The Personal and the Political in the Testaments of the Portuguese Royal Family (Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries)

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Miriam Shadis Associate Professor of History, Ohio University

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This article examines a series of wills created by members of the royal family of Portugal over three generations, from the mid-twelfth to the mid-thirteenth century. Wills served different functions depending on the political context of their makers: fundamentally pious documents, expressing hopes for salvation, they also worked to shape the political future of the realm. Above all, these wills demonstrate certain features of material life and the deep personal connections enjoyed by members of this large and fractious family.

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