Duchy of Aquitaine

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The coat of arms of the high medieval dukes of Aquitaine was also the coat of arms of the Guyenne and is now the coat of arms of the Aquitaine region

The Duchy of Aquitaine was one of the most important feudal territories in medieval France .


The province of Gallia Aquitania in the Roman Empire

The historical basis of this country was the ancient Roman province of Gallia Aquitania , which at that time comprised all of central and south-west France. In late antiquity the province was divided into Aquitania prima , Aquitania secunda and Aquitania tertia , which belonged to the Visigoth Empire after the Great Migration . After their defeat in the Battle of Vouillé in 507, Aquitaine was admitted to the empire of the Franks .

During the 6th to 8th centuries, the territory of the Aquitaine Ducat still corresponded to that of the old Roman province, i.e. all land south of the Loire to the Pyrenees with the exception of the province of Gallia Narbonensis . At the end of the 8th century, the area of Aquitania tertia around Bordeaux was lost to the incoming Basques (Vascones), who then founded the Duchy of Gascogne .

At the beginning of the 10th century, the Toulousain, the land around the city of Toulouse , separated from the rest of Aquitaine. Aquitaine lost its border position with the Pyrenees and therefore until the beginning of the 13th century the duchy largely comprised the present-day regions of Poitou-Charentes , Limousin and Auvergne , as well as the departments of Vendée , Dordogne and Lot .

In the 13th century, the high medieval Aquitaine fell apart. The owner of the ducal legal title was left with only the Saintonge and the Périgord, two landscapes of Aquitaine to which the duchy was now limited. Together with Gascony to the south, the name " Guyenne " became established for this structure in the late Middle Ages . The area of ​​the Guyenne corresponded to that of today's French region Aquitaine .

Dukes of Aquitaine under Frankish rulers

The duchies of Aquitaine and Gascony in the 8th century

The rule of the Frankish kings from the Merovingian dynasty was only weak in Aquitaine, as the center of their empire was in Neustria and Austrasia north of the Loire . Instead, dukes appointed by the kings ruled ( dux ). Since the early 8th century, Aquitaine was exposed to the influx of the Basques, who established their own territory in the southwest with Gascon . At the same time, the dukes had to defend the country against the raids of the Moors , who penetrated the Pyrenees and occupied the neighboring Narbonensis ( Septimania ).

Due to the weakness of the late Merovingian kings during the defensive battles, the Duke Eudo's family managed to establish themselves as hereditary princes in Aquitaine.

Aquitaine in the 8th century
Surname Reign relationship Remarks
Clovis I. 507-511 without an official title
Condominium of the Frankish kings 511-555
Chram 555-560 Son of Chlothar I. Sub-king
Chlothar I. 560-561 without an official title
Condominium of the Frankish kings 561-583
Desiderius & Bladast 583-584 Dukes
Gundo Forest 584-585 Against King Guntrams
Desiderius & Bladast 585-587 Dukes after the episode of Gundowald
Astrobald 587-589
Sereus 589-592
Chlothar II. 592-629 Personal union, sole king of the Franks
Charibert II. 629-632 Son of Chlothar II. Sub-king in Aquitaine
Chilperich 632 Son of Charibert II. † shortly after his father; indicated as ruler only in the Charter of Alaon
Boggis maybe around 640/650 in Vitaland Berti episcopi Traiectensis mentioned
Felix 660-675
Lupus I. 675-676 / 710
Eudo 700-735 see house Gascogne
Hunold 735-745 Son of his predecessor
Waifar 745-768 Son of his predecessor
Hunold (II.) 769 probably close relative of Waifars see article Hunold

The Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine

Family tree of the Carolingians

After the Carolingians were able to subjugate Aquitaine to their rule through Pippin the Short and especially through Charlemagne at the end of the 8th century, they established a sub-kingdom of their dynasty there. Mostly underage or younger sons of the dynasty were appointed as kings, over them the king of the entire empire or, since the division of Verdun in 843, the king of the West Frankish empire ruled . King Pippin II tried to establish Aquitaine as a partial empire, on an equal footing with the western, central and eastern empires, but was defeated by his uncle Charles the Bald . During this time Aquitaine was particularly marked by the raids of the Normans .

Surname Reign relationship Remarks
Louis the Pious 781-814 Son of Charlemagne 778–790: Chorso ( dux )
790–806: William of Aquitaine ( dux )
Pippin I. 814-838 Son of his predecessor
Karl the bald 838-845 Son of Louis the Pious In personal union
Pippin ii 845-848 Son of Pippin I.
Karl the bald 848-855 Son of Louis the Pious 2nd time in personal union
Karl the child 855-863 Son of Charles the Bald
Karl the bald 863-865 Son of Louis the Pious 3rd time in personal union
Karl the child 865-867 Son of Charles the Bald
Ludwig the Stammler 867-879 Son of Charles the Bald In personal union
Karlmann 879-884 Son of his predecessor since 882 king in the entire West Franconian Empire

The Duchy of Aquitaine

Aquitaine in the 11th century

Under the last Carolingian kings of the West Frankish empire , the royal central power disintegrated, additionally reinforced by their power struggle with the Robertinians / Capetians , and independent dynasties, hereditary counts, established themselves in the provinces, who only nominally recognized the kings as overlords. In Regnum in Aquitaine it was above all the Wilhelmids (also called Gellones) with their center in the Auvergne and the Ramnulfiden in Poitou, the latter of which at times bore the title of "dux". The Wilhelmids took on the leading position of the country, so that Wilhelm the Pious 909 was able to accept the title of "Duke of Aquitaine" ("dux Aquitanorum"), which was also given by King Charles III in 919 . recognized by the simple-minded . In 927, the Ramnulfides were finally able to inherit the Wilhelmids. The duchy included the Poitou , the Saintonge , the Angoumois , the Périgord , the Marche , the Lower Berry , the Auvergne and the Limousin . The county of Toulouse , which originally belonged to Aquitaine , had separated at the beginning of the 10th century and from then on formed an independent principality. In contrast to Normandy, the ducal power in Aquitaine was not well established because the duchy was heavily feudalized. That is, the duke was subject to large vassals who owned land, who used every opportunity to curtail the ducal power. In 1052, Gascony could be united in personal union with Aquitaine.

In the middle of the 12th century, through the marriage of Duchess Eleonore and Heinrich Plantagenet , the duchy was incorporated into the territorial conglomerate of the Plantagenet dynasty, known today as the " Angevin Empire ". Due to their abundance of power, the Plantagenets came into conflict with the kings of France, who were the overlords of their property in France.

Surname Reign relationship Remarks
Wilhelmiden (Gellones)
Wilhelm I the Pious 909-918 Great-grandson of Wilhelm von Gellone
Wilhelm II the Younger 918-926 Nephew of his predecessor
Acfred 926-927 Brother of his predecessor
Ramnulfiden (House Poitiers)
Ebalus Mancer 927-935
William III. Tow head 935-963 Son of his predecessor Counter-Duke: Raimund Pons
Counter-Duke: Raimund von Rouergue
Counter-Duke: Hugo Magnus
Wilhelm IV. Iron arm 963-995 Son of his predecessor Opposite king: Louis the Lazy
Wilhelm V the Great 995-1030 Son of his predecessor
William VI. the thick 1030-1038 Son of his predecessor
Odo 1038-1039 Brother of his predecessor
Wilhelm VII the eagle 1039-1058 Brother of his predecessor
William VIII 1058-1086 Brother of his predecessor
William IX. the troubadour 1086-1127 Son of his predecessor
Wilhelm X. the Toulousans 1127-1137 Son of his predecessor
Eleanor 1137-1204 Daughter of her predecessor
Louis VII the Younger 1137-1152 first husband of Eleanor King of France
Heinrich Plantagenet 1152-1172 second husband of Eleanor since 1154 King of England,
Duke of Normandy
Richard the Lionheart 1172-1196 Son of Eleonore and Heinrich King of England since 1189
Otto of Braunschweig 1196-1198 Nephew of his predecessor / welfe Roman-German Emperor
Richard the Lionheart 1198-1199
Johann Ohneland 1199-1216 Brother of his predecessor King of England
Henry III. 1216-1224 Son of his predecessor King of England

The Duchy of Guyenne

As early as 1204, during the Franco-English War from 1202 onwards , King Philip II of France had declared the Plantagenets forfeited all their properties in France by a parliamentary decision. In 1224 his son King Louis VIII of France led a campaign to Aquitaine , whereupon the rule of the Plantagenets ended there. The Poitou and the Saintonge became immediate crown lands, the Counts of La Marche, Périgord, Angoulême and Auvergne became direct crown vassals. This destroyed the territorial integrity of Aquitaine. King Henry III of England recognized this loss in the Treaty of Paris in 1259 . In return, he received the Saintonge, an Aquitaine province back, to which the duchy has since been limited. The country remained a fiefdom of France, for which the Plantagenets were accepted into the ranks of its pairs . However, he did not renounce the title of Duke of Aquitaine. The remaining areas of Aquitaine were also referred to as Guyenne with Gascony to the south , with Aquitaine, Guyenne and Gascogne being synonymous in the 13th century. In the next few years England and France enjoyed good relations with each other, and in 1279 the English King Edward I received the Agenais back in the Treaty of Amiens , while he finally renounced the Quercy in exchange for compensation . The good relationship was ended by the Franco-English War from 1294 to 1298 , in which the French were able to conquer almost all of the remaining English possessions. English counter-attacks led to an armistice in late 1297, and in 1303 the French had to renounce almost all conquests in the Treaty of Paris . Relations between England and France remained tense, and in the War of Saint-Sardos from 1323 to 1325 the French were able to win the Agenais.

Guyenne / Aquitaine
(red) before the Treaty of Brétigny
(light red) after the Treaty of Brétigny

Due to the campaigns of the "black prince" during the Hundred Years' War , the Plantagenets were able to unite most of the old Aquitaine again in the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360 . The French crown even renounced sovereignty over the Guyenne in favor of England. The country thus became English territory under constitutional law. The subsequent campaigns of the French Marshal Bertrand du Guesclin , however, led to a revision of the treaty until 1375. At the end of the Hundred Years War, after the Battle of Castillon in 1453, the Plantagenets had to give up their possessions in France entirely. The land was united with the crown domain and set up for administration in several Sénéchaussées . At the beginning of the modern era, they were replaced by généralités , to which governorates were superordinate. These in turn were replaced by the départements in 1789 .

Surname Reign relationship Remarks
Henry III. 1259-1272 King of England
Edward I. 1272-1306 Son of his predecessor King of England
Edward II 1306-1325 Son of his predecessor King of England
Edward III. 1325-1362 Son of his predecessor King of England
Edward the Black Prince 1362-1375 Son of his predecessor Prince of Wales
Edward III. 1375-1377 King of England
Richard II 1377-1390 Grandson of his predecessor King of England
John of Gaunt 1390-1399 Son of Edward III. Duke of Lancaster
Henry IV. 1399-1413 Son of his predecessor King of England
Henry V. 1413-1422 Son of his predecessor King of England
Henry VI. 1422-1453 Son of his predecessor King of England

Further use of the title of duke

Until the end of the French monarchy, the Aquitaine duke title was still awarded to two royal princes:

In 1972 the Bourbon pretender to the throne of Spain, Jaime de Borbón , conferred the title Duke of Aquitaine on his second son, Gonzalo de Borbón († 2000) .

Web links

Commons : Duchy of Aquitaine  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

supporting documents

  1. "Boggiso Ducis Dagobertus Rex concessit post mortem fratris suis Ilderici Aquitaniæ Regis" - King Dagobert gave Aquitaine Duke Boggis after the death of his (Boggis') brother Ildericus (Chilperich)
  2. ^ Vita Landberti episcopi Traiectensis Auctore Nicolao 12, MGH SS rer. Merov. VI, p. 415.
  3. ^ Michael Prestwich: Edward I. University of California, Berkeley 1988, ISBN 0-520-06266-3 , p. 298
  4. ^ Michael Prestwich: Edward I. University of California, Berkeley 1988, ISBN 0-520-06266-3 , p. 316
  5. ^ Michael Prestwich: Edward I. University of California, Berkeley 1988, ISBN 0-520-06266-3 , p. 397
  6. ^ John A. Wagner: Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War . Greenwood, Westport 2006. ISBN 0-313-32736-X , p. 278