James I (Aragon)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James I the Conqueror ( Aragonese Chaime o Conqueridor , Spanish Jaime el Conquistador ; * February 2, 1208 in Montpellier ; † July 27, 1276 in Valencia ) was a King of Aragon , Count of Barcelona ( Catalonia ) and Lord from 1213 to 1276 from Montpellier from the house of Barcelona . He was one of the most important monarchs of the Spanish Middle Ages and, due to his conquests, was the actual founder of the maritime power of the Aragonese crown in the western Mediterranean, with which Aragón was able to establish itself next to Castile and Portugal as one of the three leading Christian powers on the Iberian Peninsula .

King James I of Aragon, represented by Gonçal Peris Sarrià and Jaume Mateu, 1427, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Childhood and youth

Jacob was the only surviving child of King Peter II the Catholic and Mary of Montpellier . He was born on February 1, 1208 in the Tornamira Palace in Montpellier and baptized the same day in the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie des Tables (today Notre-Dame des Tables ). At the time of his birth, his parents were already living apart and waging a marital war in which Peter II tried in vain to obtain a divorce from Maria. His father had arranged his engagement in February 1210 to Aurembiaix , the heiress of Urgell County , one of the last great Catalan counties not owned by the House of Barcelona. Only a year later, Peter II changed his plans and in January 1211 at the Council of Narbonne-Montpellier he betrothed his son to Amicia de Montfort , daughter of the leader of the Albigensian Crusade , Simon de Montfort , with whom Peter II had agreed a political settlement after Montfort usurped fiefdoms of the Aragonese crown. For this purpose, Jakob was transferred to the Montfort family as a sign of confidence, in which he was raised by his future mother-in-law Alix de Montmorency . However, the trust had not proven to be justified after Peter II and Simon de Montfort broke the expansion policy of the latter in 1213, which resulted in a mutual declaration of war. After Maria of Montpellier had died in Rome in the spring of 1213 , Peter II was killed by the crusaders Simons de Montfort on September 12th in the battle of Muret, making Jacob an orphan.

In April 1214, Simon de Montfort had under pressure from Pope Innocent III. and in the face of a Catalan army in Narbonne, Jacob, whose engagement to his daughter had become irrelevant, had to hand over to the papal legate Peter of Benevento . From this the current king was transferred to the master of the Templars of Catalonia for further education at the castle of Monzón , where he was to spend the next years of his childhood together with his cousin, Count Raimund Berengar V of Provence . The government for the Kingdom of Aragon was temporarily taken over by a council headed by the uncles of Jacob, Abbot Ferdinand of Montearagón and Count Sancho . Later he assumed that both of them had ambitions for the crown themselves. During the years on Monzón, Aragón sank into anarchy in which various aristocratic factions fought each other and opposed the authority of the royal uncles. On June 24, 1217, Jacob was present at the transfer of his father's body to the Abbey of Santa María de Sigena . On September 8, 1218 Count Sancho had given up the reign, whereupon Pope Honorius III in July 1219 . a new government council appointed, which should now preside Guillem de Montcada-Bearn as procurator. At the same time, ten-year-old Jakob had left Monzón of his own free will and joined one of the aristocratic factions in Saragossa , in whose entourage he had his first combat experience. On February 6, 1221 he married his cousin Eleanor of Castile in Ágreda and shortly afterwards received the sword leadership in Tarazona . In the conflict that broke out in late 1222 between his cousin Nuno Sanchez of Roussillon and the procurator Guillem de Montcada, Jakob had sided with the former, aiming to emancipate his guardians towards independent rule. The war against the procurator dragged on until the spring of 1225 and ended, despite a failed siege of his ancestral castle (today Montcada i Reixac ), in a general reconciliation.

Since then, Jakob had led an independent government and looked for ways to channel the bellicosity and expansionist urge of his Aragonese-Catalan nobility and found him in the resumption of the Reconquista against the Islamic-Moorish Almohad Empire. In April 1225 he had solemnly taken the cross to fight the Moors in Tortosa for the first time, but the siege of Peñíscola that followed failed. Thereupon the Aragonese nobleman Pedro d'Ahones rose up against whom Jacob fought a victorious battle near Cutanda in June 1226 , in which Don Pedro was killed. However, this led to a general uprising in the Aragonese cities, fueled by Abbot Ferdinand of Montearagón and the Bishop of Saragossa, who was a brother of the killed, who in turn were able to win Guillem de Montcada for their cause. In order to end the uprising, Jakob had pronounced a general amnesty for the rebels on March 31, 1227 in Alcalá del Obispo , who in return swore their fealty and dissolved the Aragonese League of Cities.

Conquest of Mallorca

Map of the conquest of Mallorca, 1229.

After the suppression of the Aragonese uprising, Jacob finally had the opportunity to carry out his crusade plans against the Moors. On a court day (corts) in Barcelona on December 23, 1228 he and his knighthood solemnly took the cross for the conquest of Mallorca , which was ruled independently by the Wali Abu Yahya, who was appointed by the Almohads . Allegedly, in his own words, a wealthy citizen from Barcelona had given him this idea a few months earlier during a dinner in Tarragona , but his father had already been planning to conquer the Balearic Islands. On December 30, 1228, Jacob had determined the hierarchical integration of the Balearic Islands under the diocese of Barcelona . And on the part of Pope Gregory IX. he had received the official sanctioning of the campaign as a crusade . While the planning was still going on, Jacob had to part with his wife Eleanor of Castile after the Pope had questioned the validity of their marriage under canon law because they were too closely related. On April 29, 1229 a papal legate in Tarragona had ordered the annulment of the marriage. The legitimacy of their son Alfons , who had already been designated the sole heir in February 1228, was not affected.

The Catalan fleet was finally able to set sail from Salou on September 5, 1229 and reach the coast of Mallorca on the same day. After she anchored off the island of Pantaleu for two nights , she arrived on the opposite bank in the Bay of Palomera on September 7, but when a vanguard of the Moorish army marched there at the same time, Jakob refused to land the army. Instead, they hurriedly headed for the bay of Santa Ponça , where he and part of the army were able to go ashore on the night of September 9th to 10th. On the same day there was a first encounter with the advance guard of the Moors, who also tried to prevent a landing from which the Catalans (Aragonese were underrepresented in the army) had emerged victorious. In the meantime, the fleet had sailed on the coast towards Mallorca City with a smaller army and was the first to discover the main army of the Moors under Abu Yahya, which gathered in the Serra de na Burguesa above the port of Porto Pí, where the Catalans are at September 12 there for the battle of Porto Pí . Despite the defeat of their vanguard, in which the Montcada cousins Guillem , Vice-Count of Béarn, and Ramon were killed, the Catalans got the upper hand in the end and drove the Moors to flight. On September 15th they took up the siege of Mallorca City (now Palma ), which lasted over three months. During the siege, the army was exposed to raids by the Moors from the Serra de Tramuntana , which men had to be withdrawn from the siege to fight them. After a breach in the wall, the Catalans were finally able to storm the city on December 31.

Jakob stayed on Mallorca until the autumn of 1230, carried out campaigns against scattered Moors in the mountainous hinterland and began to record the island administratively. On January 10th, he gave the city of Barcelona all free trade rights on the island and in its waters. As a sign of his victory, he laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Cathedral of Santa María (La Seu) on the site of the former main mosque . In a document dated September 22, 1230, in which he thanked the men of Lleida for their allegiance, Jacob called himself “King of Mallorca” for the first time, giving the island the status of a kingdom linked to the Crown of Aragon. This kingdom should also include the other Balearic Islands, which he himself did not intend to conquer. On October 28, 1230, he left Mallorca and returned to Catalonia, where he was solemnly received in Tarragona. A year later he had appointed the last owner, Peter of Portugal , "Lord of the Kingdom of Mallorca", who in 1235 conquered the islands of Ibiza and Formentera . Only Menorca remained for the time being under the rule of a Moorish prince who, however, had to declare himself a vassal of Aragon on June 17, 1231 in Capdepera and pay tribute to him. In return, Jacob granted the islanders the freedom to practice the Islamic religion.

Conquest of Valencia

The Battle of El Puig de Santa María, painting by Marçal de Sas, early 15th century

In the spring of 1231 the old King Sancho VII of Navarre turned to Jacob for help in Tudela after Castile had launched an offensive against Navarre . Jacob was to become the heir of the childless Navarrese through an adoption, bypassing the inheritance rights of Theobald IV of Champagne . The reunification of Aragon with Navarre, which had separated from each other in 1134, has always been pursued by Jacob's ancestors and now seemed within reach. On February 2, 1231, the adoption and succession was sealed in a contract that was sworn on April 4 by the Aragonese and Navarre nobles. In return, Jacob pledged financial and military aid in the fight against Castile.

Meanwhile, a new opportunity for expansion opened up for Jacob when the overthrown Moorish ruler of Valencia , Abu Sa'id , fled to his court at the same time . He was once the governor of the Almohads in Valencia, but after their defeat at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, like other governors, he became independent until he was finally expelled by a leader of the local Berber tribe of the Banu Mardanïsh, Zayyan . On January 30, 1232, Abu Sa'id in Teruel had agreed to become a vassal of Jacob for the Taifa Valencia, a quarter of whose territory was to be ceded directly to the Crown of Aragon. The real impetus for conquering Valencia was given by the Aragonese nobleman Blasco de Alagón when he had conquered Morella Castle around the same time . Jakob had not approved of this private engagement, although Don Blasco could invoke a royal privilege from 1226, which guaranteed him all conquests of Moorish territories as his own. In general, the conquest of Valencia was a concern that was persecuted and demanded mainly by the Aragonese, while the conquest of Mallorca was still more of a Catalan affair. In the autumn of 1232 Jacob led his first campaign in the Taifa Valencia and conquered the Ares Castle , which he not only wanted to gain as a gateway to Moorish territory, but from which he could also threaten the nearby Morella. Thereupon Don Blasco gave in and gave him the castle, which Jacob in turn returned to the Don as a royal fief. In the spring of 1233, Jakob launched a new offensive southward from Alcañiz , first taking Xèrica and then, after a three-month siege, in July 1233 the heavily fortified Borriana , with which he had completed the conquest of the northern typhoon of Valencia. Here, during the siege, he had given the knightly orders of the Templars and Hospitallers as well as other deserving henchmen as gifts. The conquest of Borriana had led to the abandonment of Peñíscola , whose siege Jacob failed in 1225, without a fight , from Chivert , Castellón , Almazora and other fortresses by the Moors.

Jacob's offensive only came to a halt on the Júcar River when it failed there in June 1235 during the siege of Cullera , after which he had temporarily returned to Catalonia. In Navarre, King Sancho VII had died in the meantime and despite the sworn inheritance treaty of 1231, the Navarre nobility had called the Count of Champagne into the country and made him king ( Theobald I ). Jakob had also married a second time on September 8th in Barcelona, ​​with Yolanda (Violante) of Hungary , daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary . The bride was to him next to a daughter of the Duke of Austria by Pope Gregory IX. were recommended, whereby he had rejected the latter in order not to endanger the traditionally good relations between Aragon and Emperor Frederick II . On May 28, 1236, the Aragonese-Catalan nobility voted at a large court day (Cort general) in Monzón for a continuation of the Moors' struggle, with the conquest of Valencia as the goal. In addition, Jacob had renewed his old promises to Abu Sa'id to return him to Valencia, which he was ultimately never to keep. The Pope sanctioned the new offensive as a crusade in February 1237, after which Jacob and his army crossed the Júcar to the south in the summer. However, he had led the march only up to the hill Puig de Santa María (outdated Puig de Cebolla), which he had fortified with a castle and a strong garrison. While Jakob himself marched back north in the direction of Huesca, Zayyan took the opportunity to attack the garrison that had been left behind with a superior force. On August 15, 1237, the Catalans under Bernat Guillem I. d'Entença won the battle of El Puig de Santa María despite their numerical inferiority.

The victory of El Puig had broken the resistance of the Moors, so that in May 1238 Jacob was finally able to march right in front of the walls of Valencia and begin its siege. He was supported by crusaders from England and France, who were led by the Archbishop of Narbonne , Pierre Amiel . Jacob suffered an arrow wound on his head during the fighting. The Zayyan, who remained in the city, hoped to be rescued by a relief fleet that the Sultan of Tunis had promised him. But when it reached the coast of Valencia in August 1238 and found the city under siege, it was turned back to Africa, whereupon Zayyan was ready to negotiate surrender with Jacob. On September 28, 1238, the capitulation of Valencia was sealed, Zayyan and all Muslims were granted free retreat and all those who wanted to remain in Valencia under Christian rule were issued a guarantee of protection. Zayyan had to give up all castles north of the Júcar , including Dénia and Cullera, and went into exile in Murcia . Jacob entered Valencia on October 9, 1238.

Jacob I of Aragon moves into conquered Valencia. Fresco in the Convent of Alcañiz.

The conquest or - from a Christian point of view - the recapture of Valencia from the Muslims was one of his greatest victories, which established him among the most glorious monarchs of Western European Christianity. King Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France sent him a crown of thorns especially for the cathedral of Valencia , which the former main mosque was transformed into. Jacob did not think of returning the city to its former ruler, as he had once promised in a contract, but incorporated the former Muslim Taifa kingdom into the conglomerate of the Aragonese crown. In 1240 he had enacted the Fori regni Valentie (laws of the Kingdom of Valencia) for the new kingdom , which were mainly based on the Catalan custom.

With the capture of its capital, the conquest of the Kingdom of Valencia was not yet complete, as the castles of its southern third were still under Moorish control. These were taken in several campaigns in the following years, some of which Jacob left to his governors. Villena was taken in August 1240, Alcira in 1242 , Játiva in 1244 after a third siege and finally Biar in February 1245 after a five-month siege , which largely concluded the conquest. The Moors of Valencia undertook another major uprising against Christian rule in 1247, led by Al-Azraq who was to prove to Jacob the most dangerous of his opponents. Pope Innocent IV had the crusade preached in November 1248 specifically to combat it. Only in 1258 could Al-Azraq be finally defeated after protracted fighting.

Compensation with France

The possessions of the Crown of Aragon after the reign of Jacob I the Conqueror

Under James I, the urge to expand south and to the sea was accompanied by a hesitant abandonment of the expansion policy to the north in the Occitan region beyond the Pyrenees , today's southern France. His ancestors had pursued the goal of establishing a closed territory that would extend into Provence . However, the turning point of the Albigensian Crusade (1208-1229) and the death of Peter II before Muret brought this request to an abrupt end, after which Aragon's political position collapsed in Occitania, also due to Jacob's minority. The resulting power vacuum was instead filled by the French royal power, which in the Treaty of Paris (1229) integrated not only some territories of the Counts of Toulouse but also the vice-counties of Béziers and Carcassonne , both of which were once fiefs of Aragon, into the crown domain . Jakob had hardly done anything against this development, above all he had always avoided a direct military confrontation with France , his actions to curb the expansion of French power were limited to the support of the local opposition. He granted the Occitan resistance fighters, so-called “ Faydits ”, safe asylum in Catalonia, from where they regularly fought against the French authorities, crossing the Pyrenees to the north. For example, in the great uprising of Raymond II Trencavel in 1240, which had to be ended after a failed siege of Carcassonne . On June 6, 1241, Jacob brokered a peace between his cousin Raimund Berengar V of Provence and his notorious enemy Raimund VII of Toulouse in Montpellier , both of which were to form a regional counterbalance to the French crown. The following year, Jacob was the alliance of the Count of Toulouse with King Henry III. joined by England , supported their fight against Louis IX. of France but not active, which won in the end.

Jacob's policy of interests in the north of the Pyrenees was ultimately doomed to failure when he ran out of allies there. In 1245 his cousin Raimund Berengar V died, leaving only daughters. In order to prevent the loss of Provence for the House of Aragón, Jakob had moved to Aix with army power in order to force the testamentary heiress Beatrix to marry his son Peter . He was opposed by the French prince Charles of Anjou , who, like the old Count of Toulouse, was aiming for the heiress. All three applicants, however, required a papal dispensation for the marriage to Beatrix, as they were all too closely related to her. In the end, thanks to his brother, the French applicant had the longer diplomatic arm and Pope Innocent IV granted him the dispensation, which resulted in the loss of Provence for Aragón. A similar situation arose in Toulouse in 1249 when Count Raimund VII died and was succeeded by his son-in-law Alfonso von Poitiers , with the result that the entire Occitan country, or Languedoc , was now firmly in French hands. Under these circumstances, Jakob had considered a contractual settlement with France to be desirable, which should include a settlement of territorial and legal claims between the two kingdoms to avoid future conflicts. He raised no objections when France moved its border to the Fenouillèdes in 1255 by taking the castle of Quéribus . On May 11, 1258, a border drawing between France and Aragon-Catalonia was finally agreed in the Treaty of Corbeil , which should have existed until the Peace of the Pyrenees of 1659. To this end, both kingdoms had agreed on a mutual renunciation of rights in which Jacob renounced all former possessions and fiefs of his house north of the Pyrenees in favor of France. The only exception was Montpellier , which was an inheritance from his mother and that was now to become an Aragonese enclave in France. In return, France renounced its rights as overlord of the Spanish mark , which Charlemagne had once founded and from which the Catalan counties had emerged. Although the Franconian feudal rule over Catalonia had only been of a theoretical nature for centuries, the Capetian kings had never forgotten nor given it up in order to be able to use it as a means of pressure in the negotiations. With their declaration of renunciation, Jacob and his successors could now rule de jure as sovereign rulers in Catalonia. The contract was dynastically sealed by an engagement between the Infanta Isabella and Prince Philip , who succeeded as King of France in 1270.

Conquest of Murcia

After the equalization with France in the north, Jakob had now again gained freedom to expand into the south. Beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Valencia, however, when he took possession of Murcia , he touched the power interests of Castile , which also made a claim to this Taifa kingdom. Castile could refer to the Treaty of Cazorla from 1179, by which the grandfathers of Jacob and Ferdinand III. of Castile had already agreed a demarcation through the still Muslim al-Andalus , in which Murcia was awarded Castile. In the treaty of Almizra of March 26, 1244 , Jacob had to accept the conquest of Murcia by Castile (May 1, 1243); he was only able to secure a few border towns and fortresses in this typhoon by contract. In 1263 the Moors of Murcia revolted against the Castilian rule and Jacob decided to campaign against the city to help his son-in-law Alfonso X of Castile . This time, however, he could not count on the support of his nobility, who had come into opposition to him because of his favor for Castile, headed by his son Fernán Sánchez de Castro of all people . Jacob's motives for supporting Castile, however, were simple; a successful rebellion against Christian rule in Murcia could easily spread to neighboring Valencia and therefore had to be quickly put down.

After Jacob had received financial support from the Castilian Cortes and in March 1265 the sanctioning of the campaign as a crusade by Pope Clement IV , he began the march towards Murcia in September 1265, accompanied by his sons Peter and Jacob. On the way, he met his son-in-law in Alcaraz on December 8th and began the siege of Murcia in January 1266. Already in the first days of February the city that he was able to enter surrendered to him. After he had their mosque consecrated in a Christian cathedral, he was able to hand the city over to his son-in-law.

Late years

The tomb of Jacob I of Aragon in the Abbey of Santa María de Poblet.

Jakob had spent the last decade of his life consolidating his conquests and laying the foundations for the further expansion policy of his successors. In addition, in 1262 he married his eldest living son and main heir Peter - Alfons had died in 1260 - to a daughter of the Staufer King Manfred of Sicily , thus giving the House of Aragón the right to the Kingdom of Sicily . In 1267, after Pope Clement IV's sermons, Jacob took the cross for a campaign in the Holy Land , which was to be embedded in the Seventh Crusade . On September 8, 1269, he set sail with his fleet from Barcelona, ​​but a few days later he got caught in a severe storm near Menorca , which had pushed most of his ships back to the Catalan coast. Only a small squadron led by two of his bastard sons had reached the open sea and Acre ; in the spring of 1270 they had returned to Catalonia. Jacob himself had not pursued his crusade plan, because allegedly the love for a mistress had prevented him from doing it. In 1271 he had signed a peace and trade treaty with the Hafsid Sultanate of Tunis , which was supposed to establish Aragon's African trade and a political alliance against Charles of Anjou , who had overthrown the Hohenstaufen in Sicily a few years earlier. In 1274 Jacob moved to Lyon to personally take part in the council that met there ( Second Council of Lyon ). He hoped to be crowned here by Pope Gregory X , as his father once did by Innocent III in 1204 . was crowned. The Pope rejected this request, however, as Jacob was not prepared to pay the tribute payments to the Holy See that had not been made since the death of his father, which were fixed in 1204.

Back in Catalonia, Jakob had to grapple with various domestic political problems in the last years of his life, which were mixed up with internal family conflicts. In the dispute over the succession in County Urgell, a party dispute had ignited within the Catalan nobility, which was fought militarily. Furthermore, the Aragonese nobility had again risen against the authority of the crown, which always felt disadvantaged compared to the Catalan nobility. Jacob's son Fernán Sánchez de Castro , who shared a deep enmity with his half-brother Infante Peter, who allegedly even wanted to murder him , had once again joined the leaders of the Aragonese . Jakob had entrusted his eldest son with the military fight against the uprising and suggested that he take tough action against the rebels. In 1275, Infant Peter besieged his half-brother in Pomar and drowned him while fleeing in the Cinca River . Badly hit by this family tragedy, for which he was not free from guilt, Jakob had largely withdrawn from day-to-day political affairs. Shortly before his death in 1276, there was another uprising of the Moors in Valencia, in which even his old enemy al-Azraq, who had returned from exile in Africa, took part. Jacob had these matters for his eldest son Peter III. left, which according to his will should become his main heir in Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia, while his second son James II should receive the kingdom of Mallorca, as well as the Cerdanya, the Roussillon and Montpellier.

Shortly after July 23, 1276, Jacob was attacked by an illness in Valencia, from which he died on July 27, 1276; he was buried in the Cistercian Abbey of Santa María by Poblet , as he had already ordered in his second will of 1241. After the disentailment of the abbey in 1835, which were desecrated looted and their royal tombs, his mummified corpse was based on the scar on his skull that was left of his wound in the battle for Valencia, again identified and reburied. His coffin was opened again on July 22, 1855 for a detailed examination of his body.

Vidal de Canyelles presents James I the perfect Vidal mayor . Manuscript from the late 13th century.

Laws and deeds

In addition to his conquests, James I is especially important for his work as a legislator in the history of Spain. Under his rule, at his instigation, the civil constitutions of the three most important parts of the kingdom of the Aragon Crown were set in writing, all of which were borrowed to a large extent from Roman law . The “Fueros de Aragón” (Laws of Aragón) were summarized by the Legist Vidal de Canyelles in his work Vidal mayor , while those of Catalonia were written down by Pere Albert in the De consuetudinibus Cathalonie , also known as Commenoracions . Jakob also had his own body of law drawn up for Valencia. In his government activities, Jakob had increasingly sought advice from expert advisers, above all from university-trained [[legal formality <Legisten]] and theologians whom he had commissioned with drafting the legal texts. The best known of them was the Dominican Raimund von Penyafort , with whose help he founded the Mercedarian Order on August 10, 1218 , which was founded in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX. has been confirmed. The University of Jaume I in Castelló de la Plana is named after Jakob . As a result of his childhood experiences, Jacob's character was shaped throughout his life by a deep distrust of those around him, which was particularly directed against his nobility and even his closest relatives were always suspected of harboring subversive plans. In his reign he therefore relied particularly on the cities and their bourgeoisie, which he favored with economic privileges in his conquests. In order to break away from the military dependence on the nobility, Jacob was the first king to have recruited the Almogàvers to a large extent , who later acquired a notorious reputation throughout the Mediterranean as a Catalan company , especially in the 14th century . His distant attitude towards the nobility had not least contributed to their growing displeasure with his government, which in his later years violently discharged.

Jacob's lasting work is complemented by his work as a ruler and general as well as that of a writer. Apparently in old age he wrote an autobiography in his “Book of Deeds” (Catalan: Llibre dels fets ), the focus of which is on the description of his military conquests. He had written on this work until shortly before his death; his fatal illness in Valencia was the last note in the last paragraph. He had written the book in Catalan , making it the first of the four great Catalan chronicles before the works of Bernard Desclot , Ramon Muntaner and Peter IV .



Raimund Berengar IV of Barcelona
Petronella of Aragon
Alfonso VII of Castile
Richeza of Poland
William VII of Montpellier
(† around 1173)
Mathilde of Burgundy
Alexios Komnenos
Alfonso II of Aragon
Sancha of Castile
William VIII of Montpellier
Eudokia Komnena
Peter II of Aragon
Mary of Montpellier
James I of Aragon

Marriages and offspring

Even as a baby, Jacob was betrothed by his father in 1209 to Aurembiaix , the heiress of the county of Urgell, which should pass into the possession of the Aragonese crown through this marriage. This engagement was dropped in January 1211 in favor of one with Amicia de Montfort , but this marriage project could not be realized as a result of the battle of Muret.

Jacob's first wife was Eleanor of Castile († 1244), a daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile , whom he married on February 6, 1221 in Ágreda . Since both were too closely related as cousins ​​in the second degree, the marriage was annulled on April 29, 1229 under papal pressure. She had a son:

On October 23, 1228 Jacob had entered into a remarkable partnership with his former fiancée Aurembiaix, who had rejoined the royal court and had apparently become his lover. In any case, Jakob had concluded a “cohabitation contract” with her by granting their children the rights of succession in the County of Urgell, even if they were of illegitimate origin. He had also had to commit himself to loyalty to his beloved, whom he was only allowed to leave for an "equal lady", with Aurembiaix having fixed her personal worth with a sum of money. Contractually agreed concubinates were not uncommon in Catalan and Occitan society, especially the feudal nobility and the well-off bourgeoisie had practiced such, but no king had ever entered into such a relationship. Children did not emerge from her and the contract had already become null and void in 1229 through the marriage of Aurembiaix to Peter of Portugal . Apart from his marriages and his relationship with Aurembiaix, Jakob had had several other affairs.

Yolanda (Violante) of Hungary (* 1219, † October 9, 1251), a daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary , was the second wife of Jacob, whom he married on September 8, 1235 in Barcelona. Your children were:

  • Violante (* 1236, † 1301); ⚭ on November 26, 1248 with King Alfonso X of Castile (* 1221, † 1284).
  • Konstanze (* 1239; † around 1269); ⚭ 1260 with Don Manuel of Castile (* 1234, † 1283), Señor de Escalona, ​​Peñafiel and Villena.
  • Isabella (* 1243, † 1271); ⚭ May 28, 1262 with King Philip III. of France (* 1245, † 1285).
  • Peter III , (* 1240, † 1285), King of Aragón and Valencia, Count of Barcelona.
  • James II (* 1243, † 1311), King of Mallorca, Count of Roussillon and Cerdanya, Lord of Montpellier.
  • Fernando (* 1245; † 1250).
  • Sancho (* 1246; † 1251).
  • Maria (* 1248; † 1267), nun in Santa María by Sigena .
  • Sancho (* 1250; † 1275), Archbishop of Toledo .
  • Leonor (* 1251; † young).

Around 1265 Jacob entered into a third morganatic marriage with Teresa Gil de Vidaure, daughter of Juan de Vidaure. Her two sons were legitimized by him:

  • Jaume de Aragó (* 1255/60, † 1280), Senyor de Xèrica.
  • Pere de Aragó (* 1259, † 1318), Baró d'Ayerbe - His descendants include the dukes of Allesano and princes of Cassano.

illegitimate son with Blanca d'Antillon:

  • Ferran Sanxis (* around 1241, † 1275), Baró de Castre - His descendants include the Barons of Castro.

illegitimate son with Berenguela Fernandis:

  • Pere Fernandis (* 1245/9, † 1297), Baró d'Híxar - his descendants include the dukes of Hijar, Aliaga and Lecera.

possible illegitimate son, maybe also a nephew:


  • Thomas Bisson: The Medieval Crown of Aragon. Oxford 1986.
  • Robert I. Burns: The Crusade against Al-Azraq: A Thirteenth-Century Mudejar Revolt in International Perspective , in: The American Historical Review , Vol. 93 (1988), pp. 80-106.
  • Robert I. Burns: The Spiritual Life of James the Conqueror, King of Aragón-Catalonia, 1208-1276: Portrait and Self-Portrait , in: Catholic Historical Review , Vol. 62 (1976), pp. 1-35.
  • Odilo Engels: Jacob I 'the Conqueror' . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0 , column 281 f.
  • Odilo Engels: The Treaty of Corbeil (1258) , in: Spanische Forschungen 1 , Vol. 19 (1962), pp. 114-146.
  • J. Torres Fontes: La Reconquista de Murcia en 1266 by Jaime I de Aragon. Murcia, 1987.
  • Joaquim Miret i Sans, Maria Teresa Ferrer i Mallol: Itinerari de Jaume I "el Conqueridor" , in: Memòries de la Secció Històrico-Arqueològica , vol. 65. Institut d'Estudis Catalans, 1918.
  • Claramunt Rodríguez: El tractat de Corbeil (1258). Fi de l'Expansió vers el Nord , in: Catalunya i els tractats internacionals (2003), pp. 29–36.


  1. ^ Llibre dels fets , §5.
  2. ^ Llibre dels fets , §11.
  3. Itinerari de Jaume I "el Conqueridor" , ed. by Joaquím Miret i Sans (1918), p. 23.
  4. La documentación pontificia de Honorio III (1216-1227) , ed. by Demetrio Mansila (1955), no.234.
  5. Itinerari de Jaume I "el Conqueridor" , ed. by Joaquím Miret i Sans (1918), p. 37.
  6. Colección de documentos inéditos del archivo general de la Corona de Aragón , Vol. 6, ed. by Próspero de Bofarull y Mascaró and Manuel de Bofarull i de Sataorio (1850), no.15.
  7. ^ Llibre dels fets , §47. Itinerari de Jaume I "el Conqueridor" , ed. by Joaquím Miret i Sans (1918), p. 73.
  8. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no. 114-115.
  9. ^ Even during the siege of Mallorca, Gregory IX. on November 29, 1229 instructed the Dominican Raimund von Penyafort to call for sermons in the archdioceses of Arles and Narbonne in support of the Mallorcan crusade. Regesta Pontificum Romanorum , Vol. 1, ed. by August Potthast (1874), No. 8471, p. 728.
  10. Concilium Turiasonense , in: Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio vol. 23, ed. by Giovanni Domenico Mansi (1779), col. 205-207 .
  11. ^ Llibre dels fets , §56.
  12. ^ Llibre dels fets , §58.
  13. Llibre dels fets , §59.
  14. ^ Llibre dels fets , §60.
  15. Llibre dels fets , §61-66.
  16. Llibre dels fets , §69-87.
  17. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.146.
  18. Documenta regni majoricarum: miscelanea , ed. by Joan Vich i Salom and Joan Muntaner i Bujosa (1945), No. 1, p. 9.
  19. Provas da Historia Genealogica da Casa Real Portugueza , ed. by AC Sousa (1739), Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 25.
  20. On the Treaty of Capdepera of June 17, 1231 see Miquel Barceló: El tractat de Capdepera de 17 juny de 1231 entre Jaume I i Abû 'Abd Allāh b. Muhammad de Manurqa. Sobre la funció social i política deis fuqahā , in: Bolletín de la Sociedad Arqueológica Luliana , Vol. 38 (1981), pp. 233-249.
  21. Llibre dels fets , §138-139.
  22. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), nos. 147 and 151.
  23. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.149.
  24. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.119.
  25. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.85.
  26. Llibre dels fets , §137.
  27. Llibre dels fets , §153-156.
  28. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no. 181-185.
  29. Llibre dels fets , §182.
  30. Llibre dels fets , §192-195.
  31. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 1, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.236.
  32. ^ Regesta Pontificum Romanorum , Vol. 1, ed. by August Potthast (1874), No. 10297, p. 874. On January 8, 1239, the Pope again had the crusade against Valencia preached in the archdioceses of Narbonne, Arles, Auch and Aix. See Potthast, no.10697, p. 905.
  33. ^ Llibre dels fets , §218.
  34. ^ Llibre dels fets , §266.
  35. Llibre dels fets , §256-281. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 2, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1976), no.265.
  36. La documentación pontificia de Inocencio IV (1243-1254) , Vol. 2, ed. by A. Quintana Pietro (1987), No. 557-559.
  37. Layettes du Trésor des Chartes , Vol. 2, ed. by Alexandre Teulet (1866), No. 2920, pp. 450-451.
  38. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 4, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1982), nos. 1004-1019.
  39. Layettes du Trésor des Chartes , Vol. 3, ed. by Joseph de Laborde (1875), no. 4412, pp. 406-407.
  40. Spicilegium sive collectio veterum aliquot Scriptorum qui in Galliae bibliothecis delituerant , Vol. 3, ed. by Luc d'Achery (1723), p. 634.
  41. Documentos de Jaime I de Aragón , Vol. 3, ed. by Ambrosio Huici Miranda and Maria Descamparados Cabanes Pecourt (1978), no.380.
  42. Llibre dels fets , §434-444.
  43. Llibre dels fets , §484-489.
  44. L'Estoire de Eracles empereur Liv. 34, §12, in: Recueil des historiens des croisades (1859), Historiens Occidentaux II, pp. 457–458
  45. Llibre dels fets , §508.
  46. Llibre dels fets , §549-550.
  47. Llibre dels fixed , §566. Ponç de Copons, Abbot of Poblet (1316-1348), had written a short appendix on September 17, 1343 under the last paragraph of the Llibre dels fets , in which he recorded the place and date of Jacob I's death and his burial in his abbey .
  48. Juan Salvat: Tarragona y el Gran Rey Jaime I de Aragón (Estudio histórico crítico literario) 1228-1229. S. 154, Tarragona 1957. The investigation had revealed a height of Jacob I of 182 centimeters. At his meeting with King Sancho VII of Navarre in 1231, Jacob was surprised by his enormous size, which surpassed his. Llibre dels fets , §138.
  49. ^ Gunnar Tilander: Vidal mayor, traducción aragonesa de la obra In excelsis dei thesauris. 3 volumes, Lund: Håkan Ohlssons Bokthrykeri, 1956. Donald J. Kagay: The Usatges of Barcelona: The Fundamental Law of Catalonia. University of Philadelphia Press, 1994.
  50. Manuel Dualde Serrano: Fori antiqui Valentiae. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid 1950–1967.
  51. ^ Damian J. Smith and Helena Buffery: The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon. A Translation of the medieval catalan Llibre dels Fets. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2010. (English translation of Llibre dels fets )
  52. On the cohabitation contract between Jacob I and Aurembiaix see Ferran Soldevila: Fou Aurembiaix d'Urgell amistançada de Jaume I? , in: Revista de Catalunya , Vol. 5 (1926), pp. 408-410.

Web links

Commons : James I of Aragón  - collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Peter II Aragon arms.svg
King of Aragón
Count of Barcelona
Peter III
Kingdom conquered in 1229 Arms of the Monarchs of Majorca and the Balearic Islands (14th-20th Centuries) .svg
King of Mallorca
Jacob II
Kingdom conquered in 1238 Coat of Arms of Valencia (14th-16th Centuries) .svg
King of Valencia
Peter III
Maria Lord of Montpellier
Jacob II