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The “False Chronicles,” Cardinal Baronio, and Sacred History in Counter-Reformation Spain


The forged histories known as the “false chronicles” touched upon many controversial matters in early-modern Spain. Less familiar to scholars is that the forger, Jerónimo Román de la Higuera, was also reacting to the Roman reforms spearheaded by Cardinal Cesare Baronio. Higuera’s 1589 letter to Baronio reveals his principal preoccupations, as well as the maneuvers that he would later employ in the false chronicles. These included direct interventions by Higuera on behalf of communities such as Sigüenza, which were attemptinag to protect local historical and hagiographic traditions that they believed were jeopardized by Baronio’s revisions of the Church’s liturgical texts.