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Sketching a pre-modern colonial elite

Muslim communities and their rulers in Medieval Aragón
Brian Catlos

Résumé

Political and economic conditions led Aragonese and Catalan princes who conquered Muslim lands prior to 1200 CE to adopt accommodating policies towards the region’s indigenous inhabitants, in order to maintain the economic viability of these territories and encourage Muslims to be productive subjects. Muslim communities became autonomous collectives whose members were under the direct fiscal and judicial authority of the kings. This prompted the development of a new elite, consisting of local craftsmen and traders who had the necessary skills and capital to engage in administrative work on behalf of the Christian sovereigns. This new elite was dependent on royal authority and enjoyed privileges that fractured Muslim communities and put them at odds with their own constituents. As such, the mudéjar community rulers of the Crown of Aragon may be seen constitute an early manifestation of a European colonial elite, foreshadowing a structure which came to characterize European expansion in the centuries that followed.

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Notes de l’auteur

The author would like to acknowledge the support of the following during the research and writing of this essay the University of California Santa Cruz Committee on Research, the UC France‑Berkeley Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities (Faculty Research Fellowship), the Consolidated Research Group La Corona catalanoaragonesa, l’Islam i el món mediterrani (2009 SGR 1452) based at the Institució Milà i Fontanals (Barcelona) of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, the École française de Rome, the Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and in particular, Professors Laurent Feller, Christophe Picard and Michel Kaplan (Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne).

Texte intégral

  • 1 For the early history of the Kingdom of Aragón and the conquests of the eleventh century, see Durán (...)

1The present essay suggests an early example of a European colonial elite, that of the Muslim communities of medieval Iberia – and specifically that of the Kingdom of Aragón – an elite which may not have been essentially rural, but which functioned as the only discernable administratively elite for a Muslim population comprised overwhelmingly of individuals engaged in rural professions and activities. The Kingdom of Aragón originated as the Counties of Ribagorza and Sobrearbe in the late eleventh century, a consequence of the dynastic fragmentation of the Kingdom of Pamplona. Like the other petty principalities characteristic of a fragmented post-Caliphal Iberia, the Kingdom of Aragón sought to expand its power over neighboring principalities, whether Christian or Muslim. With the progressive weakening of the taifa Kingdom of Zaragoza, the obvious direction for expansion was southwards into Muslim-ruled territory. And as developments in the larger society of Latin Christendom came to preclude the possibility of inter-faith marriages, the only medium for Christian princes to absorb Islamic territory was through conquest1.

  • 2 Under Sancho Ramírez (1063-94) and Pedro I (1094-1104) the Aragonese conquered territories in the P (...)
  • 3 The kingdom of Zaragoza was one of the myriad of petty or « sectarian » principalities which emerge (...)
  • 4 Alfonso I was determined to expand the Kingdom of Aragón and block Castilian ambitions. From the ou (...)
  • 5 See Ubieto Arteta 1981a.

2In Aragón territorial expansion was steady but slow in the last decades of the eleventh century2. However, with the succession of Alfonso I, known as the « Battler » (1104-34), conditions were set for dramatic expansion. In the thirty years of his reign, Alfonso subjugated almost all of what had been the taifa kingdom of Zaragoza3. This was accomplished through a handful of exemplary victories in battle that made evident the disarray of the local Muslim military, the crumbling of Almoravid power, the blocking of Castile, and the king’s pragmatic approach to conquest4. Following Alfonso’s death from a well-aimed arrow shot from the walls of Muslim Lleida, a good portion of this territory was taken by the Almohads, who had superseded the Almoravids as the pre-eminent Muslim power in the West. But this interlude would last only a short time. In 1149 a marriage between Petronila, heiress of the Kingdom of Aragón, and Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, dynastically united Aragon and Barcelona, and established the « Crown of Aragon » which would become the most dynamic colonial power of the thirteenth-century Mediterranean. By the end of the twelfth century, the losses to the Almohads had been recuperated and new territories taken. Under Jaume I « the Conqueror » (1213-76), Islamic Mallorca and Valencia were conquered and colonized and Menorca subdued. Jaume’s successors went on to attempt a conquest of Ifrīqiyya, breaking it off the campaign to take power in Sicily, and later to conquer Sardinia5.

  • 6 In Aragón, as in other Muslim territories conquered by Christian princes, the confessional gulf bet (...)
  • 7 In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Christian powers conquered Muslim Sicily, various Mediterra (...)
  • 8 The definitive works on the Christian conquest and colonization of Valencia include Guichard 1990, (...)
  • 9 In contrast to the realms of Castile-León and the Kingdom of Portugal for which very little documen (...)

3While the Kingdom of Aragón was not the only Latin power to conquer and colonize territory in the Middle Ages, several factors make it ideal for examining the development of an colonial elite, whether rural or urban. The first of these is that there was a clear differentiation between the conquerors and the conquered. Despite their common origins, their distinct religious identities rendered the integration of the two populations impossible ; however much Christians and Muslims came to be economically and culturally interdependent, they would remain socially and legally distinct6. This was the case wherever there were Muslim minorities, both in Iberia and throughout the Latin world ; however, the Kingdom of Aragón is further distinguished by the fact that it had a numerous (both in an absolute and relative sense) Muslim population and one that persisted far longer than any other Christian principality, with the exception of its sister kingdom, Valencia7. Unlike Valencia, however, Aragón was not the subject of organized and deliberate Christian colonization ; here the transformation for Muslims from sovereign to subject was more organic than cataclysmic8. By the mid-twelfth century the frontier between Islam and Christendom had moved south, transforming Aragón from a frontier territory to part of the Christian heartland, a process that helped to normalize and stabilize Muslim-Christian relations. Finally, there is an unparalleled richness of sources – both in terms of variety and quantity – for the study of Muslim-Christian relations for the Kingdom of Aragón9. Together, these various factors make the kingdom an ideal venue for studying the formation of this early example of a European colonial elite – one which may not reflect the typical situation of an Islamic minority in medieval Europe, but which demonstrate one possible outcome of the Christian-Muslim encounter.

The Christian conquest of Islamic Spain

  • 10 The pace of conversion to Islam in al-Andalus is debated among historians, with some advocating for (...)
  • 11 Although the expulsion of the indigenous Muslim population sometimes followed close on the heels of (...)
  • 12 Although « maurophilia » may be characteristic of the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period (...)
  • 13 Alfonso VI of Castile and León (1065-1109) was known as « Ruler of the Two Religions » and « Empero (...)

4As the Christian princes of Iberia began to expand territorially into lands that had been controlled by Muslims for the previous centuries they were faced with a dilemma what to do with the indigenous population they found there. By this point the inhabitants of al-Andalus were overwhelmingly Muslim10. Some were descended from the Arab invaders of the eighth century and from the North Africans who made up the bulk of the Muslim army, but the vast majority the descendents of the indigenous population, who had been – at last nominally – Christian at the time of the conquest. Despite the language of Holy War, and eventually Crusade, which often characterized official proclamations relating to Christian expansion in the peninsula, the Christian princes were in fact driven by pragmatism11. For them, and many of their subjects, the Muslims of the peninsula did not represent an abstract « other », but rather, a familiar presence, if not always a welcome one12. During the Umayyad centuries, royal families and frontier aristocrats had intermarried with their Muslim homologues, Christian courts were familiar points of refuge for Muslim exiles, and vice versa, soldiers of each faith served in each others’ armies, and trade and military collaboration characterized Muslim-Christian relations as much as warfare and competition. Indeed, even as the so-called « Reconquest » gained momentum, competition among themselves, against rivals of their own religious faith, shaped the politics of both Christian and Muslim rulers. Kings of Castile and León aspired formally to be « Emperors of the Three Religions » and « of All the Spains » while their Aragonese counterparts adopted this outlook functionally, if not in terms of title13.

  • 14 The fate of the Muslim populations of the parts of Castile and Portugal conquered in the twelfth ce (...)
  • 15 In 1264, about a generation after its conquest, the Muslims of Castilian-held Andalucia and Murcia (...)
  • 16 In Aragón, settlement in some areas (for example, around Lledia) seems to have been intense, involv (...)

5From this period, the race was on among Christian rulers to occupy as much of the rich territory as al-Andalus as possible – a race against time and against their Christian rivals. As the Christian princes occupied newly territory, they shared two main preoccupations keeping their new territory secure, and maintaining its productivity. In some areas, particularly parts of Portugal and Castile, Christian rulers opted either immediately or soon after the conquest to expel or enslave Muslim populations14. This is not surprising, perhaps, in areas that had developed an economy based on husbandry or that had a surplus population with which to colonize vacated Muslim lands. The prospect of revolt on the part of these Muslims or of invasion by foreign Muslim forces could also mitigate towards such policies15. In areas, however, where the economy depended on craft production, and labor-intensive agriculture – and, particularly, on complex systems of irrigation – there was a strong impetus to ensure that the Muslim populations remained in place16. To maintain a productive Muslim population it would be necessary engage them positively with the new Christian order, to ensure the cooperation, and to establish their subjugation on terms that they could understand and would accept. To do otherwise would invite the constant threat of revolt, and would at the least divert precious military resources from the frontlines to garrison duties, and thereby slow the pace of their own advance and pass the advantage to their competitors.

The effect of the Christian conquest continuity and rupture

  • 17 While Islamic dhimma resembled the Christian policies towards religious minorities in function, the (...)
  • 18 See Catlos 2004b, p. 118-120 and 394-395.

6Therefore, in many cases, Christian rulers avoided taking Muslim territory by force, preferring to negotiate the surrender of Muslim communities one town at a time, arranging for terms of submission with local leaders ; terms that would enable the permanent submission of these communities. The basic structure of this relationship was analogous to the Muslim dhimma arrangement. In exchange for loyalty and taxes, local Muslim leaders would maintain their authority, whereas the inhabitants would be guaranteed the right to follow their faith and laws, and would live under the security of Christian princes17. Many Muslims would have seen this is a relief from the years of unrest and strife that had preceded ; moreover, Islam had developed a concept of political authority, ṣulṭān, in which the religious character of the military ruler was not necessarily a concern to his subjects. As a result, much of the population stayed put, and given that there is no evidence of large-scale migration or unrest in the wake of the Christian conquest (at least in those areas conquered before 1200), we can conclude that the transition was remarkably smooth. The fact that Muslim manpower remained important, and that the continued productivity of many lands depended on the maintenance of Muslim irrigation systems, it was often Christian lords and settlers who had to adjust to indigenous production networks, and not Muslims who had to change their lifestyle. So in some areas – in particular the Kingdom of Aragon, the Christian conquest represented a continuity on many levels. Initially, many Muslim communities functioned much as they had before on a quotidian basis Christian colonization was often minimal, and many basic structures were transformed only gradually, over the course of one or two generations18.

  • 19 The Christian conquest not only eliminated or displaced the Muslim political elite, but the entire (...)
  • 20 The word « mudéjar » refers to free Muslims in Iberia who lived under Christian rule. Apparently de (...)

7On the other hand, it was a time of rupture. There were forced relocations. In dry-farmed grain producing areas, Muslim populations were more easily displaced, particularly when Christian settlers were available. Generally, Christian authorities usually required Muslim inhabitants to move out of walled towns to extramural suburbs within a year of the conquest, although in such cases they did not necessary lose their lands. The overlay of a superior Christian jurisdiction meant that Islamic law, although practiced on a quotidian basis, was no longer the guiding social or judicial principle. Most important and dramatic was the sudden disappearance of the indigenous elite19. The immediate consequence of the conquest was not only that the Muslim political class departed (or in rare cases converted), but the entire courtly and cultural class which they supported – poets, musicians, savants, legists, religious authorities – all of those individuals who practiced professions which were dependent on the existence of an Arabo-Islamic court and political system. These were individuals whose professions were portable, who could easily find employ in the courts of Muslim princes to the south, or who would find it personally objectionable on principle to live in land that was under the authority of an infidel prince. Mudéjar society, therefore, lost any centralized quality, and each community was cut adrift and left to its own fate20. On the other hand, the bulk of the Muslim population farmers, craftsmen and low-level traders, would have had neither the urge nor the means to leave their property and their ancestral lands to uproot as refugees to some foreign, albeit Islamic land. Therefore, in their absence, an entirely new mudéjar elite emerged as a consequence of the conquest.

Searching for a mudéjar rural elite

  • 21 The rural economy in the lands taken over from Muslims was one that remained organized around towns (...)
  • 22 Muslims and Jews were referred to by the Aragonese kings as a « royal treasure ». See Boswell 1977, (...)

8This question of whether one can discern and describe a mudéjar rural elite presents a number of problems. The first of these is ‘Can we speak of a truly rural Muslim elite in these lands ?’ The answer is not so clear. Obviously, like all pre-Modern societies, the economy of Christian and Muslim Iberia was primarily agricultural. However, the particular circumstances here meant that people tended live in towns and villages, which despite their size had a certain urban quality, both in terms of morphography and administrative organization21. The economy was also comparatively cash-rich, meaning that transactions conducted in kind were few – again contributing to a general ‘urban’ character of society. And while, contrary to the accepted belief in previous decades, feudalism can be argued to have existed in some form in Spain, particularly in terms of military service, on the other hand, the manorial economy, which is so characteristic of much of Europe, was very much absent in much of Iberia, particularly those lands conquered from Muslims. Finally, the fact that all Muslims (along with Jews) were considered to be direct fiscal and judicial subjects of the kings prevented them – at least in principle – from being drawn to a purely rural, not to mention feudal, or even seigniorial arrangement. Whatever their vulnerabilities and disadvantages, this special royal relationship afforded Muslims many of the protections and advantages that were enjoyed by the broad class of lower nobility (the infanzones in the Crown of Aragon), but not by common Christians22.

9In any event, as many historians have remarked (although the point as at times been exaggerated), for the most part the medieval Islamic world was not characterized by a sharp division between the urban and rural worlds, the way the Latin West may have been. This lies in part with the tendency of settlements to be relatively large and diverse, and because of the fact that land ownership was never restricted to a closed aristocratic class. There had always been a land market, and therefore, it was very typical for individuals and families to combine craft and agricultural activities, whether directly, as landlords, or as sharecroppers or wage-workers. This was the case in al-Andalus, and continued to be so under Christian rule. All of this makes it difficult to talk about a purely rural elite in the mudéjar context.

  • 23 A wide-array and tremendous quantity of source material is available for the study of mudéjar socie (...)

10But the final challenge is one of sources. Until the very late middle ages we have virtually no records of expressly « rural » Muslim communities. With few exceptions, it has been all but impossible to reconstruct the lives of Muslims who – despite all that I have said above – did live in purely rural environments, under seigniorial regimes. On the other hand – particularly for the Crown of Aragon (including Aragón, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearics) – we have a tremendous quantity and variety of archival material relating to the every-day life of Muslims, both in rural and urban contexts, but most of all in that intermediary environment which characterized the most important, numerous and dynamic sector of the Muslim population23. This allows us to investigate a Muslim elite which may described as ‘local’ if not necessarily ‘rural,’ and which may be characterized as one of the early models of a native colonial elite in European history. It is on the Crown of Aragon, and in particular on the territories conquered before the thirteenth-century that the present essay focuses on.

The local mudéjar elite

  • 24 These included respect for the local Islamic judicial and fiscal system, the right to practice Isla (...)
  • 25 See Catlos 1999.
  • 26 See Catlos 2004b, p. 126-128 and f.

11Unlike the Latin society or Christian society in general, which tended be characterized both religiously and socially by an institutionalized hierarchy and a corporate organization, the egalitarian spirit and organic structure of Islamic society rendered it flexible and adaptable in the face of foreign occupation and infidel domination, particularly when the basic conditions permitting the function of Islamic society were met24. At the time of the conquest, principle and practice left control of the Muslim communities in their own hands, and we see from the surviving surrender treaties that those who held authority tended to be local figures, either religious leaders, local political authorities, or senior members of the community25. Over the course of the first century or so of Christian rule a new institution took shape, known as the aljama, which represented the collective population of the Muslims of a given locale, and was responsible for raising royal taxes, which were levied communally (as was the case with Christians and Jews, also), administering royal and Islamic justice, and generally representing the interests of the Muslim community, before the Christian authorities, whether royal, seigniorial, ecclesiastical or local26. A situation developed in which, in ideal terms, the Muslim community comprised a distinct parallel (but subordinate) society to the Christian one.

  • 27 See Catlos 2001 ; Catlos 2002a ; Catlos 2004b, p. 390-408 ; and Catlos in progress.

12In practice, however, the lines between Christian and Muslim communities quickly became blurred, thanks primarily to the frequency with which Christians and Muslims entered into inter-dependent and often mutually-beneficial economic relationships. The impressive, albeit limited integration of these two communities led to a state of affairs wherein in many contexts individuals interacted not as Muslims and Christians per se, but as land-lords, tenants, customers, agents, distributors, who often shared more in common with each other than with individuals who were members of the same faith, but of different professions. Likewise, when different locales were brought into conflict or competition, there was a tendency for local Christians and Muslims to exhibit solidarity against outsiders, both Christian and Muslim, even in circumstances that escalated into violence. This is a dynamic that I characterize as conveniencia, or The Convenience Principle27.

  • 28 While it was possible – although fraught – for Muslims to submit to a non-Muslim prince, maintainin (...)
  • 29 See Catlos 2004b, p. 154-158.

13Whatever the nature of their interaction with Christian collectives, the aljamas needed to be administered, and it was natural that Muslims would continue to occupy positions of local authority. Not only were they in a unique position to understand the laws and economies of their communities, they could move easily between Latin, Romance and Arabic, and they were the only ones who Muslims would naturally consent to have as magistrates and representatives28. The general template of administration that emerged was that in each aljama there was a community leader, an alcaydus or çavalquem (a conflation of both the Islamic al-qāḍī and al-qā’id), who would act as Islamic magistrate and overall communal authority, a sabasala, who may have served as a religious representative (although this official’s precise competence is uncertain), and a scriptor, who acted as the notary for the community. These officials were almost always appointed by the king, or agents acting under his authority. The other main office was that of the adelantatus, of whom there were typically two in each community. These officials, who were responsible for raising taxes, were elected by the Muslim community as whole, and in a manner analogous to the pre-Christian al-amīn, provided a popular counter-weight to the royally-appointed alcaydus29. As was the case in Christian municipal administration, officials paid an annual license fee to the king, in exchange for which they kept a commission on the fees and fines that they levied.

  • 30 For example, in 1275 Jaume I confirmed liberty from community taxes for Mahomad, son of a former al (...)
  • 31 Muslim (and Jewish) minority communities in the Crown of Aragon were riven by bitter disputes betwe (...)

14In addition, Muslim officials enjoyed various forms of indirect compensation, including an exemption (franquitas) from contributing to their own communal taxes, the potential to steer legal decisions towards their own interests and those of their family members and clients, and the opportunity to move within the circles of the Christian local and royal elite. Of the fringe benefits which aljama officials enjoyed, franquitas was to prove particularly significant, given that customarily, when one became alcaydus, the tax-exemption which one received was lasted not only for the term of office, but for life. Even more significantly, it generally extended to every member of one’s family, including one’s descendents, in perpetuity30. This had two consequences. First, it entailed a tremendous advantage to obtaining royal position for Muslims, even if temporarily. And, commensurately, a dynamic of competition was soon entrenched deeply among those Muslims who had the means to obtain office. Not only did franquitas provide immediate financial relief, the fact that it adhered to one’s descendants was a powerful advantage when these families began to negotiate matrimonies. Marriage was, of course, the most effective way to build local political and economic networks. Second, it separated these office-holders and their families from the community as a whole. Exempting the officials and their families from the most heavy burden of Christian sovereignty drove a wedge of self-interest between community rulers and their co-religionists31. Moreoever, it was a concession that cost the kings nothing – taxes were levied on each community as a whole. Thus, if the wealthiest members were exempt, it would not mean that the king would receive any less income, merely that the burden would fall all the more harder on those who remained. Moreover, because it was a heritable privilege, over time, more and more of the Muslim population would be exempted from paying. It was a situation bound to lead to crisis.

Compensation and incentives

  • 32 The Abenferres, for example, who dominated the aljama of Lleida through most of the fourteenth cent (...)

15Thus, it was an attractive proposition to become an aljama official for those who could afford it, and/or who enjoyed the connections with royal or local Christian officials and so could obtain an appointment. As a consequence, the administrative elite was composed for the most part of artisans – the wealthiest and best-educated sector of mudéjar society that had not been displaced by Christians. Particularly pre-dominant were practitioners of trades or techniques in sectors that Christians did not necessarily excel in or practice for example, soap-making and construction32. Such families enjoyed an economic advantage and occupied important niches in the larger economic structure.

  • 33 See Catlos 2004b, p. 214-215. Interestingly, inherited aljama administrative posts were handed down (...)
  • 34 See Catlos 2004b, p. 154-156.

16Once ambitious individuals obtained office, they typically aspired to two agendas. The first was to convert their office, which in principle would have been given to them personally because of their suitability for the position, into hereditary posts which they could pass down from son to son33. Second, they aspired to consolidate their power by accumulating as many offices as they could in order to obtain a monopoly of power. By the mid-thirteenth century in virtually every aljama one single individual occupied the three main offices of alcaydus/çaualquen, sabasala, and scriptor34. More often than not he had inherited these posts from his father and grandfather before him. Like the tax concessions, this was a development which the royal authorities not only tolerated but evidently encouraged. It was certainly easier for them to manage an aljama if there was one single individual in charge, and if he could pass the apparatus of command to his son, all the better. The first priority for the Christian kings was that Muslims paid the taxes which they owed, and that they didn’t cause too much trouble.

  • 35 See the examples of the Cordovan jurists al-Makwï and Ibn al-Salïm in Marín 1998-1999, p. 255.
  • 36 Normally, initial appointments were made ad vitam ; however, when officials got in trouble they wer (...)

17From the point of view of the Muslim community as a whole, however, these dynamics were extremely troublesome, and reflected a fundamental disjuncture between their interests and the kings’, and the tremendous transformation that the transition to Christian rule supposed. In the Islamic tradition, judicial/religious authority is formally separated from the royal power. The authority of the qāḍī or the faqīḥ, rests not so much in the esteem in which he was held by the prince, but rather in the degree to which the populace was prepared to recognize his authority as an interpreter of Scripture and Law, and as an individual of moral probity. Biographical dictionaries are peppered with reports of highly-regarded ‘ulamā’, who spurned royal patronage on principle35. Under the new system, however, religious knowledge and moral probity counted for nothing, nor did popular acclaim or recognition. The role of the alcaydus was to control his community, not to care for it, and his authority depended on the continued good will of the king. Officials might be appointed for life, but in principle (whether explicitly expressed or not), they served at the pleasure of the sovereign36. Further, the material interests of the officials resided in effectively collecting their community’s taxes, and aggressively prosecuting the civil and criminal cases which fell under their jurisdiction. The fact that they and their families were excused from paying taxes, mitigated against (but did not preclude) a solidarity they might feel with their co-religionists on this basis.

Limitations and vulnerabilities

  • 37 Notices of petitions like these surface occasionally in the chancery registers. For example, in 129 (...)
  • 38 In 1293, for example, a group representing the aljama of Huesca journeyed to a the royal presence t (...)
  • 39 Abrahim Abengentor (see previous note) terrorized the aljama of Huesca for some thirty years. The c (...)

18This said, the Muslim ‘umma was not entirely powerless, and there were several strategies which they could (and did) apply against abusive officials. The most fundamental was mudéjares’ right of appeal directly to the royal court as direct subjects of the king. This was no abstract conceit. The chancery records testify that ordinary Muslims journeyed to the royal presence with surprising frequency (sometime journeying from one kingdom to another) in order to appeal an unfair judgment or some other abuse… and frequently received satisfaction37. At times, communities dispatched large delegations of representatives to air their grievances against abusive officials38. What effect would these have ? As a matter of course the king investigated alleged abuses of power, but the instruments and agents of the king in these cases tended to be local or regional Christian officials, who were as often as not in league with Muslim officials, or who had their own interests which ran counter both to those of the king and local mudéjares. Nevertheless, repeated complaints, particularly went they came from other members of the moneyed class – Muslim merchants and craftsmen – could drive the king to determination, particularly if an officials performance sparked his subjects to withhold taxes39. In this case, the kings would not hesitate to dismiss officials.

  • 40 For various examples, see Catlos 2004b, p. 214-216.
  • 41 For a case in which mudéjares may have engineered the dismissal of an aljama official via the royal (...)

19Hence, there tended to be a steady turnover among the families who dominated the administration in any given town. Generally, the effective duration of such mini-dynasties tended to be an Ibn-Khaldunian three generations. Three generations seems to have been enough time for complacency and decadence to set in and for elite families to be deposed or displaced. Whereas the original appointee of the first generation may have displayed the qualities to endear to both king and community, two generations of entitlement were usually enough to turn a community against its rulers and vice versa40. Moreover, because the advantages of holding office were so high, the contest among rival families of the Muslim commercial class was played out in this arena. The complaints of citizens against a sitting alcaydus, could easily have their origin in the formers’ desire to unseat and replace the latter, rather than in any genuine complaint41. So this structure served to fracture Muslim communities along two planes vertically along class lines (the franci vs. the tax-payers) and horizontally along factional lines. Not infrequently the competition among leading mercantile families led to dogged legal prosecution on the one hand, and illegal violence on the other.

  • 42 For taxation, see for example, Catlos 2004b, p. 138-143, for cemeteries, ibid., p. 320, and butcher (...)

20On the other hand, there were forces that promoted solidarity between the mudéjar elite and the community as a whole. After all, it was certainly preferable from the point of view of these officials to enjoy public acclaim and support. Therefore in certain circumstances, these officials promoted policies that clearly served the greater good, although these were usually circumstances that also served (or at least did not conflict with) their personal interests. Such issues tended to have a communal context, and included matters such as competition for pasture land with non-local Christian and Muslim communities, resisting the efforts of (usually) Jewish creditors to collect debts owed to Muslims, resisting Christian communities who tried (with justification or not) to pass a share of their tax burden onto the local Muslims, defense of Muslim cemeteries from defilement or appropriation at the hands of Christians, and enforcing protection policies for Muslim butchers against non-Muslim competition (mainly from Jews) and administrative encroachment (from Christians)42. In scenarios such as these, the interests of the elites and their subjects coincided and the latter functioned as true representatives of their aljama. In the case of the butchers, the official elite stood gained through their commission on licensing fees, in the case of the communal taxes, the officials had nothing to lose by fighting to keep communal taxes low, because they did not receive a commission on this.

  • 43 See, for example, ibid., p. 158-161.

21Most importantly, they jealously guarded any encroachment of Christian officials whether secular or religious, on the legal privileges and autonomy that had been granted to their communities43. In doing this, their motives may have been wholly or partly mercenary, in that officials were effectively protecting their own right to commissions on legal fines – nevertheless, as a consequence, they were protecting the judicial autonomy of their subjects. Justice is the single most important dimension of orthodox Islam. It is the law that creates, defines and maintains the community, and permits the faithful to live according to God’s mandate. In such conflicts with Christian authorities in this administrative elite, these royally-appointed Muslim officials could be extremely tenacious and effective advocates, who not only put a « face » on the community, but who understood well the dynamics of the Christian administration and « spoke its language » both in a literal and figurative sense.

  • 44 Mark Meyerson argues that whereas Islamic society was open to conversion thanks to the transitional (...)
  • 45 For the Bellvises, see for example, Febrer Romaguera 1986 ; Echevarría Arsuaga 2003 ; Barceló Torre (...)

22Indeed, however much these officials moved with in Christian contexts, and despite whatever solidarity they might have felt with the Christian officials who were their homologues, members of the mudéjar elite, could not forget that they were Muslims. Nor did they want to. Despite the dynamic of self-interest that drove these individuals, and despite the fact that there would have been no impediment to their conversion to Christianity, few did – almost none, in fact, before the late fourteenth-century. This suggests three things. First, mudéjar society in much of the peninsula was vigorous, strong and cohesive, despite Muslims’ condition as second-class subjects in a religiously-defined society. Second, the world of Islamic administration was a small market, but one in which there was little competition. Third, Christian society was not particularly suited at absorbing converted minorities44. Christians almost never served in positions of authority over Muslim communities, and when they did they typically held the office only as a benefice, contracting out the actual duties to a Muslim deputy. And the field of competition was small. Until the late fourteenth century there was no centralized administration of Muslim communities in Aragon, Valencia or Catalonia. So, although the most elite families could aspire to was local prominence, they also had very little reason to fear outside competition from powerful Muslim families. In four centuries of Christian domination in Aragón only two mudéjar families managed to break through the « glass ceiling » of local administration and become influential at a kingdom-wide level the Bellidos (in the thirteenth and fourteenth century) and the Bellvis (in the fourteenth and fifteenth)45. Putting it in economic terms whereas for Muslims opting to move into the mudéjar administration provided lower returns than converting and joining the Christian elite, but there was less competition and less risk.

  • 46 Until the fifteenth century, we have very little documentary evidence of mudéjar religious life des (...)
  • 47 See Catlos 2004b, p. 156-158.

23Because they remained members of the Muslim community, and because they had no control over public opinion, popular pressure could act as a considerable force in restraining elite officials and their families. Whatever authority the king gave them, these officials would not have been considered religious authorities per se by their communities46. An official magistrate whose opinions deviated too dramatically from the consensus of his community would find himself subject to a boycott. More than one alcaydus complained to the king that his subjects were not going to him to have their civil and criminal cases judged according to the sunna Saracenorum (Islamic law), but instead to religious figures who had no official status in the Christian community. The kings’ response was invariable the alcaydus had an absolute monopoly over judicial decisions within his geographical jurisdiction47. However, it would have been difficult to put a stop to this, as the alcaydus’s only recourse would be to invoke Christian authority to punish his fellow Muslims – an approach that would only serve to aggravate his situation.

  • 48 Aljamas could strike back at members who resisted paying taxes by formally excluding them from the (...)

24Once elite families no longer held official power (typically after the fourth generation), they became increasingly vulnerable to public pressure. Normally whatever family had taken the reigns of power was eager to dispose of or weaken their predecessors and competitors, and with the support of the communities there were weapons they could bring to bear on them. Most notable among these was a boycott of Islamic services. This was a tactic used frequently against families who claimed to be exempt from taxation. The argument was quite simple someone who is not contributing to the upkeep of the community should not be allowed to enjoy the benefits of that community. First among these were access to the mosque, and access to the cemetery. While Islam is a religion that emphasizes personal choices regarding piety and individual responsibility before the Godhead, it is also a religion that developed from the outset as an instrument of promoting social solidarity. To be shunned from Islamic public life would be a powerful impetus for the descendants of mudéjar officials to relinquish a claim to franquitas, particularly in a world that was characterized by an increasingly sharp division between Muslims and Christians. The fiscal and matrimonial advantages that franquitas entailed would be more than offset by the losses in each of these spheres that would result from ostracization48.

Rural and non-official elites

  • 49 Mudéjares became fiscal dependants of noblemen and women, Military Orders, and cathedral and monast (...)
  • 50 For detailed accounts of struggles such as these see, Catlos 2004a, p. 327-338 and 339-346, and Cat (...)

25But was this official elite the only mudéjar elite ? Undoubtedly, not. There was also a group that emerged as a sort of economic elite (or at least a wealthier class), who did not necessarily serve in aljama administration. This was composed of families who had entered into compacts of fiscal vassalage with Christian noble families or Military or religious orders49. Such a relationship did not convert them into feudal subjects, but meant that the taxes they would usually pay to the king would go in principle to their new lords. However, it created a tremendous tax advantage, partly because such families could claim exemption from all communal taxes (even those not collected by their lords), and because it was generally in their lords’ interest to protect their tax-free status. Hence, from the thirteenth-century onwards there were judicial battles that stretched out over generations – even centuries – which pitted these franci families and their Christian protectors, against local Muslim communities (who frequently had the support of local Christian leaders)50.

  • 51 See ACA, C., reg. 688, p. 160r-v (16 February 1357), ed. Boswell 1977, p. 417-419 ; ACA, C. reg. 69 (...)
  • 52 See ACA, C., reg. 86, fol. 186v (3 September 1291) ; ACA, C., reg. 87, fol. 47r (11 March 1292) ; A (...)
  • 53 Soltana, the daughter of a certain Ali de Godalest had been married to an individual named Saydo, w (...)

26There was also an economic elite that does not fall into either of these categories. Occasionally, one runs across passing references to extremely wealthy mudéjares. There was Mahomet de Rey, the cloth merchant who was duped and strangled by two would-be (Muslim) business associates who were after his inventory worth more than 1,000 solidos in 135751. We learn of Villeta, a wealthy Muslim woman of Ricla who entertained a Christian knight for several days in 1291, because a gang of her Christian and Muslim neighbors ransacked her house. The inventory she provided to investigators included sizeable quantities of cash, and all manner of expensive furniture and accoutrements52. Similarly, we learn of the wealth of Soltana, a mudéjar woman of the Kingdom of Valencia, only because of the chance survival of the scrap of a trial transcript relating to a dispute over her dower53.

  • 54 This is one of the instances when our sources fail us. While her have indirect evidence for the exi (...)
  • 55 See, Catlos 2009a, p. 207-208.
  • 56 For the administrative subjugation of hamlets by larger towns, see, for example Corral Lafuente 199 (...)

27Then, there was undoubtedly an unofficial religious elite, made up of scholars and Sufis, who lived and wandered among the Muslim communities, but who because they moved within a strictly Islamic context simply do not appear in Christian documentation54. We have hints of them, perhaps, in the occasional complaints of alcaydi that their co-religionists are repairing to « other judges » to have their cases heard55. This is probably also the case with the purely rural elite that, such as it existed, likely resembled the urban elite described above, but on a smaller scale. But, again, because we lack detailed documentation for seigniorial lands and because the hamlets were generally under the administration of larger towns, references to such individuals, let alone a coherent elite are lacking56. In any case, were their such a group, the foundation of its power would have been identical to that of the town-based elite – it would have resided in these individuals’ utility to Christian overlords, and their capacity to bridge the Islamic and Christian worlds of the Crown of Aragon.

Sketching a Pre-Modern colonial elite

  • 57 Burns coined the term ‘patriciate’ in reference to the wealthy class of post-conquest Valencian mud (...)

28On the one hand, it seems more than reasonable to characterize the administrative elite of the aljamas as an early example of a colonial elite. It was an administrative class brought into being by a colonial power in order to govern a native people who could not be integrated (in their present state) and were not intended to be absorbed (because of their political and fiscal utility) in the greater society of the kingdom. They were separated by an ethnic gulf from the conquerors, which may not have been genetic, but was certainly conceived of as racial in certain circumstances, and which was undeniably linguistic and sectarian. And while it is unlikely that this elite was a coherent group characterized by a sense of distinct identity as « patricians », it is clear that in many contexts these officials identified strongly with each other, and with other members of royal and local elites, both Christian and Jewish, and less strongly with their fellow Muslim subjects57. It was never, in principle or practice, a closed class and families drifted in and out as their fortunes waxed and waned. The authority of this elite depended almost entirely on the will and pleasure of the rulers ; their subjects had recourse in the event of abuse, but this was limited. Finally, its role was – in a very intentional sense – to better exploit their own people for the benefit of the colonizers, and unintentionally to divide and fracture their own communities. The potential for abuse was high and frequently realized.

29On the other hand, the effects of this mudéjar elite were not entirely prejudicial. Through its medium, Muslim communities continued to be represented by Muslims, which meant that communities’ basic rights were vigorously defended. It comprised a hinge group, which moved in the Christian and Muslim worlds and could mediate between the victors and the vanquished. Its members had ready recourse to the king and his officials and they understood the principles and the rules of how Christian administration functioned. They provided a dynamic, self-selecting (through competition) leadership for communities which otherwise were isolated and had to contend with an ever more coherent, dynamic and predatory Christian society. They were by no means ideal as leaders, but nor were they inherently destructive ; they facilitated the survival of a coherent Muslim society under centuries of Christian domination, until in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as Christian and Muslim societies disengaged economically, their role was reduced, and the rational on the part of Muslims to look to them as their guardians likely declined.

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 For the early history of the Kingdom of Aragón and the conquests of the eleventh century, see Durán Guidol 1975, and Ubieto Arteta 1981b.

Despite the illegality of the practice (from a Christian perspective), prior to the late-eleventh century members of the Christian and Muslim nobility in the northeast of the peninsula intermarried, but this practice was utterly abandoned by the time that the era of Christian expansion began. Evidence for intermarriage survives in occasional references in early chronicles. See, for example, the reference to cAmrūs b. Muhammad of Huesca and his relation by marriage to Sancho ibn García in the tenth century, as described in Al-cUdhrī 1965, p. 68.

2 Under Sancho Ramírez (1063-94) and Pedro I (1094-1104) the Aragonese conquered territories in the Pyrenean foothills. The first significant conquest was that of Huesca (1096), which was followed by the definitive seizure of Barbastro (1100 ; earlier briefly taken by Normans in 1064).

3 The kingdom of Zaragoza was one of the myriad of petty or « sectarian » principalities which emerged from the collapse of the Caliphate of Córdoba early in the eleventh century. It comprised the former Thaghr al-Aqšà’ (« Furthest March ») of the Caliphate, and normally included Larida (Lleida). It was ruled over in succession by two local dynasties, the Banū Tujïb and (from 1040) the Banū Hūd. See, generally, Wasserstein 1985.

4 Alfonso I was determined to expand the Kingdom of Aragón and block Castilian ambitions. From the outset of his reign he set out to conquer the kingdom of Zaragoza by isolating the capital, capitalizing on the low morale and disunity of local Muslims, and forcing smaller towns and cities to accept his overlordship. Zaragoza itself fell first to the Almoravids in 1118, but surrendered later that year to Alfonso. Although Alfonso did not hesitate to use force when necessary – as in the war he waged against Castile, which was ruled over by his own wife, Urraca (1109-26) – he only fought three major battles against Muslims. His victories at Cutanda (1120), Cullera (1125-26) and Alcalá (1129) established him as the de facto ruler of the former taifa kingdom. See, generally, Stalls 1995, and Catlos 2004b, p. 92-94.

5 See Ubieto Arteta 1981a.

6 In Aragón, as in other Muslim territories conquered by Christian princes, the confessional gulf between the victors and vanquished precluded socio‑cultural integration and intermarriage. This was not the case in northern Europe, where for example, conquering Normans and subject Anglo-Saxons and Irish could eventually integrate, and where barriers between peoples were undermined by common, confessionally-defined institutions.

7 In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Christian powers conquered Muslim Sicily, various Mediterranean islands, as well as (temporarily) the Holy Land. Parts of North Africa were also briefly held by the Normans, but no serious effort was made to colonize them or intervene in their internal affairs. In Sicily and in the Holy Land, Muslim subjects do not seem to have constituted a numerical minority. In Iberia, Aragón and Valencia were the two kingdoms that retained a Muslim population so significant as to constitute a numerical majority or near-majority for more than a generation after the Christian conquest.

8 The definitive works on the Christian conquest and colonization of Valencia include Guichard 1990, and the many works of R.I. Burns, including, Burns 1967, and Burns 1973. Torró Abad 1999, represents an important, recent, analysis of Christian colonization. Torró’s work emphasizes the transformative and prejudicial aspects of colonization on local Muslim society. Some historians of Aragón have painted a similarly cataclysmic picture of Aragonese colonization (see, for example, Sénac 1991), but there are problems with such an interpretation (see Catlos 2004b, p. 118-120). For a comparison of the two kingdoms, see Catlos 2002b.

9 In contrast to the realms of Castile-León and the Kingdom of Portugal for which very little documentary material survives for the study of Muslim minorities in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the royal, local and ecclesiastical archives of the Crown of Aragón include an immense quantity of records pertaining to land and property transfers, land tenure and irrigation, population and settlement, fiscal receipts and expenditures, not to mention municipal acts, royal charters and correspondence, trial transcripts, wills and notarial receipts and many other types of records. This allows one to study the Muslim minority, particularly in Aragón and Valencia from a number of methodological perspectives, and to investigate various elements within these complex and variegated minority societies. Catlos 2004b is currently the definitive work on Muslim society in Aragon through the thirteenth century.

10 The pace of conversion to Islam in al-Andalus is debated among historians, with some advocating for a rapid conversion and others accepting the picture suggested by Bulliet, who estimates that the bulk of the Christian population converted in the tenth century. See Bulliet 1979, p. 114-127.

11 Although the expulsion of the indigenous Muslim population sometimes followed close on the heels of Christian conquest, there is no evidence that Christian princes advocated for expulsion or presented this as a motivation for their campaigns. Any « reconquest » impulse, such as it may have existed, was conceived of in terms of reestablishing Christian political authority over Muslim lands, not cleansing them of Islam or its adherents.

12 Although « maurophilia » may be characteristic of the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, it is rooted in the familiarity and intimacy of Christian-Muslim contact in the preceding centuries. See Fuchs 2009.

13 Alfonso VI of Castile and León (1065-1109) was known as « Ruler of the Two Religions » and « Emperor of the Three Religions » – which also appeared as his descendant Fernando III (1217-52). His grandson Alfonso VII (1126-57) took the title « Emperor of all of the Spains » which is to say, Christian and Muslim Spain.

14 The fate of the Muslim populations of the parts of Castile and Portugal conquered in the twelfth century is obscure. There are indications that populations of some areas stayed on, but the sudden decline of Muslim population in these areas strongly suggests emigration, expulsion, enslavement or some combination thereof. For the mudéjares of Portugal, see Lopes de Barros 2008. For Castile, see Ladero Quesada 1981, O'Callaghan 1990, and Soyer  2006.

15 In 1264, about a generation after its conquest, the Muslims of Castilian-held Andalucia and Murcia rose up in revolt, provoking reprisals in the form of mass expulsions. On the other hand, subsequent revolts in Valencia did not meet with a similar response. Despite the reigning king Jaume I’s proclaimed desire to rid himself of his disloyal Muslim subjects, it simply was not possible.

16 In Aragón, settlement in some areas (for example, around Lledia) seems to have been intense, involving the displacement of Muslims and the transformation of the productive system. In many areas, however, Christian settlers were relatively few, and were inserted into the irrigation and field systems that had been developed by, and continued to be farmed largely by Muslims. In Valencia, on the other hand, there was a co‑ordinated and deliberate policy to move Muslims out of the huertas they had established in the fertile lowlands so that these could be converted to grain‑production under Christian manpower. See Catlos 2002b ; and Torró Abad 2009.

17 While Islamic dhimma resembled the Christian policies towards religious minorities in function, there were key di p. erences. One of these was that because certain minority communities (i.e. People of the Book who submitted to Muslim rule) have been given a legitimate place in Islamic society along guidelines established generally in the Qur’ān, they enjoyed a sort of ‘constitutional’ right to exist that was independent princely caprice. Minorities in Christian lands were vulnerable because they did not enjoy such protections. On the other hand, in Christian Iberia, the rights and obligations of minority communities tended to be worked out and recorded in detail in the form of a contract. Moreover, these contracts were periodically renegotiated (typically at the accession of new monarch), a fact which allowed minority communities sometime to leverage greater liberties and better status, at time when they found themselves in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the king.

18 See Catlos 2004b, p. 118-120 and 394-395.

19 The Christian conquest not only eliminated or displaced the Muslim political elite, but the entire cultural and religious elite as well. Poets, jurists, theologians and scientists – individuals whose professions and socio-economic status were both portable and dependent on the patronage of an Islamic regime – had both the means and the motive to abandon their homelands and relocate in the Muslim-ruled south.

20 The word « mudéjar » refers to free Muslims in Iberia who lived under Christian rule. Apparently derived from the Arabic ‘mudajjān’ (« those who stayed ») the word is not attested before the late-sixteenth century. Corominas 1981, s.v. ‘Mudéjar’.

21 The rural economy in the lands taken over from Muslims was one that remained organized around towns and villages, many of which were free from seigniorial control. Even in the countryside there was a commercialized cash economy, characterized real land ownership, by considerable freedom of movement of peasants, the existence of a functioning labor market, and the combining of urban and rural professions by the same individuals. « Manorial » structures were absent and hallmarks of European « feudalism » such as the demesne and corvée, were either absent or severely restricted.

22 Muslims and Jews were referred to by the Aragonese kings as a « royal treasure ». See Boswell 1977, p. 30. As such, Muslims were immune from capital punishment, and judicial torture and dismemberment without specific royal approval.

23 A wide-array and tremendous quantity of source material is available for the study of mudéjar society in the Crown of Aragon, including chancery letters, fiscal receipts, court transcripts, legal texts, charters, tax records, and notarial registers, which can be found in royal, ecclesiastical and municipal archives.

24 These included respect for the local Islamic judicial and fiscal system, the right to practice Islam as a religion, and legal protections for person and property.

25 See Catlos 1999.

26 See Catlos 2004b, p. 126-128 and f.

27 See Catlos 2001 ; Catlos 2002a ; Catlos 2004b, p. 390-408 ; and Catlos in progress.

28 While it was possible – although fraught – for Muslims to submit to a non-Muslim prince, maintaining the basic integrity of Islamic justice was a necessary condition for them to make such a compromise. See for example, Van Koningsveld and Wiegers 1996.

29 See Catlos 2004b, p. 154-158.

30 For example, in 1275 Jaume I confirmed liberty from community taxes for Mahomad, son of a former alfaquinus of Calatayud, as well as his sons and daughters and all of his descendants in perpetuum (Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragó, Barcelona [hereafter, « ACA »], Cancillería [hereafter, « C. »], reg. 37, fol. 78v [8 January 1275]).

31 Muslim (and Jewish) minority communities in the Crown of Aragon were riven by bitter disputes between rulers and community members regarding the latter’s tax-exempt status. See, for example, the case of the çaualquen of Huesca, Çalema de Rey, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, in Catlos 2009c.

32 The Abenferres, for example, who dominated the aljama of Lleida through most of the fourteenth century, were soap-makers. See Mutgé i Vives 1998. Çalema Alatili, served as magistrate of the same aljama in the late 1200s, after a successful career as a « master engineer » in the service of the king. See Catlos 2004b, p.195–196. The administrative influence of the Bellvis family (see below, n. ) in the late 1300s was built in part on their influence as grooms to the royal family.

33 See Catlos 2004b, p. 214-215. Interestingly, inherited aljama administrative posts were handed down ‘vertically’ through a father-son medium, rather than ‘horizontally’ to a senior member of a wider agnatic family (a cousin or nephew, for example) – a detail which suggests that « Oriental » clan-type family-structures were not current among Ebro Valley mudéjares by the 1200s. For the « Oriental » family in Spanish Islamic society, see, generally, Guichard 1977.

34 See Catlos 2004b, p. 154-156.

35 See the examples of the Cordovan jurists al-Makwï and Ibn al-Salïm in Marín 1998-1999, p. 255.

36 Normally, initial appointments were made ad vitam ; however, when officials got in trouble they were usually re-appointed at the kings pleasure (dum Nobis placerit). See, for example, ACA, C., reg. 195, fol. 66v-67r (10 September 1297), ed. Basáñez Villaluenga 1989.

37 Notices of petitions like these surface occasionally in the chancery registers. For example, in 1295, Mariem, a Muslim of Teruel, complained personally to the king that her husband had been murdered by a gang of Muslims acting in collusion with a local Christian official : ACA, C., reg. 101, fol. 147v (16 June 1295).

38 In 1293, for example, a group representing the aljama of Huesca journeyed to a the royal presence to request the dismissal of their ruler, Abrahim Abengentor [ACA, C., reg. 96, fol. 76-77r (22 October 1293).]

39 Abrahim Abengentor (see previous note) terrorized the aljama of Huesca for some thirty years. The complaints of his constituents did not sway the king, but the moment the aljama’s tax revenues begam to fall, Abrahim was deposed by royal order. See Catlos 2003.

40 For various examples, see Catlos 2004b, p. 214-216.

41 For a case in which mudéjares may have engineered the dismissal of an aljama official via the royal court based on spurious or dubious complaint, see Catlos 2009b.

42 For taxation, see for example, Catlos 2004b, p. 138-143, for cemeteries, ibid., p. 320, and butcher shops, ibid., p. 194-95.

43 See, for example, ibid., p. 158-161.

44 Mark Meyerson argues that whereas Islamic society was open to conversion thanks to the transitional role of the practice of clientage in conversion, Christian society was functionally averse to attracting and absorbing new converts (Meyerson 2010).

45 For the Bellvises, see for example, Febrer Romaguera 1986 ; Echevarría Arsuaga 2003 ; Barceló Torres 1980. For the Bellidos, see Catlos 2004b, p. 217-219 and 331-337 ; Lourie 1990.

46 Until the fifteenth century, we have very little documentary evidence of mudéjar religious life despite its vibrancy. Clearly, however, any overlap between the religious elite and the official administrative elite (whose competencies included religious authority by dint of its judicial role) was accidental. For an attempt to illuminate the Aragonese mudéjar religious elite, see Miller 2008.

47 See Catlos 2004b, p. 156-158.

48 Aljamas could strike back at members who resisted paying taxes by formally excluding them from the communal privileges of the aljama, including attending the mosque and being buried in the local Islamic cemetery. See, for example, Ferrer i Mallol 2007. Along with these formal boycotts we must assume that tax-evading Muslims must have been subject to informal social pressures. In a world largely definited by juridical/religious community the e p. ect that social isolation must have had on individuals cannot be understated.

49 Mudéjares became fiscal dependants of noblemen and women, Military Orders, and cathedral and monastic chapters. This did not represent vassalage in the feudal sense, given that in principle the kings maintained direct jurisdiction over Muslim subjects.

50 For detailed accounts of struggles such as these see, Catlos 2004a, p. 327-338 and 339-346, and Catlos 2009a.

51 See ACA, C., reg. 688, p. 160r-v (16 February 1357), ed. Boswell 1977, p. 417-419 ; ACA, C. reg. 690, p. 232r-v.

52 See ACA, C., reg. 86, fol. 186v (3 September 1291) ; ACA, C., reg. 87, fol. 47r (11 March 1292) ; ACA, C., reg. 94, fol. 133r[109r] (27 December 1292), cit. Basáñez Villaluenga 1999.

53 Soltana, the daughter of a certain Ali de Godalest had been married to an individual named Saydo, who was from Dénia. When they divorced, Soltana sued her ex-husband in the royal court for the return of the mahr (dower) he had pledged, and which amounted to the substantial sum of 2,000 solidi. ACA, Processes en Quart, 1301J (14 December 1301). Occasional references like this, confirm that there was a prosperous class of mudéjares that has escaped the notice of historians because they generally did not show up in the o p. icial documentation of the Crown.

54 This is one of the instances when our sources fail us. While her have indirect evidence for the existence of popular but unofficial religious authorities, these individuals simply did not normally emerge in official documentation.

55 See, Catlos 2009a, p. 207-208.

56 For the administrative subjugation of hamlets by larger towns, see, for example Corral Lafuente 1993, p. 487-500.

57 Burns coined the term ‘patriciate’ in reference to the wealthy class of post-conquest Valencian mudéjares : Burns 1973, p. 406. It’s not clear however, that this group can be considered to be a « social class », with all that that term implies, rather than merely the upper socio-economic stratum of the Muslim minority.

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Brian Catlos, « Sketching a pre-modern colonial elite », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Moyen Âge [En ligne], 124-2 | 2012, mis en ligne le 23 septembre 2013, consulté le 25 avril 2017. URL : http://mefrm.revues.org/941 ; DOI : 10.4000/mefrm.941

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Brian Catlos

University of Colorado Boulder, University of California Santa Cruz – brian.catlos[at]colorado.edu;brianacatlos.com

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