View Chapters

Book: The Archaeology of Medieval Spain, 1100-1500

Chapter: The Display of Secular Power

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.21871


The Iberian Peninsula represents a very particular case within the European context. During the Middle Ages Christians, Muslims and also Jews coexist in cities and the countryside. The territory was divided in Christian kingdoms and al-Andalus, both parts changing drastically between the 12th and 15th century. This book attempts to focus on differences, similarities and influences of these various cultures that developed during this crucial period between High and Late Middle Ages, as well as their heritage in present Spain.

The volume is the first modern account in English of medieval archaeology in Spain benefiting from the extraordinary development of Spanish archaeological research arising from the creation of regional governments (Comunidades Autónomas) in the 1980’s.

This chapter investigates the expression of secular power. This is most evident in both Andalusi and Christian contexts in the form of the royal palace. Here recent archaeological work is significantly altering the picture formerly given by architectural history. We can also follow royal and aristocratic ways of life as they were imitated in town and country by the rich and well-off. So this chapter alludes to the pastimes of hunting, feasting, sports and games, which were aristocratic activities and symbols of power, as well as other methods of display such as regalia and heraldry.

Chapter Contributors

  • Magdalena Valor ( - book-auth-214) 'University of Seville'
  • Avelino Gutiérrez ( - book-auth-215) 'University of Oviedo'