01.04.

1204: Death of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mother of Richard the Lionheart

1204: Death of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mother of Richard the Lionheart
Photo Credit To https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gisant_alienor_d_aquitaine_et_henri2.jpg

Eleanor inherited the huge Duchy of Aquitaine from her father. It encompassed roughly one-third of the territory of France.

This date in 1204 marked the death of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most powerful women of the European Middle Ages. She personally ruled over Aquitaine, a powerful duchy that encompassed around one-third of the territory of France. Women in Aquitaine had more rights than in many other parts of medieval Europe, allowing Eleanor to be a true ruler rather than just a figurehead. As such, she was one of the most desirable brides in Europe, and later became the wife of both a French and an English king.

The Duchy of Aquitaine, which Eleanor inherited from her father William X., encompassed the whole of southeast France (Lourdes, Bordeaux, Périgord) as well as a large part of central France (Limoges, Clermont, Poitiers). Eleanor was also the last “independent” ruler of Aquitaine (all later rulers were also kings of either France or England, i.e. members of the royal dynasties of these two countries).

Eleanor gave birth to as many as 10 children, among them two English kings – Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland (both well-known thanks to the Robin Hood legend). In addition, two of Eleanor’s daughters became queen consorts – one of Castile and the other of Sicily.

All in all, Eleanor acquired numerous titles through inheritance or marriage, including: Queen Consort of England, Queen Consort of France, Duchess of Aquitaine, Duchess of Normandy, Duchess of Gascony, Countess of Anjou, Countess of Maine, Countess of Poitiers, etc. In film adaptations she was played by Katharine Hepburn, among others. Eleanor died in Poitiers and was buried in the famous Fontevraud Abbey, the same place where her son Richard the Lionheart was buried later.

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