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Back to 2014_01_28_FYL_Los papeles de Juan Rena

María Concepción García Gainza, Professor of Art History

Juan Rena's papers

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:40:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper
The book Inventario de la Documentación de Juan Rena (2013), authored by Merceces Chocarro Huesa and Félix Segura Urra, the latter head of the Royal and General Archive of Navarre file and both qualified specialists in the archival treatment of documentation, has just appeared a few weeks ago. The large-scale work, which took five years to complete, was carried out by Berta Elcano Sanz and Mª Dolores Barragán Domeño at partnership . It is published under issue 74 in the collection Fuentes para la Historia de Navarra of the Government of Navarra. The book offers, besides the interest and usefulness of the works of this subject carried out until now in the file centered in the medieval documentation of the Chamber of Comptos and in the documentation of the processes of the committee Real and the Royal Court in the Modern Age, the reference to the file staff of Juan Rena (15121539), fulgurante and crucial figure in the years of the conquest and incorporation of the Kingdom of Navarre to the Crown of Castile. The initiative to facilitate access to 16th century documentation promoted by the Archives and Documentary Heritage Service of the Government of Navarre is thus fulfilled, and all of us who work in the 16th century from the different fields of research now celebrate and are grateful for this publication.

Rena's personal archives
The papers of Micer Juan Rena, so named by J. J. Martinena in his guide of the file General of Navarre (1997), actually comprise the personal archives of Juan Rena, Pedro de Malpaso (1521) and Juan de Alarcón (1551) who managed the payments to the kingdom of Navarre by the Crown of Castile due to extraordinary works and expenses, although according to the authors, the papers of the former account for eighty percent of the total. This is the richest collection staff of the file Real y General de Navarra and its importance lies in the fact that its chronology corresponds to the years core topic of the history of Navarra and Spain during the reigns of Ferdinand the Catholic and the Emperor.
The complex biography of Juan Rena to which authors such as P. de Sandoval, F. de Lubián and J. Goñi Gaztambide, who includes him in the History of the Bishops, had approached, is now well assembled in the multiple fields of activity that the Venetian member of the clergy developed in his double ecclesiastical facet and as a royal official, where he rendered numerous services to the Crown that were rewarded with different appointments. He also acted as a negotiator and was a skilled diplomat in North Africa. It is surprising that Rena was present in the Emperor's entourage in function of his position in the initial moments of his life such as his wedding in Seville, following him in Granada where Charles I would spend his honeymoon, and above all preparing the armada for the great voyage to Italy that, departing from Barcelona from Genoa, headed to Bologna for the imperial coronation. He combined all his positions, which amounted to fifty-three, with his residency program in Navarre for 27 years, where he brought his master and protector Diego Fernandez de Cordoba, Alcaide de los Donceles, appointed viceroy of Navarre. Juan Rena became payer of works and extraordinary expenses of Navarre and years later became oidor de Comptos, introducing a renovation in the management of the Chamber. Chocarro y Segura presents him to us as ¿a piece core topic in the regeneration management assistant of Navarre in the first third of the 16th century". As a royal officer he was provider general of the army and the armadas with England for which he bought wine, wheat and biscuit and supplies in Guipúzcoa, to France, Italy and Flanders, provider of supplies and finally general commissioner of the navy to Tunisia among other tasks, all of which is now documented with great precision, which makes the Inventory of the fund of Juan Rena an essential documentation to know the armadas of the emperor and all his time.

Juan Rena, merchant
As an ecclesiastic Juan Rena accumulated positions and prebends, with the support of the emperor of whom he was royal chaplain and of his good relations with the Roman curia.
as he was a relative of two popes, Leo X and Adrian VI. With the emperor's financial aid he managed to get the latter pope to appoint him vicar general in a vacant see in plenary session of the Executive Council conflict of the chapter between the Agramontese Remiro de Goñi and the Beamontese Juan de Beaumont. The bishop of Pamplona, Cardinal Alejandro Cesarini, maintained Juan Rena as vicar general in full see, which allowed him to dominate the ecclesiastical sector and from there he obtained the position of treasurer, with which the revenues of the chapter of the cathedral of Pamplona would also enter under his control. The culmination of the ecclesiastical degree program was his appointment first as bishop of Alguer and then bishop of Pamplona when he had only a few months left to live, a time that allowed him to exercise artistic patronage in the cathedral, recently studied by Mercedes Chocarro, in which the reliquary bust of Saint Ursula perpetuates his report. The authors add another chapter in the biography of Juan Rena and it is the one referring to his private life and his activity as a merchant and businessman, as well as his professional relationships with Pedro de Malpaso, general overseer of the king's works and Juan de Alarcón, Rena's servant and continuator in the position of payer of works and extraordinary expenses of Navarre.

An inventory with criteria
This large collection of documents that constitutes the file staff of Juan Rena was found in an "extremely chaotic" status , forming part of the contents of 68 boxes with documentation of which Goñi Gaztambide had made an identification of 37 boxes. Written in courtly handwriting, these documents had been used by F. Idoate Iragui, J. Goñi Gaztambide, T. de Azcona, I. Ostolaza Elizondo, J. Fortún Pérez de Ciriza, P. Monteano Sorbet, M. Chocarro Huesa and R. Fernández Gracia and other authors with regard to questions of fortifications, ecclesiastical, political or artistic witchcraft, such is the wealth of their content, of the years of the conquest and of the government Spanish in Navarre. The interest of the documentation required an organization that would give an idea of the real dimensions of the collection, which was unknown, and would bring together the documentation dispersed in the successive transfers from the Chamber of Comptos, where it was transferred after the death of Juan Rena, to the Palace of Navarre and the current file Royal and General of Navarre. The documentation had been subjected to different ordering criteria, which increased the complexity of its status.
The authors have carried out the Inventory with knowledge, criterion and rigor and have proceeded to the identification, arrangement and description, in which their typology was defined according to the classification established by Antonia Heredia, archivist of the file de Indias, followed by the restoration and digitalization of the documentation in a CD that accompanies the publication, being possible to access it also through the network. This is the culmination of the archival treatment of a documentary fund, which brings together three personal archives now perfectly identified as well as the relationships established with the functions of their producers, which has required a conscientious work of the authors without counting the hours, days or years that they now generously offer to researchers and lovers of history and culture, and which constitutes a fundamental contribution to the sources for the study of the history of Navarre and the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic and above all of Charles V, both in his imperial campaigns and in the most relevant personalities of the Age of Humanism, secretaries, nobles and bishops from Andrea Doria to the Duke of Alba, including Balthasar de Castiglione.