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Auvergne (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2004-07-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: auvergne | gonfanon (red) |
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[Auvergne]by Arnaud Leroy

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History of Auvergne

Auvergne is Arvernia, the country of the Arvernes, Vercingétorix's tribe.
In 507, Clovis expelled Alaric and the Wisigoths from Auvergne after the battle of Vouillé (near Poitiers). In the Xth century, Auvergne was a possession of the duke of Aquitaine, later divided into four parts:

  • the county of Auvergne, with Vic-le-Comte as capital city
  • the dauphiné of Auvergne, which remained in the family of duke Guillaume d'Aquitaine
  • the Temporal (possession) of the Bishopric of Clermont, confiscated by queen Catherine de Medicis (1519-1589), who was also countess of Auvergne
  • the Land (Terre) of Auvergne.

The Land of Auvergne, except the county of Clermont, was conquered by king of France Philippe-Auguste in 1213 and granted as his apanage to Alphonse de Poitou, brother of Louis IX (Saint Louis). In 1360, king Jean II le Bon transformed the county into a duchy-peerage, which he granted to his son Jean, duke of Berry, who transfered it to his son-in-law, the duke of Bourbon. In 1531, King François I confiscated all the domains owned by the constable of Bourbon, who had betrayed France for Austria. The counties of Auvergne and Clermont were incorporated to the royal domain in 1610, as was the dauphiné of Auvergne in 1693.

Ivan Sache, 16 December 2002

Description of the flag of Auvergne

The banner of arms of Auvergne is:

D'or au gonfanon de gueules frangé de sinople (GASO)

In English:

Or a gonfanon gules ringed and edged vert (Brian Timms)

The gonfanon is said to stand for the banner used by Eustache III, count of Auvergne and Boulogne, when he seized Jerusalem with his brother Godefroi of Bouillon in 1099.

It should be added that the Christian religion established very early in Auvergne and has remained rather vivid there. Saint Sidoine Apollinaire (431-487), formerly prefet in Rome, was appointed bishop of Clermont, where he organized the defence of Auvergne against the Wisigoths. Around year 1000, several abbeys and priories were established in Auvergne.
The erudite Gerbert of Aurillac (938-1003) was elected pope as Sylvester II (999-1003); he was also the private tutor of the future emperor Otto III and played a major role in the designation / usurpation of Hughes Capet as the king of France.
In 1095, pope Urban II convened a Council in Clermont, where he preached the first Crusade.
Auvergne was located on the main pilgrimage roads to Santiago. The city of Le Puy-en-Velay was the starting point of one of these roads and is one of the oldest French places of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, along with Chartres.

Ivan Sache, 16 December 2002