Isarn, Count of Pallars

Isarn[1] (died 948) was the Count of Pallars from 920 until his death, and effectively a sovereign prince. He was the eldest of the four sons of Raymond I, Count of Pallars and Ribagorza. With his younger brother Lope he co-ruled Pallars after his father's death in 920. Their brothers Bernard and Miró co-governed Ribagorza.[2] A fifth brother, Otto (or Ato), was Bishop of Pallars, which allowed the counts, especially Isarn, to effectively control the Church in their territories.

Isarn probably co-governed Pallars with his father from around 900.[3] In 904 he was captured along with seven hundred others during a raid by the Qasawi Muslim lord of Lleida, Llop ibn Muhammad.[4] From the Códice de Roda we know that he remained a prisoner at Tudela until 918, when he was liberated by his cousin, King Sancho I of Pamplona.[5] As count, Isarn founded a convent, Sant Pere de Burgal, at Burghals and made his daughter Ermengardis its first abbess in 945.[6] At that date he signed a charter as Domnus Isarnus comes et marchio dum resideret in Paliarensis regno: "Lord Isarn, count and margrave, while residing in the kingdom of Pallars."[citation needed] Isarn also had a son named William who succeeded him but died without descendants.[7]


  1. ^ Or Ysarn; his name appears in contemporary Latin sources as Ysarnus and Aznarius, Isarn being a variant of Aznar.
  2. ^ Archibald Ross Lewis (1965), The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050 (Austin, University of Texas Press), 122. These "sons" are sometimes referred to as "grandchildren", even by Lewis, see p. 221. Isarn is also sometimes recorded as one of the youngest two sons of Raymond, which would reserve the succession in Ribagorza, then overrun by Moors, to the more capable elder two.
  3. ^ "Isarn I de Pallars". Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana. Enciclopèdia Catalana. (in Catalan) English version
  4. ^ Lewis, 221, but whether this happened while he was a child (Lewis calls him "heir") or while he was defending the region is unknown.
  5. ^ The Codex states that Isarn was captive in Tutela (in Tudela) and released by rex Sanzio Garseanis (king Sancho Garcés).
  6. ^ Lewis, 245, 250–1. Ernesto Zaragoza Pascual (1997), Catàleg dels monestirs catalans (Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat), 53, suggests that Isarn became a monk at his own foundation in 949.
  7. ^ Ferran Valls i Taberner and Ferran Soldevila (2002), Història de Catalunya (Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat), 90.