ELANOR OF AQUITAINE

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INTRODUCTION

LOA:  Elanor was mostly significant durning the period of 1154-1204.

  •  It is importance to consider the issues of historiography that surround her reputation.
  • TURNER- describes her as the 'Black Legend' accounts rumour her affairs which stimulated hatred and exagerate her political actions which would have promted fear.
  • Provokes a debate for the significance/typcality of Elanor.

TYERMAN: Her significance is a 'myth' as she was dominated by her husbands.

WEIR: 'A ruler of men'

When judging Elanors actions durning the mediveil period. As a Queen she was unusual achieved so much particularly in the political field.

Whilst there were periods when her influence was limited there were periods when she was instrumental in the running of the Angevin Empire.

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BACKGROUND (Typical/Atypical)

  • Gernally 'inferior to that of man' Carpenter.
  • This view derived from biblical teaching: Bernard of Clairveux described women as a source of temptation,harking back to the potrayal of Eve as Adam's serpentine temptress.
  • WALTER MAP(1180's):Declared that women led to 'mischeif' and it was therfore necessary for them to 'submit...unto your husbands' relating to EPHESIANS 5:22-23.

However, although subordination of women seemed justified in the Bible, some churchmen are sympethetic towards women as interllectual equals: Anselm

DURNING THE TIME OF ELANOR IT WAS A CHANGING PERIOD FOR THE VIEW OF WOMEN - MAGNA CARTA -two clauses in favour of women (marriage rights + court cases). DESPITE THIS EQUAILITY OF WOMEN WAS NOT THE NORM WHICH MADE ELANOR ATYPICAL AS SHE SAW HERSLE THIS.

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Marriage / relationship with her husbands

Louis:

  • Elanor initiated the divorce- goes to pope on grounds of consanguinity (5th cousin to Louis)
  • This shows she is NOT dominated by him

Henry:

  • also leaves Henry
  • Expressed in the letter Peter of blois sent her. 
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Great Rebellion

  • Politically achieved much significance/atypical in her poiltical ability.

Pivotol role in the great rebellion 1173 - encouraging sons, Henry,Richard and Geoffrey.

BARLOW: Great Rebellion was the 'Greatest threat to Henry' and TURNER supports Elanors significane in this in suggesting the idea was largley Elanors.

Contemparies  spoke out about her subverting the social morals expected of a wife- 'Submit to your husbands' -EPHESIANS 5:22-23

Evidence that the King himself thought Elanor as a significant mover against him was that he had her caught early in the campaign and imprisoned from 1174-1189

Evidently Elanor was significant in influencing/fuelling the great rebellion/ Atypical as she went against her own husband.

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Court of Poitiers.

  • Remembered for running an independant court at poitiers - DECEMBER 1168
  • Birth of the TUBADOR culture: Became heavily popular aspect of the arisocracy- Arguably Elanor should have been patron of this culture contridicts the notion she achieved little.

Frank Mclynn: Richard went on the third crusade as he was so inspired by the tubador culture in his mothers court.

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Succession of her sons.

Richard:

Invested to give him the postion of Duke of Aqitaine- although this was through her hsbands instruction but his mother supported him with the political guidence which gave him the experience of becoming a capable commander later in his career.

  • Significant in securing Richards inheritence when relaeased from prision in 1189.
  • 1193- England was secured for RICHARD as Elanor dissuaded John from attempting to take power.
  • Helped raise Ransom for Richard to have Richard released from captivity- German Emperor captured him on return from 3rd crusade. FINACIALLY SIGNIFICANT

John:

  • secured his inheritance  by mellowing the dispute between John and Arthur of Brittany (his nephew)
  • Arranged/encouraged John marriage to Isabelle of Angouleme, originally betrothed to Hugh de Lusignans- prevented the unification of two powerful families.

Her legacy is signficant.

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LESS SIGNIFICANT

Domestic affairs:

  • Huge influence over domestic affairs- this was merly the signing of writs.
  • Real political power in the hands of chancellor Becket.Justiciar Richard de Lucy and co-justiciar Richard de Beaumont.
  • Arguably Elanor was just a figurehead BUT...

Presence of a monarch was vital in the legitimazation of the country also Ralph de Doceto: she had 'The power of doing whatever she wished in the country'.

Imprisioned

  • 1174-1189:Limited influence but the fact that she was improsioned shows she was a significant threat
  • These 15 years were on the whole not a large proportion of 1154-1204 overall the view of her in the period is an EXTRODINARY WOMEN OF THE TIME.

After prision: Can be viewed that she was merly fullfilling the role of a mother in assisting her sons.This does not make her achivments insignificant as they were.

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CONCLUSION

WAS SIGNIFICANT

  • By her death in 1204- Life of political achievments that had great affect on the Angevin Empire.

Bracton Law Book (2 decades after her death): 'Women differ to men because their position is inferior to that of man'

Elanor undermined 12th Cantury perceptions of women.

Schama: in 1154 she was more experienced than Hnery II, This is evident in the King himself allowed Elanor to act on his behalf durnig the trouble in Aquitaine 1168- The King knew Elanor would 'Keep the peace' -WEIR..

Elanor has a successfull reign and to suggest otherwise contradicts her life and legacy left behaind for women.

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