Alfonso X of Castile (1252-1284) was a true philosopher-king, a medieval monarch whose contributions to science, music, historiography, poetry, fiction, and art have had lasting influence. His grand vision was to bring Castile into the mainstream of high civilization and to create a united artistic and religious people. To that end, he established Castilian as a proper language (it is now the fourth most spoken in the world) and wrote one of the most extensive and influential law codes in western history.
After centuries of attention to the northern European countries, scholars increasingly are turning to Hispanic countries in general and to Alfonso's vast influence in particular. The contributors to this volume are all Alfonsine experts who offer the broadest and most comprehensive survey of the ruler's cultural influence. Their topics include Alfonso's role in the founding of Castilian, his patronage of art and theatre, his scientific projects, his rhetoric and chancery, his link to Dante, his achievements as historian and troubadour, and his contribution as the greatest lawgiver of his time.
Emperor of Culture fills a gap in English language studies of Alfonso's vast influence. It will be valuable to all students and scholars of medieval Spain.
Robert I. Burns, S.J. was Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles and the author of many books on the Middle Ages, including Muslims, Christians and Jews in Crusader Valencia, Society and Documentation in Crusader Valencia, and as editor The Worlds of Alfonso the Learned and James the Conqueror.