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Rulers of Provence, France

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This project will include the various rulers of the French southeastern province of Provence from the Merovingian Period (when it was part of Gaul) through the 15th century.

An excellent list of these family connections during the various periods may be found on the Provence page of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy's Medieval Lands database.

There's also a great page in French at Listes des comtes et marquis de Provence.

(Text below is from Rulers of Provence)

The land of Provence has a history quite separate from that of any of the larger nations of Europe. Its independent existence has its origins in the frontier nature of the dukedom in Merovingian Gaul. In this position, influenced and affected by several different cultures on different sides, the Provençals maintained a unity which was reinforced when it was created a separate kingdom in the Carolingian decline of the later ninth century. Provence was eventually joined to the Upper Burgundy|other Burgundian kingdom, but it remained ruled by its own powerful, and largely independent, counts.

In the eleventh century, Provence became disputed between the traditional line and the counts of Toulouse, who claimed the title of "Margrave of Provence." In the High Middle Ages, the title of Count of Provence belonged to local families of Franks|Frankish origin, to the House of Barcelona, to the Capet-Anjou|House of Anjou and to a cadet branch of the Valois Dynasty|House of Valois. After 1032, the county was part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was inherited by King Louis XI of France in 1481, and definitively incorporated into the Crown lands of France|French royal domain by his son Charles VIII of France|Charles VIII in 1484.

Naming Conventions

See also: Provinces of Occitania.

Merovingian Dukes and Patricians

During the period of the Merovingian dynasty in Gaul, Provence was a province ruled by dux|duces (dukes), military leaders and district commanders who served as defenders of the frontiers of the kingdom and ruled over vast territories as opposed to the comes|comites (counts), who ruled the cities and their environs. Provence was usually a part of the division of the Frankish realm known as Kingdom of Burgundy|Burgundy, which was treated as its own kingdom. Their title sometimes appears as rector Provinciae.

This is an incomplete list of the known Merovingian-appointed dukes of Provence.

  • Gondulf of Provence|Gondulf (fl. c. 491)
  • Liberius of Provence|Liberius (until 534), Ostrogothic appointee
  • Bodegisel of Provence|Bodegisel (fl. c. 566)
  • Adovarius of Provence|Adovarius (561 – 569)
  • Lupus of Provence|Lupus (569 – 570)
  • Jovin of Provence|Jovin (570 – 573)
  • Albin of Provence|Albin (573 – 575)
  • Dinamius of Provence|Dinamius (from 575)
  • Leudegisel of Provence|Leudegisel (fl. c. 585), of Burgundian Provence
  • Nicetas of Provence|Nicetas (from 587)
  • Babo of Provence|Babo (fl. c. 600)
  • Aegyla of Provence|Aegyla (fl. c. 602)
  • Bado of Provence|Bado (634 – 641)
  • Willibad of Provence|Willibad (641 – 643), of Burgundian Provence
  • Hector of Provence|Hector (fl. c. 679)
  • Antenor of Provence|Antenor (fl. c. 697)
  • Metrannus of Provence|Metrannus (fl. c. 700)
  • Maurontus of Provence|Maurontus (c. 720 – 739)
  • Abbo of Provence|Abbo (fl. c. 739)

Carolingian dukes and margraves

Provence was ruled by a poorly-known series of dukes during the period of general Carolingian Empire|Carolingian unity until the Treaty of Verdun (843).

  • Leibulf of Provence|Leibulf (until c. 829)
  • Guerin of Provence|Guerin (c. 829 – 845)
  • Fulcrad of Provence|Fulcrad (845 – c. 860)

Carolingian kings

After the division of the Carolingian Empire by the Treaty of Verdun (843), the first of the fraternal rulers of the three kingdoms to die was Lothair I, who divided his Middle Francia|middle kingdom in accordance with the custom of the Franks between his three sons. Out of this division came the Kingdom of Provence, given to Lothair's youngest son, Charles of Provence|Charles. A heritage of royal rule was thus inaugurated in Provence that, though it was often subsumed into one of its larger neighbouring kingdoms, it was just as often proclaiming its own sovereigns.

The kingdom of Provence was also known as Lower Burgundy (or Cisjurane Burgundy). Its capital was first Vienne then Arles and it is therefore sometimes known as Arelate.

  • Charles of Provence|Charles (855 – 863) :Provence divided between surviving brothers, Lothair II and the Emperor Louis II. The bulk goes to Louis.
  • Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor|Louis II (863 – 875), also Holy Roman Emperor from 855 :As with his Kingdom of Italy (medieval)|Kingdom of Italy, Louis's Provence goes to his uncle on his death.
  • Charles the Bald (875 – 877), also Holy Roman Emperor from 875
  • Louis the Stammerer (877 – 879) :With the death of Louis, Charles' successor, Provence refused to elect his two sons and instead elected one of their own as king. Boso married Ermengard of Provence|Ermengard, daughter of Louis II, to strengthen his and his son's claim.
  • Boso of Provence|Boso (879 – 887)
  • Louis the Blind (887 – 928), also Holy Roman Emperor from 901 to 905 :Louis's kingdom did not pass to his heirs, but instead to his brother-in-law, the husband of his sister, Hugh, who had acted as his regent since 905. Hugh never used the royal title in Provence.
  • Hugh of Italy|Hugh (911 – 933) :In 933, Provence ceases to be a separate kingdom as Hugh exchanged it with Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy for the Iron Crown of Lombardy, that is, rule of Italy.

Counts, within the Empire

It was in the aftermath of the death of Louis the Blind that Provence began to be ruled by local counts placed under the authority of a margrave. Firstly, Hugh of Arles served as duke and regent during Louis' long blindness. Secondly, Hugh gave the march of Vienne and duchy of Provence to Rudolf II of Burgundy in a treaty of 933. Rudolf was never recognised by the nobles of the country and instead appointed Hugh, Duke of Burgundy, its first margrave.

At the time, the premier counts in the region were the counts of Arles and Count of Avignon|those of Avignon. From Rotbold I of Arles descended the family members of which would first bear the title comes Provinciae or "count of Provence." William I of Provence|William I and Rotbold II of Provence|Rotbold II did not divide their father's domains and this indivisibility was maintained by their respective descendants. It is thus impossible to ascertain who succeeded whom in the county as various reigns overlap. The margravial title also continued in their family until it passed to Bertrand of Toulouse in 1062.

First dynasty

  • 961–1008 Rotbold II of Provence|Rotbold II (margrave from 993)
  • 968–993 William I of Provence|William I (margrave from 975)
  • 994–1018 William II of Provence|William II
  • 1008–1014 Rotbold III of Provence|Rotbold III (also margrave)
  • 1014–1037 William III of Provence|William III (also margrave)
  • 1037–1062 Emma of Provence|Emma (also margravine)
  • 1018–1030 William IV of Provence|William IV
  • 1018–1051 Fulk Bertrand of Provence|Fulk Bertrand
  • 1032–1062 Geoffrey I of Provence|Geoffrey I
  • 1051–1094 William Bertrand of Provence|William Bertrand
  • 1063–1067 Geoffrey II of Provence|Geoffrey II
  • 1063–1093 Bertrand II of Provence|Bertrand II
  • 1093–1112 Gerberga of Provence|Gerberga
  • 1112–1127 Douce I of Provence|Douce I :Gerberga died in 1112, passing the county to her daughter Douce I, whose husband, Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, thus became Ramon Berenguer I of Provence.

House of Barcelona

With a lack of success in the Reconquista on their southern frontier, the Catalans turned towards the Mediterranean littoral and northwards. They coveted the region between the Cévennes and the Rhône River|Rhône, then under the control of Toulouse. In 1112, the count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona|Ramon Berenguer III, married the heiress of Provence, Douce I of Provence|Douce, who was the daughter of the Gerberga II of Provence|Countess Gerberga of Provence, Gévaudan, Carladais, and part of Rodez. The marriage was probably taken at the urging of the church, which was then in conflict with house of Toulouse. In 1076, Count Raymond IV of Toulouse|Raymond IV was excommunicated, but he still lent his support to Aicard, Archbishop of Arles|Aicard, the deposed archbishop of Arles (since 1080). With the count away on the First Crusade, the church took the opportunity to seize the balance of power in the region. This marriage effectively put Provence under Catalan control.

In 1125, Raymond's heir, Alfonso Jordan, signed a treaty whereby his family's traditional claim to the title of "Margrave of Provence" was recognised and the march of Provence was defined as the region north of the lower Durance and on the right of the Rhône, including the castles of Beaucaire, Gard|Beaucaire, Vallabrègues, and Argence. The region between the Durance, the Rhône, the Alps, and the sea was that of the county and belonged to the house of Barcelona. Avignon, Pont de Sorgues, Caumont-sur-Durance|Caumont and Le Thor remained undivided.

Internally, Provence was racked by uncertainties over the rights of succession. Douce and Ramon Berenguer signed all charters jointly until her death in 1127, after which he alone appears as count in all charters until his death in 1131. At that time, Douce's younger sister, Stephanie of Provence|Stephanie was married to Raymond of Baux, who promptly laid claim to the inheritance of her mother, even though Provence had peacefully passed into the hands of her nephew, Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Provence|Berenguer Ramon I.

  • 1112–1131 Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona|Ramon Berenguer I the Great
  • 1131–1144 Berenguer Ramon I, Count of Provence|Berenguer Ramon I, son of previous
  • 1144–1166 Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Provence|Ramon Berenguer II, son of previous
    • 1144–1157 Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, as regent (Ramon Berenguer III)
  • 1166–1167 Douce II, Countess of Provence|Douce II, daughter of previous
  • 1167–1173 Alfonso II of Aragon|Alfonso I the Chaste, son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona, kept the title until his death in 1196 :The County of Forcalquier was incorporated into the domains of Alfonso II upon his marriage with Garsenda of Forcalquier|Gersande de Forcalquier (1193).
  • 1173–1181 Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Provence|Ramon Berenguer III (IV), son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona
  • 1181–1185 Sancho, Count of Provence|Sancho, son of Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona
  • 1185–1209 Alfonso II, Count of Provence|Alfonso II, son of Alfonso I
  • 1209–1245 Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence|Ramon Berenguer IV (V), son of previous
  • 1245–1246 Beatrice of Provence|Beatrice, daughter of previous, married to Charles of Anjou :Ramon Berenguer IV left no male heirs, so he left the counties of Provence and Forcalquier to his fourth daughter, Beatrice, and her husband, Charles of Anjou.

Capetian House of Anjou|Capetian Angevin dynasty

  • 1246-1285 Charles I of Sicily|Charles I, Count of Anjou, Maine (province of France)|Maine, Provence and Forcalquier (1246), King of Kingdom of Naples|Naples, Sicily (1266) and Jerusalem (1277).
  • 1285-1309 Charles II of Naples the Lame, King of Naples and (nominal) Jerusalem and Sicily, son of Charles I
  • 1309-1343 Robert of Naples the Wise, Duke of Calabria (1296–1309), King of Naples and (nominal) Jerusalem and Sicily (1309), son of Charles II
  • 1343-1382 Joan I of Naples also known as Jeanne d'Anjou, Queen of Naples and (nominal) Jerusalem and Sicily (1343–1381) :Queen Joan died heirless, leaving the county to Louis I of Anjou, son of King John II of France the Good, of the House of Valois Dynasty|Valois.

Valois House of Anjou|Valois-Anjou dynasty

  • 1382-1384 Louis I of Anjou, Count and then Duke of Anjou (1351), Duke of Calabria and Count of Maine (1356), Duke of Touraine (1370), nominal King of Sicily (1382)
  • 1384-1417 Louis II of Anjou, Duke of Anjou, Calabria and Touraine, Count of Maine, nominal King of Sicily (1384), Count of Guise (1404), son of Louis I
  • 1417-1434 Louis III of Anjou, Duke of Anjou and Touraine, nominal King of Sicily (1417), Duke of Calabria (1424), son of Louis II
  • 1434-1480 René I of Naples the Good, Count of Guise (1417–1422), Duke of Lorraine (province)|Lorraine and Counts and dukes of Bar|Bar (1431), King of Naples and (nominal) Sicily and Jerusalem (1434–1442), Duke of Anjou and Touraine (1434), King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona (in dispute, 1466–1472), son of Louis II
  • 1480-1481 Charles IV, Duke of Anjou|Charles III (V of Maine), also known as Charles of Maine, Count of Maine and Guise (1472), nephew of René I

Upon his death the heirless Charles du Maine bequeathed the counties of Provence-Forcalquier to King Louis XI of France. From this point, the title of Count of Provence becomes simply one of the many hereditary titles of the French monarchy. The only time the title was used following this time was by the future Louis XVIII of France, who was known as the Comte de Provence until the death of his nephew Louis XVII of France|Louis XVII in 1795, when he claimed the French throne.

Margraves, within the Empire

Count of Toulouse|House of Toulouse

By his marriage to Emma of Provence, daughter of Rotbold III, William III of Toulouse inherited lands and castles in Provence. Emma inherited the title Margrave of Provence on her elder brother's death in 1037. Her son Pons of Toulouse|Pons by William III did not survive her, but her grandson did and claimed her title in opposition to the younger line of counts of Provence.

  • 1062–1094 William IV of Toulouse|William IV
  • 1094–1105 Raymond IV of Toulouse|Raymond IV
  • 1105–1112 Bertrand of Toulouse|Bertrand
  • 1119–1125 Alphonse I of Toulouse|Alfonso Jordan

To accommodate the longstanding claims of the count of Toulouse, in 1125 Provence was divided along the Durance. Lands north of the river constituted the march of Provence, ruled by Toulouse, and south of the river was the county proper, ruled by the House of Barcelona.

  • 1125–1148 Alphonse I of Toulouse|Alfonso Jordan
  • 1148–1194 Raymond V of Toulouse|Raymond V
  • 1194–1222 Raymond VI of Toulouse|Raymond VI
  • 1222–1249 Raymond VII of Toulouse|Raymond VII
  • 1249–1271 Joan of Toulouse|Joan :Joan married Alphonse of Toulouse|Alfonso of Poitou. At that point, the County of Toulouse, the Duchy of Narbonne, and the Margraviate of Provence passed to the Crown of France, by the terms of the Treaty of Meaux, 1229.

Governors and grand seneschals, within France


  • 1481 - 1483 Palamède de Forbin
  • 1491 - 1493 François de Luxembourg

Grand seneschals

  • 1480 - 1481 Pierre de La Jaille
  • 1482 - 1483 Raymond de Glandevès-Faucon
  • 1483 Palamède de Forbin
  • 1485 - 1493 Aymar de Poitiers, comte de Valentinois

Governors - grand seneschals

  • 1493 - 1503 Philippe, margrave de Hochberg
  • 1504 - 1513 Louis d'Orléans, comte de Longueville
  • 1514 Jean de Poitiers, seigneur de Saint-Vallier
  • 1515 - 1525 René de Savoie, comte de Tende
  • 1525 - 1566 Claude de Savoie, comte de Tende
  • 1566 - 1572 Honoré de Savoie, comte de Tende

Grand seneschals

  • 1572 - 1582 Jean de Pontevès, comte de Carcès
  • 1582 - 1610 Gaspard de Pontevès, comte de Carcès
  • 1610 - 1655 Jean de Pontevès, comte de Carcès
  • 1655 - 1662 François de Simiane-Gordes


  • 1572 - 1573 Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes
  • 1573 - 1578 Albert de Gondi, comte de Retz
  • 1578 - 1579 François de La Baume, comte de Suze
  • 1579 - 1586 Henri, bâtard de Valois, count of Angoulême|comte d'Angoulême
  • 1586 - 1594 Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette|Jean-Louis de Nogaret, duc d'Epernon
  • 1592 - 1594 Gaspard de Pontevès|Gaspard de Pontevès, comte de Carcès
  • 1594 - 1631 Charles, Duke of Guise|Charles de Lorraine, duc de Guise
  • 1631 - 1637 Nicolas de L'Hôpital, marquis de Vitry
  • 1637 - 1653 Louis-Emmanuel de Valois, comte d'Alais
  • 1653 - 1669 Louis II de Bourbon-Vendôme|Louis de Bourbon-Vendôme, duc de Mercoeur
  • 1669 - 1712 Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme|Louis-Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme
  • 1712 - 1734 Claude Louis Hector de Villars|Claude-Louis-Hector, duc de Villars
  • 1734 - 1770 Honoré-Armand de Villars|Honoré-Armand, duc de Villars
  • 1770 - 1782 Camille-Louis de Lorraine
  • 1782 - 1790 Charles-Just de Beauvau

In 1790, the French Revolution definitively ended the governorship.

Use dmy datesdate=September 2010

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