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Agnes of Burgundy
Duchess of Aquitaine
Countess of Anjou
Agnès de Bourgogne.jpg
Spouse William V, Duke of Aquitaine
Geoffrey II, Count of Anjou
William VII, Duke of Aquitaine
William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine
Agnes, Holy Roman Empress
Father Otto-William, Count of Burgundy
Mother Ermentrude of Rheims
Born Burgundy
Died 10 November 1068

Agnes of Burgundy or Agnes de Macon, Duchess of Aquitaine (?- 10 November 1068[1]), was a daughter of Otto-William, Count of Burgundy and Ermentrude of Roucy. She was a member of the House of Ivrea.



We do not know the date of birth of Agnes but it is probably shortly before the year 1000[2]. Agnes' father was the son of Adalbert of Italy.

In 1019, she married Duke William V of Aquitaine by whom she had three children: William VII, Duke of Aquitaine, William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine and Agnes, Holy Roman Empress. William died on January 31, 1030, leaving besides his widow and their three young children, he also left behind three surviving children from his first two marriages.

After her husband's death, Agnes lost her influence at the court of Poitiers since her sons were not heirs. In order for her to regain her position and ensure a future for her children, Agnes had to remarry. Thus she married Geoffrey II, Count of Anjou which was an attractive offer because his father was the powerful Fulk III, Count of Anjou.

In 1033, Geoffrey's troops invaded Poitou with the support of Agnes. William VI, Duke of Aquitaine the new Count of Poitou, was captured in March. He was released only in 1036 against a large ransom and he died in 1038 without children. The county then returns to his brother, Agnes' stepson Odo of Gascony, who was already Duke of Gascony. He went to war against Agnes, her husband and sons. Odo was killed at the battle at Mauzé.

The succeeding Count of Poitou was Agnes's son, Peter, who took the name of William VII Aigret. Being too young, her mother governed territories in his place from 1039 to 1044 and indeed it even seems the government itself, without her husband. When she transmitted the power to William, she married and took the opportunity to give his second son, Geoffrey Guy of the duchy of Gascony, by marrying an heiress. Agnes then joined Geoffrey in Anjou and if it does not participate actively in government, certainly some influence on him.

Agnes and Geoffrey stayed in Germany at the imperial court, so her daughter Agnes could marry Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor. They then bonded with the imperial couple, a trip to Italy where they participated in the council of Sutri filing and inducts two popes Pope Clement II, who is quick to crown the emperor and empress. After a pilgrimage to Monte Garaño, the couple went back to Poitou in 1047 where they founded the Abbey of Our Lady and Sacred. Between 1047 and 1049, Agnes founded the abbey of Saint Nicolas de Poitiers.

Between 1049 and 1052, Agnes and Geoffrey separate. The reasons are varied: the most logical is the absence of children, however we must not forget that the council of Reims from 1049 condemns certain marriages as incestuous and judged them in part, in addition, Geoffrey went to war against the King of France who appreciated the little freedom that will take his vassal to Germany (it seems that Geoffrey had the project to swear allegiance to the emperor and to no longer depend on the King of France) and it is very possible that King has imposed on his vanquished vassal to divorce his wife. Indeed, Agnes also influenced her husband, but she came from Burgundy and had been retained strong links with her homeland, so it seemed that it was Agnes who wanted the divorce.

Still, Agnes returned to the court of Poitiers to her son William to who she has much influence. A war soon broke out between Anjou and Poitou, which saw a victory for Geoffrey in 1053. This would have probably never happened if Agnes never divorced Geoffrey. In 1058 William left for another war against his former stepfather Count of Anjou, probably because Geoffrey gave the dowry of Agnes to his new wife, Adelaide. William was on the verge of winning when he died of an illness in 1058.

He was succeeded his brother, Geoffrey Guy, who took the dynastic name of William VIII. The young count had remained close to Geoffrey because he was the only father figure he knew and he reconciled with Anjou. But only during Geoffrey's lifetime, in fact, after his Geoffrey's death, William did not hesitate to attack his heirs and assume control of Saintonge from 1062. Agnes, despite her retirement, was still very active and did not hesitate to travel throughout Poitou to participate in donations or simply see her son at the court of Poitiers. Agnes died on 10 November 1068. She is buried at St. Nicolas de Poitiers.

See Also


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  • Michel Dillange, The Comtes de Poitou, Dukes of Aquitaine (778-1204), Geste editions, al. "The Nativity", 1995, 304p. (ISBN 2-910919-09-9) .
  • Olivier Guillot, Count of Anjou and his entourage at XIecentury, Editions Picard, Paris, 1972 .
  • Penelope D. Johnson, "Agnes of Burgundy: an eleventh-century monastic woman as boss"InJournal of Medieval History, June 1989 .
  • Alfred Richard History of the Counts of Poitou, vol.1, Paris, 1903 .
  • Isabelle Soulard-Berger, "Agnes of Burgundy, Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Anjou. Implement political and religious action (1019-c. 1068)"In bulletin of the Antiquarian Society of the West, vol.VI, 1er quarter 1992 .


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