Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla under King Alfonso VII, 1126-1157

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla under King Alfonso VII, 1126-1157

Article excerpt

The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla under King A40mio VII, 1126-1157. By, Bernard E Reilly. [The Middle Ages Series.1 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1998. Pp. xv, 431. $65.00.)

This volume completes a trilogy that encompasses the history of the Iberian kingdom of Leon-Castile from 1065 to 1157. Earlier works (1982, 1988) dealt with the reigns of Affonso VI and his daughter Urt-Aca. The present study extends through the reign of the grandson, Alfonso VII, and affords Bernard Reilly an opportunity to revisit a number of issues and to reflect upon the character of monarchy and government during the foundational century of this realm. The first four chapters are. chronological in organization. They successively (1) summarize the reigns of Alfonso VI''s predecessors, (2) treat the difficulties of the succession, (3) explore Alfonso VII's relations with the other Christian realms of Iberia, and (4) examine the king's contribution to the Hispanic reconquista. Five chapters are topical and treat (5) the institution of kingship, (6) the royal curia and counts, (7) local officers of the crown, castellans,and merinos, (8) royal military and fiscal resources, (9) bishops and royal policy toward the Church, and (10) the towns and the appearance of concejos. The final chapter (11) is an appraisal of the king, who is judged to be strong, energetic, but above all traditional.

The work is well edited and helpfully places notes where the), belong, at the foot of each page. Given the importance of place names, the absence of maps is bothersome, and puzzling is a subsequent reference to Ramiro 11 of Aragon (p, 61) as Sancho II.

Reilly's work, is foundational, if sometimes unwieldy. On the one hand, it is pioneering in its efforts to reconstruct the diplomatic record-for the reign of Alfonso VII amounting to a thousand royal diplomas and another thousand private documents, which are calendared in an appendix and rated according to their trustworthiness. …

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