To learn about specific Counts of Toulouse, click on one of the names at the bottom of this page. Names are listed in chronological order, with a digression on the Counts of Tripoli, close relatives of the House of Toulouse.
After the Visigothic Kings of Aquitaine (409 - 508) whose capital was Toulouse, the Merovingian kings were Kings and Dukes of Aquitaine and Dukes of Toulouse. The Carolingians appointed Counts of Toulouse between 790 and 848:
This marks the start of the hereditary House of Toulouse. The hereditary Counts of Toulouse ruled the city of Toulouse and its surrounding County from the late 9th century until 1270. They and other family members were also at various times Counts of Quercy, Rouergue, Albi, and Nîmes, and Marquis of Gothia and Provence. Raymond IV founded the crusader County of Tripoli, and his descendants were counts there. The hereditary counts are:
- Bernard of Septimania, assassinated in 844
- Freddon (d. 852)
- Raymond I (852-862)
- Bernard (862-872)
- Eudes (872-919)
- Raymond II (919-924)
- Raymond III Pons (924 - ~950)
- Raymond IV (~950 - 961)
- Hugh (961-972)
- Raymond (972-978) Recent research has revealed this previously unknown count, which solves the problem of the otherwise extraordinary lifespan of William Tallifer; this should of course call for the renumbering the succeeding Raymonds, though this is not usually done as it risks adding to the confusion.]
- William III Tallifer (d. 1037)
- Pons (1037-~1061)
- William IV (~1061-~1093)
- Raymond IV (~1093-1095)
- Bertrand (1095-1112)
- Alphons Jordan (1112-1148)
- Raymond V (1148-1194)
- Raymond VI (1194-1222)
- Raymond VII (1222-1249)
- Jeanne of Toulouse & Alphonse of Poitiers (1249-1271) At this point Toulouse passed to the Crown of France, by the terms of the Treaty of Languedoc.
At the time of the outbreak of the Cathar wars, the ruler was Raymond VI. In many ways, the Counts of Toulouse of this period were model rulers. They were far more liberal and tolerant than their more conventionally Catholic royal peers. They declined to discriminate against Jews, Cathars or other religious dissidents. Learning and literacy flourished in their lands. Women enjoyed much greater freedom than elsewhere in Christendom, and the High Culture of the troubadours was actively encouraged.
As a great cross-roads of Europe, merchants brought wealth to the area, and cities were allowed to set up fledgling municipal governments, based on the old Roman city states with democratically elected consuls (capitouls as they are still called in Toulouse).
Every one of these innovations invited the condemnation of the Roman Church, ultimately causing a religious war, the fall of the House of Toulouse and the extinction of their line.
Despite the best efforts of the Church, the Saint-Gilles family never lost the respect of the people of the Languedoc. Both Raymond VI and Raymond VII had been publicly humiliated, stripped to the waist, flogged and excommunicated. Yet the people still flocked to kiss the hem of their robes. It is perhaps an echo of this respect that their heraldic device may still be seen everywhere that they ruled, eight hundred years ago.