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Royal Genealogy

Thomas I de Savoie
9th Comte de Savoie

Other Titles and Honours

Marchese di Susa, 1189-1233†[1]
Comte de Maurienne, 1189-1233†[1]
Principe di Piemonte, 1189-1233†[1]
Conte d'Aosta, 1189-1233†[2]
Comte de Chablais, 1189-1233†[2]
Seigneur de Tarentaise, 1189-1233†[2]
Seigneur de Bugey, 1189-1233†[2]

Positions Held

Imperial Vicar of Piedmont[2]
Imperial Vicar of Lombardy, 1226[3]

Main Events

After the death of his father, Thomas had been left under the regency of Guglielmo V, Marquis of Montferrat, and then possibly, his son Marquis Bonifazio I after Guglielmo left for Palestine.[1] Once he ruled in his own right, Thomas was to lay the basis of the real greatness of his house in Burgundy, and rebuild its shattered fortunes in Lombardy. Under his reign, the possessions of his house on either side of the mountains began to be designated by the respective appellations of Savoy and Piedmont,[3] He was to increase his family's possessions with the acquisition of Moudon, Vaud, Chieri, Testona, Carignano, Pinerolo, Moncalieri, Vigone, Albenga, Savona, amongst others.[1]

In 1207, he obtained a grant of Moudon from the Emperor Philip in remuneration for his services. He had to, however, take Moudon by force from the barons of Vaud. As he did, he also added to his possessions Romont, Rue, and other domains in the Jorat. In 1232, he purchased Chambéry. Philip had also granted him the towns of Chieri and Testona. These imperial bounties had however no real meaning. Chieri and Testona, both dependencies on the diocese of Turin, now governed themselves as free communities, and Thomas was not likely to be acknowledged as their liege, notwithstanding the good name he enjoyed of friend to popular liberties, a reputation he had won by the liberal charters he had bestowed upon Susa in 1198, and Aosta even at an earlier period. This reputation had induced the people of Pinerolo to transfer to him the allegiance which they owed to their lord, the Abbot of St. Mary, near their town in 1212, and they were rewarded in 1220 by a free charter.[3] Along with Pinerolo, he also acquired Carignano, , Vigone,

After the fall of the Emperor Philip, Thomas had been on equally good terms with Otto IV, and joined him at Ferrara, in 1210, from where he accompanied the Emperor to Turin. Faithful to that Guelph monarch, in 1215, and allied to Milan and Vercelli, Thomas carried the war into the territories of the Ghibelline Marquises of
Montferrat and Saluzzo, and even destroyed St Evasio, the capital, in later times, of Montferrat. He then turned all his might against the Montferrat of Saluzzo, and in 1216, Saluzzo was made for the first time to do homage to Savoy.[3]

In 1222, the war with Montferrat was renewed and Marquis Manfred III allied himself with Turin, bought a house in that town, took rank as a burgher, and aided
the people in their hostility against the representative of their former princes. But Manfred was again worsted in the field, again compelled to acknowledge
himself a vassal of Savoy. This time, Thomas I, bent upon cementing the alliance between his own family and that of its rivals, betrothed the two young
daughters of his son Amadeus, Beatrice and Margaret, to Manfred III of Saluzzo and Boniface IV of Montferrat respectively in 1223. Thomas now enjoyed the
foremost rank among the lords of Western Lombardy, and the Emperor Frederick II, aware of the storm that gathered against him in the north of Italy, could place no better prince at the head of his own party, and bestowed on him the dignity of Imperial Vicar of Lombardy and the March of Treviso in 1226.[3]

The cities of Albenga and Savona, which had withdrawn themselves from the sovereignty of Genoa, immediately placed themselves under his protection, even though Thomas had been on the best terms with Genoa. The city had always been staunch to the Imperial party, and during the war it fought, alongside its fellow Ghibelline city Asti, against the Guelph cities of Vercelli and Alessandria, Thomas had sent 120 Savoyard lances as support in 1225.[3]

Although the authority of Thomas I was acknowledged in those southern provinces, and even Marseilles, in her differences with the Emperor, sued for his mediation, Turin and the towns in its district showed the utmost jealousy of his power, and sought everywhere allies against him. In 1228, Pinerolo sided with Turin, Testona, and the Dauphin of Vienne against him. War broke out, but it is uncertain what role Thomas played in this. He did take possession of Moncalieri (which had been built in 1230 on the ruins of Testona), and he undertook the siege of Turin, but he fell sick and died suddenly.[3]

Place of birth: Château de Carbonara[1]
Place of death: Moncalieri[1]
Place of burial: Abbey of San Michel de la Cluse[1]



1. C. Cawley. Medieval Lands - A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families. The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. ©2018.

2. S. Guichenon. Histoire généalogique de la royale maison de Savoie, vol. 1. Turin: chez Jean-Michel Briolo, 1778.

3. A. Gallenga. History of Piedmont, vols 1 & 2. London: Chapman and Hall, 1855.

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