Agnes of Poitou, Agnes of Aquitaine or Empress Agnes (c. 1025 – 14 December 1077) was Holy Roman Empress and regent of the Holy Roman Empire from 1056 to 1062.
She was born to William V, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou and his wife Agnes of Burgundy. She was the sister of Duke William VI, Duke Eudes, Duke William VII, and Duke William VIII.
Her maternal grandparents were Otto-William, Duke of Burgundy and Ermentrude of Rheims.
Marriage and children
Agnes married Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor on 21 November 1043 at Ingelheim. She was his second wife after Gunhilda of Denmark, who had died in 1038.
Their children were:
After her husband's death, Agnes served as regent during the minority of their young son, Henry IV. Her chief counselor was Henry II, Bishop of Augsburg, who was widely hated for his arrogance and - as the chronicler Lambert of Hersfeld alluded to - his suspected relationship with the empress.
Although Agnes pursued a policy of reconciliation with her late husband's enemies, a conspiracy was formed against her by a cadre of power-hungry princes. Shortly after Easter 1062, her son Henry was abducted by some of these conspirators, who included the bishop of Cologne and the duke of Bavaria. Without her son, Agnes lost political power and was forced into a temporary retirement.
In 1065 she went to Rome, where she lived under the guidance of the theologian Peter Damian. In her later years Agnes acted as a peacemaker between her son Henry IV and his enemies. She died at Rome on 14 December 1077 and is buried at St. Peter's Basilica.
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