Thursday, November 14, 2019

O'Callaghan, "Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age"

Cornell University Press has published Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age: Law and Justice in Thirteenth-Century Castile (2019), by Joseph F. O'Callaghan (Fordham University). A description from the Press:
In this magisterial work, Joseph O'Callaghan offers a detailed account of the establishment of Alfonso X's legal code, the Libro de las leyes or Siete Partidas, and its applications in the daily life of thirteenth-century Iberia, both within and far beyond the royal courts. O'Callaghan argues that Alfonso X, el Sabio (the Wise), was the Justinian of his age, one of the truly great legal minds of human history.
Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age highlights the struggles the king faced in creating a new, coherent, inclusive, and all-embracing body of law during his reign, O'Callaghan also considers Alfonso X's own understanding of his role as king, lawgiver, and defender of the faith in order to evaluate the impact of his achievement on the administration of justice. Indeed, such was the power and authority of the Alfonsine code that it proved the king's downfall when his son invoked it to challenge his rule.
Throughout this soaring legal and historical biography, O'Callaghan reminds us of the long-term impacts of Alfonso X's legal works, not just on Castilian (and later, Iberian) life, but on the administration of justice across the world.
A sampling of advance praise:
"Joseph F. O’Callaghan has composed a comprehensive text for students and scholars interested in the legislation of Alfonso X el Sabio, a text that is valuable for neophytes and seasoned investigators. One is awed by O’Callaghan’s magisterial command of the primary sources and the secondary literature." -- Jerry Craddock

"Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age is a fantastic, erudite, and necessary book. Joseph F. O'Callaghan has magnificently crafted a thorough piece of scholarship." -- Jesus R. Velasco
More information is available here. You can listen to an interview with Professor O'Callaghan about the book here, at New Books Network.

-- Karen Tani