Eleonora d’Arborea, Judge of Sardinia
With the approach of the Sartiglia of Oristano, and considering the interest that we have found with our updates on the event, it is natural to talk about one of the most known and beloved Sardinian history characters, inextricably linked to our tradition and this event: Eleonora of Arborea.
Eleonora d’Arborea was Giudicessa (therefore queen) of Arborea between 1383 and 1404. She is responsible for the disclosure of the Carta de Logu (local paper), a collection of laws in the Sardinian language, already promulgated by her father Mariano IV.
The Carta de Logu was a collection of laws and local legal customs; it included 198 chapters on rules of civil and criminal law and it was intended to clearly regulate the various sectors of the life of the citizens of the court. It was written in the Logudorese language, so that the laws contained were easy for the subjects to understand.
A life in the balance between history and legend
Eleonora was born in Catalonia, in Molins Rei, in 1347.
Daughter of Mariano IV of the de Serra Bas and of Timbora di Roccaberti, he moved to Sardinia with his family where his father became ‘king’ of the Giudicato d’Arborea.
In the Middle Ages, in fact, Sardinia was divided into four autonomous territorial entities, the judges: Torres, Arborea, Gallura, Cagliari.
Around 1300 the autonomy of these judges was called into question by the Aragonese, to whom the Judge of Arborea strongly opposed. Breaking his vassal constraint, Mariano IV started, in 1353, a war – the Sardinian-Catalan war – aimed at blocking the expansion of the Aragonese on the island, to the Iberian crown itself, wishing to unite the whole Sardinian territory and transform it into the province of the Aragonese kingdom.
In 1376 Eleonora married Brancaleone Doria, whose Genovese family owned territories in north-western Sardinia and soon moved to Genoa.
In 1383 his brother Ugone III was assassinated, Eleonora returned to Sardinia and succeeded him as a judge, lavishing himself so that his first-born son Federico was recognized as legitimate successor to the government.
In the meantime, following the ancient Sardinian royal law, according to which women were allowed to succeed their father or brother, he was appointed regent for the minor son Federico, who managed to elect a judge in the assembly of the Corona de logu. He immediately demonstrated that he possessed a great political intelligence inspired by the experience of his father Mariano IV.
Unfortunately, after having succeeded in completing the project of the father to unite almost the whole island under his scepter of judging regent, keeping in check and relegating the Aragonese troops on the edge of the island, he saw his project collapse following a unpredictable unknown fate: the plague, which delivered without fighting Sardinia to the Aragonese.
According to tradition, the Judge died, around 1404, perhaps of plague, in an unspecified place.
In fact, only suppositions can be made on his grave. According to some scholars, such as Bianca Pitzorno and Francesco Casula may have been buried in the cathedral of Oristano or in the church of San Gavino Martire, near the Castle of Monreale, near Sardara, where he often stayed.
The ‘magic arts’ of Eleonora d’Arborea
As a much loved historical figure, Eleonora soon became the protagonist of fairy tales and legends in which her cunning, her sense of justice and her physical strength are highlighted.
Because of these abilities out of the ordinary, in some stories Eleonora is described as a sorceress with extraordinary powers.
The legends born on her are curiously linked to that which has as its protagonist a certain King Mastiff (perhaps it is Martino I d’Aragona, called “Il Vecchio”).
It is said, in fact, that this king, helped by the devil, forged a sword with the thirty gold coins received by Judas to betray Jesus Christ. This weapon with magical powers was hidden in the basement of Rocca de Ghisos, near Cuglieri and here it was found by Eleonora D’Arborea.
It was thanks to this weapon that the Judge could defeat so many enemies.
A story that recalls the well-known legend of Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur.
And this is also why we can not wait to see Eleonora d’Arborea live, at the Sartiglia, interpreted this year by Sara Putzolu, 34, from Narbolia.
Will you be with us?