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Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Rolls of Oléron

The citadel | Babouchkaya / CC-BY-SA
Fortification Eleanor of Aquitaine Château-d'Oléron citadel

Stags skins for the nuns

Proud counts of Poitiers raised their castle here, on the sweet island of Oléron, and before them count of Anjou Geoffroy Martel in the 10th century (Foulques Nerra’s son).

Since a long time here, the island was populated with wild beasts and game locked in folds, for hunting.

Geoffroy and his wife Agnès, who founded Saintes abbey, gave stags skins to the nuns for their Mass books!

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Oléron

After counts of Poitiers, let me introduce Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine, queen of France then queen of England.

Oh, she loved her island of Oléron… Did she transform her ancestors’ castle into a heavenly holiday resort? Where people could hunt and fish, where the iodized climate was so nice?

Anyway, Eleanor created in the castle the ″Rolls of Oléron" in 1152, the first maritime laws used in Europe.

Her trip in the Holy Land inspired her (she was there with her husband Louis VII of France in Crusades), when she discovered the maritime laws of Rhodes.

With these Rolls of Oléron, she forbade the wreck pillage (when a boat shipwrecked, people were allowed to finish off sailors and to rob everything on board), managed the relations between sailors, organized the maritime trade.

In use until the 17th century, the Roll was then given to the English kings.

In England, the roll became the Black Book of the British Admiralty.

But Eleanor did something else. Louis VII’s wife abolished every bad practices in the island in 1145: duals, expeditious trials, and so on.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!