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TROELS FREDERIK LUND (1840- )

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 123 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TROELS FREDERIK LUND (1840- ), Danish historian, was born in Copenhagen on the 5th of September 184o. He entered the university of Copenhagen in 1858. About the age of thirty he took a post which brought before his notice the treasures of the archives of Denmark. His first important work, Historiske Skitser, did not appear until 1876, but after that time his activity was stupendous. In 1879 was published the first volume of his Danmarks og Norges Historie i Slutningen of det xvi. Aarhundrede, a history of daily life in Denmark and Norway at the close of the 16th century. Troels Lund was the pioneer of the remarkable generation of young historians who came forward in northern Europe about 188o, and he remained the most original and conspicuous of them. Saying very little about kings, armies and governments, he concentrates his attention on the life, death, employments, pleasures and prejudices of the ordinary men and women of the age with which he deals, using to illustrate his theme a vast body of documents previously neglected by the official historian. Lund was appointed historiographer-royal to the king of Denmark and comptroller of the Order of the Dannebrog. There was probably no living man to whom the destruction. of the archives, when Christiansborg Castle was accidentally burned in 1884, was so acute a matter of distress. But his favourite and peculiar province, the MSS. of the 16th century, was happily not involved in that calamity. Master of Santiago, and favourite of King John II. of Castile, was the natural son of Alvaro de Luna, a Castilian noble. He was introduced to the court as a page by his uncle Pedro de Luna, archbishop of Toledo, in 141o. Alvaro soon secured a commanding influence over John II., then a mere boy. During the regency of the king's uncle Ferdinand, which ended in 1412, he was not allowed to be more than a servant. When, however, Ferdinand was elected king of Aragon, and the regency remained in the hands of the king's mother, Constance, daughter of John of Gaunt, a foolish and dissolute woman, Alvaro became a very important person. The young king regarded him with an affection which the superstition of the time attributed to witch-craft. As the king was surrounded by greedy and unscrupulous nobles, among whom his cousins, the sons of Ferdinand, commonly known as the Infantes (princes) of Aragon, were perhaps the worst, his reliance on a favourite who had every motive to be loyal to him is quite intelligible. Alvaro too was a master of all the accomplishments the king admired—a fine horseman, a skilful lance and a writer of court verse. Until he lost the king's protection he was the central figure of the Castilian history of the time. It was a period of constant conflict conducted by shifting coalitions of the nobles, who under pretence of freeing the king from the undue influence of his favourite were intent on making a puppet of him for their own ends. The part which Alvaro de Luna played has been diversely judged. To Mariana he appears as a mere self-seeking favourite. To others he has seemed to be a loyal servant of the king who endeavoured to enforce the authority of the crown, which in Castile was the only alternative to anarchy. He fought for his own hand, but his supremacy was certainly better than the rule of gangs of plundering nobles. His story is in the main one of expulsions from the court by victorious factions, and of his return when his conquerors fell out among themselves. Thus in 1427 he was solemnly expelled by a coalition of the nobles, only to be recalled in the following year. In 1431 he endeavoured to employ the restless nobles in a war for the conquest of Granada. Some successes were gained, but a consistent policy was impossible with a rebellious aristocracy and a king of indolent character. In 1445 the faction of the nobles allied with Alvaro's main enemies, the Infantes de Aragon, were beaten at Olmedo, and the favourite, who had been constable of Castile and count of Santesteban since 1423, became Grand Master of the military order of Santiago by election of the Knights. His power appeared to be thoroughly established. It was, however, based on the personal affection of the king. The king's second wife, Isabella of Portugal, was offended at the immense influence of the constable, and urged her husband to free himself from slavery to his favourite. In 1453 the king succumbed, Alvaro was arrested, tried and condemned by a process which was a mere parody of justice, and executed at Valladolid on the 2nd of June 1453. The Chronicle of Alvaro de Luna (Madrid, 1784), written by some loyal follower who survived him, is a panegyric and largely a romance. The other contemporary authority—the Chronicle of John II.—is much less favourable to the constable. Don Jose Quintana has summarized the two chronicles in his life of Luna in the Vidas de Espanoles celebres; Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles (Madrid, 1846-188o), vol. xix.
End of Article: TROELS FREDERIK LUND (1840- )
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