Biography of Diego de Saavedra Fajardo (1584-1648)

Writer, politician and Spanish diplomat born in Algezares (Murcia) 6 may 1584 and died in Madrid in 1648. Throughout his life he was in the service of the Spanish monarchy, specifically by King Felipe III and Felipe IV. He was descended from a Galician family of ancient lineage, and was the last of five brothers. His father was don Pedro Saavedra and Avellaneda, and his mother Fabiana Fajardo Brian. In 1600 he moved to Salamanca, where he continued studies of jurisprudence and cannons. Later, in 1608, he went to Rome as Secretary to Cardinal Gaspar de Borja, city in which remained until 1620, and where he performed various diplomatic tasks related to Italy. In 1607, he had already received the habit of the order of Santiago, and in 1617, received appointment as a Canon of the Cathedral of Santiago, although it seems that it never had major orders.

In 1623 he became part of the Council of State, which left in 1633 to travel as Ambassador to Germany and the Swiss cantons. Continued diplomatic task until 1640: first attended the election of the Emperor Fernando III as King of the Romans (1636), then took part in a diplomatic mission in Munich (1637), went to another in Burgundy (1638), to travel immediately to the cantons Esguizaros and attend the General diet of the Empire in Regensburg. In 1640 he was in Vienna, and already in 1643, he returned to Spain. He received the appointment of Royal Secretary, came as Spanish Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Münster (with imperial Catholics and French) and the Congress of Osnabrück (with imperial Protestants and Swedish), where was the pacification of Europe and caught the peace of Westphalia (1643). A new honor came to be elevated to the position of supernumerary of the Council of the Indies and, at the end of his life, was in charge of the election and formation of ambassadors. Retired from all political activity in 1646, died at his home in Madrid on August 13.

The decline of the Spanish according to Saavedra Fajardo monarchy

Literary work

In his youth, and even in his maturity, he wrote poetry, like most cults Spaniards of the time. His young years are preserved several Latin epigrams, although it is later very little lavished in the cultivation of his lyrical vein, and always in Spanish, whether any poem preliminary to the book from a friend (as that is incorporated into the disappointment of fortune of Gutierre Marqués de Careaga, Madrid, 1612) or a composition encomiastica Felipe IV, to alanceado a bull a late October of 1631 (this poem was picked up by José Pellicer de Salas and Tovar in Amphitheater of Felipe el Grande). Around that same time Saavedra went on to write a number of satirical pamphlets, of which preserved which are titled sighs of France and the Dispertador to the thirteen cantons esguizaros; on the other hand, are believed to also own the Indisposizione generalle della monarchia di Spagna (1630) and the response to the manifesto of France (1635).

In 1631 he devoted to the Count-Duke of Olivares their introductions to the policy and reason of State of King Catholic don Fernando, unfinished work remained in manuscript until the 19th century. Inside was inserted a Treaty of political theory which corresponds to the first part of the title, and a mirror of politicians that Saavedra chose Fernando el Católico (had, therefore the head on the same model as Machiavelli in the past to write the Prince). The fact that this great project was unfinished and, therefore, non-printing can be explained, perhaps, because it was overtaken completely by another more ambitious: his Idea of a politico-cristiano Prince. Between average still would come several works of importance, almost always linked to his work as a diplomat, case of his speech on the present state of Spain, in 1637. Next year is their relationship... the day that made the year 1638 to the County of Burgundy by order of his Majesty.

In 1640, his Idea of a politico-cristiano Prince, represented by one hundred companies, that shows us a quite idealized, imaginary monarch appeared in Munich. In 1642, in Milan, a second edition revised in depth, saw the light so it should speak in purity of redrafting. Until the end of the 17TH century they took to the streets to fifteen editions, which highlights the undeniable success of this work; in it, like Quevedo in the politics of Dios, Saavedra uses proverbs and images of Sacred Scripture as issues which we consider as true Treaty policy, while in the book, which continues along the trail of the old regiments of princes (in fact, his dedication directs it to Prince Baltasar Carlos(, premature death), abounds in one of the most successful subjects at the time: the literature of emblems or companies, after the powerful model of Andrea Alciato and his legion of followers. Saavedra laconic style in this great work goes well with the spirit of the regiments (in which surplus all literary flourish) and the very essence of the emblems, supported as they are in all the possible substantial sentences. The book is offered as the sum of the experiences of Saavedra in his wandering across Europe, as the work of someone who has lived, knows and he knows; in general, in the interior is committed to a novelty in the invention that clearly responds to one of the anxieties of the Baroque artist in his treatment of the legacy models.

Under the pseudonym, and already posthumous, saw the light lucianesque satire judgment of Arts and Sciences. Its author, don Claudio Antonio de Cabrera (Madrid, 1655), better known as literary Republic (title with which would run from the second edition of 1670); However, quite a few scholars put into question the authenticity of this work, of which two versions are known: the first of to 1640 and other more primitive's to 1612. The differences between them are detected in deletions and additions, replacement characters and examples, in the filing of certain concepts or teasing and the increase in scholarly citations. Saavedra lambastes the different intellectual professions in this work: the humanist paid himself the misleading, fallacious doctor and many other scholars of different areas of knowledge.

Even let other writings, such as the lucianesco dialogue follies of Europe (ca. 1643-1645, although published in 1748), work of political content that reflects the model of Alfonso de Valdés, and presents certain mists in regards to his authorship. Success also had this politico-apologetica work, in that they defend the claims of Spain against other Nations (with the enemy France in mind), which was titled Crown gothica, castellana and Austrian and whose first part was completed in 1645 to give it to the printer the following year (Münster, 1646). With their wording, Saavedra sought to show the role of the Goths in the history of Spain and move to a possible Alliance that not even ruling out a possible wedding between a widowed Felipe IV and Queen Cristina.

Aside, the Crown soon reveals its character of continuation with respect to the project that Saavedra had managed to build with his Idea of a Prince politico-cristiano, with chapters (thirty in total, which deals with the life of thirty-six Visigoth Kings), they are articulated on opening remarks by moral or political content. In this work of old age, Saavedra reach high erudition, to support its work in over four hundred Spanish and European authorities even if the sources (in the eyes of a reader of our days) reveal unequal completely, because the medieval chroniclers (incorporating as much legend texts), the Renaissance historiographers and up to the false cronicones have a place. The mood of the work is, in any case, a very literary piece, with an elaboradísimo style and quality in the reported that addresses historical background to the rigor and authenticity. The work was continued by the Royal chronicler Alonso Núñez de Castro (1671), who indicates that it availed themselves of the own Saavedra materials; in the third part (1677), however, there is nothing apparently belonging to this author.


VILLAGE, Q. Spain and Europe in the 17TH century. Correspondence of Saavedra Fajardo. Madrid, 1986.

DOWLING, J. Diego Saavedra Fajardo. Boston, 1977.

FRAGA IRIBARNE, M. Don Diego de Saavedra Fajardo and the diplomacy of his time. Murcia, 1956.

GONZALEZ DE ZARATE, J. M. Saavedra Fajardo and emblematic literature. Valencia, 1985.

JOUCLA-RUAU, TO. The implicitness of Saavedra Fajardo. Paris, 1977.

MURILLO FERRIOL, F. Saavedra Fajardo and the politics of the Baroque. Madrid, 1957.

SAAVEDRA FAJARDO, D. Obras complete. (ed. A. González Palencia). Madrid, 1944.

-: Literary Republic (ed. J. C. Torres). Barcelona, 1985.

-: Empresas Políticas (ed. F. J. Díez de Revenga). Barcelona, 1988.

-: Ibidem (ed. S. López pools). Madrid, 1999.