Estoria de Espanna – Discovery of the Past

The principal aim of this project is to develop a digital exhibition of manuscripts of the Estoria de Espanna, a thirteenth-century chronicle of Spain, alongside physical exhibitions of the manuscripts in some of Spain's leading institutions.

This project builds upon an existing AHRC funded research project that aims to construct a digital edition of the Estoria de Espanna, a thirteenth-century chronicle of Spain. Building on this work, we now aim to add a range of tools and activities in order to engage a wider public in the world of medieval texts and history:

  • A digital exhibition in December 2016 to coincide with the launch of the edition. The exhibition will complement a physical exhibition of the respective Estoria manuscripts held in four institutions which hold Estoria manuscripts as part of their collections.
  • Pedagogical materials for use in (initially) the Spanish second-level classroom.
  • An outline scoping project for judging feasibility of crowdsourcing future transcriptions.

The tools in question will be adapted to serve and engage two different, and complementary, groups: (i) the public who visit libraries and exhibitions in Spain and the US and (ii) secondary school students in Spain. The tools will cover 4 key areas:

  1. Contextual historical information on the Estoria de Espanna, its composition and contents.
  2. Contextual information on Alfonso el Sabio, author of the chronicle.
  3. Mapping and visualisation tools which will allow non-specialists to access the text of the Estoria from non-traditional perspectives.
  4. Digital activities on five sections of the Estoria.

Manuscript images of five sections of the Estoria will be available to all users of the digital tools and these sections of the respective manuscripts will also be on display at the simultaneous physical exhibitions at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Universidad de Salamanca, the Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo in Santander and the University of Minnesota.

The public will be engaged by means of a digital exhibition which will accompany the physical display of the manuscripts of the Estoria de Espanna in our partner institutions: the National Library of Spain in Madrid, the University of Salamanca and the Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo in Santander in Spain and the University of Minnesota Library in Minneapolis in December 2016, to coincide with the launch of the digital edition. In concert with the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute, we will provide interactive material to:

  1. Inform the public about the context of thirteenth-century Castile and León.
  2. Connect members of the public in Spain with their shared past.
  3. Challenge mis-conceptions about medieval Iberia and manuscript culture.
  4. Engage the public with text and space by means of visualisation tools.
  5. Engage non-academic partners in the research-led activities of the Estoria Digital project.

The secondary school students will have the benefit of the same material, but this will be adapted to their specific needs. In concert with our partners in four schools in Spain we will develop specific learning exercises on five key sections of the chronicle (which will be available both in digital images and as the folios on display in the exhibitions). These will:

  1. Challenge the students’ pre-conceptions about the history of medieval Iberia and the sophistication of historical writing in the thirteenth century.
  2. Expose the students to the depth and breadth of manuscript culture in Spain.
  3. Engage the students in questions of literary and linguistic analysis emerging from the sections in question.

Estoria de España

Related Links

Duration: 1st January 2016 – 31st December 2016.

Project Team

  • Dr Aengus Ward (Principal Investigator – University of Birmingham)
  • Fiona Maguire (Research Associate – University of Birmingham)
  • Jamie McLaughlin  (Developer – The Digital Humanities Institute)