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Individual Record for: Eleanor DE AQUITAINE (female)

    William , IX DE POITIERS+
  William , X DE POITIERS      Family Record
Eleanor DE AQUITAINE      Family Record Maud DE TOULOUSE+
  Eleanor DE CHASTELLERAULT      Family Record

Spouse Children
unknown spouse
  (Family Record)
  (Family Record)

Event Date Details
Birth 1123 Place: Chateau De Belin, Gironde, Aquitaine
Birth 1122 Place: Chateau De Belin, Gironde, France
Death 1 APR 1204 Place: Mirabell Castle, Fontevrault, Anjou, France
Death 3 MAR 1203/04  
Burial   Place: Fontevraud Abbey
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122?-1204), queen consort of France (1137-52) and q ueen consort of England (1154-1204), born in France. She inherited the duc hy of Aquitaine from her father in 1137, the same year in which she was ma rried to Louis VII of France. She accompanied her husband on the Second Cr usade to the Holy Land, where it was rumored that she committed adulter y. The scandal, and the fact that she had not given the king a male hei r, resulted in an annulment of their marriage in 1152 under the prete xt of blood kinship between her and the king. Later that year, Eleanor mar ried and gave her possessions to Henry Plantagenet, count of Anjou, w ho in 1154 became Henry II, king of England. In 1170, the queen induced h er husband to invest their son Richard the Lion-Hearted with her person al dominions of Gascony, Aquitaine, and Poitou. When Richard and his broth ers rebelled against their father in 1173, Eleanor, already alienated fr om the king because of his unfaithfulness, supported her sons. Consequentl y, she was placed in confinement until 1185. After her release, she secur ed the succession of her son Richard, who had become heir apparent at t he death in 1183 of his eldest brother. From the death of King Hen ry II in 1189 until Richard's return from the Third Crusade in 1194, Elean or ruled as regent. During this time, she foiled the attempt of her son Jo hn in 1193 to conspire with France against the new king. After the retu rn of Richard, she arranged a reconciliation between the two brothers. Ele anor continued to be prominent in public affairs until she retired to t he abbey in Fontevrault, France, where she died on April 1, 1204.

"Eleanor of Aquitaine," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993- 1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

b. c. 1122
d. April 1, 1204, Fontevrault, Anjou, Fr.
also called ELEANOR OF GUYENNE, French ?L?ONORE, OR ALI?NOR, D'AQUITAIN E, OR DE GUYENNE, queen consort of both Louis VII of France (in 1137-52) a nd Henry II of England (in 1152-1204) and mother of Richard I the Lion-Hea rt and John of England. She was perhaps the most powerful woman in 12th-ce ntury Europe.
Eleanor was the daughter and heiress of William X, duke of Aquitaine and c ount of Poitiers, who possessed one of the largest domains in France--larg er, in fact, than those held by the French king. Upon William's death in 1 137 she inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine and in July 1137 married the he ir to the French throne, who succeeded his father, Louis VI, the followi ng month. Eleanor became queen of France, a title she held for the ne xt 15 years. Beautiful, capricious, and adored by Louis, Eleanor exerted c onsiderable influence over him, often goading him into undertaking perilo us ventures.

From 1147 to 1149 Eleanor accompanied Louis on the Second Crusade to prote ct the fragile Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, founded after the First Crusa de only 50 years before, from Turkish assault. Eleanor's conduct during th is expedition, especially at the court of her uncle Raymond of Poitie rs at Antioch, aroused Louis's jealousy and marked the beginning of the ir estrangement. After their return to France and a short-lived reconcilia tion, their marriage was annulled in March 1152. According to feudal custo ms, Eleanor then regained possession of Aquitaine, and two months later s he married the grandson of Henry I of England, Henry Plantagenet, cou nt of Anjou and duke of Normandy. In 1154 he became, as Henry II, ki ng of England, with the result that England, Normandy, and the west of Fra nce were united under his rule. Eleanor had only two daughters by Louis VI I; to her new husband she bore five sons and three daughters. The sons we re William, who died at the age of three; Henry; Richard, the Lion-Hear t; Geoffrey, duke of Brittany; and John, surnamed Lackland until, having o utlived all his brothers, he inherited, in 1199, the crown of England. T he daughters were Matilda, who married Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony a nd Bavaria; Eleanor, who married Alfonso VIII, king of Castile; and Joa n, who married successively William II, king of Sicily, and Raymond VI, co unt of Toulouse. Eleanor would well have deserved to be named the "grandmo ther of Europe."

During her childbearing years, she participated actively in the administra tion of the realm and even more actively in the management of her own doma ins. She was instrumental in turning the court of Poitiers, then frequent ed by the most famous troubadours of the time, into a centre of poetry a nd a model of courtly life and manners. She was the great patron of the t wo dominant poetic movements of the time: the courtly love tradition, conv eyed in the romantic songs of the troubadours, and the historical mati¨ re de Bretagne, or "legends of Britanny," which originated in Celtic tradi tions and in the Historia regum Britanniae, written by the chronicler Geof frey of Monmouth some time between 1135 and 1139.

The revolt of her sons against her husband in 1173 put her cultural activi ties to a brutal end. Since Eleanor, 11 years her husband's senior, had lo ng resented his infidelities, the revolt may have been instigated by he r; in any case, she gave her sons considerable military support. The revo lt failed, and Eleanor was captured while seeking refuge in the kingd om of her first husband, Louis VII. Her semi-imprisonment in England end ed only with the death of Henry II in 1189. On her release, Eleanor play ed a greater political role than ever before. She actively prepared for Ri chard's coronation as king, was administrator of the realm during his crus ade to the Holy Land, and, after his capture by the Duke of Austria on Ric hard's return from the east, collected his ransom and went in person to es cort him to England. During Richard's absence, she succeeded in keeping h is kingdom intact and in thwarting the intrigues of his brother John Lackl and and Philip II Augustus, king of France, against him.

In 1199 Richard died without leaving an heir to the throne, and John was c rowned king. Eleanor, nearly 80 years old, fearing the disintegration of t he Plantagenet domain, crossed the Pyrenees in 1200 in order to fetch h er granddaughter Blanche from the court of Castile and marry her to the s on of the French king. By this marriage she hoped to insure peace betwe en the Plantagenets of England and the Capetian kings of France. In the sa me year she helped to defend Anjou and Aquitaine against her grandson Arth ur of Brittany, thus securing John's French possessions. In 1202 John w as again in her debt for holding Mirebeau against Arthur, until John, comi ng to her relief, was able to take him prisoner. John's only victori es on the Continent, therefore, were due to Eleanor.

She died in 1204 at the monastery at Fontevrault, Anjou, where she had ret ired after the campaign at Mirebeau. Her contribution to England extend ed beyond her own lifetime; after the loss of Normandy (1204), it was h er own ancestral lands and not the old Norman territories that remained lo yal to England. She has been misjudged by many French historians who ha ve noted only her youthful frivolity, ignoring the tenacity, political wis dom, and energy that characterized the years of her maturity. "She was bea utiful and just, imposing and modest, humble and elegant"; and, as the nu ns of Fontevrault wrote in their necrology: a queen "who surpassed almo st all the queens of the world."


Copyright b 1994-2001 Encyclop*dia Britannica, Inc.

Notes Source: bulkeley.txt

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