The sacred face of war : irredentist ideology in early Spanish literature
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation, titled “The Sacred Face of War: Irredentist Ideology in Early Spanish Literature,” reveals how the Reconquest, the idea that Iberian lands belonged in Christian hands because they had been ruled by the Visigoths in the sixth and seventh centuries, was in part a literary invention of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. This study examines three works from this period, De rebus Hispaniae by Jiménez de Rada (1170-1247), Primera Crónica General de Espanna by Alfonso el Sabio (1221-1284), and the Fuero Juzgo (thirteenth century), to show how these works promoted or perpetuated a Visigothic memory among Iberian Christians who looked to the former rulers of the Peninsula as their ancestors. This dissertation then explores six other works of this era, the Codex Calixtinus (mid-twelfth century), the Historia Compostellana (first half of the twelfth century), and the Chronica Adefonsi Imperatoris (mid-twelfth century) in Latin and the Poema de Fernán González (mid-thirteenth century), the Cantar de Mio Cid (twelfth century), and the Primera Crónica version of the Siete Infantes viii de Lara (mid-thirteenth century) in the vernacular. These works use pilgrimage imagery, and especially references to the cult of St. James, whose shrine was in Santiago de Compostela, to recall the Visigothic historical memory in terms that construed that vision of the past as part of a divine plan to reinstate Christian rule on the Peninsula. In so doing, these works motivated Christian warriors and their supporters to focus their energies against the Iberian Muslims rather than against each other.