From Heaven to Earth: The Reordering of Castilian Society, 1150-1350

From Heaven to Earth: The Reordering of Castilian Society, 1150-1350

by Teofilo F. Ruiz

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Overview

Between the late twelfth century and the mid fourteenth, Castile saw a reordering of mental, spiritual, and physical space. Fresh ideas about sin and intercession coincided with new ways of representing the self and emerging perceptions of property as tangible. This radical shift in values or mentalités was most evident among certain social groups, including mercantile elites, affluent farmers, lower nobility, clerics, and literary figures—"middling sorts" whose outlooks and values were fast becoming normative.

Drawing on such primary documents as wills, legal codes, land transactions, litigation records, chronicles, and literary works, Teofilo Ruiz documents the transformation in how medieval Castilians thought about property and family at a time when economic innovations and an emerging mercantile sensibility were eroding the traditional relation between the two. He also identifies changes in how Castilians conceived of and acted on salvation and in the ways they related to their local communities and an emerging nation-state.

Ruiz interprets this reordering of mental and physical landscapes as part of what Le Goff has described as a transition "from heaven to earth," from spiritual and religious beliefs to the quasi-secular pursuits of merchants and scholars. Examining how specific groups of Castilians began to itemize the physical world, Ruiz sketches their new ideas about salvation, property, and themselves—and places this transformation within the broader history of cultural and social change in the West.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691171500
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/26/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Teofilo F. Ruiz is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he chairs the history department. He is the author of several books, including A Social History of Spain, 1400-1600.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

INTRODUCTION

From Heaven to Earth 1

CHAPTER ONE

A Taste for the New: Commerce, Property, and Language 12

CHAPTER TWO

The Evidence of Wills 37

CHAPTER THREE

Property: Wills and the Law in Medieval Castile 54

CHAPTER FOUR

Itemizing the World: Boundaries, Consolidation of Property, and Rights of Way 67

CHAPTER FIVE

Family and Property: Lineages and Primogeniture 87

CHAPTER SIX

Heavenly Concerns: Charity and Salvation 110

CHAPTER SEVEN

Toward a New Concept of Power: Unsacred Monarchy 133

Conclusion 151

Appendix 155

Notes 163

Bibliography 199

Index 215

What People are Saying About This

David Nirenberg

This marvelous book asks large questions of vital importance to all the humanities and social sciences. Professor Ruiz has produced an eloquent and intellectually elegant work of tremendous range.
David Nirenberg, The Johns Hopkins University

Paul Freedman

This book describes changes in the material world and in attitudes toward the spiritual world that took place in medieval Castile—changes that resulted from a shift in values toward a more practical, quantitative, and secular point of view. No one knows this material with the effortless intimacy Ruiz demonstrates. His scholarship is impeccable, and his argument is presented in a compelling and attractive manner.
Paul Freedman, Yale University

From the Publisher

"This marvelous book asks large questions of vital importance to all the humanities and social sciences. Professor Ruiz has produced an eloquent and intellectually elegant work of tremendous range. "—David Nirenberg, The Johns Hopkins University

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