Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ramon Berenguer IV (1195 – 19 August 1245), Count of Provence and Forcalquier, was the son of Alfonso II of Provence and Garsenda of Sabran, heiress of Forcalquier. After his father's death (1209), Ramon was imprisoned in the castle of Monzón, in Aragon until he was able to escape in 1219 and claim his inheritance. He was a powerful and energetic ruler who added Forcalquier to his domain. Giovanni Villani in his Nuova Cronica had this to say about Raymond:

Count Raymond was a lord of gentle lineage, and kin to them of the house of Aragon, and to the family of the count of Toulouse, By inheritance Provence, this side of the Rhone, was his; a wise and courteous lord was he, and of noble state and virtuous, and in his time did honourable deeds, and to his court came all gentle persons of Provence and of France and of Catalonia, by reason of his courtesy and noble estate, and he made many Provençal coblas and canzoni of great worth. (Giovanni Villani, Rose E. Selfe, ed. (1906), "§90—Incident relating to the good Count Raymond of Provence.", Villani's Chronicle, Being Selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine of Giovanni Villani (London: Archibald Constable & Co.), 196. The Provençal coblas and cansos referred to do not survive and Ramon Berenguer is not listed among the troubadours, though he was their patron.)

On 5 June 1219, Ramon married Beatrice of Savoy, daughter of Thomas I of Savoy. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened by Matthew Paris to that of a second Niobe. Along with two stillborn sons (1220 & 1225), Ramon and Beatrice had four daughters, all of whom married kings.

  1. Margaret of Provence (1221–1295), wife of Louis IX of France
  2. Eleanor of Provence (1223–1291), wife of Henry III of England
  3. Sanchia of Provence (1228–1261), wife of Richard of Cornwall, king of Germany
  4. Beatrice of Provence (1234–1267), wife of Charles I of Sicily

Ramon Berenguer IV died in Aix-en-Provence. At least two planhs (Occitan funeral laments) of uncertain authorship (one possibly by Aimeric de Peguilhan and one falsely attributed to Rigaut de Berbezilh) were written in his honour.



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