Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The giant that ended the Jimena dynasty

The giant that ended the Jimena dynasty

The history of Navarre as a kingdom cannot be understood without the figure of Saint VII, with whom the Jimena dynasty said goodbye in the first part of the 13th century, leaving no descendants, let alone legitimate ones. His achievement in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) was the most successful moment of a reign that lasted forty years.

The fruit of a marriage between Sancho VI el Sabio and Queen Sancha of Castile, Sancho el Fuerte was probably born in Tudela in 1154, although his reign did not begin until forty years into his middle life.

According to the doctor in Historia Luis Javier Fortún Pérez de Ciriza, before his coronation he had already led two campaigns in support of the English king, and Ricardo Corazón de Leone, Duke of Aquitaine (the husband of his sister Berenguela) in Aquitaine, who was imprisoned. of Germany against the Count of Toulouse. Thus they had joined Navarre across the Pyrenees.

A statue of Sancius el Fuerte erected in Tudela.

A difficult beginning of the kingdom

After the death of his father and his accession to the throne in 1394, he implemented a policy of continuity in relations with Castile and Aragon. After marrying Constance in 1195, the daughter of the count of Tolosan, whom he divorced five years later, he experienced a difficult start to his reign.

The allies of Navarre and León also attacked Castile in 1194, the year before the Almohads defeated King Alfonso VIII of Castile at Alarcos and reached an agreement with Navarrese and León that they would not help the defeated. Conversations which Pope Celestine III did not like, who proposed to Sancio Forti the alliance of the “kings of Spain”, guaranteeing him the inviolability of Navarre, designating for him the division and title of the lands conquered by the Moors. of the king of Navarre, which the Holy See had not done in 1334

He lived nearly 80 years, a life of rare length, and reigned half of them, between the years 1194 and 1234, when he died.

Losses of Aragon and Castile

Sancho agreed with Alfonso VII and Alfonso II of Aragon in 1196 at the so-called “Table of the Three Kings”, but the alliance was dissolved a year later when Aragon and Castile joined forces to attack Leon. In 1198 Alfonso VII and the new king of Aragon, Pedro II joined forces in the Treaty of Calatayud to attack Navarre and try to divide it. Miranda de Arga and Inzura fell into the hands of Castile, and Aibar and Burgui passed into the hands of the Aragonese.

With the intercession of the bishop of Pamplona, ​​the Sancii managed to recover Aragon, although they returned without defeat. But Castilla continued his offensive: he changed his objectives and went to occupy Lava (Vitoria surrendered to the MCC after eight months of siege), Gipuzkoa and Duranguesado while the King of Navarrese asked for help from the Almohads. For the castles of Trevino and Portilla, which alone had resisted, Sancius took back Miranda de Arga and Inzura.

With him on the throne of Navarre he lost Olav, Gipuzkoa and Durangues at the hands of Alfonso VII of Castile.

Years later he signed a truce with Castile in Alfaro (1203), and renewed it in Guadalajara (1207), in which Navarre did not know that he would lose his territories, although he could not recover them. Relations with the Castilians continued for a long time and this led Sancho to go to Aragon. The organization of the treasury allowed him to become an investor and lender, given a loan to Peter II, who gave him the lands of Petilla de Aragón, Gallur, Peña and Escó in exchange.

Festival in Las Navas de Tolosa

At the same time, there was repeated fighting between Castile and the Almohads, and Pope Innocent III proclaimed an expedition and asked for help from the kings of Aragon and Navarre. He received Pedro II and Sancho VII, albeit hesitantly, with two hundred horsemen.

His presence was determined in the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (Jaén, 1212). His forces attack the Almohad camp and the tent of Caliph Muhammad an-Nasir, which is called Miramamolín. There he broke the defense of the soldiers of Sancius, and with the chains which he had bound, which he says were legends, he incorporated with the shield of Navarre.

He had no legitimate children, and adopted Aragon, but was succeeded by his nephew Teobald of Campania.

The victory gave him dignity and money, with which he strengthened the territories, bought lands, built towns, and increased the patrimony of Tudela and Pamplona. It also spread through Aragon, using unpaid loans.

On the barrier and succession problem

Already at about 70 years of age, his work was reduced to a minimum, and he concentrated on Tudela, where he led a hospital to enclose himself in his castle for ten years of his life, nicknamed El Encerrado.

It was time to think about succession. Constance’s marriage left no children, and from the supposed subsequent marriage with Clemencia of Germany, Fernando could have been born, dying as an infant. He has very few known children, but none legitimate. This, together with the death of Ferdinand’s brother, the second of the five male brothers, left Theobald of Campania, the son of his sister Blanca, his successor. But this evil path between the two is excluded from the relationship.

The tomb of the King at Roncesvalles.

Sancho VII opted for an artificial filiation: he reached a treaty of adoption with King James I of Aragon, signed in Tudela in 1231, by which it was agreed that whoever survived would obtain the kingdom without hindrance. A treaty which was never fulfilled, since Sancio, three years later, nearly 80 years old, a rare length of time, was his grandson who inherited the kingdom, thus ending the dynasty of Jimena and the beginning of the dynasty of Campania.

fables and truths

Six years older, six years younger

His birth was supposed to have taken place in 1154 (April 17), while previously those who had been inscribed on his statue in Tudela six years later, in 1160, had established his arrival in the world.

Tudelano, perhaps not

It is assumed that he was born in Tudela because his parents, Sancho VI and Sancha de Castilla, often lived in the capital’s part of the river, but it is not proven. It is true that he lived continuously in Tudela, where he also died.

Who was your second wife?

He married Constance, the daughter of the count of Tolosan, in the year 395, but in the year 200 he refused and divorced her. There are doubts about his second wife, who could be Clementia of Alemannia, daughter of Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor.

Not legitimate children, but many bastards

He had no children with Constanza, and he could have a son with Clemencia, who died at the age of 15 in a horse accident. Up to seven sons are promised to him: Ramiro, bishop of Pamplona between 1220 and 1228; Pedro, who could have been abbot of Iraq between 1223 and 1333; William the exile in Aragon and Majorca; Jimeno; lope Rodericus; and Blanca the abbess of Marcilla.

He had five siblings

He was the first born and after him Fernando, Constanza, Berenguela (she married Ricardo Corazón de Leon) and Blanca were born. There are sources that state that Fernando died in a horse accident, which could be confused with the death of Sancius’ supposed son.

He dies in Tudela, but “provisions” to Roncesvalles

Sancho died on April 7, 1234 in the castle of Tudela due to a varicose ulcer in one of his legs, although his health had been poor for some time, with episodes of depression added to obesity and gout. He was buried in the church of San Nicolai de Bari and two years later he was transferred to the Collegiate Church of Roncesvallis, built for his prayers and where he wanted to be buried.

Who rests by his side in Roncesvalles?

Although it is not confirmed that she was his second wife, a wooden figure of Clementia of Germany was placed next to the sarcophagus of Sancius el Fuerte in Roncesvalles.

Why is it called El Fuerte?

Because of his immense stature, and because of the strength he exercised because of his height. It is not possible to say how tall he was, but his biographer and professor of forensic medicine in Pamplona, ​​Luis del Campo, estimated between 2.28 and 2.31 meters. He did this by extrapolating the measurement of his thigh given by Subpriore Huarte in 1622, after he had seen the mortal remains, to the rest of the body.

Bonds of Navarre

In the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, Sancius el Fuerte’s troops arrived at the tent of the Almohad Caliph Miramamolín and felled the chains guarding it. Legend says that Sancho ordered them to be placed on the shield of Navarre to commemorate that victory, although they seem to have been incorporated two centuries later.

A black eagle, a symbol of fire

Arrano beltza, the black eagle, is one of the symbols represented by Sancius Fortis, who introduced it after his message in 1194 in the design of equestrian figures and decorative weapons in the matrices of his personal seals.

The current king’s footprint in Pamplona and Tudela

Although his remains are in Roncesvalles and most of his life was spent in Tudela, it is in Pamplona where more signs of Sancius el Fuerte can be found, specifically in the Palacio de Navarra. In its main façade, which faces the Paseo de Sarasate, there is a statue in his honor next to Sancius III el Mayor. The work by Fructuoso Orduña represents Sancho VII as a warrior with a sword, shield and chains stolen from Miramamolín.

The palace has several symbols that remind us of this king, such as the arrano beltza, part of the chain or painting, but the vicissitudes of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa stand out in the office of the president. As the historian Julio Asunción relates, he pointed out the king with his staff among the black slaves who guarded the tent of the king of the Moors.

In Pamplona it also has access with its name, which crosses the regions of San Juan and Iturrama. Tudela also has a sculpture in his honor, in Plaza Sancho VII el Fuerte, erected in 1981 by the Society of the Royal Family of the country of Tudela. The work of the sculptor Antonio Loperena and weighing five talents for the gesture of Sancius el Fuerte inspired the figure of Fructuoso Orduña from the Palacio de Navarra and his image, reclining through the sculpture of Roncesvalles, although it was renovated.

Nation World News Desk
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