The Duke of Alba gave everything to serve his king

September 23, 2013

Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, III Duke de Alba Painted by Titian

Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, III Duke de Alba Painted by Titian

Far more than merely a general, [the Duke of Alba] was also an active creator of Spanish military power. For over forty years he led the campaigns of the crown in the peninsula and in Europe, administered the army’s supplies, coordinated military and naval movements, organized payments and liaised with the soldiers. His family alliances in Italy were almost as powerful as those of the crown itself, and helped to consolidate Castilian authority there…. But none of his efforts was directed to his personal betterment, indeed his expenses in the royal service helped to create a debt that his family was still struggling with a hundred years later. On his sickbed in Portugal he claimed quite truthfully that he had spent all he had in the royal service.

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Henry Kamen, The Duke of Alba (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004), 157-8.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 319

 

 

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