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The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe$
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Marta Díaz-Guardamino, Leonardo García Sanjuán, and David Wheatley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724605

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198724605.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe

The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe

An Introduction

(p.3) 1 The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe
The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval Europe

Marta Díaz-Guardamino

Leonardo García Sanjuán

David Wheatley

Oxford University Press

On 19 June 2014, while the final lines of this book were still being written, Felipe VI was proclaimed King of Spain, giving continuity into the twenty-first century to the Bourbon dynasty, which almost uninterruptedly has occupied the Spanish throne since AD 1714. As a 9-year-old child, on 1 November 1977, Felipe had been installed as Prince of Asturias and heir to the crown of Spain in a ceremony held at the site of Covadonga (Cangas de Onís, Asturias). Covadonga holds a very special position as a symbol of the Kingdom of Spain and is prominent in Spanish nationalist ideology and historiography. After the Arab invasion of Iberia in AD 711 and the subsequent collapse of the Visigoth Kingdom of Toledo, a battle was fought in Covadonga, in which the Christian communities of northern Spain defeated the Arab forces that had taken control of most of Iberia. Emerging as leader from this battle, King Pelayo founded the Christian Kingdom of Asturias. Far less prominent in standard historical accounts is the fact that both Pelayo and his son and successor Favila (AD 737–9) were subsequently buried in two chapels, each of which was built over, or next to, the remains of prehistoric megalithic monuments (i.e. Santa Cruz and Abamia). Both of these sites are very close to Covadonga, itself a place of sacred significance, probably since prehistoric times. As Blas Cortina explains in his contribution to this volume, Pelayo and Favila had themselves buried in chapels associated with the Neolithic monuments of Santa Cruz and Abamia because these were places vested with ‘ancestral power’. Through this association they sought to acquire symbolic capital to legitimate their position within the context of the political instability that followed the collapse of the Kingdom of Toledo and the threat of the Arab invasion. These ancestral monuments were chosen to provide such legitimacy, and when Felipe de Borbón y Grecia was invested as Prince of Asturias in 1977, he too was drawing on the same symbolic roots to nurture his eventual legitimacy as King Felipe VI.

Keywords:   Aeneas, Beotia, Christianization, Gaul, History, Jelling, Knowth, Mediterranean, Newgrange, Orcomenos

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