Tears of Weakness, Tears of Love: Kings as Fathers and Sons in Medieval Spanish Prose
2017 (English)In: Tears, Sighs and Laughter: Expressions of Emotions in the Middle Ages / [ed] Per Förnegård, Erika Kihlman, Mia Åkestam, Gunnel Engwall, Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 2017, 77-97 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
A striking example of the paradoxical relationship between the roles of king and father can be found in the Chronicle of Alfonso X (Crónica de Alfonso X), written by Fernán Sánchez de Valladolid in the 1340s, on behalf of the ruling King Alfonso XI of Castile and León. In the midst of political turmoil and civil war raging because of a succession crisis, Alfonso is reached by false news of the death of his second son, Sancho (later IV), and is struck by grief. His counsellors, upon seeing his reaction, are mortified. In all probability this particular scene is not principally based on written evidence but a product of the chronicler’s imagination, and to understand this scene, we must consider what it was meant to convey to the intended audience of a historical discourse at court. How are we then to approach the emotions of people in the Middle Ages, when they are so far away in time, and so ephemeral? Certainly we cannot be sure to reach anything more than an assumption of what this or that person may have felt in a particular situation. Nevertheless, the attitudes held towards emotive expressions and the ways in which they were interpreted are accessible to us. The shedding of tears is a constant human gesture, while its signification and cultural relevance are not. The meanings attributed to crying men and women vary according to each historical situation, with each cultural context or emotional community (to use a phrase coined by Barbara Rosenwein). As historians we need to be sensitive to the particular context in which emotional expressions were constructed. This article examines crying, the emotions connected thereto, and the portrayal of kings as fathers and sons in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Spanish prose, in varying literary genres. The aim is to offer some reflections on the attitudes taken towards lachrymose behaviour, and to reach some insight into the distinction between the public and the private, the political and the emotional life in said context.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 2017. 77-97 p.
Konferenser / Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademien, ISSN 0348-1433 ; 92
history of emotions, emotional communities, Medieval Castile, moderation, medieval fatherhood, medieval kingship, public and private, Alfonso X, Crónica de Alfonso X, Jaume I, Libre dels fets
känslornas historia, medeltidens Spanien, måttfullhet, medeltida faderskap, kungarollen, offentligt och privat, Alfonso X, Jaume I
Research subject History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107160ISBN: 978-91-7402-447-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-107160DiVA: diva2:1074972