DS: Unlocking the Manuscripts, Paleography, and History of Medieval Toledo (Spain)

Course Designers and Professors

Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila, University of Colorado, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Overview

This course evaluates the medieval history of Toledo from the reign of King Alfonso “The Wise” (1252-1284) until the creation of the blood purity statutes in the 1450s. This local history will concentrate on the relations of Jews, Old Christians, and converts to Christianity (conversos). We will study King Alfonso X’s efforts to characterize himself as the “king of three religions” via his legal codices, the creation of the Cantigas de Santa María, and his intellectual endeavor known as the Toledo School of Translators. We evaluate the robust Jewish and converso noble families of the city and appreciate their intellectual, religious, and economic contributions to Castilian life. We will bear witness to the rise of anti-Jewish blood purity statutes, the creation of the Inquisition, and the expulsion of the Jews. We will virtually-tour the Cathedral of Toledo, El Transito Synagogue, Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue, and several of its neighborhoods. We also will study and transcribe manuscripts from the municipal, cathedral, and national historic nobility archives to make new scholarly breakthroughs.

No knowledge of Spanish is needed to participate in the course or in our transcription efforts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Garner knowledge and assess the history of medieval Spanish intercultural coexistence in the city of Toledo and the Kingdom of Castile and Leon.
  • Explore the world of medieval manuscripts and texts held in the archives of the Cathedral of Toledo, the City of Burgos, and the Archivo Nacional Histórico-Sección Nobleza.
  • Learn the craft of medieval paleography, or reading authentic handwritten manuscripts.
  • Transcribe medieval manuscripts and contribute to new scholar knowledge.