Alfonso el Sabio [Alfonso X]
- Jack Sage
(b Toledo, Nov 23, 1221; d Seville, April 4, 1284). Spanish monarch, patron, poet and composer. The son of Ferdinand the Saint, he became King of Castile and León in 1252. ‘El Sabio’ may be taken as both ‘the Wise’ and ‘the Learned’, for Alfonso’s works show his conviction that learning begets wisdom. He was a remarkable patron of the arts, sciences and culture; he recognized the importance of Spain’s Islamic as well as its Roman and Visigothic heritage, and his court became celebrated as a meeting-place for Christian, Islamic and Jewish scholars and artists. He has long stood accused of sacrificing his family relations and political stability to impractical schemes for liberal reform but, though out of favour with those close to him in his latter years, he fostered notable social, educational and judiciary reforms, encouraged the use of the vernacular in learning and art, and made Spain respected in Europe. In ...