Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The eldest of three children, her father was William X, Duke of Aquitaine, and her mother was Aenor de Châtellerault, the daughter of Aimeric I, Vicomte of Chatellerault and a woman named Dangereuse. William and Aenor's marriage had been arranged by his father and her mother, as Dangereuse was the long-time mistress of William IX of Aquitaine, the Troubador. Eleanor was named after her mother and called Aliénor, which means "other Aenor", but it became "Eleanor" in English.
She was raised in one of Europe's most cultured courts, the birthplace of Courtly Love, which had been invented by her grandfather. She was highly educated for a woman of the time, and knew how to read, how to speak Latin, was well versed in music and literature, and enjoyed riding, hawking, and hunting. She became heiress to Aquitaine, the largest and richest of the provinces that would become modern France, when her brother, William Aigret, died as a baby.
Queen of France
Duke William X died on Good Friday in 1137, while on a pilgrimage to Spain. At 15 years old, Eleanor was Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right and officially the most eligible heiress in Europe. These were the days when kidnapping an heiress was seen as a viable option for attaining a title, so William wrote up a will on the very day he died instructing that his daughter marry Louis VII of France, the heir to the French throne. The marriage, on July 22, 1137, brought to France the area from the river Loire to the Pyrenees: most of what is today the southwest of France. However, there was a catch: the land would remain independent of France, and Eleanor's eldest son would be both King of France and Duke of Aquitaine. Thus, her holdings would not be merged with France until the next generation. She also gave him a wedding present that is still in existence, a rock crystal vase that is on display at the Louvre. Within a month of their marriage, Louis VI had died, and Eleanor became Queen of France.
Something of a free spirit, Eleanor was not much liked by the staid Northerners (particularly, according to contemporary sources, her mother-in-law), who thought her flighty and a bad influence, and her conduct was repeatedly criticized by Church elders (particularly Bernard of Clairvaux and Abbot Suger) as indecorous. The King himself, on the other hand, was madly in love with his beautiful and worldly wife and granted her every whim. Eleanor supported her sister, Petronilla of Aquitaine, when she illegally married Raoul of Vermandois; the incident started a war and caused conflict between Eleanor and Louis.
She insisted on taking part in the Crusades with some female contemporaries, as the feudal leader of the soldiers from her duchy. The story that she and her ladies dressed as Amazons is disputed by serious historians. However her testimonial launch of the Second Crusade from Vézelay, the rumored location of Mary Magdalene's internment, dramatically emphasized the role of women, with her, as the Queen of France, their leader, played in the campaign.
The crusade itself was something of a disaster, both from a military viewpoint and in terms of the personal relationship of the royal couple. From a military standpoint, Louis was a weak and ineffectual military leader with no concept of maintaining troop discipline or morale, or in making informed and logical tactical decisions. The French army was betrayed by Manuel I Comnenus, Byzantine Emperor, who feared that their militaristic aims would jeopardize the tenuous safety of his empire. A particularly poor decision was to camp one night, in hostile territory, in a lush valley surrounded by tall peaks. Predictably, the Turks attacked and slaughtered as many as seven thousand Crusaders. As this decision was made by Eleanor's servant, it was generally believed that it was really her directive. This did nothing for her popularity in Christendom.
Even before the Crusade, Eleanor and Louis were becoming estranged as vigor and piety clashed. While in the Holy Land, she sided with her flamboyant uncle, Raymond of Antioch (who was rumored to be her lover), in his desire to re-capture the County of Edessa. Louis preferred to visit Jerusalem which eventually led to a debilitating campaign. When Eleanor declared her intention to stand with Raymond, Louis had her brought with him by force. Her imprisonment disheartened her Aquitaine knights and Magdalene followers and the divided Crusade armies could not overcome the Muslim forces. For reasons unknown, the Crusade leaders targeted Damascus, an ally until the attack. Failed, they retired to Jerusalem, and then home.
Perhaps some good came of this venture: while in the eastern Mediterranean, Eleanor learned about maritime conventions developing there that were the beginnings of what would become the field of admiralty law. She later introduced those conventions in her own lands, on the island of Oleron in 1160, and then into England.
When they passed through Rome on the way to Paris, Pope Eugene III tried to reconcile Eleanor and Louis. Eleanor conceived their second daughter, Alix Capet (their first was Marie de Champagne), but there was no saving the marriage. In 1152 it was annulled on the grounds of consanguinity. Her estates reverted to her and were no longer part of the French royal properties.
On May 18, 1152, six weeks after her annullment, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Anjou, by whom she was pregnant with their son, William. She was eleven years older than he, and related to him in the same degree as she had been to Louis. One of Eleanor's rumored lovers was Henry's own father, Geoffrey of Anjou, who, not surprisingly, advised him not to get involved with her. Over the next 13 years, she bore Henry four more sons and three daughters: Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John, Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan.
Despite her reputation (which all the historical evidence shows was probably deserved), Eleanor was incensed by Henry's philandering; their son, William, and Henry's bastard son, Geoffrey, were born months apart. In 1173, he took up with his great love, Rosamund Clifford, and supposedly contemplated divorcing Eleanor. When Rosamund died in 1176, rumours flew that Eleanor poisoned her, but there is no evidence to support this.
Eleanor was also annoyed by Henry's attempts to control her patrimony of Aquitaine and her court at Poitiers. Some time between 1168 and 1173, she instigated a separation, deciding that, from that point on, she would remain in her own territory of Poitou, where she developed the Court of Love, while Henry concentrated on controlling his increasingly large empire. A small fragment of her codes and practices were written by Andreas Capellanus.
In 1173, aggrieved at his lack of power and egged on by his father's enemies, the younger Henry launched the Revolt of 1173-1174, joined by Richard and Geoffrey, and supported by several powerful English barons as well as Louis VII and William I of Scotland. When Eleanor tried to join them, she was intercepted and Henry, who put down the rebellion, imprisoned her for the next 15 years. A considerable amount of her imprisonment was in various locations in England. About four miles from Shrewsbury and close by Haughmond Abbey is "Queen Eleanor's Bower", the remains of a triangular castle which is believed may have been one of her prisons.
In 1183, Henry the Young tried again. In debt, refused control of Normandy, he tried to ambush his father at Limoges, joined by troops sent by Geoffrey and Philip II of France. Henry's troops besieged the town, forcing his son to flee. Henry the Young wandered aimlessly through Aquitaine until he caught dysentery and died. The rebellion petered out.
Upon Henry's death in 1189, she helped Richard inherit the throne and he released his mother from prison. She ruled England as Regent while Richard went off to the Crusades. She survived him and lived long enough to see her youngest son John on the throne.
Eleanor died in 1204 and was entombed in Fontevraud Abbey near her husband Henry and Richard. Her tomb effigy shows her reading a Bible. She was the patroness of such literary figures as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-More , and Chrétien de Troyes.
In historical fiction
Eleanor and Henry are the main characters in the play The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, which was made into a film starring Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn, and remade for televison in 2003 with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close. The depiction of her in the film Becket is totally inaccurate. She appears briefly in the BBC production Ivanhoe portrayed by Sian Phillips. She is also a major character in Thomas B. Costain's Below the Salt, and the subject of E. L. Konigsburg's children's book A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver. Her later years are chronicled briefly in "Here be Dragons" by Sharon Kay Penman, a book of 13th century England and Wales. The novel The Book of Eleanor by Pamela Kaufman tells the story of Eleanor's life from her own point of view.
- Queen Eleanor: Independent Spirit of the Medieval World, Polly Schover Brooks (©1983) (for young readers)
- Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography, Marion Meade (©1977)
- Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings, Amy Kelly (©1950)
- Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Mother Queen, Desmond Seward (©1978)
- Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, Alison Weir (©1999)
- Women of the Twelfth Century, Volume 1 : Eleanor of Aquitaine and Six Others, Georges Duby
| Preceded by:|
| Duchess of Aquitaine|
with Louis and Henry I
| Succeeded by:|
|Raymond|| Countess of Poitiers|
with Louis and Henry I
Isabella of Jerusalem (c. 1170-1205) was Queen of Jerusalem from 1192 to 1205. She was the daughter of Amalric I of Jerusalem and Maria Comnena. Isabella was the paternal grand daughter of Melisende of Jerusalem.
Isabelle's father Amalric I married Maria Comena , the Byzantine Emporer Manual I's grand-neice, on 29 August 1167 in Tyre. Theirs was a political marage; Maria represented the countinued personal link between Jerusalem and Constantinople and brought an allience and dowery-money. Both were in short supply in a Jersualem increasingly short on funds and pressed on its borders. Maria, however, "took no part in affairs of state during Amalric's lifetime" wrote professor Benard Hamilton. Maria delivered Isabella in 1172, and another girl-child who died in infancy.
When her father died in 1174, Isabelle and her mother retired to Nablus. Maria, now the dowager-queen, was practically exiled from court, where her political rival, the countess Agnes of Courtney , returned. As the mother of king Baldwin IV, Agnes would exert much inlfuence in government affairs and appointments.
In Nablus Maria was courted by the ambitious Iblin family, who sought to extend their own influence in government. Unexpectedly, Isabelle's half brother, now King Baldwin IV, allowed the dowager-queen Maria to marry Balin Iblin. This arrangement could prove dangerous, as the Iblins now held significant influence over the princess Isabelle and the dower-feif of Nablus.
Phillip of Flanders , a paternal cousin of Isabelle, arrived in Jerusalem while on Crusade. As the highest ranking male relitive of king Baldwin IV, who was then in his minority, he demanded the right to have both princesses Sibylla and Isabelle married to his own vassels. By this he expected to secure control of Jerusalem. However, the Haute Cour rebuffed Phillip's demands, and he left for Antioch.
who was described by the poet Ambrose as "exceedingly fair and lovely", married to her own political ally Humphry of Toron , further neutralizing the influence of the dowager-queen and Iblin family.
But at her marage festivities in Kerek were mared, as Saladin chose to beseage the fortress, with all guests inside. Accorting to the chronicler Ernoul Stephanie de Milly, the groom's mother:
"sent to Saladin bread and wine, sheep and cattle in celebration of her son's wedding, reminding him that he used to carry her in his arms when she was a child and he was a slave in the castle. And when Saladin received these gifts he was exceedingly delighted and gave thanks to those who brought them to him, asking where the bride and bridegroom were staying: their tower was pointed out to him. Thereupon Saladin gave out orders throughout his army that no attack should be directed at this tower."
Baldwin IV, who suffered from lepersy, rallied all his personal strength and releaved the Salidan's seage, and deposed Guy of Lusignan from the regency. Guy had offended the king and become unpopular in his short tenure as regent. In disgrace, he secured himself in Ascoln. Baldwin IV appointed Baldwin V as his heir, ahead of princess Sibylla. This dynastic arrangement did not effect Isabelle's position however, as she remained thrid in line of succession and married to Humphry of Turon, Guy's own friend.
Queen Sibylla reign
King Baldwin IV died in 1185, leaving his nephew king as Baldwin V. Baldwin was Sibylla's eldest child and placed above her in order of succession in 1183, when the Haute Cour atempted to restrict Guy's influence in government. For the next year factions jockeyed for positions of power under the regency government of Raymond III of Tripoli, a close ally to the dowager-queen Maria.
When the child king Baldwin V died in 1186, Sibylla was proclaimed queen by the Patriach of Jerusalem. The dowager-queen Maria and the Iblin family had been plotting to hold a seperate coronation for Isabelle, in an effort to claim power for themselves. However, their plans were wrecked when Isabelle and her husband Guy of Torun rode to Jerusalem to swear fealty to Sibylla as queen. The dowager-queen and Iblin family, their plot now foiled, followed soon after.
Saladan's forces countinued their conquest of Jerusalam, taking the city itself. By 1167, all that remained of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was the seaside city of Tyre, now under the authority of Conrad of Montferret. Princess Isabelle and her mother the dowger-queen sought refuge here for the next five years. When Queen Sibylla and Guy of Lusignan sought refuge in the city Conrad denied them, and they spet months beneath the city walls, later joining a vanguard of the Third Crusade.
Queen Sibylla and her daughters died in Acre on July 25, 1190. The Haute Cour only recognized Guy's position in the lifetime of the Queen, and with her death Isabelle became the only canidate for the throne. Further complicating the matter was Humphrey's riendship with Guy. Humphrey would not advance his wife's claim to the crown over his friends. Acting quickly, the dowager-queen Maria sought the Archbishop of Pisa to have Isabelle's marrage annuled on gounds that she was too young to be married in 1183, when she was only eight years old. Isabelle, prehaps against her will, was forced to aquiesence to the annulment of her marrage with Humphrey.
Isabelle was proclaimed Queen of Jerusalem in Tyre, and married Conrad of Montferret.
However, Salidan's advance countinued, and with in the year he was at the gates of Jerusalem.
In 1192 later Isabella was divorced from Humphrey against her will and married Conrad of Montferrat. Conrad had argued that her marriage to Humphrey was invalid because she was underage at the time; by virtue of his marriage to Isabella, Conrad became the closest male relative to the royal family and succeeded as King of Jerusalem. He soon died under mysterious circumstances, stabbed to death by the Hashshashin, while Isabella was pregnant with the future Maria of Montferrat, and the succession to the throne was disputed. She hid herself in the city of Tyre, which was both her largest city and the best defended. Help arrived in the form of Count Henry II of Champagne, a French nobleman who was the nephew of both the King of England and the King of France. It was his uncle Richard the Lion-Hearted who sent him to Tyre as his representative. The people of Tyre were reportedly so taken by his youth and handsomeness that they shouted that he should marry their princess; Isabella herself encouraged the idea. Henry and Isabella were married in short order, while she was still pregnant with Conrad's child. Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, a Muslim chronicler, who attended the marriage, wrote:
"Henry of Champagne married the Marquis' wife on the same night, maintaining that he had first right to the dead man's wife. She was pregnant, but this did not prevent himself uniting himself with her, something even more disgusting than the coupling of the flesh. I asked one of their courtiers to whom paternity would be awarded and he said: "It will be the Queen's child." You see the licentiousness of these foul Unbelievers!"
Henry died in 1197 when he fell out of a window. They had two daughters, Alice (born 1196) and Philippa of Champagne. While married to Henry it was retroactively decided that her marriage to Humphrey was not in fact invalid, but as Humphrey had died in the meantime, Isabella was married for a fourth time to Amalric II of Jerusalem (also Amalric I of Cyprus), brother of Guy of Lusignan. He died in 1205, shortly before his wife. They had two daughters, Sybilla and Melisande of Lusignan, and one son.
On her death in 1205, she was succeeded by her daughter Maria of Montferrat.
| Preceded by:|
Guy and Sibylla
| Queen of Jerusalem|
with Conrad, Henry, and Amalric
| Succeeded by:|
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details