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Alfonso I - King of Aragon 1104-1134

Obverse Reverse

The obverse legend reads + ANFUS REX, surrounding a crude portrait looking left. The reverse states +TOLLETA (Toledo) surrounding a short cross. Lynn H. Nelson, an acquaintance from a Medieval History list that I subscribe to has provided me with this detailed account of Alfonso I:

Alfonso el Batallador (the battler) was king of Aragon and Navarre, and, by his marriage in 1108 to Urraca, the widowed daughter and heir of Alfonso VI, was ruler of Castile, Leon, and Galicia. The arrangement was supposed to have been that a son by him and Urraca would succeed to Galicia, Leon, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon, substantially uniting the Christian states of Spain (except for Catalunya and Portugal), but it didn't work out. Urraca and he didn't get along for reasons that some of us suspect but one can't prove, and there was a good deal of fighting between Alfonso's people and Urraca's adherents. Reilly has written a book on Urraca in which he regards her as "Queen" of Castile, although I personally think that's a rather arbitrary term to use in such a tangled situation. In any event, the matter was settled when Urraca's son by Raymond of Burgundy came of age in 1127. Alfonso of Aragon and the young Alfonso VII made the peace of Tameras in which Alfonso VII gained the lands of his grandfather, Alfonso VI.

Toledo had been capital of the Visigothic kingdom of Spain, which fell to the Muslims in 711. The city was reconquered by Alfonso VI of Castile-Leon in 1085. Holding the city was one of the claims that Alfonso had to the title he assumed of "emperor." This is a bone of contention between historians who regard Castile as the backbone of a united Spain, which was official doctrine during the days of Franco, and those of us who regard the historical nature of Spain to be pluralist. The Castilianist claim that Alfonso VI became emperor by right in 1085, and the rest claim that the revival of the idea of Spain being a continuation through the Visigothic state and symbolized in the capital of Toledo to be a later development.

Lynn also suggests that this coin should be checked against the coinage of Alfonso VI of Castile-Leon before accepting it as a coin of Alfonso I of Aragon-Navarre, since Alfonso VI as king could have minted coins in Toledo at any time between 1085 and 1108, just as Alfonso I might have minted coins at Toledo at any time between 1108 and 1127.

If any of you have the references to make such a check, let me know and I'll post your comments here.

Continue the tour - Manfred (Sicily)


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