An island on the border: "Aegina" under the Catalan family of Fadrique (1318-1380)
In the year 1316 King Frederick II of Sicily (1295-1337) send his eldest son Don Alfonso Fadrique (1317-1330) as vicar general of Duchy of Athens. Alfonso Fadrique soon gained an immense power in Greece through cunny marriage and diplomatic alliances with both
other local lords and the Turkish Beyliks (Aydınids and Menteshe) as well as the treaty with the Republic of Venice in 1319. He also managed to wrestle part of Thessaly (including the island of Aegina) as he and his successors kept hold the titles of Count of Salona (Amfísa) and Lord of Aegina until the end of 14th century.
The dynastic longevity of the Fadrique family was very important in the political trajectories of Duchy of Athens and in particular for the history of the island of Aegina. Fadrique’s expansionism brought a period of prosperity, religious tolerance and acculturation
between the local Orthodox population and the Catalan elites in the island of Aegina. In particular Fadrique as well as other members of his family became the main sponsors of a large campaign aimed at the urbanisation of the island as well as in the refurbishment and decoration of existing Byzantine churches. The urban plan of the city of Paliochora (Aegina), the church of Agios Georgios Katholikos (Aegina), the paintings in the church of St. Nicholas Mavrika (Aegina) with its inscriptions dedicated to Don Alfonso Fadrique (1317-1338) as well as similar ones made for his son and successor Don Pedro I Fadrique (1338-1355) in the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos (Aegina), are all outstanding examples of the political, cultural social and artistic campaign of self-promotion staged by the Fadrique family.
Indeed, this cultural link created by Fadrique family allows us a better understanding of the social, political and cultural life in border regions in general. In the light of Aragon and Venetian archival documents, as well as material evidences like church paintings, inscriptions and architecture, this essay will focus on the island of Aegina as an internal frontier and try to analyse its political, social and cultural life under the Catalan family of Alfonso Fadrique, roughly from 1318 until 1380. It will encompass the aspects of coexistence between an aristocratic family (Fadrique family) and the local population (Greeks) in a border region (the island of Aegina) where the religious, ethnic or political differentiation had been transcended.