Founding of Iberian Tribunal?

Just some final observations, many of which overlap with Jarkman's thoughts:

I very seriously doubt that the Val-Negra Tribunal could have been established as early as 773 - a mere 6 years after the founding of the Order! I don't see how it would be possible to train/recruit that many magi and found that many covenants in such a short period of time.

Still, I like the idea of the "Val-Negra Tribunal" never being an officially-recognised Tribunal, but more of a Flambeau-dominated grouping or project...

In 5th edition, Provencal couldn't possibly have been an offshoot of Val-Negra. The borders between the Lotharingian/Provencal, Normandy/West Franks, and Rhine Tribunals were based on the division of Charlemagne's empire at the Treaty of Verdun (843). Later on, the Provencal Tribunal lost its northern bits (Lorraine and the Low Countries).

In the 8th century, at the time of the Order's founding, I think the Caliphate of Cordoba pretty much extended as far north as the Pyrennes, didn't it? This leaves precious little room for any Flambeau/Christian covenants actually in Iberia! (Except for Asturias, in the NW, which was separated from the Pyrennes by Moor-held lands.)

This leads me on to what I think is the really BIG gap in the history of the Iberian Tribunal... As we know, the very early history in the 8th century was surely dominated by Flambeau and his anti-Moor agenda, and the founding of Val-Negra... Fast forward a hundred years or two, and you have the picture as per ToH:Iberia, which is a mixture of Christian and Moorish covenants at least not openly at war, and no Val-Negra. So, how did this happen? When did these Moorish magi join, and why didn't the Flambeau object (violently)? What happened to Flambeau's original agenda? How did the early magi in Iberia react to the emergence of the Christian Spanish kingdoms? How was the "Hermetic peace" with the Moors achieved? These seem to be some fundamental open questions...

:smiley: My observations are far from final :laughing:
Just so you all know, though sometimes I may seem a little over passionate about the matter, I am really never that bothered. I am just very expressive in my writing. And also realize that House Flambeau and the Iberian Tribunal are very dear to me because that’s where my entire Ars Magica experience begins from and always return to. It is the cornerstone of my entire Ars experience.

Now, I admit that I am really not clear on this Lotharingian Tribunal concept. I think it is something new for 5th edition. I remember reading about it in GotF. It does not interest me in the slightest and it seems very far away from Iberia, so I don’t know what the conflict is. If someone could enlighten me I would be grateful :slight_smile:

I am in total agreement. The Order of Hermes is not an exclusively Christian institution, and House Flambeau as rewritten is not at conflict with a religion.

It was not a Caliphate at that point and time, and regardless of who the government was, the majority of the population was still Christian (Andalusia had over twenty bishoprics, while “Christian” Spain had less than a dozen). There would have been plenty of room for magi of many houses, even early on. Jerbiton, Criamon, and House Bonisagus to name a few obvious ones.

And don’t underestimate Asturias! There is no “except” or “only” about it. Asturias way predates the Order, and the Moors were also pushed back from the Pyranees before the founding of the Order. There is a gap of over 50 years between these events.

Interesting indeed. But this contradicts 5th edition cannon. The Bonisagus section of HoG-True Lineages establishes Iberia as one of the Winter Tribunals, like Rhine, one of the oldest existent Tribunals.

I do agree, the Iberian Tribunal was not split off from Val-Negra until after the Schism War. LOL, and as for unsanctioned lawlessness, well, what if they were doing the right thing? What if there really was an Order of Suleiman? Just saying :wink:

I am all about compromise :wink:
I actually like this idea. My love for all things old does not mean I need it regurgitated back to me verbatim. Just give a nod to what used to be, allow for old storylines to be reintegrated with slight revision, and it is all good :smiley:

Well then, what were the Regional Tribunals created by that ruling? 773, Grand Tribunal makes rules for Lesser Tribunals. What were they? Val-Negra is the very SECOND Hermetic Covenant ever established. It predates everything except Durenmar. If that is not a likely candidate, then what is? As of 773, there is officially more than one Regional Tribunal. Who did train and recruit magi between 767 and 773? I’m sorry, but it is Flambeau the Founder that had the big famous recruitment drive, what with slogans like “Join, or Die!” and “Don’t Tread on Me”.

I severely don’t like this idea. But to each their own

I do not follow. We are a bit beyond the timeframe by a few decades here, and I am not liking the idea that the Order of Hermes bases it’s political divisions on mundane orders. And Tribunals don’t have “borders” per se anyway. And I mean no disrespect at all, sincerely, but I am just not liking this Logtharian thing. It is tucked into some obscure corner, and it basically means that, if I want to play within the official timeline, I have to junk all my old tribunal history to accommodate this odd political story hook that I am exceptionally uninterested in. That’s not fair.

Incorrect. Flameau had an anti-Sahir agenda, not anti-Moor. At least not the 5th edition Flambeau.


I figure they could have started joining right away. And you forget, the majority of the population was not Moorish. They were Mozarabs. Christian, Latin speaking Mozarabs, studying Alchemy and Astrology.

He blew himself up :laughing: And he was against the Sahirs, not Moslems, and it is said he was offering them an olive branch of peace when they ambushed him. As for the House agenda, well, right away you have the war with Davnavellous, and Apromor recruiting pagan Mithrites and Mercurians.

In the early days they may have secretly been a part of it. Post Schism War, I figure they seriously don’t care (except for an isolated few, such as the Knights of Seneca who allied with El Cid and a band of Hermetic Sahirs to establish a covenant in Valencia).

Hermetic Oath. What more is needed?

Ah, you're THAT Flambeau guy from the Berklist... :smiling_imp: Well, I initially only entered to try and clarify what was written in LatL, then Jarkman encouraged me to write more, and now I feel like I'm battling a hydra or something... :slight_smile:

Anyway, I think all parties could agree on the fact that the history of the Iberian or Val-Negra Tribunal is largely undefined in 5th edition, and so obviously there's a great deal of room for individual interpretation. I personally do not have a strong opinion at all...

Just to clear up the "Lotharingian Tribunal" thing: this was the original name of the Provencal Tribunal. In 865, the Grand Tribunal clarified or defined many of the Tribunal boundaries (in so far as Tribunals have borders, of course), and it delineated the West Franks (i.e. Normandy), Lotharingian (i.e. Provencal), and Rhine Tribunals according to the aforementioned treaty. Later on, the Lotharingian Tribunal lost much of Lotharingia (Lorraine), and was renamed the Provencal Tribunal, its remaining heartland being Provence. The only point of this is that the Provencal Tribunal couldn't have been an offshoot of the Val-Negra Tribunal. Otherwise, you would have at some point had a long, funny-shaped Tribunal extending from south of the Pyrenees to the Low Countries... A more plausible scenario is that the Provencal Tribunal, having been shifted southwards sometime after 865, took over the lands north of the Pyrenees from the Val-Negra Tribunal. This would fit with the Grand Tribunal ruling shifting Val-Negra (the covenant) to the Provencal Tribunal. This in turn would necessitate a new name for the remainder of the old Val-Negra Tribunal south of the Pyrenees, "Iberia" being the obvious choice... All merely conjecture, of course.

The only outstanding point of disagreement I have with the rest of what you wrote is the establishment of a Tribunal in 773, 6 years after the Founding. I don't think there were ANY valid regional Tribunals on this date. However, it was presumably clear that the nascent Order was growing and becoming widely-spread, so that regional Tribunal gatherings would, in the future, be needed. Take, for example, the Rhine Tribunal. By 773, it only had 3 covenants - those founded by Bonisagus, Merinita, and Bjornaer. Not enough for its own Tribunal! In 780 another two covenants were founded. If even the Rhine, the Order's heartland, was not quorate until 780, I have a hard time buying that Flambeau conjured up his own Tribunal off his own back seven years earlier... Still, I agree that an early (pre-800) Val-Negra Tribunal is plausible, just not quite as early as you seem to be suggesting!

Now, feel free to pick my post apart line-by-line and come up with another 20 or so objections... (only kidding :stuck_out_tongue:)

He is indeed that guy... LOL

Marko my friend, your acclaim spreads like fire, eh?

Sorry if you feel ambushed Andrew!

I'll comment more later when I've got time but I've found all the points made very interesting and useful from both of you.

I'd like to pick up on the point about Muslim magi in Iberia - I'm with Marko on this one as by strict interpretation, Flambeau's enemies were the sahir specifically and IIRC this was because of a mistaken belief they were diabolists becuase they summoned/controlled Jinn who were sometimes Infernal etc.

That leaves plenty of room for Muslim Bonisagi/Trianomae, Criamon and Jerbiton magi in Andalusia as well as Muslim Flambeau - yes, this seems a highly likely possibility given the culture at the time. Also, although there were a few early "muwalladeen" conversions because of the social/cultural benefits (job opportunities, not having to pay the poll tax etc), most of even southern Iberia was predominantly Christian (later termed Mozarab in the 19th century but an anachronistic term in the 13th) ruled by an Arab/Berber Muslim elite, at least until the late 10th century.

I think this cultural aspect, rather than the straight black/white religious divide has a lot of Hermetic culture potential and I plan to write more on this through Sub Rosa with time.

Now this is an interesting idea... although IIRC Val-Negra doesn't shift Tribunals till late 11th century, shortly after House Flambeau migrates from Normandy, which is interesting in itself...

Sorry to post and run but I'll add more later.



:laughing: Yes, I am that Flambeau guy. Ah well, it's better to be infamous than not famous at all. Just as long as you realize I am not as bad as I may seem sometimes. I say flippiant stuff all the time, but I really am a very nice guy :smiley:

I was incorrect when I called Iberia a Winter Tribunal, it is rated as a Summer Tribunal.

. Now, taken at face value, this suggest that Iberia is younger than Tribunals such as Rome (Autumn) and Thebes (Winter), which in a way could be considered pre-Hermetic Tribunals. But it definitely implies that Iberia and Provencal were closely linked, and Normandy was added afterward.

And this is a 5th edition reference.

So, I do agree with you that there is ambiguity, contradiction, and room for interpretation, and as long as it is left officially undefined I am happy :smiley: Still, as a Tribunal only requires twelve magi, I can easilly see Flambeau carrying it on his back in a few years. As for Rhine, I would suggest that those are the only three defined covenants. One of my big influences has always been Heirs to Merlin, which had a long list of covenants that existed and expired before 1220. The covenants presented in a Tribunal book are only those still in existance. Others could have come and gone, and there is also room for ones created by the storyguide and players. Case in point, Iberia in 1197 (old start date) had 10 covenants, only four of which are described.

Sorry for being all hydra like and picking posts apart. I am a dork like that. I was worried last night that I might be acting too Berklist-y. On the bright side, it comes from being a mega fan of this game, so take it as a compliment :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, but Houses of Hermes: True Lineages does not categorize tribunals into seasons. The section mentioned is about the Tenentes Occultorum, a council of 4 magi Bonisagi that travel the various tribunals and do this and that. Each TO is assigned a post in the council, and these posts are named after the seasons. The Spring TO is assigned to certain tribunals, as is the Summer TO, the Autumn TO, etc. The seasonal names are applied to the TO and not the various tribunals she is assigned to. HoH:TL does not divide the tribunals into seasons.

Matt Ryan

Very true. They are categories, and not ages. Still, the Sumer Tenens at one time was charged with the Iberian provinces, which is stated as including (at one time) Iberia and Provencal, and added Normandy at a later date. I see this as prima facia evidence that the Iberian and Provencal Tribunals have a history long tied together.
If nothing else, let me pare my argument down to this. In earlier editions, Provencal and Iberia were at one time one and the same the same Tribunal, named Val-Negra. It appears that in fifth edition, they were still going by the same assumption when True Lineages was written. This element of history is rendered ambiguous by suggestions of a past Logtharian Tribunal as mentioned in newer Tribunal books. And actually, this is an interesting idea, but I think it infringes upon the Pyrenees too much. I think people overestimate Charlemagne’s impact on the region, and perhaps I underestimate it, but the Spanish Marches were very unstable and quickly absorbed. And my primary concern is for Andorra, the very last of the marches still in existence, at the far eastern edge of the Pyrenees. Charlemagne granted them their own sovereignty (which leads to their quasi-autonomous status in the 21st century), and their entire history is more orientated towards Spain than France.

Re. the Grand Tribunal of 773, maybe it was Flambeau himself who argued for the need for regional Tribunals? :slight_smile: I could certainly see him with enough followers and new recruits to have at least 12 magi in total, although having four separate covenants seems more of a stretch - it would surely have made more sense for his followers to strengthen and establish Val-Negra in the early years, rather than spreading themselves too thinly.

Re. the Rhine, the chronological list of covenants is not exhaustive, true, but it does include several ex-covenants (Rethra, Arae Flaviae, etc.). So there could have been additional very early covenants, but personally I rather doubt it.

Additional early Rhine covenants would mainly depend on the backstory needs of a specific saga, if they wanted to get that detailed that is. I also see your point about covenants versus followers. I certainly think Flambeau could have enough followers, but you are right about the spreading-thin bit. I figure maybe two though, Val-Negra and maybe a frontier covenant in Asturias. I have always believed that there was a Diedne covenant in Galicia, which could help explain why there was a need for a regional tribunal in that immediate area. So that leaves the question of what thay fourth could have been. Basque Shamans? Mozarab Alchemists? Visgothic artificers that joined House Verditius?

My musing on this subject goes like this: I can't recall where or when the idea that it takes four covenants to be a valid tribunal became part of the peripheral code, but perhaps that wasn't there in the early years, so that Flambeau only needed one covenant (Val-Negra) to establish a Regional Tribunal. It may be a relatively recent ruling that four covenants constitute a Tribunal, perhaps coming into being after the Schism War. This makes sense because I imagine early magi didn't really think in terms of covenants at Tribunal, but rather magi. House Mercere keeps track of covenants, but they wouldn't have needed to do that when it was just the Domus Magnae. They probably didn't even need to keep records until after the Ordo Miscellany joined the Order.

Perhaps Val-Negra was a huge covenant, with multiple sites spread throughout what would become the Provencal Tribunal and the northeastern part of Iberia. Over time, some of these sites were abandoned, and others broke off to join other covenants (like Castra Solis or Jafeiria). When the ruling that a valid Tribunal needed four covenants was established, the "Tribunal of Val-Negra" was effectively abolished, and the Tribunal of Iberia was formed?

Because Val-Negra had several chapterhouses in the Normandy and Provencal Tribunals, the magi of Val-Negra remained active in the politics of those Tribunals, and their covenant was considered one of the four that made the Provencal Tribunal valid. Perhaps this was seen as cheating, since Val-Negra was basically counted twice, and so the Grand Tribunal ruled that Val-Negra had to choose one Tribunal, and House Flambeau decided that politically it needed to be part of Provence.

:smiley: I like this idea! It keeps everything old intact and leaves room for all things new. And it makes my precious Andorra a definate part of Val-Negra!

I myself was thinking aboyt tribunal boundaries and how they really don't exist. A group of four or more covenants makes a tribunal, not the space between them. I am thinking it may have been possible for this Logtharian tribunal to overlap Val-Negra/Provencal a little bit too.

But I really like Erik's idea, because it gives us a new cause for the Val-Negra split that can easilly be inserted into the same year.

Harmony between old and new :slight_smile:

I know I am bringing up an old topic, but I was thinking about the geographic setting for Val Negra. Has anyone considered the Ordesa Valley in NW Aragon? The Valley is deep and difficult to navigate. It even has a Mount Perdido for Marko's Delendar.

That is awesome! I will look into that. My theory was that the original Val-Negra was just a valley with a regio, maybe some perdo vis (the black vale). I reincorporate Delendar into the new history, saying he was Flambeau's mentor after Labericus died, and state that Val Negra is geographically where they last saw each other. Labericus mimics Delendar's death, so I had to make Delendar's new death slightly different.

As Marko says, this looks pretty good and fits in pretty well with the ArM3 Covenants descripption of the gorge etc. It's a way off the main trail of the pass leading to Huesca and is in about the right place - far enough away from the major trails and on the southern side of the Pyreneean crest.

This Wikipedia entry looks useful: ... ional_Park

The Google maps view is quite striking!

Marko, perhaps we can incorporate this into the Andorra Saga?



Yes indeed! How beautiful the landscape is!


I'm from Aragón (not AragoRn hehe) land of the ancient Kingdom of Aragon. I'm so glad you were talking about the mythic history of this region. My saga is based in a place near Ordesa Valley (it's a awesome place, I was there and the word escape with the first whisper) and I think is the best place to find Val Negra. Black Valley in english, Bal Negra or Val Negra in ancient Aragonian language (now called Fabla or Aragonés) , and Val Negre or Val Negra in Catalan I think.

Monte Perdido (In english its something like "The Lost Mountain" or "The lost Mount") it's a magic mountaint in the regional legends. I know the ancient legend that speaks about the génesis of this mountain. I translated right now (it took me much time, so sorry for the bad english) for you:

The legend says that in once upon a time, long ago, in this place there was no mountain. There was filled of meadows and fields, where shepherds go with the sheeps and goats. One day, a shepherd was sitting in a rock, playing with his knife, carving a boxwood branch. Then, a man got close to him. He was a beggar, with old and dirty clothes, barefoot, and emaciated face because the passing of the years. And he said:

- I have not eat a bite in a long time. Give me some food, good will pay it to you.

The shepherd, hard-hearted, didn't pay attention to the beggar, but he inssisted but the shepherd replied him with rudeness and evasive words, saying that he was hungry and feeling cold too, and he continued carving the branch.

The legend says that after ignoring the ask for help from the beggar, the valley felt covered under the fog. The shepherd, frightened, got rid of the beggar to gather the cattle, dispersed along the meadow. But with the fog, this task was practically impossible. They were all lost.

The clouds fell into the valley, it rained like never before in the Pyrenees. The shepherd, his dog amd the cattle, fell lost definetely and no one have heard nothing about them never again.

The highlanders say they found a new mountain, formed of ice and stone, the most formidable, and dangerous mountain in the Pyrenees. The mountain was rised in punishment for the shepherd, for negate the request for help and food of the beggar, wich was actually San Antonio, the saint who said in the moment of the request:

"You will get lost for being greedy, and there where you get lost, it will rise a mountain, as tall as your lack of charity"

This is why Monte Perdido, is a mountain formed of ice and stone, as the heart of the shepherd.

I hope you enjoy the legend. I was searching for similar legends in my region, and found that Aragón (altough its neighbor Catalunya, long ago part of the Kingdom of Aragon), is plenty of legends of this type. I based my saga in the mountain called El Turbón, the most magic and legend-sorrounded mountain in the Pyrenees, if you want more, i could try to translate some of it. Here is a pic of the mountain.

The myths say that Zeus put his anvil in the peak of El Turbón, and from there, he created the storms of lightning bolts and thunders. It's also the place where the Noah's Ark ran aground (certainly the peak has a V form like the hull of a ship). A traditional proverb says "Si hay boira en el Turbón, habrá tormenta en todo Aragón" and translated "If there is fog in El Turbón, there was storms all over Aragon".



Hi! I forgot to mention that in this mountain, I put the central covenant of my saga, and it's called Maldau, wich means in fabla (ancient aragonian) "spell, curse, or Evil Eye" a pejorative form say anything about magic (the region was extremely superstitious).

I plan to mix some action in Val Negra, in my saga, in fact I've already mentioned the existence of this legendary covenant to my players, and it's a hidden covenant, wich no one knows if it's active at the moment (1123). I don't know if it could be accurate, but I walked this way.

Remember, when you pass across the Pyrenees, remember to ask about Maldau! Ha ha !


In modern Catalan it would be Vall Negra. Val is probably correct for ancient romance languages, though :slight_smile:

Cool story. :slight_smile: We ran a short lived saga (becauzse we were playing like monkeys at the time, just for a laugh) in La Garrotxa. Our covenant was here:

And here we can see it after we cast The Shrouded Glen on the area

My sanctum in Sant Pau :stuck_out_tongue:

La Garrotxa is an amazing area for running a saga, since there are LOADS of medieval stuff and mythic places still up that you can go and visit. They have (at least) 7 medieval-looking fortifgied villages and towns, and quite a few (obviously) magical places.


Hey Xavi! Thanks for correct me, I've learned catalan watching Dragon Ball anime ^_^, because I live near Catalunya.

I'm so amazed with the pic you've post, this location is perfect for any kind of covenant, it have even the shape xD. The misty pic its even more amazing.

By the way, where appears The Shrouded Glen in the books? I don't remember this spell (I have the spanish spell names in my head yet).

Thanks for the info Xavi, I'm sure we will find much more places to running sagas around Iberia and especially between Aragón and Catalunya!

PD: I'm going into google maps to search for La Garrotxa :slight_smile:
PD2: Aha! It's volcanic land!! Ehem, I'm sure is plenty of vis Ignem, perdo and terram hihihi