Aigues-Mortes

Located on the south coast of France, Aigues-Mortes is a fortified city built by the kings of France to be a port on the Mediterranean. The name Aigues-Mortes comes from Latin and means ‘dead water’ or ‘stagnant water’. Although it was possibly founded as long ago as 102 BC by a Roman general, the first tower was erected in 791 by Charlemagne as protection for the fishermen and salt workers. In 1240, Marseille was controlled by the King of Naples, and King Louis of France was determined to have his own access to the Mediterranean. He built roads and a canal in order to ferry troops to the sea. He launched both the eighth and ninth crusades from Aigues-Mortes. Still visible today are the 6 towers and walls of the city, encompassing 1640 square meters. Also, King Philippe, King Louis’s Read more…

The Kingdoms of France

You might ask, and reasonably so, why a blog about medieval Wales would be posting about the kingdoms of France in the Middle Ages. The main reason is that it’s hard to understand the Norman conquest of England (and Wales and Scotland), without reference to the fact that they were Norman.  That means, they came from the Kingdom of Normandy, a region on the north coast of France.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Aquitaine ‘France’ wasn’t ‘France’ as we know it today until after the Edwardian period. As the map dating from 1154 to the right shows, the King of France controlled a relatively small portion of the country. Edward I was the Duke of Aquitaine, whose lands are comparable in size to what the King of France held. The dispute of the control of France and these kingdoms, in fact, was one of the Read more…