Alfonso X, Cantigas de Santa Maria: “Como Santa Maria ajudou a Emperadriz de Roma”/ “How the Virgen Mary Helped the Empress of Rome”

Alfonso X was king of “Castilla, León, Sevilla, Córdoba, Murcia, Jaén, and el Algarbe.” As evidenced by his title, he came to have possession of various kingdoms in Iberia. He was born in Toledo in 1221 and died in Seville in 1284, at 63 years of age. He is called the Learned King because he was an author, poet, musician, and historian, and because he supported artists and translators. Furthermore, he employed Christians, Jews, and Muslims in his translation workshop in Toledo.

His Cantigas de Santa Maria is a repertoire of songs compiled in four manuscripts between 1257 and 1283. The Cantigas consist of 420 narrative songs that focus on the Virgen Mary and the miracles that she performs across Christendom. Originally, the text was written in Galician-Portuguese, from the northeast region of Iberia. Galicia is the site of Santiago de Compostela, the final destination of the pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago (Saint James’s Way). Each story is comprised of text, images, and music. The combination of texts and images portrays day-to-day life and, often, the less-documented common peoples of the Middle Ages in Europe.

This unit, edited by Diane Burke Moneypenny and Allison Carberry Gottlieb, contains the original text in Galician-Portuguese of Cantiga 5, “How the Virgin Mary helped the Empress of Rome.” The Spanish version (for use in contexts where the language of instruction is Spanish) has an introduction, notes, and translation into modern Spanish (by Sol Miguel-Prendes). The English version has an English introduction and notes, and an English translation of the Cantiga.

[English]

[Spanish]

Francisco Núñez Muley, Memorial (Granada, 1566)

The Edict of 1567, or Anti-Morisco Edict, was promulgated by Spanish King Philip II on January 1, after being approved in Madrid on November 17, 1566. Its purpose was to eliminate specific Morisco customs, such as their language, dress, and dances. Núñez Muley’s Petition is an attempt to persuade Christian authorities to delay enforcing the 1567 Edict. The author lists each of the prohibitions and refutes their effectiveness. He compares Morisco customs to those of other Christian and Muslim communities in the Mediterranean and argues that the prohibitions will not eradicate any putative Islamic practices but instead erase Morisco cultural identity. Moriscos, he claims, are sincere Christians and loyal subjects who support the king’s decisions.

This unit, edited by Lisette Balabarca Fataccioli, has two versions, one with the introduction, notes, and original text in Spanish (for use in contexts where the language of instruction is Spanish), another with the introduction and notes in English, and the original Spanish text with facing English translation.

[Spanish] [English]

Leyenda de la Doncella Carcayçiyona (Aragón, ca. 1587)

Pedagogical edition, transcription, and translation of the Aljamiado-Morisco Legend of the Damsel Carcayçiyona (Aragón, ca. 1587) found in MS J57 of the Biblioteca Tomás Navarro Tomás, CSIC, Madrid. A variant of the folktale of the “handless maiden,” this narrative details the conversion of the pagan princess Carcayçiyona to Islam and the trials that befall her.

The English version contains a short introduction in English, a transliteration of the Aljamiado into Latin characters, and English translation translation, accompanying notes, and a short bibliography.

The Spanish version contains a short introduction in Spanish, a transliteration of the Aljamiado into Latin characters, a modern Spanish translation, accompanying notes, and a short bibliography.

[English version]

[Spanish version]

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Omar Patón, Memorial de ida y venida hasta Makka (Memoir of the journey to and from Mecca) (Castile, 15th c.)

Omar Paton was one of the last Castilian Muslims to complete the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. He undertook the journey from his home city of Ávila (Castile), departing in 1491. Upon his return from the East, Paton depicted the experiences and emotions he lived during his long and dangerous pious expedition in his Memoir of the Journey to and from Mecca.

This bilingual unit contains a brief introduction to the Memoria with notes and a short bibliography in Spanish and English versions. Both contain an edition of an excerpt of the original aljamiado text relating Patón’s experiences in Alexandria, Damascus, and Jerusalem, accompanied by a Spanish modernization or English translation for use in classes with either language as the language of instruction.

Types of courses where the text might be useful: Spanish literature, Spanish history, Islamic studies, Mediterranean Studies

[English version] [Spanish version]

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Anónimo, La danza general de la Muerte (s. XV)

The Danza general de la muerte (Dance of Death) (late 14th-century) is a rhymed dialogue in Castilian in which death personified greets one victim after another. It is the earliest of 3 extant Castilian versions of the Dance of Death, which was popular across Europe in the Middle Ages. The Dance of Death gives expression to the premodern view that death is inevitable regardless of social class or religious affiliation. The Castilian version reflects the realities of medieval Iberian society, and death’s victims include Christians, Muslims and Jews. The work shows people from the highest positions, the emperor and the pope for example, to the lowest, the friar and parish priest. The figure of Death as depicted in this work may be a reflection of the multi-faith society of premodern Iberia. Death is not described in detail, but it is nowhere described as a skeleton, as it is often depicted in other European dances of death. Death has elements associated with the angels of death from the Jewish and Muslim traditions.

This unit contains an edition of the medieval Castilian text, accompanied by an introduction and notes in both Spanish and English versions:

[English version] [Spanish version]

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Mocedades de Rodrigo (ca. 1300)

The Mocedades de Rodrigo is an epic poem in Castilian that narrates the fictional deeds of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the young Cid. The prose narrative of his youth first appears in 1295. The unique version in verse is preserved in a much later manuscript (ca. 1400). The poem includes the early history of the families of the poem’s two main protagonists, Rodrigo and the king of Castile, Fernando I, before focusing more exclusively on their relationship. These protagonists and their ancestors are linked by their struggles to preserve their individual independence as well as that of their clan, nation, and ultimately all the kingdoms of Spain. Rodrigo first emerges as a fierce yet reluctant vassal of the king, but by the poem’s final episode he has earned the king’s respect and become his most trusted counselor and valuable warrior.

This is a pedagogical edition of a selection of the Mocedades de Rodrigo (ca. 1300) with a short general introduction, notes, and brief bibliography. The edition and translation are by Matthew Bailey (2020). The Spanish introduction and notes were translated by Sol Miguel-Prendes.

Types of courses where the text might be useful: History, literature, and culture of medieval Spain, Epic poetry, Chivalric culture.

[Spanish version] [English version]

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Pablo Tac, Conversión de los Saluiseños de la Alta California (c. 1840)

Conversión de los Saluiseños de la Alta California (Conversion of the Saluiseños of Alta California) (c. 1840) by Pablo Tac is the only published document written by an indigenous Californian during the Spanish-Mexican period. Born at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, north of San Diego, California in 1820, Tac wrote the manuscript while studying to be a Catholic priest at a seminary in Rome. Conversión de los Saluiseños is Tac’s attempt to present the history and customs of his people, the Quechnajuichom (Luiseños), to a readership unfamiliar with Native American life.

While part of the work deals with the encounter of the Tac’s ancestors with Spanish missionaries and soldiers that ultimately led to the founding of Mission San Luis Rey, the bulk of Conversión de los Saluiseños paints a portrait of life at the mission through the eyes of a native person. Tac portrays the mission as a native community under Spanish dominion, which strives to preserve its traditional ways while adapting to a new political and cultural order. As an indigenous ethnographer addressing a European audience, Tac is perhaps the final representative of a group that includes personalities such as Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Huaman Poma de Ayala and Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl.

[English version] [Spanish version]

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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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