El rei-cavalleresc: chivalry, crusade and the conduct of war in James I of Aragon’s Llibre dels Fets

Currie, Colin Derek (2016) El rei-cavalleresc: chivalry, crusade and the conduct of war in James I of Aragon’s Llibre dels Fets. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

As a chivalric text, the Llibre contains many rich thematic seams. This dissertation, however, will focus on James’s chivalric kingship in action; the extent of his commitment to the idea of crusading; and on what light the text can shed on the nature of conduct of warfare in Iberia.
The first chapter discusses James’s chivalric ideology and how he implemented this both in his dealings with his subjects and also on the battlefield. It will focus on his perception of what constituted honourable conduct and how he applied this in a practical sense. Through the analysis of this theme I will show how James’s instructive stories illustrate his perception of chivalric kingship in action and highlight how the Llibre is such a rich chivalric text. As already mentioned, literature on this theme, especially in English, is sparse.
The second chapter analyses James’s attitude to crusading. It argues that although the Llibre rarely makes overt reference to the tenets and vocabulary of crusading, it nonetheless portrays James as a consistent and devoted supporter of crusade and makes clear that this exercised a great influence on his conduct. Although Burns and Smith have gone into depth in analysing James’s piety, still very little is known about his attitude and ideological commitment to crusading, in spite of the fact that his crusading endeavours were many and frequently successful.
The third chapter illustrates how the Llibre can be used to demonstrate the developing laws and customs pertaining to the conduct of war in Iberia in the thirteenth century. Warfare was subject to more exacting legislation in Spain than anywhere else in contemporary Europe and I will show how the text can be used to contextualise and develop this theme. To do so I will make frequent reference to the more theoretical Siete Partidas written by James’s son-in-law Alfonso X ‘el Sabio’ of Castile.
The main purpose of this work, however, is to illustrate how these themes are all intrinsically linked to one another by James’s perception of chivalric kingship. The Llibre should be read as one of the most important and instructive chivalric texts of the thirteenth century. James’s military renown as a crusader, conqueror and strategist preceded him even in his own time, but through his chronicle we can see that he aspired to be remembered for more than just his victories, but also the manner in which he achieved them. Jean Flori bestowed upon Richard the Lionheart the epithet ‘le roi-chevalier’ (the ‘king-knight’ or ‘knightly king’), which though certainly an apt description of this illustrious warrior’s life, might just as easily be applied to define the deeds of James I ‘the Conqueror’ king of Aragon.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: James I of Aragon, Llibre dels Fets, Medieval Iberia, reconquista, crusade, chivalry.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DP Spain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Strickland, Professor Matthew
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Colin D Currie
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7115
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 08:37
Last Modified: 02 May 2016 12:25
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7115

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