“Alfonso X of Castile: Alfonso the Tolerant?”

Michael Ruiter

Abstract


Mediaeval Iberia was rife with inter-religious conflict between Christians, Jews, and Muslims that incited forced conversions and culminated in mass expulsions. Yet, in the midst of such a harrowing time in the peninsula’s history, there were occasional elements of harmony between these three groups, made all the more impressive in their rarity. King Alfonso X, the Wise, was a man whose rule exhibited a relative tranquility in inter-religious relations some have even suggested is deserving of altering his sobriquet to Alfonso the Tolerant. Through an examination of his law code, the Siete Partidas, and a compilation of several hundred canticles, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, this paper pinpoints elements of Alfonso’s rule to critically assess the claims of his tolerance.


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