Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Enemies in the Plaza

Enemies in the Plaza: Urban Spectacle and the End of Spanish Frontier Culture, 1460-1492

Thomas Devaney
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Enemies in the Plaza
    Book Description:

    Toward the end of the fifteenth century, Spanish Christians near the border of Castile and Muslim-ruled Granada held complex views about religious tolerance. People living in frontier cities bore much of the cost of war against Granada and faced the greatest risk of retaliation, but had to reconcile an ideology of holy war with the genuine admiration many felt for individual members of other religious groups. After a century of near-continuous truces, a series of political transformations in Castile-including those brought about by the civil wars of Enrique IV's reign, the final war with Granada, and Fernando and Isabel's efforts to reestablish royal authority-incited a broad reaction against religious minorities. As Thomas Devaney shows, this active hostility was triggered by public spectacles that emphasized the foreignness of Muslims, Jews, and recent converts to Christianity.

    Enemies in the Plazatraces the changing attitudes toward religious minorities as manifested in public spectacles ranging from knightly tournaments, to religious processions, to popular festivals. Drawing on contemporary chronicles and municipal records as well as literary and architectural evidence, Devaney explores how public pageantry originally served to dissipate the anxieties fostered by the give-and-take of frontier culture and how this tradition of pageantry ultimately contributed to the rejection of these compromises. Through vivid depictions of frontier personalities, cities, and performances,Enemies in the Plazaprovides an account of how public spectacle served to negotiate and articulate the boundaries between communities as well as to help Castilian nobles transform the frontier's religious ambivalence into holy war.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9134-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    Magical swords can be useful things. While preparing an invasion of Muslim-ruled Granada in 1407, the Castilian prince and regent Fernando “de Antequera” made his headquarters in the city of Seville. During his stay, he visited the cathedral of Santa María la Mayor and gazed on the funeral effigy of King Fernando III, a hero of the “reconquest” who had captured the city as well as much of the rest of Castilian Andalucía from the Muslims in the thirteenth century. A fourteenth-century description of this effigy noted that “in the right hand is a sword, said to be of great...

  5. PART I

    • CHAPTER 1 The Anatomy of a Spectacle: Sponsors, Critics, and Onlookers
      (pp. 27-51)

      On 5 June 1465, about sixty years after Fernando de Antequera took up his holy sword, a group of rebellious nobles ritually deposed an effigy of King Enrique IV and crowned his half brother Alfonso king. As with the earlier event, the so-called Farce of Ávila was consciously intended to make a political statement by invoking symbolic powers and was meant to be seen by as many people as possible. The conspirators took great care to conduct it in an accessible location and to ensure that the stage was visible from every angle. The essential elements of the ritual were...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Meanings of Civic Space
      (pp. 52-78)

      For Miguel Lucas de Iranzo, the birth of his son and heir was a momentous occasion, one that he marked with a flurry of celebrations, both public and private, that lasted several days.¹ He began by formally presenting baby Luis to the people of Jaén. Well-wishers were admitted to his palace in strict order (nobles and officials, then noblewomen and their maids, merchants, artisans, peasants, and finally common women). Miguel Lucas then emerged to the shouted congratulations of the crowd and, hoisted on the shoulders of two knights, joined an impromptu parade to the church of Santa María Magdalena. There...

  6. PART II

    • CHAPTER 3 Knights, Magi, and Muslims: Miguel Lucas de Iranzo and the People of Jaén
      (pp. 81-106)

      Miguel Lucas’s career in Jaén, captured in lush detail by an anonymous biographer, was an encounter between Castilian court politics and frontier culture that was both atypical and emblematic. He was an outsider, the constable of Castile, who came to Jaén with the explicit intent of exacerbating hostilities with Granada in the hope of redeeming a sullied reputation. But he immediately embarked upon an extensive program of pageantry meant to deflect, rather than intensify, religious tensions in Jaén. His was, at the time, the most ambitious attempt yet to transfer the traditional entertainments of the nobility to an urban setting....

    • CHAPTER 4 A “Chance Act”: Córdoba in 1473
      (pp. 107-136)

      The anti-conversoviolence that raged through Jaén, and indeed all of Andalucía, in 1473 was sparked in Córdoba by what Alfonso de Palencia called a “chance act” (un hecho casual). In early March of that year, Córdoba’s Cofradía de la Caridad (Brotherhood of Charity) conducted a procession down the Calle de la Feria bearing an effigy of the Virgin Mary. As they passed through the Cruz del Rastro, a small but busy market square near the river, a young girl spilled some fluid, likely water, from a window overlooking the square (see Map 2). The home in which she stood...

    • CHAPTER 5 Murcia and the Body of Christ Triumphant
      (pp. 137-167)

      During Enrique IV’s reign, internal conflicts and a lack of political will had made a sustained war of conquest against Granada impossible. The king’s brief campaign in the 1450s was more an attempt to display the trappings of holy war than a serious effort to displace the Muslim presence in Iberia. Later in his reign, even this was beyond Enrique’s capabilities as he sought truces in order to focus on wayward nobles, leaving the war, such as it was, in the hands of frontier lords whose resources or inclinations rarely permitted anything more ambitious than traditional border raiding. This state...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 168-176)

    It is perhaps a bit passé to end a book on Spanish history in 1492, but it is appropriate here. As discussed in the previous chapter, the fall of Granada at the beginning of that year had profound implications for the amiable enmity that had characterized the frontier zones of Castile. In addition to removing or, at the least, greatly lessening the physical anxiety that had intensified contradictory reactions to religious minorities, the conquest gave legitimacy to those factions within Castilian society who aimed to remake it into an exclusively Christian one. This push toward social and religious uniformity resulted...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 177-212)
    (pp. 213-214)
    (pp. 215-236)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 237-244)
    (pp. 245-246)