Week 21

Week 21: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Castile

House of Trastámara. John II ( 1405 – 1454) was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454. He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile. Juan looked like his English grandfather, blond, blue eyed, tall and handsome, but it was only in appearance that there was any resemblance. John of Gaunt was decisive and one of the most important figures of the whole of the fourteenth century. His Castilian grandson was one of the most ineffectual rulers ever, anywhere. And worse, he sat on the throne of Castile for almost half a century. So the story of central Spain, that is Castile, begins the fifteenth century with a disastrous fifty year period of drift and civil chaos.

REQUIRED READING

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 2009),

ISBN 0970696930

Product Description:

The book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Review:

". . . the dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." -- Midwest Book Review, January 2000

". . . written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain’s historical elements." -- Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation..." -- David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture..." -- Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." -- Lonely Planet guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is: a history of Spain..." --Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

PART TWO: A Visit to CASTILE

Castile and the city of LEON

22

Week 22: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Aragon

One of the most distinguished leaders of Aragon in the early 15th century was King Alfonso. Alfonso the Magnanimous ( 1396– 1458) was the King of Aragon (as Alfonso V), Valencia (as Alfonso III), Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica (as Alfonso II), and Sicily and Count of Barcelona (as Alfonso IV) from 1416 and King of Naples (as Alfonso I) from 1442 until his death. He was one of the most prominent figures of the early Renaissance and a knight of the Order of the Dragon. Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Aragon (known as Ferdinand of Antequera) and Eleanor of Alburquerque. He represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona only through women, and was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, the reigning House of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and disputed the island of Sardinia with Genoa. Alfonso was also in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s. Alfonso represents the gradual merging of the reigning house of Castile with the reigning house of Aragon. He is the grandfather of King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Alfonso was succeeded by John II of Aragon. John II the Faithless, also known as the Great (1398 – 1479 was the King of Aragon from 1458 until 1479, and jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1425 until his death. He was the son of Ferdinand I and his wife Eleanor of Alburquerque. John is regarded as one of the most memorable and most unscrupulous kings of the 15th century. John was born at Medina del Campo. In his youth he was one of the infantes (princes) of Aragon who took part in the dissensions of Castile during the minority and reign of John II of Castile. Till middle life he was also lieutenant-general in Aragon for his brother and predecessor Alfonso V, whose reign was mainly spent in Italy. In his old age he was engaged in incessant conflicts with his Aragonese and Catalan subjects, with Louis XI of France, and in preparing the way for the marriage of his son Ferdinand with Isabella I of Castile which brought about the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile, that was to create the Kingdom of Spain.

REQUIRED READING:

Chapter 5, "Birth of the Spanish World"

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 2009),

ISBN 0970696930

Product Description:

The book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Review:

". . . the dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." -- Midwest Book Review, January 2000

". . . written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain’s historical elements." -- Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation..." -- David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture..." -- Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." -- Lonely Planet guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is: a history of Spain..." --Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

 

23

Week 23: Thursday, April 15, 2021
Isabella of Castile

Wikipedia: Isabella I (22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and pulled the kingdom out of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects and financing Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the "New World". Isabella was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Ávila to John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal on April 22, 1451. She was the granddaughter of Henry III of Castile and Catherine of Lancaster. At the time of her birth, her older half brother Enrique (Henry) was in line for the throne before her. Enrique, referred to as the English version of his name Henry, was twenty-six years old at that time and married, but he was childless. Her younger brother Alfonso was born two years later on 17 November 1453 and displaced her in the line of succession. When her father, John II of Castile, died in 1454, Henry became King Henry IV. Isabella and Alfonso were left in Henry's care. Her brother Alfonso, mother, and she then moved to Arévalo. These were times of turmoil for Isabella. Isabella lived with her brother and her mother in a castle in poor conditions where they also suffered from shortage of money. Although her father arranged in his will for his children to be financially well taken care of, her half-brother Henry did not comply with their father's wishes, either from a desire to keep his half-siblings restricted or ineptitude. Even though the living conditions were lackluster, under the careful eye of her mother, Isabella was instructed in lessons of practical piety and in the deep reverence for religion.

REQUIRED READING:

Chapter 5, "Birth of the Spanish World"

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books,

ISBN 0970696930

This book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Reviews:

"The dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." —Midwest Book Review, January 2000

"Written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain's historical elements." —Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation." —David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture." —Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, UCLA

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." —Lonely Planet Guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is—a history of Spain." —Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

RECOMMENDED READING:

This is the best biography of Isabella in English.

Kirstin Downey,

Isabella: The Warrior Queen,

Nan A. Talese; 1st edition (October 28, 2014),

ISBN 0385534116

"[An] immensely provocative figure... [who] successfully maneuvered in an almost exclusively male world of politics." —Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

"In a fascinating portrait, Downey sketches a monarch both adored and demonized, and makes the case that Isabella laid the foundation for the first global superpower." —BBC.com

"A strong, fascinating woman, Isabella helped to usher in the modern age, and this rich, clearly written biography is a worthy chronicle of her impressive yet controversial life." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

 

24

Week 24: Thursday, April 22, 2021
The Children of Ferdinand and Isabella

PART ONE: LECTURE
  1. Isabella, Queen of Portugal, 1470-1498,
  2. Juan, Prince of Asturias, 1478-1497
  3. Juana, Queen of Castile, 1479-1555
  4. Maria, Queen of Portugal, 1482-1517
  5. Catherine, Queen of England, 1485-1536
RECOMMENDED READING

J. Edwards,

Ferdinand and Isabella, Proflies in Power,

Longman, 2004,

ISBN 0582218160

The powerful personalities of Ferdinand and Isabella had a major impact on the societies and states of early Europe and America. They unified Spain under one government and established the new Inquisition in 1478; they affirmed the country's Catholic Christian identity by forcing Muslims and Jews to convert to Christianity and they sent Christopher Columbus to discover a New World. Their influence has passed down centuries, providing political and cultural role models during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Powerful figures in history have generally achieved dominance as individuals, and have largely been male. This book is striking in being about a couple, not a single, dominant ruler. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabella, John Edwards provides a gripping and topical account of the dynamics of their power relationship and the religious controversies of their reign. This is essential reading for those concerned with power, politics and religion and with interfaith relations in the premodern world. John Edwards is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the George Bell Institute, and Correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. Now a Research Fellow in Spanish at the University of Oxford, he was formerly Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Reader in Spanish History at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on Spanish History, including The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474 - 1520 (2000).

25

Week 25: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Christopher Columbus

Wikipedia: Christopher Columbus (October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of the "New World". In the context of emerging western imperialism and economic competition between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade routes and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire. Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson) , Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion. Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans, rather than the East Indies he had set out for, Columbus called the inhabitants of the lands he visited indios (Spanish for "Indians"). Columbus' strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and dismissal as governor of the settlements in Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits which Columbus and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

REQUIRED READING:

Read the "Introduction" and the First Voyage

Christopher Columbus,

The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives,

Penguin Classic,

ISBN 0140442170

RECOMMENDED READING:

Laurence Bergreen,

Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 014312210X

Institute Library Call Number: 970.015 Ber COL

A spellbinding epic that's simultaneiously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controversial creature ever to board a  boat. This scrupulously researched, unbiased account of four death-defying journeys to the New World reveals the admiral's paradoxical personality." —USA Today

"In this scrupulously fair and often thrilling account of his four voyages to the New World, Bergreen reveals Columbus as brilliant, brave, adventurous, and deeply flawed . . . A superb re-examination of the character and career of a still controversial historical agent." —Booklist

John Cummins,

Voyage of Christopher Columbus,

Trafalgar Square,

ISBN 0297812335

Institute Library Call Number: 970.015 Cum VOY

Columbus' own journal of discovery as newly restored and translated by John Cummins. This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. Reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible.

26

Week 26: Thursday, May 6, 2021
1492

Week 26

During our 26th week together we will look at the monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella as they approached 1500 and the three great challenges they faced:
1. The Columbian voyage and should they finance it. Isabella decided in the affirmative. Ferdinand did not care.
2. The Conquest of Granada that had been in their plans since 1481 wen the Granada authorities provoked one more war.
3. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain

27

Week 27: Thursday, May 13, 2021
King Charles I of Spain

charles5Wikipedia: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Spanish: Carlos I de España) born 24 February 1500, died 21 September 1558, was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556. As the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties—the House of Habsburg of the Habsburg Monarchy; the House of Valois-Burgundy of the Burgundian Netherlands; and the House of Trastámara of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon—he ruled over extensive domains in Central, Western, and Southern Europe; and the Spanish colonies in North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad. When Philip died in 1506, Charles became ruler of the Burgundian Netherlands, and his mother's co-ruler in Spain upon the death of his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, in 1516. As Charles was the first person to rule Castile-León and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, he became the first King of Spain (Charles co-reigned with his mother Joanna, which was however a technicality given her mental instability). In 1519, Charles succeeded his paternal grandfather Maximilian as Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria. From that point forward, Charles's realm, which has been described as "the empire on which the sun never sets", spanned nearly four million square kilometers across Europe, the Far East, and the Americas. Much of Charles' reign was devoted to the Italian Wars against the French king, Francis I, and his heir, king Henry II, which although enormously expensive, were militarily successful due to the undefeated Spanish tercio and the efforts of his prime ministers Mercurino Gattinara and Francisco de los Cobos y Molina. Charles' forces re-captured both Milan and Franche-Comté from France after the decisive Habsburg victory at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, which pushed Francis to form the Franco-Ottoman alliance. Charles' rival Suleiman the Magnificent conquered Hungary in 1526 after defeating the Christians at the Battle of Mohács. However, the Ottoman advance was halted after they failed to capture Vienna in 1529. Aside from this, Charles is best known for his role in opposing the Protestant Reformation. In addition to the German Peasants' War against the Empire, several German princes abandoned the Catholic Church and formed the Schmalkaldic League in order to challenge Charles' authority with military force. Unwilling to allow the same religious wars to come to his other domains, Charles pushed for the convocation of the Council of Trent, which began the Counter-Reformation. The Society of Jesus was established by St. Ignacio de Loyola during Charles' reign in order to peacefully and intellectually combat Protestantism, and continental Spain was spared from religious conflict largely by Charles' nonviolent measures. In Germany, although the Protestants were personally defeated by Charles at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547, he legalized Lutheranism within the Holy Roman Empire with the Peace of Augsburg. Charles also maintained his alliance with Henry VIII of England, despite the latter splitting the Church of England from Rome and violently persecuting Catholics. In the New World, Charles oversaw the Spanish colonization of the Americas, including the conquest of both the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire. The rapid Christianization of New Spain was attributed to the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Uncomfortable with how his viceroys were governing the Americas vis-à-vis the Native Americans, Charles consulted figures such as Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de las Casas on the morality of colonization which las Casas vehemently opposed with his Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. Charles V also provided five ships to Ferdinand Magellan and his navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, after the Portuguese captain was repeatedly turned down by Manuel I of Portugal. The commercial success of Magellan's voyage (the first circumnavigation of the Earth) temporarily enriched Charles by the sale of its cargo of cloves and laid the foundation for the Pacific oceanic empire of Spain, and along with Ruy López de Villalobos, began Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Though always at war, Charles was essentially a lover of peace, and all his wars were virtually defensive. "Not greedy of territory", wrote Marcantonio Contarini in 1536, "but most greedy of peace and quiet." Charles retired in 1556. The Habsburg Monarchy passed to Charles' younger brother Ferdinand, whereas the Spanish Empire was inherited by his son Philip II. The two empires would remain allies until the 18th century.

RECOMMENDED READING

William Maltby,

The Reign of Charles V,

Palgrave Macmillan,

ISBN 0333677684

The Reign of Charles V is an important new study of one of the most important rulers in world history. As the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain during the mid-1500s, Charles V ruled the first truly global empire and was the greatest of all the Habsburg Emperors. He was responsible for, among other things, the conquests of Mexico and Peru and the consequent European influence on Latin America, the waning of the Renaissance, the religious transformation of Europe by the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, and the establishment of a Habsburg empire in Eastern Europe.William Maltby's engaging new study not only looks at the emperor as a person, but also examines such important critical issues as his policies and their consequences. Concise and readable, The Reign of Charles V provides an indispensable introduction to an era that changed the world. William Maltby is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He has served as Executive Director of the Center for Reformation Research and has written extensively on various aspects of early modern history.

Martyn Rady,

The Habsburgs: To Rule the World,

Basic Books; Illustrated edition,

ISBN 1541644506

The definitive history of a powerful family dynasty who dominated Europe for centuries -- from their rise to power to their eventual downfall.

Geoffrey Parker,

Emperor: A New Life of Charles V,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300254865

Institute Library Call Number: 942.031 Par EMP

Drawing on vital new evidence, a top historian dramatically reinterprets the life and reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, ruler of the world’s first transatlantic empire.

28

Week 28: Thursday, May 20, 2021
King Philip II of Spain

Philip_IIWikipedia: Philip II (Spanish: Felipe II, Portuguese: Filipe I, born 21 May 1527, died 13 September 1598) was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, and Sicily. During his marriage to Mary I, he was also King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count. Also known as Philip the Prudent, he ruled one of the world's largest empires which included territories in every continent then known to Europeans. Philip was born in Valladolid, the son of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, and his consort, Isabella of Portugal. During his reign, Spain was the foremost Western European power. Under his rule, Spain reached the height of its influence and power, directing explorations all around the world and settling the colonization of territories in all the known continents. He was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive." The Ambassador went on to say "He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious."

RECOMMENDED READING:

Henry Kamen,

Philip of Spain,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300078005

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal: The depth of Kamen's research on his subject, who ruled Spain from 1527 to 1598, could overwhelm some readers, as his previous works have done (e.g., The Phoenix and the Flame, Yale Univ., 1993). In this first in-depth biography of Philip II, Kamen's understanding of and acquaintance with the sources is masterly. The author often disagrees with much of the classic beliefs about Philip's personality; for example, his supposed solemnity and predilection for black. (Kamen notes that the king was rarely out of mourning.) However, regarding Philip's reputed cruelty, Kamen says he was hard but "restrained the severity of his officials on numberless occasions," yet he fails to enumerate these occasions. While Philip dominated Spanish politics and culture for more than half a century, Kamen devotes only a few tantalizing pages to the effects of that reign on subsequent events. The audience deserves more of Kamen's insights toward this end. Still, this is a work of marvelous scholarship; highly recommended.

From Booklist: Philip II of Spain has received an almost uniformly bad press; scholars, particularly English and American, generally portray him as a narrow-minded, religious fanatic who reacted with predictable brutality to any stirrings of liberal religious or political thought. Kamen, currently a professor for the Council of Scientific Research in Barcelona, strives mightily to present a more balanced portrait. He scores points in indicating that the supposedly insular Philip traveled widely, mixed socially with Protestants in the Netherlands, and seemed willing to grant them a measure of religious (but not political) toleration. Instead of the absolute monarch often described in diatribes by Anglophiles, Kamen's Philip emerges as a ruler of a fragmented Spain who strived continually to cope with centrifugal forces. Kamen's prose is lucid, succinct, and thorough, without getting bogged down in details that would appeal strictly to specialists. In humanizing a man too often viewed as a cardboard tyrant, Kamen has made a valuable contribution to European historiography.

Geoffrey Parker,

Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300216955

Institute Library Call Number: 946.04 Par IMP

"Through the testimony of Philip's friends, foes, courtiers, and his own words; this authoritative, intelligently revisionist biography must stand now as the primary reference." —Times

"This highly detailed but also immensely readable book has come far closer to that than any previous account of the most enigmatic of Spanish kings." —New York Times Book Review

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

29

Week 29: Thursday, May 27, 2021
Santa Teresa of Avila

DONT FORGET OUR READING OF SANTA TERESA THIS WEEK

Wikipedia:

Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, (March 28, 1515 – October 4, 1582) was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV, and in 1970 named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her seminal work, El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle), are an integral part of the Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices as she entails in her other important work Camino de Perfección (The Way of Perfection)

REQUIRED READING:

St Teresa de Avila,

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself,

Penguin Classic ,

ISBN 0140440739

RECOMMENDED READING:

Shirley du Boulay,

Teresa of Avila: An Extraordinary Life,

BlueBridge,

ISBN 0974240524

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

PART 2: EL GRECO

RECOMMENDED READING:

Fernando Marias,

El Greco: Life and Work-A New History,

Thames & Hudson,

ISBN 0500093776

"Indispensible for serious students of El Greco, a painter whose life and art have been seen in very disparate ways over the centuries. . . . Of particular significance are some 20,000 words in El Greco’s own hand, annotating the writings of Vitruvius and Vasari. . . . Essential." ―Choice

30

Week 30: Thursday, June 3, 2021
Spain in the Seventeenth Century

800px-Diego_Velázquez_-_Las_Meninas_detail_-_WGA24449We have arrived at Week 30, and now as we look back on our thirty weeks of study, we want to look into the future, into the Seventeenth Century and into the Golden Age of Spain. This is the age of Velazquez and Cervantes.

RECOMMENDED READING

J. Edwards,

Ferdinand and Isabella, Proflies in Power,

Longman, 2004,

ISBN 0582218160

The powerful personalities of Ferdinand and Isabella had a major impact on the societies and states of early Europe and America. They unified Spain under one government and established the new Inquisition in 1478; they affirmed the country's Catholic Christian identity by forcing Muslims and Jews to convert to Christianity and they sent Christopher Columbus to discover a New World. Their influence has passed down centuries, providing political and cultural role models during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Powerful figures in history have generally achieved dominance as individuals, and have largely been male. This book is striking in being about a couple, not a single, dominant ruler. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabella, John Edwards provides a gripping and topical account of the dynamics of their power relationship and the religious controversies of their reign. This is essential reading for those concerned with power, politics and religion and with interfaith relations in the premodern world. John Edwards is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the George Bell Institute, and Correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. Now a Research Fellow in Spanish at the University of Oxford, he was formerly Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Reader in Spanish History at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on Spanish History, including The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474 - 1520 (2000).

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

All

Week 21: Thu., Apr. 1, 2021
Castile

House of Trastámara. John II ( 1405 – 1454) was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454. He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile. Juan looked like his English grandfather, blond, blue eyed, tall and handsome, but it was only in appearance that there was any resemblance. John of Gaunt was decisive and one of the most important figures of the whole of the fourteenth century. His Castilian grandson was one of the most ineffectual rulers ever, anywhere. And worse, he sat on the throne of Castile for almost half a century. So the story of central Spain, that is Castile, begins the fifteenth century with a disastrous fifty year period of drift and civil chaos.

REQUIRED READING

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 2009),

ISBN 0970696930

Product Description:

The book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Review:

". . . the dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." -- Midwest Book Review, January 2000

". . . written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain’s historical elements." -- Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation..." -- David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture..." -- Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." -- Lonely Planet guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is: a history of Spain..." --Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

PART TWO: A Visit to CASTILE

Castile and the city of LEON

Week 22: Thu., Apr. 8, 2021
Aragon

One of the most distinguished leaders of Aragon in the early 15th century was King Alfonso. Alfonso the Magnanimous ( 1396– 1458) was the King of Aragon (as Alfonso V), Valencia (as Alfonso III), Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica (as Alfonso II), and Sicily and Count of Barcelona (as Alfonso IV) from 1416 and King of Naples (as Alfonso I) from 1442 until his death. He was one of the most prominent figures of the early Renaissance and a knight of the Order of the Dragon. Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Aragon (known as Ferdinand of Antequera) and Eleanor of Alburquerque. He represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona only through women, and was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, the reigning House of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and disputed the island of Sardinia with Genoa. Alfonso was also in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s. Alfonso represents the gradual merging of the reigning house of Castile with the reigning house of Aragon. He is the grandfather of King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Alfonso was succeeded by John II of Aragon. John II the Faithless, also known as the Great (1398 – 1479 was the King of Aragon from 1458 until 1479, and jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1425 until his death. He was the son of Ferdinand I and his wife Eleanor of Alburquerque. John is regarded as one of the most memorable and most unscrupulous kings of the 15th century. John was born at Medina del Campo. In his youth he was one of the infantes (princes) of Aragon who took part in the dissensions of Castile during the minority and reign of John II of Castile. Till middle life he was also lieutenant-general in Aragon for his brother and predecessor Alfonso V, whose reign was mainly spent in Italy. In his old age he was engaged in incessant conflicts with his Aragonese and Catalan subjects, with Louis XI of France, and in preparing the way for the marriage of his son Ferdinand with Isabella I of Castile which brought about the union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile, that was to create the Kingdom of Spain.

REQUIRED READING:

Chapter 5, "Birth of the Spanish World"

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 2009),

ISBN 0970696930

Product Description:

The book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Review:

". . . the dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." -- Midwest Book Review, January 2000

". . . written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain’s historical elements." -- Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation..." -- David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture..." -- Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." -- Lonely Planet guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is: a history of Spain..." --Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

 

Week 23: Thu., Apr. 15, 2021
Isabella of Castile

Wikipedia: Isabella I (22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and pulled the kingdom out of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects and financing Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the "New World". Isabella was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Ávila to John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal on April 22, 1451. She was the granddaughter of Henry III of Castile and Catherine of Lancaster. At the time of her birth, her older half brother Enrique (Henry) was in line for the throne before her. Enrique, referred to as the English version of his name Henry, was twenty-six years old at that time and married, but he was childless. Her younger brother Alfonso was born two years later on 17 November 1453 and displaced her in the line of succession. When her father, John II of Castile, died in 1454, Henry became King Henry IV. Isabella and Alfonso were left in Henry's care. Her brother Alfonso, mother, and she then moved to Arévalo. These were times of turmoil for Isabella. Isabella lived with her brother and her mother in a castle in poor conditions where they also suffered from shortage of money. Although her father arranged in his will for his children to be financially well taken care of, her half-brother Henry did not comply with their father's wishes, either from a desire to keep his half-siblings restricted or ineptitude. Even though the living conditions were lackluster, under the careful eye of her mother, Isabella was instructed in lessons of practical piety and in the deep reverence for religion.

REQUIRED READING:

Chapter 5, "Birth of the Spanish World"

Mark Williams,

The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe's Most Fascinating Country,

Golden Era Books,

ISBN 0970696930

This book is a popular history of Spain and the Spanish Empire from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides description and analysis of political, social, economic and cultural events over the centuries, which together shaped the history of this distinctive country. The book offers 60 illustrations and maps, including 16 pages of color photographs, as well as lists of historic places to visit at the end of each chapter. There is a dynastic chart, suggested readings, and index.

Reviews:

"The dramatic historical pageant of Spain . . . engages the reader from first page to last." —Midwest Book Review, January 2000

"Written in a style that clearly allows the reader to grasp the intricacies of Spain's historical elements." —Spain 21 Magazine, Spring 2001

"A vivid account of the country's origins and development as a nation." —David Baird, Lookout Magazine

"By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture." —Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, UCLA

"For a readable and thorough but not over-long account of Spanish history, The Story of Spain is hard to beat." —Lonely Planet Guide to Spain, 2002 edition

"The title of this work prepares us for what it is—a history of Spain." —Ruth Bennett, CUNY, Hispania Magazine

RECOMMENDED READING:

This is the best biography of Isabella in English.

Kirstin Downey,

Isabella: The Warrior Queen,

Nan A. Talese; 1st edition (October 28, 2014),

ISBN 0385534116

"[An] immensely provocative figure... [who] successfully maneuvered in an almost exclusively male world of politics." —Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

"In a fascinating portrait, Downey sketches a monarch both adored and demonized, and makes the case that Isabella laid the foundation for the first global superpower." —BBC.com

"A strong, fascinating woman, Isabella helped to usher in the modern age, and this rich, clearly written biography is a worthy chronicle of her impressive yet controversial life." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

 

Week 24: Thu., Apr. 22, 2021
The Children of Ferdinand and Isabella

PART ONE: LECTURE
  1. Isabella, Queen of Portugal, 1470-1498,
  2. Juan, Prince of Asturias, 1478-1497
  3. Juana, Queen of Castile, 1479-1555
  4. Maria, Queen of Portugal, 1482-1517
  5. Catherine, Queen of England, 1485-1536
RECOMMENDED READING

J. Edwards,

Ferdinand and Isabella, Proflies in Power,

Longman, 2004,

ISBN 0582218160

The powerful personalities of Ferdinand and Isabella had a major impact on the societies and states of early Europe and America. They unified Spain under one government and established the new Inquisition in 1478; they affirmed the country's Catholic Christian identity by forcing Muslims and Jews to convert to Christianity and they sent Christopher Columbus to discover a New World. Their influence has passed down centuries, providing political and cultural role models during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Powerful figures in history have generally achieved dominance as individuals, and have largely been male. This book is striking in being about a couple, not a single, dominant ruler. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabella, John Edwards provides a gripping and topical account of the dynamics of their power relationship and the religious controversies of their reign. This is essential reading for those concerned with power, politics and religion and with interfaith relations in the premodern world. John Edwards is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the George Bell Institute, and Correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. Now a Research Fellow in Spanish at the University of Oxford, he was formerly Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Reader in Spanish History at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on Spanish History, including The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474 - 1520 (2000).

Week 25: Thu., Apr. 29, 2021
Christopher Columbus

Wikipedia: Christopher Columbus (October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of the "New World". In the context of emerging western imperialism and economic competition between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade routes and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire. Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson) , Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion. Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans, rather than the East Indies he had set out for, Columbus called the inhabitants of the lands he visited indios (Spanish for "Indians"). Columbus' strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and dismissal as governor of the settlements in Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits which Columbus and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

REQUIRED READING:

Read the "Introduction" and the First Voyage

Christopher Columbus,

The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives,

Penguin Classic,

ISBN 0140442170

RECOMMENDED READING:

Laurence Bergreen,

Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 014312210X

Institute Library Call Number: 970.015 Ber COL

A spellbinding epic that's simultaneiously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controversial creature ever to board a  boat. This scrupulously researched, unbiased account of four death-defying journeys to the New World reveals the admiral's paradoxical personality." —USA Today

"In this scrupulously fair and often thrilling account of his four voyages to the New World, Bergreen reveals Columbus as brilliant, brave, adventurous, and deeply flawed . . . A superb re-examination of the character and career of a still controversial historical agent." —Booklist

John Cummins,

Voyage of Christopher Columbus,

Trafalgar Square,

ISBN 0297812335

Institute Library Call Number: 970.015 Cum VOY

Columbus' own journal of discovery as newly restored and translated by John Cummins. This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. Reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible.

Week 26: Thu., May. 6, 2021
1492

Week 26

During our 26th week together we will look at the monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella as they approached 1500 and the three great challenges they faced:
1. The Columbian voyage and should they finance it. Isabella decided in the affirmative. Ferdinand did not care.
2. The Conquest of Granada that had been in their plans since 1481 wen the Granada authorities provoked one more war.
3. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain

Week 27: Thu., May. 13, 2021
King Charles I of Spain

charles5Wikipedia: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Spanish: Carlos I de España) born 24 February 1500, died 21 September 1558, was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556. As the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties—the House of Habsburg of the Habsburg Monarchy; the House of Valois-Burgundy of the Burgundian Netherlands; and the House of Trastámara of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon—he ruled over extensive domains in Central, Western, and Southern Europe; and the Spanish colonies in North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad. When Philip died in 1506, Charles became ruler of the Burgundian Netherlands, and his mother's co-ruler in Spain upon the death of his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, in 1516. As Charles was the first person to rule Castile-León and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, he became the first King of Spain (Charles co-reigned with his mother Joanna, which was however a technicality given her mental instability). In 1519, Charles succeeded his paternal grandfather Maximilian as Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria. From that point forward, Charles's realm, which has been described as "the empire on which the sun never sets", spanned nearly four million square kilometers across Europe, the Far East, and the Americas. Much of Charles' reign was devoted to the Italian Wars against the French king, Francis I, and his heir, king Henry II, which although enormously expensive, were militarily successful due to the undefeated Spanish tercio and the efforts of his prime ministers Mercurino Gattinara and Francisco de los Cobos y Molina. Charles' forces re-captured both Milan and Franche-Comté from France after the decisive Habsburg victory at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, which pushed Francis to form the Franco-Ottoman alliance. Charles' rival Suleiman the Magnificent conquered Hungary in 1526 after defeating the Christians at the Battle of Mohács. However, the Ottoman advance was halted after they failed to capture Vienna in 1529. Aside from this, Charles is best known for his role in opposing the Protestant Reformation. In addition to the German Peasants' War against the Empire, several German princes abandoned the Catholic Church and formed the Schmalkaldic League in order to challenge Charles' authority with military force. Unwilling to allow the same religious wars to come to his other domains, Charles pushed for the convocation of the Council of Trent, which began the Counter-Reformation. The Society of Jesus was established by St. Ignacio de Loyola during Charles' reign in order to peacefully and intellectually combat Protestantism, and continental Spain was spared from religious conflict largely by Charles' nonviolent measures. In Germany, although the Protestants were personally defeated by Charles at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547, he legalized Lutheranism within the Holy Roman Empire with the Peace of Augsburg. Charles also maintained his alliance with Henry VIII of England, despite the latter splitting the Church of England from Rome and violently persecuting Catholics. In the New World, Charles oversaw the Spanish colonization of the Americas, including the conquest of both the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire. The rapid Christianization of New Spain was attributed to the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Uncomfortable with how his viceroys were governing the Americas vis-à-vis the Native Americans, Charles consulted figures such as Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de las Casas on the morality of colonization which las Casas vehemently opposed with his Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. Charles V also provided five ships to Ferdinand Magellan and his navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, after the Portuguese captain was repeatedly turned down by Manuel I of Portugal. The commercial success of Magellan's voyage (the first circumnavigation of the Earth) temporarily enriched Charles by the sale of its cargo of cloves and laid the foundation for the Pacific oceanic empire of Spain, and along with Ruy López de Villalobos, began Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Though always at war, Charles was essentially a lover of peace, and all his wars were virtually defensive. "Not greedy of territory", wrote Marcantonio Contarini in 1536, "but most greedy of peace and quiet." Charles retired in 1556. The Habsburg Monarchy passed to Charles' younger brother Ferdinand, whereas the Spanish Empire was inherited by his son Philip II. The two empires would remain allies until the 18th century.

RECOMMENDED READING

William Maltby,

The Reign of Charles V,

Palgrave Macmillan,

ISBN 0333677684

The Reign of Charles V is an important new study of one of the most important rulers in world history. As the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain during the mid-1500s, Charles V ruled the first truly global empire and was the greatest of all the Habsburg Emperors. He was responsible for, among other things, the conquests of Mexico and Peru and the consequent European influence on Latin America, the waning of the Renaissance, the religious transformation of Europe by the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, and the establishment of a Habsburg empire in Eastern Europe.William Maltby's engaging new study not only looks at the emperor as a person, but also examines such important critical issues as his policies and their consequences. Concise and readable, The Reign of Charles V provides an indispensable introduction to an era that changed the world. William Maltby is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He has served as Executive Director of the Center for Reformation Research and has written extensively on various aspects of early modern history.

Martyn Rady,

The Habsburgs: To Rule the World,

Basic Books; Illustrated edition,

ISBN 1541644506

The definitive history of a powerful family dynasty who dominated Europe for centuries -- from their rise to power to their eventual downfall.

Geoffrey Parker,

Emperor: A New Life of Charles V,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300254865

Institute Library Call Number: 942.031 Par EMP

Drawing on vital new evidence, a top historian dramatically reinterprets the life and reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, ruler of the world’s first transatlantic empire.

Week 28: Thu., May. 20, 2021
King Philip II of Spain

Philip_IIWikipedia: Philip II (Spanish: Felipe II, Portuguese: Filipe I, born 21 May 1527, died 13 September 1598) was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, and Sicily. During his marriage to Mary I, he was also King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count. Also known as Philip the Prudent, he ruled one of the world's largest empires which included territories in every continent then known to Europeans. Philip was born in Valladolid, the son of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, and his consort, Isabella of Portugal. During his reign, Spain was the foremost Western European power. Under his rule, Spain reached the height of its influence and power, directing explorations all around the world and settling the colonization of territories in all the known continents. He was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive." The Ambassador went on to say "He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious."

RECOMMENDED READING:

Henry Kamen,

Philip of Spain,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300078005

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal: The depth of Kamen's research on his subject, who ruled Spain from 1527 to 1598, could overwhelm some readers, as his previous works have done (e.g., The Phoenix and the Flame, Yale Univ., 1993). In this first in-depth biography of Philip II, Kamen's understanding of and acquaintance with the sources is masterly. The author often disagrees with much of the classic beliefs about Philip's personality; for example, his supposed solemnity and predilection for black. (Kamen notes that the king was rarely out of mourning.) However, regarding Philip's reputed cruelty, Kamen says he was hard but "restrained the severity of his officials on numberless occasions," yet he fails to enumerate these occasions. While Philip dominated Spanish politics and culture for more than half a century, Kamen devotes only a few tantalizing pages to the effects of that reign on subsequent events. The audience deserves more of Kamen's insights toward this end. Still, this is a work of marvelous scholarship; highly recommended.

From Booklist: Philip II of Spain has received an almost uniformly bad press; scholars, particularly English and American, generally portray him as a narrow-minded, religious fanatic who reacted with predictable brutality to any stirrings of liberal religious or political thought. Kamen, currently a professor for the Council of Scientific Research in Barcelona, strives mightily to present a more balanced portrait. He scores points in indicating that the supposedly insular Philip traveled widely, mixed socially with Protestants in the Netherlands, and seemed willing to grant them a measure of religious (but not political) toleration. Instead of the absolute monarch often described in diatribes by Anglophiles, Kamen's Philip emerges as a ruler of a fragmented Spain who strived continually to cope with centrifugal forces. Kamen's prose is lucid, succinct, and thorough, without getting bogged down in details that would appeal strictly to specialists. In humanizing a man too often viewed as a cardboard tyrant, Kamen has made a valuable contribution to European historiography.

Geoffrey Parker,

Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300216955

Institute Library Call Number: 946.04 Par IMP

"Through the testimony of Philip's friends, foes, courtiers, and his own words; this authoritative, intelligently revisionist biography must stand now as the primary reference." —Times

"This highly detailed but also immensely readable book has come far closer to that than any previous account of the most enigmatic of Spanish kings." —New York Times Book Review

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

Week 29: Thu., May. 27, 2021
Santa Teresa of Avila

DONT FORGET OUR READING OF SANTA TERESA THIS WEEK

Wikipedia:

Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, (March 28, 1515 – October 4, 1582) was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV, and in 1970 named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her seminal work, El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle), are an integral part of the Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices as she entails in her other important work Camino de Perfección (The Way of Perfection)

REQUIRED READING:

St Teresa de Avila,

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself,

Penguin Classic ,

ISBN 0140440739

RECOMMENDED READING:

Shirley du Boulay,

Teresa of Avila: An Extraordinary Life,

BlueBridge,

ISBN 0974240524

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.

PART 2: EL GRECO

RECOMMENDED READING:

Fernando Marias,

El Greco: Life and Work-A New History,

Thames & Hudson,

ISBN 0500093776

"Indispensible for serious students of El Greco, a painter whose life and art have been seen in very disparate ways over the centuries. . . . Of particular significance are some 20,000 words in El Greco’s own hand, annotating the writings of Vitruvius and Vasari. . . . Essential." ―Choice

Week 30: Thu., Jun. 3, 2021
Spain in the Seventeenth Century

800px-Diego_Velázquez_-_Las_Meninas_detail_-_WGA24449We have arrived at Week 30, and now as we look back on our thirty weeks of study, we want to look into the future, into the Seventeenth Century and into the Golden Age of Spain. This is the age of Velazquez and Cervantes.

RECOMMENDED READING

J. Edwards,

Ferdinand and Isabella, Proflies in Power,

Longman, 2004,

ISBN 0582218160

The powerful personalities of Ferdinand and Isabella had a major impact on the societies and states of early Europe and America. They unified Spain under one government and established the new Inquisition in 1478; they affirmed the country's Catholic Christian identity by forcing Muslims and Jews to convert to Christianity and they sent Christopher Columbus to discover a New World. Their influence has passed down centuries, providing political and cultural role models during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Powerful figures in history have generally achieved dominance as individuals, and have largely been male. This book is striking in being about a couple, not a single, dominant ruler. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Isabella, John Edwards provides a gripping and topical account of the dynamics of their power relationship and the religious controversies of their reign. This is essential reading for those concerned with power, politics and religion and with interfaith relations in the premodern world. John Edwards is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the George Bell Institute, and Correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy of History. Now a Research Fellow in Spanish at the University of Oxford, he was formerly Senior Lecturer in Medieval History and Reader in Spanish History at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on Spanish History, including The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474 - 1520 (2000).

J. H. Elliott,

Imperial Spain: 1469-1716,

Penguin Books; 2nd edition,

ISBN 0141007036

Institute Library Call Number: 946.20 Ell IMP pb

The most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.