ʿAlī ibn Ḥazm, Risāla fī rithāʼ madīnat Qurṭuba (A Treatise on Lamenting the City of Cordova) (Cordova, 1031)

This unit contains an English translation of an Arabic treatise composed by ʿAlī ibn Ḥazm (d. 1063) to lament the capital of the province of Córdoba, a city in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. This treatise was composed during the civil war (fitna) that started in 1009 and ended in 1031 with the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba. The importance of this treatise is that, in addition to being written by the well-known Andalusian philosopher, theologian, jurist, historian and poet Ibn Ḥazm, it depicts the devastated city of Cordova during a critical period in the history of the Muslim-ruled Iberian Peninsula.

This unit includes two sections: the first one consists of a brief introduction to the historical context of the treatise and its composer, in general, and the civil war (1009-1031), in particular. The second section of the unit includes an English or Spanish translation of the treatise in addition to the original Arabic text, and a short bibliography. Types of courses where the unit might be useful: Literature, history of medieval Spain, al-Andalus, Maghreb, translation, elegies, Arabic poetry.

[English version]

[Spanish version]

 

Juan Latino, “On the Birth of Untroubled Times” (De natali serenissimi) (1572)

Juan Latino, “On the Birth of Untroubled Times” (De natali serenissimi) (1572)

This unit draws attention to the remarkable publication debut of Juan Latino, Europe’s first known Black poet. In 1572 he published an epic poem in Latin hexameters to commemorate Spain’s victory in the Battle of Lepanto (1571). While this poem celebrates the naval victory and praises the Spanish king, Philip II, its presents Juan Latino’s own claim to lasting fame as a poet. Here too, Latino asserts that his unique stature as a Black poet makes him the ideal poet to celebrate an internationally important naval victory. He also denounces color prejudice directed at Blacks in the Spanish court as counterproductive to the king’s goals of extending his rule to overseas territories.

The bilingual unit offered here includes the original Latin verse, accompanied by an English translation, with an English introduction, explanatory notes, and short bibliography by Elizabeth Wright. It will be useful for classes on Spanish literature, early modern Spanish history, literature of the African diaspora, and courses that examine the contributions of Blacks in Renaissance literature.

[English version] [Spanish version]

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Conversos and Identity (poems of Comendador Román and Antón de Montoro, excerpts from Andrés Bernáldez’s Memorias and the Libro de Alborayque (late 15th century)

Conversos and Identity (poems of Comendador Román and Antón de Montoro, excerpts from Andrés Bernáldez’s Memorias and the Libro de Alborayque (late 15th century)

This is a pedagogical edition of the medieval Castilian texts with English introduction, translation, notes, and bibliography by Ana Gómez Bravo, of a series of excerpts of late fifteenth-century texts related to the cultural practices (perceived and actual) of judeo-conversos, or Jews who have converted to Christianity.

It includes an introduction providing historical and cultural context, selections of the anti-converso verse of Diego Román (d. ca. 1490), poetry of converso poet Antón de Montoro (d. 1483), and excerpts from historian Andrés Bernáldez’s (d. 1513) Memorias and the anonymous anti-converso treatise Libro del Alborayque or Book of Alborayque.

This unit is part of Open Iberia/América, an online, open-access teaching anthology of texts from the premodern Hispanic world. https://openiberiaamerica.hcommons.org/ This file is the .rtf formatted English version, with introduction and notes in English, and the text in facing medieval Castilian/English translation.

[English version] [[Spanish version]

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Cantar de Mio Cid (ca. 1200)

This is a pedagogical edition of a selection of el Cantar de Mio Cid (ca. 1200) with a short general introduction, notes, and brief bibliography. The edition and translation are by Matthew Bailey (2019).

The Cantar de Mio Cid is the only complete surviving epic poem in Castilian. It relates the quasi-historical exploits of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (d. 1099), a low-ranking Christian noble from outside Burgos who went on to become a powerful warlord and (temporary) ruler of Valencia. The poem traces the trajectory of Díaz’s disgrace at court, exile, and eventual triumph and restoration to the good graces of his king, Alfonso VI of Castile.

[Spanish version] [English version]

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Juan Ruiz, Libro de buen amor (ca. 1335)

Juan Ruiz may or may not be the author of the Libro de buen amor (‘Book of Good Love’) (ca. 1335), a jocular and disorganized miscellany of songs, fables, and first-person misadventures of a priest very much unlucky in love.

The English version has an introduction and notes in English, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian/English translation. The Spanish version has an introduction and notes in Spanish, with the primary text in facing medieval Castilian and modern Spanish.

Mary-Anne Vetterling provides us with a selection of passages from the work in two parts:

Part 1: The Debate Between the Greeks and the Romans, The Story of Pitas Payas, Painter from Brittany, Fable of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse

[English version] [Spanish version]

Part 2: The Prophecies for the Son of King Alcaraz, Greed and the Fable of the Dog and his Reflection, The Properties of Money, The Encounter with the Mountain Woman (serrana), Characteristics of Small Women

[English version] [Spanish version]

Have you used these units in the classroom (or elsewhere)? Please share your experience in the comments!