Poitou is a historical region in western France. It is closely associated with the Duchy of Aquitaine, as Poitou was a part of this larger political entity.
Poitou | 0 to 800 AD
The written history of Poitou, the historical region encompassing present-day Poitiers and its surrounding, is sparse, here is an overview.
Poitou, like much of Western Europe, was part of the Roman Empire during the early centuries AD. The city of Lemonum, known today as Poitiers, was an important Roman settlement.
The decline of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century ushered in the Migration Period. Germanic tribes, including the Visigoths and the Franks, played a significant role in the region. The Battle of Vouillé in 507, near Poitiers, resulted in the defeat of the Visigoths by Clovis I, King of the Franks, leading to Frankish dominance in the era.
Merovingian and Carolingian Periods
Poitou became part of the Merovingian Kingdom, which was characterized by the rule of the Merovingian dynasty. The region was subject to royal administration and underwent the process of Christianization during this period.
The rise of the Carolingian Dynasty under Charlemagne marked the later part of the eighth century. Charlemagne expanded the Frankish Empire and sought to strengthen governance and cultural development. Poitou was integrated into the Carolingian Empire and played a role in Charlemagne’s efforts to consolidate his rule.
The city of Poitiers gained ecclesiastical significance during this time. Saint Hilary of Poitiers, a notable theologian and bishop, contributed to early Christian thought. Poitiers hosted important church councils, including the Councils of Poitiers in the sixth century, which addressed theological issues.
In the ninth century, Viking raids and invasions affected the region, including Poitou. These raids prompted the construction of fortifications and changes in local governance.
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210
Tandareis and Flordibel | Der Pleier, 1240-1270