Dalmas I of Semur

Dalmas I of Semur (French: Dalmace Ier de Semur, Born ° 980/985 - died 1040) was a Burgundian nobleman in medieval France.

He was the eldest son of Geoffroy I of Semur (c. 942 - c. 1000), lord of Semur-en-Brionnais, and his first wife, a daughter of Dalmace II, Viscount of Brioude (c. 935/950 - 985).

Early life

He had one brother, Renaud de Semur (° 981/985 - died 1040 or later) and four half-brothers:

  • Geoffroy II of Semur (° 987 - † 1037), known as "Geoffroy I de Donzy" who married Adelaide de Guînes. He was said to have suffered from a mental illness, but recovered during a pilgrimage to visit the relics of Saint Benedict at the priory of Perrecy-les-Forges. He was the father of Raingarde de Semur
  • Lambert of Semur (° 990 - † 1065 in Toulouse)
  • Thibaut de Semur, count of Chalon
  • Blanche (° ~1015 - † ?), in 1940,married Étienne II, vicomte de Thiern,Vicomte of Thiern (° 1020 - † 1060)

Includes a child known as Geoffroy I de Donzy's:

  • Hervé de Donzy (° 1010 - † 1055), married a née ... of Donzy (°? - † 1017)

His contemporaries thought him a man of great qualities, and dubbed him "the Great." By all accounts, he held a passion for justice and was a fervent Christian. Unlike many of the local nobles, he refused to participate in the plundering of the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny. This looting was condemned by Pope Benedict VIII, who excommunicated many of the vandals.


His son-in-law, Robert I, Duke of Burgundy killed him in a dispute, the cause of which is uncertain. Robert was known to be a violent man of explosive temper. It is unclear what method was used to kill Dalmas, but Hildebert de Lavardin, a contemporary, reported that the duke killed his father-in-law "propia manu," which has led some historians to suppose Dalmas lost his life in battle over the territory around Auxerre. However, given that Dalmas's son Josserand was killed by "two of the Duke's soldiers" while trying to break up a fight, it seems the scene of the murder may have been more intimate.[1][2][3] It has been theorized based on figures on the tympanum on the gates of Notre-Dame de Semur-en-Auxois, realized sometime after 1250, that Dalmas was poisoned during a banquet attended by his son-in-law.[4] This church in a namesake town, almost 170 kilometers from the seat of Dalmas' power, was funded by Duke Robert I to assuage his guilt and atone for killing his wife's (and the local bishop's) father.

Marriage and children

About 1013, he married Aramburga of Burgundy, countess of Vergy,[5] the daughter of the Duke of Burgundy, Henry I.

With Aramburga, he had ten children, among whom figure most prominently:

  • 1. Héliette de Semur, also known as Helie, and sometimes mistakenly called Elvie or Hermengarde.[6](born about 1015 in Semur - died after 1055). In 1032, she married Robert I of Burgundy who would murder her father. Thereafter, she entered the Cluniac convent of the Holy Trinity at Marcigny.[7]
  • 2. Geoffroy III de Semur (born 1018/1025 - died c. 1090), 5th Count of Semur, married Alice de Guînes (c. 1030), daughter of Baldwin I, Count of Guînes. He would retire from court to the same priory as his sister, along with one of his sons and three of his daughters. He would eventually be named Holy Trinity's prior.
  • 3. The much-celebrated Catholic Saint Hugh of Cluny (May 13, 1024 – April 28, 1109), one of the most powerful monks of the Middle Ages.
  • 4. André de Semur, who was granted territory in the Morvan in 1063 by his brother Geoffroy, who created him Lord of Larochemillay.[8]
  • 5. Josserand de Semur (died 1048), killed by a Burgundian soldier as he tried to intervene in the dispute between his father and the Duke. His killer, filled with remorse, escaped justice by confessing to Saint Hugh at Cluny, who pardoned him and admitted him to join the monastic order.[9]
  • 6. Dalmas II of Semur (died 1136 in Auxerre), called "The Younger," Lord of the Montaigu branch of Oyé and Trémont. He is often cited in the charters of this older brother Geoffroy. He had two children with an unnamed wife, Renaud de Semur, who would succeed his father as Lord Montaigu, and Hugh of Montaigu, who would become the abbot of the priory of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, then bishop of Auxerre.[10]
  • 7. Adelaide of Semur (born c. 1055), wife of Baron Dalmas of Châtel-Montagne in Bourbonnais. Her dowry included the fiefdom of Vitry-en-Charollais and some large parcels near Briennon, much of which she donated to the Holy Trinity Priory when she joined the convent with the consent of her son Pierre de Châtel.[11]
  • 8. Matilda of Semur, called Mahaut (born c. 1030), who married Guichard de Bourbon-Lancy, Lord of La Motte-Saint-Jean. Once widowed, she joined the Holy Trinity Priory at Marcigny.
  • 9. & 10. Cecilia and Evelle, about whom little is known.[12]
  • 11. Hermengarde of Semur , first prioress of Marcigny in 1061.
  • Renaud of Semur (vers 1016-? av. 1040), married to Adele of Bar (about 1010-1053), countess of Bar-sur-Aube.


  1. Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne de la race capétienne, T. I, p. 67-168.
  2. Le même historien, suivant une interprétation due à Maillard de Chambure (Histoire et description de l’église de N.-D. de Semur-en-Auxois
  3. M.C.A.C.O., Ier série, I, 1832-1833, p. 76-84.
  4. P. de Truchis, « Notre-Dame de Semur », in Guide du congrès archéologique d’Avallon, 1907 ; Kleinclausz, Quomodo, No. 2, p. 70
  5. Aremburge de Bourgogne, née en 988 selon la généalogie d'Henri Pichot sur Geneanet, et 999 sur celle de Famille Carné ; ce qui la donne mariée à 25 ans et morte à 37 ans dans le premier cas, ou bien mariée à 14 ans et morte à 26 ans dans le deuxième cas.
  6. Chazot, Généalogie histor. in-4°, tIV, p. 62.
  7. J. Richard a su démontrer qu'elle ne s'était pas retirée à Marcigny fondée par son frère ni à Beaune où il n'existait, dans ce temps, aucune maison moniale.
  8. Abbé F. Cucherat, Semur-en-Brionnais, ses barons, ses établissements..., dans Mémoires de la Société Eduenne, t.XV (1887) et t. XVI. (1888).
  9. Bibliothèque Cluniae col.430, B.
  10. Gallia Christ. dans les évêques d'Auxerre.
  11. Généalogie inédite par M. Reffye, cité dans F. Cucherat, Semur en Brionnais..., dans Mémoires de la Société Eduenne, t.XV (1887) et t.XVI (1888), p. 21.
  12. On ne sait rien de Cécile et Evelle filles données par messieurs de Reffeye et de Montmegin, l'abbé François Cucherat pense qu'il s'agit de Cécile qui est la tante et la marraine de la jeune Cécile de Semur, fille de Geoffroy III et de Hermengarde, que l'on trouve en 1123 au Catalogue des Dames de Marcigny (Cluny au XIe siècle, 2e éd. p. 237, I, 24).
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