Tolosa - Encyclopedia

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TOLOSA, chief town of the Volcae Tectosages, does not seem to have been a place of great importance during the early centuries of the Roman rule in Gaul, though in 106 B.C. the pillage of its temple by Q. S. Cepio, afterwards routed by theCimbri, gave rise to the famous Latin proverb habet aurum Tolosanum, in allusion to ill-gotten gains. It possessed a circus and an amphitheatre, but its most remarkable remains are to be found on' the heights of Old Toulouse (vetus Tolosa) some 6 or 7 m. to the east, where huge accumulations of broken pottery and fragments of an old earthen wall mark the site of an ancient settlement. The numerous coins that have been discovered on the same spot do not date back farther than the 2nd century B.C., and seem to indicate the position of a Roman manufacturing centre then beginning to occupy the Gallic hill-fortress that, in earlier days, had in times of peril been the stronghold of the native tribes dwelling on the river bank. Tolosa does not seem to have been a Roman colony; but its importance must have increased greatly towards the middle of the 4th century. It is to be found entered in more than one itinerary dating from about this time; and Ausonius, in his Ordo nobilium urbium, alludes to it in terms. implying that it then had a large population. In 419 it was made the capital of his kingdom by Wallia, king of the Visigoths, under whom or whose successors it became the seat of the great Teutonic kingdom of the West-Goths - a kingdom that within fifty years had extended itself from the Loire to Gibraltar and from the Rhone to the Atlantic. On the defeat of Alaric II. (507) Toulouse fell into the hands of Clovis, who carried away the royal treasures to Angouleme. Under the Merovingian kings it seems to have remained the greatest city of southern Gaul, and is said to have been governed by dukes or counts dependent on one or other of the rival kings. descended from the great founder of the Frankish monarchy. It figures prominently in the pages of Gregory of Tours and Sidonius. Apollinaris. About 628 Dagobert erected South Aquitaine into a kingdom for his brother Charibert, who chose Toulouse as his capital. For the next eighty years its history is obscure, till we reach the days of Charles Martel, when it was besieged by Sema, the leader of the Saracens from Spain (c. 715-720), but delivered by Eudes, "princeps Aquitaniae," in whom later writers discovered the ancestor of all the later counts of Toulouse. Modern criticism, however, has discredited this genealogy; and the real history of Toulouse recommences in 780 or 781, when Charlemagne appointed his little son Louis. king of Aquitaine, with Toulouse for his chief city.

During the minority of the young king his tutor Chorson ruled at Toulouse with the title of duke or count. Being deposed at the Council of Worms (790),(790), he was succeeded by William Courtnez, the traditional hero of southern France, who in 806 retired to his newly founded monastery at Gellone, where he died in 812. In the unhappy days of the emperor Louis the Pious and his children Toulouse suffered in common with the rest of western Europe. It was besieged by Charles the Bald in 844, and taken four years later by the Normans, who in 843 had sailed up the Garonne as far as its walls. About 852 Raymond I., count of Quercy, succeeded his brother Fridolo as. count of Rouergue and Toulouse; it is from this noble that all the later counts of Toulouse trace their descent. Raymond I.'s grandchildren divided their parents' estates; of these Raymond II. (d. 924) became count of Toulouse, and Ermengaud, count of Rouergue, while the hereditary titles of Gothia, Quercy and Albi were shared between them. Raymond II.'s grandson, William Taillefer (d. c. 1037), married Emma of Provence, and': handed down part of that lordship to his younger son Bertrand.' William's elder son Pons left two children, of whom William IV. succeeded his father in Toulouse, Albi, Quercy, &c.; while the younger, Raymond IV. of St Gilles (c. 1066), made himself master of the vast possessions of the counts of Rouergue, married his cousin the heiress of Provence, and about 1085 began to rule the immense estates of his elder brother, who was still living.

From this time the counts of Toulouse were the greatest lords in southern France. Raymond IV., the hero of the first crusade, assumed the formal titles of marquis of Provence, duke of Narbonne and count of Toulouse. While Raymond was away in the Holy Land, Toulouse was seized by William IX., duke of Aquitaine, who claimed the city in right of his wife Philippa, the daughter of William IV., but was unable to hold it long (1098-1100). Raymond's son and successor Bertrand followed his father's example and set out for the Holy Land in 1109, leaving his great estates at his death to his brother Alphonse Jourdain. The rule of this prince was disturbed by the ambition of William IX. and his grand-daughter Eleanor, who urged her husband Louis VII. to support her claims to Toulouse by war. On her divorce from Louis and her marriage with Henry II., Eleanor's claims passed on to this monarch, who at last forced Raymond V. to do him homage for Toulouse in 1173. Raymond V., the patron of the troubadours, died in 1194, and was succeeded by his son Raymond VI., under whose rule Languedoc was desolated by the crusaders of Simon de Montfort, who occupied Toulouse in 1215, but lost his life in besieging it in 1218. Raymond VII., the son of Raymond VI. and Princess Joan of England, succeeded his father in 1222, and died in 1249, leaving an only daughter Joan, married to Alfonso the brother of Louis IX. On the death of Alfonso and Joan in 1271 the vast inheritance of the counts of Toulouse lapsed to the Crown. 2 From the middle years of the 12th century the people of Toulouse seem to have begun to free themselves from the most oppressive feudal dues. An act of Alphonse Jourdain (1141) exempts them from the tax on salt and wine; and in 1152 we have traces of a "commune consilium Tolosae" making police ordinances in its own name "with the advice of Lord Raymond, count of Toulouse, duke of Narbonne, and marquis of Provence." This act is witnessed by six "capitularii," four duly appointed judges (judices constituti), and two advocates. Twenty-three years later there are twelve capitularii or consuls, six for the city and six for its suburbs, all of them elected and sworn to do justice in whatever municipal matters were brought before them. In 1222 their number was increased to twenty-four; but they were forbidden to touch the city property, which was to remain in the charge of certain "communarii" chosen by themselves. Early in the 14th century the consuls took the name of "dolnini de capitulo," or, a little later, that of "capitulum nobilium." From the 13th century the consuls met in their own house, the "palatium communitatis Tolosae" or hotel-de-ville. In the 16th century a false derivation changed the ancient consuls (domini de capitulo) into the modern "capitouls" (domini capitolii tolosani), a barbarous etymology which in its turn has, in the present century, transformed the old assembly house of Toulouse into the capitole. The 1 About 975 there was a partition of the estates which William Taillefer and his cousin Raymond II. of Auvergne held in common, - Albi, Quercy, &c., falling to William, and Gothia, &c., to Raymond.

2 List of the counts of Toulouse: Chorson.. .. 778-790 William I. 790-806 Raymond Rafinel c. 812-818 Berenger.. 818-835 Bernard I... 835-844 Warin. 844-845 William II.. 845-850 Fridolo 850-852 Raymond I.. 852-864 Bernard 864-875 Eudo 875-918 Raymond II. 918-c. 924 parlement of Toulouse was established as a permanent court in 1443. Louis XI. transferred it to Montpellier in 1467, but restored it to Toulouse before the close of the next year. This parlement was for Languedoc and southern France what the parlement of Paris was for the north. During the religious wars of the 16th century the Protestants of the town made two unsuccessful attempts to hand it over to the prince de Conde. After St Bartholomew's Day (1572) 300 of the party were massacred. Towards the end of the 16th century, during the wars of the League, the parlement was split. up into three different sections, sitting respectively at Carcassonne or Beziers, at Castle Sarrasin, and at Toulouse. The three were reunited in 1596. Under Francis I. it began to persecute heretics, and in 1619 rendered itself notorious by burning the philosopher Vanini. In 1762 Jean Calas, an old man falsely accused of murdering his eldest son to prevent him becoming a Roman Catholic, was broken on the wheel. By the exertions of Voltaire his character was afterwards rehabilitated. The university of Toulouse owes its origin to the action of Gregory IX., who in 1229 bound Raymond VII. to maintain four masters to teach theology and eight others for canon law, grammar, and the liberal arts. Civil law and medicine were taught only a few years later. The famous "Floral Games" of Toulouse, in which the poets of Languedoc contended (May 1-3) for the prize of the golden amaranth and other gold or silver flowers, given at the expense of the city, were instituted in 1323-1324. The Academie des Jeux Floraux still awards these prizes for compositions in poetry and prose. In 1814 the duke of Wellington defeated Marshal Soult to the north-east of the town.

See L. Ariste and L. Brand, Histoire populaire de Toulouse depuis les origines jusqu'd ce jour (Toulouse, 1898). This work contains an exhaustive bibliography.

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