The theory of the three estates made clear distinctions between the functions of the two estates which comprised the elite of medieval society: the oradores (ecclesiastics) and the defensores (warriors or nobility). They had different lifestyles, clothing and ways of thinking about life. With regard to death, the responses dictated by Christian theology conflicted with the demands of the defensor ideology, based on the defence of individual honour, the pursuit of fama and the display of earthly power. This book charts the progress of the dying from their preparations for death, through their 'good' or 'bad' deaths, to their burials and otherworldly fates and also analyses the responses of the bereaved. Through the use of pre-fifteenth-century texts it is possible to demonstrate that the conflict between the orador and defensor ideologies did not begin in the fifteenth century, but rather had a much older origin, and it is suggested that the conflict continued after 1500. Textual sources include the Siete partidas, wills, chronicles, religious works such as the Arte de bien morir and literary works such as Cárcel de Amor and Celestina.
A valuable contribution to the study of the culture of European elites. MEDICAL HISTORY
A very thorough and engaging book. It clarifies these differing - and frequently conflicting - stances in relation to death, present in the Castile of the fifteenth century but which also influenced the region for many years thereafter. BRITISH BULLETIN OF PUBLICATIONS
[This] is an excellent book on the topic. AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RESEARCH HISTORIANS OF MEDIEVAL SPAIN
A remarkable study of the social importance of death in fifteenth-century Castile.both a continuation of previous scholarship and a fresh look at the subject. A worthy contribution to the field. HISPANIC JOURNAL
Readers will surely find this an invaluable source for both primary and secondary material. BULLETIN OF HISPANIC STUDIES
Este trabajo destaca por la investigacion minuciosa y llena de rigor llevada a cabo y por la intuicion de la autora a la hora de definir las causas y las consecuencias de los comportamientos en la elite cuatrocentista. Recomendamos, pues, desde aqui este estudio necesario sobre las actitudes que a las llamadas ahora clases "altas" se les proponia adoptar ante el fenomeno, siempre antropologicamente dificil, de la muerte. REVISTA DE LITERATURA