Battles of Cellorigo

Battles of Cellorigo
Part of the Reconquista

Place in La Rioja where the Castle of Cellorigo was situated, guarding the mountain pass.
LocationCellorigo, La Rioja, Spain
Result Asturian Victory
Kingdom of Asturias Emirate of Córdoba
Commanders and leaders
Alfonso III of Asturias
Diego Rodríguez Porcelos
Vela Jiménez
Muhammad ibn Lubb ibn Qasi
Al-Mundhir of Córdoba
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The Battles of Cellorigo were two battles that took place over the Castle at Cellorigo, La Rioja, Spain from 882 to 883. The two battles represented a struggle for control over the castle and its surrounding countryside. It was fought between the forces of the Kingdom of Leon, under the command of Alfonso III of Leon and the forces of the Emirate of Cordoba, under the command of Muhammad ibn Lubb ibn Qasi. Both actions resulted in a defeat for the Muslim. The castle that the battles were originally fought over has been unfortunately lost to history.

First Battle of Cellorigo

In 882, Muhammad ibn Lubb, who, like his father Lubb ibn Musa before him, previously had always had good relations with the Christian kingdoms to the north, joined in a coalition with the forces of the Córdoban Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba. The emir, as a gesture of good will, sent his son, Al-Mundhir of Córdoba to join ibn Lubb on raids along the Ebro River. Muhammad ibn Lubb made his way from Zaragoza along the Ebro and devastated the valleys he passed through in La Rioja which at the time belonged to the King of Zaragoza, Isma'el ibn Musa, and the King of Tudela, Fortun ibn Musa, both of whom were uncles of Muhammad ibn Lubb.

Once arriving at Cellorigo, they attempted to take the castle as it was strategically positioned to protect one of the few passes crossing the Obarenes Mountains. The castle was defended by Vela Jiménez, founder of the House of Vela and the first Count of Álava. The attack left both armies with many wounded and the Muslim forces were unable to succeed in taking the castle. Afterwards, Al-Mundir, son of the Córdoban emir, took a sizable portion of the Muslim army and went to Pancorbo, another mountain pass through the Obarenes. The assault on the Castillo de Pancorbo became prolonged over a number of days, finishing with another Muslim retreat and many casualties.

After these retreats, King Alfonso III of Leon ordered Diego Rodríguez Porcelos and Vela Jimenez to pursue Muhammad ibn Lubb and Al-Mundhir. After being pursued for some time, the Muslim leaders sued for peace.

Second Battle of Cellorigo

A year later, in 883, Al-Mundhir of Córdoba gathered together an army under the command of Almonder and Abuhalit. After defeating the walls of Zaragoza and sacking the city of Villamayor de Monjardín and other towns of Navarre, he set off once again to take the mountain pass castle at Cellorigo, but this time without the assistance of the troops commanded by Muhammad ibn Lubb.

The results of the campaign were worse than the previous attempt. After being repulsed a second time by the defenders at Cellorigo, he marched to try a second assault on the castle at Pancorbo and another at Castrojeriz. Both attempts met in complete failure and great losses for the Muslim side. Humiliated, Al-Mundhir sent an envoy to King Alfonso III before leaving the Kingdom of Leon, to sue for another peace.

See also


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