Story. Occitania: The Counts of Armagnac, a powerful family in southern France

In Lectoure (Gers) the French king Louis XI finished.  the might of the Armagnacs during a memorable siege in 1473.
In Lectoure (Gers) the French king Louis XI finished. the might of the Armagnacs during a memorable siege in 1473. (© Adobe Stock)

At 14e and 15e Since the beginning of the 20th century, in Occitania and elsewhere, there are many territories administered by more or less powerful families, such as Armagnacs. These territories are not under the direct control of royal power and may have some administrative freedom, especially as many wars weaken royal power.

In this context, Armagnacs experienced a spectacular rise and a romantic destiny.

The territories of Armagnacs

Armagnacs originate from County of Armagnac who is currently in the Department of Gers. This former county of Gascony was founded in 960 and later joined the county of Fezensac.

The various marriage alliances allowed the Armagnac family to expand their territories. In fact, the marriage between Bernard VI from Armagnac and Cécile de Rodez enabled the acquisition of the County of Rodez. Later the Armagnacs obtained the county of Comminges with marriage in between Jean III and Marguerite de Comminges.

This expansion of Armagnac territory made them one of the major powers in southern France. Even if there were conflicts between neighboring areas at the time. Especially the wars between Foix and the Armagnacs are on 14e Century. But in 1374 a truce was finally found between Gaston III Count of Foix and Jean II Count of Armagnac.

Proximity to royal power

The Armagnac family managed to build relationships with royal power over generations, whether through marriage alliances or their loyalty to the Crown.

In fact, around the middle of the 14th century, the kinge Century. Jean Iis from Armagnac takes an oath to the king and remains loyal to him despite the occupation of his territory by the English Hundred Years War. But he’s also an important character thanks to his marriage to Béatrix de Clermont, which places Armagnacs in the lineage of Kapeter. Later, Bernard VII of Armagnac became famous thanks to his daughter’s marriage to the nephew of the French King Charles VI. to get closer to the farm. In particular, he became Constable of France, a very high position in the hierarchy of the time. In addition, thanks to this marriage, he can take over the leadership of the Armagnac party, which plays a major role in the civil war and in the war against the English.

Videos: currently on Actu

The location of Armagnacs in the Wars of Time

From the end of the 13the at 14e century, that Hundred Years War sees the Kingdom of France and England confronting each other. During this conflict, the Armagnac family was directly affected as some of their lands were occupied by the English. They become even more so by interfering in the power struggles for the rulership of the kingdom.

These battles were initially opposed by the Dukes of Burgundy and the Orléans family, but through their marriage, the Armagnacs sided with the Orléans. We then speak of the “Party of the Armagnacs”. Defending the position of Dauphin of the kingdom, he firmly opposed the camp of the Burgundians, who would ally with the English during this civil war. This civil war is less present in the south and south of the Kingdom of France, where the Armagnacs deploy their armies. The fighting, looting and sieges of the Armagnac troops mainly concerned the Paris area.

The civil war ends with the Treaty of Arras and the end of the war against the English wanted by King Charles VII.

The case of Armagnacs

Strengthened by their strategic position and their power, the Armagnacs strive to conquer the world from the 15the Century to further emancipate themselves from royal oversight. The French king Louis XI, defending the principle of a centralized royal administration, does not accept this and “decapitates” the leaders of the Armagnacs. He besieged John V of Armagnac at Lecture (gers) 1473 before he was assassinated. Jacques d’Armagnac, his cousin, was executed in Paris five years later. Charles d’Armagnac, last heir, is imprisoned. Their powerful territories will be dismantled.

The family does not recover and refuses to disappear completely at 16e Century and left it to historians to preserve his memory.

Sylvain Maurel (student at Champollion-Albi University)

Was this article helpful to you? Note that you can follow Actu Occitanie in the My Actu section. With one click after registration you can find all the latest news from your favorite cities and brands.

Leave a Comment