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house of Savoy, dynasty of Western Europe that ruled Savoy and Piedmont from the 11th cent., the kingdom of Sicily from 1714 to 1718, the kingdom of Sardinia from 1720 to 1861, and the kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. Collateral branches of the house of Savoy include that of Nemours.

Savoy and Piedmont

Its first important member was Count Humbert the Whitehanded, a powerful feudal lord of the kingdom of Arles (in SE France) in the 11th cent. He held possessions in Savoy and acquired, through marriage, several fiefs in Piedmont, including Turin. Through marriage, diplomacy, and conquest his successors expanded their holdings in France, Switzerland, and Italy, acquiring Bresse and Bugey, Chablais (on the south shore of the Lake of Geneva), Lower Valais, Gex, Ivrea, Pinerolo, Nice, parts of Vaud and of Geneva, and other seigniories and towns. Chambéry, acquired in 1232, became the seat of the counts, whose scattered possessions were gradually consolidated. Amadeus VIII acquired the ducal title in 1416. His son Louis (d. 1465) married Anne de Lusignan, titular heiress to the kingdoms of Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Armenia; these titles were later borne by ruling members of the house.

The expansion of Switzerland and the Italian Wars resulted in the temporary disintegration of the duchy. The Swiss took the lower Valais (1475) and Vaud (1536); Geneva became independent (1533); and the rest of the duchy was occupied (1536) by Francis I of France. In 1559, however, Duke Emmanuel Philibert, called Ironhead, obtained the restoration of his duchy—except the larger part of the Swiss conquests—under the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis. Emmanuel Philibert made Turin his capital, thus shifting the center of his duchy from France to Italy. The language and tone of the court, however, remained French until the late 18th cent. Emmanuel Philibert's son and successor, Charles Emmanuel I, unsuccessfully sought to reconquer Geneva. He gained (1601) the marquisate of Saluzzo in Piedmont from France in exchange for Bresse, Bugey, and Gex.

The Kingdom of Sicily

Charles Emmanuel I's successor, Victor Amadeus II, expanded his territories by advantageous alliances. In the War of the Spanish Succession he sided first with France, then with the forces of the Holy Roman emperor; by the peace of Utrecht (1713–14) he became king of Sicily and enlarged his Piedmontese territories. His cousin, Eugene of Savoy, headed the imperial forces in the war. Spain reconquered Sicily in 1718 but was forced by the Quadruple Alliance to cede Sardinia to Victor Amadeus in exchange for Sicily.

The Kingdom of Sardinia

After the acquisition of Sardinia, the political history of the dynasty became that of the kingdom of Sardinia (see Sardinia, kingdom of) and of Italy. Victor Amadeus II was succeeded by Charles Emmanuel III (reigned 1730–73), Victor Amadeus III (reigned 1773–96), and Charles Emmanuel IV, who lost all but the island of Sardinia to Napoleon I and abdicated (1802) in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel I. Restored to his possessions in 1814, Victor Emmanuel I abdicated in 1821, after the outbreak of a revolution in Piedmont. His brother and successor, Charles Felix, died without issue in 1831, and the cadet line of Savoy-Carignano, descended from a younger son of Charles Emmanuel I, came to the throne in the person of Charles Albert.

The Kingdom of Italy

In Charles Albert's reign the house of Savoy became the center of the Risorgimento, the movement that led to the unification of Italy under his son, Victor Emmanuel II. Savoy itself, however, was ceded to France in 1860. Humbert I, who succeeded (1878) Victor Emmanuel II as king of Italy, was assassinated in 1900. His son and successor, Victor Emmanuel III, also took the titles emperor of Ethiopia (1936) and king of Albania (1939); after the Italian armistice (1943) with the Allies in World War II he delegated (1944) his powers to his son, who briefly ruled (1946) as Humbert II from Victor Emmanuel's abdication until the establishment of the Italian republic, when the family went into exile. Male members of the family were barred from entering Italy from 1948 to 2002.

A younger son of Victor Emmanuel II, Amadeus, was given the title duke of Aosta; he was king of Spain from 1870 to 1873. His ducal title descended to Emmanuel Philibert, duke of Aosta.


See E. L. Cox, The Eagles of Savoy (1974).

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SAVOY (Fr. Savoie ), formerly a county and then a duchy, reunited with France in 1860, includes the present departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie in S.E. France. A Jewish inscription of 688 from *Narbonne, mentioning a Jew named Sapaudus, may be the first evidence of the presence of Jews in that region. Formal proofs of Jewish settlement in Savoy date only from the second half of the 13th century (the assertion that Jews were in Savoy after the expulsion from France in 1182 has no documentary basis, not even in Emek ha-Bakha of *Joseph ha-Kohen). Jews were to be found not only in Chambéry, but particularly in the following places (not including those which belonged to Savoy only temporarily): Aiguebelle, Montmélian, Rumilly, Yenne, Saint-Genix. Noteworthy is the place name "Lac des Juifs" near Chambéry. In almost all these places the Jews suffered bloody persecution in 1348 on the charge of spreading the *Black Death; even those who survived were robbed of all their goods.

The expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394 led to their emigrating into Savoy again. In 1417 the first investigation of Jewish books was entrusted to two converted Jews. Moreover, for many years the dukes had favored proselytizing activities, guaranteeing comfortable subsidies to new Christians. This was probably the persecution that Joseph ha-Kohen noted in 1394 and which he attributed to the preaching of Vicente *Ferrer; in fact, he notes having seen "a book of tattered appearance because it was one of those which the Jews, in those unhappy days, kept hidden at the bottom of wells until their torment was over." There was a fresh investigation into Jewish books in 1426 (this time directed by the inquisitor Ponce Feugerons), which resulted in the Jews pledging to delete the prohibited passages he had listed. The statutes promulgated by Duke Amadeus in 1430 reflect this general hostility by forcing the Jews to reside in a separate quarter ("Judeazimus") and wear a distinctive badge, and forbidding them to mingle with Christians on Christian festivals. There was another investigation of Jewish books in 1466, as well as of a series of other accusations – committing murders, practicing abortions, magic, and sorcery, and publicly insulting the duke. The investigation of books was again entrusted to a converted Jew, the physician Louis of Nice, a man whom the duke had favored for more than 20 years. Criminal proceedings were abandoned, however, despite numerous witnesses for the prosecution, when the Jews paid a very heavy fine.

From then on there is no further evidence of the presence of Jews in Savoy, except at Chambéry; it is therefore probable that their departure – voluntary or forced – resulted from these criminal proceedings. Joseph ha-Kohen dates the banishment of the Jews from Savoy to 1461. The existence of the Jewish community of Chambéry up to the beginning of the 16th century was recorded by the Jewish scholar Gershom *Soncino, who lived there at the time. There were a number of important Jewish doctors, some of them converts.


Gross, Gal Jud, 639f., 628; G. Sessa, Tractatus de Judaeis (1717); M.A. Gerson, in: rej, 8 (1884), 235–42; A. Nord-mann, ibid., 83 (1927), 63–73; 84 (1927), 81–91; C.A. Costa de Beauregard, in: Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts de Savoie, series 2, 2 (1854), 81–126; S. Dufour and F. Rabut, in: Mémoires et documents publiés par la Société d'histoire et d'archéologie, 15 (1875), 3–28; M. Esposito, in: Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, 34 (1938), 785–801; H. Merhavia, in: ks, 45 (1969/70), 590–606.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]

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Savoy (səvoi´), Fr. Savoie, Alpine region of E France. The boundaries of old Savoy have changed with time, but presently the region comprises the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. It is bounded on the N by Lake Geneva, on the W by the Rhône River, on the S by Dauphiné, and on the E by the Alpine crest on the Swiss and Italian borders. Chambéry is the historic capital of French Savoy. The region commands many important passes connecting France and Italy (notably the historic Little Saint Bernard and the Mont Cenis) and includes the French portion of the highest Alpine peak, Mont Blanc. Agriculture and dairying have long been the region's chief occupations. Tourism is also important, and there are many spas, the most notable at Évian-les-Bains. Savoy was inhabited by the Allobroges at the time Julius Caesar conquered the region. It became part of the first kingdom of Burgundy (5th cent.) and later of the kingdom of Arles (10th cent.), after which it was ceded to the Holy Roman Empire. In the 11th cent., Humbert the Whitehanded, a lord of Arles, consolidated the various feudal territories of the region, and from then on the region's history is closely linked with the house of Savoy (see Savoy, house of). Under Amadeus VIII, Savoy became (early 15th cent.) a duchy extending far into France, Italy, and Switzerland. By the beginning of the 16th cent. the rule of the dukes had grown weak, and Savoy fell under French and Swiss dominance. Emmanuel Philibert greatly restored the territory and fortunes of the region and moved the ducal residence to Turin (1559), after which Savoy became essentially an Italian rather than a French state. When Victor Amadeus II became king of Sardinia in 1713, Savoy became a part of that new state (see Sardinia, kingdom of). Annexed by France in 1792, Savoy was returned to Sardinia in 1815. Finally, by the Treaty of Turin (1860), Piedmont, then the ruling part of Savoy, ceded French Savoy to France. The region was annexed after a plebiscite.

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A territory in what is now southeastern France that held a strategic position astride the Alpine passes that linked Italy and northern Europe and became an influential state during the Renaissance. The Savoy dynasty was founded in the eleventh century by Humbert aux Blanches Mains (White Hands), who extended his domain into northern Italy. Savoy established a parliament of nobles, clergy, and city representatives in 1264 and a lawmaking assembly in 1329. In 1416 Amadeus VIII, the Count of Savoy, was granted the titles of prince and Duke of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Sigismund. The duchy was one of the first states in Europe to convene a regular assembly of representatives and write a constitution, known as the Statutes of Savoy, that set down the privileges of its three estates of nobility, clergy, and townspeople. In 1559 the capital was moved from Chambery to the northern Italian city of Turin. Savoy remained a prosperous and stable region, a refuge for many seeking shelter from the religious and political turmoil affecting France and Italy during the Renaissance.

See Also: France

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Savoy Area of se France, bounded by Lake Geneva (n), the River Rhône (w), the Dauphiné (s), and the Alps of Italy and Switzerland (e); it includes the departments of Haute Savoie and Savoie. It was part of the first Burgundian kingdom, the kingdom of Arles and, in the 11th century, the Holy Roman Empire. In 1416 it became a duchy, incorporating parts of France, Switzerland, and Italy. An Italian state in the 16th century, it was part of the kingdom of Sardinia after 1713. France annexed Savoy in 1792. It returned to Sardinia in 1815, who finally ceded to France by the Treaty of Turin (1860).

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Savoy European dynasty and ruling House of Savoy and Piedmont from the 11th century, Sardinia from 1720 to 1861 and Italy from 1861 to 1946. The dynasty was founded by Humbert the White-handed (d. c.1047), the first Count of Savoy. Their seat was Chambéry, France, from 1232 to 1559, when Emmanuel Philibert relocated to Turin. The House of Savoy led the Risorgimento movement, and Italy unified under Victor Emmanuel II.

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sa·voy / səˈvoi/ (also sa·voy cab·bage) • n. a cabbage of a hardy variety with densely wrinkled leaves.

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savoyahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, coy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

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savoy Variety of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) with crimped leaves; said to have a more delicate flavour than ordinary cabbage.

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savoy S. cole, cabbage XVI; S. biscuit XVIII. — F. Savoie, name of a region of S.E. France.