House of Baux

The House of Baux is a French noble family from the south of France. It was one of the richest and most powerful families of Medieval Provence, known as the 'Race d’Aiglon'. They were independent Lords as castellan of Les Baux and Arles and wielded very considerable authority at local level. They held important fiefs and vast lands, incl. the principality of Orange.[1]

In Provençal, the word “Baux” ( "li Baou" in provencal) means escarpment/cliff, and refers to the natural fortress on which the family built their castle, the Château des Baux and the village that surrounded it. The word is also seen in Bau-maniere, Bau-baisse, Bau-mirane, Bau-Cous-temple. In provencal to be from les Baux, des Baux, was "de Baucio". The natural defense provided by the escarpment, the raised and protected mountain valley that allowed them to have a protected food supply, and the natural ridge of the Alpilles that allowed them to control all the approaches to the citadel of Les Baux and the surrounding countryside, including the passage up and down the Rhone, and the approaches from the Mediterranean, made that the fortress impervious to the military technology of the time.

Les Baux-de-Provence seen from the side, showing the natural fortress created by the escarpment. Without gunpowder, it was impregnable.

The family of des Baux exists today in Naples in the person of several noble families ("del Balzo") descended from younger sons who followed Charles of Anjou south.[2] After the death of Alix des Baux, the last sovereign of Baux, the chateaux and town were seized by King Rene, who gave it to his 2nd wife, Queen Jeanne of Laval. When Provence was united with the crown, almost 150 yrs of royal governors followed, including the lords, later counts and princes de Manville. Les Baux became a centre for Protestantism. Its unsuccessful revolt against the crown led Cardinal Richelieu in 1632 to order that the castle and its walls should be demolished. This was accomplished with the aid of cannon.

Lords of Baux

Original coat of arms of the House of Baux (Lords of Baux). Some authors, and local tradition, with a hagiographic aim, fancifully claimed that the family was descended from Balthazar, one of the three Magi (the 16-rayed star symbolizing the star of Bethlehem). Some, that they descended from the first kings of Armenia, the star signifying that they directly knew Jesus. The motto of the family was ‘Au Hasard Baltasar', as well as 'Jamais Vassal’ and ‘Semper Ardentius’

The earliest definite ancestor was one Pons (Poncius) (name could designate a trader from Greece) "Iuvenis" (the younger, meaning there was an older?). Pons The Younger was mentioned in 3 legal acts:[3]

The family descent then is:

This branch of the House of Baux was declared extinct in 1426. The domains were inherited by Counts of Provence.

See also: Rulers of Baux

Lords of Berre, Meyragues, Puyricard and Marignane

From this branch originated the family branches of the Seigneurs de Berre, Lords of Meyrargues and Puyricard, who became extinct in 1349, and lords of Marignane, acquired by House of Valois-Anjou, as well as the Dukes of Andria.

Princes of Orange

When a branch of the lords of Baux married the heiress of the princes of Orange, they quartered their arms with those of the princes of Orange.

In 1417 the House of Ivrea or House of Châlon-Arlay succeeded as princes of Orange.

A brother of William I started the branch of the Lords of Courbezon (House of Baux-Courbezon), which became extinct in 1393. Another brother started the line of Lords of Suze, Solerieux and Barri (House of Baux-Suze-Solerieux-Barri), which became extinct and reverted afterwards to the counts of Orange.

Family Genealogy

The ancestors of the Lords of Baux

The ancestors of the Lords of Baux:[4]

Leibulf de Provence (vers 750-835)
  x Odda ?
  | → Leibulf des Baux (middle of the 9th century).[5]
        x ??
        | →  Pons d’Arles (end of the 9th century)
              x Blismodis de Mâcon[6]
              | → Humbert, Bishop of Vaison-la-Romaine (890-933)
              | → Ison d’Arles (890-942),
                    x Princess ? of Benevento
                    | →  Lambert Ursus seigneurs de Reillanne
                    |     x Galburge de Bénévent
                    |     |
                    |     | →  Seigneurs de Reillanne
                    | →  Pons de Marseille (910-979), 
                         x   Judith de Bretagne,[lower-alpha 1] daughter d'Alain II de Bretagne
                         | → Honoratus de Marseille (930-978), Bishop of Marseille
                         | →  William of Marseille (935-1004)
                         |    x Bellilde, daughter d’Arlulf de Marseille
                         |    |
                         |    | →  Vicomtes de Marseille
                         x  Belletrude[lower-alpha 2]
                         | →  (hyp) Pons de Fos (vers 945-1025)
                               x Profecta de Marignane
                               | →  Seigneurs de Fos
                               | →  (hyp) Hugues des Baux (981-1060) 
                                   x Inauris de Cavaillon (?)
                                   | → Guillaume Hugues de Baux (1060–1095)
                                        x Vierne
                                        | → Raymond-Raimbaud des Baux (1095–1150)
                                             x Étiennette de Gévaudan 
                                             | → Bertrand des Baux 
                                                  x Thiburge II d'Orange 

Simplified Family Tree of the Lords of Baux

The family tree of the lords of Baux (per the references cited in the adjacent footnote, rather than footnote each person, as they are from all these sources): [7]

Pons the Younger "Iuventus", 945-1025
Hugh,981-1060, Lord of Baux
Geoffrey I of Provence, 1013-1062,Count of Provence
William Hugo ,c. 1026 - c. 1105, Lord of Baux
William Bertrand, 1051-1094, Count of ProvenceGerberga,1094-1118,Countess of Provence
Gilbert, Viscount of Gévaudan, Count of Arles, 1110
Raymond I, 1095-1150, Lord of Baux
Stephanie, d. c. 1160
The younger daughter. This marriage was the start of the Baussenque Wars over the succession to Provence
Dulcia, Countess of Provence, c. 1090–1127
Ramon Berenguer III "the Great", Count of Barcelona, c. 1082–1131
Hugh II, 1150-1170

Iudicarus of Arborea, Sardinia, Vcte. des Baux to 1384
Bertrand I, Lord of Baux, 1130-1181
Count & from 1163 Prince of Orange
Tiburge d'Orange, died 1189
daughter & heiress of Raimbaud II d'Orange, Count of Orange
Counts of Provence

Hugh III of Baux, 1173- 1240
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Bertrand II of Baux, died 1201
co-Prince of Orange
William I of Baux,?-1218
Prince of Orange
Barrale Viscountess of Marseille died 1234
d.& heiress of Barral, Vcte of Marseilles & Maria of Montpellier, d. of Eudocia Commena (d.<1201)
Barral I of Baux,1217-1270
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Raymond II of Baux,d.1236
Vcte of Marseille
Raymond I of Baux, 1202-1282
co-Prince of Orange
William II of Baux,1218-1239
co-Prince of Orange
Bertrand II of Baux,1244-1305
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
1st Count d'Avellino (Naples) 1278
Bertrand III of Baux, Sg Meyrargues et Puyricard +1266
Line of Sg de Meyrargues et de Puyricard, ended 1352 in the male line.
Gilbert of Baux, Sg sg de Marignane
Line of sg de Marignane, line continues to this day in Provence
William of Baux,[lower-alpha 1] Sg de Berre +1265/1266
dukes d'Andria(Naples). "del Balzo" (Naples) exists, lines 1. dukes of Capriglianode, and 2. dukes of Presenzano
Raymond of Baux, Vcte of Berre'
No descendants
Bertrand IV of Baux, died 1314
4th-Prince of Orange
William IV of Baux, d. <1281
co-Prince of Orange
William III of Baux, died 1256/7
co-Prince of Orange, Sg Courthézon
Raymond II of Baux, died 1256/7
co-Prince of Orange, sg Courthézon, et Suze, Séguret, Sérignan, Camaret
m.1273 Eléonore de Genève
Raymond I of Baux,1268-1321
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Count d'Avellino (Naples),Sénéchal de Provence 1315, Régent de Naples en 1295
Hugh, assassinated Milan 1302, Sg de Loriol, Sénéchal of Piémont, Vicaire Général Lombardy, no descendants
Barral II of Baux, 1301-1331, Sg de Loreto
Agoult de Baux, d.1346/7, Sg. de Caromb, Brantes, Le Barroux, St Léger, Sénéchal Beaucaire, and Nimes 1340, Toulouse/Albi 1342, Cap. gén. en Languedoc
Raymond IV of Baux, died 1340
5th Prince of Orange
Bertrand III of Baux,[lower-alpha 2] died 1305
co-Prince of Orange, Sg Courthézon
Raymond III of Baux,[lower-alpha 3]
co-Prince of Orange, 2nd sg de Suze, & Bari
Hugh II of Baux, 1311-1351
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Count d'Avellino (Naples), Sénéchal de Provence 1343,Grand Admiral of Naples
Bertrand des Baux, d. 1355, Seig of Caromb
Dragobert des Baux, 1327/8-1340, sg de Villefranche
Raymond des Baux, 1328-1381, Sg of Caromb, & c.
Amiel des Baux, d. 1375, Sg of Caromb, & c.
Raymond V of Baux, died 1393
6th Prince of Orange
Bertrand of Baux d.1380
Sg. of Gigondas, Suze,Condorcet
Guiges of Baux d.1390
Guillaume of Baux d.1390
Sg of Camaret, Travaillan, Condorcet
m. Jeanne de Genève[8]
Antoine of Baux, d. 1374, Sg of Aubagne
Robert of Baux,d.1354
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Count d'Avellino
Raymond II of Baux, 1331-1372
Lord of Baux
Vcte of Marseille
Count d'Avellino
Francis of Baux, d. 1390, Sg of Aubagne
Mary of Baux-Orange, died 1417
7th Princess of Orange
William of Baux, d. 1427Sg. of St-Roman de Malegarde
John III of Châlon, lord of Arlay, died 1418
John of Baux, 1372-1375
posthumous child
Alix of Baux,[lower-alpha 4] 1367-1426
last sovereign Lady of the indep. state of Baux
Countess d'Avellino
Châlon & Nassau Princes of Orange


See also


  1. 1 2 Line of the dukes d'Andria and Nardo, counts of Squillace, princes of Tarento (in Naples) and Achaïa (Greece). Elder branch ended in 1530 in the male line. A younger branch survives in Naples as the "del Balzo" in multiple branches, as dukes of Capriglianode, another as counts del Balzo (died out 1932) and another as the dukes of Presenzano.del Balzo di Presenzano, Gioacchino. "GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux, with bibliography cited there". Retrieved 2012-08-28.
  2. 1 2 Sg Courthézon, gave his rights to the principality to Raymond IV for this lordship. One male line died out c.1372, the other two lead to the counts d'Alessano,and counts d'Alessano, including the Orsini des Baux, died out by 1550.del Balzo di Presenzano, Gioacchino. "GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux, with bibliography cited there". Retrieved 2012-08-28.
  3. Gave his rights to his brother. Male line died out c. 1409. del Balzo di Presenzano, Gioacchino. "GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux". Retrieved 2012-08-28. del Balzo di Presenzano, Gioacchino. "GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux, with bibliography cited there". Retrieved 2012-08-28.
  4. She was married to Odon de Villars and Conrad IV de Furstemberg. Her uncle, on her mother's side, Raymond de Turenne used the fortress of Baux to wage war on the counts of Provence. On her death, the lordship of Baux was seized by King Rene, the count of Provence and given to his wife, Jeanne of Laval, thus ending its des Baux*Paulet, l'Abbe L. (1986). Les Baux et Castillon: Histoire des communes des Baux, de Paradou, de Maussane, et de Mouries. , Place de l'Eglise, 13200 Raphele-les-Arles: Marcel Petit.
  1. Grew 1947, p. 5(specifically & on to pg 16).
  2. del Balzo, Gioacchino. "GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux". Retrieved 21 April 2011.
    • Paulet, l'Abbe L. (1986). Les Baux et Castillon: Histoire des communes des Baux, de Paradou, de Maussane, et de Mouries. , Place de l'Eglise, 13200 Raphele-les-Arles: Marcel Petit.
  3. Genealogy works:
    • Georges de Manteyer, La Provence du premier au douzième siècle, études d'histoire et de géographie... (1908),
    • Juigné de Lassigny, Généalogie des vicomtes de Marseille...,
    • Fernand Cortez, Les grands officiers royaux de Provence au moyen-âge listes chronologiques...,
    • Papon, de Louis Moréri, du marquis de Forbin, Monographie de la terre et du château de Saint-Marcel, près Marseille: du Xe au XIXe siècle... ("Monograph of the land and the castle of Saint-Marcel, near Marseille, from the tenth to the nineteenth century ..."), Marseille, 1888
    • J. Berge, Origines rectifiées des maisons féodales Comtes de Provence, Princes d'Orange ..., France-Riviera, 1952
    • Poly, Jean-Pierre, La Provence et la société féodale (879-1166), Paris: Bordas, 1976,
    • Jacques Saillot, Le Sang de Charlemagne...
    Sources also on the Vicomtes de Marseille:
    • Édouard Baratier, Ernest Hildesheimer et Georges Duby, Atlas historique...
    • and the table of Henry de Gérin-Ricard, Actes concernant les vicomtes de Marseille et leurs descendants...
    • Cook, Theodore Andrea, Sir, 1867-1928 (1905). Twenty-five great houses of France; the story of the noblest French chateaux. London: Offices of "Country Life" [etc.] p. 127. The first Count of Les Baux, whose name alone we know, was Leibulf, whose son Pons, or Poncius, owned large lands in Argence Old Provence
  4. Blismodis de Mâcon
    • Grew, Marion Ethel (1947). The House of Orange. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.
    • Rowen, Herbert H. (1988). The princes of Orange: the stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge University Press.
    • de Pontbriant, A. (1891). Histoire de la principaute d'Orange: suivre de lettres inedites des princes d'Orange, des rois de France, du Cte de Grignan, etc. Avignon: Seguin freres.
    • Paulet, l'Abbe L. (1986). Les Baux et Castillon: Histoire des communes des Baux, de Paradou, de Maussane, et de Mouries. , Place de l'Eglise, 13200 Raphele-les-Arles: Marcel Petit.
    • Schwennicke, Detlev (1989). Europäiche Stammtafeln, Stammtafeln der Europäichen Staaten, Neue Folge, Volume III, Part 4, Das feudale Frankreich und sein Einfluß auf die Welt des Mittelalters. Marburg: Verlag J.A. Stargardt. pp. 745, 748, 751, & 752.
    • "biographies on personages below in French Wikipedia (and English) Wikipedia".
    • "Princes of Orange, 1171-1584AD".
    • "The family de Baux/del Balzo,GENEALOGY.EU".
    Genealogy works:
    • Gioacchino del Balzo di Presenzano, GENEALOGY Maison del Balzo/des Baux extensive bibliography
    • G.Noblemaire, Histoire de la Maison des Baux,Parigi: 1912 and 1975
    • J.Dunbabin, Charles I of Anjou,London/New York: 1998
    • E.Leonard,Les Angevins de Naples,Paris: 1954
    • Almanach of Gotha, 1888-1943
    • F. Mazel,La Noblesse et l’Eglise en ProvenceFin X – debut XIV siecle,L’Exemple des familles d’Agoult-Simiane,des Baux et de Marseilles,CTHS – Paris: 2002
    • H.Aliquot et R.Merceron,Armorial d’Avignon et Du Comtat Venaissin, Avignon:1987
    • Cambridge Medieval History, Volumes I – IX, Cambridge: 1911
    • Cambridge Medieval History, Vol II,III, IV ,Revised Edition 1996 -2003
    • Cambridge Modern History, Volumes I-XII , Cambridge: 1962-63
  5. Grew 1947, p. 16.
    • Paulet, l'Abbe L. (1986). Les Baux et Castillon: Histoire des communes des Baux, de Paradou, de Maussane, et de Mouries. , Place de l'Eglise, 13200 Raphele-les-Arles: Marcel Petit.


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