Aquitaine is an ancient and beautiful region of southwest France in a strategic location bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees. Cave paintings from the Palaeolithic attest to Neanderthal and early human inhabitants. Mesolithic hunter gatherers probably spoke a form of the Basque language before the migration westwards of Indo-Europeans. Various peoples with differing cultures struggled over the centuries to control this fertile region, including Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Franks, as well as the French and English. Although owing allegiance to the French Crown, Aquitaine had a unique and vibrant courtly culture. But the Duchy of Aquitaine is most renowned for Eleanor: fabled Duchess and Queen Consort of both France and England. These two sessions will explore aspects of the history of Aquitaine through to the early 13th century and the death of Queen Eleanor in 1204.