Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Thomas Burman

Committee Members

Robert Bast, Jeri McIntosh


The purpose of this thesis was to examine the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X of Castile in the context of two historiographical assertions: that Alfonso was a revolutionary monarch who consciously anticipated the developments surrounding the rise of the nation-state, and that the Siete Partidas represent a mere compilation of older legal traditions with little creative manipulation by Alfonso. To test these assertions, I selected three samples of the legal code and analyzed the extent to which they conformed to these historiographical claims.

My analysis concluded that these sections of the Siete Partidas do not support the prevailing historiographical assertions about both Alfonso and the Siete Partidas. Rather, these sections of the code suggest that Alfonso was as much a medieval ruler, deeply concerned with the particular situation of thirteenth-century Castile, as he was a visionary anticipating a centralized Castilian nation-state. As a result, my thesis suggests that a reinterpretation of Alfonso X’s character may be in order. At least in these sections of the Siete Partidas, the traditional perspective of Alfonso X does not seem valid, and a deeper analysis seems warranted.

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