Duchess of Aquitaine and Queen of the Troubadours, it’s not up for debate that Eleanor of Aquitaine was an influential leader who made lasting marks on the world. Raised by her father, William X, she was upbrought to be willful and independent. Eleanor became Queen of France at age fifteen- however, her success didn’t stop there as she was later crowned Queen of England in her thirties. Outliving the majority of her ten children and both of her husbands, Eleanor never lost energy and would do anything and everything to protect her lands until she took her last breath.
Eleanor was married twice and had one divorce throughout her lifetime, marrying one of her partners out of love and the other with no choice. Eleanor was one of the first and only women to appear and persevere through a crusade, whether it was successful or not. Although life in her time period was rough, she found ways to influence her world with her love of chivalry, music, and romance and by making changes of such importance that people would never forget her.
Having such an important role in society as Queen and owner of many lands, Eleanor encountered countless challenges and restrictions of her time period. In her time, not many women were educated, but she differed from these women. The time period did not allow for women to choose their husband, most marriages being set up and political, and women were also restricted from requesting a divorce. Women were not allowed the freedom to rule as Queen without the male heir, or King, with them. In Eleanor’s era, Queens were considered useless if they failed to produce a male heir.
Women were not respected and “unintelligent”. Eleanor was an extraordinary queen who landed herself a spot in the history books by influencing society beyond the world of politics, changing the way the world viewed love, romance, and chivalry, and by displaying to all of mankind that women were accomplished rulers. Eleanor of Aquitaine led the successful route to introducing a new perspective of love and romance, an idea that continues to flourish today. By creating Courts of Love, Eleanor enforced the pertinence and importance of true love.
She believed, and spread her beliefs to other people, that women should marry a man because she loved him, they could feel the spark of love for each other, and he was actually the man of the woman’s dreams. Eleanor redefined chivalry and introduced the common courtesy manners men use today, such as holding the door open for a lady, or even giving them flowers. Before Eleanor’s romantic reforms, marriages were forced, or for a political reason, to gain land or power, but were never out of true love.
According to the text, “Though courtly love was largely romantic fantasy expressing what women wanted society to be, not what it really was, it had some influence. ” (Brooks, page 111) This quote supports the fact that Eleanor believed that marriage and companionship between a husband and wife should happen because the couple felt in their hearts that they belonged together, and although some just a fantasy, it had a little impact. In her era, most marriages had some political reasoning behind them, or were set-up by their parents, but she passionately felt that true love made the world go round.
This idea is supported in the book when the author writes “Eleanor and Marie knew well enough that women in the real feudal world were still nothing but male property, but in Eleanor’s court the real world was turned upside down, into a dream world where men paid homage not to an overlord, but to some fair damsel. ” (Brooks, page 107) With her faith in the notion of true compassion and affair of the heart, she molded the world of romantic, loving relationships we observe before us every day, marrying the person of your dreams, your true love.
A remarkable woman who surpassed almost all of the queens in the world was the extraordinary, independent, and enchanting Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of the Troubadours, but beyond all her titles was an influential woman who showed women could be accomplished leaders. Eleanor defied all odds and normalities of woman who ruled in her time. She always seemed to bring a new idea to the table, and her land and power was never enough for her as an ambitious queen who always wanted more and to have the most. The Queen of the Troubadours made numerous reforms to unite her lands.
Eleanor unified measurements from town to town to clear up confusion. She helped make the country stronger as a whole by making all measurements for materials equal from place to place, much to the clarity of buyers and sellers. Eleanor was a leader of Aquitaine that was determined to show that women were capable rulers. By patronizing the arts and literature, she promoted her love for troubadours, storytelling, and poetry. Many of the stories of her time period are still told today and she began the world’s love for literature including important women’s roles in stories.
Eleanor proved, being a woman, that she was not intimidated by people and she would look them straight in the eye and give them a piece of her opinionated mind. Before Eleanor’s major reforms in women’s roles, women were nothing more than their husband’s property. If they didn’t obey their husband and follow their commands, they were useless. She promoted important women’s roles in society, arts, literature, troubadours, and storytelling until the day she died. To this day, women still are still somewhat thought of as less capable, but Eleanor would be proud to see how far society has come. She refused to give up in what she believed in.
Eleanor was one leader that made reforms and improvements of such significance in her time of reign that she set a miraculous example of monumental female leader forever. Eleanor’s life was everything but easy, however, little did she know, she would become the prominent leader of her time who would introduce chivalry, acts of true love, and the capability of women to our world. Eleanor lived a life packed to the brim full of action, war, disagreement, and troubles. She always found time to listen to the people, do what she loved to do, and incorporate these new rules of chivalry and marriages out of true love.
A true leader such as Eleanor finds time to balance war and peace, power and fame, and family and love. Eleanor appears to encounter many, many restrictions within her time period, but manages to be a problem solver and endure to the end. She manages to find a solution for just about any issue that arises and knows how to handle her power properly. Eleanor was not a violent leader who handled each problem with threatening, dangerous consequences, but was one who used her insightful ideas and intelligence to make her mark on the world. Even in our time, there are still struggles, issues, and constraints.
We continue to need strong leaders of the country, problem solvers like Eleanor, to address these issues. Of course the problems are different, but nonetheless history does repeat itself. Making your mark and a difference in this big world is something very difficult, and considering that Eleanor managed to do so with the restrictions of her time period, she proved that anyone can. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of the Troubadours, was a revolutionary leader who won the love of many, and made advancements of such emphasis that she, and her era of breakthrough ideas, would be remembered forever.