William X, Duke of Aquitaine

William X, Duke of Aquitaine

William X of Aquitaine (1099 – April 9, 1137), nicknamed "the Saint" was duke of Aquitaine, duke of Gascony and count of Poitiers as William VIII of Poitiers between 1126 and 1137. He was the son of William, the troubadour by his second wife, Philippa of Toulouse.

William was born in Toulouse during the brief period when his parents ruled the capital. Later that same year, much to his wife's ire, Duke William mortgaged Toulouse to Philippa's cousin, Bertrand of Toulouse, and then left on Crusade.

Philippa and her infant son were left in Poitiers. Long after Duke William's return, he took up with Dangereuse, the wife of one of his vassals, and set aside his rightful wife, Philippa. This caused strain between father and son, until William married Ænor of Châtellerault, daughter of his father's mistress, in 1121.

He had from her three children:

# Aliaenor, or Eleanor, who would later become heiress to the Duchy
# Aelith, who married Raoul I of Vermandois
# William Aigret, who died young

As his father before him, William X was a patron of troubadours, music and literature. He was an educated man and strove to give his two daughters an excellent education, in a time when Europe's rulers were hardly literate.

When Eleanor succeeded him as Duchess, she continued William's tradition and transformed the Aquitanian court into Europe's centre of knowledge.

William was both a lover of the arts and a warrior. He became involved in conflicts with Normandy (which he raided in 1136, in alliance with Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou who claimed it in his wife's name) and France.

Even inside his borders, William faced an alliance of the Lusignans and the Parthenays against him, an issue resolved with total destruction of the enemies. In international politics, William X initially supported antipope Anacletus II in the schism of 1130, opposite to Pope Innocent II, against the will of his own bishops. In 1134 Saint Bernard of Clairvaux convinced William to drop his support to Anacletus and join Innocent.

In 1137 William joined the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, but died of suspected food poisoning during the trip. On his deathbed, he expressed his wish to see king Louis VI of France as protector of his fifteen-year-old daughter Eleanor, and to find her a suitable husband. Louis VI naturally accepted this guardianship and married the heiress of Aquitaine to his own son, Louis VII.

ee also

*Dukes of Aquitaine family tree


*Parsons, John Carmi. "Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady", 2002

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