Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women of the Dark Ages. She was married to one the best kings of the Dark Ages, Henry II. Growing up, she was well educated and was raised in one of Europe’s most cultured courts. She gained a vast inheritance when her only brother and father died. Being the eldest of the siblings, at fifteen-years-old, Eleanor had become the most eligible heiress in Europe.
To help grasp how powerful Eleanor was, the characteristics of a powerful entity need to be defined. Some say fear and money can make a person powerful, which is true in some cases, such as Hitler during the Holocaust. He made people fear the Nazi party, which accelerated them to power. Throughout the Dark Ages, there are countless examples of how people gained power through money. The Church used the ideas of Heaven and Hell to get people to “buy” their way into Heaven or out of Hell. However, there is much more than money and fear that made Eleanor of Aquitaine so powerful.
For a person to be able to persuade and coax a majority of the proletariat popularity, that person will have a vast amount of power. To have the ability to make hundreds, to thousands, to millions of people believe that a single person/entity has power of any kind is power in itself. Persuading a large group takes belief in oneself, knowledge of the people, and empathy. A person needs to believe that they are powerful; otherwise, if they could not convince themselves of their own power, it would be impossible to convince others. To have power over such a large group of the population, it is important to understand and know that group; to know its weaknesses and strengths.
Another important role of power is having connections. A person must know people in power to be able to gain some sort of power. For example, an ordinary worker would have a lesser chance of coming into power as opposed to a nobleman who knows the King, Queen and Prince.
Eleanor did well in using many of these feats to gain her way to power. She had connections, understood and knew the people she ruled, and had a very strong confidence and belief. She grew up in a part of Europe where women had liberties rarely found anywhere else and they mixed freely with men often. It was because of where and how she grew up that she came to be a very enlightened and powerful woman. Her father, William X, traveled constantly and Eleanor accompanied him often. As a result, Eleanor observed and was influenced by how he ruled and learned a lot about the people and land of Aquitaine. Her brother died when he was just a child and her father died when Eleanor was fifteen years old.
The passing of her father assisted to driving Eleanor into the hands of Louis VII, who soon became the King of France. After becoming King, Louis knew he needed a son to become an heir. However, Eleanor only gave him two daughters. Around 1147, Louis VII led the Second Crusade.
Eleanor brought along some military...