Mudejars and the Administration of Justice
The question of law and the judicial process is a troublesome one for the historian of the Mudejars. Owing to the nature of the extant documentation—virtually all in Latin or Romance and treating the concerns of the Crown and its officials—our view of the juridical state of affairs is necessarily one-sided. The extreme paucity, or almost complete lack, of Arabic documentation obscures the working of the kingdom's Islamic courts and the extent to which Islamic law governed Mudejar life. Fortunately, the documents provide enough references to the activities of Muslim judges and jurists and to sentencing by specifically Islamic penalties to allow for a piecing together of some elements of the puzzle. The laws of the kingdom regulating the judicial process for Christians, Muslims, and Jews—found in the Furs and the Aureum opus —also offer some rough guidelines. However, it must be emphasized that the practical administration of justice often differed significantly from the theoretical strictures set forth in the law codes. By the late fifteenth century, if not earlier, Christian and Muslim judges and jurisprudents seem in somewhat of an ad hoc fashion to have arrived at a juridical modus vivendi, in which Muslim and Christian officials recognized one another's exclusive spheres of jurisdiction, but at the same time were able to work cooperatively at those points where the two legal systems meshed.
Islamic and Christian Legal Systems: Autonomy and Convergence
For the medieval Muslim the law, or Shariah, was of essential importance, the very foundation of religious identity. The Shariah derived from two sources: the Qur'an[*] , God's revelation; and the Sunnah , the statements and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, preserved in the hadith[*] , orally transmitted statements by and about the Prophet eventually written down by legal scholars. Encompassing both the religious and the secular, and Shariah guided religious practice, set forth moral values, and created a framework for private and, theoretically at least, public life. The Christian authorities had long recognized the Muslim and Jewish minorities' legal identities, often referring to them as adherents of distinct "laws" instead of different religious beliefs. Royal enactments applicable to subjects of all three faiths were therefore often addressed to persons "of whatever law or status."
As stipulated in the thirteenth-century treaties between Jaime I and the conquered Muslims of Valencia, the latter were granted legal autonomy and the ability to administer justice according to çuna and xara (Sunnah , here probably meaning the Muslims' local customary law, and Shariah). Pedro IV confirmed this basic Mudejar right, commanding that all cases between Muslims, both civil (see tables 16 and 17) and criminal, were to be judged according to the Shariah (1337). Of course, if Islamic law were to remain in force among the Mudejars, the Islamic courts had to be maintained and manned by Muslim judges, or qadi s[*] . Alfonso IV provided for the establishment of a sufficient number of qadi s in royal towns and on those seigneuries where the lords had criminal jurisdiction over their vassals (1329). Furthermore, Alfonso permitted the qadi s to delegate their powers to substitutes competent to administer justice in their absence. The measures taken by the jurates of Alcoy, and approved by Juan II, for the creation of a new morería there (1468) attest to the continuing importance of Mudejar qadi s:
let there be made or created a qadi[*] in the said morería , who may judge and have the power and faculty to judge the litigations arising between the said Moors, who will live in the said morería , according to Sunnah and Shariah, just as is accustomed among Moors of other morerías of the said kingdom.
At the pinnacle of Valencia's Islamic judiciary was the qadi general, or royal qadi . During the years covered by this study this post was held by various members of the Bellvis family—Mahomat until 1484, and Ali from 1484 until at least 1501—who resided in the capital. Along with a
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variety of other duties, the qadi[*] general exercised appellate jurisdiction over the kingdom's Islamic courts. Beyond his court, the Mudejar dissatisfied with the decision of a local qadi could have recourse only to the bailiff general or the king.
Although in the thirteenth century accusations against Muslims by Christians were heard in Islamic courts, by Fernando's reign it was established procedure to try all cases between Muslims and Christians (see table 18) in Christian courts according to the Furs . Confining our present discussion to those cases involving only Muslims, it appears that even they were frequently adjudicated in Christian courts. This was far truer of criminal than of civil litigation. This state of affairs may be explained in part by the legislation of Jaime II, which provided that the bailiff general was to have ultimate jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases between Muslims resident on royal and ecclesiastical lands (1298). The governor general was later granted a similar jurisdiction over the cases of seigneurial Muslims. The qadi s were still supposed to have primary jurisdiction in these cases.
However, by the midfourteenth century the intervention of Christian magistrates in Mudejar litigation was far more frequent than the occasional ruling by bailiff or governor warranted by Jaime II's legislation. Boswell found that Christians were constantly meddling in the Muslims' judicial proceedings. Between 1355 and 1365 89 percent of all cases involving only Muslims were heard by Christian judges, and often were decided according to Christian and not Islamic law. Put in an advantageous bargaining position by the fortunes of Pedro IV's war with Castile, a number of the kingdom's aljamas were able to wrest from the king guarantees that henceforth they would be judged according to the Shariah.
The picture derived from the documentation of Fernando's reign contrasts strikingly with the Mudejars' juridical woes in the midfourteenth century. There was only one complaint about Christian interference in Muslim cases, and this was voiced by the aljama of Valencia. The aljama began by recalling the allegedly long-established judicial procedures: "for the past great while by ancient custom and practice observed without contradiction in all the present kingdom of Valencia the cases and litigations which involve Moor against Moor, both civil and criminal, were decided according to Sunnah and Shariah." Now, however, the aljama complained, "sometimes obstacles and impediments are placed so that such litigations are not judged or decided in the aforesaid form," which was manifestly prejudicial to the Muslims of Valencia's morería . The king responded with the command that "all the litigations, both civil and criminal, involving Moor against Moor should be determined according to Sunnah and Shariah." Anyone violating this
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order was to pay the heavy fine of 1,000 gold florins. As is evident from Boswell's study, the aljama exaggerated the supposedly ideal conditions of earlier days, for there certainly had been frequent and excessive "contradiction" of the "ancient custom."
At any rate, the articulation of only one complaint does not mean that elsewhere Christian officials remained aloof from all Mudejar litigation. On the contrary, they were often active in the conclusion of such cases. The point of contrast between the midfourteenth century and Fernando's reign is not that in the latter period Christian intervention was lacking; rather, it is that in the late fifteenth century the Mudejars for the most part did not perceive such Christian involvement as interference or as a violation of their privileges. The exception, the aggrieved aljama of Valencia, may be explained by the greatly reduced population of the morería (since 1455) and the burgeoning Christian population of the city, perhaps more apt to interfere in Muslim affairs than previously.
It is difficult to explain this contrast, or to trace a clear line of development from the midfourteenth to the late fifteenth century. Boswell's concluding remarks on the judicial process provide a useful point of departure. He argues that even though Christian officials frequently violated the judicial autonomy that had been promised to the Mudejars in the thirteenth century, "the system of interlocking justice prevailing under the Crown of Aragon in the fourteenth century may represent a successful departure from the general pattern of institutional separation between Christians and Muslims." This system ultimately satisfied the needs of the greater part of both communities. Indeed, at the root of the Mudejars' acceptance of the judicial status quo was likely a progressive accommodation between the Islamic and Christian legal systems. Such accommodation paralleled and contributed to the Mudejars' increasing sufferance of Christian rule reflected in their relative political quiescence under Fernando. In other words, Valencia's Muslims became more accustomed to the participation of Christian magistrates in their judicial affairs and more willing to plead their suits before Christian courts.
One must also take into account the chronological focus of Boswell's study, which covers the years of the war between Castile and Aragon (1355–1366). The upheaval and disorder of these years likely afforded unscrupulous Christian officials an unusual freedom to abuse Mudejars and to usurp their judicial prerogatives. Perhaps the restoration of order and Valencia's greater stability in the fifteenth century were less propitious for the blatant violation of Mudejar privileges. In any case, the Mudejar grievances expressed to Fernando were scarcely concerned
with infringements on their judicial autonomy. Given the active role still played by Valencia's Islamic judiciary and the persisting importance of the Shariah among the Mudejars, it may be supposed that many of the fourteenth-century abuses had been corrected. Islamic justice continued to be administered in Valencia, and the posts of qadi[ *] and faqih[*] were not mere sinecures apportioned among the king's Muslim favorites. This being the case, it is necessary to establish in what areas the Islamic courts still had exclusive jurisdiction, in which types of cases the jurisdictions of Islamic and Christian courts overlapped, and in such cases of jurisdictional convergence, how Muslim and Christian magistrates divided their juridical labors.
Almost all criminal cases between Muslims were tried before Christian tribunals: royal and ecclesiastical vassals in the courts of the bailiff general or local bailiffs, seigneurial vassals of lords with only civil jurisdiction in the court of the governor, and seigneurial vassals of lords with criminal jurisdiction in the court of the lord and his justice. However, this did not thereby exclude the qadi s[*] and Islamic law from the judicial process. Burns describes how in the thirteenth century the exercise of criminal justice by Mudejar courts was placed under the supervision of royal bailiffs. Gradually, as it came to be viewed as a function of the bailiff's court effected with the assistance of Muslim jurists, the nature of the court was transformed. Thus, by 1329 Alfonso IV could command that on royal lands and seigneurial lands with criminal jurisdiction the Christian magistrates "ought to exercise [their] jurisdiction and inflict penalties with the counsel of Sarracen judges, commonly called qadi s[*] " In those cases requiring a qadi 's[*] participation, which were, of course, judged according to Islamic law, the qadi 's role necessarily would have been central, not merely advisory. Documentary references to the "counsel of the qadi " are misleading and ought not to obscure the fact that Islamic justice was being administered, even if under the auspices of a Christian court. In such cases the presiding Christian official served to ensure that the qadi 's sentence was duly executed, for Muslims were not permitted to administer capital or corporal punishment themselves. He also saw to it that the proceeds from any monetary fines imposed were delivered to royal or seigneurial treasuries.
For our purposes there are two categories of criminal cases to be considered: those in which a qadi intervened and which were decided according to Islamic law, and those which were handled only by Christian judges according to the Furs . An understanding of the development of judicial institutions in Islamic lands will help to clarify how Mudejar criminal cases were apportioned among the Islamic and Christian courts.
In Islamic lands there was a practical distinction between those criminal offenses for which God had defined a punishment—known as hadd[*] offenses—which fell under the jurisdiction of the qadi 's[*] Shariah court, and those concerning which neither the Qur'an[*] nor the Sunnah made explicit provisions, and which, therefore, were handled either by the police (shurtah[*] ) in their judicial capacity or by the court of complaints (mazalim[ *] ) of the ruler. Outside of the hadd offenses, the Muslim ruler had discretionary powers to determine, for the public good, what constituted an offense and the punishment it merited.
The hadd[*] offenses, for which there were divinely ordained penalties, were illicit sexual relations—premarital sex and adultery—slanderous accusations of unchastity, theft, wine drinking, and armed robbery. Mudejar qadi s, as the dispensers of Shariah justice, probably would have been most insistent on retaining their competence in such cases. This is precisely what the documentation indicates. Almost all of the criminal cases that mention the activity of a qadi concern hadd offenses, particularly illicit sexual relations and theft. The Shariah prescribed harsh penalties for these crimes. The penalty for adultery was death by stoning, and that for the sexual misconduct of an unmarried woman was one hundred lashes. In such cases the intervention of a Mudejar judge is usually explicitly indicated in the documents, and if not, it may be presumed by the invoking of Shariah penalties. For instance, the lord of Gilet, "with the counsel of our [royal] qadi Bellvis," sentenced his adulterous vassals, Mahomat Vaquer and Marien Tagormia, "that according to Sunnah and Shariah they should be overwhelmed by stones [unto death]." Mahomat Bayrini of Onda paid to the bailiff a fine of 100s in lieu of the twenty-five lashes his unwed daughter was to receive "because she was found in a room with a Christian of the said town and was judged by the qadi of Villarreal with the license of the qadi de Bellvis [qadi general]." Corporal and capital punishments were normally commuted either to the payment of a fine, or, more often, to enslavement to the king or lord. Despite the show of mercy here, royal and seigneurial justice was nevertheless cruelly exploitative. These royal and seigneurial slaves were later sold to the highest bidder, the payments going to the coffers of the king or lord.
Although some cases of Mudejar theft were judged by Christian officials alone according to the Furs , most involved a qadi 's counsel and Shariah penalties, either the amputation of the right hand or flogging. As with adultery, the sentences were often commuted to a monetary fine or enslavement. The accounts of the bailiff of Játiva record the receipt of 600s from Çuleymen Alahuy "because he was condemned to have his hand amputated for having stolen, along with others, a large pot from the hostal ... for which sentence was given by the qadi by Sun -
nah and Shariah." Two Muslim thieves, from Málaga and Oran, were made royal slaves after the qadi[*] general passed sentence. Ironically, the Muslim from Oran had just recently been manumitted.
Another case of theft from Játiva sheds further light on the place of Islamic law in such cases. Ali Yalle of Benillup appeared before the bailiff of Játiva and denounced Yuçeff and Çatdon Zam Zam, who lived in the area of Játiva, for having stolen goods from his home. Two days later the royal prosecutor intervened in the case, to which Yuçeff Zam Zam objected, maintaining that the case must be decided according to the Shariah, inasmuch as it was "Moor against Moor," and citing a provision of Pedro IV to that effect. The bailiff agreed with Yuçeff, recalling a recent precedent in which the bailiff general had ruled on another case of Muslim theft in concurrence with Pedro IV's provision. However, just as the bailiff began to try the case as Yuçeff requested-presumably with the counsel of the qadi —the bailiff general ruled that since the royal prosecutor had already initiated proceedings the case should be decided by the Furs . Most likely the bailiff general was attempting to obviate additional legal expenses. In the end, because Yuçeff Zam Zam refused to relent, the case was brought before the bailiff general's tribunal.
The prosecution of those Mudejar criminals for whose offenses there were no prescribed Shariah penalties does not seem to have required the participation of a qadi . The great majority of such crimes that appear in the documentation are homicides and other acts of violence. The Muslim perpetrators of such acts were tried in the courts of the royal and seigneurial magistrates whose task it was to maintain the public order—bailiffs, governors, and seigneurial justices. Furthermore, since murderers seldom remained at the scene of the crime, it was necessary to bring into play the kingdom-wide network of royal officials to apprehend them. Mudejar judges did not have such manpower at their disposal. Thus, when a Muslim of Valldigna, sentenced by the local justice for the murder of another Muslim, fled from the valley, the viceroy ordered royal officials to hunt him down. In another case, a royal constable was commanded to bring to justice fifteen Muslims who had broken into the home of a Muslim widow, abusing her and her daughter. Mudejar judges seem to have been content to allow their Christian counterparts to proceed in such cases howsoever the Furs required.
While royal and seigneurial justice in Valencia certainly differed from that administered by Muslim rulers, it is nevertheless worth noting by way of comparison that it was also the non-Shariah courts of the latter that meted out punishment for homicide and other such disturbances of the public peace. Originally, homicide had been more a matter of private justice, as allowed for by the Qur'anic[*] maxim of just retaliation
(qisas ). However, it eventually became a public concern, at which point justice in such cases was administered by the courts of the police (shurtah[*] ). As will be seen in chapter 6, local bailiffs not only punished Mudejar murderers but also supervised settlements between the victim's family and the murderer through the latter's payment of compensation, or blood money. In a sense, the local bailiffs were asserting their public authority to encourage feuding Muslims to reach a private settlement. The Crown, of course, received its share of the compensation payments. It appears, then, that Mudejar judges participated in those criminal cases which in Islamic lands pertained to the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts, while they left in the hands of royal and seigneurial officials those cases over which the jurisdiction of the qadi 's[*] court had been superseded by that of the shurtah or mazalim[ *] courts of Muslim rulers.
The amount of civil litigation between Muslims that comes to light in the documentation, and therefore somehow involved the Christian courts, is relatively small in comparison with the far greater number of civil and criminal cases between Muslims and Christians, and the criminal cases involving only Muslims. The obvious explanation is that the majority of Mudejar civil suits were heard in the Islamic courts and, consequently, did not come to the attention of Christian officials. Royal provisions, while granting to Christian judges considerable leeway to preside over Muslim criminal cases, are much less ambiguous in their position that in civil litigation between Muslims the court of first instance should be that of the qadi . In 1337 Pedro IV ruled that the bailiff general was to have jurisdiction over the criminal cases of the Muslims of Valencia's morería , but that their civil cases were to be handled by the qadi of the morería . It is doubtful that the small number of Mudejar civil cases referred to in the Christian documents is an accurate indication of either the amount or the variety of cases tried by the Islamic courts. The high degree of violent conflict in Mudejar society (see chap. 6) hints at a wide range of civil litigation involving only Muslims. It is probable that most Mudejars preferred to settle their differences peacefully in the forum of the qadi 's court or through the arbitration of the ubiquitous faqih s[*] .
A handful of Muslim civil suits never came before a qadi 's court and were treated by the Christian courts alone. Usually there was good reason for this. Legal controversies pitting one Muslim aljama against another were best resolved by the laws of the kingdom. The claim of some Muslims of Geldo against the aljama of Segorbe was judged by the lieutenant bailiff general in Segorbe, though with the counsel of a doctor of law, whose opinions were meant to counterbalance any bias the lieutenant bailiff, a resident of Segorbe, might have in the aljama's favor.
In some instances lords identified their Muslim vassals' interests so strongly with their own that lawsuits that originally might have been solely between Muslims soon involved a lord as one of the claimants, and so found their way into the Christian courts. This seems to have occurred when the knight Gracian de Monsorin took up the cause of his Muslim vassal in her dispute with Çahat Piten of Petrés concerning the ownership of land. Of course, the loss of the land might have affected Monsorin, the probable real owner of the land, as much as it would have his vassal, who rented the land from him.
Muslims most often pleaded before Christian courts against their fellows in order to set in motion the executive machinery of the royal bureaucracy against recalcitrant debtors and those who lived at a distance from them. Mudejars sought the king's justice for its relative efficiency and coercive power. Even the decisions of the qadi[*] general carried little weight without the backing of the bailiff general to enforce them. For example, when Abraym Xativi fled from Alcira with the 500 goats at issue between himself and Çahat Ageg, Çahat prompted the bailiff general to have his officials find Abraym and the flock. When Mahomat Roget took his sister's robe (aljuba ; Arabic jubbah ) and gave it as security to a Jew of Murviedro, Mahomat's father and sister requested that the bailiff see to the robe's return, since it had not been Mahomat's to give away. Fuçey Zignell of Valencia was informed by the bailiff that his property in Valldigna would be sold if he did not pay to his relatives in Tabernes the money he owed "for the causes and reasons contained in a Moorish letter and/or obligation."
Two other civil cases indicate that Mudejars found the Furs to have applicability in questions concerning commercial transactions and property rights. One case concerned an alleged debt owed by the purchaser of some cloth. In the other, the plaintiff, Yuçeff Rodona, demanded that the mulberry trees of Azmet Beniale be removed from his land. It is significant that Yuçeff based his claim on the "constitution of Játiva." Through the conduct of commerce and the exchange of property with Christians as well as with Muslims, the Mudejars of necessity acquainted themselves with the details of the Furs and local customary law as they applied to their particular transactions. Still, it is unlikely that in such matters there would have been much substantial difference between the Furs and Islamic law as it was administered by Mudejar judges. The Mudejars'wide-ranging economic activities made it unfeasible for them to operate, even among themselves, by a different code of commercial law. Moreover, since so few of these commercial cases were judged in Christian courts, one must presume that the qadis had adapted their legal practices to meet the needs of a situation in which the regional economy was regulated by a framework of Christian law. Even in Isla-
mic lands it was in the area of commercial law that the Shariah had proven most malleable and Muslim jurists most innovative.
In those civil cases decided by Islamic law but involving Christian magistrates there was a clear division of labor: the qadi[*] passed judgment and the Christian official saw to the execution of the qadi 's sentence. This can be seen in the judicial disputes over inheritance. In one case, the lieutenant of the qadi general ruled that two Muslim sisters should receive a carob orchard allegedly bequeathed to them by their father. The bailiff of Murviedro was then ordered to put them in secure possession of the land. Also revealing is the litigation "over certain inheritances," which aligned a Muslim vassal of Cárcer and a resident of Játiva's morería against some other Muslims of the morería . The bailiff general's order to the lieutenant bailiff of Játiva is couched in terms that obscure the qadi 's essential judicial function: "do justice in the said matter with counsel of the qadi of the lord king in that morería ." The bailiff general's concluding remarks indicate, however, that it was the qadi who handed down the decision in the case: "And if the said qadi [of Játiva] is considered suspect [i.e., biased] by one of the said parties, you [the lieutenant bailiff] should determine whether the said suspicions are to be admitted, and in such case that they have to be admitted you should administer prompt and expeditious justice with the counsel of another qadi unsuspected by the said parties." The royal official's function was primarily supervisory and executive.
As the above case indicates, the royal official's role was nonetheless of great importance. The presence of royal authority encouraged the equitable administration of justice by the qadi . Furthermore, the royal official could be turned to as a board of appeal, at which point the case was ushered through the appropriate channels of the royal bureaucracy to the tribunal of the qadi general and bailiff general. Thus, when Çaat Siquuti appealed the sentence of the qadi of Játiva (literally, of the lieutenant bailiff with counsel of the qadi ), the case was sent on to the qadi general for a final ruling. When Çaat argued that the qadi general, due to family connections with the qadi of Játiva, was predisposed to confirm the sentence, the king commanded the bailiff general to reexamine the case, this time with the counsel of the lieutenant of the qadi general, a neutral party.
The guidance and supervision of the royal bailiffs were crucial for the conclusion of another extremely complex litigation. The case between Azmet Xerica, the vassal of a canon of Játiva, and the Muslim vassal of the lord Lançol de Lançol, was initially ruled on by the qadi of Játiva in favor of Azmet. Lançol then brought to the bailiff of Játiva the letter of another qadi that demanded the revocation of the first qadi 's sentence. Perplexed, the bailiff turned to the bailiff general. The latter, along with
the qadi[*] general, decided that if the second qadi 's revocatory letter was based on the testimonies of new or reinterrogated witnesses, then the first sentence should stand (this decision was based on a recent precedent in which the qadi general had counseled the bailiff general that witnesses could not be reinterrogated once sentence had been given); however, if there was a just cause for appeal without the introduction of new testimonies, then the bailiff of Játiva, counseled by the local qadi -and faqih[*] , was to consider the appeal. More than two months later the case was still unresolved. The bailiff was now ordered to attempt to bring the parties to a settlement, but, failing that, he was to hear the opinions of the qadi and faqihs Lançol had introduced into the case and to render judgment, again with the counsel of Játiva's qadi and faqih . Finally, the bailiff general, seconded by the qadi general and his lieutenants, one being the faqih of Valencia, ordered that the sentence (of the qadi of Játiva?) be executed.
The procedure through which Muslim magistrates judged cases between Muslims under the auspices of the bailiff's court is referred to in the documents as "the Moorish process." The Muslim officials involved were remunerated for their juridical labors. After having collected a 5,000s fine from Muslim thieves of Játiva, who had been judged according to the Shariah, the bailiff of Játiva was commanded, by way of general principle, that "if some Moorish process will be made by the çalmedina or the qadi of the said morería see to it that they are paid for the writing of the said Moorish process according to their labors." Anxious to keep court costs at a manageable level, the Crown frowned on the unnecessary intervention of royal officials in the cases of Muslims. Thus, when the royal prosecutor meddled in a case under the consideration of the qadi general, the bailiff general expressed his disapproval in this manner: "I stand amazed that the process which was made against that [Muslim] is Moorish and that the prosecutors and the notary [nevertheless] are asking for a salary." The prosecutor had no business interfering in a case not being judged according to the Furs .
One can only surmise the kinds of cases treated by Valencia's Islamic judiciary without any Christian intervention. It is probable that much of this litigation was in the area of family law, which, in the words of Noel Coulson, was "generally administered in accordance with strict Shariah doctrine.... because [it] ... was regarded as a particularly vital and integral part of the scheme of religious duties." As indicated above, qadis were often called on to resolve any problems associated with the execution of Mudejar wills. Evidence from Aragon, where, owing to their greater degree of acculturation, Muslims were probably more willing to plead their lawsuits before the Christian authorities, suggests that problems stemming from marriage—divorce or breach of contract—
and guardianship of minors also came before the qadi 's[*] court. In Valencia qadis were instrumental in the drawing up of marriage contracts. In attending to such matters Mudejar judges were probably much less flexible in their interpretation and application of the law than they were in the area of commercial litigation.
Beside the formal judgeship of the qadi , one must also take into account the juridical activity of the faqih[*] , or jurist. In Valencia's Mudejar communities the jurists were accorded great status, largely on account of their knowledge of the law. In fact, in 1526 the newly converted Moriscos stated that the faqihs devoted their lives to the study of jurisprudence. They utilized their knowledge in two ways, formally, in the qadi 's court, and, informally, in the community at large. Regarding their formal function, the detailed discussion (see above) of the case involving the participation of the qadi of Játiva, a second qadi , and finally the qadi general shows that each qadi was attended by at least one faqih . In other words, the jurists acted as advisors to the judges in the Islamic courts. According to Maliki[*] law, the school of law long dominant in both Spain and North Africa, the qadi was required to consult jurisprudents before passing judgment. The Mudejar faqih's formal role may be viewed as a survival of the institutionalization of the qadi 's council (shura[*] ) in al-Andalus.
Equally, if not more important, was the faqih 's role as an informal arbitrator in the Mudejar community. There is evidence of jurists, outside of court, executing wills, offering legal advice to parties involved in litigation, and counseling couples with marital problems. The faqih s played a role, analogous to that of the Maghriban mufti s[*] , who offered their legal opinions (fatwa[*] ) either verbally or in writing to both the populace and the qadi s when requested. The importance ascribed by historians of Islamic law to the mufti s in bridging the gap between the strict orthodoxy of the Shariah and the changing necessities of daily life seems applicable to the position of the faqih s in Valencia. In their adjustment to life as a minority in a Christian society, Valencia's Muslims needed guidance from those possessed of a legal acumen sufficient to interpret and modify the substance of the Shariah as the exigencies of their situation required, while preserving the law's spirit. The dearth of documentary evidence about the faqih s is due probably as much to their informal and largely verbal adjudication as to the almost complete loss of Arabic documentation.
In sum, Muslims and Christians appear to have arrived at a system of sharing judicial responsibilities in cases involving only Muslims, which both minority and majority found satisfactory. The Islamic courts, manned by qadis and their faqih advisors, handled the hadd[*] criminal offenses and handed down decisions according to the Shariah in a large
portion of the civil cases coming before them, especially those in the realm of family law and to a lesser degree those concerning commerce and property. Royal and seigneurial magistrates helped to ensure the execution of the decisions of Mudejar judges, and administered the king's justice to those Muslims who, by their violent acts, were a threat to the common good. Meanwhile, the faqih s[*] , scattered throughout the Mudejar population, met the legal needs of many Muslims. Owing to their good offices it may be that many of the disputes between Mudejars never reached the courts as litigation.
Muslims in Christian Courts: Jurisdictional Conflict
The foregoing account lends the impression that the judicial system of the kingdom of Valencia ran smoothly and efficiently with hardly a snag. This was for the most part true to the extent that in cases between Muslims the Muslim and Christian judiciaries were content with their respective spheres of jurisdiction and with the division of juridical labor when collaboration was necessary. However, regarding those cases over which the Christian courts had exclusive jurisdiction, namely, the Mudejars' non-hadd[*] crimes and litigation between Muslim and Christian, this impression bears little relation to the reality of late medieval Valencia. The administration of justice to Mudejars, and apparently to Christians as well, was fraught with obstacles created by the strife between those officials who presided over the kingdom's various tribunals. The main problem was that royal, municipal, and seigneurial officials were unwilling to recognize the boundaries of their respective jurisdictions. While at times jurisdictional conflict arose from an official's honest mistake and erroneous interpretation of the law, most often it was the result of a willful trespassing on the jurisdictions of others. Such official bickering affected Muslim plaintiffs and defendants, although the resultant confusion might work to the benefit of the latter.
Three types of jurisdictional conflict are apparent in the documentation: (1) the bailiff general and the local bailiffs against the governor general and his lieutenants; (2) the local bailiffs against the municipal justices; and (3) lords and seigneurial officials against royal and municipal officials. The royal towns found this dissension to be so troublesome that in the Cortes of Monzón (1510) their representatives complained to the king that "many times it happens in your city and kingdom of Valencia contention and difference over jurisdiction between the governor and bailiff, and their surrogates and lieutenants, and the justices of the royal towns of the said kingdom." No specific mention was made of the
cases involving Muslims. The clash of antagonistic officials in such cases, therefore, was only part of a more widespread phenomenon.
It was long established that the bailiff general and the local bailiffs were to have jurisdiction over those Muslims living on royal and ecclesiastical lands. Since the fourteenth century the local bailiffs, though subordinate to the bailiff general, had acquired greater power to administer justice to the inhabitants of the local morerías . It was not so much that the bailiff general's powers had been reduced as that the increasing complexity of administration necessitated the more frequent delegation of his authority to local representatives of the Crown. This tendency was especially marked in Játiva, where, owing to the very large population of its morería , close Crown supervision was essential. For the most part, the bailiff of Játiva and the bailiff general were able to attend to their respective duties without stepping on one another's toes. However, royal directives were occasionally issued to ensure that this cooperation continued. In 1405 King Martin had ordained that "the local bailiff of Játiva should have no power concerning the cases of Sarracens pending before the bailiff general." Fernando was more concerned with hindering the flow of cases in the opposite direction, and so commanded the bailiff general that he should, as little as possible, issue pardons to or make settlements with those Muslims whom the bailiff of Játiva had already sentenced. In both cases the idea was to prevent redundancy and additional legal expenses.
Quite unlike the relative ease with which any tension between the bailiff general and local bailiffs was smoothed over was the great difficulty in resolving the discord between the bailiffs and the governors (i.e., the different regional governors and their lieutenants). The governor was supposed to have jurisdiction over only those seigneurial Muslims whose lords did not exercise criminal jurisdiction on their lands. However, the governors were not satisfied with this limited judicial competence. They frequently interfered in the cases of Muslims that properly belonged to a bailiff's jurisdiction. Simply stated, their motives were financial; they wished to divert more cases to their courts in order to collect for themselves and their subordinates the proceeds from monetary fines and settlements. Of course, the bailiffs, as the guardians of the royal patrimony, were equally determined to defend their jurisdictions and thereby, as they often claimed, "the rights and revenues of the lord king."
Játiva and its region were the main judicial battleground between the bailiffs and the governors. Logically, the royal town with the largest morería drew the highest degree of gubernatorial interference. For this reason, among others, Fernando confirmed, at the request of the aljama of Játiva, the privileges that Alfonso V and Juan II had granted to it.
Among the privileges was that placing Játiva's Muslims under the exclusive jurisdiction of the bailiff general and the bailiff of Játiva. This confirmation of privileges, however, had minimal impact.
Early in Fernando's reign the bailiff of Játiva, Joan Dezpuig, and the lieutenant governor beyond the Júcar River, Francesch de Malferit, were at loggerheads. After Dezpuig's lieutenant imprisoned a Muslim criminal, Malferit's men proceeded to pardon the Muslim. Dezpuig responded by issuing a proclamation that called for the revocation of all pardons and safe-conducts previously granted to Muslims and Jews. Malferit next attempted to prevent the public crier from making the proclamation. Failing that, Malferit had the Muslim in question arraigned before his court and reached a settlement with him. According to Dezpuig, Malferit had forced the royal prosecutors to cooperate in the matter. At Dezpuig's request, the bailiff general sent off an angry letter to Malferit, reminding him that in such cases pertaining to the jurisdiction of the bailiff only the king could interfere. Moreover, he required the prosecutors to denounce Muslims before the bailiff and no one else. The case, therefore, was to revert to Dezpuig's court. The bailiff general's words were not heeded for long. By 1487 Fernando was compelled to reprimand the governor general for pardoning Christian and Muslim criminals of the district of Játiva, thereby giving others "boldness to live evilly."
The bailiff of the new morería of nearby Castellón de Játiva, given jurisdiction over the Muslims like other local bailiffs, seems to have felt especially beset by the judicial encroachments of the lieutenant governor. In 1482 Fernando was informed that the bailiff and the local Muslims "dreaded" being called before the court of the lieutenant governor. The king responded by remitting all cases involving the bailiff and Muslims of Castellón to a citizen and a jurist of Játiva for consideration. Eventually, the jurisdiction of the bailiff of Castellón de Játiva was incorporated within that of the bailiff of Játiva.
Despite the seemingly incessant bickering, differences were resolved and justice administered. The account books of the bailiff of Játiva reveal that the bailiff and the lieutenant governor many times extricated themselves from these judicial quagmires by simply splitting the proceeds from individual cases. For instance, of the 150s fine paid by the chicken thief Mahomat Melich, the bailiff received 75s and the lieutenant governor the other 75s.
It should not be thought that the governors were always in the wrong. Of the two arguments between the bailiff of Játiva and the governor concerning the prosecution of Muslims for sexual relations with Christian women, the king decided one in favor of the governor. Furthermore, the resolution of other jurisdictional disputes hinged on such
legal hairsplitting that it is difficult to know whose interpretation of the law was correct. For instance, in March 1482 the bailiff general reprimanded the lieutenant governor for having tried a Muslim of the seigneury of Manuel for the murder of another Muslim of the same place. Since Manuel was located within the limits of the district of Játiva, a royal town, and since its lord did not possess criminal jurisdiction, the bailiff general maintained that the case belonged to his jurisdiction. The lieutenant governor agreed that, yes, Manuel was located within the district of Játiva, but countered by citing a ruling of the jurist Domingo Masco (21 July 1457), according to which the governor was to have jurisdiction over all seigneurial Muslims inhabiting lordships "within the boundaries [i.e., the surrounding districts] of the royal cities and towns where the lord king has criminal jurisdiction." In his reply the bailiff general corrected the lieutenant governor's reading of Masco's decision, stating that the governor, indeed, had jurisdiction over seigneurial Muslims, "but only if the said towns, castles, and hamlets and places are not located within the boundaries [i.e., district] of some royal city or town."
Here, however, the bailiff general was wrong, and he probably knew it; for just four months prior (December 1481) to this dispute with the lieutenant governor, the king had made a decision on precisely this question of law in the governor's favor, even citing the opinions of Domingo Masco as authoritative support. A royal letter of July 1483 seems finally to have disabused the bailiff of his pretensions on this point.
The bailiffs and governors also managed to come into conflict over another closely related fine legal point, that is, whether or not royal bailiffs had jurisdiction over seigneurial Muslims who committed crimes in royal towns (as distinct from the wider districts of towns) or on royal roads. In February 1481 the king answered this question in the affirmative: "the Moors of the barons [who are] delinquent in the royal cities, towns, or roads, even those who live on royal lands, both [vassals] of knights and of citizens, are totally under the forum and jurisdiction of the said bailiff general and local bailiffs." Fernando reiterated this position the following year. The governors, however, true to form, did not abide by the substance of these decisions. There are two possible explanations: either confusion and legal misinterpretation, or a determination to encroach on the bailiff's jurisdiction, whatever the decisions of the usually absent king. The latter seems most likely, since until at least 1489 the governors frequently interfered in the judicial procedures of local bailiffs against seigneurial Muslims who had committed crimes in the royal towns. For example, the lieutenant governor challenged the jurisdiction of the bailiff of Villajoyosa over a Muslim of the lordship of
Finestrat who had assaulted a Christian of Villajoyosa. The governor of la Plana meddled in similar fashion when Muslims of the seigneury of Nules were cited to appear before the bailiff of Burriana for crimes committed in Burriana. In sum, legal misinterpretation, a disregard for the law even when properly understood, and a desire to extend authority and thereby to increase revenues all contributed to the almost constant strife between the offices of the bailiff and the governor.
The governor general and his lieutenants were not the only nemeses of the bailiff general and the local bailiffs. The municipal justices also were prone to impugn the jurisdiction of the bailiffs over the king's Muslim and Jewish vassals. This was part of a more general tendency displayed by municipal governments, which encouraged the settlement of Mudejars in their towns only to attempt to secure for themselves an inordinate portion of the resultant increased revenues properly belonging to the Crown. In some towns the justices seem to have had as allies the royal prosecutors. In a letter to the Crown prosecutors of Játiva Fernando expressed a clear understanding of the financial motives prompting them to accuse Muslims before the courts of either the local justice or the lieutenant governor: "so that you might more easily conclude settlements with those Moors and Jews and secure a larger part of the settlements."
While one might ascribe gubernatorial interference partly to a misinterpretation of the law, it is far more difficult to give municipal justices such benefit of doubt. The law was unequivocal with respect to the exclusive jurisdiction of the local bailiffs in cases involving Muslims or Jews: "by the laws and privileges of that kingdom of Valencia ... all cases of Sarracens and Jews, both civil and criminal, should be brought personally before the bailiff of that city or town under whose jurisdiction were committed the aforesaid offenses and cases." At best, local criminal justices had a role in the execution of sentences against Muslims condemned to death or to the mutilation of a limb. Nevertheless, the bailiff general often was compelled to remind municipal justices and jurates that they had no right to try Muslims or make executions against their property. For instance, he rebuked the justice and jurates of Liria not only for initiating procedure against Muslims for their crimes, but also for releasing them after the bailiff had arrested them. There is only one case in which a municipal justice voiced anything close to a legitimate reason for proceeding against a Muslim. The justice of Játiva, who had confiscated the arms and other possessions of Muslims as securities for the fines they incurred for gambling, maintained that he had done so because the Muslims had been found playing dice with Christians. Had it been a question of only Muslims gambling, the justice argued, he would not have penalized them.
The lords of Mudejar vassals were at the center of much jurisdictional squabbling. Seigneurial judicial competence varied from place to place. Some lords were entitled only to civil jurisdiction over their vassals, while others, especially the powerful magnates like the Duke of Gandía, were empowered to exercise criminal jurisdiction as well. The king might grant full jurisdiction to a lord as a reward for services rendered. When Fernando ceded to his vice-chancellor, Joan Pages, lordship over Pobla Tornesa, Benicacim, and Montornés, he stipulated "You and yours can force, punish, and castigate them [Sarracenos] as your and their vassals, and you can exercise over them criminal and civil and all jurisdiction." Some lords with criminal jurisdiction were nevertheless restricted in their ability to administer capital or severe corporal punishment. Thus, Bernat Sorrell, the lord of Geldo, at first allowed the lieutenant bailiff of Segorbe (Geldo was located within the "general boundaries" of Segorbe, where the Duke of Segorbe had supreme jurisdiction) to proceed against his Muslim vassal, guilty of assault. However, after the victim recovered the case was remitted to Sorrell, because now the assailant no longer deserved capital punishment.
Lords prized and jealously guarded their judicial prerogatives for the revenues accruing to them from monetary penalties. They bitterly resented the intervention of royal and municipal officials in the business of their seigneurial courts, although this occurred often enough. There were a number of quarrels between the Cardinal of Valencia, who was the lord of Valldigna, and the bailiff general. They arose because the Muslims of Valldigna were in the habit of appealing the decisions of the justice of Valldigna to the bailiff general. In fact, the Muslims had recourse to the bailiff general so frequently that the king appointed a special assessor specifically for assisting the bailiff in handling their appeals. While this practice was perfectly licit, inasmuch as the bailiff general was the final court of appeal for any Muslim in the kingdom, the officials of Valldigna still complained that the bailiff general, under the pretext of his appellate jurisdiction, was attempting to make his the court of first instance in the Muslims' cases. The king, therefore, cautioned the bailiff to interfere as little as possible. At times Valldigna's officials refused outright to release arrested Muslims into the bailiff's hands. In the case of two wandering Muslims who had committed theft in Játiva, the Cardinal's men summarily hanged them, despite the fact that their appeal was pending in the court of the lieutenant bailiff general.
Lords vied with royal magistrates for judicial authority throughout the kingdom. Turning south, one finds the bailiff general and the governor disputing the jurisdiction over a Muslim murderer of Albatera, only to hear the lord of Albatera chime in that both were wrong and that
the Muslim ought to be arraigned before his court. Further north near the capital, the bailiff general and the criminal justice of Valencia attempted to arrest a Muslim vassal of Catarroja who had carnal relations with a Christian prostitute. Joan Canoguera, Catarroja's seigneur, argued that he had purchased jurisdiction over the place from Juan II for 75 pounds, and, therefore, the royal officials had no right to interfere. Even after the bailiff general bought back the jurisdiction from Canoguera, the latter shrewdly asserted that he could still rule on this case because the crime had been perpetrated before he gave up his jurisdiction. In the end, the case was remitted to the royal council and then to the governor for sentencing.
The discord between seigneurs and town officials over judicial questions may be seen as a component of a more general social tension between urban and rural areas. The lord of Alberique complained about the initiatives of Játiva's prosecutors against his vassals and other Muslims implicated in violence on his seigneury. Officials of Gandía antagonized the lord of Jaraco for much the same reason.
The Mudejars' change of vassalage, which exacerbated the fiscal rivalry between the nobility and the Crown and the royal towns, also caused considerable jurisdictional turmoil. This is reflected in the objection of the military estate to a privilege that Castellón de la Plana had obtained from the king. The privilege gave to the lieutenant governor of la Plana competence in all cases concerning crimes which had been committed by new Muslim vassals of Castellón when they were still seigneurial vassals. The nobles argued that by virtue of their criminal jurisdiction their former vassals were still liable to answer to them for their previous crimes.
The lords' objection is understandable, for it seems that Mudejars took advantage of the Crown's avidity for new vassals in order to avoid the penalties of seigneurial courts. Thus, when Manuel Lanqol, the lord of Gilet, was in the midst of passing judgment against Mahomat Hubequer, apparently his vassal, the prosecutor of Murviedro, stopped the proceedings by claiming that the Muslim was a royal vassal. Don Enrique de Rocasfull, the lord of Albatera, was similarly hamstrung in the administration of justice to a Muslim vassal, who, much to his surprise, had changed vassalage. In such cases royal and municipal officials either knowingly abetted the Muslims in their evasion of seigneurial justice or were simply hoodwinked. Royal vassals less frequently enlisted seigneurial support to frustrate Crown magistrates. However, it occasionally happened, as when the officials of the seigneury of Carlet protected their "new" vassal, Mahomat Ametler of Alcira, who had already been sentenced to enslavement to the king.
From the aforementioned complaint of the royal towns in the Cortes
of Monzón (1510) it appears that during Fernando's reign jurisdictional controversy was never completely resolved. This is further evinced in the aggression of the Germanías, especially those of Játiva, Alcira, and Murviedro, against the surrounding lordships, for the question of jurisdiction was one of the many points of contention between the seigneurs and the urban citizenry. Judicially, as in other respects, the Mudejars were in the vortex of a larger socioeconomic conflict, the explosion of which would prove catastrophic for them. In the meantime, so long as order reigned, justice was administered, but not without intermittent starts and stops.
Muslims in Christian Courts: Judicial Procedure
Despite the more than occasional jurisdictional disputes, Muslim plaintiffs undauntedly continued to appear before Christian courts to plead their suits against both Muslims and Christians. Such disputes, which originated more in the magistrates' acquisitiveness than in a widespread disrespect for the law, were probably far more vexing for the contending judges than for Muslim plaintiffs and defendants. Once bailiffs, governors, and justices settled their differences and the legal machinery of the court was set in motion, Mudejars could be confident that the due process of law would be respected and justice done. Relative to the bulk of litigation found in the documentation Mudejar complaints of immoderate or illegal procedure by the Christian courts are very few. To some degree the propensity of rival judges to stray beyond their proper jurisdictions and their willingness, for fiscal reasons, to hear the cases of most anyone served as a crude system of checks and balances. The governor's or the seigneurial justice's knowledge that Muslims could always have recourse to the bailiff general, or, conversely, the local bailiff's awareness that the governor or municipal justice would avail themselves of any opportunity to intervene must have curbed excesses in court and encouraged fairness on all sides simply as a means of avoiding the interference of rival courts. More important, neither the king nor the lords were prepared to permit their appointed judges to abuse their vassals in court. In the competition between the Crown and the nobility for Muslim vassals it was perhaps as important to guarantee the Mudejars fair treatment in court as to offer them tax breaks. The prevailing conditions, which were so conducive to this rivalry, afforded the Mudejars room to maneuver, manifested in their change of vassalage and their judicial appeals to higher or rival courts. Since royal authority and the subjects' contentment were largely predicated on the ability of the king
to provide justice, blatant injustice to Mudejars in the courts, both royal and seigneurial, was usually corrected by the king and his bailiff general.
The legal mechanisms for the handling of the cases of Muslims in Christian courts were well established by the reign of Fernando. Muslims appeared in court as both plaintiffs and defendants in litigations with Christians, and it was not unusual for them and Christians to file suit as coplaintiffs or to be arraigned as codefendants. Once in court and removed from jurisdictional controversy, cases concerning Muslims presented few procedural dilemmas. Christian magistrates were not perplexed by the prospect of having to hear the pleas of Muslim plaintiffs or receive the testimonies of Muslim witnesses. Nor did the Mudejars find the chamber of a Christian tribunal to be unfamiliar or intimidating territory. On the contrary, the conduct of Mudejars in the various trials often reflects a familiarity with the legal system and a facility in skirting its pitfalls. Far from being victimized by coteries of Christian judges and lawyers, the Muslims were sometimes able to manipulate the system to their own advantage. This was a necessary and positive form of acculturation.
In Christian courts Muslims and Jews took oaths proper to their own religions. While Christians swore on the Gospels, and the Jews, according to the Furs, on the Ten Commandments, the Muslims swore on the Qur'an[*] . In the trial records the Muslims are usually described as having "made an oath ... to our Lord God and to the qiblah of Muhammad, turning the face toward midday and saying the words that Moors are accustomed to swear."
Trials followed a standard procedure, the length of which varied according to the complexity of the case and the gravity of the crime. (For instance, cases of homicide usually required the laborious interrogation of witnesses, which was often unnecessary in many minor civil suits.) In their most extended format, usually in criminal cases, trials were conducted as follows: (1) the prosecutor presented the accusations, which were sometimes followed by further and more detailed accusations of the plaintiff; (2) the court received any confessions the defendant wished to make; (3) the defense counsel and/or the defendant responded to the specifics of the prosecution's accusations; (4) the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution were presented; (5) the testimonies of the witnesses for the defense were presented; (6) the above witnesses were cross-examined by the defense and the prosecution, which sometimes included the depositions of new witnesses intended to impugn the testimonies of previous witnesses; and (7) the presiding judge rendered judgment and passed sentence. Even in cases of what were deemed the most execrable of crimes, restraint was exercised and due process scrupulously observed. When word reached the bailiff
general that a Muslim had forced a Christian boy of Sueca to commit sodomy with him, he sent a notary to Sueca to receive "information of the said case and detestable crime and judicial confessions from the said Moor and ... the account of the said boy."
The same respect for proper procedure was displayed in cases of Muslim violence against Christians. Mahomat Ayub, accused of the murder of a Christian of Teruel, was able to have removed from the panel of judges treating the case a lawyer whom he thought to be prejudiced against him. Ali Ubequer, who had wounded a Christian of Murviedro, delayed the bailiff's procedure against him through clever legal maneuvering. When Alfonso Mendo dropped the assault charges he had leveled at Çahat Salamo, all legal action was duly ceased.
Christian procurators (procuradors ), usually notaries given power of attorney, frequently represented Muslims in court. The Christian procurator might also act as a Muslim's defense counsel, and some notaries seem to have been court-appointed public defenders. There is no evidence suggesting that the procurators were in any way negligent in the causes of their Muslim clients. For the notaries such dereliction of duty probably would have resulted in an undesired loss of clientele.
Muslims were in no way restricted from bringing charges against Christians. Thus, when the widow Axa Christelli was unable to appear in court to make the requisite formal accusations against the knight Gaspar de Monsorin and his squire for the murder of her son, the viceroy obliged her by sending an official to Algimia to record her accusations and to seize the accused for trial.
A somewhat thornier issue was that concerning witnesses in cases between Muslims and Christians. The Furs had originally provided that in such cases witnesses from the religious group of the defendant were required to prove the defendant's guilt. In other words, a Christian filing suit against a Muslim needed the testimony of at least one Muslim as proof. In 1301 Jaime II significantly modified the law to the detriment of the Mudejars by admitting the testimonies of two reputable Christians as sufficient proof against a Muslim. It is difficult to perceive how the law was translated into practice on this question. In some cases when witnesses are mentioned their faith is not identified, or when witnesses are identified there are enough Muslim and Christian witnesses produced by both sides to preclude any quibbling on the grounds of the specific question treated by the Furs . Perhaps most telling is the notable absence of any queries concerning the admissability of witnesses, Muslim or Christian. Muslims do not seem to have been in any way limited as to the witnesses they might produce in their own behalf, as long as the witnesses were reputable and honest persons. Indeed, at a Muslim's request court notaries were sent out to record the testimonies of the wit-
nesses specified. When Seydi Melvix, acting as procurator for other Granadan Muslims (new settlers in Valencia?) in a litigation with the bailiff general beyond the Jijona River, wished to bring forth witnesses "to prove certain clauses," a notary of Orihuela was dispatched to examine the witnesses and record their depositions. Muslims could also use Arabic documents as legitimate evidence in Valencia's courts. Suits between Muslims and Jews did not create any special problems. Even in cases in which Muslims were not implicated, their testimonies as witnesses were acceptable. In order to defend himself and his town of Ondara against the royal prosecutor, Don Joan de Cardona produced a long list of Muslim and Christian witnesses who were to be duly interrogated.
Another potential source of problems in cases between Muslims and Christians was the question of by which law, Christian or Islamic, a Christian judge should sentence a guilty Muslim. Jaime II quashed any possible Christian complaints that convicted Muslims were being punished too leniently when sentenced according to the Shariah by ruling that, for any crimes committed by Muslims against Christians, the Muslims were to be sentenced by the law that demanded the heaviest penalty. This was to the manifest disadvantage of the Mudejars. However, it seems that during Fernando's reign all Muslims culpable for crimes against Christians were penalized in accordance with the Furs .
Occasionally Muslims were pardoned for their crimes, although this was by no means a frequent occurrence. Far more usual was the Crown's granting of safe-conducts (guiatges ) against prosecution and arrest to accused or convicted Muslims. The king or the bailiff general determined the length of time during which such safe-conducts were valid. The safe-conducts protected Muslim debtors who needed more time to settle accounts with their creditors. Procedure against Muslims for more serious crimes, such as theft or homicide, was likewise halted until they could gather the funds necessary for the payment of fines and settlements. Also, the courts sometimes released Muslims on bail. Those who posted bail were called caplleuators . Both Muslims and Christians acted as caplleuators for Muslim defendants. It was understood that the Muslim would return to court for trial when the presiding magistrate requested. Failure to appear resulted in execution against the property of the caplleuators, who were held responsible for the defendant's absence.
Royal authorities sometimes employed torture as a means of extracting confessions from Muslim criminals. Although Muslims were theoretically exempt from torture in the kingdom of Aragon, such was not the case in Valencia. Still, the courts resorted to torture only rarely, and almost always in cases of crimes against the state. An amin[*] of Alcudia
was tortured for having counterfeited money. Other Mudejars implicated in the crimes of Maghriban Muslims suffered the same fate. The bailiff general's court tortured a Tunisian Muslim accused of abetting runaway slaves, but he nevertheless remained close-mouthed. However, the mere threat of torture was sufficient to make Ubaydal Allepus of Bétera confess to the murder of another Muslim.
In general, Muslims received equitable treatment in the Christian courts. The king and the bailiff general sought to promote fairness in the kingdom's judicial system by correcting the blatant favoritism of magistrates either through replacing them or through balancing their partiality with the opinions of disinterested doctors of law. Also, attempts were made to neutralize the influence of powerful persons on local judges. Owing to the system of appeals, both Muslims and Christians could have their cases reconsidered by superior judges. If this sometimes lengthened the judicial process excessively, it nevertheless guaranteed that in most cases justice was fairly administered.
Muslims relied on the solicitude of the Crown to prevent injustice. When Abrahim Alaxera was involved in a property dispute with the knight Perot Sanç he turned to the viceroy, "inasmuch as the said mossen Perot Sanç is a knight and principal person in that city [Játiva] and the said Moor [Abrahim] is a simple and defenseless person." At Abrahim's request, a doctor of law from Valencia was added to the case to counterbalance Sanç's influence. In a similar instance, the viceroy ordered another knight of Játiva to appear before the royal audience, so that his suit with a Muslim woman might be decided justly. The knight had employed threats to hinder the woman's procurator from defending her, and had thereby obtained from the justice of Játiva two judgments in his own favor.
The litigants' expectation that the courts would render judgment impartially, and that the Crown would do its best to ensure that this was so, inspired them to scrutinize closely the motives of the presiding judges and jurists. Consequently, Muslims and Christians often based their appeals to higher courts on the allegation that such and such local magistrate or jurist was "suspect," that is, that he favored the opposing party. Mudejars resorted to this legal ploy many times, but, one suspects, not always with complete sincerity. The king and bailiff general usually obliged them by removing the "suspect" magistrate from the case. When the king appointed Pere Prats of Orihuela to hear a canon's appeal of a sentence passed against him and in favor of his converted slave, Carmesina ("de genere sarracenorum"), the latter impugned the honesty of Prats, arguing that he was a relative of the canon. Prats was replaced forthwith.
The Crown's willingness to respond to such allegations and to satisfy
the aggrieved parties could lead to the removal of numerous judges and lawyers before justice was finally administered. After Fernando responded to the appeal of a noblewoman, who maintained that the bailiff general's assessor was "suspect," by replacing the assessor with two doctors of law, the opposing party, a Muslim of Murviedro, countered by claiming that the two lawyers were biased. The king was forced to find two more lawyers. Still more confusing was the litigation between Dona Lorença de Loriz and certain Muslims of Gandía concerning pensions allegedly owed by the latter. After numerous appeals and before a panel of three jurists was finally appointed to render a conclusive judgment on the case, the Muslims had challenged the impartiality of two jurists—one of them the governor's assessor, who, they argued, did not like to revoke judgments he had already pronounced—and Dona Lorença, that of three others.
After two centuries of being increasingly drawn into the sphere of the Christian legal system, the Mudejars had acquired an essential understanding of how it functioned. They knew what limitations there were on the powers of magistrates, what kind of evidence was decisive for the conclusion of a case, and what channels they had to go through to have their appeals heard by superior courts. Thus, some Muslims of Bechí made an appeal to the bailiff general, maintaining that they had been denounced before the bailiff of Villarreal without legitimate evidence and then needlessly harassed and molested by the same bailiff. The king supported the Muslims, voiding the bailiff of Villarreal's initiatives and ordering the bailiff general to rule on the case. Abdalla Xax of Castellnou, involved in a litigation with a creditor, a merchant of Valencia, displayed an ability to operate effectively in the Christian courts. He successfully demanded that the merchant's account books be examined as evidence by the court. He also managed to have the justice of Segorbe intervene in the case, although the justice was later removed because, as was alleged, he showed Abdalla excessive favor.
The Mudejars utilized their grasp of the complexities of the legal system not only to defend themselves against the malfeasance of the Christian judiciary but also, through cunning and deceptive legal maneuvers, to evade the magistrates' issuance and execution of sentences against them. In particular, they turned to their own advantage the officials' propensity to trespass on the jurisdictions of others and the slowness, or sometimes lack, of communication between the different levels of the kingdom's judicial hierarchy. This is evinced in the case of Ali Gombau. Ali, a vassal of Joan de Vallterra and tax farmer for his lord in Areñol, had been judicially condemned by his lord for the debts he owed him. Ali then fled from Areñol to the court of the viceroy, who had never heard Vallterra's side of the story. Ali claimed that he was a
royal vassal and prompted the viceroy to proceed against other vassals of Areñol for the rents purportedly owed to him. By means of such chicanery Ali was able for a time to take the legal offensive against Vallterra.
Other Muslims took advantage of the bailiff general's willingness to hear their appeals in order to escape the punishment of local bailiffs. Through the telling of half-truths, such as the claim that their safe-conducts had been violated, they managed to convince the bailiff general to stay the execution of local bailiffs against them. Some Muslims actually procured safe-conducts from unwitting or pliant officials in order to delay procedure indefinitely.
Even the king, having no previous knowledge of a case, could be duped. A Muslim adulteress of Gilet, who had already been sentenced and enslaved by her lord, was able, by concealing the facts of the case, to move the king to appoint the bailiff of Murviedro to consider her appeal. However, when the king learned of the truth of the matter, he revoked the bailiff's commission.
The Mudejars can hardly be blamed for availing themselves of every possible legal protection, even if at times dishonestly. The protection afforded the Muslims by the king and the nobility, usually self-interested, did not deter townsmen and barons from committing crimes against them. The law was the Mudejars' refuge, a flimsy but sometimes effective barrier of defense necessary for a minority in so many ways at the mercy of the whims of the majority.
The king and his watchdog, the bailiff general, were anxious to guarantee the Mudejars the security of a fair hearing in the kingdom's courts. They were willing to hear almost any Mudejar appeal and were quick to reprimand any magistrate who strayed from the proper judicial procedures. The problem here, as in other cases of abuse of Muslims, was that reprimands and corrections were not followed by penalization of the offending official. For instance, Joan de Vich, an official of the lord of Albalat, hanged a Muslim for certain crimes, even though he had received an order from the governor forbidding such action. Vich, at first sentenced to death in absentia, was later pardoned by the king. At most, unscrupulous officials were commanded to release the Muslim in question to a superior court and to appear themselves to explain their actions. The lieutenant governor south of the Júcar River was summoned before the viceroy to explain why he had harassed Abrahim Menne and denied to him the right of appeal. The bailiff general issued similar subpoenas to the officials of Valldigna, who had imprisoned and tortured a Muslim of Simat without having passed a legitimate judgment against him, and who later illicitly imprisoned a royal vassal for not having paid the tax on wheat to the abbot.
Still, even though the offending officials were not punished, the Muslims eventually received a fair hearing in court. Moreover, such occurrences were far more the exception than the rule. It must be stressed that, in general, the Muslims were not at a disadvantage in the Christian courts. In the cases between Muslims and Christians for which we know the results (see table 18) it appears that on the whole the Muslims might have fared better than their Christian opponents. Although almost all of these decisions were mentioned by the scribes only because they were in the process of being appealed, the initial decisions of the judges nevertheless provide us with a useful and roughly accurate picture of how the Mudejars fared in the Christian legal system. Of the forty-two cases considered, twenty-three, or 54 percent, were initially decided in favor of the Muslim party. This rough parity of Muslims before the law explains why they were not greatly troubled by the prospect of appearing in Christian courts. The gradual erosion of the Mudejars' judicial autonomy was a largely painless process resulting from the diminution of their demographic weight in Valencia and from their increasing integration, although not assimilation, into the society and economy of the kingdom. It correlated with an acculturative process through which the Mudejars acquired the practical know-how essential for holding their own in the Christian courts while, at the same time, retaining for their own Shariah courts the administration of justice in those matters most meaningful for their religious identity.
Muslim-Christian Litigation: A View of Valencian Society
The interpretation of a given litigation, or a number of them, poses problems for the historian. Because lawsuits and complaints comprised a large part of the affairs handled by the Crown authorities, the less contentious and routine occurrences of daily life have been lost from view. It is all too easy for historians to amplify the significance of the evidence at their disposal, to find in a series of commercial lawsuits a widespread economic problem, or to see in a homicide the eruption of class and ethnic violence. Some litigations, like many of those associated with commerce and property, were random events arising haphazardly from the daily social and economic interchange of a society. They had no repercussions beyond the lives of the individuals whom they immediately concerned and no connection with others of their kind. Other judicial disputes, while not of great import as isolated events, when linked to others of their type formed a larger pattern. In the aggregate they could affect a large part of society and were expressions or harbingers of
serious tensions. Here we will briefly discuss the various types of litigation between Muslims and Christians as a means of providing a view of some facets of Christian-Muslim relations in Valencia. Care will be taken to distinguish between the litigation as a random event and the litigation as part of a larger social problem.
Quite a few cases involved Christian lords and Muslim vassals as allies. This can be accounted for by the symbiotic relationship between lords and vassals, and their mutual concern for seigneurial properties and finances. Lords sometimes took a special interest in the lawsuits of their Muslim vassals. When the governor passed sentence against a Muslim vassal of the Duke of Segorbe in her litigation with a Christian, the Duke "on account of his certain interest felt vexed and prejudiced," and therefore appealed to the king. Lords and vassals also appeared in court as coplaintiffs or codefendants in disputes with adjacent seigneuries over irrigation, livestock, and boundaries. The resultant armed clashes might lead to arraignment for more serious charges. The noble Luis Ladro and "some almugavers and some Sarracens" were denounced before the royal audience for having set fire to Relleu.
Seigneurs and their aljamas most often banded together against their creditors, the censalistas , who sued in court for the payment of the pensions owed them. As the financial situation of many seigneuries worsened, the lords and aljamas became more evasive and their creditors, many of them urban folk, ever more insistent. The debtor-creditor relationship between the landed nobility and the town citizens contributed to the tension between the two-social groups. This tension expressed itself in other court battles concerning the right of municipal governments to collect taxes from the vassals of neighboring seigneuries or to penalize lords and vassals for improper use of the irrigation systems. Cases such as these, by themselves not of great moment, cumulatively provided some of the tinder for the conflagration of the revolt of the Germanías .
Yet, the symbiosis between lords and Muslim vassals was a delicate one, easily upset when their interests diverged. Most suits pitting lord against vassal arose from any action on the part of the vassal that threatened to diminish the revenues received by the lord. The bailiff of Játiva ruled on a case in which the lord of Genovés disputed the right of a female vassal to marry another Muslim, probably from another seigneury. That the lord feared his vassal's change of residence and the consequent loss of seigneurial dues is suggested by another case in which the lord of Argelita resisted the attempt of a Muslim of Triega to sell the property owned by his wife in Argelita. Apparently lords preferred that their female vassals marry local boys. The lord's fiscal concerns led to the leveling of charges at those vassals who defaulted on
their rent payments, especially those who abandoned the seigneury without settling accounts. For instance, the lord of Alberique sought from the king the prosecution of his former amin[*] who was still indebted to him for the purchase of some wheat. The tendency of insolvent vassals to seek refuge in other seigneuries, the lords of which were often happy to receive them, complicated matters further. Thus, Joan Miralles, lord of Beniala, asked the viceroy to proceed against his debtor vassals whom the lord Ramon Pujades was protecting. Already familiar to us is the large body of litigation between seigneurs and their former vassals residing either in royal morerías or on the lands of other lords. Most of this litigation concerned the lords' resistance to the efforts of their erstwhile vassals to cultivate and collect the harvest from the lands they continued to rent on their seigneuries.
While the lawsuits that aligned lords and vassals against creditors, townsmen, and other seigneuries attest to grave tensions straining the kingdom's socioeconomic structure, those between individual Muslims and Christians arising from commercial transactions reflect another reality equally important, but far less dire. Such cases, usually involving the claims of unpaid vendors against indebted buyers, reveal some of the few difficulties encountered by Muslims and Christians in the wide-ranging trade between them in land, livestock, agricultural produce, and a variety of manufactured goods. There is nothing in this type of litigation indicating widespread Muslim-Christian animosity on the basis of economic competition. Commercial claims were not made by or against Muslims on religious grounds; they were not a divisive force in Valencian society. Rather, they are fragmentary evidence of the regular economic interaction between Muslims and Christians, which, because it was normally unencumbered by legal problems, never aroused the interest of the royal bureaucracy.
A consideration of the crimes that Muslims committed against Christians does not reveal a special pattern of Mudejar criminal activity. Muslims were accused of theft, vandalism, gambling, defrauding the lessee of the royal saltworks, tax evasion, and the possession of false money. However, Mudejars were by no means notorious for such crimes, for Christians committed them as well. Nor is there an easily perceptible link between Mudejar criminality and their relatively oppressed status. The victims of Mudejar crimes seem to have been more often Muslims than Christians. Mudejar actions to correct perceived injustices were directed against their official and seigneurial oppressors and not against the Christian populace as a whole. Any causal relationship that might have existed between poverty—a social ill which did not especially afflict the Mudejars as a group—and crime,
particularly theft, would have applied as much to Christians as to Muslims.
Turning to cases of homicide and assault involving Muslims and Christians, these do not point toward any dramatic trends in social violence. It is important to distinguish between the random violence occurring for any number of reasons in the context of distinct personal relationships and the systematic violence of the mob directed against a specific social group. Regarding the latter type, although it had occurred as recently as 1455, in the form of the attack on Valencia's morería , and would occur again in 1521, when the Germanías murdered or forcibly baptized thousands of Mudejars, it did not happen during the reign of Fernando.
Random violence, however, was not unknown. Yet, lest one think that Mudejars were always the victims of Christian hoodlums, it is worth noting that there were eight cases in which Muslims were the perpetrators of assault and homicide. In four of these cases the violence seems to have arisen from personal disputes. For instance, Hubaydal Baçanet wounded Luys Lançol in the face and hand. In Játiva Coayat Çarahi, a juglar , and some Muslim companions threw Rodrigo Castanyeda into an irrigation ditch and tried to injure him further. At times individual Muslims reacted violently to official pressure. This seems to have been the case with Azen Satmer, who struck the justice of Manises in the face. In three cases Mudejar violence was linked to the conflict between seigneuries, or between seigneuries and towns. As part of the recurrent troubles between the lordship of Gilet and the town of Murviedro, Ali Ubequer of Gilet and Domingo de la Lança of Murviedro had a brawl during which the latter was wounded. One case of feuding between seigneuries saw unidentified Muslims raid the home of the lord of Náquera and mortally wound one of his vassals. Some of the less sanguinary crimes of Mudejar vassals also fit into the broader picture of seigneurial feuding. For example, a Muslim of Cox was accused of breaking into the home of the lord of Albatera. Characteristically, his lord refused to cooperate in the judicial procedure against him. The lord of Dos Aguas brought charges against Muslim vassals of Resalany and the Vall de Tous for having descended upon his lands and released Muslim prisoners from his jail.
The murder of Muslims by Christians conforms to the picture already sketched of powerful Christians, mostly knights and noblemen, abusing the vassals of their rivals as a means of indirectly injuring them. A Mudejar woman complained to the king that the noble Pere de Montagut and his squires had killed her son. Two Muslims of Játiva also turned to Fernando when a local lord imprisoned a fellow Muslim, as a
result of which the latter died, apparently of epilepsy. Although in both cases the king ordered the initiation of legal procedure, it is unlikely that the murderers, in these cases or others, were ever punished. A constable was fined for the murder of a Muslim slave, but only so that the slave's master could be reimbursed for his lost property. Reprehensible as such violence was, it is nevertheless significant that its perpetrators were largely restricted to the ranks of unscrupulous nobles and officials, men who acted for calculated political and economic motives. Violence against Muslims was not for the most part inspired by religious fanaticism, and the large majority of the Christian populace did not engage in it. In fact, Muslims sometimes joined Christians, their fellow vassals, in attacking Muslims of rival seigneuries. Moreover, Christian violence against Muslims was greatly exceeded in terms of both ferocity and frequency by that between Mudejars. To explain all Christian violence against Muslims as a manifestation of religious animosity is too simplistic. True, Christians displayed greater temerity in their acts against Mudejars because the latter were Muslims; nevertheless, their actions had a firm political and economic foundation related to the complex tensions and rivalries in Valencian society. And, as we have seen, the Mudejars were not always ones to take such abuse lying down.
A perusal of the judicial disputes between Muslims and Christians does not disclose the infliction of gross injustices on the Mudejars by the kingdom's courts. On the contrary, such litigation shows that the laws of the kingdom were for the Mudejars more often a source of protection against Christian aggressors than an oppressive burden. To discover the true legal oppression of the Mudejars, one must look beyond their lawsuits with Christians to the cases in which they were penalized for the violation of laws that applied almost exclusively to them. Mudejars were arraigned, tried, and harshly punished for acts that the authorities viewed as crimes only because they had been committed by Muslims, believers of an "inferior" religion that also constituted a political threat. The same body of laws that often protected the Mudejars from the aggression and abuse of Christians also brought home to them with brutal clarity their socioreligious inferiority and political subjection in a Christian kingdom.
One area in which the laws of the kingdom weighed heavily against the Mudejars was that of sexual relations between Muslims and Christians. Boswell has convincingly described how these laws established a
sexual and religious double standard that facilitated the sexual exploitation of Muslim women by Christian men. Still, it is a point worth belaboring, especially since the situation in some respects seems to have deteriorated by the late fifteenth century.
The Furs provided that in the case of a Muslim man sleeping with a Christian woman, both parties were to be burned alive. In the case of a Christian man sleeping with a Muslim woman, however, the man received no punishment whatsoever, while the woman was punished according to Islamic law for fornication or adultery (unless she was a licensed prostitute), which meant either flogging or death by stoning. The Islamic penalties were invariably commuted to enslavement. Thus, as Boswell concludes, "those members of the society with no power, i.e., Muslims and women, were penalized for unions which were permissible for members with power, i.e., Christian men."
The severity of the prescribed penalties did not deter Muslims and Christians from such liaisons. The abundance of Christian and Muslim prostitutes in the kingdom made deterrence extremely difficult. In fact, in the large majority of illicit unions between Muslim men and Christian women the women were prostitutes. The law, however, made no distinctions with respect to the status and profession of the Christian woman, so that Muslims were punished for sexual relations with Christian prostitutes as well as with Christian wives and daughters. In one case Muslims were actually sentenced to be burned alive for having availed themselves of the services of a Christian prostitute, although probably because some coercion was involved. Still, in most cases the criminal proceedings against Muslim males for sexual crimes did not result in a death sentence. Neither the king nor the nobility could afford to lose the services of Muslim vassals in this way. Thus, some guilty Muslims were heavily fined. Abrahim Murçi was fined 400s for having merely solicited a Christian woman (prostitute?), while Azmet Mufferix paid the hefty fine of 1,000s for having slept with a prostitute. Those who lacked the resources to pay such fines were probably enslaved. In this way the lord still retained the services of his vassal, or at least cashed in on the sale of the slave.
It is difficult to know whether or not Christian women were punished for these liaisons. It seems that legal procedure was initiated against Catherine, the wife of Christofol Pujol, for her affair with Ayet Capo.
There were very few instances of sexual relations between Christian men and Muslim women who were not prostitutes or slaves. Cases like that of the Muslim girl of Liria who ran off with her Christian lover, Jaume Ricarder, converted to Christianity, and set up house with him, were a rarity (the girl's father accused Ricarder of abducting his
daughter). The jealousy with which Mudejar fathers guarded the chastity of their daughters—against other Muslims, and certainly all the more against Christians—precluded such liaisons.
The sexual exploitation of Muslim women is most evident in the authorities' promotion of Muslim prostitution, which went hand in hand with the flagrant interference of Christians in the private lives of Muslims. The motives of all Christians involved—king, lords, and owners of female Muslim slaves—were blatantly economic. The Crown's legal stance on the question of Muslim prostitution set the tone for all related abuses: Muslim women could practice prostitution only with a license purchased from the Crown; all unlicensed prostitutes were to be penalized with enslavement to the Crown. On a number of occasions the bailiff general dispatched deputies to arrest all unlicensed prostitutes, who, the bailiff noted, were plying their trade "in great damage and detriment of the rights and revenues of the ... lord king." Once arrested, these women were sold into slavery for the profit of the Crown. Their new masters often put them out as prostitutes and retained the earnings of the women for themselves, despite the laws prohibiting such practices. Thus, these enslaved prostitutes were forced to commit for another's profit the same acts for which they had originally incurred punishment.
Realizing that revenues were to be had from the promotion and regulation of Muslim prostitution, royal and seigneurial authorities sought new recruits from among the condemned in the Islamic courts. There the authorities commuted to slavery the Islamic penalties to which the qadi[*] had sentenced Mudejar adulteresses. Many of these slaves were probably put to work in the royal brothels. If the aljamas did not object to Christian interference in this sensitive area, it was because the rigid sexual mores of the Mudejars relegated adulterers and fornicators to the status of social and family outcasts. The enslavement of these women to the Crown was, the Mudejars realized, by no means a merciful act, but a form of execution more gradual than stoning, albeit no less symbolic of their social death in the eyes of the Muslim community.
However, Christian interference in the Muslims' private lives became excessively predatory. Christians hovered about like vultures waiting to feed off the sexual transgressions and social miseries of Muslims. They acquired a knowledge of Mudejar laws and customs to suit their own purposes. This would explain the bizarre case in which Manuel Lançol, the lord of Gilet, accused a Muslim couple of Murviedro of living in sin, of not being legally married according to Islamic law. Although the qadi general found that Lançol's accusations were justified, this hardly excuses such prying into Mudejar family matters. What Lançol hoped to gain is unclear; perhaps he bore a grudge against the couple for having
moved from Gilet to become royal vassals in Murviedro. It is, in any case, difficult to imagine a disinterested Christian concern with Muslim morality.
By the latter half of Fernando's reign the bailiff general was going so far as to order his subordinates to seek out and apprehend Muslim men and women who had committed adultery. Significantly, this order was contained in the same letter that demanded the arrest of all unlicensed prostitutes. Together, the two formed a cruel and relentless strategy in which the sexual exploitation of Mudejar women for the financial gain of the Christian authorities is patent: all Muslim adulteresses were to be arrested, punished, and reduced to enslaved prostitution; and all prostitutes were to be licensed, taxed, and regulated by the Crown. The case of Axa of Villamarchante, a widow and mother of three, attests graphically to this policy. While in Valencia, Axa met Çale Duraydach from the Vall de Uxó. He took her to a hostel and there they slept together. As they lay together, a royal constable burst into their room and demanded to know whether they had committed "adultery" (really fornication, since she was a widow). Axa confessed to her "crime" and so was brought before the tribunal of the bailiff general. The bailiff and the qadi[*] general sentenced her to death by stoning, which sentence, of course, resulted in her enslavement to the Crown. Of Axa we know no more, but an educated guess as to her fate could be posed. It is, in any case, clear that the basis for this systematic and humiliating exploitation of Muslim women was the law that allowed Christian men to enjoy the sexual favors of Muslim women with impunity. There stemmed from this law a growing assumption on the part of the governing classes of the kingdom that their political authority and professed religious superiority over the Mudejars gave them the moral authority to judge Muslim sexual misconduct by standards far more rigorous than those which they applied to members of their own faith. Ironically, this assumption was associated with their increasing understanding of the Mudejars themselves and of the rigidity of their sexual mores. Sadly, they could think only of exploiting that understanding for their own profit.
There also existed a body of laws that may be described as policing measures, laws facilitating the scrutiny of Mudejar activities and movements. The political and fiscal concerns of the king and the nobility led them to restrict the Mudejars' freedom of movement, because they were a dissident, but economically valuable, minority. It was thought that some Mudejars harbored political allegiance to Islamic states and perhaps wished to emigrate there. Thus, Mudejars needed royal licenses to travel to Granada or the Maghrib, or even to the southern part of the kingdom. Usually they were prohibited from emigrating to Islamic
lands. Even wandering Muslim mendicants were required to have licenses to beg from their coreligionists. Those who were caught traveling or begging for alms without these licenses were punished, and usually harshly. Most unlicensed mendicants were enslaved to the Crown and then sold to the highest bidder. The ease with which Mudejars could be enslaved for such infractions forcefully emphasized their subject status and the very real limitations on their freedom. The phenomenon of Muslim slavery itself resulted in a number of cases in which Muslims were accused of abetting runaway slaves. The Mudejars' aid to runaway slaves is striking testimony to their acute awareness of just how precarious their position was; they were prepared for the eventuality of the loss of freedom.
In addition, there was the series of laws that required of the Mudejars obeisance to a faith so inimical to their own. Although it is unlikely that Muslims were actually forced to kneel in the street as Christian processions passed by, and although Muslims and Christians frequently associated and socialized in manners deemed inappropriate by the Crown and the Church, the very existence of such laws reminded the Mudejars of Christianity's present superiority over Islam. And, indeed, Muslims were fined for such indiscretions as swearing in the name of the Christian God. Furthermore, as long as the laws were on the books, there always hung over the Mudejars' heads the possibility that these laws would all be enforced in their full rigor. This is exactly what the Inquisitors and their backers desired.
Even if some Mudejars prospered in Valencia and had no intention of leaving, the knowledge that they could not depart if they so wished, that their movements were restricted and subject to the scrutiny of royal officials, that they were, in effect, prisoners in their own land, all this must have constituted a form of psychological oppression and alienation just as painful as more blatant forms of physical abuse. The law for the Mudejars was, like so many other aspects of their existence, a double-edged sword, both protective and oppressive; it afforded them justice within the framework of a politicoreligious system which was in a number of ways essentially unjust.