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The Chronicle of the Emperor Alfonso (Part One)
For much of the history of medieval Spain, the Christian territories were divided between multiple realms rather than being united as one. Yet some rulers did make a pretence to being a unifying monarch figure. One prominent example is Alfonso VII, who took up the title of “emperor” (Latin: imperator) during his reign as king of León (centred on northwest Iberia) in the period 1126-1157 CE. Many of his policies during his reign can also be seen as pushing in the direction of unification and an empire of Spain, though in general this goal was not realised. Most notably during his reign, Portugal emerged as an independent Christian realm- a legacy still continuing today with the division of Iberia between Spain and Portugal.
We are fortunate to have a detailed account of Alfonso VII’s reign written in Latin by an anonymous author, presented in three parts. The first two parts (dubbed the Chronicle of the Emperor Alfonso) are in a generally simple chronicle prose style with a tendency to repetition of phrases, along with the use of some language and expressions derived from the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible. The third part, focusing specifically on Alfonso VII’s expedition against Muslim-held Almeria in southern Spain in 1147 CE, is written as a poem, which the author tells us is a deliberate choice of style to avoid tedium. The poem is dubbed the Prefatio de Almaria.
It has been suggested that work’s redaction can be dated to 1147-1149 CE, with the terminus post quem deriving from the fact that the author always seems to speak of Alfonso VII’s wife Berengaria as though she is still alive, and she died in 1149 CE. In addition, the author mentions deriving information from “those who have borne witness” (Latin: viderunt, literally “seen”), and thus if the dating should be wrong, it can at least be said that the author was contemporaneous with Alfonso VII’s reign or writing shortly after it.
The work is on the whole a valuable source of information for the facts that it relates despite the author’s clear bias for Alfonso VII and the existence of some corruptions and gaps in the manuscript transmission. Below is my annotated translation of the first part (aka Chronicle of the Emperor Alfonso: Book One), which primarily focuses on Alfonso VII’s dealings and conflicts with other Christian rulers in Iberia, culminating in his crowning as emperor and a royal wedding between Alfonso VII’s daughter and King García Ramírez of Navarre. The edition of the Latin text used is that of Antonio Maya Sánchez in Corpus Christianorum, to whom I am also indebted for identifying some apparent phrases of Latin Vulgate origin and some place names.
Chronicle of Emperor Alfonso
Here begins the chronicle of Emperor Alfonso
As the works of ancient history by writers of history,[i] handed to the memory of posterity through writing, transform the outstanding deeds of kings, emperors, consuls, potentates and other heroes from old to new matters, I have considered that it is an excellent deed to describe the deeds of the Emperor Alfonso, especially as Almighty God has worked through him and with him so that the salvation of Christ’s people should be granted in the midst of the Earth.[ii] I do this on the basis of what I have learned and heard from those who have borne witness, and I begin from the beginning of his reign, which began after the death of Queen Urraca (the daughter of King Alfonso and Queen Constantia), as will become clear in the subsequent sections.
1. So it should be noted that the aforementioned Queen Urraca died on the eighth day before the Ides of March[iii] in era 1164,[iv] after ruling for 16 years, eight months and seven days. She was buried with honours alongside her ancestors in the kings’ tombs in the city of Leon. As for Alfonso who was the son of her and Duke Raymond, he successfully began to rule in succession to her through God’s dispensation on the day after his mother died, as though he were the promise sent from heaven.[v] At the time he was a young man aged 19, and he came in the blessed time of the jubilee year to the city of Leon (the centre of rule) through the Lord’s guidance. When the reports of his arrival had reached the citizens of Leon, the bishop Diaz, together with all the clergy and the people, came forth with great joy to meet him, just as though he were king. They declared him to be king at the church of Saint Mary on the set day and brought down the standard of their king in the right way.
2. Then after the third day, Count Suarius came to Alfonso with his friends and relatives: namely, Alfonso (his brother) and his brother’s son Peter Alfonso (who was subsequently made a count by him), Roderic Bermudez, Roderic Gundisalvus, Peter Roderic, Peter Brauldus and many others, whose names it would take a long time to list. The count was a man who was energetic in counsel and a seeker of the truth. He held Astorga, Luna, Gordón with part of Bergidum,[vi] as well as Vadabia,[vii] Laciana, all the valley up to the bank of the river called Ova,[viii] and all the way up to Cabruñana. As for the Count Alfonso Jordanes of Toulouse who was the blood-relative of the king and the son of Count Raymond of Toulouse and the young Geloira (the daughter of King Alfonso), he was already with Alfonso, and hence he was also present.
3. After the king had many correspondences with those who were still rebels in the towers, he sent two of the aforementioned counts- Alfonso and Suarius- with the bishop Diaz, saying: “I will receive you in peace and you will be great in my kingdom, if you hand over the towers to me without a fight.” But after those who were in the towers swore so many times through an oath that they did not wish to hand over the towers, they added that they did not wish for this man to reign over them.[ix] Their heart had hope[x] in the Castilian Count Peter Laurentius and his brother Roderic Gundisalvus, who preferred to be at war rather than peace with the king.
4. On the next day, the king, the consuls Alfonso and Suarius, others adhering to him and the citizens of the city, assaulted and captured those towers. Even so, through careful and necessary dispensation, he permitted those who were captured in the towers to depart freely. This deed truly terrified the king’s enemies. When this matter was heard about, all the dukes of the Leonese territory- namely, Roderic Martinus, his brother Osorius and Ramírez Froila, who subsequently became counts, and the count [ ][xi] Ramírez, Peter Lupus and his brother Lupus Lupus, Count Gundisalvus Pelagius, Peter Pelagius de Valderas- came to him at one and the same time and made peace with the king in accordance with his will [ ]. Gundisalvus Pelgius, who was a duke in the regions of the Asturians [ ], was made a consul by him, and the chosen of all the Asturian military and many were reckoned…[ ].
5. Then the king departed to Zamora, and had a meeting in Ricobayo with Tarasia the queen of the Portuguese and Count Ferdinand. He made peace with them for a set time. The following came to the king and subjected themselves to his power with humble devotion in Zamora: García Enequicus, who held Cea, Diaz Munion de Saldania, Roderic Vele the count of Galicia, who held Sarria, Count Guterrius, the brother of Count Suarius (who had made peace with the king in Galicia) and the sons of consul Peter Froila, among whom was Roderic, who was later made consul by him, and also Velasco, García and Vermutus, who held very honourable positions in Galicia, Count Gomez Municus, Ferdinand John, Lord Diaz the archbishop of the seat of Compostela, and many other bishops and abbots of Galicia. Similarly, all of Extremadura, which lay beyond the river Duero,[xii] was handed over to the king’s power through the hands of its dukes.
6. But the Castilian consuls Peter de Lara and his brother Roderic Gundisalvus, who were staying in the land they call Asturias de Saint Juliana, and Semenus Enequs, who held Coyanca in the regions of Leon, saw the king’s strength growing day after day and thus became very afraid. Whether willingly or unwillingly, they hearkened to the king so that they should speak with him about peace, though they did so insincerely because they loved the king of Aragon.[xiii] Nonetheless they made peace with him.
7. As for the king of Aragon, he held Carrio, Castrojeriz, and other forts fortified with walls, the city of Burgos, Villafranca de Montes de Oca, Najara, Belorado, other neighbouring towns and many villages fortified with palisades and walls. He had taken away all of these holdings from Queen Urraca through war and fear. Since he hated the Castilians who loved the King of Leon and thus loved peace with regards to these things, he strongly assailed the other localities. Other dukes of the Castilians besides those named above came to the king of Leon, although the king of Aragon was assailing them (as has been said). They cordially made peace with the king of Leon. Among them was Roderic Gomez, who was later made consul by him, his brother Diaz and Lupus Diaz, who afterwards received the title of count from him with honour, García García, Guterrius Ferdinand, his brother Roderic, Peter Gundisalvus and his brother Roderic de Villaescusa.
8. Nonetheless the citizens of Carrio and Burgos and those who were staying in Villafranca saw that they were doing injustice to the king of Leon, who was their natural lord, and so they sent messengers asking him to come quickly to receive their cities. After he came and received them as they had promised, they all became subject to him. A certain Aragonese soldier called Sancho Arnaldus was the guardian of the fort of Burgos. Since he did not want to give the king the fort peacefully, he was assailed by the Jews and Christians. Wounded by an arrow, he died and thus the fort he held was captured and handed over to the king. When the king of Aragon heard about this, he became irate and agitated.
9. In era 1165, in the month of July[xiv]
He came to Castile in order to fortify Najara, Castrojeriz and many other fortresses that were walled, but it was of no use to him. For when Alfonso the king of Leon discovered this, he hurriedly ordered for the voices and the royal heralds to resound throughout Galicia and Asturias, and throughout all the land of Leon and Castile. After gathering a large army, he went to confront him. They readied their forces from both sides between Castrojeriz and Fornellos in the place that is called the valley of Támara. But Count Peter of Lara, who was standing in the first battle-line of the king of Leon, did not want to fight against the king of Aragon, because his heart was with latter, and he held a conversation with the former.
10. The king of Aragon realised that the Lord was with the king of Leon, and he turned away in order to avoid fighting with him, and he retreated to his camp and saw that he could not go to his own land in any way without war. He sent his princes[xv] as messengers to the king of Leon (namely Gaston de Bear and Centor de Biggora), who said to him: “Your uncle the king of Aragon says to you: let me go in peace to my land. I will not turn to the right or left,[xvi] but I will go via a straight course and I will vow to give you all the forts and cities I have and which ought to be subservient to you by hereditary right. Within 40 days I will restore to you all your realm, as it was of your forefathers, such that there will be peace and truth between you and me.”
11. Hearing this, the king of Leon realised that he was speaking deceitfully to him and did not want to listen to the words of his messengers. But, after holding counsel with his princes, he acquiesced to the words of the one pleading. The king of Aragon swore with the many men who were magnates of his palace that he would fulfil everything as he had said above. A way was given for him to go in peace to his own land, and the king of Aragon broke his oath and plundered the territory through which he travelled. By lying, he became a perjurer.
12. In era 1166, in the month of November[xvii]
The king of Leon Lord Alfonso took as a wife the daughter of Count Raymond of Barcelona. She was called Berengaria, a small girl, wholly beautiful and very upright, a lover of chastity and the truth and of all who fear God. He married her in Saldaña, and thanks be to God, he begat children from her. So with regards to all the things the king did, he would first hold counsel with his wife and his sister Princess Sancha, who possessed great and salubrious counsel, and all their counsels turned out successfully for the king, and they took care of many things for him. They very much feared God and were builders of God’s churches and the monasteries of monks, and carers of the orphans and poor and lovers of all who fear God.
13. In era 1167[xviii]
When the cycle of the year passed, the king of Aragon again gathered a large multitude of soldiers,[xix] infantry and crossbowmen, came to the edge of Medinaceli, besieged Moron and began to attack the neighbouring forts and cities. But when the inhabitants of Medinaceli and Moron saw they had been crushed, they sent messengers to the king of Leon, saying: “The king of Aragon has besieged us and wants to crush us, our wives, our children and all our property by force. But come and free us from his hands and in safety we will be subservient to you.” Hearing this, the king responded to the messengers: “Go and tell the inhabitants of Medinaceli and Moron: take heart, fight and act in a manly manner, and I will help you without day and I will free you with God’s help.”
14. After gathering an army of the land of Leon and Galicia and a few men of Castile, he had 700 brave manly soldiers, and they were brought together in Atienza. But Count Peter de Lara and his brother Count Roderic and their families and friends did not want to go to help the king of Leon. The king nonetheless moved his camp from Atienza and came to Saint Justus and remained there. On the next day, he readied his forces and came from Saint Justus to Moron. When the king of Aragon heard that the king of Leon was marching to wage war against him, he withdrew from Moron, went to Almazán, entered that village with all his multitude and began to surround that village, fortifying it with a great and high wall. But on the day after the king of Leon came to Moron, he drew up his forces and readied them against Almazán from morning till sunset.
15. When the king of Aragon saw that the opposing forces were very small and saw the men in them who were strong in spirits and drawn-up with arms, and he saw that he himself had many thousands of soldiers and infantry, he called the princes and dukes of the people and the bishops who were with him, and he sought their advice as to what he should do. The bishop of Pamplona, who was called Peter, said to the king: “Oh Lord, if you so order, I will speak to you.” The king replied to him: “Speak, lord.” He said: “You see that very small people? They are not small, but many. God is with them and is their defender. They do not seek things that are not their own, but things that are their own. They love peace, they seek peace. For every lover of peace loves God. It is not difficult for God to hem in many at the hands of a few.[xx] The victory of war is not in the multitude of the army, but rather fortitude is from heaven. Oh king, remember the pact you struck last year with the king of Leon, to give him Castrojeriz and Najara and all the forts and cities you took from his mother Queen Mistress Urraca, and thus to live peacefully with him. Oh king, do not fight with him. For if you fight with him, you and all those who are with you will be defeated and die.”
16. When the king heard the bishop’s advice, it was pleasing to him and all his princes, and he did not want to fight against the king of Leon. When the king saw that the king of Aragon did not want to fight with him, he sent him messengers (namely, Count Suarius, who was a lover of peace and truth and a faithful friend of the king, and Gundisalvus Pelagius, the duke of the Asturians) so that they could tell him: “Our king says these words to you: you know all the evil deeds you committed in Castile and all its kingdom, and you know how you swore to him last year to give him the forts and cities that are in your possession and ought to be his. If you do these things, there will be peace between you and him, and if you don’t do them, fight with him, and let the one to whom the Lord gives victory possess the realm in peace.” The king of Aragon replied to them: “I will not fight with him, nor will I give him the forts or cities except with a mighty hand.”[xxi]
17. But the king of Leon fortified Moron, Medinaceli and all the neighbouring forts and cities, and all their inhabitants were strengthened in heart. The king returned to Castile and ordered his counts, dukes and soldiers to remain in their own places with joy. All who heard that the king of Aragon had been kept in check with his multitude by the king of Leon, glorified God saying: “Because His mercy endures forever.”[xxii] All the neighbouring people who heard of these things began to fear the king and obey him. But the king of Aragon fortified Almazán and returned to his city they call Iaqua in his land. From that day onwards he never returned to Castile or Extremadura, nor did he dare to direct himself against the king of Leon. But a great struggle arose between the warrior men of Castile who favoured the king of Leon and the men who protected the regions held by the king of Aragon. Yet those who fought for the Leonese side were always victorious. The holdings of the king of Aragon were always decreasing, while the holdings of the king of Leon- thanks be to God- were always growing day after day.
18. In era 1168 in the month of January[xxiii]
The king of Leon came to the city of Palencia and captured Count Peter de Lara and Count Beltranus his son-in-law, because they went against his rule. But his brother Count Roderic and their families and friends immediately became rebellious. So the king took the captured counts to Leon and sent them there in chains, until they handed over all the forts and cities. After this he let them go empty-handed without honour. Count Peter de Lara wanted to make war in Castile, but he could not, and he withdrew to the king of Aragon (who was in Bayona, which he was waging war against) so that he could lead the latter back to Castile to wage war on it. But when he was there, the count of Toulouse called Alfonso Jordanes came to that city to defend it. When Count Peter found out about this, he requested a duel with the count of Toulouse and both came out to war like two strong lions, and Count Peter was wounded by the spear of Count Alfonso. Falling from his horse, his arm was broken, and he died a few days later. The count of Toulouse remained unscathed.
19. While these things were happening, the king of Leon ordered Count Roderic Martinus and his brother Osorius to come to the land of Leon and besiege Peter Diaz, who was rebelling in the town of Valle with a great crowd of soldiers and infantry. They came and besieged that fort. But those who were within uttered many curses against Count Roderic and his brother, and the count could not strongly wage war against them. Hearing about this, the king came and ordered his assistants to construct mantlets, machines and many siege engines around the fort’s walls. Those who were with the king fired many arrows and rocks upon those who were within, and the fort’s surrounding walls were broken down.
20. But when Peter Diaz saw that he was heavily oppressed, he began to shout and say to the king: “Oh my lord my king, I am guilty and culpable towards you. I plead you by God, who helps you in all your affairs, not to allow me, my wife or my children to fall into the hands of Count Roderic, but take your revenge on me in accordance with your mercy.” When the king heard this, he was moved with mercy as he usually was, and he had Peter and Pelagius Froila (who was with him) come to him, and he sent them both to his tents. After a few days, he ordered for them to depart freely. But Peter Diaz came hither and thither in a state of grave illness without a king and benefactor, and he died poor and wretched.
21. As for Count Roderic, he received some soldiers, and sent others in chains, until they should render all their property, while he made others serve him for many days without tribute. He had those who cursed him joined up with cows, plough, graze on herbs, drink waters in lakes, and eat chaff in a stable. After stripping them of all their riches, he permitted to depart as captives and wretched people. But those who were in Coyanca in support of Semenus Ennecus surrendered the village and fort to the king when they saw this.
22. After these events, the king came to Castile and Asturias of Saint Juliana against Count Roderic and other rebels. He captured their fortified forts, set their inheritances on fire, and had their vineyards and trees cut down.[xxiv] When the count saw that he could not escape from the king’s hands in any way in the forts, mountains or caves, he sent ambassadors to the king, asking for him to come meet him next to the body of water called Pisorga, with the stipulation that each of them should come with only six soldiers. This was pleasing to the king. Immediately they came together and began to speak. But when the king heard from the count what was not allowed for him to hear, he became very angry and set his hands on his neck, and both fell together from their horses onto the ground. Seeing this, the count’s soldiers were terrified with fear, and thus abandoned him and fled.
24. The king apprehended the count and took him captive and sent him in chains, until he returned to the king all his honours and forts. Then the king let him go empty-handed and without honour. Not many days later, the count came to the king and subjected his neck to him, and acknowledged that he was in the wrong against the king. Since the king was always very merciful, he was moved with mercy for him and gave him Toledo and great honours in Extremadura and Castile. The count waged many battles against the Saracens and killed and captured many of them, and he took much booty from their land.
24. In era 1169 in the month of May[xxv]
The king marched against Castrojeriz and within the fortification was Oriolus García who was a great soldier of the king of Aragon. With the latter was a great throng of soldiers and infantry, and he waged war on a great part of Castile. The king surrounded the fort with a great wall and rampart, such that none of those in the fortification could come in or out. They became preoccupied with their great hunger and thirst, and they sought a truce from the king and sent ambassadors to their lord the king of Aragon, asking him to come and free them from the hands of the king of Leon. But he did not dare to come or set foot in his land.
25. When Oriolus García and those with him saw that they could not rely in any way on the king of Aragon and that many of their men were dying because of hunger and thirst, and that already six months had passed since they had been surrounded in October (which is the sixth month before May), he asked for the king’s pledge of protection[xxvi] on behalf of him and his men. The king granted this, expelled them from that place and placed a base there.
26. The other surrounding forts, namely Ferraria and Castrellum, were given to the king, and he expelled the foreigners from them and all of Castile. Great security and peace were established in all his kingdom and all the inhabitants began to build homes, plant vineyards and all kinds of trees, and populate the whole land, which the king of Aragon had destroyed. Great joy arose in all his kingdom, such as had not existed since the time his grandfather king Alfonso had died until his own time.
27. In those times there was a Saracen king in Rota called Zafadola,[xxvii] and he was a king from the greatest offspring of the Hagerene[xxviii] kings. All the deeds done by King Alfonso of Leon against the king of Leon resounded in his ears, and he heard how our king had hemmed him in and how the king of Aragon had sworn to give him his kingdom and lies and became a perjurer. When King Zafadola heard this, he called his children, wives, ministers,[xxix] qāʾids[xxx] and all his senior officials and said to them: “Do you know all the things done by King Alfonso of Leon against the king of Aragon and his rebels?” They said: “We know.”[xxxi] He said to them: “What will we do? For how long will we be confined here?” For they had been confined because of fear of the Moabites,[xxxii] since the Moabites had killed all the offspring of the Hagarene kings and had then taken away their realm.
The aforementioned king Zafadola was there in Rota, hemmed in with some of his people who had fled to him and were there with him. He also said to them: “Hear my counsel. Let us go to the king of Leon and make him king and lord over us and our friend, because, as I know, he will dominate the land of the Saracens, because the God of heaven is his liberator and God the Exalted is his helper. I also know that through him my children and I will recover some honours that the Moabites took away from me, my forefathers and my peoples.”
28. When his senior officials heard this, they said unanimously: “Your counsel has seemed great, and your words have seemed good in the eyes of us all.” In the meantime, he sent his ambassadors to the king saying: “Send me some of your senior officials, with whom I may come to you with my mind at ease.” Hearing this, the king rejoiced greatly and quickly sent him on his behalf Count Roderic Martinus and Guterrius Ferdinand, who was one of the great princes of the king. They came to him in Rota and he received them with honours and gave them great gifts and came with them to the king. The king received him with honours and made him sit with him on the royal throne, and he gave him provisions of food that could not be counted. Seeing this, the princes of King Zafadola were amazed and said to each other: “Who among kings is like the king of Leon?”
29. After King Zafadola saw the wisdom and riches of the king of Leon and the great peace in his palace and all his realm, he said to him: “The talk I heard about you in Rota is true, with regards to the wisdom and mercy that are within you, the peace that is in your kingdom, and your riches.[xxxiii] Blessed are your men and blessed are your princes who dwell with you and who are in your kingdom.”
He gave the king great gifts and very precious gems. He and his children made themselves soldiers of the king and they promised to serve him for all the days of their life, and he gave the king Rota. When the king received this place, he gave it to his son the lord King Sancho of Castile, and it was populated by Christians, and there they began to invoke the name of the Holy Trinity and the grace of the Holy Spirit. But none of those living except a few know that in Rota the Lord’s name was invoked publicly. The king of Leon gave King Zafadola forts and cities in the land of Toledo and Extremadura and along the bank of the River Duero. He came and dwelt in those places and served the king for all the days of his life.
30. In era 1170[xxxiv]
King Alfonso ordered his counts and dukes to come together on a set day with their armies in Atienza. When they had gathered, the king discovered that Count Gundisalvus Pelagius the Asturian had conversed with his blood relative Roderic Gomez for the purpose of launching a rebellion. He captured Count Roderic Gomez, stripped him of honour, and dismissed him. Count Gundisalvus fled and all his noble soldiers were captured there. The king pursued him into Asturias and ordered all his captured soldiers to be led behind him under custody. He found the man rebelling in Tudela and besieged him there. The fort of Gozón and other forts were captured by the king’s soldiers.
31. When Count Gundisalvus saw that his soldiers in whom he trusted had been captured by the king, he made a pact with him whereby they would be under a peace treaty for a whole year, and the king would not make war on him, while would the count would neither plunder the king’s land nor make war in it. He gave Tudela and other forts to the king, and the count remained a rebel in Pruaza, Buanga and Alba de Quiros, which were very well-fortified forts.
32. While these things were happening, the king took a concubine called Gontroda, the daughter of Peter Diaz and Maria Ordonius. She was very beautiful and from the noblest line of the Asturians and Tinianians.[xxxv] From her he begat a daughter called Urraca, who was given to the king’s sister- Princess Sancha- for suckling and nourishing.
33. In the seventh year of King Alfonso the king of the Spaniards and son of Count Raymond and the very serene Queen Mistress Urraca, during the era of 1171[xxxvi]
After holding counsel with King Zafadola, the aforementioned king summoned all his counts and the elders of his kingdom and his dukes. He revealed his secret counsel to them[xxxvii] and said that he had every intention of going to the land of the Saracens to wage war on them and exact revenge for himself on King Tashfin and the other kings of the Moabites, who had come to the land of Toledo, killed many dukes of the Christians and utterly destroyed the fort called Acecha while killing with their sword all the Christians whom they had found there. As for their duke Tellus Fernandus, he was sent away as a captive across the sea[xxxviii] along with other Christian captives. These words were pleasing to all.
34. All the army of his entire kingdom was brought together in Toledo and they fixed their tents next to the river Tagus. The king set out, as did Zafadola with his soldiers accompanying him, and he divided his camp into two forces, because there was insufficient water for them to drink, and there was insufficient grass for their beasts to feed on. The king entered the land of the Moabites with his army through the Puerto de Rex, while the other army entered with Count Roderic Gundisalvus through the Puerto del Muradal. They marched for 15 days through the desert, and both armies united next to the fort of the Saracens called Gallello, and from that day they took fodder for their beasts as well as corn in abundance. There was a countless throng of soldiers, infantry and archers, who covered the face of the Earth like locusts.
35. Then the king moved his camp and began to travel through the countryside of Cordoba, plundering right and left, and he occupied all of the land and plundered it. He left fire in his wake and took many captives and reached the river called the Guadalquivir. After crossing it, on one side they left behind Cordoba and Carmona, while on the right they left behind Seville, which the ancients called Ispalis. As it was harvest-time, he had all the crops burned and all the vineyards, olive trees and fig trees cut down. Fear of him befell all those living in the land of the Moabites and the Hagarenes, and preoccupied with great fear, they abandoned the cities and smaller forts and went over to the most well-fortified forts and the fortified cities. They hid themselves in the mountains, caves of mountains, caverns of rocks,[xxxix] and the islands of the sea.
36. But the entire army placed camp in the land of Seville and everyday great throngs of soldiers would come out from the camp. In our language we call this algaras.[xl] They would go left and right. They plundered the entire land of Seville, Cordoba and Carmona, and they set fire to the entire land, the cities and forts, many of which were found without men, for all had fled. The number of captives of men and women they took was countless, but also countless in number was their plundering of horses and mares, camels and asses, as well as cows, sheep and goats. They brought an abundance of corn, wine and olive oil to the camp. But also all their synagogues[xli] that they found were destroyed. They butchered with the sword any priests and teachers of their law[xlii] that they found, but also the books of their law were burned with fire in their synagogues. The plundering soldiers advanced a distance of eight days travel from the king’s camp and then returned to his camp with their booty in eight days.
37. Then, since booty became lacking in the surrounding area, the king moved his camp and reached a very opulent city that the ancients called Tuccis (in our language: Xerez), and he plundered it and broke it, and it was destroyed. Then the king moved his camp, plundering the surrounding area, and he reached the tower called Gallice, which is next to the seashore.
38. Some irrational soldiers, the sons of counts and dukes, and many others, whose mind was not sane and who did not proceed in accordance with the king’s plan, heard that a neighbouring island was full of horses and cows, with great riches in it. They crossed the sea, eagerly heading to the place, and they were met by prepared forces of the Moabites and Hagarenes, who did battle with them. On account of their sins, the Christians were overcome and the sons of the counts and dukes and many others perished by the sword. Others fled and returned to the camp and recounted to the army everything that had happened to them. Then eventually the whole army began to fear the king and obey him, and from that day none of his soldiers dared to go out of their tents without the king’s order.
39. The king was there over the course of many days. All the plundering cohorts returned with great victories, taking with them many thousands of Saracen captives and a very large multitude of camels, horses, mares, oxen, cows, rams and sheep, as well as goats and female goats (which were the marks of kings and queens), and a lot of other riches.
40. Then the king moved his camp, set his course, came to Seville and crossed the river called the Guadalquivir. A great multitude of the Moabites and Hagarenes who had gathered there and prepared their forces around the city walls, were quickly hemmed in by a few Christian armed men. The whole land around Seville was plundered, and they set fire to their harvests and homes, destroyed their vineyards, fig-trees and olive-trees, and they had many farming estates of the kings that were on both sides of the river cut down. All the Moabites took no one captive, but those taken captive would have received the death sentence.[xliii]
41. Seeing this, the leaders of the Hagarenes secretly sent messengers to King Zafidola, saying: “Speak with the king of the Christians and free us from the hands of the Moabites. We will give the King of Leon more royal tribute than our forefathers gave to his forefathers, and we will be safely in service to him with you and you and your children will reign over us.” Hearing this, King Zafidola held counsel with the king and the faithful counsellors, and he responded to the messengers: “Go, tell my brothers the leaders of the Hagarenes: capture for yourselves some very well fortified forts and some very well fortified towers of the cities and make war in every place, and I and the king of Leon will quickly help you.”
42. Then the king moved his camp and crossed the Puerto de Amarela and headed to its city called Talavera. After these things were done, each returned to his own abode with great joy and triumph, praising and blessing God, who had given vengeance to the king and them and revenge for Tellus Fernandus and his allies who had perished in Azecha, for Guterrius Ermegellus (the qāʾid of Toledo), and the other dukes whom the Moabites had killed along with other Christian soldiers in the land of Toledo.
43. And so a few days later, the king remembered Count Gundisalvus, who was rebelling, and he came to Oviedo in Asturias and demanded Count Gundisalvus’ forts from him: namely, Buanga, Pruaza and Alba de Quiros, in which he was rebelling. But the count refused to give him the forts, and this did not suffice for the former, but also he prepared to make war on him in Pruaza and killed the horse on which the king was sitting as well as many others. Since the king saw that Count Gundisalvus was intent on evil, he allowed Count Suarius and his cousin Peter Alfonso and all the Asturians to go against him. The king also went away to Castile.
44. Count Suarius besieged Buanga and Peter Alfonso besieged Alba de Quiros. But Count Gundisalvus stayed in Pruaza. They boldly pressured him from both sides and set traps in the surrounding through the forts, ways and mountain paths, and they amputated the hands or feet of any people they found, and then let them go. This was done over the course of many days. Count Gundisalvus was rebelling against the king over the course of around two years.
45. Seeing that he was heavily pressured, he made peace with Count Suarius, Peter Alfonso and the bishop lord Arrianus of Leon, and he went away with them to the king and set himself at his feet and acknowledged that he was culpable. But the king received him peacefully and spoke excellent words to him, and as the holy writer says: “The heart of the kings and the course of the waters are in the Lord’s hand.”[xliv] The count was in the king’s palace enjoying great honour for many days. Later he asked for Luna from the king with many entreaties. But the king summoned his sister Princess Sancha and his wife mistress Berengaria and other counsellors, whom he had known to be prudent in such matters. After holding counsel with them, he received Pruaza, Buanga and Alba de Quiros from the count, and he ordered to give him what he had requested, namely Luna. This was done so that he would not rebel again as he had rebelled against Queen Mistress Urraca, who had previously given him honour.
46. But later, on two occasions, he became the lying rebel despite having made peace with the king. Eventually, Peter Alfonso, together with the king’s soldiers, apprehended the count Lord Gundisalvus, and Peter Alfonso sent him to the fort of Aquilare in chains, and they held him, until the king ordered for him to be released and ordered for him to leave all his land on a set day. Whether he wanted to or not, he obeyed the king and went away to King Alfonso in Portugal,[xlv] a blood relative of the king, the son of Queen Tarasia and Count Enrique, so that from there he should make war by sea on Asturias and Galicia. But God, who sees everything,[xlvi] did not want to arrange for this to happen. The Portuguese king received him with great honour and promised him great honours, for he had confidence in making war on Asturias and Galicia. But through God’s arrangement, the count was seized with fever and died a foreigner in a foreigner’s land. Nonetheless his soldiers transported him after he died and buried him in Oviedo.
47. In era 1172 in the month of October[xlvii]
Amid all these events that happened, Count Roderic found out that the king’s disposition towards had changed for the worse, and so he gave the king Toledo and its towns and cities that he held. After receiving these places, the king immediately gave them to Roderic Fernandus and made him qāʾid of Toledo. He waged many battles in the land of the Moabites and the Hagarenes. Although the battles of Count Roderic Gundisalvus and Roderic Ferdnandus, which they waged with the kings of the Moabites and the Hagarenes, were very brave, they have not been described in this book.
48. After Count Roderic Gundisalvus kissed the king’s hand and said goodbye to his peoples and friends, he set out as a pilgrim to Jerusalem, where he waged many wars with the Saracens and built a very well-fortified fort opposite Ashkelon called Toron, and he strongly fortified it with soldiers, infantry and provisions, handing it over to the Templar soldiers.[xlviii] Then the count crossed the sea of Bari and came to Spain, but he did not see the king’s face, nor was he received in Castile in the inherited assets of his forefathers, but he stayed with Raymond the count of Barcelona, and with García the king of Pamplona. Then he went to Avengania,[xlix] the leader of the Saracens in Valencia, and he was with him for some days, but the Saracens gave him a cup and he became a leper. But after the count discovered that his body had changed, he again went away to Jerusalem, and there he remained until the day of his death.
49. As we leave behind the previous order of discussion, so that we can divert our attention for a little while to events that pertain to the matter, let us deal with the history of the king of Aragon in this manner, so that we may speak about his death or what he did, after he returned from Moron and Almazán.
50. In those times, while the king of Leon was waging war against his rebels Count Peter de Lara and his brother Count Roderic (who assented to Peter)[l] and the other unfaithful ones in order to capture them in war, the king of Aragon gathered a huge army of soldiers and infantry, left his land, and went away to the territory of Gascony and besieged a city called Bayona, which is located next to the river called the Garona. He was there for many days and devastated all the surrounding land, constructed ballistas, machines and many siege engines, and assaulted the city, but he could not capture it. From there he returned to his own land without honour.
51. He gathered a large army from his land and Gascony, and after holding counsel with the optimates of his region, he had very brave and powerful men join him to augment his forces. Among them was the bishop of Lascar, whose name was Guido, Dodo the bishop of Jaca, the bishop of Saint Vincent de Rodas, the abbot of Saint Vidrianus, Gaston de Bearne, Centor de Bigorra and other brave men of auxiliaries of the Franks and many foreigners. He moved his army and departed to the great city of Zaragoza, and other cities and forts he had taken from the Saracens. Then he moved his camp and departed to the land of the Moabites, and he besieged a very well-fortified city called Fraga, and he plundered all the land of Valencia and Murcia as well as all of Granada, and his plundering cohorts were in the land of Almeria and brought about great slaughter and captivity, and burned all that land. But Avengania, a Saracen from the tribe of the Moabites and the great leader of Valencia and Murcia. He brought together many Moabites and Hagarenes and came to Fraga in order to fight with the king of Aragon. Through two turns of fortune, Avengania was overcome. Fleeing the field, he left behind many spoils for the Christians.
52. The king of Aragon always had with him on expedition a bow made of pure gold, decorated on the inside and outside with precious stones. On it was a cross to be revered because of the remains of the wood of salvation, on which our Lord Jesus Christ- the Son of God- was hung to redeem us. In the days of the wars, he had seized it from the home of the holy martyrs Facundus and Primitivus, which is in the land of Leon near the River Cea. He also had other ivory boxes covered with gold, silver and precious stones, full of the remains of Saint Mary and the wood of the Lord, the apostles, martyrs and confessors, virgins, patriarchs and prophets. They were stored away in his tents, where there was a chapel that was always located next to the king’s tents. On a daily basis, priests performing vigils, ministers and a great part of the clerics would observe and offer sacrifice over them to the Lord God.
53. But the Moabites and Hagarenes who were within wanted to give the city to the king, so that he would let them go in peace. Nonetheless he did not want to accept it, because God had hardened his heart so that all the evils he had committed against the Christians in the land of Leon and Castile and against his people would come upon him, as they later did come upon him. But he wanted to capture the city, and he mercilessly swore by royal oath that all the noblemen of the Saracens would undergo the death penalty, that their wives and children would be taken captive, and that their riches would be seized. Eventually, Avengania the Saracen brought together people from across the sea- Moabites and Arabs- and the kings of Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Lerida, and all the peoples who were from this region of the sea. In addition, countless thousands of soldiers, infantry and archers came to Fraga after Avengania sent envoys. On account of the king’s sins, he remained unaware of all of this, since God did not want to help him but confound him.
So one day at the crack of dawn, that is on the sixteenth day before the Kalends of August,[li] the king’s watchmen, who were guarding the camp night and day, raised their eyes and saw that innumerable and huge forces of the Saracens were coming. Running into the camp, they reported the news to the king. But the king ordered the archbishops, princes, soldiers and infantry to be prepared in the camp, arm themselves and thus defend themselves and the camp. But many Aragonese noblemen and very many other soldiers, who had already headed back by the king’s order, had left the camp and were in Aragon, so that after preparing all the necessities for themselves, they should travel back to the camp. These people were not at the battle.
55. Behold, through the arrangement of divine vengeance, the readied forces of the Moabites and Hagarenes surrounded the camp and began to fight and fire many lances, arrows, projectiles and rocks against them, and kill many people and beasts. Seeing this, the bishops, clerics and all the Christian people began to ask the Lord God to snatch them away from the Saracens’ hands, and not to remember the sins of the king or their parents or those who were with him. They also asked to be taken rather gently by Him. But because of their sins, their prayers were not heard before God, because the Archangel Gabriel, the greatest messenger of God, did not bring them before the tribunal of Christ, nor was Michael- the chief of the heavenly host- sent by God to help them in the battle.
56. When the princes, all the warriors and the bishops saw that they could not sustain the battle in the camp, they sallied out into the field and the battle became very intense. For while they were fighting, the forces of the pagans[lii] that were lying hidden came from the other side and began to assault the camp, which shattered. The golden bow, on which there was the cross of the wood of salvation, was captured, as were other aforementioned boxes and the king’s chapel. The king’s tents fell to the ground and the aforementioned bishop of Lascar was captured along with the priests, the ministers, all the clergy, all the people that were in the camp, and the king’s family. Also, Dodo the bishop of Jaca fell in that battle, as did the bishop of Saint Vincent de Rodas and the abbot of Saint Vidrianus.
57. These were the leaders of his forces: Garsion de Gabescan, Beltran de Launuces, Fortunel de Fol, Obgel de Miramon, Raymond of Talar, Calvete de Sua, Quius…Gaston de Bearne, Centor de Bigorra and Almeri de Narbone. Many brave auxiliaries of Francia, many foreigners and all the princes and soldiers of the Aragonese died. 700 brave infantry of the king, who guarded the king when he was on expedition, all fell together in one place.
58. Finally the king fled and with him were ten soldiers (and one of those soldiers was García Ramírez). He crossed through Zaragoza and came to a monastery called Saint John, which is located in Penna, which is in Aragon. He entered inside and ordered for the gates to be shut, and because of his great sadness, he fell on the couch. In a few days he died in the aforementioned monastery, touched by the pain of his heart, and he was buried with his forefathers in the kings’ tombs. There was no one like him after him or before him among the previous kings of Aragon, or as brave, prudent or valorous as he was. But he made no arrangements as to what should be done with regards to his household or kingdom, because he had no offspring. He died in era 1172 on the eighth day before the Kalends of September.
59. The captive bishop of Lascar was led to Valencia, and they afflicted him with many torments so that he should deny the one who was hung on the wood for us and the baptism, and so that they could circumcise[liii] him in accordance with their law. After this he gave hostages for himself and rendered 3000 morabetini, and returned to his residence in Lascar.
60. When the Christians who were beyond Zaragoza in the fortified forts and cities saw that the king had died, they fled because of their fear of the Saracens and shut themselves in Zaragoza. The Saracens came and occupied the towns abandoned by the Christians, preparing them for their own habitation. All the people of Zaragoza and all the cities wept, above all the inhabitants of the forts that he had taken from the Saracens by the sword and handed over to the Christians to be populated, and they said: “Oh best defender, whom have you given for us to be our defenders? For now the Moabites will invade the kingdom you had snatched away from the hands of the Saracens by your royal power, and we will be taken captive without a defender.”
61. But the Aragonese were gathered in groups, noble and ignoble, whether citizens or foreigners, with their heads shaved, their clothes cut and their women’s faces dejected, and they howled with great weeping and said to the sky: “Alas, king, how did you who kept us safe fall? Because of the accumulation of what sins has God’s anger fallen upon us, whereby we should lose the liberator of the Christians? Now the impious Saracens and our enemies will invade us.”
62. The noble and ignoble soldiers of all the land of Aragon were brought together, along with both bishops and abbots, and all the common people. They were all gathered in the royal city of Jaca and chose a monk to be their king. He was the brother of King Alfonso called Ramírez, and they gave him the sister of the Count of Poitiers to be his wife. This was a great sign in the Lord’s eyes, but the Aragonese did this after losing their dear lord, so that children might be raised from the royal seed. But the people of Pamplona and Navarra came together in the city called Pamplona, and they chose their own king called García Ramírez[liv]: the one who fled with the king from the battle of Fraga. King Ramírez came to his wife, who conceived and gave birth to a daughter, and after holding counsel with his princes, he immediately betrothed her to Count Berengar of Barcelona, gave him the realm, and acknowledged he was a sinner in God’s eyes and did penance.
63. After these events, the king of Leon found out about what had happened regarding the kings, and so he departed to Najara and they received him there: and not only there, but also in all the cities and forts that should have been under service to the king of Leon. King García came to him and promised to serve him all the days of his life and he became a soldier of the king of Leon, who gave him gifts and honours. When the king of Leon heard that the nobles of the Aragonese and King Ramírez and all the people were in a state of great fear and trembling, he said to his princes: “Let us go to Aragon and show mercy to our brother King Ramírez and provide him counsel and assistance.”
64. When King Ramírez, all the magnate nobles of his palace, and the bishops, abbots and all the common people heard that the king of Leon was coming to their land, they went out to meet him and received him with great honour and served him. The king spoke many good and peaceful words to them, and promised to help them with all his heart and al his mind. When King Ramírez held counsel with his bishops and all the princes of his realm, they gave Zaragoza to the king of Leon, so that it should always be under his dominion and under the dominion of his children. The kings went out to it together, so that it should be handed over to the emperor.
65. When all the people heard that the king of Leon was coming to Zaragoza, all the princes of the city and all the common people went out to meet him with tambourines, citharas, psalteries and every kind of music,[lv] singing and saying: “Blessed is the one who has come, and blessed are he and the realm of his forefathers, and blessed is the realm of Leon, and blessed are your mercy and your patience.” They brought him inside the city.
66. Then the bishop of Zaragoza came out with a great procession of clerics and monks in the city square and received the king, and they went away with him to the church of Saint Mary, singing and saying: “Fear God and observe His mandates”[lvi] etc. Finally, after blessing was given by the bishop (as is the custom of kings), they went with him to the regal palaces and gave him tributes in abundance. The king was in Zaragoza for some days and there he placed a great garrison of soldiers and infantry to guard the city. After these events, as was pleasing to the king, they received blessing from the bishop and all the people, and then they returned to Castile praising and blessing God, who gives peace to those who have hope in Him.
67. In the same year that these things happened, Count Raymond of Barcelona (a relative of the king) and Count Alfonso of Toulouse his blood relative, came to the king of Leon and promised to obey him in all things, and they became his soldiers, touching the king’s right hand to affirm their loyalty. He also gave Zaragoza to the Count of Barcelona as an honour (as is the custom of the king of Leon), while he honourably gave the count of Toulouse a top quality golden vessel equal to 30 marks in weight, along with many horses and many other gifts.
68. In addition to all of these things, all the optimates throughout all of Gascony and all the land up to the River Rhone, as well as William de Monte Pesulano, came unanimously to the king and received silver and gold from him, along with many various precious gifts and many horses. All became subject to him and obeyed him in all things. Many sons of the counts, dukes and potentates of Francia and many people of Poitier came to him and received arms and many other gifts from him. The boundaries of King Alfonso of Leon’s realm stretched form the great Ocean sea (which is from Padrón of Saint James) up to the Rhone River.
69. After these events, the king set a day in era 1173[lvii] to hold a council in the royal city of Leon: the fourth day before the Nones of June,[lviii] on the day of the Holy Spirit, with the archbishops, bishops, abbots, counts and princes, as well as dukes and judges, who were in his kingdom.
70. The king came to the appointed day, and with him was his wife Queen Mistress Berengaria and his sister the infantess mistress Sancha. With them were King García of Pamplona and, as the king ordered, all came together in Leon. Also a very large throng of monks and clerics came, as well as a countless number of the common people, so that they could see, hear or speak the divine word.
71. On the first day of the council, all the greater and lesser individuals were gathered in the church of Saint Mary with the king, and there they discussed what the clemency of our Lord Jesus Christ has provided and what things are appropriate for the salvation of all faithful souls. On the second day, on which the advent of the Holy Spirit to the apostles is celebrated, the archbishops, bishops, abbots and all the nobles and ignobles and all the common people were brought together again in the church of the blessed Mary along with King García and the king’s sister, as they accepted the divine counsel that they should call the king emperor, owing to the fact that King García, King Zafadola of the Saracens, Count Raymond of Barcelona, Count Alfonso of Toulouse and many counts and dukes of Gascony and Francia were obeying him in all things. After the king put on an excellent cape woven with wondrous work, they placed a crown of pure gold and precious stones on the king’s head. They placed a sceptre in his hands, while King García held him at the right arm and Bishop Arrianus of Leon held him at the left arm. Together with the bishops and abbots, they brought him before the altar of Saint Mary, singing: “We praise you God” till the end and saying: “Long live Emperor Alfonso!” After blessing was bestowed upon him, they celebrated mass in the festive manner. Then all returned to their own tents. He ordered for a great banquet to be held in the royal palaces, but also the counts, leaders and dukes ministered the royal tables. The emperor also ordered for great tributes to be given to the bishops, abbots and all, and for the giving of great alms of clothing and food for the poor.
71. Again on the third day the emperor and all the people (as they had been accustomed) came together in the royal palaces and discussed those things that pertain to the safety of all realm of all of Spain. The emperor gave customs and laws in all his kingdom, just as they were in the days of his grandfather the King Lord Alfonso, and he ordered for all the inheritances and families that all the churches had lost without judgement and justice to be restored to them. He also ordered for the villages and lands that had been destroyed in the time of wars to be populated, and for the planting of vineyards and all kinds of trees, and he strictly ordered all the judges to eradicate the vices in men who were found to be behaving contrary to the justice and the decrees of the kings, princes, potentates and judges. Those judges hanged some on wood, left others with their hands or feet cut, and were not sparing the rich or noble more than the poor, but rather discerned everything according to the type of fault and judged justly. Moreover, he ordered that there should be no tolerance for sorcerers, as the Lord said to Moses: “Do not tolerate the sorcerers.”[lix] In the sight of all, some workers of iniquity were captured and hanged on fork-shaped yokes.
72. He also ordered for the qāʾids of Toledo and all the inhabitants of all of Extremadura to raise armies continuously and make war on the Saracen infidels each year, and not spare their cities or towns, but to seek vengeance against the entirety of them for the sake of God and the Christian law. After these things were done, the council was dismissed, and all went to their own abodes with joy, singing and blessing the emperor and saying: “Blessed are you and blessed is the kingdom of your forefathers, and blessed is God the Lofty, who made heaven, earth, the sea and all things that are in them, for He has visited us and granted us the mercy that He has promised to those who have hope in Him.”
73. After a year peacefully passed in accordance with the previously mentioned pact, King García of Navarra and all his warrior men with him revolted against the lord emperor. Likewise at the same time, King Alfonso of Portugal, the son of Count Enrique and Queen Tarasia, was at odds with the emperor. Tarasia was the daughter of the King Lord Alfonso, but from an illegitimate female companion who was nonetheless very much loved by the king and called Xemena Munio. The king gave Tarasia in marriage to Count Enrique for the sake of affection and honour, and he enriched her magnificently, granting the land of Portugal by hereditary right. When Count Enrique died, the Portuguese called her queen. When she died, they called her son king in honour of her name, as has also been the case subsequently.
74. These two kings made war against the emperor at one time (as has been said above), and each one of them prepared for war out of his own regions: King García in Castile, and the Portuguese king in Galicia. The king of Portugal came to Galicia and captured the city of Tuy and other forts. Count Gomez Nunnus, who held many forts and the land they call Torogno, and Count Roderic Peter Villosus, who held forts in Limia and honour from the emperor, lied to their lord emperor and gave the forts and honours to the Portuguese king. This did not suffice for them: for on top of that they prepared for war for their own loss: all these things that rather proved a stumbling block for the counts for all the days of their life.
75. In those days there was a duke in Limia called Ferdinand John, a strenuous soldier and faithful friend of the emperor. He held the fort called Alleris and many others, and he and his sons and brothers and friends prepared for war against the king of Portugal in a manly manner. Despite being worn out by the king’s war, they did not however lose their honour, but rather they gained the greatest praise. Already some time ago the king of Portugal had very often come to Galicia, but he had been expelled from there by Count Ferdinand Peter, Roderic Vele and the other dukes of Galicia, and he returned to his land without honour. He came again to Limia and built a fort called Celmes, and garrisoned it with noble soldiers and rather audacious infantry of his palace. There he placed great provisions of bread, meat, wine and water, and went away to his own land of Portugal.
76. When the emperor heard about this, he brought together a great army consisting of many soldiers of Galicia and Leon, and he hurriedly departed to Limia and besieged the aforementioned fort called Celmes. A few days later, he began assailing it and captured in it a great proportion of the noble soldiers of the king of Portugal’s palace, and he placed them under custody for many days. Intolerable sadness arose in the home of the king of Portugal, because things did not turn out for him as he thought they would.
77. As for the emperor, he fortified the aforementioned fort, rejoiced that all of Limia had been turned over to him, and returned to the land of Leon. This happened before he was called emperor, but after he was called emperor, as we have previously said, Count Gomez Nunius and Count Roderic, who was called Villosus, became rebels in Galicia and gave their honours and forts to the Portuguese king, who fortified them and returned to his own land.
78. The Portuguese king again gathered his army and came to Limia. Hearing about this, Count Fernandus Peter, Count Roderic Vele and all the other dukes of the emperor in Galicia were called together, and marched with their military forces against the king and confronted him at the place called Cernesa. After preparing their forces, they began to do battle, and because of their sins, the counts turned in flight and were defeated. Count Roderic Vele was captured by some of the king’s soldiers in the battle, but immediately he was freed by his two arm-bearers through the implementation of a great scheme, and he escaped with them.
79. After this victory, the king immediately returned to the land of Portugal to help those who were in a fort called Erena that he built opposite another fort held by the Moors and called Santearen, in order to wage war against Santearen, Lisbon, Sintria and the other surrounding forts of the Saracens.
80. At the same time, the Moabites and Hagarenes came against the aforementioned fort of Erena and captured it in an assault, and all the warrior men, more than 250 Christians and some magnates of the king, perished there by the sword. Hence great sadness and disturbance arose in the home of the Portuguese king.
81. While all these things were happening, the emperor was waging war in the land of King García and captured his fortified forts as well as Count Latro of Navarra, the noblest of all the princes of King García’s household. He destroyed, plundered and burned his land, and had his vineyards and trees cut down. As for Count Latro of Navarra, he gave an oath to the emperor, and served him for many years. Nonetheless, after peace was made between the emperor and Count Latro of Navarra, there was war for some years between King García and the emperor. But King García’s power against the emperor was either minimal or none. In Portugal, Ferdinand John, the leader of Limia, waged war every day along with the emperor’s other loyalists against the king, with whom he had an encounter in war and fought in a manly manner. For the king himself was wounded by a lance that one of Ferdinand John’s infantry thrusted with boldness. He laboured for many days and was healed by his doctors. In this war the aforementioned Ferdinand captured some of the king’s princes and dismissed them after stripping them of their great riches.
82. It came to pass that after all these things were done, the emperor ordered the counts of Castile (namely, Roderic Gomez, Lope Lopez, and Duke Guterrius Ferdinand and other dukes) to be prepared every day to wage war against King García. The emperor brought together a great military force of the land of Leon, and went away to Portugal and captured fortified forts, and a great amount of land was destroyed and plundered. The Portuguese king gathered his own army and went to do battle against the few men who had foolishly gone out from the emperor’s army. After he confronted Count Ramírez assailing his land, both men did battle. Count Ramírez was defeated and captured by the king.
83. Then the emperor set up camp opposite the fort called Penna de Regina, in a place called Portella de Vice. The Portuguese king fixed his tents opposite the emperor’s camp in a higher and harsh place, and a valley was between them. But many dukes and soldiers acting without the emperor’s order and many soldiers of the king descending from their camp did battle with each other, and many fell from their horses to the ground and were captured by both sides.
84. Seeing this war, the elders of the Portuguese said to their king: “Oh lord king, it is not good or useful for us to be at war with the emperor, nor will we ever be able to bear his multitude that is so large and brave. Tomorrow will not be for us like today. If there had been peace between us, all our brothers who perished at the hands of the Saracens in the fort of Erena would not have perished. But be careful lest by chance the Moabites and Hagarenes should come again to our cities and forts that are beyond the River Duero, and do things worse than what they have already done. So order some of us to ask the emperor to make peace with us. Let us also give him all his forts we have, and let him restore to us those of ours that his soldiers captured. For it is better for us to have peace than war.”
85. When the king heard his princes’ counsel, it was pleasing to him, and he sent messengers from the elders of his household to the emperor, to tell him the aforementioned words about peace between the kings. These words were pleasing to the emperor when he heard them. After this, the king’s messengers received a guarantee from the princes that they would have peace with each other, such that the aforementioned peace should either be fulfilled or (God forbid) denied. Then at last the emperor’s princes departed for the king’s camp and similarly accepted a guarantee from the king’s princes, just as they had given to the latter.
86. On the next day the emperor’s counts came together with the king’s princes and they made peace between the emperor and the king: not absolutely eternal, but for some years, and they swore it so that they might again be pacified more firmly while there should be peace, as had been pleasing to both parties. All the forts that the Portuguese king had taken in Galicia were restored to the emperor’s holdings, and similarly the king’s forts that the emperor’s soldiers had taken from him in war were restored to him. Then Count Ramírez and all the soldiers who had been captured by both parties were released.
87. Peace arose between them for many years, which seemed useful as it was good for the Christians. The king removed from his presence Count Roderic and Count Gomez Nunius, because of the face they had brought about discord between the emperor and the king. Since Count Gomez Nunius acknowledged that he was guilty, he was shamed, and crossing the Pyrenees Mountains in flight (whether he wanted to or not, because there was no place anywhere for him to dwell), he became a monk in the monastery of Cluny. Moved with pity for Count Roderic, the emperor ordered for him to eat bread in his presence in his palace, and for the giving of tributes of gold and silver to him as one of his princes, who would be in attendance in his presence.
88. The emperor arranged to go to Saint James[lx] for the sake of prayer. After he carried this out as he had vowed, he returned to the land of Leon and Castile. From there he went away to King García’s land in Pamplona and set up camp in the plane of Pamplona. He sent plundering cohorts into every region of King García. They burned a great amount of land with fire, had the vineyards and trees cut down, and returned to the emperor in his camp, bearing with them great booty of oxen and cows, horses and mares, and a great amount of riches.
89. While these things were happening, King García gathered his armies and confronted the large army of Count Raymond of Barcelona (which consisted of Aragonese and Barcinoans),[lxi] and he did battle with them. King García emerged as victor in the field and took war spoils from them. But while the victors were dividing the spoils among themselves, the emperor arrived with only 30 soldiers. Seeing the emperor’s standards, King García and all those with him fled, abandoning all the spoils in the field. The emperor pursued them as they fled all the way to their city of Pamplona.
90. After these events, the emperor and all his camp returned to their city of Najara with great triumph and joy. Then he came to Castile and ordered for the royal proclamations to resound through the whole land of Leon and Castile, ordering that in the middle of the month of May, all the soldiers and infantry should again be gathered in Najara to wage war on King García. Nonetheless, after King García discovered that he could not avoid war with the emperor in any way, he became very sad and summoned his own counsellors, and said to them: “Consider what plan we should adopt, because the emperor has made peace with the king of Portugal and again wishes to march against us, in order to destroy us and our land through war or siege.” While they found no plan as to what they should do, eventually Count Alfonso Jordanes of Toulouse came to them. He was coming as a pilgrim to Saint James by the royal route, in order to pray. When the king and those with him saw that man, they greatly rejoiced.
91. After holding counsel, the aforementioned Count Alfonso and other princes of the king came to the emperor and in the first instance made peace between the emperor and the king per a pact whereby King García would serve the emperor without trickery for all the days of both of their lives. After this was done, the count of Toulouse and the king’s princes asked the emperor to give King García his infant daughter Mistress Urraca, whom he had begotten from Gontroda the daughter of Peter the Asturian. When they heard this, all the magnates of the emperor’s palace together with Count Alfonso recommended to the emperor that King García should be called his son-in-law via his aforementioned domisella daughter given to him as a wife. The emperor accepted their counsel and it was pleasing in his sight, and he promised to give her to the king, hence they set a suitable day to hold the wedding in the city of Leon: on the eighth day before the Kalends of July.[lxii]
92. Sending envoys, the emperor ordered each of his own soldiers, all his counts, princes and dukes, who were in his entire kingdom, to come prepared with their noble soldiery to the royal wedding. When all heard this, it was pleasing to them, but most of all to the Asturians and Tinianians, who, just as the emperor ordered, came excellently prepared and with enthusiasm to the wedding. The emperor came and with him was his wife the empress mistress Berengaria and a very large throng of potentates, counts, dukes and soldiers of Castile. King García also came thus prepared and ornated with not a small crowd of soldiers, as is befitting for an engaged king to come to his wedding. The very serene Princess Sancha entered Leon through the Cauriensian gate and with her was her cousin the infant mistress Urraca, the king’s fiancée, along with a very large throng of noble soldiers, clerics, women and girls, whom the elders of all of Spain had begotten.
93. So the bed-chamber was placed in the royal palaces, which are in Saint Pelagius, by Princess Sancha, and around the bed-chamber was a very large throng of actors, women and girls singing with instruments, flutes, citharas, psalteriums and every kind of music. Moreover the emperor and King García sat on the royal throne in a high place before the doors of the emperor’s palace, while the bishops, abbots, counts, princes and dukes sat in seats organised around them. As for other potentates (nonetheless the beloved of Spain): some compelled their horses to run with spurs, and throwing forth their spears, they would strike a boarded structure per the national custom in order to show both their skill and the skill of their horses. Others would provoke bulls to anger through the barking of dogs and kill them through throwing a hunting-spear. Finally, they set a pig for the blind in the middle of a field, which the blind could make their own by killing it. Those wanting to kill the pig rather often struck each other and made all those standing around to burst into laughter. Great joy arose in the city and they blessed God, who always made everything prosper for them. This wedding took place in era 1182.[lxiii]
94. The emperor gave his daughter and son-in-law King García great gifts of gold, silver, horses, mules and many other riches. He blessed them and led them return with honours to their land. The infantess mistress Sancha gave her cousin many golden and silver vessels as well as mules and female mules loaded with royal riches. King García and his men set out from Leon with great glory and had Count Roderic Gomez, lord Guterrius Fernandez, and many other Castilian dukes to accompany them. They went away with the king and his wife up to his city of Pamplona. King García held a great royal banquet for the Castilians who were with him, and for all the soldiers and princes of his kingdom, with the royal nuptials celebrated over the course of many days. The king also gave the counts and dukes of Castle many gifts and each one of them returned to his own land.
95. After the mother of the aforementioned queen (the wife of King García) whom we have earlier named as Gontroda saw what she was waiting for above everything else (i.e. her daughter’s immense honour, since she had been made queen and had been twice adorned with royal nuptials), she sought her heavenly desire as much as she could, now that her worldly desire was complete. Offering herself to God, she adhered in service to Him in such a way that she came in holiness to the city of Oviedo and joined with others in the church of Saint Mary the mother of God, whom she had sensed to be the intervening one behind her joy and her helper, and she incessantly praised and pleased God with night-time and daytime praises, and she awaited the glorious end of her life, sweating in such labour and wetting with eager desire the church’s paved floor through the fount of her tears in prayer.
Here ends the first book.
[i] There is a gap in the text here at the beginning, rendering the translation slightly uncertain.
[ii] Cf. Psalm 75:12.
[iii] 8 March.
[iv] Era is a Spanish system of dating. To get the corresponding CE year, subtract 38. Thus here: 1126 CE.
[v] Cf. Luke 24:49.
[vi] El Bierzo in León.
[vii] Babia in León.
[viii] It is not clear which river this is: either the Eo or the Deva.
[ix] Cf. Luke 19:14.
[x] Cf. Daniel 13:35.
[xi] This chapter contains multiple gaps in the manuscripts. They have been marked with square brackets.
[xii] The Duero is a river that runs through Castile and Leon and terminates at Porto in Portugal. The reference to the Extremadura region here then is the region south of the river.
[xiii] Referring to Alfonso I, king of Aragon in the period 1104-1134 CE.
[xiv] i.e. July 1127 CE.
[xv] In the sense of high-rank noblemen.
[xvi] Cf. e.g. Numbers 20:17.
[xvii] November 1128 CE.
[xviii] 1129 CE.
[xix] The term “soldiers” (Latin: milites) generally appears to be used here to indicate fighters of higher rank who were probably mounted (i.e. were knights), as opposed to ordinary infantry (pedites).
[xx] Cf. 1 Maccabees 3:18-19.
[xxi] The Latin phrase “in manu forti” occurs repeatedly in the Vulgate (e.g. Exodus 13:3).
[xxii] Cf. e.g. Psalm 135:1.
[xxiii] January 1130 CE.
[xxiv] Cf. Judith 2:17.
[xxv] i.e. May 1131 CE.
[xxvi] The Latin word here is dextera (lit. “right hand”). Cf. 1 Maccabees 13:50.
[xxvii] A Latinisation of the Arabic title Sayf al-Dawla (“Sword of the State”), referring here to Aḥmad bin ʿAbd al-Malik bin Hud (died 1146 CE), who was a member of the Hudid dynasty that had ruled the ṭāʾifa of Zaragoza before the conquest of Zaragoza by the Almoravids by 1110 CE. Sayf al-Dawla continued to rule a tiny rump state out of Rota (Rueda).
[xxviii] Referring to the Arabs, by virtue of their supposed descent from Hagar and her son Ishmael.
[xxix] Latin: alguaziles. Alguazil is a Latinisation of the Arabic term al-wazīr (“the minister”).
[xxx] Latin: alcaides. Alcaid is a Latinisation of the Arabic term al-qāʾid (“the commander”). It could be rendered here and in some other contexts as “governor.”
[xxxi] The question and answer form here is arguably derived from Tobith 7:4.
[xxxii] Referring to the Berber Almoravids, who had by this point virtually eliminated all the ṭāʾifa kingdoms that had emerged out of the collapse of the Umayyad caliphate of Cordoba in 1031 CE.
[xxxiii] Cf. 1 Kings 10:6-10.
[xxxiv] i.e. 1132 CE.
[xxxv] Probably referring to the people of the locality of Tineo in Asturias.
[xxxvi] i.e. 1133 CE.
[xxxvii] Lit. “he had the mystery of his counsel with them” (cf. Judith 2:2).
[xxxviii] i.e. He was sent over to Africa.
[xxxix] Cf. Revelation 6:15.
[xl] Derived from the Arabic al-ġāra (meaning “raid” or “foray” etc.).
[xli] i.e. Mosques.
[xlii] “Law” (Latin: lex) is the standard medieval equivalent for the modern term of “religion.” Thus, the author is referring to Islam here.
[xliii] The sentence here reads awkwardly in the original Latin and may be corrupt. It seems the latter half should best be taken as a conditional sentence: if the Almoravids had captured any Christians, they would have executed them straightaway.
[xliv] Cf. Proverbs 21:1.
[xlv] King of Portugal in the period 1139-1185 CE.
[xlvi] Cf. 2 Maccabees 9:5.
[xlvii] October 1134 CE.
[xlviii] The Knights Templars.
[xlix] Ibn Ġānīya, an Almoravid chieftain.
[l] Latin: qui eis concedebat. The phrase seems difficult to interpret and I have amended eis to ei (i.e. plural to singular).
[li] 17 July.
[lii] i.e. the Muslims.
[liii] In Islam, circumcision is a widespread practice, despite there being no mandate for it in the Qurʾān.
[liv] King of Navarre in the period 1134-1150 CE.
[lv] Cf. Daniel 3:5, 3:7 etc.
[lvi] Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13.
[lvii] 1135 CE.
[lviii] 2 June.
[lix] Exodus 22:18.
[lx] i.e. Santiago de Compostela, a well-known pilgrimage site in Iberia associated with Saint James.
[lxi] People of Barcelona.
[lxii] 24 June.
[lxiii] 1144 CE.