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Textual -pictorial convention as politics in the “Cantigas de Santa María” (Ms. Escorial T.I.1) of Alfonso X el Sabio

John C Ellis, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation analyzes the extent to which the pictorial cycle and poetic text in the Códice Rico manuscript of the Cantigas de Santa María of Alfonso X el Sabio convey the same religious and ideological messages. The Códice Rico portrays an ordered, laboring Christian society with some presence of Jews and Muslims, at the mercy of nature and human nature and saved only by the grace and intercession of Holy Mary. In this iconographic society, King Alfonso appears both as the exemplary Christian ruler and the devotee of Mary, singing her praises and exhorting others to do the same. This dual representation suggests that the pictorial cycle of his Marian project is not merely pious, but also politically motivated and forming part of Alfonso X's greater ambition, the crown of Holy Roman Emperor.

Subject Area

Literature|Middle Ages|Art History|Romance literature

Recommended Citation

Ellis, John C, "Textual -pictorial convention as politics in the “Cantigas de Santa María” (Ms. Escorial T.I.1) of Alfonso X el Sabio" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110482.