QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-03 > 1111245798
Subject: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:23:18 EST
Eleanor Of Aquitaine
This restless queen swept across the 12th century, changing the face of
Endowed with intelligence, creative energy and a remarkably long life,
Eleanor of Aquitaine played a major role in the 12th century, an impressive
achievement given that medieval women were considered nothing more than chattel.
Assets of brains and enterprise served her well in the chaos of the time --
unrelenting hostilities between Plantagenets and Capets, crusades and struggle
between church and state. They equipped her to advance civility in a ruthless
era by promoting the songs of troubadours and the ideals of courtly love. Even
in a century of imposing personalities -- the likes of Thomas Becket,
Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abélard -- Eleanor took center stage.
As the queen consort of King Louis VII of France and of King Henry II of
England, and as the mother of King Richard I and King John, she held the
spotlight, wielding power over the most important men of her time. She was the
daughter and heir of the imperious William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of
Poitiers, who possessed the largest domains in northwest Europe, indeed larger
than those held by the king of France. When her father died in 1137, she came
into her inheritance and, complying with the dictates of a territorial
agreement, at age 15 married the heir to the French throne. Barely a month after the
wedding, King Louis VI died, thrusting Eleanor's 16-year-old groom to the
throne of France.