James II, King of Aragon
JAMES II, KING OF ARAGON
Reigned 1291 to Nov. 2, 1327, king also of Sicily from 1286; b. 1267; d. Barcelona. James II "the Just" continued the expansionist policies of his predecessors (James I of Aragon, Peter III of Aragon). He invaded Castile, meanwhile annexing much of its Kingdom of Murcia (1291–1301); he seized Gibraltar briefly during a crusade against Granada (1309); conquered Sardinia against Pisan-Genoese resistance (1323–24); connived at the Catalan Company's seizure of Byzantine territory; held Moslem Tunis, Bugia, and Tlemecen as tributaries; and secured a protectorate over Christians in the Holy Land. A poet and literary patron, he also founded the University of Lérida (1300), replaced the suppressed tem plars with his knights of montesa (1317), and gained a specifically "Aragonese" metropolitanate. After surrendering Sicily to Anjou-papacy disposition (Anagni treaty, 1295), he connived at its retention by his brother Frederick III. Pope boniface viii slyly appointed James captain general of the Church, using as bait Corsica and Sardinia. But Ghibelline champion James merely waged a pseudowar against guelf champion Frederick, thus marking the last phase of the Sicilian Vespers War (1297–1302).
Bibliography: The Chronicle of Muntaner, tr. a. goodenough, 2 v. (London 1920–1921). j. e. martÍnez ferrando, Jaime II de Aragón, su vida familiar, 2 v. (Barcelona 1948); Els descendents de Pere el Gran (Barcelona 1954). r. i. burns, "The Catalan Company and the European Powers," Speculum 29 (1954) 751–771. v. salavert y roca, Cerdeña y la expansión mediterránea de la Corona de Aragón, 1297–1314, 2 v. (Madrid 1956). s. runciman, The Sicilian Vespers (Cambridge, Eng. 1958).
[r. i. burns]