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[:en]The history of Burgos shared with a global audience.[:]

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The history of Burgos shared with a global audience. European Commission-funded endeavor integrates everyday citizens into deciphering medieval manuscripts to better understand Jewish, Christian, and Islamic interrelations in Spain.


MADRID, SPAIN, 23 April 2016 – Deciphering Secrets Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) are democratizing scholarly research by mobilizing the public to transcribe vellum and paper manuscripts from Spain’s cathedral and municipal archives.

On 14 June 2016, the first of a new series of freeEnglish-language MOOCs will open on edX.org. Deciphering Secrets: Unlocking the Manuscripts of Medieval Burgos investigates the creation of the Castilian kingdom, the disastrous impact of the Plague, the death of King Alfonso XI, and a ruinous civil war that forever transformed Spain. Specifically, it appraises the collapse of the kingdom’s “Old Christian” nobility and the generation of new elite families, some of whom hailed from Jewish ancestries. It was also the era of anti-Jewish pogroms, Christian fixations on “blood purity” and unsuccessful pleas for Christian harmony, and the last gasps of interfaith coexistence. No knowledge of Spanish is needed to participate in the course or in the transcription efforts. Enroll in the course here.

Among the most exciting elements of the course are on-site interviews and visits to the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, the Archivo Municipal de Burgos, and the Museo de Burgos. Students will view and learn about the development of medieval royal power and authority, the role of Jewish and Muslims converts in the development of the church, and objects like a Christian reliquary from El Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos that was made using an Islamic chest. Doña Milagros Moratinos Palomero, the director of the municipal archive, and Doña Marta Negro Cobo, the director of the museum, are featured in several videos.

Lastly, the course will include video interviews with contemporary 21st century organizations that are committed to advancing intercultural relations, including Centro Sefarad Israel (Madrid), Casa Árabe (Madrid), and Fulbright España. We also include lectures from preeminent scholars at Spain’s Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Madrid). These include CSIC’s Conversion, Overlapping Religiosities, Polemics, Interaction: Early Modern Iberia and Beyond (CORPI) and Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom (PIMIC). Specifically, the MOOCs will include interviews with Drs. García-Arenal Rodríguez and Ana Rodríguez.

Spanish history provides a special opportunity to reflect on human coexistence. Martínez adds,

The Spanish Middle Ages and the relationships of Jews, Christians, and Muslims are largely misunderstood. Narratives that promote it as an age of harmonious interfaith peace or bloodthirsty interreligious wars fundamentally misrepresent the past. It was messier, more convoluted, and unbelievably complicated. The Deciphering Secrets series of MOOCs not only shed light on the gritty day-to-day relationships and affairs in medieval Spain, but also they can amend the existing history with new research divined from manuscripts from the 11th through 15th centuries.

In spring 2016, the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos granted Deciphering Secrets unprecedented access and permission to photograph and digitally-distribute approximately 1,000+ pages of medieval manuscripts that pertain to religious coexistence. Martínez notes,

This is an unprecedented partnership with a Spanish cathedral. Don Matías Vicario Santamaría, a church canon and the archivist of the Cathedral of Burgos, embraced the MOOC and our effort to bring these manuscripts, some not viewed for several hundred years, to the public for closer evaluation.

The course will also provide a venue for students to discuss very difficult issues of Jewish and Christian interrelations – especially the challenging idea of religious conversion. Martínez said,

For example, how should we remember persons like Salomon Ha-Levi, a Jewish rabbi who converted to Christianity in late 14th century Burgos and became Bishop Pablo de Santa María. Was he a turncoat who abandoned Judaism or the fountainhead of a prominent converso ecclesiastical family? The extended family, which included the intermarried Carvajal family, founded the synagogue of El Tránsito in Toledo, Spain, and produced Cardinal Bernardino López de Carvajal, who almost became the Catholic Pope – twice considered in conclave balloting – in the early 1500s. Other family members, like Luis de Carvajal ‘The Younger’, returned to Judaism and were executed by the Inquisition.

Deciphering Secrets uses a novel and pragmatic approach to teaching English-speaking students to transcribe medieval Spanish manuscripts (the practice of paleography). Martínez offers,

When we see Egyptian hieroglyphics or Mayan pictographs, most of us cannot understand their meaning, but we can recognize these symbols. There is less of a challenge in the case of the Spanish and English languages because we share the same Latin alphabet. Thus, English speakers can assist with transcription even if they might not understand all of the contents of what they are transcribing.

A previous effort in summer 2014 engaged 10,000+ students from 140 nations in the transcription of a 500+ page manuscript in just three weeks. Moreover, empirical testing indicated that these transcriptions are very good considering the average student score of 90 out of 100 percent on exams that evaluated paleographical skills.

The real challenge is ahead. Previously, students worked with handwriting from 1807 and our next set of MOOCs will include variants of medieval Gothic handwriting. It is considerably more difficult to transcribe, however we are hopeful given contemporary 21st handwriting is often more illegible than medieval scripts — said Martínez.

Deciphering Secrets has received funding from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement nº 600371, el Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (COFUND2013-51509) and Banco Santander.

More information is available at http://www.decipheringsecrets.com.

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About Martínez

UC3M Instituto Histografia

Prof. Dr. Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila

CONEX Marie Curie Fellow
Instituto Historiografía Julio Caro Baroja
C/ Madrid, 126 Edificio Concepción Arenal
Despacho 14.2.10 28903
Getafe – Madrid- Spain
Email: rogmarti@inst.ucm3m.es
Web Links:
https://www.edx.org/course/deciphering-secrets-unlocking-uc3mx-hga-2-1x
http://bit.ly/1RdhYMP

Martínez, a Roman Catholic and descendant of the Sephardim, holds academic positions at Universidad de Carlos III de Madrid (Spain) and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. From 2008-2010, he served as the Burton Postdoctoral Fellow at Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia) and earned his Ph.D. from the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin (2008). He holds a Master of Public Policy (1994) from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a historian of medieval and early modern Spain, especially religious minorities (Sephardic Jews and conversos). Relying on his specialized paleographical training, Dr. Martinez has conducted research in over 40 local, ecclesiastical, provincial, and national archives in Spain, Mexico, Bolivia, and the USA. He is the beneficiary of numerous grants, including ones from the Maurice Amado Program in Sephardic Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and the European Commission’s Marie Curie Actions. He is the author of the Sephardic Extremaduran Genealogical Database funded and hosted by the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center at the National Library of Israel. His is the co-curator of the Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, the Inquisition, and New World Identities exhibition that opens on 22 May 2016 at the New Mexico History Museum (Santa Fe). His forthcoming text, Blood, Faith, and Identity: Conversos in Early Modern Spain, is under contract with the University of Notre Dame Press.

Videos and Images for Distribution

The following videos and images are available for use in news articles, notices, commentaries, blogs, and editorials. All images and videos produced by Deciphering Secrets MOOCs should include a byline. All manuscript images remain the exclusive property of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos and may only be reproduced and distributed for the specific purpose for conveying information about the Deciphering Secrets MOOCs. Any additional reproduction, re-printing, and distribution of manuscript images must be approved by the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos. Thank you for your cooperation with the terms of Deciphering Secrets MOOCs existing agreements with the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos.

Images of the city of Burgos, the Cathedral of Burgos, and the former Jewish quarter 

Description:
View of the medieval city with the Cathedral of Burgos in the center of the image.
Image:
ViewofCathedralofBurgos.jpg
Byline:
Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila, CC BY-NC-ND, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ViewofCathedralofBurgos.jpg
View of the medieval city with the Cathedral of Burgos in the center of the image.

 

Description:
View of the Puerta de San Martín (Gate of Saint Martin), the principal medieval gate into the former Jewish quarter of Burgos. This image is taken inside of the city walls. The tall stand of pine trees, located in the center-right section of the photo, is the location of the former synagogue of Burgos.
Image:
PuertadeSanMartin_Synagogue.jpg
Byline:
Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila, CC BY-NC-ND, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PuertadeSanMartin_Synagogue-1.jpg
 
View of the Puerta de San Martín (Gate of Saint Martin), the principal medieval gate into the former Jewish quarter of Burgos. This image is taken inside of the city walls. The tall stand of pine trees, located in the center-right section of the photo, is the location of the former synagogue of Burgos.

 

Description:
View of the 15th century Capilla de Visitacion (Chapel of the Visitation) in the Cathedral of Burgos. Bishop Alonso de Cartagena, a Jewish convert to Christianity, is the prominent sepulcher in the center of this image.
Image:
Alonso_de_Cartagena_ChapelofVisitation.jpg
Byline:
Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila, CC BY-NC-ND, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Alonso_de_Cartagena_ChapelofVisitation.jpg

View of the 15th century Capilla de Visitacion (Chapel of the Visitation) in the Cathedral of Burgos. Bishop Alonso de Cartagena, a Jewish convert to Chrisianity, is the prominent sepulchre in the center of this image.

 

 

Images of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos

Description:
Close-up view of medieval manuscript collections inside of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos.
Image:
Mss_collection1.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_collection1.jpg
Close-up view of medieval manuscript collections inside of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos.

 

Description:
Wide-angle view of medieval manuscript collections inside of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos.
Image:
Mss_collection2.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_collection2.jpg
Wide-angle view of medieval manuscript collections inside of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos.

 

Description:
Portrait of Matías Vicario Santamaría, canon and archivist.
Image:
MatiasVicarioSantaMaria.jpg
Byline:
Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila, CC BY-NC-ND, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/MatiasVicarioSantaMaria.jpg
Portrait of Matías Vicario Santamaría, canon and archivist.

 

Description:
A royal privilege granted by Castilian King Alonso XI to the Hospital of the Emperor in 1255 CE. This is one of the documents that will be evaluated in the MOOC. It is among the most beautiful.
Image:
PrivilegeGrantedByKingAlfonsoXI1255.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PrivilegeGrantedByKingAlfonsoXI1255.jpg
A royal privilege granted by Castilian King Alonso XI to the Hospital of the Emperor in 1255 CE. This is one of the documents that will be evaluated in the MOOC. It is among the most beautiful.

 

Description:
This is an image of a collection of original manuscripts (paper and vellum) that have been bound into a vellum cover.
Image:
Typical_bound_mss.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Typical_bound_mss.jpg

This is an image of a collection of original manuscripts (paper and vellum) that have been bound into a vellum cover.

 

Images from the Archivo Municipal de Burgos

Description:
Royal Concession of King Alfonso VIII.
Alfonso VIII concede autorización a los usufructuarios de casas y heredades del barrio de San Juan de Burgos para que puedan venderlas, empeñarlas o donarlas, siempre que se garantice al monasterio de San Juan el cobro de los censos y diezmos correspondientes.
Date: 08 February 1178
Reference: HI-108
Image:
 AMB-HI-108.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo Municipal de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AMB-HI-108.jpg
AMB HI-108

 

Description:
Royal Privilege of King Sancho IV.
Sancho IV confirma al Concejo de Burgos dos Privilegios de Fernando III: el primero, inserto, de 10 de marzo de 1230, Muñó concediendo al Concejo de Burgos facultad para la celebración del mercado de Burgos, localizado en la glera; el segundo, también inserto, de 24 de febrero de 1219, Villaldemiro, eximiendo a los vecinos de Burgos del pago de portazgo en el camino de Burgos a Palencia, junto al Arlanzón, pasando por Torquemada, Palenzuela y Muñó.
Date: 24 February 1230
Reference: HI-120
Image:
AMB-HI-120.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo Municipal de Burgos, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AMB-HI-120.jpg
AMB HI-120

 

 

Images from the Museo de Burgos

Description:
Arqueta de Marfil y Esmaltes (Ivory chest with enamel)
Taller de Cuenca (Muhammad ibn Zayan). Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos (Burgos)
Date: 1026
Reference: None
Image:
 Arqueta.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Museo de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Arqueta.jpg
Arqueta

 

Description:
Bultos Funerarios de Caballero y Dama (Funerary Statues of a Knight and Lady)
Date: End of 13th through beginning of 14th centuries. Iglesia de la Navidad de Villasandino (Burgos)
Reference: None
Image:
Bultos.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Museo de Burgos, 2016
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Bultos.jpg
Bultos

 

Images of manuscript details pertaining to a Jewish nobleman.

Description:
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 103 verso and 104 recto. The first entry on page 103 verso names the Jewish noble, Abraan Aben Seca, as legal and financial guarantor in a cathedral transaction during the year 1437.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio.jpg
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 103 verso and 104 recto. The first entry on page 103 verso names the Jewish noble, Abraan Aben Seca, as legal and financial guarantor in a cathedral transaction during the year 1437.

 

Description:
This is close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 103 verso.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio_detail.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio_detail.jpg
This is close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 103 verso.

 

Description:
This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “Don abraan aben seca judio” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 103 verso. The term “judio” is translated as “Jew” and was the common term used by Spanish Christians to describe Spanish Jews.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio_highlight.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f103v_judio_highlight.jpg

This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “Don abraan aben seca judio” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 103 verso. The term “judio” is translated as “Jew” and was the common term used by Spanish Christians to describe Spanish Jews.

 

Images of manuscript details pertaining to a Muslim, possibly a carpenter, and his son.

Description:
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 110 verso and 111 recto. The first entry on page 110 verso names the Muslim, Hamete de Cordova, possibly a carpenter, and his son, Yuca, in a transaction during the year 1398. The reference to “Maestre” may be an indication that Hamete and Yuca were master carpenters.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim.jpg
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 110 verso and 111 recto. The first entry on page 110 verso names the Muslim, Hamete de Cordova, possibly a carpenter, and his son, Yuca, in a transaction during the year 1398. The reference to “Maestro” may be an indication that Hamete and Yuca were master carpenters.

 

Description:
This is close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 110 verso.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim_detail.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim_detail.jpg
This is close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 110 verso.

 

Description:
This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “maestre hamete”, “de cordova, maestre yuca su fijo”, and “moros” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 110 verso. The term “moros” is translated as “Moors” and was the common term used by Spanish Christians to describe Spanish Muslims.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim_highlight.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR2_f110v_muslim_highlight.jpg

This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “maestre hamete”, “de cordova, maestre yuca su fijo”, and “moros” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 110 verso. The term “moros” is translated as “Moors” and was the common term used by Spanish Christians to describe Spanish Muslims.

 

Images of manuscript details pertaining to two church leaders – one a Jewish convert to Christianity (a converso) and one a Muslim convert to Christianity (a morisco)

Description:
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 30 verso and 31 recto. The first entry on page 31 recto names the likely-morisco, Yvo Moro, the Archdeacon of Lara, and well-known converso, Alfonso Rodríguez de Maluenda, the Abbot of Castrojeriz, in a transaction during the year 1432.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco.jpg
This is a selection from a bound collection of manuscripts known as “Registros.” This image displays folios (pages) 30 verso and 31 recto. The first entry on page 31 recto names the likely-morisco, Yvo Moro, the Archdeacon of Lara, and well-known converso, Alfonso Rodríguez de Maluenda, the Abbot of Castrojeriz, in a transaction during the year 1432.

 

Description:
This is close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 31 recto.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco_detail.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco_detail.jpg
This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “don yvo moro arco de lara”, and “don alfon rres de maluenda abat” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 31 recto.

 

Description:
This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “don yvo moro arco de lara”, and “don alfon rres de maluenda abat” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 31 recto.
Image:
Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco_highlight.jpg
Byline:
© Roger Louis Martínez-Dávila with permission of the Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos, 2016.
Download:
http://www.decipheringsecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mss_AHCB_RR10_f31r_converso_morisco_highlight.jpg

This image includes blue bounding boxes around the words “don yvo moro arco de lara”, and “don alfon rres de maluenda abat” in the close-up image of the previously described transaction on folio 31 recto.

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