When Alfons I, count of Barcelona and king of Aragón, died in 1196 he held a farflung collection of territories from the Alps to the Andalusian frontier. To regulate succession to all these lands—and to secure his own salvation—he left an elaborate will, distributing lordships, lands, cash, and revenues to the Church, faithful functionaries, and of course to his sons. 1 Alfons epitomizes the successes or aspirations of rulers of his generation all over western Europe, with political and fiscal accomplishments rivaling those of his contemporary, Henry II of England. Yet he also lived in the region with one of the most prodigious documentary legacies of its era in Europe, including an unparalleled proportion of wills. 2 Alfons’s kindred, encompassing the ruling elite of counts and prelates in Catalonia from the end of the ninth century onward, has left us the largest collection of wills of any contemporary family in Europe. Alfons was the successor to a ninth-century count, known by the twelfth century as Guifred “the Hairy” and revered as the founder of this ruling kindred in the Catalan counties. Guifred’s known descendants (and descendants of his cousins), down to the year 1200, have left over one 130hundred testamentary documents of various kinds. 3 These wills provide a unique perspective on the self-perception of a ruling dynasty in the process of formation.