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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

While the nobles were mostly Aragonese


Catalan guilds.]

The modifications of family life arising from the influence of the Roman law were as notable in Catalonia as in Castile and Aragon. The guilds were developed to a point even surpassing that of Castile. As early as the fourteenth century they were already organizations for technical objects related to their trade. Every trade had its guild, from the more important associations of weavers, bakers, and the like, down to the more humble blind beggars' guilds.

[Sidenote: Transition from medievalism to modernity in social customs.]

All that has been said of Castile as regards the immorality, luxury, dress, superstition, and chivalric pursuits of the aristocracy and middle class applies generally, not only to Catalonia, but also to Aragon and Valencia. The nobles endeavored to emulate the king in extravagances, with the result that many were ruined, and their attempts to avoid paying their debts to the Jews were one cause of the massacres of the latter. The luxury in dress brought in its train the development of tailoring to such an extent that the Catalan modes were well-known even in foreign countries. In many of the amusements of the period,--dances, illuminations, pantomimes, processions, masquerades, and others,--one sees the influence of Renaissance tastes, which were to lead to modern civilization, although these same diversions were also tainted with the rudeness

of earlier times.[42] In fine, the customs of the period were made up of a curious mixture of passing medievalism and coming modernity. For example, while some seigniorial castles were centres of luxury and entertainment, others retained the austere, military customs of the past. Again, at the same time that there appeared a veneer of literary and scientific culture, ideas as regards sanitation, both public and private, were still rudimentary. Laws continued to be passed forbidding people to wash clothes in public fountains, to throw water and filth in the streets, and to loose pigs therein, but they were not very generally obeyed. Even the public baths which had existed formerly fell into disuse. Thus epidemics were frequent, but aside from prayers and sequestration of cases not much was done to check their progress.


[Sidenote: Victory of Catalan civilization in Valencia.]

The majority of the Christian settlers of Valencia were both bourgeois and Catalan, while the nobles were mostly Aragonese. Down to the time of Pedro IV, the latter exerted themselves to deprive the former of the power which Jaime I had given them, and they were successful to the point of sharing in administrative posts which had formerly been denied them, and also procured the application of the Aragonese law in the land. After their defeat by Pedro IV they declined rapidly, hastening their fall by partisan quarrels among themselves. The history of the Mud?jares and Jews followed the same course as in Aragon; here, as elsewhere, the terrible year 1391 was a time of massacres of the Jews, followed by increasingly harsh legislation. The influence of the Roman law in modifying family institutions and the development of the guilds proceeded on lines analogous to the same factors in Catalonia.

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