In the Library of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, is displayed in a prominent place, a luxurious work in three volumes. Its title, "Arms and origins of the nobility of the Austrias", gives an incomplete idea of the purpose and content of the manuscript. The three books in 500 x 352 mm. format, contain a description of the world from biblical times until the middle of the 16th century, treated in the first volume from a chronological historical perspective; the second volume is on topographical principles, in order of dominions and countries; the third deals with the social order, especially regarding the role of the aristocracy vis à vis the empire and the populace. The work is dedicated to Philip II and dated 1547-48.
The texts are in Latin and German, and their historical dimension is in their relation to Charles V, whose universal empire is seen as the result of an historical process which started with Noah. Thus the first volume, "Historia originis et succesionis regnorum et imperiorum a Noe ad Carolum V", 193 folios with 227 miniatures showing figures, 5 of them presented as models, demonstrates the empire as originating with Old Testament prophecy.
The second volume, "Historia originis et nobilitatis Hispaniae et Germaniae", 218 folios, 137 miniatures, is in the form of an hierarchical presentation, of European countries and their possessions, beginning with the Kingdom of Spain, following through principalities and counties to independent feudal states like Russia and Switzerland, listing their sovereigns from as far backas mythical and legendary times.
The third volume of the codex, "Historia nobilitates et torneamentorum", 202 folios with 31 miniatures, is devoted to the nobility, its origins back in mythology, and its rights from moral and political viewpoints.
We have 3 facsimiles of the manuscript "Book of Dynasties":
- Historia Genealógica y Heráldica (Vol. I) facsimile edition published by Testimonio Compañía Editorial, 1997
- Historia Genealógica y Heráldica (Vol. II) facsimile edition published by Testimonio Compañía Editorial, 1997
- Historia Genealógica y Heráldica (Vol. III) facsimile edition published by Testimonio Compañía Editorial, 1997