“Privilegio Rodado,” Confirming the Change of the Estate of Mejorada, in Terms of a Tax, for Vineyards in Valladolid, Made Between the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria, Valladolid, and Fernán Rodríguez, Chamberlain of Prince D. Pedro


The privilegio rodado is a late-medieval Spanish court document that takes its name from the great wheel that appears in the document and affirms its validity. It is the only type of royal document that bears the wheel for this purpose. The use of the wheel can be traced to the papal court of Leo IX, in the middle of the 11th century, and became prevalent from the 12th century. Already in Las Siete Partidas (seven-part statutory code, also referred to as Las Partidas), Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon (known as Alfonso the Wise, 1221–84), defined the characteristics of a privilegio rodado. The medium should always be parchment; the seal should be lead; and the type of thread used to attach the seal should be red, green, or some other color of silk. The purpose of the wheel was, among other things, to avoid falsifications. During the reign of Alfonso XI (1311–50), Spain continued to enact laws stipulating how work in the royal chancellery was to be performed and documents expedited. Presented here is a document from the Cortes of Madrid of 1329. The Cortes was a council summoned to aid the monarch, endorse royal actions, or raise taxes for military campaigns, and this was Alfonso’s first Cortes as king. Such documents had an established order: the crismon (Chi Rho emblem of Christ, seen at top left); the subscription or inscription (of the author, in this case Alfonso XI, who is named along with all his lands in the established formula); the addressee (to whom the document is directed); and the salutation (not present in this document). After these formalities, the text itself appears, arranged in a series of steps: first, a preamble; second, a notification, that is to say, a brief formula that introduces the statement of purpose; and finally, the disposition, meaning the juridical action that gave rise to the document. Lastly, the date and the great wheel appear; here it has an internal wheel in which is the shield of Castile and Leon. The privilegios rodados were highly regarded, particularly valued for the refinement of the pieces, the design, the wheel, and the crismon.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Privilegio rodado, confirmando el cambio de la heredad de Mejorada, en término de Fita, por unas viñas en Valladolid, hecho entre el Monasterio de Sta. Mª la Real (Valladolid) y Fernán Rodríguez, camarero del Infante D. Pedro

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 folio : parchment ; 65 x 54 centimeters


  1. Roger Bigelow Merriman, “The Cortes of the Spanish Kingdoms in the Later Middle Ages,” American Historical Review, 16, no. 3 (April 1911).

Last updated: July 8, 2015