Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


Ottavio Di Camillo

Subject Categories

Medieval Studies


Alfonso de Palencia, Castile, Civic Humanism, Humanism, XV Century


The present dissertation offers an original contribution to the study of the genesis of Spanish civic Humanism during the fifteenth century. My thesis aims to revitalize the study of a significant figure such as Alfonso de Palencia, one of the active bureaucrats and men of letters who served as intermediaries between Italian and Spanish humanists in the Quattrocento. During his stay in Rome and Florence he became acquainted with some of the most important scholars of the time and acquired a range of skills that had a crucial bearing on his personal and professional development. It was during these formative years in Italy that Palencia assimilated the civic Humanism, a modality of Humanism that sought to learn from antiquity by looking upon it as an exemplary parallel to the present, and endeavored to give young men the type of education best suited to their becoming responsible members of their society and state.

In order to recover Alfonso de Palencia's contributions to Humanism, I have elaborated an annotated critical edition of his moral treatise entitled Batalla campal de los perros contra los lobos, written in 1457. A manuscript copy of the text has not been preserved, but the work has survived in a single copy of the edition printed in Seville in 1490 by the "Cuatro Compañeros Alemanes" that is currently housed in the Biblioteca Real de Palacio, in Madrid, Spain. Since Palencia lived most of his life in Seville, it is safe to assume that he supervised the printing of his work. In this study I have gathered all the information available up to date and have added new findings that surfaced during the course of my research. This edition presents, along with the incunabulum text with explanatory footnotes and a glossary, an extensive preliminary study that contains a description of the times and the socio-cultural conditions in which the treatise was written, a biography of the author, an account of his works along with a critical assessment, a detailed analysis of La batalla campal with an examination of the fable structure, a report of the author's literary sources, a rhetorical study, and a record of the reception of the treatise and its modern interpretation.