Otto I, Count of Burgundy

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Otto I
Count of Burgundy
Othon Ier de Bourgogne.jpg
Spouse(s) Margaret, Countess of Blois
Noble family Hohenstaufen Dynasty
Father Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Born Between 1167 and 1171
Died 13 January 1200
Buried St Stephen's Cathedral (Citadel of Besançon)

Otto I (between 1167 and 1171 – 13 January 1200) was Count of Burgundy from 1190 to his death and briefly Count of Luxembourg from 1196 to 1197. He was the fourth son of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor by his second wife Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy,[1] daughter of Count Renaud III.[2]


Upon the death of his mother in 1184, his father granted him the Burgundian county, elevating him to the rank of a Count palatine (Freigraf). Haughty Otto however soon entered into several feuds: not only with the Anscarid lords of Auxonne and Mâcon, who claimed late Beatrice's heritage, but also with the Counts of Montbéliard, the French Odo III, Duke of Burgundy and Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen. In the course of negotiations in 1195, he killed Count Amadeus of Montbèliard with his own hands, followed by the assassination of Alsatian Count Ulric of Ferrette in 1197 and the execution of a brother of Konrad von Hüneburg, Bishop of Strasbourg, in 1198.

Otto's coat of arms (right), Georg Rüxner c. 1530, 17th century reprint

When Henry IV, Count of Luxembourg died without heirs in 1196, his county escheated to the Emperor and Henry VI enfeoffed his brother Otto. Theobald I, Count of Bar, who had married Ermesinde, daughter of late Count Henry IV, negotiated the renunciation of Luxembourg with Otto the next year.

Meanwhile, Count Palatine Otto's regional conflicts had become a severe threat to the power politics of his Hohenstaufen relatives. After Philip of Swabia had been elected King of the Romans in 1198, rivaling with the Welf duke Otto of Brunswick, he tried to settle the numerous quarrels picked by his brother. In 1200 Otto was assassinated at Besançon, his death came in useful to many political actors.

Otto was buried at St Stephen's Cathedral, today the site of the Citadel of Besançon.


Otto had married Margaret, daughter of Theobald V, Count of Blois, in 1192.[3] After her husband's death her brother-in-law King Philip enfeoffed her with the Burgundian county, as regent for her minor daughter Joanna. Upon Joanna's death in 1205, Otto's second daughter, Beatrice, became countess and Philip married her to Otto I, Duke of Merania.



  1. Gislebertus (of Mons), Chronicle of Hainaut, transl. Laura Napran, (Boydell Press, 2005), 55 note245.
  2. Constance Brittain Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198, (Cornell University Press, 1987), 276.
  3. Joachim Bumke, Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages, transl. Thomas Dunlap, (University of California Press, 1991), 76.
Otto I, Count of Burgundy
Born: c.1167-1171 Died: 13 January 1200
Preceded by
Count of Burgundy
Succeeded by
Joan I
Preceded by
Henry IV
Count of Luxemburg
Succeeded by
Ermesinde and Theobald