Espanyol honorable: Competing claims over the classical legacy in Italy and Iberia

Rodríguez Porto, R. M. (Guest lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


The construction of Spain—not so much Portugal—as an ‘exotic nation’ in the wider European scenario already in the Middle Ages and, above all, in the Early Modern Era, has concealed the most remarkable trait of the Iberian historiographical production: its pervasive fixation with the Greco-Roman past of the Peninsula. Although this fact might be regarded as common trait with other European realms, truth is that Iberian narratives of translatio were instrumental not only in preserving the memory of a classical legacy shared by the different peoples living on the peninsular soil, but also in the institution of a collective imagined geography, that of the old Roman Hispania which, strikingly, was to function as the common frame of reference for the different kingdoms that came into being there during the Middle Ages.
As Robert B. Tate and Ángel Moreno pointed out, over the course of the fifteenth century the proud assertion of the Iberianness of Roman emperors such as Trajan or of writers like Seneca, Lucan and Orosius gave rise to a heightening debate among Italian and Hispanic humanists, who regarded dismissively the latters’s achievements. Yet, the scrutiny of the books—texts and images—collected by some of these Castilian and Aragonese reveals not only their dexterity in moving between Italian and Burgundian cultural realms but also an extraordinary sophistication in the modulation of so-called ‘archaeological’ and ‘anachronistic’ views of the ancient past of Iberia.
Period7. Jul 2017
Held atAmerican Comparative Literature Association
Degree of RecognitionInternational