Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life Kindle Þ of Aquitaine: A

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life Kindle Þ of Aquitaine: A

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life ➵ Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life Read ➼ Author Alison Weir – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk In this beautifully written biography, Alison Weir paints a vibrant portrait of a truly exceptional woman and provides new insights into her intimate world Renowned in her time for being the most beau In this beautifully written biography, Alison Weir paints Aquitaine: A eBook ¸ a vibrant portrait of a truly exceptional woman and provides new insights into her intimate world Renowned in her time for being the most beautiful woman in Europe, the wife of two kings and mother of three, Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages At a time when women were regarded as little than chattel, Eleanor managed to defy convention as Eleanor of Epub / she exercised power in the political sphere and crucial influence over her husbands and sonsEleanor of Aquitaine lived a long life of many contrasts, of splendor and desolation, power and peril, and in this stunning narrative, Weir captures the woman and the queen in all her glory With astonishing historic detail, mesmerizing pageantry, and irresistible accounts of royal scandal and intrigue, she recreates not only a remarkable personality but a magnificent past era.


About the Author: Alison Weir

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the Aquitaine: A eBook ¸ GoodReads database with this nameAlison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs She received her formal training in history at teacher training college She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.



10 thoughts on “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life

  1. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    Despite the title and the author s stated ambition to write a balanced account of Eleanor neither on the side lines nor a romantic heroine this book is best read as a friendly, accessible history of the early Plantagenets Something to read if you ve enjoyed The Lion in Winter and fancy knowing a bitabout that quarrelsome, competitive family Sadly Eleanor remains definitely on the sidelines Weir doesn t discuss the source material, so as a reader you can t know if this was her choice Despite the title and the author s stated ambition to write a balanced account of Eleanor neither on the side lines nor a romantic heroine this book is best read as a friendly, accessible history of the early Plantagenets Something to read if you ve enjoyed The Lion in Winter and fancy knowing a bitabout that quarrelsome, competitive family Sadly Eleanor remains definitely on the sidelines Weir doesn t discuss the source material, so as a reader you can t know if this was her choice or just inevitable given the material she had to work with Weir could have spent time discussing in general terms what the life of a great Duchess and Queen would have been like, but she prefers to concentrate on the political or family view spoiler the two are interchangeable in this case hide spoiler drama This is great if you want to knowabout Henry II and Richard I, but it does mean that she gives space to discussing events that don t touch on Eleanor, her activities or her relationship with her own lands of Aquitaine Within sight of the end of the book there is a throw away reference to the impact of the town charters that Eleanor issued had on increasing prosperity in Aquitaine It is the kind of detail that suggests that there was information that Weir could have expanded on that might have brought us closer to Eleanor The title person taking the back seat in a book that is, apparently, meant to be about her isn t a great sign Though I suppose it does indicate how our fascination for the idea of a person like Eleanor, can easily run far, far ahead of our ability to have a sensible discussion about them We can t know such people as individuals, though we can think about them in terms of the web like structures of power and authority and custom and tradition in which they sat However as an account of the early Plantagenets, that striving bunch all struggling against one another for power, it is a decent read.Weir is an amateur historian, I spotted a couple of mistakes using Turks as a synonym for Muslim makes no sense at all when discussing medieval Sicily and the Truce of God was not a crusader privilege it was like the similarly named Peace of God an agreement that nobles and knights swore to not to fight on certain days and not to harm certain non combatants in the course of warfare which makes me wondering how many there were that I didn t pick up on Weir makes a lot of use of chronicles, it is good that she s taking the time to use primary sources and not just rely on other people s subsequent work, but she does not seem to have been reading them critically Chronicles are a bit like newspapers today, they have their political biases and they tend to tell certain types of story while ignoring others, its not advisable to take them at face value view spoiler and the same is also true of medieval chronicles hide spoiler.This particularly struck me as a potential problem in her treatment of stories of adultery involving Eleanor While on the one hand I m sure everyone can think of examples of modern politicians who have managed to have affairs and keep it fairly secret for years, on the other hand in the middle ages without reliable contraceptives that would have been a very big risk for noble women to run You start to wonder how much the stories of adulterous relationships in chronicles are just gossip and particularly the gossip of people sworn to celibacy imagining that people in the secular world are indiscriminately having sex all the time.However Weir s book is a nice tale of conniving, back stabbing, intriguing, power hungry folk, filled with appropriate medieval bad language even if Eleanor herself remains elusive in this biography about her


  2. Lizzy Lizzy says:

    I ve been curious about the historical figure of Eleanor of Aquitaine for a long time Finally, through Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life I was able to sate my eagerness to know what kind of life this woman, that was the Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right and Queen of both France and England, lived One thing for sure, it wasn t an easy life She had difficult husbands, but compensated somewhat through a constant struggle for power We could say that she was fairly successful, since she lived in a I ve been curious about the historical figure of Eleanor of Aquitaine for a long time Finally, through Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life I was able to sate my eagerness to know what kind of life this woman, that was the Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right and Queen of both France and England, lived One thing for sure, it wasn t an easy life She had difficult husbands, but compensated somewhat through a constant struggle for power We could say that she was fairly successful, since she lived in an era were women had no power at all Despite her struggles she was imprisoned by her second husband for many years But in the end she won this battle, since she outlived him.Just a taste of Weir s great novel, where the author discusses how restrictive and how excrutianting for women Eleanor s time wasIn this martial world dominated by men, women had little place The Church s teachings might underpin feudal morality, yet when it came to the practicalities of life, a ruthless pragmatism often came into play Kings and noblemen married for political advantage, and women rarely had any say in how they or their wealth were to be disposed in marriage Kings would sell off heiresses and rich widows to the highest bidder, for political or territorial advantage, and those who resisted were heavily fined.Young girls of good birth were strictly reared, often in convents, and married off at fourteen or even earlier to suit their parents or overlord s purposes The betrothal of infants was not uncommon, despite the church s disapproval It was a father s duty to bestow his daughters in marriage if he was dead, his overlord or the King himself would act for him Personal choice was rarely and issue.Upon marriage, a girl s property and rights became invested in her husband, to whom she owed absolute obedience Every husband had the right to enforce this duty in whichever way he thought fit as Eleanor was to find out to her cost Wife beating was common, although the Church did at this time attempt to restrict the length of the rod that a husband might useI really enjoyed Alison Weir s book Recommended


  3. Madeline Madeline says:

    Alison Weir spends a lot of time in this book discusses common legends and misconceptions surrounding Eleanor, which was interesting for me because I hadn t heard any of them before I really wasn t that familiar with Eleanor of Aquitaine before reading this mostly I just knew that she went on crusade once, was Richard the Lionheart s mother, and was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter From these three bits of information, we can at least deduce that she was kind of a badass.Hav Alison Weir spends a lot of time in this book discusses common legends and misconceptions surrounding Eleanor, which was interesting for me because I hadn t heard any of them before I really wasn t that familiar with Eleanor of Aquitaine before reading this mostly I just knew that she went on crusade once, was Richard the Lionheart s mother, and was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter From these three bits of information, we can at least deduce that she was kind of a badass.Having finished this account of her life, I have to admit that I now know a lotabout everyone else in Eleanor s life than I do about Eleanor herself Weir does her best, but the fact is there just isn t that much concrete information about Eleanor, aside from a few letters which were recorded by her clerk, who may have actually composed the letters himself and some documents stating how much money she spent at a certain time or when she traveled to England For the majority of the book, Eleanor is sort of kept to the sidelines, occasionally coming into the picture when she gets involved with her husband s sons relatives politics Alison Weir is very careful not to take anything for granted and examines all the evidence before making a claim about what Eleanor did at any given time, which is a good thing for a historian to do, but it also means Eleanor is not actually very present in this biography Which is not to say that it isn t a good biography The Plantagenets were one batshit crazy family, and reading about their violent shenanigens is always a good time Just don t go into this book expecting Eleanor to be present on every page entire chapters can go by without mentioning her However, when she does make an appearance she is always being awesome, because she is Eleanor of Motherfucking Aquitaine Take this letter she wrote to the Pope, basically tearing him a new one for not helping to free her son Richard after he was captured while on crusade Is your power derived from God or from men Did not the God of Gods speak to you through His apostle Peter, that whatsoever you bind on Earth shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on Earth shall be loosed also in Heaven Why then do you so long negligently, nay cruelly, delay to free my son, or is it rather that you do not dare Perhaps you will say that this power is given to you over souls, not bodies so be it, I will certainly be satisfied if you bind the souls of those who keep my son bound in prison.It is your province to release my son, unless the fear of God has yielded to a human fear Restore my son to me, then, O man of God, if indeed you are a man of God and not a man of mere blood For know that if you are slow in releasing my son, from your hand will the Most High require his blood She wrote that to the Pope The Pope All I can say to that is, damn, lady


  4. Kimberly Kimberly says:

    I ve had a life long and abiding interest in Eleanor of Aquitaine ever since I read a biography of her when I was 10 years old I never realized, though, how little I actually knew about the Plantagenetsor how wrong what little I knew wasuntil I read Weir s book.My only complaint about this book has less to do with Weir s impeccable scholarship and gift for narrative than it does with the scant record left behind by women, even notable women like Eleanor As an aside, it seems like a vast I ve had a life long and abiding interest in Eleanor of Aquitaine ever since I read a biography of her when I was 10 years old I never realized, though, how little I actually knew about the Plantagenetsor how wrong what little I knew wasuntil I read Weir s book.My only complaint about this book has less to do with Weir s impeccable scholarship and gift for narrative than it does with the scant record left behind by women, even notable women like Eleanor As an aside, it seems like a vast understatement to call her notable I feel I need a much stronger word, but it is late and I can t think of a good word now There are times in the book when I grew impatient reading about the antics of John and Richard and wanted to know WHERE S ELEANOR But as I said, that isa result of the scant evidence left behind in the historical record when it comes to the lives of women It is the cross for all women s historians to bear But Weir does a good job of touching base with the reader and saying basically the historical record does not show where Eleanor was at this time or what she was doing, but we can surmiseetc., etc.In summary, this is a wonderful book to grab a cup of hot tea and curl up with during long winter nights


  5. Mike Mcfarland Mike Mcfarland says:

    A scholarly but lightly written book on late 12th Century European politics, as told through the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor comes across as a remarkable woman, extremely strong willed and independent She originally married the King of France, and even joined him on a Crusade, then abandoned him for the King of England Later, through her sons Richard the Lionheart was her favorite she fostered rebellions against the English King in his French territories When the rebellions ende A scholarly but lightly written book on late 12th Century European politics, as told through the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor comes across as a remarkable woman, extremely strong willed and independent She originally married the King of France, and even joined him on a Crusade, then abandoned him for the King of England Later, through her sons Richard the Lionheart was her favorite she fostered rebellions against the English King in his French territories When the rebellions ended in failure, she spent several years imprisoned by her husband, until he died and Richard restored her as an honored and trusted elder stateswoman She died quietly in France at a ripe old age after leading a life of extraordinary power and influence.The book does an excellent job of investigating contemporary sources to parse out the truth from the romantic legend and the anti Eleanor propaganda Many conventional stories are debunked Eleanor poisoned her husband s mistresses and others are endorsed Eleanor had an affair with the King of England s father based on the available records The one knock against the book, and this is hardly the author s fault, is that there are long periods of Eleanor s life when the contemporary sources felt no need to record her activities This was, after all, an era in which the value of a woman was calculated by how many sons she produced As a result, the book frequently readslike a biography of Eleanor s husbands and sons than a biography of Eleanor herself Nevertheless, a great read


  6. Rachel Rachel says:

    I read this book in hardcover when it first came out before giving it to a friend sorry Amy At the time I seem to remember Weir saying in the introduction that it wasof a struggle to write this book than her Tudor histories due to the comparative lack and nature of sources she relied chiefly on contemporary chroniclers, the richer biographical data of letters, diaries, etc no longer existing Consequently I felt it wasof a struggle to read.Not this time I re read the introducti I read this book in hardcover when it first came out before giving it to a friend sorry Amy At the time I seem to remember Weir saying in the introduction that it wasof a struggle to write this book than her Tudor histories due to the comparative lack and nature of sources she relied chiefly on contemporary chroniclers, the richer biographical data of letters, diaries, etc no longer existing Consequently I felt it wasof a struggle to read.Not this time I re read the introduction and perhaps my mind had been playing tricks on me, as there was no mention of the above difficulties She does fill in a lot of background about medieval daily life, both for peasants and royalty, in addition to providing a balanced portrait of her subject, one of the most famous women in medieval Europe She s not squeamish or judgmental about incestuous affairs, Eleanor s son Richard s possible homosexuality she doesn t think he was, as that is something chroniclers would have picked up on at the merest hint , or Henry II s involvement in Thomas Becket s murder.Definitely enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone interested in medieval European history without needing a strong background in the subject already


  7. Nicky Nicky says:

    Alison Weir s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine is thorough and well researched, from birth to death There s a lot of dates and names, and Weir s style doesn t really make that kind of detail absorbing, but there s plenty to interest a patient reader My chief criticism is that Weir presents this as a complete portrait of Eleanor, commenting that previous accounts of her life rely too heavily on the actions of her husbands and sons, but Weir herself falls into that same pitfall Whole chapters Alison Weir s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine is thorough and well researched, from birth to death There s a lot of dates and names, and Weir s style doesn t really make that kind of detail absorbing, but there s plenty to interest a patient reader My chief criticism is that Weir presents this as a complete portrait of Eleanor, commenting that previous accounts of her life rely too heavily on the actions of her husbands and sons, but Weir herself falls into that same pitfall Whole chapters go by in which Henry or Richard or John are the focus.Still, worth the time I invested, I think Eleanor was a fascinating woman and a great queen, amd Weir definitely shows the reader that


  8. & & says:

    Once again Alison Weir has produced another wonderful and exciting biography In this book on Eleanor of Aquitaine she has told the story of this most interesting person in a manner that had me glued to the pages I must state that I have not previously read any books on this subject, quite a few on Richard I but nothing on his mother I usually enjoy military history but this was an excellent story, well researched and well presented with heaps of plots, fighting and treachery The story may we Once again Alison Weir has produced another wonderful and exciting biography In this book on Eleanor of Aquitaine she has told the story of this most interesting person in a manner that had me glued to the pages I must state that I have not previously read any books on this subject, quite a few on Richard I but nothing on his mother I usually enjoy military history but this was an excellent story, well researched and well presented with heaps of plots, fighting and treachery The story may well be known to quite a few people out there but to me this book offered the first timer a grand and interesting panorama of this most interesting person during a most interesting period The narrative was quick and exciting, moving along covering a vast period of time and people however I never got lost in the story On a number of occasions points in dispute were threshed out and a common sense approach was adopted in trying to find the truth of the matter Eleanor of Aquitaine had a number of detractors throughout history but I think the author tried to present her story in a non biased manner This is a good book and I think that most people will enjoy the story and even those who know the whole story should gain something from this account


  9. Steven Peterson Steven Peterson says:

    This is another in Alison Weir s series of historical biographical works As always, the book is well written with much historical detail coming from each page As with some of her other works such as Katherine Swynford , she takes a less than complete record of the person about whom she is writing and creates a plausible rendering of that person s life She notes where evidence is slim and makes cautious suggestions as to what might have happened during periods of time with little record of This is another in Alison Weir s series of historical biographical works As always, the book is well written with much historical detail coming from each page As with some of her other works such as Katherine Swynford , she takes a less than complete record of the person about whom she is writing and creates a plausible rendering of that person s life She notes where evidence is slim and makes cautious suggestions as to what might have happened during periods of time with little record of Eleanor.Here, the target is Eleanor of Aquitaine, notorious after her death, with a greater appreciation of her accomplishments inrecent times The fact that such a nuanced biography can be written is remarkable, when one accounts for the fact that she lived before records were as easy to come by as later on Born in 1122, she died in 1204, over 80 years old There are a number of story lines here One is simply the trajectory of her rich life Second is the story of her two marriages to King Louis VII of France and to King Henry II of England In addition, she was the ruler of Aquitaine, a large area in France Her falling out with her husbands is riveting including her having been under, essentially, house arrest by Henry II for over a decade The genealogical tables on pages 408 to 421 are absolutely necessary to keep the players straight, to understand their relationships with one another.She was a strong woman in a time when that was scarcely the norm She was effectively ruler of Aquitaine for a time just so, when her husband was gone, she had a role in the governance of England A third story is the chaotic relations of her sons Two became king of England Richard I and John Both had some serious flaws one, Henry, the Young King was heir to the throne before an untimely death Making this all thesensational was the warfare literally between sons and father Henry II and between the sons themselves Being a mom to these unruly children must have been a challenge The book also provides insight into the politics, economics, and culture of the time, giving us a broader context in which to consider Eleanor s life and that of her husbands and children For her time, she was something else again She traveled widely, played a role in politics, roiled the interfamily tensions In her 80s, she retired from public life to a convent, where she lived the rest of her days The book concludes by noting Page 346 Remarkable in a period when females were relegated to a servile role, she was, as Richard of Devizes so astutely claimed, an incomparable woman


  10. Sherry Sharpnack Sherry Sharpnack says:

    Let me just say that I love Tudor historian Alison Weir s biographies She is one of those historians that make history sing Eleanor of Aquitaine didn t really sing for me I think it was b c of the paucity of historical record w which Ms Weir had to work The Tudor era has far Primary source material than the late twelfth century does And so many of the sources are songs or prejudiced enemies writing about her.Eleanor was a fascinating woman she was the wife of two kings and the mo Let me just say that I love Tudor historian Alison Weir s biographies She is one of those historians that make history sing Eleanor of Aquitaine didn t really sing for me I think it was b c of the paucity of historical record w which Ms Weir had to work The Tudor era has far Primary source material than the late twelfth century does And so many of the sources are songs or prejudiced enemies writing about her.Eleanor was a fascinating woman she was the wife of two kings and the mother of threeif you count Henry, the Young King as an actual king, which British history does not, since he doesn t have a numeral Anyway, she wanted out of her first marriage w King Louis of France, whom she accompanied on the First Crusade, and abandoned their two daughters when she left him She secretly negotiated her marriage w Henry of Anjou, daughter of Empress Matilda of England, who was in a civil war w her cousin, Stephen, to control England Her marriage to Henry was a brilliant coup their partnership created a political entity that covered most of modern day France And then Henry became King of England, so their realm was enormous, and nearly always troubled Eleanor and Henry had ten children together and married their daughters into various European houses So truthfully, Eleanor was Europe s grandmother before Queen Victoria was.So what made Eleanor turn against Henry and support her devil s spawn sons when they rebelled against their father I can see why they rebelled, but history just can t tell us what happened between Henry and Eleanor She was Henry s prisoner for many years, and appears to have been at her best when he was quelling rebellions and she was left as Regent of England, or when he let her rule her own domains Was Eleanor the slut as she was portrayed in some writings Or was she a strong, smart woman who needed to have been born hundred of years later to achieve success Or both


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10 thoughts on “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life

  1. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    Despite the title and the author s stated ambition to write a balanced account of Eleanor neither on the side lines nor a romantic heroine this book is best read as a friendly, accessible history of the early Plantagenets Something to read if you ve enjoyed The Lion in Winter and fancy knowing a bitabout that quarrelsome, competitive family Sadly Eleanor remains definitely on the sidelines Weir doesn t discuss the source material, so as a reader you can t know if this was her choice Despite the title and the author s stated ambition to write a balanced account of Eleanor neither on the side lines nor a romantic heroine this book is best read as a friendly, accessible history of the early Plantagenets Something to read if you ve enjoyed The Lion in Winter and fancy knowing a bitabout that quarrelsome, competitive family Sadly Eleanor remains definitely on the sidelines Weir doesn t discuss the source material, so as a reader you can t know if this was her choice or just inevitable given the material she had to work with Weir could have spent time discussing in general terms what the life of a great Duchess and Queen would have been like, but she prefers to concentrate on the political or family view spoiler the two are interchangeable in this case hide spoiler drama This is great if you want to knowabout Henry II and Richard I, but it does mean that she gives space to discussing events that don t touch on Eleanor, her activities or her relationship with her own lands of Aquitaine Within sight of the end of the book there is a throw away reference to the impact of the town charters that Eleanor issued had on increasing prosperity in Aquitaine It is the kind of detail that suggests that there was information that Weir could have expanded on that might have brought us closer to Eleanor The title person taking the back seat in a book that is, apparently, meant to be about her isn t a great sign Though I suppose it does indicate how our fascination for the idea of a person like Eleanor, can easily run far, far ahead of our ability to have a sensible discussion about them We can t know such people as individuals, though we can think about them in terms of the web like structures of power and authority and custom and tradition in which they sat However as an account of the early Plantagenets, that striving bunch all struggling against one another for power, it is a decent read.Weir is an amateur historian, I spotted a couple of mistakes using Turks as a synonym for Muslim makes no sense at all when discussing medieval Sicily and the Truce of God was not a crusader privilege it was like the similarly named Peace of God an agreement that nobles and knights swore to not to fight on certain days and not to harm certain non combatants in the course of warfare which makes me wondering how many there were that I didn t pick up on Weir makes a lot of use of chronicles, it is good that she s taking the time to use primary sources and not just rely on other people s subsequent work, but she does not seem to have been reading them critically Chronicles are a bit like newspapers today, they have their political biases and they tend to tell certain types of story while ignoring others, its not advisable to take them at face value view spoiler and the same is also true of medieval chronicles hide spoiler.This particularly struck me as a potential problem in her treatment of stories of adultery involving Eleanor While on the one hand I m sure everyone can think of examples of modern politicians who have managed to have affairs and keep it fairly secret for years, on the other hand in the middle ages without reliable contraceptives that would have been a very big risk for noble women to run You start to wonder how much the stories of adulterous relationships in chronicles are just gossip and particularly the gossip of people sworn to celibacy imagining that people in the secular world are indiscriminately having sex all the time.However Weir s book is a nice tale of conniving, back stabbing, intriguing, power hungry folk, filled with appropriate medieval bad language even if Eleanor herself remains elusive in this biography about her

  2. Lizzy Lizzy says:

    I ve been curious about the historical figure of Eleanor of Aquitaine for a long time Finally, through Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life I was able to sate my eagerness to know what kind of life this woman, that was the Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right and Queen of both France and England, lived One thing for sure, it wasn t an easy life She had difficult husbands, but compensated somewhat through a constant struggle for power We could say that she was fairly successful, since she lived in a I ve been curious about the historical figure of Eleanor of Aquitaine for a long time Finally, through Eleanor of Aquitaine A Life I was able to sate my eagerness to know what kind of life this woman, that was the Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right and Queen of both France and England, lived One thing for sure, it wasn t an easy life She had difficult husbands, but compensated somewhat through a constant struggle for power We could say that she was fairly successful, since she lived in an era were women had no power at all Despite her struggles she was imprisoned by her second husband for many years But in the end she won this battle, since she outlived him.Just a taste of Weir s great novel, where the author discusses how restrictive and how excrutianting for women Eleanor s time wasIn this martial world dominated by men, women had little place The Church s teachings might underpin feudal morality, yet when it came to the practicalities of life, a ruthless pragmatism often came into play Kings and noblemen married for political advantage, and women rarely had any say in how they or their wealth were to be disposed in marriage Kings would sell off heiresses and rich widows to the highest bidder, for political or territorial advantage, and those who resisted were heavily fined.Young girls of good birth were strictly reared, often in convents, and married off at fourteen or even earlier to suit their parents or overlord s purposes The betrothal of infants was not uncommon, despite the church s disapproval It was a father s duty to bestow his daughters in marriage if he was dead, his overlord or the King himself would act for him Personal choice was rarely and issue.Upon marriage, a girl s property and rights became invested in her husband, to whom she owed absolute obedience Every husband had the right to enforce this duty in whichever way he thought fit as Eleanor was to find out to her cost Wife beating was common, although the Church did at this time attempt to restrict the length of the rod that a husband might useI really enjoyed Alison Weir s book Recommended

  3. Madeline Madeline says:

    Alison Weir spends a lot of time in this book discusses common legends and misconceptions surrounding Eleanor, which was interesting for me because I hadn t heard any of them before I really wasn t that familiar with Eleanor of Aquitaine before reading this mostly I just knew that she went on crusade once, was Richard the Lionheart s mother, and was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter From these three bits of information, we can at least deduce that she was kind of a badass.Hav Alison Weir spends a lot of time in this book discusses common legends and misconceptions surrounding Eleanor, which was interesting for me because I hadn t heard any of them before I really wasn t that familiar with Eleanor of Aquitaine before reading this mostly I just knew that she went on crusade once, was Richard the Lionheart s mother, and was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter From these three bits of information, we can at least deduce that she was kind of a badass.Having finished this account of her life, I have to admit that I now know a lotabout everyone else in Eleanor s life than I do about Eleanor herself Weir does her best, but the fact is there just isn t that much concrete information about Eleanor, aside from a few letters which were recorded by her clerk, who may have actually composed the letters himself and some documents stating how much money she spent at a certain time or when she traveled to England For the majority of the book, Eleanor is sort of kept to the sidelines, occasionally coming into the picture when she gets involved with her husband s sons relatives politics Alison Weir is very careful not to take anything for granted and examines all the evidence before making a claim about what Eleanor did at any given time, which is a good thing for a historian to do, but it also means Eleanor is not actually very present in this biography Which is not to say that it isn t a good biography The Plantagenets were one batshit crazy family, and reading about their violent shenanigens is always a good time Just don t go into this book expecting Eleanor to be present on every page entire chapters can go by without mentioning her However, when she does make an appearance she is always being awesome, because she is Eleanor of Motherfucking Aquitaine Take this letter she wrote to the Pope, basically tearing him a new one for not helping to free her son Richard after he was captured while on crusade Is your power derived from God or from men Did not the God of Gods speak to you through His apostle Peter, that whatsoever you bind on Earth shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on Earth shall be loosed also in Heaven Why then do you so long negligently, nay cruelly, delay to free my son, or is it rather that you do not dare Perhaps you will say that this power is given to you over souls, not bodies so be it, I will certainly be satisfied if you bind the souls of those who keep my son bound in prison.It is your province to release my son, unless the fear of God has yielded to a human fear Restore my son to me, then, O man of God, if indeed you are a man of God and not a man of mere blood For know that if you are slow in releasing my son, from your hand will the Most High require his blood She wrote that to the Pope The Pope All I can say to that is, damn, lady

  4. Kimberly Kimberly says:

    I ve had a life long and abiding interest in Eleanor of Aquitaine ever since I read a biography of her when I was 10 years old I never realized, though, how little I actually knew about the Plantagenetsor how wrong what little I knew wasuntil I read Weir s book.My only complaint about this book has less to do with Weir s impeccable scholarship and gift for narrative than it does with the scant record left behind by women, even notable women like Eleanor As an aside, it seems like a vast I ve had a life long and abiding interest in Eleanor of Aquitaine ever since I read a biography of her when I was 10 years old I never realized, though, how little I actually knew about the Plantagenetsor how wrong what little I knew wasuntil I read Weir s book.My only complaint about this book has less to do with Weir s impeccable scholarship and gift for narrative than it does with the scant record left behind by women, even notable women like Eleanor As an aside, it seems like a vast understatement to call her notable I feel I need a much stronger word, but it is late and I can t think of a good word now There are times in the book when I grew impatient reading about the antics of John and Richard and wanted to know WHERE S ELEANOR But as I said, that isa result of the scant evidence left behind in the historical record when it comes to the lives of women It is the cross for all women s historians to bear But Weir does a good job of touching base with the reader and saying basically the historical record does not show where Eleanor was at this time or what she was doing, but we can surmiseetc., etc.In summary, this is a wonderful book to grab a cup of hot tea and curl up with during long winter nights

  5. Mike Mcfarland Mike Mcfarland says:

    A scholarly but lightly written book on late 12th Century European politics, as told through the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor comes across as a remarkable woman, extremely strong willed and independent She originally married the King of France, and even joined him on a Crusade, then abandoned him for the King of England Later, through her sons Richard the Lionheart was her favorite she fostered rebellions against the English King in his French territories When the rebellions ende A scholarly but lightly written book on late 12th Century European politics, as told through the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor comes across as a remarkable woman, extremely strong willed and independent She originally married the King of France, and even joined him on a Crusade, then abandoned him for the King of England Later, through her sons Richard the Lionheart was her favorite she fostered rebellions against the English King in his French territories When the rebellions ended in failure, she spent several years imprisoned by her husband, until he died and Richard restored her as an honored and trusted elder stateswoman She died quietly in France at a ripe old age after leading a life of extraordinary power and influence.The book does an excellent job of investigating contemporary sources to parse out the truth from the romantic legend and the anti Eleanor propaganda Many conventional stories are debunked Eleanor poisoned her husband s mistresses and others are endorsed Eleanor had an affair with the King of England s father based on the available records The one knock against the book, and this is hardly the author s fault, is that there are long periods of Eleanor s life when the contemporary sources felt no need to record her activities This was, after all, an era in which the value of a woman was calculated by how many sons she produced As a result, the book frequently readslike a biography of Eleanor s husbands and sons than a biography of Eleanor herself Nevertheless, a great read

  6. Rachel Rachel says:

    I read this book in hardcover when it first came out before giving it to a friend sorry Amy At the time I seem to remember Weir saying in the introduction that it wasof a struggle to write this book than her Tudor histories due to the comparative lack and nature of sources she relied chiefly on contemporary chroniclers, the richer biographical data of letters, diaries, etc no longer existing Consequently I felt it wasof a struggle to read.Not this time I re read the introducti I read this book in hardcover when it first came out before giving it to a friend sorry Amy At the time I seem to remember Weir saying in the introduction that it wasof a struggle to write this book than her Tudor histories due to the comparative lack and nature of sources she relied chiefly on contemporary chroniclers, the richer biographical data of letters, diaries, etc no longer existing Consequently I felt it wasof a struggle to read.Not this time I re read the introduction and perhaps my mind had been playing tricks on me, as there was no mention of the above difficulties She does fill in a lot of background about medieval daily life, both for peasants and royalty, in addition to providing a balanced portrait of her subject, one of the most famous women in medieval Europe She s not squeamish or judgmental about incestuous affairs, Eleanor s son Richard s possible homosexuality she doesn t think he was, as that is something chroniclers would have picked up on at the merest hint , or Henry II s involvement in Thomas Becket s murder.Definitely enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone interested in medieval European history without needing a strong background in the subject already

  7. Nicky Nicky says:

    Alison Weir s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine is thorough and well researched, from birth to death There s a lot of dates and names, and Weir s style doesn t really make that kind of detail absorbing, but there s plenty to interest a patient reader My chief criticism is that Weir presents this as a complete portrait of Eleanor, commenting that previous accounts of her life rely too heavily on the actions of her husbands and sons, but Weir herself falls into that same pitfall Whole chapters Alison Weir s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine is thorough and well researched, from birth to death There s a lot of dates and names, and Weir s style doesn t really make that kind of detail absorbing, but there s plenty to interest a patient reader My chief criticism is that Weir presents this as a complete portrait of Eleanor, commenting that previous accounts of her life rely too heavily on the actions of her husbands and sons, but Weir herself falls into that same pitfall Whole chapters go by in which Henry or Richard or John are the focus.Still, worth the time I invested, I think Eleanor was a fascinating woman and a great queen, amd Weir definitely shows the reader that

  8. & & says:

    Once again Alison Weir has produced another wonderful and exciting biography In this book on Eleanor of Aquitaine she has told the story of this most interesting person in a manner that had me glued to the pages I must state that I have not previously read any books on this subject, quite a few on Richard I but nothing on his mother I usually enjoy military history but this was an excellent story, well researched and well presented with heaps of plots, fighting and treachery The story may we Once again Alison Weir has produced another wonderful and exciting biography In this book on Eleanor of Aquitaine she has told the story of this most interesting person in a manner that had me glued to the pages I must state that I have not previously read any books on this subject, quite a few on Richard I but nothing on his mother I usually enjoy military history but this was an excellent story, well researched and well presented with heaps of plots, fighting and treachery The story may well be known to quite a few people out there but to me this book offered the first timer a grand and interesting panorama of this most interesting person during a most interesting period The narrative was quick and exciting, moving along covering a vast period of time and people however I never got lost in the story On a number of occasions points in dispute were threshed out and a common sense approach was adopted in trying to find the truth of the matter Eleanor of Aquitaine had a number of detractors throughout history but I think the author tried to present her story in a non biased manner This is a good book and I think that most people will enjoy the story and even those who know the whole story should gain something from this account

  9. Steven Peterson Steven Peterson says:

    This is another in Alison Weir s series of historical biographical works As always, the book is well written with much historical detail coming from each page As with some of her other works such as Katherine Swynford , she takes a less than complete record of the person about whom she is writing and creates a plausible rendering of that person s life She notes where evidence is slim and makes cautious suggestions as to what might have happened during periods of time with little record of This is another in Alison Weir s series of historical biographical works As always, the book is well written with much historical detail coming from each page As with some of her other works such as Katherine Swynford , she takes a less than complete record of the person about whom she is writing and creates a plausible rendering of that person s life She notes where evidence is slim and makes cautious suggestions as to what might have happened during periods of time with little record of Eleanor.Here, the target is Eleanor of Aquitaine, notorious after her death, with a greater appreciation of her accomplishments inrecent times The fact that such a nuanced biography can be written is remarkable, when one accounts for the fact that she lived before records were as easy to come by as later on Born in 1122, she died in 1204, over 80 years old There are a number of story lines here One is simply the trajectory of her rich life Second is the story of her two marriages to King Louis VII of France and to King Henry II of England In addition, she was the ruler of Aquitaine, a large area in France Her falling out with her husbands is riveting including her having been under, essentially, house arrest by Henry II for over a decade The genealogical tables on pages 408 to 421 are absolutely necessary to keep the players straight, to understand their relationships with one another.She was a strong woman in a time when that was scarcely the norm She was effectively ruler of Aquitaine for a time just so, when her husband was gone, she had a role in the governance of England A third story is the chaotic relations of her sons Two became king of England Richard I and John Both had some serious flaws one, Henry, the Young King was heir to the throne before an untimely death Making this all thesensational was the warfare literally between sons and father Henry II and between the sons themselves Being a mom to these unruly children must have been a challenge The book also provides insight into the politics, economics, and culture of the time, giving us a broader context in which to consider Eleanor s life and that of her husbands and children For her time, she was something else again She traveled widely, played a role in politics, roiled the interfamily tensions In her 80s, she retired from public life to a convent, where she lived the rest of her days The book concludes by noting Page 346 Remarkable in a period when females were relegated to a servile role, she was, as Richard of Devizes so astutely claimed, an incomparable woman

  10. Sherry Sharpnack Sherry Sharpnack says:

    Let me just say that I love Tudor historian Alison Weir s biographies She is one of those historians that make history sing Eleanor of Aquitaine didn t really sing for me I think it was b c of the paucity of historical record w which Ms Weir had to work The Tudor era has far Primary source material than the late twelfth century does And so many of the sources are songs or prejudiced enemies writing about her.Eleanor was a fascinating woman she was the wife of two kings and the mo Let me just say that I love Tudor historian Alison Weir s biographies She is one of those historians that make history sing Eleanor of Aquitaine didn t really sing for me I think it was b c of the paucity of historical record w which Ms Weir had to work The Tudor era has far Primary source material than the late twelfth century does And so many of the sources are songs or prejudiced enemies writing about her.Eleanor was a fascinating woman she was the wife of two kings and the mother of threeif you count Henry, the Young King as an actual king, which British history does not, since he doesn t have a numeral Anyway, she wanted out of her first marriage w King Louis of France, whom she accompanied on the First Crusade, and abandoned their two daughters when she left him She secretly negotiated her marriage w Henry of Anjou, daughter of Empress Matilda of England, who was in a civil war w her cousin, Stephen, to control England Her marriage to Henry was a brilliant coup their partnership created a political entity that covered most of modern day France And then Henry became King of England, so their realm was enormous, and nearly always troubled Eleanor and Henry had ten children together and married their daughters into various European houses So truthfully, Eleanor was Europe s grandmother before Queen Victoria was.So what made Eleanor turn against Henry and support her devil s spawn sons when they rebelled against their father I can see why they rebelled, but history just can t tell us what happened between Henry and Eleanor She was Henry s prisoner for many years, and appears to have been at her best when he was quelling rebellions and she was left as Regent of England, or when he let her rule her own domains Was Eleanor the slut as she was portrayed in some writings Or was she a strong, smart woman who needed to have been born hundred of years later to achieve success Or both

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