Spain, 1157-1300: A Partible Inheritance

Spain, 1157-1300: A Partible Inheritance

Spain, 1157-1300: A Partible Inheritance

Spain, 1157-1300: A Partible Inheritance


Spain, 1157-1300 makes use of a vast body of primary and secondary source material to provide a balanced overview of a crucial period of Spanish as well as of European history.
  • Examines the most significant phase of Spanish mainland development
  • Considers the profound intellectual consequences of Christian advances into Islamic Spain
  • Explores the varying fortunes of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, and focuses on the reign of the learned Alfonso X of Castile
  • Utilizes the vast body of primary and secondary source material published over the past 30 years


Spain between 1157 and 1300 was a large land of mostly small places. The domus municipalis of Bragança, a place within our area until shortly before the beginning of our period, and an example of the sort of democratic gathering place distributed along the frontier where the clergy of Sepúlveda came together to harry their bishop up hill and down dale, measures just seventeen paces across from corner to corner.

As the enigmatic land of three religions whose Christian kings were neither anointed nor crowned, Spain tended to be thought of by northerners in vertical terms. But how the Greek geographer Strabo had done so was as ‘an ox-hide extending in length from west to east, its fore-parts towards the east, and in breadth from north to south’. And that was the basis of the description of the boundary of a property sold by Domingos Martins in 1220 as lying along ‘the road that goes from Coimbra to Málaga’, that is, along an Atlantic to Mediterranean axis. To that extent, the peninsula continued to think of itself horizontally, in accordance with a Visigothic orientation.

But only to that extent. For reasons to be explained I have refrained from treating the histories of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragón either as uncoupled parts of a Visigothic whole suspended in 711 or as anticipating the union of the two thrones in 1469. That strategy, by contrast with the procedure of Castile’s own thirteenth-century historians for whom all lordships other than Castile-León’s were illicit and therefore to be relegated to appendices, has determined the arrangement of the chapters of this

Below, 23.

The Geography of Strabo, 3.1.3, Loeb transl., II. 5.

‘… de strata que vadit de Colimbria ad Malaga’: Lisbon, Instituto dos Arquivos Nacionais Torre do Tombo, S. Cruz de Coimbra (Antiga C. E.), docs. partic. mc. 16, no. 13.

Below, 5, 163.

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