Founding of Iberian Tribunal?

Looking through the errata for Lion & the Lily and Guardians of the Forest, Iberia has been removed from the list of Tribunals formed in 865.

I can't seem to find when the Iberian Tribunal was founded, although GotF notes the founding of all the other later Tribunals and gives a good account for the Lotharingian to Provencal transmutation.

Any ideas?



When this came up on the Berklist, I had a look through ToH:Iberia, trying to find the answer to this question. Even that book didn't give a date for the Tribunal's founding! So this appears to be undefined...

Going by the old history, there was a "Tribunal of Val-Negra" as a precursor to the Iberian Tribunal. IIRC, the Iberian Tribunal was formed when it was decided (by the Grand Tribunal?) to move Val-Negra (the covenant) to the Provencal Tribunal - something to do with curbing the power of House Flambeau, I think it was. I would imagine this happened some time in the 100 years following 865.

Yes, I can't seem to find it anywhere in ToH: Iberia either but then it's an ArM3 product.

I'm a bit confused by the "Tribunal of Val-Negra" mention as I've come across this before but can't quite seem to find it (although I only have some of my books with me since moving house). Where did you find reference to it?

IIRC, Val-Negra was moved to Provencal by the Grand Tribunal of 1096 decision after a motion proposed by Jerbiton was accepted and passed. Deuterocanonically per ArM3 Covenants and other ArM3 sources this is what drove Val-Negra into Winter.

(Castra Solis's assumption of the mantle of Domus Magnae for the Schism War per HoH: Societas presumably plays a part in the current edition).

By deduction, the implication is that there was a separate Iberian (or Val-Negra) Tribunal in existence then.

I'm not sure where the migration of House Flambeau from Normandy following the Schism War struggle with House Tytalus and the Perthean compact in around 1060 would fit into all this either.

This leaves a wide date and an uncertain initial name...



This is one of those things that makes me unpopular, but my theory is that the authors simply screwed up. I do believe the aditude has changed somewhat and more care is being taken, but I feel that, until lately, 5th edition in general has had a callous disregard towards previous cannon. That bothers me, because I liked the game to begin with. It was like saying "oh, your taste in gaming was stupid, we know better than you, we changed everything for the better". Irrational thought I know, but that's they way I was feeling for a while. I have since matured and gotten over it though :wink:

I honestly thing the LatL authors basically made a humble mistake. The one of them basically admited it on the Berklist. I do not believe there was any designs to eliminate Iberia.

Now I am curious.

I am running a Saga based in the Iberian Tribunal but, sadly, no access to the previous Tribunal Books. Is there any kind soul that can provide a summary of the Iberian Tribunal History and the reasons behind its creation?

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley:

I would be very happy to do this for you.

However, it will have to wait until tonight. I am at work right now. But long story short: Val-Negra (the covenant) ruled Val-Negra (the tribunal). Things had reached a calm between Spainards and Umayyads and between Sahirs and magi as well. The Berber Almorovid invasion kicked off a new round of warfare. Flambeau magi were much involved, and to curb their enthusiasim, the Grand Tribunal Val-Negra into the Provencal & Iberian Tribunals in the 11th century, and gerrymandered Val-Negra covenant so that it was in Provencal and had less influence in Iberia.

Which is one of the reasons why Castra Sola makes no sense. I like the concept of Castra Sola though. Maybe some more detail and information on how the powershift worked out. Maybe it was gradual and not all at once?

Jarkman, I'm afraid I can't exactly remember where I saw the "Tribunal of Val-Negra", but I think it probably cropped up in one of the listings of sample Tribunal rulings from either WG or WGRE.

Marko, yes, there was a small error in that the list of 865 Tribunals in Chapter 3 didn't quite match the list in the appendix, nor the list(s) in GotF - this should have been fixed by the errata. However, there was no intention to make a change to the canon history of Iberia! (In any case, defining other Tribunals was beyond the scope of LatL and is something we tried to avoid doing.) Not including Iberia in the 865 list is merely the best guess at consistency with prior canon - to the best of my knowledge it doesn't invalidate anything previously written... IIRC, there was only one covenant mentioned in ToH:Iberia (Duresca, I think it was) that existed pre-865, so it seems highly unlikely that there were enough covenants in the region (at least 4 are needed) to form a Tribunal separate from Provencal in 865.

I know it was unintentional. I tend to rant. I am kind of a jerk :smiley:

Now, I am not advocating moving the separation date earlier. Post Schism War makes more sence. However, I do want to correct your assumption that there were no covenants in the area. Duresca is the oldest surviving, but there could have been many more that have come and gone before now. In my fold saga, I had at least five different covenants that went the way of the wind before separation. For example, the Covenant of Aqualonia was based in Austrias, first of the Reconquista kingdoms, led by Pelayo, Visgothic noble whom all Iberian monarchs are decended from.

HoH-Iberia details 4 different covenants; Duresca, Barcelona, Jafariya, Estancia Escarida (I changed the spelling). However, as of 1197 there is a total of ten Iberian covenants. Some of them could be very old. Estancia Escarida dates back to the early 10th century, pre Schism War! There was a Didne covenant in Galacia, and other early edition books hint at magical activity in Cordova and Valencia.

And Portugal! Everyone forgets Portugal, even me. A covenant or two in Portugal could date very far back as well.

There is a lot of potential early history in Iberia.


My current saga has a total of 15 covenants. Of those, 4 are based in the Kingdom of Leon, 5 in the Kingdom of Castilla, 2 in the Kingdom of Navarra, 2 in the Kingdom of Aragon and Catalan counties and 1 in the Kingdom of Portugal. There is another one but is a floating citadel that travels above the entire Peninsula.


You know, the Spainards I have met on the list and forums (well, you and Xavi so far), they describe these amazingly cool Iberian based sagas. That tears it. I am moving to Spain for better Ars Magica gaming (well, that and I wanna hang out in Ibiza like all the time; I am a total house head).

Also recall that, in the real world, all the Hermetic knowledge in Europe came out of Spain. There is a LOT of untold stories and plot potential in the region.


For the moment, it is just in the design phase. I want to start playing the first session this Friday but I rely heavily on the gamers (too busy agendas, I'm afraid)

By the way, you still owe me a summary of the Iberian Tribunal history ...

i will write it up soon. I forgot :laughing:

I too would be interested in this - particularly a Timeline if possible.



I'm not entirely sure what you said here, particularly 'all Hermetic the knowledge in Europe.' Couldja rephrase?

Iberia does seem a fine place to run a game. I had a magus from Aragorn (named after Al Cid. Because I'm a bastard who wanted a char named Cid), once, but we never went there.

The Hermeticism of the real world, as opposed to Ars Magica Hermetic Magic, is based upon Alchemy, Astrology, and other similar studies. Considered "Mysteries" in Ars Magica, these are the the basis of the Western Occult tradition. It all came out of Spain to begin with. After the Crusades knowledge started to flow from the East, but before that Spain was the source. Spain was also a major source for translation of Greek and Latin texts. A lot of this was due to the influence of the Umayyads, but my studies reveal an academic/scholastic tradition dating back to the Visgoths (after they convert from Arianism to Catholicism).

The fact is that Spain, even the Christian kingdoms of the North, were more advanced in science and learning as compared to their neighbors in medievial western Europe (France, England, etc).

Ah hah, yes.

The grammar was a little iffy is all, so I didn't quite get what you were getting at at first.

Heck, our numerals came out of India and were brought over by Arabs. ;D

Marko sent me the following excerpts from WGRE (hi comments in square brackets). I don't have my copy of WGRE to check:

AA 1136 (AD 997) Val-Negra; Sanctum Law
It was determined at the Tribunal at Val-Negra that Magus Pisitulus of Flambeau used poor but excusable judgment in slaying Magus Forcus of Tytalus, who was approaching Pisitulus’ sanctum with apparent but not obvious intent to threaten Pisitulus’ laboratory and apprentice. Pisitulus was punished by the loss of his familiar.

[This mentions the Tribunal at Val-Negra rather than of Val-Negra. What is also interesting is that this is the earliest Regional Tribunal in WGRE.]

AA 1211 (AD 1072) Val-Negra; Jurisdiction of Covenants
The Val-Negra Tribunal (then covering Iberia) rules that Barcelona Covenant has jurisdiction over the city of Barcelona. The covenant has promised to maintain the peace between magus and mortal, and to serve the Order’s interest in the city. (See The Tribunals of Hermes: Iberia for details).

[This names the Val-Negra Tribunal as a historical fact. What is interesting is that it is only the second time a Regional Tribunal is mentioned by name in the heading, though just above this is a Rome Tribunal ruling that is not properly headed.]

AA 1235 (AD 1096) Tribunal Jurisdiction
The Grand Tribunal redrew the boundaries of the regional tribunals to relocate Val-Negra within the Provencal Tribunal (See The Tribunals of Hermes: Iberia, page 40).

All this is ArM3 obviously. The possibilities are that 1) there was intended to be a Val-Negra Tribunal (but curiously this is not mentioned in ToH: Iberia) or 2) there is a typo/misleading comment and "of Val-Negra" really means the meeting "at" Val-Negra.

To be honest, I suspect the latter explanation is more likely.

Still, I have no idea from ArM3 sources when the Iberian Tribunal was actually meant to be founded...

The 4 covenant / 10 magi rule is explicitly stated in your GotF book IIRC.

Is it meant to apply to wilder, peripheral Tribunals such as Iberia?

Consider, Val-Negra was apparently founded in 774 (per ArM3 canon admittedly) and postulating another 2 covenants is not out of the question given Flambeau's interest in the area and the Asturian principalities, the potential for a Basque covenant under Apropomor's recruiting drive and say a Galician Diedne covenant (Galicia has some Celtic links esp at Finister on the northwest coast). Easily 10 magi?

IIRC, there's a comment in L&L or GotF about the Tribunal of the East being recognised as the collection of the 4 covenants in the Levant in the 9th century but prior to ArM5 there were only 2 covenants (Urbs Rubra, Urania) founded there in that period.

I think an Iberian Tribunal separate to Provencal is not out of the question.



I rather doubt there was ever a Val-Negra Tribunal, an Iberian Tribunal, and a Provencal Tribunal all existing simultaneously - it was always either one or two of the three. If you accept the 3rd edition history snippets (which provide an incomplete picture - as noted, even the Iberian Tribunal book has very little to say on the subject), then the early Iberian Tribunal was the same as the Val-Negra Tribunal, and so the question then becomes: When was the Val-Negra Tribunal founded?

Answer: who knows? :slight_smile:

As you say, it's certainly plausible that there were sufficient covenants (i.e. 4) in the region early on. Equally, there might not have been... only two early covenants (Val-Negra and Duresca) are documented.

Alternatively, it's certainly possible to interpret the AA1211 ruling ("The Val-Negra Tribunal (then covering Iberia)...") as "the gathering of the Iberian Tribunal, held at Val-Negra". I agree that the evidence for a geographical Tribunal named "Val-Negra" seems to be just this one entry, so pretty flimsy! I suspect that, going by ToH:Iberia, there never was a Val-Negra Tribunal, yet going by the WGRE entries (taken from earlier books), there was. Consistency was not altogether a strong point of previous editions! If you are trying to intuit some underlying cohesive view, I think it's safe to say there was none...

In any case, as far as 5th edition (and your saga) is concerned, this is not particularly relevant. If/when there is ever a 5th edition Iberian Tribunal book (and I seriously doubt it's high on the list), it would be free to jettison this historical baggage, and would probably do so. The statements about other Tribunals in GotF and LatL should not be regarded as definitive, since they are beyond their purview. IIRC, the 4 covenant / 10 magi rule is a restatement from an earlier book (WG / WGRE?) and is not something we invented.

In summary, I reckon the date of the founding of the Iberian/Val-Negra Tribunal is an open question. The GotF/LatL timelines (post-errata) have it not existing in 865 AD, but as I say, I don't necessarily regard that as the "final say" on the subject.

Just my thoughts - hope this helps!

I disagree. Flambeau departs to establish Val-Negra covenant right away, say in 767 or the next year. In 773, at the Second Grand Tribunal of the Order of Hermes; Procedures and Provisions for Lesser (Regional) Tribunals are set forth.

Val Negra Tribunal was established in 773 then. In 1096 it was split into Provencal and Iberia.

I don't see any reason why there would not be several covenants in the area. It seems to me it would be much more likely than not for there to be much heavy activity there. Why do people thing Iberia was a wasteland? It was a land rich with culture and intellectualism; during the Visgothic, Islamic, and Christian eras alike.

That seems quite a streatch, don't you think? It is spelled out pretty clear in black ink on white paper. Why the desire to eliminate Val-Negra?

Not Flimsy, it is as firmly established as anything else in old cannon. But I guess I am the only fan of old cannon, so...

This is true. I cannot dispute this.

It may not be as clear to some, but i see one.

It is exceptionally relevant to my saga however.

I hope it doesn't. I really hope it doesn't. Revise and revitalize, don't jettison.

Counterpoint always helps :smiley:
Thank you for your insight :wink:

Thanks to Andrew for his points and to Marko for his counterpoints.

I think the concept of Provencal and the few northern footholds of Christian Iberia being originally a single somewhat nebulous Tribunal makes some sense actually, although currently this concept would seem difficult to reconcile with the concept of the Lotharingian Tribunal per canon.

How about this then:

I'd prefer to consider the earlier Iberian Tribunal as a "rump" Tribunal (Marko, don't get offended, hear me out here) - a smattering of independent covenants aligned to no Tribunal and predominantly Flambeau eremites, not officially belonging to a Tribunal in the official sense, centred around or populated from Val-Negra initially - hence the somewhat grandiose title: "Tribunal of Val-Negra", even if gatherings of these covenants do not constitute an official Tribunal. Local Quaesitor rule becomes difficult to enforce but Grand Tribunal rulings would still hold in such an environment however - although how far the Order would care to enforce things in "backwater" Iberia would be debatable.

If Hermetic activity follows the basic outlines of Christian holdings in history (and I'm not completely convinced that this should be the case for a number of reasons), then the amount of territory belonging to such a putative Tribunal would be pretty small even until the latter half of the 11th century where the Northern "Spanish" kingdoms don't extend past the Tagus (although Toledo was captured in 1085) and only minor inroads have been made into the Ebro valley. To call the small segment of northern peninsular held by Christian kingdoms up to this time the "Iberian" Tribunal is a bit of a stretch IMO, even for the Romanocentric Order, regardless of the number of covenants.

Perhaps as Hermetic political borders take harder shape in the 10th and 11th centuries per canon (such as the formal declaration of a border between Normandy and Provencal in 1050 and the loss of Gascony from Normandy about the same time), such independent covenants began to coalesce into a nascent Tribunal - particularly after the migration of House Flambeau from Normandy around 1065 in the wake of the Perthean Compact's effect and the rise to dominance of House Tytalus in NW France (note Fudarus joins Normandy only after the Schism War, previously belonging to the Brittanian Tribunal). Even in the old ToH: Iberia book, Barcelona, which dominates most of the supplement, is only established in 1014, after the Schism War, and given it's Catalan background seems to make more sense as a Catalan magi incursion from Provencal to me. From reading Lion & the Lily it seems a fair proportion of House Flambeau's attention was directed northwards into Normandy - only after the Perthean Compact does the focus seem to turn away and at the time historically the eastern Crusades and the Reconquista would seme likely to grab their attention.

This view would make the putative founding of an Iberian Tribunal quite late make sense - after the Schism War, the extent to which Iberia is involved has always been unclear in previous canon, making it in effect a "young" Tribunal. Hermetic settlement precedes formal recognition as a Tribunal in all cases anyway - perhaps Iberia is just an extreme example, being recognised "officially" over 200 years after the initial Hermetic footholds, having been quietly ignored by polite Hermetic society until that point.

In fact, not actually having an "official" Tribunal in Iberia until post-Schism War and the joining of the sahir to Ex Miscellanea in 925 could go a long way to explaining some of the seemingly unsanctioned lawlessness of the area in previous visions of Iberia and allowing the elements Marko is so fond of remain, even if they are at odds with some of the revised concepts of Flambeau in ArM5. Covenants such as Estancia es Karida (founded 978) and other Muslim Hermetic covenants or independent Andalusian Jerbiton or Criamon covenants would seem to fit better into this scheme than any other - I find it quite hard to picture a peninsular wide official Tribunal making a lot of sense in light of these concepts.

This way, we could have the old-style Flambeau playground history in "wild-west" Iberia, just beyond the reach of the main body of the Order (and out of sight, out of mind over the Pyrenees as far as the rest of the Order is concerned - much like Iberia during most of the early Middle Ages), but then layer on top the more refined later Flambeau culture of the Milites of HoH: Societas and the Catalan Jerbiton magi of Barcelona that are central in concept to the old ToH: Iberia book (minus a few of the demons IMO though).

I think there's a lot of potential this way - retain the old style Flambeau history loved by many, but allow the flexibility of play and diversity of Hermetic culture to seep in during the later history.