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Alphonsc X


ALPHONSC X., El Sabio, or "the Learned" (1252-1284), is per haps the most interesting, though he was far from being the most capable, of the Spanish kings of the middle ages. (His merits as a writer are dealt with in the article SPAIN : Literature.) His scientific fame is based mainly on his encouragement of astronomy. As a ruler he showed legislative capacity, and a very commendable wish to provide his kingdoms with a code of laws and a consistent judicial system. The Fuero Real was undoubtedly his work, and he began the code called the Siete Partidas, which, however, was only promulgated by his great-grandson. His descent from the Hohenstaufen, through his mother, a daughter of the emperor Philip, gave him claims to represent the Suabian line. The choice of the German electors, after the death of Conrad IV. in 1254, mis led him into wild schemes which never took effect, but caused immense expense. To obtain money he debased the coinage, and then endeavoured to prevent a rise in prices by an arbitrary tariff. The little trade of his dominions was ruined, and the burghers and peasants were deeply offended. His nobles, whom he tried to cow by sporadic acts of violence, rebelled against him. His second son, Sancho, enforced his claim to be heir, in preference to the children of Ferdinand de la Cerda, the elder brother, who died in Alphonso's life. Son and nobles alike supported the Moors, when he tried to unite the nation in a crusade ; and when he allied himself with the rulers of Morocco they denounced him as an enemy of the faith. A reaction in his favour was beginning in his later days, but he died defeated and deserted at Seville, leaving a will by which he en deavoured to exclude Sancho.

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