Medieval Spain within the Spanish Historical Context

Friday, January 3, 2014: 3:50 PM
Holmead Room (Washington Hilton)
Kevin Poole, Yale University
The Middle Ages are often considered, even by some historians, to be a “dark age” far removed from present day and almost incomprehensible for the modern student.  However, the Middle Ages in Spain was a period of textual and artistic production that not only influenced other parts of Europe at the time but that also influenced Spanish history up through the 20th century.  Legal codes used by the Hapsburg and then the Bourbon monarchs trace their roots to medieval legal texts, and many of the scientific inventions of later periods found their origins in medieval Hispano-Arab treatises.  On the political front, Napoleon Bonaparte, Fernando VII, and Francisco Franco looked to the Middle Ages for inspiration in the creation of their own “new” Spains.  In my discussion, I will point out ways in which I connect the Spanish Middle Ages to the history of Spain from 1500 onward as well as give some ideas about how Medieval Spain might also be worked into the broader European and Latin American context.
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