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History and the Historians of Medieval Spain$
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Peter Linehan

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198219453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198219453.001.0001

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The Thirteenth Century, II: Uncertainty

The Thirteenth Century, II: Uncertainty

Chapter:
(p.463) 14 The Thirteenth Century, II: Uncertainty
Source:
History and the Historians of Medieval Spain
Author(s):

Peter Linehan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198219453.003.0014

In common with his legal writings, Alfonso's historical compositions — in so far as they were indeed his — can be accounted works of contemporary history. This applies particularly to the General estoria. The General estoria's value to the student of the cultural resources available to its compilers has long been appreciated. But there is more to it than that. Despite the fact that its six enormous parts, each longer than the entire Estoria de Espaiia, reached no further than the birth of Christ, because it also reflects the political circumstances of the time it can also be read as a cautionary tale and viewed more or less as ‘a mirror of thirteenth-century Spain.’ Treating it in this way carries a risk of course; extreme care must be exercised in order to ensure that fanciful exegesis is informed by the 13th century's fancifulness.

Keywords:   cultural resources, Spain, General estoria, Alfonso, contemporary history, Solomon

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