Guillem de Cabestany

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Guillem de Cabestany

Guillem de Cabestany (Catalan pronunciation: [ɡiˈʎɛm də kəβəsˈtaɲ]; 1162–1212) was a Catalan troubadour from Cabestany in the County of Roussillon. He is often known by his Old Occitan name, Guilhem de Cabestaing, Cabestang, Cabestan, or Cabestanh (pronounced IPA: [ɡiˈʎɛm de kabesˈtaɲ]).


Not much reliable info is known about Guillem de Cabestany. He is probably the son of Arnau de Cabestany, a noble of Roussillon, probably a vassal in relation with the lords of Castell Rosselló. Cabestany itself is a fief located immediately next to the east of Castell Rosselló and southwest of Canet (a future viscounty).

He is said to have been fighting with Peter II of Aragon at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa against the Almohads in 1212.


According to his legendary vida, he was the lover of Margarida or Seremonda (or Soremonda), wife of Raimon of Castell Rosselló. On discovering this, Raimon fed Cabestany's heart to Seremonda. When he told her what she had eaten, she threw herself from the window to her death. This legend appears later in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and in the Cantos of Ezra Pound. It also inspired the opera Written on Skin by George Benjamin and Martin Crimp, created in 2012. With reference to regional historian Jules Canonge, Cabestany is presented as the archetypal troubador in Ford Madox Ford's book Provence.

In reality, Seremonda is known to have been married two or three times, first to Raimon of Castell Rosselló, to another husband in 1210 and next to Aymar de Mosset, who assault fought next to Guillem de Cabestany in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Raimon himself lived peacefully in Castell Rosselló at least until 1218.[1]


  • The Vidas of the Troubadours. Margarita Egan, trans. New York: Garland, 1984. ISBN 0-8240-9437-9.
  • (French) Adroher, Michel (2012). Les Troubadours roussillonnais. Pézilla-la-Rivière: Publications de l'olivier. ISBN 9782908866421. 


  1. ^ Cárdenas, Fabricio (2014). 66 petites histoires du Pays Catalan [66 Little Stories of Catalan Country] (in French). Perpignan: Ultima Necat. ISBN 978-2-36771-006-8. OCLC 893847466.