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Almogavares

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ALMOGAVARES (from the Arab. Al-Mugavari, a scout), the name of a class of Spanish soldiers who came originally from the Pyrenees, and were in later times recruited mainly in Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia. They were frontiersmen and professional foot-soldiers who wore no armour, dressed in skins, were shod with brogues (abarcas), and carried the same arms as the Roman legionaries—two heavy javelins (Spanish azagaya, the Roman pilum), a short stabbing sword and a shield. When Peter III. of Aragon made war on Charles of Anjou after the Sicilian Vespers —March 3o, 1282—for the possession of Naples and Sicily, the Almogavares formed the most effective element of his army. When the Peace of Calatabellota in 1302 ended the war in south ern Italy, the Almogavares followed Roger di Flor (Roger Blum) the unfrocked Templar, who entered the service of the emperor of the East, Andronicus, as condottieri to fight against the Turks. When Roger di Flor was assassinated by his Greek employer in 1305, they turned on the emperor, held Gallipoli and ravaged the neighbourhood of Constantinople. In 1310 they marched against the duke of Athens, of the French house of Brienne. Walter of Brienne was defeated and slain by them with all his knights at the battle of Cephissus, or Orchomenus, in Boeotia in March. The foundation of the Aragonese duchy of Athens was the culmination of the achievements of the Almogavares. In the 16th century the name died out. It was, however, revived for a short time as a party nickname in the civil wars of the reign of Ferdinand VII.

See Ramon de Muntaner's Chronicle (Eng. trans. Lady Good enough, 1920) ; G. Schlumberger, Expedition des "Almugavares" ou routiers Catalans en orient, de l'an 1302 a l'an 1311 (19o2 Y.

roger and flor