Mahaut, Countess of Artois

Mahaut of Artois also known as Mathilda (1268 – 27 November 1329), ruled as Countess of Artois from 1302 to 1329. She was furthermore regent of the County of Burgundy from 1303 to 1315 during the minority and the absence of her daughter, Joan II, Countess of Burgundy.

Mahaut of Artois
Countess of Artois
Reign11 July 1302 – 27 November 1329
PredecessorRobert II
SuccessorJoan II
Bornc. 1268
Prob. Artois, France
Died27 November 1329(1329-11-27) (aged 60–61)
Paris, Île-de-France, France
(m. 1285; died 1303)
IssueJoan, Queen of France
Blanche, Queen of France
Robert of Burgundy
HouseArtois (by birth)
Ivrea (by marriage)
FatherRobert II, Count of Artois
MotherAmicie of Courtenay
ReligionRoman Catholicism


Early lifeEdit

She was the eldest child (and only daughter) of Robert II, Count of Artois, and Amicie of Courtenay.[1] Her paternal grandparents were Robert I, Count of Artois, and Matilda of Brabant. Her maternal grandparents were Pierre de Courtenay, Seigneur de Conches, and Perronelle de Joigny.[1] She was the sister of Philip of Artois (1269–1298)[1] and Robert of Artois (born 1271).

In 1291, Mahaut married Otto IV, Count of Burgundy.[2] She became the mother of three children, including two girls who married kings of France.

Rule in ArtoisEdit

Because of the premature death of her brother Philip in 1298, she inherited the County of Artois at her father's death in 1302, rather than her nephew Robert III (her inheritance being based upon proximity of blood).[3] Although he repeatedly challenged the decision, her rights to the county were consistently upheld by the Parlement of Paris and the royal court.[4] She was an able administrator and managed to defeat the many rebellions perpetrated by members of the nobility. Her senior administrator was the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arras, Thierry de Hérisson.[5]

Regency in BurgundyEdit

Upon the death of her spouse in 1303, he was succeeded by their daughter Joan II, Countess of Burgundy in the County of Burgundy. Since Joan II was under age, she acted as her regent during her minority. When Joan II married the future Philip V of France in 1307, Mahaut continued to rule the domains of her absent daughter until 1315.


Upon the death of Mahaut in 1329, the county of Artois was inherited by her daughter Joan.


Mahaut's daughters Joan II and Blanche, along with their cousin Margaret of Burgundy, all future queens of France, were implicated in the Tour de Nesle affair.

In fictionEdit

Mahaut is a major character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of historical novels by Maurice Druon. Druon describes her as the poisoner of Louis X and his infant son Jean I, who is later poisoned herself the same way by her lady-in-waiting Béatrice d'Hirson, who originally helped with the King's poisoning. Allan Massie wrote in The Wall Street Journal, "Few figures in literature are as terrible as the Countess Mahaut, murderer and maker of kings."[7] She was portrayed by Hélène Duc in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the novels,[8] and by Jeanne Moreau in the 2005 remake.[9][10]

Family treeEdit


  1. ^ a b c Dunbabin 2011, p. xiii.
  2. ^ Cox 1999, p. 364.
  3. ^ Wood 1966, p. 59-60.
  4. ^ Sample 2008, p. 264.
  5. ^ Small 1990, p. 163–175.
  6. ^ a b Blanche of Artois and Burgundy, Chateau-Gaillard, and the Baron de Joursanvault, Elizabeth A.R. Brown, Negotiating Community and Difference in Medieval Europe, ed. Katherine Allen Smith and Scott Wells, (Brill, 2009), 223.
  7. ^ Massie, Allan (27 March 2015). "The Original Game of Thrones". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  8. ^ Lentz III, Harris M. (7 May 2015). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2014. McFarland & Company. p. 100. ISBN 9780786476664. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Official website: Les Rois maudits (2005 miniseries)" (in French). 2005. Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Les Rois maudits: Casting de la saison 1" (in French). AlloCiné. 2005. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.


  • Cox, Eugene (1999). "The kingdoms of Burgundy, the lands of the house of Savoy and adjacent territories". In Abulafia, David (ed.). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 5, C.1198-c.1300. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dunbabin, Jean (2011). The French in the Kingdom of Sicily, 1266–1305. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sample, Dana L. (2008). Villalon, L.J. Andrew; Kagay, Donald J. (eds.). Philip VI's Mortal Enemy: Robert of Artois and the Beginning of the Hundred Years War', The Hundred Years War (Part II): Different Vistas. Brill.
  • Small, Carola M. (1990). "Messengers in the County of Artois, 1295-1329". Canadian Journal of History. 25 (2): 163–175. doi:10.3138/cjh.25.2.163. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013.
  • Wood, Charles T. (1966). The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy, 1224-1328. Harvard University Press.
Mahaut, Countess of Artois
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 1268 Died: 28 October 1329
French nobility
Preceded by Countess of Artois
Succeeded by