Alphonse I was the son of Count Raymond
IV by his third wife, Elvira of Castile. He was born
in the castle of Mont-Pelerin, Tripoli, in modern Lebanon.
He was surnamed Jourdan because he was baptised in the Jordan
His father died when he was two years old and he remained
under the guardianship of his cousin, Guillaume Jourdain,
Count of Cerdagne (d. 1109), until he was five. He was then
taken to Europe and his brother Bertrand, Count of Toulouse
and of Tripoli, gave him the County of Rouergue. Aged nine
years he succeeded to the County of Toulouse and Marquisate
of Provence on Bertrand's death in 1112. Toulouse was taken
from him by William IX, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers,
two years later in 1114. William claimed it by right through
his wife Phillipa of Toulouse, daughter of William IV of
Toulouse. He recovered a part of his County in 1119, but
continued to fight for the rest of his possessions until
about 1123. Finally successful, he was excommunicated by
Pope Callixtus II for having expelled the monks of Saint-Gilles,
who had allied themselves with his enemies.
He next fought for the sovereignty of Provence against
Raymond Berenger III. The war end in an amicable agreement
in September 1125. Under it Alfonse-Jourdan became absolute
master of the regions lying between the the Pyrenees
and the Alps, from the Auvergne and the sea. His ascendancy
is acknowledge to to have been good for the country. During
a period of fourteen years art and industry flourished.
1134 he seized the County of Narbonne, restoring it to the
Viscountess Ermengarde (d. 1197) only in 1143. The claim of
the now deceased Phillipa of Toulouse was pressed again by
Louis VII, when he besieged Toulouse in 1141, claiming it
by right of his wife Eleanor
, the grandaughter of Phillipa, but without
Next year Alfonse-Jourdan again incurred the displeasure
of the Church, this time by siding with the rebels of Montpellier
against their Lord. Again he was excommunicated.
In 1145 he was the recipient of a letter from Bernard of Claivaux (St Bernard)
advising him that he needed to take action against a priest
from France called Henry, who was spreading heresy - not
apparently the Cathar
heresy, but a form of proto-Protestantism three centuries
before the Reformation. The letter is interesting
for the light it throws on widespread attitudes to the Catholic
Church in the twelfth century Languedoc.
In 1146 Alfonse-Jourdan took the cross at the meeting of
Vezelay, called by Louis VII, and in August 1147 embarked
for the East in the Second Crusade. He lingered on the way
in Italy and probably also in Constantinople.
In 1148 he arrived at Acre. He had made enemies among his
companions and he was destined to take no share in the Crusade
he had joined. He was poisoned at Caesarea, either Eleanor
of Aquitaine., the wife of Louis, or Melisende, the
mother of Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem responsible for
the fatal draught. He was succeeded by his son Raymond
V of Toulouse.