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Ebalus, Duke of Aquitaine

Ebalus, Duke of Aquitaine

Duke of Aquitaine
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Duke of Aquitaine
Occupations Sovereign
Gender male
Father: Ranulf II of Aquitaine
Children: William IIIDuke of Aquitaine
The details

Ebalus or Ebles Manzer or Manser (c. 870 – 935) was Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine on two occasions: from 890 to 892; and then from 902 until his death in 935 (Poitou) and from 928 until 932 (Aquitaine).
Ebles was an illegitimate son of Ranulf II of Aquitaine. "Manzer" or "Mamzer" is a Hebrew word that means bastard, son of a forbidden relationship, although in the case of Ebles it may have been applied to bastardy in general.
Upon the death of his father (who was poisoned), Ebles assumed his father’s mantle and acquired the role of Count of Poitou. But Ebles could not hold on to the title for long. Aymar, a descendant of one of Ramnulf II’s predecessors, challenged Ebles right to rule, as Ebles was merely a bastard son. In 892, Aymar, who was supported by Eudes of France, overthrew Ebles, and Ebles fled to the safety of his father’s allies, Count Gerald of Aurillac and William the Pious, count of Avergne and Duke of Aquitaine. William the Pious had taken Ebles under his care and assured the boy’s education after the death of Ebles’ father.
In 902, Ebles, with the assistance of William the Pious, a distant relative, conquered Poitiers while Aymar was away, and reestablished himself in his former position. Charles III, who knew Ebles as a childhood companion, then formally invested Ebles with the title, Count of Poitou. Ebles would hold this title until this death.
The comital title was the only one to which he ever had legitimate investiture. Ebles allotted the abbey of Saint-Maixent to Savary, Viscount of Thouars, who had been his constant supporter. He restructured Poitou by creating new viscounties in Aulnay and Melle and dissolved the title and position of Viscount of Poitou upon the death of its holder, Maingaud, in 925.
In 904, he conquered the Limousin.
In 911 he, with two other French commanders were aligned in opposition to Rollo, a Norwegian invader who had plundered the countryside. Ebles and the other two commanders intended to lead their armies in defense of the city of Chartres. Part of Rollo’s army camped on a hill (Mont-Levis) north of the city, while the rest were stationed on the plains outside Chartres
On Saturday, July 20, 911, the battle between the French and Danish armies commenced. "Rollo and his forces were shamefully routed, smitten, as the legend tells, with corporeal blindness. A panic assuredly fell upon the heroic commander, a species of mental infirmity discernible in his descendants: the contagious terror unnerved the host. Unpursued, they dispersed and fled without resistance." At the end of the day, 6,800 Danes lay dead on the field of battle.
Ebles was somewhat slow in arriving at Chartres, so he was unable to "take his due share in the conflict." His victorious partners proudly boasted of their success, and mocked Ebles and his tardy army. To redeem his honor and quiet the ridicule, Ebles accepted a challenge to confront the remant of the Danish army that remained camped on the Mont-Levis. But instead of driving the Danes away, Ebles’ army was defeated soundly. "In the dark of the night, the Northmen, sounding their horns and making a terrible clamour, rushed down the mount and stormed" Ebles camp. Ebles fled and hid in a drum in a fuller’s workshop. His cowardice and dishonor was derided in a popular French ballad of the Plantagenet age.
When Ebles’ benefactor, William the Pious, died, William was succeeded as Duke of Aquitaine by William the Younger. In 927, William the Younger died, and he left his title to his brother Acfred; but Acfred did not live even a year. Acfred made Ebles his heir, and in 928 Ebles assumed the titles Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Berry, Count of Auvergne, and Velay
In 929, King Rudolph started trying to reduce the power of Ebles. He withdrew from him access to Berry, then in 932 he transferred the titles of Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Auvergne to the Count of Toulouse, Raymond Pons. Moreover, the territory of La Marche, which was under the control of the lord of Charroux, vassal of Ebles, was transformed into an independent county.

Marriage and issue

Ebles' first wife was Aremburga, whom he married before 10 Oct 892. His second wife was Emilienne, whom he married in 911. When Emilienne died in 913/915, Ebles married Adele the following year. Some 19th century English historians identified Adele with Ælfgifu, daughter of Edward the Elder, known to have married "a prince near the Alps", but there is nothing to support this identification. She has also been called Adela, Adele, Alaine, or Aliana.

Ebalus had one child by Emilienne, and another one by Adele :

  • William III of Aquitaine married Gerloc, daughter of Rollo of Normandy
  • Ebalus, Bishop of Limoges and Treasurer of St. Hilary of Poitiers
  • Roderick W. Stuart, Royalty for Commoners: The complete known lineage of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, King of England and Queen Philippa (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1995), 83; Manuel Ortiz de la Vega, Los Héroes y las Grandezas de la Tierra (Madrid: Libreria de D. Jose Cuesta, 1856), 136.
  • Sir Francis Palgrave, The History of Normandy and of England, Volume II (London: John W. Parker and Son, 1857), 10; E. Henry Gurney, Reference Handbook for Readers, Students, and Teachers of English History (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1890), 22-23; William Bernard Mac Cabe, A Catholic History of England, Vol. II (London: T. C. Newby, 1849), 328; James Augustus St. John, History of the Four Conquests of England, Vol. I (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1862), 348-349; M. P. Thompson, “Traditions and Folk-Lore of Poitou,” The Catholic World 38(228) (March 1884), 779; Egerton Brydges, Ataviæ Regiæ (Florence: J. Marenigh, April 1820), 6 (Table XI), 64 (Table LXXXVII).
  • Manuel Ortiz de la Vega, Los Héroes y las Grandezas de la Tierra (Madrid: Libreria de D. Jose Cuesta, 1856), 136; American Historical Company, Colonial and Revolutionary Lineages of America: A collection of genealogical studies, completely documented, and appropriately illustrated, bearing upon notable early American lines and their collateral connections, Volume 23 (New York: American Historical Co., 1965), 312; D. Van Hoogstraten, M. Brouerius van Nidek, and J. L. Schuer, Groot algemeen historisch, geographisch, genealogisch, en oordeelkundig woordenboek, behelzende zo het voornaamste, dat vervat is in de woorden-boeken van Morery, Bayle, Buddeus, enz., (Amsterdam: Brunel, 1729), 277; Maurice La Châtre E. Giuseppe Latty, Storia del Dispotismo ossia Papi, Imperatori, Re, Ecc. Loro Fasti E Reati, Volume IV (Torino: Presso Editodo, 1853), 420.
  • Manuel Ortiz de la Vega, Los Héroes y las Grandezas de la Tierra (Madrid: Libreria de D. Jose Cuesta, 1856), 136

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