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Leonor de Aquitania



Historia & # 8230 los bits interesantes!

La historia de Rosamund de Clifford está envuelta en más leyendas que la mayoría de vidas medievales. Después de Leonor de Aquitania, es la mujer más asociada con Enrique II, rey de Inglaterra. En la ficción histórica, ella es la mujer que reclamó su corazón y se lo robó a su reina. ¿Pero quién era ella? ¿Cuánto de su historia es real, cuánto es fantasía?

Rosamund de Clifford probablemente nació alrededor de 1140. Era la hija de Walter de Clifford, un señor de las Marcas de Gales, y su esposa Margaret de Tosny. No sabemos nada de su infancia, es posible que haya sido educada en Godstow Abbey, pero no se sabe con certeza ni cuándo conoció al rey. El resto de su vida está hecha de rumores y chismes.

El padre de Rosamund sirvió a Enrique II en la campaña de Gales en la década de 1160. Es posible que el rey conociera por primera vez a la joven en una visita a la residencia de De Clifford en Bredelais durante la campaña. Algunas teorías tienen el romance de Henry con Rosamund a partir de 1165, la primera Navidad que Henry pasó aparte de su reina, Leonor de Aquitania. Eleanor celebró su corte navideña en Angers mientras Henry estaba en Oxford. Henry tenía una tendencia a estar constantemente en movimiento y era inusual para él estar tan inmóvil, lo que ha llevado a sospechar que fue entonces cuando comenzó su historia de amor con Rosamund. Sin embargo, hay evidencia de que Henry también pudo haber estado sufriendo algún tipo de lesión, lo que también restringiría sus movimientos.

Henry y Eleanor iban a tener un hijo más, John, nacido en la Navidad de 1166, lo que sugiere que la separación de la Navidad de 1165 se debió más a la logística de gobernar grandes dominios que a que Henry encontró el amor en otra parte. Sin embargo, hay una historia posterior de Eleanor con la intención de tenerla acostada en el palacio real de Woodstock, solo para encontrar a Rosamund en residencia a su llegada y trasladarse rápidamente a Oxford para dar a luz.

Henry nunca fue un esposo fiel y se sabía que tenía varios hijos ilegítimos, incluidos William Longspée y Geoffrey, arzobispo de York. Incluyó entre sus conquistas a Rohese, una hija de la prominente familia de Clare e Ida de Tosny, quien más tarde se casó con Hugh Bigod, conde de Norfolk, y fue madre de Longspée. Si Henry y Rosamund comenzaron su relación a mediados de la década de 1160, hicieron un trabajo maravilloso al mantener en secreto el asunto, ya que no se hizo público hasta 1174.

La relación de Henry con su reina se agrió considerablemente a principios de la década de 1170 cuando Leonor se puso del lado de sus hijos y se unió a ellos en una rebelión abierta en 1172-73. Henry logró aplastar la rebelión y perdonó a sus hijos, pero no fue tan indulgente con Eleanor. En 1174 la escoltó a Inglaterra y la instaló en Old Sarum, condenándola a lo que serían 15 años de prisión y solo sería liberada cuando su hijo favorito, Ricardo I, ascendiera al trono en 1189.

En el mismo año del encarcelamiento de Eleanor, la relación de Henry con Rosamund se hizo de dominio público. Ella residía en el palacio real de Woodstock en Oxfordshire, que fue ampliamente remodelado a principios de la década de 1170. Se decía que & # 8216 el rey Enrique le había hecho una casa de maravillosa mano de obra, un laberinto de diseño daedeliano. & # 8217¹ Se decía que había un laberinto, una glorieta secreta donde se encontraban Enrique y Rosamund y un pozo donde se bañaba Rosamund. Rosamund & # 8217s Well todavía se puede ver hoy en los terrenos del Palacio de Blenheim, que ahora se encuentra donde antes estaba Woodstock.

Aunque ha llegado a la leyenda como una gran historia de amor, no se sabe nada de los sentimientos de Rosamund hacia Henry, ni si ella tiene algo que decir en su posición como amante del rey. Los cronistas de la época, por supuesto, la pintaban como la mujer caída, seductora y adúltera. Crearon juegos de palabras derivados de su nombre Rosamund, o rosa mundi lo que significa que la rosa del mundo se convirtió rosa immunda & # 8211 la rosa inmunda & # 8211 y rosa immundi & # 8211 la impúdica rosa.

Que la pobre Rosamund fuera culpada de la infidelidad de Henry era una señal de los tiempos en que las mujeres eran las hijas de Eva, una tentación para los hombres honorables que no tenían poder para resistirlas. La temprana muerte de Rosamund fue vista como un castigo justo por su lascivo estilo de vida. Rosamund terminó su relación con Henry en 1175/6 y se retiró a Godstow Abbey. Parece probable que ya estuviera enferma cuando entró en el priorato y murió en 1176. Enrique pagó una lujosa tumba dentro de la iglesia del convento, en la que las monjas dejaban tributos florales a diario. En los años posteriores a la muerte de Rosamund, Henry dotó al convento de 2 iglesias en Wycombe y Bloxham, nuevos edificios y cantidades sustanciales de materiales de construcción. El padre de Rosamund, Walter, concedió los molinos de la abadía y un prado para las almas de su esposa y su hija.

Desafortunadamente, sin embargo, a Rosamund no se le permitió descansar en paz. En 1190, cuando el santo obispo Hugh de Lincoln visitó Godstow, se horrorizó de que la tumba de Rosamund tuviera un lugar de honor dentro de la iglesia y ordenó que se retiraran sus restos. La tumba fue colocada en la sala capitular de la monja, con una inscripción adjunta que advierte su estilo de vida:

Esta tumba encierra aquí la rosa más hermosa del mundo,

Rosa pasando dulce antes, ahora nada más que olor vil.²

Rosamund & # 8217s muerte temprana & # 8211 ella todavía tenía sólo 30 años & # 8211 inspiradas leyendas de venganza Eleanor ha sido acusada de diversas formas de apuñalarla en su baño y envenenarla. En una versión extravagante, Rosamund estaba escondida en su enramado secreto dentro de un laberinto pero, con la ayuda de un hilo de seda, una celosa Eleanor la encontró y la apuñaló mientras se bañaba. En otro, la reina descartada obligó a Rosamund a beber de una taza de veneno. Por supuesto, como era una prisionera celosamente custodiada en Old Sarum o en Winchester, era imposible que Eleanor hiciera tal cosa. ¡Pero es una buena historia!

La relación de Rosamund con Henry probablemente no duró más de 10 años y posiblemente tan solo 3 años. Es posible que haya visto poco a Henry en ese tiempo, ya que estaba en constante movimiento y solo pasó un poco más de 3 de esos 10 años en Inglaterra en total. Es posible que Rosamund viajara a veces con él, discretamente, aunque esto parece poco probable dado que nadie supo de ella hasta después de la rebelión y el encarcelamiento de Eleanor. Hay algunas teorías que sugieren que Henry había perdido interés en Rosamund incluso antes de su muerte, y esa fue la razón de su retiro a Godstow. Aunque su generosa donación a la Abadía puede argumentar lo contrario, se dice que Enrique dirigió su atención a la prometida de su hijo Ricardo, la princesa Alys, hermana de Felipe II de Francia.

Quizás la verdad de la historia de Rosamund importa menos que la leyenda y el romance que ha crecido a su alrededor. Tal vez la historia de amor no correspondido, citas secretas y reverencias ocultas sean tan importantes para la historia como la sórdida verdad de una mujer seducida por un rey con poca voz en la dirección de su propia vida, esposo, hijos y un futuro privados.

Quizás el romance es lo que hace que la historia sea más agradable.

La balada de la bella Rosamund

La flor del mundo

Cuando como el rey Enrique gobernaba esta tierra,

El segundo de ese nombre,

Además de la reina, amaba mucho

Una dama hermosa y hermosa

La más incomparable fue su hermosa base,

Su favor y su rostro

Una criatura más dulce en este mundo

El príncipe nunca pudo abrazar.

Sus mechones crujientes como hilos de oro

Apareció a la vista de cada hombre

Sus ojos brillantes, como perlas de Oriente,

Arrojó una luz celestial.

La sangre dentro de sus mejillas de cristal

¿Un impulso de color así,

Como si el lirio y la rosa

Por la maestría se esforzó.

Sí Rossamonde, hermosa Rosamonde,

Su nombre fue llamado así

A quien nuestra reina, dame Ellinor,

Era conocido como un enemigo mortal.

El rey, por tanto, para su defensa

Contra la reina furiosa,

En Woodstocke construyó una glorieta,

Nunca se vio algo parecido.

Lo más curioso es que se construyó esa glorieta

De piedra y madera fuerte,

Ciento cincuenta puertas

Pertenecía a esta glorieta.

Y ellos con tanta astucia idearon,

Con vueltas alrededor,

Que nadie mas que con una pista de hilo

Podría entrar y salir.³

Notas al pie: ¹Policronicona citado en Oxforddnb.com ² Velocidad cotizada en Oxforddnb.com ³Anónimo citado en Leonor, reina de abril de Aquitania por Douglas Boyd

Imágenes cortesía de Wikipedia

Fuentes: Oxforddnb.com por T.A. Archer, rev de Elizabeth Hallam Diccionario de Wordsworth de historia británica por J.P. Kenyon reyes, reinas, huesos y bastardos por David Hilliam Inglaterra bajo los reyes normandos y angevinos 1075-1225 por Robert Bartlett Rey juan por Marc Morris El diablo y la cría n. ° 8217 por Desmond Seward El mayor caballero por Thomas Asbridge Leonor, reina de abril de Aquitania por Douglas Boyd Leonor de Aquitania por Alison Weir Las crónicas de Plantagenet Editado por Elizabeth Hallam.


Deconstruyendo la historia de Leonor de Aquitania

Representación del siglo XIV del matrimonio del rey Luis VII y Leonor de Aquitania. La imagen de la derecha muestra a Louis partiendo para la Segunda Cruzada.

¡Todo lo que sabes sobre Leonor de Aquitania está mal! O eso dice Michael R. Evans, profesor de historia medieval en la Universidad Central de Michigan. En su libro “Inventing Leonor: The Medieval and Post-Medieval Image of Leonor of Aquitaine”, trabaja para destruir los mitos que rodean la vida de Leonor.

Comienza definiendo el papel de las reinas medievales y cómo Leonor encaja en la imagen. Durante su reinado como reina de Francia, aparece en las cartas que gobiernan Francia y su ducado de Aquitania junto con su esposo Luis VII. Como reina de Inglaterra, también aparece en cartas y en algunas crónicas. Pero parece trabajar más junto a su esposo Enrique II que de forma autónoma, a menos que estuviera gobernando como regente en su ausencia. Definitivamente cumple los roles habituales de reina medieval de madre, diplomática e intercesora durante el reinado de Enrique y los de sus hijos Ricardo I y Juan.

Leonor & # 8217s tío Raymond de Poitiers dando la bienvenida a Luis VII en Antioquía de un manuscrito del siglo XV

Evans habla de Eleanor y la creación de lo que él llama la "Leyenda Negra", que surgió a través de las descripciones del cronista de su comportamiento escandaloso, generalmente escritas con su propia agenda política. Esto incluye su supuesto incesto con su tío Raimundo de Poitiers, Príncipe de Antioquía durante la Segunda Cruzada. Estos rumores no comenzaron realmente hasta que cronistas posteriores, como Guillermo de Tiro, escribieron sobre ellos. Las acusaciones de incesto nunca se mencionaron durante la anulación del matrimonio entre Eleanor y Louis. Aunque nunca lo sabremos con certeza, la probabilidad de incesto entre Eleanor y Raymond es insignificante y el rumor solo se mencionó para desacreditar a Eleanor por razones políticas. Era un procedimiento operativo estándar para los escritores desacreditar a las reinas medievales con acusaciones de conducta sexual inapropiada.

Lo más interesante es la leyenda de que Eleanor y sus damas se vistieron como amazonas en su camino hacia la Segunda Cruzada. Evans explica cómo se originó esta leyenda. Un cortesano bizantino llamado Niketas Choniates describió en su “Historia” a una mujer que apareció con el ejército cruzado a su paso por Constantinopla en 1147. Menciona una campaña de alemanes que incluía mujeres montadas a caballo, no a caballo como de costumbre, sino escandalosamente a horcajadas. Estas mujeres iban vestidas con atuendos de hombres y portaban lanzas y armas. Dice que tenían una apariencia marcial y eran "más varoniles que las Amazonas". Choniates dice que una mujer se destacó entre la multitud, dando la apariencia de Pentesilea con oro bordado alrededor de los dobladillos y flecos de su vestimenta. Esta mujer se llamaba Goldfoot (Chrysópous). Penthesilea era una reina amazona de la mitología griega.

Miniatura de Niketas Choniates de un manuscrito del siglo XIV & # 8220Historia & # 8221, Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Hist. gramo. 53 *, fol. 1v

En ninguna parte de este pasaje se menciona el nombre de Leonor. Estas mujeres ni siquiera son francesas aquí, como Choniates las llama alemanas. No dice que estuvieran vestidas específicamente como amazonas. La visita de Eleanor a Constantinopla se realizó antes de que naciera Choniates, por lo que en realidad no presenció a estas mujeres en persona. Escribió esto casi cincuenta años después de 1147. A partir de esto, se asumió que la mujer Goldfoot era Eleanor y la leyenda creció a partir de ahí. Esto incluso fue ampliado por escritores posteriores para decir que Leonor y otras mujeres se vestían como amazonas en Francia antes de partir hacia la Cruzada.

Otra parte de la "Leyenda Negra" es la acusación de que Eleanor hizo asesinar a la amante de Henry, Rosamund Clifford. Eleanor estaba encarcelada y bajo vigilancia en el momento de la muerte de Rosamund. Una crónica del siglo XIV menciona que Henry mantuvo a Rosamund en una glorieta en Woodstock para mantenerla alejada de la venganza de Eleanor, pero no menciona a Eleanor como su asesina. La primera referencia de que Eleanor es una asesina no se produce hasta mediados del decimocuarto "Crónica francesa de Londres", que afirma que Eleanor desangró a Rosamund hasta la muerte. Una crónica del siglo XVI dice que Eleanor encuentra a Rosamund en la enramada laberíntica con la ayuda de un hilo de seda. Una crónica posterior del siglo XVI amplía la historia diciendo que Eleanor hizo que un caballero leal obtuviera el hilo de seda y que Eleanor envenenó a Rosamund mientras suplicaba por su vida. Y así creció la leyenda.

Imagen de Guillermo de Tiro escribiendo su historia, a partir de una traducción al francés antiguo del siglo XIII.

La evidencia histórica de que Eleanor siguió a su abuelo en la tradición trovadoresca y administró casos de amor cortés junto con su hija Marie simplemente no existe. Evans dice que esta leyenda había desaparecido en su mayor parte hasta que se publicó la biografía de Amy Kelly "Leonor de Aquitania y los Cuatro Reyes" en 1950. Ella revitalizó esta fábula y le dio nueva vida.

Evans aborda la idea de que Leonor era del sur de Francia, hablaba el dialecto occitano del francés y llevó la cultura sureña a la atrasada corte de su esposo Louis en París. Sostiene convincentemente que Eleanor vivió y se identificó con la cultura de Poitiers, que estaba en la línea divisoria entre las áreas de Francia que hablaban "langue d’oc" y "langue d’oïl". Evans cree que no hablaba lengua de oc y no transmitía ninguna cultura especial del sur al norte cuando se casó con Louis. Dado que no tenemos ninguna evidencia histórica sobre su educación cuando era niña, realmente no sabemos si fue excepcionalmente educada. Tampoco hay evidencia de que ella fuera una mayor patrona de las artes que otras mujeres nobles medievales de la época.

Otra leyenda sobre Eleanor se centra en su supuesta belleza. No hay descripciones escritas de Eleanor, por lo que no tenemos idea de su altura, cabello o color de ojos o tono de piel. Tampoco hay representaciones visuales supervivientes de Eleanor. Evans señala que la mayoría de las crónicas describen a las reinas medievales como hermosas, por lo que esto no está fuera de lo común.

No sabemos realmente cómo era Eleanor

La evidencia de que cometió incesto con su tío Raymond de Poitiers es insignificante

Ella nunca se vistió de amazona

No hay evidencia de que ella mató a Henry & # 8217s amante Rosamund Clifford

Ella nunca presidió casos de amor cortés

Ella no hablaba lengua d & # 8217oc

Estos son solo algunos de los mitos que aborda Evans y sostiene que Eleanor no es realmente excepcional en lo que respecta a las reinas medievales, pero no estoy seguro de poder aceptar este argumento de todo corazón. Ella era la Reina de Francia y la Reina de Inglaterra y la madre de tres reyes: Enrique el Joven Rey, Ricardo I y Juan. También participó en la Segunda Cruzada. Actuó como diplomática y viajó por Europa en misiones para sus hijos y vivió hasta una edad avanzada. Pero el hecho de que las leyendas y los mitos sobre su vida hayan estallado a lo largo de los siglos y en diferentes medios habla del hecho de que la gente la encuentra fascinante por muchas y variadas razones. Incluso sin la mitología, creo que lo poco que sabemos de la historia de su vida es único.

Lectura adicional: "Inventando a Leonor: la imagen medieval y posmedieval de Leonor de Aquitania" por Michael R. Evans


Contenido

El año de nacimiento de Leonor no se conoce con precisión: una genealogía de su familia de finales del siglo XIII que la enumera con 13 años en la primavera de 1137 proporciona la mejor evidencia de que Eleanor quizás nació tan tarde como 1124. [5] Por otro lado, , algunas crónicas mencionan un juramento de fidelidad de algunos señores de Aquitania con motivo del decimocuarto cumpleaños de Leonor en 1136. Esto, y su edad conocida de 82 años en el momento de su muerte, hacen que 1122 sea el año más probable de su nacimiento. [6] Es casi seguro que sus padres se casaron en 1121. Su lugar de nacimiento pudo haber sido Poitiers, Burdeos o Nieul-sur-l'Autise, donde su madre y su hermano murieron cuando Leonor tenía 6 u 8 años. [7]

Leonor (o Aliénor) era la mayor de los tres hijos de Guillermo X, duque de Aquitania, cuya brillante corte ducal era famosa a principios del siglo XII en Europa, y su esposa, Aenor de Châtellerault, hija de Aimery I, vizconde de Châtellerault, y Dangereuse de l'Isle Bouchard, quien durante mucho tiempo fue la amante de Guillermo IX y la abuela materna de Leonor. El matrimonio de sus padres había sido arreglado por Dangereuse con su abuelo paterno William IX.

Se dice que Eleanor fue nombrada en honor a su madre Aenor y llamada Aliénor del latín Alia Aenor, lo que significa el otro Aenor. Se convirtió Eléanor en el langues d'oïl del norte de Francia y Leonor en inglés. [4] Sin embargo, hubo otra Leonor prominente antes que ella: Leonor de Normandía, una tía de Guillermo el Conquistador, que vivió un siglo antes que Leonor de Aquitania. En París, como reina de Francia, la llamaban Helienordis, su nombre honorífico tal como está escrito en las epístolas latinas.

Según todos los informes, el padre de Eleanor se aseguró de que tuviera la mejor educación posible. [8] Leonor llegó a aprender aritmética, las constelaciones y la historia. [4] También aprendió habilidades domésticas como la gestión del hogar y las artes de bordado, bordado, costura, hilado y tejido. [4] Eleanor desarrolló habilidades para conversar, bailar, juegos como backgammon, damas y ajedrez, tocar el arpa y cantar. [4] Aunque su lengua materna era Poitevin, le enseñaron a leer y hablar latín, estaba bien versada en música y literatura, y fue educada en equitación, venta ambulante y caza. [9] Eleanor era extrovertida, vivaz, inteligente y de voluntad fuerte. Su hermano William Aigret de cuatro años y su madre murieron en el castillo de Talmont en la costa atlántica de Aquitania en la primavera de 1130. Eleanor se convirtió en la presunta heredera de los dominios de su padre. El ducado de Aquitania era la provincia más grande y rica de Francia. Poitou, donde Leonor pasó la mayor parte de su infancia, y Aquitania juntas era casi un tercio del tamaño de la Francia moderna. Eleanor solo tenía otro hermano legítimo, una hermana menor llamada Aelith (también llamada Petronilla). Su medio hermano Joscelin fue reconocido por William X como un hijo, pero no como su heredero. La idea de que tenía otro medio hermano, William, ha sido desacreditada. [10] Más tarde, durante los primeros cuatro años del reinado de Enrique II, sus hermanos se unieron a la casa real de Leonor.

Herencia Editar

En 1137, el duque Guillermo X partió de Poitiers hacia Burdeos y se llevó a sus hijas con él. Al llegar a Burdeos, los dejó a cargo del arzobispo de Burdeos, uno de sus pocos vasallos leales. A continuación, el duque partió hacia el Santuario de Santiago de Compostela en compañía de otros peregrinos. Sin embargo, murió el Viernes Santo de ese año (9 de abril).

Leonor, de 12 a 15 años, se convirtió en duquesa de Aquitania y, por tanto, en la heredera más elegible de Europa. Como estos eran los días en que secuestrar a una heredera se consideraba una opción viable para obtener un título, William dictó un testamento el mismo día de su muerte que legó sus dominios a Leonor y nombró al rey Luis VI de Francia como su tutor. [11] William le pidió al rey que se ocupara de las tierras y de la duquesa, y le buscara un marido adecuado. [8] Sin embargo, hasta que se encontrara un marido, el rey tenía el derecho legal a las tierras de Leonor. El duque también insistió a sus compañeros en que su muerte se mantuviera en secreto hasta que Luis fuera informado de que los hombres debían viajar desde Santiago de Compostela a través de los Pirineos lo más rápido posible para llamar a Burdeos para notificar al arzobispo, y luego hacer todo lo posible para París para informar al rey.

El rey de Francia, conocido como Luis el Gordo, también estaba gravemente enfermo en ese momento, sufriendo un ataque de disentería del que parecía poco probable que se recuperara. Sin embargo, a pesar de su muerte inminente, la mente de Louis permaneció clara. Su hijo mayor sobreviviente, Luis, había sido originalmente destinado a la vida monástica, pero se había convertido en el heredero aparente cuando el primogénito, Felipe, murió en un accidente de equitación en 1131. [12]

La muerte de William, uno de los vasallos más poderosos del rey, puso a disposición el ducado más deseable de Francia. Mientras presentaba un rostro solemne y digno a los afligidos mensajeros aquitanos, Luis se regocijó cuando se marcharon. En lugar de actuar como tutor de la duquesa y el ducado, decidió casar a la duquesa con su heredero de 17 años y poner Aquitania bajo el control de la corona francesa, aumentando así en gran medida el poder y la prominencia de Francia y su familia gobernante. la Casa de los Capetos. En cuestión de horas, el rey había hecho arreglos para que su hijo Louis se casara con Leonor, con el abad Suger a cargo de los arreglos de la boda. Louis fue enviado a Burdeos con una escolta de 500 caballeros, junto con el abad Suger, Theobald II, el conde de Champagne y el conde Ralph.

El 25 de julio de 1137, Leonor y Louis se casaron en la Catedral de Saint-André en Burdeos por el arzobispo de Burdeos. [8] Inmediatamente después de la boda, la pareja fue entronizada como duque y duquesa de Aquitania. [8] Se acordó que la tierra seguiría siendo independiente de Francia hasta que el hijo mayor de Leonor se convirtiera en rey de Francia y duque de Aquitania. Por lo tanto, sus propiedades no se fusionarían con Francia hasta la próxima generación. Como regalo de bodas, le dio a Louis un jarrón de cristal de roca, actualmente en exhibición en el Louvre. [8] [12] [13] Luis entregó el vaso a la Basílica de San Denis. Este jarrón es el único objeto relacionado con Leonor de Aquitania que aún sobrevive. [14]

El mandato de Luis como conde de Poitou y duque de Aquitania y Gascuña duró solo unos días. Aunque había sido investido como tal el 8 de agosto de 1137, un mensajero le dio la noticia de que Luis VI había muerto de disentería el 1 de agosto mientras él y Leonor realizaban una gira por las provincias. Él y Leonor fueron ungidos y coronados rey y reina de Francia el día de Navidad del mismo año. [8] [15]

Poseyendo una naturaleza animada, Eleanor no era popular entre los norteños serios según las fuentes, la madre de Louis, Adelaide of Maurienne, pensaba que era frívola y una mala influencia. No le ayudaron los recuerdos de Constanza de Arlés, la esposa provenzal de Roberto II, cuyas historias de vestimenta y lenguaje inmodestas aún se contaban con horror. [a] La conducta de Eleanor fue criticada repetidamente por los ancianos de la iglesia, particularmente por Bernardo de Clairvaux y el abad Suger, como indecorosa. Sin embargo, el rey estaba locamente enamorado de su bella y mundana esposa, y le concedió todos sus caprichos, a pesar de que su comportamiento lo desconcertó y lo enfureció. Se invirtió mucho dinero en hacer que el austero Palacio de la Cité en París fuera más cómodo por el bien de Eleanor. [12]

Conflicto Editar

Louis pronto entró en conflicto violento con el Papa Inocencio II. En 1141, el arzobispado de Bourges quedó vacante, y el rey presentó como candidato a uno de sus cancilleres, Cadurc, mientras vetaba al único candidato adecuado, Pierre de la Chatre, que fue rápidamente elegido por los canónigos de Bourges y consagrado por el Papa. En consecuencia, Luis cerró las puertas de Bourges contra el nuevo obispo. El Papa, recordando los intentos similares de Guillermo X de exiliar a los partidarios de Inocencio de Poitou y reemplazarlos con sacerdotes leales a él, culpó a Leonor, diciendo que Luis era solo un niño y que deberían aprender modales. Indignado, Louis juró sobre las reliquias que mientras viviera, Pierre nunca debería entrar en Bourges. Acto seguido, se impuso un interdicto sobre las tierras del rey y Teobaldo II, conde de Champaña, le dio refugio a Pierre.

Luis se vio envuelto en una guerra con el conde Theobald al permitir que Raoul I, conde de Vermandois y senescal de Francia, repudiara a su esposa Leonor de Blois, hermana de Theobald, y se casara con Petronilla de Aquitania, hermana de Leonor. Eleanor instó a Louis a apoyar el matrimonio de su hermana con el conde Raoul. Theobald también había ofendido a Luis al ponerse del lado del Papa en la disputa sobre Bourges. La guerra duró dos años (1142-1144) y terminó con la ocupación de Champagne por el ejército real. Louis estuvo personalmente involucrado en el asalto y el incendio de la ciudad de Vitry. Más de mil personas que buscaron refugio en la iglesia murieron en las llamas. Horrorizado y deseando poner fin a la guerra, Louis intentó hacer las paces con Theobald a cambio de su apoyo para levantar el interdicto sobre Raoul y Petronilla. Esto fue debidamente levantado durante el tiempo suficiente para permitir que las tierras de Theobald fueran restauradas y luego se redujo una vez más cuando Raoul se negó a repudiar a Petronilla, lo que llevó a Louis a regresar a Champagne y devastarla una vez más.

En junio de 1144, el rey y la reina visitaron la iglesia monástica de nueva construcción en Saint-Denis. Mientras estaba allí, la reina se reunió con Bernardo de Claraval, exigiéndole que usara su influencia con el Papa para que se levantara la excomunión de Petronilla y Raoul, a cambio de lo cual el rey Luis haría concesiones en Champagne y reconocería a Pierre de la Chatre como arzobispo de Bourges. Consternado por su actitud, Bernard regañó a Eleanor por su falta de penitencia e interferencia en asuntos de estado. En respuesta, Eleanor se quebró y dócilmente excusó su comportamiento, alegando estar amargada por la falta de hijos (su único embarazo registrado en ese momento fue alrededor de 1138, pero tuvo un aborto espontáneo [16] [17]). En respuesta, Bernardo se volvió más bondadoso con ella: "Hija mía, busca las cosas que contribuyen a la paz. Deja de incitar al rey contra la Iglesia, e instrúyele a un mejor curso de acción. Si prometes hacer esto, A cambio, prometo suplicar al Señor misericordioso que te conceda descendencia ". En cuestión de semanas, la paz había regresado a Francia: las provincias de Teobaldo fueron devueltas y Pierre de la Chatre fue instalado como arzobispo de Bourges. En abril de 1145, Eleanor dio a luz a una hija, Marie.

Luis, sin embargo, todavía ardía de culpa por la masacre de Vitry y deseaba hacer una peregrinación a Tierra Santa para expiar sus pecados. En el otoño de 1145, el Papa Eugenio III solicitó que Luis dirigiera una Cruzada hacia el Medio Oriente para rescatar a los estados francos allí del desastre. En consecuencia, Louis declaró el día de Navidad de 1145 en Bourges su intención de emprender una cruzada.

Cruzada editar

Leonor de Aquitania también tomó formalmente la cruz simbólica de la Segunda Cruzada durante un sermón predicado por Bernardo de Claraval. Además, había mantenido correspondencia con su tío Raimundo, príncipe de Antioquía, que buscaba una mayor protección de la corona francesa contra los sarracenos. Eleanor reclutó a algunas de sus damas de honor reales para la campaña, así como a 300 vasallos aquitanos no nobles. Insistió en participar en las Cruzadas como líder feudal de los soldados de su ducado. La historia de que ella y sus damas vestidas de amazonas es cuestionada por los historiadores, a veces confundida con el relato de la cola de damas del rey Conrad durante esta campaña en Edward Gibbon's. La historia de la decadencia y caída del Imperio Romano. Partió para la Segunda Cruzada desde Vézelay, el rumoreado lugar de la tumba de María Magdalena, en junio de 1147.

La propia Cruzada logró poco. Louis era un líder militar débil e ineficaz sin habilidad para mantener la disciplina o la moral de las tropas, o para tomar decisiones tácticas informadas y lógicas. En Europa oriental, el ejército francés se vio obstaculizado en ocasiones por Manuel I Comneno, el emperador bizantino, que temía que la Cruzada pusiera en peligro la tenue seguridad de su imperio. No obstante, durante su estadía de tres semanas en Constantinopla, Luis fue festejado y Leonor fue muy admirada. Fue comparada con Pentesilea, mítica reina de las Amazonas, por el historiador griego Nicetas Choniates. Añadió que ella ganó el epíteto chrysopous (pie de oro) de la tela de oro que decoraba y adornaba su túnica. Louis y Eleanor se quedaron en el palacio de Philopation a las afueras de las murallas de la ciudad.

Desde el momento en que los cruzados entraron en Asia Menor, las cosas empezaron a ir mal. El rey y la reina seguían siendo optimistas: el emperador bizantino les había dicho que el rey Conrado III de Alemania había obtenido una gran victoria contra un ejército turco cuando, de hecho, el ejército alemán había sido casi completamente destruido en Dorylaeum. Sin embargo, mientras acampaban cerca de Nicea, los restos del ejército alemán, incluido un aturdido y enfermo Conrado III, pasaron tambaleándose por el campamento francés, trayendo noticias de su desastre. Los franceses, con lo que quedaba de los alemanes, comenzaron a marchar de manera cada vez más desorganizada hacia Antioquía. Estaban de muy buen humor en Nochebuena, cuando decidieron acampar en un exuberante valle cerca de Éfeso. Aquí fueron emboscados por un destacamento turco, pero los franceses procedieron a masacrar a este destacamento y apropiarse de su campamento.

Entonces Luis decidió cruzar las montañas frigias directamente con la esperanza de llegar más rápidamente a Raimundo de Poitiers en Antioquía. Sin embargo, mientras ascendían a las montañas, el ejército y el rey y la reina se horrorizaron al descubrir los cadáveres insepultos de los alemanes muertos antes.

El día fijado para la travesía del monte Cadmo, Luis eligió hacerse cargo de la retaguardia de la columna, por donde marchaban los peregrinos desarmados y los trenes de equipajes. La vanguardia, con la que marchaba la reina Leonor, estaba al mando de su vasallo aquitano, Geoffrey de Rancon. Sin equipaje, llegaron a la cima de Cadmus, donde se le había ordenado a Rancon que acampara para pasar la noche. Rancon, sin embargo, decidió continuar, decidiendo de común acuerdo con Amadeus III, Conde de Saboya, el tío de Louis, que una meseta cercana sería un mejor lugar para acampar. Se informó que tal desobediencia era común.

En consecuencia, a media tarde, la retaguardia de la columna, creyendo que la marcha de la jornada estaba casi terminada, se demoraba. Esto provocó que el ejército se separara, algunos ya habían cruzado la cumbre y otros aún se acercaban. En la subsiguiente batalla del monte Cadmo, los turcos, que habían estado siguiendo y haciendo fintas durante muchos días, aprovecharon su oportunidad y atacaron a los que aún no habían cruzado la cumbre. Los franceses, tanto soldados como peregrinos, sorprendidos, quedaron atrapados. Los que intentaron escapar fueron capturados y asesinados. Muchos hombres, caballos y gran parte del equipaje fueron arrojados al cañón de abajo. The chronicler William of Tyre, writing between 1170 and 1184 and thus perhaps too long after the event to be considered historically accurate, placed the blame for this disaster firmly on the amount of baggage being carried, much of it reputedly belonging to Eleanor and her ladies, and the presence of non-combatants.

The king, having scorned royal apparel in favour of a simple pilgrim's tunic, escaped notice, unlike his bodyguards, whose skulls were brutally smashed and limbs severed. He reportedly "nimbly and bravely scaled a rock by making use of some tree roots which God had provided for his safety" and managed to survive the attack. Others were not so fortunate: "No aid came from Heaven, except that night fell." [18]

Official blame for the disaster was placed on Geoffrey de Rancon, who had made the decision to continue, and it was suggested that he be hanged, a suggestion which the king ignored. Since Geoffrey was Eleanor's vassal, many believed that it was she who had been ultimately responsible for the change in plan, and thus the massacre. This suspicion of responsibility did nothing for her popularity in Christendom. She was also blamed for the size of the baggage train and the fact that her Aquitanian soldiers had marched at the front and thus were not involved in the fight. Continuing on, the army became split, with the commoners marching towards Antioch and the royalty travelling by sea. When most of the land army arrived, the king and queen had a dispute. Some, such as John of Salisbury and William of Tyre, say Eleanor's reputation was sullied by rumours of an affair with her uncle Raymond. However, this rumour may have been a ruse, as Raymond, through Eleanor, had been trying to induce Louis to use his army to attack the actual Muslim encampment at nearby Aleppo, gateway to retaking Edessa, which had all along, by papal decree, been the main objective of the Crusade. Although this was perhaps a better military plan, Louis was not keen to fight in northern Syria. One of Louis's avowed Crusade goals was to journey in pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and he stated his intention to continue. Reputedly Eleanor then requested to stay with Raymond and brought up the matter of consanguinity —the fact that she and her husband, King Louis, were perhaps too closely related. Consanguinity was grounds for annulment in the medieval period. But rather than allowing her to stay, Louis took Eleanor from Antioch against her will and continued on to Jerusalem with his dwindling army. [19]

Louis's refusal and his forcing her to accompany him humiliated Eleanor, and she maintained a low profile for the rest of the crusade. Louis's subsequent siege of Damascus in 1148 with his remaining army, reinforced by Conrad and Baldwin III of Jerusalem, achieved little. Damascus was a major wealthy trading centre and was under normal circumstances a potential threat, but the rulers of Jerusalem had recently entered into a truce with the city, which they then forswore. It was a gamble that did not pay off, and whether through military error or betrayal, the Damascus campaign was a failure. Louis's long march to Jerusalem and back north, which Eleanor was forced to join, debilitated his army and disheartened her knights the divided Crusade armies could not overcome the Muslim forces, and the royal couple had to return home. The French royal family retreated to Jerusalem and then sailed to Rome and made their way back to Paris.

While in the eastern Mediterranean, Eleanor learned about maritime conventions developing there, which were the beginnings of what would become admiralty law. She introduced those conventions in her own lands on the island of Oléron in 1160 (with the "Rolls of Oléron") and later in England as well. She was also instrumental in developing trade agreements with Constantinople and ports of trade in the Holy Lands.

Annulment Edit

Even before the Crusade, Eleanor and Louis were becoming estranged, and their differences were only exacerbated while they were abroad. Eleanor's purported relationship with her uncle Raymond, [20] the ruler of Antioch, was a major source of discord. Eleanor supported her uncle's desire to re-capture the nearby County of Edessa, the objective of the Crusade. In addition, having been close to him in their youth, she now showed what was considered to be "excessive affection" towards her uncle. Raymond had plans to abduct Eleanor, to which she consented. [21]

Home, however, was not easily reached. Louis and Eleanor, on separate ships due to their disagreements, were first attacked in May 1149 by Byzantine ships. Although they escaped this attempt unharmed, stormy weather drove Eleanor's ship far to the south to the Barbary Coast and caused her to lose track of her husband. Neither was heard of for over two months. In mid-July, Eleanor's ship finally reached Palermo in Sicily, where she discovered that she and her husband had both been given up for dead. She was given shelter and food by servants of King Roger II of Sicily, until the king eventually reached Calabria, and she set out to meet him there. Later, at King Roger's court in Potenza, she learned of the death of her uncle Raymond, who had been beheaded by Muslim forces in the Holy Land. This news appears to have forced a change of plans, for instead of returning to France from Marseilles, they went to see Pope Eugene III in Tusculum, where he had been driven five months before by a revolt of the Commune of Rome.

Eugene did not, as Eleanor had hoped, grant an annulment. Instead, he attempted to reconcile Eleanor and Louis, confirming the legality of their marriage. He proclaimed that no word could be spoken against it, and that it might not be dissolved under any pretext. He even arranged for Eleanor and Louis to sleep in the same bed. [22] Thus was conceived their second child —not a son, but another daughter, Alix of France.

The marriage was now doomed. Still without a son and in danger of being left with no male heir, as well as facing substantial opposition to Eleanor from many of his barons and her own desire for annulment, Louis bowed to the inevitable. On 11 March 1152, they met at the royal castle of Beaugency to dissolve the marriage. Hugues de Toucy, archbishop of Sens, presided, and Louis and Eleanor were both present, as were the archbishop of Bordeaux and Rouen. Archbishop Samson of Reims acted for Eleanor.

On 21 March, the four archbishops, with the approval of Pope Eugene, granted an annulment on grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree Eleanor was Louis' third cousin once removed, and shared common ancestry with Robert II of France. Their two daughters were, however, declared legitimate. Children born to a marriage that was later annulled were not at risk of being "bastardised," because "[w]here parties married in good faith, without knowledge of an impediment, . children of the marriage were legitimate." [Berman 228.] [ ¿Por qué? ] ) Custody of them was awarded to King Louis. Archbishop Samson received assurances from Louis that Eleanor's lands would be restored to her.


Annotated Bibliography

Glusman, Laurea. Book Review of Eleanor of Aquitaine, by Regine Pernoud. http://gray.music.rhodes.edu/musichtmls/MHDocs/eleanor.html Internet accessed 3 October 2000.
The reviewer in this article again gave valuable insight into the way past historians viewed women. It showed how the slightest words can make someone of great influence seem like a power hungry dictator bent on world domination. This was not the case in this review but Glusman thought that the author of the book took a harsh approach when writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Joan s Royal Favorites and Links Page, http://www.xs4all.nl/

kvenjb/favour.htm Internet accessed 3 October 2000.
This web site is the result of someone s hobby. This site was used as one side to an argument. Most of the information at the site were facts but there seems to be some bits of information that cannot be easily corroborated. Some of the information tended to be interpretive rather than fact. This person is not a historian with any credentials other than vast amounts of reading. The usefulness of this page was that it helped to eliminate some of the false information.

Kelly, Amy Ruth. Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1950.
This book focused on her role as a queen and the rules of her husbands. Later the rules of her sons and how she played a role in their reign. Again there was little credit given to her as a political entity rather than her being influential and disruptive.

Melisende s Women of History, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/9329/women35.html http://www.geocities.com/mz_melisende/woman35.html Internet accessed 3 October 2000.
The site gave useful information that was supportive to the information collected from other sources. As with each different resource there were little bits of information that were either substantiated, proven false, or were unable to be determined. It was nice to see what other people had compiled and compare it with what was gathered here.

Owen, D.D.R. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen and Legend. Cambridge, Mass.:Blackwell, 1993.
This book was very useful because it made finding all of her accomplishments very easy. A lot of the things that she helped to carry on like the troubadour style and the way she introduced it to other parts of Europe.

Seward, Desmond. Eleanor of Aquitaine. New York, Times Books, 1979.
Very little new information was gained from this book. It was basically used to verify information gathered from other sources. It gave a general biographical description and tended to focus on the actions of her husbands and sons and the role she played in their lives rather than an account of her life.

Weir, Alison. Eleanor of Aquitaine: A life. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000.
The most recent work on Eleanor it helped because it was so new. The facts presented in this book came from a female point of view and also were written during a time when the truth about women in history is being rediscovered. Still not everything can be read as truth and a reader must remain objective, this book gave a refreshing breath to the otherwise male dominated perspectives.


Part one followed Eleanor’s life from her birth through to the big cliffhanger: after divorcing King Louis and heading back to Aquitaine she popped up only a few weeks later married again to 18 year-old, King in Training, Henry FitzEmpress of Anjou.

The newlyweds took the “it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission” strategy and didn’t ask their king (Louis) if they could marry but, really? Would he have given it? No, he would not. Henry’s star was rising and his parents were powerful and connected. His mother, Empress Matilda, needs her own episode, she was ese powerful and after a lifetime of civil war over the crown of England (Matilda was beat to it by her cousin, Stephen) Henry’s military training was substantial and he was very good at it. But the biggie? When Eleanor’s lands combined with Henry’s they controlled more than half of modern day France.

Eleanor’s fancy new seal and one of the few illustrations of her

Of course there is so much more to Eleanor’s entire story and we cover all of it in the podcast, but within the first couple years of their marriage, Eleanor gave birth to their first child , a son (take that Louis), Henry let King Stephen know, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to be his successor…and then he was.

¡Auge! Así. The new Angevin Empire is what formed after Henry and Eleanor were crowned King and Queen of England

The first 21 years of their marriage went pretty well. After becoming King and Queen of England, Henry cleaned up the mess the civil war had made, instituted a new judicial system, conducted an office bromance with Thomas Becket, slapped down any rebellions, and touched base with Eleanor long enough to father eight children. Eleanor gave birth to five sons and three daughters in various castles throughout their lands. She was a hands-on Queen and toured quite a bit signing documents, settling disputes, and when Louis needed her special touch in Aquitaine (after she had retired from the baby-making business) she headed down there to rule it.

Eleanor in Poitiers Cathedral window

Things started to turn sideways for Henry. He had made his former fancy-pants adviser, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury in hopes of taking some control away from the church by having “his guy” in there. But Becket didn’t play that way and a few years later ended up dead with Henry claiming he had been misunderstood when he shouted something like, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest!?” Huh. Wonder how that could be misunderstood?

His boys, now men, staged a rebellion to take the things that had been promised to them by their father…and Eleanor had her hand in that. The junior Plantagenets were not successful and Henry imprisoned Eleanor for 16 years. He had to die before she was released when their son, Richard, succeeded him. When Richard headed off to his own (failed) Crusade, Eleanor was left to rule in his place, and when él died she helped her last remaining son, John, learn the kingly ropes (although he didn’t take the crown until she was 77!)

This is Evil Eleanor attacking fair Rosamund Clifford, Henry’s mistress (an oft repeated an most likely incorrectly twist in Eleanor’s story.)

Eleanor did things at an age when most people of her time were long gone and most women of her time were long silent. She died of natural causes at the age of 82 on April 1, 1204. Although John lost everything that was in France the Plantagenets ruled England for the next 300 years.

The remade effigies of Eleanor and Henry

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

All of the media recommendations for both part one and two are here…and there are a lot. Get comfy and pace yourself!

In addition to the ones we recommend, here is a lovely Goodreads list of history fiction about Eleanor!


Miscellaneous Web Finds!

Hair shirt! Here’s a nice write-up of the many uses of the hair shirt (in penance and grammar!) Grammar Party

The most excellent History of the Crusades podcast.

More grisly details of the murder of Thomas Becket (not, of course, Beckett) Eyewitness to History.

Can’t go on the Eleanor of Aquitaine tour? Neither can we (right now, anyway) but reading about it is the next best thing! Sharon Kay Penman blog

Fontevraud is a hotel! If you go, post a picture there on Instagram with #historychicksfieldtrip so we can live vicariously!

Jinkies! Eleanor’s character sure appears in a lot of movies and television shows! Eleanor’s IMDB list.

There is a famous movie about Eleanor, Henry and three of the boys starring Katherine Hepburn (and a remake starring Glenn Close). It’s got some really fabulous one liners.

I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We’re a knowledgeable family.”

And here is the promised The Lion in Winter, compare and contrast:


Eleanor of Aquitaine, king-maker and king-breaker

From teenage duchess to elderly mother of kings, Eleanor of Aquitane sat at the heart of European politics for six decades, refusing to accept the traditional position of her gender in a medieval world.

Esta competición se ha cerrado

When her father died in 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine, still just a teenager, became the most eligible heiress in all of Europe. She was not only beautiful, smart and tenacious, but the 15-year-old had inherited expansive territories in the south of France and a great fortune, making her the ideal choice of wife for the powerful or ambitious young men of the continent.

In a 12th-century world dictated by men, even wealthy women like Eleanor rarely had a say in their own life – the most important roles they could perform were as trading commodities (to be married off as part of political alliances) and to bear male heirs. It therefore seemed that Eleanor’s future as a doting and loyal wife was laid before her and yet, for more than 60 years, she refused to accept this fate.

Politically shrewd and dynamic, she skilfully manoeuvred herself to the peak of European politics – rising to be the queen consort of both France and England – and established her own legacy as two of her sons would go on to be kings. Eleanor held her own in a male-dominated society to be, arguably, the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages.

Thrust into power

The teenage Eleanor was a quick and avid learner, which turned out to be a necessity when her father fell ill and died suddenly while on a pilgrimage. Thrust into her inherited duchy, Eleanor now controlled a large domain – more land, in fact, than French King Louis VI, who, at her father’s request, was made her guardian. Within hours of the King hearing the news, Eleanor had been betrothed to his heir, also named Louis. The pair were married in July 1137, shortly before the King died and Eleanor’s 17-year-old husband became Louis VII.

In a matter of months, Eleanor went from duchess-in-waiting to queen consort of France. What’s more, the unworldly and weak-minded Louis adored her for her intelligence, strength and, as described by contemporary writers, for being “perpulchra”, meaning ‘more than beautiful’.

Eleanor, on the other hand, was not so devoted to her husband, allegedly announcing: “I thought I was wed to a king, now I find I am wed to a monk.” For the first decade of their marriage, she exerted considerable influence over his rule – dominated by conflicts with his own lords as well as with the Pope – and gave birth to only one child, a daughter.

In 1147, in an attempt to restore favour with Rome, the pious Louis embarked on the Second Crusade to win control of Jerusalem over the Turks, and Eleanor made the surprising decision to accompany him. She knew that this meant a journey of thousands of miles over treacherous lands, risking disease and experiencing the horrors of war, but Eleanor remained steadfast, even taking her own military support with her.

The crusade was ultimately a failure and the greatest danger Eleanor faced during the two-year expedition came not from the Turks, but a scandalous rumour that she was having an incestuous affair with her uncle, Raymond, ruler of Antioch (in modern-day Turkey). As Louis’ suspicions of his queen’s behaviour deepened, the couple grew more estranged and Eleanor risked being accused of treason.

Yet, it was her who made the daring first move against Louis and began seeking an annulment on the grounds of consanguinity (meaning they shouldn’t have been permitted to marry in the first place as they were too closely related by blood).

Her efforts, which would have been unprecedented if successful, achieved nothing and she was forced to travel back to France with Louis and the remains of his doomed crusade. There seemed to be signs of a reconciliation, especially when a second daughter was born, but the relationship continued to deteriorate until, in 1152, Louis was eventually granted an annulment. Eleanor immediately left Paris and made for Poitiers.

Empire builder

Only two months after the annulment, and risking Louis’ wrath, she was wed to Henry, Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy – the grandson of King Henry I of England – in a small service at Poitiers Cathedral. Henry, 11 years her junior, was much more suited to Eleanor’s personality as he was strong, courageous, bursting with energy, ambitious and charming, although he also had a ferocious temper.

When he was crowned as Henry II of England in 1154, Eleanor’s second marriage changed the political landscape of Europe and created a vast empire. Their shared domain stretched from England’s northernmost border to the Pyrenees in the south of France. Eleanor spent many years travelling between England and France playing an integral part in the running of these territories.

Theirs was a fiery, tempestuous marriage. In some ways, it was very successful – Eleanor gave birth to eight children, with the three daughters going on to marry into Europe’s ruling dynasties – but they also fought often. Eleanor strived for the same influence she had held over her first husband, but Henry was much more assertive and unwilling to delegate power, particularly to a woman.

In 1167, Eleanor left Henry’s court and moved her household to Poitiers, where she grasped the opportunity to rule Aquitaine in Henry’s name. Why she separated from Henry remains debatable some argued she resented the lack of power she was being given, while others claims she had grown angry at his increasingly flagrant infidelities.

Any loyalty Eleanor felt towards Henry had eroded by 1173, when one of their sons, ‘Young Henry’, launched a revolt in the hope of seizing the throne. He was joined by two of his brothers as well as Eleanor, who provided military support from disillusioned nobles in Aquitaine. The rebellion plunged the royal family into civil war and Eleanor was captured and imprisoned for the next 16 years. And although the King offered mercy to his surviving sons, the betrayal of his wife clearly cut deeper – he kept her captive until his death in 1189. Only when her son Richard (the Lionheart) came to the throne was Eleanor released.

After so long away from power, Eleanor was ardent in achieving influence in Richard’s new regime, and she was rewarded with more than she could have hoped.

As Richard had dreams of glory in the Third Crusade, he sailed to the Holy Land and left his mother to rule as regent, despite her being in her late 60s. Maybe after her own aborted effort in the Crusades, she advised against Richard’s actions, arguing that the priority should be securing his new and fragile throne.

With him gone, she worked tirelessly to administer the laws of the land – which she did by personally moving from city to city with a royal retinue – and withstood the opportunistic coup led by her other son, John Lackland. When Richard was captured in Germany on his way home, it was Eleanor who collected the hefty ransom for his release.

At the time of Richard’s death in 1199, having been struck by an arrow at a siege, Eleanor ensured that her second son, ‘Bad King’ John, was crowned. She was approaching 80 but remained a dynamic political player. To show her support for John, she even crossed the Pyrenees in winter so that she could escort her granddaughter, Blanche, back to France to negotiate a key marriage alliance that would keep the peace between John and the French King.

In the first years of the 13th century, John was once again indebted to his ageing mother after her grandson, Arthur of Brittany, attempted to capture England’s territories in France, only for Eleanor to muster enough men to rebuff him at Mirebeau in 1202.

It was 65 years after she had inherited her father’s land and wealth in Aquitaine that Eleanor finally left the political arena. Retiring to the Anjou monastery at Fontevraud in 1202, she spent her last two years in increasingly poor health, dying on 1 April 1204. When she was buried, next to Henry II, the nuns at Fontevrault described Eleanor as a queen “who surpassed almost all the queens of the world”.


6. She had a historically bad break-up.

However, relations between Eleanor and Henry soured after years of his open adultery and frequent absences. They separated in 1167, and she moved to her lands in Poitiers. The distance didn’t change her opinion of Henry when their sons revolted against him in 1173, she didn't waver in choosing sides, backing her children over her husband. When the revolt failed, it had catastrophic consequences for her freedom, with Henry making her his prisoner.


Eleanor of Aquitaine Drama in Development at Starz as Part of ‘Extraordinary Women of History’ Slate

Starz is delving far into the past once again for its latest project.

Fresh off the success of “The Spanish Princess,” the network is developing another historical drama based around the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The project is one of multiple series Starz is working on in conjunction with Lionsgate TV and Colin Callender’s Playground banner as part of what the network is calling its “extraordinary women of history” slate.

The Eleanor of Aquitaine show is based on Alison Weir’s biography “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life” and its companion novel “Captive Queen.” Starz has acquired the rights to both, and intends to announce additional properties in its aforementioned slate in due time.

&ldquoThis slate of series will focus on lesser known, but undeniably exceptional female historical figures while continuing the exploration of fierce characters in history,&rdquo said Christina Davis, president of programming for Starz. &ldquoAlison Weir&rsquos novels are the perfect jumping off point for this collection of series from Playground, who are known for their sophisticated storytelling.&rdquo

Eleanor of Aquitaine, born in the 12th century, was Queen consort of England and France and wife to King Henry II of England, whom she famously betrayed. The series will depict Eleanor’s unwavering spirit which saw her through many years of victories and defeats &ndash a marriage bound by duty, a passionate love affair, family alliances and betrayals, the grandeur of power and the desolation of imprisonment.

Susie Conklin, whose previous credits include “A Discovery of Witches” and “Cranford,” will pen the Eleanor adaptation and serve as executive producer. Scott Huff and David Stern will oversee development for Playground and serve also exec produce the series.

&ldquoWe&rsquore excited to partner with Starz and Lionsgate to bring Alison Weir&rsquos acclaimed biography and novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine to television,&rdquo said Huff and Stern in a joint statement. &ldquoEleanor presided over a magnificent, progressive court filled with scandal and intrigue, and we&rsquore thrilled with Susie’s bold and provocative take on this fascinating story.&rdquo

&ldquoI&rsquom thrilled at the opportunity to bring Eleanor&rsquos story to life – the drama and adventures she experienced are truly epic. I&rsquom also captivated at how a woman who lived over 800 years ago can be so strikingly modern. She&rsquos determined to live her life on her own terms, and the way she goes about that are extraordinary,” added Conklin.

Senior vice president of original programming Karen Bailey is the Starz executive overseeing the show, while Lionsgate Television SVP Jocelyn Sabo is in charge on behalf of the studio.


Eleanor of Aquitaine

One of the most outstanding female figures of the Middle Ages and a fascinating character in her own right, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitou was born around 1122, the daughter of William X of Aquitaine and Aenor of Châtellerault, the daughter of Aimeric I, Vicomte of Chatellerault.

Vida temprana

Eleanor's paternal grandfather, William IX, Duke of Aquitaine was, by all accounts, a colourful character with an infectious joie de vivre, a musician and poet, he came to be acknowledged as the first of the troubadours. He had abducted Dangereuse, the wife of Aimeric I, Vicomte of Chatellerault and made her his long term mistress, flaunting their relationship by displaying her naked image on his shield. His wife, Phillipa of Toulouse, retired into a nunnery.

Effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine at Fontevraud

At the prompting of Dangereuse, William IX married his son and heir William, to her daughter Aenor. This complicated family situation resulted in Eleanor's maternal grandmother being the mistress of her paternal grandfather. The future William X and Aenor produced three children, a son, William Aigret, who died young, and two daughters, Eleanor and Petronella, the children were nurtured in the troubador culture of the warm south at her grandfather's court, with its cult of courtly love.

Marriage to Louis VII of France

William X succeeded his father as Duke of Aquitaine and in 1137, set out on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostella, leaving his daughters in the charge of Geoffrey de Lauroux, Archbishop of Bordeaux. He failed to return, on the journey home he was taken gravely ill and died on the 9th April 1137. Eleanor, then aged about 15, became one of the most powerful heiresses in Europe, her father had named Louis VI of France, known as the Fat, as her guardian. At the time of William X of Aquitaine's death, Louis VI was himself mortally ill, vastly obese, he was confined to his bed. He decided to marry his new ward to his teenage son, Louis, the heir to France, thereby acquiring the vast lands and wealth of Aquitaine for the French crown.

Contemporary writers praise Eleanor's beauty, when she was young, she was described as perpulchra, meaning more than beautiful. When she was around 30, Bernard de Ventadour, a noted troubadour, called her "gracious, lovely, the embodiment of charm," extolling her "lovely eyes and noble countenance". William of Newburgh emphasized the charms of her person, and even in her old age, Richard of Devizes described her as beautiful.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Louis and Eleanor were duly married at the cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux on the 12th of July 1137. The newlywed pair possessed disparate personalities, Eleanor was high-spirited, worldly and strong-headed Louis was pious, meek and monkish. Louis VI died a few days after the wedding, making Eleanor Queen Consort of France. Eleanor's sister, Petronella, who was brought to the French court, engaged in an illicit affair with Raoul I of Vermandois who attempted to repudiate his wife, the niece of the powerful Theobald of Champagne, to marry Petronella. Louis VII, encouraged by Eleanor supported Petronella and Raoul. War broke out as a result. The town of Vitry was burnt and the townspeople sought refuge in a church, which burned down. More than one thousand perished in the flames. The sensitive Louis' conscience was sorely troubled by the affair and he was plagued by the screams of the dying.

Peace was eventually restored and King Louis decided to go on crusade to the Holy Land to expiate his sins. Eleanor also enthusiastically took up the cross and persuaded her husband to allow her and her ladies to accompany him. The Second Crusade achieved little and it was rumoured that Eleanor indulged in an extramarital affair with her uncle, Raymond of Antioch. Raymond was described as a tall and elegant figure, handsome and a man of charming affability and conversation, open-handed and magnificent beyond measure. Eleanor spent so much time in her uncle's council, that chroniclers were later to hint at improprieties were committed between the two. She was torn away from Antioch at night by a furious Louis, who was later advised in a letter from Abbot Suger 'conceal your rancour against the queen.' Raymond and Eleanor never met again. Raymond was killed at the Battle of Inab in 1149. He was beheaded by Shirkuh, the uncle of Saladin.

Eleanor and Louis produced two daughters, Marie (1145-1198), who later married Henry I, Count of Champagne and Alix (1151-1198), who married Theobald V, Count of Blois. However, the couple became increasingly estranged as the years passed, Eleanor found her meek and devout husband boring and the marriage was finally annulled on 11th March 1152. Louis acquired custody of the couple's daughters and Eleanor retained the rich lands of Aquitaine.

Henry II and Thomas Becket in stained glass, Chester Cathedral

Marriage to Henry II

Once again a wealthy heiress in her own right, attempts were made to abduct Eleanor to acquire her estates. Only six weeks after her annulment, Eleanor married for a second time to the young Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, a man eleven years her junior. Both were strong characters, accustomed to having their own way and resultantly the stage was set for a extremely stormy and tumultuous union. A man of immense energy and dynamic personality, Henry was possessed of the fearful Angevin temper, apparently a dominant family trait. In his notorious and uncontrollable rages he would lie on the floor and chew at the rushes and was never slow to anger. Eleanor had previously been the lover of his father Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou who advised his son against the marriage.

On the death of King Stephen in 1154, Henry ascended to the throne of England at the age of 21. The tempestuous union of Henry and Eleanor were to produce a large and dysfunctional family of eight children. Their firstborn, William, Count of Poitiers (b. 1153) the traditional title of the heirs to the Dukes of Aquitaine, died in infancy, he was followed by another son Henry, (1155-1183), known as the Young King, then came a daughter Matilda (1156-1189), followed by a third son, the future Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199), Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany (1158-1186), then came two more daughters, Eleanor (1162-1214) and Joanna (1165-1199) and finally, that afterthought of his parents cooling passion, John (1166-1216).

Like his grandfather before him, Henry was a man of strong passions and a serial adulterer, he incensed his passionate and strong-willed wife by introducing his bastard son, Geoffrey, the son of Hikenai, a woman of loose morals, into the royal nursery in the early days of their marriage. Eleanor, a proud woman, found this insult difficult to stomach. Much to the chagrin of his wife, he later took Rosamund Clifford as his long term mistress. Eleanor was aware that he was particularly enamoured of Rosamund and she was to become the mother of two of his many illegitimate children. The neglected Queen returned to her native Aquitaine, there establishing her court and taking her son Richard along with her, who was designated her heir. Spurned by her husband's neglect, Eleanor encouraged her brood of unruly and discontented sons to rebel against their father and in 1173 was captured by Henry whilst attempting to join her sons in Paris.

She spent the next fifteen years as her husband's prisoner, during which time her eldest surviving son, Henry, the Young King, "a restless youth, born for the undoing of many" died while in revolt against his father. Her fourth son, Geoffrey, was killed at a tournament in Paris on August 19, 1186, at the age of twenty-eight, he was reputed to have been trampled to death in the melee.

Widowhood

When Henry died on July 6, 1189, her favourite son Richard ascended the throne of England and one of his first acts was to order the release of his revered mother. He was to prove to be an absentee king and soon after his coronation, inspired no doubt by the tales of his mother's crusade, left England to take part in the Third Crusade.

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Prince John

Eleanor escorted his intended bride, Berengaria of Navarre, who was to join him on the crusade, from Spain to Sicily, for their marriage. Their union produced no children. On his return journey, Richard was taken captive and held for ransom. Eleanor campaigned tirelessly for his release, adressing the Pope in an outraged letter of complaint as "Eleanor, by the wrath of God, Queen of England". She personally delivered his ransom.

When Richard was mortally wounded at the Siege of Chaluz, she rushed to be with him at the end. On 6th April 1199 "he ended his earthly day" in her arms and she escorted his body to Fontevrault for burial.

Now in her late seventies, Eleanor's travels were far from over. The terms of a truce between Louis' son, King Philip Augustus II of France and King John in 1199, agreed that Philip's son the Dauphin Louis, then 12, was to marry one of John's Castillian nieces, the daughters of King Alfonso VIII and Eleanor's daughter, Queen Eleanor of Castille. John sent his mother to Castile to select one of the princesses and escort her to France. Then aged 77, Eleanor set out from Poitiers. Just outside the city she was ambushed and held captive by Hugh IX of Lusignan. Eleanor secured her release by agreeing to his demands and continued on her journey south, crossing the Pyrenees, she arrived in Castille before the end of January 1200.

King Alfonso VIII and Queen Eleanor had two daughters who were yet unmarried, Urraca and Blanche. Eleanor chose the younger daughter, Blanche, whose name she thought would appeal more to French ears. She remained at the Castilian court for two months, spending time with the daughter she had not seen in decades. Late in March, Eleanor set off back across the Pyrenees with her granddaughter Blanche. She celebrated Easter at Bordeaux, where she was joined by Richard's captain, Mercadier, intending to escort Eleanor and Blanche north through France. However, on the second day in Easter week, he was slain in the city by a man-at-arms in the pay of a rival mercenary captain. This tragedy distressed Eleanor, who was suffering from fatigue. She felt unable to continue to Normandy. She and Blanche travelled in easy stages to the valley of the Loire, where she entrusted the care of Blanche to the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Exhausted, Eleanor retired to Fontevrault.

She supported her youngest son John as King of England in preference to her grandson, Arthur of Brittany. Arthur, the son of Eleanor's fourth son Geoffrey and Constance of Brittany, attempted to recover his inheritance from John and in the summer of 1202, besieged his octogenarian grandmother at Mirebeau Castle which she valiantly held for John. Eleanor resorted to delaying tactics while sending an urgent message to her son for aid. John responded with alacrity, covering the 80-mile distance from Le Mans in 48 hours, he came to the aid of his mother and took Arthur, prisoner. Eleanor advised her son to make peace with her grandson, but Arthur was later murdered at Rouen by his ruthless uncle. Eleanor's reaction to his disappearance has gone unrecorded, although it led Shakespeare to refer to her as a 'cankered grandam'.

Eleanor retired to Fontevraud, where she hoped to find peace and took the veil. Her magnificent constitution was at last exhibiting signs of failing and she was reported to be often unwell, she was visited there by John. Richard's 'saucy castle' Chateau Gaillard, fell to the French and as Phillip began the dismemberment of the crumbling French Angevin Empire, Eleanor sank into a coma, the annals of Fontevrault recorded that she 'existed as one already dead to the world'. Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204 and was buried at Fontevraud, the mausoleum of the early Plantagenets, by her husband, Henry II and her best loved son, Richard. Constructed in the thirteenth century, and ravaged by time and revolution, her painted effigy depicts her reading a book, reflecting her love of learning.

The Ancestry of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Father: William X, Duke of Aquitaine

Paternal Grandfather: William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

Paternal Great-grandfather: William VIII of Aquitaine

Paternal Great-grandmother: Hildegarde of Burgundy

Paternal Grandmother: Philippa of Toulouse

Paternal Great-grandfather: Count William IV of Toulouse

Paternal Great-grandmother: Emma of Mortain

Mother:Aenor de Châtellerault

Maternal Grandfather: Aimery I, Viscount of Châtellerault

Maternal Great-grandfather: Boson II de Châtellerault

Maternal Great-grandmother: Aleanor de Thouars

Maternal Grandmother: Dangereuse de L' Isle Bouchard

Maternal Great-grandfather: Bartholomew de L'Isle Bouchard

The Children and Grandchildren of Eleanor of Aquitaine

By her first marriage to Louis VII, King of France :-

(1 )Marie of France (1145 - March 11, 1198) married Henry I, Count of Champagne.

Issue:- (i) Henry II of Champagne (1166-1197)

(ii) Marie of Champagne (died 1204), married Baldwin I of Constantinople

(iii) Theobald III of Champagne (1179-1201)

(iv) Scholastique of Champagne (died 1219), married William IV of Macon

(2) Alix of France (1151 - 1197/1198) married Theobald V, Count of Blois

Issue :-(i) Theobald of Blois (d. 1182)

(ii) Louis I, Count of Blois, d. 1205

(iii) Henry of Blois (d. 1182)

(iv) Philip of Blois (d. 1202)

(v) Margaret, Countess of Blois (d. aft. 1230), married (1) Otto I, Count of Burgundy (2) Gauthier II, Seigneur of Avesnes

(vi) Isabella (1180-1247/1248), married (1) Sulpice of Amboise (2) Jean de Montmirail

(vii) Alix, Abbess of Fontevrault

By her second marriage to Henry II, King of England :-

(1) Prince William, Count of Poiters 1153-56 died in infancy

(2) Henry, 'the Young King' 1155-83 m. Margaret of France.

Issue:- (i) William b. & D. 1177

(3) Matilda of England 1156-1189 m. Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony.

(i) Matilda of Saxony 1172-1216 m. Geoffrey III, Count of Perche

(ii) Henry I, Count Palatine of the Rhine 1173-1227

(iv) OTTO THE GREAT, HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR 1175-1219

(v) William, Duke of Luneberg 1184-1213

(4) RICHARD I ' the Lionheart' 1157-99 m. Berengaria of Navarre.

(5) Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany 1158-86 m. Constance of Brittany.

(i) Eleanor of Brittany 1184-1241

(ii) Matilda of Brittany 1185-1189

(iii) Arthur, Duke of Brittany 1187-1203

(6) Eleanor of England 1161-1214 m. ALPHONSO VIII OF CASTILLE.

(i) BERENGARIA, QUEEN OF CASTILLE 1180-1214

(ii) Sancho of Castille b. & D. 1181

(iii) Sancho of Castille 1182-84

(iv) Matilda of Castille 1183?-1204

(v) Urraca of Castille 1186-1220 m. ALPHONSO II OF PORTUGAL

(vi) Blanche of Castille m. LOUIS VIII OF FRANCE

(vii) Ferdinand of Castille 1189-1216

(viii) Constance of Castille b 1196?

(ix) Eleanor of Castille 1200-44 m. JAMES I OF ARAGON

(x) Constance of Castille 1203?-43

(xi) HENRY I OF CASTILLE 1204-1217

(7) Joanna of England 1165-99 m. (1) WILLIAM II OF SICILY (2) Raymond VI of

(i) Raymond VII of Toulouse

(ii) Richard of Toulouse b. & D. 1199

(8) KING JOHN 1167-1217 m. (1) Isabella of Gloucester (2) Isabella of

(i) HENRY III 1207-72 m. Eleanor of Provence

(ii) Richard, Earl of Cornwall 1209-72 m. (1) Isabella Marshall (2) Sanchia of Provence

(iii) Joanna of England 1210-38 m. ALEXANDER II, KING OF SCOTS

(iv) Isabella of England 1214-41 m. FREDERICK II HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR

(v) Eleanor of England b.1215 m. (1) William Marshall (2) Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester