Eleanor Of Aquitaine, queen of France and afterward of England, born about 1122, died about 1203. She was the eldest daughter and heiress of William IX., duke of Guienne or Aquitaine, and was married in 1137 to Prince Louis, who in the same year succeeded to the throne of France as Louis VII. She was a lover of poetry and art, and could not sympathize with her ascetic husband. She accompanied him on the second crusade to the Holy Land in 1147. At that time he complained of her preference for other men, and on their return from Asia they were divorced, March 18, 1152. A short time afterward she bestowed her hand upon Henry Plantagenet, the future Henry II. of England. This alliance, which made Henry master of Eleanor's possessions in France, produced protracted wars between the two countries. She bore him many children; but his infidelities and neglect having changed her love into hatred, she incited her sons Geoffrey and Richard to rebel against their father, was arrested in 1173, and remained in confinement until after Henry's death in 1189. She was released by his suecessor, Richard I., Coeur de Lion, who placed her at the head of the government on his departure for the Holy Land. She negotiated his marriage with the daughter of the king of Navarre, and went to Germany with his ransom from captivity.
She afterward retired to the abbey of Fontevrault, and surviving Richard, lived to see him succeeded by one of her other sons, John, the signer of Magna Charta. ELEATIC SCHOOL, a group of Greek philosophers, beginning with Xenophanes of Colophon, who settled in Elea or Velia, a Greek colony of southern Italy, in the latter part of the 6th century B. C., and whose principal disciples were Parmenides and Zeno, both of Elea, and Melissus of Samos. Some of the ancients also ranked Leucippus and Empedo-cles among them, but for this there is no evidence. The general spirit of the school may be defined as an attempt, perhaps the first ever made, to refer all science to the absolute and pure ideas of the reason. There are, according to the Eleatics, two kinds of knowledge, that which comes to us through the senses, and that which we owe to the reason alone. The science which is composed of the former is only an illusion, for it contains nothing true, fixed, and durable. The only certain science is that which owes nothing to the senses, and all to the reason. Children and the untaught may believe in the reality of sensible appearances, but the philosopher who seeks the foundation of things should appeal only to the reason.
There are two principles in nature, on the one side fire or light, and on the other night, or thick and heavy matter. These principles are distinct but not separate; they act in concert, playing together a perpetual and universal part in the world. The world is bounded by a circle of light as by a girdle, and is divided into three parts, in the central one of which necessity reigns supreme. The stars are but condensed fire, and the earth is the darkest and heaviest of all bodies. It is round, and placed by its own weight in the centre of the world. Men are born of the earth, warmed by the solar rays, and thought is a product of organization. From this commingling of fire and earth have begun all the things which our senses show us, and which will some time perish. But in all these physical phenomena there is no true science. Reason is the exclusive source of certainty, and reason conceives and recognizes as true nothing but absolute being, being in itself considered, that is, as disengaged from every particular, fleeting, and perishable circumstance, modification, or accident. Thus everything which has ever begun to be, everything which is susceptible of change or modification, of birth or destruction, has no veritable existence; it is not being, but only appearance.
Besides being, in this sense of the word, there is, according to the Eleatics, only nothingness; and as this is but the negation of all things, one can neither affirm it nor deny it. Being is eternal, unchangeable, self-existent; it has neither past nor future, neither parts nor limits, neither division nor succession; it is then an absolute unity, and everything else is but an illusion. Thus, the Eleatic system denies the data furnished by the senses, denies the generalizations and abstractions which the reason founds upon such data, and affirms only those necessary ideas which the reason owes solely to itself, and which it employs in its operations. The result is a pantheism, in Xenophanes resembling the blended material and spiritual pantheism of Spinoza, and in Parmenides approaching the spiritual idealistic pantheism of Fichte.