University of Minnesota: Undergraduate Research Paper, (2013)
While words are powerful tools that can invoke emotions ranging from jubilation to revulsion, could they be the cause of a rebellion against Henry II of England by his children and wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine? Could the words of a mere troubadour drive the revolt of a family against their king? The history of medieval Europe is a markedly violent period of history. Once commonly called the Dark Ages, medieval Europe is remembered for being split into many small duchies and counties that fought amongst one another while owing their allegiance to a king, rebellions such as these were neither uncommon nor very surprising usually.
Henry II was king of England, as well as lord over many duchies and counties on the Continent from 1154 to 1189. From an early age he was involved in the political turmoil that plagued Europe at the time. Son of Mathilda, the granddaughter of William the Conqueror and the only surviving child of Henry I, who insisted that though she was a woman, she had a claim to the throne of England, Henry II was thrown into the bitter battle between Mathilda and her cousin, Stephen, at the age of 14. Married to Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1151, he led a military expedition against England in 1153 that eventually led to a peace treaty between himself and his uncle according to which he would inherit the throne of England upon the death of Stephen. Assuming the throne in 1154, he would rule over what would later be called the Angevin Empire.