James II of Aragon


James II of Aragon

James II (10 August 1267 in Valencia – 2 November or 5 November 1327 in Barcelona), called the Just ( _an. Chaime lo Chusto, _ca. Jaume el Just, _es. Jaime el Justo) was the King of Sicily (as James I) from 1285 to 1296 and King of Aragon and Valencia and Count of Barcelona from 1291 to 1327. In 1297 he was granted the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica. He used the Latin title "Iacobus Dei gracia rex Aragonum, Valencie, Sardinie, et Corsice ac comes Barchinone". He was the second son of Peter III of Aragon and Constance of Sicily.

Reign

He succeeded his father as King of Sicily in 1285. Upon the death of his brother Alfonso III in 1291, he succeeded also to the throne of the Crown of Aragon. he spent May of that year in Catania, inspiring the local monk Atanasiu di Iaci to write the "Vinuta di re Iapicu" about his time there. By a peace treaty with Charles II of Anjou in 1296, he agreed to give up Sicily, but the Sicilians instead installed on the throne his brother Frederick. He reigned until his death in 1327.

By the Treaty of Anagni in 1295, he returned the Balearic Islands to James II of Majorca. Aragon retained control over the continental territories of the Majorca kingdom — Montpellier and Roussillon — throughout James' reign. In 1298, by the Treaty of Argilers, James of Majorca recognised the suzerainty of James of Aragon.

Writing

It was probably during his reign at Sicily (1285–1291) that James composed his only surviving piece of Occitan poetry, a religious "dansa" dedicated to the Virgin Mary, "Mayre de Deu". [A short analysis, with useful footnotes, and eight lines quoted with Catalan translation is found in Martín de Riquer (1964), "Història de la Literatura Catalana", vol. 1 (Barcelona: Edicions Ariel), pp. 172–73.] A contemporary, Arnau de Vilanova, wrote a verse-by-verse Latin commentary of the "dansa" in 1305. The metaphor James uses has been analysed by Alfred Jeanroy, who sees similarities in the "Roman de Fauvel".

James begins by comparing the Church to a ship in a storm, poorly guided by its pilot ("nauchier", i.e. the Pope):The literary quality of the verses is neither astounding nor disappointing, but the song was clearly written at a moment when James was in conflict with the Papacy, perhaps with a propagandistic end, to prove his piety and fidelity to the Church if not the Papacy. The final verses ask Mary to protect him, the king, from sin:

Marriges, concubines, and children

He married four times:

Isabella of Castile, Viscountess of Limoges, daughter of Sancho IV of Castile and his wife María de Molina. The wedding took place in the city of Soria, in 1 December, 1291 when the bride was only 8 years old. The marriage, which was never consummated, was dissolved and annulled after Sancho's death in 1295, when James chose to change his alliances and take advantage of the turmoil inside Castile.

Blanche of Anjou, daughter of his family's rival Charles II of Naples and Maria Arpad of Hungary. They married in the city of Villabertran, in 29 October or 1 November, 1295. She bore him several legitimate children:

*James (Jaume) (b. 29 September, 1296 - d. Tarragona, July 1334). James renounced his right to the throne in 1319 to become a monk. He refused to consummate his marriage to Leonor of Castille, who later become the second wife of his brother Alfonso.

*Alfonso IV of Aragon (1299 – 24 January 1336). He became the King of Aragon in 1327 and ruled until his death. He married twice: first to Teresa d'Entença and then to Eleanor of Castile after his first wife died.

*Maria (b. 1299 - d. as a nun in Sijena, 1316). She married Pedro of Castile, son of Sancho IV of Castile.

*Constanza of Aragon (Constança) (b. Valencia, 1 April, 1300 - d. Castillo de Garcia Munoz, 19 September, 1327). Constanza married Juan Manuel, Duke of Penafiel, nephew of Alfonso X of Castile.

*John (Juan) (b. 1304 - d. Pobo, Zaragoza, 19 August 1334). John became the first Archbishop of Toledo and Tarragona in 1318, and Patriarch of Alexandria in 1328.

*Isabel of Aragon (b. 1305 - d. Styria, 12 July 1330). Elizabeth married Frederick I of Austria.

*Peter (Pere) (b. 1305 - d. Pisa, 4 November 1381), Count of Ribagorça and Prades. Peter married Jeanne, daughter of Gaston I of Foix.

*Blanca (b. 1307 - d. Barcelona, 1348), Prioress of Sixena.

*Ramon Berenguer (b. August 1308 - d. a priest at Barcelona, 1366), Count of Empúries and Baron of Ejerica. Ramon married firstly with Blanca, daughter of Philip I of Taranto, and secondly with Maria, daughter of Jaime of Aragon.

*Violante (b. Barcelona, October 1310 - d. Pedrola, 19 July 1353). She first married Philip, Despot of Romania, son of Philip I of Taranto. Her second marriage was with Lope de Luna, Lord of Segorbe.

— Marie de Lusignan (1273 – September, 1322 at Tortosa, buried at Barcelona), daughter of the King Hugh III of Cyprus. They married by proxy in Santa Sophia, Nicosia, in 15 June 1315, and in person in the city of Girona, in 27 November 1315. This marriage was childless.

Elisenda de Montcada, daughter of Pedro I de Montcada, Lord of Altona and Soses, and wife Gisela d'Abarca. They married in the city of Tarragona, in 25 December 1322. This marriage was childless too, and, after the king's death, she entered the Monastery of Poor Clares in Pedralbes as a Nun, where she died on June 19, 1364.

In addition to his legitimate offspring, James had three natural children born with Sicilian women:

— With Gerolda:

*Sancho (b. Sicily, 1287 - d. young?).

*Napoleón (b. Sicily, 1288 - m. 1338), Lord of Joyosa Guarda (Gioiosaguardia) and Acquafredda (in Sardinia); married a daughter of a Majorcan named Guillermo Robert.

— With Lucrecia:

*James (Jaume) (b. Mazzara, 1291 - d. 1350), Vicario di Cagliari (1317–1341); married firstly with Jaumetta Guerau, from Majorca, and secondly with Puccia, a Sardinian woman.

References

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