sobre el Reino de Valencia como un reino de Cruzada


Diplomatarium of the Crusader Kingdom of Valencia:
The Registered Charters of Its Conqueror, Jaume I, 1257-1276. III: Transition in Crusader Valencia: Years of Triumph, Years of War, 1264-1270
Robert I. Burns, S. J.

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The years 1265-1270 were a period of triumph for Jaume the Conqueror, ruler of the variegated Arago-Catalan realms of medieval Mediterranean Spain. They represent indeed the apogee of his long career as warrior and world figure. As in a tragedy, these years also had an element of hubris, and culminated in his humiliation before all Christendom. The period began in prosperity and commercial expansion. Now a hero of Christendom, Jaume was preparing a fleet and an army from February through December 1264, to attack Granada and help Castile defend itself. His embassies were busy at Egypt, Tunis, and Hohenstaufen Sicily, with return embassies from as far away as Armenia. Armed with a personal bull of crusade, King Jaume sent his armies into Murcia in 1265, and appeared in person on that “frontaria” of Valencia near year’s end to begin in earnest the last of his three great conquests against Islam. 1266 was a year of military glory on land and sea, of consolidation and renewed settlement on the frontier, and of heady negotiations with Savoy and Navarre. 1267 saw his interchange of embassies with the Mongol Khan Abaqa, looking for joint action against Islam, an alliance which the restored Byzantine empire would join by the start of 1269. Baronial tumult, and a struggle to gain Urgel for the crown, were minor distractions.

All was in readiness now for Jaume’s grand project in 1269, to lead a fleet and army “in Turquiam” and other “overseas” regions, to rescue the Holy Land as the champion and the last hope of Christendom there. The wreckage of his crusade that year by storm at sea, and the emotional storms of romantic love and shame (played out to the comment of troubadour and pope), constitute together one of the best-known episodes of the king’s career. He withdrew to brood for the better part of a year, much of it in Valencia where his spirits eventually revived. By fall of 1270, he was again gathering feudal hosts for mysterious “magna negocia.” Though aborted, that project ends one stage of his public life and introduces another.

During all this time, though Jaume seldom visited Valencia and seems to have neglected it, that favored kingdom was never far from his mind or projects. The Murcian conquest was largely motivated by fear of losing Valencia to Islam, as Jaume himself said; and it was accompanied by serious warfare against Mudejar rebels within Valencia. The liaison with his mistress Berenguera Alfons in this period was formalized or financed by Valencian castles as a species of dowry. Valencian loans and taxes made possible the Murcian war, and contributed strongly to support the Holy Land project. Though the Valencian Mudejar rebellion particularly preoccupied Jaume, its very existence has all but escaped modern historians. The reason is partly because the king, made wiser by his earlier struggle with Valencian Mudejar rebellions in the period 1247 to 1258, took timely action to contain the conflagration. As with that earlier era of warfare, however, this rebellion also left echoes in the crown registers.1

It will be useful to survey in a general way the Valencian themes of Jaume’s registers during those halcyon years. Some of those themes relate to the wider activities of the king; some of them are merely local; and many of them are representative of processes or events otherwise not well documented. In short, the documents are random views of the conquered kingdom of Valencia during a period of intense consolidation. Their unity is artificial, in that each volume of this project arbitrarily covers each 500 documents in sequence. The present set, from 1264 to 1270, can be organized to frame several kinds of “space” in which the Christian colonizers lived: the physical geography, the human geography both political and economic, the juridical, the religious, the military and the fiscal. The documents also frame the Jewish and Muslim spaces, and chart the Murcian war. As the story is told, document numbers in parentheses will direct the reader to pertinent charters in the present volume. My numbers here in parentheses do not coincide with those of the well-known catalog of Jaume’s Valencian documents by J.E. Martínez Ferrando, because many additional charters have been inserted.


The physical space can be seen in the grants of castle-town units, of farms and shops and villages, and in the random appearance of a tower (851), a barbican (937), a small opening in the town wall (937), a plaza (692, 899), the king’s palace at Valencia city (947), and town gates (635). The king and prince continually improved and reorganized this space: establishing or moving markets and fairs (556, 635, 692, 730, 925), rerouting or protecting roads (556, 637, 881), mandating improvements on marshland near the Al-bufera lagoon (737), bringing in settlers (907), moving a population inside its castle (824), ordering extensive rebuilding on the walls and towers of Sumacárcer (664), diverting the taxes of Ares de Alpuente for three years to finance public works there (870), building an alcazar near the main tower of Jijona (775), pulling down a castle (756), doing “work on the tower of Biar” (558), establishing a large hunting preserve (980), and at Pego paying for a terrace roof, a set of keys, and carpentry. When the queen’s grant of a farm adversely threatened the Vall de Seta, the king exchanged it for land elsewhere.

The most impressive single change in the physical landscape during these five years was the construction of the Alcira irrigation network then going on, and the mass distribution of properties along its length. One out of every 25 documents in this series concerns that project. The crown appointed Borràs de Montornés for life to administer this “Alcira canal We are now causing to be built” as irrigation superintendent (cequiarius maior), at an annual salary of 500 sous (933). The many land grants often required a ten-year residency before resale and some required that at least a son or daughter take up personal residence (890, 939). One such grant went the woman Maria and her daughter Dulça (988). In a general confirmation in 1269 of all grants held by Valencia city residents anywhere in the new kingdom, the Alcira region was excluded as a special situation (950). The king did authorize Arnau de Romaní, bailiff of Valencia city and Játiva, to confirm those Alcira properties already granted and also to distribute “what remains” there in the king’s name and “for Our advantage” (948). The outpouring of grants here ran from April 1268 to June 1269, and varied from 4 Valencian jovates through 6 and 10 to 12.

Grants continued elsewhere during the five-year period, at Morella for example (507), Corbera, Calpe (548), Játiva (751, 892, 894), and the Moncada canal (564). License was issued to one settler to purchase up to 6,000 sous of property (628), to another for 3000 (892), and to another for 2,000 (777). One got a hill (586, 756), one a “masada” or farm complex (991), and one the place of Palma (585). Waivers were occasionally given to allow knights to alienate or exchange their properties (946, 628); and in June 1269 the king ordered notaries of Valencia city to omit the clause “except to knights” from land acquisitions anywhere in the kingdom, keeping however the similar clause restricting clerics (946).

This was a second or later wave of grants and purchases, however, and seems to lack the enthusiasm and diffusion of the earlier phases of the land transfer in the kingdom. We do catch glimpses of the local surveyor-distributors (552), of complaints being redressed (827, a shortchanged widow), of confusion when a grant-charter of 1261 was lost and must be revalidated (886), and of purchase rituals such as “a sign, the penny of God” (560). The general confirmation of all grants to date in the kingdom, just seen for Valencia city residents (950) was extended also to Murviedro’s residents (953), Játiva’s (959), and doubtless to other towns not formally registered here. Many beneficiaries of grants were from the king’s household, and that class of owner may well predominate in these registers. If so, the records may tell us more about king and court than about the general patterns of settlement. And this entire activity reshaped and transformed the Islamic contexts of the majority subject Muslims, inventing a local Christendom in their place.


Grants of property, though defining a physical context, also introduce the human space. The political component or frame for that space is indicated by the proliferating crown and municipal officials, notably by the bailiffs who will appear again below in their guise as tax-farmers and castellans. Not only the king but his heir Prince Pere as lieutenant in Valencia issued this flood of charters. A document of April 1267 committed “the care of the kingdom of Valencia” to an illegitimate son of the king Pere Ferran(dis), soon to be lord of Híjar in Aragon, as “Our procurator or lieutenant.” As with similar announcements, this carried as addressees the hierarchical list of “bailiffs, justiciars, castellans (alcaits), knights [and municipal] councils” (721). One document guaranteed free election of the local justiciar (761); another detailed his election procedure at Morella (930); another went to the justiciar of Castalla (936). The general bailiff below the Júcar River appears (571), two lieutenants to the bailiff of Gandía (968), and the bailiff of Alcira (996, 999), along with a number of others. The sobrejunter or police functionary above the Júcar is appointed for life with the customary salary (732), while another purchases the office below the Júcar (960). The mostassaf in charge of market and general order is in three charters (515, 610, 765), and the Liria town council in one (840).

The crown executive agents called porters turn up in a half-dozen places (559, 585, 676, 725, 841, 891, 963) as do those of Prince Jaume (907) and of the king’s mistress Berenguera (890). The king appoints Ramon de Montcada for life “in the office of majordomo of the kingdom of Valencia” to serve whenever the king is in that kingdom, the actual work to be done by a sub-appointee of Montcada’s choice (602). The corresponding office for Prince Pere’s wife Constança is briefly seen. Other members of the king’s household in these records include his chief cook (538, 567), falconer (757, 916), butcher (545), physician (alfaquim, 534), and “Our crossbowman” (four times, 553, 606, 733, 978). The expenses for the household of Prince Pere’s wife are in one document (836), for her court baker in another (623). The office of ransomer in contact with Muslims is held by a citizen of Valencia for life as exea (Arabic shz’a)2, but only from Valencia city down to Murcia, “to bring out captives and lead convoy[s] of them” by himself or through others; in 1267 his son succeeds to this office but only when his father should die (740).

More immediate to the daily concerns of the populace are the monopolies and public utilities which frame their daily activities. The charters say much about the saltworks of the Albufera, Arcos, Calpe, Játiva and Peñíscola–including the salt-warehouse (almodí, 662), the officers to search houses and arrest cheaters (505), the boundaries of sale and procedures (531), and the farming of profits. We also see public ovens distributed or operating (643, 661, 682, 849), the oil or olive press (519, 865), the tavern (774), the baths (538, 757, and in 918 a widow building a new baths), public dyeworks (517, 580), a grain-warehouse (almodí, 827), and even a wine-press 25 feet by 7 (887). Meat butcheries or markets receive much attention (519, 536, 545, 638, 786, 791, 952, 962, 975), the meat concession at Gandía particularly detailing “the four stalls for cutting and selling the meat of rams, and two for cutting and selling the meat of he-goats, and two workshops for the maintenance of those stalls,” each stall being sixteen palms wide by eight deep with a customers’ gallery of fourteen palms in front of each (853). Mills singly or plural appear in at least sixteen documents, including their dams, watercourses, paraphernalia, and annual rents to the crown in grain or money. Six charters notice the fonduk or caravanserai, one of which is becoming a hospital (660); another stands in Santa Caterina’s parish in Valencia city “with its workshops, lofts [algorfes]3 and appurtenances” (810).

Commercial life is on display, notably in the many concessions or regulations of shops (e.g. 899), individually or in groups. Sometimes the commercial sections of a city appear: of the shoe merchants, the leather merchants, and the butchers (791), as well as the ship fitters (516) and the rope makers (516). The cloth merchants receive extended attention, especially their street in Valencia city including the names of eight merchants (942). At one point the cathedral canon Mateu Babot receives from the crown 700 sous to be collected from that street, to be assigned by the bailiff “on specific workshops” for cloth (979). Other industries or crafts include the wine trade, as visible in tax audits (519), in provisions for transport to eight towns (596), in restrictions on alien wine at Valencia city (762), in gross purchases (617, 707, 708), and even in wineskins (854).

A privilege of 1268 allows anyone of the Valencian kingdom to cut timber at any place in the kingdom, to float it down the Turia and Júcar rivers or move it by land without tax or fee (748). Local wood for burning in ovens appears in tax records here (865, 869). Long distance merchants turn up in letters of protection (guiatges), including a number of Genoese (642, 709, 926, 945, cf. 983) and Narbonnese (943, 944). And rural life is well represented in the many lists of farm produce taxed–from figs, oranges, pomegranates, and cheese, to garlic, flax, several kinds of grain, fodder, and cheese. Dovecotes and beehives are part of that scene (e.g. 516, 517, 865 to 869, 873). Sheep domestic (621) and transhumant (725) appear, as do fish (638) and eels (621). Some of the products are also in lists of provisions for the Murcia campaign or for the subsistence of prince or king while in Valencia.


Of the several human “spaces” occupied by the settlers, an inescapable and ubiquitous framework consisted of taxes and fees. These constitute the most numerous and prominent of all the registered documents of this period, especially when grants or regulations are factored in, whose purpose was to maximize crown profits. The whole set of charters may be seen as primarily fiscal, with other business as incidental; or they may be seen as a variety of crown affairs and business, in which the aspect of profit was routinely kept in mind. From either vantage, the most powerful figures in the landscape were two financiers now almost effectively lost to history, the knight Arnau de Romaní and Adam de Paterna. Romaní has a role in a dozen documents, Paterna in two dozen. Adam today is so obscure that Ferran Soldevila, a master of the archival resources of this period, bizarrely conjectured that he must have been a wealthy Jew. Most collectors and investors in the Valencian kingdom’s upper echelons, however, as well as at those local levels still visible in these documents, were Christians. Jews played a modest role, with Vives Ibn Vives and Astruc Jacob Shashón the only major players at the highest level in this small span of years.

Both King Jaume and Prince Pere seem to have lived their lives on credit, soliciting a myriad of loans and provisions, then assigning these on present or future revenues. Some bailiff-collectors worked on salary, but even then within a confusion of loans to be repaid and obligations (the violari or pension) encumbering the resources. In 1266 Arnau de Romaní was holding the bailiate of Valencia city to recover 40,000 sous the crown owed him; King Jaume next transferred the post to Prince Pere to repay him a similar loan of 60,000 sous (675). Two men of Montpellier loaned the king 40,000 sous of Melgueil at Alicante, the recovery to come from the minting of money at Montpellier and from the king’s share of ecclesiastical tithes there (711). In one long list Prince Pere named twenty men whose loans to him at Valencia total over 15,000 sous; their claims were added to those already recovering loans from the Albufera, the saltwork, the dyework, and the Jewish market. Each name in this list has appended to it the item sold on credit, such as 50 cafises of barley at 550 sous, 5400 quarters of wine at 820 sous, or a mule (618).

In 1268 Prince Pere and his wife Constança borrowed from Adam de Paterna 25,000 sous (“delivered to Us”) and acknowledged an outstanding debt of some 8,500 sous, for which the royal borrowers pawned to Adam as collateral a crown inset with jewels (750). The previous year Prince Pere had pawned “certain jewels” to a Valencian money-changer for a loan of 450 sous (734). A more convenient pledge could be a village, as with Agres (662), or frequently a castle (573, 646); such a revenue-producing entity seems rather to have been an immediate “assignment” for recovery, despite the rhetoric of collateral. In selling the general revenues of the kingdom to two “citizens of Valencia” for 50,000 sous per year, the prince sent a knight “to swear on his [the prince’s] person” that he would keep his word (689). In one document the king swears on cross and gospels to pay (966); in another the prince does the same but requires from the taxpayers “your plain and simple word, with no kind of proof ” (982).

At the termination of each such contract, the king or prince would hold an audit, which yielded both a charter of clearance or quittance and a multi-page list detailing each category of revenue (517, 518, 683). These allow some conjecture as to local and general income for the crown, and indicate specific resources such as “what you got from the ship that wrecked off Denia” (558). So constant and fluid was this credit operation that, when the prince went off to campaign in Murcia, he left his notary Mateo Babot “blank parchments” on which to draft such instruments of debt (625). To raise money for a local repair or crisis, the crown could exempt those taxpayers, in effect applying their projected taxes to the emergency. To prepare his crusade to the Holy Land in 1269 the king accepted an immediate 50,000 sous from Valencia city but exempted the citizens from taxes for three years (958). He took 12,000 from Játiva in return for three years’ exemption there (957). The king soon canceled his privilege to Valencia city, however, and renegotiated it through its bailiff Arnau de Romaní, who was to provide the crusade with 50,000 sous each year from the following January (981).


If finances and profit loomed large from the perspective of the rulers and authorities, as paying such taxes surely did also from the vantage of the less visible settlers, law was more central to the transformation of the human space. Its principles, assumptions, rhetoric, multiplied jurisdictions, and personnel imposed the values and nature of a European society upon the conquered kingdom and helped marginalize its majority Muslim population. The documents of this five-year period are rich in legal formulas, institutions, and insights.

The strains of imposing Roman Law enthusiasms onto a population of diverse custom laws breaks out into the open when King Jaume was forced to issue a “constitution that no jurist, legist, or lawyer should plead” anywhere in “the entire kingdom,” or Roman procedure be admitted or Latin be used, either in the first instance or in appeals. Every local justiciar must swear an oath to that effect on taking office; but Roman Law method and Latin would remain for appeals to the king and in his court (563). The Costum d’España or Forum Hispaniae for castle administration also makes an appearance (646, 929).4 And the great Roman Law jurist Albert de Lavanya, a fugitive from a failed rebellion at Capetian Marseilles, appears in three cases at Murviedro (800). In late 1265 he became chief judge in Valencia during the king’s preoccupation with the Murcian war, for all juridical proceedings, “both original and on appeal” (645).

Several of the cases in these documents have a special interest. For his deceased notary Guillem de Jaca the king drew upon the Emperor Justinian’s code to legitimate four sons and allow them to inherit, despite civil law and the impulses of piety (593). A similar procedure legitimated Esteve de Maldà, whose father does not have “a wife or children born from legitimate wedlock” (896). A major lawsuit involved eight towns in conflict over boundaries in the new kingdom, settled by two Játiva judges and on appeal by the king (880). A notable legal decision of 1269, in a lawsuit between a physician of Játiva and some nearby property-holders, defined the boundaries of any rural Valencian village (alqueria): “in a similar case it was judged that any village of the kingdom of Valencia does not have fixed boundaries except only those boundaries [or areas] which the Saracens of the same village were accustomed to cultivate, returning thence on the same day of their work to that village” (885).

Two nobles contested at court over the town of Culla (541); and the farmers at Burriana went to court to define the procedures for drawing irrigation water in “time of great necessity” from an opening of ten palms in width in a conduit (assut), “for six days and nights every month” under the direction of four overseers specially elected (681). Among criminal cases, the most gruesome was the kidnaping at Alcira of the merchant Dalmau Robert of Montpellier by “the evil” Rodric de Montoro. Dalmau “died from the harsh captivity imposed on him–pulling the teeth from his mouth, and giving him brine to drink, and in many other ways” (787). As always, the crown awarded some pardons, including one to Bernat Sabater in 1264 for “a homicide you committed in Valencia,” conferred “because We consider you necessary on the present campaign [armamentum] that We are ordering made against the Saracens this year, and We want you to go personally” (544). The crown also issued a dozen safeguards or passports (guiatges) to individuals in these years, including one for some merchants of Narbonne applicable even if war were to break out between King Jaume and Amalric I of Narbonne (943, 944).5

Of particular interest is the jail or holding system. In 1265 the king granted “the office of incarceration and jail of Our court of Valencia [city]” for life to the Valencian citizen Pere David, for the customary salary plus two pence from every prisoner every day as board for the maximum legal imprisonment of thirty days (632, 986). The king gave a similar life appointment to Ramon Çayllà in 1269 for Játiva “to keep jailed and in custody all men and women” arrested by the justiciar (883). The para-legal notariate figures prominently throughout in two dozen charters, some as directives (628, 667, 818, 892, 946), others naming these officials for a town (561, 653, 999) or for king, prince, or the prince’s wife Constança (997), and in one case for a five-year term in 1264 as “notary of Our galley that We are causing to be built and armed at Valencia,” to act as do all other notaries on galleys (535).


The last and most important of the human spaces in the new kingdom was the religious, both in its ecclesiastical structures and in its ideological dynamics. The attitudes and values appear largely by indirection or in obiter dicta betraying a pervasive belief-system. In confirming a property whose charter had been lost, but whose most recent holder (a deceased barber of Gandía) had involved it in a dowry, King Jaume explains that “We did not want the soul of Pere to suffer any penalty on account of that” (886). Every charter drafted from these registered documents held a notary’s signum, of course, which was simply an elaborated sacral cross.

Any number of clergy turn up in the folios, such as the prince’s cleric Guillem Torre (654), the rector of the church of Corbera (806), a married layman turned monk (773), the dean of Gandía (672), the archdeacon of Valencia (811, 819, 827), the sacristan of Valencia city’s cathedral (584), a canon (979), and the personnel at the great hospital-shrine of St. Vincent’s (940) along with the lay pensioners there (corrodians) (562, 656, 747, 797). A member of the pope’s household received six jovates on the new Alcira canal (821). The king appointed two lawyers as his special procurators at the papal court in his long contest against Bishop Andreu Albalat of Valencia over crown ownership of a third of the tithe (855). The king also condemned and then pardoned a notary temerarious enough to draft “a disruptive appeal” to the pope on behalf of the clergy of St. Vincent’s (704).

Sacred places in these documents include Sant Bernat of Alcira (821), Sant Feliu at Játiva (885), and (in a tumult of reform by King Jaume) St. Vincent’s (674, 940, 971). A confraternity of furriers (pellissers) was established under the Dominican friars (833); the mendicant Friars of the Sack received properties (881, 972); the Magdalene nuns were protected from anyone fishing within 150 feet upstream or downstream from their mill (594, cf. 767); the Cistercian nuns at the Zaydia former palace of Muslim times received crown support (803, 818, 846); and a Christian convert to Islam, now fled to Granada, was declared “as dead” and his property confiscated (972).


The parallel societies of Muslims and Jews, each occupying its own space and generating its own documents of every category, unwittingly provided yet another context or space for the incoming Christian settlers. Some forty charters, about one in twelve of the whole collection for these years, concern or touch on Jews. Our earliest notice of Morella’s Jewish community, not its establishment but rather a culminating constitution in early 1264, granted themthe “exemptions, privileges, and customs” which “the Valencia [city] aljama has today,” together with a special quarter along the middle of the city’s hillside, a program of tax exemption for five years to attract more Jews there, and the tax obligations thereafter of “other Jews of Our land” (527).

The Jewish section of King Jaume’s chancery, for drafting Arabic documents, makes an appearance (790), as do three of the alfaquim or physician-savant class in the king’s service (534). The estate of one such figure, divided among at least five of his family, left to one son “buildings and vineyards” in Murvedro, a village, more vineyards, buildings at Valencia city, farms at Alcira and Alcanícia, a mill, and buildings at Alcira (534). Among other wealthy servants of the crown in Valencia, such as Astruc of Tortosa (592), Asim Mordecai (682), and Meir (779), Prince Pere’s fiscal right-hand man stands out, Vives Ibn Vives (780-783). His constant loans to the prince were consolidated in one typical receipt of 1268, for over

22,000 sous, as including 150 sous for dogs and doghandlers, 10 sous for wineskins, 174 for a she-mule, and 280 for a horse (equitatura) (854). In another set of accounts, he has supplied the prince with falcons, falcon-handlers, a tunic, a horse, and a he-mule (915). In yet another he has granted properties and other assets for Prince Pere on a general scale to Muslims in the Alfandec valley (993).

A similar tycoon was Astruc Jacob Shashón, seen for example in 1267 overseeing for the king the manufacture of a brigola or gravity-artillery piece with its accoutrements (729), picking up the small expenses of Prince Pere at Burriana (995), and receiving as gifts some mills near Valencia city and for his lifetime half the tithe on all the grains at a village near Morella (706).

The Jewish community at Valencia city is seen in 1269 giving King Jaume 10,000 sous for his overseas crusade, and receiving in turn (as the Christian population had) tax exemption for three years (923). In a long charter the king resolves an intra-aljama dispute over equalizing the tax burdens on the several categories of residents and allowing ostracism, refusal of burial, and other community punishments on those not doing their duty (921). A specialty bazaar “of the Jews of Valencia,” designated by the Arabic term qaysvrza (alqaceria, alchessçeria), appears twice at Valencia city (555, 618). The sumptuary restrictions on women’s clothes are in one charter of exemption (823). More ominously, the Mendicant campaign by the apostate/ convert Friar Pau Crestià to “cleanse” Jewish writings of anti-Christian “blasphemies,” in the wake of the notorious Disputation of Barcelona in 1263, finds its echo on this frontier in early 1264 (533).6 A clear exemplar turns up of that strange ritual by which schoolboy “clerics” threw stones at the gates of the Jewish quarter on Good Friday, which David Nirenberg has recently clarified as dispassionately ludic.7 In this case the king was closing a tower bordering the Jewish cemetery and the castle at Játiva, to restrict the range of the stones (820). Finally, during the early stage of the Murcian war, when the Valencian kingdom was threatened not only by the neo-Muslim Murcia and by Granada but also by rebellion of Valencia’s Mudejar population, “the Jews of Valencia” presented to the crown lieutenant of the kingdom a considerable sum (627).


The story of the other parallel society during these five years or so, the majority Mudejars or subject Muslims, must begin with the agitations of the Murcian war on Valencia’s southern border, and with its reverberations and aftermath within Valencia itself. At the first threat and continuously thereafter, the king undertook widespread garrisoning of his many Valencian castles. Thus in July 1264 he put 30 knights in Cocentaina castle, 20 in Releu, and 6 each in lesser forts, to lead the local defenses “until the war of the king of Castile and the king of Granada is over” (572). Details of the many garrisons, Valencia-built galleys, sea privateers, town militias summoned at places like Játiva, dogs-of-war assigned (“two dogs make one man,” “six dogs make three men” 722), and supplies arranged from Genoese merchants to come by sea, belong rather to a discussion of the war at large than to its Mudejar component. Their multiplication here in the registers must be noted, however, as relevant to that subordinate theme.

A clear echo of a collateral Mudejar rebellion in Valencia comes in an obiter dictum at Castalla, where in June 1269 the crown is redistributing lands “from the properties of Saracens dead or captured at the time of the war of the Saracens just passed.” One such owner was the deceased Muhammad “Alhaxex” (al-Hajjaj?) whose buildings went to Martí Llop de Castellot (935). The most striking single episode of Valencia’s Mudejar war concerned Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the qa’id of Tárbena. Muïammad seems to have succeeded to the leadership role of the earlier exiled rebel al-Azraq. In mid-1264, with crusader troops already in Valencia’s south, the crown confirmed a division of Muïammad’s fief, previously held in common with his brother the qa’id of Castell now deceased. Muïammad kept Tárbena castle, while his nephew Bakrun took over Castell. This action was supported by a separate charter of protection for Muhammad “and your sons” (568, 569). Late that year, the king gave Muïammad as a gift the village of Ayot “in the district of Castell”; and he formally conferred or confirmed to the Muslim “the whole castle entirely of Tárbena” with its districts and villages “forever.” Muhammad was to deduct from the castle’s revenues “a suitable sum for guarding the castle,” and share half the revenues with the king (587, 588). At the same time, Jaume gave Muhammad amnesty “from all civil and criminal” charges because “you instigated and acted against Us” (589). Thus far the documentation seems tentative and discreet, as though the king were conciliating Muhammad as he once conciliated the rebel al-Azraq.

During the actual Murcian campaign, Muhammad fell from grace. The registers describe “an Arabic charter in which are contained the pacts and treaties between the lord king and the qa’id Muhammad, concerning the castles of Tárbena and others held by the said qa’id.” These had been enacted previously, and were now translated. By these agreements Muïammad had lost his castles and was going into exile with his followers; some of his relatives were allowed to remain (790, cf. 795, 827). A safeguard was given to “Muhammad formerly of Tárbena, for himself and all those who are going with him, relatives and household as well as others.” Another safeguard went “to those who are of his family [or clientage], who remain in the kingdom of Valencia” (792).

We learn much of this only because of King Jaume’s passion for Berenguera. Establishing her formally as his royal mistress, and endowing her with Tárbena castle in May 1268, the king noted in passing that Muhammad and Bakrun had surrendered the castles, districts, and villages of Tárbena and Jalón. He recorded here also that “other Saracens” had lost their nearly twenty villages in Jalón valley, each with its district and sub-villages. All these leaders, Jaume says, “have now gone from the kingdom of Valencia” (838, cf. 903, 976). Jaume gave “the castle and town of Polop” with Altea and three villages of Jalón to “the vizier Abiafer [Abu Ja’far?] and your successors” in early 1269. The king was probably rearranging and reconstituting a Mudejar fief here. The grant included tax exemption, but a flat yearly fee of 600 Valencian sous (920).

More general echoes of the war’s strain crop up in various privileges to the Mudejars. Valencia city’s aljama, under the qa’id “Çahat Abinhaia” (Sa`d ibn Hayyan?) in March 1268 received a set of very attractive concessions, including the right to keep workshops functioning on most feast days, and limiting the rights of the city’s Christian inspector (mostassaf ) and justiciar over Muslims. “Any Saracen of whatever place, who wishes to remain in Valencia, can stay and live there and exercise his craft, like the other Saracens of the same morería” (765). The Muslim community at Montesa also received a charter of privileges.

Concentaina’s aljama seems to have diminished during the troubles; in 1269, the king farmed its revenues to a baron and to a functionary of his household, on condition that they so “improve” the situation as to “double the Saracens who inhabit it today.” If they failed to double the numbers there, they were to pay a penalty of 3,000 sous (891). The king also licensed Guillem de Rocafull “to settle twenty households of Saracens” tax-free on his Fortaleny land (858). In the Alfandec area the crown bailiff gave grants to Muslims during these post-war years, so that in January 1270 Prince Pere could make a general approval of all “receipts or charters” given “to whatever Saracens of Alfandec and its districts, of homes and possessions and whatever other things conceded” (993).

In conciliatory spirit also, Jaume promised the Muslims of Domeño district that he would protect them forever, “and keep you in your homes” and “not remove you even for the Lord Pope” (581). Significantly this was a form-letter, sent also to the Muslims at Chulilla, “the castle of Montán,” Liria, Chelva, Tuéjar, and doubtless other Mudejar communities. Jaume similarly promised to keep the Margarida and Llombay Muslims: “neither I nor any of mine will expel or have them expelled from the said castles, towns, and places ever, at any time,” adding that in such expulsion their Christian lord “would suffer great damage” (629). These randomly preserved letters probably reflect a wider panic and royal program. Certainly Jaume contained the troubles of 1264-1266 more successfully than he had those of 1247 or 1258. Whether to secure immediate funds for his war debts or to favor and placate the border Muslims, or both, Jaume made a combination tax-exemption and sale to a number of Muslim communities. Thus in 1268 at Biar he waived a long list of such fees as “alfarda, almagram, the besants, the dyeworks and the fonduk,” so that all crown taxes would be covered by a flat 5,000 besants. Alcalá and Gallinera made a similar arrangement for 2,500 besants (774). And in the post-war years the tax lists sometimes state an assessment and then substitute a lower amount for actual collection. Thus Alfandec was taxed a flat 1,600 besants, a sum immediately reduced to 1,300. In sous, this post-war 4,300 tax contrasts with Al-fandec’s yield in 1265 of 11,000 sous. Similarly Pego’s total tax was reduced from 1,500 besants to 600; Alcira’s from 1,000 to 300; Beniopa’s from 1,500 to 1,000; and Sumacárcel’s from 500 to 130 (990). In the case of Gallinera the Muslims somehow took advantage of the king’s concession, leading him to revoke it “because it had been done by fraud” (743).

Any number of lesser privileges to groups and individuals suggest the same pattern of non-punitive attention. The Cocentaina Muslims won more lenient procedures of criminal law (590). The Quart Muslims had their irrigation methods protected, allowing diversion of water (parada in cequia) into their fields “just as anciently in the time of the Saracens” (799). Among individual gifts, Muhammed ibn Zabr received “houses or a plot for [building] houses” in Chielsa, plus thirty cafisates of land and a lifetime tax exemption, all as “a special favor.” The king’s own reward for such prudence and alertness was not only a relatively quiet Valencia in those turbulent years, but a continued cornucopia of Mudejar wealth by whose credit he could help finance the Murcian war. Thus in 1267 he assigned huge expenses of 78,630 sous, from the Murcian war, largely on Muslim aljamas of the kingdom of Valencia (710).


Though the Murcian war can be followed with documents from elsewhere in the registers, some thirty documents here (and perhaps fifty if ambiguous loan-charters are counted) afford a Valencian perspective. Almost all of these concern loans and expenses but reveal something of the war’s progress. The principal items may be taken in chronological sequence. In May 1264 Jaume is seen preparing a fleet or an expedition (armamentum) “that We are ordering made against the Saracens this year” (544). By July he is garrisoning castles in Valencia “until the war between the king of Castile and the king of Granada is completely finished” (572). That same month he is encouraging all his subjects in the Valencian kingdom, Catalonia, and Aragon, both Christians and Jews, to loan generously to the Hospitaller castellan of Amposta who “is about to make an expedition with Us, with the largest possible number of knights, against the king of Granada and other enemies of the Christian faith” (574).

In April 1264 the king addressed expenses of over 11,000 sous “in money, clothes, and foodstuffs for the support of Our household, when We went to Murcia” (605). A similar charter took up Prince Pere’s household expenses (612). Three financial episodes in July indicate that the pace of preparations was quickening. One owed Guillem de Castellnou 10,000 Melgorian sous for “service you did and will do in the present army [against the] Saracens” (613). Another spoke of blank charters ready for loan activities (625). The third had the crown lieutenant for Valencia, Ximèn Pere d’Arenós, “present accounts to Us for all the expenses and outlay that you and your knights incurred in Our service during the eleven months you spent on the Valencian frontier [frontaria],” totaling 115,640 sous but after deductions 70,000 (627). In October the king was collecting the crusade tithe from the dioceses of his realms, but also including Pamplona in Navarre and Elne in Occitania (640).

In November a summation for war expenses of 142,250 sous included “the needs of the knights on the frontier” and “the needs of the galleys,” as well as 39,000 sous owed to “the Genoese merchants” (642). For the “labors and immense expenses” by the people of Játiva in “the present war against the Saracens,” the king gave in November a five-year tax exemption; an exception was army service if the king or Prince Pere came personally to lead a raid or expedition (652). A negotiation for clothing for his wife shows Pere conducting siege at Murcia city in February 1266 (663). Later that month the king mandated his lieutenant for the kingdom of Valencia, Ximèn Pere d’Arenós, to arrange repayment to “all men of Aragon, both knights and others” who had loaned money or food “in this Our very great need” (665). An expense account in March by Prince Pere covered “from the day We left Valencia to go to the frontier, up to this day” (670). A few days later King Jaume in concert with Alfonso X of Castile awarded an estate to Peric Matoses, on condition of his transferring to Alfonso’s service “forever” (671). March also brought the homicide pardon, seen above, because of the culprit’s many services on this campaign (673).

An accounting in April included Pere’s return from Alicante to Valencia city, as well as “the money lost in Our service” by the viscount of Castellnou (688). An August instruction noted the expenses made by the bailiff of Játiva (then also castellan of Biar) “for the project of the frontier” (694). January of the new year, 1267, saw a comprehensive audit for stages of travel to and from the war; expenses “of [the king’s] household while We were on the frontier”; for “arming the galleys We caused to be armed by Carròs the lord of Rebollet” at Valencia; and for such items as “wheat for the galleys,” men from the Balearics, and local and Genoese merchants (709, cf. 710). In April the king audited the castellan of Biar for the period from September 1264 to the end of 1265 “by reason of Our frontier of Villena and the war [against the] Saracens” (719). That same month the king settled with Berenguer Arnau d’Anglesola for “the service he did on the frontier of Murcia,” and with the royal bastard Pere Ferran d’Híxar for expenses “on the frontier of Murcia after We withdrew from there” (722).

June brought settlement for the gravity artillery (brigola) ordered for the war (729)8 and the appointment of a new ransomer to negotiate the return of captives (740), both noted above. As late as spring 1268 an occasional document still concerned itself with the war’s cost. In April the son of the king’s secretary Guillem Escrivà was owed 13,200 sous, a part of what “he loaned us when We went to Murcian parts,” as well as a sum he gave Carròs “because of the galleys” armed in Valencia (801). A final charter of May 1268 was arranging repayment to four citizens “for the business of Murcia,” a phrase repeated three times (839). Between documents 610 and 711, over fifteen items seem to concern expenses and provisions of the Murcian war. And the Jews of Valencia, as seen above, had conveyed a large sum in July 1265 through Vives Ibn Vives (627).

Other military notes appear, some general and others probably not unconnected with the war situation. In late 1263 a list of 46 knights by name indicates the vassals owing military service to Prince Pere. Valencia had nine knights, Catalonia three rics homs and ten knights, and Aragon four ricos ombres and twenty knights (513). Some eight castles enter the records as being garrisoned in the first half of 1264, doubtless mere exemplars of a wider movement (520, 547, 551, 553, 558, 559, 577, 579; some of these are within audited general accounts). Double watches were ordered at Almirra, and funds given for maintenance (547). Bergia castle was to have six knights or soldiers, at the usual 150 sous per man (551). Onda was to have twenty men at the same salary (577); Confrides had fifteen added to “those already there” at a total salarium of 2,250 sous (579).

From October 1266 into March 1268, five more garrisonings turn up. Murviedro got 10 men, 4 dogs, and a pack animal (703). Játiva castle got 40 men at the usual 150 sous each, 6 dogs at 75 sous each, and one man with a pack animal at 120 sous annually to provide wood and victuals (716). Castalla got 25 men, 6 dogs, and 2 pack animals; the animals got 180 sous also for fodder (723). By early 1268, Jijona castle was down to 4 men (775). Two other charters of 1268 show alternate ways of financing a castle. The king granted Sanç Pere de Ribabellosa for life “Our castle of Almenara with all the revenues, income and claims” of its district, with custody of the castle but with the obligation of spending a hundred sous every year “on its upkeep [opus]” (812). And when Robau Voltorasc, Gil Ximèn de Segura, and Sans Pere the castellan of Jérica bought from the king the tax-farm of Murviedro’s revenues for three years at 10,000 sous annually, they were instructed to retain 1000 sous from the price each year for garrison salaries at 150 sous per man; the king was to refund any costs for maintenance and also bear all losses if the castle were taken “by cunning or by force” (827).

A cavalry of townsmen was established by three charters of 1265 to Valencia city, Játiva, Alcira, and doubtless most Valencian towns on that same model. By that arrangement adult males “who regularly possess a horse worth forty gold pieces and arms” were exempt from regalian taxes, “but must go in host or raid with horse and arms, whenever and howsoever often the aforesaid township or portion of it will go on army or even raid service.” And every year at Christmas these townsmen were “obliged to mount a review [alardum]” before the bailiff (651, 678).


Valencia’s Muslims are also visible as a kind of mirror image, as reflected in the ample documentation on Christian settlement during these five years. Surveyors and bureaucrats were everywhere, parceling off houses, farms, shops, castles, valleys, mills, baths, surplus mosques, villages, and every sort of property in a welter of notarized charters. The disorientation of the resident Muslims at this systematic encroachment must have been profound. More perhaps than the war itself this physical appropriation and presence wounded the ancient communities. Conversely this very wealth of real-estate items suggests aspects of Muslim life before and after the conquest. The mills so abundantly operating along each waterway were a function of that life (771). So were the baths, the merchants’ fonduks, the butcheries, the public bakeries, the ubiquitous stockpens or corrals, the dovecotes and vegetable gardens, the vineyards, the saltworks, and even the roads that the colonialist masters were rerouting. Sometimes a feature of the Islamic landscape is hidden under a Latinate garble and must be extricated with philological ingenuity, as with the stockpens, mills, and large farms or estates under forms of rahal, real and the like.

Something of the economy peeps out. Taverns were a normal enough item in a Muslim community that did not disdain wine (514). Shopkeepers appear by name, such as Talhah and al-Azraq the carpenter at Gandía (611). A list of shopkeepers of Alcira includes nine Muslims by name (514). Shopkeepers also appear in general directives, as at Valencia city in 1267 where Muslims were allowed to keep their shops open “on whatever feast days or other days” and to work in them, with five exceptions (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, John the Baptist in June, and feasts of the Virgin) (760). Some property items held echoes of deeper tragedy for the Mudejars: the large mosque at Játiva now used as the city hall (545) or Zaidia palace of Valencia city now a convent of nuns (846). In a number of cases a property is bounded by a Muslim neighbor (529), whose name is thus salvaged from obscurity–as with ‘Ali ibn Ghalib (529). Previous owners also appear, like “Anxa” the Saracen (534), or the daughter of Ibn Asim, or the Ibn Ishaq ibn Asim (671). Among the individuals, the tragic figure of Islamic Valencia’s ex-wali appears twice, reduced from ruler to Christian convert-baron, Abu Zayd of Valencia” (509, 608).

Very detailed tax lists allow glimpses into community activity. One tax item concerns “the lumber that came from Cárcer that the aljama put in the oven and burned” (865). Another reveals undomiciled or relatively transient Muslims (869). Prostitutes and separately a brothel (tarqana) are taxed at Pego (866) and turn up also at La Xarquia and Sumacárcel (869). An array of Muslim agricultural products hints at the diet: garlic, pomegranates, oranges, beehives, figs, grapes, and rabbit hunting (866, 867). The amin at Chelva (871) and the qa’id at Valencia city (786) appear by name. We learn that the Christian mostassaf or market overseer cannot enter the Muslim quarter at Valencia city or judge Muslims, but that the Muslims do elect their own muhtasib every year (765). The same document invites any Muslim to reside or to conduct business at Valencia city; and except in capital cases, only the qadi, amin, and sheikhs can judge a Muslim. A Cocentaina charter has civil judgment by the qadi and criminal by the bailiff, the former using Islamic law; it clarifies that Muslims in its countryside must pay their share of the local Muslim taxes (590), an arrangement also used at Játiva (591).

In one document the king transfers an important property into the hands of the Cocentaina Christians but compensates the Muslim owner (805). In another he takes land from Christians at Alfandec to give to Muslims, but compensates the Christians (806). Social notes can be extracted. The age-span appears in a court record about testimony taken from “the oldest and most ancient of the Moors: of 70 and 80 and 90 years” (766). A crown of exquisite “Saracen” workmanship is pledged as security for a debt of Prince Pere, and described in detail as displaying “thirteen pieces of gold” with “seventeen precious stones called rubies” and seven emeralds and fifty-three pearls, “with fasteners of bluish silk with pearls and turquoises set in gold” (750).


The registered charters of these five years or so can illustrate many other Valencian themes. The many prices for commodities and rentals, as well as the fluctuating value of coinages, deserve particular notice. About a dozen documents record prices for horses, and another dozen the prices for mules divided between male and female. While a horse could cost 2,000 or 1500 or 1000 sous in these years, but with an occasional 800 or even 200, mules went for 300 (a common price) or sometimes for 500 or even 600 sous. Some in either category were meant as gifts and presumably represented a more expensive level of purchase. (For horses see as examples docs. 609, 622 through 624, 649, 827, 800). The silver besant, commonly a money of account for Mudejar taxes, was given an official exchange rate of 3 3 / 4 Valencian sous per besant in a royal decree of 1247; in 1266 a rate of 3 per besant was cited (677), of 3 again in 1267 (710), of 3 1 / 3 in early 1269 (865), and of 3 2 / 3 at that same time (888). Besides minting (711) and other money matters, the topic of taxation is richly represented throughout these charters. So is the elusive subject of weights and measures, specifying dry and liquid, heavy and light, length and breadth for a generous array of products.

For the linguist the registers hold many small discoveries, from macaronic lists of mixed Latin and Romance (610-611, cf. 617) to the several Catalan and other Romance charters invaluable for their early expression of the languages involved (e.g. 866). The scribe also pressed into service for his Latin documents Romance words, some of them Arabic based. Alar-dum, exea, reuca, and tarchana have been seen above, but other examples can be amargialus (737), alfiblays (750), celoquia (664), companatge (683), gayta (547), massata (991), odres (854), pressetum (823), raletus (731), senda (821), and xarxia (554), as well as the Hebrew herem and nidui gamur (922). All will be explained as they appear in their several charters.


Finally, any number of individuals attract notice, and some might be followed through several documents. Dama Bella d’Amichi, the Sicilian nurse of Prince Pere’s Hohenstaufen wife Constança and mother of the famous admiral Roger de Lluria, has five documents (599, 752, 781, 782, 989). The king’s tragic morganatic wife Teresa Gil de Vidaure has a list of her main Valencian holdings (603). The more fortunate royal concubine Berenguera Alfons is endowed with wealth and documents here (571, 693, 817, 838, 890).

Many other women turn up at random. Despite the administrative nature of these five hundred charters, women appear in no less than 73 of them. There are prostitutes and pensioners, nuns of various orders, widows of high and low status seeking justice in the king’s courts, women property holders, landlords, and settlers, owners of baths and a co-owner of a caravanserai, women prisoners, and the mother of a son who became a Muslim. The physician of the king’s deceased wife Violant (more properly Yoles as in 504) is here, as are the galley of Teresa Gil, the crown of Constança of Sicily (the wife of Pere the heir of King Jaume), Constança de Béarn the widow of Diego III López de Haro and holder of the Valencian castle Villa-longa de la Safor, and King Jaume’s daughter Violant the queen of Alfonso X the Learned of Castile. This brief animadversion must suffice, since I have gathered the registers’ women of these five years into a separate contribution to a volume on the women of medieval Catalonia.9

Among notable individuals, the king’s nephew and esquire Alfons Pere del Rei, with his wife Maria the daughter of the king’s secretary Guillem Escrivà, appears (849, 872), as do the king’s bastard brother Pere del Rei (971) and his bastard sons Jaume Sarroca (604, 636, 709, 875) and Pere Ferran d’Híxar (600, 721, 928, 929, 987). A “master artisan” of the king’s coinage (711) and “the master of works of the [cathedral] church of St. Mary of Valencia” (826) represent the arts, as does the jongleur from Galicia who is probably the noted Pere de Vera (604).

The enigmatic German or perhaps Germanic Sicilian admiral Carròs de Rebollet has an active role (511, 520, 549, 595, 801, 839, 885). A central figure in Valencia’s conquest and intimate of its last ruler Abu Zayd, Ximèn Pere d’Arenós, has nine entries but dies early in them (666, 701, 702, 789, 796, 809, 819, 826, 851). The two men responsible for the most entries have already been discussed, the financier-knights Arnau de Romaní and Adam de Paterna. Many lesser figures here deserve close attention. All of them, when conjoined with the 1500 or more documents yet tocome in these volumes, as well as with collateral documentation, will afford an extensive proso-pography of the Valencian kingdom in its founding decades. When eventually indexed, the toponimical contribution of Jaume’s charters can also be appreciated.

Though impressionistic, this tourist’s trip through a five-year span from a very specific kind of document affords a surprisingly panoramic and detailed view of Valencia at that one time. It shows us a truly historical picture–that is, one contextualized by the immediately surrounding happenings, each document a framework and commentary for the others. Drafted for a king’s practicalities in coping with his still uneasy conquest, with its three parallel societies, these charters registered on Mudejar paper open a window on a major colonial society of the Middle Ages.

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