middle ages - 13th-14th centuries - castilla - royal power - Alfonso XI and medieval warfare

Fernando Arias Guillén

Medieval History León y Castilla in the High and Early Middle Ages Simancas History Institute
My research career

I graduated in History in 2006 (Extraordinary End of Degree Award and Special Mention in the National Awards) and obtained an FPU scholarship to do my doctoral thesis at the CSIC, which I defended in December 2010 (Extraordinary Award of the University of Castilla La-Mancha).

From then on, I began a long postdoctoral journey in which I have been chaining contracts from different calls of the Ministry (and one from the UVa) in a context of many changes in the research career (some of these calls were the last to come out of their kind or the only time they were offered before the last remodeling). Thus, I spent two years of postdoctoral stay at the University of St Andrews (2011-2013), in Scotland, thanks to the award of a Postdoctoral Mobility Grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, where I also served as assistant professor for a semester. In November 2014, I joined the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) after obtaining an Aid for Postdoctoral Training Contracts from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Two years later, in November 2016, I arrived at the University of Valladolid thanks to a three-year UVa Postdoctoral Contract. In December 2019 I obtained a Ramón y Cajal Contract from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, so I decided that the University of Valladolid was the ideal place to continue my teaching and research career.

In addition, I am Deputy Secretary and member of the Editorial Board of Edad Media. History Magazine and Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK).

My research

My research has focused on the study of royal power in Castilla during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In particular, I have developed four main lines of study: the importance of war in the process of strengthening royal authority; the royal itineraries and the main spaces of royal power; the forms of representation used by the Castilian monarchy to project an idealized image of itself; and the role of the nobles in the construction of the royal state and their conflicts with the monarchs.

During my doctoral studies, I analyzed the process of strengthening the monarchic power during the reign of Alfonso XI (1312-1350) and the importance of the war campaigns against the Muslims in this process. Subsequently, my research was directed towards the a study of the itineraries and spaces of royal power. Thus, the territorial configuration of the kingdom was analyzed, with the aim of answering the reason for the inexistence of an undisputed capital in Castile or the absence of a single dynastic mausoleum.

The study of the representation of royal power in the 13th-14th centuries has been a constant theme in my career, with a special emphasis on the royal chronicles and, more recently, the privileges rolled. Similarly, the analysis of the relationship between monarch and nobles is a central issue in my research and I am currently working on noble rebellions in the Iberian Peninsula.

These lines have been reflected in this recent monograph: https://www.routledge.com/The-Triumph-of-an-Accursed-Lineage-Kingship-in-Castile-from-Alfonso-X-to/Guillen/p/book/9780367512279 

My vision is that history should have a strong comparative character, so I have always tried to integrate my studies on Castile in an Iberian and European context. In addition, I consider it fundamental for a historian to combine research work with synthesis and informative works.