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William I of Aquitaine

William I of Aquitaine

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William I called the Pious, was the Count of Auvergne from 886 and Duke of Aquitaine
Duke of Aquitaine
The Duke of Aquitaine ruled the historical region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English and later French kings....

 from 893, succeeding the Poitevin
Poitevin may refer to:* From or related to Poitou or to the town of Poitiers * Poitevin , the language spoken in the Poitou* Poitevin horse, a breed of draught horse from Poitou, France* Poitevin , a breed of dog...

 ruler Ebalus Manser
Ebalus of Aquitaine
Ebalus or Ebles Manzer or Manser was Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine on two occasions: from 890 to 892 and from 902 and 927 to his death....

. He made numerous monastic foundations, most important among them the foundation of Cluny Abbey
Cluny Abbey
Cluny Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. It was built in the Romanesque style, with three churches built in succession from the 10th to the early 12th centuries....

 on 11 September 910.

William was the son of Bernard II of Auvergne and Ermengard. Sometime before 898, he married the Bosonid Engelberga, daughter of Boso of Provence
Boso of Provence
Boso was a Frankish nobleman from the Bosonid-family, who was related to the Carolingian dynasty, who rose to become King of Provence ....

 and Ermengard
Ermengard of Provence
Ermengard was the only surviving daughter of Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor. In 876, she married Boso, from the Bosonid, Count of Vienne, who declared himself King of Provence in 879....


By inheritance, he was the ruler of Auvergne
Auvergne (province)
Auvergne was a historic province in south central France. It was originally the feudal domain of the Counts of Auvergne. It is now the geographical and cultural area that corresponds to the former province....

 and the Limousin
Limousin (province)
Limousin is one of the traditional provinces of France around the city of Limoges. Limousin lies in the foothills of the western edge of the Massif Central, with cold weather in the winter...

. He conquered Poitou and Aquitaine in 893 on behalf of Ebalus Manser. He kept the latter for himself and was proclaimed duke. His possessions extended from Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

 to Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

 and included the Autun
Autun is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy in eastern France. It was founded during the early Roman Empire as Augustodunum. Autun marks the easternmost extent of the Umayyad campaign in Europe.-Early history:...

ois and Mâconnais
The Mâconnais district lies in the south of the Burgundy wine region in France, west of the River Saône. It takes its name from the town of Mâcon. It is best known as a source of good value white wines made from the Chardonnay grape; the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé are particularly sought-after....


In 910, William founded the Benedictine abbey of Cluny that would become an important political and religious centre. William required no control over the abbey, which he arranged should be responsible directly to the pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 (see Clunian reforms). This was especially striking since most monasteries were owned privately and the appointment of abbots and officials was left to that family or individual. This led to the appointment of untrained, unordained abbots and officials. William also nominated Cluny's first abbot, Berno of Baume.

A sign of William's independence of rule in Aquitaine is that he had a deniers minted in his own name at Brioude
Brioude is a commune in the Haute-Loire department in the Auvergne region in south-central France. It lies on the banks of the River Allier, a tributary of the Loire.-History:...

. He was buried in the monastery of Saint-Julien there. He had no sons of his own and was succeeded by a nephew, William the Younger
William II of Aquitaine
William II the Young was the Count of Auvergne and Duke of Aquitaine from 918 to his death, succeeding his uncle William I....

, son of his sister Adelinda.