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Juvenes - The Middle Ages seen by young researchers

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André Madruga Coelho
, 
Silvana R. Vieira de Sousa

Among queens – Dynastic rights, lineage and legitimacy

Emma of Normandy, Urraca of Leon-Castile and Teresa of Portugal

Ana de Fátima Correia

Résumé

During the middle Ages, women were often considered best as pawns in the chess-game of political and economic interests between families and kingdoms. But families could not deny women a more important role in the processes and shifts of power. There were situations when men looked up to them to find ways of legitimatizing new dynasties or rights of succession. In times of war and political struggles they were definitely an asset; sometimes as active players, using their power and the tools at their disposal to defend their rights and those of their offspring, others by fulfilling passive roles, being evoked by their descendants, spouses, or the next generations for the sole purpose of proving ancestry and bloodline. Occasionally, they were both.
Emma «Ælfgifu» of Normandy, Urraca of Leon-Castile and Teresa of Portugal served as conduits of lineage and legitimacy claims. Sons and future generations affirmed their rights through a link to the genitrix whenever it suited their needs best. This paper revisits some ideas on Anglo-Saxon and Iberian Queenship and signals the role of the medieval queen as harbinger for power, memory and legacy. Ultimately, it aims to create a space where dialogue and interdisciplinarity between the Anglo-Saxon and the Iberian world of the eleventh and twelfth century can converge.

Texte intégral

Introduction

1During the middle Ages, the roles and powers of women as queens suggested not only ambiguity and limitation, but also a permanent flux of transformations. For queens of the eleventh and twelfth-century like Emma of Normandy (Emma Ælgifu), Urraca of Leon-Castile and Teresa of Portugal, the confirmation of their status, both royal and social, relied not only on their identity as consecrated individuals and owners of an office, but it also depended on how that office was carried out beside its masculine counterpart.

2The current mechanisms were designed ultimately for a share in power, and yet the life paths of Emma, Urraca and Teresa and the actions they took confirmed them as individual authorities, generating a conflict with the intellectual and government experts of their time, in its majority (if not entirely) masculine.

3It is an acceptable preposition that the image of a king is formed by the reputation of its predecessor. Commonly, kings tend to look up to the deeds and acts of lordship (or lack of them) of the former holders of the office in order to form a discourse that would enhance their own rule. Circumstances also determine a good fortune. Whether by contrast or continuity, their popularity depend on how well they counteract an appalling memory or meet up the illustrious one of the late king.

4These narratives of succession are usually based on the assumption that politics only involve men but women offer an ethical-social profile rather undisputed. Their deemed weakness is also their asset - maternity. Such biological fact, rooted in the female body through birth, gives women an exclusive sex-bound role that makes them threatening to male authority. Their reproductive capacities and «labour» are source of envy and regarded with mistrust. How do they have the power over life and death through the mystery of birth?

5Men are not and cannot be mothers, hence the prestige women held in ancient societies1. Their importance as children-bearers made them vital to the continuity or establishment of lineages, some they themselves might never really be members2. As Stafford states «motherhood is a biological link which cannot be duplicated. Yet it is also a socially constructed role»3. Queens fulfilled several roles in the family. Emma of Normandy, Urraca of Leon-Castille and Teresa of Portugal differ on how they acquired the part, one through marriage to the king; two for being a member of his kin, with one of them being considered the legitimate heir to the throne.

6Therefore, when a woman was queen, she was not only a transmitter of dynastic claims, but also of royal blood, ensuring the perpetuation, establishment or legitimisation of the dynasty. Their power and authority sometimes depended on how well they could maintain a good relationship with their descendants. On the other hand, no matter the conflicts that issued, their offspring occasionally affirmed their claims through the female line, whatever suited their needs best. Male relatives who might provide support just as often became centres of opposition.

7Before advancing to an analysis of the usage of the genitrix paradigm by these queens´ descendants, we must look briefly to the lives of the three women to offer the reader some knowledge on the paths of these characters.

Emma of Normandy

  • 4 It is still debatable if she was a child from his second union with Gunnor, or from his first legit (...)
  • 5 Rollo was a Scandinavian rover who made himself independent of King Harald I of Norway and sailed o (...)

8Emma was born in Normandy as one of the nine known children of Richard I, and daughter of his Danish-descendent wife Gunnor/Gunnora4. Emma was the sister of Richard II and of Robert, Archbishop of Rouen. Dukes Richard III and Robert were her nephews and she was the great-aunt of Duke William, latter known as William the Conqueror. By c.1000 the Norman ruling family was in many ways French, but still tied to their Northern roots. Through Richard I, Emma was the great-grand-daughter of the Viking warrior Rollo5 and grand-daughter of William Longsword. From Gunnor, she inherited a family history which took pride in its Danishness. But anything else before her arrival to England leaves researchers tripping in the dark.

  • 6 She is a witness in this action as regina, presenting an inextricable link between «mother» and «qu (...)
  • 7 GARMONSWAY, G., 1954, Manuscript D (MS D) s.a 1023, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (hereafter ASC), Lond (...)

9Little is known from Emma´s life before her arrival in 1002 to England and marriage to the English King Æthelred II, called «the Unready», «Ill-Fated» or «Ill-Advised». Her date of birth is unknown, but certainly it was not earlier than 980s and not after 995. The first reference to a son, Edward, future king Edward the Confessor, is from c.1005, according to the Codex diplomaticus aevi Saxonici. The first mention to Emma appears in the same document where Æthelred recognizes Edward as ætheling («throne worthy», translated commonly in modern English as «prince») and bestows him lands.6 Thus, she could not have been younger than twelve and not older than twenty. Moreover, she appears with an infant Harthacnut, her son by Cnut, in 1023.7 With Harthacnut born in c.1018, she could not be older than forty but no less than thirty.

10Emma´s entrance in England is set against a background of continuous armed struggles, Viking activity in the Channel and negotiations between the English King, the Normandy leaders, and the Viking chiefs. After 70 years of relative freedom and external attacks, the Viking raids on England had recommenced in 980s in renewed strength and strategies and started using Normandy in 990 as one of their bases from which they sailed on to attack England. In 991, the English King Æthelred II paid a heavy tribute (Danegeld) to the Viking chief Olaf Tryggvason to buy off the Danes in exchange for peace. He also concluded a treaty with Emma´s father, Richard I, in the same year. In 994, another tribute is paid to three Viking leaders, one of them being Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark, son of Harold Bluetooth and father of Knut/Cnut. All of these pacts were short lived.

  • 8 ASC, MS E, p.133

11The Anglo-Saxons continued to measure forces with several and more prepared Viking fleets, which in turn would seek refuge in English territories and islands, and finding in Norman harbours and markets protection and buyers for their loot. The treaty with Normandy seems to have fully collapsed in 1000-1001, when Sweyn´s fleet was offered sanctuary in the land now ruled by Emma´s brother, Richard II. 8

  • 9 It was common to address Emma as simply «the Lady». See examples in «The Lady Richard´s daughter ca (...)
  • 10 In common Germanic, the ancestor language for Old English, German and the Scandinavian languages, « (...)

12Against this background of worsening relations between England and Normandy, negotiations in 1001 and 1002 between Richard II and Æthelred II resulted in Emma marrying the English king in 1002. Emma´s union to Æthelred II is a peace – making marriage, not only a formalised attempt to prevent Norman ports being used as offshore bases for Viking attacks on England but also a way for Richard II to extend his network of connections off-continent through his sister. This marriage was significant in that it later gave his grandson, William the Conqueror, the basis of his claim to the throne of England. Emma received the epithet «The Lady»9 and changed her name to Ælfgifu, a powerful female name filled with mythological, cultural and dynastic significance10. She would bore Æthelred two sons – Edward (c.1003) and Alfred (c.1005) - and a daughter, Godgifu (c.1007).

  • 11 ASC, MS E, s.a. 1014, p. 145. The Witanagemont, known simply as Witan, was an assembly composed by (...)

13Sweyn Forkbeard´s successful invasion of England in 1013 prompt the royal family to refuge in Richard II´s court. The death of the Danish king on February 1014 ensured Æthelred´s return with the agreement of the English noblemen and the Witan «if only he would govern his kingdom more justly than he had done in the past»11. He was accompanied by Emma while Edward and Alfred remained in Normandy. He would rule briefly and die in 1016, leaving Emma a widow. She remained in London while a violent armed struggle for the throne of England broke out between Æthelred´s son from his first marriage, Edmund Ironside, and Sweyn´s son, Cnut. After Edmund´s defeat at the battle of Ashingdon, on 18th of October 1016, the kingdom was divided between them: Edmund retained Wessex and Cnut the remaining realm. The Dane and his allies then marched to London and made their winter quarters there. Edmund would soon pass away in November. Cnut was crowned king in January 1017 and married Emma in August of the same year.

  • 12 First appearance by Harthacnut as princeps regis is in charter S 952 dated c.1018. SAWYER, 1968, Th (...)
  • 13 A daughter of Cnut and Emma was betrothed to Henry, future Emperor Henry III, son of King Conrad II (...)

14Cnut´s reign marks the second stage of Emma´s career. She had two more children by her second husband: one son, Harthacnut, born in c.101812, and a daughter, Gunnhild, in c.1020.13 Alongside Cnut, Emma ruled as a true counterpart. Her presence in charters and other documents rose exponentially. She is an almost invariable witness of Cnut´s charters from her first appearance in 1018. Her position in the witness lists is very prominent, never lower than immediately following the archbishops, and by the 1030s almost immediately after the king or next to him. She is always styled as regina, contrasting with the denoted silence and specific role as a mother or conlaterana regis («she who is at the king´s side») during Æthelred´s reign. Her Encomiast describes her as of great wisdom and beauty and owner of vast estates. Her territorial possessions increased as well as the people and monastic institutions that responded directly to her.

15When Cnut died in 1035, Emma had to deal with questions regarding the succession of the kingdom of England. Harold Harefoot, Cnut´s son from his first marriage with Ælfgifu of Northampton, was crowned king. Meanwhile, Emma assumed a major political role in her own right, as one committed to uphold the interests of the Anglo-Danish political establishment, in the person of her son Harthacnut, against the competing ambitions of Harold. The loss of allies, including her son Alfred, and the defection of earls such as Godwine, earl of Wessex, to Harold´s side, provoked Emma´s exile to the court of Baldwin IV, count of Flanders, who had married her niece Eleanor, daughter of Richard II. Harthacnut would later join her there in 1039. In 1040, following the death of Harold, mother and son sailed to England. Although the king of Denmark had been invited by the Witan to take the throne, he came as a conqueror with an invasion fleet.

16Emma then ruled alongside Harthacnut from 1040 to 1042. Edward, her eldest surviving son, was invited back from Normandy and associated to the throne in 1041. The three formed a trinity of power until Harthacnut´s death in June 1042; Edward, now the Confessor, succeeded him. However, the firstborn son would repudiate his mother and Emma was exiled from court. All her lands and privileges were taken away from her and returned to the king. She would die in March 1052 and was buried at Old Minster (Winchester) alongside Cnut.

Urraca of León-Castile

  • 14 PALLARES, Mª del Carmen, PORTELA, Ermelindo, 2006, La Reina Urraca, San Sebastián, Nerea, p. 16

17Urraca ruled in her own right as Queen of one of the most important kingdoms of 12th century Western Europe. No known chronicler wrote down the date of her birth. Just like Emma, we need to calculate indirectly. Urraca was the daughter of King Alfonso VI, known as Emperor and Conqueror of Toledo, and his second wife, Constanza, younger daughter of Robert the Old, duke of Burgundy, and his wife Helia of Semur. She was the granddaughter of the French king Robert II, the Pious, and sister of Hugh the Great, Abbot of Cluny. Constanza´s first appearance in documents dates from 1079 and she was officially the king´s consort in 108014. That allows us to suppose that Urraca´s birth occurred or in the earliest date, 1079, or in the latest, 1081. She was the half-sister of Teresa of Portugal, Elvira Alfonséz and Sancho Alfonséz.

  • 15 AMARAL, Luís, BARROCA, Mário, 2012, A Condessa Rainha Teresa, Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, pp. 25-5

18The stages of Urraca´s life might be divided into two. The first one is when she is still an infanta, without hope or pretensions to rule. She would marry Count Raimundo of Burgundy and receive Galicia as hers and her husband´s domain. From their union, Sancha and Alfonso Raimúndez, future Alfonso VII, were born.15

  • 16 REY, Emma,1994, Historia Compostelana, Madrid, Ediciones Akal, p. 80
  • 17 RECUERO, Manuel., et. al., 2002, Documentos Medievales del Reino de Galicia: Doña Urraca (1195- 112 (...)

19Until 1107, Urraca was not much more than the wife of an ambitious man. The daughter of the emperor and spouse of the count of Galicia was just the «nobilísima doña Urraca».16 She was resigned to a role of mother between the years of 1095 and 1107 and the birth of a male heir in c.1103 assured the best conditions of transmitting the succession in Alfonso VI´s kingdom. Yet circumstances and coincidences dictated her future as Queen of León-Castile. Things changed for Urraca in 1107 and she truly began having an active role in the politics of the kingdom. Widow of Raimundo, who had died in the previous year, she proclaimed herself «totius Gallecie domina»17 and probably resumed the tasks of government that she had initiated alongside her husband.

20The second stage starts when Urraca is appointed heir to the throne by Alfonso VI. The premature death of Sancho, Alfonso VI´s heir, at the Battle of Uclés in 1108 confirmed her as future queen of León-Castile. The death of Alfonso VI in 1st July 1109 made the verdict definitive and Urraca would rule the kingdom from 1109 to 1126. She married Alfonso of Aragon, known as El Batallador in 1109.

21The levels of agreement and political collaboration between the two partners were somewhat constantly wavering. Their marriage lasted only three years - from 1109 to 1112 – and it was filled with marital problems and during and post-armed struggles. Moreover, another one of her greatest problems was her own half-sister Teresa, whom after Count Henrique´s death in 1112 never ceased to try to extend her domains, and caused trouble for her sister in Galicia and in the County of Portucale.

  • 18 RUIZ, Irene, 2003, La Reina Doña Urraca (1109-1126) Cancillería y Colección Diplomática, Léon, Cent (...)

22From 1112 onwards, Urraca ruled as regina and «imperatrix Yspanie», making usage of her ancestry and the previous Alfonso VI´s claims to the tile of Emperor of All Spain. To secure Alfonso Raimundez and his supporters’ allegiance, Urraca had consented for her son to be crowned King of Galicia in the previous year, but kept her authority supreme.18 It is always Urraca who holds the empire of Alfonso VI; Alfonso Raimundez, king, since he was in fact crowned and anointed, confirms documents from the start, because he is son of the queen. Her reign was also marked by power struggles against him.

23There are enough evidences of energy, independence and strong traits of character that eclipse the social image of an abominable woman and «bad queen» that the chroniclers, mostly clerics, tried to pass on. Nor even her son could escape his mother´s legacy, as well shall discuss in more detail onwards. It was not enough to topple up her seventeen years of uninterrupted reign. Queen Urraca died in March of 1126 in Saldaña.

Teresa of Portugal

24The available data for this female character is filled with voids, controversies and silences, making it almost impossible to create a storyline with a beginning, middle and end. A study from 2012 done by Portuguese historians, Luis Amaral and Mário Barroca, has been changing the way we look at this character through the construction of a very consistent portrait of a woman and her place in the familiar, human and political circles of her time.

25Teresa´s career draws parallels and is tied closely to that of her half-sister and queen, Urraca. Both were active in politics, were paws to their husbands´ ambitions to rule, and yet when they died, they were the ones who took the reins of their kingdoms. They did not exercise power as a simple stage of transition until their sons were of age; they even used them to amplify their own. Yet, Teresa ended up being deposed by her son Afonso Henriques.

  • 19 AMARAL et al., 2012, p. 64
  • 20 AMARAL et al., 2012, p.67
  • 21 Afonso Henriques´ date of birth is controversial. However, I follow the thesis presented in MATTOSO (...)

26Teresa (or Tareja) was daughter of Alfonso VI and Ximena/Jimena Muñoz/Moniz. The king of León-Castile had Teresa´s mother as his concubine from 1078 to 1080. The infanta was probably born c. 107919. She had a sister, Elvira, who was born c. 1078 and was half-sister of Urraca and Sancho Alfonséz. Like Urraca, Teresa would have lived in the court of her father until her hand was given to Henrique in marriage, approximately at the same time her sister Urraca became engaged to Raimundo. They would marry in 1095 or 109620 and had four children: Urraca Henriques (c. 1095/1096), Sancha Henriques (c. 1097- d. 1163) Teresa Henriques (c. 1098) and Afonso Henriques, the future first king of Portugal, born most likely in 1109, deceased in December 1185.21

  • 22 AMARAL et al., 2012, p.162

27Raimundo´s death in 1107 as well as Sancho´s in 1108 at Uclés violently reopened the problem of succession. Urraca was designated heir to the throne and Alfonso VI remarried her to King Alfonso I of Aragon, as we have seen before. Meanwhile, Henrique dreamt higher than ever, perhaps trying to occupy the political and military void left by Raimundo, causing the old king´s wrath. He and Teresa were banished from court and their absence is noted during the first year of Urraca´s reign22. For the next two years, the counts played a dual game, switching sides during the quarrel among Alfonso and Urraca, and were successful in taking the best out of the political conjunctures.

  • 23 RUIZ, 2003, doc.12, pp. 374-375

28The death of Count Henrique in 24th April 1112 had Teresa assume alone the reins of the territory. The first months were fundamental to consolidate her rule and keep herself at the head of Portucale affairs, as infanta and countess domina. She also held the plazas of Zamora, Salamanca, Ávila, Cuenca, Olmedo, Talavera and Coria, granted directly to her by Urraca in 111023.

29Teresa´s next years were spent in obtaining loyalties through generous grants. She knew that no right to the possession or government of a territory could be secured without being accompanied by the sharing of goods and privileges, both to local families and ecclesiastical powers in which she relied on. In the meantime, Teresa also intensified her pressure on Urraca, seeking her recognition on her legitimacy and status as «daughter of a king», and consequent royal rights to the division of the kingdom of León-Castile or the possession of Galicia. Moreover, she was caught between opposing forces, amid those in the county who desired to be completely independent from Galicia and those who wished a rapprochement of both territories separated by the Minho River. Furthermore, divergence between important religious centres (Oporto and Coimbra) and some Almoravid drives into the county kept Teresa occupied.

  • 24 Though her first documents where Teresa styles herself «queen» are only dated from 1117, a papal bu (...)
  • 25 AMARAL et al., 2012, pp. 335-339

30After 1116, we can see her more directly involved in external matters by siding with the Galician nobility led by Count Pedro de Trava against Urraca´s attempts to retake Galicia. From 1117 onwards, Teresa would sign as regina24. This reality soon turned into a quarrel between the two sisters. Teresa´s «queenly» pretensions are clear in the usage of the title regina. It is said that Teresa aimed for the unification of the Portucalense territory with the south part of Galicia. As Urraca did, Teresa made her ancestry known in the diplomas and grants she issued, as queen and daughter of the «glorious emperor» or simply «of king Afonso».25

  • 26 LÓPEZ-SANGIL, 2005, La nobleza altomedieval gallega, la familia Froílaz-Traba. La Coruña, Toxosouto (...)
  • 27 MATTOSO, 2007, pp.61-62; AMARAL et al., 2012, pp.223-224

31In 1120 the Portuguese queen would strengthen her relations with the bishop of Oporto. For the first time, Afonso Henriques, confirms grants with his sisters Urraca and Sancha. Teresa would use this form of familiar unity with her children in other occasions. After 1121 she appears allied to the Trava family, especially to brothers Bermudo and Fernão Peres de Trava. In the meantime, she and Afonso Henriques grew distant. The queen would develop a relationship with Fernão and had four daughters.26 The confluence of interests must have been notorious and threatening because 1121 marks the beginning of the end of most prominent figures of the Portucalense county in the curia.27

  • 28 For more on this subject, see MATTOSO, José, 1985, «A Primeira Tarde Portuguesa», Portugal Medieval (...)

32The death of Urraca in 1126 brought Alfonso VII to the throne. In the next year he is riding towards the North of Portugal demanding his authority to be accepted by his aunt Teresa and Fernão Peres de Trava. Afonso Henriques took up the defence of the castle of Guimarães which had been placed under siege by his cousin during his campaign. Afterwards, the Portucalense barons, who already grew tired of Teresa and the Galician count, decided that a change at the head of government was necessary and arose in revolt. 28

33On the 24th June 1128, the party of the queen and Fernão Trava was defeated at the battle of São Mamede by the barons, led by Afonso Henriques. Teresa was forced to leave the county in exile and apparently fled to Galicia. The countess-queen died in the 1st of November 1130.

The genitrix paradigm

34 It is mostly acknowledged that Harthacnut shared power and ruled the kingdom with his mother Emma. She became queen-mother, mater regis, in 1040, initiating the final stage of her career. A widowed queen with a son who was king was more entitled to be the king´s mother than queen. And kings were happier with this acceptable face of female power, perhaps more than the power of a man´s wife. The role of the mother was even more likely to be acknowledged as a suitable description of the queen´s public authority. But this was not unproblematic.

35Emma had been dominant during the brief rule of her full-age son and ruled alongside Harthacnut from 1040 to 1042. Emma exercised considerable power in the role she had fought for, that of mother of the king, signing as mater regis in the witness lists and charters, invariably placed after the king, or sometimes exercising a joint rule. Edward was associated to the throne in 1041 and the three formed a trinity of power.

36Their partnership was much like that of her mother-in law Æthelryth with Æthelred II, and before her, Eadgifu, third wife of Edward the Elder, mother of kings Edmund I and Eadred. As previously mentioned, we also have echoes of this partnership in Portugal, when Teresa issued diplomas with her three sons – Afonso, Sancha and Urraca – and even Urraca and Alfonso Raimundéz had a kind of understanding of sorts when it came to certain grants, which were signed jointly.

  • 29 The earliest one dates from A.D. 981. S 838 in SAWYER, 1968 – «Ego Æthelryth eiusdem regis mater»; (...)
  • 30 See WILLIAMS, Ann, 2003, Ælthelred the Unready: the Ill-Counselled King, London, Bath Press, p.24
  • 31 See for e.g. S 838 for the first occurrence; S 841 for the second; S 844 and S 876 for the third in (...)
  • 32 Eadgifu is present is almost all known charters from Edmund I and Eadred´s reigns. To attest, see f (...)
  • 33 S 745 and S 746 are grants related to New Minster, Winchester, strongly linked to be some of the «q (...)

37The first record of Æthelryth as mater regis is in the 980s29. It is consistent with the date of Æthelred´s marriage with Ælfgifu of York, his first wife30. Æthelryth began her new career as the king´s mother after he wed. Unlike Ælfgifu of York, who was never crowned or anointed and never signed charters, Æthelryth regularly figures in witness-lists, most of the time between the most important clerical figures of the period, archbishops Dunstan and Oswald, sometimes right after the king31. Similarly, Eadgifu was prominent during the reign of her two sons signing right after them in almost all charters32. She disappeared from court during her grandson Eadwig´s reign but some of her lands were returned to her by her youngest grandson, King Edgar, when he succeeded his brother33.

38Though we can find some precedents for such a situation, it is still most strange why Emma continued to be allowed to stay alongside a man who was more than eighteen years old, was already king of Denmark and had dealt with rebellions and half-brothers who had tried to overthrow him. Bloodline and notions on England´s politics were probably the reasons behind it. The young king never married and seems that he relied on his mother to guide him through England´s customs.

  • 34 This term appears in Anglo-Saxon England in the reign of Cnut (1017-1035) as huscarl (Old English f (...)
  • 35 Two Old Minster Winchester charters - S 970 and S 972- perhaps give one of several indications of h (...)

39In fact, Emma had already a great career and years of expertise in the kingdom´s affairs. Besides, Harthacnut had spent his late childhood and early adulthood in Denmark. It is fair to suppose that he, like Cnut before him, knew nothing about England´s politics. Emma could have been acting again as a teacher in the forms of government. Although queens were rarely given regency for adult kings, any regency, like succession, occurred in unique circumstances. Emma had already performed a sort of regency after Cnut´s death, and even when he was alive and was absent in his other realms, she figured alongside his most loyal housecarls34 – Thorkell and Godwin – and was perhaps entrusted with the government of England35. It is fair to suppose that she did the same for Harthacnut.

  • 36 S 993, S 994 and S 995, then S 996 and S 997 respectively. In the last one, Emma is not mater regis (...)

40Power was indeed shared or theoretically in the hands of one of them alone; sometimes an alternative joint rule is expressed in writs where they address the subject together. From the five charters from his reign, Emma signs right after the king in three, one other is a confirmation of a granting done in Cnut´s time and another is issued jointly by mother and son36. Of Harthacnut´s personal opinion about this situation we know nothing about but we can infer that Emma exercised considerable influence, as she continuously confirms the witnesses´ lists and charters, invariably placed after the king, or sometimes exercising a shared rule.

41Cnut´s death and the subsequent battles fought for the throne of England made of Harthacnut´s court a potentially violent place. The queen´s choice in supporting Harthacnut and not Edward, her eldest, is not clear. The Encomium Emma Reginae, a highly political work commissioned in 1041 by the queen-mother, praises Emma and Cnut´s lineage and describes Emma´s own idealized view of such rule in the trinity of mother and sons and their road to power. Emma depended on the claims of the male members of her family in order to give reason for and retain the power she already had. Her position needed to be justified and legitimized.

42The manuscript excuses the Danish succession through a supposed agreement Emma had established with Cnut at the time of their marriage, where the queen decided to repudiate her own sons by Æthelred and declared that should the union with the Danish conqueror be fertile their children would be sole heirs of the English throne. Emma could have been aiming for supporting the claims of the son who had more resources to ensure success in retaking the English throne from Harold. On the other hand, Edward´s supposedly acceptance of his half-brother sovereignty is an expression of brotherly duties mixed up with the recognition of the superiority of Harthacnut´s military strength.

43Nonetheless, Harthacnut´s opinions and/or views on his mother´s status and role on his government are sparse, not to say none. The idea that remains is that he needed Emma as his guide and protector just as much as she was a vessel to the legitimacy of his claims. His few actions were depicted as idle in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, pushing him away from his father´s exemplary reign and even that of Harold´s. Harthacnut´s increased stained reputation eventually clashed against Edward´s.

  • 37 ASC, MS C, p. 160. MS E account suggests that Harthacnut was, just as Æhtelred had been, «ill-advis (...)
  • 38 ASC, MS C, p. 162.

44The strong image of a trinity of power from 1041-42 – Emma, Harthacnut and Edward- was probably a solution sought to bolster a slumped popularity, succumbing to factionalism and heavy taxing. Harthacnut´s short reign is filled with violence and overtaxing. As soon as he was crowned king, he imposed a severe levy to pay for the disablement of his fleet making several subjects «who had been zealous on his behalf now became disloyal to him»37. The tale of Harold Harefoot´s body been thrown into the Thames by Harthacnut´s orders without a proper burial contributed to the king´s bad reputation, as well as granted him with the animosity of Harold´s party. The C Chronicler of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that for these actions he «never did anything worthy of a king».38

45In the light of this view, the invitation that was extended to Edward was most likely an attempt to placate the growing Anglo-Saxon and Norse branches. But other hypotheses arise. The rebellions from Svein, Harthacnut´s half-brother, in Denmark became worse in 1041 and threatened to take away the throne. It could have been considered that Harthacnut would return to Denmark while Edward was invited back to remain in England as regent, with Emma helping him carrying out the political decisions. Another possibility was that Harthacnut could have already been ill – he would die of convulsions - and he was unmarried and had no children. Perhaps the king himself, Emma or his advisors feared he would pass away without an heir and their positions of power, Emma amongst, would fall along with him.

  • 39 For e.g. see S 1001 and S 1006. S 1012 (AD 1045). Refers to a grant made by King Edward to Old Mins (...)

46Edward´s association with his mother after ascending to the throne in 1042 began peacefully. During the first two years of the Confessor´s reign, Emma did not lose her status as queen– mother, nor her lands and influence. Documentation also shows Emma´s presence as witness in charters granting privileges, especially in lands or to religious institutions where her authority and patronage were stronger. But in the two following years she progressively disappears from charters altogether and is substituted by Edith, Edward´s wife and daughter of Godwine, Earl of Wessex. Her last appearances are confined to witness-lists concerning grants to Old Minster or Westminster abbey, that belonged to the Queen´s lands39.

  • 40 STAFFORD, Pauline, 1997, «Household, Land and Patronage», Queen Emma and Queen Edith, Queenship and (...)

47Edward and Emma´s relationship is one of the examples of power struggles that happened between a king in rule and a widow queen who is mother of the same king. Because of this accumulated contradictions and opportunities between the different roles she had had– conlatera regis, regina, domina, mater regis – Emma´s powers had eclipsed beyond what it was thought acceptable. Her wealth was immense, with vast estates in the East Midlands, East Anglia and Wessex, jurisdiction over the whole west Suffolk and direct rule over cities such as Exeter and Winchester40.

48Emma´s role as the genitrix of Edward is guided by differences of interpretation and situations. Naturally that Emma wanted Edward on her side, just like she had been at Harthacnut´s. But circumstances had changed: Harthacnut died in his twenties; Edward succeeded in his late thirties. It is unclear if Emma´s downfall was due to Edward´s need to step aside from her shadow or if he was manipulated or pressured by his noblemen, with Godwine at its head. Emma was probably seen as a threat and a menace to the king´s authority and to Godwine´s personal ambitions. After all, his daughter had married the king but had neither the majority of the Queen´s lands nor an influential role in court as long as Emma was present.

  • 41 Edward deprived his mother of «an incredible amount of gold and silver». See ASC, MS C and E s.a 10 (...)

49The queen-mother´s downfall is justified in the chronicles and Edith´s commissioned manuscript on Edward´s reign, Vita Edwardi RegisThe Life of King Edward who rests at Westminster»), through the accusations of failing to look out for Edward´s interests, both before and after his ascension. In 1043 the king moved against her and she was deprived of untold treasures and manors. Edward´s actions were rash and intended to reduce Emma to a normal widowhood and incorporate her lands into his royal domain. He after returned to her only enough for her needs, thus turning this action into a royal granting, not personal wealth41.

50Nevertheless, Emma´s role as mother of kings and wife and widow of kings is not forgotten: her guises depended on the chronicles and the identities most convenient to narratives. There is either a sum up in family roles and characteristics, regal and queenly alike, or her roles are chosen and recorded according to the chronicler´s sympathies. Sometimes she is remembered as: a symbol for the Danish and Anglo-Saxon lineages, wife of Cnut, wife of Æthelred, widow of kings, mother of kings, mother of one king, the dowager-queen, with no ties to the Danish lineage or even given appraisal for her «Englishness».

51So far, we have provided a sum up of Emma´s career and what can be concluded about her relationship with her sons. From Edward´s actions we can infer that Emma became a menace to the king and his court advisors´ authority; from Harthacnut we know very little except that Emma was allowed to remain by his side but was not formally praised for being his genitrix. In fact, this paradigm would only be fully appropriated years later as one of the reasons to justify William the Conqueror´s invasion of England.

52The year of 1066 changed identities and retold stories. Emma´s entanglement in William´s claims of legitimacy arises as another argument of propaganda to enforce his recognition as king of England in the post-Conquest period, and to paint Harold Godwinesson, son of Godwin and brother of Edith, queen of the English and widow of King Edward, as a man who had committed perjury and had betrayed the duke´s trust. A claim through the female line proved to be more valuable and useful to William than to Emma´s own son Edward. The distant relationship that somewhat connected the two was thought as undoubted kinship by his supporters.

53The pro-English narratives gave Emma no central role. In the Vita Edwardi Regis, Emma´s single appearance is as the unnamed woman who is Æthelred´s wife and the carrier of the royal infant, Edward - «utero gravida, in ejus partus sobole si masculus prodirect»42. Edward is again remembered as the son of King Æthelred; Cnut is thought as an illustrious ruler; Harold and Harthacnut´s reigns are ignored and Edward, the survivor of the old royal flock, who was since long destined to restore the Anglo-Saxon bloodline, succeeded directly to the Danish conqueror. Similarly to the Encomium, an oath is said to have been sworn to Edward when he was still in his mother´s womb, designating him as the future king.

  • 43 GREENWAY, Diana, 1996, Historia Anglorum (History of the English People) by Henry, Archdeacon of Hu (...)

54Attempts to justify William´s invasion are present in accounts of the first generation of Norman historians, such as in William of Jumièges´s Gesta Normannorum Ducum, Dudo of St Quentin´s De Moribus et Actis Primorum Normanniae Ducum, and William of Poitiers´s Gesta Guillelmi. All of these works try to extol the virtues of King William, presenting him as the ideal Christian prince. The Norman narratives also exalt Emma and Æthelred´s union. For example, Henry of Huntingdon began the sixth book of his Historia Anglorum, 'On the Coming of the Normans', with an account of their marriage, stating that «from this union the Normans were justified according to the law of peoples, in both claiming and gaining possession of England»43.

55The fateful marriage of Æthelred and Emma had made it impossible for the politics of the duchy and the island to ever again be independent of each other. It gave England a king – Edward - who was half a Norman in blood, and whose ideas of government were derived from the political conditions of his mother´s land. Similarly, Orderic Vitalis in Book III of his Historia Ecclesiastica reinforced Edward´s lineage by mentioning the king´s mother by her Norman birth name, Emma, not her English one, Ælgifu. Emma´s marriage to two kings, her motherhood of two more and her daughter Gunnhild formidable match with the son of Emperor Conrad II, glorified the Norman line.

  • 44 POITIERS, William, 1998, The Gesta Guillelmi of William of Poitiers, edited and translated by R. H. (...)

56Moreover, William of Poitier´s discourse bounds Emma undoubtedly to the Norman cause. She is the «genitrix filia Ricardi primi» and Æthelred the «genitor Rex Anglorum»44. The emphasis on biological birth and inheritance terms are not casually chosen. William had trouble in being accepted by his English subjects as king, possibly because many of the positions and ecclesiastical affairs started to be performed by the Norman Church, whose hierarchy received extensive estates and privileges in England, instead of granting them to English monastic houses. Thus, he needed a «popular» connection to the land and its people, more than the crown that was now placed upon his head and gained through the force of a blade and the shedding of blood. Emma would fit the prerogative.

  • 45 «Et, si ration sanguinis poscitur, pernotum est quam proxima consaguinitate Regem Edwardum attigeri (...)

57William of Poitiers traces King William´s genealogy to the Anglo-Saxon lineage, through Emma, the blood-mother of Edward the Confessor and Alfred. Blood is the keyword, present in the statement of ratio sanguinis. So if a claim by blood should ever be sought out, William is the most legitimate candidate to the throne, because Emma was his great-aunt, sister of Richard II, daughter of Richard I, the genitrix of King Edward45. Despite not giving Emma an openly active role, it provided, however dubiously, the foundations of a passive one which made her the conduit through which Norman blood was poured into the Anglo-Saxon lineage and thus justifying the conquest.

58Alfonso Raimundez (King Alfonso VII) and Afonso Henriques relationships with their respective mothers are apparently very different from Edward, Harthacnut´s and ultimately William´s. Firstly, merely by the basic notion of differentiation of status: Urraca was queen regnant; Teresa self-proclaimed herself regina and then was recognized as such. Secondly, Emma never dared to rule in her own name, rather used her influence and wealth to obtain power in government. She was successful at Harthacnut´s side but failed to do the same with Edward. The latter traced his lineage back to his father, pushing his mother to the sidewalk, for fear of a future menace, personal feelings or swayed by second opinions. Harthacnut had more to thank his mother for, but still he and his brother proclaimed themselves descendants of their respective fathers to legitimize their right to the crown. Only William would travel the path not followed.

59In contrast, and in spite of Alfonso VII´s and Afonso Henriques´ evocation of the memory of their male ancestors, Alfonso VI and Count Henry respectively, they could not escape the fact that their mothers were the reason why they later had a territory to govern and crowns on their heads. Although the historical representation of these two Iberian queens was, at their core, negative, given that chroniclers had serious qualms concerning the female capacity to exercise power and authority in their own name and in their own right, they still cannot refute their legitimacy. And legitimacy is the key word and factor, for Alfonso VII inherited the kingdom from his mother, who had received it from her father, Alfonso VI, and Afonso Henriques became heir of a tradition initiated by Teresa, where she had portrayed herself as daughter of a king, and the true beneficiary of the territories given to her by her father, and was later confirmed as regina.

60The two sisters did not occupy positions of power as a transitional stage until their sons were fit to rule. In truth, the two quarreled with their sons, and somewhat were able to use them to fit their own goals. For instance, Urraca associated Alfonso to the throne to placate his ambitions and of those who wanted to use him against her. It was a relationship which began in 1111 with Alfonso´s coronation as king of Galicia and was based in a stumbling flow of power between the two.

  • 46 The tradition of the Imperium Legionensis began with Fernando I and Alfonso VI, Urraca´s grandfathe (...)
  • 47 PALLARES et al., 2006, pp. 74-75.

61We must remind ourselves, as Pallares and Portela carefully pointed out, that this coronation had been with his mother´s consent and under the probation of the supreme ruler of all kingdoms, Urraca, according to the idea of the imperio legionensis46. Moreover, it guaranteed the queen the support from the Galicians in her struggles against Alfonso I of Aragon at a time when an important part of her kingdom was escaping her grasp and it was vital to recover it47.

  • 48 REILLY, 1999, p. 116.

62In the fall of 1116, a time when Urraca´s position continued to be tenuous at best, she associated her son to her rule and graced him with the titular rule of transDuero and Toledo. Reilley advocates that the granting of the city of Toledo in 1116 was Urraca´s strategy to profit indirectly from the masculine connotations associated with the imperial title and the city of Toledo48. Moreover, any gains by Alfonso Raimúndez would be at expense of El Batallador.

  • 49 As designated heir of Alfonso after the death of his male heir Sancho, Urraca wore the title of imp (...)

63Still, Urraca intended to rule there directly, and her son never used the title of imperator while his mother, the legitimate heir, was alive. Urraca, in turn, increased her usage of regina Hispanie, a formula which conveyed the unity and subordination of all the territories under her crown49. She foresaw the natural appeal her son would have for the opponents of Alfonso I and how this situation could benefit her.

64Queen Urraca´s death in 1126 created instability and a momentarily rupture of the fragile balance between the kingdom´s fractions, allowing the repetition of old conflicts and rivalries. And with her passing, it also began the elaboration of images which obscured her regal functions. Alfonso VII was legitimized as the true heir of Alfonso VI ending the reign of a woman which could have done nothing more than to adapt to the circumstances and environment. The Historia Compostelana points out Alfonso VII as the one who restored order and exercised a good government. But this is a partial testimony, not one of kings, but a biased interpretation. Although Alfonso VII reports back to his grandfather´s memory, there are no indications that he repudiated his mother´s legacy.

65In the Chronicle of Alfonso the Emperor, Urraca is seldom referred to but when it is done so she is always addressed as «Queen Urraca». Moreover, the chronicler justifies Alfonso´s quarrels against Alfonso el Batallador with the need to regain control over territories that were taken «from Queen Urraca by means of intimidation» and belonged to «Queen Urraca, his mother».50 Urraca appears as the genitrix of Alfonso VII in the episode against the king of Aragon. The new Castilian king also recognized Urraca as «genitrice mea» in the documentation, for example in a granting dated 1125 to the monastery of Santo Domingo of Silos. The diploma also presents Urraca as «aldefonsi regis filia», evoking the bloodline of which Alfonso VII came from. Son and mother grant jointly, with Urraca confirming the diploma as «Urraca regina, Genitrix eius»51.

  • 52 These calculations are done based on the supposed year of Afonso´s birth, 1109, and given the fact (...)

66Afonso Henriques´ path and his relationship with his mother Teresa are very alike. The Portuguese infans began as a passive witness of Teresa´s actions, only entering the political scenario when he was probably twelve or thirteen years old52. He figures alongside his mother in charters dating from 1121 to 1126, probably in tune with Teresa´s will to restore the former kingdom of Galicia and her alliance with the Trava family. Associating Afonso Henriques to the throne guaranteed her son´s allegiance and inheritance, pacifying the growing voices of the portucalense barons who did not agree with the increasing associations with the Travas.

  • 53 The historians argue that Teresa could have done nothing more than accepting the fait accompli and (...)

67Even so, her actions to associate Afonso Henriques to her rule might have had more to it than just her looking out for personal interests. She might had thought of her son´s rights as well, and wanted to legitimize his power and birth right, in case her union with Fernão Trava brought male offspring and in the eventuality of a new kingdom come as well. His knighting in c.1125, most likely in Zamora and most undoubtedly with Teresa´s consent and blessing, not to mention that given her relationship with Fernão Peres de Trava, also with his and Urraca´s as well, was probably for the same motive53.

  • 54 AMARAL and BARROCA, 2012, pp. 324-325.

68The accounts post-Battle of São Mamede emphasizes discord in the relations between the mother and son, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does regarding Emma and Edward. The Annales D. Afonsi Portugallensium Regis justifies São Mamede as the only action possible for a young man who had been stripped from his rights by a mother who «wished to rule with arrogance and allowed foreign and unworthy people to rule Portugal»54. It is interesting to note that English account of Edward´s wrath towards his mother after he was crowned also excuses the actions he took because she had preferred another (Harthacnut) to him.

69Regardless of how their relationship was (or at least what we could asseverate), Teresa´s importance to Afonso can be verified in the documentation. The king considered himself as the legitimate heir of a glorious grandfather, whose memory he was obliged to honor and sought to impersonate his deeds. The origin of such legacy was not forgotten and Afonso was aware that he received such right through maternal transmission.

  • 55 For a full account and analysis of the titles and formulae in Afonso´s chancellery, see the work of (...)

70The scribes of Count Henry and Teresa never failed to also recall Teresa´s lineage, and the documentation of the counts often styles her as «the daughter of King Alfonso», or «daughter of emperor Afonso» or «daughter of the emperor of Toledo». Likewise, Afonso Henriques´s first diplomas remembered him as grandson of the same king, son of Count Henry and son of Queen Teresa. She is nearly constantly referred to as regina, at least once as matre regina, and one as Adefonsi filia Ispanie regis55.

Conclusion

71In essence, it is thought-provoking when we consider the three case studies altogether. As it has been noted, the ruling trinity of Harthacnut, Edward and Emma can be interpreted as a joining of interests and personal ambitions, but also of a fragile balance which allowed the three to be at head of England´s affairs.

72Emma needed Harthacnut´s support and protection to legitimize her power and status as queen mother and maintain her personal wealth. The subsequent invitation extended to Edward is done on this basis as well. Harthacnut depended on his mother´s support to help him secure the throne, with guidance over the laws of a country he had been absent since childhood, and to balance the riffs of power that emerged after Cnut´s death. Edward´s re-entrance was to keep the peace between rival parties but the invitation opened up possibilities for Emma´s oldest son to gain supporters.

73A share in rule allowed Harthacnut to keep his crown and his subjects in control, Emma to continue to project a wealthy future by trying to smooth the severed relationship she had with Edward, perhaps envisioning his eventual ascension, and Edward to forge alliances within court. Nevertheless, the death of Harthacnut disturbed such balance or prompted things into motion. It opened possibilities for the Edwardian party and caused the beginning of Emma´s downfall. She was repudiated in life by her eldest only to be used in death by William´s supporters to justify England´s conquest.

  • 56 Teresa can be here considered almost as a hybrid case, for she was not a queen-regent nor regnant, (...)

74As we tried to show along this paper, Edward´s association to the throne draws parallels with Alfonso Raimúndez and Afonso Henriques respective alignments with the ruling monarch. Even with roles reversed, it seems that mother and sons relied on each other to maintain or gain power, status and authority. As motherhood comprised bases of authority for a queen-regent (Emma) it became more problematic when sons inevitably threatened the authority that royal heiresses could exercise in their own right (Urraca and Teresa)56.

75Urraca often foresaw or solved problems by largely improvising responses to the conflicts between maternity and authority, in maintaining a good relationship with Alfonso Raimúndez, sometimes with greater costs. Alfonso and his supporters, in turn, grew on ambitions but there is no evidence that the king openly defied his mother´s rule, rather recurring to pressure and intimidation. The same can be said for Teresa who, at some point, might have felt the growing threat of the barons, thus allowing Afonso Henriques to confirm and distribute grants and consenting to his knighthood, but invariably opened up the chance for him to become leader of the opposition party.

76On the whole, Alfonso, Afonso and Edward´s memory became ultimately intertwined with the memory of their «bad mothers». On one hand, Urraca´s legitimacy is a sensitive subject, though not denied but accepted. She was targeted as an unfit ruler, not an illegitimate one. Attacking Urraca and deposing her would sign Alfonso´s downfall too and could somewhat make him a usurper at the eyes of the Christendom. Despite their conflicts, personal ambitions and political stratagems, what transpires is a son who recognized his mother as the conduit of royal blood, as his genitrix, and after her death, regards her as his predecessor and honours her as such.

77 Teresa and Emma, for their part, were harshly punished for favouring others rather than their direct descendants, therefore contributing to bitter relations with Afonso and Edward, and forcing their hands to retake their rightful rights by force. Afonso, however, saw favourable to maintain his mother´s memory, for her lineage and legacy, whilst Edward, along with his wife Edith and counsellor Godwine, considered his a menace; Emma would only be seen as a suitable genitrix at least three decades later.

78No matter what and how many faces and tentative roles they had or were given to them, Emma, Urraca and Teresa truthfully made an appearance on the political stage and left enough footprints to claim them as active performers of their respective time and space. Furthermore, the three were masters in balancing language, image and action to consolidate the exterior and interior political affairs of their kingdoms, and their own power in the royal house and family, to the point of threatening their sons and heirs with their authority. Even so, it is most interesting to note that their offspring and future generations needed them for the purpose of proving lineage and bloodline which only confirms that they had effectively sovereignty over their kingdoms. All of them recognized these queens as vessels of royal blood and regarded them as harbingers of power, memory, ancestry, legacy, legitimacy and of their own honor.

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Notes

1 More on this subject, check ROMERO, Rachel, 2008, The Role of Matriarchies and patriarchies in Social Evolution vis-à-vis Bachofen and his influence on the Social Sciences, Master thesis on Sociology, Texas A&M University. Accessed in 25th April 2019.

2 PARSONS et al., 1996, «Introduction: Medieval Mothering, Medieval Mothers», Medieval Mothering, New York and London, Garland Publishing, pp. 9-11.

3 STAFFORD, Pauline, 2001, Queen Emma & Queen Edith – Queenship and Women´s Power in the Eleventh-Century England, London, Blackwell publishers, p. 75.

4 It is still debatable if she was a child from his second union with Gunnor, or from his first legitimate wife, Emma, daughter of Hugh the Great, duke of the Franks, and sister of Hugh Capet. The debate is sustained upon an onomastic claim that Emma entered the Norman nameflock through Emma, Richard´s first wife. However, the later Norman chroniclers, largely based on William of Jumieges´s Gesta Normannorum Ducum, provide the stronger claims and support the theory that Emma was in fact Gunnor´s daughter. Cit.STAFFORD, 2001, pp. 209-210.

5 Rollo was a Scandinavian rover who made himself independent of King Harald I of Norway and sailed off to raid Scotland, England, Flanders, and France. During pirating expeditions in c.911, he established himself in an area along the Seine River. Charles III the Simple of France held off his siege of Paris, battled him near Chartres, and negotiated the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, giving him the part of Neustria that came to be called Normandy. Rollo in return agreed to end his brigandage. More on the beginnings of the duchy see SEARLE, 1986, Eleanor, Frankish Rivalries and Norse Warriors, California, California Institute of Technology; BOURTE, 2003, Pierre, «Les négotiations du Traité du Saint-Clair-Sur-Epte selon Dudon de Saint Quentin». La progression des Vikings, des raids à la colonisation, edited by Anne-Marie Flambard Héricher, Cahiers du GRHIS, nº14, Université du Rouen, pp. 83-103.

6 She is a witness in this action as regina, presenting an inextricable link between «mother» and «queen» - «Ego Ælfgifu regina testimonium adhibui». THORPE, 1856, «Ædelred 1006» in Codex diplomaticus aevi Saxonicim, London, Macmillan&Co, pp. 341-342,344-345. Accessed the 22nd of April 2019.

7 GARMONSWAY, G., 1954, Manuscript D (MS D) s.a 1023, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (hereafter ASC), London, Anon, p. 156.

8 ASC, MS E, p.133

9 It was common to address Emma as simply «the Lady». See examples in «The Lady Richard´s daughter came hither» in ASC, MS E, s.a.1002, p.134; «In this year died Ælfgifu the Lady» MS D, s.a. 1052, p.176. Other uses in ASC, MS E, s.a 1013, MS D s.a 1022, MS C s.a. 1034, MS D s.a. 1035.

10 In common Germanic, the ancestor language for Old English, German and the Scandinavian languages, «Ælf» was one of the nouns that was most used in personal names and was appropriated into Old English, almost invariably as a first element. Ælfgifu derives from ælf «elf» and gifu, meaning «gift»; altogether, it means «Elf-gift», «Faie-gift» or even «help-giver». The Germanic, Celtic and Nordic culture comprise the idea that «elf», «faie» or «fey», later «fairy» is a designation for a supernatural creature of extreme beauty connected to the Otherworld, capable both of bringing good fortune to people or hindering them. Ælfgifu evokes popular and iconic female Anglo-Saxon rulers such as Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury (d. 944), known as Saint Ælfgifu, first wife of Edmund I, mother of kings Eadwig and Edgar or queen Ælfgifu, consort of King Eadwig during a brief period (c. 956-957). She stayed a kingswoman with strong influences in the royal court of King Edgar, Eadwig´s brother, who succeeded him. On these queens’ presence and power, check charters S 1484, S 737 and S 738 in WHITELOCK, 1930, Anglo-Saxon Wills, Cambridge, Cambridge Studies in English Legal History.

11 ASC, MS E, s.a. 1014, p. 145. The Witanagemont, known simply as Witan, was an assembly composed by nobles and clerics, whose chief function was to advise the king in the matters of the kingdom, both political and military. Before the unification of England in the 10th century and the end of the period known as the Heptarchy, each seven kingdoms – Essex, Kent, Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Sussex and East Anglia – had their witanagemots. Among other primarily functions and powers, the Witan had a role in the election of the new king and it is thought that it could also depose an unpopular one. Æthelred II was supported by the Witan to be crowned king but during his reign their relations were not in the best of terms. After Sweyn´s invasion and Æthelred´s exile in 1013, the Dane had the Witan proclaiming him king, denoting the importance such council had in the English society. For more on «Witan», see LIEBERMANN, 1961, The National Assembly in the Anglo-Saxon Period, New York, Halle.

12 First appearance by Harthacnut as princeps regis is in charter S 952 dated c.1018. SAWYER, 1968, The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Electronic Charters [online]. Royal History Society. [Accessed in 27th April 2019]. According to the ASC, Emma was accompanied by her «royal son Harthacnut» in a religious ceremony in 1023, which might indicate that the little prince would not have been more than five years old at the time, making 1008 the most plausible date for his birth. ASC, MS D, s.a. 1023, p.157.

13 A daughter of Cnut and Emma was betrothed to Henry, future Emperor Henry III, son of King Conrad II of Germany as a pledge of friendship in c.1025 – «Cum rege Danorum sive Anglorum mediante archiepiscopo fecit pacem. Cuius etiam filiam imperator filio suo deposcens uxorem» - and later married him in 1036 «Tempore illo Conradus imperator filiam Chnut regis Heinrico filio accepit in matrimonium». STAFFORD, 2001, pp. 235-238;

14 PALLARES, Mª del Carmen, PORTELA, Ermelindo, 2006, La Reina Urraca, San Sebastián, Nerea, p. 16

15 AMARAL, Luís, BARROCA, Mário, 2012, A Condessa Rainha Teresa, Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, pp. 25-51

16 REY, Emma,1994, Historia Compostelana, Madrid, Ediciones Akal, p. 80

17 RECUERO, Manuel., et. al., 2002, Documentos Medievales del Reino de Galicia: Doña Urraca (1195- 1126) Xunta de Galicia, [s.l.], p.7

18 RUIZ, Irene, 2003, La Reina Doña Urraca (1109-1126) Cancillería y Colección Diplomática, Léon, Centro de Estudios e Investigación San Isidoro, p. 398

19 AMARAL et al., 2012, p. 64

20 AMARAL et al., 2012, p.67

21 Afonso Henriques´ date of birth is controversial. However, I follow the thesis presented in MATTOSO, 2007, D. Afonso Henriques, Maia, Temas e Debates, pp. 27-33

22 AMARAL et al., 2012, p.162

23 RUIZ, 2003, doc.12, pp. 374-375

24 Though her first documents where Teresa styles herself «queen» are only dated from 1117, a papal bull from June 1116 designates her reginae. ERDMANN, Carl, 1927, Papsturkunden in Portugal, Berlin, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, doc. 16, pp. 169-170

25 AMARAL et al., 2012, pp. 335-339

26 LÓPEZ-SANGIL, 2005, La nobleza altomedieval gallega, la familia Froílaz-Traba. La Coruña, Toxosoutos, p. 121

27 MATTOSO, 2007, pp.61-62; AMARAL et al., 2012, pp.223-224

28 For more on this subject, see MATTOSO, José, 1985, «A Primeira Tarde Portuguesa», Portugal Medieval. Novas Interpretações, Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, Lisboa, pp.11-35.

29 The earliest one dates from A.D. 981. S 838 in SAWYER, 1968 – «Ego Æthelryth eiusdem regis mater»; for more on Æthelryth see YORKE, Barbara, 2008, «The women in Edgar´s life», Edgar, King of the English, 959-975 New Interpretations, Woodbrige, The Boydell Press, pp. 143-157

30 See WILLIAMS, Ann, 2003, Ælthelred the Unready: the Ill-Counselled King, London, Bath Press, p.24

31 See for e.g. S 838 for the first occurrence; S 841 for the second; S 844 and S 876 for the third in SAWYER, 1968.

32 Eadgifu is present is almost all known charters from Edmund I and Eadred´s reigns. To attest, see from S 470 to S 578 (AD 940- AD 951) in SAWYER, 1968.

33 S 745 and S 746 are grants related to New Minster, Winchester, strongly linked to be some of the «queen´s lands». For a list of the lands, see STAFFORD, 2001, pp. 129-130

34 This term appears in Anglo-Saxon England in the reign of Cnut (1017-1035) as huscarl (Old English form) or húskarlar (Old Norse form). It refers to a body of household or personal troops, who, however, appear to have had more than just military functions (such as tax collection) and were given grants of land. The term is Danish in origin and seems to have approximated to the native word thegn, both terms sometimes being applied to the same persons in the sources. HOOPER, Nicholas, 1992, «The Housecarls in England in the 11th Century». In Strickland, Matthews (ed.). Anglo-Norman warfare: studies in late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman military organization and warfare. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 1-16.

35 Two Old Minster Winchester charters - S 970 and S 972- perhaps give one of several indications of her regency. SAYWER, 1968.

36 S 993, S 994 and S 995, then S 996 and S 997 respectively. In the last one, Emma is not mater regis but mater regina.

37 ASC, MS C, p. 160. MS E account suggests that Harthacnut was, just as Æhtelred had been, «ill-advised». ASC, MS E, p. 161.

38 ASC, MS C, p. 162.

39 For e.g. see S 1001 and S 1006. S 1012 (AD 1045). Refers to a grant made by King Edward to Old Minster and Emma does not figure in it already. SAWYER, 1968.

40 STAFFORD, Pauline, 1997, «Household, Land and Patronage», Queen Emma and Queen Edith, Queenship and Women´s Power in the Eleventh-Century England, Oxford, Blackwell publishers, pp.123-143

41 Edward deprived his mother of «an incredible amount of gold and silver». See ASC, MS C and E s.a 1043, p.165. MS D confirms that Emma´s treasure was «innumerable». After two fruitful marriages and a career as queen and queen-mother, Emma´s wealth made her liable to the deprivation of land, which was an attack specifically on a dowager who had attempted to retain lands beyond her widow´s status. About this subject, check Pauline Stafford, 1997, «Emma: the Power of the Queen», Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe, edited by Anne Duggan, Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, pp. 3-26.

42 LUARD, Henry, 1858, Lives of Edward the Confessor,London, Longman, p. 393. Accessed in 1st May 2019

43 GREENWAY, Diana, 1996, Historia Anglorum (History of the English People) by Henry, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, Diana Greenway (ed and trans), Oxford, Clarendon Press, p.339.

44 POITIERS, William, 1998, The Gesta Guillelmi of William of Poitiers, edited and translated by R. H. C. Davis and Marjorie Chibnall, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p.77

45 «Et, si ration sanguinis poscitur, pernotum est quam proxima consaguinitate Regem Edwardum attigerit filius Ducis Rodberti cujus amita Richard Secundi soror,filia primi, Emma, genitrix fuit Edwardi.» POITIERS, 1998, p.143

46 The tradition of the Imperium Legionensis began with Fernando I and Alfonso VI, Urraca´s grandfather and father respectively. It was designed to refer the power the Hispanic king had over the Peninsula’s kings. More on the subject see the work of Alfonso Candeira, 1951, El «Regnum Imperium» Leones hasta 1037, Madrid, Talleres Gráficos EASO, pp.25-27. Also Gabriel Bellon, 2014,«La idea imperial leonesa (ss. IX-XII)», Ab Initio, Nº 9, pp. 71 – 94. Available online at «www.ab-initio.es» Accessed in 5th May 2019.

47 PALLARES et al., 2006, pp. 74-75.

48 REILLY, 1999, p. 116.

49 As designated heir of Alfonso after the death of his male heir Sancho, Urraca wore the title of imperatrix, much in alignment with the ideological purposes of past decades. The adoption of such title reinforced the legitimacy of the queen and extension of her kingdom, in a particular harsh context marked by fights against the almorávides, and internal struggles, especially against Aragon and Portucale. Urraca´s usage of both titles – regina and imperatrix – moved between the distinction of terms and a more frequently overlapping of dignities (regina et imperatrix Yspanie), in sync with the idea of regnum-Imperium as part of the construction of the leonese strategy and ideology, justified by the belief that the kingdom of León was an entity overlapping all peninsula nations, realms and institutions. MOLINA, Ángel G.Gordo, 2006, «Las Intitulaciones y Expresiones de La Potestas de la Reina Urraca I de León. Trasfondo y Significado de los Vocativos «regina» y «Imperatrix» en la Primera Mitad Del Siglo XII», lntus Legere – Anuario de Historia, Nº9, Vol. I. Peñalolén, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, pp. 84-85; CORREIA, Ana de Fátima (2015) – The Power of the Genitrix: Gender, legitimacy and lineage : Emma of Normandy, Urraca of León—Castile and Teresa of Portugal. Lisboa: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa. Master thesis in Gender History, pp.73-80

50 LIPSKEY, Glenn, 1972, The Chronicle of Alfonso the Emperor: A Translation of the Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris, with study and notes, Book 1, The Library of Iberian Resources Online, p. 56-61. Accessed in 20th May 2019.

51 RUIZ, 2003, Doc 148, pp. 591-592

52 These calculations are done based on the supposed year of Afonso´s birth, 1109, and given the fact that he only began to confirm his mother´s documents after 1121. MATTOSO, 2007, pp.31, 46

53 The historians argue that Teresa could have done nothing more than accepting the fait accompli and that the knighting in Zamora, a border city, under the hand of Bishop Bernard, loyal to Urraca and Alfonso Raimúndez, was another way to encourage rivalry between Teresa and Afonso. But we are inclined to follow the suggestions of Mattoso, Amaral and Barroca in MATTOSO, 2007, p. 56; AMARAL and BARROCA, 2012, p.225

54 AMARAL and BARROCA, 2012, pp. 324-325.

55 For a full account and analysis of the titles and formulae in Afonso´s chancellery, see the work of Maria Guerreiro, 2010, Por Graça de Deus, Rei dos Portugueses: as Intitulações Régias de D. Afonso Henriques e D. Sancho I, Master thesis on Medieval Studies about Power. Lisboa: Universidade Aberta. Check particularly table 1, attachments, pp.3-33

56 Teresa can be here considered almost as a hybrid case, for she was not a queen-regent nor regnant, but her claims were based ultimately on the second status.

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