RUenbrelsltion Disputes could spark rebellion
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