Prosopography of the Spanish Kingdoms of Leуn and Castile
By Simon Barton
Prosopon: Newsletter of the Unit of Prosopographical Research, Issue 7 (1997)
Introduction: The study of the aristocracy of the Spanish kingdoms of Leуn and Castile in the Central Middle Ages remains in its infancy. Although the eruditos of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, of whom the most eminent was perhaps Luis de Salazar y Castro, compiled numerous genealogical works whose purpose was to celebrate the illustrious past of some of the greatest noble lineages of the Iberian peninsula, the example set by such admirable scholarly enterprise was not to be followed by succeeding generations, and studies devoted to the nobility of Leуn and Castile became few and far between. During the past twenty-five years, however, Spanish historians have tentatively begun a reappraisal of the aristocracy and its role in Leonese-Castilian society prior to the fourteenth century. Proof of this is the clutch of significant studies that have appeared. While some scholars, following firmly in the steps of the eruditos, have been particularly concerned to reconstruct the genealogical ramifications of certain important families, others have begun to probe the character and concerns of the aristocracy as an elite social group. Thus, such diverse topics as kinship structure, landholding custom and ecclesiastical patronage have already been the subject of illuminating analysis. Yet, so much more still remains to be done.