2013 June Kings and Queens of Spain


Historia de los reyes de Castilla y de Leon don Fernando el Magno, primero deste nombre, Infante de Nauarra, don Sancho que murió sobre Zamora, don Alonso Sexto deste nombre, doña Urraka hija de don Alonso sexto, don Alonso Septimo Emperador de las Españas / sacada de los Preuilegios, libros antiguos, memorias, diarios, piedras y otras antiguallas, con la diligencia y cuydado que en esto pudo poner don Fr. Prudencio de Sandoual…(Pamplona, 1634). 2o


The Worth Book of the Month for June 2013 is the 1634 History of the Kings of Castile and Leon, Ferdinand I the Great, Sancho II the Strong, Alfonso VI the Brave, Urraca I, and Alfonso VII the Emperor by Fr. Prudencio de Sandoval. This book continues the Chronicles of Spanish Kings started by Florian de Ocampo (c.1499 – c.1558) and Ambrosio de Morales (1513 – 1591). It tells the history of the first five kings of Castile and Leon and it is mostly known as “History of the 5 Kings”.

Prudencio de Sandoval, the son of Fernando de Tovar and Maria de Sandoval, was born in Valladolid and took the name of Prudencio when he became a Benedictine Friar on the day of Saint Prudencio (28th April). Different studies of his life put his date of birth around 1551-1552 and the place of birth in Tordesillas; we have very little information about the real name he was given or of his parents’ marriage and it is unclear if he was an illegitimate son or not. What is certain is that he became a Benedictine friar at the Monastery of Santa Maria la Real de Najera (La Rioja) in 1569 and afterwards held different positions in the religious order; being deputy of the Order of Saint Benedict in court and Bishop of Valladolid. He was also made Abbot of St Isidoro and was Bishop of Tuy from 1608 to 1612 and Bishop of Pamplona from 1612 until his death in 1620.

He studied theology but his passion for archaeology and history is reflected in the works he produced in these subjects. He became so knowledgeable on these subjects that in 1600 the King Felipe III gave him the title of Official Chronicler, with the main purpose of continuing the work of Florian de Ocampo and Ambrosio de Morales documenting Spanish history. Morales had finished the chronicles at volume XVII so Sandoval started at volume XVIII. The Worth Library’s copy therefore begins at volume XVIII, first published in 1615.

In his “History of the five Kings”, Sandoval tried very hard not to repeat what was already told about the history of these kings in old chronicles. Despite his personal interest in old chronicles as evidenced by his publication of Alfonso VII’s Chronicle and the publication of the chronicles of Idacio, San Isidoro, Alfonso III, Sampiro and Pelayo (the latter usually called “of the five Bishops”(1615)); he disregarded these chronicles and talked of them with disdain. Instead he based his research on documents taken from different sources. In his own words, “he mendigado cuanto he podido, sacado de libros viejos y nuevos, de privilegios y otros papeles, piedras, diarios, memorias y cartas pontificales, lo que el mismo libro dirá” [I have begged as much as I can, taken from books old and new, from privileges and another papers, stones, diaries, memoirs and pontifical letters, what the book will tell].


Ferdinand El Magno.

The book starts with the life of Ferdinand I (c.1016-1065) called the Great (El Magno). He received the title of count of Castile (1029) after his uncle’s death and the title of king of Leon after wining a battle against his brother in law (1035). Later he crowned himself Emperor of Spain (1065) starting a tradition continued for his descendants. During his reign he focused mainly on the reconquest of Al-Andalus as the main way of expanding his kingdom. At his death he divided his kingdom between his three eldest sons: Sancho received Castile which now was a kingdom not a county; Alfonso, his favourite son, received Leon and the title of King; and Garcia received the kingdom of Galicia. His two younger daughters Urraca and Elvira received the cities of Zamora and Toro respectively.


Sancho El Fuerte.

Sancho II of Castile (c.1037-1072) called the Strong (El Fuerte) is considered the first King of Castile (1065-1072) since his father Ferdinand I was only Count of Castile. Through all his life and time as King he fought his brothers in order to reunify the three Kingdoms, conquering Galicia (1071) and Leon (1072). He also continued his father’s territorial expansion and reconquered Bureba, Alta Rioja and Alava with the help of one of the most famous Spanish historical figures, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid. He was murdered when he was trying to conquer Zamora from his sister Urraca.


Alfonso VI El Bravo.

Alfonso VI de Leon (1047-1109) called the Brave (El Bravo), became king of Leon after his father’s death (1065). He formed an alliance with his brother Sancho II against their brother Garcia to gain control of the Kingdom of Galicia. Both were crowned Kings of Galicia in 1071 and signed a truce that would last three years. This truce ended at the Battle of Golpejera (1072), won by Sancho II. Alfonso VI had to seek refugee and finally found it in the taifa of Toledo. When his brother Sancho II was murdered in Zamora he inherited the three joint kingdoms. After being crowned King of Castile, Leon and Galicia and Emperor of Spain, he dedicated the rest of his life to expand his territories. He also reconquered the taifa of Toledo in 1085.


Urraca de Leon

Doña Urraca I de Leon and Castile (1081-1126) became queen after the death of her father Alfonso VI. Following her father’s political strategies she married twice: her first marriage was to Raymond of Burgundy to secure an alliance with France. This union produced a son, the future heir to her throne, Alfonso VII. After Raymond of Burgundy’s death Alfonso VI married her to Alfonso I de Aragon (El Batallador), trying to build a bridge for the union between Castile-Leon with Aragon. Urraca did not like this marriage but followed her father’s wishes. The union encountered great opposition from the nobility in Leon and Galicia and many revolts arose as consequence of it. These hostilities turned into warfare between Castile-Leon and Aragon. Finally a treaty was agreed and the marriage was annulled. However, Urraca lost a portion of Castile, together with Zamora and Extremadura. Urraca would dedicate the rest of her life until her death in 1126 to recover these regions.


Alfonso VII El Emperador.

Alfonso VII de Leon, el Emperador (1105-1157) was crowned king after the death of his mother Urraca I in 1126. He received the kingdoms of Leon, Galicia and Castile with the exception of the Castilian territories still in possession of Alfonso I King of Aragon. After his coronation he immediately began the recovery of these territories. When in 1134 Alfonso I died without an heir, Alfonso VII claimed his throne but was unsuccessful. In 1135 he was crowned Emperor of Spain and continued the reconquest of Al-Andalus started by his predecessors.


The coat of arms of Castile and Leon used by Prudencio Sandoval in this book is contemporary to the author’s life time but not to the kings portrayed on it. It shows the traditional arms of Castile, the castle, quartered with the arms of Leon, the lion. It is topped with a royal crown. The lion design is attributed to Alfonso VII de Leon (1105-1157) King of Castile-Leon (1126). The castle symbol is accredited to his grandson Alfonso VIII de Castile (1155-1214) King of Castile (1158) and Toledo. However, it was Ferdinand III of Castile (1199-1252) King of Castile (1217) and Leon (1230) who, when he united both kingdoms,  quartered the coat of arms and joined both symbols.


The book was first published in 1615 by the printer Carlos de Labayen. Labayen, originally from Pamplona, learned his trade in Zaragoza working during five years with the printer Alonso Rodriguez whose daughter he married. He finally moved back to his home town, Pamplona, and set up his business there. This edition was printed for Pedro Escuer, a bookseller established in Zaragoza in 1634.

They are a total of four works by Prudencio de Sandoval in the Worth Library. Apart from this volume the Worth has a copy of his most famous work Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V (Pamplona, 1614-1618) in two volumes; probably commissioned by Felipe III. He worked very rapidly on it and completed in three years the first volume (1500-1528) and in two years the second volume which recounts Charles V’s life from 1528 to his death in 1558.

During his compilation of Charles V life, Sandoval had as a model the Anales de la Corona de Aragon (1562-1580) by Jeronimo Zurita, (Zaragoza 1512-1580), an Aragonese historian who founded the modern tradition of historical scholarship in Spain. Although following Zurita we can say that Sandoval did not applied the same critical sense and method as Zurita did. Some authors also suggest that Sandoval shows less impartiality in his work. Nevertheless, his work is still very interesting because of the large quantity of unpublished documents included in it. It was no doubt for  this reason that the English historian William Robertson (1721-1793) used it so assiduously in his History of Charles V (1769), copying whole passages from it.

The other two books by Sandoval at the Worth are: a copy of his Historia captivitatis Francisci I: Galliarum regis. nec non vitae Caroli V. Imper. In monasterio; addita relatio vitae mortisque Caroli infantis Philippi II. regis Hispaniarum filii: authoribus Prudentio de Sandoval, espiscopo Pampelonae, et Ludovico de Cabrera de Cordua …(Milan, 1715); and a copy of The civil wars of Spain, in the beginning of the reign of Charls the 5t, Emperor of Germanie, and King of that nation. Written originally in the Spanish-tongue, by Prudencio de Sandoval, Doctor of Divinitie, and Abbat of the monasterie of St Isidro el Real, in Valladolid of the order of St Bennet, Historiographer roial to Philip the Third; never yet translated, now put into English by Captain J.W. (London, 1652).


All portrait photos are taken from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page


Biblioteca Virtual Institucion Fernando El Catolico http://ifc.dpz.es/

Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes http://www.cervantesvirtual.com

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Biografias y Vidas www.biografiasyvidas.com

Canal Sanchez-Pagin, J.M. (1980). Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, obispo e historiador (Familia y estudios). Principe de Viana, Año No 41, No 158-159, pp. 161-190. Retrieved from http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=15647

Domingo Malvadi, A. (2010). Disponiendo anaqueles para libro. Nuevos datos sobre la biblioteca de Jeronimo Zurita. Estudios de la Institucion Fernando el Catolico. Retrieved from http://ifc.dpz.es/recursos/publicaciones/30/09/_ebook.pdf

Lipskey, G. E. (1972). The Chronicle of Alfonso the Emperor: A translation of the chornica Adefonsi imperatoris, with study and notes. Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University. Retrieved from http://libro.uca.edu/lipskey/chronicle.htm

Martin, T. (2005). The Art of a Reigning Queen as dynastic propaganda in Twelfth-Century Spain. Speculum, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Oct., 2005), pp. 1134-1171.

Oxford Dictionaries Online, www.oxforddictionaries.com

Reilly, B. F. (1988). The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065-1109.Print edition: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://libro.uca.edu/alfonso6/alfonso.htm

Reilly, B.F. (1982). The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla under Queen Urraca, 1109-1126. Print edition: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://libro.uca.edu/urraca/urraca.htm

The Library of Iberian Resources Online (LIBRO) – Universidad of Central Arkansas. http://libro.uca.edu/

Velasco de la Peña, E. (1997-1998). Pedro Jeronimo Sanchez de Lizarazo y el origen de la imprenta en Tarazona. Turiaso, No 14, pp. 133-162. Retrieved from http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=666811


Text by Ms Susana Cobos-Ruiz, Photographic Assistant, Worth Library.

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