Date: Wed Jul 16, 2003 8:44 am
Subject: Links: IBERIA: Medieval Portugal and Spain

Greetings everyone.

A reader recently asked if there were any links about medieval Portugal.
When I expanded that topic slightly to include Iberia, I hit the jackpot.

While I did not find any links on Iberian Heraldry, I did find them on history, clothing, food, architecture, historic people, Crusades, Jewish life in Moorish Spain, even a map of a Viking invasion of Iberia! This topic is only beginning to fascinate western scholars, so I believe that in coming years more information will become available on Medieval Iberia. Many of these sites have links of their own for you to follow. The occasional site is in it's native language (either Spanish or Portuguese), with no English translation available.

Enjoy this list in the spirit it is offered, and please pass it along to those who will be interested.



ORB: Medieval Iberia: Spain and Portugal

AARHMS (American Association for Research Historians on Medieval Spain)
Which includes, under the Links section: Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

Libro: The Library of Iberian Resources Online
(Site Excerpt) The Library of Iberian Resources Online (LIBRO) is a joint project of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain and the University of Central Arkansas. Its task is to make available to users the best scholarship about the peoples and nations of the Iberian peninsula. Consequently, the book list is principally drawn from recent, but out-of-print university press monographs. In addition, the collection includes a number of basic texts and sources in translation. These are presented in full-text format and reproduce all the matter included in the original print version. The collection focuses upon peninsular history from the fifth to the seventeenth centuries. Future plans call for the addition of modern materials as well.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Professions of Faith Extracted from Jews on Baptism (Visigoth Spain)
(Site Excerpt) To our most merciful and tranquil lord Recceswinth the King, from us the Jews of Toledo as witnessed or signed below. We well remember how we were long and rightly constrained to sign this Declaration promising in the name of King Chinthila's holy memory to support the Catholic faith; and we have done so. However, because our pertinacious lack of faith and the ancient errors of our fathers held us back from believing wholly in Our Lord Jesus Christ or accepting the Catholic truth with all our hearts, we therefore make these promises to your greater glory, on behalf both of ourselves and our wives and children, through this our Declaration, undertaking for the future not to become involved in any Jewish rites or customs nor to associate with the accursed Jews who remain unbaptised.

Libro: The Visigothic code (Forum judicum) Translated by S.P. Scott
(Site Excerpt) I. What the Method of Making Laws Should Be.
We, whose duty it is to afford suitable assistance in the formation of the laws, should, in the execution of this undertaking, improve upon the methods of the ancients, disclosing as well the excellence of the law to be framed, as the skill of its artificer. The proof of this art will be the more plainly evident, if it seems to draw its conclusions not from inference and imitation but from truth. Nor should it stamp the force of argument with the subtlety of syllogism, but it should, [2] with moderation, and by the use of pure and honorable precepts, determine the provisions of the law.

Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Abd-el-Hakem: The Islamic Conquest of Spain (Moorish Spain)
(Site Excerpt) Musa Ibn Nosseyr sent his son Merwan to Tangiers, to wage a holy war upon her coast. Having, then, exerted himself together with his friends, he returned, leaving to Tarik Ibn Amru the command of his army which amounted to 1,700. Others say that 12,000 Berbers besides 16 Arabs were with Tarik: but that is false. It is also said that Musa Ibn Nosseyr marched out of Ifrikiya [Africa] upon an expedition into Tangiers, and that he was the first governor who entered Tangiers, where parts of the Berber tribes Botr and Beranes resided. These bad not vet submitted themselves. When he approached Tangiers, be scattered his light troops.

Medieval Sourcebook: The Poetry of the Spanish Moors, Selections
(Site Excerpt) Verses To My Daughters

With jocund heart and cheerful brow
I used to hail the festal morn---
How must Mohammed greet it now?---
A prisoner helpless and forlorn.

While these dear maids in beauty's bloom,
With want opprest, with rags o'erspread,
By sordid labors at the loom
Must earn a poor, precarious bread.
---portion of a poem by Prince Mohammed Ben Abad

Libro: Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain by Kenneth Baxter Wolf
(Site Excerpt) [1] The city of Córdoba was the setting for an unusual historical drama that unfolded between the years 850 and 859, when forty-eight Christians were decapitated for religious offenses against Islam. More striking than the number of executions were the peculiar circumstances surrounding them. For one thing, as the sources unambiguously demonstrate, the majority of the victims deliberately invoked capital punishment by publicly blaspheming Muhammad and disparaging Islam. Moreover, though some Cordoban Christians applauded the executed Christians as martyrs, others regarded them as self-immolators whose unwarranted outbursts served only to expose the community as a whole to the emirs suspicions.

Medieval Sourcebook: A Late-Medieval Spanish Nobleman:
Don Juan Pacheco, Master of the Order of Santiago (1419-1474)
translated by Simon Doubleday
(Site Excerpt) Don Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena and Master of the Order of Santiago, son of Alfonso Téllez Girón, was a man of middling stature, with a thin and well-formed body, attractive features and graceful gestures. He was Portuguese by nationality, among the greatest nobles of that kingdom, and grandson of one of the knights who came from Portugal to Castile in the service of King Juan I of Castile [1379-90], who was defeated at the battle of Aljubarrota [1385] (1).

Medieval Sourcebook: Osbernus: De expugnatione Lyxbonensi, 1147
[The Capture of Lisbon]
(Site Excerpt) [Adapted from Brundage] The first groups to depart on the Second Crusade were Anglo-Norman and Flemish sailors and troops who left Dartmouth on May 19, 1147 bound for Spain. Their goal was to conquer a number of position on the west coast of Iberia, among them the city of Lisbon. Affonso I of Portugal was already in the field there when the Anglo-Norman troops landed on the beaches in June 1147. An account of the expedition survives, written by Osbernus.
The city of Lisbon at the time of our arrival consisted of sixty thousand families paying taxes-this figure includes the suburbs round about, except the free ones, which pay taxes to no one. A circular wall there surrounds the top of the hill and, at the left and right, the city walls descend to the banks of the Tagus River. The suburbs, down below the city wall, are cut into the banks of the river in such a way that each of them has a superbly fortified citadel. The place is girded with pitfalls. The city was populous beyond belief, for, as we learned from its alcayde, or governor, after the capture of the city, it had one hundred fifty-four thousand men, not counting women and children, but including the citizens of Scantarem who had been expelled during this year from their stronghold and who were living in Lisbon as guests and immigrants.

Medieval Sourcebook: Sir Jean Froissart: John of Gaunt in Portugal, 1385
(Site Excerpt) THE King of Portugal was well pleased at the arrival of the English knights, and commanded that they should be comfortably lodged. When they were ready, Don Martin d'Acunha and Don Fernando Martin de Merlo, who were acquainted with the king's habits, introduced them to him. He received them very graciously; and after some conversation, which they knew well how
to keep up, they presented the falcons and greyhounds. The king cheerfully accepted them, as he was fond of the chase. They returned the king thanks, on the part of the Duke and Duchess of Lancaster, for the handsome mules he had given them. The king replied, these were trifles, merely tokens of affection, such as lords desirous of maintaining love and friendship ought to make to each other; but he should soon offer more splendid presents. Wine and spices were now brought, of which the English knights having partaken, they took leave of the king and returned to their lodgings, where they supped. On the morrow, they were seated at the king's table. Sir John d'Ambreticourt and Sir John Sounder were at another table with the great barons of the kingdom, among whom was Lawrence Fongasse, squire of honor to the king, who was well known to these knights, having been acquainted with them in England; on which account he made them the best cheer in his power,
and this he knew well how to do.

Medieval Sourcebook: Jews and Christians in Teruel: The Fuero of Teruel, 1176 CE
(Site excerpt) 85: Of the corredores of the council: It should also be known that the judge and the alcaldes must appoint public brokers (corredores) to sell things. The sellers and the brokers shall swear that they will be honest in all things, alike for poor as for rich, whether they be Christians or Jews or even Moors.
319: Of the public bath: Following this are provisions about the public bath. The [male] bathers may go to the communal bath on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturdays, according to the law. Women may go to the bath on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jews and Moors may go on Fridays, and on no other day by any means. . . . Moreover, if the Jews or Moors bath on some other day than Fridays, each of the bathers shall pay a fine of 30 sueldos to the judge and the alcaldes and the almotacaf by thirds with the plaintiff, if it should be proven according to law. Moreover, if a man enters the bath or any bath house on the women's days, he shall pay a fine of 30 sueldos, if it should be proven. If not, he shall swear that he was accused falsely and be believed. Moreover, if a woman enter on the men's days, as was said, she shall pay 30 sueldos [as was specified above]. . .

Medieval Sourcebook: Barcelona Jewish Court Documents: A Daughter's Inheritance, 1293
(Site Excerpt) We the undersigned court [state]: it happened that Lady Bonadona, the wife of R. Judah b. R. Jucifia Saporta came before us and said to us, "since my father, R. Samuel b. R. Abraham Ascandrani made a will concerning his possessions at the time of his death and he had no heir but me and he gave me as his heir the houses which I live in today in the Jewish quarter, and a vineyard at the edge of this city [Barcelona] near Mogoria, and a seat in the synagogue in the courtyard of the Israelites [i.e. in the men's section of the synagogue] in this city and he said at that time that if (heaven forbid) I should die without children then the aforementioned property should revert to a charitable trust; now I need to sell [the property] in order to support myself and I am afraid that I will not find a buyer since everyone knows that this property is mortgaged to the charitable trust because of my father's will. Please consider the laws and examine my father's will and determine for me whether my father's words giving the possessions after my death, are valid or not.

The Portuguese Military Orders - Overview
(Site Excerpt) The ancient Military Orders were, like their counterparts - the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem and the Templars which had evolved earlier in the Holy Land - true religious orders. The knight-friars took the evangelical vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and swore to defend the faith and the Church. Besides these knight-friars - who in reality were, as it has been emphasized by modern scholars, lay members - the Orders had religious brothers and sergeants [see on the subject, Paul Crawford's introduction paper on the Military Orders]. The most famous of them all - the Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ - was created in 1319, by King Dennis I, with the Pope's approval, so as to succeed to the Order of the Knights Templar in the domains of the Portuguese Crown. Unwilling to accept the suppression of the Knights Templars' Order and the subsequent transmission of that Order's properties and wealth to the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem as decreed by the Council of Vienna, the Iberian kings soon made an alliance to evade this solution. The Iberian alliance, after years of negotiations with Rome, resulted in the creation of the Military Order of Montesa (in the kingdom of Valencia) by the King of Aragon, and the Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ created by the King of Portugal with the Pope's approval.

The End of Europe's Middle Ages: New Monarchies; Portugal
(Site Excerpt) As in Castile, the nobility was the major source of rebellion in Portugal and the royal succession was regularly disputed. The continual disputation of succession was exacerbated by the policy of intermarriage between the royal houses of Portugal and Castile that was initiated by Diniz of Portugal (1261-1325) and Ferdinand IV of Castile and León (1286?-1312) to end the wars between their two kingdoms. During his reign from 1279 to 1325, Diniz of Portugal provided vigorous encouragement to Portuguese agriculture and commerce, founding schools for the study of agriculture. He made Portuguese the official language of the law courts and his interest in learning and the arts prompted him to found a university at Lisbon in 1290 (it was later moved to Coimbra in 1306). In 1294, he signed a commercial treaty with England and created a royal navy in 1317.

Medieval Portugal :Estremoz
Tis site is a series of photos of the town of Estremoz and Atalia, which both have several "medieval" sections still standing. Not all photos are of medieval architecture.

Two first viking expeditions to Spain and Portugal
A Map of the journey, on modern-day map, with an excellent representation of the political division between Spain and Portugal of the time. Medeival Iberia Subject Index
Some interesting links to be found. Warning: interrupted by frequent advertisements.

The History of Granada
(Site Excerpt) Granada's history is one of internal crises because of the existence of a powerful landowning nobility successive wars with Castile. Successive kings of Granada sought political support and military aid from Morocco. Moroccan recruits caused the kingdom to undergo an intense process of 'arabisation', to cut itself off from all Castilian influences, and to develop an absolute form of government based on military support.

Who's Who in Medieval History: St. Anthony of Padua
(Site Excerpt) A Franciscan friar and Doctor of the Church, Anthony (also Antony) joined the order in hopes of preaching to the Saracens and possibly facing a martyr's death. Instead he became a respected teacher and gained fame for his miracles. He is a patron saint of the poor and oppressed.

Untitled Page from Oxfordshire: Islamic and Medieval Portugal
This page contains links to a great many archaeological artifacts from Islamic and Medieval Portugal. Pottery, fashion items and vignettes from altarpieces, loom weights, etc. Well worth the look. Bibliography included.

Resources for Medieval Iberian Studies

Portugal's Palaces and Medieval Castles are Tributes to a Royal Era
(Site Excerpt) Castelo Sao Jorge (Lisbon)
During every regime since the departure of the Romans from Iberia, this hilltop has been valued as a fortification along the Tagus River. Today, the bulky castle crowns the Alfama medieval neighborhoods of Lisbon with thick stone walls, medieval battlements, Catholic and feudal iconography, verdant landscaping, and sweeping views of one of Europe's greatest harbors.

(Site Excerpt) When Fernando died in 1383, he left no male heir to the throne. His only daughter, Beatriz, was married to Juan I, king of Castile. The marriage writ stipulated that their offspring would inherit the Portuguese crown if Fernando left no male heir and that, until any children were born, Portugal would be ruled by a regency of Fernando's widow, Leonor Teles. When Fernando died, Leonor assumed the regency in accordance with the marriage writ. The assumption of the regency by the queen was badly received in many Portuguese cities because Leonor was a Castilian and considered an interloper who intended to usurp the Portuguese crown for Castile and end Portugal's independence.

Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim and Jewish Sources. / (book reviews, History Today Magazine)
(Site Excerpt) Except for St James's shrine in Galicia and parts of Portugal, the Spanish peninsula was more or less a mystery to medieval Englishmen. The Muslim takeover of most of it had hardly registered with Bede, the Cid was barely heard of, and only rarely did Spanish affairs impinge upon the consciousness of English chroniclers. And so matters remained once the land of occasional crusaders had become the haunt of recusants up to no good. For centuries, so far as Englishmen were concerned, European history stopped at the Pyrenees. As recently as 1970 virtually all there was for Englishmen to read on medieval Spain were Altamira's lamentable chapters in the Cambridge Medieval History.Then everything changed. On the one hand, Franco's death in 1975 ungagged cultural activity in the provinces and released an avalanche of historical publication greater than anything that had been seen for two hundred years. And on the other (and for reasons which are far from clear), Anglo-American scholars began to interest themselves in the subject, with the result that in 1998 the world of the Cid is as accessible to anglophone students of the European Middle Ages as the worlds of Frederick Barbarossa and St Louis, and Simon Barton can afford to take a great deal for granted in a thoroughly researched study in which he is able to present the aristocracy of twelfth-century Leon and Castile in much the same terms as J.C. Holt has presented their English contemporaries.

Labryinth: Medieval Iberia (note: these pages are no longer maintained.
You'll have to wade through some dead links to get to the gold).
This page is comprised of a list of links of interest on the subject..

1492: AN ONGOING VOYAGE an Exhibit of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC
(Site Excerpt) 1492. Columbus. The date and the name provoke many questions related to the linking of very different parts of the world, the Western Hemisphere and the Mediterranean. What was life like in those areas before 1492? What spurred European expansion? How did European, African and American peoples react to each other? What were some of the immediate results of these contacts?

Art in the Kingdom of Aragon (mostly architecture)
This site in in Spanish. Click on the main image, then on one of the names of the towns listed on the left-hand menu, to see photographs. Several of the links are still "en praparacion" or in the process of being prepared (ie not available)

Iberian Manuscripts
(Site Excerpt) The Latin bestiary still flourished alongside its French counterparts and was often produced in luxurious illustrated copies in England during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These are grouped in two important families on the basis of variations in their texts and programs of illumination. (Example Illumination) An Elephant Carrying a War Tower in Battle and A Small Elephant Supporting a Larger One with Its Trunk. Bestiary. England (?), c. 1230. 29.8 x 21.4 cm. BL, Royal Ms. 12.F.XIII, fol. IIV. The elephant was thought to have been used in battle in Persia and India, and the small elephant's action was understood as symbolizing Christ's redemption of humanity.

Oblique Image Gallery: Iberian Merino Wool
(Site Excerpt) For thousands of years, wool has been used for clothing and other textiles. Named for the merino sheep that originated from a Greek colony in southeastern Italy, the Iberian Peninsula boasted the best herds and the largest wool production by the early Eighteenth Century. After hundreds of years of selective breeding, merino wool has a higher level of built-in ultraviolet light protection than many other fibers. From the original Italian and Spanish breeds, there are now more than ten varieties grown worldwide, each with its special properties for wool fiber and meat production.

Costume in al-Maghrib (the Muslim West) in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods
(Site Excerpt) The term Berber derives from the Greek (barb·ros) and Latin (barbarus) indicating an uncivilized person, a barbarian, and is rather insulting. The people's own name for the overarching ethno-cultural group is Amazight. I will use Berber because it is more commonly understood, but will occasionally interject Amazight. Unfortunately the authors of much research speak of "Arabs"," Berbers", "Spanish", etc. as if they mean all people of these ethnic or cultural groups, then they mention women as if they are some separate group. I can only assume that in many cases where sweeping statements are made the authors actually just mean "men", but it is frankly quite unclear. I will insert [men?] where it is unclear to me whether the original authors mean all members of the group referenced or just the men.

College of Saint Katherine: Clothing for Spain in the 13th c. Iberian Feast
Clothing Suggestions
(Site Excerpt) The first thing you may want to do is decide which culture you will want to emulate. In medieval Spain, three main cultures lived side by side: Moslems, Christians, and Jews. For this event, a simple robe will be adequate; i.e., simply a long t-tunic. Wear two, one over the other, for warmth or looks, or simply wear it over your normal tunic. A cotehardie is also acceptable for both men and women, and over this you may wear a surcoate. If you are male, you may wear a turban, coif, hat (refer to the illuminations of the Cantigas de Santa Maria or Book of Games, below), hood, or leave your head bare. If you are female, you may wear a coif, veil, headband (the kind that goes across the forehead), or leave your head bare; small flowers such as orange blossoms or jasmine may be woven into the hair--that would be lovely. Braid your hair into a single braid if you have long hair. For women, jewellery would include dangling earrings, large metal bracelets, and small necklaces; hands and feet may be stained with henna. Sandalwood, musk, frankincense, and other fragrant oils as well as rosewater may be used to perfume yourselves.

Alphabetical Index of Cariadoc and Elizabeth's Recipes from The Miscellany
(which contains a lot of recipes from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook from Moorish Spain).

Hostorical SPANISH / CATALAN /ANDALUSIAN cookbooks online
This site includes: Manual de mujeres, Libre de doctrina per a ben servir, Libre del Coch 1529, "Libre de totes maneres de confits," An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century translated by Charles Perry, and a partial copy of Libro del Arte de Cozina, 1607 . Note that not all these are actually translated.