1113–1115 Balearic Islands expedition

In 1114, an expedition to the Balearic Islands, then a Muslim taifa, was launched in the form of a Crusade. Founded on a treaty of 1113 between the Republic of Pisa and Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, the expedition had the support of Pope Paschal II and the participation of many lords of Catalonia and Occitania, as well as contingents from northern and central Italy, Sardinia, and Corsica. The Crusaders were perhaps inspired by the Norwegian king Sigurd I's attack on Formentera in 1108 or 1109 during the Norwegian Crusade.[1] The expedition ended in 1115 in the conquest of the Balearics, but only until the next year. The main source for the event is the Pisan Liber maiolichinus, completed by 1125.

Treaty and preparations

In 1085 Pope Gregory VII had granted suzerainty over the Balearics to Pisa.[2] In September 1113 a Pisan fleet making an expedition to Majorca was put off course by a storm and ended up near Blanes on the coast of Catalonia, which they initially mistook for the Balearics.[3] The Pisans met with the Count of Barcelona in the port of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, where on 7 September they signed a treaty causa corroborandae societatis et amicitiae ("for the cause of social cooperation and friendship"). Specifically the Pisans were exempted from the usagium and the jus naufragii in all the territories, present and future, of the Count of Barcelona, though Arles and Saint-Gilles, in the recently acquired March of Provence, were singled out for special mention (three times).[4]

The only surviving copy of the treaty between Pisa and Barcelona is found interpolated in a charter of James I granted to Pisa in 1233. It affirms that the meeting was unplanned and apparently arranged by God.[5] Some scholars have expressed doubt about the lack of preparation, citing the Catalans' rapid response to the presence of the Pisans as evidence of some previous contact.[6] The attribution of the meeting to Providence alone may have been concocted to add an "aura of sacredness" to the alliance and the crusade.[4]

The treaty, or what survives of it, does not refer to military cooperation or a venture against Majorca; perhaps that agreement was oral, or perhaps its record has been lost, but a Crusade was planned for 1114. The chief goal was the freeing of Christian captives and the suppression of Muslim piracy.[7] Most of the Pisan fleet returned to Pisa, but some ships damaged by the storm remained to be repaired and some men remained behind to construct siege engines.[8] In the spring of 1114 a new fleet of eighty ships arrived from Pisa, following the French coast, briefly staying at Marseille.[9]

The fleet brought with it Cardinal Bosone, an envoy from Paschal II, who vigorously supported the expedition, authorising it in a bull as early as 1113.[2] Paschal had also granted the Pisans the Romana signa, sedis apostolicae vexillum ("Roman standard, the flag of the apostolic see"),[10] and his appeals for the expedition had borne fruit. Besides the 300 ships of the Pisan contingent, there were 120 Catalan and Occitan vessels (plus a large army), contingents from the Italian cities of Florence, Lucca, Pistoia, Rome, Siena, and Volterra, and from Sardinia and Corsica under Saltaro, the son of Constantine I of Logudoro. Among the Catalan princes there were Ramon Berenguer, Hug II of Empúries, and Ramon Folc II of Cardona.[11] The most important lords of Occitania participated, with the exception of the Count of Toulouse, Alfonso Jordan: William V of Montpellier, with twenty ships; Aimeric II of Narbonne, with twenty ships; and Raymond I of Baux, with seven ships.[11] Bernard Ato IV, the chief of the Trencavel family, also participated.[12] Ramon Berenguer and his wife, Douce, borrowed 100 morabatins from the Ramon Guillem, the Bishop of Barcelona, to finance the expedition.

Conquest and loss

The combined Crusader fleet raided Ibiza in June, and destroyed its defences, since Ibiza lay between Majorca and the mainland and would have posed a continued threat during a siege. The Liber maiolichinus also records the taking of captives, who were trying to hide in careae (probably caves), on Formentera.[13] Ibiza was under Crusader control by August.[12] The Crusaders invested Palma de Majorca in August 1114.[14] As the siege dragged on the counts of Barcelona and Empúries entered into peace negotiations with the Muslim ruler of Majorca, but the cardinal and Pietro Moriconi, the Archbishop of Pisa, interfered to put an end to the discussions. Probably the Catalan rulers, whose lands lay nearest the Balearics, expected an annual payment of parias (tribute) from the Muslims and the cessation of pirate raids in return for lifting the siege.[14]

Muslim reinforcements, Almoravids from the Iberian port of Denia, surprised a Pisan flotilla of six in the waters off Ibiza, with only two of the Pisan vessels making it to safety, which consisted of the remains of a fortress burned by the king of Norway a decade earlier.[13] In April 1115 the city capitulated and its entire population was enslaved. This victory was followed by the capture of most of the Balearics' major settlements and the freeing of most captive Christians on the islands. The independent Muslim taifa ruler was taken back to Pisa a captive.[15] The greatest victory, however, was the annihilation of Majorcan piracy.

The conquest of the Balearics lasted no more than a few months. In 1116 they were reconquered by the Almoravids of peninsular Iberia.[14]


  1. ^ Gary B. Doxey (1996), "Norwegian Crusaders and the Balearic Islands", Scandinavian Studies, 10–11. In the Liber maiolichinus the Norwegian king is referred to only as rex Norgregius, and is recorded as sailing with 100 ships, though the later sagas record sixty.
  2. ^ a b Charles Julian Bishko (1975), "The Spanish and Portuguese Reconquest, 1095–1492", A History of the Crusades, Vol. 3: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, ed. Harry W. Hazard (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press), 405.
  3. ^ Silvia Orvietani Busch (2001), Medieval Mediterranean Ports: The Catalan and Tuscan Coasts, 1100 to 1235 (BRILL, ISBN 90-04-12069-6), 207. The fleet had left Pisa in August.
  4. ^ a b Busch, 208.
  5. ^ It records the Providential meeting of Pisans and Catalans as divino ducatu in portu Sancti Felicis prope Gerundam apud Barcinonam [Pisanorum exercitus] applicuisset (Busch, 207).
  6. ^ Busch, 208 n4. Enrica Salvatori, "Pisa in the Middle Ages: the Dream and the Reality of an Empire" Archived 2009-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, Empires Ancient and Modern, 19, likewise believes the familiarity of the author of the Liber maiolichinus with Catalan and Occitan geography points to longer and earlier Pisan contacts.
  7. ^ Doxey, 13. The memory of Sigurd's abundant spoils may have played a secondary rôle.
  8. ^ Busch, 210. During their winter in Catalonia, many Pisan knights reportedly wandered abroad into southern France (Provintia, Provence, to the author of the Liber) as far as Nîmes and Arles.
  9. ^ Many of the Pisans killed were buried at the Abbey of Saint Victor in Marseille on the return trip, cf. Salvatori, 19.
  10. ^ This is almost certainly the vexillum sancti Petri ("banner of Saint Peter") used by papal armies on other occasions. The pope also gave a processional cross to the Pisan archbishop, who gave it to a certain layman, Atho, to carry. Cf. Carl Erdmann (1977), The Origin of the Idea of Crusade (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 186, who points out that the banner of Saint Peter is not the basis for the later white cross on a red field associated with Pisa.
  11. ^ a b Busch, 210 n12.
  12. ^ a b Salvatori, 19.
  13. ^ a b Doxey, 11.
  14. ^ a b c Busch, 211.
  15. ^ Giuseppe Scalia (1980), "Contributi pisani alla lotta anti-islamica nel Mediterraneo centro-occidentale durante il secolo XI e nei prime deceni del XII", Anuario de estudios medievales, 10, 138.

Further reading

  • Parker, Matthew E. (2014). "Pisa, Catalonia, and Muslim Pirates: Intercultural Exchanges in the Balearic Crusade of 1113–1115". Viator. 45 (2): 77–100.
Aimery II of Narbonne

Aimery II (or Aimeric II) (died 17 July 1134) was the Viscount of Narbonne from around 1106 until his death.

He was the eldest son of Aimery I of Narbonne and Mahalt (also Mahault or Mafalda), daughter of Robert Guiscard and Sichelgaita and widow of Raymond Berengar II of Barcelona. This made him a half-brother of Raymond Berengar III. He initially ruled as a minor under the regency of his mother. After he came of age he married Ermengard.

Probably in 1112 or 1113, Aimery received the Fenouillèdes and the Peyrepertusès from his half-brother in return for swearing an oath of fealty against Bernard Ato IV of Béziers, with whom Raymond Berengar was at war. The lords of the Fenouillèdes and the Peyrepertuseès remained vassals of Narbonne until the Albigensian Crusade and the viscounts of Narbonne took the lordship of Rouffiac near Peyrepertuse into their own hands. When Douce I, Countess of Provence died and Raymond Berengar claimed the County of Provence, Aimery received the fief of Beaucaire and the terre d'Argence near the mouth of the Rhône in Provence.Sometime during his rule, Aimery granted the merchants of Narbonne the right to form a consulate in imitation of Genoa. Probably he saw the self-organisation of his merchants and their formation of a military in their own defence as an aid to his own rule so long as the consulate remained under vicecomital control, which in the end it did not. Aimery also participated in 1114–15 in the Balearic Islands expedition led by the Republic of Pisa and Raymond Berengar.

In 1114, Aimery put an end to conflicting claims in the village of Le Lac on the Via Domitia by transferring his rights there to the abbey of Lagrasse in return for a large loan of gold and silver. He also entered into a conflict with his cousin Richard de Millau, Archbishop of Narbonne, who may have been a compromise candidate between Aimery and the pope for the archiepiscopal throne. Richard claimed that Aimery fecit mihi hominium propriis manibus ("did homage to [him] with his own hands") received fedovia ("fiefs") from the Church "in the presence of the universal synod of the province of Narbonne." The archbishop accused Aimery of deceiving him concerning the extent of the Church's fiefs and attempting to hold land as his by inheritance which was his by grant of the Church; he also accused Aimery of withholding revenues from taxes and imposts that should have gone to the Church. Aimery was recorded to have even abused church property violently and there were disputes concerning who controlled the towers on the city walls. The whole dispute lasted a long time, but Aimery was made to come to terms by the Papacy's support of Richard. In the end, he had to swear oaths of fealty to the archbishop, recognise the archbishop's independent temporal lordship, and concede that some of the rights he held in the city of Narbonne constituted a fief of the archbishopric.In 1124, Bernard Ato of Béziers declared war on Aimery, who responded by razing the castle (pro justicia, "out of justice") at Montséret, which had been held by Aimery's vassal Bernard Amati until he had treacherously turned it over to Bernard Ato. Not long after this Aimery turned towards Iberia and joined the Reconquista being waged by Alfonso the Battler in the Ebro valley.

In July 1131, Aimery was at the deathbed of his half-brother to witness his final testament, of which he was to be the executor. Aimery died in battle before the walls of the Moorish city of Fraga, which Alfonso had been besieging. Aimery had a son and a daughter by Ermengard; the son, Aimery, predeceased him (ca. 1130), and he was succeeded by his daughter Ermengard, who was only four or five at the time. He married a second time to a woman named Ermessende and left by her a daughter of the same name. This second daughter, Ermessende, married before 1153 a great Castilian magnate, Manrique Pérez de Lara, lord of Molina.

Ali ibn Yusuf

Ali ibn Yusuf (also known as "Ali Ben Youssef") (Arabic: علي بن يوسف‎) (born 1084 died 26 January 1143) was the 5th Almoravid king. He reigned from 1106–1143.

Balearic Islands expedition

Balearic Islands expedition may refer to:

1113–1115 Balearic Islands expedition

Ottoman raid on the Balearic islands (1501)

Ottoman invasion of the Balearic islands (1558)

Bernard Ato IV

Bernard Ato IV (died 1129) was the Viscount of Nîmes of the Trencavel family from 1074 to his death. Bernard Ato was the son of Raymond Bernard of Nîmes (died 1074) and Ermengarde of Carcassonne.In 1096, Bernard joined the army of Raymond of Saint-Gilles to fight in the First Crusade. After returning from the Holy Land, Bernard retook Carcassonne in 1125.He married Cecilia of Provence, daughter of the Bertrand II of Provence, and had:

Bernard Ato V

Roger I

Raymond I Trencavel

Ermengard married Gausfred III of Roussillon.

Constantine I of Torres

Constantine I (c. 1064 – 1128) was the giudice of Logudoro. He was co-ruling by 1082 and sole ruler by 1113. His reign is usually said to have begun about 1112.

He was the son of Marianus I, with whom he co-reigned, and Susanna de Thori.

Douce I, Countess of Provence

Douce I (also Dulcia or Dolça, called "of Rouergue" or "of Gévaudan") (c. 1090 – 1127) was the daughter of Gilbert I of Gévaudan and Gerberga of Provence and wife of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona. In 1112, she inherited the county of Provence through her mother. She married Ramon Berenguer at Arles on 3 February that year.

In 1113, Douce ceded her rights in Provence, Gévaudan, and the viscounty of Millau to her husband. According to a once prevailing opinion, "Provençal troubadours ... entered Catalonia at the time" and even the Catalan language was imported from Provence. According to nationalist historians it was the beginning of l'engrandiment occitànic (the Occitan aggrandisement): a great scheme to unite various lands on both sides of the Pyrenees.In reality the marriage gave the House of Barcelona extensive interests in Occitania and put it in conflict with the Counts of Toulouse, with whom a partition of Provence was signed in 1125, shortly before Douce's death. Her death inaugurated a period of instability in Provence. A cadet branch of the House of Barcelona was set up to rule, but a disputed succession opened up the Baussenque Wars (1144–1162), which terminated in Provençal victory.

Her children with Ramon Berenguer were:

Almodis, married Ponce de Cervera

Berenguela (1116–1149), married Alfonso VII of Castile

Ramon Berenguer (1113–1162), Count of Barcelona

Berenguer Ramon (c. 1115–1144), Count of Provence

Bernard, died young

History of Islam in southern Italy

The history of Islam in Sicily and Southern Italy began with the first Muslim settlement in Sicily, at Mazara, which was captured in 827. The subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta started in the 10th century. Islamic rule over all Sicily began in 902, and the Emirate of Sicily lasted from 965 until 1061. Though Sicily was the primary Muslim stronghold in Italy, some temporary footholds, the most substantial of which was the port city of Bari (occupied from 847 until 871), were established on the mainland peninsula, especially in mainland Southern Italy, though Muslim raids reached as far north as Rome and Piedmont. The Muslim raids were part of a larger struggle for power in Italy and Europe, with Christian Byzantine, Frankish, Norman and local Italian forces also competing for control. Muslims were sometimes sought as allies by various Christian factions against other factions.

The first permanent Arab settlement on Sicily occurred in 827, but it was not until Taormina fell in 902 that the entire island fell under their sway, though Rometta held out until 965. In that year the Kalbids established the independence of their emirate from the Fatimid Caliphate. In 1061 the first Norman liberators took Messina, and by 1071 Palermo and its citadel (1072) were captured. In 1091 Noto fell to the Normans, and the conquest was complete. Malta fell later that year, though the Arab administration was kept in place, marking the final chapter of this period. The conquests of the Normans established Roman Catholicism firmly in the region, where Eastern Christianity had been prominent during the time of Byzantine rule and even remained significant during Islamic period. Widespread conversion ensued, leading to the disappearance of Islam in Sicily by the 1280s. In 1245, Muslim Sicilians were deported to the settlement of Lucera, by order of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. In 1300, Giovanni Pipino di Barletta, count of Altamura, seized Lucera and exiled or sold into slavery its population, bringing an end to the medieval Muslim presence in Italy.

Hugh II, Count of Empúries

Hugh II (Catalan: Hug II) (c. 1035 – 1116) was the Count of Empúries from 1078 until his death. He was the eldest son of Ponç I and Adelaida de Besalú, and succeeded his father in Empúries while his brother, Berenguer, was given the Viscounty of Peralada.

In politics he was on good terms with the other Catalan princes. In 1085, he made an alliance of mutual self-defence with his neighbour, Giselbert II of Roussillon. In 1113–15, he and Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, took part in an expedition against the Balearics. He was described by the anonymous author of the Liber maiolichinus as Catalanicus heros (a Catalan hero).

Hugh was involved in several disputes with the diocese of Girona, first with its canons and then with its bishop, Berenguer Guifré, over the tithes collected by the parish church of Santa Maria de Castelló. He made donations to the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and made pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.

Hugh was married to Sancha, daughter of Ermengol IV of Urgell, which whom he had one child, the heir Ponç II.

Liber maiolichinus de gestis Pisanorum illustribus

The Liber maiolichinus de gestis pisanorum illustribus ("Majorcan Book of the Deeds of the Illustrious Pisans") is a Medieval Latin epic chronicle in 3,500 hexameters, written between 1117 and 1125, detailing the Pisan-led joint military expedition of Italians, Catalans, and Occitans against the taifa of the Balearic Islands, in particular Majorca and Ibiza, in 1113–5. It was commissioned by the commune of Pisa, and its anonymous author was probably a cleric. It survives in three manuscripts. The Liber is notable for containing the earliest known reference to "Catalans" (Catalanenses), treated as an ethnicity, and to "Catalonia" (Catalania), as their homeland.The Liber, which is the most important primary source for the brief conquest of the Balearics, portrays the expedition as motivated by a desire to free Christian captives held as slaves by the Muslims and to curtail Muslim piracy "from Spain to Greece". Christian zeal is stressed no less than civic pride and the account of the 1113 expedition is prefaced by a history of Pisan–Muslim conflicts in the eleventh century. The Liber is also the earliest source for the raid of the Norwegian king Sigurd Jorsalfar on Formentera, one of the Balearic islands and a hotbed of piracy.

Pietro Moriconi

Pietro Moriconi (died 1119) was the Archbishop of Pisa from 1105, succeeding Dagobert. According to tradition he belonged to the noble lineage of Moriconi of Vico. He first appears as archbishop in a document of 19 March 1106, and is credited with strengthening the Pisan church. On 13 April 1113, he preached a crusade against the Balearic Islands to free captive Christians there. He went to Rome to receive Pope Paschal II's blessing for the expedition, which he also helped lead in person. He interfered to quash peace negotiations that ran counter to Pisa's interests. He died in 1119 (Pisan calendar), and was buried on 10 September in the Pisan Duomo.

Pisa Griffin

The Pisa Griffin is a large bronze sculpture of a griffin, a mythical beast, which has been in Pisa in Italy since the Middle Ages, though it is of Islamic origin. It is the largest medieval Islamic metal sculpture known, at over three feet tall (42.5 inches, or 1.07 m.), and was probably created in the 11th century in Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain). It has been described as the "most famous as well as the most beautiful and monumental example" of a tradition of zoomorphic bronzes in Islamic art. It is now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum), Pisa.

Pisan–Genoese expeditions to Sardinia

In 1015 and again in 1016 forces from the taifa of Denia, in the east of Muslim Spain (al-Andalus), attacked Sardinia and attempted to establish control over it. In both these years joint expeditions from the maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa repelled the invaders. These Pisan–Genoese expeditions to Sardinia were approved and supported by the Papacy, and modern historians often see them as proto-Crusades. After their victory, the Italian cities turned on each other, and the Pisans obtained hegemony over the island at the expense of their erstwhile ally. For this reason, the Christian sources for the expedition are primarily from Pisa, which celebrated its double victory over the Muslims and the Genoese with an inscription on the walls of its Duomo.

Pope Paschal II

Pope Paschal II (Latin: Paschalis II; 1050 x 1055 – 21 January 1118), born Ranierius, was Pope from 13 August 1099 to his death in 1118.

A monk of the Cluniac order, he created the Cardinal-Priest of San Clemente by Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) in 1073. He was consecrated as pope in succession to Pope Urban II (1088–99) on 19 August 1099. His reign of almost twenty years was exceptionally long for a pope of the Middle Ages.

Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer III the Great was the count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 1086 (jointly with Berenguer Ramon II and solely from 1097), Besalú from 1111, Cerdanya from 1117, and count of Provence in the Holy Roman Empire, from 1112, all until his death in Barcelona in 1131. As Ramon Berenguer I, he was Count of Provence from 1112 in right of his wife.

Republic of Pisa

The Republic of Pisa (Italian: Repubblica di Pisa) was a de facto independent state centered on the Tuscan city of Pisa during the late 10th and 11th centuries. It rose to become an economic powerhouse, a commercial center whose merchants dominated Mediterranean and Italian trade for a century before being surpassed and superseded by the Republic of Genoa. The power of Pisa as a mighty maritime nation began to grow and reached its apex in the 11th century when it acquired traditional fame as one of the four main historical Maritime Republics of Italy.

Saltaro of Torres

Saltaro was the son of Constantine I of Logudoro. His mother is unknown, it may have been Marcusa. Whether or not he is the same person as the "Saltaro de Gunale" pretender to the throne of Logudoro in 1127 during the reign of Gonario II is unknown.

While still a young man, he took part in the 1113–1115 Pisan expedition against the Moors of the Balearic Islands in 1114–1115. He was renowned for his handling of the ships and his participation brought honour to his father.

Tashfin ibn Ali

Tashfin ibn Ali (died 23 March 1145, or 25 March 1145 CE) was the 6th Almoravid king, he reigned in 1143–1145.

William V of Montpellier

William V (or Guilhem V; died 1121) was the Lord of Montpellier from 1068 until his death. He was the son of William IV.

Soon after his father's death, his mother, Ermengarde, quit Montpellier to marry the Lord of Anduze. William IV had confided the tutelage of his son to the child's grandmother, Beliarde, and to his nearest relatives: William Arnold, Raymond Stephen, and William Aymoin. After a short conflict with the bishop of Maguelonne, William V rendered homage to the bishop on 10 December 1090 and was recognised as lord of Montpellier.

At the call of Pope Urban II, William took up the cross of the First Crusade in the army of Raymond IV of Toulouse. He served notably at the capture of the small Syrian village of Ma'arrat al-Numan in 1098. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1099, William remained in the Holy Land for a while. He remained at the side of Godfrey de Bouillon and accompanied him to the siege of Antioch in December 1097. He did not return to Montpellier until 1103, bringing with him a relic of Saint Cleopas.

When William returned, he found that the Aimoin brothers to whom he had confided the administration of the lordship in his absence had usurped many seigniorial rights and that he was obligated to recognise much of their newfound authority, which diminished his own, in order to retain his position.

William participated in the army of Raymond Berengar III of Barcelona which captured Majorca from the Moors in 1114. The rest of his reign was marked by the important acquisition of nearby territories, which greatly recouped his power: Montarnaud, Cournonsec, Montferrier, Frontignan, Aumelas, Montbazin, Popian.

By his marriage to Ermensenda, daughter of Peter, Count of Mauguio, he had six children:

William VI

William of Aumelas

Bernard, Lord of Villeneuve

Guillelme, married Raymon Bernard, Count of Mauguio


Adelaide.Upon his death, he was succeeded by his son William as Lord of Montpellier.

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