About the Project

This is the official website of the AHRC funded project “An electronic research environment and edition of the Estoria de Espanna of Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon” (the Estoria de Espanna), which was granted funding to carry out transcriptions of five complete manuscripts and to develop principles that will allow the crowdsourcing of other witnesses. The current funding started in January 2013 and will continue until December 2016.

Who are we?


This project, led by Dr Aengus Ward (University of Birmingham), aims to create a virtual space for the Estoria de Espanna with the long-term aim of producing an electronic edition of this important chronicle.

We are using software developed at the University of Saskatchewan, specifically, through Textual Communities to create transcriptions, collations and editions of the text. All the transcriptions and edited texts will be held at the University of Birmingham

We are currently beta-testing our guidelines for transcription and preparing the images for within Textual Communities.

You can follow Estoria de Espanna on Twitter (@EstoriadEspanna), tweet to our hashtag #estoriadigital or like us on Facebook.

About the Estoria de Espanna

The Estoria de Espanna is an extensive thirteenth-century history of Spain composed under the direction of Alfonso X of Castile and Leon (reigned 1252-1284). It runs from the origins of Spain to the death of Alfonso’s father Fernando III in 1252.

It is the history of the people who ruled the empire and therefore deals with Roman history, the history of the Goths and the history of the Christian kingdoms of the Peninsula after the Arab invasion of 711 which Alfonso regarded as the inheritors of Rome.

It exists in three major versions, two compiled during the lifetime of the king (1272 and 1282) and another during the reign of his son Sancho IV, in 1289.

The three major versions written in close succession to each other reveal a host of anxieties about contemporary events and so an examination of the differences between them can help to demonstrate the value of control of the past in present difficulty.

The Estoria de Espanna is the centerpiece of the medieval Castilian historiographical tradition, the first and greatest medieval history of Spain written in romance, and was originally conceived as part of an all-encompassing politico-cultural project by the king.

As is frequently the case with Iberian material, it is not well known outside the peninsula, and yet its status as comprehensive history of Spain makes it one of the finest examples of late medieval chronicle writing available to us.

The breadth of learning and sophisticated narrative construction of the Estoria make it prime material for the study of medieval narrative history generally and the project therefore has the aim of bringing both the Estoria and the enormous politico-cultural enterprise of which it formed a part to a wider audience.

Electronic Edition

The project aims to provide an electronic edition of the chronicle which, by means of a search engine and collation tool, will allow comparison of the three major versions and provide full searching ability for any of the transcriptions. The project will therefore permit access to an important and foundational series of medieval chronicles to a wide readership, both specialist and non-specialist.

It will serve as a resource for future philological and historical enquiry, for example, the presentation of three almost contemporaneous major versions in a manner which permits the scholar to compare them, will allow significant advances in our understanding of the political context of their composition in the thirteenth century. The electronic edition will also facilitate access to the Estoria to a wider audience.

The online research environment will encourage the addition of transcriptions of other manuscripts and also images of the codices in the future, which will guarantee the on-going viability of the project.

4 thoughts on “About the Project”

  1. The surname of my paternal grandmother was “de Leon,” which makes me feel still more intrigued by this project as I read on. I am a writer who is fascinated by language and have a middle level of fluency in modern Spanish.

  2. This is great accomplishment and will be enormously helpful to all medieval researches.
    Thanks a lot for sharing the whole project under Creative Commons license!

    I was recently contemplating about doing similar electronic transcriptions for Siete Partidas and came to conclusion it’s outside the realm of single person capabilities. So I’m just translating selected parts to my native Czech language and publishing them – let’s see how far I can get 🙂

    1. We’re really glad it was of use to you, and we hope we will see you in the future!

      On the Siete Partidas, you probably know this already but there is a project to edit these wonderful texts digitally:


      As they publish the texts they are uploading them to GitHub so you should have access to all of them there!

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