Barisone II of Arborea

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The four Giudicati.

Barisone II de Lacon-Serra, son of Comita II[1] and Elena de Orrubu,[2] was the ruler (judex in Latin, literally "judge") of the Sardinian kingdom of Arborea from 1146 to 1186. His reign saw the birth of the Catalan influence in the region, the escalation of the Genoese-Pisan conflict, and the first royal investiture over the entire island when Barisone was briefly recognized as King of Sardinia by the Holy Roman Emperor.

Early life[edit]

Barisone was born early in the 12th century. Like his father, he is believed to have been associated with the giudicato from an unknown date and succeeded as ruler upon his father's death. In his early years, he was on good terms with Pisa and maintained strong relations with the church; he attended the consecration ceremony of Santa Maria di Bonarcado with most of the Arborean clergy and Villano and his overlord Archbishop of Pisa, showing his support by donating and from his holdings to the church.

Alliance With the Count of Barcelona[edit]

In 1157, he left his wife Pellegrina de Lacon and married Agalbursa de Cervera, Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona's sister. During this second marriage, he entered into an alliance with the Count of Barcelona, which represented the first Catalan influence in Sardinia. Barisone started a war against the Balearic Almoravids on behalf of Barcelona and Raymond Berengar, who supported his attempts to unite the various giudicati under his rule.

Military Experience[edit]

Firstly, as a direct descendant of Constantine II of Cagliari he claimed the giudicato from Peter, who was ruling jure uxoris through Constantine's daughter. Barisone invaded Cagliari and forced Peter to flee to his brother Barisone II's court at Torres. In Spring 1164, the giudicati of Torres and Cagliari united with the Pisans of the island, reclaimed Cagliari and invaded Arborea. Barisone took refuge in the castle of Cabras; from there, remembering his father's anti-Pisan policy, he contacted the Republic of Genoa and enlisted the support of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. In August, the emperor proclaimed Barisone "King of Sardinia" in a ceremony in San Siro in Pavia. In exchange, Barisone agreed to pay four thousand silver marks annually and to recognize imperial sovereignty over the island. In September, Barisone signed a treaty with Genoa. For military aid he granted them rights to set up markets in his territory and gave them the port of Oristano with the castles of Arculentu and Marmilla as surety for his payment.

Confinement in Genoa[edit]

Early in 1165, Barisone was in Genoa with the consul Pizzamiglio. He was not allowed to return to Arborea because he could not raise the annual payments required. On 12 April, the emperor renounced his royal grant to Barisone and proclaimed the archdiocese of Pisa lord over the entire island. In 1168, Barisone returned to Arborea with the Genoese diplomat Nuvolone Alberici. The ongoing war ended that year and Barisone tried raising the necessary payment for the Genoese; his wife and Ponc de Bas (his brother-in-law) were sent back to Genoa as hostages until, in 1171, the payment was made and Barisone and his family were freed.

In the 1170s (at the latest) he gave his daughter Ispella in marriage to Hug, the eldest brother of his new wife Agalbursa.

Barisone's Death[edit]

In 1180, Barisone attacked Cagliari. He had initial successes, but was soon captured and forced to concede. In 1182, he donated the church of San Nicolas di Gurgo to the Abbey of Montecassino. In his final years, he struggled for cultural and religious advancement, founding a hospital and a monastery in Oristano. He died in 1186 and was succeeded by his eldest son Peter I, born from his first wife.

His second son, also from the first marriage, Barisone, died by 1189. From his second marriage, Barisone had one daughter: Susanna.[3]


  1. ^ Dizionario. Sometimes "Comita III".
  2. ^ Also spelled Orruvu.
  3. ^


  • Ghisalbert, Alberto M. (ed). Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani: VI Baratteri – Bartolozzi. Rome, 1964.
  • Scano, D. "Serie cronol. dei giudici sardi." Arch. stor. sardo. 1939.
  • Besta, E. and Somi, A. I condaghi di San Nicolas di Trullas e di Santa Maria di Bonarcado. Milan, 1937.
Preceded by
Comita II
Giudice of Arborea
Succeeded by
Peter I