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William of Aquitaine, St.


Count of Toulouse, founder of Gellone; b. c. 755; d. Gellone Abbey, May 28, 812. He was the son of Count Thierry and his wife, Aldana, kinswoman of charlemagne. In 790 Charlemagne appointed William the count of Toulouse and the protector of his son, Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine. William campaigned against the Moors in Spain, and in 803 captured Barcelona from them. In 804 he founded a monastery at Gellone, which he placed under the authority of his friend, benedict of aniane. William himself was professed at Gellone in 806 and later died there. He was canonized by Pope Alexander II in 1066. His relics were at Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, and at Gellone (later known as saint-guilhem-du-dÉsert). In several chansons de geste he appears as William au court-nez, William Firebrace, and William of Orange. The chief biographical material on William is an 11th-century addition to Ardonis vita Benedicti abbatis Anianensis et Indensis [Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores (Berlin 1826) 15:211213; Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) 6:811820].

Feast: May 28.

Bibliography: l. clarus, Herzog Wilhelm von Aquitanien (Münster 1865). j. calmette, "La Famille de saint Guilhem," Annales du Midi 18 (1906) 145165. p. a. becker, Die altfranzösische Wilhelmsage (Halle 1896). g. morin, "L'Écrivain carolingien Hemmon et sa collection d'extraits des pères pour Saint Guillaume de Gellone," Revue Charlemagne 2 (1912) 116126. "Wilhelm v. Aquitanien," Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, v.10 (Freiburg 195765). f. suard, Guillaume d'Orange: étude du roman en prose (Paris 1979). Guillaume d'Orange and the chanson de geste, eds. w. van emden and p. e. bennett (Reading 1984). b. guidot, Recherches sur la chanson de geste au XIIIe siècle, d'après certaines oeuvres du cycle de Guillaume d'Orange (Aix-en-Provence 1986).

[b. hamilton]

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