Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Larry Simon

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Berkhofer

Third Advisor

Dr. Pablo Pastrana-Perez

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The Mercedarian Order dedicated themselves to the ransoming of Christian captives from Muslims. This thesis examines one of the Order's most important monasteries, Puig de Santa Maria, as a means of better understanding both the Order and the Order's role in Muslim-Christian relations. It first examines the events leading up to the foundation, focusing on how the kings of Aragon viewed Puig, and the miracle of finding an image of the Virgin there. Next, it explores Puig's unique status as a parish church and its relations with the diocese. It then reevaluates the function of the commanders at Puig as landlords, fundraisers, and lawyers for the monastery. Finally, the appendices include a number of tools for future research: a listing a variety of names of Puig, property listings of the Order, papal bulls mentioning Puig, document transcriptions, and a calendar of Puig documents. The documentary evidence here covers the foundation of Puig to the transition from a laic to a priestly Order. All of these components lead to a better understanding of the Order as a whole.

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