Biography of Ramiro I. King of Asturias (782-850)

Tenth King of Asturias from June 12 of the 842 until the date of his death. Probably born in Oviedo in the year 792 and died in the same town January 1, 850.

Biographical synthesis

Son of Vermudo I Deacon, was raised by Alfonso II el Casto, which associated you with the Asturian throne in the year 829 as a reward for their loyal services. Appointed Governor of Galicia, post where he/she stayed 12 years, following the death of the monarch mentioned in order to obtain the Crown had to confront Neopociano, Asturian noble he/she defeated in the vicinity of the Narcea River in the year 842. Proclaimed monarch on June 12 of that same year, during his reign had to deal with several internal uprisings, the attacks of the Normans pirates and Muslim armies. Married twice, as a result of her first marriage was born his successor, the future Ordoño I.

The reign of Ramiro I

Son of Vermudo I Deacon Asturian monarch, was born after the abdication of his father, he/she hardly met since he/she died in the year 797, when he/she was approximately 5 years. Ramiro spent most of his childhood and his youth at the Court of Alfonso II el Casto, which seems that you took you in high esteem, since he/she never expected to have an heir. Thus he/she received a careful education, which caused him to be a great lover of art during his lifetime, and a solid military training, completed by participating in some of the campaigns undertaken by his protector.

After years at the service of the Asturian monarchy, finally in the year 829, when he/she was 37 years old, was associated with openly to the throne, since it seems clear that Alfonso II made public its desire that this happens, at a meeting of notables gathered in the city of Oviedo. In addition the chaste King, considered a worthy man of all his confidence to Ramiro decided to send the year 830 to Galicia, as Governor, giving him absolute powers. So Ramiro after receiving instructions from the monarch went immediately to Galician lands, where he/she remained for 12 years, in view of all the Christian chroniclers, fulfilling the task that had been entrusted to him. There is no doubt that these years out of the Asturian Court helped form an important circle of followers, which showed him their support in the difficult moments.

As for the family life of Ramiro, it should be noted that this married approximately in the year 820, at the age of 28 years, with a Lady of Galician origins, that we just have data, since it did not occupy the throne with her husband, reason why it is not mentioned in the Chronicles. Thus in the opinion of some researchers is called magpie, although this claim is not fully proven. We know that this marriage were born several children, so although there are major disagreements between some researchers to determine their exact number, it seems clear that Ramiro fathered at least on two occasions of the future monarch Ordoño I and a daughter, which received the name of Aldonza.

On 20 March the 842 came the death of the elder King Alfonso II. Ramiro quickly received the news of the death of the monarch, was in those days finalizing the preparations for his second wedding, in the region called Vardulia, later original nucleus of the County of Castile; Since after being a widower had decided new marriage with a lady from this area, called Paterna. The future King astur, apparently confident that nobles would respect the wishes of Alfonso, it took no way immediately to be present in the election, but his absence caused that a prominent nobleman of the Court called Neopociano, was proclaimed King with the support of a number of notables, which possibly did not see with good eyes the fact of losing his prerogative to choose the monarch, because as he/she has mentioned practically Alfonso had appointed Ramiro as his successor.

Soon Ramiro on hearing the news that the Asturian throne had been occupied, so quickly took steps to overthrow that he/she and theirs was considered a usurper. So instead of heading to Oviedo, Ramiro decided to return to Galicia, specifically to the city of Lugo, where it seems that had strong supporters, with the purpose of forming an army. Gathered the troops left his son Ordoño as Governor of Galicia and immediately went to Asturias. Neopociano for its part also took measures to defeat the candidate to take his place and got underway with the intent to stop him along with a large group of men, until it could get to Oviedo. Days later both armies met at the Valley of Cornellana, where some soldiers from Neopociano very soon changed sides and embraced the cause of Ramiro. The final battle took place in the vicinity of the Narcea River, where the future monarch was able to inflict a major defeat, which forced Neopociano and the few troops who had survived the onslaught, to retire abruptly to Oviedo to the usurper. Little lasted the flight, since little time later two loyal to Ramiro, Scipio and Sonna counts according to the Chronicle of Alfonso III, managed to make him prisoner in Pravia. Neopociano was harshly punished by Ramiro I, since after being sentenced to lose eyes for his betrayal, he/she was held in a convent until the end of his days. Thus cleared the way, the armies of Ramiro I turned to Oviedo, where this was crowned on 12 June 842, at the age of 50.

Once installed on the throne, Ramiro I tried to reassert his authority in order to avoid new uprisings, so after putting in order the Administration and placing loyal men in top positions of the Court, happened to ensure peace in all its domains, in this way his first measure was pursuing the bandits in the mountains. The extreme harshness with which Ramiro applied justice very soon was known in every corner of his Kingdom, in this way all chroniclers agree that in addition to the harsh sentences imposed to the thieves, to which took the eyes, the new monarch felt a great aversion to sorcerers and fortune-tellers, which if they fell into the hands of the authorities were doomed to perish in the fire.

Despite the efforts of Ramiro not could enjoy quiet for a long time, since about a year after coming to the throne (843), the Norman pirates attacked the city of Oviedo. All the Chronicles point out that they were defeated and were forced to flee, but shortly after the pirates were heading toward the Galician coast and tried to attack the Farum Brecantium (Betanzos), although once again were rejected by the troops of the monarch and departed for the city of Seville, although significantly depleted. Nor could Ramiro avoided problems in the interior, because according to us Alfonso III in his Chronicle this faced several uprisings of the nobility. Thus the first of these uprisings led by a hero called Aldroito, which according to Neopociano, which continued scheming from his place of retreat, attempted to assassinate Ramiro, but once discovered this was sentenced by the monarch to accompany to the mentioned Neopociano in his cell and his blindness. On the other hand the second of attempts to overthrow Ramiro was directed by a count of the Palace called Piniolo, which seems that it brought together a considerable number of supporters, so that after their uprising the monarch began a civil war, in which it emerged victorious.

With regard to al - Andalus, leaving aside the famous, although false, battle of Clavijo, is worth mentioning that Abd al-Rahman II despite numerous internal problems to which they had to face, managed to organize an expedition against the Kingdom of Asturias in the year 846, which had as its mission prevent Ramiro will hold the repopulation of the city of León. So while the Muslims failed to definitively destroy the defensive walls of the mentioned city, they could stop this expansive attempt of the Asturian King's Court. Alfonso III in his Chronicle mentions that during the reign of Ramiro I, Muslims carried out another raid in Christian territory, this assertion seems that he/she is corroborated by some Muslim sources, which say that Al-Mundhir attacked some territories of Alava, obtaining important results, although in the opinion of the Christian chroniclers Ramiro I managed to come out victorious in clashes with Córdoba.

Ramiro I died, apparently as a result of having suffered high fevers, on 1 January of the year 850 in the city of Oviedo, after having reigned for about 8 years. His remains were buried in the Pantheon of the Kings of the mentioned city's Cathedral and the throne was occupied by his son Ordoño I.

It should be stressed finally that his lifelong Ramiro I felt a fondness by the different artistic, especially for architecture, as evidenced by the fact that it was precisely at the time when were built some of the most important works of the Asturian Romanesque appeal, such as the churches of Santa María de el Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo or Santa Cristina de Lena.


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