Legends of Granada’s Frontier: Pedro Venegas and Cidi Yahya Al Nayar (Don Pedro de Granada, d. 1506)

Friday, January 4, 2019: 3:50 PM
Grant Park Parlor (Palmer House Hilton)
Elizabeth Terry-Roisin, Austin College
In the frontier between Christian Castile and Nasrid Granada, there were individuals like Pedro Venegas and Cidi Yahya Al Nayar, who had a direct effect on politics and war when they crossed over, or changed allegiance. According to a chronicle of Juan II, a boy named Pedro Venegas had been born in Christian Córdoba in the family of the lord of Luque, but at the age of eight was captured by Muslims and raised at the Nasrid court. Pedro married a sister of Sultan Yusuf IV, Cetti Merien, and helped to arrange the vassalage agreement between Yusuf IV and Juan II. Yusuf IV was a frequent visitor at the court of Juan II, and the two had a peaceful relationship during Yusuf’s brief reign, 1431-1432. Yusuf IV’s son, Abencelim Abrahén Al Nayar, married Fatima, a daughter of Sultan Ismail. They had a son named Cidi Yahya Al Nayar, who in 1460, married Cetti Merien Venegas, the daughter of Pedro Venegas and Cetti Merien, the sister of Yusuf IV. His wife was thus of his father’s generation, and both had royal Nasrid blood. During the war for Granada, Cidi Yahya defended and then surrendered the city of Baza to Ferdinand of Aragon in 1489. He converted to Christianity in secret, and encouraged his brother-in-law El Zagal to surrender Almería to Ferdinand. When he entered Granada with the conquerors, Cidi Yahya called himself Don Pedro de Granada. He and his wife founded the Granada Venegas family, who became one of the primary families of the Morisco “collaborator elite.” Thus, a Nasrid family and faction entered Castilian society. This paper will use a variety of primary sources including chronicles and wills and vassalage contracts to disentangle the stories of Pedro Venegas and Cidi Yahya in the fifteenth century, their hybrid identities and conversions.