Gómez González

Gómez González (died 26 October 1111), called de Lara or de Candespina, was a Castilian nobleman and military leader who had some claim to being Count of Castile. He was the eldest son and successor of Gonzalo Salvadórez and his wife Sancha, and thus kinsman of the Lara family.[1] Like his father, he perished in battle.

Non-contemporary decoration on sepulchre of count Gómez and his wife Urraca at the Monastery of San Salvador de Oña showing attributed arms.

Gómez first appears in the record in 1084, a year after his father's death.[2] There exists a forged charter purporting to show Gómez, with the title Count, making a donation to the monastery of San Salvador de Oña in 1087. Donations to the same monastery by the same man, recorded in 1084, 1094, and 1099, are potentially authentic. It is unknown when he took a wife, but by 1107 he was married to a woman named Urraca Muñoz.[3] She gave him two daughters and three sons: Diego, Stephanie (Estefanía), Rodrigo, Sancha and Gonzalo.[4] After his death, she married Count Beltrán de Risnel.[5]

In 1090 he was given the government of the fiefdoms (tenencias) of Cerezo de Riotirón and Pancorbo, both of which he held until his death, and Petralata, which he held until 1106. By November 1092 Gómez had succeeded his own cousin, Pedro González, as royal alférez or armiger of Alfonso VI, a post he held until April 1099.[6] By the beginning of 1099 he carried the high title of count (Latin comes), which was typically attained by a young nobleman after a stint as alférez.[7] In 1097 he briefly appears with the fief of Poza and towards the end of his life (1110) he held Avià. His most significant fief was the Bureba, an important frontier zone bordering Navarre, and which his father had held before him. He was granted it in 1102 and held it until 1107.[8] In 1107 Gómez made an endowment to the parish church of Busto.

In the summer of 1108, following the deaths of Raymond of Galicia (1107) and the heir apparent Sancho Alfónsez (at the Battle of Uclés in 1108, where Gómez may have been present), a marriage between Gómez and the new heir presumptive, Raymond's widow, Urraca, was proposed by a faction of bishops and nobles opposed to the king's plan to marry his heiress to Alfonso the Battler, the king of neighbouring Navarre and Aragon.[9] At some point, perhaps as early as 1108,[10] Gómez had an affair with Urraca that produced a son, Domingo Gómez, who was later to introduce the Premonstratensians into Spain when he founded a monastery at Montesacro c.1146, an establishment that was later moved by Alfonso VII to La Vid in 1152.[11]

Gómez was one of the magnates who witnessed the first recorded act of Urraca as queen, on 22 July 1109, and implicitly acknowledged her claim to have been granted "the whole kingdom" (regnum totum) by her father, Alfonso VI, shortly before his death.[12] This important document Gómez signed as castellanorum comes (literally, "count of the Castilians"),[13] a title he had sometimes used in royal charters of Alfonso VI but which was mostly honorific, as the old County of Castile had become the Kingdom of Castile and was partitioned into several counties, with Gómez's zone of influence lying along the Navarrese frontier. His frontier position may explain his own opposition to Urraca's marriage, since he would have competed with the Aragonese when it came to expansion (reconquista) south of the river Ebro at the expense of the Almoravids.[14]

In early 1110, Gómez was present with Urraca and the king of Aragon at the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Valvanera, where he confirmed a pair of donation charters drawn up in the Aragonese format. By the middle of the year he was openly supporting Urraca against her husband.[15] Though he is last mentioned in a document of 15 October 1110, he was killed over a year later by Henry of Portugal, who had allied with the king of Aragon, at the Battle of Candespina, where he was leading Urraca's forces, on 26 October 1111. His death was a major blow to the queen's partisans. The short account of the battle in the Annales complutenses reads: "the Aragonese king Alfonso and count Henry killed the lord count Gómez in the field of Spina."[16] An even shorter account in the Annales compostellani states simply that "they" killed count Gómez.[17]

Gómez was succeeded as Urraca's lover by his kinsman Pedro González de Lara.[18]


  1. ^ Barton 1997, 251, provides a brief curriculum vitae of the count. Reilly 1988, 281, mistakenly makes him a son of Gonzalo Núñez de Lara.
  2. ^ Barton 1997, 251 n1. Reilly 1988, 275 n58, believes this to be based on a forgery.
  3. ^ Her son Rodrigo refers to her patronymic in a document of 1126, cf. Barton 1997, 251 n4 (Reilly 1988, 275, follows older tradition in making her daughter of Álvar Díaz, but the subsequent discovery of her patronymic makes this solution untenable). Recent work suggests that she was sister of count Rodrigo Muñoz and of Jimena Muñoz, the mistress of Alfonso VI (Canal Sánchez-Pagín 2003).
  4. ^ Canal Sánchez-Pagín 2003, 53–58
  5. ^ Canal Sánchez-Pagín 2003, 50.
  6. ^ Barton 1997, 251, and Reilly 1988, 275; but Reilly 1982, 281, makes Gómez alférez from as early as 1087, a change of opinion explained by Reilly 1988, 197 n32.
  7. ^ Reilly 1988, 275.
  8. ^ The last reference to Gómez in the Bureba refers to him as dominante comite Gomez Gonsalvo Burebam ("count Gómez González ruling Bureba"), cf. Reilly 1982, 281 n8.
  9. ^ Reilly 1982, 53. This proposal, with what motives behind it we do not know, is first recorded over a century later by Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada.
  10. ^ Reilly 1982, 56. The Crónicas anónimas de Sahagún gently inform us that "the noble count called Gómez, who at that time was living in Burgos with the queen, with a few went against them [the queen's enemies] in the field of Espina" (el noble conde llamado Gómez, el qual en aquella saçón morava en Burgos con la reina, con pocos en el campo del Espina fue contra ellos). The Chronica latina regum Castellae, I, §4, is similar: "The Castilians united with the count Gómez, called "of Candespina", who was excessively and more than appropriately familiar with the queen, and they fought against the king Alfonso together at Sepúlveda, where they were defeated by the king and the count died."
  11. ^ Barton 1997, 197–98.
  12. ^ Urraca signed the document totius Yspanie regina (queen of all Spain), and she first put forward her claim about Alfonso's wishes in 1110; cf. Fletcher 1984, 127, who believes the surviving document to be the original. Among the other important persons who witnessed are to be found Bernard de Sedirac, Álvar Fáñez, Pedro Ansúrez, Fruela Díaz, and Pedro Fróilaz de Traba.
  13. ^ The form of title, as well as the spelling of his name and patronymic, could vary: Gomiz Gonsálbez comes castellanorum, Gumes Gundisaluez castelle comes (literally "count of Castile"), and Gumez Gunzaluiz castellanorum comes are all recorded, cf. Martínez Llorente 1994, 117 n114.
  14. ^ Reilly 1982, 281, where he writes that, "as a magnate and official of the frontier, [Gómez's] own ambitions in the valley of the Ebro may well account for his hostility to the union with Aragón."
  15. ^ Reilly 1982, 66 n71. The Aragonese documents call him Gomessanus comes Pont Corvum et Ceresum and ruling in Pontecorbo et in Cereso.
  16. ^ Quoted in Reilly 1982, 74 n100:
    Era MCXLVIIII, VII kal. novembr. rex Adefonsus aragonensis et comes Enricus occiderunt comitem domno Gomez in campo de Spina.
    Era 1049 [AD 1111], 7th Kalends of November [26 October]. King Alfonso of Aragon and count Henry killed count Don Gómez in the field of Spina.
  17. ^ Quoted in Reilly 1982, 74 n100: Era MCXLIX occiderunt comitem Gometium ("Era 1049 they killed count Gómez").
  18. ^ Reilly 1982, 282. Pedro, along with Rodrigo González de Lara, were sons of count Gonzalo Núñez de Lara, in turn believed to have been first-cousin of Gonzalo Salvadórez according to recent genealogical reconstructions.


Further readingEdit

  • For Gómez's family and the government of Bureba in his time, cf. F. Fernández Sagredo, "Los condes de Bureba en la documentación de la segunda mitad del siglo XI", Estudios sobre la sociedad hispánica en la Edad Media, Cuadernos de Historia, 6 (1975), 91–119, and idem, "La tenencia de Bureba en la primera mitad del siglo XII", Homenaje a Fray Justo Pérez de Urbel, OSB, 2 vols. (Santo Domingo de Silos, 1976–77), I, 197–217.