ABSTRACT

The present attempt to piece together Anchieta’s life, and the place of his extant works within it, draws as much as possible on primary documentary source material, from payment documents to correspondence by the composer as well as royal ambassadors and members of the royal family he served, and accounts by contemporary chroniclers. Inevitably, this documentation is incomplete, and the correspondence contingent on political and social realities and circumstances that are often difficult to read accurately after so many centuries. Wherever possible, the main aim has been to contextualize the primary sources that refer directly in some way to Anchieta through a wider selection of contemporaneous documentary material relating to the institutions where the composer worked, in order to provide as “thick” a description as possible of the composer’s biography (see Appendix 2 for details of his itinerary while in royal service). 1 The subsidiary aim to make the account as coherent as possible, despite the inevitable gaps in documentation—or indeed because of them—may well prove illusory; hopefully, one day, further information will come to light to elucidate those areas that are still in shadow.