The Gesta Comitum, which was the first Catalan genealogical text and predicted many of the future trends in Catalan medieval historiography, unveiled the historical context within which it was constructed. Alfonse the Chaste inherited both the county of Barcelona and the kingdom of Aragon from his father. The political experiments of the new times produced innovative historical genres in tune with the transformed political and social context. Gesta I was composed in four stages. In general, the Gesta Comitum demonstrated the enormous potential of genealogy as historical genre, its active role in legitimizing social and political aspirations, and its ability to consolidate values in a tradition.
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Historical significance[ edit ] Wilfred was the Catalan Count of Barcelona — who created the tradition of hereditary passage of titles. His son, Wilfred Borrell, inherited the county without any interruption and held it from — A number of primitive feudal entities developed in the Marca Hispanica during the 9th century. They were generally self-sufficient and agrarian, but ruled by a small military elite.
The pattern seen in Catalonia is similar to that found in similar border lands or marches elsewhere in Europe. Traditionally the Count of Barcelona was appointed directly by the Carolingian Frankish emperor, for example the appointment of Bera in The appointment of heirs could not be taken for granted.
However, with the rise of strong counts such as Sunifred fl. This trend resulted in the counts becoming de facto independent of the Carolingian crown under Borrell II in Origins[ edit ] Wilfred was of Gothic lineage from the region of Carcassonne.
According to legend, he was the son of Wilfred of Arriaount or Wilfred of Arri , a county near Prades. For in that year, the poorly-chronicled Solomon , count of Urgell, Cerdanya, and Conflent, had died. His reign coincided with the crumbling of Carolingian authority and unity. Wilfred was thus the last count of the Hispanic March appointed by the French king and the first to pass his vast holdings as an inheritance to his sons albeit sanctioned by the monarch[ citation needed ].
Wilfred came into possession of Barcelona through his service to Charles the Bald against the rebel Bernard of Gothia , Count of Barcelona, Roussillon, and numerous other Septimanian counties. In March and April , they defeated the nobles loyal to Bernard, including Sigebuto , Bishop of Narbonne , and expelled all partisan priests from the church. On 11 September , Bernard was dispossessed of all his titles.
This was the first time since the reign of his father which ended in that these different areas had been united politically and the only other time within the 9th century. Wilfred embarked on the process of repopulating these territories with immigrants from the heavily populated mountain regions— Pallars , Urgell, and Cerdanya—to which people had fled in the two centuries between the collapses of Visigothic and Carolingian authority.
In , Wilfred designated a Viscount to control the County of Ausona in his absence as it formed the frontier with the Muslim Kingdoms to the south. The " County of Manresa " received special attention from King Odo , granting it the privilege of constructing defensive towers in and , although it was actually part of Ausona. Ecclesiastical reform[ edit ] The ecclesiastic state of the region was no less isolated than its political state, with the parishes largely remaining outside of the universal hierarchy.
Wilfred brought the parishes of Bergueda and Vall de Lord within the control of the nearby Diocese of Urgell. However, he had to re-establish the lapsed bishopric of Vic in Ausona.
After consulting the Archbishop of Narbonne in , he was given permission to install Gotmar , a priest, as Bishop of Vic. The churches in the region during this period flourished gaining much power and privilege. This included the right for monks to elect their own abbots as espoused by Saint Benedict. His second son Carloman received the southern partitions, Burgundy and Aquitaine including Septimania.
The problems plaguing the throne were exacerbated when both Louis and Carloman died soon after their succession. Charles, son of Louis the German , therefore became the first person since the death of Louis the Pious to reign over the entire realm of Charlemagne , his illustrious great-grandfather.
He would also be the last. Incapable of much, Charles was lethargic and probably suffered from epilepsy. In November , he raised a grand army to fight off the Norsemen besieging Paris , after two requests from the French nobility. However, he chose to buy the Vikings off, paying them to attack Burgundy then in revolt instead. He left Paris in December. He subsequently failed to deal with revolts in Swabia , Saxony , Thuringia , Franconia , and Bavaria.
The nobles of the Empire deposed him in , and he died two months later in Splinter realms also arose in Aquitaine and Burgundy.
The breakdown of central royal authority and the dynastic changes broke the Holy Roman Empire and Frankish Kingdom apart.
The Carolingian polity which empowered the counts at the beginning of the century was nonexistent by the end; the Counts were de facto independent—especially in the outlying regions, like the Marca Hispanica. Upon the death of Louis the Stammerer, however, this loyalty became largely nominal.
This was a far cry from the prompt action the family had taken against Bernard of Gothia. The Counts became more interested in issues that directly affected them and did not attend the Assembly of Ponthion dealing with the Viking problem, which they regarded as meaningless to their domains. However they did visit the royal court in to ask for privileges and precept to be granted to Teotario Teuter , Bishop of Girona.
In the end, Odo was too absorbed with the Norsemen and those loyal to Charles the Simple to be bothered with the far south of the realm. In , a presbyter named Esclua , taking advantage of the absence of Teotardo , Archbishop of Narbonne, had himself consecrated as Bishop of Urgell and expelled the titular Bishop Ingoberto with the tacit permission of Wilfred and Raymond I , Count of Pallars - Ribagorza. Esclua complicated the situation further by declaring himself metropolitan of Tarraconensis , separating his diocese and others from the Archbishopric of Narbonne.
Servus, who was consecrated by Teotardo, but had been rejected by Dela, Sunyer, and Wilfred, took refuge in the monastery of Banyoles. At first Wilfred tolerated the dethronement of Ingoberto — there had been little love between them — but he could not allow the metropolitan pretensions of Esclua because of his friendship with Teotardo. The creation of independent dioceses was a method of securing political independence and Wilfred opposed this. He could not allow the lands under his control to be affected by the nobility or the Church.
However, there is no indication that he took any action, possibly because of other external issues such as the Muslim presence to his south and west. Death[ edit ] By , the Muslims had become increasingly uneasy by the expansion of the Christian counties to the north. Provoked by this, Wilfred attacked Ismail at Lleida. The attack however was a disaster. Wilfred died in battle on 11 August He was buried in the monastery at Ripoll.
Succession[ edit ] The weakening of Frankish royal authority in the Hispanic March is principally the result of the establishment of hereditary succession of the counties rather than by choice of the monarch. In fact, Wilfred himself was never confirmed by any monarch as Count of Ausona. The importance of this development in the Middle Ages cannot be overstated. As hereditary succession became the custom, it became accepted as law and the kings lost control over the counts.
The counts had become sovereigns in their own dominions. The lack, however, of a legal basis for inheritance led to various experiments in hereditary succession. When Wilfred died in , his counties were divided amongst his sons. It is uncertain whether this distribution was the intention of Wilfred, or a decision eventually reached by the brothers themselves.
Wilfred and Catalonia[ edit ] Wilfred the Hairy has become a figure of importance for contemporary Catalan nationalists. Nineteenth century European Romanticism looked to the medieval world for references and links to modern national and cultural identities, and in the context of Catalan nationalism and its search for its historical foundations in a distant and idealised past, Wilfred soon arose as a figure of independence, the de facto founder of the House of Barcelona , and, by purported extension, one of the forefathers of the latter Catalonia.
One of the legends that has arisen around his person is that of the creation of the coat of arms from which the Catalan flag the Senyera derives today. After being wounded in battle some versions say against the Moors ; others, the Normans , the Frankish king Charles the Bald rewarded his bravery by giving him a coat of arms.
As much as this legend is popular and extended, there is no historical evidence to support it. As such, Wilfred has retrospectively been identified with the creation of Catalonia, even though a written reference to such a territorial entity would not appear until more than two centuries later in the Liber maiolichinus de gestis Pisanorum illustribus , a 12th-century Pisan manuscript describing the raids of by Pisans and Catalans on the island of Mallorca.
Wilfred married Guinidilda.
Gesta Comitum Barchinonensium
In the 12th century the Counts formed a union with the Kingdom of Aragon. At the invitation of some rebels, he conquered Sicily and became its king inpressing the claim of his wife, Constance of Hohenstaufen and he was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs. Shown here, the pope asks Charlemagne for help at a meeting near Rome. The 12th century in Western Europe saw an increase in the production of Latin texts and a proliferation of literate clerics from the multiplying cathedral schools. Ermengol went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and died in at Jerusalem. Cuthbert Gospel of St.
Wilfred the Hairy
Gesta Comitum Barchinonensium as Genealogy
Gesta comitum barchinonensium