The Almogavars - Spain's elite medieval shock infantry

Nov 2014
1,528
Birmingham, UK
#21
As advised by Tulius, here is my copied post from another thread, which has relevance here:

1623. It is really good for those with an interest in this subject. Surely it was written well after events, but a lot closer than we are and, as I say, I think it's where most of our info comes from:

Expedición de catalanes y aragoneses contra turcos y griegos (Spanish)
by Francisco de Moncada (Author)

Thanks goodness I managed to find it on my Amazon orders. Here is the link but I think these don't normally work from Historum:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here is the synopsis/author (Spanish only):

Francisco de Moncada y Moncada (1586-1653) fue hijo de Gastón de Moncada, segundo Marqués de Aitona, Virrey de Aragón y Cerdeña, de quien heredó el tercer marquesado del mismo nombre. Fue además embajador de Felipe IV en Alemania y como tal llevó a cabo difíciles tareas diplomáticas por encargo del Conde-Duque de Olivares, de las que quedó su rey muy satisfecho. Asistió a la coronación del archiduque Fernando como rey de Hungría, fue miembro del Consejo de Estado, embajador extraordinario antes y gobernador después de los Países Bajos, lo que le valió tener que librar algunas batallas, que supo ganar. Esta gran capacidad diplomática y militar se completaba, gracias a su esmerada formación humanística, con un notable trabajo como escritor e historiador. Su "Expedición de catalanes y aragoneses contra turcos y griegos", publicada en 1623, es una de las obras clásicas de la historiografía española del siglo XVII. En ella se cuentan las aventuras que la compañía de aragoneses y catalanes, los célebres almogávares, corrieron desde el año 1302 hasta el 1311, tras la conquista del ducado de Atenas. Le movió a ello, según él mismo cuenta en su dedicatoria al Arzobispo de Tarragona, tío suyo, el "deseo natural de conservar memorias casi muertas de la patria, que merecen eterna duración" y, según agrega en el proemio, el intento de "escribir la memorable Expedición y Jornada, que los Catalanes y Aragoneses hicieron a las Provincias de Levante, cuando su fortuna y valor andaban compitiendo en el aumento de su poder y estimación, llamados por Andrónico Paleólogo Emperador de Griegos, en socorro y defensa de su imperio y casa". Para la redacción de este libro siguió la "Crónica" de Ramón Muntaner, testigo visual de la expedición, las obras de Bernat Desclot, y las de Jerónimo Zurita, además de las de los cronistas bizantinos que habían recogido las hazañas de los almogávares
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,110
Portugal
#22
I thought that it would be relevant to bring a bibliography that I posted in other thread:

…Also, one of the Wikipedia’s articles lead me to a site (ANISTORITON: Viewpoints) with what it seems a summary and a quite good list, were you can find some books in English:

“Primary Sources

Desclot, Bernat. Chronicle of the Reign of King Pedro III of Aragon A.D. 1276-1285. Translated from the Original Catalan Text by F.L. Critchlow. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1928.

James I. The Chronicle of James I, King of Aragon, Surnamed the Conqueror (Written by Himself). Translated from the Catalan by the Late John Forster. With an Historical Introduction, Notes, Appendix, Glossary, and General Index, by Pascual de Gayangos. In Two Volumes. London: Chapman and Hall, Limited, 1883.

Muntaner, Ramon. The Chronicle of Muntaner. Translated from the Catalan by Lady Goodenough. Reproduced, by Permission of the Hakluyt Society. Nendeln (Liechtenstein): Kraus Reprint Limited, 1967.

Secondary Sources

Bisson, T.N. The Medieval Crown of Aragon: A Short History. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.

Burns, R. Ignatius. "Journey from Islam: Incipient Cultural Transition in the Conquered Kingdom of Valencia (1240-1280)," Speculum, 35 (July 1960), 337-356.

Burns, Robert I. "The Spiritual Life of James the Conqueror: King of Arago-Catalonia, 1208-1276: Portrait and Self-Portrait," The Catholic Historical Review, 62 (January 1976), 1-35.

Burns, Robert I. and Paul E. Chevedden. "The Finest Castle in the World," History Today, 49 (November 1999), 10-17.

Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio. La Campana de Huesca: Crónica del Siglo XII. Con el prólogo que, para su segunda edición, escribió D. Serafín Estebanez Calderón. Madrid: Impresor de la Real Casa, 1886.

Chaytor, H.J. A History of Aragon and Catalonia. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1933.

Echevarría, José M. Moreno. Los Almogávares. Primera Edición. Barcelona: Ediciones Marte, 1970.

Ferrer i Mallol, Maria Teresa. "Els Almogàvers," from Organització i defensa d'un territori fronterer: La governació d'Oriola en el segle XIV. Barcelona: CSIC, 1990, pp. 237-284.

García Gutiérrez, Antonio. Venganza Catalana [and] Juan Lorenzo. Madrid: Ediciones de "La Lectura," 1925.

Hillgarth, J.N. The Problem of a Catalan Mediterranean Empire 1229-1327. London: Longman Group Ltd., 1975.

Hillgarth, J.N. The Spanish Kingdoms 125-1516. Volume I 1250-1410 (Precarious Balance). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.

Lovett, Gabriel H. Napoleon and the Birth of Modern Spain. Volume I: The Challenge to the Old Order. New York: New York University Press, 1965.

Setton, Kenneth M. Catalan Domination of Athens 1311-1388. Cambridge: The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1948.

Shneidman, J. Lee. The Rise of the Aragonese-Catalan Empire 1200-1350. Volume I. New York: New York University Press, 1970.

Soldevila, Ferran. Els Almogàvers. Colleció Popular Barcino. Volum CXLIX. Barcelona: Editorial Barcino, 1952.

Swift, F. Darwin. The Life and Times of James the First, the Conqueror, King of Aragon, Valencia, and Majorca, Count of Barcelona and Urgel, Lord of Montpellier. With a Map. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1894.”
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Without quotes and without mentioning the source that excerpt also seems plagiarism, Arminius.

Continuing, from the same post:

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Posted by diddyriddick, February 7th, 2013, 02:11 PM
http://historum.com/announcements/46025-posting-guide-2.html

But, you have a point, an English translation should had been presented:

“Expedition of Catalans and Aragonese against Turks and Greeks (Spanish)
by Francisco de Moncada (Author)

Francisco de Moncada y Moncada (1586-1653) was the son of Gastón de Moncada, second Marquis of Aitona, Viceroy of Aragón and Sardinia, from whom he inherited the third marquisate of the same name. He was also Philip IV's ambassador to Germany and as such carried out difficult diplomatic tasks on behalf of the Count-Duke of Olivares, of which his king was very satisfied. He attended the coronation of Archduke Ferdinand as King of Hungary, was a member of the State Council, extraordinary ambassador before and governor after the Netherlands, which earned him having to fight some battles, which he knew how to win. This great diplomatic and military capacity was completed, thanks to his careful humanistic training, with a remarkable work as a writer and historian. His "Expedition of Catalans and Aragonese against Turks and Greeks", published in 1623, is one of the classic works of seventeenth-century Spanish historiography. It tells the adventures that the company of Aragonese and Catalans, the famous Almogávares, ran from 1302 to 1311, after the conquest of the Duchy of Athens. He moved to it, as he himself tells in his dedication to the Archbishop of Tarragona, his uncle, the "natural desire to preserve almost dead memories of the country, which deserve eternal duration" and, as he adds in the preamble, the attempt " write the memorable Expedition and Day, which the Catalans and Aragonese made to the Provinces of the Levant, when their fortune and valor were competing in the increase of their power and esteem, called by Andrónico Paleólogo Emperor of Greeks, in aid and defense of their empire and home. " For the writing of this book he followed the "Chronicle" of Ramón Muntaner, visual witness of the expedition, the works of Bernat Desclot, and those of Jerónimo Zurita, besides those of the Byzantine chroniclers who had collected the feats of the Almogavars” (Translated by Google).
 
Nov 2010
7,510
Cornwall
#23
To our members-

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1. Plagiarism –
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2. Editing the text of another user's quote box -
Paring the part of another user's quoted post that is not germane to your point is fine-just make certain that it is clear that you have done so with ellipsis marks. What is NEVER acceptable is altering another user's quote so that it changes the intended meaning of the original user.

3. Foreign Language –
While Historum recognizes the language diversity of it’s users, it must be emphasized that Historum is an English-language forum. The mods have neither the time, nor the skills to translate every time a user posts something in one of the 6,000 other languages that exist on earth. Therefore only English language posts are allowed. This includes videos.
Exception: tread lightly here: As a history forum it will be necessary on occasion to refer to or quote a non-English source. However it must be accompanied with an English translation. No exception

Who on earth do you think you are? I don't have the time either, so if you aren't interested don't read it eh?
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,192
#24
Shock troops - people love that phrase as it suggests all sorts of overpowering combat potential but really the only shock involved would be the surprise of encountering capable forces for the first time outside of expectation. The concept that troops 'shock' an opposing formation is largely nonsense. Whilst a defending formation can by 'shaken' by an attack with consequent risk to numbers, morale, and coherent operation, the troops attacking are in all likelihood not designed to achieve that specifically since all attacking forces in an army would be expected to perform to their expected strengths. The 'shock troop' appellation is basically a dramatic way of describing forces with a reputation for aggression and capability but has little to do with military reality - though propaganda would jump on a reputation like that.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,110
Portugal
#25
Shock troops - people love that phrase as it suggests all sorts of overpowering combat potential but really the only shock involved would be the surprise of encountering capable forces for the first time outside of expectation. The concept that troops 'shock' an opposing formation is largely nonsense. Whilst a defending formation can by 'shaken' by an attack with consequent risk to numbers, morale, and coherent operation, the troops attacking are in all likelihood not designed to achieve that specifically since all attacking forces in an army would be expected to perform to their expected strengths. The 'shock troop' appellation is basically a dramatic way of describing forces with a reputation for aggression and capability but has little to do with military reality - though propaganda would jump on a reputation like that.
Heheh! True. “Shock”, “Elite”, “secret”, “mysterious” and similar adjectival terminology belongs our days media, it was incorporated in their marketing dictionaries. It sells books, games and causes clicks.

Another option would be “10 things that you don’t know about…”
 
Likes: martin76
Oct 2015
5,097
Matosinhos Portugal
#26
To our members-

In addition to Historum’s all embracing rule regarding civility*, there are specific rules that have been refined and need to be restated for clarity. Therefore this recap.

1. Plagiarism –
In Historum’s view, using another person's words without proper attribution is equivalent to stealing. It is never, never allowed on Historum.

2. Editing the text of another user's quote box -
Paring the part of another user's quoted post that is not germane to your point is fine-just make certain that it is clear that you have done so with ellipsis marks. What is NEVER acceptable is altering another user's quote so that it changes the intended meaning of the original user.

3. Foreign Language –
While Historum recognizes the language diversity of it’s users, it must be emphasized that Historum is an English-language forum. The mods have neither the time, nor the skills to translate every time a user posts something in one of the 6,000 other languages that exist on earth. Therefore only English language posts are allowed. This includes videos.
Exception: tread lightly here: As a history forum it will be necessary on occasion to refer to or quote a non-English source. However it must be accompanied with an English translation. No exception
.....................

You may be right, friend Arminus, but your compatriot Jhonincornwal forgot to translate into English I think he did not commit a crime for the little fire, I do not withdraw his reason.


Podes ter razão amigo Arminus, mas o seu compatrióta Jhonincornwal se esqueceu traduzir para Inglês penso que não cometeu crime para o pequeno encendio,não retiro sua razão.
 
Nov 2010
7,510
Cornwall
#27
.....................

You may be right, friend Arminus, but your compatriot Jhonincornwal forgot to translate into English I think he did not commit a crime for the little fire, I do not withdraw his reason.

.
Thanks Latino. As it is directly quoted book synopsis from Amazon UK from a book which is only in Spanish, about Spanish history, it was posted for information of those able to use it. Plus I didn't have time. The guy is just pompous and rude and needs to get a life.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,248
Spain
#29
I agree with Tulius. Almogávares were Elite Infantry. They didn´t use swords or horses but two javelins and one great knife. The Eastern Companys came from Aragonese kingdom: Aragon-Catalonia-Valencia. First they conquered Sicily for Aragon...and then they were contracted by Byzantium.
 
Nov 2010
7,510
Cornwall
#30
They stood out because they were professional fighters. And not the type of people you wanted around when there was no war or who you would invite to dinner (which is why they were shipped off to Constantinople) . In a medieval age of part time armies - feudal basically - professionals would always stand out and be worth 10 others

examples:

Almogavares (this term also applies to those dubious and hard beings in the border areas of Christian/Muslim Spain, treating with both sides in dodgy deals)
Templars
El Cid and army
Catalan mercenaries in the service of the Almoravids (eg Reverter)
Castillian/Leonese and Aragonese mercenaries in the service of the Almohads
El Rey Lobo's army of Castillian mercenary knights


Whilst they were very good and well-led , it's a fairly good bet that the opposition was shocking and badly led, in each case
 
Likes: martin76