Inventory of the library of the fortress [of Cigales] owned by the Earl of Benavente.

Identity statement area

Supplied Title:

Inventory of the library of the fortress [of Cigales] owned by the Earl of Benavente.

Reference number:


Date of creation:

Before 1499

Level of description:

Unidad Documental Simple_en

Reference code:



Archival History:

Biography / Administrative history:

Name of the creator(s):

Condado-ducado de Benavente

Ducado de Osuna

Content and Structure

Scope and Content:

The importance of the counts of Benavente's medieval library gives an idea about the characteristics that defined the nobiliary culture in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as well as its great contribution to the manuscripts dissemination not only in Castile, but also in other countries of Europe. It is one of the most notable Castilian libraries of the fifteenth century, since it provides the image of a new nobleman who, unlike his ancestors, adopted the dedication to humanities as a characteristic of his position, which became a mentality change symptom. The library began to be formed thanks to some book copies commissions which took place during Rodrigo Alfonso Pimentel's term, II count of Benavente (1420-1440) and admirer of tournaments and legendary French literature. The historical chronicles reworked from the "First General Chronicle of Spain", which was written by Alfonso X, stand out, as well as epic poems, mythical stories and moral thinking books. Some Tito Livio's writings deserve to be highlighted, as they gave the nobility and European countries governors a wide range of teachings to be applied in later times.

Over Alfonso Pimentel's term, III count of Benavente (1440-1461), the library was enriched with some works about courtly love and adventure literature. Its valuable inventory has interpretation difficulties and possibly dates from 1447. However, additions made by Rodrigo Alfonso Pimentel, I count-duke of Benavente (1461-1499), are not so well known. Above all, there are praying books for ladies, political, poetic and moral texts, which are examples of the count's dedication to arms and his love to bibliophilia. The goods inventory that was made after Alfonso Pimentel's death, II count-duke of Benavente, in 1530, shows the growth of the library during the first third of the sixteenth century, although many books were valued and sold.

The library held books with luxurious bindings about biblical, patristic, hagiographic and philosophical themes, which had deep Graeco-Latin roots. They are testimonies about Christianity and Islam influence in the European medieval culture. It is also necessary to mention classical Aristotle and Seneca studies, mystical and theological works written by Ramón Llull, Galeno's scientific books about anatomy and pharmacology, which had an undoubted importance for medicine for more than a thousand years, and Boccaccio and other Italian literati's works. Mendicant friars' scholastic books transmitted the knowledge of Paris and Oxford universities to the fifteenth century noble class. In addition, several legislative works about laws, politics and good governance deserve a particular mention, as well as translations from Arabic, which were essential for the European languages development and were linked to the Castilian humanism and the intellectual circle supported by King Alfonso X. Some volumes deposited in the Cigales castle (Valladolid) were burned during the Communities of Castile war in 1521, the reason why the inventory we offer as a digital treasure is one of the scarce available references about the collection. The Benavente castle library in Zamora was destroyed in 1814 by the Napoleonic troops, albeit it had previously suffered other losses. Nowadays, some remaining books are kept in the National Library of Spain.

The inventory of the Cigales castle library is a part of the "Book of the privileges and purchases of the villages belonging to the count of Benavente, Alfonso Pimentel, and other deeds" (fol. 66 to 73). The inventory contains the following works:

-Tito Livio (fol. 66v-67).

-Séneca (fol. 67v-68).

-Etimologías de San Isidoro (fol. 68).

-Dante, Valerio Máximo, Lucano, Book of the falconry (fol. 68v).

-Book of Chess (fol. 69v-70).

-Geometry in Arabic, Recipes of Galeno by Rabbi Judah (fol. 70).

-Ethics of Santo Tomás (fol. 72v).

-Boecio (fol. 73).-Troya (fol. 73).

-Leonardo (fol. 73).


Conditions of Access and Use

General Conditions of Access:

©MECD. Archivos Estatales (España). La difusión de la información descriptiva y de las imágenes digitales de este documento ha sido autorizada por el titular de los derechos de propiedad intelectual exclusivamente para uso privado y para actividades de docencia e investigación. En ningún caso se autoriza su reproducción con finalidad lucrativa ni su distribución, comunicación pública y transformación por cualquier medio sin autorización expresa y por escrito del propietario.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements:

Manuscrito. Tinta a tres colores (azul, roja y negra). Encuadernación gótica en piel.

State of conservation:


Related documentation

Medium/Archival Material:

Digitized contains digitized images

Publication Notes:

Beceiro Pita, Isabel, “Bibliotecas y humanismo en el reino de Castilla: un estado de la cuestión”, en Hispania: Revista española de historia 175 (1990), 827-839.

Beceiro Pita, Isabel, “Educación y cultura en la nobleza (siglos XIII-XV)”, en Anuario de estudios medievales 21 (1991), 571-590.

Beceiro Pita, Isabel, “La biblioteca del conde de Benavente a mediados del siglo XV y su relación con las mentalidades y usos nobiliarios de la época”, en En la España medieval 2 (1982), 135-146.

Beceiro Pita, Isabel, “Los libros que pertenecieron a los condes de Benavente entre 1434 y 1530”, en Hispania: Revista española de historia 154 (1983), 237-280.

Beceiro Pita, Isabel y Franco Silva, Alfonso, “Cultura nobiliar y bibliotecas: cinco ejemplos, de las postrimerías del siglo XIV a mediados del XVI”, en Historia, Instituciones, Documentos 12 (1985), 277-350.

Hernández Vicente, Severiano, El concejo de Benavente en el siglo XV, Instituto de Estudios Zamoranos "Florián de Ocampo", Zamora, 1986.



It contains a note about none of this books that were in the fortress (Cigales) are preserved.

The Cigales fortress was burned during the war of communities of Castile (1520-1521).

This document was pre-selected for THE CONSTRUCTION OF EUROPE, FROM CHARLEMAGNE TO THE EU TREATIES - OVER 1000 YEARS OF EUROPEAN CONSTRUCTION, exhibition of the "European Digital Treasures" project, funded by the European Union's Creative Europe Programme.

Extent and medium

8 Hoja(s) on Papel_en .