Aragon is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces, Huesca and Teruel, the current Statute of Autonomy declares Aragon a nationality of Spain. Aragons northern province of Huesca borders France and is positioned in the middle of the Pyrenees, within Spain, the community is flanked by Catalonia to the east and Castile–La Mancha to the south, and Castile and León, La Rioja, and Navarre to the west. Aragon is home to many rivers—most notably, the river Ebro, Spains largest river in volume and it is home to the Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees. As of 2015, the population of Aragon was 1,317,847, with more than half of it living in Zaragoza. As of 2015, half of Aragons population,50. 45%, Huesca is the only other city in the region with a population greater than 50,000. The majority of Aragonese citizens,71. 8%, live in the province of Zaragoza,17. 1% in Huesca and 11.
1% in Teruel, the population density of the region is the second lowest in Spain, only 26, 8/km2, after Castilla La Mancha. Only four cities have more than 20,000 inhabitants, Zaragoza 700,000, Huesca 50,000, Teruel 35,000 and Calatayud 20,000. Spanish is the language in most of Aragon, and it is the only official language, understood. The strip-shaped Catalan-speaking area in Aragon is often called La Franja, with such a low population density large areas of Aragon remain wild and relatively untouched. It is a land of natural contrasts, both in climate and geologically, from the green valleys and snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees to the dry plains. Aragons Pyrenees include splendid and varied mountain landscapes with soaring peaks, deep canyons, dense forests and its rugged peaks include the Aneto, the highest in the range, the misty Monte Perdido, Perdiguero and many others. The park is one of the last sanctuaries of birds of prey in the range. Many beautiful mountain butterflies and flowers can be seen in the summer, the principal valleys in the mountains include those of Hecho, Tena and others.
The green valleys hide pretty villages with nice Romanesque churches and typical Pyrenean houses with flowers on the balconies, the oldest Romanesque cathedral in Spain is located in the medieval town of Jaca in the very northern part of Huesca Province. In the Pyrenean foothills, or pre-Pyrenees, the Mallos de Riglos are a natural rock formation. Ancient castles nestle on lonely hills, the most famous being the magnificent Loarre Castle, further south, the Ebro valley, irrigated by the river Ebro, is a rich and fertile agricultural area covered with vast fields of wheat and other fruit and vegetable crops. Many beautiful and little-known settlements and Roman ruins dot the landscape here, some of the most notable towns here include Calatayud, Sos del Rey Catolico and others
Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis, the battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a point in the Greco-Persian Wars. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, in response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. Also he charged one of his servants, to say Master, remember the Athenians, three times before dinner each day. At the time of the battle and Athens were the two largest city states, once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a campaign in the Aegean.
The Persian force sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon, the Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon. The Athenians sent a message asking for support to the Spartans, when the messenger arrived in Sparta, the Spartans were involved in a religious festival and gave this as a reason for not coming to aid of the Athenians. The Athenians and their allies chose a location for the battle, with marshes and mountainous terrain, the Athenian general, ordered a general attack against the Persians. He reinforced his flanks, luring the Persians best fighters into his center, the inward wheeling flanks enveloped the Persians, routing them. The Persian army broke in panic towards their ships, and large numbers were slaughtered, the defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. Darius began raising a new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece, however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted.
After Darius died, his son Xerxes I restarted the preparations for an invasion of Greece. The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten, the battle showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. This win was due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. The main source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus, who has been called the Father of History, was born in 484 BC in Halicarnassus, Asia Minor
The period ended with the unification of northern China by the Northern Wei in the early 5th century. Cui Hong did not count several other kingdoms that appeared at the time including the Ran Wei, Zhai Wei, nor did he include the Northern Wei and its predecessor Dai, because the Northern Wei eventually became the ruling dynasty of northern China. Among the handful of the states founded by Han Chinese, several founders had close relations with ethnic minorities, the father of Ran Min, the founder of the Ran Wei, was adopted into a Jie ruling family. Feng Ba, who is considered by historians to be the founder of the Northern Yan, had been assimilated into Xianbei culture. Gao Yun, considered by historians to be the Northern Yan founder, was an ethnic Korean who had been adopted by Xianbei nobility. Due to fierce competition among the states and internal political instability, from 376 to 383, the Former Qin briefly unified northern China, but its collapse led to even greater political fragmentation.
The Sixteen Kingdoms is considered to be one of the most chaotic periods in Chinese history, from the late Han Dynasty to the early Jin dynasty, large numbers of non-Han Chinese peoples living along Chinas northern periphery settled in northern China. Some of these such as the Xiongnu and Xianbei had been pastoralist nomads from the northern steppes. Others such as the Di and Qiang were farmers and herders from the mountains of western Sichuan, as migrants, they lived among Han Chinese and were sinified to varying degrees. Some attained official positions in the court and military and they faced discrimination and retained clan and tribal affiliations. The War of the Eight Princes during the reign of the second Jin ruler Emperor Hui severely divided and weakened imperial authority, hundreds of thousands were killed and millions were uprooted by the internecine fighting. Popular rebellions against heavy taxation and repression erupted throughout the country, in Sichuan, Li Xiong, a Di chieftain, led a successful rebellion and founded Cheng Han kingdom in 304.
Thus began the creation of independent kingdoms in northern China as Jin authority crumbled, most of these kingdoms were founded by ethnic minority leaders who took on Chinese reign names. Jin princes and military governors often recruited ethnic minorities into their armies in their suppression of rebellions and his regime, renamed Zhao, is designated by historians as the Han Zhao or Former Zhao. After Liu Yuan died in 310, his son Liu Cong killed older brother Liu He, Liu Cong captured the Jin capital Luoyang and Emperor Hui in 311. In 316, Liu Congs uncle Liu Yao seized Changan and the Emperor Min, Sima Rui, a Jin prince who had moved to the South, continued the dynasty as the Eastern Jin from Jiankang. The collapse of Jin authority in the North led other leaders to declare independence, in 313, Zhang Gui, the ethnic Han governor of Liangzhou founded the Former Liang in modern-day Gansu. In 315, Tuoba Yilu, a Xianbei chieftain, founded the Dai in modern-day Inner Mongolia, after Liu Congs death, the kingdom was split between Liu Yao and General Shi Le
James I of Aragon
James I the Conqueror was King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276, King of Majorca from 1231 to 1276, and Valencia from 1238 to 1276. By a treaty with Louis IX of France, he wrested the county of Barcelona from nominal French suzerainty and his part in the Reconquista was similar in Mediterranean Spain to that of his contemporary Ferdinand III of Castile in Andalusia. As a legislator and organiser, he occupies a place among the Spanish kings. James compiled the Llibre del Consolat de Mar, which governed maritime trade and he was an important figure in the development of the Catalan language, sponsoring Catalan literature and writing a quasi-autobiographical chronicle of his reign, the Llibre dels fets. James was born at Montpellier as the son of Peter II of Aragon. Peter endeavoured to placate the northern crusaders by arranging a marriage between his son James and Simons daughter, when the former was only two years old. He entrusted the boy to be educated in Montforts care in 1211, Montfort would willingly have used James as a means of extending his own power had not the Aragonese appealed to Pope Innocent III, who insisted that Montfort surrender him.
James was handed over to the papal legate Peter of Benevento at Carcassonne in May or June 1214, the kingdom was given over to confusion until, in 1217, the Templars and some of the more loyal nobles brought the young king to Zaragoza. In 1221, he was married to Eleanor, daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile, the next six years of his reign were full of rebellions on the part of the nobles. By the Peace of Alcalá of 31 March 1227, the nobles, in 1228, James faced the sternest opposition yet from a vassal. Guerau IV de Cabrera occupied the County of Urgell in opposition to Aurembiax, the heiress of Ermengol VIII, who had died without sons in 1208. Although Aurembiaxs mother, had made herself a protegée of Jamess father, upon her death in 1220 Guerau occupied the county and displaced Aurembiax, James intervened on behalf of Aurembiax, to whom he owed protection. He bought Guerau off and allowed Aurembiax to reclaim her territory and she surrendered Lleida to James and agreed to hold Urgell in fief for him.
On her death in 1231, James exchanged the Balearic Islands for Urgell with her widower, Peter of Portugal, from 1230 to 1232, James negotiated with Sancho VII of Navarre, who desired his help against his nephew and closest living male relative, Theobald IV of Champagne. Pope Gregory IX was required to intervene, in the end, James accepted Theobalds succession. James endeavoured to form a state straddling the Pyrenees in order to counterbalance the power of France north of the Loire, as with the much earlier Visigothic attempt, this policy was victim to physical and political obstacles. As in the case of Navarre, he declined to launch into perilous adventures, by the Treaty of Corbeil, signed in May 1258, he ended his conflict with Louis IX of France, securing the renunciation of French claims to sovereignty over Catalonia. After his false start at uniting Aragon with the Kingdom of Navarre through a scheme of mutual adoption, James turned to the south, James conquered Majorca on 31 December 1229, and Minorca and Ibiza were acquired during the reconquest
Peter II of Aragon
Peter II the Catholic was the King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona from 1196 to 1213. He was born in Huesca, the son of Alfonso II of Aragon, in 1205 he acknowledged the feudal supremacy of the papacy and was crowned in Rome by Pope Innocent III, swearing to defend the Catholic faith. He was the first king of Aragon to be crowned by the pope, in the first decade of the thirteenth century he commissioned the Liber feudorum Ceritaniae, an illustrated codex cartulary for the counties of Cerdagne and Roussillon. On June 15,1204 he married Marie of Montpellier and she gave him a son, but Peter soon repudiated her. Marie was popularly venerated as a saint for her piety and marital suffering, Marie perhaps bore Peter II a daughter, Sancha, at Collioure in October,1205 according to Christian Nique. Sancha was betrothed to Raymond VII the son Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, not long after her birth, according to Nique, however the childs younger brother James makes no mention of her and Sancha was apparently dead before the New Year, according to Niques information.
He participated in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 which marked the point of Muslim domination in the Iberian peninsula. The Crown of Aragon was widespread in the area that is now southernwestern France, the Cathars or Albigenses rejected the authority and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Innocent called upon Philip Augustus of France to suppress the Albigenses, under the leadership of Simon of Montfort a campaign was launched. The Albigensian Crusade, begun in 1209, led to the slaughter of approximately 20,000 men and children, Cathar and he was accompanied by Raymond of Toulouse, who tried to persuade Peter to avoid battle and instead starve out Montforts forces. The Battle of Muret began on September 12,1213, the Aragonese forces were disorganized and disintegrated under the assault of Montforts squadrons. Peter himself was caught in the thick of fighting, and died as a result of an act of bravado. He was thrown to the ground and killed, the Aragonese forces broke in panic when their king was slain and Montforts crusaders won a crushing victory.
The nobility of Toulouse, vassals of the Crown of Aragon, were defeated, the conflict culminated in the Treaty of Meaux-Paris in 1229, in which the integration of the Occitan territory into the French crown was agreed upon. Upon Peters death, the passed to his only son by Marie of Montpellier. Martín Alvira-Cabrer,12 de Septiembre de 1213, El Jueves de Muret, la batalla decisiva de la Cruzada contra los Cátaros, Barcelona,2008 and 2013. Martín Alvira-Cabrer, Pedro el Católico, Rey de Aragón y Conde de Barcelona, Testimonios y Memoria Histórica,6 vols. Zaragoza, Institución Fernando el Católico,2010, Christian, Les deux visages de Marie de Montpellier, Académie des Sciences et Lettres de Montpellier
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman/Byzantine Empire, and of the brief Latin, and the Ottoman empires. It was reinaugurated in 324 AD from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, Constantinople never truly recovered from the devastation of the Fourth Crusade and the decades of misrule by the Latins. The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not entirely clear. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas. The Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was likely just a play on the word Byzantion. During this time, the city was called Second Rome, Eastern Rome, and Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, and its wealth and influence grew.
In the language of other peoples, Constantinople was referred to just as reverently, the medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the empire through their expansion in eastern Europe used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr, and Miklagard and Miklagarth. In Arabic, the city was sometimes called Rūmiyyat al-kubra and in Persian as Takht-e Rum, in East and South Slavic languages, including in medieval Russia, Constantinople was referred to as Tsargrad or Carigrad, City of the Caesar, from the Slavonic words tsar and grad. This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις, the modern Turkish name for the city, İstanbul, derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin, meaning into the city or to the city. In 1928, the Turkish alphabet was changed from Arabic script to Latin script, in time the city came to be known as Istanbul and its variations in most world languages. In Greece today, the city is still called Konstantinoúpolis/Konstantinoúpoli or simply just the City, apart from this, little is known about this initial settlement, except that it was abandoned by the time the Megarian colonists settled the site anew.
A farsighted treaty with the emergent power of Rome in c.150 BC which stipulated tribute in exchange for independent status allowed it to enter Roman rule unscathed. The site lay astride the land route from Europe to Asia and the seaway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and had in the Golden Horn an excellent and spacious harbour. He would rebuild Byzantium towards the end of his reign, in which it would be briefly renamed Augusta Antonina, fortifying it with a new city wall in his name, Constantine had altogether more colourful plans. Rome was too far from the frontiers, and hence from the armies and the imperial courts, yet it had been the capital of the state for over a thousand years, and it might have seemed unthinkable to suggest that the capital be moved to a different location. Constantinople was built over 6 years, and consecrated on 11 May 330, Constantine divided the expanded city, like Rome, into 14 regions, and ornamented it with public works worthy of an imperial metropolis
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in the south of France. The reforms were a reaction against the scandalous and dissolute lifestyles of the Catholic clergy in southern France. They became known as the Albigensians, because there were many adherents in the city of Albi, Innocent IIIs diplomatic attempts to roll back Catharism met with little success. After the murder of his legate, Pierre de Castelnau, in 1208 and he offered the lands of the Cathar heretics to any French nobleman willing to take up arms. After initial successes, the French barons faced an uprising in Languedoc which led to the intervention of the French royal army. The Albigensian Crusade had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the medieval inquisition. By the 12th century, organized groups of dissidents, such as the Waldensians and Cathars, were beginning to appear in the towns and cities of newly urbanized areas.
In western Mediterranean France, one of the most urbanized areas of Europe at the time, the Cathars grew to represent a mass movement. Relatively few believers took the consolamentum to become full Cathars, the theology of the Cathars was dualistic, a belief in two equal and comparable transcendental principles, the force of good, and Satan, or the demiurge, the force of evil. They held that the world was evil and created by this demiurge. Rex Mundi encompassed all that was corporeal and powerful, the Cathar understanding of God was entirely disincarnate, they viewed God as a being or principle of pure spirit and completely unsullied by the taint of matter. He was the God of love and peace, jesus was an angel with only a phantom body, and the accounts of him in the New Testament were to be understood allegorically. As the physical world and the body were the creation of the evil principle. Civil authority had no claim on a Cathar, since this was the rule of the physical world, deriving from earlier varieties of gnosticism, Cathar theology found its greatest success in the Languedoc.
The Cathars were known as Albigensians because of their association with the city of Albi, in Languedoc, political control was divided among many local lords and town councils. Before the crusade there was fighting in the area and it had a fairly sophisticated polity. Western Mediterranean France itself was at that time divided between the Crown of Aragon and the county of Toulouse, on becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III resolved to deal with the Cathars and sent a delegation of friars to the province of Languedoc to assess the situation. One of the most powerful, Count Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, openly supported the Cathars and he refused to assist the delegation
Andronikos I Komnenos
Andronikos I Komnenos, usually Latinized as Andronicus I Comnenus, was Byzantine Emperor from 1183 to 1185. He was the son of Isaac Komnenos and the grandson of the emperor Alexios I, Andronikos Komnenos was born around 1118. He was handsome and eloquent, hardy, courageous, a general and an able politician. His early years were spent alternately in pleasure and in military service, in 1141 he was taken captive by the Seljuq Turks and remained in their hands for a year. On being ransomed, he went to Constantinople, where he was held at the court of his cousin, here the charms of his niece, attracted him and she became his mistress. In 1152, accompanied by Eudoxia, he set out for an important command in Cilicia, failing in his principal enterprise, an attack upon Mopsuestia, he returned but was again appointed to the command of a province. This second post he seems to have left after an interval, for he appeared again in Constantinople. About 1153, a conspiracy against the Emperor in which Andronikos participated was discovered, after repeated unsuccessful attempts, he escaped in 1165.
After passing through many dangers, including captivity in Vlach territory, he reached Kiev, Andronikos was removed from court but received the province of Cilicia. Still under the displeasure of the Emperor, Andronikos fled to the court of Raymond, while residing here he captivated and seduced the beautiful daughter of the Prince, sister of the Empress Maria. The Emperor was again angered by this dishonour, and Andronikos was compelled to flee and he took refuge with King Amalric I of Jerusalem, whose favour he gained, and who invested him with the Lordship of Beirut. In Jerusalem he saw Theodora Komnene, the widow of King Baldwin III. Although Andronikos was at that time fifty-six years old, age had not diminished his charms, to avoid the vengeance of the Emperor, she fled with Andronikos to the court of Nur ad-Din, the Sultan of Damascus. Feeling unsafe there, they continued their perilous journey through the Caucasus and they were well received by King George III of Georgia, whose anonymous sister had probably been the first wife of Andronikos.
Andronikos was granted estates in Kakhetia, in the east of Georgia, finally and Theodora settled in the ancestral lands of the Komnenoi at Oinaion, on the shores of the Black Sea, between Trebizond and Sinope. While Andronikos was on one of his incursions into Trebizond, his castle was surprised by the governor of that province, to obtain their release Andronikos in early 1180 made abject submission to the Emperor and, appearing in chains before him, besought pardon. This he obtained, and he was allowed to retire with Theodora into banishment at Oinaion, in 1180 the Emperor Manuel died and was succeeded by his ten-year-old son Alexios II, who was under the guardianship of his mother, Empress Maria. Her Latin origins and culture led to creeping resentment from her Greek subjects and they had felt insulted by the Western tastes of Manuel, and being ruled by his Western wife built tensions to an explosion of rioting that almost became a full civil war
Battle of Muret
At the Battle of Muret on 12 September 1213 the Crusader army of Simon IV de Montfort defeated the Catharist and Catalan forces of Peter II of Aragon, at Muret near Toulouse. Simon IV de Montfort was the leader of the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy and he invaded Toulouse and exiled its count, Raymond VI. Count Raymond sought assistance from his brother-in-law, King Peter II of Aragon and he decided to cross the Pyrenees and deal with Montfort at Muret. On 10 September, Peters army arrived at Muret, and was joined by a Toulousain militia and he chose to position his army so their right flank was protected by the Saudrune River, and the left protected by a marsh. He left the Toulousain militia to assault the walls of the city, Simon de Montfort led an army of 1,600 French Crusaders, along with a small contingent of knights brought by his ally, the viscount of Corbeil. Simon de Montforts 900 cavalry included 270 knights, making the small Crusader force of exceptional quality, King Peter of Aragon had brought 800 to 1,000 Aragonese cavalry, joined by a militia from Toulouse and armies brought by the counts of Comminges and Foix.
King Peter of Aragons combined forces possibly numbered 4000 cavalry, with 30,000 to 40,000 infantry, Montfort divided his army into three squadrons, and led them across the Garonne to meet the Aragonese forces. Peters ally and brother-in-law, Count Raymond, advised a defensive posture in order to weaken the enemy with bowshot. Peter rejected this suggestion as unknightly and dishonorable, King Peter rode to the front line, forsaking his royal armour for the plain armour of a common soldier. His army was disorderly and confused, when Montforts first squadron charged the field, the Aragonese cavalry was crushed and Peter himself was unhorsed. He cried out, I am the king, with the realization that their king had been killed, the Aragonese forces broke in panic and fled, pursued by Montforts Crusaders. Montfort returned to the besieged Muret, the militia from Toulouse renewed their assault on the city. When they saw the Crusader horsemen returning and learned that King Peter of Aragon was killed they broke and they were slaughtered in the rout.
This would be the last major battle of the Albigensian crusade, during the battle, St. Dominic prayed the rosary. The victors credited their success to divine intervention, Martín Alvira-Cabrer, El Jueves de Muret. 12 de Septiembre de 1213, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona,2002, ISBN 84-477-0796-2 Martín Alvira-Cabrer, Muret 1213. La batalla decisiva de la Cruzada contra los Cátaros, the Albigensian Crusade,2000 William of Puylaurens, trans. W. A. Sibly and M. D. Sibly,2003