Historical Background on Medieval Spain and Plasencia
Plasencia is located in the rocky and oak-covered Spanish province of the Extremadura and a territory formerly known as the Roman region of Lusitania.
Prior to the fifteenth century, the Iberian Peninsula had known successive rulers – Carthaginian, Roman, Visigothic, Islamic, and native Iberian Christian – from the third century B.C.E through the end of the fifteenth century C.E. The most momentous in shaping present-day Spain and Portugal was the Islamic conquest of Visigothic kingdom in 711. Over the course of eight centuries Spanish history would continuously labor under Christian-Islamic political conflict for supremacy in what has become known as the Spanish Reconquista, or the Christian endeavor to reconquer the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim rule.
The origins of fifteenth century Castilian Christian Plasencia are framed in the politically and religiously charged language of the Spanish Reconquista because, although the Muslims dominated the area from 713 to 1189, the Placentinos conceived of themselves as Christian inheritors of this Roman-Visiogthic tradition.
Plasencia was at the core of important developments in the late medieval and early modern world. The community of Plasencia and their influential citizens, had a broad impact on the events that helped shape Spain, Europe, and the Middle East. However, these momentous events did not self-generate or form in a vacuum, rather, they were the byproduct of the unusual conditions and relationships that began in the frontier-city of Plasencia. These unique influences included cooperation, conflict, and disruption were all a part of daily life.
Competing and overlapping structures of political authority and governance (including, royal, municipal, seigniorial and ecclesiastical jurisdictions) which created a dynamic environment of competition and cooperation where various and influential interactions emerged.
Furthermore, diversified natural resources (from vineyards to mining) shaped economic trade and generated new group identities that often challenged traditional Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim roles in society.
Virtual Plasencia is part of the Revealing Cooperation and Conflict Project. The collaborative entity that is digitally recreating the virtual world of medieval Plasencia assembles geovisualization experts, historians, geographers, linguists, and computer scientists in the U.S.A., Switzerland, and Spain as well as global “citizen scholars”. Additionally, we have secured collaborative agreements and endorsements from key Spanish institutions, including the City of Plasencia (Ayuntamiento de Plasencia); Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura, y Deportes); and Centro Sefarad Israel. Dr. Roger L. Martinez-Davila serves as the Project Director and Dr. Victor R. Schinazi (Co-PrincipaI Investigator) is the technical leader. For more information, download our more comprehensive storyboard (RCCP Storyboard 10 June 2014).
Our first version of this 3D world, and the accompanying web portal, is the collaborative work of:
University of Colorado
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology/ETH-Zurich
University of Wyoming
University of Texas Libraries
Zatun (Graphic design company)
Interview with Roger Martinez: