RUen­brel­sltion Dis­putes could spark re­bel­lion

BBC History Magazine - - Medieval Kingship -

James’s tirade at his nobles over their re­fusal to sup­port him in Mur­cia was far from an iso­lated in­ci­dent. Early in his reign, James some­times re­counted good re­la­tions with the no­bil­ity, re­call­ing “hunt­ing small game” to­gether and “sun­ning our­selves and chat­ting”. But, by the end of that reign, sev­eral of the most pow­er­ful men in Aragon were in out­right re­volt.

James’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy shows how his stub­born de­ter­mi­na­tion to achieve his mil­i­tary goals led him re­peat­edly to dis­re­gard his nobles. He re­called how: “Al­though we had hoped they would en­cour­age us, in­stead they dis­cour­aged us… And so we took lit­tle no­tice of their words and we re­jected them.”

The king fos­tered fur­ther dis­con­tent by en­croach­ing upon the nobles’ tra­di­tional le­gal rights. In one in­ci­dent, James wit­nessed a man stab some­one, then run into aris­to­crat Don Gar­cía Romeu’s tent. In­stead of re­spect­ing the tra­di­tional right to claim sanc­tu­ary in a lord’s home, James “took him by the hair and dragged him from there”. This caused Gar­cía to com­plain ve­he­mently to the king for “so great an af­front” to his hon­our.

But James’s nobles weren’t the only source of un­rest. The king’s later years were also marred by re­volts by the conquered Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions in Va­len­cia, as he re­calls in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. In ex­change for sur­ren­der­ing their towns, James had granted the Mus­lims pro­tec­tion to “leave with all the goods that they could carry” or re­main with “their law and those lib­er­ties they had been ac­cus­tomed to en­joy in the time of the Sara­cens”.

In re­belling, James thought that the Mus­lims had bro­ken these pacts. As a re­sult, he at­tempted to ex­pel them from his land.

An il­lus­tra­tion shows James talk­ing to his no­ble­men, with whom he had a tem­pes­tu­ous re­la­tion­ship

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.