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Royal Finances in the Reign of María of Castile, Queen-Lieutenant of the Crown of Aragon, 1432–53

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Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Medieval royal finances reflected the complex amalgam of the commingling of institutional, personal, legal, and spiritual so neatly captured in Ernst Kantorowicz’s famous formulation of the king’s two bodies.1 But there is more than one twinned body in a monarchy, and it belongs to the queen. This is, of course, self-evident, yet until recently the queen was rarely, if ever, included in scholarly considerations of the royal fisc.2 Scholarly interest in queens has surged since the 1970s and two studies, both concerned with England, led the way for the study of queens and money—Margaret Howell’s work on the Queen’s Gold in the reign of Eleanor of Provence and John Carmi Parsons’s analysis of the fiscal accounts of Eleanor of Castile.3 This chapter is not, however, a quantitative study of a queen’s household accounts, personal wealth, and income and expenditures. I am interested in the power relations between the queen and king and how getting and spending of money is both the driving force in this relationship and a precise indicator of other, more subtle, forms of power and influence mediated by gender and the wider political culture. As Helen Gaudette, Ana Maria Rodrigues, and Manuela Santos Silva point out in their studies of queens and royal finances in this volume, queens may be loftier than other women and most men, but they are subordinate to a king.

Keywords

Fourteenth Century Military Expenditure Cash Payment Personal Wealth Personal Finance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Ernst Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See John W. Baldwin, The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of French Royal Power in the Middle Ages (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Margaret Howell, Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth-Century England (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998);Google Scholar
  4. Howell, “The Resources of Eleanor of Provence as Queen Consort,” English Historical Review 102 (1987): 372–93;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995);Google Scholar
  6. Parsons, ed., The Court and Household of Eleanor of Castile, 1290 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieaval Studies, 1977).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    María’s designation, “of Castile,” refers to the place of her birth, not the kingdom she ruled. Francisca Hernández-León de Sánchez, Doña María de Castilla, Esposa de Alfonso el Magnánimo (Valencia: Universidad de Valencia, 1959), pp. 59–61.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    The medieval Crown of Aragon consisted of several distinct political entities gathered together under a single ruler. The crown originated in 1137 with the marriage of Petronila of Aragón and Ramón Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona. The rest of the crown realms were added by conquest: the kingdom of Mallorca and the Balearic islands between 1229 and 1235; Valencia, 1238; Sicily, 1282; and Sardinia, 1322. At various other times and with varying degrees of success, the Aragonese kings controlled Corsica and the duchy of Athens. To keep matters simple when referring to this federative polity, I will refer to the Crown of Aragon when discussing it as a whole and, when otherwise necessary, specify individual regional kingdoms or counties. Thomas N. Bisson, The Medieval Crown of Aragon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), pp, 27–31, 64–67, 87–89, 93, 95–96, 111.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    On Alfonso’s reign, see Alan Ryder, The Kingdom of Naples under Alfonso the Magnanimous (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976);Google Scholar
  10. Ryder, Alfonso the Magnanimous: King of Aragon, Naples, and Sicily, 1396–1458 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990); Bisson, Medieval Crown of Aragon, 140–47;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferran Soldevila, Historia de Catalunya, 3 vols. (Barcelona: Editorial Alpha, 1934), vol. 2, pp. 41–80.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Angeles Masia de Ros, “El maestre racional en la Corona de Aragón. Una pragmatica de Juan II sobre dicho cargo,” Hispania 10 (1950), pp. 25–60, esp. 35–36.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Masia de Ros, “El maestre racional,” pp. 25–60; Alan Ryder, “The Evolution of Imperial Government in Naples under Alfonso V of Aragon,” in Europe in the Late Middle Ages, ed. John Rigby Hale, John Roger Loxdale Highfield, and Beryl Smalley (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1965), pp. 332–57, esp. pp. 351–54; Bisson, Medieval Crown of Aragon, p. 156.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Ryder, Kingdom of Naples, pp. 18–20, 57, 170, 191; José María Font i Rius, “Las instituciones de la corona de Aragón en la primera mitad del siglo XV,” Ponencias del IV Congreso de la História de la Corona de Aragón (Barcelona: Comisión Permanente de los Congresos de la Corona de Aragón, 1976), pp. 209–23, esp. pp. 209–11.Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Claude Carrère attributes the downturn to structural defects such as the inflexibility of maritime enterprise and the high cost of money relative to that of the Catalun merchants’ trading partners, but Mario del Treppo argues that there was a political component to the sluggish economy because the Catalan economy was closely connected to Alfonso’s military and political maneuvers in Italy. Claude Carrère, Barcelone: centre èconomique à l’époque des difficultés, 1380–1462, 2 vols. (Paris and The Hague: Mouton, 1967), pp. 656–63, 691–718;Google Scholar
  16. Mario del Treppo, Els mercaders catalans i l’expansió de la corona catalano-aragonesa al segle XV, trans. Jaunie Riera i Sans (Barcelona: Curial, 1976; originally published as I mercanti catalani e l’expansione della Corona d’Aragona nel secolo XV, Naples: L’Arte Tipografica Napoli, 1972), pp. 160–240, 255–77, 535–53.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    Alan Ryder agrees with del Treppo’s argument for the role of politics in economics: Alfonso tried to use economic links among the various realms as a way of creating an artificial bond to hold together the Crown. As Alfonso’s political fortunes surged, so did the economy, and vice versa. Business with the Crown, especially in the traffic of the products of war, could be especially lucrative but depended on continued skirmishing, which was unpredictable, unstable, and, in the end, counterproductive. Alfonso tried to support local commerce by buying Catalan cloth and Sicilian grain to support his army, a scheme that worked for a few years but quickly fell apart when his opponents signed the Peace of Lodi in 1453. The bottom fell out of the artificially high cloth and grain markets, and the economy as a whole suffered. Ryder, Alfonso the Magnanimous, 370–74; Ryder, “Cloth and Credit: Aragonese War Finance in the Mid-Fifteenth Century,” War and Society 2:1 (May 1984): 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 17.
    See, for example, Atanasio Sinués Ruiz and Antonio Ubieto Arteta, eds., El Patrimonio Real en Aragón durante la edad media (Zaragoza: Anubar, 1986);Google Scholar
  19. Peter Linehan, “Frontier Kingship: Castile, 1250–1350,” in La Royaute sacrée dans le monde chrétien, ed. Alain Boureau and Claudio Sergio Ingerflom (Paris: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1992), pp. 71–79;Google Scholar
  20. Charles T. Wood, The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy, 1124–1328 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966).Google Scholar
  21. 30.
    These suits (pro luïcione) were especially numerous in the Ampurda, in the locales of Verges, La Tallada, Bellcaire, Albons, Monells, Ullastret, La Pera, Palau Sator, Sant Pere Pescador, Les Olives, and Pelacals. The documents are numerous and contained in several registers. Among the most important are ACA:C Secretorum 2699, 155r–157v, 25 January 1449; Curiae 2656, 165r–v, 26 February 1449; Curiae 2655, 54r–55v, 1 March 1449. See also María’s orders to her royal officials: ACA:C Curiae 3203, 11v–12v, 14 October 1448); 18v, 26 October 1448; 30r, 23 December 1448; and 60r, 5 April 1449. Santiago Sobrequés i Vidal, “Política remensa de Alfonso el Magnánimo en los últimos años de su reinado (1447–1458),” Anales del instituo de estudios gerundenses (1960): 117–54; esp. p. 122; Santiago Sobrequés i Vidal and Jaume Sobrequés i Callicó, La guerra civil catalana del segle XV, 2 vols. (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1973), vol. 1, pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
  22. 32.
    Robert I. Burns, The Crusader Kingdom of Valencia: Reconstruction on a Thirteenth-Century Frontier, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), vol. 1, p. 165.Google Scholar
  23. 33.
    In Huesca, Calatayud, Murviedro, Alcira, Morella (1359), Montblanc, Tarrega, Villagrassa (1360), Tarazona (1361), Tortosa, Torella, Borja, Burriana (1364), Eslida (1365), and the Jewish aljamas of Barcelona and Valencia. ACA:C 1534: 137 (5 October 1359); 1536: 45 (20 February 1360); 1536: 62 (20 February 1360); 1537: 48 (15 June 1361). The Muslims of Eslida asked to be given to the queen. ACA:C 1205: 60 (31 March 1365). Cited in John Boswell, The Royal Treasure: Muslim Communities under the Crown of Aragon in the Fourteenth Century (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1977), pp. 205–7.Google Scholar
  24. 34.
    When Elionor took over the major Aragonese aljamas, she regulated their finances minutely. She prohibited the taking of loans that were not in the best interests of the aljamas. ACA:C 1570, fol. 87, 6 March 1361; In Boswell, The Royal Treasure, pp. 205–7. The queen’s zeal prompted Pere to tighten up his procedures, but the Aragonese aljamas’ financial state worsened and in 1413–14 Leonor of Albuquerque had to point out to the creditors of her hard-pressed aljama in Zaragoza that “all of the goods of the aljama are not sufficient to pay its debts.” ACA:C 2422: 60 (1413); ACA:C 2423: 273 (1414); published in Francisco Macho y Ortega, “Documentos relativos a la condición social y jurídica de los mudéjars Aragonese,” Revista de ciencias jurídicas y sociales 5 (1922), pp. 143–60, 444–64, esp. pp. 158–59.Google Scholar
  25. 38.
    Núria Silleras Fernández, Power, Piety, and Patronage in Late Medieval Queenship: Maria de Luna (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 32.Google Scholar

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© Theresa Earenfight 2010

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