chapter  5
18 Pages

The royal chronicler – historian or counsellor?

The case of Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas
ByRichard L. Kagan

Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas is famous for his Historia general de … Indias (1601–1614) and for the many other histories he published during his tenure as cronista mayor de las Indias and cronista real de Castilla. In comparison, his Avisos y Tratados, an advice book on governance that he seemingly prepared for the benefit of the future king, Philip IV, remains virtually unknown. A number of these ‘avisos’ were published in 1804, but the majority remain in manuscript. The recent discovery of Herrera’s original holograph manuscript of the Avisos allows for a new evaluation of Herrera’s political writings, their relationship to the genre known as ‘mirrors of princes’, and Herrera’s perception of himself as a political actor.