Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age

By Erika Rummel | Go to book overview

Appendix 2: An Anonymous Life
of Cardinal Cisneros

The following translation is based on the Spanish text printed in “An Early Life of Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros,” ed. L. Nelson and A. Weiss in Franciscan Studies 42 (1982): 156–65. The text is transcribed from a manuscript in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library of the University of Kansas (MS C238), which contains a number of items dated 1524–1541 and relating to the monastery of La Madre de Dios in Cisneros’ birthplace, Tordelaguna. A reference on fol. 5r referring to Charles as “emperor” provides a terminus post quem of 1519. The editors suggest that the Life is in the same hand as another document with the date “1524”. Thus the present biographical sketch probably dates from the mid-twenties. From internal evidence we know that the author of the Life was, like Cisneros, a Franciscan and may have been present at the opening ceremony of the University of Alcalá. He writes in a sober style and without flattery. In fact, as the modern editors note, “the absence of hyperbole is one of the oustanding characteristics of the work” (p. 159). The text is also remarkable for its precision in establishing the date and location of the events mentioned. In the following translation, I have retained the spelling of proper names as found in the manuscript.

Text

In the name of God. Amen.

This is the history of the founder of this convent and the house of La Madre de Dios in the village of Torrelaguna. He was an outstanding man, called Brother Francisco Ximenez de Çisneros, a native of this place, Torrelaguna, of respectable and honest parents. And in his youth he decided to adopt clerical status in preference to leading a secular life. And in proportion to his maturity, capacity, and learning, Our Lord raised him to diverse positions of honour, one after another, such as we have never seen in any mortal before.

-137-

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