Mathilda Countess of Tuscany

Mathilda Countess Of Tuscany, well known in history through her close political connection with pope Gregory VII (q.v.), was a daughter of Boniface, count of Tuscany, and was born in 1046. She is said to have married Godfrey (surnamed Il Gobbo, or the "Hunchback"), duke of Lorraine, in 1069, by procuration;

but, if so, her husband did not make his appearance in Italy until four years after the wedding ceremony, and the two, if they were ever united, soon afterwards separated. Godfrey went back to his duchy, and became a supporter of the emperor Henry IV, while Mathilda made herself conspicuous by the zeal with which she espoused the cause of Gregory VII. She became his inseparable associate, was ever ready to assist him in all he undertook, and to share every danger from which she could not protect him. In 1077, when Henry had suddenly made his appearance in Italy, and Gregory was fearing for his safety, she gave the pontiff shelter in her own castle. This intimacy of Mathilda with the pope has given rise to much scandal, though every unprejudiced mind will clear both of the guilt they stand accused of. Both the countess and the vicar were pure in character. if their correspondence may serve as an index of their thoughts. (See on this point Neander, Ch. Hist. 4:113, 86.) In 1079 Mathilda made a gift of all her goods and possessions to the Church. In 1081 she alone stood by the pope, when Henry poured his troops into Italy, burning to avenge his humiliation at Canossa; she supported him with money when he was besieged in Rome; and after his death at Salerno boldly carried on the war against the emperor. She died at the Benedictine monastery of Polirone in 1115. Her death gave rise to new feuds between the emperor and pope Paschal III on account of her gift to the Church, which finally resulted in the former wresting from the latter a portion of Mathilda's possessions, but even what remained constituted nearly the whole of the subsequent "Patrimony of Peter." See PATRIMONIUM PETRI. (J. H. W.)

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