Eleanor of Aquitaine

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Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) ruled some of the wealthiest European areas such as Aquitaine and England. Her spirit and way of ruling caused “ripples in 12th century society.” She enjoyed a privileged girlhood and was born into a wealthy family, but in difficult times. During this time, women held a subordinate role in society, as they were considered to be the weaker gender. Very few women received an education; instead they learned domestic skills at home. Eleanor and her mother were two notable exceptions. Eleanor learned how to read in Bertran de Born [the language of Aquitaine] and also received instruction in Latin. She enjoyed the arts and especially loved music. In addition to this she learned government skills from her father. In 1137, when Eleanor was thirteen, her father died and she became one of the most important women in Europe. She inherited Poitou to the North, Gascony to the South, Bordeaux and Bayonne, Saintonage, Perigord, Angoulême, Limousin, Auvergne and La Marche. During the Medieval ages Eleanor of Aquitaine ruled using romance, manipulation and her influence over others to secure her and her family’s position in power. Her political power and actions redefined and influenced the roles of her successors. Regardless of status, women often married for political reasons, not for love. Throughout her reign, Eleanor used romance and charm to secure her role in society. This helped her become the Queen of France at age fifteen. On July 25, 1137, Eleanor married Louis le Jeune [Louis VI’s only surviving son] as a result of her father’s death and her inheritance earlier that year. After Louis VI died, Eleanor and Louis were crowned King and Queen of France on December 25, 1137. They then moved to Paris and... ... middle of paper ... On this website, Ohio State University expert Roberto Naranjo provides very good information about Eleanor’s relationship with Richard along with her marriages to Louis le Jeune and Duke Henry of Normandy. This website is very specific and there were many dates and locations which were helpful in creating a general timeline of when and where events took place. Weir, Alison. Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000. In Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, Alison Weir provides excellent background information about Europe, specifically England and Aquitaine, the role of women and education. There was also great information about Eleanor’s upbringing and childhood. Weir also writes about Eleanor and Henry as well as the rebellion against Henry and Eleanor’s time as a prisoner. Overall, this was the most useful source.
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