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Humbert II of Viennois

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Humbert II de la Tour-du-Pin (1312 – 22 May 1355) was the Dauphin of the Viennois from 1333 to 16 July 1349. He was a son of the Dauphin John II and Beatrice of Hungary. Humbert was the last dauphin before the title went to the French crown, to be bestowed on the heir apparent.

To contemporaries, he was incompetent and extravagant, lacking the warlike ardour of his brother and predecessor Guigues VIII. He passed his youth at Naples enjoying the aesthetic pleasures of the Italian quattrocento. His subsequent court at Beauvoir-en-Royans was badly received at the time for its sumptuousness. Unlike his predecessors, Humbert did not lead the itinerant life, moving constantly from one delphinal castle to another, instead preferring to settle down in Beauvoir.

He depleted his treasury funding a vain Crusade to rescue the Holy Land, but after the death of his only son Andrew (5 September 1333 – Grenoble, October 1335), he quickly gave up the idea and by 1337 was planning to ceded his inheritance. In 1339, financial difficulties accumulating, he made an inventory of his possessions, with the hope of selling them to Pope Benedict XII. In May 1345, Humbert had left Marseille at the head of a papal fleet. The Crusade was led against the Turkish Emirate of Aydin, and was intended to assist the recently captured Frankish port of Smyrna, but was attacked by Genoa near Rhodes. He was asked to intervene by the Venice in the conflict ongoing between Bartolomeo Zaccaria and Guglielma Pallavicini over the marquisate of Bodonitsa. He returned before the Crusade had achieved anything notable.

The planned sale to the pope falling through, Humbert finally succeeded in completing a sale to Philip VI of France in 1349 for 400,000 écus and an annual pension. To save appearances, however, the sale was referred to as a "transport." In order to prevent the delphinal title from going into abeyance or being swallowed up in another sovereign title, Humbert instated the "Delphinal Statute" whereby the Dauphiné was exempted from many taxes and imposts. This statute was the subject of much subsequent parliamentary debate at the regional level, as local leaders sought to defend this regional autonomy and privilege from the state's assaults.

After ceding his lands, Humber entered the Dominican Order and aspired to become Bishop of Paris and eventually Pope. He adopted the saecular titles of Prince of Briançonnois, Duke of Champsor, and Margrave of Cézane. He received the ecclesiastic titles of Patriarch of Alexandria and perpetual administrator of the Archdiocese of Rheims. It is with these latter titles that his death is recorded in a necrology of Vauvert: in Clermont-en-Auvergne, at forty three years of age in 1355. His wife had been Beatrice of Baux, daughter of Bertrand of Baux, and their only son was the aforementioned Andrew.


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