chapter  6
37 Pages



When, in the thirteenth century, a peninsular peasant looked at a fl ow of water, he would see, were he an Andalusian, an orchard; were he a Christian, a cereal mill. But were the observer a Hispano-Christian lord, what he would see would be a drinking trough for a seasonally migratory fl ock of sheep. Or might it be possible that the protagonist of our visions was not a peasant or lord of the thirteenth century but a twentieth-century historian? What, for a historian from Andalusia, Valencia or Low Aragon might be a product (wheat, oil, wool) for the market would, for a historian from Old Castile, be an element of manorial dominion that served as an inevitable motive for confl ict between lords and peasants, whereas for a researcher of Old Catalonia, it might be data for the study of the development of peasant involvement in the market. Obviously, where one historian sees a patchwork of fl ourishing orchards, farmed and well-kept by the merry effort of an Andalusian family-linked community, another historian might see a setting of a saltus progressively left aside by a successful dryland farming ager aggressively imposed by feudal lords.1