The burial stone of Sancho III, bearing his effigy
|King of Pamplona|
|Predecessor||García Sánchez II|
|Successor||García Sánchez III|
|Count of Aragon|
|Predecessor||García Sánchez II|
|Spouse||Muniadona of Castile|
|Issue|| Garcia III of Pamplona |
Ferdinand I of León
(illegitimate) Ramiro I of Aragon
|House||House of Jiménez|
|Father||García Sánchez II|
Sancho Garcés III (c. 992-996 – 18 October 1035), also known as Sancho the Great (Spanish : Sancho el Mayor, Basque : Antso Gartzez Nagusia), was the King of Pamplona from 1004 until his death in 1035. He also ruled the County of Aragon and by marriage the counties of Castile, Álava and Monzón. He later added the counties of Sobrarbe (1015), Ribagorza (1018) and Cea (1030), and would intervene in the Kingdom of León, taking its eponymous capital city in 1034.
He was the eldest son of García Sánchez II and his wife Jimena Fernández.
The year of Sancho's birth is not known, but it is no earlier than 992 and no later than 996. His parents were García Sánchez II the Tremulous and Jimena Fernández, daughter of Fernando Bermúdez, count of Cea on the Leonese frontier. García and Jimena are first recorded as married in 992, but there is no record of their son Sancho until 996. The first record of the future king is a diploma of his father's granting the village of Terrero to the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla. The king describes Sancho merely as "my son" (filius meus). The same diploma also shows the future duke of Gascony, Sancho VI, at the court of Pamplona.
Sancho was raised in Leyre. His father last appears in 1000, while Sancho is first found as king in 1004, inheriting the kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre). This gap has led to speculation as to whether there was an interregnum, while one document shows Sancho Ramírez of Viguera reigning in Pamplona in 1002, perhaps ruling as had Jimeno Garcés during the youth of García Sánchez I three generations earlier. On his succession, Sancho initially ruled under a council of regency led by the bishops, his mother Jimena, and grandmother Urraca Fernández.
Sancho aspired to unify the Christian principalities in the face of the fragmentation of Muslim Spain into the taifa kingdoms following the Battle of Calatañazor. In about 1010 he married Muniadona of Castile, daughter of Sancho García of Castile, and in 1015 he began a policy of expansion. He displaced Muslim control in the depopulated former county of Sobrarbe. In Ribagorza, another opportunity arose. The 1010 partition of the county left it divided between William Isarn, illegitimate son of count Isarn, and Raymond III of Pallars Jussà and his wife, Mayor García of Castile, who was both niece of Isarn and aunt of Sancho's wife. In 1018, William Isarn tried to solidify his control over the Arán valley, but was killed, and Sancho jumped on the opportunity to take his portion, presumably based on some loose claim derived from his wife. Raymond and Mayor annulled their marriage, creating a further division finally resolved in 1025 when Mayor retired to a Castilian convent and Sancho received the submission of Raymond as vassal.He also forced Berengar Raymond I of Barcelona to become his vassal, though he was already a vassal of the French king. Berengar met Sancho in Zaragoza and in Navarre many times to confer on a mutual policy against the counts of Toulouse.
In 1016, Sancho fixed the border between Navarre and Castile, part of the good relationship he established by marrying Muniadona, daughter of Sancho García of Castile. In 1017, he became the protector of Castile for the young García Sánchez. However, relations between the three Christian entities of León, Castile, and Navarre soured after the assassination of Count García in 1027. He had been betrothed to Sancha, daughter of Alfonso V, who was set thus to gain from Castile lands between the rivers Cea and Pisuerga (as the price for approving the marital pact). As García arrived in León for his wedding, he was killed by the sons of a noble he had expelled from his lands.
Sancho III had opposed the wedding and the expected expansion of Leonese power to Castile, and used García's death to reverse this. Using the pretext of the protectorship he had exercised over Castile, he immediately occupied the county and named as successor his own younger son Ferdinand, who was nephew of the deceased count, bringing it fully within his sphere of influence.
Sancho established relations with the Duchy of Gascony, probably of a suzerain – vassal nature, him being the suzerain. In consequence of his relationship with the monastery of Cluny, he improved the road from Gascony to León. This road would begin to bring increased traffic down to Iberia as pilgrims flocked to Santiago de Compostela. Because of this, Sancho ranks as one of the first great patrons of the Saint James Way.
Sancho VI of Gascony was a relative of King Sancho and spent a portion of his life at the royal court in Pamplona. He also partook alongside Sancho the Great in the Reconquista. In 1010, the two Sanchos appeared together with Robert II of France and William V of Aquitaine, neither of whom was the Gascon duke's suzerain, at Saint-Jean d'Angély. After Sancho VI's death in 1032, Sancho the Great extended his authority definitively into Gascony, where he began to mention his authority as extending as far as the Garonne in the documents issued by his chancery.
In southern Gascony, Sancho created a series of viscounties: Labourd (between 1021 and 1023), Bayonne (1025), and Baztán (also 1025).
After the succession of Bermudo III to León, Sancho negotiated the marriage of his son Ferdinand to Sancha, the former fiancée of García Sánchez and Bermudo's sister, and along with it a dowry that included disputed Leonese lands. Sancho was soon engaged in a full-scale war with León, and combined Castilian and Navarrese armies quickly overran much of Bermudo's kingdom, occupying Astorga. By March 1033, he was king from Zamora to the borders of Barcelona.
In 1034, even the city of León, the imperiale culmen (imperial capital, as Sancho saw it), fell, and there Sancho had himself crowned again. This was the height of Sancho's rule which now extended from the borders of Galicia in the west to the county of Barcelona in the east. In 1035, he refounded the diocese of Palencia, which had been laid waste by the Moors. He gave the see and its several abbacies to Bernard, of French or Navarrese origin, to whom he also gave the secular lordship (as a feudum), which included many castles in the region. However, he died on 18 October 1035 and was buried in the monastery of San Salvador de Oña, an enclave in Burgos, under the inscription Sancius, gratia Dei, Hispaniarum rex.
Before his death in 1035, Sancho divided his possessions among his sons. Of the three surviving sons by Muniadona, the eldest, García, had already appeared as regulus in Navarre, inheriting the kingdom including the Basque country as well as exercising suzerainty over the kingdom's lands given to his brothers. Gonzalo had been placed in control of the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza, which he would hold as regulus. Ferdinand had been given Castile on the death of count García Sánchez in 1027, holding it first under his father and later of Vermudo III of León, before killing that king to take León and the royal title. Ramiro, the eldest but illegitimate son of Sancho by mistress Sancha of Aybar, was given property in the former county of Aragón with the provision that he should ask for no more lands of García, under whom he first acted as baiulus but from whom he later achieved de facto independence. Documents report two further sons, a second Ramiro and Bernard, but scholarship is divided on whether they were legitimate sons who died in youth, or if their appearance instead results from either scribal error or forgery. Sancho left two daughters, Mayor and Jimena, the former perhaps the wife of Pons, Count of Toulouse, the latter wife of Vermudo III.
Taking residence in Nájera instead of the traditional capital of Pamplona, as his realm grew larger, he considered himself a European monarch, establishing relations on the other side of the Pyrenees.
He introduced French feudal theories and ecclesiastic and intellectual currents into Iberia. Through his close ties with the count of Barcelona and the duke of Gascony and his friendship with the monastic reformer Abbot Oliva, Sancho established relations with several of the leading figures north of the Pyrenees, most notably Robert II of France, William V of Aquitaine, William II and Alduin II of Angoulême, and Odo II of Blois and Champagne.It was through this circle that the Cluniac reforms first probably influenced his thinking. In 1024 a Navarrese monk, Paterno of San Juan de la Peña from Cluny, returned to Navarre and was made abbot of San Juan de la Peña, where he instituted the Cluniac custom and founded thus the first Cluniac house in Iberia west of Catalonia, under the patronage of Sancho. The Mozarabic rite continued to be practiced at San Juan, and the view that Sancho spread the Cluniac usage to other houses in his kingdom has been discredited by Justo Pérez de Urbel. Sancho sowed the seeds of the Cluniac reform and of the adoption of the Roman rite, but he did not widely enact them.
Sancho also began the Navarrese series of currency by minting what the Encyclopædia Britannica calls "deniers of Carolingian influence." The division of his realm upon his death, the concepts of vassalage and suzerainty, and the use of the phrase "by the grace of God" (Dei gratia) after his title were imported from France, with which he tried to maintain relations. For this he has been called the "first Europeaniser of Iberia."
His most obvious legacy, however, was the temporary union of all Christian Iberia. At least nominally, he ruled over León, the ancient capital of the kingdom won from the Moors in the eighth century, and Barcelona, the greatest of the Catalan cities. Though he divided the realm at his death, thus creating the enduring legacy of Castilian and Aragonese kingdoms, he left all his lands in the hands of one dynasty, the Jiménez, which kept the kingdoms allied by blood until the twelfth century. He made the Navarrese pocket kingdom strong, politically stable, and independent, preserving it for the remainder of the Middle Ages. It is for this that his seal has been appropriated by Basque nationalism. Though, by dividing the realm, he isolated the kingdom and inhibited its ability to gain land at the expense of the Moslems. Summed up, his reign defined the political geography of Iberia until its union under the Catholic Monarchs.
Throughout his long reign, Sancho used a myriad of titles. After his coronation in León, he styled himself rex Dei gratia Hispaniarum, or "by the grace of God, king of the Spains", and may have minted coins with the legend "NAIARA/IMPERATOR ".The use of the first title implied his kingship over all the independently founded Iberian kingdoms and the use of the form Dei gratia, adopted from French practice, stressed that his right to rule was of divine origin and sustenance. The latter, imperial title was only rarely employed, for it is not documented, being found only on coins only probably datable to his reign. It is not unlikely, however, that he desired to usurp the imperial title which the kings of León had thitherto carried.
Despite this, the contemporary ecclesiastic Abbot Oliva only ever acknowledged Sancho as rex Ibericus or rex Navarrae Hispaniarum, while he called both Alfonso V and Vermudo III emperor. The first title considers Sancho as king of all Iberia, as does the second, though it stresses his kingship over Navarre alone as if it had been extended to authority over the whole Christian portion of the peninsula. The near-contemporary writer Ibn Bassam, besides highlighting his virtues, calls him Lord of the Basques.
|Ancestors of Sancho III of Pamplona|
Sancho III was married to Muniadona of Castile, daughter of Sancho García of Castile, count of Castile and Álava. They had the following children:
Before marrying Muniadona of Castile, Sancho III had a son with Sancha of Aibar:
Ramiro I was the first King of Aragon from 1035 until his death. Apparently born before 1007, he was the illegitimate son of Sancho III of Pamplona by his mistress Sancha of Aybar. Ramiro was reputed to have been adopted by his father's wife Muniadona after he was the only one of his father's children to come to her aid when needed, although there is no surviving record of these events and the story is probably apocryphal.
Ferdinand I, called the Great, was the Count of Castile from his uncle's death in 1029 and the King of León after defeating his brother-in-law in 1037. According to tradition, he was the first to have himself crowned Emperor of Spain (1056), and his heirs carried on the tradition. He was a younger son of Sancho III of Navarre and Muniadona of Castile, and by his father's will recognised the supremacy of his eldest brother, García Sánchez III of Navarre. While Ferdinand inaugurated the rule of the Navarrese Jiménez dynasty over western Spain, his rise to preeminence among the Christian rulers of the peninsula shifted the locus of power and culture westward after more than a century of Leonese decline. Nevertheless, "[t]he internal consolidation of the realm of León–Castilla under Fernando el Magno and [his queen] Sancha (1037–1065) is a history that remains to be researched and written."
The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.
García Ramírez, sometimes García IV, V, VI or VII, called the Restorer, was the King of Navarre (Pamplona) from 1134. The election of García Ramírez restored the independence of the Navarrese kingdom after 58 years of political union with the Kingdom of Aragon. After some initial conflict he would align himself with king Alfonso VII of León and Castile, and as his ally take part in the Reconquista.
García Sánchez I, was King of Pamplona from 925 until his death in 970. He was the second king of the Jiménez dynasty, succeeding his father when he was merely six years old.
García Sánchez II, was King of Pamplona and Count of Aragon from 994 until his death c. 1000. He was the eldest son of Sancho II of Pamplona and Urraca Fernández and the second Pamplonese monarch to also hold the title of count of Aragon. Modern historians refer to him as the Tremulous, though this appellation likely originally applied to his grandfather, García Sánchez I of Pamplona.
García Sánchez III, nicknamed García from Nájera was King of Pamplona from 1034 until his death. He was also Count of Álava and had under his personal control part of the County of Castile. As the eldest son of Sancho III he inherited the dynastic rights over the crown of Pamplona, becoming feudal overlord over two of his brothers: Ramiro, who was given lands that would serve as the basis for the Kingdom of Aragón; and Gonzalo, who received the counties of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. Likewise, he had some claim to suzerainty over his brother Ferdinand, who under their father had served as Count of Castile, nominally subject to the Kingdom of León but brought under the personal control of Sancho III.
Sancho Garcés IV, nicknamed Sancho of Peñalén was King of Pamplona from 1054 until his death. He was the eldest son of García Sánchez III and his wife, Stephanie, and was crowned king of Pamplona after his father was killed during the Battle of Atapuerca.
Fernán González was the first autonomous count of Castile. Fernán González was a colourful character of legendary status in Iberia, and founder of the dynasty that would rule a semi-autonomous Castile, laying the foundations for its status as an independent kingdom. In the year 930, Fernán's name appears with the title of count inside the administrative organization of the eastern Kingdom of León.
Muniadona of Castile, also called Mayor or Munia, was Queen of Pamplona by her marriage with King Sancho Garcés III, who later added to his domains the Counties of Ribagorza (1017) and Castile (1028) using her dynastic rights to these territories.
Bermudo III or Vermudo III was the king of León from 1028 until his death. He was a son of Alfonso V of León by his first wife Elvira Menéndez, and was the last scion of Peter of Cantabria to rule in the Leonese kingdom. Like several of his predecessors, he sometimes carried the imperial title: in 1030 he appears as regni imperii Ueremundo principis; in 1029/1032 as imperator domnus Veremudius in Gallecia; and in 1034 as regni imperii Veremundus rex Legionensis. He was a child when he succeeded his father. In 1034 he was chased from his throne by King Sancho III of Pamplona and forced to take refuge in Galicia. He returned to power, but was defeated and killed fighting against his brother-in-law, Ferdinand of Castile, in the battle of Tamarón.
García Fernández, called of the White Hands, was the count of Castile and Alava from 970 to 995. In May 995, he was captured by a raiding party while out hunting. Wounded in the encounter, he was sent to Cordoba as a trophy, but died at Medinaceli in June 995.
Sancho García, called of the Good Laws, was the count of Castile and Álava from 995 to his death.
The Jiménez dynasty, alternatively called the Jimena, the Sancha, the Banu Sancho, the Abarca or the Banu Abarca, were a Basque ruling family from the 10th century to the 13th century.
Salvador González was a Castilian nobleman active in the regions of La Bureba and Burgos in the middle third of the eleventh century. His origins are obscure, and he thus stands at the head of his lineage, the Salvadórez. He remained loyal to the ruler of Castile throughout his career, even when it meant a loss of position after the Bureba was acquired by neighbouring Pamplona.
At the Battle of Tafalla, García Sánchez III of Navarre defeated his brother, Ramiro I of Aragon, who was invading his kingdom, near Tafalla. Allied with García was his brother Ferdinand I of Castile, and Ramiro brought with him his Moorish allies, the kings of the taifas of Zaragoza, Tudela, and Huesca.
The County of Monzón was a marcher county of the Kingdom of León in the tenth and eleventh centuries, during a period of renewed external threat and disintegration of royal authority. The county was created by Ramiro II for Ansur Fernández in 943 and was ruled by his descendants, the Banu Ansur or Ansúrez, for decades. The seat of the county was initially at the castle of Curiel and later at Monteson; to its east the river Pisuerga served as a border with the County of Castile. The County of Monzón straddled both banks of the Duero: south of the river its territories comprised Peñafiel or Sacramenia, north of the river it extended to the Cantabrian Mountains and included the populations of Redondos, Mudá, Rueda de Pisuerga, and Salinas de Pisuerga.
Sancho Garcés was an illegitimate son of King García Sánchez III of Pamplona and first cousin of King Alfonso VI of León. Lord of Uncastillo and Sangüesa, he was the father of Ramiro Sánchez whose son García Ramírez was the first of a new dynasty of Navarrese monarchs.
Sancho Sánchez was an important magnate of the Kingdom of Aragon in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, during the reigns of Sancho Ramírez, Peter I and Alfonso I. He was governor of the important Navarrese tenancies of Erro, the castle of San Esteban de Deyo (1084), the capital city of Pamplona (1092), Aibar and Tafalla (1098) and Falces and Leguín (1112). In Aragon proper, he governed the important fortress of El Castellar overlooking Muslim Zaragoza from 1091 and the town of Ejea from 1113. He held the rank of count from 1085, before that he was a lord (senior).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sancho III of Navarre .|
García Sánchez II
| King of Pamplona |
García Sánchez III
|Vacant|| Count of Sobrarbe |
Raymond III of Pallars,
| Count of Ribagorza |
with Mayor until 1032
|New title|| Emperor of Spain |
Title next held byFerdinand I of León