1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Provence

PROVENCE (Provincia, Proenza), a province in the south-east of ancient France, bounded on the N. by the Dauphiné, on the E. by the Rhône and Languedoc, on the W. by the Alps and Italy, and on the S. by the Mediterranean. The coast, originally inhabited by Ligurians, was from an early date the home of some Phoenician merchants. About 600 B.C., according to tradition, some traders from Phocaea founded the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) and the colonists had great difficulty in resisting the Cavares and the Salyes, i.e. the Ligurian peoples in the vicinity. Other colonies in the neighbourhood, such as Antibes, Agde, Nice, originated in this settlement. During the wars which followed, the inhabitants of Massalia asked assistance from the Romans, who thus made their first entry into Gaul (125 B.C.), and, after a campaign which lasted several years under the direction of the pro-consul C. Sextius Calvinus, conquered the territories between the Alps, the sea and the Rhone (with the province of Narbonne on the right bank of this river). These lands formed the Provincia romana, and the name was retained by Provence. The town of Aix (Aquae Sextiae) was founded to form the capital of this conquered land. In consequence of the conquest of Gaul by Caesar (50 B.C.) and the administrative reforms introduced by Augustus, the territory of the former Provincia was divided into the new provinces of Narbonensis II., of the Maritime Alps and of Viennois, but it still remained an important centre of Roman learning and civilization. Marseilles, which for some time had a prosperous Greek school, and also Aix now became of secondary importance, and Arles was made the chief town of the province, becoming after the capture of Trèves by the barbarians (A.D. 418) the capital of Gaul. Christianity spread fairly early into Provence, although the legend that this country was evangelized by Mary Magdalene and some of the apostles cannot be traced farther back than the 12th century. Trophimus established a church at Arles in the 3rd century, and during the two centuries which followed bishoprics were founded in all the cities of Provence.

At the beginning of the 5th century, Provence was attacked by the Visigoths. In 425 the Visigothic king Theodoric I. was defeated by Aetius under the walls of Arles, but the part taken by the Goths in the election of the emperor Avitus did not put a stop to their attacks (450). In 480 Arles was captured by Euric I., and the southern part of Provence, i.e. the country south of the Durance, thus came definitely under Visigothic rule. The more northern cities, such as Orange, Apt, Trois-Châteaux, &c., were again joined to the kingdom of Burgundy. Towards 510 Visigothic Provence was ceded to Theodoric, king of the Italian Ostrogoths, by Alaric II. as a mark of his gratitude for the support given to him during the war against the Franks. In addition to this, about 523, the Ostrogoths took advantage of the wars between the Franks and the Burgundians to extend their lands in the north as far as Gap and Embrun. Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ceded Provence to the kings of the Franks about 537, when it was divided in a peculiar manner: the northern cities and those on the coast (Arles, Marseilles, Toulon, Antibes, Nice) were given back to Burgundy, whilst a narrow strip of territory with Avignon, Apt, Cavaillon, Riez, &c., extending from the west to the east as far as the Alps, was added to the kingdom of Austrasia. and from that time followed the fortunes of Auvergne, which, as is known, was generally dependent on Austrasia. Provence was united under one ruler during the reigns of Clotaire II. and Dagobert I., but at the death of the latter in 639 was divided again, only to be reunited under the successors of Dagobert II. (679). At this period the name of Provence was restricted to the southern cities, which had passed from the Gothic to the Frankish rule; it did not regain its original signification and denote the country extending as far as Lyonnais till the end of the 8th and the beginning of the 9th centuries.

At the beginning of the 8th century, some Arabs from Spain, who had crossed the Pyrenees and settled down in Septimania, attacked Provence, in 735 took the town of Arles and in 737 captured Avignon, thus becoming masters of one part of the country. Charles Martel who had already made two expeditions against them, in 736 and 737, with the help of the Lombards of Italy, succeeded in 739 in expelling them, and brought the country definitely under Frankish rule. Austrasian counts were given authority in the cities, and under Charlemagne and Louis the Pious the history of Provence became incorporated with that of the rest of the empire. At the time of the partition of Verdun (843) Provence fell to the share of the emperor Lothair I., who joined it to the duchy of Lyons in 855 to form a kingdom for his youngest son, Charles. On the death of the latter in 863 his inheritance was divided between his two brothers, when Lothair II., king of Lorraine, received the northern part, Lyonnais and Viennois, and to the other, the emperor Louis II., king of Italy, was given Provence. At his death in 875 Provence passed into the hands of Charles the Bald, and he entrusted the government to his brother-in-law, Duke Boso, who, taking advantage of the struggles between the Frankish princes which followed the death of Charles the Bald, reconstituted the former kingdom of Charles, the son of Lothair, and in 879 was acknowledged as its sovereign at Mantaille in Viennois. This is the kingdom of Provence (Provence, Viennois, Lyonnais and Vivarais), sometimes, but improperly, called Cisjuran Burgundy.

Boso died in 887, having succeeded in maintaining his independence against the united Frankish princes. His widow Ermengarde, daughter of Louis II., with the assistance of the emperor Arnulf, had her son Louis acknowledged king at an assembly held at Valence in 890. Louis attempted to seize the crown of Italy in 900, and in 901 was even crowned emperor at Rome by Pope Benedict IV.; but in 905 he was surprised at Verona by his rival Berengar, who captured him, put out his eyes, and forced him to give up Italy and return to Provence; he lived here till his death in 928, leaving an illegitimate son, Charles Constantine. The principal figure in the country at this time was Hugo (Hugues) “ of Arles,” count, or duke, of Viennois and marquis of Provence, who had been king of Italy since 926. In order to retain possession of this country, he gave the kingdom of Louis the Blind to Rudolph II., king of Burgundy (q.v.), and thus the kingdom of Burgundy extended from the source of the Aar to the Mediterranean. But the sovereignty of Rudolph II. and his successors, Conrad (937–993) and Rudolph III. (993–1032), over Provence was almost purely nominal, and things were in much the same condition when, on the death of Rudolph III., the kingdom of Burgundy passed into the hands of the German kings, who now bore the title of kings of Arles, but very rarely exercised their authority in the country.

At the beginning of the 10th century Provence was in a state of complete disorganization, a result of the invasions of the Saracens, who, coming from Spain, took up their quarters in the neighbourhood of Fraxinetum (La Garde-Freinet in the department of Var) and ravaged the country pitilessly, the Christians being unable to oust them from their strongholds. All the real power was in the hands of the counts of the country. It is probable that from the 9th century several of the Provençal countships were united under one count, and that the count of Arles had the title of duke, or marquis, and exercised authority over the others. In the middle of the 10th century the countship of Provence was in the hands of a certain Boso, of unknown origin, who left it to his two sons William and Roubaud (Rotbold). These two profited by the commotion caused by the capture of the famous abbot of Cluny, St Maiolus (Mayeul), in 973, who had fallen into the hands of the Saracens, and marched against the Mussulmans, definitely expelling them from Fraxinetum. About the same period the marquis ate seems to have been re-established in favour of Count William, who died in 993, and from that time the descendants of the two brothers, without making any partition, ruled over the different count ships of Provence, only one of them, however, bearing the title of marquis. The counts of Provence had, from about the middle of the 11th century, a tendency to add the name of their usual residence after their title, and thus the lordships, known later under the names of the count ships of Arles (or more properly Provence), of Nice, and of Venaissin, grew up. Roubaud had one son named William, who died without children, about 1043, and one daughter, Emma, who married William, count of Toulouse, by whom she had a son, Pons (1030–1063), the father of Raymund of Saint-Gilles (1063–1105). William also had a son of the same name. This William II. had three sons by his wife Gerberge-Fulk, Geoffrey and William. The last mentioned had a son, William Bertrand (1044–1067), whose daughter Adelaide married, first, Ermengaud, count of Urgel, and then Raimbaud of Nice. Geoffrey was the father of Gerberge, who married Gilbert, count of Gévaudan, and he had a daughter Douce, who in 1112 married Raymund-Bérenger, count of Barcelona; by this marriage, Provence, in the correct sense of the word, passed over to the house of Barcelona. At the beginning of the 12th century the various marriages of the Provençal heiresses, of whom mention has just been made, led to the land being divided up among the different branches of the ancient countly family (1105, 1125 and 1149), and thus the count ships of Provence, Venaissin and Forcalquier were definitely formed.

Under the command of Raymund of Saint-Gilles the Provençals took an important part in the first crusade, and the use of the term “ Provençal" to denote the inhabitants of southern France, their language and their literature, seems to date from this period.

The history of the princes of the house of Barcelona, Raymund-Bérenger I. (1113–1131), Raymund-Bérenger II. (1131–1144) and Raymund-Bérenger III. (1144–1166), is full of accounts of their struggles with the powerful feudal house of Baux, which had extensive property in Provence; in 1146 one of the representatives of this house, Raymund, obtained from the emperor the investiture, though only in theory, of the whole count ship of Provence. After the death of Raymund-Bérenger III., who was killed at the siege of Nice (1166), his cousin Alphonso II., king of Aragon, claimed his inheritance and took the title of the count of Provence. But his succession was disputed by the count of Toulouse, Raymund V., a marriage having been previously arranged between Raymund-Bérenger's daughter and his son, and he himself hastening to marry the widow Richilde, niece of the emperor Frederick I. The majority of the lay and ecclesiastical lords of Provence recognized Alphonso, who in 1176 signed a treaty with his competitor, by which Raymund V. gave up his rights to the king of Aragon in consideration of a sum of money. Alphonso was represented in Provence by his brothers Raymund-Bérenger and Sancho in turn, and in 1193 by his son Alphonso, who succeeded him. This Alphonso gave Aragon and Catalonia to his brother Peter (Pedro), and kept only Provence for himself, but on the death of his father-in-law, Count William II., in 1208, whose son had been disinherited, he added to it the county of Forcalquier. He was able to protect Provence from the consequences of the war of the Albigenses, and it was not until after his death (1209), during the minority of his son Raymund-Bérenger IV., who succeeded him under the regency of his uncle, Peter of Aragon, and later. of his>mother Gersende, that Provence was involved in the struggle of the count of Toulouse against Simon de Montfort, when the part played by the city of Avignon in the Albigensianmovement finally led to Louis VIII.'s expedition against the town. William of Baux took advantage of the troubles caused by Raymund-Bérenger's minority to have the kingdom of Arles conferred upon himself by Frederick II.; this led, however, to no practical result. Raymund-Bérenger had also to fight against Raymund VII., count of Toulouse, the emperor having ceded to this latter in 1230 the count ship of Forcalquier, and showed another mark of his favour in 1238, when, in consequence of some difficulties with the city of Arles, Raymund-Bérenger drove the imperial vicar from the town. The intervention of St Louis, who in 1234 had married Margaret, the eldest daughter of the count of Provence (the second, Eleanor, married Henry III. of England in 1236), put an end to the designs of the count of Toulouse. Raymund-Bérenger died in 1245, leaving a will by which he named as his heiress his fourth daughter, Beatrice, who shortly afterwards, in 1246, married the celebrated Charles of Anjou (see Charles I., king of Naples), brother of the king of France. After her death, in 1267, Charles still maintained his rights in Provence. The countship of Venaissin was left to him by his sister-in-law, Jeanne, countess of Toulouse, but in 1272 King Philip the Bold took possession of it, giving it up in 1274 to Pope Gregory X., who had claimed it for the Roman Church in pursuance of the treaty of 1229 between Raymund VII. of Toulouse and St Louis. Almost all the time and energy of Charles of Anjou were taken up with expeditions and wars concerning the kingdom of Naples, which he had gained by his victories over Manfred and Conradin in 1266 and 1268. His government of Provence was marked by his struggles with the towns. The movement which resulted in the emancipation of these had its origin fairly far back. In the first part of the 12th century the towns of Provence, no doubt following the example of those in Italy, began to form municipal administrations and consulates, independent of the viscounts, who in theory represented the authority of the count in the towns. This movement was occasionally interrupted by home disturbances, such as struggles against the civil and ecclesiastical authorities; nevertheless Marseilles, Arles, Tarascon, Avignon (whose consulate laws date from the 12th century), Brignoles and Grasse were self-governing and elected their magistrates, sometimes negotiating with the count, as a power with a power, and concluding political or commercial treaties without consulting him. The city of Nice, which was joined to Provence in 1176, had retained its freedom. This state of affairs was in direct opposition to the authoritative government of Charles of Anjou, who tried to bring back the most independent of these towns under his sway. In 1251 he seized Arles and Avignon and placed them under a viguier (vicar) nominated by himself. In 1257 Marseilles was also subdued, and ministers nominated by the court performed their duties side by side with the municipal officials.

The successors of Charles of Anjou also showed great interest in maintaining their rights over the kingdom of Naples, and only occasionally do they appear in the history of Provence. Charles II. (1285–1309), after failing in several attacks on the house of Aragon in southern Italy, lived in the country during the latter years of his reign as duke, and tried to reform some of the abuses which had grown up in the administration of justice and finance. Robert of Calabria (1309–1343), his son and successor, was forced to sustain a long siege in Genoa, whither he had been called by the Ghibelline party: a siege which cost a large number of lives to the Provençal navy. Robert was succeeded by his granddaughter Joanna, widow of Andrew of Hungary, who sold her rights over the city of Avignon to Pope Clement VI. in 1348, in order to raise funds to enable her to continue the struggle against the house of Aragon in her Neapolitan states. The political situation of the country was not much changed by Charles IV.'s residence in Provence, nor by the empty ceremony of his coronation as king of Arles (1365). Charles IV. gave up his rights, or his claims, to Louis, duke of Anjou, brother of Charles V., but the expedition which this prince made to take possession of Provence only resulted in the seizure of Tarascon, and failed before Arles (1368). Joanna had nominated as her heir Charles of Anjou-Gravina, duke of Duras, who had married her niece Margaret, but to provide herself with a protector from Louis of Hungary, who accused her of murdering her first husband Andrew and wished to dispute her right to the kingdom of Naples, she married again and became the wife of Otto of Brunswick. Charles of Duras, discontented with this marriage, took part against her, and she in her turn disinherited him and named Louis of Anjou as her eventual successor (1380). The duke of Anjou took possession of Provence, whilst Charles of Duras made the queen prisoner at Naples and gave orders for her to be put to death (1382). Louis of Anjou also made an expedition to Naples, but did not arrive till after her death, and he died in 1584. His son Louis II. (1384–1417) banished the Viscount of Turenne from Provence, because he had taken advantage of his sovereign's absence to ravage the country. He did not live in Provence till the last years of his life; in 1415 he established a parlement. The following year the country was devastated by a terrible plague. The wars carried on by his successor Louis III. (1417–34) against the kings of Aragon, his rivals at Naples, were the cause of the complete ruin of Marseilles by the Aragonese fleet. The town, however, regained its former state comparatively quickly. Although Louis III. had centred almost all his attention on the expeditions in Italy, he managed to secure the lands belonging to the house of Baux on the death of the last of the family, the Baroness Alix (1426). René, duke of Lorraine (q.v.), Louis's brother and successor, after an unsuccessful attack on Naples (1460–1461), went to live on his property in France, and after 1471 was principally in Provence, where he built the castle of Tarascon and interested himself in art, literature, and pastoral amusements. He left his territories (Anjou, Lorraine, Provence) to his nephew Charles, count of Maine, by his will in 1474. Louis XI., king of France, protested at first in the name of the rights of the Crown, and even seized René's duchies. In consequence, however, of an interview between René and the king at Lyons, the former obtained a withdrawal of the seizure and ended his days peacefully in Provence (1480). The rights of his successor, Charles, were disputed by René II., duke of Lorraine, but, with the support of Louis XI., his attack on Provence was defeated. On the other hand, Louis had corrupted some of Charles's advisers, especially Palamède de Forbin, with the result that, at Charles's death in 1482, he left Provence to the king of France in his will. René of Lorraine protested in vain; Louis claimed the possession of the disputed territory, but Provence was not definitely annexed to France till 1486, under Charles VIII., and even then it preserved a certain individuality. In laws relating to this country the sovereigns added to their title of king of France “ and count of Provence and of Forcalquier,” and Provence always preserved a separate administrative organization.

In the 16th century Provence took part in a war between France and the imperialists. The constable de Bourbon, who had received the investiture of Provence from the emperor Charles V., crossed the Var in 1524 with an army, but was defeated at Marseilles. The expedition under Charles V. and the duke of Savoy in 1536 had no more definite result than the coronation of the emperor at Aix as king of Arles. About the same time the first signs of the Reformation became evident in Provence, at first in the country of the ancient Vaudois at Cabrières and at Mérindol in the county of Venaissin. A sentence passed in 1540 by the parlement of Provence against these heretics was carried out with great severity in 1545 by the president d'Oppède and the baron de la Garde, who burned the villages and massacred the inhabitants. Protestantism did not take a great hold on»Provence, but drew a fair number of followers from the ranks of the lesser nobles, who, with Paul de Mauvans at their head, began the struggle against the Catholics under the comte de Carces, Charles IX.'s journey in Provence in 1567, followed by the establishment in the parlement at Aix of a court (chambre) in which Catholics and Protestants had an equal number of seats, led to a momentary cessation of hostilities. These were resumed between the Carcistes (Roman Catholics) and Razats (Protestants), and again interrupted by the peace of 1576, which gave some guarantees to the Protestants, with La Seyne as a place of security, and also by the plague of 1579, which affected the whole country. The league, on the other hand, made rapid progress in Provence under the direction of the comte de Sault and Hubert de la Garde, seigneur of Vins, and the governors of Épernon and La Valette vainly tried to pacify the country. La Valette and the political party or Bigarrats were linally more or less reconciled to the Protestants, and, at the time of the death of Henry III., the struggle was no more than a question of district politics. Weakened by the division between the comtesse de Sault and the young comte de Carces, the league applied to the duke of Savoy, who was besieging Marseilles. Carces and the other heads of the league submitted one after the other to the new governor Lesdiguières, who was succeeded by the duke of Guise in 1595, and in 1596 the religious wars in Provence were definitely ended by the capitulation of Marseilles.

During the reign of Henry IV. the country was comparatively peaceful; but under Richelieu the restriction of local freedom and the creation of new offices led to the insurrection of the Cascaveous (small bells, a name derived from their rallying sign), which Condé came to suppress in 1630–1631. At the time of the Fronde additional taxes were levied by the parlement at Aix, and the struggle began between the Canivets (Mazarins) and the Sabreurs (prince's party), who captured the governor, the comte d'Alais, for a short time. The duke of Mercoeur calmed the country down. Louis XIV.'s tour in Provence (1660) was marked by an insurrection at Marseilles, which brought about the abolition of the last remaining municipal liberties of the town. Provence was severely tried by the imperialist invasions of 1706 and 1746, and the great plague of 1720. Towards the end of the ancien régime the movement which resulted in the revolution of 1789 made itself felt in Provence, and was most apparent in the double election at Aixand at Marseilles of Mirabeau as deputy for the states-general.

Provence, with its own special language and its law so closely related to Roman law, has always been quite separate from the other French provinces. Theoretically it retained its provincial estates, the origin of which has been traced to the assemblages of the 12th century. They met annually, and included representatives of three orders: for the clergy, the archbishop of Aix, president ex officio of the estates, the other bishops of Provence, the abbots of St Victor at Marseilles, of Montmajour and of Thoronet; for the nobility, all the men of noble birth (gentilhommes) until 1623, when this privilege was restricted to actual holders of fiefs; for the third, the members of the twenty-two chief towns of the vigueries<ref> and fifteen other privileged places, among which were Arles and Marseilles. There were theoretically no taxes, but only supplies given freely by the estates and assessed by them. However, this assembly did not meet after 1639. The administrative divisions of Provence were constantly changing. In 1307 Charles II. divided it into two sénéchaussées, Aix and Forcalquier, comprising twenty-two vigueries. At the end of the ancient régime the government (gouvernemenl) of Provence, which corresponded to the généralité of Aix, was made up of eight sénéchaussées, those of Lower Provence—Aix, Arles, Marseilles, Brignoles, Hyères, Grasse, Draguignan, Toulon; and four of Upper Provence—Digne, Sisteron, Forcalquier, Castellane. From a judicial point of view the parlement of Aix had replaced the former conseil eminent or cour souveraine. There was a chambre des comptes at Aix, and also a cour des aides. A decree, dated the 22nd of December 1789, divided Provence into the three departments of Bouche du Rhône, Basses-Alpes and Var, and in 1793 Vaucluse, the former county (comtat) of Venaissin, which belonged to the pope, was added to these. The boundaries of the department of Var were modified in 1860 after the annexation, when the department of the Alpes Maritimes was formed.

Authorities.—There is no good general history of Provence. For a complete work consult the ancient works of H. Bouche, Chorographie et histoire chronologigue de Provence (2 vols. in fol., in 4to, Aix, 1664); Papon, Histoire générale de Provence (4 vols. Paris, 1777–1786); L. Méry, Histoire de Provence (3 vols. in 8vo, Marseilles, 1830–1837). For special periods of history see F. Kiener, 1900); Verfassungsgeschichte der Provence, 510–1200 (8vo, Leipzig, R. Poupardin, Le Royaume de Provence sous les Carolingiens (in 8vo, Paris, 1901); G. de Manteyer, La Provence du ier à xiie siècle (in 8vo, Paris, 1907); Lambert, Essai sur le régime municipal et l'affranchissement des communes en Provence (in 8vo, Toulon, 1882); Les Guerres religieuses en Provence (2 vols. in 8vo, 1870); Cabasson, Essai historique sur le parlement de Provence (3 vols. in 8vo, Aix, 1826).  (R. Po.)