Leon, Burgos and Salamanca: a historical and descriptive account by Calvert








El Greco
The Prado
The Escorial
Royal Palaces of Spain
Granada and The Alhambra
Spanish Arms and Armour
Leon, Burgos, and Salamanca
Catalonia, Valencia, & Murcia
Valladolid, Oviedo, Segovia
Zamora, Avila, and Zaragoza





{v}Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty



The History of whose House

Is indissolubly connected

With the Grandest Traditions

of Spain

This Volume is Dedicated

With a Sincere Expression

Of the Author’s Esteem


In the plan of this book, as in the other volumes of the Series, the text has been made subordinate to and explanatory of the illustrations, which, I venture to hope, will be found to form a complete and useful panorama of the monumental glories of these grand old cities. I have not proposed to write a guide-book for the tourist, but rather to supply him with a souvenir, and to provide a manual for those interested in architecture and archæology. I have avoided technology as much as possible, as my appeal is not to the professional student, but to the amateur (in the true sense) of the arts. In order to supplement my own knowledge and revise the impressions derived from personal observation in the three towns, I have availed myself freely of the works of others who have laboured in the same field, and have been at much pains to consult all the writings I could find upon the subject. The lengthy list of authorities I have consulted need not be recited here, as they are duly acknowledged in the text.

As in the case of all the cities dealt with in this Series, I have prepared a brief historical{viii} sketch of Leon, Burgos, and Salamanca. Their early history is largely of a speculative and debatable character, and much of it has been learnedly discounted by modern writers. Let me explain at once, that while recounting incidents which may be suspected of merely traditional origin, I neither accept nor reject the criticism of these recent historians, and if I do not quote their conclusions, it is because they are often too conflicting to be embodied in so slight a work. I would also add, that a quotation is not to be taken as a blind acceptance of the accuracy of the dicta or as a recognition of the writer as an absolute authority.

In conclusion, I may explain that I have dealt more briefly with the architecture of these Gothic cities than with the Moorish monuments of Seville, Cordova, and Granada, my reason being that the general reader is more familiar with Gothic and Renaissance styles than with the rarer work of the Arabs.

To Mr. E. B. d’Auvergne I offer my grateful acknowledgment of the assistance he has rendered me in the compilation of the text, and my thanks are also due to Señor J. Lacoste and Messrs. Hauser y Menet for their permission to reproduce many of the photographs which appear in this volume.

A. F. C.






General View of Leon, 1
View from the Cemetery, 2
Cathedral: View from the North, 3
Cathedral: General View, 4
Leon Cathedral, 5
Cathedral: Door of the Cross-Aisle (restored), 6
Leon Cathedral, 7
Lateral Façade of the Cathedral, 8
Longitudinal Section of the Cathedral, 9
Cathedral: Stained Glass Window of the Thirteenth Century, 10
Cathedral: Stained Glass Window of the Fourteenth Century, 11
Plan of the Cathedral, 12
Cathedral: Central Gate of the Principal Porch, 13
Cathedral: Right Gate of the Principal Porch, 14
Cathedral: Detail of the Lower Part of the Principal Portico, 15
Cathedral: Arch of the Central Portico, 16
Cathedral: Arch of the Right Door, 17
Cathedral: Left Gate of Principal Porch, 18
Cathedral: Gate of the Coro, 19
Cathedral: Door of the Chapel of St. Andrew, 20
Cathedral: Painted Walls, 21
Cathedral: Statue of Our Lady La Blanca in the Principal Porch, 22
Cathedral: A Sepulchre, 23
Cathedral: Sepulchre of Don Ordoño II., 24
Cathedral: Sepulchre of Martin, First Bishop of Leon, 25
Cathedral: Detail of the Door of the Chapel of St. Andrew, 26
Cathedral: The Cloisters. Our Lady Del Foro and the Offerings of the Kings,{xii} 27
Cathedral: Spandril of Central Gate. The Last Judgment, 28
Cathedral: Spandril of Central Gate. The Last Judgment, 29
Cathedral: Detail of the Right Gate, 30
Cathedral: Detail of the Gate of the Chapel of St. Andrés, 31
Cathedral: Various Statues from the Cross Aisle, 32
Cathedral: Detail of the Right-hand Portico, 33
Cathedral: The Back of the Choir, 34
Cathedral: The Choir Stalls, 35
Cathedral: The Choir Stalls, 36
Cathedral: Detail of the Choir, 37
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. The Guardian Angel of Paradise, and the Archangel St. Michael, 38
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Noah, Adam and Eve, 39
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. The Archangel Gabriel and Abraham, 40
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Isaac and Jacob, 41
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Esau, 42
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Samson, 43
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Mathias and St. Mark, 44
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Luke and St. Bartholomew, 45
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Andrew and St. Peter, 46
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Santiago Alfeo and St. Philip, 47
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. John the Evangelist and Santiago, 48
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Saint Mary Magdalene and Santo Domingo, 49
Cathedral: In the Choir. St. Nicodemus and Valour, 50
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Martha and St. Lucy, 51
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Francis and St. Catherine, 52
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. St. Froylan and St. Nicholas, 53
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. San Vitorino and San Martin, 54
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. Santa Cristina and Santa Elena, 55
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. San Gregorio and San Geronimo, 56
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. San Silvestre and San Lupercio, 57
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. San Lorenzo and San Vicente, 58
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. San Celedonio and San Esteban, 59
Cathedral: Choir Stalls. A Saint, 60
Cathedral: Detail of the Choir Stalls, 61{xiii}
Cathedral: Detail of the Choir Stalls, 62
Cathedral: Statue of the Virgin, 63
Cathedral: Detail of the Cloisters, 64
Cathedral: Bas-reliefs in the Cloisters, 65
Façade of the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 66
Gate of Pardon: Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 67
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 68
Principal Gate of the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 69
Panteon of the Kings in the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 70
Spandril of Gate of Pardon: Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, 71
Fresco of the Panteon of the Kings in the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro. End of Eleventh Century, 72
Sections and Details of the Panteon of San Isidoro, 73
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Painting on the Wall of the Panteon of the Kings, 74
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Paintings on the Walls of the Panteon of the Kings, 75
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Chalice and Paten of Doña Urraca, and Cross, 76
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Ivory Cross of King Fernando I. and Sancha his Wife, 77
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Relics, containing St. Martin’s Hand, St. John Baptist’s Jaw, one of St. Isidoro’s Fingers, and some of the Virgin’s Hair, 78
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Chalice and Crucifix in Filigree Gold, 79
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Ivory Coffer, 80
Collegiate Church of San Isidoro: Gothic Crucifix in Gold, 81
San Miguel de Escalada: General View of the Convent, 82
San Miguel de Escalada: Exterior of the Temple and Portico, 83
San Miguel de Escalada: Interior of the Church, 84
San Miguel de Escalada: Interior of the Church, 85
San Miguel de Escalada: Southern Façade, Plan, and Details (Town Hall, Gradefes) 86
San Miguel de Escalada: Longitudinal and Transverse Sections and Details. (Town Hall, Gradefes), 87
Details of San Miguel de Escalada. (Town Hall, Gradefes), 88{xiv}
San Miguel de Escalada: A Capital in the Church, 89
Our Lady Del Mercado, 90
Our Lady Del Mercado: Barred Window in the Principal Façade, 91
Church of San Pedro de Los Huertos, 92
General View of the Convent of San Marcos, 93
Principal Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 94
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 95
Entrance to the Convent of San Marcos, 96
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 97
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 98
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 99
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 100
Detail of the Façade of the Convent of San Marcos, 101
Sacristy in the Convent of San Marcos, 102
Stalls in the Convent of San Marcos, 103
Church of San Marcos: Detail of the Choir, 104
Church of San Marcos: Detail of the Choir Stalls, 105
Church of San Marcos: Detail of the Stalls, 106
Church of San Marcos: Detail of the Choir Stalls, 107
Church of San Marcos: Detail of the Choir, 108
Provincial Museum of San Marcos: Tray, Crucifix, and Vase, 109
Provincial Museum of San Marcos: Cross of Santiago de Peñalva, 110
Provincial Museum of San Marcos: Christ in the Byzantine Style, and the Virgin in the Gothic Style, 111
Provincial Museum of San Marcos: San Francisco, 112
Don Ordoño II. presenting his Palace to the Virgin, 113
Standard of Alfonso VII., Emperor, now belonging to the Illustrious Families of Leon, 114
Tower of the Ponces, 115
Las Casas Consistoriales, 116
House of the Guzmanes, 117
Bastions of the Ancient Walls, 118
Calle de Santa Ana, 119
Corner of the House of the Guzmanes, 120
View of the Railway Station, 121{xv}
General View of Astorga, 122
Mountaineers of the Province, 123
Ivory Casket of the Ninth Century, from San Isidoro at Leon, now in the National Archæological Museum, 124
Two Statues in the Archæological Museum, 125
View of Burgos, 126
General View of Burgos, 127
La Plaza Mayor, 128
General View from the Castle, 129
Mansion of the Cid, 130
El Paseo del Espolon, 131
View from the Provincial Museum, 132
A View of Burgos, 133
The Cathedral, 134
Façade of the Cathedral, 135
Cathedral: Puerta de la Pellegeria, 136
Cathedral: View from the Cloisters, 137
Cathedral: Upper Part of the Tower, 138
Cathedral: The Constable’s Chapel, 139
Cathedral: Principal Front, 140
Cathedral: From the Cloisters Garden, 141
Towers of the Cathedral, 142
Cathedral: One of the Spires, 143
Cathedral: Bosses—Detail, Spire Windows—Angle and Crocket of Spire, 144
Cathedral: Interior of Spire—Doorway to Spire, 145
Court of the Cathedral, 146
General Plan of the Cathedral, 147
Burgos Cathedral, 148
Cathedral: View of the Principal Nave and High Altar, 149
Burgos Cathedral, 150
Cathedral: View of the Nave from the Gate of the Pellegeria, 151
Cathedral: Back Part of the High Altar, 152
Cathedral: Choir Stalls, 153
Interior of the Cathedral, 154{xvi}
Details in the Cathedral, 155
Details in the Cathedral, 156
Details in the Cathedral, 157
Details in the Cathedral, 158
Details in the Cathedral, 159
Details in the Cathedral, 160
Cathedral: Exterior of the Constable’s Chapel, 161
Cathedral: Interior View of the Constable’s Chapel, 162
Cathedral: The Constable’s Chapel, 163
Cathedral: Details of the Constable’s Chapel, 164
Cathedral: Details of the Constable’s Chapel, 165
Cathedral: The Constable’s Chapel from the Altar, 166
Cathedral: Entrance to the Constable’s Chapel, 167
Cathedral: Details of the Constable’s Chapel, 168
Cathedral: Altar-piece on the Epistle Side of the Constable’s Chapel, 169
Cathedral: Windows of Sacristy, the Constable’s Chapel, 170
Cathedral: Doorway and Window in the Constable’s Chapel, 171
Cathedral: Santa Ana, in the Altar-piece of the Constable’s Chapel, 172
Cathedral: St. Margaret with the Monster at her Feet, in the Altar-piece of the Constable’s Chapel, 173
Cathedral: Details of the Principal Chapel, 174
Cathedral: Details of the Exterior of the Principal Chapel, 175
Cathedral: Exterior of the Principal Chapel, 176
Cathedral: Chapel of St. Anne, 177
Cathedral: Details of the Altar-piece in the Chapel of St. Anne, 178
Cathedral: Chapel of Santa Tecla, 179
Cathedral: Staircase leading to Puerta Alta de la Coroneria, 180
Cathedral: View of the Cloisters, 181
Cathedral: Gate of the Old Sacristy in the Cloisters, 182
Cathedral: The Cloister Gate, 183 183
Cathedral: Puerta Del Sarmental, 184
Cathedral: Gate of Pardon, 185
Cathedral: A Doorway, 186
Cathedral: A Doorway, 187{xvii}
Cathedral: Porch of the Pellegeria, 188
Cathedral: Puerta Alta de la Coroneria, 189
Cathedral: Puerta Alta de la Coroneria, 190
Cathedral: The Famous Coffer of the Cid, 191
Cathedral: Central Dome in the Cross-aisle, 192
Cathedral: Processional Door in the Cloisters, 193
Cathedral: Entrance to the Cloisters, 194
Cathedral: Detail of the Door leading to the Gothic Cloisters, 195
Cloisters of the Cathedral, 196
The Lower Cloisters. Eleventh Century, 197
Cathedral: The Cloisters, 198
Cathedral: The Cloisters, 199
Cathedral: The Cloisters, 200
Cathedral: Detail of the Cloisters, 201
Cathedral: Bas-relief in the Lower Cloisters. Eleventh Century, 202
Cathedral: Bas-reliefs in the Lower Cloisters. Eleventh Century, 203
Cathedral: Soffits of Cloister Arches and Ornaments from Doors, 204
San Fernando and Doña Beatriz of Swabia in the Cathedral Cloisters, 205
Cathedral: Longitudinal Section of the Cloisters. Eleventh Century, 206
Cathedral: Details of the Sepulchre of Don Fernando Diez de Fuente-Pelayo, 207
Niches with Tombs in the Cathedral Cloisters, 208
Cathedral: Puerta Del Sarmental, 209
Cathedral: Sepulchre of Don Fernando Diez de Fuente-Pelayo, Abbot of St. Martin, 210
Details of Screens in the Cathedral, 211
Cathedral: El Cristo de Los Huevos, 212
Cathedral: Sepulchre of Archbishop Luis de Acuña, 213
Cathedral: Sepulchre of the Founder of the Cathedral, 214
Cathedral: Our Lady la Mayor, Statue of Silver, 215
Cathedral: Processional Crucifix in Silver Gilt, the Work of Juan de Arfe in 1592,{xviii} 216
Cathedral: Gold Enamelled Vase with Cover and Antique Medallions, two Silver Gilt Goblets, and Jug, 217
Cathedral: Double-handled Vessel with Cover, the Work of Dom. Urquiza de Madrid, in 1771, 218
Cathedral: Statues of Saints and Ecclesiastics, 219
Cathedral: Details of Balconies, 220
Cathedral: Remains of Altar—Relievo from Portal. Eleventh Century, 221
Cathedral: Compartment of Apsis, 222
Cathedral: Part of the Open Gallery or Triforium, 223
Cathedral: Details of the Choir Stalls, 224
Altar-piece of the Church of San Nicolás, 225
La Cartuja: General View of the Church, 226
La Cartuja: Gate of the Church, 227
La Cartuja: Sepulchre of the Infante Don Alonso, 228
La Cartuja: Interior View of the Church, 229
La Cartuja : Sepulchre of the Infante Don Alonso, 230
La Cartuja: Sepulchre of the Sovereigns John II. and Isabel of Portugal, 231
La Cartuja: Sepulchre of the Sovereigns John II. and Isabel of Portugal, 232
La Cartuja: Statue of San Bruno, 233
La Cartuja: Details of the Sepulchre of the Sovereigns John II. and Isabel of Portugal, 234
La Cartuja: Details of the Sepulchre of the Sovereigns John II. and Isabel of Portugal, 235
La Cartuja: Details of the Sepulchre of the Sovereigns John II. and Isabel of Portugal, 236
La Cartuja de Miraflores: Details of the Choir Stalls, and Stall of the Officiating Priest, 237
La Cartuja de Miraflores: Stalls of the Lay Brothers, 238
La Cartuja de Miraflores: A Side Door, 239
La Cartuja de Miraflores: Detail of the Choir, 240
La Cartuja de Miraflores: Choir Stalls, 241
La Cartuja de Miraflores: Detail of the Choir Stalls, 242
La Cartuja de Miraflores: The Prior’s Stall, 243{xix}
La Cartuja: Detail of the Sepulchre of Don Juan II. and his wife, 244
La Cartuja: Sepulchre of the Infante Don Alonso, brother of Isabel I., 245
La Cartuja: Tomb of the Infante, 246
La Cartuja: Compartment of King’s Tomb, 247
La Cartuja: Portions of Cornice, King’s Tomb, 248
La Cartuja: Ornament from the Infante’s Tomb, 249
La Cartuja: King’s Effigy—Infante’s Robe—Infante’s Prie-Dieu Cloth, 250
La Cartuja: Panelled Wall—Alabaster Crown and Tassels, 251
La Cartuja de Miraflores: A Sixteenth-Century Chimneypiece, 252
Cathedral and La Cartuja: Effigies from Tombs, 253
La Cartuja: Ceiling Ornaments—Cathedral: Details from the Constable’s Monument, 254
Convent of Las Huelgas: View of the Temple, 255
Convent of Las Huelgas: Façade of the Monastery, 256
Convent of Las Huelgas: Patio de San Fernando, 257
Convent of Las Huelgas: Entrance to the Church, 258
Convent of Las Huelgas, 259
Church of Las Huelgas, 260
A Sepulchre in the Convent of Las Huelgas, 261
Details of the Exterior of Santa Maria La Real commonly called de Las Huelgas, 262
Cloisters and Sepulchre in the Convent of Las Huelgas, 263
A Sepulchre in the Convent of Las Huelgas, 264
A Sepulchre in the Convent of Las Huelgas, 265
Sepulchres in the Choir of Santa Maria La Real de Las Huelgas, 266
Convent of Las Huelgas: View of the Choir, 267
Convent of Las Huelgas: The Cloisters, 268
Convent of Las Huelgas: Cloisters of San Fernando, 269
Convent of la Huelgas: Entrance to the Nave of St. John, 270
Convent of la Huelgas: Door in the Chapel of San Salvador, 271
Convent of la Huelgas: The Cloisters, 272
Convent of la Huelgas: Flag taken by Alfonso VIII. at the Battle of Las Navas, 273
Gate of the King’s Hospital, 274{xx}
Façade of the Church of the Hospital of the King, 275
Interior View of the Courtyard of the Hospital of the King, 276
Cloisters in the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, 277
Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silas (Silos), 278
Caskets and Chalice in the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, 279
Reliquary, Details, and Paten in the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, 280
Detail of an Altar: Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, 281
The Arch of Fernan Gonzalez, 282
Gate of the Hospital of St. John, 283
Monastery of San Juan de Ortega: Sepulchre of the Founder, 284
Gate of the House of the ‘Cordon,’ 285
House of the ‘Cordon,’ 286
Church of San Gil: Chapel of the Nativity, 287
Altar-piece of the Buena Mañana in San Gil, 288
Church of San Gil: Altar-piece of the Chapel of the Kings, 289
Gate of the Church of San Lesmes, 290
Altar-piece in San Lesmes, 291
Porch of the Church of San Estéban, 292
Entrance to the Parish Church of San Nicolás, 293
Altar-piece in San Nicolás de Bari, 294
Archway of Santa Maria, Sixteenth Century, 295
Gate of Santa Maria, 296
The Arco de Santa Maria, 297
Provincial Museum: Arabesques of the Arco de Santa Maria, 298
Exterior View and Detail of the Arch of Santa Maria, 299
Provincial Museum: Sepulchre of Don Juan de Padilla in Fresdelval, Fifteenth Century, 300
Provincial Museum: Sepulchre of Don Juan de Padilla, 301
Interior View of the Provincial Museum, 302
Provincial Museum: Front of an Altar in Enamelled Bronze, Eleventh Century, 303
Provincial Museum: Visigothic Sepulchre of Sixth Century, found at Briviesca, 304
Coffin of Briviesca: Preserved in the Provincial Museum, 305
Provincial Museum: Roman Statue found in the Ruins of Salonica,{xxi} 306
Transverse Section and Details of the Church of San Juan (Baños), 307
Church of Gamonal, 308
Interior of the Church of Gamonal, 309
Portal of the Church of the Villa de Sasamón, 310
Tower of the Church of the Villa de Santa Maria Del Campo, 311
Chapel of Our Lady of the Valley in the Rodilla Monastery, General View of the Exterior, 312
Chapel of Our Lady of the Valley in the Rodilla Monastery, Porch—Interior, 313
Monastery of Fresdelval: Portal, 314
Monastery of Fresdelval: Hospice, 315
Monastery of Fresdelval: Cloisters, 316
Monastery of Fresdelval: Window in the Ruined Temple, 317
Monastery of Fresdelval: Window in the Ruined Temple, 318
Olmillos Castle, 319
A Courtyard, 320
Lerma: The Duke of Lerma’s Palace and the College, 321
Lerma: The College, 322
Lerma: Interior of the Collegiate Church, 323
Lerma: Sepulchre of the Cardinal Duke of Lerma, 324
Lerma: Details of the Sepulchre of the Cardinal Duke of Lerma, 325
Lerma: The Magdalene. (Copy of a Picture by Leonardo Da Vinci), 326
Lerma: Our Lady of the Silla. (Copy of a Picture by Raphael), 327
Bridge of Horadada, 328
Cathedral, from the East, 329
General View from the School, 330
General View of Salamanca, 331
General View of Salamanca, 332
A Portion of Salamanca, 333
Roman Bridge over the Tormes, 334
Bridge of Bejar, 335{xxii}
View of the Ancient Wall, 336
Principal Nave of the Old Cathedral, 337
Nave of Cross-aisle of the Old Cathedral, 338
Sepulchres in the Old Cathedral, 339
Longitudinal Section of the Old Cathedral, 340
Sepulchres in the Old Cathedral, 341
Sepulchres in the Cross-aisle, Old Cathedral, 342
Sepulchre in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 343
Sepulchre in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 344
Sepulchre in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 345
Capitals of the Sepulchres in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 346
Capitals of the Sepulchres in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 347
Capitals of the Sepulchres in the Cloisters of the Old Cathedral, 348
Capitals and Effigies in the Old Cathedral, 349
Capitals in the Old Cathedral, 350
The Old Cathedral, 351
Details of the Outside and Plan of the Cupola of the Old Cathedral, 352
The Cathedral, 353
View of the Cathedral from the ‘Seminario,’ 354
Cathedral: East Façade, 355
Tower of the Cathedral, 356
Cathedral: The Tower del Gallo, 357
Principal Façade of the Cathedral, 358
Principal Nave in the Cathedral, 359
Cathedral: View of the Cross-aisle, 360
Cathedral: Entrance to the Chapel of the Bishop of Seville, Don Diego de Anaya, 361
Cathedral: View of the Sacristy, 362
Cathedral: Chapel in the Cloisters, 363
Chapel of St. Barbara in the Cathedral Cloisters, 364
Cathedral: Dome of the Tower of the ‘Gallo,’ 365
Cathedral: General View of the Puerta del Nacimiento, 366
Cathedral: Gate of the Nativity, 367
Cathedral: Gate of St. Clement, 368
Cathedral: Gate of the ‘Ramos,’ 369
Cathedral: Gate of the Patio Chico, 370{xxiii}
Cathedral: Right-hand Gate; or, Gate of the Bishop, 371
Cathedral: The Beheading of St. John Baptist. (By Jac. Geronimo Espinosa), 372
Cathedral: The Virgin holding the Dead Body of her Divine Son. (Pietá in wood, by Salvador Carmona), 373
Cathedral: Wooden Crucifix with which the troops of the Cid were harangued. The Smaller Crucifix the Cid carried beneath his Armour, 374
Cathedral: Chair and Table in the Chapter Hall, 375
General View of the Church of Santo Domingo, 376
Detail of the Façade of Santo Domingo, 377
Façade of the Church of Santo Domingo, 378
Detail of the Façade of Santo Domingo, 379
Cloisters of Santo Domingo, 380
Interior of the Church of Santo Domingo, 381
Arches in the Choir of the Church of Santo Domingo, 382
Interior View of the Sacristy of Santo Domingo, 383
Door of the Conference Hall of Santo Domingo, 384
General view of the Cloisters of Santo Domingo, 385
Cloisters of Santo Domingo, 386
Fresco in the Church of Santo Domingo, by Palomino, 387
Door of the church of St. Martin, 388
Gate of the Church of St. Martin, 389
Door of the Church of San Justo, 390
Church of the Augustines: The Conception of the Virgin, by Ribera, 391
Gate of the Church of San Benito, 392
Parish Church of the Holy Spirit, 393
Portal of the Parish Church of the Holy Spirit, 394
Church of the Third Order of St. Francis, 395
View of the Seminary from the Irlandeses, 396
View of the Seminary, 397
Chapter Hall in the Seminary, 398
The Seminary: Abraham offering Melchisedech Bread and Wine, 399
The Seminary: The Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon, by Rubens, 400
The Seminary: Christ scourged. Statue in wood by Salvador Carmona,{xxiv} 401
General View of the University, 402
Façade of the University, 403
Upper Part of the Façade of the University, 404
Lower Part of the Façade of the University, 405
University: Medallion representing the Catholic Sovereigns over the Principal Entrance, 406
Façade of the University, 407
Library in the University, 408
University: Altar of the Chapel, 409
Gallery in the University, 410
Portico of the University, 411
Details of the Porch of the University, 412
Details of the Porch of the University, 413
Door of the Library of the University, 414
Court of the College of the Irlandeses, 415
Façade of the College of the Irlandeses, 416
Porch of the College of the Irlandeses, 417
Portico of the Chapel of the College of the Irlandeses, 418
Court of the College of the Irlandeses, 419
Details of the Court of the Archbishop’s College, now of the Irlandeses, 420
Gate of the Santa Maria de las Dueñas, 421
Provincial Museum: Model in wood for an Altar for the Cathedral, by Manuel Rodriguez, 422
Provincial Museum: Arm-chair of Fr. Antonio de Sotomayor, 423
Provincial Museum: St. Michael overcoming Satan. Silver Statue. The work of John de Arfe, 424
Cloisters in the Ruins of the School of the Vega, 425
Capitals in the College of the Vega, 426
Statue of Our Lady of the Vega, 427
The House of Salinas, 428
Courtyard of the House of Salinas (Upper Part), 429
Detail of the Courtyard of the House of Salinas, 430
General View of the College of Calatrava, 431
Staircase in the College of Calatrava, 432
Tower of the ‘Clavero,’ 433{xxv}
General View of the School, 434
Façade of the School, 435
Interior Gate of the School, 436
Entrance to the School, 437
Porch of the Archivos of the School, 438
Courtyard of the School, 439
Back of the School, 440
Courtyard of the School, 441
Principal Façade of the House of the Shells, 442
Grated Window of the House of the Shells, 443
Triple Grated Window of the House of the Shells, 444
Balcony and Triple Grated Window of the House of the Shells, 445
Doorway in the House of the Shells, 446
Courtyard in the House of the Shells, 447
House of Monterey, 448
Tower of the House of Monterey, 449
House of Monterey, 450
La Plaza Mayor, 451
The Town Hall, 452
Patio de la Gobernación, 453
Ancient College, now the House of the Provincial Deputation, 454
River Gate through which Hannibal entered, 455
House of Doña Maria the Brave, 456
Avenue of the Campo of San Francisco, 457
Statue of Fr. Luis de Leon, 458
The Pacification of the Factions of Salamanca. A Relief by Don Aniceto Marinas, 459
Market, Province of Salamanca: ‘A Bad Bargain,’ by J. Aranjo, 460
Peasants’ Dance, by D. Fierros, 461
Charro, or Peasant of the Province, 462





Leon, Burgos, and Salamanca



There is something cold and forlorn about the little city of Leon, that one-time capital of Spain; something chill and wintry, not explained even by the snowy peaks of Asturias bounding the horizon on the north. It is the chill of age. Other cities there are, even in Spain, older than Leon, but with them time has dealt more gently. It was but natural that this town should wither and grow old. Very much out of the world it lies, in as remote a situation as could be found in southern Europe. It has long outlived its destiny—and that was an honourable one. The blood of no new race has ever been infused into its veins. Founded by S. Sulpicius Galba in 70 A.D. as the headquarters of the Seventh Legion (Legio Septima), when it grew into a town, doubtless its first inhabitants were the uncon{2}querable Celts of the Cantabrian Mountains. When the wild Suevi took refuge in this north-western corner of the peninsula, Legio, as it was then called, was nominally subject to them. Leovigild added it to the dominions of the Visigoths in 540, but despite this change of masters it probably remained Celtic to the core. The Moorish yoke endured here but twenty-five years. So near to the great mountain barriers, where the new Spain was born, which contained the nucleus of the new monarchy and nation, it was naturally among the first prizes of the kings of Pelayo’s line. Issuing from those passes which had proved a death-trap to the Moorish hordes, the Christians of Asturias wrested this city from the invader in the year 742, and with a very brief interval it was henceforward to know none but a Spanish yoke. We do not hear of much effort on the part of the Saracens to recover or to hold it. We can fancy that the spirit and resolution of those children of the South were numbed in these wintry plains, within sight of the everlasting snows, almost within reach of the tempests of the northern seas. But it was a place that suited well the temper of the champions of Christendom in Spain. It was grim, it was stern, it was rude and simple. Behind was the glorious cradle of{3} the nation, the citadel of Spanish freedom; before were the plains whereon to do battle with the Moor, the streams that flowing south pointed the way for the Spanish knight. Leon was the first stage of a journey which was to end only at the Pillars of Hercules. Every town in the peninsula marks a forward step of the Christian, a backward step of the Moslem. Leon was outpost first, capital after. It seems to have been attacked and perhaps destroyed by the enemy during the ninth century, for we read that Ordoño I. rebuilt it. Under Alfonso III. the frontier of the nascent kingdom was carried forward to the Douro. At Leon men slept more peacefully. Alfonso, upon his abdication in 912, pursuing the policy afterwards so harmful to Spain, divided his dominions among his children. Leon was allotted to Garcia; and two years later, on the death of that prince and the accession of his brother Ordoño II., it became the capital of the united realms of Galicia and Leon, to which in 923 with the crowning of a third brother, Froila II., was added the ancestral province of Asturias.

In the Middle Ages, where the Court was the scaffold was not far away. And the new capital was soon to see something of the darker side of regal authority. Ordoño II. attributed his defeat{4} at Val de Junqueras to the defection or mutiny of the Counts of Castile, the wardens of the eastern marches. Summoning four of them into his presence at his palace at Tejares, he placed them under arrest, and sent them in chains to Leon, where after a painful captivity they were put to death. This was not the last tragedy to cast a shadow over the little capital. Meanwhile, under Ramiro II., the name of the town began to be applied to the whole kingdom. It was the scene of the imprisonment of the aspiring Fernan González, Count of Castile; and by him and a Navarrese army it was besieged during the reign of Ordoño III. Under the terrible Al Mansûr, the Moslem tide swept up to the very peaks of Asturias. Leon was submerged, the city taken and burned, and Fernando II. was glad to find an asylum in the mountain fastnesses of his ancestors.

This was but a temporary check to the Christian fortunes. In 1002 the announcement was made from every pulpit in free Spain, ‘Al Mansûr is dead and buried in Hell.’ Emerging once more from their retreat, the Leonese recovered their capital, which was henceforward to remain uninterruptedly in Christian hands.

Alfonso V., the Restorer of Leon, mindful of{5} the precedents set by Visigothic kings, held an ecclesiastical council at his capital in the year 1020. There was a great concourse of prelates and nobles from all parts of Christian Spain. The conference took place in the cathedral church of St. Mary, founded by Ordoño II., and King Alfonso and Queen Elvira presided in person. Of the fifty-eight ordinances and resolutions, thirty-one embodied the municipal constitution of the town of Leon—the first town in Spain to receive a charter. Indeed, it was probably the first town in mediæval Europe to obtain the privilege of self-government.

The history of the city thenceforward becomes merged in the history of the kingdom and in that of Spain generally. But here and there in the annals of the time certain events stand out as specially associated with it. In the year 1029 the young Count Garcia of Castile came hither to espouse Sancha, the sister of King Fernando III. His movements were watched by the three sons of the Count of Vela, whom his father had put to death. Their manner towards the young Count implied rather friendship than enmity. But one morning, as he entered the church of San Isidoro, they fell upon him and slew him. The assassins were burned to death; but their deed{6} served to intensify the bitter rivalry of Castile and Leon.

There were other ecclesiastical councils held here in 1106, 1114, 1134, 1228, and 1288. And in 1137 the church which had been defiled with the young Garcia’s blood was the scene of the impressive coronation of Alfonso VII. as Emperor of all Spain—a title which no Spanish king could justly bear, till Charles came from Flanders in 1517 to rule over a Spain for ever united.

For a hundred years longer the little city by the northern hills posed from time to time as an imperial capital, but with the union of the crowns under San Fernando the headship of the kingdom passed to Burgos and Toledo. For a century more the court of the Spanish kings was in the ever-moving camps, on the ever-shifting battlefield. The claims of Leon to rank as capital were forgotten. The echoes of warfare far away on the banks of the Jucar and Guadalquivir hardly reached her walls. She fell asleep. She had harboured the founders of national independence; she had borne the brunt and stress of battle, had been in the van in the fierce strife between Christian and Moslem. Everything that happened to Leon happened a very long time ago; and it might all have seemed a{7} dream if the genius of the architect had not bequeathed to our own day great memorials of the glory made by kings and prelates.


Leon, as we know, does not derive its name from ‘the lions introduced by the Carthaginians,’ as some old chroniclers believed, but from the legion quartered here in the first century of the Christian era. The old name of the place was Urbs Legionis. Remembering the peculiar pronunciation of the Spanish G, the modification of the Latin word into its present form is easily explained.

The legion which preserved the pax Romana in this remote corner of the empire may have varied in strength from six to seven thousand men of all arms. The camp was rectangular, and measured 380 by 570 metres. It was confined by the wall, of which the northern, eastern, and part of the western sides remain,—or rather the bases, for the masonry of the upper part reveals the handiwork of various subsequent ages. Walking round the city, you notice the stout round bastions outcropping between the houses which frequently obscure the trace of the wall. Of the four Roman gates, faced with marble slabs and inscribed with the names of the commanders of the{8} legion, two remain—the eastern, or Bishop’s gateway, behind the cathedral, and the low semicircular arch in the Plazuela del Conde de Luna.

Embedded in or against these walls many profoundly interesting relics of the Roman domination have been discovered. These are now to be seen in the Provincial Museum. There is the white marble altar dedicated to Diana by the legate Tullius Maximus, as the inscription on one side records. The three other faces bear respectively these inscriptions:—

(1) ‘Aequora conclusit campi, Divisque dicavit,
Et templum statuit tibi, Delia virgo triformis,
Tullius è Lybia, rector legionis Hiberae,
Ut quiret volucris capreas, ut figere cervos,
Saetigeros ut apros, ut equorum silvico lentum
Progeniem, ut cursu certare, ut disice ferri,
Et pedes arma gerens, et equo jaculator Hibero.’
(2) ‘Cervôm altifrontum cornua
Dicat Dianae Tullius,
Quos vicit in parami aequore
Vectus feroci sonipede.’
(3) ‘Dentes aprorum quos cecidit Maximus
Dicat Dianae, pulchrum virtutis decus.’

This Tullius Maximus seems to have loved the chase, and elsewhere we find him dedicating a bear’s skin to his favourite goddess. The people of the Urbs Legionis were probably mighty hunters. On a sepulchral monument the son-{9}in-law, daughter, and grandson of the founder are represented as a boar, a hind, and a fawn. The Provincial Museum also contains an altar consecrated to the genius of the legion.

Where the cathedral now stands were the Roman baths, which are said to have been converted into a castle or palace by the kings of Asturias. The building was utterly destroyed by Al Mansûr, and on its site arose the basilica of Ordoño II. The royal residence then seems to have been situated near where the monastery of San Salvador del Palaz del Rey was built by Ramiro II. (930-950). Another palace occupied the square in front of the church of San Isidoro. Rebuilt by Berenguela, the mother of San Fernando, it was pulled down in the time of Isabel the Catholic. It was no doubt from this building that Count Garcia passed to his death in the opposite church.

San Isidoro,

after the Roman walls the most ancient building in Leon, occupies the site of a chapel and nunnery consecrated in 966 and rebuilt by Alfonso V. Fernando I., who reigned over Leon and Castile from 1033 to 1065, obtained from the Amir of Seville the body of the{10} doctor, San Isidoro. To receive this venerated relic a new church was built, and solemnly dedicated on December 21, 1063. Two years later the bones of the martyr San Vicente were transported hither from Avila. In the next century the church was greatly enlarged and richly endowed by Alfonso VII., who attributed his victory at Baeza to the miraculous intervention of the Doctor of Seville. To provide for the service of the church, the regular canons were transferred here from Carvajal, and exchanged quarters with the nuns who had continued to occupy the old tenth-century convent.

The church is in the Romanesque style, the oldest portion being the chapel of Santa Catalina, which Street thinks was the original fabric of Fernando I. The chapel was intended as a mausoleum for the royal family of Leon, but twelve tombs only remain out of thirty. The only inscriptions are on the resting-places of Alfonso V. and Sancha, the sister of Alfonso VII. Here were buried Alfonso IV., Ramiro II., Ordoño III. and his queen, Sancho I., Ramiro III. and his queen Urraca, Fernando I. and Queen Sancha, Sancho the Great of Navarre, and the murdered Count Garcia. Here, before the Pantheon was despoiled by the French in{11} 1808, might have been seen the marble and porphyry sepulchre of the brave princess Urraca of Zamora, and the urns of the Moorish and French wives of Alfonso VII. Now, the inscriptions having been wantonly defaced, it is impossible to identify the few remaining sarcophagi.

The arches of this gloomy Pantheon are decorated with curious frescoes, probably of the twelfth century. The crude drawing and tints rather add to the impressive effect of these solemn paintings. Among the subjects are the ‘Massacre of the Innocents,’ the ‘Last Supper’ (painted, as Street points out, without the least regard to the angles formed by the groining, and as if the vault were a flat surface), scenes from the Passion, and the Visions of the Apocalypse—terrible conceptions. One of the designs represents the Supreme Judge with two swords issuing from His mouth; another shows a hand, inscribed Dextra Dei. The compositions are surrounded by foliage, rich and conventional. On the altar is an interesting ivory cross, the gift of Fernando I. and Sancha, whose names are engraved upon the reverse. While the figure of Christ is rude in the extreme, the foliage and figures of the four evangelists at the back are exquisitely chiselled.{12}

Leaving this place consecrated to wrath and tears, we re-enter the church. The plan is roughly cruciform, an apsidal chapel projecting to the east of each arm of the transept, on either side of the Capilla Mayor. We are now in that part of the fabric which was built by order of Alfonso VII., evidently on the model of St. Sernin at Toulouse. The name of the architect is given on an inscription in the flooring as Petrus de Deo—Peter of God. The most interesting features in the church are the very ancient mural paintings in the Byzantine style, with the same profusion of foliage and richly moulded capitals to be noticed in the Pantheon. The dentated and horse-shoe arches reveal traces of Moorish influence, showing that even in the far north of Spain architects could not have closed their eyes and ears altogether to the doings of the detested infidels.

Among the treasures of the church might fairly be included the font, with its Byzantine reliefs, while objects of special veneration are the relics of San Isidoro contained in an ancient silver urn, supported by four lions, and the hand of San Martino, holding a pen, and encased in a rich reliquary. Here also you may see a chalice of agate, the donation of the Infanta Urraca, and{13} (in the Sacristy) the standard embroidered by order of Alfonso VII. with the image of San Isidoro as he appeared at Baeza, and last displayed at the taking of Antequera in the fifteenth century. Many other priceless treasures and relics were lost when the church was plundered by the French; while in 1811 the building was struck by lightning, and—as if that were not enough—white-washed throughout!

The exterior is interesting. A doorway admits to the middle of the nave on the south side. The arch is semicircular and triple, the tympanum and spandrils being filled with sculpture, representing the Offering of Isaac, the Lamb of God, figures of Saints, and the signs of the Zodiac. ‘The whole detail of this sculpture,’ says Street, ‘is very unlike that of most of the early work I have seen in Spain; the figures are round and flabby, and very free from any of the usual conventionality. All this made me feel much inclined to think that the execution of this work was at an early date, and soon after the first consecration of the church.’ The appearance of the whole front was not improved by the Renaissance work above this gateway—the elaborate cornice, the imperial shield of Charles V., and the colossal equestrian statue of San Isidoro.{14} The Romanesque portal of the southern transept, now closed, is adorned with a relief representing the Descent from the Cross, the statues of Saints Peter and Paul, and other sculptures. Detached from the church is a square tower or steeple built between two bastions in the adjoining city wall. Generally speaking, the eastern façade is strictly Gothic, much of it having been added to the Romanesque framework in the sixteenth century.

The adjoining cloister is mainly of the same period and style. The decorations are in the plateresque style, and the staircase, leading to the council chamber of the Provincial Deputation, is a daring and admirable example of Renaissance work. The library contains the beautiful Bible written in 960 by the priest Sancho, ‘whose illuminations and vignettes’ (says a native writer) ‘with their sinister figures with black faces, curious dresses, and gloomy fancies, display the artistic tendencies of that age of turmoil.’

In the Plaza del Conde de Luna is the mean little church of San Salvador del Palaz del Rey, built by Ramiro II. as a convent for his daughter Elvira—she who ruled as regent during the minority of her brother, Ramiro III. Nothing of the original structure remains; but the site is{15} that of one of the oldest royal residences in Leon, and of the first burying-place of her kings, before their ashes were transported to San Isidoro.

The Cathedral

of Leon marks the second period of the city’s history and of the architecture of northern Spain. San Isidoro stands for the infant monarchy, with its Byzantine traditions handed down from the Visigothic kings; the cathedral, for the strong, ever-expanding realm of Leon and Castile, in close touch and sympathy with the great Catholic world of the west. San Isidoro is Romanesque; the cathedral is not only Gothic, but purely French, closely resembling Amiens and Rheims. It is a magnificent exotic. It symbolised the reunion of Spain with Western Christendom, after its long night of isolation, the infusion into its art and its people of the European spirit.

This beautiful cathedral—pulchra Leonina—occupies the site of the basilica of Ordoño II. (of which no trace remains). Planned about the first years of the reign of San Fernando, it was not completed in 1258, when an episcopal congress was held at Madrid to discuss the progress of the works and to grant an indulgence of forty days to the faithful who should assist with alms.{16} In 1303 the Bishop Gonzalez proclaimed that the work was done, ‘thanks be to God.’

The beauty of this wonderful church consists largely in its lightness. Its supports are so slender, its walls so freely pierced with windows at every stage, its details everywhere so delicate, that the term ‘frozen music’ applied to architecture seems here indeed no mere hyperbole. ‘A mere lantern,’ Street calls the church, and blames the architect for his extreme daring and for his excessive use of windows. Though the vaults had been filled in with very light stone or concrete, the fabric was ever trembling on its fragile foundations. In 1631 the vault above the crossing collapsed, and was replaced by a dome. A hundred years later many of the arches of the aisles succumbed. Meanwhile Renaissance and Churrigueresque additions were made; but the whole was restored between the years 1850 and 1901, and now the cathedral exists in almost pristine symmetry and airiness.

The eastern end, or chevet, projects beyond the city wall, which forms the eastern boundary of the adjacent cloister. The transept, if that term may be applied to the whole space between the Capilla Mayor and Coro, is of unusual breadth, and may be said to include a nave, two aisles to the east and{17} one to the west. North and south it projects but slightly beyond the nave. The west front is flanked by two steeples, which stand on each side of, and do not terminate, the aisles. They are heavier than the rest of the structure, and of different heights and ages. Ugly, too, is the empty space left between their side walls and those of the clerestory over the main entrance. The northern steeple is the older, lower, and simpler; it is surmounted by a spire with a vane. The other tower is more ornate, and contains the belfry. Its traceries are in a debased Gothic style.

The façade between these steeples is very beautiful. It is surmounted by a pediment with ‘acroteria’ or pedestals to receive statues. Beneath this is a very large wheel-window above a row of windows corresponding to the triforium. The three magnificently sculptured doorways extend from steeple to steeple. The arches are pointed and triple. Byzantine influence is visible in the statuary and foliage. The figures, forty in number, are rather more than life-size, and represent saints and apostles, martyrs and confessors, kings and queens. On the north-west doorway is seen the half-defaced figure of Justice, bearing a sword inscribed with the words ‘Justitia est unicuique dare quod suum est.’ Beneath this{18} portal cases of appeal were tried in the thirteenth century. A small column between this and the central doorway is engraved with the words locus appellationis and the arms of Leon and Castile. The tympanum of the arch is adorned with reliefs, illustrating the earlier episodes in the life of Jesus. The doors themselves show scenes from the Passion and Risen Life.

The central shaft of the middle door is disfigured with a dressed-up image of the Virgin enclosed in glass. The sculpture of the tympanum is spirited and elaborate. In a composition depicting the Last Judgment devils are seen stirring their fires and plunging the reprobate into seething cauldrons. On the side of the blessed a young man extracts cheering music from what is perhaps a harmonium. The attitudes of the just express the liveliest satisfaction, whereas a crowned personage, striding boldly into Paradise, is met and warned off by a celestial Janitor. The naïve and fantastically horrible are curiously blended in this skilful work. The southern doorway is the least interesting of the three; the subjects of the reliefs are the death and coronation of the Virgin.

The entrance to the south transept has been entirely rebuilt, but the original reliefs and{19} statuary of the three doors have been preserved and re-erected. Some old Byzantine capitals may be distinguished among the Gothic work. The south-west door is relieved with a diaper of fleurs-de-lys and castles, and lions and castles. The sculpture of the tympanum is equal to that of the west front, and shows the Saviour and the Evangelists, the twelve Apostles, and the Death of the Blessed Virgin. The colossal statue on the central shaft is that of San Froilan, an early bishop of Leon. Above is a row of four windows of two lights, and an enormous rose-window.

The glory of the cathedral is its stained glass, which fills the innumerable windows. Most of this is comparatively modern, and, though good in tone, is inferior to the fifteenth-century glass still existing in the windows of the Capilla Mayor, the Capilla de Santiago, and the north transept. The three rows of windows reach high up to the vaultings of the roof, those of the chapels being of two lights, those of the clerestory of four. It is strange that with such exquisite examples of colouring before them, the restorers of the church should have had the bad taste to bedaub the arches of the aisles with ochre, and to whitewash the pillars and vaults, marking the stonework with red lines. We could well have spared,{20} moreover, the elaborate plateresque work in the choir, which, though good in itself, is dissonant from the general character of the building; and the Churrigueresque retablo of the Capilla Mayor, representing the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The sanctuary and choir, which in so many churches are the most interesting feature, are of quite secondary importance at Leon. The Capilla Mayor, however, contains the remains of San Froilan in two silver reliquaries of the Renaissance style, and the relics of two other bishops (Alvitas and Pelagius) in plain marble urns. The choir stalls date from the fifteenth century, and are well carved. The best work is seen in the panels behind the stalls, the subjects being the generation of Christ, the Visitation, the Revolt of Satan, and the Descent into Hell.

But after the general ensemble and the stained glass, nothing in the cathedral merits as much attention as the tombs and monuments. Of these the noblest is the cenotaph of Ordoño II. at the rear of the High Altar, erected five centuries after his death as a tribute of gratitude by the citizens of Leon. Though in the florid Gothic style of the fifteenth century, many of the figures and inscriptions appear to have been copied from an earlier tomb. The recumbent effigy of the{21} king is large and dignified; his face is sharp and smooth-shaven; he wears his crown and the royal robes, and carries the orb and sceptre. At his feet lies a dog, the emblem of fidelity, beneath which is an inscription in Latin setting forth his deeds and virtues, and erroneously attributing to him the erection of the present temple. The monumental arch above encloses sculpture painted in brilliant colours on a gilt ground, which appears to be of an earlier elate than the rest of the monument. The arches of the wall of the Capilla Mayor have been bricked up, and those on each side of this monument are adorned with two very ancient distemper paintings of the Ecce Homo and Entombment. They exhibit some interesting peculiarities of dress and detail, and though the central figure is badly done, the spectators are lifelike and vigorously represented.

There are many tombs in the cathedral belonging to the transitional period from Byzantine to Gothic, mostly of bishops of the thirteenth century. The best preserved is in the Capilla del Nacimiento, and enshrines the remains of Bishop Rodrigo, who died in 1232. The tympanum of the arch is occupied by a representation of the Crucifixion, below this being shown a funeral procession, with the mourners tearing their hair{22} in a grotesque excess of grief. The benevolence of the good prelate is immortalised by a figure distributing food to the poor, the halt, and the blind. The tomb of Bishop Martin (1254-1289), in the south transept, is adorned with the favourite scene from the life of St. Martin of Tours—the division of the cloak. The monuments to the bishops Manrique de Lara, Erasmus, and Martin (second of the name) are all in much the same style, but differing stages of preservation. In the Capilla del Salvador, behind the High Altar, may be seen the graceful effigy of the Countess Sancha (eleventh century), executed in the fourteenth century by Maestre Juan Lope, as an inscription on the robe informs us. The relief on the front of the tomb, showing a youth dragged along by a fiery horse, probably refers to the punishment in this world or the next of the wicked nephew, by whom the countess was assassinated. Another tomb in the same chapel bears the figure of a venerable man with flowing beard and ample robes.

At the north-eastern shoulder of the church, between it and the tower in the city wall already mentioned, is the fine rectangular chapel of Santiago, built in the time of the Catholic sovereigns—on the site, it would seem, of a{23} twelfth-century chapel. The pillars are borne on the shoulders of various figures, among them being Samson, the Queen of Sheba, Laocoon, and a monk with a book on which is the derisive motto legere et non intelligere. The details of the architecture are capricious and graceful. The chapel is lighted by colossal windows, filled with gorgeous stained glass—blue and gold, purple and emerald—the reflected colour producing a magical effect.

The spacious cloister, which conceals the northern façade of the cathedral, was built in the early fourteenth century, but it has been rebuilt, restored, and altered into what Street calls ‘a very poor and weak kind of Renaissance.’ The ornamentation is profuse and not in bad taste. The inner walls have not been much altered, and the pillars supporting them are sculptured in the Gothic style. The bays are painted with an extremely valuable and interesting series of frescoes, so well drawn that they were more likely the work of some fifteenth-century Italian artist than productions of native talent. The subjects are all from the history of Christ and Mary, the Crucifixion curiously enough being omitted. When Street saw these paintings forty years ago, he spoke of the colours{24} as pure and good, but they have now been almost entirely obliterated by the damp. The cloister contains several sepulchral monuments, some mere slabs, but one—that of the Canon Juan de Grajal (1447)—elaborately and artistically sculptured. Some colossal idiot has cut off the heads of the angels shown in this fine piece of work. Near the beautiful Gothic entrance to the cloister is an image of our Lady of Regla, to which at one time the people used to proceed in procession to return thanks for the mythical victory of Clavijo, a choir of damsels representing the equally mythical tribute of one hundred virgins said to have been paid by Mauregato to the Moors.

In the archives of the cloister are preserved a fine collection of codices and documents, throwing light on the history not only of Spain but of the Catholic Church. Specially valuable is a Gothic Bible written sub umbraculo Santae Marie et Sancti Martini in monasterio vocabulo Alb … in DCCCCLVIII. [920 A.D.], by John the Deacon, who transcribed on the intermediate pages the life of San Froilan.

We cross the spacious plaza in front of the cathedral, with its fine marble fountain, presided over by Neptune and his Tritons, and go into the town in search of ancient buildings. Of{25} thirteenth-century architecture there are no more examples; but the southern wall was built by Alfonso XI. about 1324, to take in a quarter which had hitherto been a suburb. The old Roman wall began at the stern, square Torre de los Ponces. The gates in Alfonso’s wall have all been restored and modernised, except that of Santo Domingo, which, with its low arch and pointed vaulting, preserves the true mediæval air. The Moneda gate carries a statue of Carlos III., erected in 1759, the year of his accession. Enrique II. (Trastamara) built a palace at Leon on the model, it is said, of the Alcazar at Seville. What was left of this structure has been converted into a prison.

The Renaissance, which left everywhere in Spain so deep an impress, did not leave untouched this Gothic capital. Beside such triumphs of the Romanesque and pointed styles as San Isidoro and the pulchra Leonina rises the church of San Marcos, an interesting specimen of the newer school. Founded as a chapel of the new order of Santiago in 1170, the church witnessed the election of the first prior, and received in 1184 the ashes of the first grand master, Pedro Fernandez de Fuente Encalada. Fernando the Catholic ordered the church to be rebuilt in 1514,{26} but the work progressed very slowly and was not actually finished till 1715. The most important part of the fabric and the plans, however, we owe to Juan de Badajoz, who was working here about 1550. With the adjoining convent, first a hospice for pilgrims to Compostela, now the Provincial Museum, the building presents a very imposing appearance. The church occupies the eastern side of the block, the portal being contained within a very deep and lofty semicircular arch. On either side, in deep plateresque niches, are fine but damaged reliefs by Crozec. The ‘acroterium’ (to employ an expression used by Spanish writers), surmounting the arch, appears to be unfinished, as also are the towers or large buttresses flanking the portal.

The church is large and cruciform, with some good glass, windows with plateresque traceries, and fine arabesques. The most notable accessories are the choir stalls, the upper row exhibiting admirably carved busts of New Testament worthies; the lower row, of the saints of the Old Dispensation. Grotesque and capricious masks, centaurs, griffins, and so forth, are introduced in great profusion into the decoration; they were the work, for the most part, of one Doncel in 1542, and were mutilated by a pupil of Churri{27}guera in the early part of the eighteenth century.

The work of Juan de Badajoz is to be seen in the Sacristy, a spacious nave of three vaults, richly designed and gilded. Under the windows are medallions with busts in relief, very well done. The retablo in the plateresque style shows the Eternal Father with His angels, and the Vision of Santiago. The inscriptions on the frieze are from the Book of Leviticus.

Much good work is to be seen in the cloisters, begun in the Armada year or thereabouts, but interest here chiefly centres in the Prior’s apartments where the illustrious Quevedo was imprisoned by order of the Count-Duke Olivares, from December 1639 to June 1643,—the penalty for an all too true and biting lampoon.

Quevedo thus describes his prison in one of the letters to his friend Adán de la Parra:—

‘Although at first I was imprisoned in a tower of this sacred house, as roomy as it was light and warm for this season of the year, a short time after by superior order (I will not say by superior disorder) I was taken to another much more uncomfortable one, where I am now. It is an underground room, as damp as a spring, so dark that in it it is always night, and so cold that it is always like January. It is undoubtedly more like a tomb than a prison…. The latitude of this tomb, in{28} which I am enclosed, is barely twenty-four feet and the width nineteen. The roof and walls are in many places fallen owing to the damp, and everything is so black that it seems more like a hiding-place of fugitive thieves than the prison of a man of honour. In order to enter it two equally strong doors have to be passed; one is on the floor of the convent and the other on the floor of my prison, after twenty-seven steps designed like a precipice…. This is the life to which I am doomed by him who, because I would not be his favourite, is now my enemy.’

The grand façade of the old convent, extending to the river bank, is divided into two stories, the lower characterised by semicircular windows between pilasters in the plateresque style, and separated by niches; the upper by rectangular windows with balconies, disposed between columns, and likewise separated by niches in pairs. The frieze beneath the lower row of windows is adorned by a series of medallions, displaying the heads of mythological and historical worthies, Gentiles and Christians, ancients and moderns, most oddly assorted. With Priam and Hector, Hannibal and Cæsar, we find Charlemagne and the Cid, Charles V. and Philip II., with Lucretia, Judith and Isabel the Catholic. The busts to the left of the doorway are those of the grand masters of the Order of Santiago. The{29} doorway itself is a very unhappy combination of the plateresque and baroque styles, but the statue of Fame surmounting it is not devoid of grace and dignity. The balconies and windows facing the river date from the eighteenth century.

A good deal of building went on in Leon during the sixteenth century. In the Plaza de San Marcelo (before Alfonso XI.’s time, outside the walls) stands the mansion of the illustrious Guzman family, of which Guzman el Bueno, of Tarifa fame, was an illegitimate and the most distinguished member. It was built in the year 1560 by Juan Juiñones y Guzman, Bishop of Calahorra. Its architecture is severe and imposing. Over the main entrance, adjoining a square tower at the corner of the building, are two medallions on which is engraved the motto, ‘Ornanda est dignitas domo—non domo dignitas tota quærenda’—a device which one wishes all the architects of the age had borne in mind. The interior patio is adorned with handsome plateresque reliefs. Next to the Casa Guzman is the residence of the marquesses of Villasinta, in rather similar style. Beneath the sixteenth-century façade of the mansion of the great Luna family was discovered a fine Gothic arch, with{30} another pointed arch supported by columns with Byzantine capitals. This work cannot be later than the thirteenth century. In the patio is a magnificent arch designed with arabesques.

Looking on the Plaza de San Marcelo is one of Leon’s two town halls, finished by Juan de Rivera in 1584. The lower story is of the Doric order, the upper Ionic. In the council-chamber, hung with damask and velvet, may be read the verses proclaiming the excellences of the city:—

‘En argen Leon contemplo
Fuerte, purpureo, triunfal.
De veinte santos ejemplo,
Donde está el unico templo
Real y sacerdotal.
Tuvo veinte y cuatro reyes
Antes que Castilla leyes;
Hizo el fuero sin querellas;
Libertó las cien doncellas
De las infernales greyes.’

The other town hall (Casas Consistoriales) in the Plaza Mayor was built to accommodate the municipal authorities on the occasion of festivities and public functions in the square. It is an elegant building, built in 1677, and is surmounted by a pediment and acroteria, and by weather vanes on its flanking towers.

The modern church of San Marcelo, which{31} gives its name to the square, was founded by Ramiro I. in the ninth century, and was liberally endowed in after years by Alfonso VI. Marcelus is a reputed local martyr, a Roman legionary who refused to adore the divinity of Cæsar, and was beheaded, having blessed his executioners. By another account the martyrdom took place at Tangier, whence, at all events, the saint’s relics were brought here in 1493. The tympanum of a thirteenth-century doorway in the wall at the back of the church is all that remains of the original fabric. A deserted esplanade beyond the walls, to the south-west of the city, marks the site of the once famous shrine of San Claudio, erected first in Constantine’s day on the place of martyrdom of Claudius, Lupercius, and Victoricus. Al Mansûr is said to have been struck with sudden panic when about to attack this church. Successive fanes of great magnificence rose over the spot, the last being destroyed by fire in the sixteenth century.

Santa Maria del Mercado still exhibits much ancient work. Its arching and capitals are Byzantine in style. The suburban church of San Pedro de los Huertos was, it is said, the cathedral, before the time of Ordoño II. In the tenth century we hear of it as a monastery for{32} both sexes. Another extremely old foundation is San Salvador del Nido, founded as a monastery by Queen Urraca. A local guide states that Carlo Alberto, the ex-King of Sardinia, received the last sacraments and expired in this church on April 8, 1849. I confess I have not troubled to verify this, but have hitherto laboured under the impression that the unlucky predecessor of Victor Emmanuel breathed his last at Oporto.

Having noticed this link with the history of our own times, we take leave of Leon, and hasten across the plains to the city which succeeded it as capital of the growing monarchy of Leon and Castile.{33}




Burgos, the red and white city in the broad valley of the Arlanzon, is more mediæval than many an older town. For she was no inheritance from Celts or Romans, but was born in the Dark Ages, waxed prosperous within them, and declined with the Renaissance and the dawn of the modern era. There is nothing that is classical, little that is modern, about this old capital of Castile. All her memories are of Gothic, mediæval, romantic Spain. To her belong knights and barons, shield and helm and lance, tournaments and jousts, soaring Gothic spires, and the quiet of the cloister—all the pageant and panorama of mediævalism.

Burgos was born amid the clash of arms. This dry, desert-like province of Castile, which is now the very heart of, and whose name is almost synonymous with Spain, was a thousand years ago a very debatable ground between Moor and{34} Christian. Leon, to the west, looked fiercely east and south towards the dusky garrisons of Medina Sarakusta (Zaragoza), and Tolaitola (Toledo). In itself the country seemed hardly worth settling in or fighting for. It was the frontier, the ‘marches,’ as we should have called it in olden England. And in the Dark Ages danger ever ran like a hedge along the border of two lands. The valley of the Arlanzon, a veritable oasis in this desert, was early peopled with shepherds and tillers of the soil. To protect these against the forays of the Beni Kasim from Zaragoza, early in the ninth century a fort or advanced post was established here by the kings of Asturias and Leon. Its defence was entrusted by Ordoño I. to a count (850-866), despite whose efforts the post was destroyed by the Moors under Abd-ur-Rahman in the year 865.

Rallying from these disasters, the new king Alfonso III. (866-910) took steps to defend the frontier, and appointed Diego Porcellos count or warden of the marches. This personage—the first whose name is particularly associated with Burgos—found the settlement on the Arlanzon reduced to six groups of houses. He threw together three or four hamlets, including, it is said, the churches of Santa Coloma, Santa Gadea,{35} and San Juan Evangelista, and surrounded the whole with a wall. The dissensions among the Moors themselves favoured the development of the nascent town, and also permitted its governors, like those of the other frontier forts, to turn their attention to domestic politics. Don Gonzalo Fernández, who reigned as count from about 884 to 915, was a party to various conspiracies and intrigues against his sovereign, the net result of which appeared to be to confirm him in his petty sovereignty. Patriotism was an unknown virtue in those days, and the counts of Castile were bent rather upon consolidating their own authority than combining against the Infidel. They are said in fact to have flatly refused to accompany the king on one of his campaigns. Revenge for such treason could in the tenth century take but one form. Ordoño II. summoned four of the rebellious vassals—Abu-l-Mundhir (evidently a Moor), Nuño Fernández, another Diego Porcellos, and Fernando Ansúrez—into his presence, and sent them in chains to Leon, where, after a painful captivity, they were put to death. Spanish writers, who express no particular horror at the atrocities of the Inquisition in after years, appear somewhat unaccountably shocked at such rough and ready justice.{36}

As a stroke of policy this deed of violence was a bad one. The Castilians, as it is now time to call the inhabitants of the marches, conceived a lasting aversion to the government of Leon, and the desire for independence grew stronger. An interregnum seems to have taken place at Burgos after the execution of Nuño Fernández and his colleagues. We hear at this time of two famous but nebulous personages, Nuño Nuñez Rasura and Lain Calvo, who were elected as judges to rule over the little commonwealth. Their reign as actual rulers was brief, for about the year 930 we find all authority in Castile in the strong hands of the greatest Spaniard of that age—Fernan González, the king-maker.

The fame of the good Conde Castellano, as González is lovingly called by the annalists, is overshadowed in the song and story of Spain only by that of the Cid himself. His heroic exploits against Moor and Christian are magnified and set forth in popular ballads and legends, dating mostly, it is true, from the thirteenth century. The real Fernan González is a difficult person to understand and appraise, when we have cleared away as much as possible the clouds of tradition and romance which obscure his features. Like the Cid, we find him repeatedly revolting{37} against his sovereign, and striving very much harder for the independence of Castile than for the interests of the whole kingdom. But unlike the greater Spanish hero, he never seems to have been in the pay of the Moslems, or to have in concert with them turned his sword against his fellow Christians. Judged by the standard of that day, Fernan González was a great man. He was a good lord to his immediate vassals, a valiant and determined enemy of the Moor, a patriot in a very parochial sense, and a strong man.

Ramiro the king, jealous of Fernan González’s power and influence, dispossessed him of his countship, and released him from prison only when he had sworn fidelity and obedience anew. His daughter Urraca was given in marriage to the king’s son, Ordoño, by whom, however, she was afterwards repudiated. Till the death of Ramiro the count was not suffered to return to Burgos, which was meanwhile governed by the Infante Don Sancho. Meanwhile the Moors ravaged the country, destroying the monastery of Cardeña without the walls of Burgos, and greatly profiting by the internal disorders of Leon.

On the abdication of Ramiro in 950, González was reinstated in his fiefs, and henceforward{38} played the part of king-maker in northern Spain, changing sides more than once, establishing every day more firmly his own authority, and warring unceasingly against the Moor. His policy often met with severe rebuffs, and he sustained not a few disastrous reverses; but his death in 970 was felt as a deadly blow to Christian Spain and to the Castilians in particular, whose national aspirations undoubtedly coincided with his own ambitions.

He had succeeded so far as to establish a dynasty; and his son Garcia Fernández became the next count of Castile as of right. The defects of the hereditary system became at once apparent, for while inheriting his father’s rank, Garcia inherited little of his ability. Unluckily for him, he was the contemporary of the terrible Al Mansûr, the greatest and most formidable of the Moorish race. Castile was ravaged from the Sierra Guadarrama to the sea. Don Sancho, supported by the Moors, revolted against his father, who died from wounds received in battle on the banks of the Douro, in May 995. The unfilial Sancho was at once acknowledged sovereign Count of Castile, but was compelled to pay an annual tribute to the Khalifa of Cordoba. But we find Al Mansûr waging war against him seven{39} years later. It was the great Mohammedan’s last campaign, and Sancho profited by the dismay into which their leader’s mortal sickness plunged the Moslems to expel them from his dominions.

Two or three years later we find the envoys of rival Moorish monarchs soliciting the aid of the count of Castile; and in 1009 Sancho paid off old scores by taking and sacking the proud city of the Khalifas. Never had so much richness been seen in barren Castile, when her armies returned laden with booty. ‘He of the good laws,’ as Sancho was styled by his subjects, died in 1021, and was buried in the church of the monastery of San Salvador de Oña, which he had founded.

The sisters of his youthful son and successor, Garcia II., were married to the kings of Leon and Navarre; and Garcia went to Leon to seek the hand of King Bermudo’s daughter, and to demand recognition of his title as king of Castile. The poniards of the three sons of the Count de Vela left him a bleeding corpse at the door of the church of San Isidoro, on the 13th May 1029, and put an end to the male line of the house of Fernan González. His destined bride became the wife of Fernando,{40} son of the king of Navarre, who was proclaimed count of Castile, though he enjoyed nothing more than the semblance of sovereignty till his father’s death in 1035. Bermudo of Leon died two years later, and Fernando thus became king of united Leon and Castile—the former in right of his wife, the latter in right of his mother.

The newly crowned king was immediately assailed by his elder brother, Garcia of Navarre, who invaded Castile with an army largely composed of Mussulmans, and threatened Burgos. After some days passed in fruitless negotiations between the fraternal enemies, the Navarrese king was defeated and slain. Eleven years later—in 1065—Fernando I. followed his brother to the grave. Deeming his dominions too vast to be administered by one man he divided them, allotting Castile to his first-born son Sancho, from which it may be inferred that he considered that province the fairest of his possessions. Not contented with the lion’s share of the spoils, the king of Castile wrested the kingdom of Leon from his brother Alfonso, whom he imprisoned in the castle of Burgos. Sancho next endeavoured to deprive his sister Urraca of her little principality of Zamora. Before the{41} walls of that town he fell a victim to the sword of Bellido Dolfos, and to the kingdoms which he had by dint of violence and treachery reunited, succeeded Alfonso, but lately a guest of the kindly Moorish Amir of Toledo.

So far the history of Burgos and of Castile generally has been an involved and tedious record of dynastic arrangements, civil strife, and desultory warfare with the Moor. The dullness of the panorama is now relieved by the picturesque and crudely romantic personality of the Cid—‘he that in a good hour was born’—Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar.

‘Rodrigo is Burgos, Rodrigo is Castile, Rodrigo is Spain,’ says Don Rodrigo Amador de los Rios. ‘His prowess, his glory, his trials, his renown, are the renown, the trials, the glory, and the prowess of the fatherland. His form, which touches the confines of the supernatural, and stands forth vigorous and powerful in the interesting picture of the Middle Ages, is the spontaneous creation of a people—is the people itself—whose marvellous instinct has given it from its own being, heat and life. His honour is the honour of Castile and Spain; there is nothing in his personality which does not represent and symbolise with transcendental{42} expression the national character; he is the splendid synthesis in which a nation is resumed, the idol of the ages, the pattern of all perfection, the permanent example of all the virtues, the true mirror of the Middle Ages, with all that they had of noble and generous, rude and loyal, warrior and devotee, tradition and history, legend and fact, petty and great; the manifestation, in short, of the essential and permanent in the Spanish nationality, which does not vary, and is transmitted unimpaired from generation to generation, through the centuries; the spirit which informs and sustains the peoples, in all the epochs of history.’

I quote in extenso an eminent Spaniard’s appreciation of the national hero. But accepting even the Cid of the ballads and legends, it does not seem that a high compliment is paid to Spain by recognising in him her absolute personification and embodiment. The traditions of less cultured races have conceived purer heroes. But in Burgos, almost his native place, we must not approach the memory of the doughty Campeador in any cold or captious mood. You may visit (though you will derive neither pleasure nor profit from the journey) the miserable hamlet of Vivar, five or six miles{43} from Burgos, where he first saw the light somewhere about the year 1040. For ancestors, tradition credits him with the famous judges, Lain Calvo and Nuño Rasura, two worthies whose existence is at least problematical. But that Rodrigo (or Ruy) Diaz was a good Burgolese, there can be no question. Here he passed his youth at the court of Fernando I., rising to the high rank of Alferez or standard-bearer in the service of King Sancho. He was among the champions selected by his sovereign to decide the fate of the two kingdoms in a personal conflict with a similar number of Leonese knights. But whatever luck may have attended Rodrigo individually on this occasion, the Castilians got the worst of the encounter; whereupon Sancho refused to stand by his bargain, and by more military and less chivalrous methods secured his brother’s realms.

When Alfonso ascended the throne of Castile, it was the Cid who exacted from him, at the gate of the church of Santa Gadea, the humiliating oath that he had had no share in his brother’s murder—an indignity which Alfonso did not quietly forget. He dissimulated his resentment, however, and gave his sister Jimena in marriage to the valiant Campeador. Soon{44} after the threatened quarrel broke out, and the haughty vassal abandoned all his estates in Castile, and entered the service of the Moorish Amir of Zaragoza. The chronicles tell how on his visiting Burgos the knight found, by order of the king, every door shut against him. Only a little girl nine years of age ventured to address him. From their windows the citizens beheld him and wept, crying, ‘How good a vassal, if he had only a good lord!’ Very sadly the Cid passed the night with his followers without the walls. He visited his wife and daughters at the monastery of Cardeña, and turned his face from Castile. He was at shifts for money—a precedent Don Quixote appears to have forgotten—and bethought him of an ingenious expedient. Filling an enormous coffer with stones and sand, he offered it, as being laden with gold and treasure, as security to a Jew, on the understanding that it should not be opened till the money was repaid. The confiding usurer readily advanced six hundred marks of gold and silver, and the coffer remains to this day to attest the simplicity of the Jewish character and the eminently commercial aptitudes of the Castilian national hero.

With Rodrigo’s wonderful exploits in other{45} parts of Spain we are not here concerned. When he died at Valencia at a ripe age, he was brought back to his native place, seated upright on his famous steed Babieca, and laid to rest beside his wife at Cardeña. There he was suffered to remain till the year 1842, when his ashes were transported to the town hall of Burgos. A brave soldier, but one of the sorriest of the nation’s heroes!

During the lifetime of this worthy and the reign of Alfonso VI., Toledo was captured from the Moors, and Burgos ranked henceforward only as a secondary capital of Spain. It may be remarked that till Philip II. published his decree that ‘Madrid solo es corte,’ the kingdom could not be said in the modern sense of the word ever to have had a capital. Burgos, Valladolid, Toledo, and Seville had all equal claims to be considered the seat of government. As the Moorish frontier was pushed farther and farther south, Burgos lost in military importance. But its dignity was enhanced in an ecclesiastical sense, for it was raised in 1073 to an archiepiscopal see. Then followed the stormy days of Queen Urraca, when the city came in for its fair share of turmoil and bloodshed. Order was temporarily restored under the ‘Emperor{46}’ Alfonso VII. An important ecclesiastical council was held here in 1136. Alfonso, at his death in 1157, most unwisely divided his estates, bestowing Castile upon the eldest, Fernando. The events of 1070 were repeated. Leon and Castile waged war against each other, and when the infant, Alfonso VIII., succeeded his father on the Castilian throne in 1158, the Laras and Castros, rivals for the regency, turned their swords against each other. Burgos was once more the capital of an independent kingdom, and witnessed in 1170 the marriage of the young king to Eleanor, daughter of Henry II. of England—the first of the many happy alliances between the royal houses of the two countries.

Alfonso’s reign was prosperous and glorious. He was a tolerant monarch, and showed favour to the Moslems. There seems in his time to have been an important mosque at Burgos. To propitiate Heaven, after the terrible defeat of the Christians at Alarcos, Eleanor persuaded her husband to build the monastery of Las Huelgas, to which act of piety no doubt was attributed the ‘crowning mercy’ of las Navas de Tolosa in 1212.

During the struggle for the regency, which ensued on the death of Alfonso, Burgos sided{47} with the boy-king’s suitor Berenguela, who soon after became queen in her own right. Without hesitation this high-minded princess abdicated in favour of her son Fernando, the issue of her marriage with Alfonso of Leon, which had been dissolved by the Pope. The new king was attacked by his own father and by the arch-rebel of Spain, Alvar Fanez, but he triumphed over his enemies, and in 1230 succeeded to his unnatural father’s dominions, thus uniting finally and for ever the kingdoms of Leon and Castile.

‘From the time of St. Ferdinand,’ remarks a recent historian of Spain (Mr. Ulick Burke), ‘Moors in Castile became as scarce as foxes in Middlesex.’ An era of prosperity seemed about to dawn for Burgos—caput Castellae camera regia, as she proudly styled herself. There were great doings within her walls when the son of the king of England (afterwards Edward I.) came here in October 1254 to espouse Leonor, sister of King Alfonso the Learned. The English prince was made a knight by his prospective brother-in-law in the church of Santa Maria, where the marriage later on took place. In 1269 Edward came again to Burgos to assist at the nuptials of the Infante Fernando and the Princess Blanche{48} of France. Among the guests were also the king of Aragon, the sultan of Granada, the Infantes of Aragon and Castile, ‘and other great ricoshombres and knights of the kingdom of Castile and Leon, and counts and dukes of France, and other hidalgos of that country; and the Marquis of Montferrat, who was wedded to Doña Beatriz, daughter of King Alfonso.’

The learned king did much to organise and to purify the administration, and as a natural consequence a sedition was fomented by his brother Don Felipe and the chiefs of the Lara, Haro, and Castro families. The rebels appeared in force before Burgos, and the king invited the leader to the Cortes then in session (1271). This invitation was refused, but a meeting was arranged at the Hospital del Rey outside the walls. Alfonso was in a most conciliatory mood, and as the rebels wanted only a colourable pretext to continue their campaign of rapine and lawlessness, the more he granted the more they wanted. Finally the ringleaders retired in utter disgust to Granada.

Burgos was the scene of one of Alfonso’s worst deeds. Suspecting his brother Don Fadrique of intriguing with his grandchildren, the disinherited Infantes de la Cerda, he ordered him{49} to be confined in the castle, where the unfortunate prince was put to death by his ferocious nephew, the Infante Sancho. After the marriage of the Infantes Don Pedro and Don Juan with Margaret of Narbonne and Joanna of Montferrat, at Burgos in 1281, Sancho himself revolted against his father and caused himself to be proclaimed king. He obtained possession of the city, and, strangely enough, reinterred with great ceremony in the monastery of La Trinidad the very uncle he had killed.

Señor Amador de los Rios attributes the rivalry of the two cities of Valladolid and Burgos to the preference shown the former city by the wife of Sancho IV., Doña Maria Molina. For all that, it was the old capital of Castile where Sancho caused his son Fernando to be publicly declared heir to the throne.

Burgos was now a large and populous town. It owed much of its prosperity to its considerable Jewish colony, of which Don Todros Abulafia was Nasi, and Abu-l-Hasan Aben el Harits, physician to the king, one of the elders. The Israelites contributed over one hundred thousand maravedis to the revenue in the city alone. With the important part played by the Jews in the internal policy of Spain I have dealt at{50} greater length in my work on Toledo in the present series.

During the regency of Doña Maria Molina, Valladolid was the usual seat of the court. But Burgos continued to be the scene of great functions of state. The marriage of the Duke of Brittany and the sister of Fernando IV. was celebrated here in January 1311; and several Cortes and councils met here. From Fernando the city obtained many privileges and favours—the town and revenues of Villafranca de Montes de Oca being granted to the municipality.

We pass over the civil wars and intrigues which distracted the reign of Alfonso XI., and find Burgos ruled by one born within its walls—Pedro the Cruel. Seville is more intimately associated with this picturesque and sinister personality, but here it was that he caused the governor, Garcilaso de la Vega, to be beaten to death in his presence, and watched the bulls in the arena without trampling on and tossing the mangled body of the victim. De la Vega’s remains were then placed in a casket, which was hung from the castle walls that all might fear the king’s justice. In 1355, after a busy butchering expedition, Pedro decorated a room in the castle with the heads he had collected, the slaughtered grandees,{51} Lope de Bandaña, Gonzalo de Melendez, and Jofre Tenorio, contributing in this way to the adornment of the chamber and the delight of their lord. It was at the old capital of Castile that he was residing when Enrique de Trastamara with Bertrand du Guesclin and the White Company crossed the border. Pedro fled, and his brother was crowned at Las Huelgas. When the tide had temporarily set in Pedro’s favour, it was in the cathedral of Burgos that he and the Black Prince swore to the terms of their alliance. But in the following year (1368) Enrique’s star was once more in the ascendant, and a king, innately almost as vicious as our Henry VIII., had gone to join his hosts of victims on the other side of the tomb.

Burgos, under the Trastamara dynasty, resumed for a time the rank of capital of Spain. Like his father, Don Juan I. was crowned here, at Las Huelgas, in 1379, amid great festivities and rejoicings. His son, afterwards Enrique III., was born here, probably in the great castle, founded by Diego Porcellos, which perhaps gave its name to the whole kingdom. Few traces exist to-day of the original building, which was the habitual residence of the sovereign. Enrique III., however, ‘decreed a stately palace dome’ at Miraflores, on{52} the left bank of the Arlanzon, at some distance from the city, but he died before its completion. A strange monarch was this Enrique. Tired of living in poverty while his nobles wallowed in luxury, he invited them to a banquet at the castle. On their arrival they found no well-spread table, but the executioner with his axe and block. It was only by liberal disbursements and advances that they escaped this functionary’s professional attentions. Thus did the needy monarch of Castile, who it is said had to pawn his coat to get a dinner, replenish his exchequer.

During the reign of Juan II. the castle of Burgos was held by Don Pedro de Estuñiga, the implacable foe of the great Constable, Alvaro de Luna. The king on one occasion actually found the gates of his own castle closed against him by this arrogant vassal, who at last compassed de Luna’s downfall and death at Valladolid. In atonement for this brutal sacrifice of his favourite, Juan converted the palace built by his father into a Carthusian monastery—to the disgust, we are told, of the local ecclesiastical authorities.

During the reign of Enrique IV. the castle of Burgos was a focus of rebellion and conspiracy. On the king’s death the castle was held by the{53} Estuñigas for the Princess Juana, called by her enemies la Beltraneja, while the town espoused the cause of Isabel and her Aragonese husband. The bishop, who had retired to the castle of Rabe, joined forces with the Estuñigas, and the townsfolk, thus placed between two fires, implored the assistance of the court at Valladolid. Meanwhile the Portuguese allies of Juana were implored to succour the castle. Fernando of Aragon appeared at Burgos in June 1475 and invested the Estuñigas’ stronghold. An attack on the church of Santa Maria la Blanca was beaten off with loss, but the garrison, losing heart, ultimately surrendered to the besiegers. The king of Portugal, instead of hurrying on with all speed to Burgos, went into winter quarters at Zamora, while Fernando prosecuted the siege with his accustomed vigour. The garrison held out bravely, and seem to have at last capitulated, more out of disgust at the inaction of their ally than from any inability to defend themselves further. The commandant treated with Isabel in person, and surrendered on obtaining a free and unconditional pardon for himself and all his followers.

The union of Spain, consequent on the marriage {54}of Isabel of Castile with Fernando of Aragon, tended to diminish the importance of Burgos. Nor was its prosperity augmented by the expulsion of the Jews—after they had been decimated by repeated massacres—the act of two sovereigns whose wisdom, greatness, and virtue English writers, as well as Spanish, never tire of extolling.

The Burgolese joined the Comunidad in 1520, allying themselves with Toledo and Segovia, Zamora, Toro, Madrid, Avila, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Alcala, and Soria. The citizens seized the castle and murdered an unpopular official, Garcia Jofre, afterwards sacking the episcopal palace. They surrounded the palace of the Constable of Castile, Don Iñigo Fernandez de Velasco, and were deterred from burning it to the ground only by the intercession of the clergy, who exposed the Sacrament over the doorway. The Constable fled to Briviesca, but some months after returned in triumph to the now pacified city. Sixteen years later we find the townsfolk welcoming Charles V. with enthusiasm, and erecting in his honour the graceful arch of Santa Maria. Burgos had accepted the new monarchy and the new era. The product of another age, she found herself unfitted to play a distinguished part in this. Not without dignity she passes into the background, and history knows her no more.{55}

The Cathedral

Built at the instance of an English bishop and, like all the cathedrals of northern Spain, on a French model, the church of Santa Maria la Mayor is conspicuously more Spanish than that of either Leon or Toledo. This more national character may be due to later additions and alterations—alterations and additions which have neither obscured nor impaired that wonderful unity and harmony of design apparent in this, the ideal Gothic church.

The cathedral occupies the site of a church built in 1075, where a summer palace of Fernan González had till then stood. The first stone was laid on July 20, 1221, by Bishop Maurice, an Englishman who had come over to Castile in the train of Henry II.’s daughter Eleanor. The saintly King Fernando took a lively interest in the great work, which progressed so rapidly that the cathedral appears to have been ready for the reception of the faithful in November 1230. The nationality of the bishop and his share in the building of the fabric are, however, matters of dispute between historical writers.

The cathedral is built on very uneven ground, a circumstance which rather enhances than{56} detracts from its picturesqueness. O’Shea calls attention to a remarkable trait in the exterior, rarely possessed by buildings otherwise of equal merit: ‘We mean that the forms should be bold projections or reproductions in relief of the internal parts, as in embossing. Thus, in this cathedral, the eye embraces the inward distribution at one glance from the shape of the parts outside.’ From a distance the most conspicuous parts of the edifice are the steeples surmounting the west front and the lantern over the crossing. The delicacy and nobility of the spires, pinnacles, and open-work adorning the glorious fabric tempt one to rhapsody. But so much beauty can be adequately portrayed only by the brush, not by the pen.

The lowest stage of the western or main front is pierced by the three doors corresponding to the nave and aisles within. Formerly rich in sculpture, this part of the façade was rebuilt in the latter part of the eighteenth century, in accordance with the pseudo-classical ideas of the time, and robbed of nearly all its statuary. The ‘restorers’ spared the statues of Alfonso VI., San Fernando, and the Bishops Maurice and Astorio at the side of the Puerta Real (Central Door), and the sculptures of the Coronation and Immaculate{57} Conception of the Virgin over the lateral entrances. This lowest stage of the west front in its extreme plainness and severity presents an incomplete appearance when contrasted with the much more elaborate and ancient work above. Over the middle door, within a noble and gracefully moulded ogival arch, is a large, finely traceried rose-window, lighting the nave. Above this again are two windows, each of four lights, and their upper parts filled with beautiful tracery. Before each light stands the statue of a youth crowned. Over this highest stage of the middle division of the west front is the inscription Pulchra est et decora carved in stone, and forming a balustrade, which is adorned by statues of the Redeemer, the Madonna, and the Baptist.

Over the side doors rise the towers, surmounted with steeples, built for Bishop Alfonso de Cartagena (1435-1456) by the artist, probably a German, called Juan de Colonia, or John of Cologne. These steeples rise to a height of three hundred feet, and, except at the lowest story, are detached from the rest of the edifice. They are adorned with tall pointed windows, the space for two of these on the second stage of the north tower being covered, however, by the seventeenth-cen{58}tury clock. The pinnacles themselves are wonderful examples of delicate fretted stone-work. Street saw little beauty, however, in Juan de Colonia’s work, adding that the bells in the spires were the most misshapen he had ever seen.

The entrance to the north transept was known in the time of Alfonso X. as the Gate of the Twelve Apostles. It stands on a higher level than the floor of the church and is hence called Puerta Alta, or more often the Puerta de la Coroneria. The lower portion certainly, the whole probably, belongs to the thirteenth century. There is a great profusion of sculpture. On either side of the door are seen the figures of the twelve Apostles. The portal is enclosed within an ogival arch, on the archivolt of which are shown, successively, seraphim, cherubim, and the souls of the just rising from their graves. The upper part of the tympanum is adorned with the figures of Christ seated and attended by the Virgin and St. John. Below this is a composition of doubtful interpretation, the figures on one side seeming to illustrate the judgment of the wicked, those on the other side the establishment of the Dominicans and Franciscans in Castile. Higher up, the façade is pierced with two high pointed windows,{59} and above these again by windows of several lights, with statues in niches.

Ingress to the north transept is now obtained by a side entrance called the Puerta de la Pellejeria, a plateresque structure facing east, dating from the year 1516. Somewhat of the Gothic spirit may be detected in this sumptuous but not over-decorated portal. The detail is excellent, and the execution vigorous. With the figures of the Virgin, the Apostles, Saints, and Bishops are associated genii, amorini, and heraldic achievements in the true Renaissance style. Above the doorway is a group representing the martyrdom of the two Saints John; and over this a prelate, probably Rodriguez de Fonseca, is kneeling at the feet of the Madonna. The composition is flanked by the fine statues of Saints Peter and Paul; and on the sides of this façade are placed in niches the statues of St. John the Baptist and St. James, and St. John the Divine and St. Andrew.

The Puerta del Sarmental gives access to the south transept. It has the finest of the cathedral fronts. It is approached by a broad flight of steps, flanked by the walls of the episcopal palace and cloisters, and by some interesting fourteenth-century tombs of bishops. The archi{60}tecture of the portal is on the same plan as that of the Puerta Alta. In the tympanum Christ is shown with the Evangelists and the beasts symbolical of them; below are the seated figures of the twelve Apostles. The three orders of the archivolt are adorned with angels and with crowned figures playing various instruments. Above all this is a magnificent rose-window filled with beautiful glass of the fourteenth century. The third stage of the front shows three Gothic windows, elaborately traceried, and each divided into four lights by mullions, supported by large figures of angels. ‘The angles of the transepts,’ says Street, ‘are flanked by crocketed pinnacles, the crockets here, as elsewhere throughout the early work, being simple in form and design, but as perfect in effect as it is possible for crockets to be.’

The eastern front of the cathedral is formed by the Capilla del Condestable and its adjoining chapels. The exterior of the famous octagonal chapel mentioned is very fine. On the uppermost stage on one of the sides two lions, standing upright, are seen supporting laurel crowns—one containing the cross, the other the monogram of Christ. On a lower stage the escutcheon of the Velascos and Mendozas is displayed between two{61} knights armed cap-à-pie. The stages are flanked by effigies under canopies. The angles of the façade are surmounted by elegant spires and pinnacles.

The plan of the cathedral—a Latin cross, with nave, aisles, and transept—has been obscured by the chapels built on the north, south, and east sides, as may be seen by a glance at the plan included among the illustrations. The nave is of six bays, and fifty-eight metres long. Though the view is spoilt, as in all Spanish churches, by the choir, it remains picturesque, pure, and devotional in the highest degree. The dim religious light of our northern churches, it is true, is lacking, for the interior is white throughout, and the stained glass, which in earlier times would have mellowed the strong sunlight, was unhappily shattered during the war of Independence. The aisles are lower than the nave, from which they are separated by twenty columns, each with eight engaged shafts. The triforium is somewhat in the nature of an architectural curiosity, and certainly has been altered since the thirteenth century; it consists of wide bays of five or six lights each, with trefoil and quatrefoil traceries above, enclosed within a semicircular arch or ‘label,’ which is decorated with sculptured heads. Street declares that he has{62} seen nothing like this elsewhere, and supposes it to be the work of a native artist. Above the triforium is the original clerestory—‘Simple, but good and vigorous in style.’

The High Altar, or Altar Mayor, occupying the centre of the apse, is approached by a flight of steps of white, red, and black marble. It is railed off from the ambulatory by rejas or bronze screens fixed on pedestals of jasper between the pillars of the nave; the backs of these latter are adorned with life-size statues. Behind the altar rises the Renaissance retablo, an elaborate and gorgeous work of walnut wood, heavily gilded and each of its stages in a different order of architecture. The symmetrical division of these altar-pieces into compartments, each filled with its own statue, does not strike the layman as artistic or pleasing. Indeed, there is something faintly suggestive of pigeon-holes about it. Street, quoting Ponz, states that the sculptures were the work of Rodrigo and Martin de la Aya (1577), who were paid forty thousand ducats; and that for the painting and gilding Juan de Urbino of Madrid and Martinez of Valladolid received, in 1573, eleven thousand ducats. At the back of the sanctuary, between the arches, may be seen the spirited reliefs of the celebrated Juan Vigarni{63} or ‘Borgoña,’ executed in 1540, and representing the Agony in the Garden, Christ bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. The first and last are stated by Ford to have been executed by one Alonso de los Rios in 1679. To the Renaissance period also belong the handsome silver lamp and candlesticks. To an earlier age belong the tombs on the north side of the sanctuary—two concealed by the retablo; they contain the remains of Don Juan, the rebellious son of Alfonso X., Don Sancho, brother of Enrique II. of Trastamara, and his wife, Doña Beatriz. Over the altar is the copy of the banner borne before Alfonso VIII. at the Navas de Tolosa, made by the De la Aya brothers and others about 1570.

Over the crossing or intersection of nave and transept rises the gorgeous lantern or octagonal dome, which Philip II. said seemed like the work of angels rather than of men. It replaced the earlier dome which collapsed in March 1537, and was completed in December 1567. Felipe Vigarni (de Borgoña) and Juan de Vallejo are mentioned as the architects. The Gothic and Renaissance styles are curiously but not inharmoniously blended in this beautiful lantern, which{64} rises to a height of one hundred and seventy-three feet, and is profusely adorned with sculpture.

Crossing the wide transept we reach the choir, which occupies three bays of the nave. Under the eastern lectern lies the effigy—of wood cased in bronze—of the English Bishop Maurice, a fine work believed to date from 1260. The stalls, one hundred and three in number, were executed between 1497 and 1512 by Felipe Vigarni, and bestowed on the cathedral by Bishop Pascual de Fuensanta. They are of walnut wood, and in two tiers—all most richly carved in fine Renaissance style, the pillars between being moulded in similar fashion. The lower seats are, on the whole, the finer work, and are inlaid in boxwood. The subjects of the reliefs are taken from the acts of the saints and life of the Virgin. Scenes from Genesis form the subject of the reliefs on the fronts of the upper stalls, the backs illustrating the New Testament. The trascoro, or screen at the west end of the choir, cost ten thousand ducats. The reja displays the arms of Cardinal Zapata, whose gift it was; the pillars which support it rise from pedestals of jasper, and on brackets are placed two white marble statues of Saints Peter and Paul. These statues, columns, reliefs, etc., were executed at the expense of{65} Archbishop Manso de Zuñiga, in the first half of the seventeenth century, by Fray Juan de Rici of the Order of St. Benedict.

The grand chapel of the Constable (Capilla del Condestable), behind the high altar at the east end of the church, was built about 1487 by Don Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, Conde de Haro, and Lord High Constable of Castile, the property of whose descendant, the Duque de Frias, it remains to-day. The architect was Juan de Colonia (John of Cologne) or, as some will have it, his son Simon. Street sees much that is German in the style of the chapel, but also features which may be fairly attributed to the Spaniards who worked under the architect’s orders, or to his own efforts to consult native tastes. While the chapel may be described as florid Gothic, the splendid entrance arch, with its marvellous lacelike tracery, tapering pinnacles, and railing, the masterpiece of Andino, belongs to the Renaissance. The chapel is lighted by fourteen stained-glass windows, displaying the arms of the Velascos, which are repeated on four large stone escutcheons on the walls. The retablo of the high altar, believed to be by Juan de Borgoña, has, in its lower stage, a spirited sculpture of the{66} Purification. Before the altar are the noble tombs of the Constable and his wife, Doña Mencia de Mendoza, Condesa de Haro. The effigies are of Carrara marble, the tombs of jasper. The Constable is shown in complete armour, the details of which are admirably rendered and merit close study. At the feet of the Countess is crouched a dog, the emblem of fidelity. This great seigneur of old Spain and his consort are interred in the vault beneath their monuments. Close to the monument is a huge oblong slab of polished jasper from the quarries of Atapuerca, weighing thirty-three tons, and intended presumably to cover a tomb. The chapel contains many other objects of interest. The side altars display some good sculpture, the one in the Gothic, the other in the Renaissance style. There is a fine Flemish triptych, and a good statue of St. Jerome by Becerra. In the sacristy is shown the little portable ivory altar which the Constable carried about with him, and a ‘Magdalene,’ attributed by some to Da Vinci, by others to Luini. The plate, of the same age as the chapel, includes a chalice of silver-gilt, enamelled in red and white and richly jewelled; a pax in ivory and enamel, a thurible shaped like a ship; a splendid silver-{67}gilt cross; an oval alabaster relief of the Madonna; and other treasures, some of which are not readily shown.

The two chapels next to that of the Constable on the north side of the apse are earlier than the others and are of good middle-pointed style. The chapel of San Gregorio seems to be the only one belonging to the thirteenth-century church. It contains the tomb of Bishop Fontecha. The adjoining chapel of San Nicolás was built in 1268 by Bishop Villahoz, whose tomb and effigy are placed upright against the wall. Close by is one of the finest sepulchres in the cathedral—that of the Archdeacon Fernando Villegas, an early translator of Dante. Opposite the door of the Nacimiento chapel is a notable picture of San Juan de Ortega by Cuadra.

At the northern end of the transept is the grand staircase of thirty-eight steps, leading to the Puerta Alta. It is one of the finest examples of the art of Diego de Siloe, who was at his best when handling such intricate and profuse decoration as this. The splendid iron balustrade was the work of Cristobal Andino.

Opening on to the north aisle are the large chapels of Santa Ana and Santa Tecla. The{68} former was founded in 1474 by Bishop Luis Osorio Acuña, whose tomb is here. A much finer altar and monument in the Gothic style is that of the Archdeacon Fernando Diez de Fuente Pelayo, who died in the memorable year 1492; it is in white marble and adorned with sculpture with New Testament subjects, a good deal damaged. There are a few good pictures in this chapel, one attributed to Andrea del Sarto, and a sculptured genealogy of the Virgin. Of the chapel of Santa Tecla, perhaps not much else need be said than that it is in the Churrigueresque style and was founded in 1734. Its best feature is its ‘half-orange’ dome. O’Shea says that there formerly existed on the side of the baptistry a small chapel dedicated to Santiago, wherein Alfonso XI. instituted the order of knighthood of La Vanda or the Badge, of which the kings of Castile were members.

Opening on to the southern aisle, opposite the Capilla de Santa Tecla, is the cruciform chapel of the Santisimo Cristo de la Agonia, containing a very ancient, curious, and (it is alleged) miraculous image of Christ. It is supposed to have been carved by the fearful Nicodemus, and to have been afterwards found floating in a boat on the sea. It is a grotesque and yet a weird and im{69}pressive object, dressed up after the ridiculous custom in Spain.

The chapel of the Presentation was founded in 1519 by the Canon Gonzalo de Lerma, whose noble tomb in the centre of the chapel was executed during his lifetime by Vigarni. Another fine tomb is here—that of Canon Jacubo de Bilbao. This chapel possesses a beautiful Virgin and Child painted on a panel, probably by Sebastiano del Piombo, and sculptures by Berruguete. The railing is another example of Andino’s craftsmanship.

In the chapel of San Juan de Sahagun are preserved the relics of the saint, who was a canon of Burgos. Here are also numerous other relics, chiefly fragments of the bodies of sainted personages, among them two local martyrs, Centola and Helena. The image of the Virgin of Oca is fabled to have testified by a nod to the promise of marriage made by a faithless Don Juan to a damsel—a silly story also told of the Cristo de la Vega at Toledo. Simon, the last Bishop of Oca, is buried in this chapel, and also the Blessed Lesmes, who is invoked by sufferers from nephritic disorders. More interesting than any of these things is the Cristo de la Agonia, a painting signed by El Greco.{70}

In the chapel of the Visitation is the handsome tomb of the founder, the Bishop de Cartagena; and in the seventeenth-century chapel of San Enrique repose the remains of the bishops of Oca, and those of the founder, Bishop Peralta—contained in a beautiful tomb of alabaster, beneath a superb kneeling effigy in bronze. Of alabaster is also the beautiful flooring of the chapel; and of bronze, the fine eagle lectern.

We now reach the sacristy, a great part of which is in the bad style of the eighteenth century. There is some good carving, which, indeed, is not rare in Spain; but the pictures ascribed to Murillo and other masters are all very doubtful. A jasper table is among the most interesting objects. We complete the circuit of the church by a visit to the large chapel of Santiago, designed in the sixteenth century by Juan de Vallejo. It is considered to be the parish church of Burgos. The Apostle of Spain is shown on horseback on the high altar, and again on the beautiful reja. Here lies the Abbot of San Quirce, one of the Velasco family, beneath a tomb worthy of his illustrious ancestry. Not far off is the sarcophagus of the Astudillos, one of whom was the founder of the chapel of the Three Kings at Cologne. There are other{71} interesting tombs in this chapel, among the oldest being that of Bishop de Villacreces, who died in 1463.

On the south-east side of the cathedral are the cloisters, among the most beautiful buildings of their kind. Street believes them to date from between the years 1280 and 1350. They form a quadrangle, the dimensions of each gallery being 90 feet by 22 feet. The cloisters are entered through a fine pointed arch, near the chapel of the Visitation, adorned with statues and heraldic devices. The head of St. Francis of Assisi is said to be an actual portrait. Other statues are those of the Blessed Virgin, St. Gabriel, David, and Isaiah. The tympanum is sculptured with the Baptism of Christ—the rite being administered to Christ seated. The reliefs on the doors, which are of later date, and were the gift of Bishop Acuña, are worthy of their splendid setting.

The cloisters are in two stages, the lower being plain, the upper very ornate. The windows are ogival, of four lights, and freely decorated with traceries and foliage. The angles and niches are adorned with good statues. Among these are the effigies of St. Fernando and his wife, Doña Beatriz, each holding a ring in commemoration{72} of their marriage at Burgos. The statues of Santiago and Abraham date from the thirteenth century. There are numerous tombs and doorways, all well sculptured. Of this cloister Street remarks, ‘I know none altogether more interesting and more varied, or more redolent of those illustrations of and links with the past, which are of the very essence of all one’s interest in such works.’

In a chapel leading from the cloisters is attached to the wall one of the celebrated trunks filled with sand which the Cid palmed off as security for a loan upon an unusually simple-minded son of Israel. It is antique and solid enough to date from those days at all events. Close by is the recumbent effigy and tomb of Juan Cuchiller, the faithful servant of Enrique III. In adjacent chapels may be seen the splendid tombs of Canon Santander, a sixteenth-century work, with an exquisite relief of the Virgin and Child; of Canon Aguilar, who died in 1482; and the monuments of other canons, chaplains, and knights.

Adjoining the cloisters is the Chapter House, or Sala Capitular, with a fine artesonado ceiling, and a cornice of blue and white majolica, around which run verses from the Proverbs. The room{73} contains a Crucifixion signed Greco, and a St. John the Divine doubtfully attributed to Murillo. There remains to be seen the old sacristy, a spacious room over forty feet square, and with corbels quaintly carved with scenes from a lion hunt. The treasury of Burgos is not as rich as that of Toledo or Seville; but it contains some magnificent and seemingly ancient vestments, beautifully carved presses, and a long series of portraits of the occupants of the episcopal see. Below the cloister a lower story was built; but the arches are now blocked up and it is neglected, though abounding in interesting tombs and monuments of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The south-west side of this grand cathedral is shut in by the archbishop’s palace.

Las Huelgas

The other great ecclesiastical building of Burgos belongs nearly to the same period as the cathedral. The Cistercian convent of Santa Maria la Real de las Huelgas was founded in 1180 by Alfonso VIII. and his Queen Eleanor, daughter of our Henry II.—to propitiate the Heavenly Powers after the rout of Alarcos, it{74} is asserted by some. The architect appears to have been a countryman of his royal mistress—an Angevin—and his work was certainly copied in those churches which were built by Spaniards.

This historic pile stands about a mile from the city, on the road to Valladolid. The name is derived from the verb holgar (to rest), the site having been formerly occupied by pleasure in grounds. Many of the most striking events in Castilian history were enacted here. Here Edward I. was knighted by Alfonso el Sabio; here, in after years, the Black Prince lodged, fresh from his much-to-be-regretted victory at Navarrete. Many royal personages were wedded here, and not a few were buried here besides. Great was the dignity of the abbess, who exercised ‘the high, the low, and the middle justice,’ or, in other words, could hang offenders on her own gallows; whose authority extended over half a hundred towns and villages, and who was exempt from all episcopal jurisdiction or control. Though shorn of her proudest prerogatives and much of her wealth, the abbess of Las Huelgas is still one of the greatest ladies of Spain. The rule, too, of St. Bernard is observed with primitive strictness, and the high-born nuns refuse to{75} permit even the most sober of archæologists to examine their cloisters.

A thirteenth-century postern leads into the compás or square formed by the convent, a graceful fourteenth-century tower, and the ancient palace of the Castilian monarchs, now a school. The church, built by St. Ferdinand in 1279, is of the usual cruciform plan. It is stern, simple, very pure Gothic, despite the restorations and alterations effected in successive ages. The nave is inaccessible to strangers, and is reserved exclusively to the nuns, who may be seen, through the screen, assisting at the offices in their grandly carved stalls. We loiter in the transept, and notice the lofty lantern over the crossing, and the revolving pulpit from which St. Vincent Ferrer is said to have preached, though the date of its construction (1560) may be discerned carved upon it. The chancel, with its green tapestries woven with gold—the gift of Philip the Handsome—is flanked on either side by two chapels, but our interest centres in the nave, of which we can only obtain a glimpse through the grille. The tombs facing us are those of the founders, Alfonso VIII. and Eleanor Plantagenet. The conqueror of Las Navas is shown on a relief, enthroned, handing the charter{76} of the abbey to the first abbess. To the right of these tombs lies Queen Berenguela, mother of St. Ferdinand; and farther back in the aisles are the sarcophagi of thirty-six members of the royal house of Spain, among them the ‘Emperor’ Alfonso VII., Sancho I., Enrique I., and Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy. Anne of Austria, daughter of the great Don John, was the last princess entombed within these venerable precincts. Unapproachable by visitors is the chapel of Santiago, wherein is preserved an effigy of St. James, which by means of some hidden mechanism could place the crown on the royal brow and confer the accolade of knighthood.

The remarkable Moorish fabric, generally believed to have been a trophy of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, is hung in the nun’s choir, but a replica may be seen hanging in the chancel. A detailed description of this interesting relic is contained in Riaño’s Spanish Arts. Amador de los Rios rejects the tradition that this was the Almohade standard, and thinks it was the curtain or flap of the Amir’s tent, taken in the battle. Riaño goes farther, and opines that it was an offering made, not by Alfonso VIII., but by the eleventh monarch of that name. Adopting this theory, it remains probable that the fabric was{77} one of the spoils of war, for the character of the texts from the Koran woven upon it are a sufficient proof that it could not have been worked by Moorish weavers under Christian direction.

Not far from Las Huelgas is the Hospital del Key, built by Alfonso VIII. as a hospice for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. There is little about this building now to suggest a twelfth-century origin. Rebuilt in the sixteenth century and restored by Carlos III., it has been styled one of the finest specimens of the plateresque in Castile. The Puerta de Romeros exhibits a bewildering wealth of ornament, against which stands out, as the most interesting features, the vigorous figure of the apostle, and the crowned busts of Alfonso and Eleanor. The court is bordered on two sides by cloisters, the symmetry of which is marred by the excess of arches. The cornice, with its heraldic achievement and busts, is, on the whole, in good taste. One side of the court is formed by the façade of the church, restored in the plateresque style by Carlos III. in 1771. The original structure may be recognised in some dilapidated and deserted chambers with Mudejar ceilings, adjacent to the Magdalena arcade. There are some graceful Mudejar capitals and Arabic inscriptions of the{78} thirteenth century likewise to be seen in the stables of the Hospice.

Far more interesting and substantially more ancient, though of a later foundation, is the Cartuja de Miraflores in an arid spot some two and a half miles from the city. Here once stood the hunting palace of Enrique III.—placed like so many abodes of Spanish royalty in a naturally uninviting site, and converted by that king’s son and successor, Juan II., into a Carthusian monastery in 1442. In consequence of a fire, all had to be rebuilt, a few years later, under the direction of Juan de Colonia. The edifice was not actually completed till the time of Isabel the Catholic. The monastery is now inhabited by only a few monks, each having his own house or cell, according to the rule of St. Bruno. Grass grows in the courtyard, and everything wears an aspect of desolation and neglect. The church recalls San Juan de los Reyes at Toledo. It rises high above the adjacent buildings, simple in plan and rather spoilt by plateresque additions. The interior, consisting of a single nave and apse, is divided by rejas or grilles into three parts, reserved respectively to the laity, the lay brothers, and the clergy. The two last have their own choirs. The stalls of the lay brothers are beauti{79}fully carved in walnut, and display the figures of the apostles. They were carved in 1558 by Simon de Bueras for the sum of 810 ducats. The priests’ stalls, also in walnut, show the fine workmanship of Martin Sanchez (1489), a Spaniard whose style was very Flemish. The quadrangular altar, designed by Gil de Siloe, was adorned with gold brought from America in the second expedition of Columbus. The altar-piece, by the same artist and Diego de la Cruz, is a triumph of design and colouring. It is impossible to describe in detail the almost innumerable subjects and sculptures which make up this marvellous work. To be easily distinguished among the religious compositions are the figures of Juan II. and his Queen Isabel, kneeling on faldstools and attended by their guardian angels. Above the tabernacle a superb cluster of angels encircles a crucifix, over which is seen the symbolical figure of the pelican. Very fine, also, is the seat occupied by the celebrating priest during the sermon. It is the work of Martin Sanchez, and is an exquisite specimen of Gothic carving, described by one authority as ‘one of the most beautiful and sumptuous pieces of ecclesiastical furniture of its kind and period in Spain or elsewhere.’

But the supreme objects of interest in this{80} Castilian Charterhouse are the superb tombs of Juan II., his queen, and their son, the Infante Alfonso. These were designed and in great measure executed by Gil de Siloe, by order of Isabel the Catholic. The effigies of the king and queen recline on an alabaster tomb, the ground plan of which is a star of eight points formed by two squares placed diagonally. On the angles of the lower slab are placed figures of children supporting the royal escutcheon, and accompanied by lions. Each of the sixteen spaces between the points of the star is occupied by the statue of an apostle or a cardinal virtue placed in a niche. The tracery of this part of the tomb is indescribably rich. The angles of the upper slab are rounded off and marked by pinnacles, statuettes, and the statues of the Four Evangelists. Here and there the charming figures of cherubim, all in different postures, seem about to detach themselves from the marble. In the intervals between the points of the substructure are disposed lions in various attitudes: on some amorini are mounted, while others are about to devour nude children. Such fantastic conceptions—monsters, genii, etc.—are displayed in marvellous profusion all over the surface of the monument. All this detail, which, in Street’s opinion, is for beauty of execu{81}tion, vigour, and animation of design, finer than any other work of the age, serves but as a setting for the recumbent figures of Juan II. and Queen Isabel of Portugal—the parents of that other and more famous Isabel. The king is shown in his crown and robes; the face is weak, but beautiful, boyish almost, smooth-shaven, and framed by long curling locks; on the breast falls a magnificent collar of state. The right hand, which held the sceptre, has been broken off, the left, with a natural gesture, gathers up the folds of the robe. On the feet are pattens, which seem to have been in use by both sexes in Spain in the fifteenth century. The robe is of the most magnificent description, encrusted with embroidery and precious stones. The statue of the queen remains intact. Her gloved hands hold an open book, from which she seems to have raised her eyes to regard the spectator between half-closed lids. Her mantle is as splendid as her husband’s. Siloe’s embroidery in marble, his moulding of the draperies, are as delicate as the work of the weaver of the robes itself could ever have been. The lace-work is so fine that one expects a breath of wind to ruffle it. Assuredly, the price paid to the architect (442,667 maravedis) was not an exorbitant one.{82}

The same skill is apparent in the kneeling effigy of the Infante Alfonso, who died while in rebellion against his half-brother Enrique III., at the age of fifteen years. Also by Siloe, this monument is contained within a recessed arch in the north wall of the sanctuary, festooned with a vine to which children cling. Men-at-arms support the tomb, over which is seen a vigorous figure of St. George and the Dragon. The monument is hardly less significant than that of the young prince’s parents. All three tombs were a labour of love with Isabel the Catholic, who looked upon this church as in quite a peculiar sense the property of her family. It is said that on seeing the escutcheon of the family of Soria painted on one of the stained-glass windows, she at once broke it with one of her attendants’ swords, admonishing the community that they must accept no other patronage than hers. And to-day, in truth, what glory there is at this forlorn monastery is of her creation. A statue, in painted wood, of St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian Order, in one of the chapels, deserves notice if only as one of the rare specimens of Portuguese art—it was the work of one Manoel Pereira.

It is difficult to treat of the minor churches of Burgos in chronological order, for here, as in so{83} many other cities, the existing fabric of the earliest-founded church may be of recent date, and far surpassed in antiquity by the actual masonry of some less historic fane. Street assigns the date of San Estéban to somewhere between the years 1280 and 1350. It stands on the castle hill, and exhibits some features of architectural interest. The portico is good Gothic work of the late thirteenth century, the reliefs representing the martyrdom of the patron saint. An early instance of realism is the stones adhering to the folds of the saint’s robe in one of the statues. Above is a fine wheel-window of the middle fourteenth century. The church consists of three parallel naves, all terminating in apses. At the west end is a raised gallery for the choir, with a fine late Gothic balustrade. Some beautiful arabesque work may be seen in the last chapel in the south aisle; the retablos and pulpit are comparatively modern. This church, which belonged by the way to the Knights Templars, is entered through an early fourteenth-century cloister—one of the smallest to be met with.

Next in order of interest, and probably of date, comes San Gil, a cruciform structure in the north of the city, founded, or at any rate rebuilt, in the{84} fourteenth century. Its chief treasure is a wrought-iron pulpit, with very beautiful tracery, in part gilded. Very curious are the effigies in the floor of the church, with bodies of black marble and heads and hands of white. Another feature of the building worthy of notice is the mixture of painting and sculpture and carving in the decoration of the chapels on each side of the choir. The retablos are gorgeous, and some of the tombs interesting and apparently very ancient.

Only the very patient or enthusiastic sightseer will trouble to visit the other churches of Burgos, which, as it seems to me, contain little to reward one’s curiosity. San Nicolás, a sixteenth-century parish church, being close to the cathedral, should not be neglected. The life of the saint—the patron of youth—is illustrated in some ancient paintings in the north aisle and on the admirably carved stone retablo of the high altar. This fine work, as an inscription declares, was the gift of Gonsalvo Solanco and his wife Leonor de Miranda, both of whom are buried here. The tombs in these old forgotten churches are generally interesting. St. Lesmes contains the sepulchre of the patron, a devout French monk, who lived in the reign of Alfonso VI., but whose cult never seems to have spread beyond Castile.{85}

The old convent of San Pablo, now appropriated to military uses, is hardly worth a visit, but the story of its founder, Bishop Pablo de Santa Maria, is, as Street remarks, worth telling. Originally a Jew, he was baptized a Christian in 1390. Of his four sons one at least followed his example, and afterwards became Bishop of Siguenza; but his wife, Juana, remained deaf to all his persuasions and refused to abandon the faith of her fathers. Accordingly he had the marriage legally dissolved, and was ordained priest. In 1415, being then at Valladolid, he was raised to the episcopal see of his native city, and among those who met him upon his induction were ‘his venerable mother, Doña Maria, and his well-loved wife, Juana.’ His well-loved wife, despite their religious differences, she seems to have remained, for she was buried near her husband in this church of San Pablo, unconverted to the last. The bishop survived her fifteen years. It is strange that these tombs should have been spared in the days of Torquemada, when many bishops of Jewish ancestry were compelled to disinter the bones of their remote ancestors to save them from the fury of the new school of Christians.

Of that tutelary divinity of Burgos, the Cid, there are several shrines, mostly, alas! spurious.{86} You may visit the church variously called Santa Agueda and Santa Gadea, a fourteenth-century building, which succeeded the historic church where the champion constrained Alfonso VI. to take the oath. That event is recorded by the stone cross near the entrance, and the iron lock over the door. But the real lock on which the oath was taken was stolen by the French, who showed themselves particularly greedy for relics of Spain’s national hero. Of the church of San Martin, where he was baptized, no trace remains. The site of the Casa solar del Cid is hardly worth visiting. The house, as might be expected, has long since disappeared, and the present uninteresting monument was erected by Carlos III. in the eighteenth century. The very monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, which the hero chose for his last resting-place, and to which he was brought across Spain seated, dead, but still dreadful, on his war-horse, has been modernised, and contains little to assist the imagination. Its memories are stirring enough. The foundation dates from Visigothic times, and here, in the ninth century, two hundred monks were massacred by the Moors. Somewhere here is buried Babieca, the horse of the Cid, one of those four-footed heroes who have attained to world-wide fame. ‘Bury{87} him deep,’ was his master’s last injunction, ‘for it is not meet that he should be eaten by dogs who has trampled under foot so many dogs of Moors.’ The honourable interment of animals who have endeared themselves to their masters is far from being a modern craze and a proof of the degeneracy of a people, as some pseudo-moralists of to-day appear in their ignorance to believe.

The Cid’s own tomb at Cardeña is now empty. Some of his bones were carried off by the French during the Peninsular War, and were ultimately discovered at Sigmaringen, when they were restored to the Spanish Government. Meanwhile the rest of the skeleton and that of the Cid’s wife, Doña Ximena, had been removed from their insecure place of sepulture, and are now contained in a walnut case, to be seen in a modern chapel at the Ayuntamiento, or town hall. In the same building—an eighteenth century structure—is shown the bench from which those early judges of the nation, Lain Calvo and Nuño Rasura, are affirmed by tradition to have administered justice. The archives are said to merit exhaustive examination, and are rich in rare autographs and manuscripts.


Burgos, like many other provincial capitals in{88} Spain, is rich in old mansions of the nobility. Our English country towns have lost much historic and monumental interest from the immemorial practice of our aristocracy living on their estates, remote from towns. Quite small towns in France and in western Europe generally, usually contain two or three residences of the local nobility which do something to redeem the place from utter provincialism. It is the absence of such buildings perhaps that gives even our large country towns the aspect of mere agricultural centres or overgrown villages. The finest example of civil architecture in Burgos is the Casa del Cordon, now the residence of the Captain-General. This was the palace of that family whose tombs we have seen in the Capilla del Condestable. It was in all probability built by the same workmen in the middle of the fifteenth century, under the direction of the famous Mudejar architect of Segovia, Mohammed, and by order of the illustrious High Constable, Don Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, and his consort, Doña Mencia de Mendoza de la Vega. Here Ferdinand the Catholic and Charles V. held their courts, and here the first Duchess of Frias presided over a little coterie composed of the most brilliant men of letters and artists in Spain.{89} This lady was the natural daughter of Ferdinand, her mother having been a Catalan girl who accompanied her royal lover in all his campaigns disguised as an esquire. The accomplished duchess was the firm friend of her half-sister, the hapless Queen Juana, and took the latter’s husband, Philip the Handsome, to task so severely, that he caused her to be ejected from her own house. Within these walls the Burgundian prince expired, his body being jealously watched by the queen and the duchess to save it, tradition avers, from a lady by whom he had been passionately loved and who had sworn to possess him in death. The Casa del Cordon has nobler memories, too, of Columbus who, on his return from his second voyage to America, here presented himself to the Catholic Sovereigns with offerings of the choicest products of the New World. Here was signed, on June 11, 1515, the act of the incorporation of the kingdom of Navarre with Castile, the unity of the whole of Spain being thus achieved. A copy of the document is preserved in the city archives. And in this house, in 1526, Francis I. was entertained on his way back to France by the High Constable of Castile.

The mansion, which has thus loomed so large{90} in the history of Spain, occupies one side of the Plaza de la Libertad. It belongs to the last period of Gothic, and is not wanting in dignity and grace. The walls are surmounted by a parapet or balustrade of pinnacles and crestwork, in which is repeated the Cross of St. Andrew, in remembrance of a victory gained by a Velasco on that saint’s day. The façade is flanked by two square towers, rising one story above the ordinary roof level. The windows and arcades are later additions, and in bad style. The rope carved in stone over the entrance, from which the house derives its modern name, is held by some to be part of the insignia of the Teutonic Order, by others, with more probability, to be the cord of St. Francis of Assisi, a saint who was the object of a special veneration by the Velasco family. Within it are contained the escutcheons of the allied houses of Velasco, Mendoza de la Vega, and Figueroa, the first displaying the castles and lions of Castile and the device Un buen morir honra toda la vida. The halls and courts, now devoted to the military administration of the province, reveal some interesting traces of the former magnificence of this old home of one of the most powerful and illustrious of the great families of Spain.{91}

On the south side of the river, in the Calle de la Calera, are two interesting houses which give the neighbourhood a thoroughly sixteenth-century aspect. The portal of the fortress-like Casa de los Angulos or of Iñigo de Angulo is adorned by two lions placed on the pillars flanking the archway, above which is a shield with seven quarterings. A few doors farther on is the more interesting Casa de Miranda, considered the best example of the Renaissance style in Burgos. It now serves the prosaic purposes of a candle factory. It is entered through a noble doorway decorated with heraldic achievements. Between the capitals of the inner court may be deciphered the inscription: Franciscus de Miranda salon abbas de salas et canonicus burgen protonotarius et scriptor aplicus patrie restitutus faciendum curavit anno De MDXLV. The escutcheon of the Mirandas is displayed on the friezes, which are in the usual Renaissance style, relieved with the figures of genii, medallions, etc. The architecture of the staircase exhibits a harmonious blending of late Gothic and early plateresque. Fine workmanship is to be seen in the decoration of the façade of the old Colegio de San Nicolás (1570), where the Provincial Institute has its quarters.{92}

Two more conspicuous monuments of the sixteenth century are the fine arches of Santa Maria and Fernan González. The former occupies the site of the old tower of Santa Maria, where the town council at one time held its sittings, and whence the body of Garcilaso de la Vega was hurled by Pedro the Cruel; it was erected between 1536 and 1540 by the municipality to conciliate Charles V., it is said, for the events of the Comunidad. The arch is of three stories, and flanked by two rounded towers. Over the arch are shown in niches six statues: those of Charles V. and the Castilian worthies, the Cid, Fernan González, Nuño Rasura, Lain Calvo, and Diego Porcellos. The upper part of the structure is battlemented and adorned with statues of the Virgin, of the guardian angel of the city, and of kings-at-arms supporting escutcheons. The probability is that the entrance arch, and indeed the whole lower story, is older by a century than the sculptured parts.

The arch of Fernan González was erected in 1592 to mark the site of the castle of the redoubtable count. It is in the severe and imposing Doric style of Herrera, and was evidently intended to receive a statue of the hero, which an impoverished city is not likely to provide now.{93} Burgos has, however, done its best to keep green the memory of its illustrious sons—an example set by so many continental towns, which we, in England, seem loth to follow.


Of the castle, whose history was so long the history of Castile, little that is ancient, nothing of the earliest structure, remains. The oldest masonry is probably the gate, called the Puerta San Estéban, a brick structure pierced with a horse-shoe arch. Popularly ascribed to the period of the Moorish domination (which practically was never asserted over Burgos), there can be little doubt that it dates from the fourteenth century, and was the work of Mudejar masons, like so many other Spanish buildings of that time. The old citadel of Castile is now a heap of ruins, but it was strong enough as late as a century ago to resist the assaults of Wellington. The next year, however (1813), the French completely dismantled the fortifications and evacuated the city.


The provincial museums of Spain are, as a rule, disappointing, but the Burgos collection, housed in the Puerta Santa Maria, is enriched by the spoils of numerous ancient churches and sup{94}pressed convents. The alabaster effigy of Don Juan de Padilla, believed to be by Gil de Siloe, is one of the noblest sepulchral monuments in the kingdom. It was brought here from the ruined monastery of Fres del Val, where the knight was interred in 1491, having met his death at the age of twenty years, before the walls of Granada. He is shown kneeling in an attitude of prayer, beside a prie-Dieu. The face is beautiful and expressive, and probably a portrait. An ample robe of extraordinary richness reveals the shirt of mail, the cuirass, and the plate armour worn by the young warrior. The style reminds one of the statues of Don Juan II. and Prince Alfonso in the Cartuja, and reflects the greatest credit on Spanish sculpture. Hardly less beautiful is the tomb itself, decorated with shields upheld by angels, and an inscription recording the age of the deceased. In the museum is also a very curious and interesting altar-front from the convent of Santo Domingo de Silos, dating from the eleventh century. It is of bronze, with figures of saints in coloured enamels, in a bastard Byzantine style. The Moorish ivory casket from the same monastery and of the same century is profoundly interesting, as exhibiting in relief the Persian theory of the origin of good and evil, like{95} the basin from Medina Az Zahara, preserved in the National Museum of Archæology. The Byzantine reliefs of saints on one side of the casket were evidently carved by the Christians when they became the possessors. Few small provincial collections contain more important antiquities than the Museum of Burgos.{96}



‘Sword never blunted pen,’ says a Spanish proverb, ‘nor pen sword.’ The history of Salamanca illustrated this truth. Its people were doughty warriors and learned scholars. The name of Salamanca was feared by Moor and Portuguese, as much as it was respected in all the halls of learning of the mediæval world. The seat of a university which all but successfully competed for pre-eminence with Oxford and Paris, it was at the same time the permanent camp of as fierce a race of fighting men as ever marched beneath the banners of Spain. The pen has made the city famous in every land, but it was by her sword that she came to be better known in her own country. Decayed and ruined, she has yet made herself illustrious in the two great fields of human activity, and has a twofold claim on the respect and interest of men of every European tongue.

The city, far older than Leon and Burgos, existed prior to the Roman conquest. It is iden{97}tified by some with the Elmantica of Polybius, in which others recognise the neighbouring town of Alba de Tormes. Plutarch speaks of it as Salmatica, ‘a great town of Spain,’ and relates the heroic exploits of its womenfolk. Besieged by the Carthaginians under Hannibal, the inhabitants were forced to surrender. They were ordered to evacuate the town, leaving behind them all their arms and property as spoils for the victors. They were then placed under a guard of Massilians, while the rest of the Punic host hastened to plunder the forsaken city. But the women, who had accompanied the prisoners and whom no one had thought of searching, produced weapons which they had concealed about them, and armed their husbands, who fell upon their guards and cut them to pieces. The Carthaginian army was thrown into dismay by this unexpected attack, and the brave Salamantians were enabled to make good their escape to the hills. Hannibal is stated by Plutarch to have graciously pardoned the enemy that had eluded his vengeance.

Salamanca, with the rest of the province of Lusitania, passed under the sway of Rome, and seems to have been a place of some importance. Money was coined here in the reign of Tiberius,{98} and the town was governed by duumvirs. Christianity must have early taken root here, for when the Goths conquered Spain they found an episcopal see already established at Salamanca. It had already been for a time the seat of a Vandal governor, Genseric, brother of King Huneric. Money was struck bearing the names of the city and of the kings Erwig and Egica. Certain bishops are mentioned as assisting at the councils of Toledo: Eleutherius at the third; Hiccila at the fourth and fifth; Egered at the seventh, eighth, and tenth; Providentius at the twelfth; Holemund at the thirteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth. When in 715 Salamanca was submerged by the Moorish invasion, her bishop sought refuge with Pelayo in the glens of Asturias, and we read that Alfonso the Chaste assigned the basilica of San Salvador at Oviedo, to Quindulfo, the occupant of the see then in partibus infidelium. The city did not long remain in the undisturbed possession of the Moor. It was taken by Alfonso I. in 750, and again in 858 by Ordoño I., who made captive the Moorish amir, and released him only after extorting better terms for his Christian subjects. But this promise did not tempt back the bishops from their safe retreat {99}in the north. Sebastian, who wore the mitre about the year 880, occupied himself with writing a chronicle of Spain from the reign of Wamba to his own day. His patron, Alfonso el Magno, succeeded in expelling the Mohammedans from Salamanca, and thought to annex it definitely to his kingdom; but it was recaptured by Abd-ur-Rahman, the Khalifa, five years later, the Christian inhabitants, including priests, to the number of two hundred, being put to the sword.

The city continued to change hands according to the varying fortunes of war till the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI. (1085). The country between the Douro and the Tagus, desolated by three centuries of unintermittent warfare, had become almost denuded of inhabitants. Alfonso appointed his son-in-law, Count Raymond of Burgundy, governor of Salamanca, with a mandate to repeople the town and surrounding district, and to repair the ravages of war. The count drew his colonists mainly from Castile, from the neighbouring towns of Toro and Braganza, from other parts of Portugal, from Galicia, from the ‘Sierra,’ and from his native province of Burgundy. These, together with the Mozarabes or original inhabitants, constituted the seven classes into which the population was divided,{100} each with its separate quarter and local authorities. The whole community was subject to a code of laws framed by Count Raymond, and later amalgamated with the code preserved in the municipal archives, dating from the thirteenth century. From this document it would appear that an important part was taken in the work of colonisation by the Benedictine monastery of San Vicente, a foundation already some two or three centuries old.

Count Raymond and his wife, Urraca, were assisted in their beneficent labours by the famous bishop, Jeronimo Visquio. This prelate, a native of Perigord, and a monk of the order of St. Benedict, had come to Spain with the equally illustrious Don Bernard, Archbishop of Toledo. He accompanied the Cid as chaplain to Valencia, and on the reduction of that kingdom became its bishop. On the death of his patron he returned to Toledo, and was almost immediately appointed to the joint see of Salamanca and Zamora. In a deed, dated July 1102, the count confers upon him extensive privileges and revenues, which were confirmed by the king in 1107, the towns included in the diocese being furthermore specified. To Jeronimo we owe the old cathedral of Salamanca in which he was at last, full of years{101} and honours, laid to rest. It had been his wish to have been laid beside his old master at Cardeña. He lived to witness the troubles attendant on the second marriage of Queen Urraca, to whom he was ever faithful; and was the first to acknowledge the primacy of the powerful Gelmirez, Archbishop of Santiago.

On Jeronimo’s death in 1120, his successor, Gerardo, was driven from the see by the Aragonese opponents of Urraca, and found an asylum with his metropolitan. The accession of Alfonso VII. resulted in the deposition of the next bishop Munio, who was a violent partisan of Aragon. He made determined efforts to recover his authority, without success, the intercession even of St. Bernard availing him nothing. Meanwhile a certain count, Don Pedro Lope, who appears to have been all-powerful in the town, shut the gates against the canonical bishop, Berengario, who succeeded at last in taking possession of his see only by the direct intervention of the king in 1135, after a lapse of four years.

The rebellious temperament of the Salamancans thus early manifested itself. A year or two later it was to cost them very dear. Scorning the leadership of any count or chief, the townsmen{102} made repeated forays into Estremadura in search of glory and plunder. Returning laden with booty, they were met by a powerful Moorish army. The Mohammedan commander demanded a parley with their leader. The Salamancans replied that each man was his leader, whereupon the Moor thanked God for the folly of his adversaries. An engagement ensued, which might be better described as a massacre than as a battle, and but few returned to Salamanca to tell of the fate of their comrades.

The bitter lesson was repeated thrice in after years before the insensate citizens were sufficiently humbled to appeal to the king for assistance. He sent them as commander a famous warrior, Don Ponce Vigil de Cabrera, who was received in sorely tried Salamanca with much enthusiasm. The indomitable spirit of the citizens under able captainship achieved wonders. The castle of Albalat was taken and razed to the ground, and the whole district of Ciudad Rodrigo subjugated. Alfonso VII. in 1147, as a mark of favour, empowered the Alcaldes to build or to rebuild the city wall, and to encircle the suburbs with another.

Yet in 1170 we find the Salamancans allied with the people of Avila in arms against Fernando II., King of Leon. They regarded the{103} founding of Ciudad Rodrigo as an encroachment on their privileges, and elected one Nuño Serrano as their king. On the field of Valmuza they gave battle to the king. Consulting the direction of the wind, they set fire to the brushwood, hoping that the smoke would be driven in the faces of their opponents. The wind suddenly changed, however, to the utter discomfiture of the rebels. The luckless Nuño was captured and burnt alive, and haughty Salamanca lay at the feet of the conqueror.

Fernando did not cherish resentment against the rebellious town. He called a Cortes here in 1178, and liberally endowed the see. In gratitude for the royal favour, Bishop Vital upheld the marriage of Alfonso IX. with his cousin, Teresa of Portugal, thereby bringing upon himself the fulminations of Pope Celestine III., and ultimately the sentence of suspension and deposition. Meanwhile the fighting spirit of the Salamancans was gratified by the establishment of the military order of Alcantara by two of the townsmen, Don Suero Fernández and his brother Gomez. The knights attached themselves to the Cistercian Order, their headquarters being the hermitage of San Julian de Pereo, on the banks of {104}the Coa. The order was approved in 1177 by a bull of Pope Alexander III., afterwards confirmed by Lucius III.

Alfonso IX. endowed Salamanca with the university, which was destined to make its name known to the utmost confines of Christendom. This was a flourishing time in Salamanca. The Dominicans and Franciscans settled in the town; buildings, colleges, churches, and convents sprang up on all sides. The banner of Salamanca was seen in the forefront of the battle at Caceres, at Montanchez, at Merida; it fluttered over fallen Trujillo and Medellin; it waved before the walls of Ubeda in 1234, and of Granada two years later. The townsmen followed the Infante Alfonso to the sieges of Murcia and Seville (1248) and were rewarded for their valour by the privilege of holding open markets—probably heretofore the prerogative of the governor.

To these halcyon days there succeeded for Salamanca a long period of discord and warfare. Sancho el Bravo, when prince, held the town against his father; and in 1288 it was severely punished for its loyalty to the king by the rebellious Infante Don Juan, whose father-in-law, Don Lope de Haro, seized on the citadel. Under its walls halted the Portuguese army of King Diniz, marching upon Valladolid. In 1308{105} Salamanca made a vigorous defence, in the interests of the Queen Regent, Maria de Molina, against Nuñez de Lara.

The city is honourably distinguished by the refusal of the ecclesiastical council, held here in 1310, to condemn the doomed order of Knights Templars, who were, however, despoiled of their property here as elsewhere by decree of the Council of Vienne. A more cheerful function, the year following, was the baptism of the Infante Alfonso, born here, August 13, 1311. The lordship of his native city was afterwards given by this king to his wife, Maria of Portugal. The Salamancans fought well at the battle of the Salado (1340) under their bishop Juan Lucero. It was this prelate who in 1354 dissolved the marriage of Pedro the Cruel with Blanche of Bourbon, and celebrated the king’s amazing union with Juana de Castro, whom he repudiated on the following day. Lucero’s successor, Alfonso Barrasa, was a fervent partisan of Enrique de Trastamara. He followed him to the field with a force of five hundred archers, and held the city against his enemies. Meanwhile the Tejadas, one of the most powerful families of Salamanca, had declared for Don Pedro, and threw themselves into Zamora. The town was{106} taken by Enrique’s partisans, while Don Alfonso Lopez de Tejada retired to the citadel, leaving his sons in the hands of the enemy. On their father’s refusal to surrender, the miserable lads were put to death. Don Alfonso escaped to Portugal, where he did not return till the reign of Juan I. He died in his native city in the year 1404. Bishop Barrasa on the triumph of Enrique II. was liberally rewarded for his devotion, and entrusted with important and honourable embassies to Flanders and Italy.

We read that St. Vicente Ferrer was in Salamanca at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and as a Spanish writer has it, converted the Jews to the unity of the faith on the ruins of their synagogue. He does not appear to have been equally successful in converting the Christians to the spirit of their faith, to judge from the following tragic incident which stained the history of Salamanca in his day. A quarrel arose over a game of pelota between two brothers of the family of Manzano and two of the Enriquez. The two latter were slain, and their slayers fled to Portugal. The mother of the victims, Doña Maria Rodriguez de Monroy, shed no tears, but silently and stoically gathered together her retainers and retired to her country{107} seat at Villalba. A day or two later she, with a few followers, suddenly fell upon the murderers of her sons as they sat in fancied security at their inn in some Portuguese town, killed them, and bore their heads in triumph back to Salamanca, where she flung them upon the tombs of the Enriquez. But from this deed of vengeance sprang a bloody vendetta between the two families and their partisans, which the eloquence of St. Juan de Sahagun in 1460 allayed but could not extinguish. When forced to lay aside the sword and dagger, the bowl and philtre became the instruments of this unquenchable hate. Nay, as late as the reign of Philip II., the rival factions wore different colours, and eagerly seized the opportunity to contend against each other in jousts and tournaments. Juan de Sahagun, whose good deeds are strikingly relieved against so dark a background, himself fell a victim to poison, administered by a lady, whom his preaching and exhortations had deprived of her lover. Acclaimed at once (1479) as the patron of the city, it was not till October 17, 1690, that he was formally enrolled in the list of the saints of the Catholic Church. His feast is celebrated on the day of his death (June 11).

The fierce passions of the Salamancans were{108} inflamed throughout the fifteenth century not only by private but political animosities. In the reign of Juan II. the city was alternately the prey of the partisans and the opponents of the royal favourite, Alvaro de Luna. When the king visited the town in 1440, the Archdeacon Juan Gómez, son of the late bishop, Don Diego de Anaya, a furious adversary of the Constable, garrisoned the alcazar of San Juan and the tower of the cathedral, and compelled his sovereign to take refuge in the house of one Acevedo. The fortress was again garrisoned against the king (Enrique IV.) six years later by Pedro de Gutiveros, but this time the bishop was on the royal side, and, with the help of Suero de Solis, expelled the rebel from the town. In gratitude for this and his friendly reception by the citizens in 1465, the unfortunate king ordered a fair or open market to be held every year from the 8th to the 21st of September, and to the delight of the townsmen decreed the demolition of the alcazar.

The disputed succession on the death of Enrique again plunged the city into civil war; both claimants, Juana and Isabel, finding partisans within its walls. Hoping to profit by these disorders, the Conde de Alba de Tormes entered the town at the head of his vassals{109} and endeavoured to obtain possession of it. After much fighting he was expelled by the citizens, headed by Don Alfonso Maldonado and Suero de Solis. Upon the triumph of Isabel’s faction, the Portuguese quarter was promptly sacked in revenge for the assistance given by that nation to Juana. Another Maldonado was seized by King Fernando and ordered to deliver up his castle of Monleon under pain of death. The captive lord gave the necessary orders to his wife, commanding the garrison, who, at first, obstinately refused to obey them. It was only when the headsman was about to strike off her husband’s head in view of the ramparts that she relented and admitted the king’s troops.

The Salamancans were assuredly of stern stuff. The Catholic Sovereigns amused them with tournaments and pageants, and found employment for their swords before the walls of Granada. In the year 1497 Fernando, returning defeated from the Portuguese frontier, found his only son, Prince Juan, at the point of death. He expired on the 4th of October, after thirteen days’ sickness, at the age of nineteen, his mother arriving too late to see him alive. It is related that Fernando caused the queen to be informed that he also was dead, that her joy on finding him{110} alive should somewhat soften the blow. Isabel never returned to the scene of her greatest bereavement; but we find Fernando, now a widower, here in the winter of 1505-1506.

The failure of the harvest about this time caused so much distress that the university was closed, and the ecclesiastical authorities had to leave the city. Hard upon these dark days came the rising of the Comuneros, into which the Salamancans threw themselves with all their hearts. Even the nobility espoused the popular cause, as also did the dean of the cathedral, various professors of the university, and the more prominent merchants. The leaders of the movement in Salamanca were young Maldonado Pimentel, and a skinner called Valloria, who was the idol of the populace, and by them hailed as ‘pope and king.’ But neither Valloria’s popularity nor Maldonado’s valour and rank availed to save them from the scaffold to which, with so many illustrious Castilians, they were doomed after the crushing defeat of the Comuneros at Villalar.

The establishment of the new monarchy meant for Salamanca, as for so many other cities, the end of liberty and the end of bloodshed. Family quarrels were henceforward to be adjusted by the{111} king’s judges, wrongs avenged by his justice, not by the stiletto and poisoned draught. Outwardly Salamanca made merry over the change, and fêted Charles V. on his state entry in May 1534. His son was married here at the age of sixteen to Maria of Portugal—amid great rejoicings, as we are always told of such events.

Years passed by, and Salamanca partook of the senile decay which seemed to be creeping over Spain. The old feudal fights were recalled by the sanguinary town and gown riots, which filled the streets with dead and dying towards the close of the seventeenth century. Then came bad harvests, inundations, and the earthquake of 1755. It was but a poor and desolate city on which the French levied severe contributions in 1809, and which they sacked from end to end, three years after, in revenge for their disastrous defeat by Wellington before its walls. Salamanca has worshipped Mars and the Muses; but the War-god has turned savagely on his devotees, and from the scene of so many bloody conflicts the Genius of Learning seems at last to have fled shuddering away.{112}

The Old Cathedral

The primitive cathedral of Salamanca is said to have been the church of San Juan el Blanco, in the riverside suburb. Its proportions and situation were not suited to the dignity of the new city founded by Count Raymond, and we find him before long laying the first stone of a new cathedral on one of the three eminences enclosed within the walls. The exact date of the foundation and the names of the architects are unknown. But tradition avers that Bishop Jeronimo consecrated the church, and the master-builders who raised the walls of Avila at Count Raymond’s orders most likely had some share in this, his greater work. They were Cassandro, an Italian, Florin de Southren, a Frenchman, and Alvar Garcia, a Navarrese. Placed at their disposal was a band of five hundred Moslem masons and carpenters, made prisoners by the count.

Bishop Jeronimo died in the year 1120, but the records show privileges conceded to the workmen engaged in the construction of the cathedral in 1152, 1183, and as late as 1285. According to Street, a priest of Medina del Campo, in the year 1178, bequeathed his property to the chapter for the purpose of completing the cloister, from{113} which it may be inferred that not much remained to be done to the church itself at that date. Successive popes and kings showered donations and privileges upon the nascent cathedral, till the chapter, rich in lands and vassals, ranked as a feudal power, and the sacred edifice itself as a formidable stronghold. Massive, simple, vigorous, it well deserves the epithet fortis Salamantina, by which it is distinguished in the well-known lines about the cathedrals of Spain, ‘Sancta Ovetensis, dives Toletanas, pulchra Leonina, fortis Salamantina.’

A building so long in course of construction is sure to present certain varieties of style, and though the old cathedral of Salamanca has undergone very little alteration since its completion, its original Romanesque character is seen to have been modified by Gothic influence. The Byzantine pillars, remarks Don Jose Quadrado, carry graceful pointed arches, and the Romanesque capitals of the clustered columns exhibit an elegance very rare in works of that style.

In plan the church is a Latin cross, one arm having been removed to make way for the new cathedral. The nave and aisles terminate in apsidal chapels. Cloisters adjoin the southern side, and the entrance from the west is through a{114} long portico, once flanked by two massive fortified towers. This vestibule is Byzantine, though adorned with Gothic statuary, and now entered through a very poor arrangement of Doric and Corinthian columns.

The nave produces a more imposing effect than is usual in Spanish churches, owing to the absence of a choir. There is no triforium, but the nave is lighted by round-arched windows of single lights. Over the crossing rises the glorious dome or lantern, called by the Salamancans the Torre del Gallo from the weathercock on its apex. This fine work is supported on arcades, divided into sixteen compartments, and pierced with windows over each of the cardinal sides. Outside, the lantern is roofed with scaled tiles. At the four angles are rounded pinnacles with continuously moulded windows; between these and contrasting with them are pointed gables with windows, the arches of which spring sharply from capitals. In his work on Gothic Architecture in Spain, Mr. Street remarks, ‘I have seldom seen any central lantern more thoroughly good and effective from every point of view than this is: it seems to solve, better than the lantern of any church I have yet seen elsewhere, the question of the introduction of the dome to Gothic{115} churches. Though the scale of this work is very moderate, its solidity and firmness are excessive, and thus only is it that it maintains that dignified manliness of architectural character which so very few of our modern architects ever seem even to strive for.’

Standing beneath the lantern, we see the fine wooden retablo, adjusted so as to fit the curving wall of the apse. Its fifty-five subjects are arranged in five rows, and enclosed each in an arched frame painted white and gold. These paintings, representing scenes from the life and passion of Christ, are more delicate and skilful than the fresco of the Last Judgment, on the semi-dome above, painted perhaps half a century later in 1446, by Nicolás Florentino.

The chancel was at first reserved as a burying-place only for those of the blood-royal. Here are the tombs of the Infanta Mafalda, daughter of the King of Castile, who died here in the kingdom of Leon in 1204; of Don Fernando Alfonso, natural son of Alfonso IX., Dean of Santiago and Archdeacon of Salamanca; and of his natural son by Doña Aldara Lopez, Don Juan Fernandez, surnamed the Golden-Haired, a brave warrior, who died in 1303. On the gospel side is the tomb of good Bishop Sancho de{116} Castilla, a descendant of Pedro the Cruel, and Doña Juana de Castro, who died in 1446, and close to him his successor Vivero, a counsellor of Fernando and Isabel. The statues of the two prelates are contained in the same sepulchral arch. Here also lie the noble cavaliers, Don Diego Arias, Archdeacon of Toro (obiit 1350), and Don Arias Diez Maldonado (1474), both benefactors of the cathedral, whose ashes were removed here in 1620 by order of the dean and chapter. In the chapel of St. Nicholas, on the epistle side, lies the Dominican Bishop Fray Pedro, who baptized Alfonso XI., and died in the first quarter of the fourteenth century; his effigy is enclosed by a pointed arch, above which Christ is shown as judge.

In the south transept, still fortunately preserved, are four interesting tombs, which appear to date from the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century. The first is crudely sculptured with reliefs of the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection; the recumbent figure is said to be that of Diego Lopez, Archdeacon of Ledesma. Beneath a star-shaped cupola is the hooded figure of a woman, one Doña Elena, who passed away in the year 1272; the reliefs represent her deathbed and ascent to {117}heaven. The third tomb is that of Don Alfonso Vidal, Dean of Avila and Canon of Salamanca; and the fourth, in the best Gothic style and fine arabesques, probably dates from the beginning of the fifteenth, rather than the preceding, century. It certainly cannot be, as used to be believed, the tomb of the precentor Aparitius, who died in 1274. Other very plain tombs are to be seen in the aisles, which are adorned with paintings by Fernando Gallego, called by Quadrado the Dürer of Salamanca.

The cloister, though as old as the church, has been extensively modernised. The doorway from the transept, however, has not lost its Byzantine character, nor its capitals their beautiful ornamentation of foliage with birds and nude figures. The four altars at the angles, dedicated respectively to the Blessed Virgin, St. Michael, St. Anthony of Padua, and the Magi, are enriched with the paintings of Gallego. In the cloister are also some tombs in the late Gothic style. The sarcophagus of the Archdeacon Diego Rodriguez (1504) is upheld by three lions; and another tomb enshrines the remains of Pedro Xerique (1529), a canon of this cathedral, who left a fund for the endowment of fifty poor girls with dowries—a very necessary bequest in these unsentimental Latin countries! Of the old{118} twelfth-century sepulchres nothing but a few epitaphs and tablets remain.

Communicating with the cloister by some very ancient doorways are four interesting chapels. The oldest is the Capilla de Talavera, so called after the ‘Doctor de Talavera’ (one of the Maldonado family), who in the beginning of the fifteenth century endowed it with twelve chaplaincies for the celebration of the Mozarabic ritual. The chapel must have been very old at that time. ‘It is a very remarkable chamber,’ says Street, ‘square in plan below, and brought to an octagon above by arches thrown across the angles, and finally roofed with a sort of dome, carried upon moulded and carved ribs of very intricate contrivance. The interlacing of these ribs gives the work somewhat the effect of being Moorish, and there can be little doubt, I think, that it owes its peculiarities in some degree to Moorish influence. I should be inclined to attribute this room and its vault to the architect of the lantern of the church.’ The Mozarabic rite is still performed here six times a year.

The Capilla de Santa Barbara was founded about the year 1350 by Bishop Juan Lucero, who is buried here. His tomb was hidden during centuries by the table at which sat the examiners{119} of the university and at which were conferred degrees. There are several other notable tombs belonging to the Gothic period. The effigy of a knight with a long beard and sword represents one Garcia Ruiz, the ecclesiastic close by, Canon Garcia de Medina, who died in 1474.

In the beautiful Gothic chapel of St. Catalina or Capilla del Canto, now dismantled and neglected, synods and provincial councils were customarily held. The fourth chapel, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, was founded early in the fifteenth century by Diego de Anaya, Archbishop of Seville. This prelate was a native of Salamanca, and took a prominent part in affairs of state. He was deputed to persuade the anti-pope, Don Pedro de Luna, to abandon his claims to the papacy; and failing in this, or for some other reason, was not suffered to take possession of his see till a few years before his death. The roof of the chapel is adorned with stars on a very dark background. Something of the Byzantine spirit is traceable in the ornamentation. Attention is however distracted from these details to the imposing tombs of the founder and his family. Enclosed by a fine railing with Renaissance designs of centaurs and floral scrolls, the recumbent statue of the bishop{120} is seen, clad in full pontificals and watched over by a lion, a dog, and a hare. The tomb is of pure alabaster, and supported by lions. At the angles are groups of bishops and friars, and at the sides Christ with the Twelve Apostles and the Virgin with an equal number of female saints. The architects of this fine work and of the equally admirable railing are, unfortunately, unknown. Several others of the tombs in this chapel are of scarcely inferior conception and workmanship. The statues, believed to represent Don Gabriel de Anaya and his wife, and two earlier fifteenth-century effigies of a knight and a lady, are in partly Moorish costume, according to an affectation of that age. The only tomb with an epitaph is that of Doña Beatriz de Guzman, sister-in-law of the founder. The two sons born to Don Diego before he entered the Church by Doña Maria de Orozco are also buried here: on the gospel side lies Don Diego Gomez, fully armed, with a lion at his feet; his brother, the warlike archdeacon, Juan Gomez, rests in the niche adjoining the retablo.

The chapter house, also communicating with the cloister, contains some beautifully carved chairs and tables, and a replica of a Madonna and Child by Reni.{121}

The New Cathedral

It may be presumed that the faithful of Salamanca had suffered for a number of years on account of the smallness of their cathedral; for the demand for a new place of worship is not traceable to any immediate or special cause, nor to any particular individual. At the instance of the bishop and the municipality, Fernando and Isabel, in the year 1491, solicited and obtained from Pope Innocent VIII. authority to erect a new cathedral at Salamanca, on the ground that the old fabric no longer sufficed for the needs of the congregation.

The city was then nearing the zenith of its prosperity, and all over Western Europe there was a craving for the pompous, the magnificent, and the merely big. We can imagine that the Salamancans of the new era were impatient of the plainness and masculine vigour of the little cathedral of Jeronimo. The chapter spared no pains to raise an edifice which should be as splendid as any in Spain. Nothing, however, was done till 1510, when the matter was placed in the hands of the two most celebrated architects of the kingdom, Antonio Egas, architect of the cathedral of Toledo, and Alfonso Rodrigues,{122} master of the works at Seville. These two masters could not agree as to certain details in the plans, and the bishop Francisco de Bobadilla, son of Queen Isabel’s favourite Beatriz, summoned the nine most eminent architects of Spain to a conference. These were—Antonio Egas, Juan Gil de Hontañon, Juan de Badajoz, Alfonso de Covarrubias, Juan Tornero, Juan de Alava, Rodrigo de Zaravia, Juan Campero, and Rodrigues, who had by this time gone to the island of Santo Domingo. At this conference, held on September 3, 1512, the plan and proportions of the proposed building were decided, Juan Gil de Hontañon was appointed architect, and Juan Campero clerk of the works. The project being so far advanced, liberal donations poured in from the municipality and the citizens, and at last the foundation-stone was laid, as the inscription at the right-hand corner of the main façade records, on Thursday, May 12, 1513. De Hontañon was engaged at Seville rebuilding the dome of the cathedral, but under his occasional supervision and that of his assistant, Juan de Alava, the work was actively carried on. De Hontañon died in 1531, and was succeeded in his office by his assistant; and in 1560, his son Rodrigo being then architect, the cathedral was opened{123} for divine worship, the event being thus commemorated on a tablet: Pio IIII. papa, Philippo II. rege, Francisco Manrico de Lara episcopo, ex vetere ad hoc templum facta translatio XXV. mort. anno à Christo nato MDLX.

The cathedral exhibits the transition from late Gothic to Renaissance. It is certainly constructed on very ambitious lines, and is not wanting in majesty, though that fervent lover of the Gothic, Mr. Street, declared the planning to be infelicitous and the detail throughout of the very poorest kind. The favourable impression the interior produces is almost entirely due to its spaciousness. The ground plan forms a rectangle, 195 feet long by 198 feet wide. On the south side it is built against the old cathedral, with which it communicates by a flight of eighteen steps. The western or principal façade is the oldest part of the building, and, as might be expected, is in the Gothic style, with hardly any admixture of the plateresque. The three entrances are recessed within graceful arches, and separated by massive buttresses adorned with statuary. The main entrance has two doors, separated by a pillar on which is a beautiful figure of the Virgin. Immediately above the doorway are two very fine reliefs of the Nativity{124} and the Adoration of the Magi. These are contained within semicircular arches, which are in turn contained within a bewildering series of arches, rounded, elliptical, and pointed, all elaborately moulded and ornamented with animals, putti, and heraldic achievements. The vertex of the outermost of these arches upholds a vigorous relief of the Crucifixion, flanked by the Apostles Peter and Paul. Hardly a square foot has been left free of decoration, and the whole is overwrought and florid, though the rich cream colour of the stone in itself produces a pleasing effect. The side doors are much less elaborate, though designed on the same plan, and appear to have been intended to receive more statuary and ornament. The tower above is one of the few creditable performances of Churriguera—a native of Salamanca. The noble steeple to the right was part of the old cathedral, but was recast in the sixteenth century. It forms a landmark for travellers in the dreary country round the city.

On the north side of the church is the fine Puerta de las Palmas, which probably derives its name from the fine relief representing the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The exterior of the cathedral generally suffers from comparison with the older structure at its side.{125}

The interior consists of a nave and two aisles. The centre of the nave is occupied by the choir, which is connected, as is usual in Spanish churches, with the Capilla Mayor by a railed-in passage. There are no projecting transept arms. Over the crossing is a lantern with a half-orange dome, eight windows between Corinthian columns, and a superabundance of ornamentation, which only too well announces this to be the handiwork of Churriguera. The nave is higher than the aisles. Both are pierced with windows, made intentionally small to exclude the light. In front of these runs a pierced balustrade of very Renaissance character, below which is a charming frieze in the older style, with cherubs and animals peeping through foliage. The piers that support the roof have their capitals painted in blue and gold. Above certain of the arches is displayed the Vase of Lilies with the Angelic Salutation, adopted as its arms by the chapter; above others the medallions with busts so common in the architecture of this period.

The Capilla Mayor still lacks the retablo which it is proposed one day to set up, and is backed by hangings and a canopy over the statue of the Virgin. In the sanctuary are the{126} silver urns containing the remains of Saints Juan de Sahagun and Tomas de Villanueva; further back in the Capilla del Carmen the tomb of Bishop Jeronimo, transported here from the old cathedral in 1744, together with the famous Cristo de las Batallas, the crude black image carried by the Cid with him on all his expeditions. It must be confessed that few Spanish cathedrals contain a less remarkable Capilla Mayor than this one.

Nor is the choir specially remarkable, except as a specimen of Churriguera’s decorative frenzy. The stalls are carved with the figures of saints, full-length and half-length, in very stagy poses, though the boy-martyrs, Justus and Pastor, are, it must be confessed, very well executed. Wherever space permitted, cherubs, floral scrolls, and all sorts of decorative patterns have been put in. The trascoro or altar at the rear of the choir surpasses the latter in the extravagance of its style. The Eternal Father, accompanied by angels, apostles, and prophets, may be seen amidst a profusion of clouds and foliage. The statues of St. Anne and St. John the Baptist obviously belong to an earlier period and a better school. They are attributed by Ponz to Juan de Juni, who was responsible for{127} much of the ornamentation over the main entrance.

The chapels are all square and of the same height and size—twenty-eight feet square and fifty-four feet high. They are all decorated in the Gothic style, a uniformity which suggests that they were all built at the same time, or very carefully copied from the first one planned. Each contains a semicircular window, and four arched recesses for tombs. This regularity of style has operated to some extent as a check upon the excesses of the Churrigueresque school. The Golden Chapel—the second in the south aisle—dates from the sixteenth century. All within it is superbly gilded, the decoration reflecting credit on its author, Canon Francisco Sanchez de Palencia, whose noble tomb is here. His dignities are set forth on the beautiful plateresque reja. The chapel also contains a notable skeleton or memento mori. The next chapel is called after the Presidente de Lievana, and is adorned with some good paintings by the dumb artist Navarrete, particularly by a copy of Titian’s ‘Deposition.’ The fourth chapel on this side contains the good statue of a very good man, Canon Palacios, who died in the odour of sanctity in the year 1591. We may now descend{128} to the old cathedral by a doorway on the right, close to a fine picture of the Madonna and Child and St. John, by Morales. The monuments of Count Raymond and Doña Urraca must have been destroyed to make room for this part of the new building. Good paintings by Gallego may be seen in the Capilla de San Antonio on the opposite side of the church. There are not many good tombs, the only ones remaining to be mentioned being those of the Bishops Corrionero (1620), Felipe Beltran (1783), and Agustino Varela (nineteenth century).

The sacristy is a gorgeous apartment, where mirrors, gilding, and ornamentation of every style are combined to produce a not altogether unpleasing effect. The treasury is rich in relics of doubtful authenticity. The silver reliquaries were once the property of the Knights Templars, whose cause Salamanca long upheld. Here you may gaze (with a befittingly credulous air) upon three thorns from Christ’s crown, a piece of the true cross, an arm of St. George, St. Lawrence’s shoulder, the head of one of the eleven thousand virgins who escorted St. Ursula, the hearts of St. Bartholomew and St. Sebastian, and the bodies of five Spanish martyrs who suffered under the Vandals. More interesting are a letter{129} in St. Teresa’s handwriting, and a small crucifix of blackened bronze, often confounded with the Cristo de las Batallas, and probably of the same period and source. The chalice, monstrance, and other sacred vessels are beautifully wrought, even for a country where metal-working has been carried almost to perfection.

The University,

thanks to which the name of Salamanca was honourably known throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries from Lisbon to Novgorod, was founded by Alfonso IX., King of Leon, in the first quarter of the thirteenth century—moved thereto, it is said, by the establishment of the university of Palencia by his cousin of Castile. Consequent on the union of the two kingdoms in the person of Fernando III., the latter university declined and faded out of existence, Salamanca thus remaining the oldest seat of learning in Spain. Valladolid, the next in order of antiquity, dates from 1346, Alcalá from 1499, Seville from 1504. The sainted king in 1243 bestowed a charter on the young university, by virtue of which the students were exempted from the municipal law and made{130} subject to their own tribunals. The first court thus constituted was composed of the bishop, the dean and prior of the Friars Preachers, the father guardian of the Discalced Franciscans, and certain persons named as Don Rodrigo, and Pedro Guigelmo, Garcia Gomez, Pedro Vellido, Fernando Sanchez de Porto Carrero, Pedro Muñiz, canon of Leon, and Miguel Perez, canon of Lamego.

Under Alfonso the Learned the new foundation naturally flourished. He not only confirmed by a royal ordinance, dated from Badajoz, 1252, all the privileges granted by his predecessors, but exempted the students from tolls and certain other dues, and secured them priority in the matter of accommodation at inns. Furthermore, in 1254, he endowed a chair of law with an annual stipend of five hundred maravedis, an assistant or bachelor also being appointed; a master of decrees, at a salary of three hundred maravedis; two masters of decretals, at five hundred maravedis a year each; two masters in physics, in logic, and in grammar, each at two hundred maravedis; an organist at fifty maravedis; and a librarian, at a hundred maravedis. The same monarch reduced the number of rectors to two—the Dean of Salamanca and one Arnal{131} Sanz. In the celebrated Partidas, in the compilation of which Alfonso was doubtless assisted by members of this university, directions are given that at all such seats of learning there should be good inns, abundance of bread and wine, and pleasant walks where the students might in the evenings take the air.

No mention is made in the decrees of 1252 and 1254 of a faculty of theology, which probably came within the province of the cathedral chapter. The connection between the university and the cathedral was very intimate. Examinations were held and degrees conferred, as we have seen, in the chapel of Santa Barbara; the doctors were admitted to the choir, the canons reciprocally to the university theatres. Pope Innocent IV. had referred in flattering terms to the university at the Council of Lyons in 1245; and in 1255 Alexander IV., in a brief dated from Naples, acclaimed it as one of the four wonders of the world, and gave it his pontifical sanction. Boniface VIII. sent the professors a copy of his decretals, and revised the university statutes. The students were divided into eight sections, according to the part of the Peninsula from which they came, and the heads of these sections {132}elected the rector. The election took place at Martinmas, and the installation on St. Catharine’s Day. The newly elected dignitary was escorted to his house by the students, each section being marshalled behind an ensign consisting of the principal fruit of its country. The rivalries between these different groups generally led to blows, and frequently called for the intervention of the authorities. On such occasions it was the privilege of the rector to defray all damages and fines. But the reign of cakes and ale did not always endure at Salamanca. In 1308 the times were so bad that the stipends of the professors were suppressed, and the university only survived the crisis through the self-sacrifice of the chapter and the intervention of the pope, who devoted a ninth of the tithes of the archbishopric of Santiago to its maintenance.

Subsequent pontiffs continued to exhibit great interest in the now flourishing institution, and to it belonged the honour of terminating, by its decision in favour of Clement VI., the schism which had divided the Christian church. A less honourable incident was the unfavourable decision pronounced by its professors on the great project of Columbus, referred to them by Queen Isabel. This verdict was the more surprising as the university had adopted the Copernican{133} system at a time when it was considered heretical and dangerous.

The most famous school in all Spain shared the fortunes of the monarchy. In the days of Luis de Leon there were 70 professors and 10,000 students, and the 52 printing-offices and 84 bookshops employed 3600 men. In the year 1552 there were still no fewer than 6328 undergraduates. Women competed equally with men for the honours of the learned. Among the most illustrious members of the university were Beatriz Galendo, surnamed the Latin, the daughter of a professor, and the teacher and friend of Isabel the Catholic; Alvara de Alba, the author of a mathematical treatise, and Cecilia Morillas, the wife of a Portuguese, Dom Antonio Sobrino, and the mother of several learned doctors, who consulted her on the most difficult points in the humanities, in philosophy, and theology. Salamanca remained to the last a stronghold of Catholic orthodoxy. The only one of its professors who ever advanced heretical opinions—Pedro de Osuna—recanted in good time, and assisted with the rest of the university at the solemn burning of his books and the purification of the class-rooms in which he had taught. At the end of the eighteenth century the number{134} of students had fallen to 2000. To-day it may be estimated at 1200 students, all drawn (excepting those of the Irish college) from the surrounding provinces. The nineteen professors are worse paid than an English ledger-clerk, and no book or pamphlet has issued from the university press (if such exists) for many years past.

The colleges were classified as Escuelas Mayores and Escuelas Menores. The college to which the name university is specially applied seems to have been built between 1415 and 1433 by Alfonso Rodriguez Carpintero, though the shield of the anti-pope Benedict XIII. (Pedro de Luna) over the door leading to the cathedral, dating from about 1380, leads one to suppose that part of the building was already standing at that date. For a long time, however, the cloisters of the cathedral were used as class-rooms. The present edifice has little about it to suggest the Gothic era. Restored by Fernando and Isabel, it ranks indeed as one of the earliest and finest specimens of plateresque architecture. Over the double entrance of the main façade are two rudely executed busts of the Catholic sovereigns, clasping the same sceptre, and enclosed in one medallion. Around this is inscribed the legend: ‘οί βασιλεῖς τῇ ἐγκυκλοπαιδείᾳ, αὕτη βασιλεῦσί’{135} (‘the Kings to the University, the University to the Kings’). The panels into which the three stages of this beautiful façade are divided are filled with escutcheons, medallions, foliage, scrolls, and grotesques, all admirably executed in the creamy stone, which gives so beautiful an appearance to the buildings of Salamanca. This fine work is ascribed to Enrique de Egas, and said to have cost 30,000 ducats. It is surmounted by a parapet of elaborate pierced work, and two pinnacles, which we could perhaps have spared.

Opposite, in the courtyard, stands the fine bronze statue of the university’s most brilliant alumnus—Luis de Leon. This great man was born at Granada in 1527, and entered the Augustinian Order in 1544. His writings went far to give permanency and purity to the Castilian idiom, which only at that time was coming into use by the learned. Promoted to the chair of theology at Salamanca, his translation into the vernacular of the Song of Solomon excited the suspicions of the Holy Office. He was arrested and kept in confinement at Valladolid during five years, at the end of which time he was released, the charges against him not having been proved to the satisfaction even of the inquisitors.{136} On his return to his chair he received a tumultuous ovation. As he rose, the crowd of students awaited in dead silence an apology, a condemnation of his unjust accusers, some reference at least to the prosecution which had dragged on through five weary years. They were disappointed. Leon had no mind to dwell on his personal affairs. He broke the silence of five years with the simple words, ‘As we were saying yesterday …’ He died, Provincial of his order, in the year 1591, and was buried in the Convent of San Agustino at Salamanca.

On the left side of the square is the old students’ hospital, with a fine effigy of St. Thomas Aquinas over the doorway, and a cornice in the plateresque style. Finer still is the portal of the adjacent Escuelas Menores, also dating from the early sixteenth century. Above the doorway of two arches are displayed the three escutcheons which proclaim the university to be royal, and the triple crown and the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul which proclaim it pontifical. These emblems appear amidst a profusion of detail, in which the Gothic and plateresque styles seem to have been assimilated.

Returning to the principal façade, we find{137} the archives on the ground floor. Opening out of the inner patio may be seen the lecture-room of Louis de Leon. His ashes now repose in the chapel once adorned by Fernando Gallego, but ‘restored’ in the eighteenth century. The coloured stones and marbles used in the reconstruction are not without a certain pleasing effect. Passing up the noble staircase, with its banisters formed of dancing figures and foliage and superb artesonado ceiling, we reach the handsome library. This contains many treasures, among them forty Greek codices, as many Latin, the illuminated MS. of ‘famous and virtuous women,’ written by Alvaro de Luna, and a fifteenth-century Bible, richly illuminated. The Sala del Claustro is shown, outside which the student about to contest a thesis was obliged to remain for twenty-four hours to consider his subject at leisure.

Of the four Escuelas Mayores (High Schools)—San Bartolomé, del Arzobispo, Cuenca, and Oviedo—only the two first remain. These colleges bore the same relation to the Escuelas Menores that our Staff College does to Sandhurst. Here graduates were prepared for the highest posts in church and state. The College of San Bartolomé was founded in 1401 by Bishop de Anaya, whose sons were educated within its{138} walls, and transferred to the present site sixteen years later. Vergara says that it produced seven cardinals, eighteen archbishops, seventy bishops, and innumerable judges and councillors of state. Like so many other similar institutions, originally intended for the poor and scholarly, the college soon became the preserve of the rich and aristocratic. The quarterings on the applicant’s shield were more carefully examined than his pretensions to scholarship, and when Carlos III. undertook to reform the college, it had earned the name of a hot-bed of vice. Its inward reformation corresponded with its material restoration. Little or nothing remains of the original structure. A spacious flight of steps leads up to the handsome portico in the Grecian style, with its four Corinthian columns and triangular pediment. The whole building is simple and massive, and crowned by a balustrade, in the centre of which are displayed the arms of the Anayas; the main façade the chapel with a heavy dome and Churrigueresque entrance. The inner court or patio is surrounded by a double gallery, the lower formed by sixteen Doric columns, the upper by as many Ionic. The magnificent staircase, dividing after the first flight into two branches, with its arches, Corinthian columns, and windows{139} all in stone, surpasses any similar feat of architecture in Spain.

In the western part of the city, where abundant evidence yet remains of the frightful destruction wrought by the French in Wellington’s day, stands the interesting Colegio del Arzobispo, better known as the Colegio de los Irlandeses. Founded by Alfonso de Fonseca, successively Archbishop of Santiago and Toledo, it dates from the year 1521. The portal is in the classic style, with eight Ionic columns, a medallion of Santiago, and the archiepiscopal escutcheon; the adjoining façade is of the late Gothic. Above it rises the square cupola of the chapel designed by Pedro de Ibarra, and containing a retablo which ranks one of Berruguete’s finest works. The subjects of the eight panels of which it is composed are: the Ascension, Baptism, Flight into Egypt, the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Presentation in the Temple, the Finding of Moses, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and Ananias and Sapphira. The whole was executed in less than eighteen months. Under a simple marble slab rests the body of Archbishop de Fonseca.

The galleries of the patio are formed by fluted columns and adorned with the heads of warriors very skilfully executed.{140}

This college is now occupied, as its modern name implies, by Irish theological students, whose original seminary was founded by Philip II. in 1592. A college for Scottish Catholics was founded at the same time in Valladolid.

Of the forty colleges which once composed the University of Salamanca, the three described above alone remain. Most have utterly disappeared; of others, a few columns or chambers still exist, forming part now of buildings of another sort. The Colegio de Calatrava has survived, as a building, the three other colleges founded by the great military orders. It was extensively restored at the end of the eighteenth century, but the old doorway was spared with the saint’s head and knights upholding the banner of the order carved above it. The fine court has been dismantled, and the large chapel with transept and cupola has been stripped of the paintings and altar-pieces which once adorned it.

Minor Churches

Among the sacred edifices of Salamanca, next to the two cathedrals, ranks the church and convent of the Dominicans, variously known as Santo Domingo and San Estéban. The Dominicans, on their establishment at Salamanca in the year{141} 1221, were first housed at San Juan el Blanco. Thirty years later they removed to San Estéban. Their convent was honoured in 1484 by the presence of Columbus, who found a generous host, a powerful protector, and a mind sufficiently broad to comprehend his project in the Friar Diego de Deza, afterwards grand inquisitor of Spain. His scheme, rejected by the university, was carefully considered by this learned man, and recommended to the queen. In gratitude, Columbus named the first town founded by him in the New World, Santo Domingo, after the order which had befriended him. From this monastery, too, departed the first Christian missionaries for America.

The building itself, unfortunately, has disappeared. It was pulled down in 1524 to make room for the present superb edifice, designed by Juan de Alava, the fellow-workman of Hontañon, who was succeeded by four other architects, till the completion of the work in 1610. The church is accounted one of the two or three most important monuments of the middle Renaissance period in Spain. The main façade, in the soft sandstone usual here, exhibits a marvellous profusion of figures, ‘excellently wrought, beautiful of themselves,’ remarks a critic, ‘but lacking in{142} appropriateness, and not forming a part of a comprehensive scheme.’ On each side of the doorway, between pillars, are seen the figures of four of the Dominican saints; above, between four similarly placed statues of the doctors of the church, is an admirable relief of the Martyrdom of St. Stephen, executed by Juan Ceroni of Milan, who has carved his name and the date (1610) on the stones which were the instruments of the saint’s death. Above this, again, is a Crucifixion, overshadowed by the great arch which encloses the whole façade. The medallions and friezes exhibit very careful and graceful workmanship.

The side façades are mainly Gothic in character. Each buttress is surmounted by an ornate pinnacle. The nave is almost as spacious as that of the cathedral. The six-pointed vaults spring from fluted columns, and are brilliant with gilding. The windows of three lights and the rose-windows above are filled with good stained glass. The gorgeous retablo, which cost the Duke of Alba 4000 of his pine trees, is the work of Churriguera; its garishness is redeemed by the fine painting of the Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Claudio Coello, and the curious twelfth-century image of the Virgin de la Vega in gilt bronze. Over the choir, built by{143} Bishop de Aranjo, is the fine Apotheosis of St. Dominic, a fresco by Palomino. The frescoes over the altar of the Rosary and in the chapel of the Cristo de la Luz are by his contemporary, Villamor. In the chapel of St. John is the tomb of Don Lope de Paz, the defender of Rhodes and Eubœa, and in a wooden urn in the Reliquary chapel are contained the ashes of the terror of the Low Countries, Fernando de Toledo, Duke of Alba.

The chapter-house is a grandiose apartment, with pillars of the Doric order, and a Corinthian altar beneath a canopy. Here may be seen some bas-reliefs of the thirteenth century from the old church. In the magnificent sacristy is the tomb of Bishop Herrera of Tuy, who died in 1632, and is shown in a kneeling posture. More interesting is the cloister, with its early Renaissance arcading and fanwork vaulting. Some of the medallions and reliefs which adorn the cloister were designed by Alfonso Sardiña in 1626. The noble staircase adorned by a Magdalene, which was executed by order of the illustrious Dominican theologian, Fray Domingo Soto, of whom it was punningly said, ‘Qui scit Sotum, scit totum.’

The seminary, built in 1617 by Gómez de Mora for the Society of Jesus, is a building of the type{144} more commonly admired by Spaniards than other peoples. It is vast and heavy, commanding respect by its bulk rather than its proportions. Over the façade, with its six gigantic columns, rise two lofty steeples, flanking an acroterium with very bad statuary. The cupola or lantern is not ungracefully constructed, but spoilt with indifferent ornamentation. The interior is cold and monotonous, though free from the extravagant decoration of the epoch of its construction. The sacristy, which contains four copies of paintings by Rubens, is vast even for this vast church, the richest Jesuit establishment in Spain.

Another great but much less admirable pile is the church of the Recollect Augustine nuns, the convent having been founded in 1626 by the favourite of Felipe IV., the Count of Monterey, as a retreat for his sister, Doña Catilina. The architect was Juan Fontana. The church is in the usual shape of a Latin cross, and is richly adorned with coloured marbles, jasper, and lapis lazuli. The architecture was spoilt by injudicious repairs effected on the collapse of the dome in 1680. The tombs of the founder and his wife are in indifferent taste, but the statues are good. The church is rich in paintings. Ribera’s Conception hangs over the high altar, and the{145} handsome retablo is adorned by his Virgin de la Piedad. In the transept are two other works of the same master—Our Lady of the Rosary and the Nativity. These paintings were bought in Naples by Monterey, then viceroy, at the time of the papal pronouncement on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. According to Ford, it is believed that better pictures are preserved in the convent itself, which is not open to visitors.

San Benito is an interesting church, originally founded by the Galician settlers in 1104, and rebuilt in the late Gothic style by the Maldonado family in the fifteenth century. The tombs of several members of that family are within. The statues of Arias Perez Maldonado and his wife lie to the right and left of the chancel. The knight wears armour, and a page rests at his feet; the lady wears the costume of the age of Isabel the Catholic. Here also sleeps that haughty lord of Monleón, whose wife was so reluctant to save his life at the expense of his castle. From this church the Maldonado faction took the name of San Benito; the opposite faction, descended from Maria la Brava, affected the church of Santo Tomé de los Caballeros. There are some good tombs of the fourteenth{146} and sixteenth centuries in the church of San Isidoro, founded by the French settlers of Count Raymond. The Portuguese built the little church dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, which still preserves a triple apse and windows in the Romanesque style. The doorway is Gothic, and the tomb of Bishop de Velasco, supported by lions, obviously of the Renaissance. San Martin, built by settlers from Toro, though injured by a fire in 1854, preserves many ancient features. Some of the columns of the nave are Byzantine, and the doorway, with its triple-pointed arch, belongs to the best Gothic period. The south front is Renaissance. This is the burial-place of the Santisteban family. An architectural curiosity to which Street calls attention, is the little circular church of San Marcos, close to the wall at the north end of the city, with its three apses vaulted with semi-domes, while the rest of the edifice is roofed with wood. This odd little church was built as a chapel royal by Alfonso IX. in 1202.

The only church of interest besides those enumerated above is the Sancti Spiritus, built about 1190, and granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1222. Afterwards, with the adjacent convent, it passed into the{147} possession of an aristocratic sisterhood. Rebuilt in 1541 by Leonor de Acevedo, the portal is in the Renaissance style, and the interior in late Gothic. The lower choir has fine artesonado work and well-carved stalls. The retablo, which dates from 1659, displays fine reliefs of the life of St. James, and good statues of the apostles. Near the entrance are the tombs of the great benefactors of the convent, Martin Alfonso, natural son of Alfonso IX., and his wife, Maria Mendez, a Portuguese lady (1270). Another tomb is that of Pedro Vidal, an ecclesiastic, who died in 1363.

Domestic and Municipal Buildings

Salamanca contains several old mansions of the nobility, which might well have delighted Prout. However remote may have been the date of their foundation, later restoration has given them for the most part a plateresque or Renaissance aspect. The Casa de las Salinas was built for the Fonseca family in 1538, and was afterwards used as a place of storage for salt. It is considered to be the best example of the plateresque style in the city. The four arches of the principal façade spring from granite columns with very well chiselled capitals. Good also are{148} the busts in medallions between the arches. The second story is pierced by three square windows, supported by splendid masculine figures, emblematic of the victories of Charles V., and in the best style of the period. Hardly inferior to these are the cherubs and grotesques on the columns of the jambs. Angels’ heads appear over the arches of the gallery which crowns the edifice. The beautiful patio is adorned by arches similar to those of the façade. Round the court runs a mean wooden gallery carried on sixteen brackets superbly carved with terminal figures in every sort of posture, and supporting delightfully fantastic monsters. These figures are among the best sculptures in Salamanca, and merit close examination.

We find the five lilies of the Maldonados, those old Capulets of the city, displayed over the entrance of the Casa de las Conchas, built for the family in 1512. The house derives its name from the thirteen rows of shells decorating its front. The most interesting features of the building are the windows, each divided by a slender central shaft, and with delicate traceries in the early plateresque style. Quadrado states that the Jesuits, wishing to acquire the site, offered an ounce of gold for each of the shells,{149} but the owners declined to give up the property at any price.

The unfinished palace of the counts of Monterey dates from the same epoch (1530). It is a massive building of three low stories, the upper pierced with an elegant gallery, and surmounted by a beautiful balustrade composed of figures and foliage intertwined. Above the general level rise square towers with open galleries, exhibiting some good decorative details. The lower stories of the mansion are devoid of interest.

Very suggestive of Salamanca’s fiery, flourishing days is the device over the doorway of an old house in the little Plaza de San Cebrian—‘Quod tibi non vis, alteri non facias.’ Close by in an underground cellar the famous Enrique de Villena is said to have studied magic under a sacristan from a neighbouring church. Not far away, we believe, is a house which we failed to find, called the Casa de las Batallas, where a temporary peace was patched up between the rival factions of the city in 1478—a peace commemorated by a text sculptured above the arch, ‘Ira odium generat, concordia nutrit amorem.’

Close to the Casa de las Salinas stands another memorial of that stormy time—the battered Torre del Clavero, built in 1470 by a knight of the{150} Order of Alcantara, Francisco de Sotomayor. Its eight faces are strengthened by projecting bartizan turrets, not placed as is usual at the angles, and adorned with rude sculpture. It forms an interesting example of Castilian military architecture. Close by were formerly the headquarters of the Templars, and not far away is the street called after the ‘Yellow Well,’ from which St. Juan of Sahagun miraculously rescued a drowning child.

The centre of the city is occupied by the fine Plaza Mayor, planned in 1720 by Don Andres de Quiñones. The square compares very favourably with the finest open spaces of the kind in Europe. It is surrounded by a colonnade of twenty-two arches on each side, above which rise three stories, to a pierced parapet with pinnacles. Archways, surmounted by an acroterium, in the centre of each side, afford communication with the adjoining streets. The arcades are adorned with medallions of Spanish worthies. The bust of Cortes is said to mark the site of the house he lodged in when a student. In this square, which is occupied by gardens and is the fashionable promenade, bull-fights on an enormous scale have been organised, and from the balconies the townsmen have more than once looked down on the{151} death-agonies of some wretched malefactor. One side is occupied by the town hall (Ayuntamiento). Its architecture is strictly in keeping with the surrounding line of houses. The façade, supported on a gallery of five arches, is flanked by fluted columns, statues appear between the windows, and on each side of the clock-tower rising above the parapet.

This modern centre of what activity Salamanca can boast may be compared with the old resorts of the population—the Plaza de la Yerba, and the Plaza de San Boal, where Englishmen will look with interest at the palace of the Marques de Almarza, built about the end of the fifteenth century. Here lodged the Iron Duke in those days when Spain and England stood side by side for war, as they now do, and we hope may ever do, in the cause of peace.

Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty
at the Edinburgh University Press




Anew and important series of volumes, dealing with Spain in its various aspects, its history, its cities and monuments. Each volume will be complete in itself in a uniform binding, and the number and excellence of the reproductions from pictures will justify the claim that these books comprise the most copiously illustrated series that has yet been issued, some volumes having over 300 pages of reproductions of pictures, etc.

Crown 8vo. Price 3/6 net

1 Goya with 600 illustrations
2 Toledo 510
3 Madrid 450
4 Seville 300
5 Murillo 165
6 Cordova 160
7 El Greco 140
8 Velazquez 142
9 The Prado 223
10 The Escorial 278
11 Royal Palaces of Spain 200
12 Granada and Alhambra 460
13 Spanish Arms and Armour 386
14 Leon, Burgos and Salamanca 462
15 Catalonia, Valencia, & Murcia 288
16 Valladolid, Oviedo, Segovia, Zamora, Avila and Zaragoza 390





WHILE the names of Murillo and Velazquez are inseparably linked in the history of Art as Spain’s immortal contribution to the small band of world-painters, the great Court-Painter to Philip IV. has ever received the lion’s share of public attention. Many learned and critical works have been written about Murillo, but whereas Velazquez has been familiarised to the general reader by the aid of small, popular biographies, the niche is still empty which it is hoped that this book will fill.

In this volume the attempt has been made to show the painter’s art in its relation to the religious feeling of the age in which he lived, and his own feeling towards his art. Murillo was the product of his religious era, and of his native province, Andalusia. To Europe in his lifetime he signified little or nothing. He painted to the order of the religious houses in his immediate vicinity; his works were immured in local monasteries and cathedrals, and, passing immediately out of circulation, were forgotten or never known.




ALTHOUGH several valuable and voluminous catalogues of the Spanish Royal Armoury have, from time to time, been compiled, this “finest collection of armour in the world” has been subjected so often to the disturbing influences of fire, removal, and re-arrangement, that no hand catalogue of the Museum is available, and this book has been designed to serve both as a historical souvenir of the institution and a record of its treasures.

The various exhibits with which the writer illustrates his narrative are reproduced to the number of nearly 400 on art paper, and the selection of weapons and armour has been made with a view not only to render the series interesting to the general reader, but to present a useful text book for the guidance of artists, sculptors, antiquaries, costumiers, and all who are engaged in the reproduction or representation of European armoury.





THE Royal Palace, Monastery, and Mausoleum of El Escorial, which rears its gaunt, grey walls in one of the bleakest but most imposing districts in the whole of Spain, was erected to commemorate a victory over the French in 1557. It was occupied and pillaged by the French two and a-half centuries later, and twice it has been greatly diminished by fire; but it remains to-day, not only the incarnate expression of the fanatic religious character and political genius of Philip II., but the greatest mass of wrought granite which exists on earth, the leviathan of architecture, the eighth wonder of the world.

In the text of this book the author has endeavoured to reconstitute the glories and tragedies of the living past of the Escorial, and to represent the wonders of the stupendous edifice by reproductions of over two hundred and seventy of the finest photographs and pictures obtainable. Both as a review and a pictorial record it is hoped that the work will make a wide appeal among all who are interested in the history, the architecture, and the art of Spain.




THE origin of Imperial Toledo, “the crown of Spain, the light of the world, free from the time of the mighty Goths,” is lost in the impenetrable mists of antiquity. Mighty, unchangeable, invincible, the city has been described by Wörmann as “a gigantic open-air museum of the architectural history of early Spain, arranged upon a lofty and conspicuous table of rock.”

But while some writers have declared that Toledo is a theatre with the actors gone and only the scenery left, the author does not share the opinion. He believes that the power and virility upon which Spain built up her greatness is reasserting itself. The machinery of the theatre of Toledo is rusty, the pulleys are jammed from long disuse, but the curtain is rising steadily if slowly, and already can be heard the tuning-up of fiddles in its ancient orchestra.

In this belief the author of this volume has not only set forth the story of Toledo’s former greatness, but has endeavoured to place before his readers a panorama of the city as it appears to-day, and to show cause for his faith in the greatness of the Toledo of the future.





SEVILLE, which has its place in mythology as the creation of Hercules, and was more probably founded by the Phœnicians, which became magnificent under the Roman rule, was made the capital of the Goths, became the centre of Moslem power and splendour, and fell before the military prowess of St. Ferdinand, is still the Queen of Andalusia, the foster-mother of Velazquez and Murillo, the city of poets and pageantry and love.

Seville is always gay, and responsive and fascinating to the receptive visitor, and all sorts of people go there with all sorts of motives. The artist repairs to the Andalusian city to fill his portfolio; the lover of art makes the pilgrimage to study Murillo in all his glory. The seasons of the Church attract thousands from reasons of devotion or curiosity. And of all these myriad visitors, who go with their minds full of preconceived notions, not one has yet confessed to being disappointed in Seville.

The author has here attempted to convey in the illustrations an impression of this laughing city where all is gaiety and mirth and ever-blossoming roses, where the people pursue pleasure as the serious business of life in an atmosphere of exhilarating enjoyment.




THIS volume is an attempt to supplement the accurate but formal notes contained in the official catalogue of a picture gallery which is considered the finest in the world. It has been said that the day one enters the Prado for the first time is an important event like marriage, the birth of a child, or the coming into an inheritance; an experience of which one feels the effects to the day of one’s death.

The excellence of the Madrid gallery is the excellence of exclusion; it is a collection of magnificent gems. Here one becomes conscious of a fresh power in Murillo, and is amazed anew by the astonishing apparition of Velazquez; here is, in truth, a rivalry of miracles of art.

The task of selecting pictures for reproduction from what is perhaps the most splendid gallery of old masters in existence, was one of no little difficulty, but it is believed that the collection is representative, and that the letterpress will form a serviceable companion to the visitor to The Prado.





THIS volume is the third and abridged edition of a work which the author was inspired to undertake by the surpassing loveliness of the Alhambra, and by his disappointment in the discovery that no such thing as an even moderately adequate illustrated souvenir of “this glorious sanctuary of Spain” was obtainable. Keenly conscious of the want himself, he essayed to supply it, and the result is a volume that has been acclaimed with enthusiasm alike by critics, artists, architects, and archæologists.

In his preface to the first edition, Mr. Calvert wrote: “The Alhambra may be likened to an exquisite opera which can only be appreciated to the full when one is under the spell of its magic influence. But as the witchery of an inspired score can be recalled by the sound of an air whistled in the street, so—it is my hope—the pale ghost of the Moorish fairy-land may live again in the memories of travellers through the medium of this pictorial epitome.”




IN a Series such as this, which aims at presenting every aspect of Spain’s eminence in art and in her artists, the work of Domenico Theotocópuli must be allotted a volume to itself. “El Greco,” as he is called, who reflects the impulse, and has been said to constitute the supreme glory of the Venetian era, was a Greek by repute, a Venetian by training, and a Toledan by adoption. His pictures in the Prado are still catalogued among those of the Italian School, but foreigner as he was, in his heart he was more Spanish than the Spaniards.

El Greco is typically, passionately, extravagantly Spanish, and with his advent, Spanish painting laid aside every trace of Provincialism, and stepped forth to compel the interest of the world. Neglected for many centuries, and still often misjudged, his place in art is an assured one. It is impossible to present him as a colourist in a work of this nature, but the author has got together reproductions of no fewer than 140 of his pictures—a greater number than has ever before been published of El Greco’s works.





DIEGO RODRIGUEZ DE SILVA Y VELAZQUEZ—“our Velazquez,” as Palomino proudly styles him—has been made the subject of innumerable books in every European language, yet the Editor of this Spanish Series feels that it would not be complete without the inclusion of yet another contribution to the broad gallery of Velazquez literature. The great Velazquez, the eagle in art—subtle, simple, incomparable—the supreme painter, is still a guiding influence of the art of to-day. This greatest of Spanish artists, a master not only in portrait painting, but in character and animal studies, in landscapes and historical subjects, impressed the grandeur of his superb personality upon all his work. Spain, it has been said, the country whose art was largely borrowed, produced Velazquez, and through him Spanish art became the light of a new artistic life.

The author cannot boast that he has new data to offer, but he has put forward his conclusions with modesty; he has reproduced a great deal that is most representative of the artist’s work; and he has endeavoured to keep always in view his object to present a concise, accurate, and readable life of Velazquez.




SPAIN is beyond question the richest country in the world in the number of its Royal Residences, and while few are without artistic importance, all are rich in historical memories. Thus, from the Alcazar at Seville, which is principally associated with Pedro the Cruel, to the Retiro, built to divert the attention of Philip IV. from his country’s decay; from the Escorial, in which the gloomy mind of Philip II. is perpetuated in stone, to La Granja, which speaks of the anguish and humiliation of Christina before Sergeant Garcia and his rude soldiery; from Aranjuéz to Rio Frio, and from El Pardo, darkened by the agony of a good king, to Miramar, to which a widowed Queen retired to mourn: all the history of Spain, from the splendid days of Charles V. to the present time, is crystallised in the Palaces that constitute the patrimony of the Crown.

The Royal Palaces of Spain are open to visitors at stated times, and it is hoped that this volume, with its wealth of illustrations, will serve the visitor both as a guide and a souvenir.





THE glory of Valladolid has departed, but the skeleton remains, and attached to its ancient stones are the memories that Philip II. was born here, that here Cervantes lived, and Christopher Columbus died. In this one-time capital of Spain, in the Plaza Mayor, the fires of the Great Inquisition were first lighted, and here Charles V. laid the foundation of the Royal Armoury, which was afterwards transferred to Madrid.

More than seven hundred years have passed since Oviedo was the proud capital of the Kingdoms of Las Asturias, Leon, and Castile. Segovia, though no longer great, has still all the appurtenances of greatness, and with her granite massiveness and austerity, she remains an aristocrat even among the aristocracy of Spanish cities. Zamora, which has a history dating from time almost without date, was the key of Leon and the centre of the endless wars between the Moors and the Christians, which raged round it from the eighth to the eleventh centuries.

In this volume the author has striven to re-create the ancient greatness of these six cities, and has preserved their memories in a wealth of excellent and interesting illustrations.




IN Leon, once the capital of the second kingdom in Spain; in Burgos, which boasts one of the most magnificent cathedrals in Spain, and the custodianship of the bones of the Cid; and in Salamanca, with its university, which is one of the oldest in Europe, the author has selected three of the most interesting relics of ancient grandeur in this country of departed greatness.

Leon to-day is nothing but a large agricultural village, torpid, silent, dilapidated; Burgos, which still retains traces of the Gotho-Castilian character, is a gloomy and depleting capital; and Salamanca is a city of magnificent buildings, a broken hulk, spent by the storms that from time to time have devastated her.

Yet apart from the historical interest possessed by these cities, they still make an irresistible appeal to the artist and the antiquary. They are content with their stories of old-time greatness and their cathedrals, and these ancient architectural splendours, undisturbed by the touch of a modernising and renovating spirit, continue to attract the visitor.





MADRID is at once one of the most interesting and most maligned cities in Europe. It stands at an elevation of 2,500 feet above the sea level, in the centre of an arid, treeless, waterless, and wind-blown plain; but whatever may be thought of the wisdom of selecting a capital in such a situation, one cannot but admire the uniqueness of its position, and the magnificence of its buildings, and one is forced to admit that, having fairly entered the path of progress, Madrid bids fair to become one of the handsomest and most prosperous of European cities.

The splendid promenades, the handsome buildings, and the spacious theatres combine to make Madrid one of the first cities of the world, and the author has endeavoured with the aid of the camera, to place every feature and aspect of the Spanish metropolis before the reader. Some of the illustrations reproduced here have been made familiar to the English public by reason of the interesting and stirring events connected with the Spanish Royal Marriage, but the greater number were either taken by the author, or are the work of photographers specially employed to obtain new views for the purpose of this volume.




THE last of the old masters and the first of the moderns, as he has been called, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is not so familiarised to English readers as his genius deserves. He was born at a time when the tradition of Velazquez was fading, and the condition of Spanish painting was debased almost beyond hope of salvation; he broke through the academic tradition of imitation; “he, next to Velazquez, is to be accounted as the man whom the Impressionists of our time have to thank for their most definite stimulus, their most immediate inspiration.”

The genius of Goya was a robust, imperious, and fulminating genius; his iron temperament was passionate, dramatic, and revolutionary; he painted a picture as he would have fought a battle. He was an athletic, warlike, and indefatigable painter; a naturalist like Velazquez; fantastic like Hogarth; eccentric like Rembrandt; the last flame-coloured flash of Spanish genius.

It is impossible to reproduce his colouring; but in the reproductions of his works the author has endeavoured to convey to the reader some idea of Goya’s boldness of style, his mastery of frightful shadows and mysterious lights, and his genius for expressing all terrible emotions.





GAY-LOOKING, vivacious in its beauty, silent, ill-provided, depopulated, Cordova was once the pearl of the West, the city of cities, Cordova of the thirty suburbs and three thousand mosques; to-day she is no more than an overgrown village, but she still remains the most Oriental town in Spain.

Cordova, once the centre of European civilisation, under the Moors the Athens of the West, the successful rival of Baghdad and Damascus, the seat of learning and the repository of the arts, has shrunk to the proportions of a third-rate provincial town; but the artist, the antiquary and the lover of the beautiful, will still find in its streets and squares and patios a mysterious spell that cannot be resisted.




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