Ermengol I, Count of Urgell

Ermengol (or Armengol) I (974–1010), called el de Córdoba, was the Count of Urgell from 992 to his death. He was the second son of Borrell II of Barcelona and his first wife, Letgarda. He was the second of the counts of Urgel and famous mainly for his participation in the Reconquista.

A man of culture, Ermengol was open to influences from wider Europe and he made two voyages to Rome, in 998 and 1001. He was a stimulus to his nobles in making pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela or Le Puy. He also reformed the judiciary of his county to make justice more available to all.[1] He also began to reassert his authority over the outlying castles of his realm, whose lords were acting independent of his power.[1]

He also maintained an intense war against the Caliphate of Córdoba. In 1003, Urgell was invaded by Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar. Aided by Raymond Borrel of Barcelona, Bernard I of Besalú, and Wifred II of Cerdagne, Ermengol defeated them at the Battle of Torà, followed by the tighter Battle of Albesa.[2] He was captured by Abdelmelik, the Córdoban hajib, during reprisals in the summer, but was free by March 1004. In 1008, he led several successful expeditions against the Moors.[3] In 1010, he participated in the expedition of his brother Raymond Borrel of Barcelona against Córdoba itself. He died nearby at Castell de Bacar, 37 years of age. His testament, dated around 1010, includes the first attested mention of chess in Western Europe.


Before 10 July 1000, Ermengol married Tetberga, presumably a daughter of Artaud I, Count of Forez, by his wife Tetberga of Limoges. Tetberga died between 7 April and 3 November 1005, when Ermengol's second wife is first mentioned. As his second wife, Ermengol married Guisla (Gisela), whose family is not known, but who could be the homonymous daughter of Gausfred I of Roussillon, named in her father's will in February 989. She survived him and was still alive on 18 November 1010. From this second union came two children:


  1. ^ a b Lewis, Archibald R. The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050. University of Texas Press: Austin, 1965, p 379.
  2. ^ Carl Erdmann (1977), The Origin of the Idea of Crusade (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 99–100.
  3. ^ Erdmann, based on Adhemar de Chabannes.


Preceded by
Borrell II, Count of Barcelona
Count of Urgell
Succeeded by