Historia, hagiografía y memoria en el ámbito monástico

  1. Isabel Ilzarbe López
Supervised by:
  1. Francisco Javier García Turza Director

Defence university: Universidad de La Rioja

Year of defence: 2021

  1. Urbano Espinosa Ruiz Chair
  2. Margarita Torres Secretary
  3. María Pilar Alonso Abad Committee member
  1. Ciencias Humanas
Doctoral Programme:
  1. Programa de Doctorado en Humanidades por la Universidad de La Rioja

Type: Thesis


History and memory are closely related in the chronicle and the narrative about the past throughout the entire Middle Ages. In this sense, the Castilian monasteries, as centers of power and social domain, took the initiative in creating a memory about themselves, which should guarantee their legitimacy over their domains. Although it is true that hagiographic literature contemplates multiple purposes, it is almost indisputable that a good part of these narratives has a marked ideological character that points unfailingly towards the defense of the interests of those who devised, created and recreated it. The monastery will be the main protagonist of these stories and will play this role through figures of great relevance to the audience they are addressed to. Sometimes characters heroized by the popular and collective culture of the moment will be used, such as Fernán González or El Cid Campeador, but in most cases we will identify the resource to the creation of strictly hagiographic narratives: lives of saints, collections of miracles, discoveries and relic transfers. The primary objective of our research is to determine which elements are common in the documentation that we set out to analyze at the time, with the ambition of reaching an overall vision that allows defining the process of creating monasterial historical memory as something generalized. Along the way that should lead us to this definition, we will be able to identify the type of collaborative and competitive relationships that were established among the monasteries selected as part of the study. In addition, we consider that through the analysis of the relationship between the historical and ideological contexts in which the narratives about the patron saints of each of the monasteries were reworked, we will be able to define the strategies followed by each of the monks. We also want to reflect on the relative success of this process, analyzing the evolution of the stories studied over time to determine their changes, renovations, and their influence on their environment. We refer especially to the relationship of the survival of hagiographic narratives in the generation of collective identities around the creative institution and its surrounding space. As final result, a complex image has been obtained, in which the individual circumstances that each religious center had to live are guessed, the relationships of competition and collaboration that they established between the monks involved and the way in which they narrated the political problem and social in which they were involved. Likewise, we have been able to appreciate what has been the long-term result of the constant hagiographic recreation undertaken by the communities of monks of Arlanza, Silos and La Cogolla through the local traditions of the populations established as the homeland of their saints.