William I (Provence)

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Wilhelm I.

William I called the Liberator ( French Guillaume I. le Libérateur ; † 993 ) was Count and later Margrave of Provence and as William II. Count of Arles . He was the younger son of Count Boso II and Constance of Provence from the house of the Buvinids .


In 970 Wilhelm was Count of Arles and Provence, in 979 he assumed the title of Margrave of Provence , which, compared to his older brother Count Rotbald II , describes him as the head of the family. It is not known whether this involved an actual division of the country or a joint government.

He got his nickname because of his victories over the Saracens , through which he freed Provence from this threat, which has been constant since the establishment of their base in Fraxinetum ( La Garde-Freinet ). In the Battle of Tourtour in 973, with the support of the Counts of the Alps, the Vice Counts of Marseille and Fos-sur-Mer, he finally drove them out of the country. He reorganized the country east of the Rhone , which King Konrad III. of Burgundy awarded to him and that he had taken from the Saracens. With royal approval, he and his descendants also controlled the Provencal Fiscus . He and the Bishop of Grenoble Isarn resettled people in the Dauphiné . At Fréjus in 970 an Italian named Ugo Blavia was installed as a count. Because of his achievements, he is referred to in Rodulfus Glaber's chronicle as Dux and in a document from 992 as Pater patriae .

He gave gifts to Cluny Abbey and at the end of his life retired to a monastery. He died in Avignon and was buried in the Saint-Croix church in Sarrians . He was succeeded as margrave by his brother.


His first marriage was Arsenda von Comminges , then in 984/986 his second marriage - against the will of the Pope - in 984/86 Adelheid (Blanche) von Anjou († 1026), daughter of Fulko II , Count von Anjou , widow of the Count Stephan (Étienne) of Gévaudan and divorced wife of King Louis V the Lazy of France .


Wilhelm's legacy comes from his first marriage:

  • Wilhelm II. (Also: Guillaume III. Or Wilhelm III.) (992 minor, † 1018 before May 30th) Count of Provence 994-1018; ⚭ around 1002 Gerberga von Burgund († 1020/23) from the house of Burgundy-Ivrea , daughter of Count Otto Wilhelm of Burgundy

His daughters come from his second marriage:

In addition, he probably had two other children:


  1. Count Wilhelm I is often called with the ordinal number "II.", Because he had an uncle of the same name who was a Count of Avignon.


  • Noël Coulet: Wilhelm (Guillem) II. Arles . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 9. dtv, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-423-59057-2 , Sp. 150-151.
predecessor Office successor
Boson III. Earl of Arles
Guillaume II.
Boson III. Count of Provence
Guillaume II.
newly created Margrave of Provence
Roubaud I.