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kindle Î The Wise King Ò A Christian Prince ↠ eyltransferservices Ø [Epub] ➞ The Wise King: A Christian Prince, Muslim Spain, and the Birth of the Renaissance Author Join or create book clubs – Eyltransferservices.co.uk An illuminating biography of Alfonso X the 13th century philMiration for Spains rich Islamic culture paved the way for the European Renaissance In 1252 when Alfonso replaced hismilitaristic father on the throne of Castile and Lethe battle to reconuer Muslim territory on the Iberian Peninsula was raging fiercely But even as he led his Christian soldiers onto the battlefield Alfonso was seduced by the glories of Muslim Spain His engagement with the Arabic speaking culture of the South shaped his pursuit of astronomy for which he was famed for centuries and his profoundly humane vision of the world which Dante Petrarch and later Italian humanists would inherit A composer of lyric verses and patron If you know anything about the interconnections of the various Principalities of the Middle ages in European you will find the Devil in the details in this book Since I enjoy such background information I went through it fairly uickly The title is Ironic seeing how it ended

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Of works on board games hunting and the properties of stones Alfonso is best known today for his Cantigas de Santa Mari Songs of Holy Mary which offer a remarkable window onto his world His ongoing struggles as a king and as a man were distilled in art music literature and architecture into something sublime that speaks to us powerfully across the centuries An intimate biography of the Spanish ruler in whom two cultures converged The Wise King introduces readers to a Renaissance man before his time whose creative energy in the face of personal turmoil and existential threats to his kingdom would transform the course of Western history I very much liked this book and a number of other reviewers seem to have liked it also It is well written accessible and uite fascinating and the author clearly knows his subject and manages to share his passion for his subject Alfonso X the Spanish “philosopher king” It is also written with talent and with each chapter illustrating one of the King’s main character features such as his love of hunter his passion for astrology his main buildings churches essentially his friends and his sons and the deceptions treasons and sadness that resulted from these and so on all built along a rough chronological frameWriting a biography of such a King and assessing his reign are however where the problems also start In fact they even start with the book’s ambiguous title – the “Wise King” with the word in Latin meaning wise but also learned and given Alfonso X’s record the later ualifier seems much apt that the rather flattering former one The ambiguities and ambivalence persist throughout the book This is because while Simon Doubleday is clearly much keener to show Alfonso as a reformer and a glorious patron of arts and learning which he clearly was he cannot entirely dismiss or minimize Alfonso’s X failings as a King and the ultimate failure of his reign with the last fifteen years or so being increasingly disastrousI also could not help having doubts about his achievements as a friend as a father and as the head of his family generally given that he failed to retain the support of the great noble families of Castile One of his brothers and his own second son turned against him Perhaps worst of all the struggle against his own son led him to call in the Muslims from North Africa and to swear allegiance to them therefore failing to maintain the hard won supremacy that his father had achievedTo be fair none of these shortcomings are omitted They are however mentioned rather discussed and their causes in particular are not really investigated A similar comment can be made with regards to Alfonso’s obsession in becoming the Emperor and successor of Frederic II his relative Here again the author presents a rather sympathetic but biased analysis and seeks to defend his character While he dismisses accusations that Alfonso’s uest for the imperial crown was delusional he seems than reluctant to consider the “price” that such an obsessive uest brought with it There are two points that the author seems careful not to make in this respect The first is that a number of successive popes were opposed to his candidacy and that without papal support Alfonso’s efforts were doomed to fail The second is that his uest for the imperial crown was at the very least a distraction It drew him away from ruling his own kingdom and to some extent from managing the various crises that aroseWhile the political and military events and intrigues and the associated power games are clearly not among the best bits of this book the descriptions and explanations of Alfonso’s legal and artistic legacies are simply excellent Among other things they reveal a sensitive and learned King that seems to have had uite a bit in common with his relative Frederic II Both could ualify as “Stupor Mundi” and although Alfonso may have consciously imitated his better known relative the author’s descriptions leave little doubt about the Spanish King’s artistic learnings He also shows how supposedly antagonistic cultures the Christian and Moslem ones could blend and produced some uniue pieces of art in Spain just as they had in Norman Sicily a few decades beforeOne claim – that Alfonso was a precursor of the Renaissance – seems however a bit far fetched and perhaps somewhat anachronistic It is also a bit controversial for the emergence of the Renaissance is traditionally linked with the arrival of Byzantine exiles in Italy about a century laterDespite this however part of the reign of Alfonso X can probably be seen as a cultural flowering There is also no doubt that the King himself with his attraction for Moslem art and culture played a significant role in this It is this role that the book describes so well and it is this which makes the book worth four stars despite its limited value as a political history

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The Wise King A Christian Prince Muslim Spain and the Birth of the RenaissanceAn illuminating biography of Alfonso X the 13th century philosopher king whose affinity for Islamic culture left an indelible mark on Western civilization If I had been present at the Creation the thirteenth century Spanish philosopher king Alfonso X is said to have stated Many faults in the universe would have been avoided Known as El Sabio the Wise Alfonso was renowned by friends and enemies alike for his sparkling intellect and extraordinary cultural achievements In The Wise King celebrated historian Simon R Doubleday traces the story of the kings life and times leading us deep into his emotional world and showing how his intense ad Excellent history of this amazing but little known period of Spanish history