Alfonso X el Sabio (1221-1284) Assumes throne in 1252 on death of his father, Fernando III el Santo Reign plagued by internal struggles with nobles and royal succession (eldest son Fernando de la Cerda vs second eldest Sancho) Ambitions as Holy Roman Emperor through mother’s side Suffers grave illness during his life (cancer)
Contributions Continuation of School of Translators in Toledo established under King Fernando III el Santo Innovation: Translations of Arabic and Hebrew works into Castilian rather than Latin Growth and prestige of Castilian as a language of culture, learning and politics Continues repopulation and conquest of Al- Andalus
Works under Alfonso’s Direction: An Encyclopedic Enterprise Legislative Scientific (including astronomical and astrological) Recreational Prose works Poetic (religious and secular)
Legislative Setenario (begun c. 1252 during reign of Fernando III) much of it incorporated into 1 st Partida Siete Partidas (begun 1251; 1256-65) a vast law code that encompasses every aspect of society El espéculo (1255) Five books (6th and 7th referred to, but never compiled). Book I: law, doctrine of Trinity, articles of Christian faith; Books II -III: political and military organization of the kingdom; Books IV-V: Justice.
Siete Partidas 1st Duties of clergy and matters of dogma. Except title I, on law (what it is, who has power to make laws and why, etc.) 2nd Emperors, kings & other lords: the rights & duties of those who govern 3rd Justice and its administration 4th Matrimony, kinship, legitimate and illegitimate children, slavery and freedom, etc. 5 th Commercial law: loans, debts, contracts, and other forms of commerce and dealings 6th Wills, inheritance, guardianship of orphans and minors 7th Criminal Law: crimes, punishments, etc. Laws governing Jews, Moors and heretics
Scientific Translations of astronomical texts include: Libro de las cruces (1259, 1270's) Libro de las Tablas Alfonsíes (1256-1277) Scientific works: together around 23 treatises
Scientific (con’t) Libros del saber de la astrología. (1276-1279) 16 treatises that attempt to systematize the movements of the stars and constellations Astrological: Lapidario (1250/1279) the properties of stones and their relation to the movement of the planets Magic: A version of the Liber Picatrix (1256), an 11th century Andalusian treatise on talismanic magic.
Historical Works General Estoria Oldest known vernacular universal history. Begins at the creation up to the birth of the Virgin Mary Principle sources: the Bible, Josephus' Antiguedades judaicas and the Historia Scholastica of Peter Comestor Secondary sources: classical writers (Ovid, Pliny, etc.) and Arabic historians
Historical Works Estoria de España (Primera Crónica General) codices: E1 (1272) (from the first inhabitants, through the history of Rome to the arrival of the Arabs [under Alfonso’s direction]) and E2 (1289) (continued under Sancho IV, up to the reign of Fernando el Santo [1217-52]) Primary sources: Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (known as El toledano): De Rebus Hispaniae (or Historia Gothica, 1242) Lucas de Tuy (known as El Tudense): Chronicon Mundi (1236) Other sources: Ovid, Lucan’s Pharsalia, classical historians and geographers, epic poems, etc.
Recreational El libro de Ajedrez, dados, e tablas Codex (T-1-6) Seville, 1283 Three treatises on games (chess, dice and astronomical tables) from Arabic texts 150 miniatures 150 miniatures 150 miniatures
Prose Calila e Dimna (1251/2) Translation when Alfonso still a prince. First major work of Arabic didactic prose in the "tale within a tale" framework widely disseminated in Spain. Derived from Hindu Panchatantra
Las Cantigas de Santa Maria written in Galician Portuguese Four codices: MS To Toledo (100 cantigas) MS To Toledo (100 cantigas) MS T.I.1 T Escorial (200 cantigas) Códice Rico MS T.I.1 T Escorial (200 cantigas) Códice Rico MS B.I.2 E Escorial (400 cantigas) MS B.I.2 E Escorial (400 cantigas) MS F Florence (104 cantigas; unfinished) MS F Florence (104 cantigas; unfinished)
Importance of the Cantigas Resource for depiction of daily life, interaction among groups (Christians, Jews, Muslims; women) Historical resource: some cantigas show King Alfonso or members of his family or historical events Rich source for musicologists, art historians and literary specialists
Códice Rico Consists of narratives of Marian miracle tales collected from Europe and Spain Musical notations Richly colored illustrations Every tenth cantiga is a lyric praise poem
Cantiga de loor Rose of roses and flower of flowers, Lady of ladies, Lord of lords. Rose of beauty and fine appearance And flower of happiness and pleasure, lady of most merciful bearing, And Lord for relieving all woes and cares; Rose of roses and flower of flowers, Lady of ladies, Lord of lords.
Cantiga 42 (Códice Rico) How they were renovating a church and placed the image of Holy Mary under the portal How young men played ball in a meadow
Cantiga 42 Panels 3 & 4 How the image of Holy Mary curled its finger around the ring which the young man had given her in token of love " How the youth married the other woman and left Holy Mary
Cantiga 42 Panels 5 & 6 How Holy Mary made the groom get up from beside the bride and leave her How the groom went into a hermitage and lived a pious life
MS B.I.2 E Escorial http://www4.gvsu.edu/wrightd/cantigas.htm
Cantigas de Escarnio y de mal dezir Poetic texts of a satirical nature Example: "O qui foi passar a serra" In 1264 the Moorish King of Granada raised a rebellion, but in 1265 Alfonso forced him to sign a truce at Vega. This cantiga de escarnio (satire) is directed against Spanish traitors who joined the Moors.
O qui foi passar a serra He who passed over the mountains And did not want to serve on the plain-- Is he the one, when war was returned, Who's now bragging? Since he vacillates so much now, Let him be damned! He who doled out his money Without attracting any good knights-- Is it because he wasn't first in the fight That he's bragging now? Since he came at us with his rear, Let him be damned!
O qui foi passar a serra (cont’d) He who raised a great soldiery But never quite a good cavalry, Since he didn't go to Granada, is he The one who's bragging? Whether he's rich or has a strong band, Let him be damned! He who loaded up his bags With a little gold and a lot of guff, And never quite entered the town of Vega, Is he bragging now? Since he's more like fat than butter, Let him be damned! From: J.Wilhelm, ed. Lyrics of the Middle Ages, An Anthology. NY: Garland, 1990, 243- 44.)
Cultural Role of the Iberian Peninsula Map from: http://faculty.washington.edu/petersen/alfonso/alfonsox.htm
Statue of Alfonso X, Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid