Espejos de príncipes y avisos a princesas

(La educación palaciega en la Casa de Austria)



  • Edited en 2021
  • 21 X 27 cm.
  • 252 pages
  • Binding: hard cover
  • Language: spanish
  • ISBN:  978-84-17264-25-3

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The Spanish Empire, global and multicultural, was ruled by the kings of the House of Austria together with a select number of advisors, masters and royal tutors. The educational foundations of that ruling elite were key to the stability of that cosmopolitan machinery. This is the first chronological study of the instructions or mirrors of princes and princesses that -from Isabella la Catolica to Charles II- show the careful education and the importance of the queens in the spiritual training and the choice of teachers for princes and princesses. This volume also includes crucial topics such as the tension between Erasmists and anti-Erasmists, grammar or reading booklets and the state of the schools.

In a world in full transformation, education is key to the future, and therefore this volume is articulated to deepen our understanding of the educational models followed to govern the destinies of the world for two centuries by the Spanish Empire. Learning from the past will lead to a better present.

Alfredo Alvar Ezquerra (Granada, 1960) is a research professor at the CSIC in the branch of Modern History and a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History and the Academy of Fine Arts of San Telmo (Malaga), as well as being awarded the decoration of the order of Isabel la Católica.

Episode 1. Conversation with Alfredo Alvar

The author of our first book, explains the significance of the mirrors of princes, and illustrates, through anecdotes, the importance of these writings in the evolution of the Spanish Empire over the course of two centuries.

Episode 2. Isabella the Catholic: from humanist queen to pioneer educator

The all-powerful queen of Castile proved to be not only a voracious writer and reader, but also a skilled educator who emphasized the preparation of her descendants and created a cabinet of tutors and advisors for the palace. 

Episode 3. Philip II, a prince between two waters: humanism and religion

The son of Emperor Charles soon lost his mother, Empress Isabella, who had a great influence on his upbringing. Years later, when he became the prince of Humanism, he would have to live through the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the difficulty of combining both realities.

Episode 4. The infant Charles and his sisters: lifting the veil of the black legend of Philip II

The black legend presents us a cruel and authoritarian Philip II, who approved of the death of his son. Nothing further from the reality, as it shows the concern for the education of his son and the epistolary to his daughters Catalina Micaela and Isabel Clara Eugenia.

Episode 5. Philip III: a somewhat scattered student with an exceptional teacher

The shadow of Philip II weighed heavily on little Philip, who had to deal not only with his character, but also with a father who was not very present and who had the good sense to provide him with extraordinary help and advisors to form a capable and tolerant king. 

Episode 6. Philip IV and Prince Balthasar Charles: of frustrated illusions and educational revolutions

The love of the so-called Planet King for his successor gave birth to one of the great books of advice on good government from a father to a son. The death of Balthasar Carlos destroyed all the illusions of the Spanish Empire and of his father, King Philip.

Episode 7. Charles II: a not so bewitched prince

The House of Austria ends its almost two centuries of dynastic hegemony with the reign of The Bewitched One, a term that the black legend attributes to his mental retardation. And yet, according to the sources, as a child Charles II stood out for his intelligence and vivacity