Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age: Law and Justice in Thirteenth-Century Castile

October 31, 2020
Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age: Law and Justice in Thirteenth-Century Castile

In this magisterial work, Joseph O'Callaghan offers a detailedaccount of the establishment of Alfonso X's legal code, theLibro de las leyes or Siete Partidas, and itsapplications in the daily life of thirteenth-century Iberia, bothwithin and far beyond the royal courts. O'Callaghan argues thatAlfonso X, el Sabio (the Wise), was the Justinian of his age, oneof the truly great legal minds of human history.Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age highlights thestruggles the king faced in creating a new, coherent, inclusive,and all-embracing body of law during his reign, O'Callaghan alsoconsiders Alfonso X's own understanding of his role as king,lawgiver, and defender of the faith in order to evaluate the impactof his achievement on the administration of justice. Indeed, suchwas the power and authority of the Alfonsine code that it provedthe king's downfall when his son invoked it to challenge hisrule.Throughout this soaring legal and historical biography,O'Callaghan reminds us of the long-term impacts of Alfonso X'slegal works, not just on Castilian (and later, Iberian) life, buton the administration of justice across the world.