Résumé de l’intervention de Laura Miquel Milian le 24 novembre 2017 (Journée “Enregistrer les conflits”)

Laura Miquel Milian (Institució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC de Barcelona)
 Barcelona’s Council During the Catalan Civil War (1462-1472) :
the Conflict’s Management Through Municipal Deliberations

In 1462, the year the war between king John II of Aragon and the main Catalan institutions began, Barcelona’s government consisted of three main organisms: five consellers and two councils, one formed by 128 people and the other by 32. All the records of their meetings, except those held by the consellers by themselves, ara preserved in the deliberations’ registers. It is there where we can find a precise account of what happened in the city during the Catalan Civil War, a conflict in which Barcelona played a decisive role. Actually, it was Barcelona’s bank, the Taula de Canvi, the one in charge of sustaining economically most of the conflict. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Barcelona’s leaders opinions were carefully listened to, even by those who, theoretically, played a more relevant role in the war’s affairs.

The high number of members of both councils made them not as efficient as such a situation required. Therefore, a common practice was the creation of normally short-lived small committees that were in charge of dealing with specific issues, such as the creation of new taxes or writing the instructions for an embassy. Among these committees was specially important the setzena de guerra, that lasted for more than a year. Its aim was to help the Consell de Trenta in those times when it had to handle many matters, and it was used as a bridge between the outcoming Consell and the incoming one.

Their decisions, as well as some of those of other institutions, like the Diputació del General, can easily be found in the deliberations preserved in the Historic Archive of the City of Barcelona (AHCB). A quick view to these registers reveals that the Council met during the war with variable frequencies, as well as the fact that the scribe tended to be concise, often omitting what he considered to be unimportant information. In spite of this, sometimes letters, requests or ordinances were duly copied in them. Regarding the language, it was prone to become passionate when writing about the war, traitors or Council’s members. That was probably the transliteration of the language very consciously used during that period of crisis by the Catalan leaders, who through the radicalisation of their discourse seeked to alleviate their lack of legitimacy. That kind of language can be found not only in the deliberations, but also in other series which provide complementary information. Some of them are ordinances, correspondence and even accounts. All of them provide a better understanding of what actually happened in Barcelona’s government during those hectic years.


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