Eleanor of Arborea
Eleanora or Eleanor of Arborea (Sardinian: Elianora de Arbaree, Italian: Eleonora d'Arborea, &c.; 1347—1404) was one of the most powerful and important, and one of the last, judges of the Judicate of Arborea in Sardinia, and Sardinia's most famous heroine.
When Judge Pietro III of Arborea died without descendants in 1347, the Crown de Logu of the Judged (an assembly of notables, prelates, and officials of the towns and villages) elected the father of Eleanor (Marianus IV of Arborea, brother of the deceased), who held his brother’s old post from 1347 to 1376.
Eleanor was born at Molins de Rei. Recent studies, based on a letter from Aymeric VI of Narbonne, husband of Beatrice, to King Peter IV of Aragon, in which he claimed the Arboreal throne for son Guglielmo I (Royal Archives of Barcelona), immediately after the death of Ugone III, ascertain that she was the third child of Marianus IV and Timbora.
She obtained her judgeship in 1383 when her brother Ugone and his daughter were killed in a conspiracy.
In 1392 Eleanor granted for the first time in history the protection of bird nests against illegal hunters under the jurisdiction later conferred by the Carta de Logu; the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) was later named after her due to this. She herself, as well as her other family members, enjoyed falconry.
She enacted the code of laws known as the Carta de Logu (meaning Charter of Law), which was in effect in Sardinia from 1395 until 1827. In that code there is the modernizing of certain norms and the juridical wisdom that contains elements of the Roman-canonical tradition, the Byzantine one, the Bolognese jurisprudence and the thought of the glossators of the Catalan court culture, but above all the local juridical elaboration of the Sardinian customs made by Sardinian municipal law. One notable provision of the Code is that it gave daughters and sons the same inheritance rights. As well, it also declared that rape could be recompensed through marriage only if the woman who was raped agreed to marry her rapist, and even if she did the Code declared that the rapist still had to either pay a large fine to the Senate or have his foot cut off (his choice). If she did not agree to marry him, he had to give her a dowry that suited her social status, so that she could marry someone else, and he still had to either pay a large fine to the Senate or have his foot cut off (his choice). As well, these punishments were not affected by whether or not the woman in question was betrothed. The Code also led Eleanor to be remembered as one of the first lawmakers to set up the condition of reciprocity when dealing with foreigners, as well as the crime of misfeasance.
Eleanor died of plague in 1404, and Arborea slowly fell into decline due to her death.
The scholar Francesco Cesare Casula identified, in the church of San Gavino Monreale, a few miles from the castle of Monreale in Sardara, the high reliefs representing the only contemporary portraits of Eleanor, Marianus IV, Ugone III and Brancaleone Doria.
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