War of the Three Sanchos

War of the Three Sanchos

The War of the Three Sanchos ( _es. Guerra de los Tres Sanchos) was a brief military conflict between three Spanish kingdoms in 1065–1067. The kingdoms were all ruled by kings who were, in fact, first cousins: Sancho II the Strong, King of Castile; Sancho IV Garcés, King of Navarre; and Sancho Ramírez, King of Aragon. The primary source for the war is the thirteenth-century "Primera crónica general".

The brief war was ignited in part by the strife left over from the division of the kingdom of Sancho the Great in 1035. That division had left Navarre with a supremacy over the "petty kingdoms" ("regula") of Castile and Aragon, but by 1065 Navarre was a vassal of Castile. In 1065 died Ferdinand the Great and his kingdom was divided between his sons, with the eldest, Sancho, taking Castile. Sancho was covetous of the lands of Bureba and Alta Rioja, which belonged to Navarre, to whom Sancho's father, who had helped reconquer them from the Caliphate, had ceded them.

After an initial series of frontier raids, Sancho IV of Navarre asked for an alliance from Sancho Ramírez of Aragon. Most of the war took place in the region of Burgos and La Rioja. The war was also fought over Castile's ability to take part in the Reconquista, a capacity which had been diminished by the division of Ferdinand's kingdom in 1065. Sancho of Castile did try to extend his influence over the Muslim "taifa" of Zaragoza, which owed him "parias". According to the twelfth-century "Crónica Najerense", a battle was fought during which campaign his "alférez", Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, defeated his Navarrese counterpart, Jimeno Garcés, and gained the nickname "campi doctor" or "master of the field [of battle] ", later to become famous in Spanish literature as "el Campeador". [The historicity of this event, which is not mentioned by contemporaries, has been suspected. José María Lacarra and Bernard Reilly, however, accept it.]

Between August and September 1067 Sancho Ramírez led a counterattack against Castile. Tradition is divided over who had the victory, the "Chronicle of San Juan de la Peña" attributes a rout to the Navarrese and Aragonese at Viana, while the "Primera crónica" attributes victory to Sancho of Castile. Ramón Menéndez Pidal and Bernard F. Reilly accept the latter tradition, Reilly citing a donation of December 1167 to the monastery of Oña by a "Flaino Oriolez dominator Tetelie", a landholder in the Trespaderna district of the upper Ebro Valley. The participation of a Castilian magnate from the Navarrese border in an act by which Sancho formally defined the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Oca (the only bishopric in Castile) strongly suggests that Sancho was in a strong position. [Reilly, pp. 40–41.] The chronicler of San Juan de la Peña, a Navarrese source, wrote that Sancho of Castile was force to raise the siege of Viana and flee on a horse bedecked only in its halter; that he subsequently convinced Abd ar-Rahman of Huesca to go to war with Aragon; and that Sancho Ramírez eventually made peace with him anyway.

Castile retook Álava, the Montes de Oca, and Pancorvo, as well as Bureba and Alta Rioja, but the conflict ended in a stalemate 1067 with the death of Sancha of León, Ferdinand's widow, which opened the way to war between Ferdinand's sons. [Chaytor, p. 38.] Thus distracted from his eastern enterprise, Sancho of Castile turned to his brother Alfonso VI of León in the west.



*Constable, Olivie Remie, ed. "Concerning King Sancho I of Aragon and His Deeds" trans. Lynn H. Nelson. "Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources". Pittsburg: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. ISBN 0 812 215 699.
*Chaytor, H. J. " [http://libro.uca.edu/chaytor/achistory.htm A History of Aragon and Catalonia] ". London: Methuen, 1933.
*Reilly, Bernard F. [http://libro.uca.edu/alfonso6/alfonso.htm "The Kingdom of León-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065–1109".] Princeton University Press, 1988.

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