The royal monopoly of utilities providing vital community services assured the Crown a steady flow of annual income. The Crown controlled
butcher shops (carnicerías ), ovens, mills, baths, taverns, and a variety of other services, such as tanneries and dyeworks. Generally, the local bailiffs rented out these utilities in public auction to the highest bidder, Christian, Muslim, or Jew. The lessee gave the Crown a fixed annual rent derived from what he earned from control of the utility. The rental of these utilities in public auction meant that the rents were subject to fluctuations consonant with the realities of the marketplace and the prevailing prices of commodities.
Few utilities were specifically linked to Muslim communities as such. The size of an aljama and the clauses of its foundation charter determined whether it need have, for instance, its own special oven. To take another example, the prevalence of Muslim artisans in certain crafts, such as saddlemaking or dyeing, resulted in the consistent Muslim rental of the local saddleworks and dyeworks, which were perhaps also attached to the morerías . However, on account of Islamic and Jewish dietary laws, quite similar in many details, it was necessary for Muslims and Jews to have their own butcher shops. It seems that every Mudejar community had this privilege, which, as Burns points out, may be equated with an extension of religious privileges. In Castellón de la Plana the Muslims shared a butcher shop with the Jews.
Despite the religious complications implied in the rental of a Muslim butcher shop to a Christian, it was an established practice and seems to have raised no complaint from Mudejar leaders. In Alcira and Játiva Christians and Muslims alternated in their rental of the Muslim butcheries, depending on who could offer the highest bid. The butcher shop of the new morería of Castellón de Játiva was the one exception to the usual rental arrangements. There Fernando conceded to Joan Bleda, already the concessionaire of the Christian butcheries, the Muslim butchery perpetually and in enfiteusis, at an annual rent of one morabatí . In any case, whoever the lessee or concessionaire, the butcher who actually slaughtered the meat had to be a Muslim. Thus, in the terms of the concession of the Muslim butcher shop to Joan Bleda it was stipulated "let its butcher be a Sarracen and not a Christian." Presumably the lessees either sublet the butcheries to Muslim butchers or paid them a salary. Unfortunately, the documentation, concerned mainly with the rents accruing to the royal treasury, reveals next to nothing on Muslim butchers and their arrangements with the lessees. One glimpse is offered in the plea of Joan Lopiç, a merchant and lessee of the Muslim butcher shop of Játiva, to whom the Muslim butcher, al-Ayeret, owed 262s 6d for the sheep slaughtered in the butcher shop. Apparently the lessee had furnished the animals necessary for the aljama's consumption, and the butcher, who slaughtered and sold the meat, was expected to reimburse the lessee from the proceeds. The absence of Mudejar grievances
on this score suggests that Muslim butchers consistently functioned as the all-important intermediaries between lessees and Muslim consumers.
Crown supervision extended beyond rental of the butcher shop to ensuring that the abattoir was provisioned with sufficient livestock—sheep, goats, and beef cattle—to meet the demands of local consumption. Crown pasture land was therefore allotted for grazing the flocks of the royal butcheries; these flocks were exempted from payment of the herbatge , a tax on the use of Crown pastures. The Crown sometimes stipulated precisely how many head of livestock the lessee ought to provide. In Castellón de Játiva the Christian butcher shop was to be furnished with 250 head, and the Muslim butcher shop with 150, although Joan Bleda, the concessionaire, later complained that the bailiff was forcing him to have slaughtered for the Muslims an excessive amount of meat, much of which was left to rot in the summer sun. One clause of the lease of Joan Sancho stated that if he did not provide sufficient livestock for Játiva's Muslim butcher shop the Muslims could slaughter meat in the Crown abattoir for themselves. Neither royal provisions nor leases specify the sale price of meat, nor do they suggest that Muslims were charged more for their meat. Lessees were admonished only to sell the meat at "accustomed prices," which were set more by the local market than by royal guidelines. There is no evidence indicating that lessees engaged in any price speculation regarded by aljamas as immoderate or burdensome.
Apart from the renting of butcheries, the Crown also collected a sales tax on each pound of meat, known as the sisa del carn (sisas were also imposed on bread, wine, and other essential commodities). Information from Gandía (1492) indicates that the sisa paid there was 1s per pound of billy-goat and ram, 9d per pound of she-goat and ewe, and 4s 6d per pound of beef. The rates of the sales tax in Murviedro (1483) were only half as high as those paid in Gandía. The explanation for the difference in sisa rates lies in the Crown's concession of the right to collect the sises to many municipal governments, which were then able to establish the local rates. The aljama of Játiva paid the bailiff to farm out the sales tax collected in its butcher shop and market. Leaving the collection of the sales tax in the hands of municipal governments created problems, for at times the jurates arbitrarily raised the sales tax rates, prompting resistance from lords with lands within the general limits of Gandía and from the aljama of Murviedro. In Castellón de la Plana the jurates were not allowed to exact the sisa from the local Muslims, which induced them to prohibit Christians from purchasing meat in the Muslim butcher shop where they could escape the sales tax.
Because the butcheries provided such an essential commodity, they
were lucrative utilities. The almost unique restriction of their services to the members of a particular aljama rendered the butcheries a highly appropriate and efficient means of aiding an aljama in financial straits, without affecting the rest of the local economy. Since 1376 the aljama of Valencia had enjoyed the privilege of renting its own butcher shop and retaining the proceeds from the rental to defray its own expenses. Such revenue was so crucial to the aljama's finances after 1455 that when the guild of Christian butchers attempted to place restrictions on the Muslim butcher shop's sale of meat, the aljama pleaded that it did not have any "other substance or property with which to pay the royal taxes and rents that it is ordinarily obliged to pay." The aljama of Daroca (Aragon) benefited from a like royal concession, and it was allowed to retain the sales tax collected in its butcher shop as well. The Crown met the aljama of Játiva halfway: the lessee paid half the butchery rent to the Crown and half to the aljama's treasurer.
Some Muslims tried to evade the Crown's close supervision of the sale of meat by slaughtering meat outside of the Muslim butcheries, sometimes in Christian butcheries, and then selling it at more competitive prices. Mahomat Paziar, Alcira's amin[*] , whose son was renting the butcher shop, and the aljama of Daroca both complained about the losses they were sustaining from the activities of these "free-lance" butchers.
Another important royal monopoly related specifically to the Mude-jars was the institution of the alfondech or fonduk. Described in the documentation as a "hospitium maurorum," and located within the confines of the morería , the fonduk functioned as an inn for Muslim travelers and merchants, and, almost invariably, as a center for Muslim prostitution. As suggested in chapter 1, the fonduk was an adjunct to a royal policy of social segregation. That a fonduk was created in the fledgling morería of Castellón de Játiva suggests that all other royal morerías had one. However, perhaps only the fonduk in Valencia bore any resemblance to the thirteenth-century institution described by Burns as "at once a public inn, goods depository, mail drop, center for any notarial or customs services, and exhibit hall ... it could elaborate into a home-away-from-home." The continued success of Valencia's fonduk lay in the capital's preeminent role in the kingdom, and in the entire Crown of Aragon, as a center of domestic and international commerce, and as the arrival and embarkation point of the Venetian galleys that carried Maghriban merchants and their cargoes. The small size of Valencia's aljama should not blind one to the fact that through the city there traversed a large transient Muslim population, Valencian and foreigner, slave and free. The fonduk was leased for terms of two to four years, with the annual rent steadily increasing from 1,000s (1479–1483) to
3,000s (1498–1502). Only in 1490, on account of a plague that discouraged Muslims and Jews from traveling to the capital, did the fonduk suffer. Still, the lodging of Muslims in other hostels was a consistent problem, and Diego de Soria, the lessee in 1490, complained that the bailiff general was protecting an innkeeper who had Mudejars from Arevalo (Castile) as guests. Seigneurial Muslims were exempted, at least temporarily, from the necessity of lodging in the royal fonduk.
Allied to the leasing of Valencia's fonduk, and likewise sustained by the large number of Muslims visiting the capital, was the rental of an office unique to the capital, that: of the basto (i.e., "baton," symbolic of the possession of the office and its policing function) or guard of the bailiwick of the morería . This office, rented to Joan de Vich (1481–1488) and to his son Joan after his death, had little to do with the normal duties of a local bailiff, which in Valencia were incumbent on the resident bailiff general. Rather, the basto exercised a supervisory and policing function in the morería . He managed the royal tavern and bordello, regulated the practice of prostitution in the morería , and collected the required tax (dret de tarquena ) from the Muslim prostitutes or their pimps. He also saw to it that Muslims did not bear arms in the morería , travel at night without a lamp, gamble, drink wine outside the royal tavern, or dress in excessive finery, all infractions being punishable by fine. The basto and the lessee of the fonduk, or alfondeguer , likely worked closely together, since the guests of the fonduk might well have indulged in the pleasures of the tavern and bordello.
In the other royal towns the offices of the alfondeguer and basto were combined in the person of the former. Wine, if it was drunk anywhere in the morerías , was most likely served in the fonduks. In Zaragoza the fonduk also housed the morerío 's jail, and the alfondeguer served as its jailer. Gambling seems to have been forbidden throughout the kingdom, so that the fonduks were freed of this vice. The prominence royal leases give to prostitution as a source of income for the fonduks' concessionaires indicates that most fonduks were quasi-bordellos where the alfondeguers were responsible for collecting the tarquena from the prostitutes. In contrast to its firm stand against gambling, the Crown seems to have concluded that prostitution could be more effectively regulated than eradicated, and, as was so often the case, regulation translated into fiscal profits. Every Muslim prostitute in the kingdom had to purchase from the bailiff general for 18s a license to ply her trade.
The fonduks of Alcira and Játiva brought little revenue to the Crown. In 1479 a member of the important Mudejar family of Paziar purchased the building housing the fonduk of Alcira so that he could provide a "genteel home" for his newlywed son. The bailiff and aljama concurred on this, feeling that Paziar's remodeling of the house would help to
beautify the morería . The resultant problem was that another house for the permanent establishment of a fonduk could not be found, inasmuch as none of the local Muslims were interested in selling. It seems that for most of Fernando's reign Alcira's morería lacked a fonduk, although occasionally individuals were paid for the use of their home for this purpose.
Játiva's fonduk was in a state of considerable disrepair, and desultory efforts were made to refurbish it, even constructing special rooms for the prostitutes. Although Muslim saddlers rented a part of the fonduk as a shop, few were willing to rent it for its intended purpose. The royal prohibition against gambling seems to have taken all life out of the place, and the tax records state that the prohibition was, indeed, the cause for the reluctance of potential lessees. Even when lessees were found, the fonduk, because it attracted so much lowlife, did more harm than good. In 1495 the aljama complained that Christian youths were sneaking into the fonduk through a window and spending the night in the morería . Worse still, the wife of the Christian lessee was traipsing about "dishonestly dressed" and tempting Muslim youths. Perhaps the aljamas of Játiva and Alcira reasoned that they were well rid of such riffraff as were associated with the fonduks; Muslim visitors could easily be lodged in someone's home.
Public baths, necessary for ritual ablutions and purification and essential as centers of social intercourse, were fixtures in the life of most medieval Muslim communities. Islamic Valencian towns had been no exception, and presumably most Mudejar aljamas continued to support baths, however modest or elaborate. By Fernando's reign Mudejar baths had ceased to be a source of Crown income. Probably the Crown had ceded to each aljama control over its own bath. As in the case of the butcher shops, such concessions would have aided the aljamas in attaining or maintaining solvency. The Mudejar bath of Játiva, however, was an exception and remained a Crown monopoly. Because the aljama of Játiva was by far the largest in the kingdom, the revenues accruing from its Mudejar taxes and from the rental of its morería utilities were substantial when those from many smaller aljamas were negligible. Consequently, the Crown was loath to alienate its monopoly over any of the utilities servicing the aljama of Játiva. Játiva's Mudejar bath was always leased to Muslims at an annual rent ranging from 640s to 1,100s. On the question of whether Jews might use the Muslim baths, Fernando vacillated. First, in 1488, he commanded that the Muslim aljama must permit the Jews to have access to the baths, otherwise royal rents would decrease. Two years later he changed his mind and forbade such contact between Jews and Muslims in the baths, deeming it "pernicious," as he perhaps viewed the exposure of anyone to Judaism at this juncture.
In terms of the pervasiveness of the royal monopoly, the situation of Mudejar ovens was similar to that of the baths. In the kingdom of Valencia only the two ovens of the morería of Játiva—the forn maior (large oven) and the forn menor (small oven)—were leased by the Crown, and for considerable rents. Inasmuch as communal ovens served individual neighborhoods, it seems likely that most other morerías had their own ovens, although, unlike the Jews with their baking of matzoh, Muslim baking had no ritual significance. Just as the Christians of Mislata baked their bread in the Muslims' oven, it may be that smaller aljamas made use of Christian ovens. In 1496 two of Murviedro's ovens were rented by Muslims. In Catalonia, the morerías of Tortosa and Lérida both had ovens, the rent from the former going toward the support of the local castle.
The Crown also had a monopoly over mills, essential appurtenances to agricultural and industrial life. Mudejars were allowed to grind their wheat and barley wherever they wished. Apparently, Fernando had followed the bailiff general's advice and discarded his plan to construct in Játiva one royal mill that all of the aljama's Muslims would have to use. In every town Mudejars were active as lessees of royal mills. The morería of Játiva had its own olive mill or press (almacera ) which was rented from the Crown and served the needs of Muslims bringing in their produce from nearby olive orchards. The Mudejars of Játiva continued to participate in the local paper industry, and a paper mill was leased to them.
The activity of Mudejar artisans in certain local crafts and industries allowed the Crown to maintain a monopoly over certain workshops probably located within or adjacent to the morerías . In Alcira Muslim saddlers rented the saddleworks from the Crown, as did Muslim dyers the dyeworks of Murviedro. Játiva's morería had a much larger industrial complex, its Muslims renting saddleworks, dyeworks, a tannery, and a workshop devoted to the fabrication of soap. Whatever success the king had in augmenting the populations of his morerías might have enhanced Mudejar participation in local industries monopolized by the Crown, thereby fueling the local economy and perhaps raising the rents of industrial workshops.
On account of its large size, the morería of Játiva had its own marketplace or suq (Catalan açoch ), and, unlike the other royal morerías , its own mustaçaff (or çalmedina) , who served as inspector of the market and of its weights and measures. Municipal officials, however, challenged the aljama's right to appoint its own mustaçaff . In any case, Játiva's aljama was unique in leasing from the Crown its market as well as the weights-and-measures service (pes e açoch ). The lessees were individual Mudejars and the rent was understandably steep, ranging from 1,060s to 2,000s per year.
The rents of some Crown utilities, particularly those in Játiva, increased markedly, although not necessarily consistently, over the course of Fernando's reign. The raising of rents was stimulated by the leasing of utilities to the highest bidder. In Játiva the Crown offered further incentive by, in effect, sharing the increased profits with the lessee, who was remunerated with a percentage—approximately 10 to 15 percent—of the difference between the current rent and that of the previous year. The lessee's bid was likely based on an informed prediction of the size of the clientele having recourse to the utility's services and of the fee that could be charged to the consumer for use of those services. Increases in the size of local populations would have encouraged higher bids.
Besides acting as consumers and lessees (e.g., table 11), Mudejars played another important role with respect to Crown utilities by providing the skilled labor necessary for their maintenance or improvement. In some cases the lessees themselves effected the improvements, as did the saddlers renting the saddieworks of Alcira. It was more usually the case that Muslim carpenters and masons maintained the serviceability of royal ovens, baths, fonduks, mills, and official market scales. Unskilled labor was also needed for the procurement and transport of materials, such as wood, sand, and stone. Thus, around the Crown utilities, providing essential services to the Mudejar populace and needed revenue to the king, there developed a community of interests, involving king, lessee, consumer, and laborer. (See tables 12–14 for further listings of Crown revenue.)
The king also exercised direct lordship over certain houses and lands in royal towns that were rented to Mudejars. The rents received from Mudejar lessees were negligible, ranging from 2s to 5s per year for a house, and from 2s to 12s per year for land. In Alcira, which had the largest number of Mudejars leasing homes and land from the Crown, the aggregate of rents never amounted to more than 104s 6d in any one year. Muslim lessees were allowed to sell the rented property to either Muslim or Christian buyers, although there was a sales tax, called the lluisme , collected from the vendor, which amounted to 10 percent of the sale price. The lluisme was paid by both Muslim and Christian vendors.