Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona

Ramon Berenguer I (1023–1076), called the Old (Catalan: el Vell, French: le Vieux), was Count of Barcelona in 1035–1076. He promulgated the earliest versions of a written code of Catalan law, the Usages of Barcelona.

Ramon Berenguer I the Old
Ramon Berenguer I and his wife, Almodis de la Marche, counting out 2000 ounces of gold coins as payment to William Raymond and Adelaide, count and countess of Cerdagne, in return for their rights over Carcassonne in 1067.[1]
Count of Barcelona
PredecessorBerenguer Ramon I
SuccessorRamon Berenguer II and Berenguer Ramon II
Died26 May 1076
BuriedBarcelona Cathedral
Noble familyBarcelona
Spouse(s)Elisabeth of Narbonne
Blanca of Narbonne
Almodis de la Marche
IssuePeter Raymundi
Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona
Berenguer Ramon II, Count of Barcelona
FatherBerenguer Ramon I the Crooked
MotherSancha Sanchez

Born in 1024, he succeeded his father, Berenguer Ramon I the Crooked in 1035.[2] It was during his reign that the dominant position of Barcelona among the other Catalan counties became evident.

Ramon Berenguer campaigned against the Moors, extending his dominions as far west as Barbastro and imposing heavy tributes (parias) on other Moorish cities.[2] Historians claim that those tributes helped create the first wave of prosperity in Catalan history. During his reign Catalan maritime power started to be felt in the western Mediterranean. Ramon Berenguer the Old was also the first count of Catalonia to acquire lands (the counties of Carcassonne and Razés) and influence north of the Pyrenees.[2]

Another major achievement of his was beginning the codification of Catalan law in the written Usatges of Barcelona which was to become the first full compilation of feudal law in Western Europe. Legal codification was part of the count's efforts to forward and somehow control the process of feudalization which started during the reign of his weak father, Berenguer Ramon. Another major contributor was the Church acting through the institution of the Peace and Truce of God. This established a general truce among warring factions and lords in a given region for a given time. The earliest extant date for introducing the Truce of God in Western Europe is 1027 in Catalonia, during the reign of his father, Berenguer Ramon.

While still married to his second wife Blanca, he became involved with the wife of the Count of Toulouse, Almodis de La Marche, countess of Limoges.[3] Both quickly married and were consequently excommunicated by Pope Victor II.[3][4]

Ramon Berenguer I, together with his third wife Almodis, also founded the Romanesque cathedral of Barcelona, to replace the older basilica presumably destroyed by Almanzor. Their velvet and brass bound wooden coffins are still displayed in the Gothic cathedral which eventually replaced the cathedral that they founded.

He was succeeded by his twin sons Ramon Berenguer II and Berenguer Ramon II.

Family and issueEdit

Sepulchers of Ramon Berenguer in the Cathedral of Barcelona.


  1. ^ Bishko 1980, p. 40.
  2. ^ a b c Reilly 1995, p. 48-49.
  3. ^ a b Humphrey 1993, p. 34.
  4. ^ Reilly 1995, p. 67.
  5. ^ Reilly 1995, p. 71.


  • Bishko, Charles Julian (1980). Studies in Medieval Spanish Frontier History. Variorum Reprints.
  • Reilly, Bernard F. (1995). The Contest of Christian and Muslim Spain, 1031-1157. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Humphrey, Patricia (1993). "Ermessenda of Barcelona: The Status of her Authority". In Vann, Theresa M. (ed.). Queens, Regents and Potentates. Academia Press.

Preceded by Count of Barcelona
(Barcelona, Girona and Manresa)

(under regency of Ermesinde of Carcassonne, 1035-1041)
(with Almodis de La Marche, 1052-1071)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Count of Osona
(with Almodis de La Marche, 1054-1071)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Count of Carcassonne
(Carcassonne and Razès)

(with Almodis de La Marche, 1069-1071)
Succeeded by