Would-be crusader commanders and privateers like Carròs, lord of Rebollet, needed to be kept under control by the crown whether on sea or land.  King Jaume was regularly faced with knights and nobles who captured Muslims and sold them without his mandate on land. He mentions the problem of unruly Catalan knights harming Muslims with whom he had surrender treaties in his “autobiography” the Libre dels Feyts [Book of The Deeds].[1] Historian Robert I. Burns describes the noble in this document, Carròs, lord of Rebollet, as a German/Italian crusader who served as admiral when Count Nunyo Sanç of Roussillon armed a ship and two galleys to “entrar en cors”  –that is, go privateering, in Barbary in 1230.[2] In this document the lord of Rebollet was undermining King Jaume’s efforts at conquest and pacification in Valencia by enslaving those Muslims with whom Jaume had a surrender treaty/non-aggression agreement. It seems likely that Carròs, and his nephew, were regular slavers. The king would have received a payment for this pardon. In essence the crown was trying to regulate these activities, however, not stop them.

[1] Damian Smith and Helena Buffery, eds., The Book of The Deeds of James I of Aragon: A Translation of the Medieval Catalan Libre dels Feyts (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 243.

[2] Robert I. Burns, “Piracy: Islamic-Christian Interface in Conquered Valencia,” in his Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Crusader Kingdom of Valencia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 113.

Translated from the Latin by Rebecca Lynn Winer. From Robert I. Burns, Diplomatarium of the Crusader Kingdom of Valencia: The Registered Charters of Its Conqueror Jaume I, 1257-1276, volume II: Documents 1-500 (Princeton: Princeton University Press: 1991): 35-36. This translation CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Royal Pardon for Wrongfully Enslaving Free Muslims

Written at Lleida/Lerida on 24 September 1257.

We [King Jaume] and ours [our officials] remit, absolve, and dismiss you [“remittimus, absolvimus et definimus”][1], our noble and faithful follower Carròs, lord of Rebollet, and you, Andreuello, his nephew, and yours, in perpetuity of every penalty that you incurred and every civil and criminal legal action against you and your goods that we could bring or make by reason of certain Saracens [Muslims] of Denia [in the king’s realm of Valencia] whom, you, Andreuello sold. Such that we, or ours [the Crown and its officials], cannot bring against you or your goods, by reason of the aforementioned Saracens [Muslims], any civil or criminal legal action. Neither may you or yours ever be held henceforth by us or ours to respond to any [legal accusation], rather henceforth may you be fully free and immune with respect to all the goods you have and should have.

We make a pact and agreement to not seek anything else from you and yours,[2] as is said and understood to the advantage and protection of you and yours.

[1] This is the standard form for a royal pardon in the Crown or Realms of Aragon. Burns wrote several articles and book chapters on these pardons, see for example, “Royal Pardons in the Realms of Aragon: An Instrument of Social Control,” in El poder real de la Corona de Aragón : (siglos XIV-XVI) Actas del XV congreso de historia de la Corona de Aragón, tomo 1, vol. 2 (Zaragoza, 1994): 35-44.

[2] “finem et pactum facimus” is the core of the formula widely used to extinguish obligation for debt, see John H. Pryor, Business Contracts of Medieval Provence: Selected Notulae from the Cartulary of Giraud Amalric of Marseilles 1248 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1981), 177.

Related Primary Sources