William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine

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William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine
Spouse(s) Garsende of Périgord
Matoeda
Hildegarde of Burgundy
Noble family House of Poitiers
Father William V of Aquitaine
Mother Agnes of Burgundy
Born c. 1025
Died 25 September 1086(1086-09-25)
Chizé

William VIII (c. 1025 – 25 September 1086), born Guy-Geoffrey (Gui-Geoffroi), was duke of Gascony (1052–1086), and then duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitiers (as William VI) between 1058 and 1086, succeeding his brother William VII (Pierre-Guillaume).

Guy-Geoffroy was the youngest son of William V of Aquitaine by his third wife Agnes of Burgundy. He was the brother-in-law of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor who had married his sister, Agnes de Poitou.

He became Duke of Gascony in 1052 during his older brother William VII's rule. Gascony had come to Aquitanian rule through William V's marriage to Prisca (a.k.a. Brisce) of Gascony, the sister of Duke Sans VI Guilhem of Gascony.

William VIII was one of the leaders of the allied army called to help Ramiro I of Aragon in the Siege of Barbastro (1064). This expedition was the first campaign organized by the papacy, namely Pope Alexander II, against a Muslim city, and the precursor of the later Crusades movement. Aragon and its allies conquered the city, killed its inhabitants and collected an important booty.

However, Aragon lost the city again in the following years. During William VIII's rule, the alliance with the southern kingdoms of modern Spain was a political priority as shown by the marriage of all his daughters to Iberian kings.

He married three times and had at least five children. After he divorced his second wife due to infertility, he remarried to a much younger woman who was also his cousin. This marriage produced a son, but William VIII had to visit Rome in the early 1070s to persuade the pope to recognize his children from his third marriage as legitimate.

  • Second wife: Matoeda (divorced May 1068)
  1. Agnes (1052–1078), married Alfonso VI of Castile
  1. Agnes (died 1097), married Peter I of Aragon
  2. William IX of Aquitaine, his heir

Sources[edit]

  • Owen, D. D. R. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen and Legend.
  • Nouvelle Biographie Générale. Paris, 1859.

See also[edit]

William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine
Born: c. 1025 Died: 25 September 1086
Preceded by
Bernard II
Duke of Gascony
1052–1086
Succeeded by
William IX
Preceded by
William VII
Duke of Aquitaine
1058–1086
Count of Poitiers
1058–1086