Martín Viso, Authority, Justice and Asturleonese monarchy

Authority and Justice in the shaping of Asturleonese monarchy

Iñaki Martín Viso (Salamanca)

The paper aims to analyze the role of control of judicial practices in the shaping of the authority of the Asturleonese monarchy during late ninth and first half of the tenth centuries. Within the diversity of levels in settlement disputes and their resolution, the presence of royal justice may be understood as a resource that built authority and legitimized a new power. In fact, royal justice was especially concerned with individuals or institutions linked to the monarchy. But the sphere of action of kings was initially restricted to areas where they possessed direct authority, such as the city of León and its surroundings, and where they enjoyed landed properties or rights, although these had sometimes been assigned to monastic institutions, like in the area of Pardomino. However, this power was exercised by individuals labeled as counts in some areas where the king’s dominion was not direct, like Astorga or in the vicinity of Coimbra. In both cases, political integration into the Asturleonese kingdom was accomplished by aristocrats who acted on behalf of the king only theoretically. Nonetheless, reference to the kings served to legitimize their de facto position. At the same time, in some areas the resolution of conflicts was organized and managed by the communities themselves in local arenas.