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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

His cardinals elected Gil Mu?oz


Relations of church and state in Aragon.]

[Sidenote: Benedict XIII.]

The relations of the state and church in Aragon were more acute than in Castile, because of the consequences of Pedro II's act of vassalage and the wars in Italy, and because of the Great Schism, in which Aragon played a leading part, since one of the anti-popes, Benedict XIII, an Aragonese, fixed his court in Aragon for a time, causing a divided allegiance of the clergy. The matter of the election of bishops was settled early in favor of the popes when Jaime II enacted that the pope himself should appoint them. This occasioned a number of disagreeable results, especially at the time of the schism, when there were two or more popes. Some appointments were manifestly improper. Clement V appointed his nephew, a mere boy at the time, as archbishop of Saragossa, and even Benedict XIII, though a man of the highest character, made a similar appointment to the archbishopric of Toledo. In other respects the kings often insisted on the rights of the state, and intervened in matters of an ecclesiastical character. Alfonso V was the first Aragonese ruler to pronounce for the retention of papal bulls when their publication was against the interests of the monarchy, availing himself of the _pase regio_ (royal permit), on which the kings based their claims to prevent documents which displeased them from being put into effect or even from reaching their intended

destination. Pedro de Luna had for a long time been influential in Spain before he became Pope Benedict XIII; he it was who persuaded Juan I of Castile and Juan I of Aragon to recognize Clement VII of Avignon instead of the pope at Rome. He himself succeeded Clement VII, and because of his upright character, piety, intellectual capacity, and Spanish blood received the adhesion of most of the peninsula prelates. It was largely through his support that Ferdinand of Antequera was crowned king of Aragon instead of Jaime of Urgel. When a general church council was called to elect a pope to replace the three then in power, Benedict XIII alone of the three refused to abdicate. Ferdinand, who for a time endeavored to support him, felt obliged at last to deny him obedience. Benedict maintained himself in the fortress of Pe??scola until 1422 or 1423, when he died,--almost certainly poisoned by a friar. His cardinals elected Gil Mu?oz, a canon of Barcelona, but in 1429 Mu?oz renounced the title and the schism ended.


[Sidenote: Importance of the Catalan towns.]

The most marked feature in the political life of Catalonia in this period was the rise of the towns, and especially the vast power exercised by the city of Barcelona. The towns became veritable lords, buying jurisdictions, privileges, immunities, castles, and lesser towns from the king, just as the nobles were in the habit of doing. Important cities got to be protectors of villages and towns, granting the right of _carreratge_, which entitled them to be considered a street of the city. As a rule the kings favored this increase in the power of the municipalities, and the latter might have made themselves an irresistible force, had it not been for their internal party strife, and for the armed struggles of rival cities. There began to be a certain uniformity in the organization of royal towns in the thirteenth century, and in the fourteenth it became more marked under the influence of the centralizing policy of Pedro IV. The general assembly was the basis of government at first, but its place was taken later by a council elected from the wealthy citizens; at times, the officials themselves were the only ones to vote, and they too chose the representatives to the _Cortes_. This aristocratic form of government did not please the kings, since it tended to create a force which would be hostile to them and led to social strife in the municipalities, wherefore matters were adjusted at the close of the fourteenth century by the entry of the popular element into the council. Just as in Castile, the nobles and churchmen were forced to grant privileges to their towns almost equal to those enjoyed by the royal municipalities, in order to retain the people. They still collected certain taxes, exercised judicial powers, and appointed some officials, but the greater part of local administration was in the hands of the towns themselves, which developed along lines similar to those of the royal towns.

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