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Abstract

In the Middle Ages, Castilian monarchs traveled throughout their realm in order to assert power and perform justice. However, the expansionary activities of the thirteenth century increasingly made rarer the ability for a king to be physically present in all parts of his kingdom. As a result, the king and his court sought other ways to make the power of the king ubiquitous. This article will examine one particular facet of promoting the king located in charters: the presence of contemporary events in the dating clause. It will argue that these markers, while not unique to Castilian-Leonese charters, underpinned an articulation of kingship built upon socio-political and religious actions. The resulting circulation of such news in turn bolstered the authority, reputation and stability of the crown. Focusing on the charters of Fernando III, king of Castile-León (r. 1217-1252), the article will trace the identity construction in charters of a pious and martial monarch and the subsequent dissemination of the documents through the performance at the place of composition as well as the destination. Consequently, through the use of charters, the image of king and kingship found circulation throughout the entirety of his realm and ultimately placed the majesty of the king before a population who increasingly did not interface with its monarch.