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A letter from Innocent III (1212, June 6)


Translated letter: 

To Marie, illustrious queen of Aragon, and the men of Montpellier. Queen daughter, we have received the serious complaint of our beloved son the nobleman William of Montpellier, your brother, that against justice you retain and refuse to return to him possession of the town of Montpellier and other land belonging to him by hereditary right, and which he is known to have held peacefully long since. Because, therefore, jurisdiction of that land is known to belong to us, we, who are indebted to everyone in matters of justice, wishing to defend the aforesaid William in his right, command to your discretion through apolostolic letters that you return the said possession to him, or at the next feast of All Saints you present yourself to us through suitable representatives to demonstrate and receive the fulfillment of justice; then, with the Lord’s authority we will proceed in this matter lawfully insofar as we can. Dated at the Lateran eighth ides of June, year fifteen.1

Original letter: 

Mariae, illustri Reginae Aragonensi, et hominibus Montispessulani. Gravem dilecti filii nobilis viri Willelmi de Montepessulano, fratris tui, filia Regina, recepimus questionem, quod possessionem villae Montispessulani ac alterius terrae jure ad ipsum haereditario pertinentis, quam ipse pridem pacifice noscitur habuisse, contra justitiam detinetis, et resttituere denegatis eidem. Cum igitur terrae ipsius jurisdictio ad nos spectare noscatur, volentes praedicto Willelmo in suo jure adesse, qui sumus omnibus in justitia debitores, discretioni vestrae per apostolica scripta mandamus, quatinus vel dictam possessionem restituatis eidem, vel usque ad festivitatem omnium Sanctorum proximo venturam per responsales idoneos nostro vos conspectui praesentetis, exhibituri et recepturi justitiae complementum; alioquin extunc in ipso negotio, quantum de jure poterimus, auctore Domino, procedemus.
Datum Laterani, VIII idus junii, anno quinto decimo.

Historical context: 

Innocent III commands that possession of a town be restored to William, illegitimate son of William the 8th, lord of Montpellier, or that his judgment be sought regarding the dispute. Marie did go to Rome and got a judgment in her favor against both her husband and her brother. Marie was the heir to Montpellier, but she renounced her rights to the town in favor of her half-brother, the illegitimate William IX, in exchange for a dowry of 200 marks of silver for her second marriage. William succeeded their father who died in 1202 but the city rebelled against him in 1203, and when Marie married Peter of Aragon in 1204, he assumed the rule of the city.

Scholarly notes: 

1 Ashleigh Imus provided this translation.

Printed source: 

HGF, 19.553; PL 216, c.615.


1212, June 6