Alfonso Jordan

Alfonso Jordan, also spelled Alfons Jordan or Alphonse Jourdain (1103–1148), was the Count of Tripoli (1105–09), Count of Rouergue (1109–48) and Count of Toulouse, Margrave of Provence and Duke of Narbonne (1112–48).

He was the son of Raymond IV of Toulouse by his third wife, Elvira of Castile. He was born in the castle of Mont Pèlerin in Tripoli while his father was on the First Crusade. He was given the name "Jourdain" after being baptised in the Jordan River.[1]

Alfonso's father died when he was two years old and he remained under the guardianship of his cousin, William Jordan, Count of Cerdagne, until he was five. He was then taken to Europe, where his half-brother Bertrand had given him the county of Rouergue. Upon Bertrand's death in 1112, Alfonso succeeded to the county of Toulouse and marquisate of Provence.

In 1114, Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who claimed Toulouse by right of his wife Philippa, daughter of Count William IV, invaded the county and conquered it. Alfonso recovered a part in 1119, but he was not in full control until 1123. When at last successful, he was excommunicated by Pope Callixtus II for having expelled the monks of Saint-Gilles, who had aided his enemies.[1]

Alfonso next had to fight for his rights in Provence against Count Raymond Berengar III of Barcelona. Not until September 1125 did their war end in "peace and concord" (pax et concordia).[2] At this stage, Alfonso was master of the regions lying between the Pyrenees and the Alps, the Auvergne and the sea. His ascendancy was, according to one commentator, an unmixed good to the country, for during a period of fourteen years art and industry flourished.[1] In March 1126, Alfonso was at the court of Alfonso VII of León when he acceded to the throne. According to the Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris, Alfonso and Suero Vermúdez took the city of León from opposition magnates and handed it over to Alfonso VII.[3] Among those who may have accompanied Alfonso on one of his many extended stays in Spain was the troubadour Marcabru.[4][5]

About 1134 Alfonso seized the viscounty of Narbonne and ruled it during the minority of the Viscountess Ermengarde, only restoring it to her in 1143. In 1141 King Louis VII pressed the claim of Philippa on behalf of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, even besieging Toulouse, but without result.[1] That same year Alfonso Jordan was again in Spain, making a pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostela, when he proposed a peace between the king of León and García VI of Navarre, which became the basis for subsequent negotiations.[6]

In 1144, Alfonso again incurred the displeasure of the church by siding with the citizens of Montpellier against their lord. In 1145, Bernard of Clairvaux addressed a letter to him full of concern about a heretic named Henry in the diocese of Toulouse. Bernard even went there to preach against the heresy, an early expression of Catharism.[7] A second time he was excommunicated; but in 1146 he took the cross (i.e., vowed to go on crusade) at a meeting in Vézelay called by Louis VII. In August 1147, he embarked for the near east on the Second Crusade.[1] He lingered on the way in Italy and probably in Constantinople, where he may have met the Emperor Manuel I.

Alfonso finally arrived at Acre in 1148. Among his companions he had made enemies and he was destined to take no share in the crusade he had joined.[1] He died at Caesarea,[8] and there were accusations of poisoning, usually levelled either against Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Louis, or Melisende,[8] the mother of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem, who may have wanted to eliminate him as a rival to her brother-in-law Raymond II. By his wife since 1125, Faydiva d'Uzès, he left two legitimate sons: Raymond, who succeeded him, and Alfonso. His daughter Faydiva (died 1154) married Count Humbert III of Savoy. He left two other daughters: the legitimate Agnes (died 1187) and the illegitimate Laurentia, who married Count Bernard III of Comminges.


  1. Chisholm 1911.
  2. Adam Kosto, Making Agreements in Medieval Catalonia: Power, Order, and the Written Word, 1000–1200 (Cambridge, 2001), 256–58.
  3. Barton 1997, pp. 126–28. According to the Chronica, "count Alfonso of Toulouse ... was in all things obedient to him [Alfonso VII]" (comes Adefonsus Tolosanus ... in omnibus essent obedientes ei).
  4. Barton 1997, p. 147.
  5. Boissonade 1922.
  6. Barton 1997, pp. 140, 211.
  7. Walter Leggett Wakefield and Austin Patterson Evans, Heresies of the High Middle Ages (Columbia University Press, 1991), 122.
  8. Richard 1999, p. 165.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alphonse I.". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 733.

  • Barton, Simon (1997). The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile. Cambridge University Press.
  • Benito Ruano, Eloy (1987). "Alfonso Jordán, Conde de Toulouse: un nieto de Alfonso VI de Castilla". Estudios sobre Alfonso VI y la reconquista de Toledo. Toledo. pp. 83–98.
  • Benito Ruano, Eloy (2018), "Alfonso Jordán", Diccionario Biográfico electrónico, Real Academia de la Historia
  • Boissonade, Pierre (1922). "Les personnages et les événements de l'histoire d'Allemagne, de France et d'Espagne dans l'oeuvre de Marcabru (1129–50)". Romania. 48: 207–242.
  • Cheyette, Fredric L. (2004). Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours. Cornell University Press.
  • Hill, John Hugh; Hill, Laurita Lyttleton (1962). Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse. Syracuse University Press.
  • Lewis, Kevin James (2017). The Counts of Tripoli and Lebanon in the Twelfth Century: Sons of Saint-Gilles. Routledge.
  • Mundy, John Hine (1997). Society and Government at Toulouse in the Age of the Cathars. Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies.
  • Reilly, Bernard F. (1998). The Kingdom of León-Castilla Under King Alfonso VII, 1126–1157. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Richard, Jean (1999). The Crusades, c.1071-c.1291. Translated by Birrell, Jean. Cambridge University Press.
Preceded by
Count of Tripoli
(regent William-Jordan)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Count of Toulouse
Succeeded by
Raymond V
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