Diego Hurtado de Mendoza

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza was a Spanish poet, diplomat, and humanist. He was born to a family that had helped expel the Moors from Spain in 1492 and which had close ties with the Catholic Church and the Inquisition. He joined the traveling court of Charles V in 1532 and became an ambassador, first to England and then to Venice in 1539. While struggling to keep Venice in the Holy League of Charles V, Diego became a grain merchant and hosted a number of famous artists, poets, and architects, like Titian, Pietro Aretino, and Jacopo Sansovino. In 1543, he began gathering books and Greek manuscripts to form a personal library.

In 1545, Diego attended the Council of Trent and shortly afterwards became Charles V’s ambassador to Rome, during a time of increased tension between the Holy Roman Emperor and Pope Paul III. He was also given a tumultuous governorship in Siena, which he lost in 1552 during military campaigns. He left his position in Rome to fight under the Emperor in the 1550s. In 1569, after a fight in Philip II’s court, Diego was imprisoned and sent back to Granada in disgrace. While in exile, he wrote Guerra de Granada, a history of the war in Granada. Upon his death, Diego left all of his belongings, including his library, to Philip II.

Spivakovsky, Erika. Son of the Alhambra: Don Diego Hurtado De Mendoza, 1504-1575. Austin: U of Texas, 1970.