"By My Absolute Royal Authority": Justice and the Castilian by J. B. Owens

By J. B. Owens

"By My Absolute Royal Authority": Justice and the Castilian Commonwealth firstly of the 1st worldwide Age is a examine of judicial management. From the 15th century to the 17th, the dominion of Castile skilled a outstanding proliferation of judicial associations, which historians have ordinarily visible as a part of a metanarrative of "state-building." but, Castile's frontiers have been super porous, and a crown executive which can now not regulate the kingdom's borders exhibited neither the power to procure details and form affairs, nor the centrality of court docket politics that many historians declare that allows you to craft a tidy narrative of this era. Castilians retained their loyalty to the monarchy now not as a result "power" of the associations of a constructing "state," yet simply because they shared an identification as electorate of a commonwealth within which a excessive worth was once given to justice as an final goal of the political group and a conviction that the sovereign possessed "absolute royal authority" to work out that justice was once performed. This expectation served as a starting place for the political id and loyalty that held jointly for numerous centuries the disparate and globally-dispersed domain names of the Hispanic Monarchy, yet perceptions of ways good crown judicial associations labored have been a basic determinant of the measure of aid a monarch may possibly allure to fulfill financial and armed forces pursuits. This e-book maps a part of this unusual terrain via a microhistory of a longer, excessive profile lawsuit that used to be rigorously watched through generations of Castilian leaders. Justices from the overdue 15th century to the reign of Philip II had trouble resolving the clash as the right workout of "absolute royal authority" used to be itself the vital felony factor and the dispute pitted opposed to one another participants of significant teams who verified a bent to provide prominence to diversified interpretive schemes as they attempted to appreciate their international. The account brings jointly political rules and political motion by means of giving severe recognition to how good royal justices have been capable of deal with tough, popular court cases that raised politically troubling questions and concerned significant litigants. J. B. Owens is professor of the historical past and director of the Glenn E. Tyler assortment at Idaho nation collage, the place he makes a speciality of Spanish historical past and using Geographic details structures for learn and educating.

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Qxd 07/06/05 7:48 PM Page 27 John II’s Controversial Reward 27 in Castile of the Aragonese branch of the Trastámaras. By 1429, he swore loyalty to the king and was sufficiently in the good graces of Alvaro de Luna and John II that he was ordered to assist Luna in an attack on the infantes Enrique and Pedro in Extremadura. He received the town of Alconchel, south of Badajoz, as a lordship for his nephew Fernando de Soto. Despite such rewards and his agreement to a mutual security pact with Luna’s supporters, Juan de Sotomayor betrayed the king, facilitated the infantes’ control of the fortress town of Alburquerque, and gave them the support of the order of Alcántara.

In and out of his role as favorite and the flash point of aristocratic struggles until his execution in 1453, Alvaro de Luna was the dominant figure of his age. His attempts to use royal patronage to build his own influence brought instability to John’s reign, ultimately undermining rather than enhancing royal authority. 27 During the long regency for the young king, the major lordships and the grandmasterships of the military orders of Alcántara and Santiago fell under the control of the increasingly powerful infantes of Aragón, and this heightened magnates’ insecurity in the absence of a dynamic king and effective judicial administration.

This context was fundamental to the arguments the parties would later present in court. Moreover, the fifteenth-century Castilian civil wars provided an important framework for Golden Age authors of histories, political treatises, and works of imaginative literature, as we see in the final chapter where I examine the cases of Juan de Mariana and Lope de Vega. Where possible, I use Gutierre de Sotomayor’s career to illustrate grandee actions and motivations. Third, in my account of these events, I pay special attention to aspects crucial to an adequate understanding of the king and his relationship to the Castilian political community or commonwealth: lordship and the municipality as the fundamental institutions of economic and political life; the competing views of the territorial aristocracy and local notables about the exercise of royal prerogatives; government by a royal favorite; and the role of rebellion.

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