Female Heroes: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine, a woman who was in many ways ahead of her time and who was one of the most important figures in the Middle Ages, is the subject of Aoife's Links this week.

Greetings, my Faithful Readers!

This week's Links List is short but sweet. It's about Eleanor of Aquitaine, that universally recognized leader of Female-ness in the 12th century. Wow! What a Woman! She was the Queen of France, the Queen of England, and gave birth to (amongst several other notable children) TWO Kings of England! She was instrumental in making Paris a Mecca of Culture, and she even went on Crusade!

Eleanor had the temerity to divorce a King and live to tell the tale! Not only did she thrive, within weeks she's met Henry II of England, whom she promptly married. Eleanor gave the world the Aquitaine timepiece (as a way to convince her husband, His Majesty, to come home for a "Hot Date" on time). Countless numbers of her female descendants were names for her. Eleanor herself was a descendant of troubadours.

All in all, Eleanor was a woman who decided her own fate and set a course to achieve her goals. And that's what we can expect from a Medieval woman whose grandmother's name was Dangereuse....

Cheers!

Aoife
Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt
Riverouge, Endless Hills, Aethelmearc


Female Heroes: Eleanore of Aquitane
http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine2.html
(Site Excerpt) On her way home, while resting in Sicily, Eleanor was brought the news that her fair haired uncle had been killed in battle, and his head delivered to the Caliph of Baghdad. Although her marriage to Louis continued for a time, and she bore him two daughters, the relationship was over. In 1152 the marriage was annulled and her vast estates reverted to Eleanor's control. Within a year, at age thirty, she married twenty year old Henry who two years later became king of England.

Eleanor of Aquitaine The Troubadour's Daughter
http://www.royalty.nu/Europe/England/Angevin/Eleanor.html
(Site Excerpt) William IX didn't just sing about love. He married for the first time while he was still in his teens, but apparently he and his wife Ermengarde didn't get along, and the marriage was annulled. His second wife was Philippa (or Maud) of Toulouse, the widowed queen of Aragon. They had two sons, William and Raymond, and five daughters. When the Troubadour tired of Philippa, she moved to the same nunnery where Ermengard lived. After Philippa's death, Ermengarde tried to force William to take her back, but the duke had other ideas. He had abducted a married woman called Dangereuse ("dangerous" in French), and she was now his mistress. In time the Troubadour decided that his elder son, William, should marry Dangereuse's daughter Aenor. (Dangereuse's husband was Aenor's father.) The younger William didn't want to marry Aenor, but he had no choice. The marriage took place in 1121, and a year or so later Eleanor of Aquitaine was born. She was followed by a daughter, Aelith (or Petronella) and a son, William Aigret.

ORB: Eleanor of Aquitaine: An Annotated Bibliography
Compiled by Stephanie Tarbin
http://the-orb.net/bibliographies/eleanor.html
(Site Excerpt) I have chosen not to include a listing of printed primary works since this bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive and because of the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Contemporary references to Eleanor tend to be dispersed among a range of sources, including chronicles and administrative records. Fortunately, an impressive range of twelfth-century material is available in print and evidence for Eleanor's life may be gleaned from the more accessible editions.

Henry II (1154-1189)
http://www.bladezone.com/marshal/henryII.html
(Site excerpt) The continental empire ruled by Henry and his sons included the French counties of Brittany, Maine, Poitou, Touraine, Gascony, Anjou, Aquitane, and Normandy. Henry was technically a feudal vassal of the king of France but, in reality, owned more territory and was more powerful than his French lord. Although King John (Henry's son) lost most of the English holdings in France, English kings laid claim to the French throne until the fifteenth century.

Genealogy of Eleanor of Aquitane, Queen of England
http://www.american-pictures.com/genealogy/persons/per06749.htm

Eleanor's Early Life
http://www.eden.rutgers.edu/%7Eleonam/555/final/eleanorearlylife.htm (Site Excerpt) Eleanor's father believed she should get an education and Eleanor was an excellent student. When she was young Eleanor's mother and little brother died. In 1137 her father died from food poisoning and Eleanor inherited many lands, the most important was called Aquitaine. Now that Eleanor was an orphan and only fifteen years of age, a marriage was arranged for her. In the Middle Ages women were not allowed to live alone unless they were older widows, and even then they could be married off.

Carrying Coal to Newcastle
http://www.as.wvu.edu/mlastinger/vendee/2005/2005-06-14/pres0002.html
(Site Excerpt) At the time Good King Louis was married to Europe's richest, most beautiful, and most cultivated princess: Eleanore of Aquitaine. Many say that Eleanore was born in this village. That's not certain, but it is certain that her mother cherished this site and that she was buried here. That's why Good Old Louis (actually Louis le Jeune, to give you the real name of Louis VII), gave the royal stamp to this abbey. Of course that was before he divorced Eleanore, due to irreconcilable differences: she liked music, poetry and literature, he liked praying, fasting and fighting.

Rootsweb: Eleanor of Aquitaine
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nwa/aquit.html
(Site Excerpt) Eleanor was a granddaughter of Guillaume (William) IX of Aquitaine (1070-1127), who was one of the first and most famous troubadours. He was a cheerful man and an ardent lover of women, who joined the First Crusade. When he returned from this disastrous crusade early in the century in a very cynical mood, he found his countess, Philippa of Toulouse, taken up with one of those religious movements perennially arising on the soil of Aquitaine.

Apple Hollow Farms: History of the Aquitane as a timepiece
(and several images of modern interpretations of Aquitaines)
http://www.applehollow.com/jewelry.html