By Max Harris
In villages and cities throughout Spain and its former New global colonies, neighborhood performers level mock battles among Spanish Christians and Moors or Aztecs that diversity from short sword dances to large road theatre lasting numerous days. The competition culture formally celebrates the triumph of Spanish Catholicism over its enemies, but this doesn't clarify its patience for greater than years nor its common diffusion.
In this insightful ebook, Max Harris seeks to appreciate Mexicans' "puzzling and enduring ardour" for gala's of moros y cristianos. He starts by means of tracing the performances' roots in medieval Spain and exhibiting how they got here to be superimposed at the mock battles that were part of pre-contact Aztec calendar rituals. Then utilizing James Scott's contrast among "public" and "hidden transcripts," he finds how, within the palms of people and indigenous performers, those spectacles of conquest grew to become prophecies of the eventual reconquest of Mexico through the defeated Aztec peoples. Even this day, as full of life descriptions of present gala's make simple, they continue to be a remarkably subtle automobile for the communal expression of dissent.
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Extra resources for Aztecs, Moors, and Christians : festivals of reconquest in Mexico and Spain
Alford had read the report of the Lleida dance of Moors and Christians in Mariano Soriano Fuertes’s Historia de la música española . . (1855). ” In the absence of further bibliographical data (or even a ﬁrst name) from Soriano, I have concluded that the Teixidor in question must be José Teixidor y Barceló, who, in 1804, published in Madrid the ﬁrst volume of his Discurso sobre la historia universal de la música. Unfortunately, the ﬁrst volume deals only with ancient music, such as Hebrew, Egyptian, Chaldean, Greek, and Roman.
Mention of a “company of Moors and Christians” precludes the work of a solo minstrel but not of a minstrel troupe of the kind described by Ibn Quzman. Linking the performance to the “many dances” that went ahead of the royal couple suggests a processional sword dance of the kind that still precedes the image of the town’s patron saint in parts of Aragon and Catalonia. But this is almost certainly misleading, since danza is a term used, at least by modern writers, very loosely in this context, and there is, in any case, no veriﬁable record of a danza de espadas in Spain before 1451.
I know of no single term that embraces all the royal entertainments, civic spectacles, church processions, calendar rituals, mock battles, and narrative dances that have blossomed on this particular theatrical family tree. I have therefore chosen to describe all these performances, whether high- or low-born, as “traditional” or “folk” theater. Folk theater is, after all, what the tradition, for all its aristocratic roots, became by the seventeenth century. For some people, “folk theater” conjures up an image of quaint incoherence.
Aztecs, Moors, and Christians : festivals of reconquest in Mexico and Spain by Max Harris