The Franciscan Order in Castile, c.1440-c.1560
The most important religious order in the later medieval and early modern kingdom of Castile was without any doubt that of the Order of Friars Minor. To date, however, historians have devoted remarkably little attention to the history of the Franciscans and the significant contributions which they made to the spiritual and social life of the period. Moreover, such studies as there are tend to concentrate on either traditional hagiographical themes or matters related to the history of ecclesiastical politics. This thesis attempts to study the growth, popularity, and spirituality of the Franciscans within the context of the social and political trends of the period. The first half is about patronage, the role played by the friars in the Durango heresy, the phenomenon of the Illuminists, and the growth of anti-semitism. The second half is particularly devoted to the female religious, who have been almost entirely ignored, or treated perfunctorily as handmaidens to the dominant males. Numerically of great importance as members of the Second and Third Orders, of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, and as beatas, this thesis analyses their financial problems and organisation, their dowries and social background, their demography, and their fascinating spiritual experiences. The chronological period covered runs from c.1640 to c.1560, and the second half tends to focus, but not exclusively, on female religious in Cordoba and Toledo.