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HI 317 - Medieval Spain


This guide is designed to support the two class writing assignments: first, to write a book review, and second, to write an essay on an aspect of Medieval Spain. To identify a book to review, see the list below or follow the suggestions on how to locate an appropriate book in the catalog. For the essay, search the history and full-text databases for relevant journal articles that focus on your particular topic of interest. For further assistance, visit the Reference Desk at Geisel Library or contact the History liaison librarian.


Writing Book Reviews

For guidance on how to write a book review, see the following resources.

A Short Guide to Writing about History
     Ref D13 .M294
This writing guide contains an entire appendix devoted to writing book reviews, including examples.

A Concise Guide to Writing a Critical Book Review (University of Alberta)

How to Write a Book Review (Dalhousie University)

Book Reviews (University of North Carolina)

Writing Book Reviews (Indiana University)


Background Information

For the book review assignment, reference materials can offer brief overviews of important leaders, places, or events mentioned in the book that you are reviewing. This context can help deepen your understanding of the author's major points. For the essay assignment, reference sources provide basic background information on your topic and help you identify keywords to search in the article databases. Some reference resources provide bibliographies at the ends of each entry or volume, which will point you to additional books and journal articles worth exploring.

Dictionary of the Middle Ages
     Ref D114 .D5 (14 vols.)

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages
     Ref D114 .E53 (print version, 2 vols.)

Medieval Iberia:  An Encyclopedia
     Ref DP99 .M33


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Books for Review Assignment

The list below consists of books at Geisel Library that have been approved for the book review assignment by your professor.

The Aristocracy in Twelfth-Century León and Castile
     General Collection HT653.S7 B375

Charity and Welfare:  Hospitals and the Poor in Medieval Catalonia
     General Collection HV344.C37 B76

The Cortes of Castile-León, 1188–1350
     General Collection JN8399.C245 O27

Crisis and Continuity:  Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile
     General Collection HD2025.C325 R85

Daily Life during the Spanish Inquisition
     General Collection BX1735 .A72

The Fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba:  Berbers and Andalusis in Conflict
     General Collection DP107 .S33

Henry IV of Castile, 1425–1474
     General Collection DP143.M5

Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500
     General Collection DP102 .H34

Jiménez de Cisneros:  On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age
     General Collection DP166.X5 R86

The Kingdom of León-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065–1109
     General Collection DP137.6.R44

The Lara Family:  Crown and Nobility in Medieval Spain
     General Collection DP60.L3 D68

Making Agreements in Medieval Catalonia:  Power, Order, and the Written Word, 1000–1200
     General Collection HN590.C36 K67

The Making of Medieval Spain
     General Collection DP99.J32

Medieval Crown of Aragon:  A Short History
     General Collection DP128.B57

The Moors in Spain and Portugal
     General Collection DP102.R4

Pedro the Cruel of Castile, 1350–1369
     General Collection DP141.6 .E8

Spain in the Middle Ages:  From Frontier to Empire, 1000–1500
     General Collection DP99.M23

The Spanish Kingdoms, 1250–1516
     General Collection DP99.H5 (2 vols.)

Tormented Voices:  Power, Crisis, and Humanity in Rural Catalonia, 1140–1200
     General Collection HD1536.S7 B57

Trade and Traders in Muslim Spain:  The Commercial Realignment of the Iberian Peninsula, 900–1500
     General Collection HF3685 .C66

To find other potential books to review, you may wish to conduct either Subject or Keyword searches in the Geisel Library catalog. Try keyword searches on the names of specific individuals, events, and ideas of interest.  If you don't have a specific topic in mind, try searching any of the Subject Headings below as a Subject: 

  • Aragon (Spain) — History
  • Catalonia (Spain) — History
  • Inquisition — Spain
  • Muslims — Spain — History
  • Spain — Civilization — 711–1516
  • Spain — History — 711–1516

If you select a book that is not on the list above, please ask the instructor for approval.


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Books for Essay Assignment

Geisel Library catalog
Try keyword and subject searches as suggested in the previous section.  You may also want to find more generalized books about Medieval Spain in the library stacks, and browse their indexes to look for mentions of the person, event, issue, or idea that you are researching.  These books can be found in the call number range DP99–DP160, on the Upper Level of the library.

Find books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use.  Search the same keywords and subject headings that you used in the Geisel Library catalog.  To request a book, click on the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link in its WorldCat record.


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To start looking for scholarly articles in a database, try conducting keyword searches on the person, event, idea, or issue that you are researching.  Once you find relevant articles, examine the subject headings that have been assigned to them and conduct Subject searches on the ones that seem most potentially fruitful. Be sure to read the bibliographies of articles to identify additional sources worth tracking down.  Note that much of the scholarly literature on Medieval Spain is written in Spanish, so you may want to use database limiters to restrict the language to English. 

If there is no link to the full text of the article, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Within a week, you should receive an email indicating that the article is available to access.

International Medieval Bibliography   (On Campus Only)
This searchable online version of the IMB provides comprehensive indexing of scholarly journals and conference proceedings in the interdisciplinary field of medieval studies.

Iter (Medieval & Renaissance Studies)
This bibliography pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400–1700) consists of citations for journal articles, books, reviews, and more.

Academic Search Premier
This multi-disciplinary database is an excellent starting point for finding scholarly journal articles and popular magazine articles on a wide range of topics.

Historical Abstracts
Abstracts to journal articles and books covering world history from 1450 to the present (excluding North America).  As a result, this resource will only be useful for topics from the Late Middle Ages.

A full text archive of major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including many in the area of history.


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Selected Websites

The first two websites below offer primary-source material from the Medieval period in Spain, while LIBRO provides free access to secondary sources on the topic.

EuroDocs:  Primary Historical Documents From Spain
Links to online collections of digitized primary source documents from Spain, ranging from the Medieval period through the present.

Internet Medieval History Sourcebook
This web-based sourcebook of primary source texts includes a lengthy page devoted to the Iberian peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal), with some intriguing primary documents.

LIBRO:  The Library of Iberian Resources Online
This online library provides the full text of recent but out-of-print scholarly books about Iberian history, with a focus on the 5th through 17th centuries.


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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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