Hechos del condestable don Miguel Lucas de Iranzo: Crònica del siglo XV. Front Cover. Juan de Mata Carriazo. Marcial Pons, – History – pages. Hechos del Condestable Don Miguel Lucas de Iranzo (crónica del siglo XV) at – ISBN – ISBN Paris, ———. ”Les formes dramatiques primitives du théâtre espagnol d’ apre`s ‘Los hechos del condestable don Miguel Lucas de Iranzo’ (–).

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Introduction Letter Reviews Articles Abstracts. Announcements Call for papers Las fiestas en la cultura medieval. In this handsomely produced volume, Miguel Angel Ladero Quesada, one of Spain’s premier medievalists, provides a survey of the literature on medieval festivals and ceremonies, with a strong emphasis on fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Castile. The book has five chapters: Within this framework, the author provides typologies for festivals including calendric and extraordinary, sacred and profane, religious, politico-military, and “ludic,” or popular.

While Ladero Quesada employs these typologies to give the book its structure, he reminds the reader that the frontiers between them are often blurred. The author places great emphasis on the pervasiveness of calendric festivals, both ecclesiastic and agricultural, which were a hallmark of medieval life.

In addition to Sundays, there were festivals specific to each diocese, municipality, or town; those to celebrate patron migufl and more universal celebrations such as Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, and Carnival. Over the centuries, festivals accumulated, amounting in some places to a hundred days a year.

Municipalities, bishops, popes, and kings sought to limit their number, often on the grounds that the frequent cessation of work was overly burdensome, especially to laborers who worked for wages.


There are clear distinctions between Spanish festivals and those elsewhere in Europe. The Reconquista left its mark in eastern and southern Spain.

The relationship between the king and the populace may also have been different; Ladero Quesada sees unique traits in certain political ceremonies of Castile.

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In the case of royal entries-the elaborate receptions of iranzi king, his family, and his entourage inside the walls of a municipality-the author argues that, unlike elsewhere, one does not see a ” progresivo distanciamiento ” between the royal administration and the populace While the first four chapters introduce the various categories of medieval festivals, it is in the fifth chapter where the author provides an in-depth look at actual practices.

Perhaps the most useful discussion is that on the history of torneosjustasand other chivalric competitions, since the author describes and untangles for the reader the many usages and terms for these events in Spanish, French, and Italian.

The Iberian Peninsula saw primarily three d of competitions. The justa between two knights, fighting one-on-one, originated at the end of twelfth condestabel and saw its apogee in the fifteenth. The fourteenth century saw the development of the paso de armaswhich was inspired, according to the author, by romances concerning King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Iarnzo.

In this event, one knight defended a bridge, pass, or object from a number of different assailants, a sort of chivalric king-of-the-hill.

The appendix is an interesting addition and will certainly stimulate new avenues of research. Iranzo enjoyed meteoric promotion under Enrique IV, eventually becoming condestable. The citizens, knights, and ecclesiastics under his rule were under something of an obligation to participate, imposing a heavy burden.


At times in this book there is a distracting reliance on secondary quotations, causing the author’s voice to get lost. Also, the cndestable apparatus is a bit cumbersome.

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The endnotes lack page numbers, and there are instances where the sources for quotations are difficult to determine. A subject index would have substantially increased the utility of the book. Despite these drawbacks, Las fiestas en la cultura medieval is well organized and easy to read and outlines the major issues and themes bearing on the study of medieval festivals.

There is an excellent bibliography, which is especially valuable for pointing the reader to a score of volumes arising from specialized symposia and colloquia, as well as several regional monographs. An important contribution of this book is that it “Europeanizes” the discussion of medieval festivals and ceremonies.

While the author does highlight the Spanish experience expanding and broadening the work of his colleagues and students at the Universidad Complutensehe also provides frequent comparative examples from England, France, and Italy.

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