- Alfonso II of Asturias
He was born in
Oviedoin 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosindaafter his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of Samos. He was the governor of the palace during the reign of Adosinda's husband Silo. On Silo's death, he was elected king by Adosinda's allies, but the magnates raised his uncle Mauregatus to the throne instead. Alfonso fled to Álavato live with his maternal relatives.
Mauregatus was succeeded by Bermudo, Alfonso's cousin, who abdicated after his defeat at Burbia. Alfonso was subsequently elected king on
14 September 791. The events of his reign are in reality almost unknown. Poets of a later generation invented the story of the secret marriage of his sister Ximena with Sancho, count of Saldana, and the feats of their son Bernardo del Carpio. Bernardo is the hero of a " cantar de gesta" ("chanson de geste") written to please the anarchical spirit of the nobles.
What is known is that he maintained contact with the court of
Charlemagne. He sent delegations to Aachenin 796, 797, and 798, but we do not know the purposes. They may have dealt with the security of his kingdom from the ongoing attacks of the Ibn Mugait brothers. On the other hand, they may have been related to the adoptionistcontroversy which had brought Bermudo's kingdom into Charlemagne's view.
Militarily, Alfonso did much to secure his own realm against the
Moors. He took Lisbonin 798. He defeated the Moslems at Narónand Anceo(825) and, thanks to these victories, began the repopulation of parts of Galicia, León, and Castile.
Alfonso also moved the capital from
Pravia, where Silo had located it, to Oviedo, the city of his father's founding and his birth. There he constructed churches and a palace. He built San Tirso, where he is buried, and Santullano, on the outskirts. The "Crónica Sebastianense" records his death in 842, saying:
:"tras haber llevado por 52 años casta, sobria, inmaculada, piadosa y gloriosamente el gobierno del reino"
: [after having held for 52 years chastely, soberly, immaculately, piously, and gloriously the government of the realm]
Tradition relates that in 814, the body of
Saint James the Greaterwas discoverred in Compostelaand that Alfonso was the first pilgrim to that famous medieval (and modern) shrine.
Portrait of Alfonso II: [http://www.bernardopinto.com/comun/apellidos/historia_archivos/alfonsoII.jpg]
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