Medieval Spain is brilliantly recreated, in all its variety and richness, in this comprehensive survey. Likely to become the standard work in English, the book treats the entire Iberian Peninsula and all the people who inhabited it, from the coming of the Visigoths in the fifth century to the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Integrating a wealth of information about the diverse peoples, institutions, religions, and customs that flourished in the states that are now Spain and Portugal, Joseph F. O'Callaghan focuses on the continuing attempts to impose political unity on the peninsula.
O'Callaghan divides his story into five compact historical periods and discusses political, social, economic, and cultural developments in each period. By treating states together, he is able to put into proper perspective the relationships among them, their similarities and differences, and the continuity of development from one period to the next. He gives proper attention to Spain's contacts with the rest of the medieval world, but his main concern is with the events and institutions on the peninsula itself. Illustrations, genealogical charts, maps, and an extensive bibliography round out a book that will be welcomed by scholars and student of Spanish and Portuguese history and literature, as well as by medievalists, as the fullest account to date of Spanish history in the Middle Ages.