15TH CENTURY: PROSE IN THE AGE OF JUAN II
 



    1.-  Enrique III's age can be closed by two historical works: Chronicle of 1404, written this year from a gallician-portuguese text according to alphonsine style, and a History of Gothic Deeds, a book composed by different authors and a remake of Jimenez de Rada's work.
 
   Endly, the Sum of Spain's Chronicles, by Pablo Garcia de Santa Maria (1350-1435), deals with the mythical origins of Spain up to 1412.

Remake of Rada's
Chronicle

 

Manuscript of
Embassy to Tamorlan
    2.-  We keep the unfinished Memories by doña Leonor Lopez de Cordoba (1410-20), born in Calatayud, ca.1363, daughter of Maestre Martin Lopez de Cordoba, defeated by Enrique II in Carmona. Beheaded the Maestre, his family will suffer for nine years the prison-workshops in Seville, where many brothers of Leonor died. After the King's death, she will retire in a convent, baptize a jew child and cry her own son's death.
 
    3.-  Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, born in Madrid, will compose a book of travels: the Embassy to Tamorlan (1406-12) -mogul in Samarkanda- conducted by himself in 1403, from the part of the king. Travel's enthusiasm makes him forget the political reasons for it.

Embassy to Tamorlan
AGE OF JUAN II (1406-1454)

 

Lesser Pain
of Medicine
    4.-  Alonso de Chirino († h.1430), converso born in Cuenca, was Juan II's doctor. He wrote for him Lesser Pain of Medicine (prior to 1419). Its first part deals with health's rules -feeding and habitudes- for the four times of the year and pestilences, and passions of soul. A second part treats fevers, illness and surgery. The third, daily deseases.
 
    5.-  Before 1420 composed Clemente Sanchez Vercial (Valderas -Leon-, ¿1370-1434?) his Book of exempla as A.B.C., collection of more than 400 tales -from latin sources- for ecclesiastic sermons, whose latin conclusions are shown by alphabetical order. We also wrote a Sacramental (1423).

Book of
Exempla as ABC

 

 
ENRIQUE DE VILLENA

 
    6.-  Brightness in this age is due to Enrique de Villena (1384-1434), son of Juana de Castilla -illegitimate daughter of Enrique II- and Pedro de Villena (†1385), son of Castille's Condestable. Events deprived him of privileges that he could not recover. He was educated in Valencia and Barcelone, in Aragonese Court. His frustration after trying Calatrava's Masterhood would confine him to his village of Iniesta, where he died in December, ruined and socially discredited.
Manuscript by
Enrique de Villena

 

Cover and index of
Twelve Works by Hercules
   Twelve Works by Hercules (1417), was initially composed in catalan. Remembering the hero's proofs after Boethius, he applied the senses of scholastic commentary: history, allegory, true and application for the twelve social states: -prince, perlate, chevalier, clergyman, citizen, merchant, peasant, servant, magister, disciple, bachelor and woman-.
Pictures from incunabulum of
Twelve Works by Hercules

 

Works by Enrique de Villena
   At 1420 he wrote several treatises in epistolary style: Treatise on Leprosy (ca.1422), to Alfonso Chirino; Art of Scissoring (1423), to Sancho de Jarava, about the cut and service of foods; Treatise on Consolation (1424), to Juan Fernandez de Valera, full of erudite quotations and philosophy in a latinizing style; Exposition to Psalm "Quoniam videbo..." (1424), cosmologic treatise -an ambitious Treatise on Astrology is attributed to him-, and Treatise on Fascination or Eyen Magic (1425).
Pictures from incunabulum of
Twelve Works by Hercules

 

Twelve Works by Hercules
   His works won him a reputation as heterodox: Bishop Lope de Barrientos, writer of a Treatise on Prophesies, would burn his library.
 
   An uncompleted Art of Composing (1430-34) and short works -an Epistle to Suero de Quiñones (1433), an Exposition for a sonnet by Petrarca- and many Letters- complete the whole of his original works.
 
   He also translated and glossed Eneid (1428-34) and Commedy (1427-28) by Dante.

 
   A Precious Codex, a Treatise on Eternal Fires, an Art of War, a History of Vulcano and Commentaries to Epistles by Maestre Alfonso [Chirino] never came to our hands.
 
   Villena's literature innovated spanish prose because of his erudition, his latinizing syntax -imitating latin one- and his use of lexical cultism.

Works by Enrique de Villena


Chronicle of King Rodrigo
    7.-  Sarracine Chronicle (h.1430) by Pedro del Corral -assumed in Chronicle of King don Rodrigo... (1500)- was composed after a lost Chronicle of Moor Rasis -mistaken with it- and a possible version of Chronicle of 1344.
 
   This extensive and fabulous history reflects, among chivalresque tales, the lost of Spain by don Rodrigo and Count don Julian, ending with the king's death and the scripture on his tomb.

Chronicle of King Rodrigo
or of Moor Rasis

 

 

Manuscript of
Pass of Honour
    8.-  Alvar Garcia de Santa Maria (h.1370-1460), brother of Pablo, wrote the Chronicle on Juan II on events from 1406 to 1434. Edition of 1517 by Lorenzo Galindez de Carvajal was mistaken with it. It was remade ca.1450 by Pedro Carrillo de Huete in his -Chronicle of Halconero- and Lope de Barrientos.
 
    9.-  Book of Pass of Honour deals with the facts by Suero de Quiñones in 1434, close to Orbigo's Bridge that finished with chivalresque armed deeds. It was written by notary Pero Rodriguez de Lena and is kept in different epitomes.

Modern edition of
Epitom in 1588
of  Pass of Honour

Manuscript of
El Victorial
    10.-  El Victorial (ca.1436) or Chronicle of Pero Niño, written by his second lieutenant, Gutierre Diez de Games -in a double redaction or helped by previous notes ca. 1406- deals with his facts. An extensive Preface expounds universal chivalry citing strophes of Book on Alexandre- and the whole work strucuture: its first part relates the birth and lineage of Pero Niño (1378-1453) -then follower of king Pedro-, his upbringing, deeds and first marriage. Second one tells his Mediterranean fights (1404) against moor pirates and those at french coasts against english. It finished with Granada war (1407). A short Third part deals with his love for Beatriz of Portugal and violent contact with Juan II.
 
   An Epilogue would be added ca.1453 in order to shut the biography, unless we date its whole composition this year.

Manuscript of
Archpriest of Talavera
    11.-  Doctrinal prose is well represented in a treatise by Alfonso Martinez de Toledo (1398-1468), chaplain of Juan II and Enrique IV: Archpriest of Talavera (1438) -bad known as Corbacho because of its antifeminist ideas-. Its author, Beneficiado in Toledo Chapell of Old Kings, studied at Salamanca and got the archpriest condition for Talavera de la Reina in 1427.
Incunabulum of
Archpriest of Talavera

 

Archpriest of Talavera
   Its first part is a Refusal of Worldly Love, subtitle for the complete work. The second one shows exempla in order to create daily feminine scenes, full of freshness and documentalism. Its third part deals with men complexions and their tendency to lust. It ends in a fourth part against beleiving in fates and fortunes, with an allegory taken from Boccaccio. Many printed editions added a probably apocryphal Demanda in wich the author begs the women's pardon.
 
   Martinez de Toledo also composed an Atalaya for the Chronicles (1443), historical work, and the attributed Lifes of Saint Isidore and Saint Ildefonso (ca.1444).

 

Delectable Vision
(Tolosa, 1489)
    12.-  Bachellor Alfonso de la Torre ws born in Navarre. He wrote Delectable Vision of Philosophy... (ca.1440), encyclopaedia in two parts contained in an allegorycal vision: Author finds the walking child Knowledge, who learns Trivium and Quadrivium. Wisdom offers him natural and superior philosophy. A Second part deals with moral philosophy: ethics -hapinness and virtue-, economics -rules for one's house- and politics. It finally reflects God as a supreme good.
Delectable Vision,
(Cromberger  1526

 

Catalan version of
Delectable Vision
   This work used arabic and hebrew sources, as Maimonides, and was reprinted in 16th century.
 
   Another contemporary encyclopaedia is the Confessio amantis to Genius, clergy of Goddess Diana, translation of the english text by John Gower after a portuguese version. Its moral learning, includes natural philosophy and classical exempla.

 
    13.-  Juan Rodriguez del Padron was born in Galicia at the end of 14th century. He travelled through Europe before taking Franciscan habit (1441) in Jherusalem.
 
   His first work inaugurates the sentimental fiction: Free Prisoner of Love (1439). With latinizing style its first part tells in wich way the maiden refuses her lover who could not keep the secret of their passion. Knowledge, allegorical figure, dissuades him -in a second part- of killing himself and introduces the Tale of Two Lovers -Ardanlier and Liesa, the latter killed by King Creos, father of the former, whose death comes after Liesa's one. In a third part the author, alone and desperate, finds a strange boat waiting for him.

Manuscript of
Free Prisoner of Love

 

Edition of
Story of Two Lovers
(Sevilla, 1512)
   The works depends on Ovid's Heroids that were also translated by Rodriguez under the title Bursario.
 
   His production goes on with Chair of Honor (ca.1440). In this moral treatise he praises nobility and virtue as antiquity of lineage. His Triomph of Women (ca.1445) exposes more than forty feminist reasons.
 
    14.-  Contemporary to these books must be the Historia de duobus amantibus (1444), by Eneas Silvius Piccolomini: Pius II. It deals with the love between Eurialo, servant of Emperor Segismond, and Lucrecia, wife from Siena, who dies because of him. Castilian version Estoria muy verdadera de dos amantes... was printed in 1496 and led sentimental fiction those years.

 
    15.-  Emulating Boccaccio, Condestable Alvaro de Luna (1390-1453) wrote Famous and virtuous Women (1446) in three books -after a prologue by Juan de Mena-, and 117 feminine lives, headed by Virgin Mary. They come from the Bible, Classic Antiquity and Christianism.
Book of Famous and Virtuous Women

 
ALONSO FERNANDEZ DE MADRIGAL, "THE TANNED"

 

De optima politia
    16.-  Alonso Fernandez de Madrigal (Avila, 1400-1455), "the Tanned", was a prolific writer. He was a student in Salamanca School of St. Barthelemy. He visited Italy ca.1442 and was bishop of Avila since 1445. Among his latin works we would choose De optima politia, De statu animarum (both written in 1436) and his moral and biblicaly little books.
 
   His Book of paradoxae (ca.1437) was devoted to Isabel Queen. His ciceronian title tries to answer to puzzling questions using the medieval scholastic commentary: first one deals with Virgin Mary; second one with Jesus as a lion; third one, as a lamb; forth, as a snake -writes on fascination-; and a fifth one on Christ as an eagle and His ascension. We find biblical sources between aristotelian ones. Madrigal himself translated this work into latin.
 
   A platonic quotation originates the Breviloquio of Love and Friendship (ca.1437-1441), wise treatise on classical subjects, devoted to Juan II. An anonymous Treatease: in Wich Way Man is Obliged to Love was attributed to him.

 

Chronicle by Eusebius and Jerome
   His Treatise on Eusebius of Chronicles or Times (1445-1450), translates the latin text and inspires partial commentaries (since 1450). 14 Questions of the Tanned -two on moral philosophy- and mythological exercises: the Book of Ten Vulgar Questions (...), about Gods of paganism and about Ages and Virtues (ca.1453) -Apollo, Neptune, June, Narcise, Venus, on ages, on virtues, Diana, Minerva, Cupido...- according to Boccaccio come from the printed edition.
Edition of Chronicle
of Eusebius and Jerome

 

Castilian edition of Eusebius (1506-07)
   Eusebius was printed in Salamanca (1506-1507), in six volumes. His latin works, in Venice (1507-1531): 13 vols.
 
   His Confessional or Short Way of Confession was also translated into spanish.
 
   He polemized with Juan de Torquemada (Valladolid, 1388-1468), papist author of Meditationes and Summa de Ecclesia.

Confessional

 
ALFONSO DE CARTAGENA

 

Manuscript of
Rhetoric
    17.-  Alfonso de Cartagena (Burgos, 1384-1456) was the second son of Pablo de Cartagena -converso Salomon Ha Levi, brother of Alvar Garcia-. He studied Laws at Salamanca and was from 1415, Dean and Apostolic Nuntius. From 1421 to 1427 he negotiated Peace with Portugal and served his king against Aragon and Granada. He translated Cicero, De Senectute and De Officiis (1422).
 
   His Memoriale virtutum (1422), aristotelic scholar book, stimulates to make war against infidels. It was translated for Isabel of Portugal in 1474. Cartagena also translated the ciceronian Rhetorica, De inventione (1424-31), and other works by Seneca between 1430 and 1434.

 
   A polemic arose aginst Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444) because of his translation of aristotelian Ethica -the one that made forget the old one by Roberto Grosseteste (1168-1253)- in Declinationes -or declamationes- super translationem Ethicorum (ca.1432) until 1439. It attained Pier Candido Decembrio (1399-1477), to whom Alfonso adressed epistolar comunication, and Cardinal Pizolpasso (1370-1443).
 
   At Basilea Congress (1434) Alonso composed in latin and spanish a Propositio...super altercatione praeminentia (1434), for his king Juan II. Eugenio IV made him Bishop of Burgos in 1435.

Five Books of Seneca

 

Manuscript from 18th century
of the Question
   His Allegationes...super Conquista Insularum Canariae... (1437) deffend castilian rights to these Islands.
 
   In an Epistula...ad comitem de Haro (ca.1440) chooses books for nobility: moral texts as Marci Porcii Cathonis and Contemptus mundanorum.
 
   His Duodenarium (1442), answers twelve questions by Perez de Guzman. A Tractatus Questionis Ortolanus (1443-47), to Sanchez de Arevalo, deals with superiority of seeing on hearing.

Manuscript of Doctrinal for Knights

 

Incunabulum of
Doctrinal for Knights
   He aswered to the Question on Chivalry (1444) from Marquis de Santillana and wrote the Doctrinal for Knights (ca. 1445-46), adapting alphonsine Second Partida in four books on faith, laws, war, prizes, punishments, fights, defiances and duels, tournaments, vassals, bad actions and privileges. Alfonso points out the defensive function of Chivalry.
 
   He wrote Defensorium Unitatis Christianae (1449-50) for conversos.
 
   His Oracional (ca.1454) is a treatise on praying in 55 chapters and an Ultilogue of virtues and on Mass, devoted to Perez de Guzman.

Picture from an incunabulum 
of Doctrinal for Knights

 

Latin manuscript of
Anacephaleosis
   Scholars wonder whether Alfonso changed from classical letters to ethical or ascetic ones or not. The fact is that he could answer to any of the persons he met in an adapted level of language.
 
   An important History closes his complete work: the Anacephaleosis, (1454-56), inspired in Flavius Josephus, Floro and Jimenez de Rada. It underlines castilian gothicism. Spanish version, attributed to Perez de Guzman and Juan de Villafuerte, shows the title Genealogy of Spanish Kings (1463).
 
   He composed poems and a lost Devotional.

Beginning of
Generations and  Portraits
    18.-  Fernan Perez de Guzman (h.1378-1460), nephew of Lopez de Ayala and Lord of Batres, was a confident of Cartagena. Fernan was partial to Lopez Davalos and Fernando de Antequera. He paid that in prison. When he got out of it he retired to Batres.
 
   His 35 biographies in Generations and Portraits (1450-55), are open by a Prologue about true in History. He describes people he knew directly: Enrique III, the Queen, Guardian Fernando, and Juan II with his Condestable, after important persons as Lopez de Ayala, Enrique de Villena, or Pedro de Frias.
 
   His Sea of Histories is a prose translation of Mare historiarum by Giovanni della Colona. He ordered translations of Moral Epistles by Seneca and works by Salustius.

Beginning of
Sea of Histories

 
    19.-  Lope Fernandez de Minaya (fl.1438), from St. Augustine Order, should live in Toledo.
 
   The first book of his Mirror of Soul warns us from spiritual evils: suffering in Hell and God's benefits. A second book deals with vices -and remedies- and virtues.
 
   Book of tribulations presents those as divine callings. Minaya wrote a Short Treatise on Penitence and a lost Book of Confession.
 
   He quotes biblical and ecclesiastical sources.

 

Garden of Noble Maiden
    20.-  Martin Alonso de Cordoba († h.1476), curate of Salamanca convent and teacher in Toulouse from 1431, also belonged to St. Augustine Order.
 
   He devoted his Compendium of Fortune (1440-53) to Alvaro de Luna. He deals with fates and good fortune in his first book and adapts literary dialogues by Ps.Seneca or Boccaccio in second one.
 
   Garden of Noble Maiden (ca.1468-69), devoted to yet infanta Isabel, is a feminist short work that defends her rights to the kingdom. Its first part exposes feminine condition since Eve. The second one develops women virtues and the third one, about saints and virtuous wives, adds literary authorities.
 
   His work will be completed in a Treatise on Predestination against these believings.

 

Book of Rules
for Lords
    21.-  A third Augustine, Juan de Alarcon (Cuenca), visited Florence in 1419 and was close to Juan II's Court.
 
   His Book of Rules for Lords, in six parts, is influenced by Egidius of Rome: God sometimes gives bad rulers to peoples, but they all symbolize God. He will forgive them if they consult clergymen.
 
    22.-  Converso Fernan Diaz de Toledo sends his Relator's Instruction (1449) to Bishop of Cuenca -Lope de Barrientos (†1449)- in favour of hebrew nation. He defends jews -specially conversos- from injuries of Toledo, 1449. He points out to Bachellor Marcos Garcia Mazarambros and Pedro Sarmiento who excited people against them and praises important persons from his nation.

Book of Rules
for Lords

 

Book of Consolation of Spain
   His homonymous cousin was Archdeacon of Niebla and left a collection of letters from 1420 to 1431.
 
    23.-  Anonymous Book of Consolation of Spain (ca.1434-49) consists of a short prologue and a dialogue in wich Gracia -or Garcia- tells to Spain the disaster caused by spanish vices and sins. It is closed by a Prayer for Spain, probably recited by herself.

Book of Consolation of Spain

 
DIEGO DE VALERA

 

Mirror of True Nobility
    24.-  Diego de Valera (Cuenca, 1412-1488) was the son of Alfonso Chirino and doncel of Juan II from 1427. He received from him the title of Mosen among others. He travelled through Europe for many sakes and was magister of Enrique IV between 1438-39.
 
   His special way of getting the title of knight and a critical attitude towards Rodriguez del Padron originated his Mirror of True Nobility (ca.1441): its eleven chapters deffends nobility of "good habitudes", citing Boethius against Aristote.
 
   His feminism can be seen in Treatise in Deffence of Virtuous Women (1444-5), epistle or monologue, devoted to Queen Maria.

 

Ceremonial for Princes
   Invitation to Peace (1447-48) is devoted to Juan II in order to remind him of his compromises, the concept of justice and the good virtues he should accomplish.
 
   Between 1455 and 1460 he wrote a Genealogy of the Kings of France; he shew his erudition in Origin of Troy and Rome, influenced by Leomarte. His Ceremonial for Princes and Knights, devoted to Juan Pacheco, deals with dignities and rights of nobility.
 
   A Treatise on Weapons (ca.1458-60), to Alfonso V de Portugal, follows the Ordenamiento de Alcala and enumerates the ceremonies of challenges and defiances.

Treatise on Challenges and Defiances

 

End of
Providence against Fortune
   A very short Treatise on Providence against Fortune (1445-48 or 1462-7) devoted to Juan Pacheco sends him consolation against politic diseases and five virtues as told by Seneca and Boethius.
 
   As short as the latter, his Breviloquio of virtues (after.1461), for Count of Benavente, develops the metaphor of life as sailing.
 
   Doctrinal for Princes (ca.1476), manual of ethics in nine chapters, is devoted to King Fernando. It shows the moral Philosophy he had exposed in prior treatises.
 
   His Rights and Obligations of Officials of Weapons (1480-82) warn the king's lawyers.

Summarized Chronicle

 

Chronicle of Spain
   Summarized Chronicle of Spain or Valeriana Chronicle (printed in 1482) ends at Juan II kingdom. With Enrique IV deals his Memorial of Several Deeds (ca.1486-87). He reflected up to 1488 in Chronicle of Catholic Monarchs, probable year of his death in Puerto de Santa Maria.
 
   23 Epistles, from 1441 to 1486 complete his literary work. A translation of Tree of Battles by Honore Bouvet is attributed to him as well as an Origin of the House of Guzman (1447) and a lost Chronicle of the House of Zuñiga (ca.1454).

Chronicle of Spain

 

Chronicle of Alvaro de Luna
    25.-  Gonzalo Chacon seems to be the author of the Chronicle of Alvaro de Luna (after 1453).
 
   In order to deffend his rights to Navarre throne Carlos de Viana (1421-1461) wrote a Chronicle of the Kings of Navarre (ca.1454).

Carlos de Viana

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph. D. in Hispanic Philology.