Biography of el Viejo Conde de Barcelona Ramón Berenguer I (ca. 1023-1076)

Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Osona, known by the nickname of the old, born about 1023 and died May 26, 1076, probably in Barcelona.

Son of Ramón Berenguer I and his first wife, Sancha of Castile, began his rule in 1035 under the tutelage of his grandmother Ermesinda of Carcassonne, advised by the tutor of the young count Ponç Bonfill Marc, his brother Pere de Carcassona, Bishop of Girona, and the Abbot and Bishop Oliba. During his minority he/she attended the consecration of the Vic and Girona in 1038 headquarters together with her grandmother.

Towards 1041 Ramón Berenguer, wanted to get rid of all guardianship which had disagreements with Ermesinda, who saw limited his Government to the County of Girona and was withdrawn from Barcelona and Osona. Ramón Berenguer the old gave a huge boost to the expansive work started by Ramón Borrell and continued by Berenguer Ramon I. So it had the support of the House of Urgell, brought about by the covenants that his predecessor had done with Armengol II; in 1041 the count, in aid of Armengol III of Urgel, launched an expedition against the taifa of Zaragoza, probably as a result of the occupation of Ager for Muslims; the city was reconquered and Sulaiman al - Mutasin had to pay tribute to Barcelona. But the Earl inherited, as well as partnerships, enmity with the counts of Cerdagne. At the beginning of his Government renewed the Friendship Pact with Armengol against Ramon Guifré de Cerdanya and also got the support of Bernat, count of Berga, Guillem, Bishop of Urgell and Berenguer, Bishop of Elna. In 1044, he/she had to face the Ramón I count of Cerdagne to defend the County of Urgell. Powerful allies of Ramón Berenguer did capitulate to the count of Cerdanya, which, to 1051, took an oath of support and friendship to the Barcelona.

But in addition to external struggles had the opposition count within their States: the enmity of her grandmother, cantoned in Girona, was joined by the support given to this by Mir Geribert, Mr del Penedès, which wanted to consolidate its domination over those lands to the owner princeps. Mir Geribert took advantage of the weakness of the count of Barcelona and sought to regularize a situation which already existed in fact; It was the effective ruler, as its rightful owner, Sanç Berenguer, was minor and the easy Ermesinda was in Girona. The count of Barcelona tried to contain the situation by allying with his grandmother, which provoked the reaction of the important relatives Mir Geribert was in Barcelona; the men of the Viscount Udalardo II and the Guislabert Bishop of Barcelona attacked the condal Palace, where ended the life of Guillem Miró. In 1043 Ramón Berenguer and Ermesinda reconciliation was already a fact. A year later fixed the internal crisis, following negotiations in which the Oliba Bishop of Vic had great relevance. Mir Geribert admitted never titled princeps; Bishop Guislabert was acquitted after having sworn that he/she had not acted against the count of Barcelona, at which he/she gave the episcopal Castle of Llobregat. Udalardo was sentenced to payment of a high bail.

From 1049 the situation worsened following the resignation of Sanç Berenguer to the Government of the southern brand of Barcelona, probably after an economic compensation. Mir Geribert then began to claim dominion over the territories of the Llobregat and starred alongside their children repeated acts of rebellion against the authority of Barcelona, and holder is Prince of Olèrdola. When in 1052 Ramón Berenguer got putting on trial to Mir Geribert, the Court, presided over by Archbishop Guifred of Narbonne and formed by the Bishops of Barcelona, Girona and Vic, allowed Mir to continue friendship with Ramon, whenever the first restore the principles of county authority and pay compensation. But Mir, aware of the problems that the count of Barcelona had because of their marriages, not only ignored the ruling, but stepped up their attacks to usurp the heritage of Gombau de Besora, killed by those dates and take the castles of Currull and Besora, in the County of Osona.

Meanwhile Ramon and his new wife, Almodis, again is pitted with Ermesinda, which retained the co-gobierno States and, effectively, of Girona. The old Countess, who maintained excellent relations with the Roman Church, hurried to request Pope Víctor II excommunication for his grandson and his wife, which was dictated by the Pontiff and reiterated by the Rimbau archbishops of Arles and Narbonne Guifred (1056). The situation for the count of Barcelona was critical and Mir Geribert, conscious of their weakness, continued depredating the land of the faithful subjects of Ramon, especially those of the Seneschal Amat Eldric (who had participated in the trial of 1052). Mir raids caused major casualties among addicts to the count, the most important of which was that of the Knight Guillem Guadald. In their quest for support, Ramón Berenguer, tried to approach to the count of Besalú, which organized the marriage of the sister of Almodis, Lucia, with the count Guillem; but the of Besalú rejected Lucia, which meant the loss of relationships between both counts and the diplomatic isolation of Ramón Berenguer.

In the middle of 1057 the situation began to arrange for the count with the resolution of the most serious problems: the excommunication; on July 4 of that year Ermesinda gave his grandson the Governments of counties that he/she was still a co-regent and pledged to request the revocation of the anathemas of the Holy See. After this he/she retired to the castle of Besora, where he/she died in May of the following year. From this moment the counts of Barcelona were quick to win alliances with the neighboring counts and, in 1057, Ramon got the repudiated Lucia to marry the count Artau of Pallars Sobirà, which meant the entrance of the County of Pallars within Barcelona orbit. Toward 1058 Ramón Berenguer established a military alliance with the count Guifred of Cerdanya , which Barcelona is committed to help Guifred in the liquidation of a Saracen enclave in the high Pyrenees, while this would work with Ramon in their struggles against Zaragoza, Lleida and Tortosa. In late summer of 1058 Ramón Berenguer signed a new Pact with Armengol III of Urgel and began the war against Ahmed al-Mustasin of Zaragoza. The campaign lasted at least until 1063 and was favourable to the Christians, Canyelles, Casserres, Puig-roig Pilçá and Estopinya recovered. The area was quickly repopulated and is known by documents that towards 1067 colonization was stable.

The last problem that still hung over the County was the rebellion of Mir Geribert, at that time based in Tortosa, newly incorporated into the taifa of Zaragoza. At the beginning of 1059 were sent to negotiate with Mir a such Guillem Bernat and the Abbot Berenguer, who got the Lord of Olèrdola commitment to undergo a new trial. The tribunal, set up by the Bishops of Barcelona, Girona and Vic and the Viscounts of Cardona, Girona and Dalmau, ruled (1059) making return to Mir territories alienated during his rebellion and established various compensations for the victims. Mir Geribert promised submission to the Barcelona sovereign and asked him permission to lead an expedition against their former Muslim allies, designed to take the castle of Mora de Ebro; in the company died he/she and his sons at the hands of the Muslims of Tortosa (1060). Meanwhile, the Barcelona sovereign renewed the friendship with Ali, King taifa of Denia, which had begun during the administration of Ermesinda. Through the Countess Almodis, Barcelona's Bishop Guislabert obtained in December of 1056 the spiritual jurisdiction of the churches and Christian communities of the Kingdom of Denia-Baleares.

Expansion, which meant a widening of the frontiers, gave a new impetus to restocking (Tamarit, Agramunt, Tarrega) between 1051 and 1058. That year, in which Ramón Berenguer, together with the count of Cerdagne, ended with the Muslim enclave of Les Oluges the count of Barcelona named Amant de Claramunt Viscount of Tarragona, as well as donate le Tamarit and Ullastrell, and order you a new project of repopulation of Tarragona.

From 1060 the counts of Barcelona, enriched by the payment of the outcasts, began to enlarge its heritage and to recover properties lost during the previous years. Through an extensive program of acquisitions, they reinforced their territorial and political supremacy between the Catalan magnates. Between mid-1070 and end of 1067 the Earl and his wife managed the acquisition of the counties of Carcassonne and Bruns on behalf of his son Ramon Berenguer the young, thus getting a ultrapirenaico Empire. The count developed a policy to consolidate the pre-eminence of the House of Barcelona on the other Catalan County houses and so became a feudal homage by the major Lords and those who had some property in his name. Between 1054 and 1068 all the counts and Lords of Catalonia, with the exception of the counts of Roussillon and Pallars Jusá, made legal pacts with the count of Barcelona in which recognized his superiority.

Ramon Berenguer I tried to complete its work by means of its capacity of legislator, so he/she compiled and promulgated many precepts and laws known by the name of usages. Its main purpose was to bring order to the confusing legal State which regulated relations between the sovereign and the great lords. The usatges of Barcelona were drawn up between 1064 and 1068 and constituted the Foundation of the legislative work that was going to be undertaken in the first quarter of the 12th century by Ramón Berenguer IV.

In 1071 the Countess Almodis was murdered by his stepson Pere Ramon, son of Blanca, second wife of Ramón Berenguer, probably irritated by the preferential treatment of the Earl and his wife for the son, Ramón Berenguer, the younger. Pere Ramon, dictated sentencing in 1073 by the College of Cardinals, to included a severe penance and temporary excommunication; the Patricidal died childless in Al - Andalus in date unknown. After the death of the Countess, their private property were added to the County heritage and Ramón Berenguer continued with its policy of acquisitions. In the last years of his life, Earl experienced a period of tensions with Armengol IV of Urgell. His testament, probably written in the last hours of his life, contemplates an absolute equity between his sons Ramón Berenguer and Berenguer Ramon.

From his first marriage with Elisabet (1039), granddaughter of the Viscount Berenguer of Narbonne, Ramón Berenguer had three children. His first wife died in 1051, and the following year the count of Barcelona returned to marry white, who soon was disowned and from whom was born Pere Ramon. In 1052 he/she married third wife Almodis de la Marca, which meant serious clashes with the Church and marriage which was the trigger for his excommunication. From this marriage were born Ramón Berenguer, the younger, who inherited the County after his death, and Berenguer Ramon.


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D'ABADAL, R. The formation of the Catalonia independent. Barcelona, 1970.