Thirteenth-century codex found missing since the civil war

by Lorraine Williamson
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MADRID – The Guardia Civil has recovered the Fuero de Brihuega (Guadalajara). This is a mid-13th century codex. Furthermore, it had been missing since the Civil War in late 1938. However, it was handed over to the mayor of the city on Friday. 

The document dates back to the year 1242 when the Archbishop of Toledo Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada granted jurisdiction to the city of Brihuega. It has been found “invaluable” and in good condition. 

Its contents are known thanks to the work of archaeology professor Juan Catalina García. He was able to study it before it disappeared. Furthermore, he published a book in which he described it in full, the Guardia Civil stated. 

The codex consists of more than 70 pages and is written on parchment. Two thick walnut planks protect it. These are joined at the bottom to the jurisdiction with four sturdy strips of sheepskin. 

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The jurisdiction includes a set of legal norms and the penalties for violating them. It also includes the signature of the Archbishop and other ecclesiastical authorities who later signed it. 

Saved by a soldier during the war 

A soldier prevented the document from burning during the civil war when the military unit he was part of took Brihuega, the Guardia Civil reported. The son of that man turned the Fuero over to the Guardia Civil so that they could return the valuable document to Brihuega. That was the express wish of his late father. 

The codex was delivered by the Guardia Civil to the mayor of Brihuega, Luis Viejo Esteban, at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Guardia Civil took the opportunity to explain that people with documents in their possession of which they cannot prove their lawful origin can rely on the Guardia Civil to ensure their return to the appropriate authorities in a way that benefits all citizens. 

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