William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine

William VIII (c.1025 – 25 September 1086), born Guy-Geoffrey (Gui-Geoffroi), was duke of Gascony (1052–1086), and then duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitiers (as William VI) between 1058 and 1086, succeeding his brother William VII (Pierre-Guillaume).

William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine
Died(1086-09-25)25 September 1086 (aged 61)
Noble familyHouse of Poitiers
Spouse(s)Garsende of Périgord
Hildegarde of Burgundy
FatherWilliam V of Aquitaine
MotherAgnes of Burgundy

Guy-Geoffroy was the youngest son of William V of Aquitaine by his third wife Agnes of Burgundy. He was the brother-in-law of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor who had married his sister, Agnes de Poitou.

He became Duke of Gascony in 1052 during his older brother William VII's rule. Gascony had come to Aquitanian rule through William V's marriage to Prisca (a.k.a. Brisce) of Gascony, the sister of Duke Sans VI Guilhem of Gascony.

William VIII was one of the leaders of the allied army called to help Ramiro I of Aragon in the Siege of Barbastro (1064). This expedition was the first campaign organized by the papacy, namely Pope Alexander II, against a Muslim occupied city in the Emirate of Zaragoza, and the precursor of the later Crusades movement. Aragon and its allies conquered the city, killed its inhabitants and collected an important booty.

However, Aragon lost the city again in the following years. During William VIII's rule, the alliance with the southern kingdoms of modern Spain was a political priority as shown by the marriage of all his daughters to Iberian kings.

He married three times and had at least five children. After he divorced his first two wives, the first due to infertility, he married a third time to a much younger woman who was also his cousin Robert I of Burgundy's daughter. This marriage produced a son, but William VIII had to visit Rome in the early 1070s to persuade the pope to recognize his children from his third marriage as legitimate.

  • First wife: Garsende of Périgord, daughter of Count Aldabert II of Périgord (divorced November 1058), no children. She became a nun at Saintes.
  • Second wife: Matoeda (divorced May 1068)
  1. Agnes (1052–1078), married Alfonso VI of Castile
  1. Agnes (died 1097), married Peter I of Aragon
  2. William IX of Aquitaine, his heir
  3. Beatrice?[1] married firstly to Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile and secondly to Elias I, Count of Maine.


  1. Chronicon Regum Legionensium


  • Owen, D. D. R. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen and Legend.
  • Nouvelle Biographie Générale. Paris, 1859.

See also

William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine
Born: c.1025 Died: 25 September 1086
Preceded by
Bernard II
Duke of Gascony
Succeeded by
William IX
Preceded by
William VII
Duke of Aquitaine
Count of Poitiers

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