Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine was queen consort of France and England and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right. As a member of the Ramnulfids rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages, she was patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, Bernart de Ventadorn. She was a leader of the Second Crusade; as duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor was the most eligible bride in Europe. Three months after becoming duchess upon the death of her father, William X, she married King Louis VII of France, son of her guardian, King Louis VI; as queen of France, she participated in the unsuccessful Second Crusade. Soon afterwards, Eleanor sought an annulment of her marriage, but her request was rejected by Pope Eugene III. However, after the birth of her second daughter Alix, Louis agreed to an annulment, as 15 years of marriage had not produced a son; the marriage was annulled on 21 March 1152 on the grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree.
Their daughters were declared legitimate, custody was awarded to Louis, Eleanor's lands were restored to her. As soon as the annulment was granted, Eleanor became engaged to the duke of Normandy, who became King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry was 11 years younger; the couple married on Whitsun, 18 May 1152, eight weeks after the annulment of Eleanor's first marriage, in Poitiers Cathedral. Over the next 13 years, she bore eight children: five sons; however and Eleanor became estranged. Henry imprisoned her in 1173 for supporting their son Henry's revolt against him, she was not released until 6 July 1189, when Henry died and their second son, Richard the Lionheart, ascended the throne. As queen dowager, Eleanor acted as regent. Eleanor lived well into the reign of John. Eleanor's year of birth is not known precisely: a late 13th-century genealogy of her family listing her as 13 years old in the spring of 1137 provides the best evidence that Eleanor was born as late as 1124. On the other hand, some chronicles mention a fidelity oath of some lords of Aquitaine on the occasion of Eleanor's fourteenth birthday in 1136.
This, her known age of 82 at her death make 1122 more the year of birth. Her parents certainly married in 1121, her birthplace may have been Poitiers, Bordeaux, or Nieul-sur-l'Autise, where her mother and brother died when Eleanor was 6 or 8. Eleanor was the oldest of three children of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, whose glittering ducal court was renowned in early 12th-century Europe, his wife, Aenor de Châtellerault, the daughter of Aimery I, Viscount of Châtellerault, Dangereuse de l'Isle Bouchard, William IX's longtime mistress as well as Eleanor's maternal grandmother, her parents' marriage had been arranged by Dangereuse with her paternal grandfather William IX. Eleanor is said to have been named for her mother Aenor and called Aliénor from the Latin alia Aenor, which means the other Aenor, it became Eléanor in the langues d'oïl of northern Eleanor in English. There was, another prominent Eleanor before her—Eleanor of Normandy, an aunt of William the Conqueror, who lived a century earlier than Eleanor of Aquitaine.
In Paris as the queen of France she was called Helienordis, her honorific name as written in the Latin epistles. By all accounts, Eleanor's father ensured. Eleanor came to learn arithmetic, the constellations, history, she learned domestic skills such as household management and the needle arts of embroidery, sewing and weaving. Eleanor developed skills in conversation, games such as backgammon and chess, playing the harp, singing. Although her native tongue was Poitevin, she was taught to read and speak Latin, was well versed in music and literature, schooled in riding and hunting. Eleanor was extroverted, lively and strong-willed, her four-year-old brother William Aigret and their mother died at the castle of Talmont on Aquitaine's Atlantic coast in the spring of 1130. Eleanor became the heir presumptive to her father's domains; the Duchy of Aquitaine was the richest province of France. Poitou, where Eleanor spent most of her childhood, Aquitaine together were one-third the size of modern France.
Eleanor had only one other legitimate sibling, a younger sister named Aelith called Petronilla. Her half-brother Joscelin was acknowledged by William X as a son, but not as his heir; the notion that she had another half-brother, has been discredited. During the first four years of Henry II's reign, her siblings joined Eleanor's royal household. In 1137 Duke William X took his daughters with him. Upon reaching Bordeaux, he left them in the charge of the archbishop of Bordeaux, one of his few loyal vassals; the duke set out for the Shrine of Saint James of Compostela in the company of other pilgrims. However, he died on Good Friday of that year. Eleanor, aged 12 to 15 became the duchess of Aquitaine, thus the most eligible heiress in Europe; as these were the days when kidnapping an heiress was seen as a viable option for obtaining a title, William dictated a will on the day he died that bequeathed his domains to Eleanor and appointed King Louis VI of France as her guardian. William requested of the king that he take care of both the lands and the duchess, an
The Angevin Empire describes the possessions of the Angevin kings of England who held lands in England and France during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its rulers were Henry II, Richard I, John; the Angevin Empire is an early example for composite states. The Angevins of the House of Plantagenet ruled over an area covering half of France, all of England, parts of Ireland and Wales, had further influence over much of the remaining British Isles; the empire was established by Henry II, as King of England, Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, as well as Duke of Aquitaine by right of his wife. Although their title of highest rank came from the Kingdom of England, the Angevins held court at Angers and Chinon in Anjou; the influence and power of the House of Anjou brought them into conflict with the kings of France of the House of Capet, to whom they owed feudal homage to their French possessions, bringing in a period of rivalry between both dynasties. Despite the extent of Angevin rule, Henry's son, was defeated in the Anglo-French War by Philip II of France following the Battle of Bouvines.
John lost control of most of his continental possessions, apart from Gascony in southern Aquitaine. This defeat set the scene for further conflicts between England and France, leading up to the Hundred Years' War; the term Angevin Empire is a neologism defining the lands of the House of Plantagenet: Henry II and his sons Richard I and John. Another son, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, established a separate line there; as far as historians know, there was no contemporary term for the region under Angevin control. The term Angevin Empire was coined by Kate Norgate in her 1887 publication, England under the Angevin Kings. In France, the term espace Plantagenet is sometimes used to describe the fiefdoms the Plantagenets had acquired; the adoption of the Angevin Empire label marked a re-evaluation of the times, considering that both English and French influence spread throughout the dominion in the half century during which the union lasted. The term Angevin itself is the demonym for its historic capital, Angers.
The demonym, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, has been in use since 1653. The use of the term Empire has engendered controversy among some historians over whether the term is accurate for the actual state of affairs at the time; the area was a collection of the lands inherited and acquired by Henry, so it is unclear whether these dominions shared any common identity and so should be labelled with the term Empire. Some historians argue that the term should be reserved for the Holy Roman Empire, the only Western European political structure named an empire at that time, although Alfonso VII of León and Castile had taken the title "Emperor of all Spain" in 1135. Other historians argue that Henry II's empire was neither powerful, nor large enough to be called an empire. There was no imperial title, as implied by the term Angevin Empire; however if the Plantagenets themselves did not claim any imperial title, some chroniclers working for Henry II himself, did use the term empire to describe this assemblage of lands.
The highest title was "king of England". Because of this, some historians prefer the term commonwealth to empire, emphasising that the Angevin Empire was more of an assemblage of seven independent, sovereign states loosely bound to each other, only united in the person of the king of England. At its largest extent, the Angevin Empire consisted of the Kingdom of England, the Lordship of Ireland, the duchies of Normandy and Aquitaine as well as of the counties of Anjou, Maine, Saintonge, La Marche, Périgord, Limousin and Quercy. While the duchies and counties were held with various levels of vassalage to the king of France, the Plantagenets held various levels of control over the Duchies of Brittany and Cornwall, the Welsh princedoms, the county of Toulouse, the Kingdom of Scotland, although those regions were not formal parts of the empire. Auvergne was in the empire for part of the reigns of Henry II and Richard, in their capacity as dukes of Aquitaine. Henry II and Richard I pushed further claims over the County of Berry but these were not fulfilled and the county was lost by the time of the accession of John in 1199.
The frontiers of the empire were sometimes well known and therefore easy to mark, such as the dykes constructed between the royal demesne of the king of France and the Duchy of Normandy. In other places these borders were not so clear the eastern border of Aquitaine, where there was a difference between the frontier Henry II, Richard I, the frontier where their effective power ended. Scotland was an independent kingdom, but after a disastrous campaign led by William the Lion, English garrisons were established in the castles of Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Berwick in southern Scotland as defined in the Treaty of Falaise. One characteristic of the Angevin Empire was its "polycratic" nature, a term taken from a political pamphlet written by a subject of the Angevin Empire: the Policraticus by John of Salisbury; this meant that, rather than the empire being controlled by the ruling monarch
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey referred to as Rutgers University, Rutgers, or RU, is a public research university in New Jersey. It is the largest institution of higher education in New Jersey. Rutgers was chartered as Queen's College on November 10, 1766, it is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The college was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers. For most of its existence, Rutgers was a private liberal arts college but it evolved into a coeducational public research university after being designated "The State University of New Jersey" by the New Jersey Legislature in laws enacted in 1945 and 1956. Rutgers has three campuses located throughout New Jersey: New Brunswick campus in New Brunswick and adjacent Piscataway, the Newark campus, the Camden campus; the university has additional facilities elsewhere in the state. Instruction is offered by 9,000 faculty members in 175 academic departments to over 45,000 undergraduate students and more than 20,000 graduate and professional students.
The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the Association of American Universities and the Universities Research Association. The New Brunswick campus was categorized by Howard and Matthew Green in their book titled The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities as a Public Ivy. Two decades after the College of New Jersey was established in 1746 by the New Light Presbyterians, ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church, seeking autonomy in ecclesiastical affairs in the American colonies, sought to establish a college to train those who wanted to become ministers within the church. Through several years of effort by the Rev. Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen and Rev. Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh the college's first president, Queen's College received its charter on November 10, 1766 from New Jersey's last Royal Governor, William Franklin, the illegitimate son of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin; the original charter established the college under the corporate name the trustees of Queen's College, in New-Jersey, named in honor of King George III's Queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, created both the college and the Queen's College Grammar School, intended to be a preparatory school affiliated and governed by the college.
The Grammar School, today the private Rutgers Preparatory School, was a part of the college community until 1959. New Brunswick was chosen as the location over Hackensack because the New Brunswick Dutch had the support of the Anglican population, making the royal charter easier to obtain; the original purpose of Queen's College was to "educate the youth in language, the divinity, useful arts and sciences" and for the training of future ministers for the Dutch Reformed Church The college admitted its first students in 1771—a single sophomore and a handful of first-year students taught by a lone instructor—and granted its first degree in 1774, to Matthew Leydt. Despite the religious nature of the early college, the first classes were held at a tavern called the Sign of the Red Lion; when the Revolutionary War broke out and taverns were suspected by the British as being hotbeds of rebel activity, the college abandoned the tavern and held classes in private homes. According to research from Scarlet and Black, "Rutgers depended on slaves to build its campuses and serve its students and faculty.
In its early years, due to a lack of funds, Queen's College was closed for two extended periods. Early trustees considered merging the college with the College of New Jersey, in Princeton and considered relocating to New York City. In 1808, after raising $12,000, the college was temporarily reopened and broke ground on a building of its own, called "Old Queens", designed by architect John McComb, Jr; the college's third president, the Rev. Ira Condict, laid the cornerstone on April 27, 1809. Shortly after, the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, founded in 1784, relocated from Brooklyn, New York, to New Brunswick, shared facilities with Queen's College. During those formative years, all three institutions fit into Old Queens. In 1830, the Queen's College Grammar School moved across the street, in 1856, the Seminary relocated to a seven-acre tract less than one-half miles away. After several years of closure resulting from an economic depression after the War of 1812, Queen's College reopened in 1825 and was renamed "Rutgers College" in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Colonel Henry Rutgers.
According to the Board of Trustees, Colonel Rutgers was honored because he epitomized Christian values. A year after the school was renamed, it received two donations from its namesake: a $200 bell still hanging from the cupola of Old Queen's and a $5,000 bond which placed the college on sound financial footing. Rutgers College became the land-grant college of New Jersey in 1864 under the Morrill Act of 1862, resulting in the establishment of the Rutgers Scientific School, featuring departments of agriculture and chemistry; the Rutgers Scientific School would expand over the years to grow into the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and divide into the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture. Rutgers created the New Jersey College for Women in 1918, the School of Education in 1
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Llywelyn the Great
Llywelyn the Great, full name Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, was a King of Gwynedd in north Wales and ruler of all Wales. By a combination of war and diplomacy he dominated Wales for 45 years. During Llywelyn's childhood, Gwynedd was ruled by two of his uncles, who split the kingdom between them, following the death of Llywelyn's grandfather, Owain Gwynedd, in 1170. Llywelyn had a strong claim to be the legitimate ruler and began a campaign to win power at an early age, he made a treaty with King John of England that year. Llywelyn's relations with John remained good for the next ten years, he married John's natural daughter Joan in 1205, when John arrested Gwenwynwyn ap Owain of Powys in 1208, Llywelyn took the opportunity to annex southern Powys. In 1210, relations deteriorated, John invaded Gwynedd in 1211. Llywelyn was forced to seek terms and to give up all lands east of the River Conwy, but was able to recover them the following year in alliance with the other Welsh princes, he allied himself with the barons who forced John to sign Magna Carta in 1215.
By 1216, he was the dominant power in Wales, holding a council at Aberdyfi that year to apportion lands to the other princes. Following King John's death, Llywelyn concluded the Treaty of Worcester with his successor, Henry III, in 1218. During the next fifteen years, Llywelyn was involved in fights with Marcher lords and sometimes with the king, but made alliances with several major powers in the Marches; the Peace of Middle in 1234 marked the end of Llywelyn's military career, as the agreed truce of two years was extended year by year for the remainder of his reign. He maintained his position in Wales until his death in 1240 and was succeeded by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn. Llywelyn was born about 1173, the son of Iorwerth ab Owain and the grandson of Owain Gwynedd, ruler of Gwynedd until his death in 1170. Llywelyn was a descendant of the senior line of Rhodri Mawr and therefore a member of the princely house of Gwynedd, he was born at Dolwyddelan, though not in the present Dolwyddelan castle, built by Llywelyn himself.
He may have been born in the old castle. Little is known about Iorwerth Drwyndwn, who died when Llywelyn was an infant. There is no record of Iorwerth having taken part in the power struggle between some of Owain Gwynedd's other sons following Owain's death, although he was the eldest surviving son. There is a tradition that he was disfigured in some way that excluded him from power. By 1175, Gwynedd had been divided between two of Llywelyn's uncles. Dafydd ab Owain held the area east of the River Rhodri ab Owain held the west. Dafydd and Rhodri were the sons of Owain by his second marriage to Cristin verch Goronwy; this marriage was not considered valid by the church as Cristin was Owain's first cousin, a degree of relationship which according to Canon law prohibited marriage. Giraldus Cambrensis refers to Iorwerth Drwyndwn as the only legitimate son of Owain Gwynedd. Following Iorwerth's death, Llywelyn was, at least in the eyes of the church, the legitimate claimant to the throne of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn's mother was Marared anglicised to Margaret, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd, prince of Powys. There is evidence that, after her first husband's death, Marared married in the summer of 1197, the nephew of Roger Powys of Whittington Castle with whom she had a son, David ap Gwion. Therefore, some maintain that Marared never married into the Corbet family of Caus Castle and Moreton Corbet Castle. However, there is in existence a grant of land from Llywelyn ab Iorworth to the monastery of Wigmore, in which Llywelyn indicates his mother was a member of the house of Corbet, leaving the issue unresolved. In his account of his journey around Wales in 1188, Giraldus Cambrensis mentions that the young Llywelyn was in arms against his uncles Dafydd and Rhodri; this young man, being only twelve years of age, during the period of our journey, to molest his uncles David and Roderic, the sons of Owen by Christiana, his cousin-german. In 1194, with the aid of his cousins Gruffudd ap Cynan and Maredudd ap Cynan, he defeated Dafydd at the Battle of Aberconwy at the mouth of the River Conwy.
Rhodri died in 1195, his lands west of the Conwy were taken over by Gruffudd and Maredudd while Llywelyn ruled the territories taken from Dafydd east of the Conwy. In 1197, Llywelyn imprisoned him. A year Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, persuaded Llywelyn to release him, Dafydd retired to England where he died in May 1203. Wales was divided into Pura Wallia, the areas ruled by the Welsh princes, Marchia Wallia, ruled by the Anglo-Norman barons. Since the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, Rhys ap Gruffydd had made the southern kingdom of Deheubarth the strongest of the Welsh kingdoms, had establ
John, King of England
John known as John Lackland, was King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. John lost the Duchy of Normandy and most of his other French lands to King Philip II of France, resulting in the collapse of the Angevin Empire and contributing to the subsequent growth in power of the French Capetian dynasty during the 13th century; the baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of Magna Carta, a document sometimes considered an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom. John, the youngest of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, was at first not expected to inherit significant lands. Following the failed rebellion of his elder brothers between 1173 and 1174, John became Henry's favourite child, he was given lands in England and on the continent. John's elder brothers William and Geoffrey died young. John unsuccessfully attempted a rebellion against Richard's royal administrators whilst his brother was participating in the Third Crusade.
Despite this, after Richard died in 1199, John was proclaimed King of England, came to an agreement with Philip II of France to recognise John's possession of the continental Angevin lands at the peace treaty of Le Goulet in 1200. When war with France broke out again in 1202, John achieved early victories, but shortages of military resources and his treatment of Norman and Anjou nobles resulted in the collapse of his empire in northern France in 1204. John spent much of the next decade attempting to regain these lands, raising huge revenues, reforming his armed forces and rebuilding continental alliances. John's judicial reforms had a lasting effect on the English common law system, as well as providing an additional source of revenue. An argument with Pope Innocent III led to John's excommunication in 1209, a dispute settled by the king in 1213. John's attempt to defeat Philip in 1214 failed due to the French victory over John's allies at the battle of Bouvines; when he returned to England, John faced a rebellion by many of his barons, who were unhappy with his fiscal policies and his treatment of many of England's most powerful nobles.
Although both John and the barons agreed to the Magna Carta peace treaty in 1215, neither side complied with its conditions. Civil war broke out shortly afterwards, with the barons aided by Louis of France, it soon descended into a stalemate. John died of dysentery contracted whilst on campaign in eastern England during late 1216. Contemporary chroniclers were critical of John's performance as king, his reign has since been the subject of significant debate and periodic revision by historians from the 16th century onwards. Historian Jim Bradbury has summarised the current historical opinion of John's positive qualities, observing that John is today considered a "hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general". Nonetheless, modern historians agree that he had many faults as king, including what historian Ralph Turner describes as "distasteful dangerous personality traits", such as pettiness and cruelty; these negative qualities provided extensive material for fiction writers in the Victorian era, John remains a recurring character within Western popular culture as a villain in films and stories depicting the Robin Hood legends.
John was born to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine on 24 December 1166. Henry had inherited significant territories along the Atlantic seaboard—Anjou and England—and expanded his empire by conquering Brittany. Henry married the powerful Eleanor of Aquitaine, who reigned over the Duchy of Aquitaine and had a tenuous claim to Toulouse and Auvergne in southern France, in addition to being the former wife of Louis VII of France; the result was the Angevin Empire, named after Henry's paternal title as Count of Anjou and, more its seat in Angers. The Empire, was inherently fragile: although all the lands owed allegiance to Henry, the disparate parts each had their own histories and governance structures; as one moved south through Anjou and Aquitaine, the extent of Henry's power in the provinces diminished scarcely resembling the modern concept of an empire at all. Some of the traditional ties between parts of the empire such as Normandy and England were dissolving over time, it was unclear.
Although the custom of primogeniture, under which an eldest son would inherit all his father's lands, was becoming more widespread across Europe, it was less popular amongst the Norman kings of England. Most believed that Henry would divide the empire, giving each son a substantial portion, hoping that his children would continue to work together as allies after his death. To complicate matters, much of the Angevin empire was held by Henry only as a vassal of the King of France of the rival line of the House of Capet. Henry had allied himself with the Holy Roman Emperor against France, making the feudal relationship more challenging. Shortly after his birth, John was passed from Eleanor into the care of a wet nurse, a traditional practice for medieval noble families. Eleanor left for Poitiers, the capital of Aquitaine, sent John and his sister Joan north to Fontevrault Abbey; this may have been done with the aim of steering her youngest son, with no obvious inheritance, towards a future ecclesiastical career.
Eleanor spent the next few years conspiring against her husband Henry and neither parent played a
The White Ship was a vessel that sank in the English Channel near the Normandy coast off Barfleur, on 25 November 1120. Only one of those aboard survived; those who drowned included William Adelin, the only legitimate son and heir of King Henry I of England, his half-sister Matilda, his half-brother Richard and Richard d'Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester. William Adelin's death led to a succession crisis and a period of civil war in England known as the Anarchy; the White Ship was a newly refitted vessel captained by Thomas FitzStephen, whose father Stephen FitzAirard had been captain of the ship Mora for William the Conqueror when he invaded England in 1066. Thomas offered his ship to Henry I of England to use it to return to England from Barfleur in Normandy. Henry had made other arrangements, but allowed many in his retinue to take the White Ship, including his heir, William Adelin. According to chronicler Orderic Vitalis, the crew asked William Adelin for wine and he supplied it to them in great abundance.
By the time the ship was ready to leave there were about 300 people on board although some had disembarked due to the excessive drinking before the ship sailed. The ship's captain, Thomas FitzStephen, was ordered by the revellers to overtake the king's ship, which had sailed; the White Ship was fast, of the best construction and had been fitted with new materials, which made the captain and crew confident they could reach England first. But when it set off in the dark, its port side struck a submerged rock called Quillebœuf, the ship capsized. William Adelin got into a small boat and could have escaped but turned back to try to rescue his half-sister, when he heard her cries for help, his boat was swamped by others trying to save themselves, William drowned along with them. According to Orderic Vitalis, only two survived by clinging to the rock that night. One was a butcher from Rouen; the chronicler further wrote that when Thomas FitzStephen came to the surface after the sinking and learned that William Adelin had not survived, he let himself drown rather than face the King.
One legend holds that the ship was doomed because priests were not allowed to board it in the customary manner. For a complete list of those who did or did not travel on the White Ship, see Victims of the White Ship disaster. A direct result of William Adelin's death was the period known as the Anarchy; the White Ship disaster had left Henry I with only one legitimate child, a second daughter named Matilda. Although Henry I had forced his barons to swear an oath to support Matilda as his heir on several occasions, a woman had never ruled in England in her own right. Matilda was unpopular because she was married to Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, a traditional enemy of England's Norman nobles. Upon Henry's death in 1135, the English barons were reluctant to accept Matilda as queen regnant. One of Henry I's male relatives, Stephen of Blois, the king's nephew by his sister Adela, usurped Matilda as well as his older brothers William and Theobald to become king. Stephen had planned to travel on the White Ship but had disembarked just before it sailed.
After Henry I's death and her husband Geoffrey of Anjou, the founder of the Plantagenet dynasty, launched a long and devastating war against Stephen and his allies for control of the English throne. The Anarchy dragged from 1135 to 1153 with devastating effect in southern England. Contemporary historian William of Malmesbury wrote: No ship that sailed brought England such disaster, none was so well known the wide world over. There perished with William the king's other son Richard, born to him before his accession by a woman of the country, a high-spirited youth, whose devotion had earned his father's love. Reference to the sinking of the White Ship is made in Ken Follett's novel The Pillars of the Earth and its game adaptation; the ship's sinking sets the stage for the entire background of the story, based on the subsequent civil war between Matilda and Stephen. In Follett's novel, it is implied, it is described in detail by Sharon Kay Penman in the historical novel When Christ and His Saints Slept.
The sinking of the White Ship is referenced in Glenn Cooper's novel The Tenth Chamber. The White Ship sets the stage for the 2009 novel Hiobs Brüder by the German author Rebecca Gablé, which details the rise of Henry II of England, son of Empress Matilda; the long conflict between Stephen and Matilda is important in the Brother Cadfael series. This 20-book set of mysteries, by Ellis Peters, has a 12th-century Benedictine monk as its protagonist. Depending on the book, the conflict is e