0.-  16th century develops literary streams from Middle Ages, like sentimental fiction.
   The Question of Love (1513) deals with Flamiano -born in Valencia-, who loves Belisena. He sends letters to his friend Vasquiran and confesses him that he is not loved by her. War against king of France takes Flaminio to serve Carlos I and to die in Ravena.
   Other titles as Penitence of Love (1514), by aragones Pedro Manuel Ximenez de Urrea, follows La Celestina: Darino and his lover Finoya, joined by the former's servants, are imprisoned in two towers by Nertano, the lady's father.
   The figure of doctor Francisco Lopez de Villalobos is not yet well studied. He translated the Comedy of Anfitrion by Plautus (Alcala, 1517), and he included it between other writings in The Problems by Villalobos (Zamora, 1541).

The Problems
by Villalobos


Castilian version
of Enquiridion
   These short works, are introduced by versified questions or problems -cuarteta and redondilla- solved in prose: six deal with natural matters and thirty five on moral questions; two short dialogs on Medicine; a Treatise on the Three Bigs: chatter, persistence and laugh; a glossed song; many letters; the version of Amphitrion and several sentences, in ten chapters, on love.


    1.-  Renaissance Humanism came to Spain with a new royal dynasty: the Absburg that began with Carlos I (1500-1558), who fought for politic and religious union in Europe. He admired the dutchman Erasmus Rotterdamus (1469-1536), spiritual leader for Christendom.
   Erasmism searched for a Reformation fighting against clerical hypocrisy. It looked for a true religion, based on ideals of charity as those of primitive Church.


Complutense Polyglote Bible
    2.-  Erasmism agreed with peninsular religious projects as the complex and hard-working Polyglote Bible (1514-1517), edited in Alcala de Henares by Cardinal Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros (1436-1517). Although the idea involved philologs as Nebrija (1441-1522), they never tried to get a new version of the Bible from greek or hebrew texts but a Vulgata, authorized by the original sources.
   University of Alcala was renowned by philologs as Pinciano Hernan Nuñez (1473-1553), author of a Gloss (Seville, 1499) to Labyrinth of Fortune, of philological short works and of Adagia or Proverbs in Romance (Salamanca, 1555).
   Hernando Alonso de Herrera, author of a Dispute against Aristote and His Followers (¿1517-1522?), could have read Erasmus in Alcala or Salamanca.

Hernan Nuñez,

   Cisneros was sympathetic to illuminated, fanatics or mystics, as Sor Maria de Santo Domingo (¿1470-?) in Piedrahita (Avila). Her Book on Prayer (1517-1522), edited by an anonymous priest, contains her contemplations -one of them compares music to the christian soul-, a question and a consolatory letter by the nun.
   Francisco de Osuna (1497-1540) was an outstanding mystic in this century because of his Spiritual Alphabet (1528-1554), in 32 treatises on seclusion and contemplation. This Franciscan writer sums up his thought in his Law for Love or Fourth Part of the Spiritual Alphabet (ca.1530).
   Protonotary and Arcedian in Reina, Rodrigo Fernandez de Santaella (¿†1516?), adapted the Book of Marco Polo (1503). He published a Handbook of Neccesary Doctrine for Visitators and Priests (1502), a dialog or Treatise on Immortality of Soul (1503) and an Art of Well Dying .

Book on  Prayer by
Maria de Sto. Domingo


Dispute of Peace
   Diego Lopez de Cortegana, inquisidor from Seville, translated Apuleian The Golden Ass (1525) and wrote a Chronicle of Fernando III (1516). He adapted the Treatise on Misery of Men in the Court by Eneas Silvio, and the Dispute of Peace by Erasmus (both in 1520).
   Erasmus, already translated in Spain in 1516, succeeded with unsatisfaction of religious groups: conversos, illuminated or secluded.
   Alonso Fernandez de Madrid, Arcedian of Alcor, translated the Enchiridion (1526) and composed his Silva palentina, with a biography of Hernando de Talavera (ca.1530), mediator between old christians and converted ones.
   Royal protection to the latters made hope a social change.

Silva palentina

Dialog of Christian Doctrine
    3.-  Erasmism came formally to Spain through civil servants of the Emperor, as conquense brothers Juan (¿1499?-1541) and Alfonso de Valdes (1490-1532).
   Juan de Valdes composed a Dialog of Christian Doctrine (Alcala, 1529), between Antronio, stupid priest; the pity Eusebius, and archbishop of Granada, Fray Pedro de Alba. This erasmian manual teachs Commandements and Virtues. It finished with a castilian version of the Mountain Sermon. It shocked with suspicions of Inquisition: its author left Spain, ca. 1531, for Rome and Naples, where he died between his fellows. Editions of Christian Alphabet and Hundred and Ten Divine Considerations are posthumous.


Beginning of Dialog
of Language
   This relative to Erasmus is well-known by his Dialog of Language (ca.1535). Unpublished up to 1777, it deals in its eight parts with the origin of spanish language, with grammar, with spelling -extensively-, with syllables, with words, with style -clearness against art- in literary works, and with languages' agreement. His progressive spirit let him reject Nebrija's Grammar because of the fact of been Andalusian.
First Printed Edition of the
Dialog of Language

Dialog of the Things Happenned in Rome
   Alphonse of Valdes was a disciple of Pedro Martir de Angleria and, from 1526, official latinist and secretary of the Emperor.
   In order to serve him he wrote the Dialog of the Things Happenned in Rome or Dialog between Lactancio and an arcedian (1527). This work presents the reasonings with wich the former justifies the Sacking of Rome -the latter has been a victim- seeing it as a Providence punishment.

Manuscript of the
Dialog between Mercury and Caro

Cover of the
Dialog between Mercury and Caro
   Dialog between Mercury and Caro (1529) got a bigger success. Its two books follow the Dialogs between Deads by Lucian of Samosata (ca.125-192), in a dialog between Hermes and Caro. In its first book they justify Imperial politics against France, England and the Pope, while they listen to the reasons of spirits damned because of their hypocrisy, except for that of a model married man. In its second part King Polidorus, erasmian ideal of a Right Monarch, speaks. Then a bishop comes; a priest; a friar; a cardinal and a modelic married woman. Meanwhile, gods discuss on defiances between François I and the ever justified Carlos the Emperor.
   This literary technique is imitated by the anonymous Dialog between Caronte and the soul of Peter Luis Farnesio (ca.1547), in wich the boatman critizises this Pope's son and defends Carlos' authority.

Cover of the
gothic edition of the  Dialog
between Mercurio and Caron

The Luxurian
Andalusian Woman

(Venise, 1528)
    4.-  In Venice was published Francisco Delicado's work: The Luxurian Andalusian Woman (1528). Its action is developped in Rome and, from its cover, the book has to see with La Celestina and preludiates the picaresque literature.
   Rome and world of prostitutes, bad servants and corruption mark this work between those of this time's spanish literature.
   We should point out to the Chronicle of don Francesillo de Zuñiga (ca.1529), joking tale of a supposed emperor's clown up to this year. It is a point in a parodic line that will go on in our letters.

Beginning of
The Luxurian
Andalusian Woman

(Venice, 1528)

Works by Perez de Oliva
    5.-  Fernan Perez de Oliva (Cordoba, 1494-1531) wrote a Dialog on Man's Dignity, posthumously published in Alcala de Henares (1546), reprinted with other works by the author's cousin Ambrosio de Morales in 1586. There Antonio looks for solitude and listens a speech by stoic Aurelio -disciple of Marcus Aurelius and Plinius- on human misery. He answers with another one on human dignity, following Pico de la Mirandola. Work is here interrupted and continued by Cervantes de Salazar. Perez de Oliva shows his interest on natural sciences and gives up man his joy for his world and condition.
   He praises Cordoba in his Reasoning on Navigation of Guadalquivir River (ca.1524) and proves his knowledge of latin in his "bilingual" Dialogus inter Siliceum, Arithmeticam et Famam (ca.1518).

Autograph by Perez de Oliva




Palmerín de Oliva
    6.a.-  At the beginning of 16th century, prose of fiction produced many books of cavalry.
   They were a target for erasmian criticisms, though they found interested readers like the Emperor himself.
   Many books are included in the british cycle or the carlovingian one -like the story of Knight don Renaldos (Seville, 1542), whose fourth part adapts the Baldo-, but most of them are closer to greek-asian cycle, as Amadis de Gaula and its continuations -The Facts of Esplandian (1510), by Rodriguez de Montalvo (†1505), or Florisando (1510)-. Amadis' deeds come to the ninth book -Amadis de Greece (1530)-, by Feliciano de Silva, who also wrote Florisel de Niquea, and end in the twelfth one: Silves de la selva (1546).


Don Florisel de Niquea
   Palmerines must be included in greek-asian cycle: Palmerin de Oliva (1511) or Primaleon (1512), even Tirante the White (1511), castilian version of the book by Joanot Martorell. We must remember Don Belianis de Grecia (1545), Florando de Inglaterra (1545), the Knight of Febo -in the Mirror for Princes and Gentlemen (1555)-... Florismarte -or Felixmarte- de Hircania (1556), by Melchor de Ortega, can finish the catalog of these books in the age of Carlos I.
Tirante the White
(Valladolid, 1511)


Roberto the Devil (Burgos, 1588)
    6.b.-  A section of knight stories is represented by titles as Chronicle of the Cid Ruy Diaz, History of Enrique, Son of dona Oliva; Book of the Count Partinuples; History of Queen Seville; The Terrifying and Admirable Life of Roberto the Devil; Flores and Blancaflor; Paris and Viana; The Chronicle of the Gentle Knights Tablante de Ricamonte and Jofre..., with a legendary air. There are, also, versions of Furious Orlando and verse tales.
   These were readings for middle-class also shared by the upper ones.

Mirror for Princes and Gentlemen




Cover of Marcus Aurelius
    7.-  A not exactly erasmian spirituality can be found in writers as Francisco de Madrid, author of an Art for Serving God (¿1521-24?).
    8.-  Fray Antonio de Guevara (Cantabria, 1480-1545) got that his works were well-known beyond our Peninsula.
   His Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius (1528) appeared without date neither author's name. It contained the life of this emperor and a supposed collection of letters by him. Next year it will be published with a Clock for Princes (1529). It offers lots of exempla and classical stories that try to show pleasantness in its erudition.
   His Decade of Ten Caesars, Advise for Privates, Book of Inventors of the Art of Sailing, Contempt of the Court and Praise of the Village and Familiar Epistles appeared in The Works by the Illustrious Gentleman don Antonio de Guevara (1539).

Clock for Princes


Works by Guevara
   Then, he edited his First Part of Carmelo Mountain.
   His Contempt of the Court and Praise of the Village and his Familiar Epistles imply a modelic prose for a reform of moral and society. Pedro de Rua, born in Soria, attacked him because of his frivolity and light erudition.
    9.-  Pero Mexia (Seville, 1500-1551) could see his works translated to other languages. His Silva with a Varied Lecture, will be published and added from three to four parts between 1540 and 1551.

Silva with a Varied Lecture


Silva with a Varied Lecture
   This Silva -it means 'Jungle'- joins chapters on Universal History or philosophy, to others on curiosities as fish Nicolao or use of bells. Mexia also wrote six Coloquia (1547), an Imperial and Caesarian History (1548) and an unfinished History of Carlos V.
    10.-  Juan de Jarava is the author of some Problems on Love and Wine, a Conversation between the Old Man and the Young One and a Coonversation between the Fly and the Ant -that adds an erasmian air to Phedro's fable-, all printed in 1544.
   To Pedro de Luxan, born in Seville, must be attributed the Matrimonial Conversations (1550) and, to Diego Nuñez Alba, the Dialogs about the Soldier's Life (1552).

Dialogs about the Soldier's Life

Complete Works by
Alonso de Orozco
    11.-  Beatus Alonso de Orozco (1500-1591) was born in Oropesa. His Garden of Prayer and Mountain of Contemplation (1554) belongs to orthodoxy. Fray Luis de Leon shoould have read his On Nine Names of Christ, unpublished until 1888.
   In this situation appeared Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and His Misfortunes and Adversities (1554).
    12.-  Juan Luis Vives (Valencia, 1492-1540) was a great humanist and a close friend of Erasmus. He was born in a converso from judaism family. Annoyed with his situation, he left Spain in 1512. From Bruges (Belgium), he dealt with diplomatic, pedagogic and ideological affairs close to Erasmus and other humanists, as the french Guillaume Budé or the english Thomas Moore, whose land was visited by Vives because of political reasons.

   His important work deals with philosophical, theological, pedagogical, and philological matters. Writting in latin did not make his work available to a conventional public reader.
   He shared this language with other non erasmian humanists as Juan Gines de Sepulveda (1490-1573).
    13.-  From 1530 persecutions against erasmian and heterodox begin in an isolated way. Though the most violent attack would come after Erasmus death (1536), many religious writers were seen as suspicious, like Luis de Carvajal or shocked more or less directly against Inquisition, as Francisco de Enzinas, author of his latin Memories; Bartolome Carranza or Constantino Ponce de la Fuente, author of a Sum of Christian Doctrine (1543), a Sermon by Our Salvator Father on the Mountain and a Christian Manual, source for later spiritual works.

Instruction for the Christian
by Juan Luis Vives

Censured book
   The work by Alejo de Venegas, Agony in the Transit of the Death (1537), is in debt with the erasmian Preparatio ad mortem while erasmian Modus orandi is remembered in the Treatise on Prayer (1552) by Antonio de Porras or the Commento... (1545) by Martin de Azpilcueta.
Censured book

   Other spanish erasmians were Juan de Vergara; probably, Maria de Cazalla; the printer Miguel de Eguia; Erasmus' translator, Alonso de Virues or Juan Maldonado, author of Pastor Bonus (1529) and chronicler of Erasmism. His life shows a shock for it and for spanish humanism.
    14.-  The History of Lovers Clareo and Florisea (1552), by Alonso Nuñez de Reinoso, showed in wich way sentimental fiction would be a source for books on adventures and byzantine romances, until the Process of Love Letters (1553) by Juan de Segura, reader of greek tales. This kind of books began with the translation, in 1554, of Etiopic History or Teagenes and Cariclea by Heliodorus, appreciated by erasmians.

Etiopic History


Beginning of The Crotalon
    15.-  Erasmian narrative culminates, about the decade of 1550, with two masterworks:
   The Crotalon (after 1555), signed by the burlesque name of Cristophoro Gnophoso, is kept in two manuscripts -ms.2294, amplified in ms.18345 BNM-. It contains twenty chapters, lucianesque dialogs between shoemaker Micilo and his cock, a reencarnation of Pitagoras (chapter I), who tells his prior lives as a pig (chapter II), according to Plutarc; a simoniac priest (chapter III), a religious philosopher and an ass, according to Apuleius (chapter IV); the servant of a navarre witch, who became the maid Saxe (chapter V), who praises Charles the Emperor (chapter VI); as a courtesan from Toledo, according to Aretinus (chapter VII), a superb nun and a frog in fight against mice (chapter VIII); as Albert of Cleph, friend of Arnao Guillen and of the latter's good name (chapter IX) -because of it he was captive and rescued (chapter X)-; he saw in Milan the flaunty and ridiculous burial of the Marquis of Spending (chapter XI);

he visited the Sky, beeing Icarus Menipus, and beheld the vanity of men and philosophers (chapter XII); the ingratitude of Andronico towards Drusila, who won Raimundo's love; he paints God's seat (chapter XIII) and hell between dantesque devils (chapter XIV), reptiles and sinners, (chapter XV) as Rosicler, who killed her lover Dares, as she was in love with her own father, who murdered her by mistake; or wise Chiron, (chapter XVI). He listens in Zenon's mass to disputes by clergymen: Alcidamas outstands because of his brutality and rudeness (chapter XVII).
The Crotalon


The Crotalon
Devoured by a whale, he finds in its belly Truth and Goodness (chapter XVIII) and he understands the pain of those who serve Nobles (chapter XIX). Endly, Micilo regrets before Demophon his cock's death, in carnival, killed by stupid women.
   This work includes allusions to places close to Valladolid, seat of the Royal Chancellery.
   The book stayed almost unknown until 1871 and was attributed to Andres Laguna (ca.1499-1559) and to Cristobal de Villalon.

Dioscorides by
Andres Laguna


Useful Treatise on
Changes and Contracts
    16.-  Cristobal de Villalon (1505-1581) is the author of Tragedy of Mirrha (1536), that adapts the tenth book of Ovidian Metamorphoses.
   The Scholastic (ca.1538), humanist dialog in four books, imitates Castiglione's The Courteous Man: a group of masters of Salamanca University deals with the qualities of a perfect scholar. They dispute on friendship, on virtue and on old age (Book I); they praise Theology, Laws, Medicine..., teacher's and disciple's states and the talent of the former (Book II); virtues in both: knowledge of greeks and latin classics, they reject scholastical philosophy (Book III)... They propose woman and love as superior values; they praise Music and Arts, between fine jokes, as a way of spending student's leisure. Fernan Perez de Oliva and Francisco de Bobadilla -who gives the work a Platonic touch- stand out between the speakers .


Dialog on Pitagoras Changes
   A Witty Comparison Between the Old and the Present (1539) retakes the old dispute between antiquity and modernity. Curiously, the most popular work by Villalon would be the Useful Treatise on Changes and Contracts (1541), because of a birthing capitalism that questions the moral of interest. Lately, appeared his Castilian Grammar (1558).
   Without solid reasons, a short Dialog on Pitagoras Changes was attributed to him. It shares with The Crotalon its speakers -Micilo and the cock- and other features of its structure.

Dialog on Pitagoras Changes


Travel to Turkey
    17.-  A Travel to Turkey (ca.1557-8) has been attributed to doctor Andres Laguna -author of a Dioscorides on Botany-. Also to Juan Ulloa Pereira.
   This erasmian dialog between Pedro de Urdemalas, Juan de Voto a Dios and Matalascallando tells -after critizice the confessor's lies, the ostentation of hospitals and the falsety of pilgrimages- the former's travel: captive by turkish who let them practice medicine, slave of general Zinan Baxa, and worker of harder jobs. He shows his science and honesty between jew doctors and rejects -paying hard- the offers to renounce his religion. Though liberated according to Zinan Baxa's will, after his death Pedro must run away through Greece, which is well painted, with scarce helps from greeks, threatened by turkish. From Italy he comes to Spain and there he is found by his friends.
   Next day, Pedro describes, in a second part, turkish religion, justice, militar organization, feasts and food. The book ends with a description of Constantinople.
   Our author used tales and descriptions of Turkey, like those of Spandugino, Georgievits or Münster.

Travel to Turkey

D.Miguel Perez Rosado.
Doctor in Philology