Why is Lope´s era called the Golden Age?

Because it was golden, it truly shone. In the decades between the publication of Nebrija's Gramática castellana, in 1492, until the death of Calderón in 1681, new aesthetics and new literary genres were born in Spain. In that time such a quantity of artistic work was produced, and of such a great influence in literature and universal art that it deserves, without a doubt, to go down in history as the classic era of Spanish culture.
Indirectly, the expression "Golden Age" mentioned on the one hand, in a silva (type of verse) by Lope, El Siglo de Oro, included in the posthumous publication La Vega del Parnaso, and, on the other, in the Discurso de la Edad de Oro, by Cervantes, in El Quixote.

The first time the expression "Golden Age" was used, was the middle of the 18th century in the publication Orígenes de la poesía castellana (1754), by Velázquez de Velasco, academic in the Real Academia de la Historia (Royal Academy of History).

However, it was George Ticknor, professor of Spanish Literature at Harvard University and author of History of Spanish Literature, who, in the 19th century and inspired by Don Quixote, baptized the period between 1492 and 1681 as the 'Golden Age' of Spanish literature, classic, fertile period of Spanish culture, of the Renaissance of the 16th century and the Baroque of the 17th century.

  • Silva (medieval verse form) entitled El Siglo de Oro, by Lope de Vega (last part)

Viendo, pues la divina verdad santa
la tierra en tal estado;
el rico idolatrado,
el pobre miserable,
a quien ni aun el morir es favorable,
mientras más voces da menos oído,
el sabio aborrecido,
escuchado, y premiado el lisonjero,
vencedor el dinero,
Josef vendido por el propio hermano;
lástima y burla del estado humano,
y entre la confusión de tanto estruendo,
Demócrito riyendo,
Heráclito llorando;
la muerte no temida,
y para el sueño de tan breve vida,
el hombre edificando
ignorando la ley de la partida;
con presuroso vuelo
subiose en hombros de sí misma al cielo.

  • Discurso de la Edad de Oro (II part, chapter XI of El Quixote)

"Dichosa edad y siglos dichosos aquellos a quien los antiguos pusieron nombre de dorados, y no porque en ellos el oro, que en esta nuestra edad de hierro tanto se estima, se alcanzase en aquella venturosa sin fatiga alguna, sino porque entonces los que en ella vivían ignoraban estas dos palabras de tuyo y mío".

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