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THE

NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.

ORIGINAL PAPERS.

STUDIES IN SPANISH HISTORY.-10. J.

Aragon. The kingdom of Aragon, which, by a fatality ever to be lamented by the friends of Spain, has always beld a secondary rank in the Pyrenean Peninsula, was originally a fief of Navarre. A Count of Aragon was present at the election of Inigo Arista, the first king of Navarre who falls within the dawn of real Spanish history, (A. D. 819 or 885). The first union of the two states was effected by the marriage of Garci Iñiguez*, Arista's son, with the daughter of Fortun Ximenez, Count of Aragon.

That Iñigo Arista, as well as most, if not all the founders of the states of Navarre, Aragon, and Sobrarbe, came from the northern side of the Pyrenees, is certain. Purer sources than the oppressive laws of the Spanish Visigoths were resorted to for materials in the political establishment of these sovereignties. In the preamble to the Fuero or Constitutional laws of Sobrarbe, it is said, that, Spain being in the pos

• We wish, thus early, to acquaint the reader with the original use and formation of Spanish surnames. The Spaniards, like the Greeks, showed their immediate descent by a patronymic, ending in ez.

We do not recollect any exception to this but Garcia, which generally loses the last letter, as a Christian name, and suffers no alteration as a patronymic, e. g. : Garci Perez, Garcia, the son of Peter ; Pedro (anciently Pero) Garcia, Peter, the son of Garcia. There is also Garces, which we take to be the regular derivation from Garcia, the z changed into s, to avoid the immediate repetition of the dental sound of the c, formerly written ç, which is the same as that of the z. In a similar manner, Sanchez signifies the son of Sancho ; Gonzalvez, more commonly Gonzalez, the son of Gonzalvo, generally written and pronounced Gonzalo. From Rodrigo was derived Rodriguez, and from Ruy, the abbreviation of that name, Ruyz. Men of distinction added to these two names an agnomen, taken from their estates, or from the place where their ancestors lived when they rose into notice. This, the Spaniards call solar ; the ground or plot of a family. Hence, the preposition de or del, which is always prefixed to this designation, may be generally taken to be a mark of good descent. The proudest names in Spanish history are formed in this manner :-Ruy Diezt del Bivar ; Garci Perez de Vargas ; Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, &c. &c.—The affectation of distinguished birth induced many to add the name of their birthplace to the patronymic, a fashion much in vogue among the learned of the sixteenth century; and, in progress of time, this addition was adopted as the surname of a whole family, either singly or with the patronymic; which, in modern times, is never altered. This is the cause of the multitude of Rodriguez, Sanchez, Fernandez, which, like the British Johnsons, Jacksons, Jamesons, &c. are found among the Spanish peasantry.

+ Or Diaz, as it may be derived from Diego or Diago, (James) from which comes Santiago, i. e. San Diago, the combination of di before the a being intended to express the sound of the j in Jacobo, afterwards converted into Jacomo, in other parts

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session of the Moors, the Ricoshombres (chiefs or barons, literally, wealthy men,) had agreed to choose Inigo Arista for their king; and that for the purpose of establishing the fundamental code of the new kingdom, they had enquired among the Lombards and Franks, from whose statutes and customs such laws had been selected as were most suited to their infant monarchy. The new Constitution was confirmed by the Pope, and became one of the chief sources of the enterprising character, which, actuated by the consciousness of rights and freedom, made the Aragonese and Catalans so conspicuous in the history of the middle ages. Had the kingdom of Navarre been inseparably united with Aragon, it is probable that the Aragonese would have eventually prevailed over both the Moors and the other Christian states of the Peninsula, spreading with their preponderance much sounder principles of government than the Castilian princes established among their subjects.

The original Aragonese government was a monarchy more limited by a feudal aristocracy than that of England under the immediate successors of the Conqueror. In England, the whole country was actually parcelled out to the barons who assisted William in seizing the crown. In Aragon, the king, who neither by birth nor wealth was much above the nobles, could only make grants of what the national enemy had still in their hands. These grants might be therefore called fees in military reversion, the chances of which depended on the united valour and success of the Christian chiefs. To their kings they were indebted for little more than the advantages of subordination, and such others as, in that warlike age, might arise from the personal talents and courage of the monarch. The form of words commonly reported as used by the Aragonese peers at the installation of their kings, though unattested by any historical document with which we are acquainted, is very much in the spirit of their original constitution.* By the Fuero de Sobrarbe, the king was made to swear that he would govern the country according to law, and maintain the noblemen in their rights, so as always to lean towards the encrease of their privileges. This they claimed as their due for putting into the king's hands the towns and districts which they had already taken, or were to take, from the Moors. It was also enacted, that when any new conquest was made, the king should give proportionable shares of its emoluments to the Ricoshombres (barons), the Caralleros (knights), and the Infanzones (esquires or gentry). That neither Iñigo Arista, nor any of his successors, should hold a court of law, nor sit in judgment upon any case without a council. That the king should not make peace, declare

war, grant a truce, or enter into a coalition with other princes, unless he had the advice of twelve ricoshombres, or an equal number of counsellors, chosen from among the elders, and the learned of the land. “ These laws,” says Zurita, “ were religiously observed in this kingdom, the authority of the ricoshombres being so great that nothing was done without their opinion, advice, and sanction. The government, in fact, of

* “ We, who singly are thy equals, and jointly are above thee, deliver unto thee this kingdom, that thou mayest govern it according to law; if otherwise, we do not."-Si non, non.

+ “Que los manternia en derecho, y siempre les mejoraria sus fueros." Zurita, lib. i. c. v.

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