Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography

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Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of the first lady through her active participation in American politics. He took power in after the July Revolution, but was forced to abdicate after an uprising in Louis XV was king of France from to He is best known for contributing to the decline of royal authority that led to the French Revolution in Henry IV granted religious freedom to Protestants by issuing the Edict of Nantes during his reign as king of France, from to In Louis stayed in Jerusalem long enough to fight a bit and celebrate Easter, after which he and Eleanor sailed home to France on separate ships.

Once again the couple tried to have a son, but when a second girl was born, the marriage was all but over. There was no such thing as divorce in the Middle Ages. Instead, Eleanor claimed that her bloodline and Louis's were too close, and in she had the marriage annulled, or officially cancelled, by the church.

Two months later she remarried.

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This time Eleanor married a much younger man known for his fiery and manly character. Henry Plantagenet, duke of Anjou, was eleven years younger than Eleanor and stood in line to inherit the English throne. To him, Eleanor, with her vast lands in Aquitaine, was a real prize despite their age difference. Thanks to his wife's land, Henry owned more of France than the king of France himself.

Together Henry and Eleanor controlled the most powerful kingdom in the Christian West. At first Eleanor and Henry were inseparable. She traveled with him throughout his lands, living much of the time in less-than-elegant conditions. In thirteen years she gave birth to eight children, five of them boys. But her husband soon showed that he could not be faithful, and his string of lovers and mistresses ruined their marriage.

Eleanor left England in to return to her native Aquitaine, taking her favorite son, Richard I , the Lionheart see entry , with her. There she turned away from politics for a time, enjoying the culture offered at her court. It is said that she was the originator, or founder, of what became known as "courts of love," where noblewomen would gather to judge the love poems recited by knights and other male nobles of the duchy.

Court life, however, was not enough to keep Eleanor's interest. She managed to persuade her absent husband to announce that his eldest son, who was also called Henry, would be the next king.

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life - Alison Weir - Google книги

He was crowned Henry III in , though the father still held all the power. After three years, however, this son, his brother Richard I , and a third son named Geoffrey grew restless.


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Eleanor took their side against their father, and with the help of the French king they rose up against Henry II. The king of England quickly crushed this revolt and imprisoned his rebellious wife in various castles for the next sixteen years. These were hard times for Eleanor, who was used to being out in the world, traveling across Europe and even to the Holy Land.

She survived this imprisonment, however, and was let go following the death of her husband in It was she, in fact, who arranged the celebrations for his coronation crowning in London. During Richard's reign, Eleanor once again became a close adviser to a king. On his way home after fighting in the Third Crusade —92 he was thrown in prison by his political rival, the Holy Roman Emperor. Eleanor managed to keep the kingdom together and fight off attempts by her youngest son, John, to steal the crown. She also arranged for the enormous ransom payment for release of a prisoner to be paid to the Holy Roman Emperor to free her son and personally delivered the money to Germany.

When Richard I died suddenly in , she stood behind her son John in the fight for the crown. He became king, although not a very good or kind one, yet Eleanor remained loyal to him. In her seventies she continued traveling around Europe arranging royal marriages. In her eighties she finally decided that it was time to slow down.

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She went to live at an abbey religious institution for women at Fontevrault, in the French region of Anjou, where she died in the spring of She was eighty-two, a very old age for a person living during the Middle Ages. Eleanor of Aquitaine was a woman far ahead of her time. She was not content simply to be the power behind her man. Instead, she took control herself, helping to recruit forces for the Second Crusade and to install her sons as kings of England. Much of the blame for the failure of the Second Crusade was put on her because of the huge supply train she needed for her three hundred female Crusaders.

In reality, it was the infighting among the leaders of this Crusade, as well as poor planning, that were responsible for the failure. Eleanor went on to live a life full of adventure and personal sadness, outliving most of her children. A patron, or sponsor, of the arts as well as a powerful and beautiful woman, Eleanor was an early example of what women could accomplish in the world. Europe: A—K. Edited by Anne Commire and Deborah Klezmer. Detroit, MI: Gale, New York : Scholastic, Meade, Marion.

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography. New York : Hawthorn, Reston, James Jr. New York: Doubleday, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. September 24, Retrieved September 24, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

E leanor of Aquitaine was a rare individual indeed. Marriage may have gotten her into positions of power, but what Eleanor did with that power was her own special gift. Both shrewd and intelligent, she was a highly cultured woman who managed to stay atop the shifting political structures of Western Europe , and at the same time cultivated learning and the arts in her lands.

During her long and varied life, Eleanor often found herself or in many cases, put herself at the center of conflicts. William dared to disagree with Bernard of Clairvaux klayr-VOH; see entry , a religious leader who was perhaps the most powerful man in Western Europe —even more so than the pope, official head of the Catholic Church. Besides the tendency to quarrel, an interest in the arts seemed to run in Eleanor's family. Eleanor herself grew up surrounded by music and literature at her father's court, a French center of culture. In , however, fifteen-year-old Eleanor was suddenly jolted from what might have been a quiet, easy life when her father died without a male heir.

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Any man who married her would control even more of France than the king did, and this put Eleanor in danger of kidnapping and forced marriage. It so happened that before his death, William had asked the king to become Eleanor's guardian. Louis VII seemed more suited to a career as a monk or priest than as king of France, and in fact he had been raised for a life in the church, and would never have become king if his older brother had not died in a riding accident.

Thus Louis was not inclined to make trouble for the pope and other Catholic leaders, whereas Eleanor had a mind of her own. The problem was that Ralph already had a wife, and divorce was not possible under church laws. The only way around this was to have a marriage annulled, or declared illegal, so Eleanor arranged this for her sister.

As it turned out, however, Ralph's former wife had powerful friends, not least of whom was the pope, who lashed out at France with all the power he had. This put Louis VII, a reluctant participant in the conflict, in a difficult position. Finally Bernard of Clairvaux stepped in and helped settle the dispute. He also advised Eleanor that if she would quit making trouble with the church, God would give her the thing for which she had long been hoping: a child. Eleanor did stop quarreling with the church, and in she did give birth to a daughter, Marie. Shortly afterward, Bernard organized the Second Crusade —49 , an effort to win control of the Holy Land for Christian forces, and Louis took part as a means of winning back the favor of the church.


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  • Raymond was only twelve years older than she, and they instantly became close. The nature of their relationship has long been disputed by historians; regardless of whether they became lovers, however, they were certainly close friends. During their long hours talking, Raymond became the first person to learn of Eleanor's misgivings regarding her marriage.

    In fact medieval monarchs and nobles often married close relatives, but it made for a good excuse, and Eleanor announced to Louis that due to consanguinity and a desire to remain in Antioch with Raymond, she was not returning to France. Louis, however, forced her to return. Despite the birth of a second daughter, not to mention help from the pope in sorting out their marital problems,.

    Yet his very lack of greatness has benefited the world more than anything his more admirable relatives did: it was John's greediness and cruelty that caused the drafting of the Magna Carta , one of the most important documents in the history of free government. John was the youngest of Henry's sons, and in spite of the fact that from an early age he showed himself to be spiteful, childish, and domineering, he was his father's favorite.

    Henry had already promised most of his lands to his older sons, but he set about securing properties for John. The latter finally received dominion over Ireland, but mismanaged it so badly that he had to surrender control. In the meantime, Henry's attempts to grab land for John put him into conflict with his wife and other sons, who led a revolt against him. John himself joined in the revolt against his father, and this was a crushing blow to Henry, who died in No sooner had Richard become king than he went away to take part in the Third Crusade —92 , leaving John as his heir if anything should happen to him.

    John lost no time in conspiring to take the throne, and when Richard heard about this, he tried to return from the crusade. On the way, he was kidnapped and taken prisoner in Austria, where he remained for two years. It is said that John actually sent letters to Richard's captors, asking them not to release him.

    But the English nobility and their people, with whom Richard was very popular, raised the money for his ransom, and in Richard returned to England. Rather than deal harshly with John, however, Richard let him be. Five years later, in , Richard died from an infected arrow wound, and John became undisputed king of England. John proceeded to mismanage England as he once had Ireland, taxing the people so ferociously that many starved.

    Looking for a replacement, his nobles were willing to put their support behind John's nephew Arthur, count of Anjou, but in Arthur was murdered—some say by John himself. One person who claimed that John had committed the murder was the French king Philip, who used this as an excuse to take over most English holdings in France.

    Forced back to England, John imposed even more heavy taxes on the people, and began robbing them of all their possessions as a way of adding to his fortunes. For six years, no church bells rang in the entire country. This did not bother John, who helped himself to all lands formerly controlled by the church; but when he learned that France was about to launch an invasion against him, he turned to the pope for help. As a sign of repentance, he "gave" England to the pope, who could now demand huge taxes of the English people each year.

    By , the church taxes alone were equal to nearly one-third of the nation's yearly income, and the burden became too much for the noblemen of England. Lacking a replacement for John, the nobles decided they would set down some new rules. This they did in with the Magna Carta , or "Great Charter," a document containing sixty-three articles concerning the rights of the nobility. John had no choice but to sign the document, yet he spent the rest of his life—just one year, as it turned out—behaving just as he had before.

    Now, however, the English lords had a document spelling out their rights, and the obligations of the king. This led ultimately to the creation of Parliament, the body of representatives that today holds the real power in England. Thus the Magna Carta, originally designed to protect only the upper classes, became a model for government by the people, and later influenced the U.

    Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Eleanor's marriage to Louis was doomed. In , she left him, and soon afterward arranged to have her marriage annulled.

    As a woman possessing huge lands, however, she could not afford to remain unmarried for long; therefore just two months after the end of her first marriage, she married a man eleven years her junior, Henry, count of ahn-ZHOO; — Henry's mother Matilda was a grandchild of William the Conqueror see entry , as was the reigning English king, Stephen. Stephen had usurped, or seized, the throne from Matilda, and Henry fought with him for control. His desire to One of the most renowned kings in English history, Henry V led two successful invasions of France, cheering his outnumbered troops to victory at the Battle of Agincourt and eventually securing full control of the French throne.

    His portrayal in three of Victoria was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland — and empress of India — She was the last of the House of Hanover and gave her name to an era, the Victorian Age. During her reign the English monarchy took on its modern First lady Eleanor Roosevelt , wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt , the U.

    The niece of President Theodore Roosevelt , By her death in , The plot was organized by Robert Catesby c. Catesby and The Wars of the Roses were a series of bloody civil wars for the throne of England between two competing royal families: the House of York and the House of Lancaster, both members of the age-old royal Plantagenet family. Waged between and , the Wars of the Roses earned This Day In History.

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