Pero Mafaldo
Trovador medieval

Nationality: Portuguesa?

Biographical Note:

Troubadour, probably Portuguese, documented from the second quarter of the 13th century, and whom Resende de Oliveira1 identifies as belonging to the Mafaldo lineage, mentioned in the Books of Lineages and originary from the region of Ponte de Lima. This identification, it should be said, contradicts the one proposed by Vicenç Beltran2, according to whom we should see him in Pero Mafaldo, a Galician minstrel attested in Catalonia as one of the beneficiaries in the repartimento of Valencia. However, the facts that support this identification by Beltran – the reference to the departure of his friend to Catalonia made by the female voice in one of his cantigas de amigo and the existence of one Pedro, juglar de Galicia in the mentioned repartimento – seem relatively fragile, especially if we consider the fact that the Portuguese Pero Mafaldo seems to also have traveled to Catalonia, as Resende de Oliveira suggests.
Thus, according to this researcher’s identification, based on documental data concerning one Pero Mafaldo that moved in troubadourean circles, our troubadour would be, then, the son of Mem Pais Mafaldo, espoused by one Maria Lada, of whom he inherits the assets. In 1239, Pero Mafaldo bears witness, along with other knights, João de Guilhade among them, to a donation made by Elvira de Sousa and her son, Dom Gonçalo Garcia, to the See of Oporto. As was the case with Guilhade, Pero Mafaldo thus seems to have moved within the Sousa circle, being plausible that he also accompanied the initial path of Dom Gonçalo Garcia in his wanderings through the Peninsula in the first half of the 13th century. He would, under these circumstances, have frequented the Castillian court of Fernando III and most probably, in a prior moment, the Aragonese court of James II, possibly around the time of the conquest of Mallorca (1232). Actually, and still according to data by Resende de Oliveira, this initial path of Dom Gonçalo being somewhat obscure, it is very possible that he is the Gonçalo Garcia documented as one of the beneficiaries in the repartimento of this island. Moreover, Pero Mafaldo certainly also frequented the Castillian court, as can be deduced from the songs he directs to Maria Balteira and Pero d’Ambroa, the soldadeira and the minstrel that were the object of much satire in the circle of Alfonso X (maybe still prince).
With Afonso III’s rise to the Portuguese throne and the Sousa’s return to Portugal, the troubadour should also have returned. In fact, one Pero Mafaldo is still documented in 1265, at least, now in Portugal, and connected to Dom João Peres de Aboim, rico-homem, troubadour and one of the central figures of Afonso III’s court. This being still the troubadour, he seems to have established himself in the region of Santarém, where he had some assets. We ignore the date of his death.


1 Oliveira, António Resende de (1994), Depois do espectáculo trovadoresco. A estrutura dos cancioneiros peninsulares e as recolhas dos séculos XIII e XIV, Lisboa, Edições Colibri.

2 Beltran, Vicenç (2005), La corte de Babel. Lenguas, poética y política en la España del siglo XIII, Madrid, Bredos, pp. 263-270.
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Read all cantigas (in Cancioneiros' order)

Cantigas (alphabetical order):

A mia senhor, que eu por meu mal vi
Cantiga de Amor

Ai amiga, sempr'havedes sabor
Cantiga de Amigo

Ai mia senhor! Vêm-me conselhar
Cantiga de Amor

Maria Pérez, and'eu mui coitado
Cantiga de Escárnio e maldizer

O meu amig', amiga, que me gram bem fezia
Cantiga de Amigo

Pero d'Ambroa, haveredes pesar
Cantiga de Escárnio e maldizer

Senhor do mui bom parecer
Cantiga de Amor

- Senhor, por vós e polo vosso bem
Cantiga de Amor

Vej'eu as gentes andar revolvendo
Sirventês moral