By M. Shadis
Daughter, spouse, and mom of kings, Berenguela of Castile (1180-1246) was once a key determine within the formation of medieval Castile-Le?n. Queen of Le?n from 1197-1204, regent for Enrique I of Castile in short in 1214, after which Queen of Castile in her personal correct after 1217, she secured the thrones of Castile and Le?n for her son Fernando III and enabled his crusades in al-Andalus. This research examines Berenguela’s use of authority and tool, her legitimacy as a feminine ruler, and her motherhood and patronage in her efforts to take care of the thrones of Castile and Le?n for her kin.
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Extra resources for Political Women in the High Middle Ages: Berenguela of Castile and Her Family
Sordello attacked Fernando even more explicitly: And that Castilian King! I think he should eat for two! For he holds two domains, and is not good enough for one! 54 Sordello criticized Fernando’s greed, in ruling two kingdoms (Castile and León), but more so Berenguela’s domination of him. Any manly action that the Castilian king wanted to take, Sordello wrote, would have to be done on the sly or else his mother would punish him. Sordello also suggested that it was really Berenguela who was “eating for two” and ruling Castile and León; Fernando was denied even a nibble.
The fundamental purpose of marriage was procreation. Pregnancy, real or potential, heightened the status of any queen and, more than any other condition, differentiated the physical natures of the sexes. A pregnant queen was a reminder of the embodiment of the king, of generations, and of the future of the lineage; certainly she supplied one common image of a successful queen. Indeed, we might play with Ernst Kantorowicz’s notion of the king’s two bodies and propose a similar paradigm for queenship.
30 The taller alfonsí drew largely on Lucas’s Chronicon mundi and Rodrigo’s De rebus Hispanie; it made little or no use of the Chronica latina. However, because all three Latin chronicles were completed (or otherwise left unfinished) before Berenguela died, the Primera crónica general is useful for her later years. I have used it mainly as a source for the years following 1243, when Archbishop Rodrigo had completed his work, and occasionally to offer a vernacular, historical perspective on the Latin texts.