Biography of Conde de Castilla Rodrigo (s. IX)

Castilian magnate who held the title of count of Castile between 850 and 873. Its origin has not been fully established, because there are doubts about whether it was a character of the Asturian Royal family or a Spanish relative of Paterna, second wife of King Ramiro I. In any case, Ordoño I awarded him the title of count of Castile that he/she ordered to organize the defence of the eastern border, constantly harassed by Muslim expeditions every summer they plundered the region. With his appointment to the condal dignity, Ordoño was intended to also create the figure of an intermediary between the Castilians and the cutting of Oviedo, since men of the border territories felt detached from their King by the distance between them. Despite being the representative of Royal power, was ordered to respect the peculiarities of the law and customs of Castilla.

The first time that Rodrigo appeared in medieval documentation was on the occasion of the Foundation of San Martín de Ferrán, in the year 852. In addition to the defense and the administration of Justice in Castile, Rodrigo was commissioned to direct the repopulation of areas that had been uninhabited after the irruption of the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. In this sense, his work began the year 860 with restoration and restocking of Amaya Patricia, the ancient capital of the cantabri during the Roman period. Their repopulation work continued in the area of Tobalina. However, the constant threat posed Muslim campaigns of every summer was forced to devote its efforts to the defense of the territory. Rodrigo began the task of creating a line of castles located in the hills that separate the basins of the River Ebro and the Arlanzón. From the West, defensive line was based on Amaya and continued by Castillo Urbel, Moradillo, Rucios, Lences, Poza de la Sal and pawns, to finish in Cherry, eastern end of the County. These military measures were completed with another succession of fortresses that ranged from North to South, from the Valley of Tobalina saw demand, i.e. from Lantarón to Villafranca de Oca Montes, passing through the castles of Revenga, term (the current Santa Gadea del Cid), Pancorvo, Cerasio (cherry of the Rio Tiron), Castil de Carrias, Ibrillos, Alba and Grañón. Although he/she could not see completed his work, his son, Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, continued the work of fortification. The enormous freedom of action with which Ordoño allowed him to act favoured the acquisition of new territories, so in just fifteen years, from the 850 to the 865, Rodrigo doubled the original territory of Castile.

In terms of its purely military aspect, Rodrigo led numerous expeditions against Muslims who beat on their territories in search of loot. The Muslim chroniclers collected one of his campaigns against Abderrahman, the son of the emir of Córdoba, which in the 863 Castilla entered the area of Miranda. Rodrigo strategy consisted in trying to cut off his retreat in Pancorvo Gorge, but Abderrahman received reinforcements of his Lieutenant Abdalmalik ibn Abbas and caused a serious setback to the Castilians. The same race was repeated in the year 866. On the other hand, Rodrigo also participated actively in the Leonese policy. When Ordoño I died in the year 866, her son Alfonso, future Alfonso III, requested the help of the Castilian count to confront a pretender to the throne, called Froila. The prestige and power of Rodrigo demonstrated with its entrance in Oviedo, the capital of the Kingdom, accompanying the new King. The count remained in the Asturian city for a few months, possibly supporting Alfonso III in the beginning of his reign. For six years it was Rodrigo in charge of English County, during which combined their autonomy with exemplary fidelity towards their King. The Chronicle Naierensis date his death October 4, 873. His son Diego Rodríguez Porcelos received then the condal dignity and continued the work undertaken by his father.

Bibliography.

PÉREZ DE URBEL, j.: The County of Castile. Three hundred years it was done Castilla, Madrid, 1969.

SUÁREZ FERNÁNDEZ, l.: History of Spain in the middle ages, Madrid, 1978.

Sanchez ALBORNOZ, C.: Origins of the Spanish nation. The Kingdom Astur, Institute of Asturian studies, 1964.

MITRE FERNÁNDEZ, e.: Medieval Spain. Societies. States. Cultures, Madrid, 1979.

EAH