Biography of Conde de Barcelona Ramón Berenguer III (1082-1131)

Count of Barcelona, Girona, Osona, Besalú, Cerdanya, Provence, Carcassonne and Bruns, known with the nickname of the great. Born in Rodes in 1082, and died in Barcelona in 1131. It was the most important catalan count of his time and under his Government played an important role in European Affairs, although its main feature of Government was the constant fight against Muslims and efforts focused in the repopulation of the reconquistados territories.

Son of Ramón Berenguer II of Barcelona and of dona Mafalda of Pulla-Calabria, was born just days before the murder of his father, while his mother was visiting home from his cousin Mafalda de Rouergue. According to the testament of Ramon Berenguer I the old, the counties were entirely Berenguer Ramón II, brother of the victim and the main accused in the murder of count Ramon.

During the first years of life of Ramón Berenguer III, his uncle, known as the fratricide, denied any right to participate in the legacy of Ramón Berenguer the old, but in may 1085 don Berenguer was formally accused of involvement in the death of his brother and had to defend themselves in a court presided over by the Bishop of Vic. Meanwhile, the custody of the young Ramón Berenguer surrendered to the aforementioned Bishop, Berenguer Sunifredo. But in the Assembly it was decided to also deliver the County of Barcelona to Alfonso VI of Castile, which was not satisfactory for everyone, so the following year there was a new remarkable meeting chaired by the lineage of Cabrera. It was determined to give custody of the child to his uncle during a period of eleven years, after which should be associated to the throne to his nephew. Until August 1089 Ramón Berenguer appears acting behind the Count Berenguer. In 1091 the Pope Urban II called uncle and nephew and instructed both the restoration of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tarragona, shortening the period of tutoring, so shortly after Ramón Berenguer III already acted without any supervision and from close to 1093 took part in the County Government as a partner to the throne.

In 1095 he/she participated together with his uncle in the siege of Tortosa. But they soon began the dissensions between Ramón Berenguer III and the fratricide and accentuated with the transfer of the Bishop of Urgell, the Viscount Folc de Cardona, Barcelona. In 1096 is returned to the charge of murder on don Berenguer which, at the end of that year, he/she was forced to submit to the Court of Alfonso VI judicial combat. When the Earl was defeated and stripped of his title, the title passed to his nephew, who since then (1096) ruled alone, but with the Group of contributors to his uncle, who died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Ramón Berenguer III joined in 1097 Artau I of Pallars and together they attacked Amposta. The following year he/she laid siege to Oropesa, possession of the Cid, who had been a staunch enemy of the previous Earl, and in response don Rodrigo attacked Muslims in Morvedre, allies of Barcelona. With the lifting of the siege of Oropesa, both gentlemen came to an agreement and decided to marry the daughter of el Cid, Doña María, with the count of Barcelona; the marriage took place that same year of 1098. At the end of the year the newlyweds traveled to the monastery of Ripoll; the Carmen Campidoctoris was probably composed for this occasion.

In 1102 the advance of the Almoravids had closed the Catalan expansion to Valencia and the count of Barcelona overturned their efforts in making of Balaguer. In 1107 the Almoravids introduced in Barcelona by the Penedès and took the castle of Gelida, after destroying Olèrdola to their step. Ramón Berenguer III was forced to ask for help to Luis VI of France, but the help never came. From 1109 the count favored the introduction in Catalonia of the military orders, especially that of the Hospitallers. Some recovery of the Catalan forces allowed the reconquest of Olèrdola, but not that of Carcassonne and Bruns. In 1111 Ramón Berenguer III became Lord of Besalú by extinction of his dynastic line in the person of Bernat III. A year later culminated in the reconquest of Carcassonne and Bruns and therefore received feudal tribute of the Viscount tied Béziers and his vassals, who acknowledged having their territories as fiefs of the count of Barcelona, which donated a high reward.

In 1114 the count of Barcelona was appointed commander of an expedition organized by the Pisans and participated in which men of Languedoc and Provence, whose aim was the conquest of Mallorca and Ibiza. The success of the mission resulted in a high number of rescues of captive Christians and the acquisition of a large booty. But while the conde Ramon in the conquest of the Islands, the County of Barcelona was attacked by the Almoravids to the West (end of 1114), being rejected; in spring of the following year the Muslims tried to attack from the South and the resistance coincided with the return of the count, who contributed decisively to the success of Catalan arms. In return, Mallorca and Ibiza were retaken by Muslims following the departure of the Christian allies. In 1116 Ramón Berenguer el Grande projected a large expedition against the Almoravids and went to Provence and Italy to seek help; but in Rome, the death of Pope Pascal II, favorable to the count of Barcelona, hindered projects of don Ramon. The coincidence of these, with the attack of Alfonso I of Aragon to Saragossa, thwarted plans of the count, since the new Pontiff gave priority to the company of the Aragonese monarch. However, Ramón Berenguer got the Pope's confirmation of Olegario as Bishop of Barcelona and the papal order to the last to accept the nomination.

At the beginning of 1117 Ramón Berenguer III became count of Cerdagne after the death of Guillem Bernat without succession. A year later he/she commissioned Bishop Olegario the repopulation of the region and city of Tarragona. For these years was consummated the ecclesiastical independence of Catalonia with regard to French headquarters with the appointment of Olegario as Archbishop, which culminated a process of more than two centuries. From 1119, the count of Barcelona favoured the repopulation in the area of Les Garrigues, in an attempt to isolate Lleida from the South. Then began a period of rivalry between the count and the King of Aragon, Alfonso I, for the possession of Lleida and the progress of Tortosa and Valencia. During the campaign of Lleida the Earl suffered a defeat in the Corbins, forcing his army to retreat.

From 1120 the Earl returned to have concerns beyond the Pyrenees on the domain of Carcassonne and Provence, until being forced to sign an agreement with the count of Tolosa to establish jurisdiction over the Provence (1125). In 1126, it is certain that don Ramón favored the establishment in Catalonia of the Templar order, although it is possible that the count was managing this issue from 1123. In 1127 he/she tried to attract was Sicilians to carry out a maritime crusade, but the project not gelled. In 1128 Ramón Berenguer III became Lord of the pagus of Peralada after dispossessing him to count Ponç II of Ampurias, taken prisoner after rebel against the count of Barcelona.

It was a widespread custom of nobles in the middle ages the order Knights of any order military as a means to ensure the advantages that churchmen would enjoy in divine judgment. In 1130 Ramón Berenguer III, which should have a presentiment of death, was ordained as a Knight Templar and died a year later. After the death of his first wife, Doña María, in 1104, the count married Doña Almodis, probably a daughter of the count of Mortain, which lived a few months of 1106. In 1112 he/she married third wife Doña Dulce de Provence, which brought as a dowry the Provence, which meant that from that year Ramon titulase count of Barcelona and Provence; with her he/she had two sons: Berenguer Ramon and Ramón Berenguer IV . In his will gave control of its peninsular States, Carcassonne and Bruns to his firstborn, while Berenguer it handed control of Provence. The Testament was also collecting legal bases for the pre-eminence of Ramón Berenguer IV on his brother. In addition had the count a daughter, Doña Berenguela, who married in 1128 Alfonso VII of Castile as a means to curb the influence of Alfonso I of Aragon.

The advent of the Almoravids meant for the Christian kingdoms the detention of the entrance of the outcasts from gold, so the count of Barcelona was forced to undertake fiscal reforms from 1113. The change of currency of the mancusos to the moravetinos, the implementation of the tax of the bovatge on livestock, the obligation of every boat that atracase in your jurisdiction to pay a high rate or the control of the food items in the markets of Barcelona, were some of the measures taken by the count to ensure the supply of the County Treasury.


D'ABADAL, R. Els primers comtes catalans. Barcelona, Teide, 1958.

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