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Captives and Their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

Jarbel Rodriguez

Publication Year: 2011

Captives and Their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon argues that by this time the ransoming efforts were on a kingdom-wide scale engaging not only professional ransomers, merchants, and officials of the crown but the population at large.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title PAge, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

The writing of any large scholarly work is typically a group effort, and although the author does the bulk of the labor, without assistance from institutions, colleagues, friends, and family, the work would never come to fruition and the pleasures of undertaking it would be considerably diminished. This book is no different. ...

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pp. xi-xxii

A curious transaction took place in the spring of 1998 in the Sudan. Two men, one dressed in a long white robe and a turban and another in jeans and a T-shirt, sat across from each other, their faces betraying their intense negotiation. Around them, over two hundred men, women, and children waited patiently as the two haggled. ...


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pp. xxiii-xiv

Part One. Captives

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1. Raiding and Piracy

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pp. 3-36

In the darkness, the strange men came ashore. Gliding through the stillness of the night, they made their way to the peaceful village as it slept—and then, chaos. Wakened from their slumber, the villagers of Gola de la Albufera opened their eyes to the presence of invaders with foreign faces and an alien language. ...

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2. Life in Captivity

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pp. 37-66

For those captives who survived the initial capture and the hurried flight that followed, a hard life awaited. At best, they became hostages waiting for embassies and ransomers to come and rescue them. At worst, they were slaves, strangers in a foreign land, torn from family and friends, toiling daily in the harshest labor, ...

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3. Captives and Renegades

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pp. 67-94

In May 1395 John I, king of Aragon, ordered the Mercedarians in his kingdom to dispatch a mission to Bone in North Africa as “quickly as possible.” The king had “heard from many” about many Christians in captivity there, suffering terrible conditions and in danger of losing their faith.1 ...

Part Two. Saviors

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4. Liberating the Captives: Family-Initiated Responses

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pp. 97-118

When a Christian fell into captivity, a complex network composed of ransomers, crown and ecclesiastical officials, merchants, and sea captains was set in motion to set the captive free. Due to the myriad reasons explored in the first part of this book, the Crown of Aragon had developed one of the most elaborate ransoming systems ...

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5. Liberating the Captives: Communal and Institutional Responses

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pp. 119-148

Besides the response that captivity generated from the victims’ families and close associates, there were also communal and institutional responses. Town councils, royal officials, confraternities, religious figures and, of course, the crown often took up the plight of captives on their own. ...

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6. The Finances of Ransoming

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pp. 149-174

The image depicted by Ramond Llull in Blanquerna repeated itself many times over in the cities of the Crown of Aragon: captives and their families begging to pay off a ransoming debt or to secure the liberation of a loved one. Their pleas were augmented by the begging work of the ransoming orders, the church, and individual municipalities. ...

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Epilogue: Freedom and Reintegration

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pp. 175-192

In 1485, during Holy Week, a pitiful group of people slowly made its way from the captured city of Ronda to Córdova in southern Spain. The crowd, numbering over four hundred men, women, and children, was in a poor state. Many showed the signs of malnutrition; others were sick; ...


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pp. 193-220


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pp. 221-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216492
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214757

Page Count: 251
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 707926452
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Captives and Their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Slavery -- Islamic Empire -- History.
  • Spaniards -- Islamic Empire -- History.
  • Ransom -- Islamic Empire -- History.
  • Ransom -- Spain -- Aragon -- History.
  • Aragon (Spain) -- Relations -- Islamic Empire.
  • Islamic Empire -- Relations -- Spain -- Aragon.
  • Freedmen -- Spain -- Aragon -- Social conditions.
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