William I of Provence

William I Of Provence

William I of Provence

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William I (c. 950 – 993, after 29 August), called the Liberator, was Count of Provence from 968 to his abdication. In 975 or 979, he took the title of marchio or margrave. He is often considered the founder of the county of Provence. He and his elder brother Rotbold II, sons of Boso II of Arles and Constance of Viennois, daughter of Charles-Constantine, both carried the title of comes or count concurrently, but it is unknown if they were joint-counts of the whole of Provence or if the region was divided. His brother never bore any other title than count so long as William lived, so the latter seems to have attained a certain supremacy.

In 980, he was installed as Count of Arles. His sobriquet comes from his victories against the Saracens by which he liberated Provence from their threat, which had been constant since the establishment of a base at Fraxinet. At the Battle of Tourtour in 973, with the assistance of the counts of the High Alps and the viscounts of Marseille and Fos, he definitively routed the Saracens, chasing them forever from Provence. He reorganised the region east of the Rhône, which he conquered from the Saracens and which had been given him as a gift from King Conrad of Burgundy. Also by royal consent, he and his descendants controlled the fisc in Provence. With Isarn, Bishop of Grenoble, he repopulated Dauphiné and settled an Italian count named Ugo Blavia near Fréjus in 970 in order to bring that land back to cultivation. For all this, he...
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