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Alfonso el Sabio's ambitions and succession in the Castillian chronicles Goertz, Wolf

Abstract

The second half of the thirteenth century is a rather obscure period in Spanish history. Only one fairly detailed Christian chronicle exists for the reign of each of the three kings that ruled during that time. Since these works were not composed until the middle of the following century, especially the earliest years which the author describes, the 1250's and 1260's, are full of anachronisms. The few other accounts that treat of the period are quite brief and of not much help. Alfonso el Sabio had until 1275 most extensive foriegn interests, and his plans have left many traces in the archives of other countries, especially of some of the city-states of Northern Italy. From these foreign accounts many obscure points in Alfonso's reign can be clarified, since it is precisely on the international plane where the Castilian chronicle of his reign fails. Taking Antonio Ballesteros y Beretta's work on the itinerary of Alfonso el Sabio as point of departure, the present essay tries to point out some of the shortcomings of Castilian fourteenth-century historiography.

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