Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy

Charles Emmanuel I (Italian: Carlo Emanuele di Savoia; 12 January 1562 – 26 July 1630), known as the Great, was the Duke of Savoy from 1580 to 1630. He was nicknamed Testa d'feu ("the Hot-Headed") for his rashness and military aggression.

Charles Emmanuel I
Jan Kraeck - Ritratto Di Carlo Emanuele I Di Savoia (1562-1630)
Duke of Savoy
Reign30 August 1580 – 26 July 1630
PredecessorEmmanuel Philibert
SuccessorVictor Amadeus I
Born12 January 1562
Castle of Rivoli, Rivoli, Piedmont, Italy
Died26 July 1630 (aged 68)
Savigliano, Piedmont
Catherina Micaela of Spain
(m. 1584; died 1597)

Marguerite de Rossillon
(m. 1629)
FatherEmmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
MotherMargaret of France
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Engraving of Charles Emmanuel I
Charles emmanuel with dwarf
Charles Emmanuel as a boy with his dwarf, portrait by Giacomo Vighi.


He was born in the Castle of Rivoli in Piedmont, the only child of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry.[1] He became duke on 30 August 1580.[2]

Well-educated, and intelligent, he spoke Italian, French and Spanish, as well as Latin. He proved an able warrior although short and hunchbacked. Being also ambitious and confident, he pursued a policy of expansion for his duchy, seeking to expand it into a kingdom.[3] In the autumn of 1588, taking advantage of the civil war weakening France during the reign of his first cousin Henry III, he occupied the Marquisate of Saluzzo, which was under French protection. The new king, Henry IV, demanded the restitution of that land, but Charles Emmanuel refused, and war ensued. The broader conflict involving France and Spain ended with the Peace of Vervins (2 May 1598), which left the current but separate question of Saluzzo unsolved. After the Duke started talks with Spain, Henry threatened to return to war until, with the Treaty of Lyon (17 January 1601), Saluzzo went to Savoy in exchange for Bresse and other territories over the Alps. By terms of the treaty, the eradication of Protestants was to be carried on in the duchy.

In 1602 Charles Emmanuel attacked the city of Geneva. On 11 December that year he led his troops to the city during the night and they surrounded the city walls by two in the morning. The Savoyard cuirassiers were ordered to dismount and climb the city walls in full armour as a shock tactic. However, the alarm was raised by a night watchman and Geneva's militia rose to meet the invaders. The attempted raid was a disastrous failure, and 54 Savoyards were killed, and many more were captured. Charles Emmanuel's army retreated in a panic and the Savoyard prisoners were executed.

The heavy helmets worn by Charles Emmanuel's troops, with visors made in a stylized imitation of a human face, were known as "Savoyard" helmets after this notorious incident. A number of these suits of armour were captured by the Swiss and kept as trophies. The Geneva militia's successful defence of the city's walls is still celebrated as an act of heroism during the annual festival of L'Escalade.[4]

With the Treaty of Bruzolo (25 April 1610), Charles Emmanuel allied with France against Spain, but the assassination of Henry IV changed the situation, as the treaty was not recognized by Marie de' Medici, who immediately assumed regency for Henry's son Louis XIII, a minor. Nevertheless, Charles Emmanuel obtained the help of French troops to free Alba from the Spaniards (January 1617), as the new king resumed his father's alliance with Savoy. His sister Christine Marie was married to Charles Emmanuel's son, Victor Amadeus in 1619.

Savoyard armour captured by the Swiss after the failed siege of Geneva

In the First Genoese-Savoyard War of 1625, Charles Emmanuel tried with the help of France to obtain access to the Mediterranean Sea at the expense of Genoa.[5] After Spanish intervention, the status-quo was restored in the Treaty of Monçon.

However, when the French occupied Casale Monferrato during the War of the Mantuan Succession, Charles Emmanuel allied with Spain. When Richelieu invaded Piedmont and conquered Susa, the duke changed sides again and returned to an alliance with France. However, when Philip IV of Spain sent two invasion forces from Genoa and Como, Charles Emmanuel declared himself neutral, and in 1630 Richelieu ordered a French army to march into Savoy to force the duke to comply with the pacts. The French troops, soon backed by another army, occupied Pinerolo and Avigliana. The Savoy army under Victor Amadeus was defeated in Lower Valsusa.

Charles Emmanuel was one of the most wanted candidates for the crown of a restored Serbian kingdom, hypothetically presumed after a Christian crusade against the Ottoman Empire during planning for the Great Conspiracy of the late 16th and early 17th centuries under the auspices of Serbian Patriarch Jovan, Herzegovinian Duke Grdan and other chiefs of the Serb clans. At the 1608 Council of monastery Morača, during a gathering of representatives of the Serb clans and the Serbian Church, Charles was elected King of Serbia and invited to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy (as a precondition for being crowned by Patriarch John) and to vow to protect Orthodox Christianity. The conspirators, bearing closely in mind the failures of the 1590 decade, did not want to expose themselves in any action before direct support from the West was forthcoming. Thus no broad uprising of the Balkan Christian peoples against the rule of the Ottoman Turks was sparked, as Charles Emmanuel lacked the financial resources to take the crown and restore the Serbian statehood extinguished in the 15th century.

The duke died suddenly of a stroke at Savigliano in late July 1630.[4] He was succeeded by his son Victor Amadeus.

Marriage and issue

In 1584 he married his first cousin-once-removed, Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain, daughter of Philip II of Spain and Elizabeth of Valois, who bore him ten children:[6]

In Riva di Chieri on 28 November 1629, he secretly married his long-time and official mistress, Marguerite de Rossillon, Marchesa di Riva di Chieri (bap. 24 December 1599 – 10 November 1640), with whom he had four children, legitimized after the wedding but without succession rights:

  • Maurizio (died 1645), Marchese di Poirino, Cavalry colonel.
  • Margherita (died 1659), Signora of Dronero, Roccabruna e San Giuliano, married Filippo Francesco d’Este, Marchese di San Martino in Rio (ancestors of Maria Teresa Cybo-Malaspina).
  • Gabriele (died 1695), Marchese di Riva, Cavalry lieutenant general.
  • Antonio (died 1688), Abbot of San Michele della Chiusa (1642), of Santa Maria d’Aulps (1645), of Altacomba (1653), of San Benigno di Fruttuaria (1660) and Casanuova (1687), Lietunenat General of the County of Nice (1672).

In addition he had several illegitimate children:

— With Luisa de During Maréchal:

  • Emanuele (1600–1652), Marchese di Andorno.

— With Virginia Pallavicino:

  • Carlo Umberto (1601–1663), Marchese di Mulazzano con Gonzole, married Claudia Ferrero Fieschi.
  • Silvio (died 1645), Abbot Commander of Santa Maria d’Entremont (1631), of San Lorenzo fuori le mura d’Ivrea (1642), Governor of Ivrea (1641).
  • Vitichindo (d. 1668 or 1674), priest.

— With Argentina Provana:

  • Felice (1604–1643), Marchese di Baldissero d’Alba, Signore of Farigliano, Sessanta, Serravalle e Sommariva del Bosco (1629), Lieutenant of the County of Nice 1625/1632.

— With Anna Felizita Cusani:

  • Ludovico Cusani (died 1684), Knight of the Order of Saint Maurice and Lazarus.

— With unknown mistress:

  • Anna Caterina Meraviglia (died 1660).


Ancestors of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy
16. Louis, Duke of Savoy
8. Philip II, Duke of Savoy
17. Anne of Cyprus
4. Charles III, Duke of Savoy
18. Jean II de Brosse
9. Claudine de Brosse
19. Nicole de Châtillon
2. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
20. Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu
10. Manuel I of Portugal
21. Beatrice of Portugal
5. Beatrice of Portugal
22. Ferdinand II of Aragon
11. Maria of Aragon
23. Isabella I of Castile
1. Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy
24. John, Count of Angoulême
12. Charles, Count of Angoulême
25. Marguerite de Rohan
6. Francis I of France
26. Philip II, Duke of Savoy (= 8)
13. Louise of Savoy
27. Margaret of Bourbon
3. Margaret, Duchess of Berry
28. Charles, Duke of Orléans
14. Louis XII of France
29. Marie of Cleves
7. Claude, Duchess of Brittany
30. Francis II, Duke of Brittany
15. Anne, Duchess of Brittany
31. Margaret of Foix


  1. ^ C.E.D.R.E. 1992, p. 81.
  2. ^ Kamen 1997, p. 249.
  3. ^ C.E.D.R.E. 1992, p. 129.
  4. ^ a b C.E.D.R.E. 1992, p. 131.
  5. ^ Storrs 1999, p. 24.
  6. ^ C.E.D.R.E. 1992, p. 131-132, 138, 152-154.


  • Le Royaume d'Italie, vol. I. Les manuscrits du C.E.D.R.E. (Cercle d'Études des Dynasties Royales Européennes): Dictionnaire Historique et Généalogique. 1992. ISSN 0993-3964. pp. 80–81, 129-132, 152-154.
  • Kamen, Henry (1997). Philip II. Yale University Press.
  • Storrs, Christopher (1999). War, Diplomacy and the Rise of Savoy 1690-1720. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521551463.
Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy
Born: 12 January 1562 Died: 26 July 1630
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emmanuel Philibert
Duke of Savoy
Succeeded by
Victor Amadeus I
1630 in France

Events from the year 1630 in France

Adriaen de Vries

Adriaen de Vries (c.1556–1626) was a Northern Mannerist sculptor born in the Netherlands, whose international style crossed the threshold to the Baroque; he excelled in refined modelling and bronze casting and in the manipulation of patina and became the most famous European sculptor of his generation. He also excelled in draughtsmanship.

Born in The Hague to a patrician family, his early training is obscure; a recent suggestion suggests an apprenticeship with Willem Danielsz. van Tetrode, known in Italy as Guglielmo Fiammingo, a pupil of Benvenuto Cellini who had returned to the Netherlands. Another possibility is that he was apprenticed to a goldsmith, his brother-in-law Simon Adriaensz Rottermont. Both possibilities are suggestive in view of de Vries' virtuoso casting technique and refined finish.

He travelled to Florence, where, as early as 1581, he is documented working in the studio of the master Mannerist sculptor Giambologna, a Northerner like himself, and the greatest influence on his mature work. Three of the Virtues and some of the putti for Giambologna's Grimaldi Chapel, in San Francesco di Castelletto, Genoa (1579), have been attributed to Adriaen de Vries. In 1586 he was called to Milan to assist Pompeo, the son of the ailing Leone Leoni, whom he succeeded as master of one of Italy's largest bronze-casting studios; for Leoni de Vries provided three heroically-scaled saints for Leoni's high altar at the basilica of San Lorenzo at the Escorial.

This led to his brief appointment as court sculptor to Philip II's son-in-law Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy in Turin. In 1589-94 he worked for the first time in Prague, making busts and reliefs for Emperor Rudolf II. These sculptures are now housed in Vienna and at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which possesses a bust of Rudolf in bas-relief. He left Prague in 1594 for a visit to study in Rome. On his return through Germany he executed two fountains in 1596 for the city of Augsburg, the Mercury and Hercules and the Hydra fountains, which may still be seen in Maximilianstraße.

De Vries returned in 1601 to Prague, where Rudolf made him Kammerbildhauer. During his hypothetical stay in Rome in 1604, he had cast a statue of Christ at the column, a centrepiece for Adam von Hannewaldt's tomb monument in the Holy Trinity Church in Rothsürben (Żórawina), today in the National Museum in Warsaw. It was conceived as a part of a five figure group of the Flagellation of Christ. He remained in Prague after Rudolf's death in 1612, though the Imperial court returned to Vienna, until his own death in Prague in 1626. During this late period he found a new patron in the Prince of Liechtenstein and received sculpture commissions from several German sovereigns, such as from Ernst of Schaumburg for the resurrection group in Stadthagen mausoleum, today the only work of De Vries to be seen in its original situation; he was also commissioned to make a Neptune fountain for the gardens of the king of Denmark's royal palace, Frederiksborg. One of the statues from this fountain is now displayed in the Rijksmuseum.

The Rijksmuseum owns the only two sculptures by de Vries found in his native Netherlands, a bronze relief of Bacchus and Ariadne, and the recently-purchased (2014) Bacchant. The artist was scarcely known there until the exhibition mounted by the Rijksmuseum, the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1999. Fourteen sculptures, the largest collection of De Vries' work, are in Museum De Vries at Drottningholm Palace, opened in 2001. Their presence in Sweden is the result of the Sack of Prague in the last days of the Thirty Years' War, when the Swedes pillaged what remained of Rudolf's huge collections, and took a great many statues, in particular duke Albrecht von Wallenstein's garden statues, that used to adorn his palace on the lesser side of Prague. The originals, now to be found in Museum de Vries, are represented by bronze replicas at the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, now seat of the Czech senate. Another famous work by de Vries also now at Drottningholm was the Neptunus Fountain, made for Frederiksborg Palace in Denmark. These sculptures were also taken as prizes of war, during the Dano-Swedish War (1658–60).

Partly as a result of the disturbances of the Thirty Years' War, and also changes in style, Adriaen de Vries had no direct follower.

Alfonso III d'Este, Duke of Modena

Alfonso III d'Este (22 October 1591 – 26 May 1644) was Duke of Modena and Reggio from 1628 to 1629. He was the husband of Princess Isabella of Savoy, daughter of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy and his wife Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain.

André Provana de Leyni

André or Andrea II Provana de Leyni (1511, Leinì, Piedmont - 29 May 1592, Nice) was a statesman and military commander in the Duchy of Savoy. He was captain-general of the duke of Savoy's galleys and councillor and diplomat in the service of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and his son Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. He was one of the most important figures in the restoration of the States of Savoy in the 16th century after its occupation by Francis I of France.

He bore the titles of lord of Leyni, count of Frossasco, Alpignano, Castellata and Balangero, knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation and grand-admiral of the Order of Saint Maurice and Saint Lazarus.

Cascarolo bianco

Cascarolo bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Piedmont wine region of northwest Italy. The grape has a long history in the region and was noted in 1606 by Giovanni Battista Croce, vineyard owner and official jeweler to Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, as growing in the hills around Torino and producing wine of high esteem. It was once thought that Cascarolo bianco was the same variety as the Hungarian wine grape Fehér Gohér (also known as Augster Weisser) but DNA profiling in the early 21st century determined that the two grapes are unrelated. Today ampelographers believe that the grape is an offspring of the Swiss wine grape Rèze with DNA evidence suggesting some relationship with another white Piedmontese grape, Erbaluce.Ampelographers believe that the name Cascarolo is derived from the Italian cascolare, meaning "to fall", which could be a reference to the susceptibility of the variety to the viticultural hazard of coulure which causes unfertilized grape flowers to develop into poorly formed berries that fall off the vine.

Catherine of Habsburg

Catherine of Habsburg or Catherine of Austria may refer to:

Catherine of Habsburg (1256–1282), daughter of Rudolf I of Germany and wife of Otto III, Duke of Bavaria

Catherine of Austria, Duchess of Calabria (1295–1323), daughter of Albert I, Duke of Austria, and wife of Charles, Duke of Calabria

Catherine of Austria, Lady of Coucy (1320–1349), daughter of Leopold I, Duke of Austria, and wife of Enguerrand VI, Lord of Coucy

Catherine of Austria (1420–1493), daughter of Ernest, Duke of Austria, and wife of Charles I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal (1507–1578), daughter of Philip I and Joanna of Castile, wife of King John III of Portugal

Catherine of Austria, Queen of Poland (1533–1572), daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, and wife of King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland

Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain (1567–1597), daughter of Philip II of Spain and wife of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy

Archduchess Catherine Renata of Austria (1576–1599), daughter of Charles II, Archduke of Austria

Descendants of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici

Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici were married on October 28, 1533, and their marriage produced ten children. Henry and Catherine became the ancestors of monarchs of several countries.

Emanuel Filibert of Savoy

Emanuel Filibert of Savoy (April 16, 1588 – August 4, 1624) was the third son of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy and Viceroy of Sicily between 1622 and 1624.

Eugene Maurice, Count of Soissons

Eugene Maurice of Savoy (French: Eugène Maurice de Savoie; 2 March 1635 – 6 June 1673) was an Italian-French general and nobleman. A count of Soissons, he was the father of imperial field-marshal Prince Eugene of Savoy.

House of Savoy-Carignano

The House of Savoy-Carignano (Italian: Savoia-Carignano; French: Savoie-Carignan) originated as a cadet branch of the House of Savoy. It was founded by Thomas Francis of Savoy, Prince of Carignano (21 December 1596 - 22 January 1656), an Italian military commander who was the fifth son of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. His descendants were accepted as princes étrangers at the court of France, where some held prominent positions. They eventually came to reign as kings of Sardinia from 1831 to 1861, and as kings of Italy from 1861 until the dynasty's deposition in 1946. The Savoy-Carignano family also, briefly, supplied a king each to Spain and Croatia, as well as queens consort to Bulgaria and Portugal.

Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain

Catherine Michelle of Spain (Spanish: Catalina Micaela de Austria; 10 October 1567 – 6 November 1597) was a Duchess consort of Savoy who served as Regent of Savoy several times during the absence of her spouse, Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy. As the youngest surviving daughter of Philip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois, she was the sister of Isabella Clara Eugenia, Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands.

Isabella of Savoy

Isabella of Savoy (11 March 1591 – 28 August 1626) was a daughter of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy and Catherine Michelle of Spain. Her maternal grandparents were Philip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois, her paternal grandparents were Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry. She was the Hereditary Princess of Modena, dying before her husband succeeded to the Duchy of Modena in 1628.


L'Escalade, or Fête de l'Escalade (from escalade, the act of scaling defensive walls), was a notable attempt by Catholic Savoy to conquer Protestant Geneva, now commemorated by an annual festival each December celebrating the defeat of the surprise attack by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy during the night of 11–12 December 1602. The celebrations and other commemorative activities are usually held on 12 December or the closest weekend.

After fending off the Savoyard attack, with the help of Swiss Protestant cities, Geneva joined the Swiss Confederation.

Louis Victor, Prince of Carignano

Louis Victor of Savoy (25 September 1721 – 16 December 1778) headed a cadet branch of the Italian dynasty which reigned over the Kingdom of Sardinia, being known as the Prince of Carignano from 1741 till his death. Upon extinction of the senior line of the family, his great-grandson succeeded to the royal throne as King Charles Albert of Sardinia, while his great-great-grandson, Victor Emmanuel II, became King of Italy.

Prince Maurice of Savoy

Maurice of Savoy (10 January 1593 – 4 October 1657, Turin) was a Prince of Savoy and a 17th-century cardinal.

Princess of Carignano

The Princess of Carignano was a woman married to the Prince of Carignano of the House of Savoy. The list ends with Charles Albert, in 1831, after he became King of Sardinia. But the Queens of Sardinia and later Italy used the title "Princess of Carignano" as part of their full title which included a lot of other titles.

The fief of Carignano had belonged to the counts of Savoy since 1418; Carignano was erected by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy into a principality as an appanage for his third son, Thomas Francis. The fact that it was part of Piedmont, only twenty km. south of Turin, meant that it could be a "princedom" for Thomas in name only, being endowed neither with independence nor revenues of substance. Instead of receiving a significant patrimony, Thomas was wed in 1625 to Marie de Bourbon, sister and co-heiress of Louis de Bourbon, comte de Soissons, who would be killed in 1641 while fomenting rebellion against Cardinal Richelieu.

The Flashing Blade

The Flashing Blade (French: Le Chevalier Tempête) is a French television serial made in the late 1960s. It was first broadcast in the UK on BBC children's television during the 1960s, with several re-runs throughout the 1970s. The British version of twelve 22 minutes episodes was created from the original four French 75-minute episodes.The fictional story is based upon historical events during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631) between France and Spain and its allies. Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, a supporter of Spain, laid siege to Casale, the capital of Montferrat on the Savoie (Savoy) border. Despite numerous attempts to scale the defences, the beleaguered garrison held out. The Savoy army was eventually defeated by a French relief force on 18 March 1629.

The castle of Casale, seen being besieged in the opening credits, was filmed at Château Gaillard in France.

Treaty of Brussol

The Treaty of Brussol (also known as the Treaty of Bruzolo) was signed on 10 April 1610 in Bruzolo between Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, and Henry IV of France, inside the Castle of Bruzolo, (in Susa Valley, near Turin). Based on the terms of the accord, both signatories agreed to combine their forces in order to remove the Spanish from Italy. The agreement also dictated that the Duke of Mantua exchange the province of Casale Monferrato for the province of Cremona. Also, the territories of Montferrat and Milan would be united under the control of Savoy. Under the treaty, Victor Emmanuel would be restored to the throne of Lombardy. Also, Henry IV would have his daughter marry Prince Victor Amadeus I and that the King of France, the Republic of Venice, and the Pope guarantee the Duke of Savoy the title of King of Lombardy. However, this accord was never realized since Henry IV was assassinated by Ravaillac in May 1610. Marie de' Medici, just crowned queen, overturned the treaty. Even though Henry's death ended the treaty, Charles Emmanuel seized Montferrat from the Spanish in 1613, which led to a war that lasted until 1617.

Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy

Victor Amadeus I (Italian: Vittorio Amedeo I di Savoia; 8 May 1587 – 7 October 1637) was the Duke of Savoy from 1630 to 1637. He was also known as the Lion of Susa.

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