Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon: Medieval Warfare in Societies around the Mediterranean

By Donald J. Kagay; L. J. Andrew Villalon | Go to book overview

THE RECONQUEST DURING THE REIGN OF
ALFONSO XI (1312–1350)
Nicholás Agrait

Although acknowledged as a distinctive and important period in Spanish medieval history, the reign of Alfonso XI (1312–1350) has been neglected until very recently. For most European and American historians, Castilian history has traditionally taken second stage to such topics as the Hundred Years War, the development of the English and French national monarchies, and the conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Papacy, to name a few. What is truly puzzling is that Spanish historians themselves have not adequately researched the circumstances and processes of Alfonso's distinguished monarchy. Interest in this subject has increased as of late, but the focus has more often been on legal and parliamentary developments or diplomatic and political trends which began in Alfonso's reign.1 Even within reconquest historiography, Alfonso's military contributions have generally received only cursory treatment.2 One possible reason could be that, in contrast to the great reconquest of the thirteenth century, his triumphs were not always accompanied by great territorial or monetary rewards. By these criteria of personal and territorial gain, Alfonso's accomplishments barely merit attention; yet Joseph O'Callaghan has speculated that had the king not died

____________________
1
Among the most important works one should consult Joseph F. O'Callaghan, The Cortes of Castile-León, 1188–1350 (Philadelphia, 1989) as well as the collection of essays edited by Adeline Rucquoi, Génesis medieval del estado moderno-Castilla y Navarra (1250–1370) (Valladolid, 1987) and Emilio Cabrera, ed., Andalucía entre oriente y occidente (1236–1492) (Córdoba, 1988). The historian who devoted a great deal of attention to this reign was Salvador de Moxó. His conclusions on the reign were edited and published as “Época de Alfonso XI, ” in La expansión penínsular y mediterránea (c. 1212–c. 1350) vol. 13 of Historia de España, ed. José María Jover Zamora (Madrid, 1990), 279–428; idem, “La sociedad política en la época de Alfonso XI, ” Cuadernos de Historia 6 (1975): 187–326; idem, La alcábala: sobre sus orígenes, concepto y naturaleza (Madrid, 1963).
2
For general treatments of the reconquest, see Joseph F. O'Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain (Ithaca, 1975); Angus McKay, Spain in the Middle Ages: From Frontier to Empire, 1000–1500 (New York, 1989); Derek Lomax, The Reconquest of Spain (London, 1978).

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