Countess Ermesende de Carassonne of Barcelona

F, b. 972, d. 1057
Countess Ermesende de Carassonne of Barcelona [courtesy of "Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership: Women in Power 1000-1100."]
     Ermesende de was born in 972 in Carassonne, France. She was the daugher of Roger I of Carcassonne. Ermesende de married Count Ramon Borrell (?) of Barcelona in 993 in Spain. She was of a noble family of Southern Fance. Ermesende's husband, Ramon, died in 1017 in Barcelona, Spain, leaving her a widow. Ermesende was very active in politics during her husband’s reign, and became regent Countess of Barcelona during the minority of her son. She ruled aggressively continuing to battle the Moors with the help of her Barons. She also summoned Roger de Toeni to come to her aid in fighting against the Moors. He was quite successful militarily and also married Ermesende’s daughter, Adelaide. When her son came of age, she continued to exercise power and to be influential in the politics of the day. Contra to her son’s policies, she was able to aid in organizing raids against the Moors with the Barons of the County. After her son’s death in 1035, she was again regent Countess for her grandson, who did not come of age until 1044.1 Ermesende departed this life in 1057 in Barcelona, Spain.


Count Ramon Borrell (?) of Barcelona b. 972, d. 1017


  1. [S1037] Ermesende de Carassonne, Ermesinde of Carcassonne (972–1057) was a noblewoman in southern France, the daughter of Roger I of Carcassonne. She married to Ramon Borrell, Count of Barcelona. While he lived she was politically active and presided over assemblies and tribunals. After his death in 1018 she became regent for her son Berenguer Ramon I until 1023. After this, she continued to wield power. In contrast to her son, she favored war with the Muslim powers to the South, partly because of the discontent of the nobles at his police of peace. When he died in 1035, she became regent for her grandson until he was declared to be of age in 1044.
    …This led some nobles to act outside the count's wishes. Ermesinde, contra her son, was energetic and decisive, intent on imposing the authority of Barcelona on the baronage. But, as a woman, her exercising control of the military was greatly impeded and organising a raid or other expedition to satisfy the itches of the aristocracy was next to nothing.