Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

Portugal — Ca. 1344

The history of the Iberian Peninsula ranging from Noah to Caesar and Pompey and right up to the reign of King Alfonso X the Wise of Castile

  1. 1,300 illuminations adorn the 648-page tome celebrating Portugal’s historical role

  2. It was written in exile by Don Pedro Afonso (before 1289 – 1314), the Count of Barcelos

  3. The deeds of Hercules, the Carthaginians, Visigoths, and Moors are all recorded here

Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

M. S. A. 1 Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

A patriotic labor for the glory of the Kingdom of Portugal: the General Chronicle of Spain of 1344. Created by the illegitimate son of King Denis of Portugal, Don Pedro Afonso (before 1289 – 1314), the Count of Barcelos, it is a monumental composite work drawing on numerous sources that traces the history of Spain from Noah’s ark up to the present and is based on an earlier Castilian chronicle commissioned by King Alfonso X the Wise. While exiled from Portugal at the Castilian court, Don Pedro Afonso familiarized himself with these works and generally enriched himself at the highly cultured court of Castile. It was created in the aftermath of the Battle of Salado (1340), a joint Castilian-Portuguese victory over a much larger Moorish force, likely as a celebration of Portugal’s role in the history of the Iberian Peninsula. It is a lavishly adorned, 648-page tome that is adorned with over 1,300 stylized images and is a fine specimen of Gothic illumination.

Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

The General Chronicle of Spain of 1344 is considered to be one of the richest histories of the Iberian Peninsula and a landmark of prose in the Portuguese language. It is a synthesis of various sources and authors that was created under the direction of Don Pedro Afonso (before 1289 – 1314), the Count of Barcelos and the illegitimate son of King Denis of Portugal (1261-1325). It is believed to have been created in the aftermath of a joint victory over a massive Moorish army at the Battle of Salado (1340) by the outnumbered forces of Castile and Portugal. As such, it was meant to be a celebration of Hispanic history that emphasized the role of the Kingdom of Portugal therein. It is housed today in the Academy of Science of Lisboa as one of the most important sources of Spanish history.

A Comprehensive Hispanic History

The chronicle begins with a universal history based on the works of St. Jerome and Eusebius. This biblical history claims the Spanish are descended from Noah, related the deeds of Hercules, and is followed by a description of the geography of the Iberian Peninsula. Next the ancient history of Hispania is recounted: the struggles of the Romans and the Carthaginians, Caesar and Pompey. The history of the Visigothic kingdoms is then followed up to the Moorish invasion and the various rulers of Al-Andalus. It next traces the histories of the kingdoms of Asturias, León, and Castile. The last ten chapter are dedicated to the reign of King Alfonso X the Wise of Castile (1221-84), whose own “First General Chronicle” served as a model for Afonso’s work. The content is written in two columns in a Gothic script on 648 pages, which are adorned by 1,300 images large and small, some with gold leaf. Ornate initials, stylized plants and animals, as well as other marginal decorations adorn the text.

A Productive Exile in Castile

Don Pedro Afonso faced many of the difficulties that illegitimate royal offspring faced, namely the enmity of their right-born brothers and sisters. The power and wealth he gained at court attracted negative attention and he was forced into exile for four and half years at the Castilian royal court by his jealous siblings. The literary and scholarly court culture established there during the reign of King Alfonso X the Wise was still thriving and it was there that the bastard of the King of Portugal came into contact with the Castilian chronicle that had been written there. In 1320, Afonso returned to Portugal an enriched and enlightened person ready to make a contribution to the young kingdom. The original work from 1344 was revised in 1400 and both versions were translated into Castilian, a further indicator of its value as a historical source.

Codicology

Size / Format
324 folios / 44.5 × 31.5 cm
Origin
Portugal
Date
Ca. 1344
Style
Illustrations
Ca. 1300 miniatures
Content
Chronicles of Portugal from prehistory to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Berbers, as well as the royal chronicles of Alfonso X, the Wise.
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344
Ediciones Boreal – A Coruña
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344

Ediciones Boreal – A Coruña
Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344
Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1344 Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Ediciones Boreal – A Coruña
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Cassette covered with brown linen
Commentary: 1 volume
Languages: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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