News first emerged in 1301 that the registers of James I’s transfers in the kingdom of Valencia were kept at the Royal Archives in Barcelona or its predecessor, the depository located in the premises of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in Barcelona. Already in 1376 there was evidence that the books were unbound and in very poor condition. In the inventory that was taken in 1584 there is a description of them that is slightly different to the folios we have today, with a specific reference to their state of disrepair. For this reason, 18th century archivists made a copy of registers 5 and 6. Today, these modern copies are attached to the original and bound into the same volume. The archivists always believed, and rightly so, that these books contained simple property transfers, and this is how they described them in the Archives’ inventory, as reports of concessions, books of endowments or properties and other similar titles, i.e.,: “memorialia donacionum”, “Super donationibus Valencia”, “Liber iste memoratur de domibus Valencia”, “donaciones de Valencia et de termino”, “Regestrum intitulatum Donationum regni Valencia”, “memoria o extracto de todos los lugares dados por el ínclito Rey Dn. Jayme el Conquistador” [list or extract of all the places given by the illustrious King James the Conqueror], etc.
Salto de línea Próspero de Bofarull, Director of the Archive from 1814 to 1849, published records 5, 6 and 7 in the 11th Volume of the Collection of Unpublished Documents of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon, Barcelona, 1856. With this publication Próspero de Bofarull invited historians to consider the two registers of endowments by James I (numbers 5 and 6), along with the list of houses in the city of Valencia (number 7), as the blueprint of a single form of land redistribution. This error was included in the title given to the book: Repartitions of land in the kingdoms of Majorca, Valencia and Sardinia. In Majorca one can speak of true redistribution as the entire island was repartitioned and historically this was always considered to be the case. But this was not so in Valencia or Sardinia. The respected Valencian academic Roc Chabás believed that “The Book of Repartition [of Valencia] is not a repartition (as occurred in Majorca), but a series of notes drafted to arrange Valencia by houses and district, and loose pieces of information on other aspects of the Kingdom, which does not appear in a systematic distribution”. Despite his clarity of vision, Roc Chabás involuntarily contributed another error to the way these books were used, by referring to them in the title of his pioneering work of 1888 as “El libro del Repartimiento de la ciudad y Reino de Valencia”, where repartimiento means the act of redistribution, instead of repartimientos or partitions, and this error has now become widespread.
Salto de línea Bofarull’s edition was “excellent as a palaeographic transcription” (in the words of Julián Ribera, and many other historians agree), but it was not critical. Because of the problems presented by the original and the criteria of the time (far removed from today’s concept of a critical edition), his edition has much that is wrong with it, not least of which is that he did not publish the parts that were ruled out in the original, which Bofarull considered deleted, in what we know was standard notarial practice in the 13th century. Bofarull omitted all the ruled-out entries, regardless of the name or geographical origin (which is not always included) of the beneficiary of the transfer. In many cases, one can observe that an entry that is crossed out in the original (and therefore not published in Bofarull’s edition as he believed that the scribe had erased it) is copied word for word in another part of the book without crossing-out and therefore does appear in his edition. Bofarull, as well as pointing out that the volumes had been “somewhat ravaged by time”, warned readers that due to printing limitations, he had not been able to mark “the many corrections or additions with which the original is peppered; they are so many in number and so many errors were committed when making them that in many cases we have had to interpret the manuscript, more than decipher it”. He asked that these difficulties be taken into account and apologized “if sometimes we have been obliged to find a compromise between being scrupulously faithful to every single word in an ambiguous text and the meaning logically contained in the sentence as a whole”. Because of these caveats, historians were aware that this edition was faulty and inexact and that it was merely an interpretation of the original text, which in any case has always been available for researchers to consult at the Archives of the Crown of Aragon. But, bearing in mind the resources and materials available to Spanish historiographers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Próspero de Bofarull’s work was deserving of great praise. One renowned Valencian historian, José Camarena Mahiques, said as much at the 10th Congress on the History of the Crown of Aragon, held in Zaragoza in 1976, when he wrote that “however, even with these faults in mind, our thanks go to Próspero de Bofarull for producing this edition”.
Salto de línea Aware of these limitations, the prestigious Arabist Julián Ribera y Tarragó produced a high quality photographic edition that was only published in 1939, but without the transcription that he had planned. After that, two other editions were published of the Llibre del Repartiment, one directed by Dr. Antoni Ferrando (Valencia, 1979), which includes a facsimile of the manuscript, and one by Drs. Desamparados Cabanes and Ramón Ferrer (Zaragoza, 1979-1980). Since 2008, a digitalized version of the original can also be viewed free of charge on the Spanish Archives website, Portal de Archivos Españoles. Salto de línea