In medieval Iberia, an alférez (Spanish: [alˈfeɾeθ], Galician: [alˈfeɾɪθ]) or alferes (Portuguese: [alˈfɛɾɨʃ], Catalan: [əlˈfeɾəs]) was a high-ranking official in the household of a king or magnate. The term is derived from the Arabic الفارس (al-fāris), meaning "horseman" or "cavalier", and it was commonly Latinised as alferiz or alferis, although it was also translated into Latin as armiger or armentarius, meaning "armour-bearer". The connection with arms-bearing is visible in several Latin synonyms: fertorarius, inferartis, and offertor. The office was sometimes the same as that of the standard-bearer or signifer. The alférez was generally the next highest-ranking official after the majordomo. He was generally in charge of the king or magnate's mesnada (private army), his personal retinue of knights, and perhaps also of his armoury and his guard. He generally followed his lord on campaign and into battle.
The office of alférez originated in the tenth century. In the Kingdom of Navarre in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the office of alférez changed hands with higher frequency than others, and there is also evidence of rotation. It is the only courtly office for which two officers are cited at the same time: Fortún Jiménez and Ortí Ortiz were both inferartes in a charter of 1043. In the kingdoms of Castile and León in the eleventh and twelfth centuries the office was generally bestowed on young noble members of the court, often as a prelude to promotion to the rank of count. It is known that Alfonso VIII of Castile rewarded his alférez Álvaro Núñez de Lara with the grant of a village for carrying his standard in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
List of alférecesEdit
|Name||First record in office||Final record in office||Title(s)|
|García Fortúnez||1065||1071||Offertor, Fertorarius (1068), Tallator (1068–69)|
- Charles Cawley. 2008. Nobility of Navarre: Introduction at the Medieval Lands Project.
León and Castile under Alfonso VIIEdit
|Name||First record in office||Final record in office|
|Lope López||29 October 1123||29 July 1126|
|Tello Alfonso||9 March 1126|
|García Garcés de Aza||12 December 1126||13 November 1127|
|Álvaro Gutiérrez||13 May 11128|
|Pedro Alfonso||8 July 1129||10 June 1130|
|Rodrigo Fernández||26 August 1130||15 May 1131|
|Pedro Garcés||29 May 1131||28 September 1131|
|Gonzalo Peláez||22 November 1131||8 March 1132|
|Ramiro Fróilaz||29 May 1132||18 September 1133|
|Manrique Pérez de Lara||26 December 1134||2 June 1137|
|Diego Fróilaz||3 October 1137||26 June 1140|
|Ponce de Minerva||9 September 1140||19 December 1144|
|Nuño Pérez de Lara||March 1145||4 February 1155|
|Gonzalo de Marañón||7 February 1155||30 July 1157|
- Simon Barton, The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge, 1997), 144.
Alféreces in aristocratic householdsEdit
|Name of alférez||Date(s) of record||Title in record||Name of magnate|
|Alfonso Núñez||1 April 1101 x 24 October 1102||Count Raymond of Galicia|
|Íñigo Pérez||1103||armiger||Count Pedro Ansúrez|
|Gonzalo Peláez||1153||Count Manrique Pérez de Lara|
|García Díaz||1156||Count Manrique Pérez de Lara|
- Simon Barton, The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge, 1997), 142–44.
- Simon Barton, The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge, 1997), 59.
- The date of the grant was 31 October 1212; the village was Castroverde; and the surviving charter reads: "for the many services which you have done me in the field of battle, carrying my standard as a brave man" (pro seruitio plurimum comendando quod michi in campestri prelio fecistis, cum uexillum meum sicut uir strenuus tenuistis, cum Almiralmomeninum regem Cartaginis deuici). Cited in Simon Barton, The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge, 1997), 142 n217.
- Simon Barton, The Aristocracy in Twelfth-century León and Castile (Cambridge, 1997), 227.
- Further reading
- Fletcher, Richard A. (1989). The Quest for El Cid. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.