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Kingship and Favoritism in the Spain of Philip III, 1598-1621

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"I am writing at the end of an era and the beginning of another about a monarch [Philip III] who never became a real king [de un monarca que acabó de ser rey antes de empezar a reinar]." These words, written by one of the most distinguished and influential seventeenth-century Spanish authors, Francisco de Quevedo, represent perhaps the most famous derogatory statement ever made about Philip III of Spain (1598-1621). Quevedo's sharp criticism extended to the royal privado, Don Fran­cisco Gomez de Sandoval y Rojas, better known as the Duke of Lerma, and also to his allies and clients, all of whom Quevedo viewed as corrupt and inept. More than personal criticism, Quevedo's words were uttered at a time when the worth of an entire era was assessed in terms of the character and deeds of the individuals in charge of public affairs. By this criterion, Quevedo's appraisal of Philip Ill, Lerma, and their allies was truly devastating. His denunciation of the king and his closest advisers relegated Philip Ill's reign to a position of no historical significance, in no way comparable to the reign of Philip Ill's father, the "extraordinary" Philip II.

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This material has been published in Kingship and Favoritism in the Spain of Philip III, 1598-1621 by edited by Antonio Feros. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.



Date Posted: 27 February 2017