TIEMPOS MODERNOS 32 (2016/1) ISSN: 1699-7778

Depois de Vós*

Duke Jaime de Braganza in the Confidence of King Manuel I


Depois de Vós.

D. Jaime de Bragança na Privança d’el-Rei D. Manuel I



Paulo Esmeraldo Catarino Lopes (IEM/CHAM)

Universidade Nova de Lisboa



Resumo: Ao longo do período de reabilitação e consolidação da Casa de Bragança promovidas por D. Manuel I de Portugal, a partir de 1496 e que durará até ao final do seu reinado, em 1521, assiste-se ao estabelecer e desenvolver de uma privança singular entre D. Jaime (1479-1532), 4º duque de Bragança, e o monarca, seu tio. Compreender o alcance desta relação, acreditamos, é determinante para se perceber parte importante da dinâmica do governo manuelino. Por outro lado, a natureza dos laços estabelecidos em tal privança demonstra como, em última análise, a governação e o processo político adjacente, ou seja, o espaço público, estão organizados não apenas em função do elemento racional, mas também segundo preceitos emocionais, predominantemente inscritos no foro do privado e da teia de solidariedades intrafamiliares.


Palavras-chave: Privança, D. Jaime, D. Manuel, Bragança, Governo


Summary: During the restoration and strengthening of the House of Braganza, in Portugal, promoted by Manuel I between 1496 and 1521, a unique relationship of patronage blossomed between Jaime (1479–1532), IV duke of Braganza, and his uncle, King Manuel. An understanding of the broad reach of this relationship is essential to grasp an important element in Manuel’s government. Also, the nature of the bonds established through this confidence relationship clearly shows how government and the relating political process — that is, the public sphere — were ultimately organised by criteria other than rationality. They also follow emotional guidelines which mostly relate with the private domain, including the network of solidarity between family members.


Keywords: Confidence Duke Jaime of Braganza, King Manuel I, Braganza, Government



Resumen: Durante el periodo de rehabilitación y consolidación de la Casa de Braganza, promovido por D. Manuel I de Portugal, a partir de 1496 hasta el final de su reinado en 1521, asistimos al establecimiento y desarrollo de una relación de favor singular entre D. Jaime (1479-1532), 4º duque de Braganza, y el Monarca, su tío. Conocer el alcance de esta relación, creemos, es determinante para comprender gran parte de la dinámica del gobierno manuelino. Por otro lado, la naturaleza de los lazos establecidos en esta privanza demuestran cómo el gobierno y el proceso político adyacente, es decir, el espacio público, están organizados no sólo en función de elementos racionales, sino también a partir de preceptos emocionales, procedentes de un foro privado y de la solidaridad de las relaciones intra-familiares. 


Palabras clave: Privado, D. James, D. Manuel, Bragança, Gobierno

Depois de Vós

Duke Jaime de Braganza in the Confidence of King Manuel I


The research project in which the present article is integrated[1] postulates that individuals and their interpersonal relationships provide a key to the understanding of the evolution and mechanics of government. Taking this as a point of departure, the following pages are intended to clarify the nature of the bonds established between Jaime (1479–1532), fourth duke of Braganza (Bragança, in Portuguese), and his uncle, King Manuel I of Portugal (1469–1521), during the process of restoration and strengthening of the House of Braganza, which the latter had encouraged. The goal is to illustrate how crucial their relationship becomes to the understanding of the Manueline government.


On 20 June, 1483, the third Duke of Braganza, Fernando II (1430–1483) was executed in Évora, by order of King João II of Portugal (1455–1495). This act was justified by the alleged involvement of the duke in a plot against the king. As a consequence, and also due to the industry of Jaime’s mother, Isabel of Viseu (1459–1521), sister of the future Manuel I, the ill-fated duke’s descendants were exiled in neighbouring Castile, where they entered the protection of the Catholic Monarchs[2]. Thirteen years of exile elapsed before the House of Braganza was finally restored, in 1496, by the new monarch, Manuel I. From that moment onwards, the Braganza estate was strengthened in a continuous and irreversible manner. Indeed, Francisco Manuel de Melo (1608–1666), a historian of the Braganzas, would later claim that the House of Braganza was “so much exalted by the king that I cannot say who took the most care João II in dissolving it or Manuel in restoring it[3]. The king himself authoritatively decided to recognise the restitution of both the title and the corresponding estate to his nephew, Jaime, “not as things that were once lost and now regained, but to be enjoyed as things that were never lost at all”[4].


Both his sister’s grief[5] and his mother's pleas[6], along with a request from the powerful Catholic Monarchs, certainly contributed to consolidate Manuel’s determination in restoring the House of Braganza and its leader, Jaime. In other words, in addition to the clear (and very astute) political and governmental advantages associated to an investment in the restoration[7], emotional factors were certainly key to the entire process. This evidences the «privança» (confidence, understood as complicity and closeness) between uncle and nephew, which would, along the years that followed, cement the sovereign–subject relationship. The idea transpires from the words of the queen mother, immediately after Manuel took the throne: “restore the daughter to your mother, the children to your sisters, my grandchildren to me; then, I will be fully restored”[8].


When analysing the relationship which would later develop between Manuel and Jaime, the utmost importance of family bonds and the emotional results thereof must be considered. Blood ties would certainly prove decisive for the emergence of this particular “privança”. Jaime would prove to be more than just a powerful counsellor and the king's right hand. Jaime became a personal favourite, someone honoured by the king’s special esteem (and, consequently, his protection); someone dear and cherished, an essential element in a relationship that was intimate, personal and, essentially, of a private nature. For that very reason, it gave rise to a number of circumstances in which kinship stood out, often associated to affection and friendship. In this context, Pedro Cardim's thesis is worth mentioning: “Love and friendship are constantly singled out, in the literature from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as the deepest of bonds between people”[9]. The relationship between Jaime and his uncle will be analysed herein coming from the assumption that “affective relationships were part of the political process”[10], and thus not confined to the king’s private sphere. In this sense, a whole set of moods and attitudes — resulting directly from the emotional and affective atmosphere generated around friendship and love[11] — which were as applicable to the governing strategies of the Portuguese kingdom as they were to the exclusively private sphere of the uncle and his nephew. When integrated in Pedro Cardim's perspective, the king's predilection for his “muito amado e prezado sobrinho” (much beloved and cherished nephew) suggests the complexity of the history of emotions. It allows for the unveiling of evidence of close proximity and of particular confidence, in hand with the considerably relevant role that Jaime would play in the internal and external dynamics of government of his uncle.


Essentially, Jaime was more than a servant who enjoyed direct access to the king. Their close relationship derived from kinship (until the birth of Manuel’s son, Jaime was his closest relative), friendship and trust. No other individual in the king's council could match Jaime’s position, which is in itself revealing of how the Manueline court's social and political structures operated. Is there evidence supporting this assertion? Or, in other words, how were the confidence, friendship and mutual support sustaining Jaime and his uncle’s relationship expressed? In which ways did this unparalleled proximity, which was also physical in nature, manifest itself? This “privança” can clearly be seen to emerge in several situations. Some of them provide immediate clarification on certain political options in Manuel’s, and even the duke’s, rule.


The Restoration of the House of Braganza

The very act of restoring the House of Braganza, on Manuel’s accession to the throne, is worth mentioning. Though in his will João II had stated that the dispositions concerning the shunned branches of the Braganza lineage should be left unaltered, Manuel did not refrain from acting[12]. The new monarch had a wholly different logic when organising and handling the nobility of the kingdom, no less because several of the alleged enemies of the previous king were his next of kin. The new monarch applied a policy of appeasement of, and proximity to, the great nobility, allowing him to gain their trust. Thus, the restoration of the House of Braganza was executed as part of a vast strategic programme aimed at the restructuring and reorganising of the Portuguese aristocracy. This programme included the development, protection and creation of additional noble households, varying in size, so as to counteract the power of the emergent house of Jorge, duke of Coimbra, the bastard son of João II, and to incorporate most of the kingdom’s noble households as allies of the crown[13]. Along the actual process of restitution of the House of Braganza, it is essential to note that Jaime always evidenced a close relationship with the crown, as far as the organisation and management of the entire Portuguese territory was concerned. Such an attitude was very beneficial to Jaime.


«Depois de Vós», Jaime’s Evocative Motto

The rehabilitation of the House of Braganza at the hands of Manuel was noticeable from the very beginning from Jaime’s personal motto, «Depois de Vós», meaning «after thee»[14]. Far from avowing arrogance or insolence towards the king, Jaime’s motto, created at the dawn of the sixteenth century, is not to be mistaken for a challenge or a token of pride (by interpreting it as «after thy House has ruled, it is now our turn»). Rather, it was meant as a statement of loyalty and obedience to the monarch. In other words, it does not evoke an ambition projected in the future, but rather a fact of its present day. The motto’s main goal was to stress the hierarchical submission towards Manuel. Hence, the motto effectively foresaw a close bond between the king and his nephew, ripe with trust, complicity and even intimacy. Naturally, the hierarchical relationship was always present. After the king came the duke of Braganza, both in terms of greatness and influence.

Jaime’s conceitedness or his hardness of position, if there were any, were directed at other noble houses, particularly the Dukedom of Coimbra. Most probably, they were not present. During this period, Jaime was aware of his house’s inherent frailty, in spite of his attempts to affirm, whenever possible, its position within the Portuguese aristocracy. This meant that no effort was spared by the duke, when rebuilding the House of Braganza from the ashes, to avoid any potential conflict with the other powerful houses in the kingdom. This attitude becomes clearer when one considers that Jaime would most certainly have enemies, or at least antagonists, in the royal council, since Manuel had confiscated assets from other title-holders in order to return them to the House of Braganza, thus cancelling out the actions of João II[15].


Jaime twice the heir presumptive to the throne

Based on his status as the closest relative of the king, and thus the next in succession[16], Jaime was appointed heir to the Portuguese crown on two occasions. The first was in 1498, when Manuel, whose first marriage was still childless[17], journeyed to Castile at the request of the Catholic Monarchs, to be sworn as their successor. In the context of this appointment, Jaime received a symbolically-charged offering from his uncle: “a buttoning, a golden braid and a plume, all of which adorned with rubies and featuring the royal emblem of the sphere. The tokens are invaluable, a true gift from a king to a prince who has just been appointed his successor”[18]. Manuel's relationship with his nephew was so close that he granted Jaime the status of heir presumptive to the crown, right after returning to his possession the old rights, favours and privileges of the Brigantines: “The duke of Braganza is my sister's son and the duke of Coimbra is the son of my first cousin. Among the two, my closest relative is undoubtedly Duke Jaime, who is thus and beyond question appointed heir presumptive to the crown”[19]. The second appointment took place in June 1502, during the interim between the death of Prince Miguel da Paz (29 July, 1500), Manuel's firstborn son, and the birth of Prince João (7 June, 1502).


Exhumation and relocation of João II's remains

The bond between Jaime and the king was further evidenced in October 1499, when the remains of João II were relocated from Silves to the Monastery of Batalha. Fulfilling his predecessor's wish, Manuel organised the relocation, culminating with the arrival of the vast funeral procession to the chapel of Saint George, located in the grounds where the Battle of Aljubarrota had taken place more than a century before (in 1385). In that setting, ripe with political significance, the presence, beside the king, of Jorge, duke of Coimbra, Jaime and Álvaro de Braganza, is to be noted. Clearly, this was an attempt from the king to appease and create a balance between the most distinguished nobles in the kingdom, all the while maintaining his support for the supremacy of the restored House of Braganza.



Jaime the Carrier of the King’s Descendants to the Baptismal Font


Jaime was also twice elected to carry the members of the royal household to the baptismal font, an act of the utmost importance in terms of public recognition as well as of favour from the king. The first of such occasions took place in 15 June, 1502, in the chapel of São Miguel in the «Paço da Alcáçova», and consisted of no less than the baptism of Prince João[20]. It incorporated, therefore, an imposing ceremony of both regal and religious significance[21]. The second instance was in 1516, as Jaime carried the «Infante» António (1516–1516). This distinction, one of the most significant that a king could grant, took place fourteen years after the first, implying that the monarch’s trust in, and favouritism for, his nephew had not dwindled in the slightest, even after events as controversial as the murder of the duchess of Braganza and Jaime’s escape to Rome.



Jaime was commissioned to receive the Portuguese Queen


Jaime was also granted, on two occasions, the honour of receiving the Portuguese queen. The first visit took place in 1500, in the town of Moura, in the Alentejo region, on occasion of the arrival of Manuel’s second wife, Mary of Aragon and Castile (1482–1517), the “Infanta” of Spain. Eighteen years later, on 23 November, 1518, at the banks of the River Sever, a tributary of the Tagus that set the border between Castile and Portugal, he received Eleanor of Habsburg, the future queen (1498—1558), «infanta» of Spain and sister to the emperor, Charles V. She would become Manuel’s third wife. Once again, such distinction would only be granted to favourites of the king, that is, those in his innermost private circle: “As was customary for the “infantes”, Jaime kissed the queen on horseback, in the first event that gave him recognition”[22]. Considering the possibility that the king would share with those closest to him the thoughts he kept private from everyone else[23], it is possible to reinterpret the entire process of Manuel’s third marriage in a wholly different context, which highlighted the trust and solidarity between Jaime and the monarch.


Indeed, the sovereign’s final marriage proved controversial from its inception[24], since Leonor had previously been promised to her son, Prince João, and was 29 years his junior. Additionally, the marriage negotiations had been conducted in secrecy, and little time had elapsed since the passing of Queen Maria. The marriage announcement had thus resulted in general perplexity and generated some tension between the king and his son. João, who was both surprised and displeased, felt humiliated with these news, and more so since he was obliged to openly display his agreement and loyalty as heir to the throne. Aside from animosity in the court, the marriage, which took place on 16 June, 1518, evidenced a crisis at both the political and familial levels. It also brought to light the existence of groups which opposed the monarch, as well as symptoms of internal unrest. In this context, Jaime was deemed trustworthy by the king, and was appointed to receive the new queen. This may have happened because the monarch, aside from any reason made public, had perhaps disclosed to his friend and preferred confidant the essential motive for that unexpected resolution. Indeed, he may even have conferred with him on the matter — a clear example of trust and a statement of intimate and personal understanding.


Among the great lords, and all those who interacted with them in one way or another (servants, clients, vassals, relatives, and so on), relationships implied personal bonds of varying degrees, apart from their materialisation in institutional terms. A good example of this phenomenon is the fact that a king might reveal his favourites secrets kept from all others[25]. In Jaime’s case, this is quite conceivable, since he maintained emotional bonds with his uncle and was graced with the latter’s trust and intimacy. Ultimately, this resulted in Manuel’s favouritism towards Jaime.



Precedence over every other Nobleman


Solemn acts and offices always provided clear examples of Jaime’s relationship of confidence with Manuel and his status as a favourite. In such contexts, the duke of Braganza had precedence over all the other noblemen, namely Jorge. The latter, based on his condition as the son of a king, made his vexation known to Manuel, in view of the preference given to the duke of Braganza. The monarch's reply, however, was categorical: “The duke of Braganza is my sister's son, and the duke of Coimbra is my first cousin's son. In all fairness, [my] closest relative is Duke Jaime, who is then to be considered the first, without question”[26]. A prime example of this situation was the  oak-taking ceremony in 1499 of Miguel da Paz (1498–1500). Jaime took the seat immediately to the right of the king, and swore on the Gospels in advance of the duke of Coimbra, Jorge[27]. The fact that he was the one to carry the newborn prince to the baptismal font, in 1502, was another clear illustration of the precedence issue[28].


Indeed, Manuel constantly bestowed high honours and favours on his nephew, something which had an impact on his aristocratic peers as it was a sign of Jaime's recognition. This is central, since the symbolism of power and the propaganda which came with it was crucial in political communication. In an order-based society, deeply imbued with symbolic values — Manuel's rule is a finished example of that[29] — the display of supremacy from the lords was constant and significant. Hierarchy was deeply ingrained in courtly ceremonies, and the symbolism of power was the finest expression of that hierarchy. Hence, physical proximity to the sovereign (or lack thereof) was an unequivocal expression of something which all others were meant to know[30]. For this reason, disagreements prompted by matters of precedence, such as those between Jorge and Jaime, were quite frequent in such high spheres. Under closer scrutiny, it is possible to note that Jaime was an unrivalled presence in every such situation: “In no public ceremony of mirth, honour or interest to the king did [Jaime] refrain from gracing with his illustrious presence”[31]. Even in Manuel’s funeral, in 1521, the fourth duke of Braganza was one of the pallbearers, helping carry the coffin from inside the king’s chamber. This was another clear demonstration of the importance of hierarchy and of the symbolism of power.



The conquest of Azemmour, in Morocco (1513)


The taking of Azemmour in August 1513 was led by Jaime. It is useful for analysing, from a number of perspectives, the confidence relationship between the fourth duke of Braganza and the king. The events taking place in the days before the expedition are also interesting to note. Indeed, on 14 August, the anniversary of the Portuguese victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), the duke headed for Lisbon cathedral in the company of the officers joining the campaign. Once there, he received the royal standard from the king, an honour complemented by the latter’s “words of great affection”[32]. The standard had been blessed by the archbishop of Lisbon. This was another key moment as far as the symbolism of power was concerned. It also unambiguously demonstrated the impact of the confidence existing between king and duke on the governmental dynamics of the kingdom. The connection between the two seeped through the layers of protocol and religious ritualism. This was reinforced by the testimony of Damião de Góis, who pointed out that Jaime “had spent four days looking upon the city’s gates, for business reasons, and had always slept in his ship. Some of these business affairs prompted him to come ashore and speak to the king”[33]. A few days before leaving, a great «sarau» (literally, a soirée) was held in the Ribeira Palace, where the famous auto by Gil Vicente, Exortação da Guerra, was played before the king, the duke and the entire court. It provided another opportunity to recall the aforementioned influence of both the symbolic language of power and the intense hierarchical nature of the courtly ceremonies in such an order-based society. The celebrations carried out at the departure of the armada, captained by Jaime, for the conquest of Azemmour was truly exemplary of such dynamics.


The king’s decision to place Jaime at the lead of the expedition also echoed the political impact of their confidence. Indeed, Manuel had rejected at the time the idea of himself going to Africa. His children, on the other hand, were too young to undertake the command of such an excursion. Thus, as the closest relative and favourite among the Portuguese nobles, his nephew became the most adequate option for the mission’s leadership. As Damião de Góis pointed out, the king assigned Jaime this task “because he trusted him abundantly and had prior surety of his judgment and wisdom”[34]. Another factor which undoubtedly contributed to this choice was the tragedy which had taken place the previous year, in the Palace of Vila Viçosa. On 2 November, 1512, the duke of Braganza had murdered his wife, holding her suspect of adultery. His participation in a military campaign was also understood as a means to atone for the misdeed. His appointment to the office in question must have been at least partly influenced by this tragedy, and should be perceived as an opportunity given by an anxious uncle to his nephew, so that the latter might seek redemption.


In truth, Manuel had previously selected the duke of Braganza as the commander of a military expedition to Morocco, in March 1509[35]. It is, however, undeniable that the 1513 campaign was used by Jaime (most certainly with the king's moral endorsement) as a form of penance for the offense. This is all the more plausible in view of the crucial role that spirituality and religious devotion played in Jaime’s life. As stated by Ana Isabel Buescu, the duke put his sword to the service of Christ while in Morocco. Such was the “supreme and redemptive act for a Christian warrior to expiate guilt”[36]. A letter from Jaime to the king, written in the month following the conquest of Azemmour (September 1513), reveals important information. The conquest of this Moroccan stronghold was imbued with great material and symbolic relevance for the monarch, whose political and imperial standing was heightened, particularly at Rome[37]. However, in a moment of remarkable political foresight and “privança”, Jaime did not withhold from the king his judgment regarding the state of affairs of Portugal respecting her colonies.


The expedition was clearly marked out as a crusade, from the lyrical and theatrical celebration of its beginnings to the festivities carried out in Rome, commemorating the Portuguese victory, staged by the papacy. However, right after the city was taken, the very protagonist of the occupation shed doubt on the future maintenance of the stronghold, in view of its real condition. This attitude revealed considerable aptitude to rule, lucidity and political tact. All the while, Jaime rejected the status of hero[38]. The letter does not allow for a clear distinction between the words of a nephew to his uncle and from a commander to his sovereign. Both voices appear mingled and combined throughout the discursive exposition. Even though Manuel chose not to follow the advice of the expedition leader, this was certainly proof of Jaime's confidence with the king, as well as of the potential reach of this private, interpersonal relationship, which had an impact on the kingdom’s government — that is, the public realm.





The Advowson Conversion Process (1517)


During the 1510s, Jaime requested from both Manuel I and the pope that the assets and rents of fifteen churches (to be chosen by himself and over which he held the right of advowson) be converted into “comendas” and presentation rights for the Order of Christ. This conversion process would endow the dukedom of Braganza with a variety of benefits, both financial and political, diminishing their institutional conflicts, particularly with the Church[39]. A careful reading of the letter dated 11 May, 1517, from Manuel I to Miguel da Silva, his ambassador in the Roman Curia and the future bishop of Viseu, is testimony to the king’s effort and judgment in defending Jaime’s interests in the Roman curia[40]. This support resulted in Pope Leo X’s consent, which materialised in the 1517 papal edict. Three elements in this letter reveal the influence of Jaime and Manuel’s personal relationship on Manuel’s political options. There is evidence in the very nature of the address clause: the “duke of Braganza, my most cherished and beloved nephew, who is as close to us as he is our next of kin” (“duque de bragança meu muyto amado e presado sobrinho ser a nós tam chegado como he em parentesquo”). Secondly, the king stated that “we should rejoice in favouring him (…) because we have put him to our service and shall do it again in various things” (“deuermos folgar de lhe fazer merce (…) porque nos servimos delle e aveemos de seruir em cousas”). Finally, he beseeches the intermediary to handle the request as if it had been the king's own: “We most entreat you to employ yourself in the discharging of this matter, as much as possible (…) as if the enterprise were our own” (“Muito vos encomendamos que trabalhees quanto posyuel vos for por ysto acabar (…) como se o negocio fose proprio nosso”). The maintenance, by the dukedom of Braganza, of a prominent social and political status just recovered was therefore amplified by Jaime’s own role in the development of political decision processes concerning the kingdom[41].



The Right to grant Titles of Nobility


The right to bestow titles of nobility, previously held by the king and the “infantes” alone, was extended to the House of Braganza. This testifies both to Manuel’s magnanimous nature and to Jaime’s rising power. This carried decisive political and social advantages for the dukedom, particularly concerning the development and consolidation of its patron–client networks[42]. Under a different light, however, it is particularly revealing of the extent to which a relationship of “privança”, most especially between family members, might interfere with the governmental dynamics of the kingdom.



Physical proximity to the King


The «privança» between uncle and nephew extended to informal meetings. As becomes clear from the documentation, Manuel scheduled such reunions with family members, namely Jaime, on a regular basis[43]. One such situation is narrated by Damião de Góis as an eyewitness in 1517[44]. In the intimate setting described, “the king shared with the duke some things of his liking” (“praticou elRei cõ hu duque alguas cousas de seu gosto”). The monarch took the opportunity to ask his nephew’s opinion about the introduction of the «meio-tostão», a form of currency. According to Góis, the latter criticised the king’s decision. This particular case illustrates how bonds of affection, characteristic of the family and household, were not an obstacle to the governing process. To the contrary, they were considered to be a part of it[45]. The Ditos Portugueses Dignos de Memória also tells about an episode which is revealing of Jaime’s physical proximity to the king[46].



Jaime’s First Marriage


Another consequence of the confidence existing between the duke of Braganza and his uncle was the careful and attentive preparation of Jaime’s marriage, undertaken by the king[47]. It was part of a more general programme of marital unions between noble men and women. Indeed, and regardless of all that followed, Jaime’s matrimony with Leonor de Mendoza effectively helped the monarch attain his political goals — in this particular case, the reinforcing of bonds with one of the most important noble houses in Castile, the Duchy of Medina Sidónia — thus benefitting also the kingdom’s governmental dynamics[48].



Spiritual Pursuits in common with the King


Spiritual interests counted as yet another connection between the two men. Indeed, the Franciscan issue deepened the relationship between uncle and nephew. Both considered it a necessity to stage a quest for Jerusalem. Manuel wished to regain the city for Christianity while Jaime intended to visit it as a Franciscan. According to Maria José Ferro Tavares,


  “Manuel's messianic and imperial ideas influenced Jaime and were, in turn, inspired by the latter. Jaime agreed with such ideias and fervently incorporated them in his life. This convergence of passions supported their partnership in international projects and, most certainly, also in their «privança» and in a certain complicity in politics and government”[49].

Hence, Jaime's attitude in leaving the kingdom and the leadership of the Brigantine estates, for religious reasons and probably in connection with the Capuchin (Franciscan) friars, may have surprised and even displeased the king, but he ultimately understood the essence of his nephew's disposition. The latter intended to visit the holy places and devote himself to a life of monastic seclusion. He would travel through Rome, where he would try to obtain the annulment of his marriage. In truth, the king also partook in such manifestations of spiritual devotion and worship.


As confirmed by the materialisation of the second military expedition to Azemmour, in practical terms Manuel had different plans for his nephew. However, he showed deep understanding for the latter's choice. Jaime left Portugal with only one servant by his side. Yet, the monarch's swift reaction to his letter, giving notice of the decision, made it possible for the king's envoys to intercept his nephew. He was still in Iberian ground, more specifically in the city of Calatayud, in the Kingdom of Aragon, where his pursuers reached him. Virtually unopposed, he was persuaded to return and accept the plans — of a far more secular nature — which the king had in mind for him. Interestingly, in a letter sent to the king, the duke highlighted that the future management of the House of Braganza would be left to his brother, Dinis. However, the king wished for Jaime to lead the Brigantine estates and to assist him in governing the realm. This only illustrates the degree of confidence and complicity existing between uncle and nephew.


An individual document integrating the compilation entitled Memorias pera a Historia dos tres ultimos Duques de Braganza includes a revealing reference to the aforementioned letter from Jaime to the king, of particular interest due to its confessional and melancholy tone[50]. It evoked feelings shared only with someone worthy of the utmost trust. Indeed, Jaime entreated the sovereign to refrain from misconstruing his actions, since they were solely motivated by a lack of aptitude to marry and to lead the household which he had been favoured with. In 1501, while in Évora, Manuel admonished Jaime about this, demanding that he consummate his marriage to Leonor[51]. However, the relationship between uncle and nephew did not suffer from this — and neither would it later on, following Leonor’s murder. Quite the opposite, the king restated his personal, political, and military trust in his nephew, as would become apparent over time.


With such in mind, it comes as no surprise that concepts such as divine protection, God’s design, prophetic dreams, heroism, sanctity, miracles, mysteries and visions populated the spiritual mind of both men, comprising an unambiguous ideal of serving God by fighting heretics and infidels. Contemporary literary production only cemented the king’s spiritual fervour, elevating it to new heights. Indirectly, it also concerned Jaime, his closest relative and companion[52]. Even papal discourse lent legitimacy to these designs («desígnios»), as becomes clear in the work of one of Jaime’s servants, who had lived in Rome for seven years, during which time he wrote a unique testimony addressed to his master[53]. This anonymous Portuguese traveller alluded to the religious celebrations and rituals performed in Rome on the occasion of the taking of Azemmour under Jaime, in 1513, as well as the emotionally charged preaching by “a canon of Saint Peter” during High Mass, celebrated by the Pope himself “in the Monastery of St Augustine”. According to this writer, such festivities reflected the deep impact which the Portuguese-promoted crusade had had upon the Italian regions, most especially on the capital city of Christendom. In reading words such as these — elevating his uncle and himself to the same spiritual condition — Jaime would become infused with a sense of religious duty. The author of this account also mentions that the canon, at a particular point in his exalted speech, addressed the ambassadors of the Christian princes attending the mass, commending the deeds of Jaime and Manuel, who were thus presented as the worthy heirs of the first and glorious crusaders. What feelings may then have assailed the duke of Braganza when he was compared to «gudyfredo», the renowned captain of the First Crusade?[54]



The King’s Last Will


When it came to the execution of his last will (dated 7 April, 1517, in the Convent of Penha Longa, near Sintra), Manuel explicitly stated that Jaime was the person he trusted — and of whom he demanded — the most, aside from his own son and heir. This is particularly revealing of the dimension of his personal relationship with the duke of Braganza. Furthermore, the king asked his nephew to always provide advice to the prince[55]. All this, in addition to the fact that Jaime was witness to such an important legal act as was the writing of the monarch’s will.



Manuel’s Funeral Service


Manuel’s funeral service, which took place in 1521, is also evidence of the proximity between him and Jaime. Indeed, in this solemn event, the duke of Braganza was one of the pallbearers who carried the monarch’s coffin from outside the king’s chamber. This was an unequivocal display of hierarchy, his institutional relationship with the monarch, and of the importance of power-related symbolism. Additionally, it brought to light an emotional bond that was largely assigned to the private sphere and the network of solidarity between relatives.

Mutual criticism


Following this enumeration of situations which, in one way or another, express the confidence and trust ongoing between Jaime and Manuel, it is also important to mention situations which gave way to mutual criticism or repproach. These did not, however, taint the existing friendship and complicity (namely in political terms), nor did they give rise to resentment between the two. One such situation was the already mentioned journey of Jaime to Rome, with the intention of having his marriage annulled and join the Franciscans as a Capuchin friar. In response, the king actually sent a letter to the pope, providing justification for his nephew's actions[56]. Even worthier of note were the events taking place after the murder of Leonor de Mendoza, the duke's first wife[57]. Regarding this matter, it should be mentioned that the duke’s brutal act was sanctioned even by law:


  “Should a married man find his wife to be an adulteress, he may slay her within the law, as he may do to the man who committed adultery with her; except if the husband is a foot soldier and the adulterer is a «fidalgo de solar» (landed nobleman), our «desembargador» (judge of the high court), or someone of higher standing”[58].


On the other hand, this was essentially an act geared towards the restoration of lost honour, a concept that perfectly sits with the contemporary mindset. It is therefore not surprising that the king was not shocked by the murder. It may even be argued that by granting his nephew a chance for redemption — engaging in battle against the enemies of the Holy Cross, at Azemmour, in 1513 — the king effectively put the matter to rest within the royal circle. At the time, honour was a central issue amongst the nobility. The public recognition of an individual's «fidalguia» was directly connected to this, more than anything else[59]. Ultimately, power was epitomised by honour, which had its own language and behaviour[60]. Therefore, the noblemen “cherish[ed] honour over their own souls”[61]. In light of the period’s mentality, the events of 2 November, 1512 (when Jaime murdered his wife, Leonor de Mendoza, and his page, António Alcoforado, on surprising them together) would not have been condemned. The duke, in view of his high standing and having suffered such an offense, had the right to legitimately restore his honour in public. After all, his reputation would be at stake[62]. As pointed out by Mário Justino Silva, “a breach of honour was an essential issue” and “any act damaging to one’s dignity demanded immediate reparation”. Honour needed restoring, with blood if necessary[63].


Hence, the (Romantic) authors from the nineteenth century who wrote about the matter, such as Luciano Cordeiro, merely judged the duke’s actions from the viewpoint of their own age, never taking the context into consideration. Jaime thus became the “raging fanatic from lore, the demented murderer (…) who killed her Ladyship the Duchess, (…) a man deranged and mean”[64]. Had the context been considered, it would also have been understood that Jaime’s doings would have been acceptable. After the murder, he summoned his magistrate, the town’s judge and the notary, so that an official act might be drafted at once. In that sense, he had nothing to fear: not only had his deed been perpetrated lawfully, it was duly legitimised as well[65]. In fact, Jaime’s assignment by Manuel as captain of the expedition to Azemmour, in August 1513, was criticised by Luciano Cordeiro, who protested that the finest noblemen and soldiers of Portugal rallied under the duke’s banner, “with utmost joy and trust, in a deed against which no voice was raised”[66]. The author fails to grasp the nature of the uncle-nephew relationship. He did not grasp that the duke of Braganza, in Manuel’s opinion, was held above any other individual, might they be an admiral, count, castellan, captain or ambassador. Cordeiro did not understand that government and the public sphere, so much as the relationships of «privança», were organised also according to emotionality. Rationality was not the only factor conditioning the dynamics of government.


In conclusion, these examples more than justify the hypothesis that Jaime played a privileged role in every important issue in Portugal during Manuel’s rule. His role was rooted in his status as head of the second greatest aristocratic household in the kingdom, as well as the king’s nephew, and his intimate («privado») and favourite. It is further possible to see a connection between real-life events and well-known characters from literature. In this particular case, a moral parallel can inevitably be drawn between Jaime and Hamlet, Othello or any other of Shakespeare's tragic heroes. These connections are based on a supposed correlation: “the magnitude of misfortune abating over those who have grown in the midst of ruthless hatred, originating from the loss of a father and the downfall of the House”[67].


It is interesting, most of all, to observe how someone who, since childhood, had fallen prey to violent troubles and anguish (leading to emotional unbalance, as Jaime himself admitted) revealed a remarkable ability to recognise, understand and seek an effectual equilibrium between traditional aristocratic power and the need to adjust to royal politics, with the ultimate goal of defending the continuity and advancement of his household. Naturally, this pursuit of balance drew continuously from the considerable rewards of maintaining a relationship with a particular agenda. This drew support from Jaime’s status, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, and, most of all, from the relationship of confidence he knew how to maintain with his uncle, the king[68].

* Artículo recibido el 17 de diciembre de 2015. Aceptado el 30 de abril de 2016.

[1] “Na Privança d’El-Rei: Relações Interpessoais e Jogos de Facções em Torno de D. Manuel I” (Refª: EXPL/EPH-HIS/1720/2013), research project funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and developed by Centro de História d’Aquém e d’Além-Mar (CHAM), an inter-university research unit linked to Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa and to Universidade dos Açores.

[2] This was the designation by which the couple formed by Isabel I of Castile (1451–1504) and Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) became known.

[3] Francisco MANUEL DE MELO, D. Teodósio Duque de Braganza. D. Teodósio II Segundo o Códice 51-III-30 da Biblioteca da Ajuda, Porto, Livraria Civilização, 1944, p. 120: “tão exaltada se via pelo Rei, que não direi se foi maior o cuidado com que D. João II a quis extinguir ou D. Manuel erguê-la” (all translations are the author’s own).

[4] “Carta de D. Manuel I, passada em Lisboa, em 12 de Abril de 1500” en História genealógica da casa real portuguesa, ed. António Caetano de Sousa, vol. V, Coimbra, Atlântida - Livraria Editora, 2001, p. 480: “naõ como cousas perdidas a que hos hora novamente tornamos, mais que usem dellas como de cousas, que nunca perderão”.

[5] Isabel, duchess of Braganza.

[6] Beatriz (1430–1506), duchess of Viseu and «infanta» of Portugal.

[7] João Paulo OLIVEIRA E COSTA, D. Manuel I (1469-1521), Um Príncipe do Renascimento, Mem Martins, Temas e Debates, 2007, pp. 145-153.

[8] Jerónimo OSÓRIO, Da vida e feitos de El-Rei Dom Manuel, vol. I, Porto, Civilização, 1944, pp. 30-31.

[9] Pedro CARDIM, “O Poder dos Afectos. Ordem Amorosa e Dinâmica Política no Portugal do Antigo Regime”, Doctoral thesis, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, 2000, p. vii: “Na literatura quinhentista e seiscentista o amor e a amizade são constantemente apontados como os laços mais sólidos que uniam as pessoas umas às outras”.

[10] Ibídem, p. vi: “as ligações afectivas eram parte integrante do processo político”.

[11] Namely, involving sharing, truthfulness, fidelity, mutual assistance, generosity, selflessness, gratitude, and mercy — mercy helping to explain Manuel’s reaction to Jaime’s attempted “escape” to Rome, to take the religious habit.

[12] Provas de História Genealógica da Casa Real Portuguesa, vol. II, ed. António Caetano de Sousa, Coimbra, Atlântida, 1946, p. 174.

[13] João José ALVES DIAS, Isabel DRUMOND BRAGA and Paulo DRUMOND BRAGA, “D. Manuel I” en Nova História de Portugal. Portugal do Renascimento à Crise Dinástica, vol. V, dir. A. H. de Oliveira Marques e Joel Serrão, coord. João José Alves Dias, Lisboa, Editorial Presença, 1998, pp. 712-724.

[14] The question of Jaime’s motto has long been polemical, as several scholars have noted that the motto would have read “Depois de vós, nós” (“after thee, us”). In truth, this version was adopted in the seventeenth century, in the context of the restoration of Portuguese independence from Habsburg rule and the replacement of this dinasty by the Braganzas.

[15] Ditos Portugueses Dignos de Memória, ed. José H. Saraiva, Mem Martins, Europa-América, 1983, p. 70, nr 154, including an example of the loyalty of other aristocrats to the late king, João II, which might appear in contrast with Manuel I’s stunning accession.

[16] “Ao Duque D. Jayme recebeo [D. Manuel, após o regresso daquele do exílio] com singulares expressoens de amor, e benignidade, e depois de lhe elle beijar a maõ o levou a seu lado, como a parente mais chegado da Casa Real (…)”, en História genealógica da casa real portuguesa, op. cit., pp. 472-473.

[17] Manuel I first married Isabel of Aragon and Castile (1470–1498), the firstborn of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile.

[18] Ibídem, p. 485: “huma abotoadura, transelim, e pluma, tudo guarnecido de rubins, com a divisa Real da Esféra, pessas de grandissimo valor, verdadeiramente dadiva de hum Rey a hum Principe, que acabara de declarar seu successor”.

[19] Ibídem, p. 482: “O Duque de Bragança he filho de minha irmã, e o Duque de Coimbra filho de meo primo com irmão, e d’esta sorte he sem duvida o primeiro parente o Duque D. Jayme, e assim lhe he sem controversia devido o primeiro lugar, como o herdeiro presumptivo da Corôa.”

[20] The future João III of Portugal (1502-1557). Francisco DE ANDRADA, Chronica do muyto alto e muyto poderoso Rey destes Reynos de Portugal Dom João o III deste nome, Parte I, Coimbra, Real Officina da Universidade, 1796, pp. 1-4.

[21] Ana ISABEL BUESCU, D. João III (1502-1557), Mem Martins, Temas e Debates, 2008, p. 21.

[22] Francisco MANUEL DE MELO, D. Teodósio Duque de Braganza […], op. cit., p. 121: “Como usavam fazer os Infantes, D. Jaime beijou, a cavalo, as Rainhas, naquele primeiro acto do seu reconhecimento”.

[23] João CORDEIRO PEREIRA, “Uma sociedade de ordens e de corpos” en Nova História de Portugal […], op. cit., pp. 277-324.

[24] Ana ISABEL BUESCU, D. João III, op. cit., pp. 79-87; João Paulo OLIVEIRA E COSTA, D. Manuel I […], op. cit., pp. 353-357.

[25] João CORDEIRO PEREIRA, “Uma sociedade de ordens e de corpos” en Nova História de Portugal […], op. cit., pp. 277-324.

[26] História genealógica da casa real portuguesa, vol. VI, op. cit., p. 482: “O Duque de Bragança he filho de minha irmã, e o Duque de Coimbra filho de meo primo com irmão, e d’esta sorte he sem duvida o primeiro parente o Duque D. Jayme, e assim lhe he sem controversia devido o primeiro lugar”.

[27] Ana ISABEL BUESCU, D. João III, op. cit., p. 22.

[28] Provas de História Genealógica […], op. cit., vol. V, pp. 279-283.

[29] Ana Maria Alves, As entradas régias portuguesas: uma visão de conjunto, Lisboa, Livros Horizonte, 1986; IDEM, Iconologia do poder real no período manuelino: à procura de uma linguagem perdida, Lisboa, INCM, 1985.

[30] João CORDEIRO PEREIRA, “Uma sociedade de ordens e de corpos” en Nova História de Portugal […], op. cit., pp. 277-324.

[31] Francisco MANUEL DE MELO, D. Teodósio Duque de Braganza […], op. cit., p. 121.

[32] Damião DE GÓIS, Crónica do felicissimo rei D. Manuel, vol. III, Coimbra, Imprensa da Universidade, 2001, p. 163: “cõ palauras de muito amor”.                                     

[33] Ibídem: “por intreuirem algũs negoçios q̃ ho detiveram, esteue quatro dias diante da çidade, dormindo sempre na nao, & por caso destes negoçios vinha ás vezes a terra falar a el Rei”.

[34] Ibídem, p. 160.

[35] Documentos do Corpo Cronológico Relativos a Marrocos (1488 a 1514), ed. António Baião, Coimbra, Imprensa da Universidade, 1925, pp. 27-32.

[36] Ana ISABEL BUESCU, D. João III, op. cit., p. 77: “forma suprema e redentora de como o guerreiro cristão podia redimir-se de culpas”.

[37] Mafalda SOARES DA CUNHA, A Casa de Braganza, 1560-1640, Práticas Senhoriais e Redes Clientelares, Lisboa, Editorial Estampa, 2000, pp. 252-260.

[38] Maria de LURDES ROSA, “D. Jaime, Duque de Braganza: Entre a Cortina e a Vidraça” en O Tempo de Vasco da Gama, dir. Diogo Ramada Curto, Lisboa, CNCDP e Difel, 1998, pp. 319-332.

[39] Mafalda SOARES DA CUNHA, A Casa de Braganza […], op. cit., pp. 312-332.

[40] “Cartas de crença e despachos para D. Miguel da Silva (1517-Maio 11?)” en Corpo Diplomatico Portuguez, vol. I, ed. Luís Augusto Rebelo da Silva, Lisboa, Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 1862, pp. 432-433.

[41] Mafalda SOARES DA CUNHA, A Casa de Braganza […], op. cit., pp. 13-44.

[42] Ibídem, pp. 48-88.

[43] João Paulo OLIVEIRA E COSTA, D. Manuel I […], op. cit., pp. 325-328.

[44] Damião DE GÓIS, Crónica do felicissimo […], vol. IV, op. cit., p. 51.

[45] Pedro CARDIM, “O Poder dos Afectos […]”, op. cit., pp. v-xiii.

[46] Ditos Portugueses Dignos de Memória, op. cit., p. 232, nr 649.

[47] The marriage of Jorge, duke of Coimbra, is another example of this kind of marriage politics. João Paulo OLIVEIRA E COSTA, D. Manuel I […], op. cit., pp. 145-153.

[48] Maria Paula ANASTÁCIO GONÇALVES, A Senhora duquesa e o pajem. Um caso de adultério na aristocracia quinhentista, Lisboa, Chiado Editora, 2013, p 226. See also “Instrução que El Rey D. Manoel deu a Lopo de Sousa sobre o casamento do Duque Dom Jayme”, Provas […], op. cit., Livro VI, tomo IV, Parte I, nº 99, ano de 1496, pp. 12-14.

[49] Maria José FERRO TAVARES, “D. Manuel I e o Império Português” en III Congresso Histórico de Guimarães. D. Manuel e a sua época. 24 a 27 de Outubro de 2001. Actas. Vol. I: Administração, Justiça e Direito, Guimarães, Câmara Municipal de Guimarães, 2004, p. 93: “as ideias messiânicas e imperiais de D. Manuel certamente influenciavam e eram influenciadas por D. Jaime que com elas concordava e vivia, de igual modo, fervorosamente. Havia uma concordância e convergência de paixões que os ligava nos projectos internacionais e certamente no foro da privança e ao nível de uma cumplicidade política e governativa”.

[50] Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa (BN)L, MS. 4, nº 20, doc. 6 r. (eighteenth-century calligraphy): Memorias pera a Historia Dos tres ultimos Duques de Braganza D. João o 1º D. Theodosio o 2º D. João o 2º que depois foy o 4º entre os Augustissimos Reys de Portugal.

[51] It should be mentioned that the duke resisted ferociously and in public the marriage engagement contracted by his uncle. This partially explains the former’s flight to Rome with the objective, among others, of obtaining an annulment of the matrimony.

[52] Maria José FERRO TAVARES, “D. Manuel I e o Império Português” en III Congresso Histórico de Guimarães […], op. cit., pp. 91-114.

[53] “Tratado que hum criado do duque de braguança escreueo pera sua senhoria dalgumas notauees cousas que vio hindo pera Roma. E de suas grandezas E Jndulgencias, E grandes aconteçimentos que laa socçederam em espaço de sete años que hi esteue.” en Colección de Don Luis de Salazar y Castro, N-76 / Varios Portugueses, Signatura 9/I.081, hojas 136 a 227v, Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, f. 173 v to f. 176 r.

[54] Godfrey of Bouillon, 1058-1100 (“Bolhão”, in Portuguese), was one of the most prominent leaders of the First Crusade (1096-1099) and first sovereign of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.

[55] “Testamento de el-Rei D. Manuel, Mosteiro de Penha longa, 1517, Abril, 7” en As gavetas da Torre do Tombo, vol. VI (gav. XVI-XVII, Maços 1-3), Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Ultramarinos, 1967, pp. 118-119.

[56] Corpo Diplomatico Portuguez, vol. XI, op. cit., pp. 17-19.

[57]  See Fernando PALHA, O casamento do Infante D. Duarte com D. Isabel, Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1881; Memórias das Duquesas que tem avido na casa de Bragança, nº 14 anonymous codex (seventeenth-century manuscript), cod. CXVII/2-21, Biblioteca Pública de Évora.

[58] Ordenações Manuelinas, Coimbra, Real Imprensa da Universidade, 1797, liv. V, tít. XVI: “Achando algum homem casado sua mulher em adultério, licitamente poderá matar assim a ela, como àquele que achar com ela em o dito adultério; salvo se o marido fosse peão, e o adúltero fosse Fidalgo de solar, ou Nosso Desembargador, ou pessoa de maior qualidade” (quoted in João CORDEIRO PEREIRA, “Uma sociedade de ordens e de corpos” en Nova História de Portugal […], op. cit., p. 277).

[59] José Antonio GUILLÉN BERRENDERO, “La confirmación de los valores nobiliarios. Honor” en La edad de la nobleza. Identidad nobiliaria en Castilla y Portugal, 1556-1621, Madrid, Editorial Polifemo, 2012, pp. 284-293.

[60] Mário JUSTINO SILVA, O rei e os nobres: imagens do quotidiano nos ditos portugueses dignos de memória (século XVI), Cascais, Patrimonia, 2004, pp. 210-220.

[61] Ditos Portugueses Dignos de Memória, op. cit., p. 387, nr 1082.

[62] Maria Paula Anastácio Gonçalves opts to highlight the attempt to the husband’s honour on the wife’s betrayal: Maria Paula ANASTÁCIO GONÇALVES, A Senhora duquesa […], op. cit., p. 228.

[63] Mário JUSTINO SILVA, O rei e os nobres […], op. cit., p. 212.

[64] Luciano CORDEIRO, A Senhora Duqueza, Lisboa, Livraria Ferin, 1889, pp. 31-32: “fanatico allucinado da Lenda, o doudo homicida (…) que matara a Senhora Duqueza, (…) era um doudo, um mau”.

[65] Maria de LURDES ROSA, “D. Jaime, Duque de Braganza […]” en O Tempo de Vasco da Gama, op. cit., pp. 319-332. On this issue see Inquiriçam da morte da duquesa que foy de Bragança. Auto de Inquiriçam e devaça que se tirou sobre a morte feita à Duquesa de Bragança pelo Duque seu marido. Gaveta 11, maço 8, nº 10, 39 fls.. As Maria Paula Anastácio Gonçalves has pointed out, inquiries were moved immediately after the crime. The duke initiated separate proceedings by calling on judicial authorities. Therefore, Jaime acted in strict accordance with the Law: see Maria Paula ANASTÁCIO GONÇALVES, A Senhora duquesa […], op. cit., pp. 228-230.

[66] Luciano CORDEIRO, A Senhora Duqueza, op. cit., p. 31.

[67] João de SOUSA DA CÂMARA, Antes quebrar que torcer, Lisboa, s. n., 1969, p. 34.

[68] Maria de LURDES ROSA, “D. Jaime, Duque de Braganza […]” en O Tempo de Vasco da Gama, op. cit., pp. 319-332.

Comentarios sobre este artículo

Ver todos los comentarios

Revista semestral presente en:
Tiempos Modernos: Revista Electrónica de Historia Moderna
ISSN: 1699-7778