Biography of Fruela I. King of Asturias (722-768)

Fourth King of Asturias from the year 757 until his death. Born in the year 722 and died in Cangas de Onis in year 768. During his reign he/she had to face several uprisings in the interior of his Kingdom and the attacks of the Muslims of al - Andalus.

Son of Alfonso I the Catholic monarch and the wife, the daughter of Pelayo, Ermesinda, just they have biographical data about the early years of his life, though since they were very young must participate in campaigns carried out by his father and uncle, both in Galicia and in the Douro Valley. While he/she succeeded his father on the throne, currently the Crown of the Kingdom of Asturias continued keeping their elective character. So although it was probably associated with the throne since his childhood, Fruela reached power in the year 757, at the approximate age of 35 years, because he/she had the favor of the nobles, which considered him a worthy successor to his father and continuation of its work.

Described in the Chronicle called the Rotense, composed in times of Alfonso III, as ' (...)a man of very tough mood ' and in the chronic Albeldensis, from the same period, as a man of ' (...)harsh condition ', there is no doubt among researchers that Fruela encountered a situation different from that of his father, when he/she came to power and not only in the interior of the Asturian Kingdom, but also abroad. So shortly before the death of Alfonso I had reached Córdoba Abd al - Rahman I, which was able, after reassert itself in power, calm down the political and social situation in al - Andalus and this significantly affected the interests of Christians from the North, which looked as they decreased their chances against a few enemies each time more United and therefore more powerful. Thus despite the discrepancies that exist between the Arab and Christian, sources in the opinion of the experts it is possible that Fruela had to deal with attacks by the Muslims in Galicia and in Álava, uneven results, as evidenced by the fact that many of the inhabitants of the so-called Vardulia, thenthe name with which the sources designated the primitive Castilla; moving to the indoor of the Kingdom.

In this way, we can say that all the Asturian Chronicles highlights the numerous clashes with the troops of the first Umayyad and especially the great victory that the monarch was in Galicia, specifically Pontuvio, perhaps the current Pontedeume or the town of Pontobio, where according to the above mentioned Chronicles, Fruela army "annihilated 54,000 Muslims; and it caught alive to general of cavalry, called Umar, and in the own decapitated him." (Chronic Rotense). In this respect it should be noted that Muslim historians remained silent about these campaigns, well because they were not considered them irrelevant or precisely by the fact of having been defeated, although they mentioned a campaign by one of the Freedmen of Abd al - Rahman I in the year 767, which was very beneficial for the interests of Córdoba, which got major taxes and seize a large number of hostages.

But the problems abroad were not that marked eleven years of reign of Fruela, but problems inside their territories, where many scholars have wanted to see as well as an expression of popular discontent against the character of the monarch, the hand of the first emir of Cordoba. Thus in the opinion of Menéndez Pidal Fruela had so many problems with their subjects because its "spirit of righteous man with flecks of bloodthirsty Mystic, with the Warrior energy of his father but not his prudence, (...)". Anyway for some reasons or other Fruela had faced approximately in the third year of his reign, to an uprising of the Basques, who tried to shake off the yoke of the monarchy astur, with limited success, since they were oxcar in a quick campaign. In addition the vascons mentioned some gallaeci people tried to revolt but also on this occasion Fruela managed to curb their aspirations to devastate their land almost completely on. Problems with some of his subjects, military had its reflection in the opposition that showed feel towards him an important group of nobles of his Kingdom, which angered by decisions taken by this and the extreme hardness of character, chose to form an opposition environment group to his brother Vimarano, who also was legitimate son of Alfonso I. Fruela to the crisis coming you decided to cut any attempt to sabotage your power, so probably in the year 767, 768 for some authors, the decision of personally murdering his brother, to avoid any kind of insubordination. He/She also told in the latter part of his reign with the support of the clergy, on all the of the high hierarchy, since it took measures against Simony, since it was considered a very serious offence against the faith to the senior members of the clergy maintain relationships with women and even make marriage, thus abandoning celibacy, therefore in order to avoid that they will relax the customs among the fathers of the Church, it handed down very severe penalties against those that violate their orders, in which in addition to include important physical punishment, many were forced to enter monasteries indefinitely.

Married in the year 760 an alavesa noble young woman named Munnia, possibly born in the so-called Vardulia, who had been taken hostage in the campaign against the Basques. This was described in the Chronicle of Alfonso III dedicated to Sebastián de Salamanca, as a "muchachilla which was part of the loot of the Basques", as well as leave to show through the aforementioned Chronicle seems that the monarch was captivated by its beauty and after ordering that it was reserved for him, married her to legitimize their union. The Queen Munnia was the mother of the future Alfonso II el Casto and a girl, from which its name, not has been preserved even though we know that it was the wife of Neopociano, although this figure was silenced by the Asturian Chronicles composed in times of Alfonso III the great.

Fruela I was murdered in his court from Cangas de Onís, at the age of 46, in 768, at the hands of the nobility who decided to proclaim as a new King to his cousin Aurelius. Some historians claim that his death was a direct consequence of the murder of Vimarano, since both died with just a few days apart, although others believe, without ruling out that the murder of the brother of the monarch was one of the main reasons given by the noble, who died a year later.

Traditionally regarded as the founder of the city of Oviedo, according to a version of the Chronicle of Sebastián, his mortal remains and those of his wife, were deposited in this city, where Fruela had ordered to build several temples in honour of el Salvador, San Julián and Santa Basilissa, although it seems unlikely since his death occurred in the mentioned city of Cangas de Onís.

Bibliography

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GUICHARD, P. The new Muslims. History of Spain's Antonio Domínguez Ortiz. (Barcelona, Planeta, 1989).

JOVER ZAMORA, J. M. history of Spain. Muslim Spain (711-1031). (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1994).

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MENÉNDEZ PIDAL, R. history of Spain. The beginning of the Reconquista (711-1038). (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1976).

MENÉNDEZ PIDAL, R. history of Spain. Christian Spain from the 8th to the 11th. The United Astur-leones (722-1037). (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1976).