Religion and Civil Society


  • The Court

    Study of the court of the prince Juan (1478-1497), by Álvaro Fernandez de Córdova. The research is based on the specific historical documentary collections from the "Archivo General de Simancas" (Valladolid), "Instituto Valencia de don Juan" (Madrid), "Archivo de la Corona de Aragón"(Barcelona).
    More information  [enlace al pdf The Symbolic Space of Royalty.pdf]

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  • Cartography of the Royal Sites

    Rita Costa Gomes and Julia Pavón propose to investigate new questions regarding the constant displacement of the kings, especially that which is of political and military significance. the sources on which they will base their work will be bibliographic data from RefWorks accessible in the Towson University, and documental sources from (1) reference works, (2) monographs, (3) articles y (4) primary raw data sources.

    A systematic record will be kept of the available maps of the medieval kingdoms of Castilla, Portugal, Corona de Aragón, Navarra and Granada, constructing a comprehensive map of the royal residences of the lower medieval Iberian Peninsula.

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  • Auto-coronation and the Secularization of Royal Power

    Teófilo Ruiz and Jaume Aurell will analyze the self-coronations of the kings Alfonso el Benigno (1327-1336) and Pedro IV de Aragón (1336-1387) and of Alfonso XI de Castilla (1312-1359). The study will start off from the classical works of the German researcher Percy E. Schramm; and they will also use the classical works of Claudio Sánchez Albornoz and Bonifacio Palacios, the work of José Manuel Nieto Soria on royal ceremonies, the collaborative work on the English coronation ceremonies, edited by Eloisa Ramírez.

    Their documental sources will be as follows (1) chronicler writings, especially those of Ramon Muntaner (1328) and the Llibre de Pere el Ceremonioso (1383); (2) the liturgical notes; (3) the diplomatic sources of the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, the Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Historia and the Archivo General de Simancas, which contain complementary data to the coronations in question and (4) completion by including the study from other sources, especially royal ceremonies, and in particular, that which was ordered by Pere el Ceremonioso.

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  • Emblems and Royal Signs

    A proposal is made to analyze the "emblems" or royal signs used by Juan II de Castilla (1404-1456) as an expression of his political project and identifying sign of his own political faction in the context of fights for power that destabilized his government. More specifically, the emblems of "Escama", "Ristre" and "Banda", two of which are signs of their respective order of knights, whose history will be reconstructed by combining chronicler testimonies, iconographs and literary works. The research, carried out by Álvaro Fernández de Córdova, not only offers an explanation –up to now nonexistent- of its origin and unequal development but rather also integrates these signs in a global analysis of the political tensions, propaganda, and the evolution of the esthetic forms in the court of Juan II.

    María Narbona will carry out an investigation parallel to the Navarrian area, by means of documentation available in the "Archivo del Reino de Navarra".

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  • Festivals

    There is also a plan to carry out a study on the evolution of the festivals and tournaments in the Castilla of the 15th century, specifically emphasizing their relationship with the symbols of the royalty. This investigation will be carried out by Teófilo Ruiz. The royal entrances into the cities, carnivals, Corpus Cristi celebrations and other festivals of saints will be described and interpreted. The idea is to offer a typology of the festivals in Castilla, and their relationship with the monarchy, anticipating examples of the different types of festivals and activities and explaining their significances in the context of the social, cultural and political lives and their implications, as well as their comparison with those of other peninsular and European monarchiesFor this investigation, the following will be used as documental sources: stories of trips, the chronicles, and the complementary documentation available, among others, in the "Archivo de Corona de Aragón" and especially in the municipal archives of some medieval Castilian cities.

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  • The Critique of the Crusades

    In this study, the idea is to analyze the debates regarding whether or not the third crusade was convenient, provoking the hostile opuscule of Raúl Niger, a priest and friend of Thomas Becket, very critical against Henry the Second of England, who used the excuse of his vote for a crusade to attack the liberties of the Church defended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Another critical moment of the debate was in the council of Lyon (1274), in which the Franciscan sensitivity is manifested, more favorable to the mission than to a military action.

    The criticism against the crusade does not only come from the clerical environment advising a radical interpretation of the theory of two swords. Some troubadours bitterly criticized the crusade, especially against the Albigenses, in which the Aragonese kings were so involved.

    For this research, the documental sources will be made up of the actual troubadour creations. The criticism against the crusade is also found in palimpsest, in some King Arthur novels, and in jester songs, especially in Italy or Germany.  

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  • The Fracture of the Royal Seal

    Throughout the Middle Ages, the royal emblems and the rituals associated with them tried to present the royalty as an institution of divine origin and therefore, of sacred character. The analysis of political theology and sigillography in the medieval monarchies is an approximation to the iconography of royal seals and their transformations. The dissemination of the royal seal presupposes an annihilation of the king's political power in the ceremony of the breaking of his seal before the Chancellery. With the extinction of an image, a presence is extinguished, and it is a presence which more than just being something physical, it survived within the seal. The image of the king in the seal which authenticates a diploma is a mystic and figurative image that contains a great deal of symbolism, with a religious-mystic and esthetic-specific character, whatever the era in which it is found might be.

    This study, carried out by Alfons Puigarnau, intends to carry out a specific analysis of the royal fracturing in the Aragonese monarchy by means archived documentation conserved especially in the "Archivo de la Corona de Aragón" as well as other archive, and in particular, those of the "Archivo de la Catedral de Barcelona", and the "Archivo de la Catedral de Vic".

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Contact of ‘Medieval Political Theology'

General contact:
Jaume Aurell i Cardona
Despacho 2030
Departamento de Historia
31009 Pamplona

+34 948 42 56 00. Ext. 802159