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A King Travels

A King Travels: Festive Traditions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain

Teofilo F. Ruiz
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    A King Travels
    Book Description:

    A King Travelsexamines the scripting and performance of festivals in Spain between 1327 and 1620, offering an unprecedented look at the different types of festivals that were held in Iberia during this crucial period of European history. Bridging the gap between the medieval and early modern eras, Teofilo Ruiz focuses on the travels and festivities of Philip II, exploring the complex relationship between power and ceremony, and offering a vibrant portrait of Spain's cultural and political life.

    Ruiz covers a range of festival categories: carnival, royal entries, tournaments, calendrical and noncalendrical celebrations, autos de fe, and Corpus Christi processions. He probes the ritual meanings of these events, paying special attention to the use of colors and symbols, and to the power relations articulated through these festive displays. Ruiz argues that the fluid and at times subversive character of medieval festivals gave way to highly formalized and hierarchical events reflecting a broader shift in how power was articulated in late medieval and early modern Spain. Yet Ruiz contends that these festivals, while they sought to buttress authority and instruct different social orders about hierarchies of power, also served as sites of contestation, dialogue, and resistance.

    A King Travelssheds new light on Iberian festive traditions and their unique role in the centralizing state in early modern Castile.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4224-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. CHAPTER I Festivals in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-33)

    On the 14th of May 1554, Prince Philip, already the king-consort of England’s Queen Mary and a mere two years away from becoming the ruler of the vast Habsburg inheritance in Spain, Italy, Flanders, North Africa, and the lands across the Ocean Sea, departed Valladolid for La Coruña. There a small fleet waited to transport him to his joyless and unfruitful marriage and to face the displeasure and opposition of many of his English subjects.¹ Andrés Muñoz, a servant (lacayo) of the nine-year-old and ill-fated Prince Don Carlos (Philip’s son from his first marriage) published an account of Philip’s sojourn...

  6. CHAPTER II The Meaning of Festivals: A Typology
    (pp. 34-67)

    In 1559, Philip II sent hisaposentador(head of household) to Toledo to make preparations for his first formal entry into the city as king and for the entry of his new wife, Isabelle of Valois, one year later.¹ Similarly, towards the end of 1584 and in the opening days of the next year, Philip II put into motion preparations for his forthcoming long journey through his eastern kingdoms. Hisaposentador mayor, Don Diego de Espinoza, was sent to Zaragoza to make the royal palaces there fit for the king’s visit and to procure suitable accommodations for the high nobility...

  7. CHAPTER III Royal Entries, Princely Visits, Triumphal Celebrations in Spain, c. 1327–1640
    (pp. 68-112)

    Shortly after reaching fourteen years of age, declaring his majority, and beginning the task of putting an end to the nefarious and greedy rule of his tutors, the new young king, Alfonso XI (1312–1350), toured his realm, seeking to restore order throughout Castile and Leon. His perambulations through his assorted kingdoms led him from Valladolid to Burgos, and from there to Toro. Along the way he meted out harsh justice to unruly nobles and arranged his betrothal to the daughter of the always-troublesome Infante Don Juan Manuel (a wedding soon forsaken because of Don Juan Manuel’s treachery and ambitions)....

  8. CHAPTER IV The Structure of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Royal Entry: Change and Continuity
    (pp. 113-145)

    With their roots in Roman triumphal entries and in Jesus’ reception into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, royal and princely entries and/or visits functioned as sites of memory. Although deeply embedded in syncretistic traditions that conflated the Roman past with the Christian opening of Holy Week, the entry as it developed in the Middle Ages—and was further modified in the early modern period—represented a novel way of articulating princely authority, or, as we have seen and will see again, of contesting that authority. But whether playing as age-old patterns or as variations on those patterns, entries became deeply woven...

  9. CHAPTER V A King Goes Traveling: Philip II in the Crown of Aragon, 1585–86 and 1592
    (pp. 146-192)

    On Tuesday November 17, 1592, Philip II, already tormented by severe attacks of gout, arrived at the famous monastery of Irache in the middle of a fierce snowstorm.¹ After a light collation, a visit to the monastery, and a quick glance at the many relics stored there, the king proceeded to Estella, one of the kingdom of Navarre’s most important cities, a mere quarter of a league away. Outside the gate, he was met by the city officials who, carrying a ceremonial palio to cover the king, brought him into the city with great solemnity. The civic authorities were dressed...

  10. CHAPTER VI Martial Festivals and the Chivalrous Imaginary
    (pp. 193-209)

    On 1 January 1434, Suero de Quiñones, a member of Alvaro de Luna’s retinue, came to the court of John II of Castile wearing full armor and an iron collar on his neck, and accompanied by nine knightly friends. Once in the presence of the king and all the great men and prelates gathered at Medina del Campo, thefaraute(herald) Avanguarda read Suero’s long petition to the king. Since, as Suero argued, he was a prisoner of love (hence his iron collar), he requested of the king the privilege of holding a pas d’armes near the bridge on the...

  11. CHAPTER VII Kings and Knights at Play in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain
    (pp. 210-245)

    The origins of tournaments in Western Europe can be traced back to classical sources and to a sparse number of references to events that looked like tournaments in the Central Middle Ages. While these early mentions provide interesting glimpses of the genealogy of fictitious combat, it was the twelfth century that truly saw the formal beginnings of these traditions of artificial warfare that would hold such a powerful grip on the European imagination for many centuries to come. Closely tied to courtly culture and in a symbiotic relationship with the great outburst of courtly literature that took place in the...

  12. CHAPTER VIII From Carnival to Corpus Christi
    (pp. 246-292)

    In Juan Ruiz’s canonical text, theLibro de Buen Amor (Book of Good Love, composed around 1337), the author includes a delightful aside, telling of the iconic battle between Lord Carnality (Don Carnal) and Lady Lent (Doña Cuaresma) held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, that is on Mardi Gras. In the text, we come face to face with the easy flow between the world of the everyday, of food and pleasure, the world of matter, and the highly somber and austere period that precedes the commemoration of Jesus’ death and resurrection. A focus of the story is Lady Lent’s...

  13. CHAPTER IX Noncalendrical Festivals: Life Cycles and Power
    (pp. 293-330)

    On May 13, 1543, a young Philip, barely sixteen years old, married by proxy the princess Doña María of Portugal. The Spanish ambassador to the Portuguese court, Don Luis Sarmiento de Mendoza, stood for the prince in concluding a series of nuptial negotiations agreed more than five months earlier on December 1, 1542.¹ In an earlier chapter, I glossed the events that surrounded Doña Maria’s crossing of the border into Castile. We have seen the elaborate procession that accompanied her ritual entry under a red palio into Salamanca, where her espousal to Philip was to be consummated. The arrogant young...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 331-334)

    On Sunday, September 13, 1598, after a long and painful illness, Philip II, king of Castile, Aragon, Valencia, and numerous other kingdoms, and prince of Catalonia, and duke of Burgundy, died. His valiant and pious end brought an age to a close. If we could—making liberal use of Giordano Bruno’s wonderful work on the art of memory—imagine the king’s memory as a house or palace, many of the rooms would have been crammed with regrets and longings. From political defeats—the insurrection in the Low Countries, the defeat of the not-so-invincible Armada, the spread of Protestantism, and the...

  15. APPENDIX The Feasts of May 1428 at Valladolid
    (pp. 335-338)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 339-344)
  17. Index
    (pp. 345-356)