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Churches Made Fit for a King: Alfonso X and Meaning in the Religious Architecture of Post-Conquest Seville

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While interpretations of the visual language of medieval Iberian architecture are often confined to the ways in which it reflects the multicultural society of the Peninsula, this essay moves beyond such readings by examining how, after the Castilian conquest of Seville, Alfonso X expressed his political ambitions, both toward the Peninsula and in the greater context of Christian Europe, through the religious architecture of that city. This study proposes that Alfonso sought to establish Christian authority in the newly conquered city and transform it into a preeminent cosmopolitan capital by appropriating its Great Mosque as Seville's cathedral and royal pantheon and by erecting primarily Gothic structures over the neighborhood mosques that had been converted into the city's parish churches. The French Gothic features of these parish churches in particular signified the new Christian regime and Alfonso's connections to the French monarchy.

Affiliations: 1: School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

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