514]. He was obliged to agree the Treaty of Péronne with France in Jan 1200 in order to secure the release of his brother Philippe de Namur from French custody, agreeing to give up his alliance with England and receiving Saint-Omer, Aire and Guines in return[515]. He was among the first leaders to take the cross following the call of Pope Innocent III. A Flemish fleet arrived at Acre end 1202 under the command of Jean de Nesle, châtelain de Bruges[516]. After the army of the Fourth Crusade took control of Constantinople 13 Apr 1204, a council of six Venetians and six Franks met to elect a new Latin emperor, as agreed in the Acti Partitio Imperii Romanae the previous March between the crusaders and Venice. The votes of the Venetian block of electors ensured the success of Count Baudouin over the rival candidate, Bonifazio Marchese di Monferrato, Enrico Dandolo Doge of Venice considering Baudouin as the less powerful candidate[517]. At the same time, in accordance with the terms of the March treaty, Tomaso Morosini (from Venice) was installed as first Latin patriarch of Constantinople, his first task being to crown Baudouin as BAUDOUIN I Emperor of Constantinople[518] at St Sophia 16 May 1204. The constitution which was adopted gave little power to the emperor whose decisions were subject to review by a council of tenants-in-chief which also directed military operations[519]. The new patriarch declared the union of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, but the Greek aristocracy in Thrace rebelled. Kalojan Tsar of Bulgaria intervened, defeated Baudouin near Adrianople 14 Apr 1205, and captured and transported him as a prisoner to Bulgaria where he died in prison soon after[520]. When news of Count Baudouin's death reached Flanders in Feb 1206, Philippe II King of France assumed his right as feudal overlord to the wardship of his two daughters[521].

m (Betrothed 1179, 6 Jan 1186) MARIE de Champagne, daughter of HENRI I “le Libéral” Comte de Champagne & his wife Marie de France ([1174]-Jerusalem 9 Aug 1204). The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines names the two daughters of "comitissa Maria Campaniensis" as "Colatiam uxorem comitis Guilelmi Matisconensis et Mariam uxorem comitis Balduini Flandrensis"[522]. The Chronicon Hanoniense records the betrothal in 1179 of "filia comitis Henrici Maria" and "filium [comitis Flandrie] Theobaldum", the latter presumably being an error for "Balduinum"[523]. William of Tyre (Continuator) specifies that the sister of Henri II Comte de Champagne was married to comte Baudouin, later Emperor[524]. The Flandria Generosa names "Maria sorore Theobaldi Campaniæ comitis" wife of Count Baudouin[525]. She visited Palestine in 1204 en route to join her husband in Constantinople, received homage from Bohémond IV Prince of Antioch at Acre[526], but died soon after at Jerusalem. The Flandria Generosa specifies that she died at "Acharon"[527].

Count Baudouin IX of Flanders & his wife had two children:

1. JEANNE de Flandre (Valenciennes 1200-Marquette near Lille 5 Dec 1244, bur Marquette). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names (in order) "Iohannam et Margaretam" as the two daughters of "Balduinus"[528]. She succeeded her father as JEANNE Ctss of Flanders and Ctss de Hainaut in Feb 1206 when news of his death reached Flanders, under the regency of her uncle Philippe Marquis de Namur. The latter agreed to the demand of Philippe II King of France to send the countess and her sister to Paris to be educated[529]. King Philippe arranged her first marriage. The De Rebus Hispaniæ of Rodericus Ximene s records the marriage of "Ferdinandum", other son of "Rex…Sancius", and "Flandriæ Comitissam"[530]. While returning to Flanders after her marriage, she and her husband were captured by Louis, son of King Philippe II, who occupied Aire and Saint-Omer, the occupation being ratified by the Treaty of Pont-à-Vedin 25 Feb 1212 as the price for their release[531]. After her husband's capture in 1214, Philippe II King of France forced on her the Treaty of Paris 24 Oct 1214, under which major fortresses in southern Flanders were destroyed, property restored to French partisans, and Flanders in effect ruled from Paris[532]. King Philippe refused to negotiate her husband's release unless she agreed to the annulment of her marriage and remarriage to Pierre "Mauclerc" Duke of Brittany. Civil war followed the appearance in 1224 of a hermit who claimed to be Jeanne's father returned from captivity and subsided only after his execution following a confrontation with Louis VIII King of France 30 May 1225[533]. She negotiated the Treaty of Melun in 1226 under which her husband was returned on payment of 50,000 livres ransom[534]. The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names "Thome fratri comitis Sabaudie" as husband of "Iohanna", whom she married after the death of "Ferrandus"[535]. The Annales Blandinienses record the marriage in 1237 of "Iohannam comitissam Flandrie" with "Thomas avunculus reginarum Francie et Anglie"[536]. The Annales Blandinienses record the death in 1244 of "Iohanna comitissa" and her burial at "Market"[537]. The Necrologio Sanctæ Waldetrudis records the death "Non Dec" of "Iohanne comitisse Flandrie et Hanoie"[538]. m firstly ([Paris] 1 Jan 1212) Infante dom FERNANDO de Portugal, son of dom SANCHO I "o Poblador" King of Portugal & his wife Infanta doña Dulcia de Aragón (24 Mar 1188-Noyon 4 Mar or 26 Jul 1233, bur Marquette near Lille). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names "fratrem regis de Portigal, nomine Fernandum" husband of "Iohanna"[539]. He succeeded as FERRAND Count of Flanders and Hainaut in 1212, by right of his wife. Although the protégé of Philippe II King of France, he exiled several prominent Francophiles after arriving in Flanders and opened negotiations with England. He refused to participate in King Philippe's projected invasion of England in 1213. The French army devastated Flanders in revenge, forcing Count Ferrand briefly to seek refuge in Zeeland. He was captured at the battle of Bouvines 27 Jul 1214, and taken to Paris where he remained a prisoner[540]. He returned to Flanders in 1227 after payment of the ransom under the Treaty of Melun[541]. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records that on the death in 1229 of "comite Namucensi Henrici puero" his sister "Sibilia comitissa Vienne" occupied "castrum Namuci" against the competing claim of Fernando Count of Flanders[542]. He founded the convent of Marquette near Lille. The Continuatio Clarimariscensis records the death "1233 VI Kal Aug" of "Fernandus Flandriæ comes"[543]. The Annales Blandinienses record the death in 1233 of "Ferrandus comes Flandrie et Haynonie" and his burial at "Merketo"[544]. The Chronica Andrensis records the death in 1233 "apud Noviomum" of "comes Flandrie Fernandus" and his burial "iuxta Insulam"[545]. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records the death in 1233 of "Fernandus comes Flandrie" and his burial "in abbatia delle Marckete"[546]. m secondly (2 Apr 1237, without Papal dispensation despite consanguinity within the prohibited degrees[547]%29 as his first wife, THOMAS de Savoie, son of THOMAS I Comte de Savoie & his wife Béatrix [Marguerite] de Faucigny (Château de Montmélian 1199-Chambéry 7 Feb 1259, bur Aosta Cathedral). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names "Thome fratri comitis Sabaudie" as husband of "Iohanna", whom she married after the death of "Ferrandus"[548]. The Annales Blandinienses record the marriage in 1237 of "Iohannam comitissam Flandrie" with "Thomas avunculus reginarum Francie et Anglie"[549]. He succeeded as THOMAS Count of Flanders and Hainaut in 1237, by right of his wife. He returned to Savoy after his wife's death[550]. He was given the title Conte di Piemonte in 1247, and succeeded his brother in 1253 as THOMAS II Comte de Savoie, ruling jointly with his nephew. Jeanne & her first husband had one child:

a) Infanta dona MARIA de Portugal ([1231]-[Jun 1235/1236]). The Chronica Andrensis refers to "comes Flandrie Fernandus" leaving "filia parvula" when he died in 1233 but does not name her[551]. After her father's death, Louis IX King of France demanded that she be sent to Paris for her education[552]. The marriage contract between “J. comitissa Flandrie et Haonie…Mariam filiam nostram” and “Ludovicum regem Francie…Robertus frater ipsius domini regis” is dated Jun 1235[553]. “Alfonsus, filius…regis Portugaliæ, comes Bolonie” recorded his agreements with “Thomam comitem et Johannam eius uxorem comitissam Flandrensem” by charter dated Nov 1241 which names “quondam comes Ferrandus patruus noster et Johanna, quondam eius uxor…et Marie filie ipsius…”[554]. Betrothed (Jun 1235) to ROBERT de France, son of LOUIS VIII King of France & his wife Infanta doña Blanca de Castilla (Sep 1216-killed in battle Mansurah, Egypt 9 Feb 1250). He was invested as Comte d'Artois in 1237 by his brother Louis IX King of France.

2. MARGUERITE de Flandre (2 Jun 1202-10 Feb 1280). The Genealogica Comitum Flandriæ Bertiniana names (in order) "Iohannam et Margaretam" as the two daughters of "Balduinus"[555]. The Chronica Monasterii Sancti Bertini records that "secunda filia Margareta" was born after her parents left on their travels[556]. On the other hand, according to Villehardouin Comtesse Marie stayed behind when her husband left on Crusade, gave birth, and afterwards left for Acre where she died[557]. After her father's death, she was sent to Paris with her sister on the orders of Philippe II King of France[558]. Matthew of Paris names Bouchard as first husband of Marguerite in his description of the background to the war in Flanders in 1254[559]. Her first marriage was arranged by King Philippe II, her husband being a noble from Hainaut whose family had long supported French interests. Her first husband demanded a share of his late father-in-law's inheritance and, after complaining to Pope Innocent III, the marriage was annulled by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 as Bouchard d'Avesnes had previously taken holy orders. The couple remained together until Bouchard was captured by his sister-in-law Ctss Jeanne in 1219. He was released two years later on condition he separate from his wife[560]. The Iohannis de Thilrode Chronicon records the marriage of "Marghareta" and "Willelmo de Dampetra"[561]. Matthew of Paris names Guillaume as second husband of Marguerite in his description of the background to the war in Flanders in 1254[562]. The Annales Blandinienses record the succession in 1244 of "Margareta soror eius [=Iohanna comitissa}"[563]. She succeeded her sister in 1244 as MARGUERITE II Ctss of Flanders and Ctss de Hainaut, both her husbands having died. Her children by her first marriage claimed their inheritance, but Louis IX King of France ruled in 1246 that Hainaut should be given to the Avesnes children and Flanders to the Dampierre children[564]. She abdicated 29 Dec 1278 in favour of her son Guy de Dampierre. The Necrologio Sanctæ Waldetrudis records the death "IV Id Feb" of "Margarete Flandrie et Hanonie…comitisse"[565]. m firstly (before 23 Jul 1212, annulled 1215, separated [1221]%29 BOUCHARD d'Avesnes, son of JACQUES Seigneur d'Avesnes, de Leuze et de Condé & his wife Adeline de Guise ([1180]-1244, bur Clairefontaine). Matthew of Paris names Bouchard as first husband of Marguerite in his description of the background to the war in Flanders in 1254[566]. m secondly ([18 Aug/15 Nov] 1223) GUILLAUME [II] Seigneur de Dampierre, son of GUY [II] Seigneur de Dampierre, Sire de Bourbon & his wife Mathilde de Bourbon, dame de Bourbon (after 1196-3 Sep 1231).

children of first marriage: - SEIGNEUR d'AVESNES, COMTES de HAINAUT.

children of second marriage: - see below, Chapter 3. COUNTS of FLANDERS 1244-1283 (DAMPIERRE).
Baudouin de Flandre et de Hainaut aussi nommé Baudouin de Constantinople (° 1171 - † 1205 ou 1206) est un comte de Flandre (Baudouin IX) de 1194 à 1205, un comte de Hainaut (Baudouin VI) de 1195 à 1205 et un empereur de Constantinople (Baudouin Ier) de 1204 à 1205. Il est fils de Baudouin V, comte de Hainaut, et de Marguerite d'Alsace, comtesse de Flandre.

Le comte de Flandre et de Hainaut

Il hérite de la Flandre (amputée de l’Artois depuis 1191) à la mort de sa mère le 15 novembre 1195 et du Hainaut à celle de son père le 18 décembre 1195, réunissant en sa personne les deux branches de la Maison de Flandre qui s’étaient séparées après la mort de Baudouin VI.

S’il prête rapidement hommage à Compiègne à Philippe Auguste, il reste dans une prudente attente dans le conflit franco-anglais, mais est obligé par le roi de France à donner des garanties supplémentaires à sa foi : le roi reçoit le serment des barons flamands de lui rester fidèle ; la menace d’un anathème plane sur le comte en cas de parjure ; enfin, les fiefs de Boulogne, Guînes et Oisy sont cédés à la Couronne. Taxé de faiblesse à son retour par les Flamands, Baudouin s’allie alors à Richard Cœur de Lion et demande au roi de France le retour à la Flandre de Lens, Arras, Hesdin, Bapaume, Saint-Omer et Aire. Devant le refus du roi, Baudouin entre en Artois, tandis que le duc Richard occupe les forces françaises en Normandie et met le siège devant Arras. Philippe Auguste réagit, repousse Baudouin jusqu’à l’Yser, mais le comte fait alors ouvrir les écluses sur le camp français. Le roi de France, enserré par les eaux et les armées flamandes n’a d’autre choix que de céder aux exigences de Baudouin, promesses qu’il fait rétracter par son conseil sitôt revenu à Paris. Baudouin prend à nouveau les armes et occupe Aire et St-Omer.

La comtesse Marie intervient alors et s’entremet entre le comte, son mari et le roi de France, son oncle. Son intervention débouche sur la conférence de Péronne en janvier 1199, où les deux parties arrivent à un accord : le roi conserve les terres au-delà du Fossé Neuf, tandis que Baudouin IX garde ou recouvre Douai, Ardres, Lillers, La Gorgue, Richebourg, Aire, Saint-Omer, l’avouerie de Béthune et l’hommage du comté de Guînes. Ce succès renforce la popularité du comte auprès de ses barons et de ses villes.

Le croisé

Le comte entend alors la prédication à la croisade d’Erluin et de Pierre de Roussy, envoyés en Flandre par le pape. Baudouin IX et son épouse Marie de Champagne prennent alors solennellement la Croix le 23 février 1200 en l’église St-Donat de Bruges, suivis par une foule de chevaliers flamands. Baudouin IX prend, avec Thibaud de Champagne, Louis de Blois et Hugues IV de Saint-Pol la tête de l’expédition. Avant le départ, il confie à son frère Philippe, comte de Namur, la régence de Flandre, assisté d’un conseil composé du chancelier Gérard, prévôt de St-Donat, son oncle, de Baudouin de Comines, des châtelains de Bruges, de Gand et de Lille.

Les armées gagnent Venise où un accord a été trouvé avec la république maritime pour transporter les Croisés en Orient : la moitié des conquêtes devra aller à la ville de saint Marc. Les Croisés prennent d’abord Zara comme paiement aux Vénitiens, puis à la demande de Philippe de Souabe, la croisade est détournée pour secourir son beau-frère Alexis Ange dont le père Isaac II a été renversé à Constantinople par son frère, devenu Alexis III. Le détournement est appuyé par le doge de Venise Enrico Dandolo. Chalcédoine en Bithynie est rapidement investie, puis Galata, et les Croisés arrivent donc sous les murs de Constantinople. Alexis III s’enfuit, Isaac II est libéré par les Grecs et doit céder aux conditions exigées par les Croisés pour l’aide accordée à son fils devenu Alexis IV.

Dès avril 1204, la situation se dégrade: les indemnités promises ne sont pas payées. La position d’Alexis IV est devenue intenable et il a été renversé en janvier par Alexis Murzuphle. L'énergique Alexis V renforce les défenses de la ville et refuse toute négociation. Le lundi de Pâques 1204, les Croisés prennent et saccagent alors l’antique Byzance, dont Baudouin est rapidement élu empereur avec l'appui des Vénitiens.

L'empereur de Constantinople

Couronné Baudouin Ier premier empereur latin de Constantinople le 16 mai 1204, le nouveau souverain respecte les accords passés pendant le siège de la ville avec Dandolo : les Vénitiens reçoivent les trois huitièmes de la ville et de l'Empire.

Baudouin se heurte rapidement aux réticences des Grecs et à l’intervention des Bulgares, appelés à l’aide. Il assiège Andrinople qui s’est soulevée, mais qui espère l’arrivée du tsar des Bulgares Jean Kalojan. Le comte de Blois, désobéissant à l’empereur, se porte au devant d’eux, ce qui contraint Baudouin à lui prêter secours. Le 15 avril 1205, les Francs sont battus devant Andrinople, le comte de Blois est tué. Baudouin est fait prisonnier selon Geoffroi de Villehardouin[1], même si les chroniqueurs Meyer et Raynaldi reconnaissent ignorer s’il est mort au champ d’honneur ou en prison. Si l’on en croit un autre chroniqueur, Nicétas Khoniatès, Baudouin aurait été détenu à Ternobe, puis aurait été abandonné dans une vallée pieds et mains coupées, et serait mort après une agonie de trois jours. Cette version est contestée, et il est plus probable que l’empereur flamand soit mort en prison.

Sa disparition, suivie six semaines plus tard de celle de Dandolo, nonagénaire, entraîna un partage des terres conquises et des querelles que son successeur, son frère Henri, ne sut éviter.

Mariage et descendance

Il avait épousé le 6 janvier 1186 Marie de Champagne (1174 † 1204), fille d'Henri Ier le Libéral, comte de Champagne et de Marie de France. Il laissait deux fillettes, à la merci de leur ambitieux suzerain :

   * Jeanne (1199-1200 † 1244), comtesse de Flandre et de Hainaut, mariée à :
        1. en 1212 Ferrand de Portugal (1188 † 1233)
        2. en 1237 Thomas II de Savoie (1199 † 1259), prince de Piémont
   * Marguerite II (1202 † 1280), comtesse de Flandre et de Hainaut, mariée à :
        1. en 1212 (séparés en 1221) Bouchard d'Avesnes (1182 † 1244)
        2. en 1223 Guillaume II de Dampierre (1196 † 1231)

L'aventure du faux-Baudouin

Sa mort incertaine permit en 1225 à un imposteur, Bertrand Cordel, de se faire passer en Flandre pour l'empereur, censé avoir échappé à la mort en Bulgarie. Le difficile contexte flamand de l'après Bouvines et la captivité du comte Ferrand permit l'aventure.

Fils d’un vassal de Clarembaut de Capes, natif de Rains, près de Vitry-sur-Marne, Bertrand Cordel était saltimbanque et jongleur. Après Bouvines, vers 1220, les Franciscains ont commencé à arriver en Flandre, accompagnés d'un grand prestige. La rumeur plaçait parmi eux d'anciens croisés flamands revenus au pays. C’est dans ce contexte qu’en 1225, un baron crut reconnaître Baudouin IX en Bertrand, qui vivait de mendicité publique et passait pour ermite dans le bois de Glançon, près de Valenciennes. Bertrand, installé dans un hôtel de cette ville, finit par jouer le jeu (27 mars 1225). Des personnalités dirent le reconnaître et lui apprirent vraisemblablement des rudiments de la vie de l’empereur et de la manière de bien se comporter. La crédulité du peuple fut correctement exploitée et une immense émotion parcourut les comtés de Flandre et de Hainaut. Il fut acclamé à Valenciennes, à Tournai, à Lille, ses entrées à Bruges et à Gand furent magnifiques. Il y était revêtu de tous les attributs impériaux.

La comtesse Jeanne, fille de Baudouin, dut alors se réfugier au Quesnoy avec quelques fidèles. On tenta même de l’enlever. Elle put néanmoins gagner Mons, alors que l’imposteur régnait à sa place (avril-mai 1225), entouré des barons dont il servait les intérêts. Jeanne de Constantinople tenta pour le confondre de le faire venir au Quesnoy, mais Bertrand déclina l’invitation. Cependant, grâce au témoignage de Josse de Materen, un des franciscains, ancien croisé, qui avait accompagné le grand comte jusqu’à sa mort en Bulgarie, elle fut convaincue de son bon droit. Elle en appela au jugement du roi Louis VIII, qui ne pouvait que s’alarmer car le roi Henri III d'Angleterre avait déjà pris contact avec le faux-Baudouin : le roi le convoqua à Péronne, tandis que Jeanne rassemblait toutes les personnes ayant connu son père, dont tous les franciscains qui durent reprendre contact avec le monde pour témoigner, contrairement à leurs vœux. L’enquête fut présidée par l’évêque Guérin de Senlis. Bertrand ne put se soustraire à la convocation du suzerain capétien : il fut accueilli comme s’il était le comte, mais l’imprécision de ses réponses au roi et à Guérin furent décisives : devant les barons flamands ébahis, il ne sut pas dire quand, où et par qui il aurait été fait chevalier, ni quand et dans quelle chambre il aurait épousé Marie de Champagne ! Comme preuve définitive, la nuit suivante il s’enfuit de la cour comme un voleur, ne doutant plus de la pensée du roi (30-31 mai 1225).

Retrouvé en Bourgogne ou réfugié à Valenciennes, il fut ramené en Flandre, où il fut condamné à mort et étranglé à Lille (fin septembre 1225). Son cadavre fut exhibé au gibet de Loos.

Notes et références

  1. ↑ « La Conquête de Constantinople »: Chapitre LXXXI Baudoins fu pris vif, et li cuens Loeys fu ocis

Sources et bibliographie

   * Le Glay Edward: Histoire des comtes de Flandre jusqu'à l'avènement de la Maison de Bourgogne, Comptoir des Imprimeurs-unis, Paris, MDCCCXLIII
   * Platelle Henri et Clauzel Denis: Histoire des provinces françaises du Nord, 2. Des principautés à l'empire de Charles Quint (900-1519), Westhoek-Editions Éditions des Beffrois, 1989; ISBN 2-87789-004-X
   * Douxchamps Cécile et José: Nos dynastes médiévaux, Wepion-Namur 1996, José Douxchamps, éditeur; ISBN 2-9600078-1-6
   * De Cant Geneviève: Jeanne et Marguerite de Constantinople, Éditions Racine, Bruxelles, 1995; ISBN 2-87386-044-8
   * John Julius Norwich (trad. Dominique Peters), Histoire de Byzance (330-1453), 1998 

Julien le Rousseau, "Baldwin, First French Emperor of Constantinople," The Irish Quarterly Review, Vol VII, No. XXV, March, 1857, pp. 34-47. Available on Google Books:

A few months after Baldwin's coronation, lie was visited by a domestic bereavement. His wife, who was destined never to share her husband's throne, had embarked for Palestine in the fleet of John de Nesle: the voyage was long and stormy, and she suffered so much from terror, sea-sickness, and hardships, that soon after landing at St. Jean d'Acre, she expired of exhaustion, on the 24th of August, 1204; leaving her daughters motherless at an age when they most needed maternal care; if they had been blest with that care, training them in womanly feeling and filial piety, the dark stains that sully the memories of Jane and Margaret of Flanders, would, in all probability, never have existed....

On the report of this Emperor's [Baldwin's] death, Philip Augustus of France required that the eldest daughter, Jane, should be sent to Paris to be educated under his auspices, both as a vassal of France, and as the niece of his first wife, Isabella. The younger daughter, Margaret, remained in Flanders, under the guardianship of Bouchard d'Avenes.

When Jane was of an age to marry, Philip Augustus espoused her, in 1211, without consulting her inclinations, to Fernando, second son of Sancho I of Portugal, who, ruling over Flanders and Hainault in right of his wife, is called by French and English historians, Ferrand, Count of Flanders. Philip, to repay himself for his care of the young heiress, took possession of part of her territories; an encroachment which her husband resented on the first opportunity. Otho, Emperor of Germany, being at war with King Philip, raised against the latter a formidable confederation of jealous princes and discontented vassals. Ferrand joined the League, and brought a large body of Flemings to fight for Otho at the great battle of Bouvines,* (27th July, 1214) where Otho and his allies were signally defeated, and Ferrand (with many other persons of distinction) was taken prisoner by Philip, and kept in close confinement. The ill-starred Portuguese would, however, have been liberated on terms, if his wife would have agreed to ransom him. But Jane was ambitious, selfish, and unfeeling, and of morals far from correct: she determined to rule her inheritance by her own sole will; and rejoicing to be freed from her husband's interference with her sway, and his surveillance over her conduct, she peremptorily refused to pay his ransom, and left him to languish for many years in a painful captivity. Her government was so tyrannical and oppressive that she was detested by the Flemings, who deeply lamented the loss of their revered Count, her father.

In the month of April, 1225, just twenty years after the defeat of Baldwin in the battle near Adrianople, a remarkable looking old man appeared in Flanders, grave and majestic in his air, and seemingly more worn by grief and hardships than even by age. He was clad in an Armenian robe of scarlet; he leaned upon a large staff, and his snowy beard hung down to his girdle. He declared himself to be Baldwin, Count of Flanders, Emperor of Constantinople, who having been falsely reputed dead, had at length found means to escape from his Bulgarian prison, and had come to claim the love and loyalty of his natural subjects. The Flemings flocked round him with alacrity, and all who remembered their lost Count affirmed that the stranger resembled him so exactly in voice, features, and manner, that they were fully convinced of his identity with their long regretted Baldwin. The nobles put to him many searching questions, and his answers displayed an intimate acquaintance with the history of the country, and with the pedigree, heraldry, &c, of every high family in Flanders and Hainault. The aristocracy, the citizens, the populace all avowed their full persuasion of his truth, and paid him the homage due to their hereditary Count.

But the Countess Jane repudiated his pretensions with passionate indignation, denouncing him as a shameless impostor. He requested to see her, declaring that he would be able, in a personal interview, to convince her of his being her father. Yet she positively refused ever to admit him into her presence; a circumstance which was interpreted to her disadvantage. It was argued, that if her heart owned one touch of nature, she would have been anxious to look upon one who so closely resembled the parent that she had not seen since her childhood, or if she had any sense of justice, she would have permitted the man whom she stigmatized an opportunity of justifying himself (if he could do so) but it seemed as though she feared to see him, lest she might be in danger of conviction, contrary to her stubborn resolution of holding fast the dominion which could not be hers if her father was still living. It was her interest to prejudge and condemn the stranger; it was said that she, who was cruel to a husband for the sake of power, could also be unnatural to a parent. But her councilors, for the sake of some pretense of justice, advised her to permit them to investigate the case, and they accordingly invited the stranger to appear before them.

He came, dignified, calm, and collected, though they interrogated him in a harsh and menacing manner, on the particulars of his alleged escape, and on his reasons for re-appearing in Flanders, rather than in the Greek capital. He rebuked them for their discourtesies, and proceeded to relate that he had been imprisoned for many years, in a close and secret dungeon, by the Bulgarian King; but at length, his guards relaxing their vigilance, he found means to elude them. But while making his way through the country, he was unfortunately taken by a band of marauders, who did not suspect him to be more than an ordinary person. He was brought by them into Syria, sold as a slave, and employed in the most irksome toils. During a truce between the Christians and the Saracens, some German merchants were travelling in Syria, and halted to refresh themselves near the place where he was at work. Hearing them converse in German, he approached, and accosting them in the same language, related to them his misfortunes. Touched with compassion they purchased him from his master (who was ignorant of his rank); they brought him to Europe, and he hastened at once to his native land. To have gone to Constantinople would (he said) have been injurious to his interests. His brother Henry, and his brother-in-law, Peter de Courtenay, were both dead, and their successor would not readily acknowledge claims that would take the sceptre from his hand. Besides, a journey to Constantinople would be replete with danger from the enmity of the Greeks. He preferred, therefore, repairing to Flanders, and appealing to the fidelity of his native subjects, and the filial instincts of his child. The stranger was still speaking with energy, when the Grand Treasurer, as though dreading the effect of his words upon the hearers, abruptly dissolved the council, affirming that it was not lawful to debate or decide upon a case of so much moment, without first ascertaining the will and pleasure of the Countess.

The nobles and people of Flanders and Hainault, however, almost unanimously declared in favour of the stranger, and the then King of England, Henry III, felt so certain of his being truly the imperial Baldwin, that he sent him a letter, congratulating him on his restoration to liberty, and sympathizing with his sorrows. Thus powerfully supported, the stranger determined on compelling the Countess Jane to give him the audience that she so obstinately and so suspiciously refused; and arriving with a large body of followers, at Quesnoy, where Jane then was, he very nearly succeeded in taking her by surprise, but she effected her escape, and fled to claim the assistance of the King of France, Louis VIII., who being the son of Isabella of Hainault, first wife of Philip Augustus, was cousin-german to Jane. But the Flemings conceived an additional disgust to the Countess, for appealing to a monarch, who, like his father, held her husband, Ferrand, in fetters.

Louis cited the supposed Baldwin to appear before him at Compeigne; and he granted him a safe-conduct, for coming and returning. The stranger obeyed the summons, as emanating from the feudal Suzerain to whom the counts of Flanders owed fealty; and he presented himself at the appointed place with the same composed and noble mien, as when he appeared before the Flemish Council. It was the interests of King Louis that Flanders should be subject to a passion-led woman, rather than to an approved statesman and warrior such as Baldwin (supposing that he survived in the person of the stranger); it was, therefore, only natural that he, too, should be determined to pre-judge and condemn the candidate.

The French King and his councillors assumed a menacing and yet a mocking tone, to disconcert and confuse the feeble attenuated old man; disregarding the intimate knowledge of all Flemish affairs of state, &c, displayed by the mysterious personage, Louis announced that he would limit his investigation to three questions, viz., 1st., in what place did Baldwin, Count of Flanders, do homage to Philip Augustus for his fiefs? 2dly., in what place, and at what time, did he receive knighthood? 3dly., in what place and on what day was he married to Mary of Champagne? On these three questions hung the fate of the old man: and they were questions on which Baldwin might have hesitated. In how many brilliant scenes had the Count of Flanders been a chief actor from his youth! he had been a knight in many tournaments, a General in many battles, a Prince in many Courts and Councils; he had been a feudal hereditary ruler, and an elected Emperor; he had done homage as the former, he had received it as the latter: he had twice done homage for his fiefs, in 1195 to the Emperor Henry at Metz, and to Philip Augustus at Compeigne: after a lapse of thirty years (ten of them years of pomp, and important occupations, and twenty years of solitude and suffering) his memory might hesitate to distinguish at once between the places and the times of those acts—and if he were Baldwin (which we ourselves verily believe), he had endured imprisonment and slavery, he had suffered intensely in mind and body. As he was of advanced age it was quite natural that when he was suddenly questioned on the pomps of his youth, on his investitures, his knighthood, and his marriage, his memory* should become bewildered by the phantasmagoria of half faded and mingling scenes and events that those questions called forth—he hesitated—he tried to arrange his recollections—but the look of triumph in the King's countenance, and the malicious sneers of the prejudiced councilors, increased (as they intended) his embarrassment. He acknowledged the confusion of his ideas, and accounted for it; and requested a delay of three days, to give him time for reflection, and for the uninterrupted exertions of memory. But Louis would grant no delay, listen to no reasoning, and pronouncing the stranger a self-convicted impostor, dismissed the assembly in an ebullition of rage.

We may here remark, with regard to the mysterious stranger, that many highly respectable and authentic foreign historians have recorded their belief that he was, in truth, the man he professed to be. Among these authors are Sismondi (Histoire des Francais) Michelet (Histoire de France), and Michaud (Histoire des Crusades). On the other side, among those who believe him an impostor, are De Rocolles (Histoire des lmposteurs Insignes), Moreri (Dictionnaire Historique), and the author of L'Art de Verifier les Dates. But we think the evidence in favor of the stranger preponderates, when we remember that he was acknowledged by the nobles and people of his native states, and by a king who had no interest to bias him either way, Henry III. of England.

To resume. Though Louis the Eighth pronounced the stranger a deceiver, yet respecting the royal safe-conduct he had given him when summoned to Compeigne, he did not issue orders to arrest him, but commanded him to quit France, within three days, on pain of death. The adherents of the unfortunate man, disappointed by the issue of the conference, alarmed at the hostility of the French King, and the fury of their own Countess, abandoned him whom they still firmly believed to be their rightful lord. Thus forsaken, he retired to Valenciennes, and attempted to pass in the disguise of a trader through Burgundy: but he was recognised by a Burgundian gentleman, named Erard Castenac, who getting him into his power by affecting sympathy, sold him for 4000 marks of silver to the unfeeling Countess Jane. She caused her captive to be put to the most excruciating tortures, in the agony of which he was compelled to sign a ready-prepared confession to the effect, that he was a native of Champagne, that his real name was Bertrand de Rains: that he had lived for some time in a forest near Valenciennes, as a hermit; and knowing that the discontented Flemings lamented the loss of their Count Baldwin, and arguing the possibility of his being still alive, he was struck with the idea of personating him, and to that end took pains to acquire adequate information on all necessary points; and when an opportunity that appeared favourable arrived, he discovered himself as the revered and regretted Baldwin.

When Jane had extorted his signature to this prepared confession, she ordered her miserable captive to be tied upon a horse, and paraded, with every mark of contempt, through the principal towns of Flanders and Hainault, preceded by a crier proclaiming the alleged imposture and confession: and not satisfied with this punishment, she caused him to be publicly hanged on a gibbet at Lisle. It is recorded, that after the execution, the hard-hearted, unwomanly Countess received an undeniable proof that her victim was indeed her own unhappy father. When at the foot of the gibbet he entreated a trust-worthy person to remind her of a secret known only to her father, her mother, and her nurse; and the two latter had been dead for many years, and certainly never revealed it to others. It is added that the Countess was seized with a deep remorse; and as an act of expiation, she founded at Lisle, for the repose of the sufferer's soul, an hospital, called "the Hospital of the Countess;" and she directed a gibbet to be represented in its escutcheon, on the windows, the walls, and all the furniture, hangings, &c. This singular circumstance confirmed the Flemings in their belief that the Countess was a parricide.

Among the dark destinies of illustrious persons recorded by history, there is none more miserable than that of Baldwin (admitting that the stranger was he). To fall from a throne to a dungeon, to exchange complaisant courtiers for barbarous persecutors is not without parallel—but after years of suffering and captivity, to hasten home, full of affection and hope, trusting in the love of children, and the fidelity of friends, to find his most implacable enemy in his own first-born; to be denied her presence after a lengthened separation; to be refused even the chance of recognition, to be tortured on the rack, exposed to public shame, hanged like a common felon by the sentence of his own child, the daughter whom he had dreamed would have healed his wounded heart—the imagination shudders in trying to realize the dreadful picture!

We must now refer to the younger sister of the Countess Jane, Margaret, whom her father had left under the guardianship of her uncle, Philip, Count of Namur, and of Bouchard d' Avenes. When Margaret grew up, Bouchard was still in the prime of life, and was handsome, graceful, and accomplished; he had conciliated the Countess Jane by his political services; he had won the heart of her sister by his personal advantages, and by his abilities he had gained the respect of the people. Encouraged by his popularity, by the favours of the Countess, and by his own noble birth, he asked, and obtained, the hand of Margaret in marriage.

They had two sons, John d'Avenes and Baldwin. In some time after the birth of these children, (and before the appearance of the ill-fated stranger) the Countess Jane discovered that Bouchard had formerly been educated for the priesthood, had received the tonsure, and had been Archdeacon of Orleans, but on coming into Flanders he had concealed these facts, and had consequently married without obtaining the necessary dispensation from his vows of celibacy. Jane was incensed at the insult offered by Bouchard to an illustrious house by contracting an informal marriage with one of its daughters, and her wounded pride inspired her with a deadly hatred of her brother-in-law. Instead of using her interest to procure a dispensation for him from Rome, and a ratification of her sister's marriage, she exerted herself to ruin him, and to separate him from his wife for ever. She took measures to arrest him; but he avoided her snares, and hastened to Rorne, to seek from the Pope absolution for his fault, and the confirmation of his marriage. The Pope refused the boons, pronounced him divorced, and enjoined him, as a penance, and under pain of excommunication, to repair to Palestine, there to fight against the Saracens during a certain number of years, and at the expiration of the period (if he survived) to retire to a monastery for life. Bouchard was obliged to submit, and proceeded to the Holy Land; where he performed many gallant exploits in battle, seeking every opportunity of distinguishing himself, in the hope that he might thus earn the indulgence of the Pontiff (who was especially interested in the Holy Wars), and might be permitted to rejoin his wife and family.

The time of his ordeal passed; covered with well merited laurels he returned to Europe bearing letters of the strongest recommendation from many leaders and nobles addressed to the principal Cardinals, entreating their favour and interest for him. He reached Flanders in safety, and found means, despite the Countess Jane, to visit his wife and children. In this interview, he felt so deeply the influence of the domestic affections, that he declared he would be torn to pieces before he would consent to relinquish them for a cloister. With renewed eagerness he set out for Rome, to urge his suit, and had the happiness to find the Pope propitiously disposed to him, for the sake of his military prowess. He at length obtained absolution, and the promise of a dispensation to confirm his marriage, and, full of hope and joy, he speeded back to Flanders.

But alas! for human hope and human joy! the Countess Jane was resolved that the half severed bonds between d'Avenes and his wife should never be re-united. She envenomed Margaret's feelings against him by exaggerating what she termed his treachery to a young and noble maiden, and inspired her with an abhorrence of her once beloved Bouchard, an abhorrence of such an unnatural description, that Margaret extended it even to her innocent children because they were his. In this perverted state of mind, she acquiesced in the designs of the Countess to destroy her husband. The latter, on his journey to Flanders, was seized by the myrmidons of Jane, and was seen no more. The mode of his death was never clearly ascertained; but it was generally believed that he was hanged in his dungeon by the order of his savage sister-in-law, whose inhuman conduct was subsequently remembered to her prejudice on the execution of him who had asserted himself to be her father.

Margaret contracted a second alliance, taking for her husband a Burgundian named William de Dampierre, a knight of noble lineage. The offspring of this marriage consisted of three sons, William who died at an early age childless, though married; Guy, and John. The small share of regard she testified for anyone was now wholly reserved for her second family; the blameless sons of the wretched Bouchard she spurned and ill-treated for the sake of their father. From a feeling of pity, Florent the Fourth, Count of Holland, took the eldest, John d'Avenes, and brought him up in a manner suitable to his birth; the younger son, Baldwin, less fortunate, remained within the shadow of his mother's frown.

In 1243 Margaret buried her second husband, and in the following year her sister, who dying childless was succeeded by Margaret as Countess of Flanders and Hainault:* she associated her son, Guy de Dampierre, with her in the government, regardless of the claims of her elder children, the two d' AvSnes. Her sway was still more tyrannical than that of her sister Jane, and was still more detested by the Flemings. She was so dark, stern, and unbending, so wholly without evidence of ordinary human feeling, that she was called by her subjects "The Black Lady". She chose to consider her children by Bouchard as illegitimate; and delighted in sowing dissension between them and the Dampierres. Her unnatural conduct brought many calamities upon her country; the jarring pretensions of her sons created factions, and fostered party feeling.

Some powerful interposition was necessary. In 1249 the Pope (Innocent III.) sent his Commissioners, the Bishop of Chalons-sur-Marne, and the Abbot of Lete*, to enquire into the case of the d'Avenes. After long deliberations, these ecclesiastics decided, that although the marriage of Bouchard d'Avenes with Margaret of Flanders, was irregular for want of a dispensation, yet, as it had been solemnized with all the due rites of the Church, the children of that union were legitimate. This verdict gave position to the young men. The eldest, John d'Avenes, received from his patron, Florent, Count of Holland, the hand of his daughter Adelais (or Alix), and the King of France, Louis the IX (St. Louis,) decreed as Suzerain of Flanders, that John d'Avenes should succeed his mother as Count of Hainault; and that Flanders should be the heritage of Guy de Dampierre : a provision was also made for Baldwin d'Avenes.

In 1253, Guy and John de Dampierre attempted, at their mother's instigation, to wrest part of Zealand from the Count of Holland, whom she hated for his kindness to John d'Avenes. In a battle fought at West Kapellen, in Zealand, between the Dampierres on one side, and the Count of Holland and his son-in-law on the other, the Flemings were defeated with an immense loss, and the two Dampierres were among the prisoners. John d'Avenes wrote to his mother, imploring her to listen to the long unheeded voice of nature, and to let the captivity of her younger sons have a softening effect upon her heart. To his earnest and tender appeal she wrote in reply, "that he was welcome to be the hangman of his two brothers, and that he might, if he chose, boil the one, roast the other, and eat them both!" It seems incredible, yet it is gravely affirmed by a respectable historian, the continuator of Matthew Paris, that this atrocious language was used by a lady of high rank, a mother,—Margaret, Countess of Flanders.

After existing as the bane of her family and her country,(which she involved in a war with England) the "black lady" died in 1279, and was succeeded (as arranged) in Flanders by Guy de Dampierre, and in Hainault, by John d'Avenes. The Istto left four sons, of whom John, the eldest, succeeded his fktba; the other three devoted themselves to the priesthood; William became Bishop of Cambray, Bouchard, Bishop of Metz, and Guy, Bishop of Utrecht. It is to be remarked that Bouchard d'Avenes and his evil-minded wife Margaret were direct ancestors of an amiable and beloved Queen of England, Philippa of Hainault (wife of Edward III), who was fourth in descent (through John d'Avfines and Adelais of Holland) from that unhappily wedded pair.

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Baldwin I, Latin Emperor of Constantinople's Timeline

July 1171
Valenciennes, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Valenciennes, Nord, France
June 2, 1202
Valenciennes, Nord, France
June 11, 1205
Age 33
Adrianople, Turkey
December 14, 1991
Age 33
December 14, 1991
Age 33
February 27, 1992
Age 33
February 27, 1992
Age 33
March 24, 1992
Age 33
June 11, 1992
Age 33