Alfonso de Cartagena’s 'Memoriale virtutum' (1422)

Aristotle for Lay Princes in Medieval Spain


In Alfonso de Cartagena’s 'Memoriale virtutum' (1422), María Morrás and Jeremy Lawrance offer a critical edition of an anthology of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, compiled and significantly altered by the major Castilian intellectual of the day, Bishop Alfonso de Cartagena, and addressed to the heir to the throne of Portugal, Crown Prince Duarte.
The work is a speculum principis, an education of a future king in the virtues suitable to a statesman. Cartagena’s choice of Aristotle was a harbinger of Renaissance ideas. The “memorial” sheds light on a society in transition, setting new ethical guidelines for the ruling class at the crossroads between medieval feudalism and Renaissance absolutism.

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María Morrás Ph.D. (1990, Berkeley), Professor in Humanities at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona and Special Lecturer at Oxford, works on medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature, particularly the cultural impact of humanism. She has edited Cartagena’s Ciceronian translations, Libros de Tulio (Alcalá, 1996).

Jeremy Lawrance, DPhil (1983, Oxford), Emeritus Professor of Spanish at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham, studies the history of ideas. He has edited and translated Latin works by Cartagena (Bellaterra, 1979), Vitoria (Cambridge, 1991), and Palencia (Madrid, 1998–99).
List of Figures

 1 The book and its milieu
 2 Courses for horses: Aristotle for lay princes
 3 Memoriale’s paratexts: political and cultural ideas
 4 Style and Latinity

Prolegomena to the critical edition
 1 Description of MSS
 2 Recension
 3 Editorial criteria
 4 Translation

Memoriale virtutum: Text and translation

Stemma and sigla

Tabula (addita ad initium A)

Liber i

Liber ii

Apparatus of minor variants

Works cited
All readers and libraries concerned with the literature, society, and history of ideas of late medieval Spain; the impact of humanism; and the Renaissance reception of Aristotelian philosophy.