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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
Kingdom of Arles
KINGDOM OF, the name given to the kingdom formed about 933 by the union of the old kingdoms of Provence (q.v) or Cisjurane Burgundy, and Burgundy (q.v.) Transjurane, and bequeathed in 1032 by its last sovereign, Rudolph III., to the emperor Conrad II. It comprised the countship of Burgundy (Franche-Comte ), part of which is now Switzerland (the dioceses of Geneva, Lausanne, Sion and part of that of Basel), the Lyonnais, and the whole of the territory bounded by the Alps. the Mediterranean and the Rhone; on the right bank of the Rhone it further included the Vivarais. It is only after the end of the 12th century that the name "kingdom of Arles" is applied to this district; formerly it was known generally as the kingdom of Burgundy, but under the Empire the name of Burgundy came to be limited more and more to the countship of Burgundy, and the districts lying beyond the Jura. The authority of Rudolph III. over the chief lords of the land, the count of Burgundy and the count of Maurienne, founder of the house of Savoy, was already merely nominal, and the Franconian emperors (1039-1125), whose visits to the country were rare and of short duration. did not establish their power any more firmly. During the first fifty years of their domination they could rely on the support of the ecclesiastical feudatories, who generally favoured their cause, but the investiture struggle, in which the prelates of the kingdom of Arles mostly sided with the pope, deprived the Germanic sovereigns even of this support. The emperors, on the other hand, realized early that their absence from the country was a grave source of weakness; in 1043 Henry III. conferred on Rudolph, count of Rheinfelden (afterwards duke of Swabia), the title of dux et rector Burgundiae, giving him authority over the barons of the northern part of the kingdom of Arles. Towards the middle of the 12th century Lothair II. revived this system. conferring the rectorate on Conrad of Zahringen, in whose family it remained hereditary up to the death of the last representative of the house, Berthold V., in 1218; and it was the lords of Zahringen who were foremost in defending the cause of the Empire against its chief adversaries, the counts of Burgundy. In the time of the Swabian emperors, the Germanic sovereignty in the kingdom of Arles was again, during almost the whole period, merely nominal, and it was only in consequence of fortuitous circumstances that certain of the heads of the Empire were able to exercise a real authority in these parts. Frederick I., by his marriage with Beatrix (1156), had become uncontested master of the countship of Burgundy; Frederick II., who was more powerful in Italy than his predecessors had been, and was extending his activities into the countries of the Levant, found Provence more accessible to his influence, thanks to the commercial relations existing between the great cities of this country and Italy and the East. Moreover, the heretics and enemies of the church, who were numerous in the south, upheld the emperor in his struggle against the pope. Henry VII. also, thanks to his good relations with the princes of Savoy, succeeded in exercising a certain influence over a part of the kingdom of Arles. The emperors further tried to make their power more effective by delegating it, first to a viceroy, William of Baux, prince of Orange (1215), then to an imperial vicar, William of Montferrat (1220), who was succeeded by Henry of Revello and William of Manupello. In spite of this, the history of the kingdom of Arles in the 13th century, and still more in the 14th, is distinguished particularly by the decline of the imperial authority and the progress of French influence in the country. In 1246 the marriage of Charles, the brother of Saint Louis, with Beatrice, the heiress to the countship of Provence, caused Provence to pass into the hands of the house of Anjou, and many plans were made to win the whole of the kingdom for a prince of this house. At the beginning of the 14th century the bishops of Lyons and Viviers recognized the suzerainty of the king of France, and in 1 343 Humbert II., dauphin of Viennois, made a compact with the French king Philip VI. that on his death his inheritance should pass to a son or a grandson of the French king. Humbert, who was perhaps the most powerful noble in Arles, was induced to take this step as he had just lost his only son, and Philip had already cast covetous eyes on his lands. Then in 1349, being in want of money, he agreed to sell his possessions outright, and thus Viennois, or Dauphine, passed into the hands of Philip's grandson, afterwards King Charles V. The emperor Charles IV. took an active part in the affairs of the kingdom, but without any consistent policy, and in 1378 he, in turn, ceded the imperial vicariate of the kingdom to the dauphin, afterwards King Charles VI. This date may be taken as marking the end of the history of the kingdom of Arles, considered as an independent territorial area.
See the monumental work of P. Fournier, Le Royaume d'Arles et de Vienne (Paris, 1890); Leroux, Recherches critiques sur les relations politiques de la France avec l'Allemagne de 1292 a 1 37 8 (Paris, 1882). For the early history of the kingdom, L. Jacob, Le Royaume de Bourgogne sous les empereurs franconiens (1038-1128), (Paris, 1906). The question of the nature and extent of the rights of the Empire over the kingdom of Arles has given rise, ever since the 16th century, to numerous juridical polemics; the chief dissertations published on this subject are indicated in A. Leroux, Bibliographie des conflits entre la France et l'Empire (Paris, 1902). (R. Po.)
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Kingdom of Arles'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/k/kingdom-of-arles.html. 1910.