On 4 October 1618, Philip Ill’s favourite, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, a man widely regarded as responsible for the corruption, nepotism and venality of the preceding years, was finally forced from power, though not before he had procured for himself a cardinal’s hat.1 He was removed in the end by a king who, unwilling to devote himself, and anyway unsuited to affairs of state, had for years depended instead on Lerma, having in 1612 effectively delegated to him wholesale the authority to govern Spain. Now, though, the monarch had become disillusioned with his valido. 2 The palace coup, engineered by an opposing faction that included the king’s confessor, Fray Luis de Aliaga, and even Lerma’s own son and immediate successor, the Duke of Uceda, did little to improve things in the short term. But the mere fact that things had finally changed at least allowed for some freshening of the political climate. As Lerma’s grip on power loosened, and in a renewed and increasingly febrile atmosphere of political and economic crisis and growing recognition of the need for further, radical change, political debate in all quarters intensified.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Moral Condemnation Spanish Literature Early Modem Love Potion
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