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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Such as the Ordenanzas de Alcabalas 1491


Modernization of the army.]

[Sidenote: The royal navy.]

The army kept pace with other institutions in the advance out of medievalism into modernity. The seigniorial levies, unequal in size and subversive of discipline as well as a potential danger, were virtually done away with after the Granadine war, although such bodies appeared occasionally even in the next era. In their place were substituted a larger royal army at state expense and the principle of universal military service. One man in every twelve of those between twenty and forty years of age was held liable, but did not take the field and was not paid except when specifically called. The glory of the new professional army attracted many who had formerly served the great lords, including a number of the nobility and the adventurous element. Under the leadership of Gonzalo de Ayora and especially of the "great captain," Gonzalo de C?rdoba, noteworthy reforms in tactics were made. The army was now an aggregation of equal groups, based on battalions and companies, while the larger divisions were assigned a proportionate number of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. From this period date many current military titles: colonel, captain, and others. Arms and equipment were much improved and military administration bettered. The importance of firearms was just becoming recognized; cannon, firing balls of stone, played a prominent part in the war with Granada.

A similar if less pronounced development appeared in the navy. The admiral of Castile, who had enjoyed a semi-independent sinecure, now lost much of his authority, for many of his powers were taken over by the crown.

[Sidenote: The Ordinance of Montalvo and other codifications of the laws.]

The reforms which have been chronicled were the result of a great body of legislation, most of which emanated directly from the crown, although some important laws were enacted in conjunction with the _Cortes_. Taken with the variety of legislation in preceding years it caused not a little confusion as to the precise principle governing a specific case. This led to the compilation by Alfonso D?az de Montalvo of the _Ordenanzas Reales de Castilla_ (1484?), or Royal Ordinances of Castile, commonly called the Ordinance (_Ordenamiento_) of Doctor Montalvo, in which were set forth various ordinances of the _Cortes_ since that of Alcal? in 1348 and certain orders of the kings from the time of Alfonso X, together with some provisions of earlier date. In all, 1163 laws were included, of which 230 belonged to the era of the Catholic Kings. Although it is not certain, the _Ordenanzas_ seems to have been promulgated as law, and in any event was very influential, running through thirteen editions down to the year 1513. The compilation was far from meeting the full requirement of the times, however. Besides being incomplete, as was only to be expected, it contained various inaccuracies of form and substance. Furthermore, with such varying elements still in effect as the _Partidas_ and the medieval _fueros_, besides the unwritten transformation and unification which had been going on for two centuries (as a result of royalist policies), there was need for a clear and methodical revision of Castilian legislation. Various other publications covering special phases of the laws, such as the _Ordenanzas de Alcabalas_ (1491), or Ordinances of the _Alcabala_, the already mentioned _Leyes de Toro_ (1505), and the privileges of the _Mesta_ (1511), date from this era, while there was a similar tendency toward legislative publication in the Catalonian and Valencian parts of the kingdom of Aragon.

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