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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Although Catalan and Valencian poetry still had a vogue


Castile. Most notable of these

institutions was that of Alcal? founded by Xim?nez. This undertaking was due to the great cardinal's desire to establish a Humanist centre of learning, where Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and philology could be studied to the best advantage. The most learned Spanish Humanists assembled there, together with many foreigners, and works of note were produced, such as the famous polyglot Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, and Latin, with accompanying grammars and vocabularies. Not a little of the advancement in intellectual manifestations was due to the encouragement of the Catholic Kings, especially Isabella. Books coming into Spain were exempted from duty; ordinances were made regulating university life, and ridding it of much of its turbulence and abuses; and the court set an example in showing favor to distinguished scholars, who were engaged as teachers of the royal children. The great nobles imitated royalty, and invited foreign savants to Spain, among whom was the Italian, Peter Martyr of Anghiera, celebrated as the author of the first history of the Americas, the _De orbe novo_ (Concerning the new world). The most marked impulse to the spread of Humanist ideals came through Spaniards studying abroad, and these men returned to give Spain her leading names in intellectual production for the period. The greatest of them was Antonio de Nebrija, educated in Italy, a man of such encyclopedic attainments that he left works on theology, law, arch?ology, history, natural science, geography,
and geodesy, although particularly noteworthy as a Latin scholar. Cardinal Xim?nez is deserving of a high place in the achievements of the era for his patronage of letters, for it was through his aid that some of the most valuable work of the period was accomplished. Education was a matter for the higher classes only; people had not even begun to think, yet, of popular education.

[Sidenote: Progress in the sciences.]

Although the extension of intellectual culture and the triumph of Humanism were outstanding facts of the period, there were notable cultivators, too, of the sciences, moral, social, and natural, especially the last-named. Studies in geography, cosmography, and cartography received a great impulse through the discovery of America, and many scientific works along these lines were due to the scholars connected with the _Casa de Contrataci?n_ (House of Trade), or India House. Medical works were even more prominent, not a few of them on the subject of venereal disease. A number of these works were mutilated or condemned altogether by the Inquisition, in part because of their doctrines, but also because of the anatomical details which they contained, for they were considered immoral.

[Sidenote: Polite literature.]

[Sidenote: La Celestina.]

[Sidenote: History.]

[Sidenote: The theatre.]

In polite literature the leading characteristics were the complete victory of the Italian influence, the predominance of Castilian, the popularity of the romances, and the beginning of the Castilian theatre. The Italian influence manifested itself both in the translation of Classical and Italian Renaissance works and in an imitation of their models and forms. Castilian was employed, not only in Castile and Aragon proper, but even in the literary works of Portuguese, Catalans, Valencians, and not a few individuals (Spaniards in the main) at the court of Naples, although Catalan and Valencian poetry still had a vogue. The poetry of the era often exhibited tendencies of a medieval character,--for example, in its use of allegory. It is curious to note also the prevalence of two


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