Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bermudo II the Gouty

When a wikipedia search led me inadvertently from the band Kings of Leon to a list of the monarchs of the medieval Spanish kingdom of León instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the very colorful epithets that some of these kings had. The kings of León are a continuation of the kings of Asturia, and also end up picking up the kings of Galicia at some point as well. And, of course, as the petty kingdoms of Iberia ended up consolidating, eventually the kings of Castille and later of a united Spain were the kings of León. But as all that was happening, here's a few of the unusual characters to have held the throne:
  • Alfonso IV the Monk - abdicated for a clerical life.
  • Sancho I the Fat - had his reign interrupted by Ordoño IV the Wicked, because he was too fat and the nobility didn't like him. He went on a weight reduction program, actually, and regained his throne, but because he didn't honor his treaties with the Moors, the second half of his reign was not peaceful. Also: Ordoño the Wicked? Not a bad name either.
  • Bermudo II the Gouty - poor guy.
  • Ferdinand IV the Summoned - after a succession of kings with nicknames like "the Great," "the Emperor," "the Brave," "the Just," and "the Cruel"--y'know, the usual, we get this fella, Ferdinand the Summoned. Supposedly, he tyrannically put to death the brothers Carvajal, who "summoned" him to a certain plaza to answer for his sins. This is an apocryphal story that doesn't date from his reign, but apparently it stuck anyway. Plus; cool name. He was actually a king of Castille, but by this point Leóon was united with Castile. Technically, he held both titles, although the title of King of León was increasingly superfluous at this point as the kingdoms slowly merged.
  • Henry IV the Impotent - Wow, bad luck to this fella, one of the earlier kings from the Trastámara line. Following on the heels of the similarly unfortunately named Henry III the Infirm.

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