Name: Adelaide of Susa
Death: 19 DEC 1091
Burial: Canischio, Valle dell'Orco
MEM: Cathedral of San Giusto in Susa: small wooden statue
Change Date: 23 MAR 2009
Adelaide of Susa (also Adelheid, Adelais, or Adeline; 1016 ? 19 December 1091) was the Marchioness of Turin from 1034 to her death. She moved the seat of the march from Turin to Susa and settled the itinerant court there.
Born in Turin to Ulric Manfred II and Bertha, daughter of Oberto II around 1016, Adelaide's early life is not well-known. Her only brother predeceased her father in 1034, though she had two younger sisters, Immilla and Bertha. Thus, on Ulric's death, the great margraviate was divided between his three daughters, though the greatest part by far went to Adelaide. She received the counties of Ivrea, Auriate, Aosta, and Turin. The margravial title, however, had primarily a military purpose at the time and, thus, was not suitable for a woman.
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, therefore arranged a marriage between Adelaide and Herman IV, Duke of Swabia, to serve as margrave of Turin after Ulric's death (1034). The two were married in January 1037, but Herman died of the plague while combatting Naples in July 1038.
Adelaide remarried in order to secure her vast march to Henry of Montferrat (1041), but he died in 1045 and left her a widow for the second time. Immediately, a third marriage was undertaken, this time to Otto of Savoy (1046). With Otto she had three sons, Peter I, Amadeus II, and Otto. She also had two daughters, Bertha and Adelaide. Bertha, the countess of Maurienne, married the Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, while Adelaide married Rudolf of Rheinfeld, who opposed Henry as King of Germany.
After 1060, Adelaide acted as regent for her sons. In 1068, Henry tried to divorce Bertha and consequently drove Adelaide to an intense hatred of him and his family. However, through the intervention of Bertha, Henry received Adelaide's support when he came to Italy to submit to Pope Gregory VII and Matilda of Tuscany at Canossa. Adelaide and Amadeus accompanied the humiliated emperor to Canossa. In gratitude for her mediation, Henry donated Bugey to Adelaide and her family and took back Bertha as his wife, returning to Germany.
Adelaide later played the mediator between her two royal sons-in-law, Henry and the aforementioned Rudolf during the wars of the 1080s in Germany. She was an opponent of the Gregorian reform, though she honoured the papacy, and defender of the autonomy of abbacies.
In 1091, Adelaide died, to the general mourning of her people, and was buried in the parochial church of Canischio (Canisculum), a small village on the Cuorgnè in the Valle dell'Orco, to which she had retired in her later years. In the Cathedral of San Giusto in Susa, in a niche in the wall, there is a statue of walnut wood, beneath a bronze veneer, representing Adelaide, genuflecting in prayer. Above it can be read the inscription: Questa è Adelaide, cui l'istessa Roma Cole, e primo d'Ausonia onor la noma.
Adelaide had passed her childhood amongst the retainers of her father and had even learned the martial arts when young, bearing her own arms and armour. She was reputed to be beautiful and virtuous. She was pious, putting eternal things ahead of temporal. Strong in temperment, she did not hesitate to punish even the bishops and grandees of her realm. She patronised the minstrels and always received them at her court, urging them to compose songs emphasising religious values. She was a founder of cloisters and monasteries that transmitted the history of the region. The only failure of Adelaide's career was the loss of the County of Albon. Greatly admired in her own time, she was compared to Deborah of Biblical fame and was known affectionately as the "marchioness of the Italians." Peter Damian summed up her life and career in the admiring words:
? Tu, senza l'aiuto di un re, sostieni il peso del regno, ed a te ricorrono quelli che alle loro decisioni desiderano aggiungere il peso di una sentenza legale. Dio onnipotente benedica te ed i tuoi figlioli d'indole regia.
You, without the help of a king, sustain the weight of a kingdom, and to you return those who wich to add to their decisions the weight of legal pronouncement. Omnipotent God bless you and your regal children. ?
1. ^ Also given as 27 December.
2. ^ There is a discrepancy here: Adelaide is said to be sixteen years old at the time of her marriage, yet was probably born aroun 1016. Herman is known to have died after eighteen months of matrimony in July 1038. Thus, Adelaide must have been born in 1021, the couple married in 1032, Adelaide actually about 22, or the marriage of six years duration. Perhaps circa 1016 and circa 1020 are the same thing?
3. ^ Her burial is also placed in San Giusto, Susa, or San Giovanni, Turin.
Father: Oldéric-Manfred II of Turin
Mother: Bertha of the Obertenghi
Hermann IV of Swabia
- Gebhard I of Swabia
- Richwara von Swabia
Oddon de Savoie
- Adélaïde de Savoie
- Amadee II of Savoy b: 1046
- Bertha of Maurienne
- Pierre de Savoie