Loading...

The Catalan Nation and Identity Throughout History

by Àngels Casals Martinez (Volume editor) Giovanni C. Cattini (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 360 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Table of contents
  • Foreword
  • Catalonia: Identity, Representativity, Territorialisation, by Flocel Sabaté
  • Poetry and Identity, by Marie-Claire Zimmermann
  • Catalonia’s Influence in the World of the Late Middle Ages: The Role of the Overseas Consulates, by Antoni Riera i Melis
  • Institutions and the Catalan Ruling Classes: The Long March to Culmination in the Early 18th Century, by Eva Serra i Puig
  • Identities, Solidarities and Disagreements: Catalonia and the Crown of Aragon up to the Catalan Revolt of 1640, by Àngel Casals
  • Catalonia in the Process of the Construction of the Modern Spanish State. A Deterministic Interpretation and Critique of Spanish National Historiography, by Antoni Simon i Tarrés
  • The Writing of History and of Catalan Identity: From Jeroni Pujades (1568-1635) to Antoni de Capmany (1742-1813), by Xavier Baró i Queralt
  • The Cultural “Renaissances” as a Moment in European History (1820-1870), by Nicolas Berjoan
  • The Role of the Working-class in the Construction of Catalan Identity, by Teresa Abelló
  • Catalan Intellectuals and the Inter-war Debate on Democracy in Europe, by Giovanni C. Cattini
  • The Shaping of Catalan Identity in the Contemporary World, by Tom Harrington
  • The Regional Rhetoric of the Catalan Francoists, by Carles Santacana
  • A Shattered Mirror? The Ethics of Remembering Catalan Culture in Exile, by Helena Buffery
  • Catalonia, Culture and Mass Media, by Carme Ferré Pavia

←6 | 7→

Foreword

In 2015, the publisher of this book brought out two volumes under the direction of Flocel Sabaté. One volume looked at the Catalan and Portuguese visions of the Iberian Peninsula from their respective positions on the periphery,1 while the other examined Catalan identity from a historical perspective.2 The second volume also appeared that year in a Catalan version.3 Was this heady upsurge in analysis a product of the political moment? Such a reading might be defensible, but it would also be overly simplistic and mask a pair of highly salient realities that need emphasising.

First, in recent years, there has been an upswing of interest in the study of identities and their formation all over Europe. This is not the place to set out the state of the question,4 but the fact that Peter Lang has devoted an entire collection to the topic leaves no room for doubt that national identities are a historical subject drawing together many efforts from disciplines as various as history, sociology, anthropology, law and art.

Multifaceted realities bring an added exuberance to the research, though it is also true that circumstances can help to unleash a spate of titles on historical periods that are mixed with other less fruitful eras. In the case of Catalonia, its situation as a nation without a state yet one that maintains persistent demands for political recognition has aroused even greater interest because the subject transcends the specific Catalan case and circumstances, sparking enormous vitality among researchers.

←7 | 8→

The second aspect to underscore is that this book is a convergence of diverse research projects and teams. Some focus on highly specific chronologies, while others are more general. This is the case with the Studies in Intellectual and Cultural History Group, a consolidated research group of the Generalitat of Catalonia focusing on contemporary history, which has participated in the project “Cuius Regio: An analysis of the cohesive and disruptive forces governing the attachment of groups of people to and their cohesion within regions as a historical phenomenon”, undertaken by the European Science Foundation. Their efforts are joined by members of the project in modern history called “Els conflictes socials com a resistència al poder en la perifèria de l’Estat Modern: Segles XVI-XVII”, which looks at social conflicts as a form of resistance to power on the periphery of the modern state in the 16th and 17th centuries, with financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Thanks to the varied backgrounds of the authors and the nature itself of the formation of national identities, the studies in this book take a complex and sweeping view of history: Flocel Sabaté, Antoni Riera and Marie-Claire Zimmermann train their eye on three characteristic traits of the formation of medieval identities: law, literature and territory. Then, turning to the modern world, in which the formation of the state has always been a focus of major interest, Antoni Simon i Tarrés, Eva Serra, Àngel Casals and Xavier Baró analyse three fundamental questions: the correspondence between state and national construction, the experience of Catalan construction in the context of compound monarchies and the creation of modern historiographical discourse.

In the field of contemporary history, the wide-ranging complexity of the phenomena even further broadens the views on offer. The studies by Teresa Abelló and Nicolas Berjoan take us into the world of industry, the working class and its complex relationship with national construction, adopting an economic and social perspective that complements the cultural one and examining the outside representation of Catalan reality, the engagement of intellectuals and the weight of European romanticism in political culture and in the formation of Catalan nationalism. In their analysis of the 20th century, Giovanni Cattini, Carles Santacana, Carme Ferré, Helena Buffery and Thomas Harrington turn their atten←8 | 9→tions to the influence and reception of new European political cultures and the great debate on totalitarianism, while also looking at what Francoism has meant for the evolution of Catalan thought or what role has been played by mass media in the survival of a nation without a state. Furthermore there is a reflective view of Catalan culture in exile in the theatre, and as a result a general vision of the elements which make up the Catalan identity.

As a whole, this book reflects our staunch support for a broad-based, pluridisciplinary perspective that draws on the value of cooperation among diverse research groups in the ultimately impossible mission of reconstructing the complexity of nation-building over the course of history.

Finally we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Helena Buffery for her assistance in going over the entire manuscript. Also our gratitude goes to Universitat Catalana d’Estiu for organising the course which gave fruit to the idea of publishing this work.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Eva Serra and Francesc Valls Junyent, who collaborated in the initial phase of our project and have left us too soon.

←9 |
 10→

1 Flocel Sabaté and Luís Adão da Fonseca, Catalonia and Portugal: The Iberian Peninsula from the Periphery (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015).

2 Flocel Sabaté, Historical Analysis of the Catalan Identity (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015).

3 Flocel Sabaté, Anàlisi històrica de la identitat catalana (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2015).

4 For a summary with a useful and inevitably incomplete state of the question, see: Eric Taylor Woods, “Cultural Nationalism: A Review and Annotated Bibliography”, Studies on National Movements, 2 (2014), 1-26.

←10 | 11→

Catalonia: Identity, Representativity, Territorialisation

Flocel SABATÉ

Universitat de Lleida

An understanding of the process by which a specific identity for Catalonia was created and justified remains heavily influenced by previous explanations in which the narrative has been formulated in a powerful, secular mould. It is without doubt necessary to deconstruct these historical assumptions and find new references, supported by their documentary corroboration and by their suitability under the renewed scientific historical method being employed currently.

1. Trapped in the historical narrative

During the 16th and 17th centuries the chief point of reference for the narrative of the Catalan social and political élites’ resistance to the Spanish monarchy consisted of the Catalan institutions of medieval origin. This tension became Iberia’s contribution to the pan-European struggle between so-called mixed government and the new absolutist model.1 The confrontation between narratives of justification that both precede and accompany the tensions of the 17th century2 is not unrelated to the evolution of the perception of belonging to national groupings although into a contemporary backdrop of ambiguity and fluidity.3 It is worth ←11 | 12→noting that even though at the beginning of the 17th century Antoni Vicenç Domènec defined Pere Rigau as de nación catalana y natural del Empurdán [of Catalan nationality, originally from Empordà],4 later in the same century Roig i Jalpí presents Count Wilfred the Hairy as de nación española [of Spanish nationality].5 The obliteration of the institutions of the old Crown of Aragon in the early 18th century was just one of many contemporary changes in the Spanish monarchy, such as the loss of European territories and dynastic change. All this contributed to the consolidation of a concept of the Spanish nation6 which went from strength to strength during the same century, thanks to the development of new institutions and the growth of a narrative which emphasised the cohesion of the Spanish nation.7

The 19th century began in this way,8 and, in various forms, the institutional structure of the old Crown of Aragon was to be put forward ←12 | 13→for three quarters of the century as a model for the governing of Spain. Capmany proposed this at the Courts of Cadiz,9 and the authors whom Ernest Lluch includes as pertaining to the liberal foralists10 followed the same line. These included Ramon López Soler’s proposal to revive the old Catalan legal framework, based on the conviction that Catalunya i la seva antiga llibertat poguessin servir de model als liberals per a construir el nou Estat nacional [Catalonia and its ancient liberties could serve the liberals as a model for the construction of a new national state].11 Thus, an idealised model based on the old Crown of Aragon allowed for a plural and participative vision of the different cultures and territories of Spain. At the halfway point of the 19th century Víctor Balaguer was the living embodiment of this strategy. His political efforts to achieve governmental recognition of the socio-economic interests of the Catalan entrepreneurial bourgeoisie12 marched in step with his vindication of a medieval Catalonia associated with popular and participative freedoms as a guide for the construction of a constitutional and federal model of Spain.13 In the second half of the century the federalist proposal emphasised the recognition of Catalan rights and Catalonia’s particular identity even more forcefully — citing, for example, its language, and looking to the Swiss Confederation explicitly as a model.14

←13 | 14→

These proposals, however, fell on deaf ears after 1875 due to the Bourbon restoration which, with justification, was looked upon with reservation by Catalan cultural groups.15 Dating from this time, the mainstream debate on Spain16 became fixed on the continuity of Castilian history. The portrayal of Spanish identity is based upon the distinguishing features, including the psyche and landscape, of Castile.17 The Crown of Aragon is, as shown in Francisco Jorge Torres Villegas’ 1851 atlas, the Espanya assimilada o incorporada [the assimilated or incorporated Spain].18 The role of history as asignatura y molde de ciudadanía [subject and mould for citizens] on behalf of the state, is to transmit a mythologised, unified, conservative, Catholic and Castile-centric vision of the Spanish nation.19 In this context, the historiographical displacement of Víctor Balaguer by Antoni Bofarull, as highlighted by Josep Maria Fradera20 or, notably, Ramon Grau, goes further than romanticism merely being superseded by positivism.21 From now on, the history of Catalonia no longer influences Spain, but assumes a specific and introspective point of view. Sharing this new perspective, the Renaixença that prevails in the last quarter of the 19th century22 in Catalonia develops and spreads a view of the origins of Catalonia that is conservative, enamoured of folklore, ruralism, the church and tradition.23 Surprisingly, these pillars have survived right up to the present time.24

←14 | 15→

¡Ya tenemos patria! [We already have a homeland!] proclaimed Antoni Bofarull about the feoffment of the county of Barcelona to Wilfred the Hairy in 878, one implied consequence of which was the birth of la nacionalitat catalana [Catalan nationality].25 This correspondence between the concession of the county of Barcelona to Wilfred the Hairy and the birth of an independent Catalan nation remains indelible in the historiography. A century later, Josep Maria Salrach dedicated two books to the study of the 8th and 9th centuries entitled El procés de formació nacional de Catalunya [The Process of the Formation of the Catalan Nation] and L’establiment de la dinastia nacional [The Establishment of a National Dynasty].26 In a school textbook dating from the Second Republic, the teacher Ramon Torroja contrasted between this primer comte independent [first independent count] and the independència consagrada [consecrated independence] which would achieve when, in 987, Borrell II did not pay homage to the new Capetian dynasty after lifting Almansur’s siege of Barcelona in 985 without French aid.27 This historiographical manoeuvre was necessary in order to respect this other reference that Pi i Arimon had highlighted in the mid-19th century, which permitted the dating of full independence from the time of Borrell II.28

In 1898 Bori i Fontestà revealed that Borrell’s action was taken in return for numerous concessions to the nobility, allowing the achievement of el régimen feudal su más decidido apogeo [the ultimate apogee of the feudal regime].29 Ramon Berenguer I would be able to regulate the inherent aggressiveness of the feudal nobility by employing the Usatges de Barcelona, then interpretated as a code law compiled in the mid-11th ←15 | 16→century.30 The plight of the peasants31 could not, however, be alleviated until the end of the Middle Ages.32 They would be subject to a dependence that caused many of them to envy the good fortune of their lords’ animals,33 a situation that would help to understand the social upheavals of the last years of the Middle Ages.34 A century later Pierre Bonnassie applied a Marxist hermeneutic, but his conclusions continued to place the consolidation of feudalism and the establishment of a system of remensa serfdom of the peasantry during the county of Ramon Berenguer I.35

The Church, according these explanations, would stand against the vices of feudalism, both in its role as the guardian of culture and by imposing a climate of peaceful order opposed to the excesses of the nobility. The power of institutions such as Pau i Treva [Peace and Truce] and the leading role of churchmen like the Bishop-Abbot Oliva were illustrious examples.36 In any case, a Christian faith locked in struggle with the Muslim invader would have indelibly permeated the roots of Catholicism in the land, just as the fundamentalist Fèlix Sardà i Salvany proclaimed.37 It is worth noting that the Hegelian paradigm established by Pierre Bonnassie, which was widely predominant at the end of the ←16 | 17→20th century, cast the Church in the role of a victim resisting the feudal revolution,38 in spite of the paradox that documentation such as that of Urgell provides evidence of its use and promotion of feudal forms. Moreover, the myth of Abbot Oliva has survived into the 21st century,39 though it is now being subjected to well-contextualised studies that will lead to a more accurate analysis.40

Finally, the counts and then the royal power as well as the Church would be bolstered by the support and guidance of an emergent medieval bourgeoisie, the same social group which also supplied the historians of the so-called Renaixença. Following this explanation, it would be established an alliance that would guarantee the country’s progress. In the words of Joan Segura: aixís la estrella dels barons s’anava eclipsant, mentres la dels Reys y dels municipis reyals crexia en esplendor [thus the barons’ star was steadily eclipsed, while that of the king and the royal municipalities grew in splendour].41 In the end, it is the urban society that has created the country: no s’ha arribat a la Nació més que passant per la Ciutat [it is through the city that we have become a nation].42 Fed by alternative historiographic views and his own life experiences,43 Jaume ←17 | 18→Vicens i Vives broadened the mythification of the Catalan oligarchy, which he envisioned as united in its concern for the good of the country.44

Beyond the long shadow cast by the Renaixença historiography over later contributions, a glimpse at the recent school and dissemination materials shows that, despite the intense contributions from the research, a firm foothold has been impregnated in the historical memory, reason why the origin of the country continues to be explained through explanations that, curiously, come from an ideological, conceptual and methodological context specific to the end of the 19th century.45

2. Trapped in the narrative of national identity

Fortunately, during the course of the 20th century many distinguished medievalists-historians posed themselves questions about the origin of the Catalan nation. Firstly, in Joseph Calmette’s view, a borderline or county delimitation does not necessarily pave the way to nationhood, no matter what rights or responsibilities they involve: le territoire n’est pas tout, ce n’est qu’un corps; un élément moral doit s’y ajouter, autant dire une âme [territory is not everything, it is just a body. A moral element must be added to it; in other words, a soul].46 This would clearly be seen in the 9th century in the discord between the native population and the dominant Carolingian power as evidenced in the adoptionist conflict and the Aissó revolt, well expressed in the words of Calmette, au jour tragique qui coûte la vie au dernier des comtes de race franque, Salomon [in the tragic day ←18 | 19→that claimed the life of the last French count, Salomon]. Based on this, Calmette deduced a psychologie collective [collective psychology], and interpreted the feudalisation of Wilfred the Hairy during the second half of the 9th century as a pacted solution which permitted the combination of Carolingian feudalism with the sense of national identity felt in the land: la montée du sentiment national dans la marche d’Espagne coïncident avec la poussée féodale [the rise of national feeling in the Spanish March coinciding with the feudal pressure].47

Even so, if, as in Pierre Bonnassie’s judgement, society changes suddenly — vingt ou trente ans (entre 1030/1040 et 1060) [in twenty or thirty years, between 1030/1040 and 1060]48 — and experiences a clear Hegelian sequence in the mid-11th century, in which the feudal thesis is overthrown by the antithesis of a feudal revolution culminating in a synthesised feudal state, it is this feudal state that would bring true cohesion to the country. Thus, Bonnassie continued giving the leading role to the House of Barcelona, but he placed it in the second half of the 11th century, drawing clearly Catalonia as the daughter of feudalisation.49

Nevertheless, as noted by Michel Zimmermann, there is no verifiable, politically cohesive function of the House of Barcelona until the 12th century, which is when there is also a perception of cultural convergence. Thus, c’est au milieu du XIIe siècle que se constitue vraiment la principauté catalane; la liturgie politique cristallise un sentiment national [it is in reality the middle of the 12th century that sees the Catalan principality constituted; that the political liturgy culminates in the crystallisation of national sentiment].50

Thomas N. Bisson points out, however, that although it can be stated that il n’y pas de doute que la ‘nation’ catalane a existé dès avant le XIIe siècle [there is no doubt that the Catalan ‘nation’ existed before ←19 | 20→the 12th century], this has to be qualified by the fact that in the middle of the 12th century there would be still no institutional unity. This process of formation was ongoing and became definitively operational between the 12th and 13th centuries:

les élans et progrès de la conscience catalane, loin d’être ‘achevés’ en 1100 ou en 1137, connaissent alors l’ébauche d’une première expression; ils devaient être profondément secoués et accélérés par les conquêtes et les fondations des premiers comtes-rois (c. 1148-1213).

the spirit and progress of the Catalan consciousness, far from ‘being realised’ in 1100 or 1137, were then only at the beginning of the first expression; they had to be profoundly awoken and accelerated by the conquest and foundations of the first count-kings, c. 1148-1213.51

Hence, when recognised historians following an established, scientific methodology are asked about the origin of the Catalan nation, many differing answers are given; in the 9th century, in the second half of the 11th, midway through the 12th or even as culminating on the eve of the 13th. This diversity of responses suggests that the problem lies not with the answers but with the question. The phrasing of the question raises an irresolvable problem. That is, to ask for the nation’s starting point simply reflects a conception of history as a national genealogy, as propounded in various guises at least since the Renaissance humanism.52

One could try to resolve the same issue by establishing the origin and meaning of the name of the country. The difficulty of truly clarifying the provenance of the name Catalonia was recognised as early as Jaume Caresmar in the 18th century53 and Joan Vernet in the 20th ←20 | 21→century,54 a fact which has on the one hand led to rather tentative and ambiguous proposals55 and, on the other, engendered a certain lack of restraint in the formulation of others.

The existence of similar toponyms in the south of France suggests the movement not only of people but of place names. By 1744 the Abbot Expily had already collected examples with regards to Les Catalans ou Escalens [The Catalans or Escalensin] in the diocese of Montalbà.56 The belief that the Catalaunian Plains were located in Occitania adds credence to these claims. In the 16th century Father Mariana makes this assumption and refers to los catalanes, nombrados así de los pueblos Catalaunos puestos en la Gallia Narbonense cerca de la Ciudad de Tolosa [the Catalans, so called after the Catalaunian peoples situated in the Gallia Narbonense near the city of Tolosa].57 In the 16th century Calça believed that Otger Cataló had come from the Catalaunian Plains, and that the name of the country was derived from this anthroponym, as used to be repeated from the beginning of 15th century.58 This opinion is, however, unsustainable because, despite lengthy and renewed historiographic interest shown during the second half of the 19th century,59 the reality is he only lived in the fiction of the contradictory narratives about the origin of ←21 | 22→the power held by the different estates in Catalonia in the 15th century.60 In any case, in that same century Jeroni Pau accepted the Catalan origin in the Catalaunian Plains and the command of Otger Cataló as well as the Gothic origin of the choronym Catalonia.61 He probably borrowed this proposal from Joan Margarit,62 as was the contemporary humanistic fashion in regard to all things related to the Hispania as a whole.63 This explanation maintains currency long afterwards; at the beginning of the 19th century Torres i Amat still believed that the Goths had founded a ‘Gotholaunia’ and that the name of Catalonia was derived from this source,64 and the same explanation is repeated by Bori i Fontestà towards the end of the century.65 Even so, at the beginning of the 17th century Pere Gil understood that the original Gotholand, so called because of the presence of Goths and Alans, could have mutated due to the arrival of the francesos que vingueren de França, de la província nomenada Cathalaunia [French who came from France, from the province called Cathalaunia].66 In 1586 Francesc Comte suggested, although this idea has gained less widespread acceptance, that the choronym of Catalonia derives from other Germanic tribes known as the Chatti.67 Even in 1941, while accepting the correct placing of the Catalaunian Plains in Champagne, Giuliano Bonfante claimed that the name was based on the supposed displacement of a branch of the Catalauni.68 These could be ←22 | 23→associated, as Florián de Ocampo and Jerónimo Zurita have observed, with a people from the most ancient strata of Iberian prehistory: unos pueblos que antiguamente se llamaron Castellanos, que estaban en la antigua Cataluña, entre los Ausetanos y los Lacetanos [some peoples that were known in antiquity as Castellani, who lived in ancient Catalonia, between the Ausetani and the Lacetani].69 It could just as likely have derived from ‘Lacetani’, as put forward by Joaquim Casas i Carbó in 1891,70 picked up again by Ernst Schopf in 191971 and reinterpreted as a learned word by Joan Coromines after 1954.72

From a philological standpoint, the choronym could derive from a toponym. This is pointed out by Valla, referring to Plutarch’s lost city of Catalon73 as its origin, although it could also refer to Castelló, as claimed by Andreu Bosc,74 or even Montcada, as proposed by Aebischer in 1942.75 It could also refer to a fortress from which to open up the country: Joseph M. Piel thought that a northern fortress, named in the original Occitan/ Provençal cata-luonh, meaning “looking afar”, could have been the origin of the name.76 Joan Vernet came to a similar conclusion based on texts by Al-Udri. He thought the Arabic Talunyat could have given its name to a country that opened the way from the east. That being said, neither of the supposed fortresses has ever been located.77

←23 | 24→

There again, it could be an adjective to describe a group of people with similar characteristics: Àngel Pariente derived this terra dels muntanyencs [land of the mountain people] from the linguistic sustrate cata;78 or perhaps, as interpreted by Miquel Carrasquer, from the Almogavars’ use of the Arabic alqattâlûn.79 It is precisely due to the fact that the first mention comes in the 12th century, in the context of a military campaign against Muslim Majorcan pirates who preyed upon merchants coming from Christian lands, that Pere Balañà was to plump for an Arabic origin based on the Muslims’ perception of the territory they were sacking as “the land of riches” (Qat`a al-gunya) or “the land of the rich people”(Qat`a al-agniyâ’).80

Enric Guiter also detects a reference to Arabic with regards to the inhabitants of castles.81 This direct derivation from castles is a recurrent hypothesis from the 16th century82 right up to modern times, either due to the large number of castles throughout the country, as posited in the 17th century by Andreu Bosc,83 or from being named after one particular place, as recently put forward by Barroso, Carrobles and Morín.84 At the turn of the twentieth century, Josep Balari had already related the name not so much with that of castles as with that of their commanders, the castlans.85 This explanation was rapidly adopted by historians, and nowadays is the most widely accepted among them, although not held in such great esteem by the majority of philologists.86

←24 | 25→

In any case, it is clear that the choronym Catalonia and the demonym català, as well as the anthroponyms Català and Catalana became widespread in the 12th century.87 Significantly, it is in the same century that the country obtained cultural, political and social cohesion88 utilising the completed network of castles as its basic, institutional framework, with a group of castellans in each of them.89

3. The cohesion of the country and the Catalan nation

The crisis of the Carolingian empire was so profound that after Louis II of France granted the counties of Barcelona, Girona and Osona to Wilfred of Cerdanya and Urgell in 878, there was not any other royal designation in the area, because of the incapacity of the monarchy, as similarly succeeded in other territories from Carolingian origin after the death of Charles the Bald in 877.90 The barons of the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula stopped attending far imperial places and challenges and accumulating many titles over different and distant regions, as they had done since the Carolingian establishment. From this time on, they did remain in their respective assigned counties, which became stabilised at the beginning of the 10th century linking different valleys and territoria around the capital of the county.91 Each count based his position on divine right — gratia Dei comes —, keeping the county as his own — comitato nostro — managing the fiscus comitali with full autonomy to promote policies of grants and privatisations, and retaining the power for life, until being succeeded by their own natural descendants. Carolingian authority was respected as a superior referent: up until 952 sporadic visits ←25 | 26→were made to the royal court,92 where they looked for royal charters that protected goods and rights, probably until 986.93 This does not stop the dynamic of consolidation of the full comital power, sanctioned by the end of the Carolingian dynasty in 98794 and stated by definitions as one said by the Count Hugh I of Empúries in 1019: potestatem quam reges ibi pridem habuerint, iste Hugo comes ibi habebat.95 This situation was also perceived from abroad: in the 10th century the Count of Barcelona was treated like a sovereign in Cordoba.96

Social and economic consolidation in the 9th century facilitated the cohesion of the counties’ territories at the beginning of the 10th century, as well as the occupation of the strip frontier by people led by members of the viscounts’ and vicars’ lineages or high ecclesiastics. This dynamic continued during the following century in the form of feudal armed interventions over the Muslim district of Lleida. Agrarian expansion, the transformative impetus symbolised by the diffusion of mills and the use of metallic tools, and the commercial position between the Muslim south and the European north attested to a shared economic and social progress. Likewise, political vicissitudes had much in common wherever they arose, driven by the growing vigour and strength of new branches of the families of viscounts and vicars, the contestation of the power of the count in the mid-10th century, and the spread of new forms of social organisation based on feudal coexistence and ties in the 11th century. Social order was reflected through a territorial framework based on a completed network of bounded castles, which located each place and each person in a well-defined jurisdictional and fiscal district, and held a feudal linked list of tenants, the castlans.97 At the upper end of the social scale, the houses of the counts enjoyed close diplomatic relations, which ←26 | 27→included delegations sent to the royal seat, negotiations with the Muslims or the new Holy Roman power as well as through making dynastic alliances. The cultural panorama reflects this proximity, be it through the common vulgarisation of Latin or their similar path to Romanisation. Thus, the first step was a social, economic, diplomatic and, above all, cultural convergence progressively shared by the counts of the Northeast Iberian Peninsula from the 9th to the 12th centuries.98

The perception of this cohesion from abroad is evident. In a narration from Pisa of the campaign against the Muslims in 1113, the inhabitants of the Northeast Iberian Peninsula are identified with a common demonym. The counties are not the most significant reference points, but the Pyrenees: the Count of Barcelona is rector Pirinee regionis and rules Pirenee gentis generosa potestate. But, above all, he is identified as Catalanicus heros, rector Catalanicus and dux catalanensi, in keeping with his country, known as catalanenses terras, also referred to as catalanensi litore while a member of the community is catalanensis quidem.99 This is the first documentary evidence of the demonym Catalan. The poem is not concerned with the limits of who may be included (could the same adjective be applied to the relatives of the Counts of Barcelona who cooperated with him even though they resided in Provence?), but even so it reflects a qualifier that transcends jurisdictional and political divisions. The demonym gave preference to the general perception that it stems from the inhabitants of the north-east of Iberian Peninsula, even though political or institutional unity remained non-existent.

The county agreements of the second half of the 11th century do not cede the right of intervention to the count of Barcelona beyond his zone of jurisdiction, although they do acknowledge his pre-eminence,100 in accord with his position of primacy at the head of three counties centred upon three prosperous episcopal sees (Barcelona, Girona and Vic), his expansion on the frontier through the Marchs of the counties of Manresa ←27 | 28→and Barcelona and his clear maritime inclination. This situation was consolidated in the 12th century when the Count of Barcelona assumed an axial position upon annexing the rights and incomes of other county seats (Besalú, Cerdanya-Berga, Rosselló, Pallars Jussà), strengthening his presence as leader in Provence and in the Occitania region and assuming the royal Crown of Aragon.101

Royal status, even though it referred formally to another territory — Aragon — consolidated the preeminent position of the Count of Barcelona in Catalonia: in 1149 the Counts of Barcelona and Urgell made a pact for the conquest of Lleida, and when, in 1187, the pact was renewed, the hierarchical status of each was perceived clearly, one being a king and the other a count. In fact, Alfonso the Chaste was presented to his Catalan subjects as king — ego Ildefonsus rex or simply ego rex — a title which was recognised by all his subjects within the borders of Catalonia, as shown by the people of Font-rubí, in the Penedès, who affirmed their support declaiming clamamus ad regem.102 In effect the sovereign of Barcelona, from Ramon Berenguer IV to Peter the Catholic, strove to rationalise and efficiently manage the accumulated rights and incomes and administer the government and jurisdiction properly at court and territorial level,103 moving ahead with the support of the reception of Roman law104 to incorporate narratives of primacy: iudicaverunt iudices que omnium iniuste opressore in terra sua cura ad comitem de iure spectat, was said of Ramon Berenguer IV in 1162.105

Even so, Alfonso the Chaste’s attempt in 1173 to establish a tax called bovatge laws throughout Catalonia was finally abandoned due to pressure from the nobles in 1188,106 just as his declaration as guarantor of the peace in Catalonia through the assumption of Constitutions of Peace and Truce was contradicted by the count of Urgell who boasted ←28 | 29→his own sovereignty proclaming in 1187 his Peace and Truce in his domains of Urgell and Ager.107 Indeed, the concatenation of the origins of the country in the autonomy of the different counties in the wake of the royal decline, territorial expansion and the dispersion of the rights and domains inherent to the feudal system had led to jurisdictional and tributary fragmentation that made power pacts obligatory. It is in this very century that the establishment of feudalism culminated, both the social108 and institutional109 framework and the diffusion of the values assumed by nobles and barons.110 Rather than opposing the rising urban power base, the nobility opts to share power with it. It is enough to consider what happened in Lleida after its conquest in 1149 by a feudally organised army. At that time there was immediate compensation of the participants by the distribution of seized goods and the establishment of permanent territorial rights, yet less than 50 years later the nobles retain no more than 12.8% of the lands around Lleida, while 54.5% is in the hands of the emergent bourgeoisie.111 Similarly, in every urban area, from the new ones to those in the county interior, a new social elite has been consolidated, adopting new values such as lucrum, and had gone on to amass capital from various sources and to invest in the manner of businessmen who were not afraid to reinvest their profits in order to acquire more property in and around the city, weaving a real network between the social and economic capital and its region. From this base this emergent bourgeoisie assumed representativeness before their lords, interceding for other neighbours and demanding an institutional recognition that would entitle them to negotiate the fiscal burden imposed by the lord on the population, and manage common aspects such as local tributes and urbanisation.112 Concurrently the Church, in the context of ←29 | 30→the so-called Gregorian Reform, renewed orders and canonries, reached a greater social presence thanks to culminate the network of parishes, improved its legal structure and gained a central position in Catalonia with the revival of the metropolitan See of Tarragona.113

It is in this way that the consolidation of Catalonia proceeded during the 12th century. It is also at this time that it took on its own choronym and extended the use of its demonym. Moreover, the kingdom of Aragon became established and expanded south, above all following the conquest of Huesca in 1096,114 juxtaposing territories and denominations until the embryonic northern kingdom’s name became associated with the entirety. Significantly, the fact that Catalonia and Aragon become established at the same time, but in widely differing ways despite sharing the same ruler, already indicates that the source of the cohesive bond is to be found in each respective society and not the reigning dynasty.115

Intellectuals are in general agreement with regard to the power structure at the end of the 12th century. They see the populus in such significant areas as the receiving of the oath during the coronation or the royal council.116 In fact, in the 13th century European monarchs tried to consolidate their position by presiding over their respective feudal pyramid, and by assuming an identification with territory and people by presenting themselves as, for example, Francie rex.117 It is, thus, that in trying to preside over them recognition is given to nations,118 with sovereigns being able to lead various nations with ease, as exemplified in the cases of ←30 | 31→the emperors Frederick II or Charles IV.119 In Catalonia the weakened monarchy of the 13th century resisted the pressure of the rising nobility and the demands of the emerging urban upper classes, who sought to limit the effects of the royal pretensions to primacy by affirming the growing weight of social groups.120 In 1283 these groups articulated as estates in the Parliament or Courts, consolidated an institutional framework which limited the power of the king, impeding to promote any jurisdictional or fiscal royal action over the whole of the country, because of the obligatory respect to the different seigniorial domains and rights.121 The dynamism of the urban population and the power of nobles and barons contributed thus to the cohesion of society itself.

It was the specific cultural traits of this society, first and foremost the language, followed by the customary way of life, which allowed it to be identified as a specific, unique nation. Foreign consulates spread in the wake of commercial interests and gave assistance to all members of the Crown of Aragon even though they were known explicitly as consulates dels catalans [of the Catalans], de la nació catalana [of the Catalan nation] or de la nació dels catalans [of the nation of the Catalans].122 This was similar to the way in which the college of San Clemente, set up by Cardinal Gil Álvarez de Albornoz in Bologna in 1363 to provide lodging for students from Hispanic Kingdoms, provided one specifically for the natio catalanorum to take in those from the Crown of Aragon.123 In reality, in institutions such as the Studia Generale124 and in the councils125 people were grouped for their affinity and proximity to ←31 | 32→recognised nations. This was the same in the consulates. For example, in Majorca the consulate of the nation of Castilians126 gave assistance to any mercader castellà o portogalès o altra generació d’Espanya [Castilian or Portuguese merchant or any other from Spain].127

When Francesc Eiximenis defined the Catalan nation in the 14th century, he did it by drawing equivalence between it and the demonym — Catalans — and comparing them with other national collectives with regard to such day-to-day things as modes of cooking, concluding that la nació catalana era eximpli de totes les altres gents cristianes en menjar honest e en temprat beure [the Catalan nation was an example to all other Christian peoples in their honest fare and temperance in drink].128 Thus, les nostres maneres [our ways] of doing things shape the identity of the nation. The words belong to the King Peter the Ceremonious, spoken before the Valencian Courts of 1369 in Sant Mateu when he expressed his indignation that the Sardinian revolt was led by the Judge of Arborea, Marianus IV. The latter’s education had been undertaken by King Alfonso the Kind, who took him to Catalonia and left him under the wings of dos cavalers catalans e donà-los per maestres qui els nodrissen a les nostres maneres e lo mostressin servir lo senyor rei nostre pare e nós e amar la nostra nació [two Catalan knights who should be his masters and who should nurture in him our ways and show him how to serve our lord king and love our nation].129

The phrase provides evidence for the affective bond established with the nation, because Marianus of Arborea had been educated to amar la ←32 | 33→nostra nació [love our nation].130 It is an affection that engenders solidarity between all members of the nation. In 1357 the selfsame King Peter, in the midst of growing tension with Castile, advised the Pope to promote the Majorcan Dominican Nicolau Rossell to cardinal, on the understanding that this would bring joy to the entire Catalan nation:

de la qual cosa és estada feta gran gràcia e fort assenyalada a nós e a tota nostra nació, car jassia que y hagués cardenal d’Espanya, tota vegada era castellà, e de nostra nació jamés no n’i havia haüt tro ara, e com nos convenga que·l dit cardenal vaia en cort de Roma, de guisa que sia honor nostra e de la nostra nació.131

which thing has great grace and is a strong signal both for us and for our entire nation, that those who were cardinal of Spain were always Castilian and never until now one of our nation, and it would please us that aforesaid cardinal should go to the court of Rome, the like of which should be an honour for us and for our nation.

Thus the ruler had to act for the benefit of the nation. Ferdinand I proclaimed this in 1413, considering that after the measures adopted, la nostra nació ne serà amada, temuda e honrada [our nation will be loved, feared and honoured].132 The glory belongs to the nation; as Bishop Margarit proclaimed before the courts of 1454: aquesta és aquella benaventurada, gloriosa e fidelíssima nació de Catalunya, qui per lo passat era temuda per les terres e mars; aquella qui ab sa feel e valent espasa ha dilatat l’imperi e senyoria de la casa d’Aragó [this is the beloved, glorious and most loyal nation of Catalonia, feared for its deeds upon land and sea, that with its faithful and valiant sword has enlarged the empire and lordship of the House of Aragon].133

←33 | 34→

Indeed, since everyone belongs to a nation, all actions have an impact on the international concert of nations. Wishing to flatter the Catalan Courts in 1365, Queen Eleanor said: sobre totes les nacions del món la vostra fama e dels vostres predecessors ha resplendit e resplendeix per tot lo món [among all the nations of the world the fame of you and your ancestors has shone and continues to shine throughout the world].134 This being the case, international politics became a competition between nations. That’s why, in 1471, Bishop Margarit, with other deputies, concluded that the blame for civil war lay with foreign interference because, in seeing the once mighty Catalonia in a weakened condition, other nations that had once been victims of its glory were now out for revenge: moltes d’elles dites nacions nos fossen infestíssimes e exosses e en la nostra preclara natió han volgut exercir les venjances de les injúries e dans que de la dita nostra preclara natió per lo passat havien rebuda [many of the aforesaid nations were as an infestation unto us, and of our illustrious nation have wanted revenge for their injuries and harm received in the past from our aforesaid illustrious nation].135 Because of this competition and because of the affective bond to the nation one may even ask for a blood sacrifice, as vouchsafed by Margarit to the courts of 1454: Ni es deu algú meravellar si aquesta dita fael nació, ultra totes altres, crida la conservació de sos privilegis, així com aquella qui els ha guanyat ab sa fidelíssima aspersió de sang e en aquesta sua inmaculada fidelitat [It should cause no surprise that this loyal nation, which has no equal, calls for the conservation of its privileges in the same way that they were won by its faithful spilling of blood! And herein lies its immaculate fidelity].136

This heartfelt assumption of the Catalan nation needs to find its place in the political arena. Even more so when, in the Late Middle Ages, the specific duality between the estates and the monarchy becomes consolidated.

←34 | 35→

4. The land as the voice of the nation before the king

The challenges of the 14th century clearly show the monarch’s inability to overcome jurisdictional fragmentation and establish an efficient, global fiscal system, whatever stated policies and strategies were employed. His dependence on subsidies generously granted by the estates — that is to say, with important compensations through the jurisdictional and fiscal system and without creating taxing precedents — drags the crown into a series of concessions which are made abundantly clear in 1392, by which time only 13.43% of the land and 22.17% of its population are under the jurisdiction of the king.137 In these circumstances the estates invoke not the representation of their own interests but those of la terra [the land]. The duality between the king and the land is crystal clear, and is presented thus by the councillors of Valencia in 1396, when the king is told that due to his fiscal demands it no longer remains clear quan la terra n·és calumniada e quant ne ve a profit de vós, senyor [how far the land is prejudiced and how far it is to the profit of your grace].138

The ecclesiastical and, above all, the noble estates take pains to affirm their rights with regard to tributary and jurisdictional matters. That is, they want recognition that within their domains they enjoy full regiment de gent [governance over the people],139 but do not seek to generate an alternative version of the country to that of the monarchy, as was promoted by the town and city dwellers.140 From their exalted socio-economic positions, the latter group copied the idealized Italian civic model out of self-interest,141 which was consistent with the contemporary lauded ap←35 | 36→probation that urban society received on legal, philosophical, theological and moral grounds.142 In this context, if we imagine society as a pyramid based upon the towns and cities, Barcelona seeks to enjoy a position of supremacy and even interfere in the Crown’s governance.143 Upon John I’s sudden death in 1396, doubt over wether he should be succeeded by his brother Martin or his daughter Joana, married to the powerful Count of Foix and Viscount of Bearn and Castellbò, came to nothing because the government in the capital steered the issue in favour of the former, taking into consideration the advice of the dead king’s wife in the absence of the young Martin in Sicily, and invoking la conservació e bon estament de la terra [the preservation and good division of the land].144 The Catalan estates and the city of Barcelona again come to an agreement in 1410 after the death of King Martin, when they convene a congregació general de tots los dits regnes e terres sobre la examinació de la justícia de la dita successió [a general concourse of all the kingdoms and lands for the examination of the justice of the succession],145 which in reality leads, after two years of interregnum, to the so-called Compromise of Casp. Disregarding who came out on top and the strategies employed, conceptually one should note that in effect what it was about was to helegir rey d’Aragó [elect the king of Aragon],146 by what the Castilian chronicler called electores [electors],147 leading to the conclusion that lo XI Rey de Aragó e comte de Barcçelona (fou) elegit per la terra [the 11th king of Aragon and count of Barcelona (was) elected by the land].148 Half a century later the conflicts with John II are explained as tensions entre lo senyor rey e la terra [between his grace the king and the land]. Attempts will be made to resolve these tensions by means of a concòrdia ←36 | 37→del senyor rey ab la terra [concord between his grace the king and the land],149 which was signed in Vilafranca del Penedès in 1461.150

This king/land duality also affects how the nation is understood. The representatives of the estates employ the same duality. In 1422, the city of Barcelona advised King Alfonso the Magnanimous that his policy in the Mediterranean was contrary to the interests of Catalan commerce, and was thus to the advantage of rival nations: los navilis e mercaderia diminueixen e los guanys e profits se’n porten altres nacions [our shipping and merchandise diminish while the gains and profits go to other nations].151 In 1454 Bishop Margarit put this duality between the king and the nation into words before the courts, energetically describing national feeling due to the persistent absence of the king, who is permanently living in Italy: jau la dita nació catalana, quasi vídua, e plora la sua desolació ensemps ab Jeremie profeta, e espera algú qui l’aconsol [the said Catalan nation, almost as a widow, bemoans its desolation like unto the prophet Jeremiah, and awaits someone who will offer consolation]; this was an injustice to a traditionally loyal nation, which he then goes on of portray for the monarch: e creu, senyor, aquesta quasi vídua nació de Catalunya que per la sua innada fidelitat meresca de vostra majestat e de tot altre senyor ésser ben tractada [and believe me, your grace, that for its innate loyalty this widowed nation of Catalonia merits the best of treatment from your majesty and all other lords].152 Seen in this light, the Crown of Aragon is constituted, as indicated by Pere Miquel Carbonell, by the sum of lo rey e nostra nació aragonesa, valenciana e catalana [the king and our Aragonese, Valencian and Catalan nation].153

←37 | 38→

In keeping with the general European dynamic,154 the estates in 13th century Catalonia took a parliamentary articulation.155 The general Catalan Courts not only sanctioned with the king the highest legal norms — the Constitutions,156 but through their very existence they also consolidate the capacity, manoeuvrability and representativeness of the estates,157 encouraging their identification with the country via a series of negotiations with a weakened monarch throughout the 14th century.158 This explains the close conceptual relations between the Courts and the General Generality],159 the same term in which, for instance, the municipal government of Girona explained that in their decisions se sien esforçats e se forsen de procurar so qui és profités a tot lo general de la terra [we feel obliged to try to obtain all that which profits the generality of the land]”.160

The aid given to the king in 1363, at a time of grave crisis due to the Castilian invasion, was granted by the estates on the condition of their being able to monitor and control it. This specifically leads, from 1365 onwards, to the creation of the Diputació del General [General Deputation]161 in Catalonia and, as a consequence, to a clear perception of the need to establish internal customs controls with respect to the territories governed by other deputations, namely Aragon and Valencia.162 It was to be the first institution with tributary control over the country, thus establishing a truly fiscal state which was, moreover, not under the control of the monarch but of the estates.163 The Diputació del General, supported by its own economic ←38 | 39→base, became directly involved in the political game,164 demonstrated its stability in demanding a fixed headquarters at the beginning of the 15th century165 and adopted an institutional structure in 1413.166 Although still dominated by a socially unrepresentative oligarchy,167 its rationale was based upon the representativeness of the land, thus bequeathing an extraordinary institutional vigour to the duality between estates and monarch that is quite unique in Europe.168

However, since cohesion emerges from the social dynamic itself, royal institutions also adapted and expressed the cohesion of the country. Before the end of the 13th century the figure of the general bailiff specific to Catalonia was consolidated169 and the high royal delegation was defined, going on to become totally consolidated in the following century.170 From 1301, the systematic deployment of royal administration over the territory extended a networked system of districts called vegueries across the whole of Catalonia, based on the socio-economic capitals already in existence, reason why reached a natural consolidation as the demarcational system of the country.171 At the same time, the evolution of the administration took place in line with the consolidation of ←39 | 40→each of the kingdoms or Principality (Aragon, Valence and Catalonia), advancing in fact towards the regionalisation of common officials like, such as the Rational Magister.172 In the 15th century, even the royal council became an organisation based territorially.173 In keeping with the same logic, the courts of 1292 had demanded that royal officials should be natives of Catalonia.174 This demand was repeated by both royal and noble regional and local administrations.175

5. Conclusion: a medieval legacy

Catalonia achieved cohesion specifically via the concatenation of early-medieval convergence; the external perception and internal consciousness of the High Middle Ages; and the institutional development and representativeness assumed by the estates under municipal leadership in the Late Middle Ages. The resulting discourse drew inspiration from contemporary European political argument and benefitted from the weakness of royal power. In short, it fostered a narrative of identity and memory for the Catalan nation in line with the vigour of the estates and the weight of the urban oligarchies.

In this way a veritable medieval legacy was generated that crossed the centuries that followed, despite being put to the test by a series of ideological tensions and economic stimuli that, in fact, indicate a new panorama — that of the Spanish monarchy.


1 Marie Gaille-Nikodimov, ed., Le Gouvernement mixte: De l’idéal politique au monstre constitutionnel en Europe (XIIIe-XVIIe siècle) (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne Jean Monnet, 2005).

2 Antoni Simon i Tarrés, Els orígens ideològics de la revolució catalana de 1640 (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 1999), pp. 29-303; Antoni Simon i Tarrés, Construccions polítiques i identitats nacionals: Catalunya i els orígens de l’estat modern espanyol (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2005), pp. 53-474.

3 Xavier Torres, Naciones sin nacionalismo: Cataluña en la monarquía hispánica (siglos XVI-XVII) (València: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2008), pp. 248-256.

4 Antonio Vicente Domènech, Flos sanctorum o Historia general de los santos y varones ilustres en santidad del principado de Catalunya (Girona: Emprenta de Gaspar Garrich, 1630), p. 238.

5 Juan Gaspar Roig i Jalpí, Epítome histórico de la muy ilustre ciudad de Manresa (Barcelona: Jaime Suria, 1692), p. 113.

6 S’il fallait à toute force nous livrer à l’exercice a-scientifique de donner une date pour la naissance de l’entité politique connue sous le nom d’Espagne, au sens de “nation” que le terme a pris au XIXe siècle, plus qu’aux Rois Catholiques nous penserions donc aux premières années du règne de Philippe V: l’amputation brutale des territoires européens de la monarchie, l’occasion non voulue d’une guerre successorale interne à la Péninsule, fournissent à un souverain adossé à une tradition politique étrangère l’occasion peut-être souhaitée par certaines de ses prédécesseurs de remodeler institutionnellement son royaume bien au-delà de ce que même un Olivares avait envisagé dans ses rêves les plus fous [If it were necessary for us to engage in the a-scientific exercise to give a date for the birth of the political entity known as Spain, in the sense of ‘nation’ that the term took in the 19th century, more than the Catholic Kings we would think therefore the first years of the reign of Philip V: the brutal amputation of the European territories of the monarchy and the unintended occasion of a succession war internal in the Peninsula provide a sovereign backed to a foreign political tradition the opportunity may have been desired by some of his predecessors to institutionally remodel his kingdom far beyond what even an Olivares had envisioned in his wildest dreams). Jean-Pierre Dedieu, “Comment l’État forge la nation: L’‘Espagne’ du XVIe siècle au début du XIXe siècle”, Le sentiment national dans l’Europe méridionale aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, Alain Tallon, ed. (Madrid: Casa de Velázquez, 2007), pp. 68-69.

7 Flocel Sabaté, “Frontera peninsular e identidad (siglos ix-xi)”, Las Cinco Villas aragonesas en la Europa de los siglos XII y XIII: De la frontera natural a las fronteras políticas y socioeconómicas (foralidad y municipalidad), Esteban Sarasa, ed. (Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2007), pp. 60-62.

8 El viejo concepto de España como mero ámbito territorial propio de la época medieval que se había cargado de valores a lo largo de los siglos XVI y XVII en pleno debate comparativo con los países europeos, en el siglo XVIII se articula como Estado-nación, adquiere connotaciones nuevas a caballo del debate funcionalista respecto al papel desarrollado en Europa y toma un beligerante sentimiento patriótico en el momento de la gran prueba: 1808 [The old concept of Spain as simply territorial expression, as was usual in Middle Ages, had become laden with values through the 16th and 17th centuries, at a time of open debate comparing it with other European countries, and in the 18th century were articulated as a nation-state, reaching new connotations driven by the debate over functionalism with respect to the development of its role in Europe, and finally took on a belligerent and patriotic feeling at the time of the great test: 1808]. Ricardo García Cárcel, “El concepto de España”, Manual de historia de España: Siglo XVIII, Roberto Fernández (Madrid: Historia 16, 1993), p. 36.

9 Ramon Grau, “La historiografia del romanticisme (de Pròsper de Bofarull a Víctor Balaguer”, Història de la historiografia catalana, Albert Balcells, dir. (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2004), p. 145.

10 Ernest Lluch, “El liberalisme foralista en el segle xix: Corona d’Aragó i País Basc”, L’Avenç, 230 (1998), pp. 14-20.

11 Jaume Ribalta, “Constitución catalana y cortes de Cataluña: ‘Excerpta’ vuitcentista de Peguera, a càrrec de Ramon López Soler”, Revista de Dret Històric Català, 2 (2003), p. 49.

12 Montserrat Comas, ed., Víctor Balaguer i el seu temps (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2004).

13 Enric Ucelay-Da Cal, El imperialismo catalán: Prat de la Riba, Cambó, D’Ors y la conquista moral de España (Barcelona: Edhasa, 2003), pp. 246-247.

14 Josep Moran, Joan Anton Rabella, “The Language: Vehicle for Transmission of Catalan Identity throughout History”, Historical Analysis of the Catalan Identity, Flocel Sabaté, ed. (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015), pp. 382-383.

15 Manuel Pérez Nespereira, “La primera crisi positivista a l’Ateneu Barcelonès (1877-1878)”, Cercles: Revista d’Història Cultural, 2 (1999), pp. 70-75),.

16 José Álvarez Junco, Mater dolorosa: La idea de España en el siglo XIX (Barcelona: Taurus, 2001), pp. 187-565.

17 Inma Fox, La invención de España: Nacionalismo liberal e identidad nacional (Madrid: Cátedra, 1997), pp. 97-174.

18 Francisco Jorge Torres Villegas, Cartografía hispano-científica o sea los mapas españoles: En que se representa a España bajo todas sus diferentes fases (Madrid: Imprenta de Don Ramón Ballone, 1857), vol. 1, p. 13.

19 Juan Sisinio Pérez Garzón, “La creación de la Historia de España”, La gestión de la memoria: La historia de España al servicio del poder, Juan Sisinio Pérez Garzón, ed. (Barcelona: Crítica, 2000), pp. 81-110.

20 Josep Maria Fradera, “Visibilitat i invisibilitat de Víctor Balaguer”, L’Avenç, 262 (2001), p. 24.

21 Ramon Grau, “El pensament històric de la dinastia Bofarull”, Barcelona: Quaderns d’Història, 6 (2002), pp. 12-138.

22 It is also the learned Renaixença that is imposed on what is presented as popular. Josep Pich i Mitjana, “La visió de la llengua de Valentí Almirall (1841-1904)”, Llengua & Literatura, 16 (2005), pp. 59-62).

23 Llorenç Prats El mite de la tradició popular (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1988), pp. 170-188.

24 Flocel Sabaté, “Constructing and Deconstructing the Medieval Origin of Catalonia”, Different Europes: The Historical Evolution of Territorial Identities and Attachments as Formative Forces in a Changing Europe, Dick de Boer, Bar Spierings, Nils Holde Petersesen, eds. (in press).

25 Antonio Bofarull, Historia crítica (civil y eclesiástica) de Cataluña (Barcelona: Juan Aleu y Fugarull, Editor, 1878), vol. 2, p. 187.

26 Josep M. Salrach, El procés de formació nacional de Cataluya (segles VIII-IX) (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1978), 2 vols.

27 Ramon Torroja, Història de Catalunya (Barcelona: Impremta Elzevira i Llibreria Camí, 1933), pp. 32-35.

28 Andrés Avelino Pi y Arimón, Barcelona antigua y moderna: Descripción e historia de esta Ciudad desde su fundación hasta nuestros días (Barcelona: Imprenta y Librería Politécnica de Tomás Gorchs, 1854), vol. 1, p. 48.

29 Antoni Bori i Fontestà, Historia de Cataluña (Barcelona: Imprenta de Henrich y Cia, 1898), p. 50.

30 Fidel Fita, “Corts y Usajes de Barcelona en 1064”, Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 16-17 (1890), pp. 389-393; Fidel Fita, “El obispo Guislaberto y los Usajes de Barcelona”, Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 18 (1891), pp. 228-246.

31 José Coroleu, El feudalismo y la servidumbre en la gleba de Cataluña (Girona: Imprenta y Librería Vicente Dorca, 1878), pp. 8-16.

32 Elies Serra i Ràfols, Fernando el Católico y los payeses de remensa (Lleida: Tipografía Mariana, 1925).

33 El hombre propio se hallaba casi al mismo nivel de lo caballos, los perros y los azores de caza que tenían los señores feudales en gran abundancia para su comodidad, ostentación y regalo [The man depended to some lord found himself with more or less the same status as horses, dogs and the hunting stock that the feudal lords kept in great abundance for their comfort, ostentation or as gifts]. Julián de Chía, Bandos y bandoleros en Gerona: Apuntes históricos desde el siglo XIV hasta mediados del XVII (Girona: Imprenta y Librería de Pociano Torres, 1888), vol. 1, p. 13.

34 Eduardo Hinojosa, “La servidumbre en Cataluña durante la edad media”, Obras (Madrid: Ministerio de Justicia - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1948), vol. 1, pp. 217-229; “El régimen señorial y la cuestión agraria en Cataluña”, Obras (Madrid: Ministerio de Justicia - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1955), vol. 2, pp. 35-326.

35 Pierre Bonnassie, La Catalogne du milieu du Xe à la fin du XIe siècle: Croissance et mutations d’une société (Toulouse: Publications de l’Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 1976), vol. 2, pp. 681-879.

36 Josep Torras i Bages, La tradició catalana (Barcelona: Editorial Selecta, 1966), p. 140.

37 Fèlix Sardà i Salvany, Propaganda católica (Barcelona: Librería y Tipografía Católica, 1903), vol. 4, p. 20.

38 Josep Maria Salrach, Mercè Aventín, Conèixer la història de Catalunya: Dels orígens al segle XII (Barcelona: Editorial Vicens Vives, 1985), pp. 177-178.

39 José Enrique Ruiz Domènec, “El abad Oliba: Un hombre de paz en tiempos de guerra”, Ante el Milenario del reinado de Sancho el Mayor. Un rey navarro para España y Europa (Actas de la XXX Semana de Estudios Medievales de Estella. 14 al 18 de julio de 2003) (Pamplona: Departamento de Cultura y Turismo del Gobierno de Navarra, 2004), pp. 173-195; José Enrique Ruiz Domènec, “L’abat Oliba: Un home de pau en temps de guerra”, Butlletí de la Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona, 50 (2005-2006), pp. 59-75; Eduard Junyent, Esbós biogràfic del comte, abat i bisbe Oliba, Ramon Ordeig, ed. (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2008).

40 Jeffrey A. Bowman, “Councils, Memory and Mills: The Early Development of the Peace of God in Catalonia”, Early Medieval Europe, 8 (1999), pp. 99-129; Adam J. Kosto, “Oliba, Peacemaker”, Gerbert d’Orlhac i el seu temps: Catalunya i Europa a la fi del 1r mil·lenni (Vic-Ripoll 10-13 de novembre de 1999) (Vic: Eumo Editorial, 1999), pp. 135-148; Lluís To, “Un obispo del año mil: Oliba de Vic”, Los protagonistas del año mil: Actas del XIII Seminario sobre historia del Monacato (2-5 de agosto de 1999), José Ángel García de Cortázar, ed. (Aguilar de Campo: Fundación Santa María La Real, Centro de Estudios del Románico, 2000), pp. 65-87; Stefano Maria Cingolani, “Estratègies de legitimació del poder comtal: L’abat Oliba, Ramon Berenguer I, la Seu de Barcelona i les ‘Gesta Comitum Barchinonensium’, Acta Historica et Archaeologica Mediaevalia, 29 (2008), pp. 135-175; Stefano Maria Cingolani, “L’Abat Oliba, el poder i la paraula’, Acta Historica et Archaeologica Mediaevalia, 31 (2011-2013), pp. 135-175.

41 Joan Segura, Història de Catalunya (Igualada: Estampa d’Eugeni Subirana, 1907), vol. 1, p. 130.

42 Joan Vallès, Elogi de Catalunya (Barcelona: Llibreria Catalonia, 1928), p. 281.

43 Flocel Sabaté, “Conflictes agraris i guerra civil a la Catalunya baixmedieval: Realitat i ficció historiogràfica”, Miscel·lània Ernest Lluch i Martín, Ferriol Soria, Jordi Ferrer, eds. (Vilassar de Mar: Fundació Ernest Lluch, 2007), vol. 2, p. 398.

44 El govern dels patricis, com tot bon govern, fou el d’una oligarquia els interessos de la qual coincidien exactament amb els del país. Llurs afers personals marxaven d’acord amb els de Catalunya, sense promoure animadversions ni gelosies, perquè, en definitiva, procuraven el bé comú [The patrician government, like every good government, was an oligarchy whose interests coincided exactly with those of the country. Their personal affairs went according to those of Catalonia, without promoting animosity or jealousy, because, ultimately, they sought the common good]. Jaume Vicens i Vives, Els Trastàmares: Segle XV (Barcelona: Editorial Vicens Vives, 1988), p. 32.

45 Xavier Hernàndez, Ensenyar història de Catalunya (Barcelona: Editorial Graó, 1990), pp. 116-120.

46 Joseph Calmette, L’effondrement d’un Empire et la naissance d’une Europe (IXe-XIe Siècles) (Paris: Aubier - Éditions Montaigne, 1941), p. 143; Joseph Calmette, La question des Pyrénées et la Marche d’Espagne au Moyen-Âge (Paris: J.B. Janin, 1947), p. 21.

47 Joseph Calmette, La question des Pyrénées et la Marche d’Espagne au Moyen-Âge…, p. 24.

48 Pierre Bonnasssie, “Sur la formation du féodalisme catalan et sa première expansion (jusqu’à 1150 environ)”, La formació i expansió del feudalisme català: Homenatge a Santiago Sobrequés i Vidal, Jaume Portella, ed. (Girona: Col·legi Universitari de Girona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 1985-1986), p. 12.

49 Pierre Bonnassie, La Catalogne du milieu du Xe à la fin du XIe siècle (Toulouse: Publications de l’Université de Toulouse - Le Mirail, 1976), vol. 2, p. 732.

50 Michel Zimmermann, “Des pays catalans à la Catalogne: Genèse d’une représentation, Histoire et archéologie des terres catalanes au Moyen Âge, Philippe Sénac, ed. (Perpinyà: Presses Universitaires de Perpignan, 1995), p. 80.

51 Thomas N. Bisson, “L’éssor de la Catalogne: Identité, pouvoir et idéologie dans une société du xiie siècle”, Annales: Économies, Sociétés. Civilisations, 39/3 (1984), p. 455.

52 Jesús Villanueva, Política y discurso histórico en la España del siglo XVII: Las polémicas sobre los orígenes medievales de Cataluña (Alacant: Publicacions de la Universitat d’Alacant, 2004), pp. 39-42.

53 No podemos decir de qué lugar toman el nombre los catalanes, como lo podemos decir de donde lo toman valencianos, esto es, por su principal ciudad, Valencia [We cannot say which place is the one from which the Catalans take their name as we can with the Valencians, that is, from their main city, Valencia]. Jaume Caresmar, Carta al barón de La Linde (Igualada: Centre d’Estudis Comarcals d’Igualada, 1979), p. 67; Junta de Comercio de Barcelona, Discurso sobre la agricultura, comercio e industria del Principado de Cataluña (1780) Ernest Lluch, ed. (Barcelona: Editorial Alta Fulla, 1997), p. 170.

54 El nom de Catalunya té uns orígens força foscos i no es pot assegurar que cap de les hipòtesis o teories fins ara exposades respongui a la veritat històrica [The name of Catalonia has quite obscure origins and it cannot be assured that none of the hypotheses or theories so far put forward respond to the historical truth]. Joan Vernet, “El nom de Catalunya”, Història de Catalunya (Barcelona: Salvat Editores, 1978), vol. 2, p. 31.

55 Las discusiones y razonamientos acerca del topónimo Cataluña y del étnico catalán, son abundantes e incluso contradictorias, ninguna sin embargo realmente satisfactoria. No es infrecuente tampoco que los estudiosos, aun mostrándose partidarios de una determinada etimología citen o insinúen otras, dando a entender la inseguridad en que se mueven [The arguments and discussions over the toponym Catalonia and over the demonym Catalan are many and even contradictory, but none is really satisfying. Nor is it infrequent for scholars, even when championing a given etymology, to cite and suggest others, implying their uncertainty]. Luis Rubio, “Catalán-Cataluña”, Estudios Románicos, 1 (1978), p. 239.

56 Abbé Expilly, Dictionnaire géographique, historique et politique des Gaules et de la France (Amsterdam: unknown publisher, 1764), vol. 2, p. 127.

57 Padre Mariana, Historia general de España (Barcelona: Imprenta y Librería de Gaspar y Roig Editores, 1852), vol. 1, p. 219.

58 Jesús Villanueva, Política y discurso histórico en la España del siglo XVIII: Las polémicas sobre los orígenes medievales de Cataluña (Alacant: Publicacions de la Universitat d’Alacant, 2004), p. 45.

59 Flocel Sabaté, L’expansió territorial de Catalunya (segles IX-XII): Conquesta i repoblació? (Lleida: Universitat de Lleida, 1996), p. 52.

60 Eulàlia Duran, Sobre la mitificació dels orígens històrics nacionals catalans (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 1991), pp. 14-17.

61 Jeroni Pau, “Barcino”, Obres, ed. Mariàngela Vilallonga (Barcelona: Curial, 1986) <http://www3.udg.edu/ilcc/Eiximenis/html_eiximenis/portal_SH/textos/barcino.pdf>; Jeroni Pau, “Barcino”, Història de Barcelona fins al segle XV, Josep Maria Casas, ed. (Barcelona: Fundació Francesc Blasi Vallespinosa, 1957), p. 48.

62 Eulàlia Miralles, “La posteritat del cardenal Margarit (segles XV-XVII)”, El cardenal Margarit i l’Europa quatrecentista, Mariàngela Villalonga, Eulàlia Miralles, David Prats, eds. (Rome: L’‘Erma’ di Bretschneider, 2008), pp. 100-101.

63 Robert B. Tate, Joan Margarit i Pau, cardenal i bisbe de Girona (Barcelona: Curial, 1976), pp. 215-222; Robert B. Tate, “Margarit i el tema dels gots”, Actes del Cinquè Col·loqui Internacional de Llengua i Literatura Catalanes (Andorra, 1-6 d’octubre de 1979), Jordi Bruguera, Josep Massot, eds. (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 1980), pp. 151, 160-162.

64 Fèlix Torras i Amat, Memorias para ayudar a formar un diccionario crítico de los escritores catalanes y dar alguna idea de la antigua y moderna literatura de Cataluña (Barcelona: Imprenta de J. Verdaguer, 1836), p. XXVIII.

65 Antonio Bori, Historia de Cataluña (Barcelona: Imprenta de Henrich, 1898), p. 77.

66 Josep Iglésies, Pere Gil, S. j. (1551-1621) i la seva Geografia de Catalunya (Barcelona: Societat Catalana de Geografia, Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2002), p. 276.

67 Francesc Comte, Il·lustracions dels Comtats de Rosselló, Cerdanya i Conflent, Joan Tres, ed. (Barcelona: Curial, 1995), pp. 171-172.

68 Giuliano Bonfante, El nombre de Cataluña (Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1944).

69 Gerónimo Zurita, Anales de la Corona de Aragón (Valencia: Anubar, 1967), vol. 1, p. 49.

70 Joaquim Cases, “Estudis d’etnogenia catalana”, L’Avenç Literari, Artístic, Científic, 3/1 (31 January 1891), pp. 17-18.

71 Ernst Schopf, Die konsonantischen Fernwirkungen: Fern-Dissimilation, Fern-Assimilation und Metathesis: Ein Beitrag zur Beurteilung ihres Wesens und ihres Verlaufs und zur Kanntnis der Vulgärsprache in den lateinischen Inschriften der römischen Kaiserzeit (Göttingen: Vandenhocek & Ruprecht, 1919), p. 196.

72 Joan Coromines, El que s’ha de saber de la llengua catalana (Palma: Editorial Moll, 1954), pp. 71-83; “Extensió i origen de ‘català’ i ‘Catalunya’”, Estudis, 2 (1970), pp. 159-170.

73 Lorenzo Valla, Historia de Fernando de Aragón, ed. Santiago López Moreda (Tres Cantos: Akal, 2002), p. 84.

74 Andreu Bosc, Sumari, índex o epítome dels admirables i nobilíssims títols d’honor de Catalunya, Rosselló i Cerdanya (Perpinyà: Pere Lacavalleria estamper, 1628 [facsimile: Barcelona: Curial, 1974]), p. 90.

75 Paul Aebischer, “Autour de l’origen du nom ‘Catalogne’”, Zeitschrift für Romanische, 62 (1942), pp. 49-67.

76 Joseph Piel, “Kleine Besträge zur Katalanischen Toponomastik”, Estudis Romànics, 13 (1963-1968), pp. 237-244.

77 Juan Vernet, “¿La más antigua cita de Cataluña?”, Al-Andalus, 32/1 (1967), pp. 231-232; “El nombre de Cataluña”, Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 33 (1969-1970), pp. 133-136; “El nom de Catalunya”…, pp. 31-32.

78 Ángel Pariente, “Sobre el origen de ‘Catalán’ y ‘Cataluña’”, Anuario de Filología, 3 (1977), pp. 373-390.

79 Miquel Carrasquer, “Etymology of ‘Català’, ‘Catalunya’”, <http://www.academia.edu/3815281/Etymology_of_catala_Catalunya>.

80 Pere Balañà, “El nom de Catalunya: Encara una qüestió pendent”, L’Avenç, 117 (Barcelona: 1989), pp. 39-41; Pere Balañà, “Catalunya, ‘la terra de la riquesa’”, Medievalia, 10 (Barcelona: 1992), pp. 44-53.

81 Enric Guiter, “Catalans-Catalonia”, Revista Catalana, 44 (1979), pp. 13-14.

82 Onofre Manescal, Sermó vulgarment anomenat del Sereníssim senyor den Jaume segon, justicier y pacífic rey de Aragó y compte de Barcelona, fill de Pere lo Gran y sa dona Constança sa muller (Barcelona: Casa Sebastià de Cormellas al Call, 1602), fol. 7r.

83 Andreu Bosc, Sumari, índex o epítome dels admirables i nobilíssims títols d’honor de Catalunya, Rosselló i Cerdanya…, p. 90.

84 Rafael Barroso, Jesús Carrobles and Jorge Morín, “Toponimia altomedieval castrense: Acerca del origen de algunos corónimos de España”, e-Spania, 15 (2013), p. 21.

85 José Balari, Orígenes históricos de Cataluña (Barcelona: Establecimiento Tipográfico de Hijos de Jaime Jepús, 1899 [facsimile: Valladolid: Editorial Maxtor, 2009]), pp. 30-31.

86 Flocel Sabaté, “Les castlanies i la comissió reial de 1328”, Estudios sobre renta, fiscalidad y finanzas en la Cataluña bajomedieval (Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1993), pp. 183-184.

87 Flocel Sabaté, “The Medieval Roots of Catalan Identity”, Historical analysis of the Catalan Identity (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015), pp. 58-63.

88 Flocel Sabaté, “Els primers temps: Segle xi (1137-1213)”, Història de la Corona d’Aragó, Ernest Belenguer, ed. (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 31-81.

89 Flocel Sabaté, “La tenencia de castillos en la Cataluña medieval”, Alcaidías y fortalezas en la España medieval, José Vicente Cabezuelo, ed. (Alcoi: Marfil, 2006), pp. 76-93.

90 Philippe Wolff, “Le Midi franc et seigneurial”, Histoire du Languedoc, Philippe Wolff ed. (Toulouse: Éditions Privat, 2000), p. 131.

91 Flocel Sabaté, El territori de la Catalunya medieval: Percepció de l’espai i divisió territorial al llarg de l’Edat Mitjana (Barcelona: Fundació Salvador Vives Casajuana, 1997), pp. 26-28.

92 Ramon d’Abadal, Els primers comtes catalans (Barcelona: Editorial Vicens Vives, 1983), pp. 297-298.

93 José Rius, Cartulario de ‘Sant Cugat’ del Vallés (Barcelona: Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1945), vol. 1, pp. 145-148.

94 Dominique Barthélemy, Nouvelle histoire des Capétiens, 987-1214 (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2012), pp. 13-67.

95 Petro de Marca, Marca Hispanica sive limes hispanicus (Paris: 1688 [facsimile: Barcelona: Editorial Base, 1998]), col. 1014.

96 Joan Vernet, “El ‘statu quo’ internacional de Barcelona en el siglo x”, Festgabe für Hans-Rudolf Singer zum 65 Gerburstag am 6 April 1990 überreicht vos seinen Freunden und Kollegen, Martin Forstner, ed. (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1991), pp. 515-516.

97 Flocel Sabaté, “Las tierras nuevas en los condados del nordeste peninsular (siglos X-XII)”, Studia Historica: Historia Medieval, 23 (2005), pp. 140-152.

98 Flocel Sabaté, “El nacimiento de Cataluña: Mito y realidad”, Fundamentos medievales de los particularismos hispánicos: IX Congreso de Estudios Medievales (2003) (Avila: Fundación Sánchez-Albornoz, 2005), pp. 227-242.

99 Jaume Vidal, El Llibre de Mallorca (Liber Maiorichinus): Text, traducció, notes i introducció, doctoral thesis, Universitat de Barcelona (Barcelona: 1976), pp. 3-52; Enrico Pisano, Liber Maiorichinus de gestis Pisanorum illustribus, ed. Giuseppe Scalia (Florence: Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2017), pp. 185-455.

100 Flocel Sabaté, La feudalización de la sociedad catalana (Granada: Editorial Universidad de Granada, 2007), pp. 68-69.

101 Flocel Sabaté, “Catalunya medieval”, Història de Catalunya, Albert Balcells, ed. (Barcelona: L’Esfera dels Llibres, 2004), pp. 197-205.

102 ACA, Cancelleria, pergamins extrainventari, nº 3288.

103 Flocel Sabaté, “Corona de Aragón”, La época medieval: Administarción y gobierno (Tres Cantos: Ediciones Istmo, 2003), pp. 302-307.

104 André Gouron, “Sur la compilation des Usages de Barcelone au douzième siècle”, El dret comú i Catalunya: Actes del VIII Simposi Internacional (Barcelona, 29-30 de maig de 1998), Aquilino Iglesia, ed. (Barcelona: Fundació Noguera, 1999), pp. 226-236.

105 Flocel Sabaté, “Judici entre el comte Ramon Berenguer IV i Bernat d’Anglesola”, Ilerda: Humanitats, 49 (1991), p. 142.

106 Thomas N. Bisson, L’impuls de Catalunya: L’època dels primers comtes-reis (1140-1225) (Vic: Eumo Editorial, 1997), p. 41.

107 Gener Gonzalvo, “El comtat d’Urgell i la Pau i Treva”, El comtat d’Urgell (Lleida: Edicions de la Universitat de Lleida, 1995), pp. 71-88.

108 Paul Freedman, Els orígens de la servitud pagesa a la Catalunya medieval (Vic: Eumo Editorial, 1993), pp. 113-142.

109 Flocel Sabaté, “La feudalització de la societat catalana”, El temps i l’espai del feudalisme, Flocel Sabaté i Joan Farré, eds. (Lleida: Pagès Editors, 2004), pp. 332-344.

110 Thomas N. Bisson, Tormented Voices: Power, Crisis, and Humanity in Rural Catalonia, 1140-1200 (Cambridge, Mass. - London: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 120-138.

111 Flocel Sabaté, “Il mercato della terra in un paese nuovo: Lerida nella seconda metà del XII secolo”, Rivista di Storia dell’Agricoltura, 43/1 (2003), pp. 67-70.

112 Flocel Sabaté, “Ejes vertebradores de la oligarquía urbana en Cataluña”, Revista d’Història Medieval, 9 (1998), pp. 130-140.

113 Flocel Sabaté, “Església, religió i poder a l’edat mitjana”, Església, societat i poder a les terres de parla catalana (Actes del IV congrés de la CCEPC, Vic, 20 i 21 de febrer de 2004), Lourdes Plans, ed. (Valls: Cossetània Edicions, 2005), pp. 28-31.

114 Carlos Laliena, La formación del estado feudal: Aragón y Navarra en la época de Pedro I (Huesca: Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses, 1996), pp. 172-207.

115 Flocel Sabaté, “Els primers temps: Segle xi (1137-1213)”, Història de la Corona d’Aragó, Ernest Belenguer, ed. (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 62-65.

116 “Toward the end of the century, Peter the Chanter, Stephan Langton and Radulphus Niger (d. ca. 1200) found a place for the populus in royal accessions and made it a participant in the coronation oath. Both Peter and Stephen pleaded for the common people’s participation in important royal decisions — for a popular consilium”. Philippe Buc, “‘Principes gentium dominantur eorum’: Princely Power between Legitimacy and Illegitimacy in Twelfth-Century Exegesis”, Cultures of Power: Lordship, Status and Process in Twelfth-Century Europe, Thomas N. Bisson, ed. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), p. 325.

117 Bernard Guenée, Occidente durante los siglos XIV y XV: Los Estados (Barcelona: Editorial Labor, 1973), p. 58

118 Léopold Genicot, Europa en el siglo XIII (Barcelona: Editorial Labor, 1978), pp. 127-130.

119 Gisela Naegle, “Diversité linguistique, identités et mythe de l’empire à la fin du Moyen Âge”, Revue Française d’Histoire des Idées Politiques, 36 (2012), pp. 265-266.

120 Flocel Sabaté, “Poder i territori durant el regnat de Jaume I: Catalunya i Aragó”, Jaume I: Commemoració del VIII centenari del naixement de Jaume I, Maria Teresa Ferrer i Mallol, ed. (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2011), pp. 61-129.

121 Flocel Sabaté, “El veguer a Catalunya: Anàlisi del funcionament de la jurisdicció reial al segle xiv”, Butlletí de la Societat Catalna d’Estudis Històrics, 6 (1995), pp. 153-154.

122 Flocel Sabaté, “L’idéel politique et la nation catalane: La terre, le roi et le mythe des origines”, La légitimité implicite, Jean-Philippe Genet, ed. (Paris-Rome: Publications de la Sorbonne - École française de Rome, 2015), pp. 113-119.

123 Pascual Tamburri, “España en la Universidad de Bolonia: Vida académica y comunidad nacional (siglos xiii-xiv)”, Espacio, Tiempo y Forma: Serie III: Historia Medieval, 10 (1997), pp. 295-299.

124 Jean-Philippe Génet, La mutation de l’éducation et de la culture médiévales (Paris: Seli Arslan, 1999), vol. 1, pp. 216-217.

125 Santiago González, Las relaciones exteriores de Castilla a comienzos del siglo XV: La minoría de Juan II (1407-1420) (Madrid: Comité Español de Ciencias Históricas, 201), pp. 300-306.

126 Pau Cateura, “El consulado medieval de Castilla en el reino de Mallorca”, Actas del II Congreso de Historia de Andalucia (Córdoba, 1991) (Córdoba: Consejería de Cultura y Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucia/Obra Social y Cultural Cajasur, 1994), pp. 289-296.

127 István Szászdi León-Borja, “Sobre el consulado castellano de Mallorca en la Baja Edad Media”, Anales de la Universidad de Alicante: Historia Medieval, 10 (1994-1995), p. 218.

128 Francesc Eiximenis, “Terç del Crestià”, Lo Crestià: Selecció, Albert Hauf, ed. (Barcelona: Edicions 62 - la Caixa, 1983), chap. 372, pp. 147-148.

129 Ricard Albert and Joan Gassiot, Parlaments a les corts catalanes (Barcelona: Editorial Barcino, 1928), pp. 37-38; Pere Miquel Carbonell, Cròniques d’Espanya, ed. Agustí Alcoberro (Barcelona: Editorial Barcino, 1997), vol. 1, p. 138; Francisco Gimeno, “Escribir, leer, reinar: La experiencia gráfico-textual de Pedro IV el Ceremonioso (1336-1387)”, Scrittura e Civiltà, 22 (1998), p. 215.

130 Flocel Sabaté, “Amar la nostra nació”, Sardegna e Catalogna ‘officinae’ di identità riflessioni storiografiche e prospettive di ricerca, Alessandra Cioppi, ed. (Cagliari: Istituto di Storia dell’Europa Mediterranea, 2013), pp. 15-37.

131 Antoni Rubió i Lluch, Documents per l’història de la Cultura Catalana Mig-eval (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 1908 [facsimile: 2000]), vol. 1, p. 181.

132 Archives Départementales des Pyrénées-Orientales, 1B-209, plec 9, unnumbered loose sheet.

133 Ricard Albert, Joan Gassiot, Parlaments a les corts catalanes…, p. 212.

134 Ricard Albert, Joan Gassiot, Parlaments a les corts catalanes…, p. 27.

135 Francesc Carreras i Candi, Pere Joan Ferrer, military senyor del Maresme (Barcelona: Imprempta La Renaixensa, 1892), p. 104.

136 Ricard Albert, Joan Gassiot, Parlaments a les corts catalanes…, pp. 209, 212.

137 Flocel Sabaté, “Discurs i estratègies del poder reial a Catalunya al segle XIV”, Anuario de Estudios Medievales, 25/2 (1995), pp. 617-645.

138 Josep Maria Roca, “Memorial de greuges que’ls missatgers de la ciutat de València presentaren al rey Johan I d’Aragó”, Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 11 (1924), p. 76.

139 José Ángel Sesma, “La nobleza bajomedieval y la formación del estado moderno en la Corona de Aragón”, La nobleza peninsular en la Edad Media (Ávila: Fundación Sánchez Albornoz, 1999), p. 373.

140 Flocel Sabaté, “États et alliances dans la Catalogne du bas Moyen-Âge”, Du contrat d’alliance au contrat politique: Cultures et sociétés politiques dans la péninsule Ibérique à la fin du Moyen Âge (Toulouse: Université Toulouse-Le Mirail, 2007), pp. 308-355.

141 Flocel Sabaté, “La civiltà comunale del medioevo nella storiografia spagnola: Affinità e divergenze”, La civiltà comunale italiana nelle storiografie internazionale (Florence: Firenze University Press, 2008), pp. 118-125.

142 Flocel Sabaté, “Municipio y monarquía en la Cataluña bajomedieval”, Anales de la Universidad de Alicante: Historia Medieval, 13 (2000-2002), pp. 276-279.

143 Flocel Sabaté, “Ciudad e identidad en la Cataluña bajomedieval”, Ante su identidad: La ciudad hispánica en la Baja Edad Media, José Antonio Jara Fuente, ed. (Cuenca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2013), p. 211.

144 Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona, fons municipal B-1, llibre 27, fol. 29r.

145 Cortes de Catalunya (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1904), vol. 8, p. 223.

146 Josep Sanchis, Dietari del capellà d’Anfòs el Magnànim (Valencia: Acció Bibliogràfica Valenciana, 1932), p. 102.

147 Fernán Pérez de Guzmán, “Crónica del Serenísimo Príncipe Don Juan segundo rey deste nombre en Castilla y en León”, Crónicas de los Reyes de Castilla, ed. Cayetano Rosell (Madrid: Atlas, 1953), vol. 2, p. 346.

148 Pere Tomic, Històries e conquestes dels reis d’Aragó e comtes de Barcelona (Bagà: Centre d’Estudis Baganesos, 1990), p. 261.

149 Josep Maria Sans, dir., Dietaris de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Barcelona: Departament de la Presidència de la Generalitat de Catalunya, 1994), vol. 1, p. 163.

150 François Foronda, “Emoción, contrato y constitución: Aproximación a los intentos (pre)constitucionalistas en la España de los años 1460 (Sentencia de Medina del Campo, Concordia de Vilafranca del Penedès y Tratado de Saint-Maur-des-Fossés)”, Por política, terror social, Flocel Sabaté, ed. (Lleida: Pagès editors, 2013), pp. 211-219.

151 Demien Coulon, Barcelone et le grand commerce d’Orient au Moyen Âge: Un siècle de relations avec l’Égypte et la Syrie-Palestine (ca. 1330 - ca. 1430) (Madrid-Barcelona: Casa de Velázquez - Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània, 2004), p. 61.

152 Ricard Albert and Joan Gassiot, Parlaments a les corts catalanes…, pp. 211-212.

153 Pere Miquel Carbonell, Cròniques d’Espanya (Barcelona: Editorial Barcino, 1997), vol. 2, p. 170.

154 Bertie Wilkinson, The Creation of Medieval Parliaments (New York-London-Sydney-Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, 1972), pp. 33-90.

155 Josep Maria Mas, Les corts a la Corona catalano-aragonesa (Barcelona: Rafael Dalmau Ed., 1995), pp. 23-32.

156 Josep Maria Gay, “La legislació de la Cort i el control de la seva observança”, L’Avenç, 74 (Barcelona: september 1984), pp. 68-70.

157 Flocel Sabaté, “Estamentos, soberanía y modelo político en la Cataluña bajomedieval”, Aragón en la Edad Media, 21 (2009), pp. 251-273.

158 Ramon d’Abadal considered them “the basic question of the Catalan medieval state” — Ramon d’Abadal, Pere el Cerimoniós i els inicis de la decadència política de Catalunya (Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1987), p. 123.

159 Jaume Sobrequés, “L’estat català a la baixa edat mitjana: Les Corts, la Generalitat i el Consell de Cent”, Cuadernos de Historia Económica de Cataluña, 18 (Barcelona: 1978), p. 45.

160 Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Girona, 1.1.1.1, lligall 1, llibre 1, fol. 1r.

161 Montserrat Fibla, “Les corts de Tortosa i de Barcelona 1365: Recapte del donatiu”, Cuadernos de Historia Económica de Cataluña, 19 (1978), pp. 97-127.

162 José Ángel Sesma, “La fijación de fronteras económicas entre los estados de la Corona de Aragón”, Aragón en la Edad Media, 5 (1983), pp. 141-163.

163 Manuel Sánchez, El naixement de la fiscalitat d’Estat a Catalunya (segles XII-XIV) (Vic-Girona: Eumo Editorial - Universitat de Girona, 1995), pp. 129-134.

164 Federico Udina, “Préstamo de cinco galeras por la Generalidad al infante Martín”, Martínez Ferrando Archivero: Miscelánea de estudios dedicados a su memoria (Madrid: Asociación Nacional de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Arqueólogos, 1968), pp. 487-489.

165 Albert Estrada, Una casa per al General de Catalunya (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, 2000), pp. 35-54.

166 Isabel Sánchez de Movellán, La Diputació del General de Catalunya (1413-1479) (Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya - Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2004), pp. 99-460.

167 Flocel Sabaté, “Corona de Aragón”, La época medieval: Administración y gobierno (Tres Cantos: Istmo, 2003), pp. 386-387.

168 Catalunya constituïa (com els altres estats de la Corona, i també Navarra) un exemple perfecte—potser el més elaborat, junt amb alguns principats alemanys, esp. Württemberg—de ‘Ständestaat’ (‘estat estamental’) [Catalonia constituted (like the other states of the Crown, and also Navarre) a perfect example — perhaps the most elaborate, together with some German principalities, especially Württemberg — of ‘Ständestaat’ (‘corporate state’)]. See Víctor Ferro, El dret públic català: Les institucions de Catalunya fins al Decret de Nova Planta (Vic: Eumo Editorial, 1987), p. 244.

169 Tomàs de Montagut, “El baile general de Cataluña (notas para su estudio)”, Hacienda Pública Española, 87 (1984), pp. 73-84.

170 Flocel Sabaté, “La governació al Principat de Catalunya i als comtats de Rosselló i Cerdanya”, Anales de la Universidad de Alicante: Historia Medieval, 12 (1999), pp. 21-62.

171 Flocel Sabaté, “Els eixos articuladors del territori medieval català”, L’estructuració territorial de Catalunya: Els eixos cohesionadors de l’espai, Flocel Sabaté, ed. (Barcelona: L’Avenç, 2000), pp. 55-70.

172 Rafael Conde, Reyes y archivos en la Corona de Aragón. Siete siglos de reglamentación y praxis archivística (siglos XII-XIX) (Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2008), pp. 62-64.

173 Carlos López, “Notas en torno al consejo real de Valencia entre la Guerra de Castilla y la Conquista de Nápoles (1429-1449)”, El poder real en la Corona de Aragón (siglos XI-XVI). XVº Congreso de Historia de la Corona de Aragón, Isabel Falcón, ed. (Zaragoza: Departamento de Educación y Cultura de la Diputación General de Aragón, 1006), vol. 1/2, pp. 257-264.

174 Cortes de Cataluña, vol. 1/1 (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1896), pp. 155-156.

175 Arxiu Comarcal de la Noguera, fons Balaguer, pergamins, 71.

←40 | 41→

Poetry and Identity

Marie-Claire ZIMMERMANN

Université de Paris-Sorbonne

I knew the title of my piece immediately. I wanted to discuss forms of Catalan identity as described in medieval literature and, above all, in medieval poetry. I am not speaking as a historian, but rather as a philologist, given that my essay consists of the interpretation of poetic text — rhetorical figures, meter, syntax, tonality, and the particular usage of the Catalan language in each poem — in order to get a view of how the essence of being Catalan is constructed during the Middle Ages, and to identify the origins of the Catalan personality, highlighting some elements that will endure no matter the obstacles or changes that come to pass, up until the present. Now you will ask: why limit yourself to poetry and not take into account prose, as illustrated by two particularly prestigious authors, Ramon Llull and Joanot Martorell? The former produced an undeniably universal body of work, and the latter produced that prodigious novel Tirant lo Blanc, cited and admired by Cervantes in Don Quixote. I would reply at once with two lines of argument: in France these writers are well known and there is a rich bibliography concerning Llull. However, the critics have not focused on the determinant elements of the Catalan identity. Moreover, the length of these works demands a series of studies and not a single presentation. That said, there is another argument that strikes me as even more valid, which is that poetry is the one art that permits the expression of the self, of an individual speaker, of his emotions, of his vision of the world, above all in the case of a great poet with whom an entire people can identify.

None the less, I wish to insist even more forcefully that words have power gained through or by linkage to poetry. Let me at once make reference to a highly original work brought to our attention thanks to Martí de Riquer’s edition of the work of the troubadour Guillem de Berguedà ←41 | 42→(Poblet, 1971), and also to a text published in Dietari1 by Pere Gimferrer, under the title Ot de Moncada. They are about a great Catalan troubadour, Guillem de Berguedà who, around 1175, wished to compose a poem unfavourable to his enemy the bishop of Urgell. He wanted to give his verses a certain impact. At that time, as poems were sung, it was necessary to employ a well-known melody in order to accompany and draw more attention to the words. So, he wrote his song based on a very old tune that originated with a certain Ot of Moncada:

Chanson ai començada

qui sera loing cantada

en est son vieil antic

que fetz N’Ot de Montcada

ans que peira pausada

fos el clochier de Vic. (p. 106)

Here commences a song

That will long be sung

To the ancient old tune

That Sir Ot de Montcada composed

Before the bell tower of Vic

Was possessed of stones. (p. 106)

Hence the tune, that is, the melody, had been composed prior to the laying of the first stone of the bell tower of Vic, in other words, before the year 1038. However, Ot of Moncada is nothing more than a name. No other song or verse has been attributed to him. Furthermore, Guillem de Berguedà wrote his poetry in Occitan — called provençal catalanitzat [Catalanised Provençal] by Pere Gimferrer — and thus predates the existence of Catalan poetry. But all these facts become clearer if we understand that Berguedà’s 12th century poem expresses a memory of the creation of Catalan poetry that precedes the existence of a bell tower in Vic, a quintessentially Catalan place. More precisely, these signs and references reveal artistic creativity dating from at least the year 1000. That is to say, they reveal the consciousness of an identity and the perception ←42 | 43→of a continuity that predates the use of Catalan for poetic purposes. In this vein Pere Gimferrer concludes most pertinently: Amb so de bronze, vell i antic, el patriarca Ot de Montcada viu en el temps de l’alba de la nostra literatura [With an ancient voice of bronze the patriarch Ot de Montcada sounds from the dawn of our literature].2 Even the name opens a fabulous perspective on millennial Catalonia for us. For all that, we are indebted to six verses by the troubadour Guillem de Berguedà. In this way, poetry serves to remind us of an individual and collective identity, thereby safeguarding and restoring its hidden signs. On reading and speaking poetry, we, the readers, bring to life the poetic voice, not necessarily with total identification but through an aesthetic and ethical identification.

It is for this reason that I will focus on the work of Ausiàs March (1400-1459), above all because he was the first to write his poetry in Catalan. Between the 12th and 15th centuries Catalan poets wrote in Occitan, the language of the troubadours, fully in keeping with a glorious tradition. Ausiàs March’s father, Pere March, and his uncle, Jaume March, also wrote their poems in Occitan. Ausiàs March opens new doors; he is a founding father. While the majority of poets composed between 15 and 20 pieces, he wrote 128 poems, or 10,263 lines: Cants d’amor [Songs of Love], Cant spiritual [Spiritual Song], Cants de mort [Songs of Death], Cants morals [Moral Songs], a complete panorama hinting at a complex identity containing obsessive, reiterative kernels which appear again in the work of later poets who, with the passing of the centuries, become ever more conscious of the multilayered value of certain forms, words and phrases employed by Ausiàs March, so that they appear in collections of poems in the 20th and 21st centuries. There are many remarkable editions of the works of Ausiàs March — for example, those of Joan Ferraté and Robert Archer; also to be recommended is that of Pere Bohigas.3 As all editors agree on the same numeration of the poems, when citing a text, I will simply refer to its Roman numeral (I, II, III…) and the line number.

Ausiàs March was imitated by Catalan poets of the 16th century, translated into Spanish during the 16th and 17th centuries, remembered during the 19th and, above all, turned into song by Raimon in opposition ←43 | 44→to Franco’s dictatorship. Poets cite him in their epigraphs and writings; remember that the cor salvatge [wild heart] of poem XVIII en tot leig fet hagué lo cor salvatge [in everything was the ugly wild heart] (line 23) is borrowed by Carles Riba for his poetry collection: Salvatge cor (wild heart, 1952), and we could write an entire paper on this same subject in relation to the work of Josep Piera and Pere Gimferrer, who uses a line by Ausiàs March in his latest collection of poems published in 2014, Adéu siau vós mon delit… [Farewell You, my Pleasure…].4 I would also draw attention to a prose text in the Dietari, entitled Un poeta modern [A Modern Poet],5 in which Gimferrer speaks of un home com nosaltres [man like us], el gran poeta modern que és [the great modern poet that he is], amb el mateix esperit amb què podem llegir Riba o Carner. Un contemporani [who can be read in the same spirit as Riba or Carner. A contemporary]. Here, within historic Catalan literature, we find a poetic continuity which leads us to look for signs of a Catalan identity in the medieval works of Ausiàs March.

It is, however, necessary to insist from the outset on some points that seem to me essential in order to avoid any confusion or simplification. Ausiàs March is a man of the 15th century. He is from Valencia,6 not Barcelona. Well, Llull was from the Balearic Islands and Joanot Martorell was also Valencian. So one has to state here that Catalan identity, so inextricably linked to the language, extends beyond the borders of Catalonia. It is widespread and vigorous, even if history may have separated or isolated the Catalan-speaking territories.

Who was Ausiàs March? The poet was a descendent of a public notary from Barcelona called Pere March, who went to Gandia in 1249, after the town was conquered by King James I. During the 14th century the family formed part of the nobility. In 1412 they had civil and criminal jurisdiction over Beniarjó, Pardines and Verniça. Ausiàs March is born in 1400. He is the son of Pere March and Leonor Ripoll and has a deaf-mute brother, Peirona March, whose affairs Ausiàs always administered. At a very young age (1415), he represented the military estate at the Courts of ←44 | 45→Valencia. In 1419 he became a knight and took part in the Sardinian and Corsican wars. In 1420 he was at the sieges of Calvi and Bonifacio. He is an aid to the King in the Neapolitan and Sicilian wars and a participant in the Gerba expedition of 1424. King Alfonso grants him privileges and extols the merits of March the knight. From 1425 he becomes head falconer of the king, but for unknown reasons Ausiàs retreats to his own lands and gives up the position in 1428. Even so, the king continues to make reference to the merits of the knight March. Around 1438, Ausiàs quarrels with the city of Gandia, but when the duchy of Gandia became fief of the prince of Viana he dropped his petitions. In 1451 Ausiàs March was the prince’s tax collector in the city. He had a great many cases and administered justice rigorously. He had also built a sugar mill and begun the construction of drains and a bridge. Twice wed (1437, Isabel Martorell; 1443, Joana Scorna), his only offspring were bastards. His last will and testament reveals an undeniable pragmatism. We have here a great feudal lord, a knight steeped in culture, with political connections to the most powerful and an ally of the court of Naples of Alfonso the Magnanimous, although he resided in Valencia to be near the court of Queen Maria, Alfonso’ wife. Basically, we see him wishing to administer his goods and territories, although he is mixed up in various conflicts in a world that was far from unified. He was obliged to live with these contradictory tensions, be they internal or external.

Evidently, the Valencia of the 15th century and the current autonomous Catalan area have little in common. Neither should we search in March’s 128 poems for the nostalgia, conflict and critiques that formed part of the defence of Catalonia during the 20th century, above all during the Franco regime. Even so, the act of writing such an extensive piece of work marks a turning point and an innovation in that, for the first time, poetry makes use of everyday language without seeking justification or explanation. Why did Ausiàs decide to break with three centuries of tradition? Modest Prats claimed that poetry needed to be born in the Catalan language because, sooner or later, every country has to invent a vernacular poetry. Yet this argument is less than convincing. It may be so, but does not explain March’s prolific output. We must surmise that the only explanation is that three centuries of codified writing (1100-1400) must have seemed too traditional, too tied to a written system — that ←45 | 46→of the troubadours — to truly have the right to exist in the 15th century. Ausiàs March pronounced a truth that is total, exact, precise and in this regard encapsulates the totality of human life in any time or place. If he was capable of expressing in Catalan what it meant to be an individual pierced by plurality, it is because his poetry was the linguistic expression of a Catalan identity in Valencia. Valencian is Catalan with a particular accent — the same Valencian accent as that of the contemporary singer Raimon who comes from Xàtiva — in the same way that while the people of Girona speak with their own accent, as do those from Lleida or Tortosa, nevertheless the language in all these places is Catalan.

Being Catalan is a certain mindset, a way of life, a manner of expression through language and the poetry of Ausiàs March, so it may spread and be free. It is, at the same time, a word both direct and indirect born of the identity which contains and transmits it without necessarily knowing it, and yet which we can, after 600 years, perceive, analyse and interpret.

My analysis will consist of the following three phases of reflection, which have emerged from these opening remarks:

I. A way of conceptualising the world: el seny.

II. Rauxa [rapture] and the inner self.

III. Forms of expression and communication: conciseness, silences, proverbs, lyricism, eloquence.

I. A way of conceptualising the world: el seny [common sense]

Up to now I have fixed my attention on the Marchian reader who is forever analysing his feelings with extraordinarily heightened tonality. But upon re-reading the work and focusing on the notion of Catalan identity, I became aware of something more essential — namely the use of the nouns seny [common sense, also at times translated as spiritual sense], raó [reason] and enteniment [understanding]. Ausiàs, like many other medieval writers, was undoubtedly a devotee of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas and a brilliant man who wished to identify the causes and consequences of phenomena and events, to explain and demonstrate them. This is clearly shown by his use of car [because], on [where], donchs [then].7 ←46 | 47→Citing CVI, 145-153:

Alguns han dit qu·en les coses molt grans,

lo contemplar d’elles la veritat

és aquest bé; mas axí an errat.

Altres an dit qu·en les virtuts usans.

Tots an dit ver, e no cascuns per ssi.

Lo bé del hom en dues parts se pren:

quan veritat l’enteniment entén,

e l’apetit a rahó conssentí.

Some have said that it is good

To contemplate major events and find

Truth in them; perhaps they are wrong.

Others say that they have seen

The good in man in everyday virtues

And it takes two forms;

When we understand the truth of understanding

Our appetite for reason awakes.

I would say that this delight in and celebration of reason is common to Christian philosophers of the Middle Ages, and not only those from Catalonia. However, in March’s poetry one is not simply invited to meditate and deduce: for him, seny is the equivalent of the self, of an idea, a project, a way of being, a constant desire, the basis of an entire life.

Note that one of the beloved ladies is called Plena de seny [Full of sense]8 and, in poem XXXIII, the initial praise is unmistakable (5): Ço que yo am de vós és vostre seny [That which I love of you is your sense].

The Self sees an ever greater virtue and aspiration in this seny, and this procures a greater degree of happiness:

IV—a la perfi se guia per son seny (40)

←47 | 48→

VII Plena de seny tot mon seny vull despendre

amant a vós sens algun grat cossegre,

e durarà fins que del riu Segre

l’aygua corrent amunt se puga atendre. (65)

IX Yo faç tot quant me diu lo pensament,

i si hagués tant seny com Salamó, (9)

XXVII l’enteniment no·s dol ni·spot esbatre; (2)

IV And finally the spiritual sense becomes the guide (40)

VII In full spiritual sense I wish to deploy all my senses

Loving you though there be no harvest

It will endure until the waters of the river Segre

Flow uphill (65)

IX I do all my thoughts bid me do

And become as wise as Solomon (9)

XXVII There is neither pain nor defeat in understanding; (2)

This spiritual sense — intelligence and understanding — has another meaning: it is lucidity, the clear perception of interior and exterior reality, a logical reaction to evidence, simple common sense. Material reality is undeniable, perceived by all, and to fight against it is futile.

XCI (25) Sí com lo jorn va primer que la nit

e d’ella és hun cert demostrament,

XCII (195) Sí com lo vent, segons les encontrades

on és passat, de ssi calt o fred gita

XCI (25) Just as day precedes the night

Her concerns are just as certain

←48 |
 49→

XCII (195) And, depending on where you stand,

the wind blows hot or cold.

So, if this seny demands constant observation of the world of the senses, it also at times implies the need for rectification, a wholehearted re-adaptation to nature’s visible changes and to the situation in general. The first stanza of II (8 lines) contains the image of a patron who had abandoned his ship on a beach because the weather had seemed favourable. Suddenly he sees the weather change and heads for an alternative safe haven.

I, 1 Pren-m. enaxí com al patró qu en platga

té sa gran nau e pens aver castell ;

vehent lo cel ésser molt clar e bell,

creu fermament d’un àncor assats haja.

E sent venir soptós un temporal

de tempestat e temps incomportable ;

leva son juhí : que si molt és durable,

cerquar los ports més qu .aturar li val.

I, 1 I am like that captain who, on a beach

Leaves his ship and heads for the castle ;

Seeing the sky crystal clear and beautiful,

Believes firmly he has anchored her safely.

Then of a sudden noting an air

Of a storm and changeable weather ;

Weighs anchor: though all things endure,

Finding a safer haven behoves him.

In this stanza the narrator presents and explains a situation to us in terms of events and nothing more. It is the captain’s deduction which leads him to undertake an action that is initially contrary but totally logical and necessary, and herein gives evidence of his seny; he simply must submit to reality.

Notice the calm and the rigour with which the poet expresses himself, because he is dealing with a model of behaviour dictated by ←49 | 50→seny here. Equally, it sometimes suits the purposes of March to give examples of a person who shows himself incapable of understanding the nature of reality, lacking reason or seny. In such a case we are shown the always negative consequences of this lack, in order to elicit our condemnation. In general, the lack of seny is presented as bestial, decrepit, bereft of liberty or will.

In our survey of his work, we have identified various levels with regard to the loss or absence of seny. Firstly we see the unacceptability of this error when it goes uncorrected in those of a certain position, rank, or well-defined material activity:

Pren-m.enaxí com al grosser pagès

que bon sement en mala terra met;

ultracuydat, pens. aver bon splet

d’aquell terreny qui buyda los graners. (VI, 33)

Pren-m. enaxí com grosser erbolari

qui prop la mar les herbes del bosch cerqua (C, 57-58)

Think of me as that peasant

Who sows good seed in poor earth;

With good care a good harvest

From that land full of grain. (VI, 33)

Think of me as that great herbalist

Who too near the sea plants (C, 57-58)

Poem C alludes to the sailor who is victim of the winds:

Semblant me trop al home que navegua,

qui per los vents sa persson. és regida

dolrre no.s deu, si la’s veu escarnida,

caure deu l’om, guiat per via cegua; (C, 5)

I am too much like the sailor,

Who goes where the winds take him

←50 |
 51→

Chastise us, O lord, if we should err,

Should we go forward blindly; (C, 5)

And here we cite another example of error:

y axí com cell qui de Migjorn les terres

va encerquant per vent de Tremuntana. (XCVIII, 7-8)

And he that at midday the land

Nears blown by the Tramontana (XCVIII, 7-8)

There are numerous references to the sea in the work of Ausiàs March. (He knew the sea well — as a knight he had sailed often to the wars in which he took part.) In them the mariners always come to grief because they have failed to see danger looming, as in the following poem, but additionally we contemplate a disaster here because seny has not been sufficient, despite the competence of the sailor, to resolve an incomprehensible, unthinkable situation:

CII, 17 Sí com aquell qu·en la mar té maysó

e d’aquell art se té per molt sabent,

e veu tal temps fora d’esperiment

qui, a son juhý, és contra la rahó,

e va en part on per null temps no fon,

e veritat sa búxola no·l diu:

de tot quant féu e dix allí·s desdiu,

com creu ses leys que natura confon;

CII, 17 If like he who is an old salt

And thinks himself wise in his art

Encounters such weather as of which he knows not

That, to his wise, goes against reason,

And goes out of time where he should not,

And his compass gainsays him:

And everything said all is disdain,

His laws are by nature confounded;

←51 |
 52→

In poem LXXIV, the ship is lost because the sailors fight amongst themselves and lose all grip on seny:

17 Sí com als vents és donada la nau,

mentr. és debat als mariners vengut,

— ladonchs la nau son camí ha tengut

per senya tal qual ans del contrast jau —,

17 If the ship be caught in high winds

While the sailors are lost in dispute

— Thus the ship’s course has given

A signal that will endure for years —,

However, more usually, the poet’s principle reference is to man, to everyman in general. He does not go into specifics of context or position in order to evoke either the immediacy of the situations, or the everyday gestures of the man who has strayed from the good path for lack of seny:

9 Qui son camí vertader ha erat

per anar lla hon vol sojorn haver,

és-li forçat que prengua mal sender

e may venir a son loch desijat. (VI)

9 He who has strayed from the good path

In order to go whereso’er he might

Must needs take a darker path

And never reach his desired abode. (VI)

A person without seny either destroys or is destroyed. This is the Marchian point of view, that the loss of the faculty of good judgment leads men into folly. Ausiàs often makes use of the adverb follament [foolishly] (C, 204) and the adjective foll [mad]:

si com l’om foll qui·s fir l’ull d’una broqua:

com pus dret fir, sa vista destermena. (C, 215)

←52 |
 53→

Like the madman who fixes his eye with a needle:

He loses his sight, as he must (C, 215)

Ausiàs often makes reference to illness, to the body, and to the sick who have no seny, either because they do not understand the evidence of their condition, or because they use poisons in place of remedies:

Sí co·l malalt que no·ntén los senyals

del accident e penssa qu·’està bé,

e veu pulguó que prestament li ve,

o àls pejor que.l descobre sos mals, (CII, 177-180)

sí co·l malalt qui no·ntén medessina,

pendrà verí cuydant aquell guaresqua,

e de sabor amargua sent la brescha

e dolssa·l par un amarguant sardina. (C, 37-40)

Sí co·l malalt qu·esperiments assaja

per a guarir del cos, e amargosos,

e són verins per a la mort cuytosos (CXIII, 221)

Like the sick man who does not read the signs

Of his mishap and thinks himself well,

And thinks poison will give him life,

And worse things will cure his ills, (CII, 177-180)

Like the sick man who knows nothing of medicine,

Will take poison to make himself well,

And from its bitter taste takes comfort

And find it sweet as a bitter sardine. (C, 37-40)

If the patient whose experience tries

To heal the body through bitter herbs,

That are poisons cherished by death (CXIII, 221)

←53 |
 54→

The characters that emerge from these examples are extremely varied. Depending on the song’s structure, the speaker’s comments are critical yet clarifying. The solemnity of the discourse is in complete harmony with the plasticity of the images, people and situations; the speaker perceives the lesson about seny and at the same time is impressed by the drama or violence of the consequences of defying seny:

Malament viu qui té lo pensament

per enamich, fent-li d’enuyts report;

e com lo vol d’algun plaer servir

li’n pren axí com dona·b son infant,

que si verí li demana plorant

ha tan poch seny que no·l sab contradir. (I, 19-24)

He who with constant laments

Fills the memories of his heart with anger lives badly;

When he wants to take some pleasure

He is like a woman with a child,

That, crying, asks for poison

And she has so little sense, she cannot deny him. (I, 19-24)

In this stanza we find the words qui [who] — man in general, anyone — juxtaposed with the woman who is capable of carrying out a foolish act. She will go so far as to kill her child simply because it asks her for poison. What is noteworthy in this extreme example is the deplorable folly of those bereft of seny.

But his project is not just about constructing a typical, universal epic. In fact, in his Cants d’amor [Songs of Love], March alludes to his own contradictory behaviour. While he celebrates reason and “sense”, he also has to confess that his own passions have led him to forget seny and to act foolishly. All of March’s poetry is based upon this radical and constantly renewed contradiction. In poem IX, March goes so far as to state:

9 Yo faç tot quant me diu lo pensament,

e si hagués tant seny com Salamó,

←54 |
 55→

9 I do all my thoughts bid me do

And become as wise as Solomon,

And then, in the next stanza:

19 L’om fora seny no pot ser ben usan.

Tal me confés ; doncs no·m vullau reptar.

19 The man beyond sense cannot act in good faith.

This I confess; Thus, I do not wish to put myself to the test.

In March’s poetry we see the painful conflict between reason and folly and, above all, the story of an intense relationship with seny. The self subsumes seny and love:

LXXX, 5 he fet senyor del seny a mon voler,

vehent Amor de mon seny mal servit;

LXXX, 5 I have made my will the lord of my sense,

Having seen my love of sense badly served;

Yet he receives no recompense:

e són setz·anys que lo guardó esper.

And sixteen years have I been waiting.

The lover confesses thus:

no guart la fi, tenint mon seny torbat

per lo voler affectat al present. (LXXVIII, 3)

Having my intellect disturbed, I hold no hope

Of it affecting my present desires. (LXXVIII, 3)

←55 |
 56→

The issue with seny results in the appearance of new images, the creation of new personae and the substitution of other projections of the self that cannot find any comfort in the world:

LXXIV, 3 mon seny és mort, a qui Déu no perdó,

7 e vaig en loch on no vull ser portat;

CXXVII, 346 Yo sé lo bé mas faç lo mal

XC, 29 Mas dintre nós nostr·enemich portam,

qui sense nós lo delit nostre tol;

LXXIV, 3 My sense is dead, that God may not forgive,

7 And I go there where I have no wish to go;

CXXVII, 346 Well I know the strength of evil

XC, 29 We carry our enemy within us,

Who, without us, is the sum of our delight;

The fall is so hard that when the I makes allusion to his poems, it is in reference to what, to him, seem their most disconcerting contents. And also to an aesthetic vacuity that can be explained precisely by the fact that he himself no longer can make any claim to seny:

XXXIX, 5 lija mos dits mostrans penssa torbada,

sens algun art, exits d’om fora seny.

XXXIX, 5 They are the verses of a disturbed mind

Of an artless man who has no sense.

In the final line of XLVI — well known as a song by Raimon —, we find that the constantly reiterated poetic celebration of love is nothing if not arbitrary, a product of chance and contrary to seny.

←56 |
 57→

XLVI, 60 A joch de daus vos acompararé.

XLVI, 60 I will compare you to a game of dice.

II. Rauxa [rapture], duality and the interior nature of the self

The loss of sense, the desire to recover it, the constant struggle between reason and disorder: these are the essential motives that nurture a certain interior violence, a rebellion against the jo (I) and the world. We can think of rauxa as a type of rage against “impromptu determination” (as the dictionary puts it) that is associated with a deep pessimism that may become manifest. This is recognised as something pertaining to a form of Catalan identity. However, this manner of being, this folly gives rise to the extraordinary linguistic creativity of Ausiàs March. We will now consider some poetic forms of Marchian drama.

Firstly, images of the night, of the darkness that engenders fear in the poetic I and its power, are summoned:

XVI, 18 que·m cal fugir de cascun loch escur,

e de gran por ma pens·ha fet tal mur

que·ls penssaments dapnosos li deté;

e són aytals que, si d’ells no·s deffèn,

ben enfortint la força mal deffesa,

tots entraran, sients a taula mesa:

tremolar sent ja mon enteniment!

XVI, 18I need to hide in some dark place,

Out of fear my thought has built a wall

A wall to hold back my dark thoughts;

So strong they are that if I do not defend against them,

Reinforce my defences,

They will sit with me at table:

Already I feel my reason shaken!

←57 |
 58→

Poem XXVIII begins thus:

1 Lo jorn ha por de perdre sa claror

quan vela nit qu·espandeix ses tenebres;

1 The day fears its loss of clarity

when comes the night spreading its shadows;

We share the pains of animals, the sick, the schemes of wrongdoers. But in the second stanza we discover the self that feels threatened and yet, at the same time, violent, because its own self-destruction is taking shape during the night. Literally, this equates love of the self with moral suicide. However, in a figurative sense we have here a man who labels himself criminal and victim at the same time:

XXVIII, 9 E d’altra part faç pus que si matàs

mil hòmens justs, menys d’alguna mercè,

car tots mos ginys yo solt per trahir-me :

e no cuydeu que·l jorn me’n excusàs,

ans en la nit treball rompent ma penssa

perquè·n lo jorn lo trahiment cometa;

XXVIII, 9 And yet I deem that if one kills

A thousand men, save a few out of mercy

Then I free all my stratagems to betray me :

And care not for the day nor my excuses,

Working for years in the night to break my mind

For during day, betrayal flies;

The self can never find an appropriate place in which to live and think; its behavior and gestures are violent and chaotic, as in LXXXVII:

277 ma cara és de sa color incerta;

cerch lochs secrets e los publichs desvie;

lança·m en lo llit, dolor me’n gita fora;

cuyt esclatar mentre mon hull no plora.

←58 |
 59→

277An uncertain blush has my face;

As I wander through secret, not public places;

Laid upon the bed my pain takes me;

I burst, but my eyes do not cry.

Such disorder leads the poetic I to an ever more extreme attitude because it is unable to find repose anywhere:

XLI, 1 volgra ser nat cent anys ho pus atràs;

44 a mi mateix e tot lo món ahir.

XLI, 1 Would that I had been born a hundred years or more before;

44 Myself and all the world yesterday,

Two texts evoke the distancing of the Self:

CXI, 31 yo visch al món e d’ell desesperat;

CXI, 31 I live in this world of which I despair;

In the well-known poem XIII, we see how the self, influenced by Dante’s inferno, gets out and makes a break for it, leaving behind the world of the living and heading for the cemeteries in order to unburden itself to the dead. The vision evokes a desperate image of the author, far from the hustle and bustle of the city:

5 E vaja yo los sepulcres cerquant,

interrogant ànimes infernades,

e respondran, car no són companyades

d’altre que mi en son continuu plant.

5 And I go searching out the tombs,

Questioning the souls of the condemned,

And they, grateful for the company, respond

Only to me with their funereal chant.

←59 |
 60→

And in poem LXVIII, we see a type of sacrifice and at the same time folly on the part of the I which abandons the warmth of the hearth in winter to go out and walk through the snow, without taking the slightest precaution:

LXVIII, 17 Yo són aquell qui·n lo temps de tempesta

quant les més gents festegen prop los fochs

e pusch haver ab ells los propis jochs,

vaig sobre neu, descalç, ab nua testa,

LXVIII, 17 I am the one who in stormy weather

When the people joyfully gather around their hearths

And I could stay and play with them

Go barefoot and ill-clad, walking in the snow,

These texts present us with a panorama that serves as a definition: the I has shed itself of seny in order to adopt a mode of behaviour which, above all, translates as the desire to differentiate itself from the rest, to live in complete solitude. But in other cases it translates as folly to constantly run the risk of annihilation. Thus, the self is identified with a series of personae that are on the brink of an extremely violent death. In a way it feels akin to them, comparable with them, while maintaining a negative point of view, overawed and irrational, of a tragic death:

LIX, 5 ne pren a mi, qui vull esperiment

molt perillós e sens ell no pusch viure:

LIX, 17—En lo meu coll veig penjar una mola,

e lo gran fons on seré trabucat,

si donchs mercè no vol haver tallat

la corda fort; mas coltell no esmola.

LIX, 29—Yo són aquell qui del carçre l’an tret

y ab torbat pas va pendre cruel mort,

XCIX, 65—yo só malalt havent lo cors tot sa

←60 |
 61→

XCIX, 81 No dech morir solament ab coltell:

mon cors mig mort deu ser viand als cans

mon cor, partit entre corps e milans;

LIX, 5 Don’t deny me who wishes to experience

Dangers without which I cannot live:

LIX, 17 I hung a mole from my neck,

And in the depths I will be shot,

So if you have no mercy cut

The rope; sharpen your knife no more.

LIX, 29 I am he who from cancer was saved

And unhappily did not meet a cruel end,

XCIX, 65 I am sick having such good health

XCIX, 81 Don’t just kill me with a knife:

My still beating heart should be meat for dogs

My heart, shared among cadavers and hawks;

Poem CXXVII, a Lai [Lyric Lay] that exchanges decasyllables for the octosyllable and tetrasyllable and which is, perhaps, one of the last pieces written by Ausiàs March, employs a man who is conscious of his failings and his lack of “sense”:

131 car per edat y só vengut

e per seny poch,

car puix me viu a l’enderroch,

128 no vaig avant ne torne atràs,

camí perdut.

355 que·n nulla part yo·m veig camí

mes obres no guarden ull fi,

viu só e mort

←61 |
 62→

24 Mesell me trob:

131 Because of age and sound have I come

And for a little sanity,

Because how can I live in pieces,

128 I did not advance nor turn back,

A lost path.

355 In small part I have walked my path,

My works no longer please the eye,

Live sound and death

24 Leprous am I:

With arid pessimism the I can do no more than proclaim its pain, making derogatory comments about its personality, questioning itself about its darker side, damning itself:

CXI, 31 yo vixch al món e d’ell desesperat;

CXVIII, 31 Tostemps fuy cert que yo dins mi portava

encontra mi una mala persona:

CXV, 63 Qui són aquells que dins lo meu cor criden

e par a mi que són vèrmens qui·m morden?

CXI, 31 I live in the world and despair of it;

CXVIII, 31 I was always sure of what I bore inside

I found in myself an unworthy person:

CXV, 63 Who are these who in my heart cry

And to me are vermin that bite?

←62 |
 63→

Here we note the violence of the feelings expressed, above all in the choice of verbs, adjectives and past participles. The I has such rage that it finally ends up desiring some sort of inversion of the world, because this world seems insufficient, empty, as in poem CXIV, which reaches a peak (or acme) that is the occlusion of wisdom and the victory of rauxa:

CXIV, 61 Lo dia clar volria fos escur,

udulaments e plors en loch de cants;

no té lo món coses a mi bastants

a fer que dol per tostemps no.m atur.

CXIV, 61 I would the bright day grow dark,

Ululations and cries instead of songs ;

The world holds not enough for me

Not eternal grief could withhold me.”

However, one of the keys of his poetic system is that this movement between reason and folly leads the I to accept all these contradictions with a good humour born of hyper-consciousness, of an incomparable lucidity:

CXIV, 85-88 Així dispost, dolç me sembla l’amarch,

tant és en mi enfecionat lo gust!

A temps he cor d’acer, de carn e fust:

yo só aquest que·m dich Ausiàs March.

CXIV, 85-88Thus disposed, sweet the sour to me seemed,

Such is the ill condition of my taste!

At times I have an iron heart in a body made of wood:

I am he known as Ausiàs March.

And so we come to a definition of the I that encompasses the totality of experience, and in the end a seamless identification between the person and the name of the poet, that is, between the person and the word: language, that is the Catalan language. It is true that the Occitan troubadours recited their names at the end of their poems (Arnaut Daniel), as if ←63 | 64→it were a signature. However, March, in poem CXIV, goes much further: it is the total, visceral affirmation of the word, of the day-to-day language.

We will now examine form in the work of March as the transcription in Catalan of the struggle between reason, seny and rauxa, that is, as manifestations of a particular identity, of its procedures and figures, and of a linguistic system with a long history ahead of it.

III. Forms of expression and communication

In the first stanza of poem XXIII, we have the essential elements of Marchian poetry; the poet effectively sets out his program in written form:

XXIII, 1 Lexant a part l’estil dels trobadors

qui, per escalf, trespassen veritat,

e sostrahent mon voler affectat

perquè no·m torb, diré·l que trob en vós.

XXIII, 1Leaving the style of the troubadour behind

Who, in their passion, exaggerate truth,

And putting aside my affected desires,

A hindrance to me no more, I will tell you what I see in you.

Here trobadors [troubadours] refers to all who write poetry and not just the Occitans. Veritat [truth] is the most important word; the poet has to convey truth without exaggeration, and in order to do so must be the master of his subjectivity; to move from torb [disturbance] to trob [I discover]. Thus, here we find the predominant poetic axis in this firm commitment to tell no lies, to speak with clarity of negativity, drawing out the literal meaning, repeating even the cruellest words, making timely reference to similes in order to underline literal meaning, but always maintaining the same hardness or severity, making no concessions to ornament or superfluity.

LXIX —favor ha gran paraula dient ver. (8)

←64 |
 65→

LXIX Great words find grace in truth. (8)

CIV surprises us with the dry violence with which Ausiàs March speaks of the political powers of his time, of unjust kings and popes towards whom he feels indignant:

13 Papes e reys fins al estat pus minve,

fan lo que·ls plau mas no pas lo que volen.

51 e ja los reys los potents no castiguen

perquè·ls han ops y en part alguna·ls dupten.

Sí com lo lop, la ovella devora,

e lo gran tor, segur d’ell, peix les erbes,

axí los reys los pobres executen

e no aquells havents en les mans ungles.

213 Vulles haver pietat del bon poble;

poneix aquells sients alt en cadira,

qui del anyell volen la carn e llana

e són contents que feres los devoren!

250 Rey no regeix ne .ls pobles obeexen;

13 Popes and even the least of kings,

Do what they like and not what they should.

51 And since the powerful do not punish kings

Because they have in some part doubt.

And the wolf the sheep devours,

And, safe in the great tower, takes the harvest like fish,

Thus the kings execute the poor

And not those who have claws for hands.

213 Piety is needed to have good people;

Punish they who the high seat take,

←65 |
 66→

They who want the meat and wool

And who are content to see wild beasts devour them!

250 King does not govern nor people obey them;

The Cants morals, which form the longest texts of his work, define an ethical stance closely linked to Christian faith, and this is confirmed in the Cant spiritual. However, most notable here is his overarching political vision, the questioning of power and justice, and the reflections on the society known to March, which he condemns with absolute severity. The poetic man, basing his work in the Catalan language, is essentially someone who does not let appearances deceive him, who has no faith whatsoever in slogans. March does not accept spontaneous submission to authority. He is a sceptic whose desire is to formulate his doubts, and this he sets out to do believing in his intellectual capacity and his knowledge of reality. Time and again he alludes to divers mythical personae and certain legends, only to declare them obsolete and inadequate given his own historical situation. Throughout his work one detects an implacable, facetious humour, well illustrated in two texts — CXXII A and CXXII B — that March addressed to King Alfonso the Magnanimous when he asked him for a falcon. He concludes with an item that has nothing to do with his letter and is clearly malicious;

41 Mon car senyor, tot hom cerca delits,

segons cascú sa qualitat requer,

mas a present la dona i el diner

són los déus dos en lo món favorit.

41 Your Grace, all men enjoy,

In measure of their stature’s requirements,

More of the ladies and the money

They are like gods, favored in this world.

In addition, in CXXII B, Ausiàs is partly ironic in the Tornada [Return], announcing that if he receives no reply he will come and visit “swimming”. Then, in the Seguida [Following] we can surmise that the praise ←66 | 67→of the Dona [Lady] — Lucrezia d’Alagno — is proof of the freedom with which the poet spoke of the powerful and to the powerful.

Given that for March the truth is paramount in his poetry, he always insists upon the materiality of the world. I will not refer to his realism (because it is a modern term with a 19th century derivation) but with his obsession for concrete reality, for situations as perceived by the senses, and particularly to the omnipresence of direct references to the human body. Sometimes this reality is hard hitting, even somewhat vulgar, and the poet lowers it further or ridicules it; his language is precise, real, crude, prosaic.

XCV, 46 e li doni lo derrer besar fret,

XCIV, 86 car tota carn a vòmit em provoca

CXIX, 63 e veu bon polç, e sa vida descréxer

ab bon cervell, cor, ventrell, melsa, fetge:

CVII, 85 Toni amich votre carn és ja fem.

XCV, 46 And give his arse the cold kiss

XCIV, 86 All this flesh makes me want to puke

CXIX, 63 And look at how life withers

For all its brain, heart, stomach, spleen and liver:

CVII, 85 Toni my friend, your flesh is already weak.

His phrases carry a certain aridity, with few adjectives, a predominance of the verb ésser [to be] which is used to define, but which exists also alongside the most painful lyrical couplets, with their exclamations beautifully enriched by their similes and metaphors. There seamlessly exists, thus, a high level of familiarity with a certain relativity in March the Valencian’s style, and I see this as linked to the identity of the man who first wrote poetry in Catalan. Both high-minded and intellectual, it all sits in perfect harmony with the joker.

XCIX, 92 a quatre peus deu anar qui no·u creu

117 Lo cinquèn peu del moltó ab gran cura

yo he cercat — e no·n té sinó quatre!

←67 |
 68→

XCIX, 92 I should go on all fours, believe it or not

117 With great care I have examined the fifth leg of the ram

— And he only had four!

March speaks as if his message had to be understood, and easily, by not one audience but two: the cultured gentlemen and the unlearned. This is part of Catalan identity, of the personality of Catalonia. One only needs to read the 20th century poets to comprehend this essential aspect already evident in March. Consider, for instance, Josep Carner and Carles Riba, writers who knew how to represent and symbolise the reality of Catalonia during and after the Civil War.

Connecting all of these traits in March’s writing — truth, humour and familiarity — is a natural brevity and a constant delight in the use of proverbs, or, more precisely, of poetic lines with a proverbial turn. It should be recalled at this point that Ausiàs March had a copy of Ramon Llull’s Liber Proverbiorum in his library. Some lines of verse present us with personal experiences that allow us to reach a definition of Self that is antithetical and callibrated:

XCIX, 5 yo am mon dan, e mon bé avorresch;

XCIX, 65 yo só malalt havent lo cors tot sa,

XCIX, 1 Aquesta és perdurable dolor.

XCV, 43 mon corn de carn és pus fort que l’acer

XCIX, 53 I love my pain, and my cultivated aversions;

XCIX, 65 I am sick in a healthy body,

XCIX, 1 This is pain that will last.

XCV, 43 my living cone of flesh is stronger than steel

The most notable of the proverbial lines are formulas of a general kind which speak of universal man and which contain unchallengeable truths. Researchers believe them to be proverbs of March’s own device rather than proverbs of the period:

VI, 44 negre forment no dóna blancha pasta,

ne l’ase ranch és animal corrent;

←68 |
 69→

VII, 4 manxa bufant orgue fals no ret fi.

CXXII B, 49 La carn vol carn — no s’i pot contradir

XCIV, 103 La carn vol carn, l’arma son semblant cerca,

CXXVIII, 230 L’ome és de carn i no de fust;

CVI, 39 en camps sembrats de diners, honor creix.

CVI, 488 homs en bell ort són los hòmens del món.

CVIII, 64 Foll és aquell qui·l vent fermar volia.

VI, 44 Black wheat does not produce white flour,
Neither does the lame ass run;

VII, 4 Pumping a false organ does not make a good hat.

CXXII B, 49 Flesh desires flesh — this cannot be denied

XCIV, 103 Flesh to flesh, souls seem alike when near,

CXXVIII, 230 Man is flesh, not wood;

CVI, 39 In fields sown with gold, there honour grows.

CVI, 488 Men of the best sort are the men in the world.

CVIII, 64 Foolish is he who wishes to tie down the wind.

Furthermore, throughout his work the poet cites the words of others in dialogues and also in mythical figures as in poem VII, 49, when Eve speaks to Adam: Adam, mengem d’aquest bocí [Adam, let’s take a bite of this]. Be that as it may, what is a constant is his capacity to listen, to provoke the poetic intervention of the listener:

←69 |
 70→

XIX, 7 Hohiu, hohiu, tots los qui bé amats,

XIX, 7 Hey, hey, all you lovers,

What is sought is a form of call and response: this is a predominant theme in March’s poetry. Here we see a certain form of the Catalan identity, although the phenomenon is more complex as there are lines in which the I is unable to speak, because he feels unable to find the right words. In part the speaker insists on his pain, but the real cause of his silence is inadequacy of the I with regard to language, due in large part to this making of his language into a poetic absolute. As examples we quote:

XVII, 10 e dins mi plor e calle com a mut,

LV, 35 yo, gran parler, dos anys só mut estat:

LXXXIV, 33 Ab gran voler de parlar, yo fuy mut,

per no trobar rahó qui·m satisfés

a ma dolor, que bastament digués;

XVII, 10 While inside I cry I am silent as a mute,

LV, 35 I, the great speaker, two years have been mute:

LXXXIV, 33 With great desire to speak, I was mute,

Unable to find satisfactory cause

For my pain, so basely stated;

This is not simply tristor [sadness] like love sickness — that of the Occitan troubadours — but rather an inability to speak. There is a mighty conflict between subjectivity (the heart) and language (the tongue). We see in poem LXIX the extreme to which expression and language are accompanied by fear and physical/mental disorder:

LXIX, 41 No trob en mi poder dir ma tristor,

e de açò n’ensurt un gran debat:

Lo meu cor diu que no·n és enculpat,

car del parlar la lengua n’és senyor.

La lengua diu qu·ella bé ho dirà,

←70 |
 71→

mas que la por del cor força li tol,

que sens profit està, com parlar vol,

e, si ho fa, que balbucitarà.

LXIX, 41 It is beyond my power to express my grief,

And this provokes a great debate:

My heart pleads it is not to blame,

As of speech the tongue is lord.

The tongue will say what it will,

No matter what fears the heart,

That profits not, as it speaks so much,

And if it does, will only babble.

This metalingual debate is that of a poet and is to be found in other medieval authors. However, if we look at the 20th century we note that, for various historical reasons, the use of this threatened language is what sometimes leads to this silence, or, more precisely, to the vindication of silence (Salvador Espriu, Blai Bonet), because it signifies the rejection of despotic authority. March’s demand of language that it must take priority, be exact, is not based on the same reasons as the defence of Catalan during the 20th and 21st centuries. That said, both medieval and contemporary poets see the key to identity in the language. It was Ausiàs March who inaugurated this belief, and the writers of today believe even more fervently in the perpetuation of the Catalan language.

Finally we must ask another question: what was the space, the territory of the 15th century poet? As we have seen, Valencia, but the I is also a traveller, a sailor who has fought in the Mediterranean and knows it perfectly. Scholars have written much about the role of the sea in the work of Ausiàs March, and it is clear that the medieval I takes for granted the presence of the sea in his poems and uses it to delineate the perils and disasters of mariners and to invent images of the storm. In XLVI (sung by Raimon), LXXIV, LXXXII, C… the idea of shipwreck predominates, and particularly the obsession with the impossibility of making land:

LXXXI 1 Axí com cell qui.s veu prop de la mort,

corrent mal temps, perillant en la mar,

←71 |
 72→

e veu lo loch on se pot restaurar

e no. y ateny per sa malvada sort,

ne pren a mi, […]

LXXXI 1 Like he who sees his death draw nigh,

Running before ill winds, at peril upon the sea,

And spies the place where he might find safety

Biographical notes

Àngels Casals Martinez (Volume editor) Giovanni C. Cattini (Volume editor)

Àngel Casals is a tenure-track lecturer in Modern History at the University of Barcelona.&nbsp;A specialist in the History of Monarchy and Social Conflict, he's the author of several publications regarding the history of Catalonia during the Modern age. Giovanni C. Cattini is a tenure-track lecturer Serra Húnter in Contemporary History at the University of Barcelona. His field of study is the nationalist movement between the Nineteenth&nbsp;and Twentieth centuries, however he specializes in contemporary Catalan Nationalism and intellectual movements of this time.

Previous

Title: The Catalan Nation and Identity Throughout History