Military Wiki
Preceded by John I
Succeeded by Ferdinand I
Preceded by Martin I
Succeeded by Ferdinand I
Personal details
Born (1356-07-29)29 July 1356
Died 20 January 1410(1410-01-20) (aged 53)
Spouse(s) Maria de Luna
Margaret of Prades
Religion Roman Catholicism

Martin the Elder (29 July 1356 – 20 January 1410), also called the Humane and the Ecclesiastic, was King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica and Count of Barcelona from 1396 and King of Sicily from 1409 (as Martin II). He failed to secure the accession of his grandson, Frederic, Count of Luna, and with him the rule of the House of Barcelona came to an end.


Martin was born in 1356, either in Girona or in Perpignan. He was the second son of King Peter IV of Aragon and Eleanor of Sicily (Leonora), princess of the Sicilian branch of the House of Aragon.[1] As a cadet prince of the Aragonese royal family, Martin was given the Duchy of Monblanch (modern Montblanc).[2] In 1380 his father appointed him lord and regent of the island of Sicily, then known also as Trinacria, since its queen Maria of Sicily, who was Martin's cousin, was underage (Maria's father, Frederick III the Simple, died in 1377). As a son of Eleanor of Sicily Martin was himself an heir to the island, should Maria's family die out.

In Barcelona on 13 June 1373 Martin married María López de Luna (d. Villarreal, 20 December 1406), daughter and heiress of Lope,[3] Lord and 1st Count of Luna and Lord of Segorbe and wife Brianda de Got/de Agasunt, born in Provence, related to Pope Clement V.


In 1396, Martin succeeded his elder brother John I, who had died sonless, on the throne of Aragon. However, Sicilian nobles were causing unrest and Martin was kept in Sicily. In the meanwhile, Martin's wife, María López de Luna, claimed the throne on behalf of Martin and acted as his representative until he arrived in 1397. Still, the delay opened the way for more problems and quarrels to surface in Aragon. His right to the throne was contested, first by Count Matthew of Foix on behalf of his wife Joanna, elder daughter of John I. However, Martin succeeded in quashing the invasion by the troops of the count.

After the death of the childless Joanna, John's second daughter, Yolande of Aragon, married the Angevin King Louis II of Naples and continued the claim, as did her sons.

Martin launched crusades against the Moors in North Africa in 1398 and 1399.

Aragon had been trying to subjugate Sardinia since the reign of James II, and gradually the Aragonese had conquered most of the island. However, in the 1380s, in the reign of Martin's father Peter IV, the remaining independent principality of Arborea became a fortress of rebellion and the Aragonese were rapidly driven back by Eleanor of Arborea, so that practically the whole of Sardinia was lost. King Martin sent his son Martin the Younger, King of Sicily, to reconquer Sardinia. Just before his own death, the son won the Battle of Sanluri (San Luis, San Luigi) in 1409, drove away the Genoese allies of the Sardinians, and subjugated a vast number of Sardinian nobles. This soon caused Arborea's total loss of independence.

Martin succeeded his son as King of Sicily, as Martin II. Overall, the Kingdom of Aragon enjoyed external peace during Martin's reign and he worked to quell internal strife caused by nobles, factions and bandits. He supported the Avignon line of Popes and an Aragonese, Pope Benedict XIII, held the seat throughout Martin's reign. Martin's military intervention rescued the imprisoned Benedict in 1403 from the clutches of his rivals and the Pope settled in Valencia's countryside.


After the death of his legitimate children James (b. 1378), John (b. 1380) and Margaret (b. 1384/1388), all of whom died young,[3] King Martin appointed his cousin James, the closest legitimate agnate of the Royal House of Aragon, as Governor-General of all the kingdoms of Aragon, a position that belonged traditionally to the heir presumptive. He still married secondly at Bellesguart or Bellresguard on 17 September 1409 to his cousin Margaret of Prades, daughter of Peter of Aragon, but the short marriage was childless.


Martin died, in Valdonzella or in Barcelona in 1410, reportedly due to indigestion and uncontrollable laughter.[4][5] According to tradition, Martin was suffering from indigestion on account of eating an entire goose when his favorite jester, Borra, entered the king's bedroom.[5] When Martin asked Borra where the jester had been, the jester replied with: "Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs."[5] This joke caused the king to die from laughter.[5] Martin's legitimate descendants, born of marriage with queen Maria, were already dead. Martin's second marriage did not produce any children. Only an illegitimate grandson, Frederick, Count of Luna, continued the line of Martin. Frederick was the illegitimate son of Martin the Younger. The king, despite his desire and some efforts, was not able to obtain sufficient confirmation of Frederick as his successor.

Thus, Martin's death led to a two-year interregnum, which was ended by the Compromise of Caspe, in which Martin's nephew Ferdinand, infante of Castile's House of Trastámara was chosen as the next king from among at least five contenders.



  1. Bisson, Thomas N. The Medieval Crown of Aragon: A Short History. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986. ISBN 0-19-821987-3.
  2. His contemporary title was duch de Montblanch.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Marek, Miroslav. "Barcelona 2". Retrieved 2008-05-13. [better source needed]
  4. Norris, Paul N.. Morris.pdf "Patronage and Piety". Mirator Lokakuu. Morris.pdf. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 John Doran, The History of Court Fools (Boston: Francis A. Niccolls & Co., 1858), 377-378.
Martin of Aragon
House of Aragon
Cadet branch of the House of Barcelona
Born: 29 July 1356 Died: 20 January 1410
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John I
King of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca,
Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica;
Count of Barcelona, Roussillon and Cerdagne

Succeeded by
Ferdinand I
Preceded by
Martin I
King of Sicily
Spanish nobility
New title Duke of Montblanc
Title next held by
John of Trastámara

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