Why Alfonso X was called ‘the Wise’?

Alfonso X of Castile was born in Toledo in 1221. He was king of the Crown of Castile from 1252, the year in which his father, Fernando III of Castile, the Saint, died. He would remain so until his own death on April 4, 1284 in Seville. From his biography, in order to understand why the references determine him as the Wise, we must highlight his childhood. Alfonso received a great intellectual formation, a fact that led him to develop a personality completely focused on the cultural world.

The king who looked after culture

Alfonso X the Wise

Sculpture of Alfonso X the Wise in the National Library. | Shutterstock

Alfonso X of Castile is known as the Wise because he is considered the precursor of several of the most important cultural works of medieval Spain. He surrounded himself with a fantastic group of experts in several fields, from scientists to poets, magicians to scholars of various disciplines. The School of Translators of Toledo was born under his protection, as well as the University of Salamanca, the first in the country, a fact consecrated in the year 1255.

Alfonso was especially interested in language, so he surrounded himself with translators with whom he recovered several important texts. He also had troubadours with whom he enjoyed languages and dialects as different as Occitan or Galician-Portuguese, which the king mastered. Most of the works in which his name appears were not written by him, but they were conceived and structured, compiled and financed. In addition, he also contributed to the development of a legislative basis that could be commonly used in different parts of Europe. Again, his value was not so much in the creation of that work as in the organization of it.

So Alfonso X the Wise is known in this way because under his name several of the most important works of the Middle Ages were developed. Because he had a broad knowledge of all cultural areas and because he attached great importance to the development of the same. He was constant with his interests and carried out the projects he desired. During his reign, culture in Spain was safe.

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