A History of Medieval Spain

A History of Medieval Spain

A History of Medieval Spain

A History of Medieval Spain

Excerpt

I began writing this book in the belief that a narrative history of the Hispanic Middle Ages, based upon the research and investigations of the best contemporary historians, would be useful to English readers. Until recently American and most northern European scholars have paid scant attention to the history of the Iberian peninsula in the Middle Ages and have often been content with superficial judgments founded upon antiquated and inaccurate works or on opinions clouded by the prejudices accumulated over the past four hundred years. If this book contributes to a clearer understanding of the formation of medieval Spain it will have served a valuable purpose. As the field of medieval Spanish and Portuguese history is still relatively unexplored, I hope that readers will be encouraged to pursue more intensive investigation into many of the subjects dealt with.

Chronologically this book extends from the coming of the Visigoths in the fifth century until the conquest of Granada and the discovery of America in 1492; geographically it embraces the entire peninsula, including both modern Spain and Portugal.

Consistency in the spelling of personal and place names is difficult to achieve, but I have tried to be consistent in my fashion. For the Roman and Visigothic periods I generally employ anglicized forms of personal names. There is no reason why they should be put in Castilian, and though Latin might be appropriate, "Reccesvinth" seems to me preferable to "Reccesvinthus." For Arabic names I usually adopt a simplified spelling based upon the forms used in the Encyclopedia of Islam (1960). I retain Romance names, except in such very familiar cases as Henry the Navigator and Ferdinand and Isabella, and I make use of the Castilian and Portuguese forms, for example, Alfonso, Afonso, Juan, João. Where there are several kings with those names ruling . . .

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