|Legal||Scientific||Historiographic||Prose fiction||Poetry||On Recreational Games|
El fuero real Granted to Castile in 1255 to supplement existing law. (30 mss)
Setenario Begun before 1252, unfinished, anticipates parts of Siete Partidas.
Siete Partidas vast, comprehensive codex of law, begun in Seville, 1251; 1256-65. (60 mss)
El espéculo 1255. (4 mss)
Scientific works: (some 23 treatises)
Alfonsi version of the Liber Picatrix (1256), an 11th cent.
Andalusian treatise on talismanic magic.
(The words "astrology" and "astronomy" are
used fairly interchangeably in the texts. Where a distinction
is required, they may be defined as the opposite of the modern
Libros del saber de la astrología. Collection of
16 treatises gathered together between 1276 and 1279 in an attempt
to systematize the movements of the stars and constellations.
Following an initial catalog of the stars, they are arranged in
evolutionary sequence beginning with the most basic instrument,
the astrolabe. Only some of the treatises were widely known in
the Middle Ages. (order below = somewhat arbitrary)
Los IIII libros de las estrellas de la ochaua espera, 1256 and 1276.
Libro del astrolabio redondo.
Libro del ataçir
Libro de las armellas o de la açafeha, 1255-56, 1277.
Libro de las estrellas fijas, 1255-6, 1276.
Libro de la alcora, 1259, 1277.
Libro de quadrante pora rectificar, 1277.
Libro de la Constitucion (Construction) del Universo.
Libro del relogio de la piedra de la sombra.
Libro del relogio dell agoa.
Libro del relogio dell argen uiuo.
Libro del relogio del palacio de las oras.
Libro del relogio de la candela
Lapidario, 1250 and 1279
Ibn al-Haytam's Astronomía
al-Battani's Cánones, 1250's
Ptolemy's Quatriparito, with Ali b. Ridwan's commentary, 1271-75
Aben Ragel's De judiciis Astrologiae
Libro de las cruces, 1259, 1270's.
El libro del cuadrante sennero
Libro de las Tablas Alfonsíes, 1256-1277;
General Estoria "Oldest known vernacular universal
history;" "the greatest single historiographic undertaking
of the Middle Ages". Begun, like its companion, around 1270.
The chronological period encompased by the six surviving parts
coincide essentially with that of the Old Testament. Some 30 manuscripts
survive. Principle sources: the Bible, Josephus' Antiguedades
judaicas and the Historia Scholastica of Peter Comestor;
secondary sources: classical writers (Ovid, Pliny, among others)
and Arabic historians. Despite its reliance on the usual sources
and typically medieval encyclopedic scope, the GE is not
simply a "biblia historiada;" the work promises to narrate
the history of all known peoples to have inhabited the world since
creation ("todos los fechos sennalados, tan bien de las estorias
de la Biblia, como de las otras grandes cosas que acahesçieron
por el mundo, desde que fue començado fastal nuestro tiempo").
It announces plans to address certain subjects in the sections
on the fifth and sixth ages and assures that it will deal with
"todos los reyes de Espanna [...] fasta el tiempo que yo
comencé a regnar".
Estoria de España (=Menéndez Pidal's Primera
Crónica General, although he used two different royal
codices: E1  (from the first inhabitants to the
arrival of the Arabs [cpt. 896] done under Alfonso) and E2
 (continued under Sancho IV, up to the reign of Fernando
el Santo [1217-52]); the two are of significantly different caliber.)
Approximately 100 notebooks (rough drafts) from the Alfonsí
workshop reproduce portions of what was to be Alfonso's Estoria
de España. Primary sources: Rodrigo Jiménez
de Rada's De Rebus Hispaniae (or Historia Gothica,
1242, known as El toledano) and Lucas de Tuy's Chronicon
Mundi (1236, known as El Tudense). Secondary sources:
documents for the Councils of Toledo, classical geographers and
travellers, Ovid, Lucan (Pharsalia), etc. The two histories
were worked on, now simultaneously, now alternately, over a number
of years; perhaps not coincidentally, the national history was
abandoned by Alfonso for good in 1274, just at the time when he
was forced to renounce his claims on the imperial crown (1275).
Calila e Digna 1251/2. Trans. directed by Alfonso (prince).
First major work of Arabic didactic prose in the "tale within
a tale" framework widely disseminated in Spain. (Derived
from Hindu Panchatantra.) Other members of the royal family
were involved in translations of similar "education of the
prince" models: Alfonso's father ordered the translation
of El libro de los doce sabios, and his brother, D. Fadrique,
directed the trans. of the Sendebar (Libro de los engaños).
The introduction of this new literary form was an incidental benefit;
the king's interest in these narratives was primarily for their
didactic value: the practical moral philosophy they contained.
It is clear that Alfonso's political activity and his literary
production go hand in hand. He was aware from the start that the
realization of his ideals as monarch depended on a national unity
that could only be achieved through the creation of a national
Poetry and Music:
Cantigas de Santa María. (4 extant codices) Alfonso
began his song book of Marian lyrics and narrative miracles, (the
most personal of his works, excepting his secular lyrics) in his
youth, but didn't order its formal preparation until the end of
his life. A corpus of considerable artistic unity, the 430 miracles
are interspersed at regular intervals with short lyrics in praise
of the Virgin. Of the wide variety of verse forms used the "zéjel"
predominates. The melodies derive from both sacred (western chant,
mozarabic liturgical music) and popular music, although there
is a large group said to have no relation to chant whatsoever
and that can't be analyzed according to the western modal system.
This variety would seem to be attested to in the illuminations
themselves. One codex depicts seventy-odd musicians, Christian
and Moslem, playing a variety of instruments of all types (wind,
string, percussion, etc.). Much debate revolves around the debt
to Arabic models and melodies. A large staff of by and large anonymous
musicians, scribes, caligraphers and artists was employed to compile
and illustrate the manuscripts, inscribe the captions that explain
the scenes depicted in the individual panels and provide the musical
accompaniment and its notation. Each facet of the multimedia opus
was a collaborative undertaking. Alfonso, who considered himself
a "trovador", seems to have taken immense pride in his
musical ability. It is thought that as well as being placed on
display, the Cantigas were likely performed, thus reaching
a wider audience.
Works on recreational games:
El libro de Ajedrez, dados, e tablas. Seville, 1283. Three
treatises on recreational games (chess, dice and a astronomical
tables) derived from the numerous Arabic texts available in Seville.
In the prolog to the first (said to be the best of many on chess
in the Middle Ages both in its presentation and for the innovations
it introduced into the game) Alfonso speaks of the benefits to
body and mind derived from recreational games and sport (his classification
distinguishes between those that employ the limbs and those that
are played seated). The codex (T-1-6) is of exceptional quality.
The 150 miniatures that illustrate the treatises depict a whole
range of personalities (men of the various military orders, elegant
ladies, Christian, Jewish and Moslem intellectuals, etc.), expressions,
fashions, and fabrics (a veritable fashion catalog of XIIIth century
court life in an atmosphere of pleasant camaraderie).