Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence

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Ramon Berenguer IV
Statue Raimond Bérenger IV.JPG
Count of Provence
Reign 1209–1245
Predecessor Alfonso II
Successor Beatrice
Count of Forcalquier
Reign 1217 or 1220–1245
Predecessor Garsenda
Successor Beatrice
Spouse Beatrice of Savoy
Issue Marguerite, Queen of France
Eleanor, Queen of England
Sanchia, Queen of the Romans (Germany)
Beatrice, Queen of Sicily
House House of Barcelona
Father Alfonso II of Provence
Mother Garsenda de Sabran
Born 1198
Unknown
Died 19 August 1245
(aged 50)
Aix-en-Provence
Burial Église Saint-Jean-de-Malte
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ramon Berenguer IV or V (1198 – 19 August 1245), Count of Provence and Forcalquier, was the son of Alfonso II of Provence and Garsenda de Sabran, heiress of Forcalquier.

He was the first Count of Provence to live in the county in more than one hundred years.[1]

Career[edit]

After his father's death (1209), Ramon was imprisoned in the castle of Monzón, in Aragon until he was able to escape in 1219 and claim his inheritance. He was a powerful and energetic ruler who added Forcalquier to his domain.

He and his wife were known for their support of troubadors, always having some around the court. He was known for his generosity, though his income did not always keep up. He wrote laws prohibiting nobles from performing menial work, such as farming or heavy labor.[2]

Ramon had many border disputes with his neighbors, the Counts of Toulouse. While the Albigensian Crusade worked in his favor, Ramon was concerned that its resolution in the Treaty of Paris left him in a precarious position. When Blanche of Castile sent her knight to both Toulouse and Provence in 1233, Ramon entertained him lavishly, and the knight left well impressed by both the count and his eldest daughter, Margaret. Soon after, Blanche negotiated the marriage between Margaret and her son, Louis, with a dowry of ten thousand silver marks. Ramon had to get contributions from allies for a portion, and had to pledge several of his castles to cover the rest. Ramon and Beatrice travelled with their daughter to Lyon in 1234 to sign the marriage treaty, and then Margaret was escorted to her wedding in Sens by her uncles from Savoy, William and Thomas[3]

Marriage and Children[edit]

On 5 June 1219, Ramon married Beatrice of Savoy, daughter of Thomas I of Savoy. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened by Matthew Paris to that of a second Niobe. Their children included four daughters, all of whom married kings.

  1. stillborn son (1220)
  2. Margaret of Provence (1221–1295), wife of Louis IX of France
  3. Eleanor of Provence (1223–1291), wife of Henry III of England
  4. stillborn son (1225)
  5. Sanchia of Provence (1228–1261), wife of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall
  6. Beatrice of Provence (1231–1267), wife of Charles I of Sicily

His daughters were all educated and literate.[4]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Ramon Berenguer IV died in Aix-en-Provence. At least two planhs (Occitan funeral laments) of uncertain authorship (one possibly by Aimeric de Peguilhan and one falsely attributed to Rigaut de Berbezilh) were written in his honour.

Giovanni Villani in his Nuova Cronica had this to say about Raymond:

Count Raymond was a lord of gentle lineage, and kin to them of the house of Aragon, and to the family of the count of Toulouse, By inheritance Provence, this side of the Rhone, was his; a wise and courteous lord was he, and of noble state and virtuous, and in his time did honourable deeds, and to his court came all gentle persons of Provence and of France and of Catalonia, by reason of his courtesy and noble estate, and he made many Provençal coblas and canzoni of great worth.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstone 2007, p. 4.
  2. ^ Goldstone 2007, p. 2-6.
  3. ^ Goldstone 2007, p. 20-28.
  4. ^ Goldstone 2007, p. 6.
  5. ^ Giovanni Villani, Rose E. Selfe, ed. (1906), "§90—Incident relating to the good Count Raymond of Provence.", Villani's Chronicle, Being Selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine of Giovanni Villani (London: Archibald Constable & Co.), 196. The Provençal coblas and cansos referred to do not survive and Ramon Berenguer is not listed among the troubadours, though he was their patron.

Sources[edit]

Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence
Cadet branch of the Bellonids
Born: 1198 Died: 19 August 1245
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alfonso II
Count of Provence
1 December 1209 – 19 August 1245
Succeeded by
Beatrice
Preceded by
Garsenda
Count of Forcalquier
1217 or 1220 – 19 August 1245