Spring 2020 catalog cover

The Penn Press list for spring 2020 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

The Code of Cuenca
Municipal Law on the Twelfth-Century Castilian Frontier

Translated, with an introduction, by James F. Powers

256 pages | 6 x 9
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512806762 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

"This is an important and most useful translation of the fuero de Cuenca, one of the most significant sources for the history of medieval Spain and the medieval West."—Teofilo Ruiz, University of California at Los Angeles
Sometime around 1190, King Alfonso VIII of Castile granted a royal charter to the community of Cuenca, a Castilian frontier town recently recaptured from the Muslims and resettled by Christians. The royal charter was in the form of a law code, or fuero. Fueros, which evolved from short lists of exceptions to standing royal directives into much more extensive commentaries on legal matters, were used as an incentive to Christian settlement on the frontier. Reflecting the complexities of administering a town that still had large Muslim and Jewish populations, the fuero or code of Cuenca was meant to assure the permanence of Christian conquest and settlement. James Powers provides the first translation into English of this notable historical document.

The Code of Cuenca is of great importance to legal historians, particularly as a comparison to contemporary English and other European law texts. Because there is no similar urban compilation anywhere else in twelfth-century Europe that contains significant descriptions of everyday life in a medieval frontier town, the code will serve as a primary source for scholars and students of medieval Iberian and western European political, economic, and social history.

James F. Powers is Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross. He is author of A Society Organized for War: The Iberian Municipal Militias in the Central Middle Ages, 1000-1284, winner of the Best Book Prize, Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, 1988-90.

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