James III of Majorca

James III (also "Jaume" or "Jaime"; 1315 – 25 August 1349), called the Rash or the Unfortunate, son of Ferdinand of Majorca and Isabelle de Sabran, heiress of Principality of Achaea, was the King of Majorca from 1324 to 1344. He was the last independent king of Majorca of the House of Barcelona.

James was born at Catania. At the death of his mother in 1315, he was proclaimed Prince of Achaia under the guardianship of his father, who brought the unruly principality under control, but was killed in 1316. From 1331 the feudal lords of Achaia began to recognise the rights of James, and in 1333 the recognition was total, though the heirs of Philip I of Taranto continued to press their claim.

Upon the death of his uncle Sancho in 1324, James took over Majorca, being the grandson of James II. In order to establish friendly relations with the Crown of Aragon, he married Constança, daughter of Alfonso IV of Aragon. Though the kings of Majorca traditionally swore an oath of fealty to the kings of Aragon, James claimed that no king could have lordship over any other king. He patronised the University of Montpellier, which lay within his continental domains, and the legal scholars of that institution defended his rights as king.

On 9 May 1337 James promulgated the "Leges palatinae", an elaborate code for his court and the first of its kind.Malcolm Vale (2004), "The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe, 1270–1380", (Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 199 26993 9), 202–3.] For it he commissioned a fine illuminated manuscript in an Italian style, which he himself preserved when he lost his throne. He brought it to the Papal curia, then sold it to Philip VI of France. It was to have an important influence on Aragonese and possibly even Burgundian court functions. In 1342 James refused to render the oath of fealty to his cousin Peter IV of Aragon. He was supported, however, by the doctors of the University of Montpellier and by an Aragonese troubadour, Thomàs Périz de Fozes, who wrote a poem in his defence. In a short war (1343–44) he was driven out of Majorca by Peter, who reannexed the Balearic Islands to the Crown. He died at the Battle of Llucmajor on 25 August 1349 while trying to retake the island.

His heir was his son, James IV, who ruled in Achaia and was a claimant to Majorca. James IV died childless and James III's daughter, Isabel, inherited the family's claims.


*David Abulafia (1994), "A Mediterranean Emporium: The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 89405 0.
*Thomas N. Bisson (2000), "The Medieval Crown of Aragon: A Short History" (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
*G. Kerscher, [http://www.uni-trier.de/uploads/media/Leges_Palatinae_EN.pdf The first European ceremonial manuscript—Leges Palatinae—and its relevance for the Mediterranean area,] University of Trier.
*Marta Vanlandingham (2002), "Transforming the State: King, Court and Political Culture in the Realms of Aragon (1213–1387)," (BRILL, ISBN 9 004 12743 7.


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