Post-classical history

Dinis of Portugal (1261-1325)

King of Portugal (1279-1325).

The son of Afonso III of Portugal, Dinis was also grandson of Alfonso X of Castile, son-in-law of Peter III of Aragon, and father-in-law of Ferdinand IV of Castile. His political activity in the wider context of the Iberian Peninsula was to a large extent determined by these family ties, as became evident, for example, when he collaborated with his son-in-law in the war against Granada, and when he was called upon to settle a dispute between the kings of Castile and Aragon in 1304.

As the reconquest of Portugal from the Muslims was over by the reign of Dinis, he worked to secure the defense of his kingdom and to stabilize its borders with the kingdoms of Leôn and Castile. At the same time, he followed a policy of affirming the Crown’s authority by asserting its control over the lay and ecclesiastical powers within the kingdom, in particular by weakening the international links of the military orders in order to create the conditions by which they might be subordinated to the interests of the monarchy. He insisted on the national character of the orders in Portugal, choosing his own trusted followers to lead them and integrating them in the defense of the kingdom. Dinis succeeded in establishing an autonomous branch of the Order of Santiago in Portugal (1290-1297) and also tried to incorporate the estates of the Order of the Temple into the Crown’s possessions (1310). In 1319 his ideas received a sympathetic reception from Pope John XXII, who accepted both the establishment of a provincial mastership for the Order of Santiago and the use of the Temple’s assets for the creation of a new Portuguese military order. This was the Order of Christ, which was given headquarters in the extreme south of the kingdom. The following year, Dinis received one-tenth of ecclesiastical incomes over a period of three years, to be used for the construction of a fleet to fight the Muslims and defend the Portuguese coast. Dinis was succeeded by his son Afonso IV.

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