Alphonse, Count of Poitiers

Alphonse or Alfonso (11 November 1220 – 21 August 1271) was the count of Poitou from 1225 and count of Toulouse (as such called Alphonse II) from 1249. As count of Toulouse, he also governed the Marquisate of Provence.

Alphonse, as Count of Toulouse, recognised the autonomy of the commune of the town of Agen. In this illustration he takes an oath before the consuls with his right hand on the town ordinances, while sitting on a pedestal. The consul administering the oath is forced to go on his knees, symbolising Alphonse's lordship and the town's loyalty.

Birth and early lifeEdit

Born at Poissy, Alphonse was a son of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile.[1] He was a younger brother of King Louis IX of France and an older brother of Count Charles I of Anjou. In 1229, his mother, who was regent of France, forced the Treaty of Paris on Count Raymond VII of Toulouse after his rebellion.[2] It stipulated that a brother of King Louis was to marry Joan, daughter of Raymond VII of Toulouse, and so in 1237 Alphonse married her.[3] Since she was Raymond's only child, they became rulers of Toulouse at Raymond's death in 1249.[4]

By the terms of his father's will Alphonse received an appanage of Poitou and Auvergne.[5] To enforce this Louis IX won the battle of Taillebourg in the Saintonge War together with Alphonse against a revolt allied with King Henry III of England, who also participated in the battle.[6]


Alphonse took part in two crusades with his brother, St Louis, in 1248 (the Seventh Crusade) and in 1270 (the Eighth Crusade). For the first of these, he raised a large sum and a substantial force, arriving in Damietta on 24 October 1249, after the town had already been captured.[7] He sailed for home on 10 August 1250.[8] His father-in-law had died while he was away, and he went directly to Toulouse to take possession.[9] There was some resistance to his accession as count, which was suppressed with the help of his mother Blanche of Castile who was acting as regent in the absence of Louis IX.[10]

Later lifeEdit

In 1252, on the death of his mother, Blanche of Castile, Alphonse was joint regent with Charles of Anjou until the return of Louis IX. During that time he took a great part in the campaigns and negotiations which led to the Treaty of Paris in 1259, under which King Henry III of England recognized his loss of continental territory to France (including Normandy, Maine, Anjou, and Poitou) in exchange for France withdrawing support from English rebels.[11]

Alphonse's coat of arms was formed of those of France (left) and Castile (right), representing his father and mother respectively: Per pale azure semé-de-lis or dimidiating gules semé of castles or

Aside from the crusades, Alphonse stayed primarily in Paris, governing his estates by officials, inspectors who reviewed the officials' work, and a constant stream of messages.[12] His main work was on his own estates. There he repaired the evils of the Albigensian war and made a first attempt at administrative centralization, thus preparing the way for union with the crown. On 8 October 1268, Alphonse had all Jews throughout his lands arrested and their property confiscated.[13]

When Louis IX formed the Eighth Crusade, Alphonse again raised a large sum of money and accompanied his brother.[14] This time, however, he did not return to France, dying while on his way back, at Savona in Italy, on 21 August 1271.[15]

Death and legacyEdit

Alphonse's death without heirs raised some questions as to the succession to his lands. One possibility was that they should revert to the crown, another that they should be redistributed to his family. The latter was claimed by Charles of Anjou, but in 1283 Parlement decided that the County of Toulouse should revert to the crown, if there were no male heirs.[10] Alphonse's wife Joan (who died four days after Alphonse) had attempted to dispose of some of her inherited lands in her will. Joan was the only surviving child and heiress of Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, Duke of Narbonne, and Marquis of Provence, so under Provençal and French law, the lands should have gone to her nearest male relative. But, her will was invalidated by Parlement in 1274.[10] One specific bequest in Alphonse's will, giving his wife's lands in the Comtat Venaissin to the Holy See, was allowed, and it became a Papal territory, a status that it retained until 1791.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Richard 1983, p. xxiv.
  2. ^ Jackson 1999, p. 64.
  3. ^ Fawtier 1960, p. 123.
  4. ^ Jordan 1999, p. 299.
  5. ^ Wood 1966, p. 23.
  6. ^ Wolfe 2009, p. 41.
  7. ^ Strayer 1969, p. 496-497.
  8. ^ Strayer 1969, p. 505.
  9. ^ Hallam 1980, p. 218.
  10. ^ a b c Hallam 1980, p. 258.
  11. ^ Clanchy 1983, p. 274.
  12. ^ Petit-Dutaillis 1936, p. 299-300.
  13. ^ Benbassa 2001, p. 19.
  14. ^ Strayer 1969, p. 511.
  15. ^ William of Puylaurens 2003, p. 122.
  16. ^ Kolla 2013, p. 718.


  • Benbassa, Esther (2001). The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present. Princeton University Press.
  • Clanchy, M.T. (1983). England and its Rulers 1066-1272. Fontana Press. ISBN 1405106506.
  • Fawtier, Robert (1960). The Capetian Kings of France. Translated by Butler, Lionel; Adam, R.J. ISBN 0-312-11900-3.
  • Hallam, Elizabeth M. (1980). Capetian France, 987-1328. ISBN 0-582-48909-1.
  • Kolla, E.J. (2013). "The French Revolution, the Union of Avignon, and the Challenges of National Self-Determination". Law and History Review. 31 (4): 717–747. doi:10.1017/S0738248013000448. S2CID 145185352.
  • Jackson, Guida M. (1999). Women rulers throughout the ages: an illustrated guide. ABC-CLIO.
  • Jordan, William Chester (1999). "The Capetians from the death of Philip II to Philip IV". In Abulafia, David (ed.). The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 5, c.1198–c.1300. Cambridge University Press.
  • Petit-Dutaillis, Charles (1936). The Feudal Monarchy in France and England from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century. Translated by Hunt, E.D.
  • Richard, Jean (1983). Lloyd, Simon (ed.). Saint Louis: Crusader King of France. Translated by Birrell, Jean. Fayard.
  • William of Puylaurens (2003). The Chronicle of William of Puylaurens: The Albigensian Crusade and Its Aftermath. Translated by Sibly, W.A.; Sibly, M.D. Boydell Press.
  • Strayer, Joseph R. (1969). "The Crusades of Louis IX". In R. L. Wolff; H. W. Hazard (eds.). A History of the Crusades. Vol. II: The later Crusades, 1189–1311. pp. 486–518.
  • Wolfe, M. (2009). Walled Towns and the Shaping of France: From the Medieval to the Early Modern Era. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Wood, Charles T. (1966). The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy: 1224-1328. Harvard University Press.
Regnal titles
Title last held by
John Lackland
Count of Poitiers
Title next held by
Philip the Tall
Preceded by Count of Toulouse
With: Joan
Royal domain