chapter  7
23 Pages


The power that came with court holding could hardly be better demonstrated than the case of García Gómez presiding over a court hearing together with the Andalusian official sa¯hib al-shurta Ibn Abu-l-hawz 50 km north of the River Duero at Villalpando in 998.1 García Gómez was a count, with a claim to be ruling (imperantem) from León in the early 990s, working with Muslim allies to pursue his interests at several points in the late tenth and early eleventh century.2 The monastery of Sahagún had clearly appealed to García rather than to the king over the property that was the subject of this 998 case, as it did in another property case as well.3 It makes sense to see Ibn Abu-l-hawz as an official – a super-saio – rather than as a judge, since one would expect judges to know northern Iberian judicial procedures and Visigothic law, and since the office he held is usually associated with security. The property dispute was pursued through a judicial court, and the would-be ruler and his political ally presided over that court – this was a political statement.