Cover of Code of Cuenca

Code of Cuenca

Municipal Law on the Twelfth-Century Castilian Frontier

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Sometime around 1190, King Alfonso VIII of Castile granted a royal charter to the community of Cuenca, a Castilian frontier town recently recaptured from the Muslims and resettled by Christians. The royal charter was in the form of a law code, or fuero. Fueros, which evolved from short lists of exceptions to standing royal directives into much more extensive commentaries on legal matters, were used as an incentive to Christian settlement on the frontier. Reflecting the complexities of administering a town that still had large Muslim and Jewish populations, the fuero or code of Cuenca was meant to assure the permanence of Christian conquest and settlement. James Powers provides the first translation into English of this notable historical document. The Code of Cuenca is of great importance to legal historians, particularly as a comparison to contemporary English and other European law texts. Because there is no similar urban compilation anywhere else in twelfth-century Europe that contains significant descriptions of everyday life in a medieval frontier town, the code will serve as a primary source for scholars and students of medieval Iberian and western European political, economic, and social history.

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