Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Concerning What Happened to a Sencschal of Carcasona

Another time, when Count Lucanor was conversing with Patronio, he spoke to him in the following manner:

"Patronio, as I know that death is unavoidable, I would now, while I have yet time, found some work of charity which may hereafter be applied for the benefit of my soul, and of which good act all the world may be cognizant. I pray you, therefore, to advise me how best to accomplish this end."

"My lord," said Patronio, "whatever you do, whatever may be your object, or whatever your intentions, act always with honour and justice. But, as you desire to know how a man should act so as to benefit his soul and increase his reputation, I should be much pleased by being permitted to relate to you what happened to a Seneschal of Carcasona."

Exempla, Don Juan Manuel, and the Medieval Conscience

The Libro de los Enxiemplos del Conde Lucanor et de Patronio ("Book of the Exempla of Count Lucanor and of Patronio", usually just called "El Conde Lucanor" for short) is a fourteenth-century book of stories in the medieval genre known as the exemplum. An exemplum is a short anecdote about people with an obvious moral, told to illustrate some philosophical point; El Conde Lucanor is full of examples of the genre which shed light on its grand diversity of sources.

In El Conde Lucanor, the eponymous count is presented as having some problem in his life, and going to his advisor Patronio for assistance. In each case, Patronio tells him an exemplum, and the count realizes how it applies to his situation; in each case, the story is then told to Don Juan Manuel (author of El Conde Lucanor), who sets it in writing and adds a rhyming couplet which states the moral.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ballad of the Loss of Alhama

The Moorish king was passing
Through the city of Granada
From the gate known as Elvira
To the one called Vivarrambla
Ay de mi, Alhama!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Onfim and Children's Art

How do children draw? Schematically. Badly. And, as it turns out, a lot like how they did 800 years ago.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cantigas de Amigo

The cantigas de amigo, or "songs of a lover," are a genre of lyric poetry written in Galaic-Portuguese (a language ancestral to modern Portuguese and Galician) during the 12th and 13th centuries in the northwestern Iberian, reaching its zenith during the reign of Alfonso X of Castile. Their structure and content contrasts with contemporary poetry from other regions, as well as with other Galaic-Portuguese lyric, making it probable that they reflect an indigenous Iberian tradition of love poetry. Indeed, the only obvious parallel is with the Mozarabic kharja tradition, also unique to the Iberian.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do You Suppose That He Will Come Today?

Did you see, mother, when my friend
promised that he would come to speak with me?
Do you suppose that he will come today?