By Max Harris
In villages and cities throughout Spain and its former New international colonies, neighborhood performers degree mock battles among Spanish Christians and Moors or Aztecs that diversity from short sword dances to giant highway theatre lasting a number of days. The pageant 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 fairs of moros y cristianos. He starts off by way of tracing the performances' roots in medieval Spain and displaying 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 unearths how, within the fingers 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 present day, as vigorous descriptions of present fairs make undeniable, they continue to be a remarkably subtle car for the communal expression of dissent.
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Additional resources for Aztecs, Moors, and Christians : festivals of reconquest in Mexico and Spain
We may, therefore, have to modify Scott’s suggestion that there are just three transcripts to which we must pay attention if we are to understand any given power relationship or human conﬂict. For, in addition to the public transcript and what we may now have to call the conscious hidden transcripts of the powerful and the weak, there are also the unconscious hidden transcripts of both parties. The interplay between them takes various forms. In the danza de los santiagos, there is both a conscious hidden transcript of resistance to Spanish domination (revealed in the masks) and 26 2.
2 But the surviving evidence suggests that the early moros y cristianos owed far more to the tournament and the epic than to pre-Christian seasonal rites 31 part two: spain, 1150 – 1521 and is, in any case, too fragmentary to demonstrate an orderly advance of the drama with the frontier. I am aware of very few accounts of mock battles between Moors and Christians before 1492. The two earliest reports depend on secondhand nineteenth-century citations of manuscripts now lost, and the ﬁrst evidence of a sustained tradition of local performances comes from the ﬁfteenth-century Barcelona Corpus Christi procession, which regularly included a dance of Turkish infantry and Christian hobby horses.
Did the ladies of the audience join hands in a courtly dance with the newly converted Moors? This would have been dramatically more satisfying and, if the actors were not really “servants” but knights in the service of the nobility, would not have violated social order. But why would martial music have accompanied such a dance of reconciliation? A remote but intriguing possibility is that the “instruments of war” were neither swords nor musical instruments but some of the very ﬁrst ﬁrearms, saluting Chris38 4.