Robert II Curthose (Normandie) of Normandy
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Robert (Normandie) of Normandy (abt. 1054 - abt. 1134)

Robert (Robert II Curthose) "Duke of Normandy" of Normandy formerly Normandie
Born about in Falaise, Normandiemap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married Sep 1100 in Italymap
Died about in Cardiff, Walesmap
Profile last modified | Created 21 Nov 2013
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European Aristocracy
Robert II Curthose (Normandie) of Normandy was a member of aristocracy in Europe.
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Robert II Curthose (Normandie) of Normandy is a member of the House of Normandie.



Name and Titles

Name: Robert II of Normandy, Duke of Normandy
Often nicknamed Curthose (Norman French Courtheuse). [1]
Eldest son of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders.
Duke of Normandy (1087 - 1106)
Count of Maine
Unsuccessful claimant as King of England

Robert, Duke of Normandy (ref: Royal Tombs of Medieval England) William I's estates were divided after his death between his two eldest sons: Robert was made duke of Normandy and William crowned king of England. On William II's death Robert disputed the English throne with his youngest brother, Henry. Defeated at the battle of Tincehbrai in 1106, Robert spent the rest of his life in captivity; he died at Cardiff castle in 1134, aged eighty, and was buried in St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester. The wall inscription in the Gloucester chapterhouse 'Hic iecat... Robertus Curtus', probably refers to Richard's burial elsewhere in the abbey.

Marriage and Children

Married: Sybilla of Conversano, daughter of Geoffroi Count of Conversano and Brindisi, in September 1100 in Italy. [2] [3]
Children of Robert Curthose of Normandy and Sybilla:
  • William Clito (b. 25 Oct 1102 - c.1128). Heir to the Duchy of Normandy. No issue.
Children of Robert Curthose of Normandy and unknown mistress: [4]
  • Richard (d.1099) [4]


Died: Feb 1134 while imprisoned at Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales. [5][6]
Buried: Abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. [7]

The First Crusade

The History of the Crusades, by, Joseph Fr. Michaud, William Robson, and Hamilton W Mabie

"The men of the Vermandois marched with the subjects of Philip under the colours of their count Hugh, a young prince whose brilliant qualities had been much admired by the court."

"Robert, surnamed Courte-heuse, duke of Normandy, who led his vassals to the holy war, was the eldest son of William the Conqueror. He joined to noble qualities some of the faults the most reprehensible in a prince. He could not, even in his early youth, endure paternal authority; but, drawn away more by a desire for independence than by a real ambition, after having made war against his father for the sake of reigning in Normandy, he neglected the opportunity of ascending the throne of England on the death of William. His levity, his inconstancy, and his weakness, caused him to be despised both by his subjects and his enemies. His profusion ruined his people, and reduced him, if we may credit the monk Oderic Vital, to a condition bordering upon absolute poverty. The historian I have just quoted relates a trait, which, although difficult to be believed, at the same time describes both Robert and the age he lived in. " He was often compelled to remain in bed for want of clothes, and frequently was absent from mass because his nudity prevented him from assisting at it." his was not an ambition for conquering kingdoms in Asia, but his inconstant, chivalric disposition, that made him assume the cross, and take up arms. The Normans, a wandering and warlike people, who had made themselves remarkable among all the nations of Europe for their devotion to pilgrimages, hastened in crowds to his banner. As Duke Robert had not the means of providing for the expenses of an army, he pledged Normandy with his brother William Rufus. William, whom his ego accused of impiety, and who laughed at the knight errantry of the Crusaders, seized with joy the opportunity of governing a province which he hoped one day to unite to his kingdom. He levied taxes upon the clergy, whom he did not like, and caused the silver plate of the churches to be melted to pay the sum of ten thousand silver marks to Robert, who set out for the Holy Land, followed by almost all the nobility of his duchy."

"Another Robert, count of Flanders, placed himself at the head of the Frisons and the Flemings."

"Stephen, count of Blois and Chartres, had also taken up the cross."

The Four Leaders of the First Crusade

"These four chiefs were accompanied by a crowd of knights and nobles, among whom history names Robert of Paris, Evrard of Prusaiè, Achard de Montmerle, Isouard de Muson, Stephen, count d'Albermarle, Walter de St. Valery, Roger de Barneville, Fergant and Conan, two illustrious Bretons, Guis de Trusselle, Miles de Braiës, Raoul de Baugency, Rotrou, son of the count de Perche; Odo, bishop of Bayeux, uncle of the duke of Normandy; Raoul de Gader, Yve and Albéric, sons of Hugh de Grandménil. The greater part of the counts and barons took with them their wives and children, and all their war equipages. They crossed the Alps, and directed their march towards the cities of Italy, with the intention of embarking for Greece. They found in the neighbourhood of Lucca Pope Urban, who gave them his benediction, praised their zeal, and offered up prayers for the success of their enterprize. The count de Vermandois, after having received the standard of the Church from the hands of the sovereign pontiff, repaired to Rome, with the other princes, to visit the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul."

"The passage of the French Crusaders, however, had awakened the zeal of the Italians. Bohemond, prince of Tarentum, was the first who resolved to associate himself with their fortunes, and to partake of the glory of the holy expedition."

The First Crusade; The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, by August Charles Krey

"When this message was heard, the Christians, cleansed by confession, and stoutly armed by partaking of the body and blood of Christ, went out from the gate ready for battle. The first to go forth was Hugh the Great, with his Franks; next the Count of the Normans and the Count of Flanders; after them, the venerable Bishop of Puy and the battle line of the Count of St. Gilles; after him, Tancred; and last of all, unconquered Bohemund. When, accordingly, the lines had been formed, with the Lance of the Lord and the Cross before them, they began battle with the greatest confidence. God helping, they turned in flight the Turkish princes, who were confused and utterly beaten, and killed countless numbers of them. Returning, therefore, with victory, we gave thanks to the Lord and celebrated the festival of the apostles with the greatest rejoicing. On that day the citadel was surrendered to us, the son of the King of Antioch having fled with Corbara. The King himself had been killed by peasants while fleeing in the mountains on the day that the city was surrendered.*"

  • "King of Antioch" and "son", seem to be Yaghi-Siyan and his son Shams ad-Dawla. [8]


1063: Count of Maine

1077: insurrection against father

Jan 1079: Robert wounds dad in battle.

Easter 1080: Queen Matilda reunites father and son. Truce lasts 'til her death. After, Robert travels France, Germany Flanders and Italy. He winds up having several illegitimate children. His illegitimate son Richard, probably spent most his life living with William Rufus.

1087: Conqueror dies. But before he does, he wants to disown Robert. He's talked into splitting Norman territory. Robert gets Normandy. England goes to William Rufus. Henry gets cash and told to buy his own land.

1096: First Crusade

1100: William II died on 2 August 1100, when Robert was returning from Crusade and about to marry a wealthy bride to buy back his duchy. As a result, Henry was able to seize the crown.

1101: renounces claim in Treaty of Alton

1105: Robert's discord with brother in England and civil disorder in Normandy prompt Henry to invade Normandy.[9]

1106: Henry defeats Robert's army at Battle of Tinchebray. Claims Normandy for English crown.

FMG Notes

ROBERT de Normandie (Normandy [1052/54]-Cardiff Castle [3] Feb 1134, bur Gloucester Cathedral[27]). Guillaume of Jumièges records that Duke Guillaume and his wife “Balduinum Flandriæ comitem...filiam regali ex genere descendente...Mathilde” had “filios quatuor Henricum”, adding that Robert succeeded to “ducatum Normanniæ”[28]. Orderic Vitalis names “ Ricardum, Willermum et Henricum” as the sons of “Willermus Normanniæ dux” and his wife “Mathildem Balduini ducis Flandrensium filiam, neptem...ex sorore Henrici regis Francorum”[29]. William of Malmesbury names Robert as eldest son of King William I[30]. "Roberti filii sui Normannorum comitis, Richardi filii sui…" subscribed the charter dated Apr 1067 under which "Willelmus…dux Normannorum…Anglorum rex" confirmed rights to the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire[31]. After unsuccessfully aspiring to govern Normandy and Maine during the lifetime of his father, Robert rebelled in 1079 and went into exile in Flanders: Orderic Vitalis records the rebellion of Robert, son of King William I, and his departure from Normandy accompanied by “Rodbertus de Bellismo et Guillelmus de Britolio, Rogerius Ricardi de Benefacta filius, Rodbertus de Molbraio et Guillelmus de Molinis, Guillelmus de Ruperia”, dated to [1077/78], and their journeys during five years of exile[32]. William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis both state that he was assisted in his rebellion by Philippe I King of France and that he wounded his father in battle at Gerberoy[33]. He succeeded his father in 1087 as ROBERT “Curthose” Duke of Normandy, his nickname due, according to William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis, to his short stature which he presumably inherited from his mother who was also reputed to have been very short[34]. Orderic Vitalis records, that after the death of his father, “Rodbertus...filius eius” succeeded as “Normannorum dux et Cennomannorum princeps” but that he was “torpori et ignaviæ subjectus” and never governed as he should[35]. He joined the contingent of Robert II Count of Flanders on the First Crusade in Sep 1096, together with Etienne Comte de Blois, after pledging the duchy of Normandy to his brother King William for 10,000 marks of silver in order to fund the expedition[36]. Albert of Aix records the arrival in Constantinople of "Robertus Normannorum comes, Stephanus Blesensis, Eustachius frater prædicti Ducis", dated to early 1097 from the context[37]. Following the capture of Jerusalem, Robert left Palestine to return to Europe in Sep 1099[38]. On returning to Normandy in Autumn 1100, he recovered his duchy without opposition[39]. He landed at Portsmouth in 1102 aiming to displace his brother King Henry I as king of England, but was persuaded to return to Normandy on payment of 3,000 marks[40]. His brother King Henry invaded Normandy and defeated Robert at the battle of Tinchebrai[41], declaring himself duke of Normandy 28 Sep 1106. King Henry took Robert in captivity back to England, where Robert remained in prison for the rest of his life. Robert of Torigny records the death in 1134 of "Robertus dux Normannorum filius Willermi regis…primogenitus" and his burial at Gloucester[42]. The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the death at Cardiff in [1134] of "Rotbertus frater regis Heinrici quondam comes Normanniæ" and his burial in Gloucester[43]. [10]


Footnotes and citations:
  1. 'Curthose' still seen in France as Courtoise, and Britain as Curthoys; means short stockings; William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis report that Robert's father, King William, called him brevis-ocrea (short-boot) in derision.
  2. m. on the way back from Crusade
  3. d. at Rouen after birth of William Clito (David, 1920); d. shortly after giving childbirth: Malmesbury claims she died from binding breasts too tight; possibly murdered by group of noblewomen led by husband's mistress, Agnes Giffard (Robert of Torigny; Orderic Vitalis)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wikipedia: Robert Curthose
  5. David, 1920
  6. Lack, 2007
  7. legend states he requested to be buried before the High Altar. His effigy, carved in bog oak, lies on a mortuary chest decorated with supposed arms of the Nine Worthies (missing one – Joshua, and replaced with the arms of Edward the Confessor). It dates abt. 100 years after death, and the mortuary chest much later.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Yaghi-Siyan," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, [1] (accessed March 23, 2016).
  9. Orderic reports an incident at Easter 1105 when Robert was supposed to hear a sermon by the venerable Serlo, Bishop of Sées. Robert spent the night before sporting with harlots and jesters and while he lay in bed sleeping off his drunkenness his unworthy friends stole his clothes. He awoke to find himself naked and had to remain in bed and missed the sermon.
  10. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Medieval Lands Project [2]
Source list:
  • Barlow, Frank. William Rufus (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983): 441-443, appendix A: the Children of William I and Matilda. LINK
  • Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, in 5 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013): vol. I pg. 5.
  • Krey, August Charles. The First Crusade; The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants. (Princeton,: Princeton University Press, 1921). LINK
  • Lack, Katherine, Conqueror's Son: Duke Robert Curthose, Thwarted King. (Sutton Publishing, 2007): 153.
  • Michaud, Joseph Fr., William Robson, and Hamilton W Mabie. The History of the Crusades, pg LINK
  • Wikipedia contributors, "Robert Curthose," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, [3] (accessed March 24, 2016).
  • Britannica biography [4]
  • Royal Tombs of Medieval England M. Duffy 2003 page 47
  • Barlow, F. (1983). William Rufus. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520049369. OCLC 8954468.
  • Bartlett, R. (2000). "The struggle for succession 1075 - 1225." England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075 - 1225. Oxford: Clarendon Press. eBook. ISBN 0-19-822741-8.
  • David, C.W. (1920). "Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy", in Harvard Historical Studies. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920): vol. 25, p. 146. Google Books LINK.
  • Green, J. (2000). "Robert Curthose Reassessed". In Harper-Bill, Christopher. Anglo-Norman studies XXII: proceedings of the Battle Conference 1999. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. pp. 95–116. ISBN 9780851157962. OCLC 45238208. Also OCLC 247394557
  • Mooers, S.L. (1981). Backers and stabbers:: Problems of loyalty in Robert Curthose's entourage. Journal of British Studies 21(1), pp. 1–17. doi:10.1086/385779.
  • Orderic Vitalis
  • Robert of Torigny
  • William of Malmesbury

MEDIEVAL LANDS: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families by Charles Cawley © Foundation for Medieval Genealogy & Charles Cawley 2000-2018.

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De Normandie-133 and Normandie-122 appear to represent the same person because: Same Stats: DOB< DOD, Same FAM: SAME>?
posted by Renee Malloy Esq
De Normandie-136 and De Normandie-133 appear to represent the same person because: Data generally matches, aside from slight variations in dates.
posted by Tim Perry

Robert II Curthose is 25 degrees from Cecil B. DeMille, 32 degrees from Rosalie Neve and 14 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.