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Alphonso I


ALPHONSO I. (1104-1134), King of Aragon, is sometimes counted the seventh in the line of the kings of Leon and Castile. A passionate fighting-man (he fought 29 battles against Christian or Moor), he was married to Urraca, widow of Raymond of Bur gundy, a very dissolute and passionate woman. The marriage had been arranged by Alphonso VI., in I 1 o6, to unite the two chief Christian states against the Almoravides, and to supply them with a capable military leader. But Urraca was tenacious of her right as proprietary queen, and had not learnt chastity in the polyg amous household of her father. Husband and wife quarrelled with the brutality of the age, and came to open war. Alphonso had the support of one section of the nobles who found their account in the confusion. Being a much better soldier than any of his opponents he gained victories at Sepulveda and Fuente de la Culebra, but his only trustworthy supporters were his Aragonese, who were not numerous enough to keep down Castile and Leon. The marriage of Alphonso and Urraca was declared null by the pope, as they were third cousins. The king quarrelled with the Church, and particularly with the Cistercians, almost as violently as with his wife. As he beat her, so he drove Arch bishop Bernard into exile and expelled the monks of Sahagun. He was finally compelled to give way in Castile and Leon to his stepson, Alphonso, son of Urraca and her first husband. The intervention of Pope Calixtus II. brought about an arrangement between the old man and the young. Alphonso the Battler won his great successes in the middle Ebro, where he expelled the Moors from Saragossa; in the great raid of 1125, when he carried away a large part of the subject-Christians from Granada; and in the south-west of France, where he had rights as king of Navarre. Three years before his death he made a will leaving his kingdom to the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the Knights of the Sepulchre ; this his subjects refused to carry out. He was a fierce soldier and nothing else; his piety was wholly militant ; but, though he died in 1134 after losing to the Moors at Braga, he has a great place in the reconquest.

urraca, king and castile