Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain 1487504055, 9781487504052

Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain features essays by leading scholars in the fields of literary studies and the his

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Table of contents :
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Great Theatres of the World
Part One: Technologies of Knowledge
1 From Mesopotamia to Madrid: The Legacy of Ancient and Medieval Science in Early Modern Spain
2 The Technological Environment of the Early Modern Spanish Stage
3 Gridded Fascinations: Early Modern Drama’s Geometric Synthesis
Part Two: Stages of Science
4 Curing the Malady of Lovesickness: Medicine and Physicians in Early Spanish Theatre
5 Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia
6 The Soul under Siege: Strategy and Neostoicism in Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá
Part Three: Performing Numbers
7 Figures of Arithmetic: Numeracy, Calculation, and Accounting in the Comedia
8 Automatons and the Early Modern Drama of Skepticism
9 Daedalean Epistemology: Staging the Labyrinth of Knowledge in Velázquez’s Las Hilanderas and Calderón de la Barca’s Los tres mayores prodigios
Conclusion: Looking Behind the Curtain: Clues of Early Modern Spanish Science
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Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain



©  University of Toronto Press 2019 Toronto Buffalo London Printed in the U.S.A. ISBN 978-1-4875-0405-2 Printed on acid-free paper with vegetable-based inks.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Science on stage in early modern Spain / edited by Enrique García Santo-Tomás. (Toronto Iberic ; 38) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-4875-0405-2 (hardcover) 1. Spanish drama – Classical period, 1500–1700 – History and criticism. 2. Theater – Spain – History – 16th century.  3. Theater – Spain – History – 17th century.  4. Science – Spain – History – 16th century.  5. Science – Spain – History – 17th century.  6. Science in literature.  I. García SantoTomás, Enrique, editor  II. Series: Toronto Iberic; 38 PQ6105.S35 2019  862’.309  C2018-905256-2 University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial assistance to its publishing program of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Funded by the Financé par le Government gouvernement du Canada of Canada

To Mercedes Alcalá-Galán and Steven Hutchinson, in friendship

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List of Illustrations ix Introduction: Great Theatres of the World enrique garcía santo-tomás


Part One: Technologies of Knowledge 1 From Mesopotamia to Madrid: The Legacy of Ancient and Medieval Science in Early Modern Spain 25 ryan szpie ch 2 The Technological Environment of the Early Modern Spanish Stage 58 alejandro garcía-reidy 3 Gridded Fascinations: Early Modern Drama’s Geometric Synthesis 79 john slater Part Two: Stages of Science 4 Curing the Malady of Lovesickness: Medicine and Physicians in Early Spanish Theatre 103 julio vélez-sainz

viii Contents

5 Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia 123 lourdes albuixech 6 The Soul under Siege: Strategy and Neostoicism in Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá 151 stephen rupp Part Three: Performing Numbers 7 Figures of Arithmetic: Numeracy, Calculation, and Accounting in the Comedia 179 elvira vilches 8 Automatons and the Early Modern Drama of Skepticism 210 seth kimmel 9 Daedalean Epistemology: Staging the Labyrinth of Knowledge in Velázquez’s Las Hilanderas and Calderón de la Barca’s Los tres mayores prodigios 231 matthew g. ancell Conclusion: Looking Behind the Curtain: Clues of Early Modern Spanish Science 250 maría m. portuondo Contributors



1.1 1.2 2.1 7.1 9.1

Biblioteca de El Escorial, Ms. D-I-2, fol. 12v (detail). 44 Uppsala University Library, Copernicana 4 (1), fols. 47v–48r. 49 Sketch of the Montería de Sevilla (1691) 64 Juan de Pareja, The Calling of Saint Matthew (1661) 196 Diego Velázquez, Las hilanderas (ca. 1644–8) 233

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Introduction: Great Theatres of the World enrique garcía santo-tomás University of Michigan

The last decade has witnessed a growing interest in the dialogue between early modern Spanish literature and contemporary scientific and technical innovations taking place in the Iberian Peninsula. This interest has been fuelled by a number of simultaneous developments on both sides of the Atlantic, such as the “coming of age” of the discipline of the history of science in Spain’s academic circles,1 the publication in North America of a number of pioneering books in the fields of colonial and transatlantic studies,2 the engagement with certain philosophers of science like Bruno Latour and Michel Serres by literary and cultural critics, and the relentless work of a select number of Golden Age scholars on the presence of scientific inquiry in Cervantes and his contemporaries.3 Even two emerging areas of interest – so-called animal studies and cognitive studies – have, in some aspects, offered useful tools to understand the fraught relationship of the early modern mind with its surroundings.4 As a result, a new generation of siglodeoristas – some of them gathered in this volume – has managed to explore original and exciting questions that would be difficult to conceptualize without the coalescence of the developments outlined above. The initial results, which reveal a more nuanced and permeable cultural and social scenario in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, offer reasons for optimism, as new connections are established between the giants of the era and certain disciplines like mathematics, mechanics, and astronomy. Literary creation, in fact, proved to be more sensitive than we thought to some of the achievements of the Scientific Revolution, as I have indicated recently,5 and as María M. Portuondo argues in the closing essay of this volume. If the literary field worked as a testing ground for the reception of the new, it is also true that it did so with uneven results. Of all the


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genres that captured the epistemological challenges in the Spain of the Baroque, theatre was the one that most thoroughly covered its complex scenario and the paths that led to it. As many scholars have pointed out, there was not a contemporary phenomenon or a historical event that resisted being staged, as Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca, and his peers proved time and again. Tragedies and comedies – and everything in between – enjoyed a short life in the playhouses because the demand was always high, and the wits of the time had to come up with new themes and formulas to satisfy the appetite of the vulgo. Theatre, in fact, was not only the most versatile and flexible medium, but also the most “scientific,” and the one that most clearly benefitted from the technical innovations of the era.6 This explains the rationale behind this book: Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain explores the relationship between technical innovations in stagecraft such as optics, sound effects, and mechanics, and theatrical events that incorporated scientific content into their dramatic plot lines. Featuring eleven essays by scholars in the fields of literary and cultural studies and the history of science, it focuses on the early modern period in Spain (roughly, between 1500 and 1700) through the birth and development of its playhouses and coliseums alongside the extraordinary success of its major writers. Because of the complexity of the period and the different phases that can be identified within it, and also due to the marked particularities of the playwrights and the spaces analysed, each contributor has focused on his or her field of expertise and on a very select number of texts. The questions they address are different but complementary, and seek to offer a detailed portrayal of the most relevant technical and scientific endeavours of the time. Their essays combine the theoretical and the historical, the representation of a scientific phenomenon in a particular text or author, but also the idea of performance and performativity in cultural artefacts that may not necessarily be labelled as “theatre,” as Seth Kimmel and Matthew G. Ancell explore in their essays.7 Understanding science in a very broad sense, the book thus tackles topics and areas as diverse as chemistry, optics, astronomy, geometry, mechanics, and mathematics, and remains sensitive to the different pace at which these disciplines evolved locally. The main body of essays is preceded by an introductory chapter by Ryan Szpiech that traces the different paths that led to the issues at stake and culminates with a coda by María M. Portuondo that reflects on the state of the discipline while proposing new debates and explorations. All chapters strive for a balance between critical analysis and popularized

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introduction of factual knowledge, as they seek to spark the interest of experts and novices alike.

• A few words on the historical context may help us situate the issues at stake. As David Goodman (159) has written, the geographical position of the Iberian Peninsula explains why the history of Spain and Portugal has in some respects been so different from the rest of Europe. With the Muslim conquest of 711, Arabic cultural influences were more pronounced than anywhere else in Europe, and were still perceptible in the development of science in the early modern period – some of the centres of learning in al-Andalus, such as those in Córdoba, were at the forefront in Europe in fields like mathematics and geometry. Location also determined why Portugal and Spain were the first European countries to undertake those voyages of discovery that led to the acquisition of new knowledge, as their expeditions provided a solid foundation for the development of new technological achievements in subsequent decades. The economic significance of the Spanish treasure fleet and the exploitation of untapped sources from the New World opened new epistemological horizons in the maritime and metallurgical fields. The transition from feudalism to nascent forms of capitalism, along with the incorporation of Spanish territories into trade routes between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, allowed for a number of technological changes that manifested in different forms of innovation. In agriculture, practices such as livestock farming and food production, inventions like water wheels, and novel techniques of irrigation were introduced or perfected by the Muslim population. As Ricardo Padrón and others have demonstrated, seafaring technology inspired new cartographic and astronomical studies coming from commercial and financial institutions in Castile and Aragon. At the same time, a number of financial repercussions resulting from overseas expansion such as inflation, reduced incentives for productive investment, and social and ideological conservatism led to the growth of an academic discipline of economics in Spain. In some cases, trade practices were linked to the Jewish and converted Christian minorities, many of whom were at the forefront of literary innovation as well. During the sixteenth century, universities proliferated in the Iberian Peninsula (Esteban Piñeiro, “Las academias”; García Tapia). Víctor Navarro Brotons and William Eamon have written “one of the most important intellectual developments of late medieval scholasticism,


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such as nominalism, took root in Spain somewhat later than in northern Europe, and coexisted with the humanist movement without any major conflicts. Yet the supposed grip of scholasticism on Iberian science did not, by any means, preclude the study and teaching of the new cosmology” (32). Vestiges of the Black Legend have perpetuated the stereotype of sixteenth-century Spain as a fanatical enemy of progress and innovation, but it was the Inquisition in Rome, not Spain, that prosecuted Galileo, while as early as 1561 Copernicus was allowed to be taught ad vota audientium in Spain’s leading university, Salamanca.8 Some of the most important scientific developments were, indeed, sponsored by the monarchy, and took place in connection with imperial projects, including overseas territorial expansion, the consolidation of rule over newly occupied territories, and the strengthening of a vernacular language able to compete in academic prestige with, Latin, hitherto, the official language.9 Much of this activity took place in newly founded institutions such as the Casa de Contratación in Seville and the Academia de Matemáticas in Madrid.10 A noteworthy example of Spanish scientific ambitions at the time was in 1598, when Philip III launched an open competition for a method of determining longitude at sea.11 As I have written recently, Galileo Galilei himself made an attempt at the attractive prize, as emblematic of a greater concern over what was going on in Madrid’s scientific and artistic circles. It is well known, for instance, that he tried for many years to move there to collaborate with the leading playwrights by sharing his scientific background when it came to stage design and perspectival knowledge.12 He sent a sample of his telescope to Philip IV in the early 1620s with the goal of settling in Madrid and working freely, far from the pressures of Rome. Unfortunately, when it arrived the king received a shattered lens, perhaps reflecting the fate of this ambitious enterprise: shattered dreams for an innovator who paid dearly for his tenacity. But Spain had enjoyed a robust tradition of glassmakers for over a hundred years, and Galileo’s work, in particular his masterpiece The Sidereal Messenger (1610), was read and circulated not only through the teachings and (partial) translation by scientists at the Royal Academia de Matemáticas, but also through unofficial channels in which optics and astronomy mingled with astrology and the maligned practice of the pronóstico, or almanac. Without ever setting foot in Castile, Galileo became the epitome of the scientist-virtuoso in Spain, as the country witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of amateur stargazers as well as local savants who sometimes fashioned themselves as learned visionaries. Spanish satire took advantage of this folie du voir

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like no other genre of the time. Popularized in Spain through the work of the satirist Traiano Boccalini, the motif of the occhiali politici, or political lenses, became one of the most important narrative devices in early modern Spanish fiction. In these satires, mostly taking place in Madrid, the anteojos de larga vista (far-sighted eyeglasses) became a central element as the eye was given the ability to perceive the true reality beyond deceptive appearances. But this capacity revealed two parallel concerns: the adoption of spectacles as a mark of social distinction by a society suffering from the same moral blindness these texts denounced; and the increasing tensions between astronomy and religion, stemming from the use of lenses as star-gazing tools. Framing these anxieties in the contemporary polemics regarding the divulgation of Galileo’s Copernican theses, I illustrated in The Refracted Muse how a simple corrective instrument triggered a fierce debate situated at the very centre of Spain’s uneven modernity. In this fraught transition from a Ptolemaic to a Copernican view of the cosmos in early modern Spanish literature, literary testimonies on this particular problem tackled the issue in fascinating ways. The question, therefore, is not so much how fiction captured the workings of the telescope, but rather how these shifts between freedom and constraint facilitated the consolidation of an entire genre as well as the invention of new lexical tropes in which the major writers of the time, from Miguel de Cervantes to Baltasar Gracián, got involved. Astronomy was, in any case, just one of the many fields of inquiry in early modern Spain. Philip IV was fascinated with pharmacological alchemy, and it is believed that he experimented sub rosa. References to magic, to precious stones, and to the curative uses of new “substances” coming from abroad, such as tobacco and chocolate, abound in early modern Spanish literature, as the official and the clandestine competed for control of scientific discourse. Medicine, for its part, was not free of controversy: the Royal Protomedicato, for example, was pivotal in administering power to royally sanctioned surgeons, who frequently clashed with local physicians and midwives for control of the birthing room. The seventeenth century also witnessed an increasing fascination with anatomy, reflected in the recurring presence of severed and dissected bodies in genres like comedy and the short story – a perfect fit to the Baroque taste for the morbid and the bizarre. At the same time, events like the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the expulsion of the moriscos (Christian converts from Islam and their descendants) in 1609, and the persecution of religious dissidents increased suspicion and self-censorship. This was a limitation, in any case, very different from


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the backwardness that has been traditionally – and unfairly – assigned to early modern Iberia. The thesis among historians that Spain experienced a decline of scientific activity in the seventeenth century because of general economic, social, and political decline has been challenged in recent years. The abundance and richness of scientific and technical inquiry belies a portrait that has now begun to be called into question. But one should not feel triumphalist either: as Goodman and others remind us, one should wonder if all of this seemingly pragmatically scientific and technical activity might have caused Iberia’s relative isolation from speculative thinking.

• Although Spain has long had an illustrious tradition of scholarship on its major authors and salient masterpieces, a vernacular line of work on the development of science in early modern Castile and Aragón – comprising its four main centres of Seville, Valencia, Madrid, and Barcelona – has only begun to develop with the advent of democracy in the late 1970s and the diminishing influence of the Church in civil society. Scholars working in institutions like the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish National Research Council) have turned what used to be a bleak scenario of minor works into a rich and kaleidoscopic field that has completely changed our view of early modern science in Spain: from a society that was thought to be backward and isolated from its European neighbours to one that, starting with the collecting appetite of its own monarchs, was able to evade the yoke of the Inquisition while still importing foreign ideas, books, and scientific instruments. It has only been in the last twenty years or so that a clear picture of this activity has emerged, thanks to the sustained collaborative effort of scholars in Europe and North America, and with an increasing number of academic conferences that have ironically revealed the scarcity of useful printed materials on the discipline such as monographs, journals, and anthologies – a scarcity that this volume wants modestly to remedy. A different story has been that of Iberia’s cultural scene, which flourished in the early years of the sixteenth century in what is still considered its Golden Age. This was the time of poets such as Garcilaso de la Vega (1501–36) and Luis de Góngora (1561–1627), novelists such as Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) and Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), playwrights such as Lope de Vega (1562–1635) and Calderón de la Barca (1600–81), painters such as Diego Velázquez (1599–1666) and Bartolomé Murillo (1617–82), philosophers such as Luis Vives (1493–1540) and Baltasar Gracián (1601–58), theologians such as Luis de León (1527–91)

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and Teresa de Jesús (1515–82), economic historians such as Juan de Mariana (1536–1624), political theorists such as Pedro de Valencia (1555–1620), polymaths such as Juan de Espina (1563–1645) and Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa (1607–81), astronomers such as the Copernican Diego de Zúñiga (1536–97), and inventors such as the spectacle maker Joan Roget (1550–ca. 1617–24) and the engineer-mathematician Juanelo Turriano (1500–85), just to name a few. Some of them, as was the case of Lope de Vega, studied with the leading scientists of the time, and possessed a strong scientific background that manifested itself in many aspects of their work.13 It comes as no surprise that recent scholarship has revealed a twofold phenomenon visible in their fictional work: on the one hand, a great amount of information on current scientific achievements in Spain and its territories (Portugal was annexed to the Crown from 1580 to 1640); on the other hand, a surprising familiarity with pivotal advances in issues like stage design, hydraulics, sound, and perspective when staging a play. Poets like Lope de Vega and Calderón were, after all, “men of theatre,” writers who were fully involved in many technical aspects of the fiesta teatral when it came to staging their highly successful comedies and tragedies. In this regard, Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain comes at a time when a new generation of scholars has managed to spark a fruitful conversation that did not exist a decade ago, capturing three distinct phenomena: what has been recently called, in Stephen Gaukroger’s book The Emergence of a Scientific Culture, the “emergence of a scientific culture” in Spain; the rise of the playhouse as a technical achievement that allowed for the staging of “science plots”; and the presence of a generation of scholars with the theoretical tools and empirical evidence to speak about these issues. Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain is the first book published in any language to address these phenomena, doing so at a time when scholars coming from cultural studies and history of science are becoming more and more interested in the performance of knowledge, and specifically a knowledge shared through the most popular, versatile, and generous medium of the time. What I label here as “science plays” constitute the most important manifestation not only of how technical knowledge was embedded into the texts, but also of how theatre in itself could deploy scientific knowledge through the empirical use of new findings in optics, mechanics, acoustics, hydraulics, and other important discoveries.

• This book is divided into three main sections: “Technologies of Knowledge,” “Stages of Science,” and “Performing Numbers.” The first one,


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“Technologies of Knowledge,” is made up of three essays that explore the intellectual and physical conditions that facilitated the production of these “science plots.” It begins with Ryan Szpiech’s overview essay, “From Mesopotamia to Madrid: The Legacy of Ancient and Medieval Science in Early Modern Spain,” in which he traces how the growth of science in early modern Europe relied on a long precedent of scientific exploration in the ancient and medieval worlds. The scientific advances of ancient Greece, from Euclidian geometry to Ptolemaic astronomy to Aristotelian natural sciences, were preserved in the Byzantine world of the Eastern Mediterranean after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. This learning was then transmitted to the flourishing culture of medieval Baghdad, which blended ancient Greek wisdom and learning with knowledge received from Persian, Sanskrit, and ancient Mesopotamian cultures. Scholars in Baghdad amassed this syncretistic wealth in Arabic translations that were spread across the Islamic world, from India to Iberia. In his essay, Szpiech shows how a number of these texts came to be translated into Latin and Castilian in Castile in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as Christian armies conquered the lands of Islamic al-Andalus, appropriating the riches of medieval Islamic learning for Christian culture. Many advances of early modern European science – from the Copernican heliocentric model to Newton’s optical theories – built in some way on this history of transmission from antiquity via Baghdad and Toledo. At the same time, as early modern theatre came to engage directly – both technically and thematically – with the burgeoning scientific culture of the day, this history of transmission was often distorted or partly obscured. In surveying the outlines of this transmission history, this chapter establishes the background of scientific knowledge that came to play a pronounced role in early modern Spanish cultural expression while calling into question the terms in which the history of modern science is written. It highlights the particular elements of the medieval transmission of scientific knowledge in the Iberian Peninsula – the translation movement of twelfth-century Toledo and the ambitious projects of thirteenth-century king Alfonso X, “the Learned” – that came to resonate forcefully in early modern theatre, from optics to anatomy to alchemy and beyond. As commercial theatre in Spain grew from the 1560s onwards as a business and a cultural enterprise, so too, argues Alejandro GarcíaReidy, did the technology available to professional actors and actresses with the creation of new theatres, stage machinery, and props. GarcíaReidy’s essay, “The Technological Environment of the Early Modern

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Spanish Stage,” focuses on the intersection of early modern science, technology, and performance that helped shape Spanish theatre as a space of innovation and allowed playwrights to explore new modes of representation. García-Reidy pays particular attention to the scientific and technological developments (in architecture, carpentry, geometry, etc.) behind and within the main spaces of performance. He focuses on the public playhouse, but also on the rooms of the royal palaces, on the Coliseo del Buen Retiro, and on the carts used for sacramental plays. He shows how the physical properties and technical capacities of these stages determined the different ways in which early modern Spanish playwrights and performers could think and embody their texts, and how audiences came in contact with theatrical technology. Early modern Spanish theatre was performed not in the round but on a grid. Its rigidly structured verticality – prominent in every reconstruction of Madrid’s commercial theatres – made it a drama of the y-axis. This orientation was emphasized by the popular taste for hagiographic dramas that traced narratives of heavenward ascent. The stage, however, was not alone in its gridded fascinations. Nearly all of the significant achievements of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in Spain – from the grate-shaped Escorial, to Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, to most of the significant retables – were laid out as a series of rectangles. During the seventeenth century, especially, Spain engaged in a striking variety of projects to rationalize personal and public space, ranging from fencing to gardening and fortification. Early modern Spanish drama organized the affinities among these projects by demonstrating that their geometric designs were conceptually related. In his essay “Gridded Fascinations: Early Modern Drama’s Geometric Synthesis,” John Slater argues that this consolidation of differing forms of applied geometry was a new theorization of what unity of space might mean. The second part of the book, “Stages of Science,” comprises three essays. In “Curing the Malady of Lovesickness: Medicine and Physicians in Early Spanish Theatre,” Julio Vélez-Sainz argues that the discourses of lovesickness in the later Middle Ages (represented primarily by Bernard of Gordon’s Lily of Medicine) and in the early modern period in works such as Juan Huarte de San Juan’s Examen de ingenios intermingle with that of medical practice. He analyses a representative number of plays by Juan del Encina, Lucas Fernández, and Bartolomé de Torres Naharro to show the variety of uses of medical knowledge on the stage and the dialogues between the discourses of science and the arts in the Renaissance. Juan del Encina’s Égloga de Plácida y Victoriano explores the


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suffering of the lovers through the binomial cobdicia (greed) and cupiditia (inordinate passion), thus interrelating semantically the spheres of capital earning and love. The cures for this malady stem from later medieval medical knowledge as understood at court. Lucas Fernández’s Farsa o cuasicomedia de la doncella, el pastor y el soldado examines a wide range of responses to the disease of love that make the characters feel enslaved. The soldier character, the first of its kind in the Spanish tradition, deploys a number of courtly techniques to remedy both maiden and shepherd. Finally, Bartolomé de Torres Naharro’s Comedia Aquilana presents a triad of physicians on stage (Galieno, Polidario, Esculapio), all reminiscent of actual historical figures, to cure Aquilano’s suffering. Each of them embodies a style of medicine that is presented as a means to prevent the development of disease in the protagonist. Through a careful examination of these texts, Vélez-Sainz’s essay measures the sophisticated ways in which the Renaissance practitioners of theatre constructed modes of curing lovesickness stemming from the classical and medieval scientific and artistic traditions. If melancholy was frequently deemed a form of intoxication, early modern times coincided with an epoch marked by an increase in the amount of information available to the public about toxicological matters. Toxicology is a fairly modern scientific field, and yet knowledge of toxic substances and how to use them dates back to antiquity. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, discussions about poison(ing) permeated not only medical-botanical treatises, books on poisons, and journalistic letters, but also other discourses, including political, historical, legal, and theological, meant for different audiences and with disparate purposes. This surge of poison reveals that there was more at play than a mere pull to categorize toxic substances or to spread sensational news. Poison is present in scientific books dealing with nature, where the wordless bodies of herbs, minerals, and animals “speak” their toxicity; in books of secrets, where arcane recipes are publicized; and in herbal dispensaries and apothecary shops, as well as in streets and households. Not surprisingly, it permeates literature, whether as a metaphor for anything psychosomatically harmful or as an all too real murderous weapon. In addition, poison could serve to remind readers of the frequency of harmful elements in the natural world, to underscore the unbridled human capacity to sin, to warn of the earthly and eternal punishments awaiting those who knowingly forsake proper civil and Christian behaviour, or even to instil ideas about groups considered harmful to Spain or to the res publica. Early modern medical writings

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such as doctor Andrés Laguna’s Pedacio Dioscorides Anazarbeo, Acerca de la materia medicinal y de los venenos mortíferos (1555), a translation of Dioscorides’s De materia medica garnished with Laguna’s own observations, illustrations, comments, anecdotes, and detailed descriptions of different poisons and antidotes, made readily available to laymen information previously reserved to medical practitioners. It is known, for instance, that Miguel de Cervantes owned a copy of Laguna’s Dioscorides and, according to many scholars, he made good use of it to describe the varied concoctions used by his characters with manifold intentions, including the tósigo (poison) ingested by Isabel in his exemplary novel La española inglesa. Annals such as Jerónimo de Barrionuevo’s Avisos, which gather miscellaneous news about Madrid, report only a trifling eleven cases of poisoning between the years 1654 and 1658, and yet the theme of criminal poisoning and, in general, of the use of intoxicating substances, proliferated in Spanish comedia. Thus, theatre-goers could experience vicariously the power of poisonous preparations in plays such as Canon Tárrega’s La Duquesa constante and La enemiga favorable, Salustrio del Poyo’s La próspera fortuna de Ruy López de Ávalos, and many others. Given that poison was long associated with the sphere of magic, astrology, and divination, poisoners could be connected to astrologers, medical professionals, and women healers oftentimes described as witches. As Lourdes Albuixech argues in “Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia,” the roles played by toxicatio, and how rudimentary forensics are articulated in early modern Spanish dramatic discourse, have not yet received much critical attention. Her study intends to fill this void. The relation of science and technology to political agency resulted in the development of areas like metallurgy, artillery, and fortifications. Spain’s campaigns against Breda and other Dutch cities raised questions about the technology of artillery and siegeworks and the impact of attrition on civilian populations in besieged cities. The fortification of cities and the means of assaulting such defensive works demanded technologies and techniques often deemed at odds with the traditional ethos of martial heroism. Sieges were also subject to longstanding ethical questions about extending the tactics of war to non-combatants. Stephen Rupp tackles these issues in his essay “The Soul under Siege: Strategy and Neostoicism in Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá.” In this 1632 play, Calderón celebrates the taking by Hapsburg forces of the Protestant city of Breda in the Lowlands, a victory secured through siege tactics of bombardment and blockade. In the context of early modern attitudes towards the uses of armed force, argues Rupp, siege


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warfare presents challenges as a heroic subject. Calderón’s response to these questions centres on the figure of Ambrogio Spinola, commander of the Spanish forces in Flanders and of the assault on Breda. Spinola is presented as exercising command through two sets of skills: technical expertise in the placement and vulnerability of fortifications and mental discipline in the face of the unpredictable dangers and contingencies of warfare. Each of these aspects of Spinola is developed over the course of the play. Through his generalship, Spinola shows a detailed knowledge of the technology and tactics of early modern warfare. He discusses the deployment of fireships to blockade the river Mark with a military engineer, and offers a long description of the defensive works that surround the city of Breda, in a passage that recalls the tradition in Renaissance visual art of engravings of notable battles and sieges. Spinola also displays qualities of fortitude and equanimity that are central to his victory. He attends to despatches and logistical matters when his position is under attack, and his detachment allows him to accept the strategic logic that justifies taking an enemy city by starving its citizens. Spinola’s praise of his Spanish troops recasts the terms in which heroism is defined, stressing restraint and fortitude as the highest of military virtues. Calderón presents knowledge of fortification and Neostoic equanimity as complementary technologies of command. Spinola’s ingenio embraces both the skills of military engineering and control of the self under conditions of siege. The third section of the book is titled “Performing Numbers.” In “Figures of Arithmetic: Numeracy, Calculation, and Accounting in the Comedia,” Elvira Vilches identifies points of contact between religious theatre such as Calderón de la Barca’s La nave del mercader, el mayor mercado del mundo, and the practical knowledge that the arts of commerce exemplify as the precursor of natural knowledge and the rise of science. Vilches suggests that the ubiquitous presence of numeracy, arithmetic, and bookkeeping practices across literary and cultural fields follow the popularity of technical commercial textbooks. She then argues that religious plays illustrate complementary habits of thought associated with mercantile culture. In this genre, profit, loss, debt, reckoning, and accounting assess secular and devotional matters. Plays integrate these terms in the confrontation between passions and interests, while appropriating the technologies of trade to articulate the rationality of penance, redemption, and grace. The performance of ordinary practices – from calculating profit and loss, banking, and managing debt to recording transactions in books of account – transforms the familiar into the

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spiritual. The active interchange and the skills needed to grapple with an expanding monetary economy indicate the cognitive spryness and quantitative sophistication that early modern Spaniards had to develop to sell, purchase, invest, lend, and borrow. While pure or abstract mathematics remained the realm of the elites, these genres show that the use of numbers required inventiveness, cunning, and quick problem solving to pursue wealth and attain salvation. Self-propelled machines known as automatons have a distinguished history stretching from the hydraulic contraptions adorning temples in the ancient world to the bronze talking head owned by the medieval scholastic Roger Bacon, but it was the late sixteenth century’s printed encyclopedias or “theatres” of machines that first consolidated this mechanical tradition as a portable tool for stage and chapel designers, preachers, poets, and philosophers alike. In his essay “Automatons and the Early Modern Drama of Skepticism,” Seth Kimmel writes that this early modern story of automatons reveals baroque artifice as more than a sign of political cynicism or theological skepticism. As Cervantes, Descartes, Hobbes, and others both within and beyond the Iberian Peninsula employed the science of deception to allegorical as well as mechanical ends, they dramatized rather than obscured their new narrative technologies of belief and argumentation. It is difficult to imagine early modern Spanish theatre without the influence of the visual arts, especially considering the numerous connections between playwrights like Calderón de la Barca and painters like Diego Velázquez, born just months apart. In “Daedalean Epistemology: Staging the Labyrinth of Knowledge in Velázquez’s Las Hilanderas and Calderón de la Barca’s Los tres mayores prodigios,” Matthew G. Ancell argues that embedded within Las Hilanderas are several layers of representation that collapse any certainty about where each one begins and ends. Framing one plane of a represented reality within another, the painting produces a labyrinth of both optical configurations and mythological narratives. At the deepest level perspectivally lies the Ovidian myth of the Rape of Europa, which, in following the narrative thread, leads us into the myth of the minotaur and the labyrinth. Ancell examines how the drama of imitation in the fable of Arachne represented in the painting takes us to even deeper questions about the possibilities of knowledge, as implied by the figure of the labyrinth and the minotaur. This phenomenon shares some of the technical questions that concerned Calderón de la Barca in Los tres mayores prodigios (1636): just as the tradition of trompe l’oeil enacts the problem


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of mimesis, the optical puzzle in Velázquez’s work stages – quite literally, as the scene is of a drama and proscenium stage – the problem of perspectiva naturalis or natural vision and therefore puts into doubt empirical knowledge. Over the last decade or so historians have brought new approaches to the study of science and medicine in early modern Spain. As María M. Portuondo argues in the closing chapter of the book, “Looking Behind the Curtain: Clues of Early Modern Spanish Science,” the field has been revisiting old questions and posing new ones with the aim of situating “whatever was happening in Spain and its world” within the larger narrative of the history of science. At the same time, the notion of a unitary grand narrative in science has been questioned by perspectives brought into the field from cultural and social history, as well as methodologies borrowed from the social sciences. This invigorated field of study has broken away from its traditional roots in intellectual history and now employs a remarkable flexibility and creativity in studying “science” in all registers of the human experience. After recapitulating the recent developments in the field written for an audience of nonspecialists in the history of science, this chapter then reflects on what cultural studies, particularly literary ones, can contribute to the field. Portuondo’s piece concludes with some reflections of how the essays in this volume illustrate the potential of exploring the nexus of cultural studies and the history of science in early modern Spain.

• Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain seeks to engage with scholars working in the domains of literary history and cultural studies, performance studies, women’s studies, and urban studies. It touches on topics like censorship, the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Legend, and the influence of Eastern traditions in Spain, not to mention that of the scientific revolution. Because of the circulation of ideas inherent in any form of scientific breakthrough, some essays will also be of pivotal interest to those working on the diplomatic and intellectual relations between Italy and Spain. Since most of the best collaborative work on optics and sound in the Spanish coliseums under the reign of Philip IV (1621–65) resulted from the arrival in Madrid of figures like Cosimo Lotti and Baccio del Bianco, I expect some of the chapters of this volume to be very useful to college professors as well, especially when addressing the transition from open-air corrales to coliseums. Finally, Ryan Szpiech

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and María M. Portuondo’s chapters on the history and current state of the discipline will, I hope, inspire colleagues in all these fields to engage more fully with issues that remain under-studied, like the presence of mathematics in the cultural manifestations of the era.14 In its general scope, as well as in the particulars of its different case studies, Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain aims to be a useful tool for English-speaking undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and scholars. This book examines the complexities of the Baroque cosmos as it was represented onstage, laying bare some of its inner mechanisms. Moving Calderón’s “great theatre of the world” from the theological to the scientific, we see that these theatres of the empirical world are productions of a different kind, but that they are nevertheless performances in which the role of illusion still reigns supreme. I would like to thank the superb editorial team at the University of Toronto Press, especially Suzanne Rancourt, whose support throughout the process has been invaluable. I am also grateful to the anonymous readers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions.

NOTES 1 For a general approach, see López Piñero’s pioneering studies. More recently, see Pimentel, “La monarquía hispánica”; Marcaida López; Navarro Brotons, “La ciencia.” 2 See, for example, Cañizares Esguerra; Safier; Portuondo. 3 See De Armas’s long list of studies on the engagement of early modern Spanish fiction with alchemy, astrology, astronomy, and collecting. On Quevedo’s scientific lexicon, see Tato Puigcerver’s essays; on Quevedo and astrology, see Martinengo. 4 See, for example, the recent books by Simerka and Beusterien. 5 See García Santo-Tomás, The Refracted Muse 1–26; “Fortunes.” For an early discussion on the subject, see Heiple. 6 See, for example, Ruano de la Haza’s classic study. 7 On the performance of scientific knowledge in its different forms, see, for example, Bouza; Eamon; Pimentel and Marcaida; García Santo-Tomás, “Visiting.” 8 On Copernicus in Spain, see Bustos; Fernández Álvarez; Navarro Brotons, “The Reception.” 9 See Navarro Brotons, “La astronomía”; Pimentel, “La monarquía.” 10 Esteban Piñeiro, “La Casa”; González; Navarro Brotons, “El Colegio.”


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11 On this famous episode, see Floristán Imízcoz; Kimmel. 12 On the Iberian reception of Galileo’s major works, see Cardenal Iracheta; López Piñero, “Galileo”; Navarro Brotons, “Galileo y España.” 13 See, for example, Halstead’s studies on Tirso de Molina and Lope de Vega; also on Lope de Vega, see Sánchez Jiménez; Morby; García Santo-Tomás, “Saavedra Fajardo”; and Gasta on Cervantes. González Echevarría has recently defined Calderón de la Barca as a full-fledged Copernican. 14 In this regard, see Schmelzer’s recent study.

WORKS CITED Armas, Frederick A. de. “Heretical Stars: The Politics of Astrology in Cervantes’s La gitanilla and La española inglesa.” Material and Symbolic Circulation between England and Spain, 1554–1604. Ed. Anne J. Cruz. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008. 89–100. – “The Maculate Moon: Galileo, Kepler, and Pantaleón de Ribera’s Vexamen de la Luna.” Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance & Baroque Hispanic Poetry 5.1 (1999): 59–71. – “Saturn in Conjunction: From Albumasar to Lope de Vega.” Saturn from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Ed. Massimo Ciavolella and Amilcare A. Ianucci. University of Toronto Italian Studies Vol. 8. Ottawa: Dovehouse, 1992. 151–72. – The Return of Astraea: an Astral-Imperial Myth in Calderón. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 1986. Beusterien, John. Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez. An Animal Studies Reading of Early Modern Spain. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013. Bouza, Fernando. “Coleccionistas y lectores. La enciclopedia de las paradojas.” La vida cotidiana en la España de Velázquez. Ed. José AlcaláZamora. Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 1995. 235–54. Bustos Tovar, Eugenio. “La introducción de las teorías de Copérnico en la Universidad de Salamanca.” Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales 67–68 (1973): 236–52. Cañizares Esguerra, Jorge. Nature, Empire, and Nation: Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2006. Cardenal Iracheta, Manuel. “Galileo y España.” Comentarios y recuerdos. Madrid: Eds. de la Revista de Occidente, 1972. 15–24. Eamon, William. Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1996. Esteban Piñeiro, Mariano. “Las academias técnicas en la España del siglo XVI.” Quaderns d’història de l’enginyeria V (2002–3): 10–19.

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– “La Casa de la Contratación y la Academia Real Matemática.” Luis García Ballester, coord. Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la Corona de Castilla. Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2002, vol. 3. 35–52. Fernández Álvarez, Manuel. Copérnico y su huella en la Salamanca del Barroco. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 1974. Floristán Imízcoz, José Manuel. “Informe de Juan Bautista Labaña, cosmógrafo real, sobre el sistema de cálculo de la longitud de Galileo Galilei.” Lógos hellenikós: homenaje al profesor Gaspar Morocho Gayo. JesúsMaría Nieto Ibáñez, coord. León: Universidad de León, Secretariado de Publicaciones y Medios Audiovisuales, 2003, vol. I. 817–36. García Santo-Tomás, Enrique. The Refracted Muse: Literature and Optics in Early Modern Spain. Trans. Vincent Barletta. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2017. – “Visiting the Virtuoso in Early Modern Spain: The Case of Juan de Espina.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 13. 2 (2012): 129–47. – “Saavedra Fajardo en la encrucijada de la ciencia.” Crítica Hispánica 32. 2 (2010): 83–102. – “Fortunes of the Occhiali Politici in Early Modern Spain: Optics, Vision, Points of View.” PMLA 124. 1 (2009): 59–75. García Tapia, Nicolás. Ingeniería y arquitectura en el Renacimiento español. Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid. Secretariado de Publicaciones e Intercambio Editorial, 1990. – Técnica y poder en Castilla durante los siglos XVI y XVII. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 1989. Gasta, Chad M. “Cervantes’s Theory of Relativity in Don Quixote.” Cervantes 31. 1 (2011): 51–82. Gaukroger, Stephen. The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1210–1685. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. González, Francisco J. Astronomía y navegación en España, siglos XVI y XVII. Madrid: Mapfre, 1992. González Echevarría, Roberto. “Infinito e improvisación en La vida es sueño.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 66. 2 (2014): 141–60. Goodman, David. “The Scientific Revolution in Spain and Portugal.” The Scientific Revolution in National Context. Ed. Roy Porter and Mikuláš Teich. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. 158–76. Halstead, Frank “The Optics of Love: Notes on a Concept of Atomistic Philosophy in the Theatre of Tirso de Molina.” PMLA 58 (1943): 108–21. – “The Attitude of Tirso de Molina Towards Astrology.” Hispanic Review 9. 4 (1941): 417–39. – “The Attitude of Lope de Vega toward Astrology and Astronomy.” Hispanic Review 7.3 (1939): 205–19.


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Heiple, Daniel. Mechanical Imagery in Golden Age Poetry. Madrid: José Porrúa Turranzas, 1983. Kimmel, Seth. “Interpreting Accuracy: The Fiction of Longitude in Early Modern Spain.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 40. 2 (2010): 299–323. López Piñero, José María. Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la Corona de Castilla. III. Siglos XVI y XVII. José María López Piñero, dir. Salamanca: Junta de Castilla y León. Consejería de Educación y Cultura, 2002. – Ciencia y técnica en la sociedad española de los siglos XVI y XVII. Barcelona: Labor Universitaria, 1979. – “Galileo en la España del siglo XVII.” Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Historia de la Medicina 5 (1965): 51–8. Marcaida López, José Ramón. Arte y ciencia en el Barroco español. Historia natural, coleccionismo y cultura visual. Madrid: Marcial Pons Historia, 2014. Martinengo, Alessandro. La astrología en la obra de Quevedo: una clave de lectura. Pamplona: Universidad de Navarra, 1992. Morby, Edwin S. “Two Notes on La Arcadia.” Hispanic Review 36. 2 (1968): 110–23. – “Franz Titelmans in Lope’s Arcadia.” MLN 82. 2 (1967): 185–97. Navarro Brotons, Víctor. “La Astronomía.” Luis García Ballester, coord. Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la Corona de Castilla. Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2002, vol. 3. 259–318. – “El Colegio Imperial de Madrid.” Luis García Ballester, coord. Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la Corona de Castilla. Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2002, vol. 3. 53–72. – “Galileo y España.” Ed. José Montesinos and Carlos Solís. Largo campo di filosofare. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Fundación Canaria Orotava de Historia de la Ciencia, 2001. 809–30. – “La ciencia en la España del siglo XVII: el cultivo de las disciplinas físicomatemáticas.” Arbor CLIII. 604–05 (1996): 197–252. – “The Reception of Copernicus’s Work in Sixteenth-Century Spain: The Case of Diego de Zúñiga.” Isis 86 (1995): 52–78. – and William Eamon, “Spain and the Scientific Revolution: Historiographical Questions and Conjectures.” Ed. Víctor Navarro Brotons and William Eamon. Más allá de la leyenda negra: España y la Revolución científica / Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution. Valencia: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas / Instituto de Historia de la Ciencia y Documentación, 2007. 27–38. Pardo-Tomás, José. Un lugar para la ciencia. Escenarios de práctica científica en la sociedad hispana del siglo XVI. Tenerife: Fundación Canaria Orotava de Historia de la Ciencia, 2006.

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– Ciencia y censura. La Inquisición española y los libros científicos en los siglos XVI y XVII. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1991. Pimentel, Juan. “La monarquía hispánica y la ciencia donde no se ponía el sol.” Ed. Antonio Lafuente and Javier Moscoso. Madrid, ciencia y Corte. Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, 1999. 41–62. Pimental, Juan, and José Ramón Marcaida. “Dead Natures or Still Lifes?: Science, Art, and Collecting in the Spanish Baroque.” Collecting Across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Ed. Daniela Bleichmar and Peter C. Mancall. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. 99–120. Portuondo, María M. Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2009. Ruano de la Haza, José. La puesta en escena en los teatros comerciales del Siglo de Oro. Madrid: Castalia, 2000. Safier, Neil. Measuring the New World: Enlightenment Science and South America. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2008. Sánchez Jiménez, Antonio. “Algunos chistes astrológicos de Lope de Vega.” Criticón 122 (2014): 41–52. Schmelzer, Felix K.E. La retórica del saber: el prólogo de los tratados matemáticos en lengua Española (1515–1600). New York: IDEA, 2016. Simerka, Barbara. Knowing Subjects: Cognitive Cultural Studies and Early Modern Spanish Literature. West Lafayette: Purdue UP, 2013. Tato Puigcerver, José Julio. “El léxico científico de Quevedo (IV).” La Perinola: Revista de Investigación Quevediana 14 (2009): 375–80. – “El léxico científico de Quevedo (III).” La Perinola: Revista de Investigación Quevediana 8 (2004): 545–58. – “El léxico científico de Quevedo (II).” La Perinola: Revista de Investigación Quevediana 7 (2003): 447–58. – “El léxico científico de Quevedo (I).” La Perinola: Revista de Investigación Quevediana 6 (2002): 371–86. – “Una nota sobre Quevedo, Copérnico y Galileo.” Espéculo: Revista de Estudios Literarios 16 (2000–1), online.

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• Technologies of Knowledge

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1 From Mesopotamia to Madrid: The Legacy of Ancient and Medieval Science in Early Modern Spain1 ryan szpiech University of Michigan

Introduction: From Abentumet to Albumasar Lope de Vega’s La desdichada Estefanía (Unfortunate Stephanie, 1604) dramatizes the legend of Estefanía Alonso “la desdichada” (d. 1180), the illegitimate daughter of Alfonso VII of León who was killed by her husband Castro for what he thought was infidelity. The misunderstanding comes about when Estefanía’s slave Isabel, a “cautiva de la frontera” (captive from the frontier, i.e., of Muslim background) (l. 593; Kennedy, Lope 112), disguises herself as her mistress and receives Castro’s rival Fortunio (Fortune), who sleeps with her believing she is Estefanía. Castro, hearing rumours of betrayal, pursues the disguised Isabel, who takes refuge by hiding under Estefanía’s bed, where her mistress is asleep with Castro’s baby. Castro bursts into the bedroom and, in a fit of blind rage, kills his wife before she ever learns of the rumours of her infamy, after which Isabel emerges and confesses her deception. This complex plot involves disguise, mistaken identity, and “passing” – numerous scenes depict Christians disguised as Muslims and vice versa – and dramatizes a palpable anxiety, expressed in terms of seduction and sexual honour, over the easy confusion of the foreign with the domestic, Muslim with Christian. Significantly, the main story of false identities and misplaced jealousies takes place against the backdrop of the imminent Almohad invasion of the peninsula (1147), with part of the plot unfolding in Morocco, where Castro and Fortunio meet for a duel. In a scene just after Isabel speaks of her captive origins and confesses her secret love for Fortunio, an astrologer named “Albumasar” secretly predicts the future conquest of the Almoravids in al-Andalus by the lowly “Abdelmón,” a figure representing ʿAbd


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al-Muʾmin al-Kūmī (d. 1163), the first caliph to succeed the Almohad founder, Ibn Tumart. Albumasar introduces himself by referring to his fame as a well-known astrologer in both North Africa and Iberia: ¿Sabes que astrólogo soy, no sólo en Fez y Marruecos conozido, donde estoy; mas que a España, con los ecos de mi fama, nombre doy? Did you know that I am an astrologer, not only well known here in Fez and Morocco, but also giving fame to Spain with the echoes of my name?

Abdelmón replies: Sé que si alguno ha nac̦ ido Que sepa esa inc̦ ierta c̦ ienc̦ ia, Tú solo en el mundo has sido, Porque la antigua esperiencia Has puesto en eterno oluido. Sé que de esferas, planetas, Cielos y otros movimientos, Sabes las causas secretas, Y que nuestros nacimientos Por su ascendiente interpretas.

(ll. 690–704; Kennedy, Lope 116–17)

I know that if anyone has been born who knows that uncertain science, you alone in the world are he, because you have cast ancient knowledge into oblivion. I know that you know the secret causes of the spheres, planets, heavens, and other movements, and that you interpret our births by their ascendant.

In studying this episode, Frederick de Armas points out that Lope followed an earlier version of this story told by thirteenth-century King Alfonso X in his History of Spain (Estoria de España) (De Armas, “El rey” 123), in which Albumasar’s name is Abentumet. “Se leuanto en los alaraues un moro que dizien Abentumet, et era un sabio en la astronomia, que es el saber de las estrellas, et era muy sabio en las naturas otrossi” (There arose among the Arabs a moor called Abentumet, who was an expert in astronomy, the knowledge of the stars, and who

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was an expert in natural sciences also) (Alfonso, Primera 2:658). Alfonso himself indicates, moreover, that his own source was “el arçobispo don Rodrigo que lo dize en la su estoria” (the Archbishop Rodrigo, who tells it in his history), i.e., the history of Spain On the Things of Spain (De rebus hispaniae) by thirteenth-century archbishop of Toledo Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (d. 1247), who told this story in almost identical terms in Latin, describing the Muslim astronomer as “homo in astronomia et naturalibus ualde doctus” (a man very learned in astronomy and natural [sciences]) (De rebus, 7.10, 231).2 It is not a surprise to find Lope’s source in Alfonso’s Estoria, not only because of the Estoria’s wide distribution in manuscript and print and in the revised version of Florián Ocampo (Los cinco primeros libros de la coronica general, 1553), but also because it served as a source used by Lope’s acquaintance, Jesuit Juan de Mariana, who also tells a nearly identical story in his own Historiae de rebus hispaniae (1592) (507). The value of tracing this history goes beyond that of simply identifying Lope’s sources; it intimates a larger story of the reception – in turns enthusiastic and agonistic – of ancient and medieval science in early modern Iberia. While the name Abentumet is a calque of Ibn Tumart, Albumasar, as De Armas notes, is the Latinate name of Abū Maʿshar al-Balkhī (d. 886 CE), a scholar from Balkh in Khorasan (present-day northern Iran and Afghanistan). He became one of the most renowned astronomers in the Abbasid court of Baghdad in the ninth century, its moment of greatest splendour. Just as the Moorish captive Isabel found her way into the arms of Fortunio by taking on the guise of her Christian mistress Estefanía, so Arabic texts like Abū Maʿshar’s found their way into Christian hands by taking on new guises through translation into Latin and Romance. The fact that writers from Jiménez de Rada to Lope depict this astrologer figure (Abentumet/Albumasar) as “learned” (doctus/sabio) underscores the reputation that Muslim intellectuals had throughout the Middle Ages and well into the seventeenth century as paragons of astronomical and scientific learning. Although Albumasar’s appearance as a character in twelfth-century Morocco is anachronistic, the fact that he is cast as an internationally renowned expert (“no sólo en Fez y Marruecos conozido … mas que a España, con los ecos de mi fama, nombre doy”) attests to his enduring relevance as a symbol of scientific investigation even nine centuries after his death and thousands of kilometers from his home. Albumasar actually appeared in at least two other plays by Lope de Vega (“El primer rey de Castilla” and, granting his authorship, “La difunta pleiteada”) as well as in numerous


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other contemporary plays, including the 1615 English work “Albumazar” by Thomas Tomkis (Halsted, “The Attitude” 217). “Albumasar” appears with regularity in the abundant astrological publications of the sixteenth century, more than any authors other than Ptolemy and Aristotle, and his name even came to be listed in the Inquisition’s list of forbidden books and authors (Lanuza-Navarro, “La astrología” 307–8). The enduring popularity of the figure of Abū al-Maʿshar, from the work of Jiménez de Rada and Alfonso in the thirteenth century to Mariana in the sixteenth and Lope and others in the seventeenth is a testament to the Arabic role in the growth of scientific knowledge in Iberia. As Albumasar tells Abdelmón, “Rey de África serás, / A España con gente irás” (You will be king of Africa; you will go to Spain with men) (ll. 745–6; Kennedy, Lope 118). Yet the logic of literary flourishes such as Lope’s transformation of Ibn Tumart into Abū al-Maʿshar evokes an even longer historical chain of transmission and influence, one that stretches back even before Abū al-Maʿshar to the Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian traditions on which his science was based. Using Lope’s scene as a starting point, this chapter will limn the approximate contours of that chain by giving a broad overview of the history of science and technology from its beginnings alongside the birth of writing in ancient Mesopotamia to its growth in the ancient Mediterranean, and from there to its flourishing in the medieval Islamicate world and its transmission into the world of Latin Christendom through the translations and institutions of medieval Iberia. This brief (and necessarily schematic) overview will emphasize the point – not an original one but one that is often forgotten or overlooked, and thus deserving of repetition – that the growth of science in early modern Europe relied on a long precedent of scientific exploration in the ancient and medieval worlds, a reliance in which Spain played a preponderant role. The dynamic dramatization of science and technology on Spain’s Golden Age stage is a logical culmination of the unique history of engagement with ancient science in medieval Iberia. Science in Sumer? Tracing the history of scientific thought requires an initial decision about what “science” (> Lat. scientia, “knowledge”) is and how it may be distinguished from other forms of knowledge of and engagement with the world. I will define science as the abstract notion of a communal attempt to organize and theoretically systematize knowledge of

From Mesopotamia to Madrid


the physical world, involving a shared methodology or technique, an advance in technological knowledge and use, and some kind of testing that includes the control of variables and the repetition of results. On this broad basis, one might note that all of these factors accompanied the birth of agriculture, and it might therefore conceivably be proposed that some form of proto-scientific thinking – a first step towards thinking systematically about the physical world of cause and effect – roughly corresponded to the Neolithic Revolution that marked the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled society in the hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent, approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. From this perspective, one might also say that the earliest foundations of scientific inquiry – although obviously far different from modern ideas of science – preceded written language itself, which is first attested in the pictographic and cuneiform tablets of the second half of the fourth millennium BCE in Sumer (Mesopotamia) and shortly after in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Later parallel (and independent) developments in China, India, and Mesoamerica might also qualify as evidence of this early mode of thought that necessarily accompanied human settlement. To be sure, not all would agree that such developments qualify as steps towards scientia, and many in the history of science impugn the attempt to characterize certain knowledge as “science” – even in a loose way – before the concept in its modern usage came into being in the eighteenth century. Historian David Wootan, for example, asserts categorically that “Modern science was invented between 1572, when Tycho Brahe saw a nova, or new star, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks” (Invention, 1). Although he concedes that “there were systems of knowledge we call ‘sciences’ before 1572,” he follows Karl Popper’s model in defining true scientific knowledge as that which, even if correct, is always potentially “falsifiable” and never fully verifiable (Popper, Logic 20). Science must be, by definition, anti-metaphysical – empirical and logical and not mythical or dogmatic. From this perspective, any use of the term “science” to characterize empirical knowledge before the Enlightenment is illegitimate because such knowledge, it is reasoned, was not sought purely for itself but instead served another purpose (such as predicting the future, understanding the gods, etc.). For Wootan, moreover, “true science” must be “prepared to question every long-established certainty … in light of new evidence” (Invention 1–2). Yet as Thomas Kuhn poignantly argued over fifty years ago, “in science … novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation … Normal science


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(is) a pursuit not directed to novelties and tending at first to suppress them” (The Structure 64). While the assumptions of pre-modern learning about the physical world were the result of a world view fundamentally at odds with our own – astronomy necessarily went hand in hand with astrology, chemistry with alchemy, mechanics with magic – that incommensurability does not in itself disqualify such learning as unscientific, even though it does not meet modern standards. As Kuhn notes, science can only function by rejecting all that falls outside of its operational paradigm (103), including earlier knowledge now disproved or rejected, yet that rejection does not in itself constitute a defining proof of what science actually is. Scientists rely on the contextual and partly arbitrary bias of their operational paradigm in order to function, and thus science must advance through the revolutions that accompany “paradigm shifts” and not simply grow with the incremental accretion of knowledge. Yet to summarize the history of science as a narrative of birth, growth, and transmission – whether one begins in the year 10,000 BCE or 1572 CE – is necessarily to construct an artificial teleology, what Herbert Butterfield calls a “Whig interpretation of history,” which he defines as “a scheme of general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the present” (The Whig 11). Such a diachronic history of science – whether told as accretion or revolution – is factitious and flawed by design, for the many communities that have contributed to scientific knowledge in the past do not pertain to any single tradition and do not present a single chain of causation and accumulation of knowledge. As Bruno Latour insists, we must distinguish between individual sciences and the notion of “science” itself, which he defines as “the politicization of the sciences through epistemology” (Politics 10). Nevertheless, despite its flaws and its implicit Eurocentrism, such a history of “science” writ large, understood as an artificial composite of individual sciences all relying on a common epistemology and metaphysic, can, with caveats, also be heuristically useful as an approach towards a richer and more nuanced contextualization of early modern learning. Taking such perspectives into account, it is clear that any treatment of the history of science, especially one that traces transmission of knowledge over time, must navigate between the Scylla of “Whig history” and the Charybdis of paradigm bias by resisting the impulse to equate all influence with progress and by provisionally including in the definition of science all systematic and empirical engagement with the world, regardless of the religious or cultural assumptions about the nature of existence held by its practitioners.

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Although the Neolithic Revolution may be an absurdly early point to begin the story of science, I have proposed it only as a way to exemplify the point that foundational narratives are cultural fictions, not empirical facts, whose points of beginning are held to be appropriate only within a certain operational paradigm. If the invention of agriculture is not a sufficient watershed in the birth of scientific thinking as defined by a modern perspective, the invention of writing (first in Sumer, and subsequently – and independently – in Egypt, China, and Mesoamerica) may well be, because it offered a technology of information storage that cognitive scientist Merlin Donald has called the first “externalization of symbolic memory” (Origins 363). Although seemingly first employed in Mesopotamia for explicitly bureaucratic and administrative (rather than aesthetic or religious) functions (Cooper, “Babylonian” 72), it was a precondition for the growth of Babylonian mathematics and celestial observations. Its decisive influence is analogous to the eventual impact that the mechanization of writing (after Gutenberg’s metallurgical advances in the casting of moveable metal type for the printing press, ca. 1440) had upon the dissemination of astronomic observations and the resulting theories, and the growth of science more generally, in the sixteenth century, or to the impact of electronic computing on research since World War II.3 Throughout the history of science, advances in technology have proceeded in tandem with advances in knowledge. Many of the Sumerian advances in technology were mechanical – the use of the wheel, the stone arch, irrigation, and the plow, etc. – and certainly many of these relied not simply on methodology but also on writing and numeric calculation. The Sumerians developed the ability to compute place value in a base 60 number system, from which derived the division of hours into sixty minutes, of minutes into sixty seconds, of circles into 360 degrees, of years into approximately 360 days, etc. This advanced mathematical notation, which was inherited by the Akkadians (who ruled Mesopotamia from the second half of the third millennium) and Babylonians (in the first half of the second millennium) facilitated complex geometric and algebraic calculations including a rudimentary version of the Pythagorean Theorem and the accurate sexagesimal representation of the square root of two, accurate to six decimal digits (van der Waerden, “Mathematics” 667–71). The notion of place value allowed the later introduction of a placeholder for zero (although it was not used for mathematical calculation). Such knowledge formed the base of Mesopotamian architectural advances


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(such as ziggurats and domed ceilings) and more importantly supported an advanced culture of astronomical observation and data recording. Between 1200 and 1000 BCE, Babylonian astronomers, making use of earlier knowledge and observations, compiled the first known star catalogues. These included not only names of scores of stars and recordings of their movements, but also constellation names that would be used in later astrological theories. Some of these (the scorpion, the lion, the bull, etc.) would be used in Greece in the fourth century BCE, forming the basis of some familiar astrological names (Scorpio, Leo, Taurus, etc.). The Babylonians recorded thousands of omens both celestial (e.g., future eclipses) and astrological (e.g., future misfortunes and disasters) based on astronomical data recorded over centuries (Rochberg, The Heavenly 4–5). At the same time, the exploration of the physical world in ancient Babylonia was roughly contemporary with a parallel tradition of astronomy and applied engineering in Egypt. Unlike the base 60 system of the Babylonians, the Egyptians employed a more familiar decimal system, although without a place-value logic and, like the Greeks after them, without the use of a zero, even as a placeholder. While arithmetic calculations used a cumbersome system of doubling and addition, basic geometrical principles were approximated, including a rough estimate of the value of pi (different from but approximately equal to that used in Babylonia), basic Pythagorean triples for laying out right triangles, and a set of number pairs whose ratios approximate the Golden Ratio (in which the ratio of two of these numbers is equal to that of their sum to the larger number), already in use in the design of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the twenty-fifth century BCE. These geometrical advances were, like those of the Babylonians, principally for astronomical/astrological purposes, charting the stars and measuring the calendars in order to regulate agriculture in the Nile valley. When Lope’s Albumasar predicts the future kingship of Abdelmón, he is, in a way, carrying on an astrological tradition stretching back millennia, all the way to the astronomical and astrological traditions of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Growth in Greece Despite such beginnings, it is customary to identify the “true” origins of modern science in Greece, when pre-Socratic philosophers of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE first began systematically to pose questions about the natural world in purely physical terms. Thales of Miletus

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(d. 546 BCE, western Anatolia) is considered to be the founder of Greek geometry, having noted that the angles of the base of an isosceles triangle are equal, and that the ratios of line segments created by crossing two intersecting lines and two parallel lines are exactly proportional. He also postulated a unity of physical matter as based on one substance, water, and his ideas directly influenced Aristotle’s theories of matter and the nature of the universe (Graham, The Texts 17–18; Longrigg, “Thales” 297). Although we know very little about Pythagoras (d. 496 BCE, on nearby Samos) and his followers, numerous ideas (such as the Pythagorean theorem or a cosmology of perfectly spherical orbits of the sun, moon, and five planets around a central fire) are associated with the Pythagoreans, mostly without textual evidence (Graham, The Texts 905–6; Von Fritz, “Pythagoras” 224). Other postulates can be more certainly associated with contemporary pre-Socratics, such as Heraclitus (d. 475 BCE), positing the universe as flux guided by unchanging laws (Graham, The Texts, 135), Empedocles (d. 430 BCE), theorizing four elements to the universe, earth, air, fire, and water (326–7), and Democritus (d. 370 BCE) and his teacher Leucippus, posing an atomic theory of the universe as made up of tiny, indivisible pieces that formed the building blocks of all matter (516).4 The reflection on the cosmos in physical terms as a world ordered by constants and physical laws similarly guided the medical ideas of Hippocrates (fl. second half of the fifth century BCE) and the natural philosophy of Theophrastus (d. 287 BCE). Undoubtedly the most scientifically influential insights were the cosmological, biological, and metaphysical theories developed by Aristotle in his vast oeuvre. One fundamental aspect in which he is often distinguished from his teacher Plato is in the epistemological value he concedes to analytical reasoning on the basis of perceptible things. Whereas Plato (Republic 479e) argues that, “those who view many beautiful things but do not see the beautiful itself … have opinions about all things, but know nothing of the things they opine” (Collected 719–20), Aristotle (Metaphysics 13.1080a) rejects the independent existence of “forms” in themselves. “It might be thought impossible that substance and that whose substance it is should exist apart; how, therefore, could the Ideas, being substances of things, exist apart?” (Complete 1:1707). Although his logical method was more aimed at metaphysical questions – beyond sensory perception – than at empirical observations, in subsequent centuries it came to provide, when coupled with his rejection of the independent existence of forms, a foundation for deductive analysis of facts gained through empirical observation.


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While it is misleading to see Aristotle as an exclusively “empirical” thinker (Owen, “Aristotle” 252), there is no question that Aristotle’s rejection of forms as independently knowable and his assertion (Metaphysics 1.992a) that “philosophy seeks the cause of perceptible things” (Aristotle, The Complete 2:1568) came to have profound implications for the study of the physical world in later centuries. Apart from the definitive influence of his Organon (the six works on logic) on later philosophy, his influence on later scientific thought stemmed from his defence of the logical organization of knowledge, as well as his theory of the four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final), and more generally his organization of “sciences” (epistēmai) into categories. His taxonomies of knowledge are reflected in the different foci of his works. His Physics, Meteorology, and On the Heavens were all influential on later investigations in astronomy. His books on animals, on movement and respiration, and on birth, death, and change (such as On Generation and Perishing) were foundational for the later development of life sciences. Above all, his exposition on deductive reasoning in the Posterior Analytics was determinative for the establishment of a logical method of investigation.5 His works were the subject of commentaries both in antiquity and, in translation, throughout the Middle Ages. Yet for all of the originality of presocratic and Classical Greek scientific thought, it is important to view it in the wider context of the ancient world. This implies, on the one hand, recognizing the many parallel discoveries in the East, both India and China, whose interaction with Greek science is uncertain (and is still being debated), and on the other, considering the notable parallels between Babylonian mathematics and astronomy and those that developed in Egypt and Greece.6 While it is not impossible that some of the Presocratics in western Anatolia came into contact with Egyptian or even Babylonian ideas – Herodotus (Histories 2.109, in The Persian 399) and Aristotle (Metaphysics 1.981b, in The Complete 1:1553) themselves claim as much – the period when such a transfer of knowledge is most probable is in the Hellenistic period (i.e., from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra upon Roman conquest of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt in 30 BCE), or in the Roman period that followed. It was in these centuries that Alexandria became a preeminent intellectual centre, boasting a vast library of sources from diverse regions of Eurasia and supporting research in many areas.

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The dynamic culture of Hellenistic Alexandria supported the work of a few key thinkers who, together with Aristotle, would prove to be the most influential over the subsequent two millennia. Euclid of Alexandria (d. 265 BCE) developed the geometrical ideas of the Pythagoreans by extending the Aristotelian methodology of deduction in measurement and calculation. His Elements would become the most influential book in mathematics until the Enlightenment. Hellenistic mathematicians such as Archimedes of Syracuse (d. 212 BCE), although perhaps best known for developing numerous mechanical innovations (such as the hydraulic screw and water clock), made important advances in the measurement of the volume and area of irregular shapes and objects, including the use of “infinitesimals” to calculate area along a curve, thus anticipating methods of integral calculus formalized by Newton and Leibniz (Clagett, “Archimedes” 229). Greek scientific thought was partly preserved by the Romans, and various Latin works of the Roman period that were read and copied in the Latin Middle Ages drew from Greek scientific texts. Lucretius (d. ca. 94 BCE) built on Democratus and Empedocles to develop his own theory of “atoms.” Pliny the Elder (d. 79 CE) drew heavily from Aristotle and Theophrastus in writing his natural history. Greek sources provided a basis for Roman advances in technology and mechanics, from metallurgy and mining to hydraulics and engineering to agriculture and cartography. Yet it was the Greek intellectuals in the Western Roman Empire that produced the scientific writing destined to be the most canonical in subsequent centuries. Dioscorides (d. 70 CE), a physician from Cilicia in Asia Minor, travelled around the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere gathering samples and information to produce his De materia medica, a pharmacological guide to plants and medicines. Copied and translated extensively, it circulated in Greek, Latin, and Arabic and remained a standard reference book for fifteen centuries (Riddle, “Dioscorides” 121). The writings of the Greek physician Galen (d. ca. 200 CE), who moved from western Anatolia to Alexandria to Italy, were profoundly influential in medicine well into the early modern period. Galen further advanced anatomical knowledge through the dissection of animals (but not humans). He made reference to earlier Greek anatomists such as Herophilus (d. ca. 260 BCE) and Erasistratus (d. ca. 240 BCE), who were among the only figures to dissect and vivisect the human body before the late Middle Ages – using criminals condemned to death as subjects. Galen also developed the teachings of Hippocrates to propose physiological theories concerning the nervous system, the


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circulatory system, and the theory of four bodily humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm), which formed the basis of medieval medical theory (Kudlien, “Galen” 231–3). Galen’s long legacy was matched only by his contemporary Ptolemy (d. ca. 170 CE), who became a definitive source for all medieval and early modern astronomy. Working in Roman Alexandria, Ptolemy wrote studies on cartography, music, optics, astronomy, and astrology. His greatest influence came in the Mathēmatikē Syntaxis (better known by its Arabic-derived title Almagest, a transliteration of the Greek for “the greatest”), the first and only comprehensive treaty on astronomy from the ancient Greek world. Based on the cosmology of Aristotle and Hipparchus (d. 120 BCE), the likely inventor of the astrolabe, Ptolemy’s Almagest systematized a model of the universe that would be definitive throughout the Middle Ages. Ptolemy described the orbit of the planets, sun, and moon around the earth, drawing directly in some cases from Babylonian observations (Aaboe, Episodes 62–5). Besides including a star catalogue and a description of the movement and properties of each celestial body, including the fixed stars, it introduced the quadrant (for celestial measurement determined by estimating altitude and angle) and extended and formalized the theory of epicycles (small circles made by the planets and stars centred on the path of their larger orbit) in order to explain the problem of apparent retrograde motion observed from earth. The geocentric model proposed by Ptolemy remained the dominant model until Copernicus replaced it with a heliocentric model in the sixteenth century CE (Toomer, “Ptolemy” 202). When Abdelmón tells Albumasar “la antigua esperiencia/ has puesto en eterno oluido,” he is referring to the long legacy of ancient Greek science, a legacy preserved and extended in the medieval Islamicate world. Brilliance in Baghdad In 391 CE, Coptic Pope Theophilus of Alexandria clamped down on all pagan temples in his city, including the famous temple of Serapis (the Serapheum), and at some point around this time or a few decades after, the remaining centres of study were largely abandoned. When, less than two decades later in 410, Rome itself fell to the Visigoths, scientific learning was interrupted, although not entirely wiped out. Commentaries on earlier works survive from the fifth century, although less remains from the sixth and seventh centuries. In Latin Europe, education in the seven liberal arts, which in the early Middle Ages took

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place almost exclusively in monasteries, was divided into the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), and thus a rudimentary attention was given to scientific subjects, although increasingly without the support of key Greek texts. While there is some material from places, such as Ravenna, attesting to an ongoing critical engagement with some ancient authorities on medicine and philosophy, the extent of learning in many places was greatly diminished by the late sixth century. Although some practical texts such as Hippocrates and Galen’s Method of Healing or copies of Dioscorides did continue to circulate, “the resources for the maintenance of an active intellectual tradition of medicine were also diminishing” (Nutton, “Medicine” 84). Most critically lacking was the majority of the Aristotelian corpus, and much other speculative Greek scientific thought was also absent, or at least not widely available. What was transmitted included Boethius’s translation of Porphyry’s (d. ca. 305 CE) commentary on Aristotle’s Categories known as the Isagoge, and Isidore of Seville’s (d. 636) Etymologies, which seems to have drawn most of its information from Roman writers and encyclopedists only distantly informed by Aristotle and other Greek scientific texts (Pliny, Varro, Solinus, Boethius) (Isidore, Etymologies 11–17). Isidore’s capacious work was critically important for the preservation of ancient Latin sources, but his eclectic summaries did not provide enough sound information or theoretical reflection to support systematic exploration of the physical world (Sharpe, “Isidore” 28). Yet the rise and spread of Islam in the seventh century led to the preservation and renewal of that ancient tradition, expanding the intellectual legacy of the ancient Greek world to an unprecedented degree. Although translation between Greek and Arabic for bureaucratic or diplomatic purposes was not uncommon in the first century of Islam, the Umayyad Caliphate (662–750) was not distinguished for its patronage of scientific learning and seems to have produced few translations of Greek scientific material (Gutas, Greek 23–4; Morrison, “Islamic” 116). However, the founding of Baghdad in 762 as a new capital after the Abbasid overthrow of the Umayyads in 750 set the scene for a proliferation of translating activity and intellectual exploration. This was in part due to the geographical location of the newly founded capital, which was strategically chosen to symbolize the union of the Arab caliphate with the political tradition of the Sasanian Persian empire. The second Abbasid Caliph al Manṣūr (d. 775) adopted the core values of Sasanian political ideology, which represented itself as the intellectual heir of all


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the other civilizations that had gathered learning from all corners into its borders, by patronizing translation and supporting the development of astrology and astronomy, mainly for political prognostications (Gutas, Greek 34–35; Ragep, “Islamic” 35). Among the first translations were pre-Islamic Zoroastrian astrological texts. This core focus on astrology naturally led to a robust interest in astronomical research in the subsequent century. In the wake of this founding ideology, a string of Abbasid caliphs in the ninth century, especially Harūn al-Rashīd (d. 809), al-Maʾmūn (d. 833), and their successors, officially patronized an intensive translation effort designed to gather into Arabic versions all learning of value. An important factor determining translation activity was the availability of texts, and caliphs sought copies to expand their libraries, which seem to have housed, at least under later caliphs, works of a very wide variety, from Greek classics of every sort acquired from Byzantium, to texts of Sanskrit, Paḥlavi (Middle Persian), Syriac, Coptic, and even possibly Ethiopian and Ḥimyaric (Yemenite) origin (Gutas, Greek 57–9). Many translators came from Nestorian and Syrian Christian backgrounds, and also included Muslims, Zoroastrian Persians, Sabians (Ḥarranian star worshippers), and Jews. Yaḥyā ibn al-Bātrīq (early ninth century) made some of the first Arabic translations of Hippocrates and Galen, as well as Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos (on astronomy) and Aristotelian books on zoology (Goodman, “The Translation” 480–1). Among the most famous and influential translators was the Nestorian Christian Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq (d. 873), who worked as chief court physician in the caliphate of al-Mutawakkil, writing original works of medicine and natural philosophy and translating into Arabic scores of works of astronomy, medicine, mathematics, magic, and philosophy from Pahlavi, Greek, and Syriac versions (Goodman, “The Translation” 487–8). His translations included, among many others, works of Euclid, Ptolemy, Hippocrates, and above all, Galen. The latter was translated into Arabic on the basis of Syriac versions formerly made from Greek originals in the sixth century by the Monophysite Christian priest and physician Sergius of Rēshʿaynā (d. 536) (Iskander, “Hunayn” 235). Ḥunayn’s use of Syriac material prepared by earlier Christians points to the important role of Christian activity in the Sinai peninsula and the Levant in late antiquity in providing a precedent for the later Arabic translation movement in Baghdad, although as Gutas points out, “before the “ʿAbbāsids, relatively few secular Greek works had been translated into Syriac … the bulk of the Greek scientific and

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philosophical works were translated into Syriac as part of the ʿAbbāsid translation movement during the ninth century” (Greek Thought 22). In this context, Ḥunayn’s medical texts were influential in the development of medicine in the Islamicate world, making Galen’s vast oeuvre available in Arabic and influencing later polymath physicians such as the alchemist al-Rāzī (d. 925), Aristotelian philosopher Ibn Sīnā (d. 1037), and medical historian Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa (d. 1270). His disciples also continued to produce translations after him, including, in stages, virtually the entire Aristotelian corpus as well as Aristotle’s later commentators including Prophyry and Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. ca. 200 CE). Another notable translator in Baghdad was the pagan intellectual Thābit ibn Qurrah (d. 901), who revised Ibn Isḥāq’s translations of Euclid and Ptolemy and disseminated teachings of Pythagoras and Archimedes. Over the course of a century and a half, in a process of knowledge transfer whose scale had no comparison in prior human history and remains unique today, scores of scholars translated and composed thousands of works on all known subjects of learning. Baghdad thus became a uniquely advanced centre of scientific knowledge, one that not only amassed learning from elsewhere, but that critiqued Greek sources and advanced scientific thought in unique ways (Saliba, Islamic 25). The translations included work from all known scientific branches, but most attention was paid to mathematics/geometry, medicine, and, because of its political ramifications, astronomy/astrology. The initial approach followed the tradition received from Indian astronomy via Sanskrit sources and Persian translations, and one of the earliest translations/adaptations of this sort were the Sanskrit astronomical tables Siddhānta (Sindhind) by Ibn Ḥabīb al-Fazārī (d. 806). Following this tradition, scholars prepared similar astronomical handbooks (azyāj, sing. zīj) that included tables of star data, and most famous among these was the original work Zīj al-Sindhind of al-Khwārizmī (d. after 847) (Toomer, “al-Khwārizmī” 360). He wrote numerous works of astronomy and mathematics, and was especially distinguished for introducing mathematical notation and “Hindu numerals,” the partial basis for modern “Arabic” numeral notation today. This system of Indian reckoning and observation cultivated by al-Khwārizmī and applied by Abū Maʿshar and others coexisted in Baghdad with the Greek tradition. This was reflected above all in works by al-Battānī (d. 929), whose tables helped disseminate Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the solar system. Further east, in Isfahan, the rival Buyid empire also patronized astronomical investigation,


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producing work such as the Book of Fixed Stars (Kitāb ṣuwar al-kawākib) of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī (d. 986), which drew from Eastern traditions and also expanded the Ptolemaic charting of the stars with more careful measurements. The intense research in Greek astronomy and various branches of the Aristotelian corpus supported advances in technology as well as theory. Astronomers in Baghdad and beyond thus made critical improvements of Greek astronomical tools, principal among which was the Ptolemaic astrolabe. Al-Farghānī, working in the ninth-century Caliphate of Baghdad, describes the first construction of an astrolabe in Islamic lands a century before (Morrison, “Islamic” 116). Also developed were the sundial and the Ptolemaic quadrant, used for measuring the inclined position of celestial bodies and deriving information based on these calculations, such as calendric data and latitudinal position. The transfer of such technology in the form of the circulation of scientific instruments exemplifies in concrete terms how ancient Greek scientific learning was appropriated and developed by Muslim scientists, from whom it was later passed to Latin Christendom (Rodríguez-Arribas et al., Astrolabes). Throughout the Islamicate world, astronomical learning was also regularly used for prognostication. Even a century before al-Ṣūfī, Abū Maʿshar – also Persian – worked in the Baghdad caliphate where he not only compiled his own zīj tables, but also wrote extensively on the application of that Hindu-Persian astronomical tradition, combined with Aristotelian cosmology, for astrological interpretations and predictions (Pingree, “Abū” 236). Later polymaths such as Ibn Sīnā and the astronomer al-Bīrūnī (d. ca. 1048) were highly critical of astrology (Morrison, “Islamic” 126), debating aspects of Aristotle’s theories (without discarding his categories) and tackling not only astronomical questions such as the weight of celestial bodies, but also metaphysical questions such as the possibility of a void or the eternity of the universe (Dallal, “Early Islam” 124). Despite these later criticisms, Abū Maʿshar’s fame as an astrologer spread widely, especially in Latin translation, making his name known “not only in Fez and Marrakech” and other centres of the Islamicate world, “but also in Spain,” reaching all the way to Lope de Vega in the seventeenth century. The translation activity continued in Baghdad for well over a century, but by the second half of the tenth century, its activities waned. In competition with both the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad and the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo, the young caliphate of Cordoba sought to promote learning and science by expanding libraries and patronizing

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the copying and study of numerous works of Greek and Arabic science. In the middle of the century, Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII sent the Greek-speaking monk Nicholas to Córdoba at the request of the first caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (d. 961), along with a Greek copy of Dioscorides’s De materia medica. Nicholas collaborated with the caliph’s Jewish vizier Ḥasday ibn Shaprūṭ (d. 975) and the local scholar Ibn Juljul (d. ca. 994), who produced a new updated translation into Arabic (Vernet, “Ibn Juljul” 187). The greatest expansion took place under the rule of the next caliph, Al-Ḥakam II (d. 976), who not only made important expansions to the Great Mosque of Cordoba, still standing today, and the completed construction of the palatial city of Medinat al-Zaḥra, now in ruins, but also assembled a vast library of materials gathered from across the Islamicate world. As it was destroyed after the fall of the caliphate in 1031, no certain evidence of its size is known, but chroniclers of the period have claimed it contained some 400,000 volumes. Although modern historians, based on reports of an author-title catalogue list of some forty-four volumes, estimate that the number probably did not exceed 40,000 (Sánchez-Moliní Sáez, “Las bibliotecas” 87–9), the library was undoubtedly immense for the period. It certainly contained, along with numerous private libraries of the caliphate, many of the most important works translated in Baghdad in the previous century. Medicine in al-Andalus reached an advanced degree of sophistication, and a number of figures from the caliphate and subsequent reigns of the Almoravids and Almohads are recognized as some of the most important physicians of the medieval Muslim world. Al-Zahrāwī (d. 1013) was the leading surgeon in the caliphate (Hamarneh, “Al-Zahrāwī” 584). His compendious encyclopedia of surgical practice, which bears the droll title The Book the Arrangements of Medical Knowledge for One who is Unable to Compile One for Himself (or for short, Kitāb al-Taṣrīf, Book of Arrangements), became a standard reference text for centuries. Other Andalusī scholars continued to contribute to an advanced medical culture in Iberia into the thirteenth century. These included Ibn Zuhr (d. 1162) of Seville – a pioneer in medical experimentation with animals who claims in his Book of the Facilitation of Therapeutics and Diet (Kitāb al-Taysīr fī al-Mudāwāh wa-l-Tadbīr) that he demonstrated the safety of a tracheotomy by performing one on a goat (Catahier, “Ear” 523) – the Muslim Aristotelian philosopher Ibn Rushd (d. 1195) – who wrote commentaries on Galen, Ibn Sīnā, and Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics – and the Jewish Aristotelian Moses Maimonides (d. 1204). All of these later physicians seem indebted to Al-Zahrāwī’s approach to surgery.


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The greatest scientific scholar under al-Ḥakam II’s caliphate was the mathematician and astronomer Maslama al-Majrīṭī (d. 1007), who not only improved on the existing translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest, but also translated and updated the zīj of al-Khwārizmī and translated Ptolemy’s Planispherium (Pingree, “The Indian,” 246; Vernet, “Al-Majrītī,” 39). He also introduced to al-Andalus the voluminous encyclopedia of scientific, philosophical, and religious knowledge known as the Epistles of the Brethern of Purity (Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafā), compiled in Iraq in the previous century and drawing heavily on Greek sources and theories. Al-Majrīṭī was one of the most pivotal figures in the transfer of the scientific learning in Baghdad to the caliphate of Córdoba (Samsó, La ciencia 84–93). When Lope’s Abdelmón tells Albumasar, “si alguno ha nac̦ ido/ que sepa esa inc̦ ierta c̦ ienc̦ ia, / tú solo en el mundo has sido,” he underscores the unique role of the medieval Islamicate world as the heir and keeper of the wealth of Greek science. Translation in Toledo When Lope’s Albumasar predicts the future kingship of Abdelmón, he is speaking about ʿAbd al-Muʾmin’s rise as leader of the Almohads in the middle of the twelfth century. It was during these very years that numerous works of Greek and Arabic science were translated into Latin in and around the city of Toledo, which had been captured from the Taifa king al-Maʾmūn of Toledo in 1085. As a Taifa kingdom, it had been an active centre of scientific learning in the eleventh century, housing abundant resources and books. Influential magistrate Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī (d. 1070) brought intellectuals to the Toledan kingdom in order to promote scientific learning there, especially in medicine and astronomy. Vizier to King Maʾmūn of Toledo, the pharmacologist Ibn Wāfid (d. 1074) wrote on medicine as well as alchemy. Most significant in the kingdom was al-Zarqālī (d. ca. 1100), one of the most important Muslim astronomers from al-Andalus in any period. Beyond improving on the design of the astrolabe – examples of his instruments survive today – he produced the Toledan Tables, a zīj that translated and improved on the tables of al-Khwārizmī and al-Majrīṭī and combined Indian and Greek astronomical models (Vernet, Lo que 203–4). The taking of Toledo by the Christians opened a channel by which the accumulated intellectual wealth of the Islamicate world could begin to flow into Latin Christendom. Before this decisive event, such learning had only trickled into Christian circles in a few limited instances. In

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976, monks at the Riojan monastery of San Martín de Albelda produced the compilation of works known as the Codex Vigilanus, which contains the first Western Christian record of writing Hindu-Arabic numerals (without zero) (see figure 1.1), a system that Gerbert de Aurillac (d. 1003, later Pope Sylvester II) also encountered in Catalonia a few decades later (Vernet, Historia 73–4). A century later, Jewish convert Petrus Alfonsi of Huesca produced the first Latin version of Khwārizmī’s zīj, which was then improved and re-translated by his student Adelard of Bath (d. ca. 1152). Adelard also translated al-Khwārizmī’s book on Hindu reckoning as Algoritmi de numero Indorum (Al-Khwārizmī’s book on Numbers of the Indians), thus giving “Arabic” numerals their definitive form in the Latin West (and thus rendering al-Khwārizmī’s name for the first time in the form it is known to us today, i.e., as the words Algorithm and, in Spanish, guarismo, “digit”) (Clagett, “Adelard” 63). As David King has noted, Hindu-Arabic numerals such as those adopted from Khwārizmī “are neither Hindu nor Arabic … but they would better be called Hispano-Indian numerals, because whilst the Arabic forms for the numerals passed through Spain they were modified by Europeans … Our numeral forms are ultimately derived from these, with new input from the forms introduced into Europe in the 12th century by means of a Latin translation of al-Khwarizmi” (The Ciphers 310). Under the leadership of the Archbishop of Toledo Raimundo de Sauvetat (d. 1152) and then continuing after his death, the city of Toledo was transformed into a hub of Latin translating activity.7 Among the dozen or more active translators working around Toledo or in its cathedral, three major figures were Domingo Gundisalvo (d. 1184), archdeacon of Segovia, the Italian Gerard of Cremona (d. 1187), and “Johannes Hispalenses” (often confused with others of a similar name in this period). Gundisalvo translated al-Fārābī’s On the Division of the Sciences (Kitāb Iḥṣāʾ al-ʿulūm), numerous commentaries on Aristotle by Ibn Sīnā, as well as the Fons Vitae of Iberian Jewish Neoplatonist Ibn Gabirol (Kren, “Gundissalinus” 592). Gerard of Cremona translated Aristotle’s books on physics, the Almagest of Ptolemy, as well as works of Euclid, Archimedes, Hippocrates, Galen, Ibn Sīnā, al-Khwārizmī, and al-Zarqālī. Significant among his many translations was the critique of Ptolemy written by Jābir ibn Aflaḥ of Seville (d. 1160), the Correction of the Almagest (Iṣlāḥ al-Majisṭi) (Lemay, “Gerard” 176–88). Johannes Hispalenses, besides his numerous translations of astronomical studies, also rendered the astrological work by Abū Maʿshar and collaborated with Gerard to translate al-Faraghānī’s Compendium of the Science of the Stars (Jawāmiʿ ʿilm

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Figure 1.1  Biblioteca de El Escorial, Ms. D-I-2, fol. 12v (detail).

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al-nujūm), which would later be translated into Romance (Vernet, Lo que 198). Other translators, such as Robert of Ketton (d. 1160), best known for his Latin Qurʾān translation, also rendered al-Battānī. Herman of Carinthia (d. ca. 1160), who collaborated with Robert on his anti-Islamic translations, also translated or re-translated works of Ptolemy, Euclid, Abū Maʿshar, and al-Khwārizmī, among others. The flurry of translating activity in twelfth-century Toledo laid the groundwork for further translations in the thirteenth century, both in and beyond the Iberian Peninsula, both to Latin and to Hebrew. For example, Mark of Toledo not only undertook a second Latin Qurʾān translation at Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada’s behest, but he also translated Hippocrates and several of Ibn Isḥāq’s versions of Galen. Michael Scot (d. ca. 1235), working first under Rodrigo’s patronage in Toledo and later in the Sicilian court of Frederick II (d. 1250), continued translating works of Arabic science, including Biṭrūjī’s astronomical work, Aristotle’s writing on animals as well as commentaries by Ibn Sīnā and Ibn Rushd on Aristotle’s natural philosophy (Pick, Conflict 79–80, 94–5). Leonardo Pisano, better known as Fibonacci (d. ca. 1240), dedicated the final version of his Book of Calculation (Liber abaci) to Michael in gratitude for his corrections. The work, based on Euclid and al-Khwārizmī, revolutionized European mathematics and disseminated the HinduArabic numeral system (which he calls figure indorum), including the zero, “quod arabice zephirum appelatur” (“which in Arabic is called zephirum,” thus transliterating the Arabic ṣifr rather than translating the concept as nihil) (Pisano, Fibonacci’s, 618 n. 1). Roger Bacon (d. ca. 1292), in Oxford and Paris, made extensive use of translations of Aristotle and Islamic commentators and scientists in his Opus maius, a compendious critique of scholastic thought that laid out a coherent methodology for scientific reflection and experimentation and proposed important educational reforms for European universities (Crombie and North, “Bacon” 378). A similar and related wave of translation took place in Jewish communities of Iberia and Provence. Abraham Ibn Ezra (d. ca. 1167) translated Arabic work on astronomy and astrology, incorporating it into an extensive original corpus of works in Hebrew and Latin. Another figure providing a link between Latin and Hebrew sources was the mysterious Provenc̦ al convert (who later returned to Judaism) nicknamed Doʾeg ha-Edomi (fl. ca. 1200). He produced numerous Hebrew versions of many recently produced Latin versions of Arabic medical texts.8 The thirteenth century was transformative for scientific thought in Jewish


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culture. Samuel Ibn Tibbon (d. ca. 1230), the translator of Maimonides’s philosophy, also translated into Hebrew Arabic commentaries on Galen and Averroes and Ibn Baṭrīq’s versions of Aristotle’s Meteorology. His son Moses ibn Tibbon (d. ca. 1274), translated various medical works by Maimonides as well as portions of Galen, Euclid, Ibn Isḥāq, Ibn Rushd, and others (Zonta, “Medieval” 30–4). The Hebrew translation movement, which can only be superficially mentioned here, overlapped with and supported the Latin translation movement in significant ways, providing translators and disseminating texts. Despite this awareness of the Greek originals of many well-known texts, the influence of Islamic commentators and scientists continued to be felt in European centres of learning for centuries. Latin versions of Ibn Isḥāq’s Introduction to Medicine and Ibn Sīnā’s Canon of Medicine long remained standard medical textbooks in Europe (Pormann and SavageSmith, Islamic 164). Printings of Gerard of Cremona’s versions of Euclid’s Elements and Ptolemy’s Almagest were widely available in the sixteenth century. Raphael included Ibn Rushd among the scholars of antiquity in his fresco The School of Athens (1509–11), commissioned by Pope Julius II to decorate the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. There is no clearer testament to the legacy of Islamic science and philosophy in the growth of European learning than the survival of Latin versions of dozens of Arabic and Hebrew names, including Johannitus (Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq), Azophi (al-Ṣūfī), Algoritmi (Al-Khwārizmī), Alfraganus (Al-Faraghānī), Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā), Albategnius (Al-Battānī), Azarquiel (al-Zarqālī), Abulcasis (Al-Zahrāwī), Abenzoar (Ibn Zuhr), Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Alhazen (Ibn Haythām), Haly Abenragel (Ibn Abī Rijāl), Gebir (Ibn Aflaḥ), and many others, not to mention, of course, Albumasar himself. In Christian culture, this process of translating Arabic texts in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in collaboration with Jewish scholars culminated during the reign of King Alfonso X of Castile (d. 1284), the younger first cousin of Frederick II of Sicily. Alfonso was the first king of the expanded kingdom of Castile after the decisive military victories against the Almohads by his father Fernando III, including the conquest of Cordoba (1236) and Seville (1248). After his father’s death in 1252, Alfonso sought to match his father’s legacy of military conquest with activity in the cultural sphere, dedicating the abundant resources of his Crown to support the translation of Arabic works still left untranslated, including works of astronomy and astrology, magic, wisdom literature, and Islamic legends. Rather than ordering translations into Latin, he made the radical choice to commission translations into Castilian, thus solidifying the role of the vernacular in scientific and philosophical

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learning in the Peninsula. Through his patronage of over a dozen translations from Arabic, as well as his oversight of original historiographical, legal, and poetic compositions, he had a more decisive impact on the intellectual culture of Christian Iberia than any other medieval sovereign. Virtually all of his translation projects, including his book on games (Libro de ajedrez, dados, y tablas) or falconry (Libro que es fecho de las animalias que cac̦ an, or Libro de Moamín) could serve to exemplify the trajectory of transmission from antiquity that began in the Abbasid Caliphate and continued in Toledo. Like the translation movement in Baghdad, the translatio studii he sponsored was at the same time a translatio imperii that aimed largely to establish his political prestige. Even before his reign began, he commissioned the translation of the widely popular mirror for princes Kalīla wa-Dimna (Calila e Digna), itself the eighth-century Arabic translation of a frame-tale collection that had originated as the Sanskrit Panchatantra. Yet his primary interest was less in abstract political theorizing than in Realpolitik, which for him meant, as it had in the Sassanid Empire and early Abbasid Caliphate, seeking an advantage through political prognostication. Thus, the most abundant of his translations – and eventually, the most scientifically significant – were astronomical and astrological works. In 1254, two years after his reign began, he commissioned the Jewish translator Yehudah Moshe ha-Cohen to complete Libro conplido en los iudizios de las estrellas, a translation of the Distinguished Book of Judgments of the Stars (Kitab al-bāriʿ fī aḥkām an-nujūm) by Ibn Abī al-Rijāl (d. ca. 1063), Tunisian court astrologer in Kayrawān. It was, in all likelihood, the same translator, working with a team of Jewish scholars that also included Isaac ibn Sid (Rabiçag), whom Alfonso commissioned to render into Castilian a string of other astrological works (Fernández, Arte 59–72). These included the Book of Crosses (Libro de las cruzes), on astrological conjunctions, attributed to one ʿUbayd Allāh, possibly ʿUbayd Allāh al-Istījī, an astrologer from Cuenca in the eleventh century (Samsó, “Astrología”; Fernández, Arte 75); the Picatrix, a translation of the Arabic book of divinatory magic Goal of the Sage (Ghāyat al-ḥakīm), of uncertain authorship but erroneously attributed to al-Majrīṭī (Fernández, Arte 291); and the collection of PseudoAristotelian astrological and talismanic lore about stones known as the Lapidario, which was expanded near the end of Alfonso’s reign with tables known as Libro de las formas e imágenes que están en los cielos, or Tablas del Lapidario (Fernández, Arte 138, 283). Like Albumasar, Alfonso sought through these translations to interpret “nuestros nacimientos / Por su ascendiente.”


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For Alfonso and his contemporaries, this astrological, magical, and legendary material was not categorically different from other works that today seem like true scientific astronomical treatises. For example, Alfonso ordered the translations of the zīj of al-Battānī (Los canones de Albatení), the Kitāb fī hayʾat al-ʿālam (De configuratione mundi) by Ibn Haythām (Samsó, “El original árabe”), al-Ṣūfī’s Book of Fixed Stars, which formed the basis of his Libro de la ochava esfera. This work makes up the first part of the larger Book of Astronomical Knowledge (Libro del saber de astronomía [or astrología]), which is the only surviving piece out of three large astronomical compilations ordered by Alfonso. The second part of the Libro del saber includes various shorter treatises on astronomical instruments (the quadrant, the astrolabe, various clocks, etc.) (Chabás, “Las ciencias” 70–5; Fernández, Arte 225). As Samsó has shown, some of these works were faithful translations, while others included original material to varying degrees (“Las ciencias” 560; “Al-Bīrūnī”). Without a doubt, the most influential of Alfonso’s scientific projects was the compilation of his own zīj tables, based on the Toledan Tables of al-Zarqālī (Thomas). The Alfonsine Tables expanded these and corrected many observations, blending astronomical observations from the Indian tradition of al-Khwārazmī and al-Majrīṭī with the Ptolemaic tradition of al-Battānī and al-Zarqālī (Chabás, “Aspects” 27). Alfonso’s translations were used in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and thus were also logically among some of the earliest printed books on astronomy and astrology. His Libro complido was translated into Latin in Alfonso’s court (and later into Judeo-Portuguese, Hebrew, and other languages), and was printed in Venice in 1485 (Praeclarissimus liber completus in judiciis astrorum), even earlier than the first printing of Abū Maʿshar in Latin (De magnis coniunctionibus, Augsburg, 1489). Alfonso’s tables were translated into Latin in the 1320s in Paris, and this version displaced the Latin versions of al-Majrīṭī made by Adelard of Bath. After being printed in Venice in 1483, Alfonso’s tables became the most widely known astronomical tables in Europe (Chabás “Aspects” 32–3). The Jewish scholar Abraham Zacuto (d. ca. 1515) made direct use of the Alfonsine Tables in his Hebrew writing as well as in the Latin work based on this, the Almanach Perpetuum (1496), which proved extremely important in astronomical thought in the early sixteenth century. (Chabás, “Las ciencias” 87–90). Copernicus’s personal annotated copy of the 1492 printing of Alfonso’s tables, along with Gerard of Cremona’s translations of Ptolemy (Venice 1515) and of Ibn Aflaḥ’s corrections (Nurenberg 1534) all still survive today (Czartoryski, “The Library”) (see figure 1.2).

Figure 1.2  Uppsala University Library, Copernicana 4 (1), fols. 47v–48r.


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Conclusion: Mise-en-scène in Madrid When Alfonso recounts in his history of Spain how “Se leuanto en los alaraues un moro … et era un sabio en la astronomia … et era muy sabio en las naturas otrossi,” he evokes an inveterate tradition of Islamic learning that was still relevant and familiar when, over three centuries later, Lope’s Abdelmón tells Albumasar, “de esferas, planetas, / cielos y otros movimientos, / sabes las causas secretas.” The scientific advances of the ancient world, from Euclidian geometry to Ptolemaic astronomy to Aristotelian natural sciences, were cultivated in Albumasar’s Baghdad, a uniquely fitting site for the rich confluence of diverse streams of ancient learning from the Greek, Persian, Sanskrit, and ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian worlds. Because of Toledo’s own strategic position as the site of the later encounter of Latin and Arabic traditions, it played a decisive role in the reception and transmission of that concentrated knowledge. Because Alfonso X, embracing his role as heir of the twelfth-century translation effort, ruled at a formative moment in which newly translated learning began to be disseminated throughout Europe, the writing he commissioned served as a bridge between medieval and early modern astronomy. Alfonso’s influence in astronomy is emblematic of a more general trend: many significant advances of European science – from the Copernican heliocentric model to Kepler’s optical theories to Harvey’s explanation of the circulation of blood – built in some way on this transmission of knowledge from antiquity to early modernity via Baghdad and Toledo.9 While the narrative of the history of science as a forward-moving chain of transmission certainly succumbs to a Whig vision of history, the search for first discoveries in modern science without their long historical context falls into the blinding trap of paradigm bias. The dissemination in the age of printing of Latin translations of Arabic versions of Greek texts naturally came to play a pronounced role in early modern Spanish cultural expression. One need not look far for examples of this legacy. Lope de Vega’s use of the prognostications of Albumasar as part of the backdrop for the drama of the captive Isabel passing as her Christian mistress, is only one of a string of meaningful allusions to the legacy of Islamic science in Spain. When he names Ibn Rushd (La Dorotea 291) or Ibn Rijāl (554) or Ibn Sīnā (El Alcalde Mayor, La viuda casada y donzella, La noche de San Juan, El

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Caballero de Yllescas, El mármol de Felisardo), he evinces a familiarity with their writing and a recognition of their expertise. As he writes in La hermosura de Angélica, “Los moros siempre en medicina diestros, / como Avicena y Rasis testifican/ en junta de dotores y maestros, / varios remedios a la muerte aplican” (The moors, always skilled in medicine/ as Ibn Sīnā and Rāzī testify, / together with doctors and teachers, apply various remedies against death.) (La hermosura 256). When Lope mistakenly describes the Presocratic Anaximander as “astrólogo de Persia celebrado” (a celebrated Persian astrologer) (Lo que ha de ser), or cites (deliberately?) both Avicena and Galen together in Latin (El acero de Madrid), or names in the same breath Al-Faraghānī and Ptolemy (El príncipe perfecto), he assumes a familiarity with the common Greco-Arabic astronomical heritage that formed the basis of pre-modern science. When he then names, in the next lines, “Alfonso, King of Spain” as an astronomer who made corrections to these Greek and Muslim scholars, he points to the critical role of Iberia in expanding and transmitting that heritage to the early modern world.10 The growth of the theatre in this period might itself be explained in part as a result of Spain’s particular role in the development of modern scientific thought. It is certainly no coincidence that science and drama, which both flourished in a new and unique way in ancient Greece, should flourish again in parallel fashion in the early modern period. In Alfred North Whitehead’s words, “The pilgrim fathers of the scientific imagination as it exists today are the great tragedians of ancient Athens … their vision of fate, remorseless and indifferent … is the vision possessed by science” (Science 12). The medieval accounting of necessity, sharpened over centuries in the charting of the golden rules of mathematics, the laws of the stars, and the ineluctability of disease and death, gave rise in the early modern period to a new skeptical materialism that involved both a revolutionary understanding of the physical world and an unparalleled insight into the human condition precipitated by that very knowledge. This new vision was marked not only by more intensive scientific learning, but also pari passu by a profound intellectual and spiritual crisis – the beginning, in Kuhn’s words, of a “paradigm shift” (119) in human thought that has led both to the modern scientific world view and to the post-Cartesian concept of the sovereign self adrift in an alien universe of material forces. Spain’s unique position in the history of science also made it a


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logical place where the first echoes of that crisis, like the “ecos de mi fama” of which Albumasar boasts, resonated forcefully across all areas of Golden Age cultural expression.

NOTES 1 The author is grateful to Aileen Das and Ed Casey for their comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. 2 On Alfonso’s use of Rodrigo for this story, see Hazbun, Narratives, 52. 3 On the role of the press in the growth of science, see Eisenstein, The Printing Press, 453–682. 4 A comprehensive source for pre-Socratic thought is Graham, The Texts. See also the corresponding entries in Gillespie et al., eds. Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 5 This overview summarizes Lloyd, Early Greek Science, 99–124. 6 On the influence of Babylonian science in Greece, see Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing. 7 For a coherent list of the major philosophical translations undertaken in Toledo, see Burnett, “Arabic into Latin,” 391–400. 8 For a chronological chart of scientific translation into Hebrew, see Zonta, “Medieval.” 9 One can compare this history to parallel channels of transmission of ancient science via Baghdad, such as that reaching the Ottomans and Safavids of the seventeenth century. See, for example, Brentjes. 10 All references to plays are drawn from the Teatro Español del Siglo de Oro Database (TESO).

WORKS CITED Aaboe, Asger. Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy. New York: Springer, 2001. Alfonso X. Primera crónica general. Ed. Ramón Menéndez Pidal. 2 vols. Madrid: Bailly-Bailliere e hijos, 1906. Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. Brentjes, Sonja. “Safavid Art, Science, and Courtly Education in the Seventeenth Century.” From Alexandria, through Baghdad: Surveys and Studies in Ancient Greek and Medieval Islamic Mathematical Sciences in Honor of J.L.

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Beggren. Ed. Nathan Sidoli and Glen Van Brummelen. Berlin: Springer, 2014. 487–502. Burnett, Charles. “Arabic into Latin: The Reception of Arabic Philosophy into Western Europe.” The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Ed. Peter Adamson and Richard C. Taylor. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. 370–404. – “Translations and Transmission of Greek and Islamic Science to Latin Christendom.” The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 2. Medieval Science. Ed. David C. Lindberg and Michael H. Shank. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. 341–64. Butterfield, Herbert. The Whig Interpretation of History. London: G. Bell, 1931. Catahier, Serge. “Ear, Nose, and Throat Diseases.” Science and Technology in Islam. Part II: Technology and Applied Sciences. Ed. A.Y. al-Hassan. Co-ed. Maqbul Ahmad and A.Z. Iskandar. Beirut: UNESCO, 2001. 491–526. Chabás, José. “Aspects of Arabic Influence on Astronomical Tables in Medieval Europe.” Suhayl 13 (2014): 23–40. – “Las ciencias exactas.” Historia de la ciencia y de la técnica en la corona de Castilla I: Edad Media. Ed. Luis García Ballester. Salamanca: Junta de Castilla y León, 2002. 59–94. Clagett, Marshall. “Adelard of Bath.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:61–4. – “Archimedes.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:213–31. Cooper, Jerrold S. “Babylonian Beginnings: The Origin of the Cuneiform Writing System in Comparative Perspective.” The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process. Ed. Stephen D. Houston. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. 71–99. Crombie, A.C., and J.D. North. “Bacon, Roger.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:377–85. Czartoryski, Paweł. “The Library of Copernicus.” Studia Copernicana 16 (1978): 355–96. Dallal, Ahmad S. “Early Islam.” Science and Religion around the World. Ed. John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L. Numbers. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. 120–47. De Armas, Frederick. “El rey astrólogo en Lope de Vega y Calderón.” El teatro clásico español a través de sus monarcas. Ed. Luciano García Lorenzo. Madrid: Fundamentos, 2006. 119–34. Donald, Merlin. Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1991.


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Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979. Fernández Fernández, Laura. Arte y ciencia en el scriptorium de Alfonso X el sabio. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla, 2013. Gillispie, Charles Coulston, et al., eds. Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. Goodman, L. E. “The Translation of Greek Materials into Arabic.” The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Religion, Learning and Science in the ‘Abbasid Period. Ed. M.J.L. Young, J.D. Laham, and R.B. Serjeant. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990. 477–97. Graham, Daniel W., ed. and trans. The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: The Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Halsted, Frank G. “The Attitude of Lope de Vega toward Astrology and Astronomy.” Hispanic Review 7.3 (1939): 205–19. Hamarneh, Sami. “Al-Zahrāwī, Abuʿl-Qāsim Khalaf Ibn ʿAbbās.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 14:584–5. Hazbun, Geraldine. Narratives of the Islamic Conquest from Medieval Spain. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Herodotus. The Persian Wars. Volume I: Books 1–2. Ed and trans. A.D. Godley. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1920. Isidore of Seville. The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville. Trans. Stephen A. Barney, W.J. Lewis, J.A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof, with Muriel Hall. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Iskander, Albert Z. “Hunayn the Translator.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 15:234–49. Jiménez de Rada, Rodrigo. Historia de Rebus Hispanie sive Historia Gothica. Ed. Juan Fernández Valverde. Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis 72. Turnhout: Brepols, 1987. Kren, Claudia. “Gundissalinus, Dominicus.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 5:591–93. Kudlien, Fridolf. “Galen.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 5:227–33. Lanuza-Navarro, Tayra M.C. “La astrología como explicación científica de la historia: los pronósticos españoles del siglo XVII.” Synergia: Jóvenes Investigadores en Historia de la Ciencia. Madrid: CSIC, 2007. 303–23.

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Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring Sciences into Democracy. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 2004. Lemay, Richard. “Gerard of Cremona.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 15:173–92. Longrigg, James. “Thales.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 13:295–8. Lope de Vega. La Dorotea. Ed. Edwin Morbey. Madrid: Castalia, 1980. – La hermosura de Angélica. Ed. Marcella Trambaioli. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2005. Lloyd, G.E.R. Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle. London: Chatto & Windus, 1970. Kennedy, Hugh W. Lope de Vega’s La desdichada Estefanía: A Critical Annotated Edition of the Autograph Manuscript. University, Miss.: Romance Monographs, 1975. King, David A. The Ciphers of the Monks: A Forgotten Number-Notation of the Middle Ages. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2001. Mariana, Juan de. Historiae de Rebus Hispaniae libri XX. Toledo: Petri Roderici, 1592. Morrison, Robert G. “Islamic Astronomy.” The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 2. Medieval Science. Ed. David C. Lindberg and Michael H. Shank. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. 109–38. Ocampo, Florián de. Los cinco primeros libros de la coronica general de España que recopilava el maestro Florián de Ocampo, coronista del rey nuestro señor por mandado de Su Magestad, en Zamora. Medina del Campo: Guillermo de Millis, 1553. Nutton, Vivian. “Medicine in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.” The Western Medical Tradition: 800 BC to AD 1800. By Lawrence I. Conrad, Michael Neve, Vivain Nutton, Roy Porter, and Andrew Wear. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995. 71–88. Owen, G.E.L. “Aristotle.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:250–8. Pick, Lucy. Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop Rodrigo and the Muslims and Jews of Medieval Spain. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. Pingree, David. “Abū Maʿshar al-Balkhī, Jaʿfar Ibn Muḥammad.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:32–9. – “Indian Astronomy in Medieval Spain.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 104.3 (2014): 241–50.


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Pisano, Leonardo. Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci: A Translation into Modern English of Leonardo Pisano’s Book of Calculation. Trans. Laurence Sigler. New York: Springer Verlag, 2002. Plato. Collected Dialogues of Plato. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1961. Popper, Karl. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Routledge, 2002. Ragep, F. Jamil. “Islamic Culture and the Natural Sciences.” The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 2. Medieval Science. Ed. David C. Lindberg and Michael H. Shank. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013. 27–61. Riddle, John M. “Dioscorides.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 4:119–23. Rochberg, Francesca. The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. Rodríguez-Arribas, Josefina, Charles Burnett, Silke Ackermann, and Ryan Szpiech, eds. Astrolabes in Medieval Cultures. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Saliba, George. Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance. Boston: MIT Press, 2007. Samsó, Julio. “Al-Bīrūnī in Al-Andalus.” In From Baghdad to Barcelona: Essays on the History of the Islamic Exact Sciences in Honour of Prof. Juan Vernet. Ed. J. Casulleras and J. Samsó. 2 vols. Barcelona: Instituto “Millás Vallicrosa” de Historia de la Ciencia Árabe, 1996. 2:583–612. – “Astrología, España preislámica y la conquista de Al-Andalus.” Revista del Instituto Egipcio de Estudios Islámicos en Madrid 23 (1985–86): 79–94. – La ciencia de los antiguos en al-Andalus. Almería: Fundación Ibn Tufayl, 2011. [Madrid: Mapfre, 1992]. – “Las ciencias exactas y físico-naturales.” Historia de España Menéndez Pidal. Tomo XVI: La época del Gótico en la cultura española (c. 1220–1480). Ed. J.A. García de Cortázar. Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1994. 553–93. – “El original árabe y la versión alfonsí del Kitāb fī hayʾat al-ʿālam de Ibn al-Haytam.” Ochava espera y astrofísica: Textos y estudios sobre las fuentes árabes de la astronomía de Alfonso X. Ed. Mercè Comes, Honorino Mielgo, and Julio Samsó. Barcelona: Instituto “Millás Vallicrosa” de Historia de la Ciencia Árabe, 1990. 115–31. Sánchez-Moliní Sáez, Carlota. “Las bibliotecas y al-Andalus.” El saber en al-Andalus: textos y estudios II. Ed. Julia María Carabaza Bravo and Aly Tawfik Mohamed Essawy. Sevilla: University of Sevilla, 1999. 79–98. Sharpe, William D. “Isidore of Seville.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 7:27–28. Thomas, Phillip Drennon. “Alfonso El Sabio.” In Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 1:122.

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Toomer, G.J. “Al-Khwārizmī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad Ibn Mūsā.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 7:358–65. – “Ptolemy (or Claudius Ptolemaeus).” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 11:186–206. Van der Waerden, “Mathematics and Astronomy in Mesopotamia.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 15: 667–80. Vernet, Juan. “Al-Majrītī Abu ʾL-Qāsim Maslama Ibn Aḥmad Al-Faraḍī.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 9:39–40. – “Ibn Juljul, Sulaymān Ibn Ḥasan.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 7:187–8. – Lo que Europa debe al Islam de España. Barcelona: El Acantillado, 2006. – Historia de la ciencia española. Madrid: Instituto de España Cátedra “Alfonso X el Sabio,” 1975. Von Fritz, Kurt. “Pythagoras of Samos.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Ed. Charles Coulston Gillispie et al. 25 vols. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 11: 219–25. Whitehead, Alfred North. Science and the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1953. Wootton, David. The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution. New York: HarperCollins, 2015. Zonta, Mauro. “Medieval Hebrew Translations of Philosophical and Scientific Texts: A Chronological Table.” Science in Medieval Jewish Cultures. Ed. Gad Freudenthal. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 17–74.

2 The Technological Environment of the Early Modern Spanish Stage alejandro garcía-reidy Syracuse University

Yo soy maderos y tablas, anjeo y cordeles I am pieces of timber and planks, cloth and ropes – Lope de Vega, “El Teatro a los lectores” (The Theater, to the Readers), Parte XIV, 1620.

The fourth volume of the Diccionario de Autoridades (Dictionary of Authorities),1 published in 1734, includes seven different definitions for the word máquina (“machine”). Except for the second meaning, focused on war machines, the other six can metaphorically be applied to different aspects of theatre: a playhouse could be an “edificio grande y suntuoso” (a big and splendid building), which was filled by an audience or “muchedumbre, copia y abundancia de alguna cosa” (a crowd, variety and abundance of something) that attended a play – a “fantasía o traza que uno idea o imagina para forjar alguna cosa” (a fantasy or design that someone thinks of or imagines in order to give shape to something), created by a playwright. These plays could require the use of “artificio(s) de madera o de otra materia para ejecutar alguna cosa” (devices made of wood or another material to do something). A performance was, after all, a “conjunto de cosas, dispuestas por método u orden, que representan algún hecho” (a group of things, arranged by method or order, that represent an event), and the theatrical experience could very well be described as “un todo compuesto artificiosamente de muchas partes heterogéneas, con cierta disposición que las mueve u ordena” (a whole artificially composed of many heterogeneous parts, with a certain regulation that moves them or puts them in order) (Diccionario 445). This metaphorical language emerges in seventeenth-century

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Spanish texts: Miguel de Cervantes would refer to Spain’s professional theatre as a “gran máquina” (a great machine) (93) in his prologue to Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos, nunca representados (Eight New Plays and Eight New Interludes, Never Before Performed). The playwrights’ inventio and the performers’ actio would be the intellectual and physical forces behind this ingenious machine. Applying these definitions to the reality of early modern Spanish theatre allows us to inscribe it in the larger image of the world as a machine, which can be found in Aristotle and Plato, and gained renewed use during the Renaissance (Aït-Toutait 79). It is also a reflection of how this dramatic practice grew as an intersection of performance and technology, fiction and science, flesh and the machine. After all, the emergence of modern European theatre in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries created a space of innovation that allowed playwrights and performers to explore new modes of representation, which included the use of “the transformational power of technology that took root in the European Renaissance” (Sawday xvii). In this essay, I will focus on the main spaces of performance in Spain (especially the public playhouse, but also court theatre) and their technological environment, since their spatial properties and mechanical capacities influenced the ways playwrights and performers would think and embody their texts, and how audiences came in contact with certain technologies. I wish to stress two ideas: first, we cannot forget how the architectonic and technical foundation of performance spaces was an essential element in the creation of theatre, and second, we cannot detach the practical knowledge – architecture, engineering, masonry, crafts, etc. – underlying early modern theatre from the individuals who created it and those who interacted with it. The success of the first professional theatrical companies in Spain required the use of temporary spaces for their performances, which used basic stages set up in patios and buildings big enough to hold them. They did not require a complicated design nor demand much work. In the Spring of 1574 a temporary stage, which was built in just one night, was set up for performances in Madrid by the Cofradía de la Soledad (“the Brotherhood of Solitude”) in a patio owned by someone named Burguillos (Davis and Varey 94).2 By the late 1570s and early 1580s, commercial theatre was such a successful business that building permanent public playhouses to regularly host performances became a profitable investment. Thus, a significant number of playhouses were built during the following decades in large urban centres such as

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Madrid, Valencia, or Seville, but also in smaller towns such as Almagro or Tudela, knitting a broad network of theatrical spaces that reached colonial cities like Mexico, Puebla, Lima, and Potosí.3 I will not go into detail regarding the basic architectural elements that made up these public playhouses: the thrust theatre stage; the backstage, with its levels of corridors and dressing rooms; the space used for the allocation of the audience in the patio, seats and benches, and in lateral and back galleries – based on class and gender; and the additional rooms – such as the place where cold beverages were sold – among other internal spatial divisions. Scholars have shown that Spain’s vast number of theatres reflect a variety of architectonical options: together with the Castilian corrales we find oval-shaped theatres or indoor playhouses such as Valencia’s Casa de Comedias de la Olivera, Seville’s Corral de la Montería and the Coliseo, or Córdoba’s playhouse (Ruano de la Haza and Allen 197–229). Othón Arróniz points out how the history of early modern Spanish playhouses “es una lista de cuentas de carpinteros y albañiles, siempre modesta, porque se trata de reparar, de sustituir lo podrido, de remendar, en una palabra. La historia de estos corrales tiene el trasfondo armónico de los martillazos” (is a list of payments to carpenters and construction workers, which is always modest, for it is a matter of repairing and substituting what is rotten: in short, to mend. The story of these playhouses has the harmonious background of hammer blows) (59). Indeed, theatre is inseparable from artisanal culture, as Hugh of Saint Victor encoded in the twelfth century when he included theatre within the artes mechanicae. Although performance would go on to grow as a new scientia in the early modern period (Rodríguez Cuadros 80–8), the association between ars and technē is indissoluble in the development of professional theatre. And yet the names of the men whose technical knowledge and labour made it possible for Spain’s spaces of performance to exist have been mostly overlooked in the larger perspective of this cultural practice. The constellation of individuals that contemporary scholars have configured as the core of early modern theatrical history does not usually include names of builders involved in the creation of playhouses, partly because they often adapted preexisting spaces and therefore it has been considered that playhouses “no son obra de ningún arquitecto específico” (are not the work of a specific architect) (Shergold 47). However, this is not really the case. The names of those who built the Corral de la Cruz have been lost to us due to missing documentation, but we know that the construction of the

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Corral del Príncipe was led by the carpenter Juan Amaraz, the mason worker Pedro Martín, and the stone-pavement master Francisco Ciruela (Davis and Varey 60). The playhouse of Alcalá de Henares was built by the local carpenter Francisco Sánchez (Coso Marín, Higuera SánchezPardo, and Sanz Ballesteros 77). The Italian architect Vermondo Resta, who oversaw masonry work in the Reales Alcázares and Atarazanas of Seville for over twenty years, designed the city’s Corral de la Montería (Reyes Peña 23). Juan Ochoa, an architect in charge of several public works in Córdoba, designed and supervised the building of the city’s playhouse (García Gómez 97). Calahorra’s theatre was built by Santiago Raón and Domingo Usabiaga (Domínguez Matito 102). A playhouse built in Mexico City in 1628 was the work of Juan Gómez de Trasmonte (Arróniz 146). This brief selection illustrates how spaces of performance owed their existence to the talent of specific architects, many of whom had substantial professional experience before tackling the construction of playhouses. Experience is precisely a key concept in the building of theatres. As Arróniz (113–14) pointed out, architectural treatises published in Spanish during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did not incorporate many of the theoretical innovations pertinent to theatrical building spurred by the renewed interest in Vitruvius’s ideas and the work of contemporary Italian authors such as Sebastiano Serlio.4 In spite of this, these new ideas did reach Spain, but they did so through direct knowledge of the books in their original language, in foreign translations, or through indirect and practical influence. The building of oval-shaped or indoor playhouses in Spain has been seen either as replicating Italian indoor court theatres or as being inspired by Italian architectonical theorization (Arróniz 100–27, 150–1; Reyes Peña 25–6), although the exact connections are still unknown. Davis and Varey (47–8) refer to how the use of a roof on top of the stage – which probably contributed to the addition of balconies and thus facilitated the use of stage machinery – can be traced to a suggestion made by the Italian actor Alberto Ganassa for the temporary Corral de la Pacheca in Madrid in 1574, which might have been inspired by his experience in indoor theatres in his own country. Therefore, those responsible for erecting playhouses in Spain relied mainly on their own professional knowledge and on the tradition of playhouse building that slowly took shape during the final decades of the sixteenth century. This resulted in a hands-on knowledge that was not theoretically encoded, but which was the result of applied

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practice. Indeed, existing playhouses often served as models for newer constructions. The Corral de la Cruz and the Corral del Príncipe in Madrid had similar layouts, whose details varied (Ruano de la Haza and Allen 75). Both were probably inspired by the temporary Corral de la Pacheca. These playhouses, in turn, served as models for others. The playhouse in Alcalá de Henares was built “a la traza que está el patio de comedias que dicen en la Cruz, en Madrid” (according to the design of the playhouse called the Cruz, in Madrid) (Coso Marín, Higuera Sánchez-Pardo, and Sanz Ballesteros 77). When a permanent playhouse was first built in Murcia in 1609, the councilmen decided to send someone to Córdoba to obtain the design of its playhouse, which would then be used for their own theatre, since they had been informed that it was “la mejor traza que hay de los teatros que hoy al presente se sabe” (the best design for playhouses that is known today) (Sánchez Martínez 128). When in 1633 it was decided that Murcia needed a new playhouse, this time the building used as a model was Valladolid’s theatre (Sánchez Martínez 135). This imitative practice also took place in America: the playhouse built in Lima in 1601 was based on “la traza y forma del que está hecho en México” (“the design and shape of the one in Mexico”) (Arróniz 128). This circulation of architectural models was also transatlantic. When in 1628 Juan Gómez de Trasmonte designed the plan for a new theatre in Mexico City, he incorporated several indications from Luis de Berrio, head of the city’s prosecutors, based on elements of the Coliseo of Seville (Arróniz 146–7). The original blueprints of many of the first playhouses have been lost, but, based on existing documentation, they were built using traditional Euclidean geometry as the way to design the structure and make effective use of the available space. As Suárez de Figueroa stated in relation to carpenters in his Plaza universal de todas ciencias y artes (Universal Plaza of All Sciences and Arts), “es menester al perfeto oficial el buen dibujo, para que no eche a perder las obras, sino que las reduzga a su fin y perfeción” (it is necessary for the perfect carpenter master to draw well in order not to ruin the constructions, and to finish them in a perfect way) (663). Although many Spanish playhouses were rather austere in their interior and exterior design, and therefore lacked any type of monumental aspiration, occasionally the materiality of theatres was significant enough to make its way into a discourse of laus urbis, thus signalling its architectonic relevance in the larger urban layout. This is the case of Rodrigo Caro and his 1634 book

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Antigüedades y principado de la ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla (Antiquities and Principality of the Most Illustrious City of Seville). Caro describes the theatres and amphitheatres of Roman Hispalis, and this leads him to praise the playhouses of seventeenth-century Seville: Hoy tenemos en Sevilla dos magníficos teatros para representaciones … Este Teatro (de la Montería) es muy grande y capaz de mucha gente, con tres órdenes de balcones sobre maderos todo él. Hubo también otro de madera admirablemente labrado en la Colación de San Pedro … En el mismo lugar se labró otro teatro, llamado comúnmente el Coliseo … con tres órdenes de aposentos en él de balconería de hierro, unos sobre otros, trabados en estribos de magnífica y costosa sillería, cubierto el alto de un artesón igual por techo, con rica pintura, para las representaciones. (Caro 25v) (Today we have in Seville two magnificent theatres for performances … This Theater of the Montería is very big and can house a large audience, with three levels of wooden balconies. There was another one made of wood and admirably built in the Parish of Saint Peter … In the same place, there was another theatre known as the Coliseo … with three levels of galleries with balconies of iron, one on top of the other, connected by wall brackets of magnificent and expensive masonry; the top was covered with a similar roof, richly decorated, for performances.)

As Anne Ubersfeld puts it, “the theatrical locus confronts actors and spectators in a relationship that is closely related to the shape of the hall and the kind of society” (96). In the case of early modern Spanish theatre, permanent playhouses integrated the physical experience of the provisional stages used by the first generation of professional performers into a larger architectonic space that offered possibilities as well as limitations. Actors and actresses had to consider not only the (sometimes) complicated acoustics of noisy theatres, but also the rather limited space they had for stage movement and the proximity of the audience,5 which would usually occupy three sides of the stage. Occasionally this closeness favoured by the design of the playhouses led to unintended consequences, such as what happened to Antonio Rueda in late May 1635, when, during a performance in the playhouse of the Montería in Seville as a member of the company of Salvador Lara, he unintentionally injured with his sword a young man who was watching the play while sitting on the stage (Ferrer Valls et al.).

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Figure 2.1  Sketch of the Montería de Sevilla (1691). Spain. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Archivo General de Simancas, MPD, 05, 196.

The evolution of public playhouses during the late sixteenth century reinforced conventions that took shape during the previous decades or even endured from medieval drama – such as the symbolic meaning associated with the vertical axis of performance. At the same time, it created new conventions that made their way into the core fabric of the Spanish Comedia. For example, the existence of more than one level at the back of the stage contributed to the popularization of balcony scenes in comedies, and it also led to the development of a whole subgenre, the “comedias de cerco” (siege plays), which required the use of the back of the stage to represent a city’s wall. Whereas Ubersfeld stresses that “the stage locus is encoded in precise ways that are dictated by the stage traditions” (96–7), we must also consider that the physical development of the stage in the first stable playhouses played an important role in the creation of new theatrical possibilities from the 1570s onwards. If these opportunities, facilitated by the spatial characteristics of the early modern stage, were well-received by the audience, they became new conventions within the theatrical community as they were reproduced by different playwrights and incorporated into their dramaturgy (García-Reidy 110–11).

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Playwrights were well aware that an integral aspect of the evolution of commercial theatre during the second half of the sixteenth century lay in the development of its technical elements, and that a considerable distance existed between the plays performed by the first generation of professional actors and the mechanical possibilities offered in the playhouses by the beginning of the seventeenth century. Cervantes stresses this in his aforementioned prologue to his Ocho comedias, where he points out how in Lope de Rueda’s time no había en aquel tiempo tramoyas … no había figura que saliese o parecisese salir del centro de la tierra por lo hueco del teatro, al cual componían cuatro bancos en cuadro y cuatro o seis tablas encima, con que se levantaba del suelo cuatro palmos; ni menos bajaban del cielo nubes con ángeles o con almas. (Cervantes 94) At that time, there was no stage machinery … no figures would appear or seem to appear from the center of the Earth through a hole on the stage, which was made of four benches set in a square, and four or six boards on top, and was four feet high; and, of course, no clouds with angels or souls came down from heaven.

According to Cervantes, the theatrical director Pedro Navarro inherited Lope de Rueda’s pre-eminence and contributed to the evolution of theatrical practice by improving, among other aspects, the use of technological devices, which increased the spectacular nature of shows: “inventó tramoyas, nubes, truenos y relámpagos, desafíos y batalla; pero esto no llegó al sublime punto en que está ahora” (“he invented stage machineries, clouds, claps of thunder and streaks of lightning, challenges and battles; but this did not reach its current sublime quality”) (Cervantes 94). Although Cervantes’s depiction of the evolution of theatrical scenography during the initial decades of commercial theatre must be taken with a grain of salt due to some inaccurate statements present in this prologue (Blecua 96), it is a good example of the awareness among theatrical professionals of the impact caused by changes in theatre’s architectonical and technical features. As Cervantes’s text acknowledges, stage machinery was an integral element of the technological environment of performance spaces, to the point that all theatrical agents were somehow involved in its use: the playwrights who integrated it into their plots; the men who designed, built, and installed it; the performers who operated it; and the audience

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who perceived its effects. Playhouses were early modern public spaces of man-machine interactions. Playwrights made good use of stage machinery to enhance scenes of their plays because of the audiences’ general positive reaction to it. Lope de Vega, despite his alleged disdain for the overuse of machinery at the expense of poetry, incorporated a large range of props and stage machinery into his plays, as Eva Rodríguez García has studied in splendid detail. Other playwrights, such as Luis Vélez de Guevara, gained fame precisely as skilled playwrights of “comedias de tramoya” (plays of stage machinery). Whereas “theatrical spectacle, the sense of an audience watching the interplay of men and mechanisms, was to prove an important element in the ‘staging’ of Renaissance engineering” (Sawday 109), theatre required a different and paradoxical relationship between playgoers and technology. On the one hand, devices had to be concealed from the audience’s view as much as possible to create theatrical illusion. Stage machinery was handled and operated under the stage or backstage, in an upper section known as the desván de las apariencias (attic of stage machineries) in the Castilian corrales. On the other hand, the spectacular effects that these machines could accomplish encouraged theatrical companies to show what they could pull off, especially if it attracted a larger audience and increased revenues. To achieve the desired impact, stage machinery was therefore both hidden and exposed, a tension that echoes the conflict between reality and appearance that permeates so many aspects of the Baroque. Stage machinery represented the moving pieces of the larger device that was the playhouse, and it was technology with which performers interacted directly. Flesh and machinery came literally into contact, as we can see in Lope’s play El cardenal de Belén (The Cardinal of Bethlehem), which required an actor to fit some kind of device to his neck to pretend to be carried aloft by his hair: “Asido por el cuello a una invención, se descubra en ella un ángel que le lleve del cabello de la otra parte” (attached by the neck to a stage-machine, an angel appears and carries him to the other part of the stage by his hair) (Rodríguez García 168). During rehearsals actors had to train to learn how to use these machines and incorporate them into their performance. Their bodies had to be prepared for the physical requirements that some stage tricks required, which were not exempt from danger. A famous example took place in early December 1623, when the company of Manuel Álvarez Vallejo premiered Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s play El Anticristo (The Antichrist) in Madrid. The final scene of the play required the main actor, who played

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the role of the Antichrist, to be lifted above the stage with the help of ropes and fly over it until he was struck by an angel and fell back to the stage. It was meant to be a spectacular conclusion to the play, based on acrobatic flights and falls with the use of well-placed ropes. However, the actor who was to perform this feat, Manuel Vallejo, got frightened at the last minute and refused to fly on the ropes. It had to be one of the actresses of the company, the celebrated Luisa de Robles, who saved the day by dressing up in the costume of the Antichrist and taking the fall to the stage instead of Manuel. His embarrassment was only made worse by the fact that a number of poets were among the audience, including Luis de Góngora and Francisco de Quevedo, who immortalized this event in several of their works. Manuel Vallejo could not be accused of an irrational fear of stage machinery as its use did not always go well for performers. On 22 February 1661, during the rehearsal of Fingir y amar (To Pretend and to Love) – traditionally attributed to Agustín Moreto – in the Palace of the Buen Retiro, the actress Luisa Romero fell from one of the stage machineries and injured herself, badly enough that they had to find a substitute for her.6 Other performers were not as lucky. Actress Josefa de Medina died around 1670 after falling from a stage machinery and the same thing happened to María de Fonseca some time after 1687, although the details of these accidents are unknown (Ferrer Valls et al.). Other times the use of stage machinery and the fragile nature of the playhouses could have serious consequences for the audience. On the afternoon of 23 July 1620, the theatre of the Coliseo in Seville caught on fire due to the candles that were part of a stage-machine used by the company of Juan Bautista Valenciano during the final scene of Andrés de Claramonte’s play San Onofre o el rey de los desiertos (Saint Onuphrius or the King of the Deserts). Almost twenty people died, most of whom were trampled to death as they tried to flee the flaming theatre in panic (Aguilar Piñal 10). When talking about stage machinery one cannot fail to mention Italian architect Nicola Sabbatini and his Pratica di fabricar scene e macchine ne’ teatri (Manual for Constructing Theatrical Scenes and Machines), first published in 1638. It is an essential book due to its detailed theoretical and practical description of the use of stage perspective, scenery, and devices. Although the book is the result of Sabbatini’s experience in Italian court performances, some of the theatrical machinery it describes was similar to what was also being used in contemporary Spanish playhouses. In this sense, Sabbatini’s Pratica has often been relied on by scholars to understand the basic elements of several of these devises.

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This book also points to an absence: that of similar treatises in Spanish that could be used by performers and machine-crafters – at least before the publication of Sabbatini’s book. Again, practical experience was the source of knowledge for those involved in the creation of stage machinery, which, in the case of some devices, dated to medieval times, as Rodríguez García has traced. This knowledge was orally transmitted and individually perfected through practice. As the use of stage machines became a standard in the profession in the late sixteenth century, theatrical companies had to hire people who could build these devices and set them up. These individuals had carpentry skills, although they usually also carried out other duties in the company. For example, on 20 March 1633, Diego de Ávalos agreed to become a member of José de Salazar’s troupe to perform and “hacer las apariencias” (build the stage machines), whereas Gabriel Jerónimo is documented as a guardarropa (“wardrobe attendant”) for different companies since 1658, but also as a master carpenter – at least from 1673 onwards – who built and set up stage machinery (Ferrer Valls et al.). The devices used in public playhouses could be spectacular but never too complex to set up and use, because they often had to be portable enough for companies to transport as they toured from city to city. A contract signed in 1606 between the company headed by Melchor de León and Díez de Bascones and the mule driver who was going to take them from Seville to Coria specified that the transportation would include performers, their clothes and “tramoya” (stage machinery) (Ferrer Valls et al.). The use of stage machinery was important even for performances in smaller locations, including some that did not even have a permanent playhouse but still hired professional actors to perform during important events. When the village of Tornavacas hired the company of Tomás Fernández Cabredo for the festivities of Corpus Christi, the contract stipulated that the company had to perform three plays with the same stage props and machineries “según y cómo las hace y ha hecho en esta corte” (in accordance with how it performs and has performed the plays in Madrid) (Ferrer Valls et al.). In other cases, the villages were in charge of preparing the stage and its machinery, as we find in a contract signed on 18 August 1648 by theatrical director Antonio Fernández Garrote to perform four plays during the festivities of Our Lady of the Rosary in the village of La Bañeza. It might have been possible that skilled carpenters in this town could set up the needed stage machinery, but at times professionals from a larger city had to be hired specifically to do this. When a religious

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brotherhood in Esquivias hired the company of Bartolomé Romero in 1629 to perform during the festivities of Corpus Christi, it was agreed that the brotherhood would pay three carpenters from Madrid to build the necessary stage machinery – and perhaps to go to Esquivias to set it up. However, expenses for the building of these devices seem to have often been shared between the theatrical companies and the playhouse landlord who hired them. This is documented many times in places like Seville, Madrid, Granada, Valencia, Medina de Rioseco, or Córdoba (Ferrer Valls et al.). On some occasions, alterations had to be made to adapt the theatrical locus to performance needs when stage machinery was used, which could modify elements of the stage. Sometimes these changes were minor, but other times they could be significant. As an example of the latter, in October 1691 theatrical director Manuel Ángel informed the city of Burgos that he needed to enhance the playhouse’s stage by adding machinery, lights, and wings for the performances he was planning to do. The city agreed, but it supervised the architectonic changes that were made for an especially complex play – whose title unfortunately is not given – to make sure that they did not represent a threat to the safety of the theatre’s structure (Ferrer Valls et al.). The technological experiences generated in the context of Spain’s playhouses flowed into the domain of the court. Scholars have documented and analysed the theatrical and para-theatrical spectacles that took place in a variety of court contexts: from the performances of Juan del Encina for the Duke of Alba to the more elaborate celebrations for members of the royal family during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that took place in both indoor and outdoor spaces (Díez Borque). Several of these court events included a number of spectacular elements – masques, amateur performances, royal entries, etc. – which contributed to emphasizing the social distance between royalty and nobility and the rest of the population. However, professional companies also performed privately for the royal family and other members of the court, and so this social world was complexly integrated into the larger professional theatrical praxis. This means that there was also a degree of crossover between court and public performance spaces from a technological perspective. This is what happened when the company of Bartolomé Romero performed Palmerín de Oliva (Palmerín of Oliva) in Valencia in the Autumn of 1629. It was first performed in the Corral de la Olivera and then, on 3 November, in one of the patios of the palace of the viceroy, where it was done “con todas las tramoyas que se habían hecho en el corral” (with all the stage machinery that had been used

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in the playhouse) (Ferrer Valls et al.). Other times the crossover was in the opposite direction. When in 1688 the city of Madrid needed to renovate the Cruz and the Príncipe due to damages to the stages caused by the companies when setting up and dismantling all the machinery, they resorted to asking the help of José Caudí, who at the time was the official stage designer of palace performances. He came up with a system that would protect the stage and at the same time allow companies to easily set up whatever machinery they needed (Shergold 26–7). In this case, Spain’s top court engineer used his knowledge to improve the state of Madrid’s public playhouses. The influence of the apparatus of court performances on the city’s theatres became especially evident from at least the 1690s onwards, when the corrales began to use stage perspective in some of their productions (Varey 725). This means that the individuals who were professional machinemakers and worked for theatre companies also had to know how to set up the more complex stage machinery used for court performances. In 1675, Juan Bautista Fernández, Gabriel Jerónimo, and Esteban Palacio were asked to pay 800 reales in taxes by the guild in charge of setting up religious altars – the gremio de altareros – for working as “altareros y tramoyeros” (altar-dressers and stage-machinery builders). All three men rejected this demand by stating that the only work they had done building altars had been done as independent contractors, since they were professionals in charge of companies’ wardrobes, whose responsibilities also included building and setting up stage machinery for performances: “nuestro ejercicio tan solamente se extiende a hazer los teatros para las comedias de los corrales, Palacio y el Retiro, y las tramoyas para ellas y para los carros de los autos del Corpus” (our job only goes so far as to set up stages for plays in the playhouses, the Palace and the (Palace of the) Retiro, and the stage machinery for them and for the carts of the autos for Corpus Christi) (Varey and Shergold 111–12). This same Gabriel Jerónimo was paid the amount of 800 reales – nearly the same value that a play had for its author at that time – for his role in the performance of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s play Amado y aborrecido (Loved and Hated) in the palace of the Alcázar in January of 1676, which had consisted in “haber hecho el teatro y tramoyas para la comedia, y quitar y bolver a poner el teatro dorado” (having prepared the stage and its machinery for the play, and for having undone and set up again the gilded stage) (Shergold and Varey 69). That in Spain the public playhouse was the architectonical reference for building a space of performance can be seen in the fact that

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the corrales served as the model when the Crown became interested in using other spaces rather than the rooms of the palace of the Alcázar to attend plays. In 1607 a temporary stage was built in the Casa del Tesoro (Treasure’s House), outside the palace, in a way reminiscent of a corral de comedias, and in 1622 Philip IV had plans to build his own public playhouse in the building of the Juego de Pelota (Ball Game) (Arróniz 195–7). However, it was the construction of the Coliseo del Buen Retiro within the complex of the Palacio del Buen Retiro and its inauguration on 4 February 1640 that represented a turning point in the technological possibilities in early modern Spanish court theatre. The Coliseo del Buen Retiro, a performance space designed specifically for the most elite audience, marks the definitive intersection of Spain’s theatrical tradition with Italian models and their applied knowledge of geometry. In its construction style and technical possibilities, it was the most sophisticated playhouse in Spain and one of Europe’s most advanced theatres: it was designed to make full use of the potential of perspective, stage machinery, artificial illumination, sound projection, and luxurious decoration. The experience of stage machinery that had been used in court and playhouse performances for decades was amplified with the range of new and advanced technological possibilities offered by the Coliseo. For example, the stage and backstage occupied almost the same space as the main floor to allow for the use of large flat wings and complex machines (Greer and Varey 23–4). This sophisticated spatial design impacted the way audiences saw plays here. A description of the 3 March 1680 performance of Calderón de la Barca’s Hado y divisa de Leonido y Marfisa (The Fate and Motto of Leonido and Marfisa) in the Coliseo reported that “es el coliseo de forma aovada, que es la más a propósito para que casi igualmente se goce desde cada una de sus partes” (the theatre is oval-shaped, for it is the most adequate way to be equally enjoyed from each of its parts) (Greer and Varey 26). The use of flat wings allowed for a fully developed perspective that made good use of all the theoretical and practical innovations from the sciences of painting and geometry that originated in Italy (García Santo-Tomás 272–5). In the first version of his Teatro de los teatros (Theatre of Theatres), from around 1690, Francisco Bances Candamo stated, in relation to the spectacular nature of performances at the Coliseo, that “la vista se pasma en los teatros, usurpando el arte todo el imperio a la naturaleza, porque las luces hacen convexas las líneas paralelas y el pincel sabe dar concavidad a la plana superficie de un lienzo, de suerte que jamás ha estado tan adelantado el aparato de

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la escena … como en el presente siglo” (sight is amazed by the stages as art appropriates all of nature’s supremacy, for lights make parallel lines seem convex and the brush knows how to give concavity to the flat surface of a canvas, so the ensemble of the stage has never been so advanced as in current times) (Bances Candamo 29). This advance in the use of spatial geometry allowed for more complex reflections on representation and its epistemological implications, with Calderón de la Barca’s most ambitious court performances during the decades of 1650–80 as the best examples of the possibilities offered by the technological milieu of the Coliseo. At the same time, there was still an echo of Madrid’s public playhouses in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro. On the one hand, some of its performances were open to the public and it was managed by a landlord. On the other hand, the audience could watch plays standing up, and queens, such as Elizabeth of Bourbon and Mariana of Austria, had the ambience of a corral reenacted with mosqueteros (musketeers), loudspeaking women in the cazuela (gallery for women), and even by having mice set free to provoke havoc among the females in the audience. The fact that the Coliseo was occasionally open to a paying public allowed a larger audience to see plays with a much more elaborate use of perspective and stage machinery than what was available in the city’s playhouses. This contributed to familiarizing Madrid’s theatre-goers from the 1640s onwards with an Italian-like architectonic design and the use of more complex staging techniques, thus setting the base for the modernization of playhouses that would take place in the eighteenth century. To talk about Spanish court performances and their technological context necessarily means mentioning the names of three Italians who played an essential role in their development: Giulio Cesare Fontana, Cosimo Lotti, and Baccio del Bianco. Spain’s own tradition of stage machinery and settings was enriched thanks to individuals with knowledge and experience of technologies used in Italian court performances. The arrival in Madrid in 1622 of Giulio Cesare Fontana, who was the main engineer and supervisor of fortifications in Naples, marked the beginning of a constant application of advanced Italian theatrical technological knowledge to the Spanish court productions. For example, to celebrate the king’s birthday in May of that year, Fontana erected a stage in the palace of Aranjuez, where splendorous performances of the Count of Villamediana’s La gloria de Niquea (The Glory of Niquea) and Lope de Vega’s El vellocino de oro (The Golden Fleece) took place. Not only

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did this stage use a large number of artificial lights, it also presented a complex machine, probably designed by Fontana himself, which represented a mountain that opened and revealed a palace inside. In his description of the festivities, Antonio de Mendoza emphasized how this outstanding piece of stage machinery “la movía un sólo hombre con mucha facilidad” (was easily operated by just one man) (Arróniz 200), thus signalling the triumph of technology’s possibilities over nature, but also the necessary interaction between man and machinery. A few years later, in 1626, Florentine engineer, scenographer, and landscape designer Cosimo Lotti arrived in Madrid to revamp the gardens, rooms, and theatrical activities of the palace of the Alcázar. His technical knowledge and abilities allowed him to dazzle the audience with new stage machineries that had a degree of visual sophistication that had never before been seen in Spain, not even with Fontana. Lotti was able to showcase his ability as a stage and technical designer with shows such as Lope de Vega’s opera La selva sin amor (The Woods without Love), performed in 1629, or Calderón de la Barca’s El mayor encanto, amor (Love is the Greatest Charm), performed in 1635. Vicente Carducho refers in his Diálogos de la pintura (Dialogues on Painting) that Lotti’s technological devices made the artificial seem natural, as in a play “se veía un mar con tal movimiento y propriedad que los que la miraban salían mareados, como se vio en más de una señora de las que se hallaron a aquella fiesta” (a sea could be seen with such movement and accuracy that the people who looked at it left the theatre feeling seasick, which happened to more than one of the ladies who attended the show) (153). Lotti’s greatest contribution was, however, the use of an elaborate perspective in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro to create the illusion of three-dimensional depth. He did so by using flat wings and painted backcloths, which were reinforced by framing the scenery with a proscenium arch. For this perspective to work, a raked stage – with a certain degree of upwards inclination – was used, in line with Sebastiano Serlio’s recommendations (Arróniz 212–13). The flat wings were set on a layout following Leon Battista Alberti’s theorization of the costruzione legittima (distance point method). This allowed objects to be represented in proper scale by applying spatial geometry and using the place occupied by the King as the focal point (Ruano de la Haza 152–3). This tradition of Italian engineers, architects, and stage designers was continued with the arrival in 1651 of Baccio del Bianco in Madrid, where he worked until his death in 1657. Like his predecessors, he was in charge

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of designing and preparing all the elements required for staging spectacular performances for the royal family and their courtiers, which included masterpieces such as Calderón’s La fiera, el rayo y la piedra (The Beast, the Thunderbolt, and the Rock), performed in 1652, and Andrómeda y Perseo (Andromeda and Perseus), performed the following year. Putting on these court shows required a large workforce, especially for the most grandiose plays. The painters who created the still wings for a performance needed their own space to work on the canvases and structures, and so they usually worked in the external building of the Juego de Pelota (Greer and Varey 183). From there they transported the finished materials to the Coliseo. A good example of the human resources needed to set up a full-fledged court production is the performance of Calderón’s aforementioned Hado y divisa de Leonido y Marfisa, which took place in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro in early March of 1680. Calderón’s text was accompanied by stage scenes designed by José Caudí. Setting up the stage for this play required twenty-four carpenters, sixteen workmen, and fifteen sawyers, who worked between fourteen and forty-seven days on the play’s preparations. The abundance of stage machinery and the variety of scenes where the action took place – twelve changes of the flat wings for ten different spaces – made full use of the technical possibilities offered by the Coliseo del Buen Retiro. All this also involved many people operating everything during the show: sixty-nine men were needed to handle the stage machinery and thirtysix to change the scenes. Other artists who participated in the preparations included a painter called Claudio Truchado, who painted “los mármoles y jaspes del frontis” (the marble and jaspers of the façade), and fourteen others whose roles are not specified. The façade also required work done by a sculptor and his helper (Shergold and Varey 121–32). It was truly a cooperative enterprise. Calderón’s spectacular court performances represent the pinnacle of Baroque aesthetics thanks to early modern theatrical technology. Knowledge associated with architecture, mechanics, and geometry created spaces and devices that contributed to the production of different layers of meaning in plays, both in the public playhouses and in the Coliseo del Buen Retiro. Behind the application of these sciences were many individuals involved in each theatrical production: playwrights, performers, designers, workmen, helpers, etc. They were all part of the “máquina barroca” (Baroque machine) (Aparicio Maydeu) that Calderón’s most ambitious dramaturgy took to its limits. It can be no surprise to find that, at the end of the seventeenth century, Francisco

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Bances Candamo would write about Spanish Baroque playwriting and its “interior artificio, la máquina ingeniosa de su contextura y el estudio que necesita su fábrica” (inside artifice, the ingenious machine of its layout, and the study that its invention requires) (78). It was a cultural practice where imagination, performance, spatial design, craftsmanship, machines, and gifted individuals masterfully interacted to create a new form of art.

NOTES 1 This article has benefited from my participation in the research projects funded by the Spanish MINECO with the references FFI2015–65197-C3–1-P, FFI2015–71441-REDC, and FFI2015–66216-P. 2 The Corral de la Cruz, on the other hand, required about seven weeks of work in late 1579 before it could be used in a rudimentary way, and it still required over five months of work until it was closer to completion. The Corral del Príncipe opened after four and a half months of work, although still in an incomplete state (Davis and Varey 53–4, 61). 3 Francisco Domínguez Matito (88–91) and Eva Rodríguez García (739–40) have listed the major and smaller peninsular locations where it has been documented that public playhouses were built during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: Madrid, Albacete, Ávila, Ciudad Real, Guadalajara, Salamanca, Soria, Toledo, Valladolid, Zamora, Alcalá de Henares, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Jaén, Málaga, Seville, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Barcelona, Gerona, Lérida, Saragossa, Huesca, Badajoz, Lisbon, Burgos, León, Oviedo, Pamplona, Logroño, Ciudad Rodrigo, Almagro, Villanueva de los Infantes, Plasencia, Cartagena, Lorca, Daroca, Alcalá la Real, Andújar, Baeza, Carmona, Écija, Jerez de la Frontera, Martos, Úbeda, Astorga, La Bañeza, Calahorra, Tudela, Gibraltar, Alcázar de San Juan, Orihuela, Palencia, Segovia, Toro, and Torralba de Calatrava. Large cities such as Madrid or Seville had more than one playhouse active at the same time. 4 Some of the most important Spanish architectural treatises published were Diego de Sagredo’s Medidas del Romano (Roman Measurements) (1521), Francisco Villalpando’s partial translation of Serlio in his Tercero y cuarto libro de arquitectura (The Third and Fourth Books of Architecture) (1552), Miguel de Urrea’s translation of Vitruvius’s De Architectura (On Architecture) (1582), Juan de Arfe y Villafañe’s De varia conmesuración para la escultura y arquitectura (Of Different Proportions for Sculpture and Architecture) (1585–7),

76 Alejandro García-Reidy and Francisco de Prave’s partial translation of Andrea Palladio in his Libro primero de la arquitectura (The First Book of Architecture) (1625). 5 The stage of the Corral del Príncipe in Madrid was about 26 feet wide and 15 feet deep (Ruano de la Haza and Allen 57). 6 Since this play relied heavily on musical parts, a male musician from the company of Diego Osorio – which was in charge of performing the sainetes or interludes that were to accompany the play – ended up taking Luisa Romero’s part during the 26 February performance.

WORKS CITED Aguilar Piñal, Francisco. Sevilla y el teatro en el siglo XVIII. Oviedo: Universidad de Oviedo, 1974. Aït-Toutait, Frédérique. Fictions of the Cosmos. Science and Literature in the Seventeenth Century. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Aparicio Maydeu, Javier. Calderón y la máquina barroca: escenografía, religión y cultura en “El José de las mujeres.” Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999. Bances Candamo, Francisco. Theatro de los theatros de los pasados y presentes siglos. Ed. Duncan W. Moir. London: Tamesis Books, 1970. Blecua, Alberto. “Cervantes, historiador de la literatura.” Silva: studia philologica in honorem Isaías Lerner. Ed. Isabel Lozano Renieblas and Juan Carlos Mercado. Madrid: Castalia, 2011. 87–98. Carducho, Vicencio. Diálogos de la pintura. Madrid: Francisco Martínez, 1633. Caro, Rodrigo. Antigüedades y principado de la ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla y chorographía de su convento jurídico o antigua chancillería. Sevilla: Andrés Grande, 1634. Cervantes, Miguel de. Entremeses. Ed. Nicholas Spadaccini. Madrid: Cátedra, 1998. Coso Marín, Miguel Ángel, Mercedes Higuera Sánchez-Parco, and Juan Sanz Ballesteros. El teatro Cervantes de Alcalá de Henares: 1602–1866. Estudio y documentos. London: Tamesis Books / Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de Henares, 1989. Davis, Charles, and John E. Varey. Los corrales de comedias y los hospitales de Madrid: 1574–1615. Estudio y documentos. Madrid: Támesis, 1997. Diccionario de Autoridades. Madrid: Real Academia Española, 1726–39. 4 vols. Díez Borque, José María, ed. Teatro cortesano en la España de los Austrias. Spec. issue of Cuadernos de teatro clásico 10 (1998). Domínguez Matito, Francisco. “Para la geografía teatral del Siglo de Oro en el norte de la península.” El corral de comedias, espacio escénico, espacio

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dramático: actas de las XXVII Jornadas de teatro clásico de Almagro 6, 7, 8 de julio de 2004. Ed. Felipe B. Pedraza Jiménez, Rafael González Cañal, and Elena E. Marcello. Almagro: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2006. 87–120. Ferrer Valls, Teresa, et al. Diccionario biográfico de actores del teatro clásico español. DICAT. Kassel: Reichenberger, 2008. García Gómez, Ángel María. Casa de las comedias de Córdoba: 1602–1694. Reconstrucción documental. London: Tamesis Books, 1990. García-Reidy, Alejandro. “Renovación, tradición y comunidad teatral en Lope de Vega (a propósito de El castigo sin venganza).” eHumanista. Journal of Iberian Studies 24 (2013): 108–31. García Santo-Tomás, Enrique. La musa refractada. Literatura y óptica en la España del Barroco. Madrid-Frankfurt am Main: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2015. Greer, Margaret R., and John E. Varey. El teatro palaciego en Madrid: 1586–1707. Estudio y documentos. Madrid: Tamesis, 1997. Reyes Peña, Mercedes de los. “El Corral de la Montería de Sevilla.” El corral de comedias, espacio escénico, espacio dramático: actas de las XXVII Jornadas de teatro clásico de Almagro 6, 7, 8 de julio de 2004. Ed. Felipe B. Pedraza Jiménez, Rafael González Cañal, and Elena E. Marcello. Almagro: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2006. 19–39. Rodríguez Cuadros, Evangelina. La técnica del actor español en el Barroco. Hipótesis y documentos. Madrid: Castalia, 1998. Rodríguez García, Eva. La puesta en escena del teatro de Lope de Vega. Diss. U. de Oviedo, 2014. Ruano de la Haza, José María. “La escenografía del teatro cortesano.” Cuadernos de teatro clásico 10 (1998): 137–68. Ruano de la Haza, José María, and John J. Allen. Los teatros comerciales del siglo XVII y la escenificación de la comedia. Madrid: Castalia, 1994. Sánchez Martínez, Rafael. “Noticias sobre los corrales de comedias en Murcia durante el siglo XVII.” El corral de comedias, espacio escénico, espacio dramático: actas de las XXVII Jornadas de teatro clásico de Almagro 6, 7, 8 de julio de 2004. Ed. Felipe B. Pedraza Jiménez, Rafael González Cañal, and Elena E. Marcello. Almagro: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2006. 121–38. Sawday, Jonathan. Engines of the Imagination. Renaissance Culture and the Rise of the Machine. London–New York: Routledge, 2007. Shergold, N.D. Los corrales de comedias de Madrid: 1632–1745. Reparaciones y obras nuevas. Estudio y documentos. London: Tamesis Books / Comunidad de Madrid, 1989. Shergold, N.D., and John E. Varey. Representaciones palaciegas: 1603–1699. Estudio y documentos. London: Tamesis Books, 1982.

78 Alejandro García-Reidy Suárez de Figueroa, Cristóbal. Plaza universal de todas ciencias y artes. Ed. Enrique Suárez Figaredo. 15 Dec. 2016. othertxts/Suarez_Figaredo_PlazaUniversal.pdf. Ubersfeld, Anne. Reading Theatre. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999. Varey, John E. “El influjo de la puesta en escena del teatro palaciego en la de los corrales de comedias.” Diálogos hispánicos de Ámsterdam 8 (1989): 715–29. Varey, John E., and N.D. Shergold. Teatros y comedias en Madrid: 1668–1687. Estudio y documentos. London: Tamesis Books, 1975.

3 Gridded Fascinations: Early Modern Drama’s Geometric Synthesis john slater University of California, Davis

In Madrid’s commercial theatres, plays were performed not in the round but on a grid. Their rigidly structured verticality – prominent in every reconstruction of Madrid’s corrales (commercial theatres) from Almagro to Madrid to Toro – made it a drama of the y-axis (Ruano de la Haza and Allen; Peña). This orientation was emphasized by the popular taste for hagiographic dramas that traced narratives of heavenward ascent. Lope de Vega referred to the scenic space as a chessboard tipped on its edge, for its orderly organization into rectangular “casillas” or niches (Rico 440). Outside of the theatres, Madrid’s urban spaces were a maze of alleys and backstreets; fountains and wells marked location more often than the regular intersection of thoroughfares, and sewage famously ran in the streets. Madrid was a seething mess. Inside the corral, balustrades, rejas (barred windows), niches, and columns organized a rectangular space into a succession of echoing rhomboids that, due to a lack of artificial illumination, were always visible during the performance. The stage was not alone in its gridded fascinations. Many of the significant architectural achievements of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in Spain – from the grate-shaped Escorial, to Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, to most of the significant retables – were laid out as a series of rectangles. During the seventeenth century especially, Spain engaged in a striking variety of projects to rationalize personal and public space, ranging from fencing, to gardening, fortification, and perhaps most important, tailoring and costuming (Salavert). Early modern Spanish drama organized the affinities among these projects, by demonstrating that their geometric conceptualizations were conceptually related. Tailoring involves, on the one hand, visualizing shapes, measuring lengths exactly, and cutting precisely, while on the other, disguising or


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exaggerating the form of the wearer’s body. In like manner, geometry in the scenic space of the comedia operates between exactitude and illusion, sometimes working angles, sometimes on the level. Fausta Antonucci remarked that the functioning of space in the comedia constitutes a vast and unpredictable subject; sometimes comedias differentiate among spaces rigorously and at others the interior of a house and its exterior seem to be indistinguishable. Rather than examine this inexhaustible topic,1 in this chapter I follow Henry S. Turner’s consideration of the geometric “habits of thought that made theatrical representation possible” (1) to elucidate the ways in which theatrical representations of clothing, fencing, gardening, fortification, and geography take place against the backdrop of these fields’ mathematization. In Spain’s theatres, the business of nation states – measuring distances, policing borders, constructing fortifications – is slapdash against the world of fashion: fabricating curves and eliminating volumes. Ricardo Padrón has elucidated the ways in which the conflict among very different notions of space played an important role in the cartographic, imperial imagination. The corral made this conflict the stuff of plays. All forms of pinching, constraining, inflating, marking edges, denominating interiors and exteriors, seem to bleed into one another.2 Sometimes, plays draw conspicuously on the practical geometric arts.3 At others, the comedia engages in a kind of ludic geometry, in which different forms of applied mathematics come playfully into contact, producing distortion as often as rationalization and control. Considering the engagements of the comedia with the domains of applied geometry, two things become apparent. First, geometric domains are often rooted in patriarchal control. Anxieties about fashion, the rules of fencing, the laws of the garden, and the borders of the state all encode a particular set of behaviours. Second, the comedia delights in subverting these systems of control, confronting geometric regularity and demonstrating its vulnerabilities. The fabulous construction of states and selves in a mathematizing world is the imaginary business of early modern Spanish drama. Geometry, Language, and Drama Geometry was a system by which measurement practices found expression in language. According to Florián de Ocampo, in the prologue to his Crónica general de España (General History of Spain), ancient peoples invented writing primarily to preserve their history. The second reason, Ocampo explains, was so that people “might furthermore know the science of the

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art of geometry, which consists of measurement” (porque podiessen otrosi conocer el saber del arte de geometria, que es de medir) (n.p.).4 Writing was wrapped up with measurement from the start, and measurement was the essence of geometry. Even for mathematicians, such as Pedro Antonio de Aragón, complex geometric exercises such as designing fortifications could be reduced to language. Aragón explains that it is necessary to know “neither geometry nor arithmetic” to lay out a fort; anyone, by understanding only the terms and words, (solamente los términos y voces) will know how to design a fort of any form and figure (8). Linguistic mastery could be translated directly into practical ability. As a linguistic system, geometry provided an appealing illusion of standardization, as if all of the world were measured and organized in just the same way with precisely the same words. But the problems of synonymy, arbitrariness, and regional variability that introduce slop into many early modern linguistic systems plagued measurement, too. When Martín de Ezpeleta tried to explain the conversion of weights within the Crown of Aragon, he had to point out that the pound used in Barcelona was not the same as in other Aragonese cities; Barcelona’s “100 libras” or 100 pounds were equivalent to: 132 Neapolitan pounds, 134 Sicilian pounds, 124 pounds in Gandía, 115 pounds in Valencia, 120 pounds in Zaragoza, and 106 Sardinian pounds (129). The definition of “libra” shifted from one city to the next. Literature is one way of making sense of linguistic arbitrariness. Drama adds to this the ability to make physical distances signify. For every step backward Baltasar takes in Calderón’s La cena del rey Baltasar (The Dinner of King Balthasar), Death advances; the distance between two bodies moving lockstep is the measurement of mortality (Obras III.165). Lope de Vega suggests the ways in which geometry can become a site of playfulness and rivalry in the sonnet he wrote for Ginés Rocamora y Torrano’s treatise on the sphere, Sphera del Universo (1599). Lope underscores the conventionality of Rocamora’s work by invoking the story of Apelles and Protogenes, two artists who competed by drawing successively finer lines, one on top of the other (Sánchez Jiménez 161). Protogenes returned home one day to find that Apelles had visited his studio, leaving behind a line so fine that Protogenes was forced to recognize he had been outdone by the “absent hand” that “had authored the line” (“mano autora de la linea ausente”) (n.p.). Protógenes, después de conocida la mano autora de la línea ausente,


John Slater dividióla con sombra diferente, de envidia noble el alma enriquecida. Pero viéndola Apeles dividida con diversa color, tan diligente corrió el pincel, que indivisiblemente dejó la de Protógenes partida. Muchos desde este centro líneas tiran a la circunferencia de la esfera describiendo sus orbes celestiales. Mas hoy las vuestras, don Ginés, admiran, que solo el cielo, que cortáis, pudiera ver con tantas estrellas líneas tales. Protogenes, upon recognizing whose absent hand had authored the line, divided the line again in a different shade, his soul enriched with noble envy. But Apelles, seeing his line divided with a new color, so exactingly painted another line, that he left Protogenes’ line such that it could not be divided again. Many draw their lines from this center to the sphere’s circumference, describing celestial orbs; but today your lines, don Ginés, astonish; only the heavens that you cut could see such lines with so many stars.

Treatises such as Rocamora’s were standard works of spherical geometry, part of a long line of commentaries on and editions of John of Hollywood’s Sphere (Portuondo 26). Lope probably studied Hollywood at the Academia Real Matemática, but in his sonnet Lope suggests that in geometry, as in the theatre, a line is never just a line. A great theatre can be itself a reification of geometric mastery, a tool that amplifies an actor’s voice. In his miscellany Variedad con fruto (Variety with Fruit), Andrés Dávila y Heredia explained that through mathematics and measurement, a theatre could be made to improve the timbre of an actor’s voice (8). Dávila y Heredia was a military engineer and enthusiastic pamphleteer best known for his medical polemics, but he wrote works of popular mathematics and fortification as well. He explains how the Romans designed their theatres: “Los antiguos Romanos, celosos en la observacion de los Teatros, observaron con singular proporcion el remedio de la voz” (84) (the ancient Romans, exacting in their observation of theatres, observed with particular attention ways to assist the voice). Geometry was key, he said, to the perception of the spectacle and to acoustics. Careful observation and measurement could

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cause a theatre to make up for the limitations of a voice, just as the cut of a garment might flatter the body. The management of sightlines provides a good example of how geometry in the theatre often worked out differently than mathematicians thought it should. Dávila y Heredia believed that through careful planning and construction, every seat could be provided with an equally pleasing view (Variedad 84). But theatre-goers at the corrales often paid more to have seats with partially obstructed views, if it kept them out of the public eye (Prieto Llamazares 635). Similarly, the public in the coliseum of the Buen Retiro had a better view of the king than of the stage (López Alemany and Varey 3). The geometry of the theatre responded to demands of social organization – the ability to be seen (in the case of the king) or not to be seen (as in the case of wealthy playgoers who sought privacy) – rather than to dramatic epistemology. Geometry also made dramatic spaces replicable, whether the drama took place in theatres or urban plazas. The famous auto de fe of 1680, for example, was a “meticulously timed and stage-managed” performance in which 118 people were sentenced in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor (Rawlings 224).5 When José del Olmo published his account of the auto de fe, the Jesuit Juan Cortés Ossorio appended a prefatory letter lauding the precision of Olmo’s account. Cortés Ossorio noted with unsettling confidence that the book depicts the plan of the theatre with all of its dimensions and necessary information “so that architects can repeat the construction” (para que los profesores del [sic] arquitectura puedan repetir la fábrica [n.p.]). The rest of us, said Cortés Ossorio, could use the measurements to visualize the scene (hacer concepto della). Still further, Cortés Ossorio, suggests that the measurements might allow us to make of the auto de fe a kind of spiritual exercise. Geometric exactitude turned chilling theatre into devotional practice. If our built environments are exteriorizations of our imagination, theatres suggest ways in which the early modern mathematical imagination changed (Saiber and Turner 2). Lope’s chessboard would be replaced with coliseums in which perspectival illusions would dominate. In his classic work on Spanish scenography, Escenografía española, Joaquín Muñoz Morillejo states categorically that until 1621, “no se tuvo idea, aunque rudimentaria, de la perspectiva teatral” (27) (there was not even a rudimentary understanding of perspectival illusions in Spain). Muñoz almost certainly goes too far, but he does help explain the kind of theatre that Lope pioneered in the commercial theatres. Lope was not generally after scenic tricks of perspective. Quite differently, the palace


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entertainments of later playwrights, such as Calderón, were often organized around remarkable changes in scenery or the deployment of stage effects: act one ends with a storm, an earthquake, the clanging of battle; in act two, a garden, a mountain, or a citadel appears (often magically). In many plays by Lope, however, the omnipresence of the corral itself is key to dramatic signification. Movement takes place across the vertical surface of its regular chessboard. People, places, and events can all be seen from two angles (a dos visos) in Calderón’s plays, especially in his autos sacramentales (Poppenberg 104). Two characters (Cintia and Libia) appear to Heraclio to be one Janus-faced person (vista a dos haces) in Calderón’s En la vida todo es verdad y todo mentira (In Life Everything is True, and Everything a Lie) (67). One character appears to be two in Tirso de Molina’s La celosa de sí misma (Jealous of Herself): Magdalena’s hand seemingly belongs to another, fictitious woman’s body. This is almost a playful reification of the idea that, as Gracián said, “all great wit is ambidextrous” (todo gran ingenio es ambidextro) (Obras 440). Tirso was especially fond of representing the plasticity of the self in plays ranging from Don Gil de las calzas verdes (Don Gil of the Green Breeches) to Marta la piadosa (Pious Marta). The anamorphic dimensions of identity constitute the basic arts of what Gracián called being a persona – i.e., adapting self-presentation to the exigencies of public life (El Criticón 287) – that are a motif in the drama of the seventeenth century as they are in the picaresque (Castillo). We might borrow a phrase from Calderón’s great seventeenthcentury defender, Manuel de Guerra y Ribera, and call the theatre itself a monument of perspective with two warring viewpoints (“Túmulo de perspectiva ... con dos reñidos aspectos”) (3). Identity is contingent on stage; as points of view shift, so too do selves. Scale and the Geometric Imagination Spanish authors were well aware of the relationship between measurement and power. Dávila y Heredia demonstrates this relationship in a particularly illuminating passage of his manual on measuring land area, Arte de medir tierras (Art of Measuring Lands). Laborers who were unable to measure the area of the lands they were contracted to harvest were powerless to demand proper wages. In fact, Dávila y Heredia claims that in some regions of Spain, such as La Mancha, geometry was not countenanced (“no permiten la Geometría”) (3). The lamentable result was that “los pobres segadores andan a pleito, diciendo si

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es aquel pedazo el concertado o no es; si es mayor, o menor, con que los obligan en los lugares a que trabajen y revienten para hacerlos ricos” (3) (poor harvesters were always involved in lawsuits, disputing the location and the size of the agreed-upon parcel of land; the landowners who obliged their laborers to work to exhaustion got rich off the work of these poor folk). The measurement of area, implies Dávila y Heredia, is the antidote to powerlessness. In practical terms, Spanish authors organized geometry by scale, dividing it into successively larger fields: the body, the home, the city, and the world. Fencing and tailoring rationalized the spaces inhabited by particular bodies. Fencing manuals often began with basic geometric instruction and the definitions of point, line, angle (acute and oblique), and curve. Manuals for tailors contained instructions for turning two dimensions (a piece of fabric) into three, limiting waste whenever possible. Enrique García Santo-Tomás noted that two indications of the Spanish obsession with clothing were literary texts and manuals for tailors (Modernidad bajo sospecha 27). Quevedo joked that theft was the tailor’s true calling (Sueños 102). However, the title page of the 1589 edition of Juan de Alcega’s work of practical geometry for tailors, Libro de geometría práctica ... tocante al oficio de sastre, depicts Alcega as a geometer, compass in hand; tailoring or “sastrería” was not theft but the art of turning a rectangle of cloth into three-dimensional pieces. In similar fashion, the title of Francisco de la Rocha Burguen’s Geometría y traza pertinente al oficio de sastres (Geometry and Tracing Related to the Work of Tailors, 1618) foregrounded tailoring’s debt to geometry (although its geometric instruction is rudimentary and consists of instructions for measuring cloth). Capas and espadas, cloaks and daggers, were geometric domains. Thanks to works such as those by Alcega and Rocha Burguen, the work of making clothing was publicly becoming a practice of applied geometry during the seventeenth century (Salavert 247). Alcega, as we have seen, wanted his readers to visualize tailoring as the implementation of geometric rules. However, a comedia like Diego de Córdoba y Figueroa’s La sirena de Trinacria (The Mermaid of Sicily) highlights how clothing puts control and illusion on the same plane. Ismenia, the protagonist, is transported to a palace in which Flora, a servant, induces her to change her clothes. Ismenia, who recalls Segismundo of La vida es sueño (Life Is a Dream), puts on “chapines,” “verdugado,” “perendengues,” and a “ballena” (17). The “chapines” or platform shoes exaggerate her height; the “verdugado” or farthingale widens her hips, the


John Slater

“ballena” corsets her torso. To all of this, Ismenia responds flatly that “Aquesto es falso” (17) (This is false) which is precisely the point.6 But Flora’s plans go further. Changing the appearance of Ismenia’s body is part of an attempt to “bring Ismenia to heel,” or as Flora remarks, “yo en cintura / la he de meter.” To control Ismenia, to “meterla en cintura,” or as Umberto Eco says, “to impose a demeanor” (193), Flora literally constrains her waist or “cintura.” In La sirena de Trinacria, the dramatic reshaping of bodies and the alteration of their semiotic possibilities takes place against the background of a field – tailoring – that was undergoing a process of mathematization. Fencing underwent a similar process. Manuals by Sánchez de Carranza, Pacheco de Narváez, and others codified a style of Spanish fencing that became recognizable across Europe as distinctively Spanish (Valle Ortiz). As in the case of clothing, fencing was a way to enact gender through the body (Curtis). Carranza’s Philosophia de las armas (Philosophy of Arms, 1582) is not explicitly a work of geometric instruction; it starts with dialogue, not geometry. Pacheco de Narváez begins his Libro de las grandezas de la espada (On the Greatness of the Sword, 1605) with the ethical qualities a good swordsman must possess, such as understanding, memory, and prudence. Geometric instruction on lines and angles does not come until book two. Pacheco de Narváez taught fencing to authors such as Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa, Luis Vélez de Guevara, and Juan Ruiz de Alarcón (Espino López 380) and moved in the same literary circles as Lope de Vega (Laguna Fernández 230). Later in the century, works such as Francisco Antonio de Ettenhard’s Compendio de los fundamentos de la verdadera destreza (Compendium of the Fundamentals of Swordsmanship, 1675) made geometry the conceptual starting point of fencing. Page one of book one begins with Euclid’s definition of a point: “Punto es aquel, cuya parte es ninguna,” or that which has no part (Ettenhard). Miguel Pérez de Mendoza’s Destreza de las armas (Skill with Arms, 1674) begins similarly. All ability with a blade flowed from the analysis of space, position, and distance. Authors from Lope de Vega (in El Hamete de Toledo, La jornada del rey don Sebastián en África) to José de Cañizares (in El honor da entendimiento) represented and occasionally made sport of fencing masters. Lope mentions Carranza (“el gran Carranza,” 113–14) by name in Los locos de Valencia (The Madmen of Valencia). As Lope obliquely suggests in this play, fight choreography in the comedia almost certainly featured the Spanish style of fencing; every time the stage directions indicate fighting (riñen), the actors probably imitated the Spanish style of fencing

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(Long). However, the notion that fencing began with the rationalization of space and achieved control of the self through mastery of the blade also helps illuminate the problem of errant blades in plays by Calderón. Daggers and swords are given as tokens (La vida es sueño), dropped (La dama duende), carelessly flung (El mayor monstruo del mundo), and lost (El médico de su honra). Pacheco de Narváez’s values – prudence, understanding, memory – are Calderón’s, too. Fencing was the leveraging of geometry for personal advantage. Gardening manuals – which often drew on classical works by Cato, Palladius, Columella, and others – increased the scale of dominion. Works such as Charles Estienne and Jean Liébaut’s L’agriculture et maison rustique (1564) contained precise instructions for laying out gardens using complicated geometric designs; the first step was to make a grid of strings. Estienne and Liébaut’s work was translated into Catalan (Llibre dels secrets de agricultura, 1617) and then into Spanish (Libro de los secretos de agricultura, 1626), by Miguel Agustí (Rey Bueno). Although Agustí does not include the instructions for designing garden beds in his translations, the Agriculture et maison rustique was well known in Spain. Where fencing foregrounded mastery of the body, gardening manuals emphasized the governance of the domestic sphere. When Gregorio de los Ríos explained in his Agricultura de jardines (1592) “That which a garden requires” (Lo que requiere el jardín), he began with geometric regularity and ended the rules of the garden. First, gardens had to be “nice and square, so that the beds come out the same size” (265). Lastly, the garden should remain locked and bear a sign reading “Looking, and not cutting, is allowed” (Para ver, y no cortar, se da licencia). This is a version of the lex horti or law of the garden that determined the protocols of the garden as space for Neostoic, masculine contemplation (Morford; Lobato). As De los Ríos says, the garden is to be kept locked to protect it from “pages y de mujeres, porque no hay langosta, ni oruga más mala para el jardín” (266) (pages and women, because there is no locust or caterpillar worse for the garden). It is precisely De los Ríos’ Agricultura de jardines – with its emphasis on regularity and rules – that Lope versifies in No son todos ruiseñores (They Are Not All Nightingales). When Fernando asks Juan whether he knows anything of gardening – “¿Sabéis desto?” (158) – Juan replies by parroting passages from De los Ríos’ “Lo que requiere el jardín.” In explaining how the garden beds are to be geometrically delineated with paths, De los Ríos admonishes that the avenues be made of sand and not cobbles (“calles estén con arena, y no empedradas”) adding that “in


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order to create trellises over the avenues, such as one does with jasmine and grapevines, one has to lift the cobbles, which is a terrible nuisance” (265). Juan, in No son todos ruiseñores, shows himself an astute reader: “Es defecto en un jardín / tener calles empedradas, / porque estorban si se quieren / pasar jazmines o parras” (159) (It is a defect in a garden to have cobbled avenues, because they are a nuisance if one wants to trellis jasmine or grapevines). Juan goes on to spout the entire chapter of De los Ríos’ “Lo que requiere el jardín” in forty-three verses, ending with the lock and key: “No veo llaves aquí, / y si el jardín no se guarda, / todo lo doy por perdido” (159) (I do not see any lock and key here, and if the garden is not guarded, I’d say that all will be lost). Lope makes further borrowings from De los Ríos. When the Agricultura de jardines explains the qualities proper to the owner of a garden – in a chapter entitled “Lo que ha de hacer el dueño del jardín” (“What the Owner of the Garden Must Do”) – it begins by saying that “Quien quisiere tener jardín, ha de ser muy aficionado a él” (Whoever wants to have a garden, must take a great interest in it). Fernando, who identifies himself as the “dueño deste jardín” (owner of the garden) in No son todos ruiseñores, tells Juan in lengthy terms about his “afición ... a las plantas y a las flores” (159) (great interest he takes in plants and flowers). As owner of the garden, Fernando is, in many ways, the ideal reader of the Agricultura de jardines. De los Ríos explains that his book is of use to garden owners so that they will learn about plants and their cultivation themselves, and avoid the deceptions of gardeners, who are known to “engañar a cada paso” (264) (deceive at every turn). As Elizabeth Hyde explains, “Genuine curiosity for flowers involved knowledge of their cultivation and appreciation of the labor needed to produce them” (87). We often think of gardens as spaces in which humans demonstrate mastery of nature, where “aesthetic consciousness becomes an active evolutionary force” (Gessert 297). Gardening manuals encouraged householders to think of their plots and beds as spaces to display curiosity, virtuosity, and learning (Hyde 86). These displays of taste and cultivation served a specific function: gardens are “battlegrounds where elite factions confront one another in their attempts to establish a symbolic language conveying what they consider the most appropriate ideology to the lower and middle classes” (Conan 4). Despite De los Ríos’ emphasis on rigid patterns and unyielding rules, Lope’s No son todos ruiseñores suggests that it is not unreasonable to think of gardens as spaces of sensual pleasure, a battleground of the passions. This is how Baltasar Campuzano described it in his Planeta Católico (1646): gardens

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were the Devil’s parade ground, or “plaza de armas” (251). Campuzano lamented that gardens were a place of sin, lasciviousness, and vice (252). The contest between the Law of the Father and lusty youth in the arena of the garden is the plot of No son todos ruiseñores and many other plays by Lope. This helps explain why for De los Ríos the geometric control of space in the garden was so important, why the garden was kept under lock and key, why it was a space in which women had to be constantly watched. Owners did not simply plan or oversee a garden; they practiced the “arte del buen gobierno del jardín” or art of governing the garden (De los Ríos 264). “It is more important to govern,” enjoins De los Ríos, “than it is to design” (más importa el governar ... que el trazar) (265). Lope’s reliance on the Agricultura de jardines in No son todos ruiseñores is an especially clear case of how early modern Spanish drama invokes a geometric domain – whether it be tailoring, fencing, or gardening – to exploit its limitations and demonstrate the limits of rational control. Just as gardening could be a geometric system of ordering the grounds of a house, fortification guaranteed the order and security of vulnerable municipalities; it was “paramount ... for the defence of a sovereign’s territory and claim to nationhood” (Pollak 111). The fortification of the Hapsburgs’ immense empire was one of their most important ideological projects (Zuleta Carrandi). The star-shaped fortifications of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were responses to the threat of artillery fire that Juan de Santo Matía Sáenz de Mañozca y Murillo, the bishop of Santiago de Cuba, called a fatal blow to honour or “fatal ruina de todo valor” (Dávila Orejón y Gastón n.p). The angular shape of early modern fortifications was designed to provide defensive fire against cannon from every angle. Geometry was essential to laying out these designs. Dávila y Heredia called fortification a branch of mathematics (Tienda, “Al lector”). Pedro Antonio de Aragón’s Geometria militar begins with the rudiments of measurement: “four grains of barley end to end make one inch; four inches make one handbreadth, four handbreadths make a foot, a foot and a half is a cubit; three feet is a yard” (7). It goes on to provide over 300 pages of mathematical tables, or “Tablas polimétricas de la fortificación.”7 Fortification was one subject among many in works on the military arts, which covered vast subjects, from strategy, to history, to philosophy. Some stressed modern warfare’s debts to classical models; Justus Lipsius’s De militia romana, which reconstructed the Roman style of prosecuting war, was exemplary in this respect; the bishop Juan de


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Santo Matía cited it approvingly. Spanish works such as Diego Enríquez de Villegas’s Aula militar y politicas ideas deducidas de las acciones de C. Julio Cesar (Military Primer and Political Ideas Deduced from the Actions of Julius Caesar, 1649), continued the trend of drawing lessons for modern warfare from Roman history. Enríquez de Villegas was particularly concerned with the strength and virility of soldiers; it was not for nothing that his first chapter deals with effeminate fashions that should be prohibited (11). When these more general works of manly, military philosophy discussed mathematics at all, it was generally to instruct sergeants in how to divide men into squadrons, reducing “foot soldiers to quanta” (Crosby 7). This was the case with Bernardino Barroso’s Teorica, practica y exemplos (Theory, Practice and Examples, ca. 1622), a book with moments of pleasing wit that cites Lope’s La amistad pagada (Friendship Rewarded) at some length (88). While Barroso was reading Lope, playwrights were taking note of the military arts, paying special attention to fortification and military engineering. Ignacio Arellano calls attention to the importance of the battlefield as a setting for many comedias, but notes that tents generally stand in for fortification (81). The detail, he explains, lies in the words, not the scenery. Arellano draws particular attention to Calderón’s El sitio de Bredá (The Siege of Breda), which features military engineers and prolonged discussions of distances and measurement, and in which lines, diameters, projections, and calculations predominate (Obras I.93). In other instances, Calderón uses the language of fortification figuratively, echoing Campuzano’s characterization of the garden as the Devil’s parade ground in Las tres justicias en una (Three Justices in One): a lush garden becomes a “plaza de armas de las flores” (II. 714–15) (parade ground of flowers). Calderón develops the conceit, expanding it to include redoubts (redutos) and moats (fosos) (II. 716–20). The use of terms from fortification to describe a garden appears in Lope’s works, such as Los Ponces de Barcelona (The Ponces of Barcelona), in which there are “soldados labradores y labradores soldados” (228) (soldiering farm laborers and labouring soldiers). The similitude of gardening and fortification is especially clear in Lope’s Los ramilletes de Madrid (The Bouquets of Madrid). The garden is explicitly a place where a father, Otavio, will impose order; he plans to cultivate a garden so that his daughter, Rosela, will not have to leave the house to seek entertainment (21). Otavio engages Marcelo (who has disguised himself as “Andrés,” a gardener) to design the garden. Marcelo’s enemy, Lisardo, a lieutenant, expatiates on the likeness of military

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engineering and gardening, without recognizing Marcelo. Lisardo affirms that a garden is a “fuerte compuesto de justas medidas” (perfectly composed fort) because it adapts its shape, whether triangular or hexagonal, to the characteristics of the place (31).8 Even when Lisardo’s friend Fineo scoffs at the idea that a garden might have dikes and counterdikes, ravelins and casemates (“dique o rebellín, / casamata o contradique”) Marcelo insists that soldiers have the training necessary to design a geometric garden (31). The scene, which has to this point so far built on the shared geometric laws of gardening and fortification, ends by narrowly averting a swordfight: Lisardo agrees not to kill an unarmed Marcelo. In moments such as this, Lope masterfully unites the cognate fields of mathematized masculine comportment. We see clothing (Marcelo’s disguise), fencing (the prohibition against killing an unarmed opponent), gardening, and the playfully deployed language of fortification (“dique,” “contradique,” “rebellín,” etc.) come into play. Lope’s ludic geometry passes quickly through the geometric domains of space. Whereas Calderón, in El sitio de Bredá, and Lope, in Los ramilletes de Madrid, delight in using terms taken from military engineering, geography in the comedia is often fantastical. In El rufián dichoso (The Blessed Ruffian), for example, Cervantes says that the comedia is “a map” that can jump from Germany to Guinea in an instant, a map in which only a finger’s breadth separates London from Rome, and Valladolid from Ghent (178–9). Cervantes is exaggerating. Few of those places actually turn up with much frequency in comedias, which preponderantly deal with subjects much closer to the world of the court. Cervantes’s own play is making a leap from Seville to Mexico, remaining within the Hapsburg monarchy. But El rufián dichoso does highlight a common form of geographic distortion. Cervantes’s entirely schematic representation of Mexico in El rufián dichoso demonstrates no interest in an accurate representation of colonial life. In general, plays set in the American colonies bear a passing relationship to early modern geography. Verisimilitude, explains Glen F. Dille, was a function of distance, and the farther off the place, the less its particularities mattered to playwrights (14). That is not to say that geography and borders were unimportant, but rather that they were important as concepts, rather than as historical particularities. The peculiar function of distance and foreignness in the comedia can be described mathematically. A conceptually logarithmic scale of distance accentuates the foreignness of what is not at hand in Spain’s early


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modern drama. Logarithmic scales are mathematical functions that came into use early in the seventeenth century thanks to the work of John Napier (1550–1617) and Jobst Burgi (1552–1632). Decibels and the Richter scale are logarithmic; in the Richter scale, each whole number increase (the difference between an earthquake of 5.0 and 6.0) represents a ten-fold increase in amplitude. In the comedia, the farther we travel, the more quickly specificity recedes. Calderón’s La Plazuela de Santa Cruz (Little Santa Cruz Square) is almost inch by inch a familiar square in Madrid; the Flanders of Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio y mujer (Courage, Betrayal and a Woman Scorned) is a familiar literary topos, but largely unrecognizable as a particular place; and Lope’s Chile in the Arauco domado (The Arauco Tamed) is a faint copy of a copy. If we were to graph the settings of early modern plays, we would find that Madrid is the most common setting, other Castilian and Andalusian towns (such as Ocaña, Fuente Obejuna, Zalamea) are featured somewhat less commonly, more distant places within the European territories of the Hapsburg monarchy (e.g., Sicily or Barcelona) are less frequent still, and the lands that would have been truly exotic for Madrid’s playgoers, such as Cervantes’s Guinea, appear almost not at all. The effect is a bit like Saul Steinberg’s cover for the New Yorker, “View of the World from 9th Avenue,” which is often cited by mathematicians as an example of a logarithmic scale of distances (Khare and Lachowska 118). La vida es sueño, for example, famously begins with a border crossing. Rosaura, dusting herself off after a hard fall, apostrophizes, “mal, Polonia, recibes a un extranjero” (Poland, you show foreigners a cold welcome) (82). Crossing borders is often a key bit of action; the dramatology of the comedia begins not with the hero leaving home, but with an arrival in a new place: a student returns home, a spurned lover turns up seeking vengeance in disguise, soldiers make their way to the court to ask for royal favour. These arrivals, on their surface, offer little in the way of political commentary. Despite the importance of the crossing, Rosaura’s Polonia does not seem to be Poland at all. Henryk Ziomek calls the geography and history of Poland in La vida es sueño a series of clichés (994) and Calderón’s sense of geography is often described as being subordinated to psychological concerns (Baczyńska). So, the delimitation of foreign states is important; the states themselves rarely are. The fuzzy foreign geography we so often find in comedias contrasts with the marvellous specificity of Castile and its cities. In his poetry and prose, Lope revelled in the information he gleaned about the peoples

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and places of the world from the descriptive geography of authors such as Giovanni Botero (Slater 202–5). On the other hand, his plays tell another story. No one can figure out how far it might be from Barcelona to Hungary by reading Lope’s El animal de Hungría (The Animal of Hungary) – the characters make the journey by sea – and Barcelona seems marvellously exotic to Castillian visitors in Lope’s Los Ponces de Barcelona (The Ponces of Barcelona). But one can be reasonably sure that Medina del Campo is about twelve miles from Olmedo in El caballero de Olmedo (The Knight of Olmedo). Depictions of Madrid in early modern plays generally are remarkable for their specificity (Herrero García). Madrid, near at hand for many playrights, signifies differently than faroff Ferrara. From the beginning, logarithms were connected to the artistic illusion of perspective (Huerta, Giants of Delft 25). The Mercator projection that makes Europe the size of Africa on many modern maps – Marshal G.S. Hodgson called this “Jim Crow Projection” – began in the sixteenth century as a rough approximation of a logarithmic scale (Hodgson, Rethinking World History 5). As Cervantes indicates, a comedia is just this sort of map; not unexacting or immune to geometry, simply plotting its coordinates precisely according to egocentric demands. Logarithmic scales encode an ideology when turned to cartographic ends, seeming to inflate the size of some countries and shrinking others. The image of the world in the mirror of the comedia similarly corsets and pinches, puffs and swells the bodies politic it represents. Just as Mercator’s maps seemed to depict the world on an exacting crisscross of lines while actually skewing our perception of the relative size of continents, comedias schematize ideology in geometric terms. Conclusion The reach of one’s arm, the house that encloses you, the limits of a city, or a country’s borders – these are the domains of mathematization in early modern Spain. These domains are key to understanding the physical proximity of two bodies, the sense of safety and control within a home, the security of a city and state. They are key, too, to understanding violations of space – rape and violence, the sacking and surrender of a town, the arrival of a stranger or immigrant. Offences against the law are disruptions of mathematically conceived rules. I have not dwelt on the fact that a number of the treatises I discuss in this chapter are “firsts.” Alcega’s Libro de geometría práctica (Book of


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Practical Geometry) is often considered the first book of patterns for tailors (Emery). De los Ríos’s Agricultura de jardines is generally named the first book about the cultivation of ornamental flowers. Claiming firsts is the kind of power grab or insistence on primacy that the comedia warns against. But it is worth noting that Spanish vernacular treatises on applied geometry in a number of fields indicate a rapidly mathematizing empire. Even Latin primers showed how important simple mathematics – counting, multiplying, exchanging – had become. Juan Lorenzo Palmireno’s Latin primer teaches schoolchildren (niños de gramática) such pearls as “Conturbare: to avoid paying longstanding creditors in favor of paying those who lent you money more recently” (4). From the rectangular beds of De los Ríos’s garden to the angular outworks of fortification, the world was slowly taking on a regular appearance, at least in some corners of the mind. Especially in the corral, the grid was always present, a reminder of the geometric world. We feel in the comedia a sense that if the world was a stage, the stage was a grid. The garden, the bolt of cloth, the space of the swordsmen’s movement; the theatre synthesized these projects, making them mathematized battlegrounds for a contest between unruly Eros and order. The sublimity of the comedia rests in the simultaneity of both kinds of pleasure, the orderly and disorderly. When Federico cries out in El castigo sin venganza, “Oh father! Why are they killing me,” we hear the heartrending “Oh, padre! Por qué me matan?” (2997) and see – if only in the mind’s eye – a chessboard.

NOTES 1 For an illuminating exploration of spatiality in Spain’s early modern drama, see Egginton, How the World. 2 Bleeding, Egginton notes, is one of the constitutive mediatic tropes of Modernity (“Reality” 208). 3 Some of the most reliable documentation of Lope de Vega’s early education has to do with his study of applied mathematics, as Sánchez Jiménez shows. 4 All translations are mine. In most cases, I have translated the titles of works as well. 5 This was the same auto de fe depicted in Francisco Rizi’s painting completed three years later, in 1683.

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6 Because a number of these plays were published without numbered verses, I cite the page numbers of plays throughout. 7 Aragón’s mathematical use of the term “polimetría” is striking, given that polymetry, or the varied use of poetic meters, is the defining characteristic of the comedia’s prosody. 8 As Olimpia Niglio explains, this concern for the particularities of the place or genius loci formed a basic element of early modern fortification.

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Padrón, Ricardo. The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004. Palmireno, Juan Lorenzo. Sylva de vocablos y phrases de moneda, medidas, comprar y vender para los niños de Grammatica. Valencia: ex typographia Ioannis Mey ..., 1566. Peña, Mercedes de los Reyes. “El teatro barroco en España y Portugal.” Teatro y fiesta del Siglo de Oro en tierras europeas de los Austrias. Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior de España, 2003. 69–84. Pollak, Martha. “Military Architecture and Cartography in the Design of the Early Modern City.” Envisioning the City: Six Studies in Urban Cartography. Ed. David Buisseret. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1998. 109–24. Poppenberg, Gerhard. “Religión y política en algunos autos sacramentales de Calderón.” Calderón: protagonista eminente del barroco europeo. Ed. Kurt Reichenberger and Theo Reichenberger. 2 vols. Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 2000. 87–116. Portuondo, María M. Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2009. Prieto Llamazares, Sara María. “Distribución espacial y social del público en los corrales del Siglo de Oro: la ausencia de correspondencia entre las localidades de precio más elevado y una mejor visión del escenario.” La maravilla escrita. Antonio de Torquemada y el Siglo de Oro. Coord. Juan Matas Caballero, and José Manuel Trabado Cabado. León: Universidad de León, 2005. 626–39. Quevedo, Francisco de. Los sueños. Ed. Ignacio Arellano. Madrid: Cátedra, 2007. Rawlings, Helen. “Representational Strategies of Inclusion and Exclusion in José del Olmo’s Narrative and Francisco Rizi’s Visual Record of the Madrid Auto de Fe of 1680,” Romance Studies, 29:4 (2011): 223–41. Mar Rey Bueno, “Prolongatio vitae: prácticas alquímicas, remedios secretos y promesas de salud en la España Moderna,” Azogue 7 (2010–13): 366–401, 378–9. Rico, Francisco. “El teatro es sueño.” Estudios sobre Calderón. Ed. Javier Aparicio Maydeu. 2 vols. Madrid: Istmo, 2000. 440–73. Rocamora y Torrano, Ginés. Sphera del Vniverso. Madrid: Juan de Herrera, 1599. Ruano de la Haza, José María and John Jay Allen. Los teatros comerciales del siglo XVII y la escenificación de la comedia. Madrid: Castalia, 1994. Saiber, Arielle, and Henry S. Turner. “Mathematics and the Imagination: A Brief Introduction.” Configurations 17.1–2 (2009): 1–18. Salavert Fabiani, Vicente L. “La cultura científica y técnica en la España de los siglos XVI y XVII.” Bulletin Hispanique 97.1 (1995): 233–59.

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Sánchez Jiménez, Antonio. “Lope y la Academia Real Matemática (c. 1584–1587): desde las matemáticas a las letras (con una precisión sobre la Isagoge a los Reales Estudios de la Compañía de Jesús). Wort un Zahl. Palabra y número. Ed. Chistoph Strosetzki. Heidelberg: Winter, 2015. 149–67. Slater, John. “The Terrible Embrace of the Incipient Baroque: Textually Enacting the Union of Crowns.” ellipsis 12 (2014): 191–211. Turner, Henry S. The English Renaissance Stage: Geometry, Poetics, and the Practical Spatial Arts 1580–1630. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Valle Ortiz, Manuel. “The Destreza Verdadera: A Global Phenomenon.” Late Medieval and Early Modern Fight Books: Transmission and Tradition of Martial Arts in Europe (14th–17th Centuries). Ed. Daniel Jaquet, Karin Verelst, and Timothy Dawson. Brill, 2016. 324–53. Varey, John E. ““Sale en lo alto de un monte”: Un problema escenográfico.” Hacia Calderón: Octavo Coloquio Anglogermano. Ed. Hans Flasche. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1988. 162–72. Vega, Lope de. No son todos ruiseñores. Obras de Lope de Vega XXXII: Comedias novelescas. Ed. Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo. Biblioteca de Autores Españoles 249. Madrid: Atlas, 1972. 135–84. – Los locos de Valencia. Ed. Hélène Tropé. Madrid: Castalia, 2003. – Los Ponces de Barcelona. Ed. Marcella Trambaioli. Comedias de Lope de Vega. Parte IX. Ed. Marco Presotto. 3 vols. Lledia: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2007. – Los ramilletes de Madrid. Ed. Elizabeth R. Wright. Comedias, Parte XI. 2 vols. Coord. Laura Fernández y Gonzalo Pontón. Madrid: Gredos, 2012. Ziomek, Henryk. Calderon: Actas del “Congreso internacional sobre Calderón y el teatro español del siglo de oro.” Ed. Luciano García Lorenzo. Madrid: CSIC, 1983. 987–98. Zuleta Carrandi, Joaquín. “La fortificación del estrecho de Magallanes: un proyecto al servicio de la imagen de la monarquía.” Revista Complutense de Historia de América 39 (2013): 153–76.

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• Stages of Science

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4 Curing the Malady of Lovesickness: Medicine and Physicians in Early Spanish Theatre julio vélez-sainz Universidad Complutense de Madrid1

Love was a sickness for the medieval mind. Throughout the Middle Ages, there was an intense critical discourse on love, its reasons, and its conceptualization, which intermingled with that of medical practice. Known variously as amor eros, amor heros, or amor hereos in medieval Latin medical texts, lovesickness has attracted the attention of literary scholars because many of its symptoms correspond to conventional signs of love in medieval literature. Canonical literature reviews by Adalheid Giedke, Massimo Ciavolella, and Guilermo Serés have greatly deepened our understanding of its history, roots, causes, and literary manifestations, encompassing a variety of genres and canonical works by Fernando de Rojas (Dangler), Geoffrey Chaucer (Kittredge), the mystics (Serés), or the literature of misogyny (Solomon), among others.2 But scholars have paid much less attention to the theatrical manifestations of such malady. In this chapter, I will examine a representative corpus of plays by Juan del Enzina, Lucas Fernández, and Bartolomé de Torres Naharro. I will argue that these works are of pivotal interest because they present figurative representations of the manifestations of lovesickness, its causes, and its cures. These renderings are successfully achieved by applying a number of medical techniques on the stage, which reveal the intermingling of the discourses of science and the arts in the Renaissance. A therapeutic and curative language was common in medical treatises. In its Spanish translation, Bernard of Gordon’s Lilium medicine underscored its relation to Melancholy: “Es solicitud melancólica, por causa de amor de mugeres” (it is a melancholic condition caused by love of women). The main causes followed: “Desta passión es corrompimiento determinado por la forma e la figura que fuertemente está


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aprehensionada (en el cerebro)” (This passion is caused by the corruption of the form and figure that is strongly lodged (in the mind)) (qtd. in Cátedra, Amor 213). Lovesickness or hereos love was thus considered a corruption of the loving visio of the beloved. In place of the beloved’s appropriately beatific image, the sick mind abruptly switched to the obsessio of the rotten image of the love-object. As a malady related to love-suffering, it did not differ much from any other illness at the time, being susceptible to diagnosis, prognosis, and cure. A line of materialist psychology of the time found in such works such as Arnaldi (Arnaut) of Villanova’s Tractatus de amore heroico or the Almansor linked the concept of complexion to humoral qualities.3 Mental complaints (frenzy, melancholy) were associated with other afflictions of the head and medical treatises included passionate love among the physical diseases. Villanova defined “heroic” or passionate love as an accident of the soul, produced by an alteration of the estimative faculty provoked by heat, which causes the lover to elevate the beloved above all else. He attempts to explain the causes, the signs, and the diagnosis of the disease before it transforms into melancholy and mania, with the subsequent risk of life. This medical configuration of lovesickness prompted a number of pivotal treatises, as Francisco López de Villalobos’s Sumario de la medicina (Summary of Medical Knowledge) had indicated: Amor hereos según nuestros autores es una corrupta imaginación por quien algún hombre se aquexa de amores y en este que’s hito de los trovadores sin ser lisonjero diré mi razón sabed por muy cierto entendimiento jamás no se mescla en aquestas pendencias la imaginativa y bestial pensamiento como es gran potencia y padeçe el tormento engaña consigo a las otras potencias. (38) According to our authors, amor hereos is a corrupt imagination in which a man complains about love; and, in this plaint, is a myth among troubadours (so) without flattery, I will reveal my reasoning. Let it be known that in truly sound logic these quarrels never entwine the imagination with bestial thoughts, as it is highly potent and drags the other faculties along with it.

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Amor hereos, as a variant of the love-disease, could hopefully be diagnosed and cured. For Villalobos, love lies in the imagination, the greatest of the three potencies of the soul, and thus responds to memory and judgment. Villalobos clearly follows Thomas Aquinas’s models of the three potencies for intellect as established by Aristotle: imagination, cogitative power (or, in animals, instinct), and memory (and, in humans, reminiscing). Alonso Madrigal, el Tostado’s Breviloquio de amor y amiçiçia (Little Summary of Love and Friendship) shows us how: Amorem ad libididinem esse aliquid a natura causatum in nobis, quod ex sui communitate patet. Secunda proprietas, inter caeteras passiones nulla impetuosiorem esse amore, quo ad libidinem provocamur nec, in hoc aliquid nobis a caeteris animalibus discretum est Furentem libidinem majorem in hominibus, quam in bestiis fore. In hac consideratione sit quos liceo in viris fortis amor sit, fortior tamen est cum datar competior in amato Quia licet amor ad libidinem impetuosus sit, impetuosir tamen est cum magis amantar illicita. Amore ad libidinem valde fore indomitum Quod libidinosi amoris potentia ubique dilatata est Quod libidinosus amor saepe viros magnos ignominiose dejecit Amores hunc feroces emoliri, et aliqualiter eliminari posse. (Cátedra, Tratados 33) libidinous love is something that is instilled in us by Nature. There is not a more impetuous passion than libidinous love, and, in that respect, we differ little from animals. Even the disorderly loving desire is bigger in men than in beasts. Love is greater when encountering a competitor. Love is more impetuous when its object is illicit. Libidinous love is indomitable. It is incomparably powerful. It frequently affected and dominated the passion of great men. It is possible to cure and diminish the ferocity of love through remedies.

El Tostado follows the tripartite division of both St Augustine’s three faculties of the soul (intellect, will, memory) and Plato’s Tripartite Soul (Rational, Libidinous and Spirited), ideas with broad currency at the time, as is apparent in pieces like St John of the Cross’s The Ascent of Mount Carmel (Book 2, Chapter 6, §1).4 The Breviloquio de Amor y Amiçiçia probably


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represents the most influential denomination of lovesickness at the time, belonging to a series of doctrinal writings associated with the University of Salamanca, which attained considerable influence in courts and studia alike (Cátedra, Amor 27; Tratados 279). Related to both courtly and academic spheres is Juan del Enzina’s Égloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio (Eclogue of Fileno, Zambardo and Cardonio), which stands as the first known staging of a remedy (albeit unsuccessful) for lovesickness on the stage.5 Set as a pastoral eclogue, Enzina presents three shepherds: Fileno, who is smitten by Zéfira; his friend Zambardo, deeply in love with his beloved Oriana; and Cardonio, who is only interested in tending to his flock. Enzina presents, in a very tenuous plot, Fileno’s laments and the remedies prescribed by his friends. Although the two women do not appear on the stage, they are constantly referred to. According to Fritz, Fileno suffers from frenzy, as can be seen in his diatribe with Cardonio (vv. 257 et passim). Zephira quite paradoxically references the wind Zephyr, wind from the west that silences heaven’s madness with its gentle breezes. Enzina adds topoi concerning misogyny and the defence of women. The lovelorn laments of Fileno, the unrequited lover, start the diatribe. Two friends attempt to cure his malady by denouncing women in a discourse that echoes, among others, the misogynistic tirades of Fernando de Rojas’s Celestina, Alfonso Martínez de Toledo’s Corbacho, the anonymous Dezir contra el amor del mundo, and Jaume Roig’s Spill.6 Fileno’s story presentes a number of compelling elements. He does not attempt to furnish the debate with a didactic telos against marriage, as had been the case, for instance, in Juvenal’s Satire VI. One might have expected his words to mimic antifeminist religious discourses associated with the Gregorian tradition, or to reproduce the voices of some of the old men who speak in Boccaccio’s Corbaccio or Jean de Meun’s Romance de la Rose II (Le Laloux); nor does his denunciation of women come as one unable to love, as with Tiresias in Bernat Metge’s Somni or Jaume Roig’s Spill (Salomon). In this eclogue, a young, unrequited lover speaks ill of the beloved and does not attempt to justify her, as had been the case with characters like Leriano in Diego de San Pedro’s Cárcel de amor (Prison of Love) and Calisto in Fernando de Rojas’s Celestina. His friend Cardonio, whose beloved Oriana does indeed return his love, thus must retort, defending women. Fileno and Cardonio derive their respective arguments and topoi from the lexicon of courtly and chivalrous love. The former presents

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himself as a faithful but desperate lover who suffers from disdain from his belle dame sans merci, whereas the latter is a faithful lover whose affections are requited and must thus defend his beloved. Fileno suffers from lovesickness, as Zambardo aptly points out when he identifies the source of his malady: claras señales conozco en tu gesto que de tus males me hazen seguro: flaco, amarillo, conforme, dispuesto. En tus vestiduras no nada compuesto te veo, y solías andar muy polido.

(vv. 26–30)

Clear signals I can see in your face that assure me of your maladies: thin, yellow, ill-disposed countenance; in your unkempt dress, I see now, where you once were so comely.

Zambardo reads in Fileno’s gesture a lack of poise, balance, and grace, which identifies him as a disdained lover while at the same exposing his uncourtliness. Fileno has mismanaged the most visible assets of courtly etiquette, namely his clothes and his demeanour. He admits being subject to “passions” that “muestran de fuera señales muy cierto / del corto camino lieva la muerte” (show very true signals / of the short path towards death) (vv. 35–6). Juan Huarte de San Juan’s famous Examen de ingenios para las sciencias (Analysis of Wit for Sciences) underscores the importance of temperance among bodily fluids for the restoration of the lover. Müller has written: El ser humano es descrito en ella (la teoría humoral) como crasis, o en la transcripción latina, temperamento, es decir, la mezcla individualmente variable de los cuatro humores. (...) Su presencia en el cuerpo es necesaria, mientras que su equilibrio aparece más bien como un punto ideal que permite medir las desviaciones encarnadas por los individuos. Asimismo, la medicina edifica su cuadro patológico sobre la idea de discrasia, es decir el desequilibrio de la mezcla humoral, que se aleja de la fórmula de la buena mezcla (eucrasia). (32) The human being is described in the humoral theory as crasis, or, in its Latin transcription, temperamento, that is the individually variable mixture of the four humors. (…) Their presence in the body is necessary,


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while their balance is an ideal point to measure individual deviations. Medicine builds its pathological frame on the idea of discrasia, that is, the imbalance in the humoral mixture, which is far from the perfect mix (eucrasia).

Cardonio’s friends are forced to provide counsel to avoid Fileno’s imbalance, which would cause his feared untimely death. Nevertheless, none of them is properly equipped with the necessary curative tools. Zambardo is a practical and realistically rendered shepherd who is too busy with his herd. He is ultimately an uncourtly shepherd incapable of understanding Fileno’s cuitas, or sweet laments. Cardonio, on the other hand, is a merry courtly lover whose beloved happily corresponds, making him unable to comprehend Fileno’s passion. Fileno, for his part, devotes a number of misogynistic verses to women in general, and to his cruel beloved Zéfira in particular. He very likely intends to provide the laisse with the therapeutic capacity of unburdening heart and soul (“nascen porfías / donde se siembra amor de mugeres”) (hate is born / where seeds of love for women are planted) (vv. 223–4). Cardonio situates his words within the courtly tradition of the debate on the nature of women. There is a confrontation of mundi significantorum: Fileno uses many elements inserted within the misogynistic topic, while Cardonio responds in the code of philogyny. Even if the debate falls on this side, unlike some other literary debates on the nature of women such as Juan de Flores’s Grisel y Mirabella, this is an ironic victory, since it does not satisfy the play’s main objective, that is, to cure the lover’s malady. Fileno goes from attacking women ad generim to pointing particular cases. He is immediately reminded of Eve causing the fall of man: Desd’el comienço de su creación torció la muger del vero camino, que, menospreciando el mando divino, a sí y a nosotros causó perdición.

(vv. 297–300)

From the beginning of creation woman wrecked our truthful path and, disdaining the divine mandate, caused her and our perdition.

Fileno attempts to demonstrate that the particularities of women can be seen through specific cases. Many erotological treatises proposed cures for the “malady of love.” In his aforementioned Lilio, Bernard of

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Gordon argues that the best cure resides in attempting to invoke reason in(side) the lover: E si es obediente (a la razón), quítenlo de aquella falsa opinión o imaginación algund varón sabio de quien tema e de quien aya vergüenza con palabras e amonestaciones, mostrándole los peligros del mundo e del día del juyzio e los gozos del paraíso. (fol. LVIIIr; cf. Rodríguez 706n33) If the sick person is obedient (to reason) or not, a wise man, worthy of respect and fear, should make him turn away from the false opinion or imagination through words and advice, thus showing him the dangers of the world and of judgment day and the joy of Paradise.

Fileno evokes common rhetorical tropes of the time that were used as arguments in the querelle des femmes. Alcuin Blamires, among others, has demonstrated how the debate had indeed evolved into sort of a judicial “case” that was to be argued through the uses of forensic law, which recommended going from the general to the particular. The particular case of Eve serves as a unique example of feminine evil. Moreover, by virtue of being the mother of all men and women, Eve becomes a particularly alluring “polluter” for the fame of all women. Unsurprisingly, a diatribe against the vices of women follows: De aquella en las otras passó sucesión, sobervia, codicia y desobediencia, y el vicio do halla más resistencia aquel más seguir su loca opinión.

(vv. 301–4)

From her (Eve) emerged, arrogance, greed, disobedience, and that most obstinate vice – that of following her own opinion.

Eve’s stain, represented through her disobedience, is transposed onto the rest of women who maintain the same lack of self-control and submissiveness. The commonplace belief of women’s innate lack of restraint – disseminated in biblical, Aristotelian, and courtly misogynistic traditions – clearly grounds the claim. This becomes clear in the next charge: De su nascimiento son todas dispuestas a ira, envidia y aquélla es más buena


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que sabe mejor causar mayor pena a los que siguen sus crudas requestas.

(vv. 305–9)

From birth, they all are prone to wrath, envy. She who inflicts greater pain is most revered by her followers.

As a disdained courtly lover, Fileno draws from the topoi of medieval misogyny such as the belle dame sans merci, which likens the beloved to the cruelest of all animals. The disdainful woman is compared to the snake, the tiger, and the lion (“la sierpe y el tigre, el osso, leon”) (vv. 345). The comparisons, in fact, confer superiority to the other animals who at least recognize their natural masters “por curso de tiempo conocen las vozes / de quién los govierna y humildes le son” (I believe they know the voices of those who govern them and they are humble to him) (vv. 345–8). Zéfira is even more ingrate, cruel, changeable, and altogether volatile than the animals she is compared with. Cardonio, who happily possesses a requited love, cannot understand Fileno’s acts of despair, and is therefore unable to cure his friend despite all his good intentions. He is incapable of understanding how Fileno can be so enamoured with such a cruel creature: ¿Quién te compele que sirvas y digas esta muger que sin intervalo dizes ser mala? Si sigues lo malo, ¿qué razón hay que de otras mal digas?

(vv. 365–8)

Who compels you to serve this woman whom you constantly refer to as wicked? If you follow evil, what prompts you to speak evil of the rest?

Cardonio does not understand how the lover cannot be cured by the therapeutic powers of his misogynistic tirade. Fileno does not blame his madness on Zéfira’s courtesy, wit, or any other mental attribute, but rather on her beauty. That is, Fileno is incapable of reading beyond the physical traits of his beloved, lacking the attributes of a Neoplatonic lover aspiring to transcendental reunion after death. Nor is he like a Petrarchan sufferer minutely detailing his love affairs. He also differs from a courtly lover who recognizes the physical and moral superiority of the lady. He is a disdained lover who has only captured the most external features of Neoplatonism.7 He behaves driven by wrath: “la ravia, Cardonio, que mi pecho encierra / de ver olvidados mis muchos servicios / hace salir la

Curing the Malady of Lovesickness


lengua de quicios” (the wrath, enclosed in my chest / of seeing my many services forgotten / makes my tongue say ill) (vv. 265–7). The key word here is “quicios,” which is related to adequateness and constraint. Thus, his tongue is loose and out of control. Cardonio indicates the cause of the suffering: “¡O pobre de seso! Más que de plazer, / de sola pintura te dejas vencer / sin que otra virtud cubierta detenga” (lightly headed, you are being vanquished by painting, not even pleasure, / not any other virtue) (vv. 374–5). Fileno is not in love with beauty, but rather with a representation of it. Cardonio underpins his catalogue of female virtue by praising a number of ladies who, via laudatio ex actis, are lovable: Marcia, Lucrecia, Penélope, Dido, Claudia, Veturia, Porcia, Cecilia, Julia, Cornelia, Argia, Atrisilia, Livia, Artemisa y otras que olvido, y tantos millares de santas que ha avido, que unas por castas y otras por fuertes sufrieron afrentas, tormentos y muertes.

(vv. 385–91)

Marcia, Lucretia, Penelope, Dido, Claudia, Veturia, Portia, Cecilia, Julia, Cornelia, Argia, Atrisilia, Livia, Artemisia and others that I forget and many thousands of female saints that there have been some for their chastity and others for their strength who suffered ill, torments and death.

After this list, Cardonio endows his beloved Oriana with those virtues seen in the classical catalogues. Fileno, mad from jealousy, concedes victory to the good lover, a fact which is very rare in misogynistic literature.8 After the recognition of his defeat, Fileno embraces his disease and says goodbye to his lute: E tú, mi rabé, pues nunca podiste un punto ni ver aquella enemiga, ni menos jamás tan dulce tañiste que el alma aliviasses de alguna fatiga.

(vv. 553–6)

And you, my lute, were neither able to see that foe, nor able to play sweet melodies that alleviated my burden.

The musical instrument of the literary shepherd is arguably the most codified feature of the eclogues. The Virgilian model endowed the


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shepherd with either a string or wind instrument, which usually worked as a metonymy of its owner. Fileno’s instrument, however, has not functioned well as either seducer of the lady or as relief for the maladies of love.

• A similar portrayal of the pastoral lover is offered in some by the playwright Lucas Fernández (1474–1542). His Farsas y églogas (1514) have traditionally been seen as merely the first successors to Juan del Enzina’s model of pastoral plays. But their merit is undeniable, as the first autonomous collection of dramatic pieces given to the printing press in Europe. Fernández’s collection belongs to both the secular and the religious tradition, with four plays devoted to worldly matters and three delving into the sacred. One of his achievements consists of the creation of the soldier as a stock character, which yields a particularly odd conflation of miles gloriosus and Renaissance courtier. Such is the case of Farsa o cuasicomedia en la cual se introducen cuatro personas, conviene a saber: dos pastores e un soldado e una pastora (Farce or quasi-comedy in which four personae are introduced, that is, two shepherds, and a soldier and a shepherdess), which stages a discussion between three shepherds and a soldier regarding the possibility of love in a rustic setting. Considered both rural and pastoral in tone and style, the Farsa titillates between idealistic notions of Neoplatonic love – as, for example, when Prabos encounters the soldier – and the down-to-earth vision of the second shepherd, Pascual, who teases the soldier. The play begins with the mournful laments of Prabos for his beloved Antona. A soldier shows up, expressing his dismay and surprise as to how these marginal, slightly beastly characters have even heard of love. During his speech on the forms of love, lovesickness is portrayed as a real illness with consequences for the body and the appearance of the shepherd. The physical consequences of this longing are described in specific symptoms, from the hair’s texture to the finest details in posture. Prabos indicates that: La greña se me’spelunca, tómame pasmo y terito; afrácaseme este’sprito. El redemio espero nunca.

Curing the Malady of Lovesickness Siempre me estó esperezando y bocezando. Traygo caýdos los braços, contino me vo arrojando y rellanando, qu’el cuerpo se me’az pedaços.


(vv. 21–30)

My hair bristles, cold and trembling overtakes me, my spirit dies. I hope for no remedy. I am always aching and shouting. My arms are flaccid. I am constantly falling and losing control, for my body is crumbling.

Prabos’s immediate characterization as a loving shepherd is properly described with his external appearance. His love is represented by the mussing of his hair, which is followed by the rest of his body. He also suffers from frenzy, according to Fritz’s terminology: the shepherd makes abundant use of vulgarized Latinisms, which accentuate the ludic and performative nature of the sketch. His hair (greña) begins “espeluncado,” a term probably derived from the Latin spelunca-ae, which means cavern, concavity. Espeluncar becomes the vulgarized concept of despeluzar or lose one’s hair, which according to José Lamano y Beneite’s Dialecto vulgar salmantino is of common usage around Ledesma (Salamanca, Spain), and appears to be related to Espelufar/Despelufar and Espelujar/Despelujar (to rob, to steal). Therefore, an intricate web of burlesque meanings is associated with the mussing of hair. In addition, his body (tómame pasmo y terito) is cold, and spasms take over his limbs. Terito is a vulgar derivative from teritar or tiritar (shiver), and is here related to cold. Teritona, then, means trembling. His spirit follows immediately thereafter: “afrácaseme este’sprito.” Correas’s Vocabulario of rustic terms makes clear that “Esprito dice el aldeano por espíritu” (137). The recklessness of his soul is reflected on the disintegration of his body: his limbs collapse (“esperezando,” a common term in the famous wine region of the Ribera del Duero) to the point of complete dismemberment: his body is pulled apart into tiny pieces (“qu’el cuerpo se me’az pedaços”). Here we find again a theatrical representation of a process of crumbling, though here it is a psychological collapse. Instead of tearing apart his clothes, the protagonist compares himself to a dog with rabies (“A rauia doy tal dolencia”) that forces him to go forlorn through hills (cerros) and groves (carrascales), half dead and afflicted with life-threatening spasms (terrerías mortales [v. 40]). The soldier calls him a villain (auillanado), a bastard (bastardado), a brute (bruto), and rude (tosco), with the torrent culminating in yet another reference to his bushy hair (melenudo) (vv. 307–8).


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The soldier also expresses his great surprise that people with such ugly features could feel love. Their big thick eyebrows, for instance, give them away: Estas rizones me nota: los ahuncos y descrucios, sobrecejos, respelluzios qu’es amorío remota.

(vv. 670–4)

I can see in these big locks, grieves and stretches, eyebrows, and curls, signs these that it is love.

Fernández enumerates a number of physiognomical and psychological terms conflating both fields of meaning. “Ahuncar” literally means “to fill the soul with grief” (Castro y Rossi 127.2) while “descruciar” is related to a liberating effort (Coll s.v.). These psychological terms are followed, through a subtle logical association, by physionomical expressions such as “sobrecejos” (frowning) and “respelluzios” (hair bristling). As Andreu Coll Sansalvador states: “La disposition sur deux vers semble tracer une dernière frontière fragile entre contenu et expression” (The distinction in two verses delineates one last divide between content and expression) (118). At the same time, it is a clear indication on the performative nature of self-fashioning on the stage. Love prompts both psychological and physical reactions alike. As in the case of Fileno discussed above, disdainful love triggers a number of physical and mental reactions that are capable of disintegrating the shepherd’s body. This quasi-comedy, however, does not end on a tragic note. Rather, the protagonist’s beloved ends up marrying the rascal.

• I would like to close with the figure of Bartolomé de Torres Naharro (1468– 1520), considered for many the most “international” playwright of early modern Spanish drama. Torres Naharro spent most of his career in Italy, and was acquainted with the techniques of Italian Renaissance theatre. He is the first European author to write a treatise on theatre in the vernacular, his Proemio, which divides his work into “comedias a noticia” – plays of observation that strictly mimic reality – and “comedias a fantasía,” which elaborate on previous fictional sources. His famous Comedia Aquilana, by far the most compelling of the three plays in this piece, is set in the court

Curing the Malady of Lovesickness


of Hungary, and tells the story of Aquilano, his beloved Felicina, and the King Bermudo. Aquilano appears as a squire in a moonlit night and asks his servant Faceto to read Felicina’s letter, which he does humorously. They both approach Felicina’s window and send the letter. Felicina, who is deeply in love, affects haughtiness, because Aquilano’s social stature is lower than hers and she is wary of betraying her father. In the following act, Dileta, Felicina’s maid, is sent to inform Aquilano that he and her mistress can meet at night. The third jornada also begins at night: Felicina confesses to Dileta that she is madly in love with Aquilano, but is preocuppied with her honour. Aquilano enters the stage, and offers a full year of service to the lady for an hour of her time. Felicina tells him to withdraw, at which point Aquilano’s heart collapses. A gardener, Galterio, finds Aquilano and informs the king Bermudo of the situation. The monarch, who holds Aquilano in great esteem, worries greatly. He calls upon three doctors to cure him, since he is at the brink of death. While Bermudo consoles him as he suffers, Aquilano attempts to strengthen him. At this point, Faceto reveals that Aquilano is the crowned prince of Hungary and that he appeared as a squire to gain Felicina’s love. A desperate Felicina, who is unaware of the news, considers several forms of suicide but is stopped by a commoner called Dandario. Dileta comes and informs Felicina of the happy turn of events. After much suffering, the lovers marry. Aquilana is a work prepared for performance at a wedding, which happens at the end of the play.9 As one of his comedias de fantasía (fantasy plays), the main conflict unfolds through the clash between the two young lovers and the strictures of honour. While the conflict is resolved via the anagnorisis of the protagonist, who at the end is found to be the long-lost son of the king of Hungary, both lovers suffer from the malady of a love so extreme that King Bermudo beckons three doctors to attempt a cure. In the fourth jornada, Galieno, Polidario, and Esculapio suggest different treatments and prognoses. Though comic, this case of the three physicians on stage is unique in the corpus of early Spanish classical theatre. Galieno is the Greek doctor Galen of Pergamum (130–200), the main exponent of humoral theory that had such wide currency at the time: Polidario’s name is a pun on Podaleirius, the son of the mythological Asclepius, Greek god of medicine. Esculapio, whose name obviously refers to Asclepius, is the main character and the one who offers cures: Será bueno un emplasto para el seno



Julio Vélez-Sainz

donde más siente la pena, según manda Galieno, Avenrroiz y Avicena.

(vv. 2156–60)

It will be proper to use an ointment for the head where he feels the greater pity, as is commanded by Galen, ibn Rushd and ibn-Sīnā.

Esculapio believes that Aquilano needs an ointment for the head, a treatment suggested by the famous Andalusian physician and philosopher Ibn Rushd (1126–98); by the Persian scientist, physician, philosopher, and author of the Book of Curation and the Medical Canon, ibn-Sīnā (980– 1037); and the aforementioned Galen of Pergamum. To be sure, these references to medical authority are manifestly comic and not intended to be taken seriously. However, Torres Naharro, who probably had some medical training in Salamanca, clearly evokes works written in line with the materialist psychological school. In Fritz’s terminology Aquilano suffers from lethargy and melancholy, forms of madness related to phlegm with fever and with gloom (Fritz 133). Esculapio sanctions Aquilano’s malady as a physical reflection of a mania of the soul by reflecting the common medical knowledge at the time and quoting actual doctors. He uncovers the accident, following Arnaldi de Villanova’s doctrine. Aquilano is about to die for the love of a woman, which Esculapio diagnoses by checking his pulse as Esculapio’s beautiful wife walks by him: viendo su enfermedad, sospeché nascer de allí; mas por más seguridad la hice venir aquí. Tanto afano teniendo el pulso Aquilano mientra mi mujer pasaba, que sentí luego en la mano cómo por ella penaba.


(vv. 2332–45)

Seeing his disease, I suspected that it was born out of it (love); but to ascertain it, I made (my wife) come by. I took Aquilano’s pulse while my wife paraded by and I felt in my hand how he was smitten by her.

The view of Esculapio’s beautiful young wife suggests that Aquilano is suffering from melancholy and a broken heart. Aquilano is first described as a sanguine character, whose rapid fall into melancholy

Curing the Malady of Lovesickness


equates him with a specific type of melancholic willing to die for love. To fall prey to love is a conscious choice of the lover. Because to fall in love is an act of will – the two meanings of the verb querer in Spanish – the lover and no one else is to blame when his passion turns to disaster.10 Treatments vary from advising the lover of the dangers of his situation to surrounding him with friends. The doctor should treat by words as hereos love is primarily a suffering of the hypertrophy and corruption of the imagination that affects will. In the Spanish translation of Bernard of Gordon’s Lyly we find its locus: this “amor es locura de la voluntad porque el coraçón fuelga por las vanidades mezclando algunas alegrías con grandes dolores y pocos gozos” (Love is madness of the will because the heart falls for vanities mixing some rejoicing amidst great pain and little joy) (Soto 34). It is thus Aquilano’s will that must be turned. Galieno’s parade is intended to prone Aquilano’s willing response to visual input. Alfonso Martínez de Toledo recommends exciting all five senses, starting with sight: E como los otros pecados de su naturaleza maten el alma, éste, empero, mata el cuerpo e condepna el ánima; por do el su cuerpo luxuriando padesçe en todos sus naturales cinco sentidos: primeramente face la vista perder, e mengua el olor de las narizes natural, quel ombre apenas huele como solía; el gusto de la boca pierde e aun el comer del todo. (73) Other sins kill the body, but this one kills the body and damns the soul as well. The body, in lechery, suffers in all its five natural senses. First, a man loses his sight and his sense of smell as he used. He loses his taste and even his power of eating, entirely. (Sympson 24)

Alfonso Martínez de Toledo and Bartolomé de Torres Naharro evoke common knowledge in the material physiological school of medicine. For example, Gabriel Alonso de Herrera’s Obra de agricultura (Work of Agriculture), which was printed at the time in Alcalá de Henares, describes the uses of the rose-petals as a way to cure love. Confortan mucho el coraçón, así olidas como bevidas y puestas en emplasto y también confortan el hígado y son muy buenas para los que tienen desmayos y mal de coraçón. (fol. 122r) Roses greatly comfort the heart, either smelled, drunk or anointed. They also comfort the liver and are excellent for those who suffer from dismays and heart disease.


Julio Vélez-Sainz

Among other methods, Alonso de Herrera recommends an ointment to cure the malady. Galieno’s parading of beautiful women intends to awake the first of Aquilano’s five natural senses: his sight. He watches Aquilano’s demeanour and feels his pulse throughout the parade, and reports that Aquilano loves his wife. King Bermudo offers to pay Galieno for his wife, but he abruptly rejects the offer saying that neither his honour nor his wife are for sale. Bermudo naively asserts that if it were for him, he could even offer his beautiful daughter Felicina. Esculapio, who knew all along of Aquilano’s love for Felicina, takes advantage of this fact and explains that Felicina was indeed the cause of the malady. With their final union, Torres Naharro is following common literary and physiological doctrine for the curation of the lover: marriage. Torres Naharro’s happy ending is not only a comic device but also a medical solution to the ailing of both lovers, who suffer from melancholy.11

• The pieces by Juan del Enzina, Lucas Fernández, and Torres Naharro that I have examined in this chapter explored some of the most important principles of the medical doctrine of the era. However, the representations of lovesickness, although literary in nature, can also be seen under the lens of actual medical discourse. Because of their performative nature, these dramatic texts aptly staged the physical reactions expected from a patient who suffered from an actual malady. In line with the common materialist psychology of the time of Arnaldi of Villanova, Bernard of Gordon, and Alonso Madrigal, among others, these playwrights associated complexion with humoral qualities by intertwining mental conditions such as frenzy and melancholy with afflictions of the body. As a result, the soul was seen as the cause and motive of the body’s reaction. These plays served as a kind of “medical technology” that depicted the stage as a magnificent operating room to showcase causes, signs, and diagnoses of the disease called love.

NOTES 1 This essay stems from the research project “Early Spanish Classical Theater: Platform of the textual and stage investigation of Spanish Sixteentth-Century Theater” (Primer Teatro Clásico Español (PTCE):

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2 3



6 7 8 9


Plataforma para la investigación textual y escénica del Teatro Español del XVI (1496–1542)” (FFI2015–64799-P). I would like to thank Elizabeth Wright and Enrique García Santo-Tomás for their thorough revision of the manuscript in content and form. In a previous work, I have dealt with yet another text from the period: the anonymous Dezir contra el amor del mundo (Vélez-Sainz, De amor). On the different medieval literary, medical, legal, and theological discourses at play, see Fritz 133. His study delineates four main mental afflictions: frenzy, defined as a sort of madness related to yellow bile that presents fever and excitement; lethargy, a form of madness related to phlegm with both fever and gloom; mania, understood as madness without fever, excitement, and melancholy; and madness without fever, but with gloom. For the Iberian reverberations of love’s related trichotomies, see Serés, who examines its Platonic (15–53) and Aristotelian notions (54–86). Lovesickness had literary repercussions since narrative devices such as the first-person voice and the rich vernacular vocabulary of works like Bernat Metge’s Spill and Alfonso Martínez de Toledo’s Arcipreste de Talavera, “those very characteristics that critics pray as literary innovations, were in fact, necessary components of a medical technology designed to cure men of inordinate sexual desire” (Solomon 4). Considered the “patriarch of the Spanish stage” Juan del Enzina (1468– 1529) was a poet, translator, and playwright with ties to the Dukes of Alba. His theatre is usually divided into two categories: the early “Castilian” phase, which divides the plays by cycles (Nativity, Easter) following Medieval practice; and the later “Italian” one, which presents a clear evolution towards the dramatic practices of the Italian Renaissance such as the use of mythological characters and pastoral themes. For a general overview, see Surtz. For an analysis of the misogynistic diatribes as therapy to cure lovesickness, see Solomon. For a comprehensive examination of the figure of lovers in the Spanish tradition, see Serés. For a preliminary approach, see Barthes and Greene. Most works dealing with the debate on the nature of women do not delve into this. John Lihani states that it forms a trilogy with Torres Naharro’s previous works Himenea and Calamita: “The Comedia Aquilana is considered the first known romantic play written for the Spanish theatre. Similarly, the Calamita is considered to have been the first Spanish play of intrigue, as the Ymenea is the first play of the dashing, cloak-and-dagger variety. All


Julio Vélez-Sainz

three plays share much the same elements of romanticism and intrigue in various degrees of intensity (139). 10 As Trejo Barrientos writes, Alfonso Martínez de Toledo’s Arcipreste de Talavera o Corbacho offers the most complete description of love as a disease available to laymen in the Castilian Fifteenth Century. In it, “mad love” is linked to the suffering which turned patients into a deep melancholic state for the feeling of love for a woman. Martínez de Toledo emphasizes how “el aquejado por él ve en su amada la mejor y más bella de todas las mujeres” (the afflicted sees his beloved as the most beautiful and best of all women). 11 Alfonso Martínez de Toledo, for instance, recommended marrying as a way to save the soul and the body. By the end of book 3, chapter IX, dedicated to the qualities of phlegmatic men, he examined four kinds of marriage and recommended both lovers to be young. The first three types of matrimony were “moço casa con la vieja” (the youngster and the old lady), the “viejo casa o ama a la moça” (the old man marrying the young woman) and “el viejo con la vieja” (the old man marrying the old lady). The last one, on the other hand, was among youngsters (Martínez de Toledo 228).

WORKS CITED ADMYTE. Archivo digital de manuscritos y textos españoles. Eds. Francisco Marcos Marín, Gerardo Meiro, Charles B. Faulhaber, Angel Gómez Moreno, Aurora Martín de Santa Olalla, Julián Martín Abad and John Nitti. Madrid: Micronet, 1992–8. Barthes, Roland. Fragments d’un discours amoureux. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1977. Boccaccio, Giovanni. Famous Women. Ed. Virginia Brown. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001. – Corbaccio. Tutte le Opere di Giovanni Boccaccio. X. Ed. Vittore Branca. Roma: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1967. 469–564. Castro y Rossi, Adolfo de. Biblioteca Universal. Gran Diccionario de la Lengua Española. Madrid: Oficinas y establecimiento tipográfico del Semanario Pintoresco y de La Ilustración, 1852. Cátedra, Pedro. Amor y pedagogía en la edad media: estudios de doctrina amorosa y práctica literaria. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 1989. – Tratados de amor en el entorno de Celestina (siglos xv–xvi). Madrid: España Nuevo Milenio, 2001.

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Ciavolella, Massimo. La “malattia d’amore” dall’Antichita al Medioevo. Rome: Bulzoni, 1976. Coll Sansalvador, Andreu. “La thèâtralitè dans l’ouvre de Lucas Fernández.” Unpublished Dissertation. Toulouse: Universitè de Toulouse le Mirail, 2007. Dangler, Jean. Mediating Fictions: Literature, Women Healers, and the Go-between in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia. Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2001. Elias, Norbert. The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation and Civilization. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994. Enzina, Juan del. Teatro. Ed. Alberto del Río. Barcelona: Crítica, 2001. Fernández, Lucas. Farsas y églogas. Ed. Françoise Maurizi. London: Támesis, 2015. Fritz, Jean-Marie. Le discours du fou au Moyen Ages. xii–xiii Siècles. Ètude comparée des discuours litteraire, médical, juridique et théologique de la folie. Paris: PU de France, 1992. Giedke, Adalheid. “Die Liebeskrankheit in der Geschichte der Medizin.” Unpublished dissertation. Dusseldorf: Dusseldorf Univertät. 1983. Greenblatt, Stephen. Renaissance Self-Fashioning from More to Shakespeare. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980. Greene, Roland. Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999. Lacroix, Paul. A History of Manners, Customs and Dress During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (London: 1874). London: Emereo Pty Ltd, 2012. Lamano y Beneite, José. El dialecto vulgar salmantino. Salamanca: Tipografía Popular, 1915. López de Villalobos, Francisco. Sumario de la medicina. Salamanca: Impresor de la Gramática de Nebrija, 1498. Electronic Texts and Concordances of the Madison Corpus of Early Spanish Manuscripts and Printings. CD Edition. Ed. John ONeill. Madison & New York: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1999. Kittredge, George Lyman. Chaucer and His Poetry. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1915. Müller, Cristina. Ingenio y Melancolía. Una lectura de Huarte San Juan. Trad. Talens y Pérez. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2002. Obra de agricultura de Gabriel Alonso de Herrera (Alcalá de Henares, 1513). Ed. Thomas Capuano. Electronic Texts and Concordances of the Madison Corpus of Early Spanish Manuscripts and Printings. CD Edition. Ed. John ONeill. Madison & New York: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 2000. Rodríguez de Montalvo, Garci. Amadís de Gaula. 2 vols. Ed. Juan Manuel Cacho Blecua. Madrid: Cátedra, 1988.


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Rojas Fernando de, & ancient author. La Celestina. Ed. F.J. Lobera et al. Barcelona: Crítica, 2000. San Pedro, Diego de. Cárcel de amor, Arnalte y Lucenda, Sermón. Ed. José Francisco Ruiz Casanova. Madrid: Cátedra, 1995. Serés, Guillermo. La transformación de los amantes. Imágenes del amor de la Antigüedad al Siglo de Oro. Barcelona: Crítica, 1996. Siraisi, Nancy. Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine, An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990. Solomon, Michael. The Literature of Misogyny in Medieval Spain: The Arcipreste de Talavera and the Spill. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. Soto, María Virginia. El amor hereos en la General Estoria de Alfonso X. Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation. Evanston: Northwestern University, 1988. Surtz, Ronald. The Birth of a Theater: Dramatic Convention in the Spanish Theater from Juan del Encina to Lope de Vega. Madrid: Castalia, 1979. Sympson, Lesley Bird. Little Sermons on Sin, by the Archpriest of Talavera. Berkeley & Los Angeles: U of California P, 1959. Trejo Barrientos, Ángel. “El loco amor como enfermedad mental. Los cuatro humores en el Arcipreste de Talavera o Corbacho, de Alfonso Martínez de Toledo.” Acta poética 37.1 (2016). .php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0185-30822016000100129. 31 October 2017. Vélez-Sainz, Julio. La defensa de la mujer en la literatura hispánica. SS. XV–XVII. Madrid: Cátedra, 2015. – “De amor, de honor e de donas”: Mujer e ideales corteses en la Castilla de Juan II (1406–1454). Madrid: Editorial Complutense, 2013. Villanova, Arnaldi de. Opera medica omnia. Ed. L. Garda Ballester, J.A. Paniagua, and Michael R. McVaugh. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona, 1975.

5 Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia lourdes albuixech Southern Illinois University

Humankind’s quest to understand the natural world is reflected in the earliest written records. Close observation of all things organic and inorganic led to detailed morphological descriptions of plants, animals, stones, and minerals as well as to an exploration of the potential beneficial, but also toxic, effects they could have on human physiology. Knowledge about the prophylactic, therapeutic, and deadly properties to be found in the physical world was transmitted as an amalgam of notions pertaining to different overlapping scientific areas of inquiry such as natural philosophy, medicine, pharmacy, physiology, botany, and astrology.1 Concurrent with the manuscript transmission of authoritative natural scientific knowledge, during early modern times there was a significant body of medical, botanical, and alchemical lore that circulated among the people, both orally and in written form, and was associated by many with magical superstitious practices and beliefs.2 Information about the physical world expanded in the sixteenth century with the “discovery” of New World flora and fauna hitherto unknown to European naturalists.3 Herbaria and pharmacopoeias began to incorporate incoming exotic data, scholasticism contended with the new empiricism, scientific collaboration became a staple of botanical research,4 and botanical gardens, emulators of the medieval monastic and Arabic orchards, sprouted all over Europe (Puerto Sarmiento 105–10). The invention of the printing press half a century earlier facilitated the divulgation of both canonical and extra-academic natural scientific wisdom on a large scale (Puerto Sarmiento 86), spiking the interest in the preventive properties and curative as well as nefarious uses of organisms, stones, and minerals during early modern times. Efforts to confine natural scientific knowledge and practice to the circles of the


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professional and highly educated through examination and training requirements proved fruitless.5 Scientific wisdom was readily available to the moneyed as well as to marginalized subjects, who could learn from trained scientists or, if illiterate, through a system of “collaborative and collective” reading (Solomon 10). In addition, many authors insisted that they wrote for anyone interested in learning.6 A cursory glance at early modern Spanish inventories reveals just how popular medical readings were at the time.7 For instance, Andrés Laguna’s Castilian translation of Dioscorides’s De Materia Medica (On Medical Material), Pedacio Dio∫corides Anazarbeo, acerca de la Materia Medicinal y de los venenos mortiferos (Pedanius Dioscorides of Anazarbos; On the Medicinal Material and on Deadly Poisons, 1555) figures prominently in such lists. Dioscorides’s De Materia Medica, the first botanical-pharmacological treatise of importance produced in the first century AD, includes five books on botanicals and their medical uses and two tracts devoted to poisons and venoms which are believed to be apocryphal (Dubler 1: 42–3; Touwaide, “Harmful” 61; Touwaide, “Pietro d’Abano” 48). Well known in Christian and Islamic cultures throughout the Middle Ages (Dubler 1: xxvii–xxxi, 41–72), during the sixteenth century Dioscoridan material was retranslated into Latin, and thence into many vernacular languages, and incorporated into several works. Laguna based his text on Greek manuscripts as well as on Pietro Andrea Mattioli’s translations of the Materia Medica, garnishing his sources with original illustrations, observations, and anecdotes.8 Nine known editions of Laguna’s Pedanius, printed between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, attest to its celebrity (Dubler 3: xvii– xviii).9 To be sure, botanical teachings found in Dioscorides-Laguna and other books were relatively easy to apply, given that some of the plants featured in books of naturalists were readily at hand in the wild. In addition, apothecary shops10 and herbal dispensaries made medicinal plants as well as poisons available to a wide cross-section of society.11 Certainly, the sales of restorative plants increased by the end of the fifteenth century, as local and international trade expanded (Collard 39–42). The power inherent in apothecaries and medical practitioners to dispense both health and death finds expression in the numerous books produced exclusively for the healthcare professional’s perusal, rife with clear delineations of a professional’s deontological duties.12 Alfonso Rodríguez de Tudela’s Compendium aromatariorum (Compendium for Apothecaries, 1515) specifically instructs not to give abortifacients or accept money to prepare poisonous medicines or give harmful

Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia


drinks (fol. iiiv–ivr). Similar admonitions are found in Antonio de Aguilera’s Exposicion sobre las preparaciones de Me∫ue (Exposition about Mesue’s Preparations, 1569) (fol. 21v–22r). But no matter how responsible medical practitioners were, other people in the household could have access to the medicines. This situation is played out in the anonymous “Paso del médico simple” (Paso of The Simple-Minded Physician),13 in which a patient dies after ingesting solimán (mercury sublimate) given to her by a simpleton impersonating a physician who is absent, and which the simpleton finds in a flask hidden under a bed. The sense that poison poses a tangible threat led to legislating controlled substances. In Florence, for instance, “Alessandro de’ Medici issued a decree in 1531 prohibiting Florentine apothecaries from supplying anyone, regardless of rank or station, with arsenic, solimato, realgar, or any other poison, and mandating that poisons be kept locked away” (Barker 76). In Spain, it was not until 1537 that the law restricted the sales of dangerous substances such as solimán, which could thereafter be purchased only with a medical prescription (Puerto Sarmiento 81). Still, pharmacists’ lists of prices of the merchandise sold in their shops show an estimable number of fairly inexpensive pathogenic products. We find an example in the 1698 reprint of pharmacist and playwright Jerónimo de la Fuente Pierola’s pharmacopoeia Tyrocinio Pharmacopeo, methodo medico, y chimico (Pharmacopoeian Tyrocin, Medical and Chemical Method). Here, a “Tarifa General de Precios de las Medicinas ∫imples y compve∫tas, qve ha de aver, y vender∫e en las Boticas” (General List of Prices of Simple and Compound Medicines, That Apothecaries Should Have and Sell in Their Shops) shows the prices of antidotes such as thériaque and mithridate, of herbs with poisonous properties (such as hellebore) or narcotic attributes (such as opium), of venomous oils used in alexipharmacs (such as viper or scorpion oil), and of unguents made up of Spanish fly or cantharides, considered highly toxic at the time.14 Besides apothecaries and herbalists, street vendors sold panaceas and dangerous substances wherever they went, and “street corners or private houses could be used as places where wrapped toxic products were distributed” (Collard 42–3). Thus, finding toxic ingredients was not a problem for an individual planning a poisoning. However, the act of successfully administering a deadly concoction required greater ingenuity. When writing about poison, authors return repeatedly to the idea that poisoners strike from positions of trust, relying on secrecy and deception. An expression of this sense of poison’s supposed versatility and the poisoner’s penchant for misrepresentation occurs in the preface


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to book VI of Laguna’s Pedanius, where the reader is reminded that poisoners can disguise the odour and taste of certain substances by mixing them up with food or medicine to render them undetectable “à qualquier hombre … por mas experto q̃ sea” (Dubler 6: 569) (to any man, no matter how expert he is). The ability to mask the weapon makes it very difficult to prove that a poisoning has occurred. This imperceptibility means, on the one hand, that many sudden deaths may have been wrongly attributed to poisoning and, on the other hand, that there may have been more cases of killing by poison than were reported. Indeed, if we believe Laguna, poisoning was pervasive in his day: “Mas como sea ya tan ordinario atoßigar, y no fe halle oy esclavo, ni libre, que no conozca y trayga entre manos infinitos venenos mortiferos, y ansi en nue∫tros dias se atoßiguen mas facilmente los hombres que los Ratones (…)” (Dubler 6: 572) (But since it is now so common to poison, and one cannot find a slave or a freeman who does not know and is in possession of infinite lethal poisons, and so today more men are poisoned than mice ...). Other authors who chronicled the days’ events attest to the popularity of poisoning as well. For instance, poet, playwright, and gossip columnist of sorts Jerónimo de Barrionuevo addressed 225 letters, written between 1654 and 1658, to the dean of Saragossa in order to report on news at the court.15 These letters, known as the Avisos (Warnings), include a staggering number of criminal poisonings – some proven and some merely suspected or rumoured – as well as a few accidental poisonings. While the Warnings inform indiscriminately about male and female venenarii, female poisoners, most of whom are maids, are shown to act mostly within the domestic sphere (1:73a, 93b, 94b, 97b; 2: 21a).16 On the other hand, male criminals – who make up the bulk of poisoning news – are largely associated with the public sphere and tend to belong to higher ranks of society. Among them we find health practitioners (1:43a, 2: 230a), a British spy (1: 305b), clergymen (2: 162a–62b, 2: 209a–9b), an autor de comedias (theatrical producer) (1: 150b), and noblemen, accused either of being perpetrators or instigators (1: 49a, 2: 22b, 2: 81a, 2: 271a–271b, 2: 273a). Criminal poisoning is committed for reasons varying from sentimental to political. In the majority of instances, when details of the lethal substance are provided, powder is dissolved in a liquid or mixed with food.17 The data supplied by Barrionuevo reveal that most poisonings, whether imagined or real, premeditated or accidental, were directed at those socially, politically, and military powerful (Oliver Cromwell, 1:43a; the Archbishop of Paris, 1: 59b; the Admiral of Aragon, 2: 6a and 2: 21a;

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the Ambassador of Venice, 2: 10a; the Captain of the San Miguel frigate, 2: 91a; Cromwell’s son, 2: 167b; the Prior of a religious community in Uclés, 2: 209a; and others left unnamed, 1: 94b, 1: 305b, 2: 22b, 2: 162a–162b). It is no wonder that some members of the upper echelons of society would suffer from toxophobia, as Barrionuevo himself attests in reference to the Count of Lodosa, whose fear of being poisoned by his brother pushed him in 1655 to stop eating in his own house (1: 151b). References to poison(ing) go well and beyond the scientific and journalistic discourses.18 Indeed, poison is mentioned in moral, legal, historical, and political writings.19Although it would be of interest to examine the ways in which poison(ing) is assimilated into the texts of writers of such a variety of disciplines, our immediate concern is with literary discourse, and, more specifically, with theatre, “the period’s most visible, powerful, and economically successful literary institution” (Pollard 15).20 What were the possible reasons moving early modern Spanish dramatists to insistently resort to accounts of poisons in their comedias? Are these theatrical narratives merely meant to reflect the social violence bespoke by authors like Barrionuevo? Is poison just a plot device? Are playwrights simply spicing up their compositions as a way to emulate the Senecan tradition? It is indeed hard to find an early modern Spanish play that does not contain the word veneno (poison) or a term associated with poison(ing) or with an antidote (ponzoña “poison,” atosigar “to poison,” triaca “thériaque,” etc.). Such designations and/or their derivatives can be used literally or metaphorically.21 For instance, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s El veneno y la triaca (The Poison and the Antidote), an auto sacramental probably written in the early 1630s (Escudero 21), is, at its most basic level, a play about a princess who, after being poisoned by a spurned suitor, is healed by a young traveller. But, as an allegorical articulation of a theological truth, it evokes Christ’s redemption of humanity. Here, as Ricardo Arias argues, poison is synonymous to the sin infiltrating and sickening the human nature (Infanta) only curable by the thériaque of Christ and the Eucharist (41–3). The fact that both the veneno and the triaca are found in trees (the Tree of Death and the Tree of Life, respectively) echoes the popular scientific belief that the antidote to poison must contain poison (Arias 42).22 By the same token, the auto acts as a kind of thériaque itself administered to any sinful Spaniard present at its staging in 1634 or before.23 Despite the prevalence of poison(ing) in Spanish Golden Age drama, it has not merited the interest traditionally granted other violent acts,


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such as rape, torture, and different forms of murder. Even scholars who have scrutinized the works of Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, an author particularly drawn to truculence and who turns to poison(ing) in plenty of his plays, have only focused on the use of venenatio as a structural device.24 MacCurdy, for instance, examines Rojas Zorrilla’s revenge compositions in light of tragic art, Senecan tragedy in particular, where atrocities figure prominently as part of the intrigue (“Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla and the Tragedy” 25–36). In my view, however, episodes involving toxicatio cluster cultural prejudices and are thus worthy of further consideration. Of the two most popular ways of murdering someone, with a blade or with poison, the latter was deemed treacherous and unbecoming. In Svma de Todas las Leyes Penales (Sum of All the Penal Laws, 1621), Francisco de la Pradilla Barnuevo remarks: “Mas graue delito es matar vno à otro con veneno, que cõ e∫pada, ò puñal, y es; porq̃ en tal modo de matar interuiene trayciõ, y no puede auer aquella defen∫a natural a todos permitida” (fol. 12v–13r) (It is a much more serious crime to kill one another with poison than with a sword or dagger, and this is so because such a way of killing involves treachery, as it does not allow for the natural defence permitted to all). Unsurprisingly, literary representations of the crime “attribute the use of poison to a few groups characterized in one way or another by alterity: of sex, of religion, of body, or of country” (Collard 106). Ignacio Arellano has rightly pointed to the anti-Semitic charge in Tirso de Molina’s La prudencia en la mujer (Prudence in Women), in which Ismael, a Jewish physician, attempts to murder child king Ferdinand IV with a fast-acting poison as part of a usurpation plot. Ismael’s plan is thwarted when a portrait of Queen María de Molina falls at his feet, blocking the entrance to the prince’s chamber. The queen arrives at the sound only to find the unnerved Jew trying to flee the scene. When the queen demands an explanation, Ismael admits that the Infante Don Juan is behind the plan to finish the prince. However, he claims, he only agreed to help out of fear of being punished. Moreover, he adds, despite having told the instigator he would mix poison in the purge for the prince, he was lying and is ready to spill the potion (2.3.189–205). But Queen María orders him to drink the purge as a way to prove his innocence. When Ismael gives the queen the runaround, her words turn overtly hateful against all Jews: El infante Don Juan es, noble, leal y cristiano,

Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia sin resabios de tirano, sin sospechas de interés; de la nación más ruin vos que el sol mira y calienta, del mundo oprobio y afrenta, infame judío, en fin. ¿Cuál mentirá de los dos? ¿O cómo creeré que hay ley para no matar su rey en quien dio muerte a su Dios? Bebed. ¿Qué esperáis?



Infante Don Juan is noble, loyal, and Christian, not a whiff in him of being a tyrant nor suspicion of him acting in his own interest; you come from the most contemptible nation under the gaze and warmth of the sun, you are the shame and disgrace of the world, dreadful Jew, in sum. Who could be lying of the two? How can I believe the one who killed his God will have any loyalty not to kill his king? Drink. What are you waiting for?

Faced with the threat of suffering public humiliation, Ismael confesses his guilt and takes the poison. The queen’s bias against the Jew is manifest in the fact that, while she forces the physician to commit suicide, a mortal sin, when given the opportunity to punish the actual instigator, a Christian, in the same way, she actually removes the deadly goblet from his hand on grounds that such manner of death would be offensive to God (2.10. 641–4).25 Thus, the severity displayed by the queen, an otherwise magnanimous character, coupled with the insensitivity of including laughable comments regarding a physician’s prerogative to kill26 at the very moment the Jew is being forced to drink from the deadly goblet, point to the intensity of a prejudice shared by the playwright and an audience that would take perverse delight in watching the scene unfold (Arellano 40–6). Moreover, Tirso feminizes the Jew by exhibiting his weakening hesitation. In my view, though, the fact that the frustrated assassin claims infinite victims through the administration of laxatives (2.3.271–80) is not only a reflection of a well-established joke used to further castigate the Jewish physician. Ismael’s avowal of his penchant for knowingly poisoning innocent people is linked as well to the cultural anxiety surrounding the filii venenati judaei. The medieval idea that the spiritually impure Jews were also talented poisoners (Collard 104–5) persisted in early modern Europe.27 That the Jewish


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physician is deemed a repository of scientia venenorum is discernible from the fact that Ismael himself has diluted the poison into a purgative for the boy king’s smallpox. This anxiety and feminization shows as well in Damián Salustrio del Poyo’s La próspera fortuna de Ruy López de Ávalos (The Prosperous Fortune of Ruy López de Ávalos). In a series of scenes uncannily resembling those featuring Ismael in Tirso’s play, Don Mair, also a Jewish physician, plans to poison Henry III of Castile with the admiral’s consent. As is the case in La prudencia en la mujer, the king’s affliction, this time involving quartan fever, justifies the physician’s visit to bring the contaminated syrup. Here, too, a portrait of a queen guards the entrance to the king’s bedchamber and ominously falls right at the perpetrator’s feet as he intends to enter the crime space.28 The noise attracts dei ex machina who prevent the regicide upon noticing the criminal’s discomfiture. Interestingly, whereas Queen María forestalls Ismael from spilling the contents of the silver goblet and proves him guilty by forcing him to drink, Don Mair manages to dump the deadly preparation, which forces the king to order an averiguación or inquiry by bringing “un lebrel que lama el suelo, / do echó el jarabe, que el cielo / descubrirá la verdad; / Y si el lebrel muere, es cierto / que es veneno el que vertió” (452) (a hound that licks the floor, / where he poured the syrup, and God / will discover the truth; / and if the hound dies, it is certain / that what he spilled is poison). The order is not carried out due to the Jew’s confession. Nonetheless, it points to the rudimentary forensics technology available at the time for poison detection.29 In Rojas Zorrilla’s Morir pensando matar (Dying When Thinking About Killing) – published in 1642 and loosely based on Pedro Mexía and Gabriel Lasso de la Vega’s adaptations of the legend of Rosamund recounted in Paul the Deacon’s De Gestis Longobardorum (Deeds of the Lombards) (MacCurdy, “Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla” 53) – we find yet another case of political poisoning against the backdrop motif of the corrupt Hebrew. Framed for the murder of Lombard king Alboino, Flavio, Duke of Lorraine, spends a month in prison before a mob comes to his rescue, rioting against the true murderers who have come to occupy the throne, Leoncio and Rosimunda. To prevent Flavio’s enthronement, Leoncio enlists Sedechias, “el hombre que sabe / mejor de naturaleza, / secretos y calidades” (fol. 40v) (the man who knows / best about nature’s / secrets and qualities) to prepare a deadly poison for the Duke. Rosimunda, ignorant of Leoncio’s plot, asks herself why the king has locked himself up “vn hora en su camarin / con vn Hebreo” (fol. 41v) (for an

Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia


hour in his chamber / with a Hebrew). It is once again the foreboding fall of a portrait – that of Alboino – that disconcerts the person about to commit the crime. Rosimunda sends twice for a glass of water for her husband, but before the servants can return, she finds the glass in Leoncio’s chamber and asks him to drink. Soon realizing he has ingested poison, Leoncio threatens Rosimunda with a dagger, prompting her to drink from the same glass. Minutes before dying, Rosimunda describes the poison as “mortifero y fuerte” (fol. 43r) (deadly and strong), and Polo, in a dramatic metalepsis, bids the audience to let the couple die offstage to avoid “ver al vno hacer figuras, / ver al otro estremecerse” (fol. 43v) (seeing one of them making gestures, / the other one shivering). Spasms, convulsion, and shivering all figure as signs of poisoning in botanist Juan Fragoso’s brief medical legal treatise Tratado de las Declaraciones que han de hacer los cirujanos acerca de muchas enfermedades y muchas maneras de muertes que suceden (54) (Treatise about the Declarations that Surgeons Must Give Regarding Many Illnesses and Many Ways of Deaths that Occur, 1581), but because they are symptoms common to many poisons, it is impossible to identify the corrosive substance. Interestingly, Rojas Zorrilla strays from a legend that constructed Rosamund as an Eve-like venenosa conjux or poisonous wife, whose intention to murder her second husband results in her own poisoning,30 by making Leoncio’s death a result of involuntary manslaughter. If anyone is to blame for the couple’s veneficium it is the usurper himself and, a fortiori, the furtive Jew. Besides the Jews, the Moors were consistently associated with the use of treacherous weapons. Juan de Mariana, for instance, claims that Moors are adept at sending poisoned presents to their enemies (485a). At a time when “the governing discourse feminized the country’s (i.e., Spain’s) enemies both at home and abroad” (Donnell 28), the connection of these groups with poison served as an effective unmanning tool. In Lope de Vega’s La fundación de la Alhambra de Granada (The Foundation of the Alhambra of Granada), King Muley Hazen Habenhamar’s brother, the Infante, tricks his cousin Halima into drinking poison after he is told by a cross-dressed Juana de Luna that Halima is plotting to have him poisoned (fol. 35r). The fact that Doña Juana is disguised as a Moor ingeniously tethers the idea of venenositas to both the infidel and the feminine. Moreover, the ruse the Infante uses to fool Halima relates the substance to secret cosmetic and alchemical recipes not unlike those found in Caterina Sforza’s Experimenti (Experiments) and in other books of secrets, a most popular genre that flourished in Europe well into the


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seventeenth century. The Infante claims to have caught Leonardo, a Christian captive, about to send an elixir of youth to his homeland, a potion he now craves for himself (fol. 40v). Seduced by the idea of eternal youth, Halima snatches and gulps the deadly panacea only to find herself agonizing in burning pain until she dies (fol. 40v). The association of women with toxicity is in line with a tradition of misogyny. With their toxic menses, natural malice, fragility, and knowledge of the secrets hidden in nature, women were considered essentially poisonous (Collard 97–8). Furthermore, women were deemed incapable of using force and, thus, more prone to kill using weapons that would not make blood flow. Indeed, says Hallissy, “… in life as well as literature, poison … is far and away the suicide weapon of choice for women” (xiv). This is perhaps the reason why, since antiquity, Cleopatra’s suicide was attributed to poison injected by an asp, perhaps two,31 or by means of a hairpin smeared with poison that she pricked into her arm (Rice 90), a narrative that finds its way into Luis de Belmonte’s Los tres señores del mvndo (The Three Masters of the World) and Rojas Zorrilla’s Los aspides de Cleopatra (Cleopatra’s Serpents). Here, Marco Antonio uses Cleopatra’s dagger to kill himself, while Cleopatra passes on the chance to commit suicide by drowning in the ocean (a scenario she had previously staged and which had led Marco Antonio to believe her dead) or by stabbing herself with the same dagger that killed her paramour and that she finds upon stumbling into his corpse: “este es mi azero; ai de mi!” (fol. 218v) (this is my dagger; woe is me!). Instead, Cleopatra picks up two asps from a flower and places them on her arms. In Rojas Zorrilla’s La prvdencia en el castigo (Prudence in Punishment), poison is present in metaphors suggestive of love’s deceitfulness (327) and of the noxious power of language (359). However, the idea of feminine venenositas is pervasive in the play. Women’s connection to sin and toxicity is apparent from the very first scene, where Infanta doña María appears bidding goodbye to her lover “de∫nuda, en faldellín” (naked, wearing an underskirt) (324). Soon after, Mario, an older ladies’ guard, refers to his late wife as “vna ∫erpiente” (a snake) (333). In the same vein, a sonnet King Filipo of Sicily pronounces after Queen Segismunda informs him that she wishes to banish his favourite, Laurencio, from Palermo because of a serious affront, trenchantly captures the connection of hateful women with a venomous nature: Sabio fue aquel que vna muger pintava, ∫ignificando el odio, cuya frente

Poison(ing) and Spanish Comedia enro∫cada ceñia vna ∫erpiente, que ∫u ro∫tro en veneno ∫alpicava. El pecho hermo∫o a vn ba∫ili∫co dava, teñia en ∫angre el cri∫talino diente, ∫iendo el coral del labio llama ardiente, que piramides de humo fabricava. La que mas en virtudes re∫plandece, la de mas confiança, y mas ∫o∫siego, la mas ∫anta, di∫creta, ilu∫tre, y bella, y al fin toda muger es ∫i aborrece, ∫erpiente, ba∫ili∫co, fiera, y fuego, librenos Dios, que el odio a∫si∫ta en ella.



Wise was he who painted a woman signifying hatred, with a coiled serpent encircling her brow, that speckled her face with venom. Her beautiful bosom she offered to a basilisk, whose crystalline fang was dyed in blood, and the coral of her lip was a burning flame, that made pyramids of smoke. The one most resplendent in virtues, the most trustworthy, and most peaceful, the most saintly, discreet, illustrious, and lovely, and in the end every woman is, if she abhors, serpent, basilisk, beast, and fire, may God save us, and prevent hatred from dwelling in her.

The titillation Laurencio experiences upon finding Segismunda asleep in the garden (342) is illustrative of the power women can exert in men. Indeed, as Hallissy argues, “In literature, when a young man goes into a garden, he often finds a seductress there. His test, his moral task, is to distinguish the apparent earthly paradise from the heavenly one” (139). The queen’s affinity with the arch-temptress Eve is made even more explicit when Segismunda takes Laurencio by the hand back into the garden where he contemplated her asleep, this time in order to sin (353). Moreover, the originary moment of poison in Eden reverberates in Laurencio’s speech soon after returning from the garden, when he compares himself to Adam: “Adan llamar(m)e podrán / que pecando como Adan / conozco la culpa mia” (355) (Adam may I be called, for I have sinned like Adam and I acknowledge my mistake). As a daughter of Eve, Segismunda becomes a venomous woman, a female with preternatural power, capable of bringing about disorder and death. Not only has she “lured” Laurencio into betraying his king, according to Filipo, she is also the ultimate cause of the war with Florence afflicting Palermo (359). Clearly, the lovers must pay for their sins. But why


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is poison used to finish Segismunda and not Laurencio? The first and most obvious reason is that a situation dealing with the ruler’s honour demands a level of discretion only poison can afford. Moreover, not sparing Segismunda a bloody death could be construed as “shameful physical aggression against a member of the weaker sex” (Collard 88): Aunque el agravio pedia, que en tu garganta en∫angriente la e∫pada de mi ju∫ticia, quiere mi rigor que en∫eñe la prudencia en el ca∫tigo, para que a∫si el mundo mue∫tre mi vengança, y quede libre de la infamia de la gente.


Although the affront would demand that the sword of my justice be stained in blood from your throat, my rigor asks that I show prudence in the punishment, so I may show my vengeance to the world, but remain free from the infamy of people.

But the use of poison can also be interpreted in medical terms for, as we have seen, only poison can cancel out the effects of poison. Soon after drinking the deadly potion, Segismunda describes its burning effects, which are consistent with those of fast-acting venena and analogous to the painting of the hateful woman described earlier by the ruler: “mas ay! que en el pecho el alma / en fuego infernal se enciende, / y en el coraçon se anidan / basiliscos, y serpientes” (365) (alas! my soul lights up in my breast with infernal fire, and basilisks and serpents dwell in my heart). The physical substance the queen ingests seems, thus, to become one with the evil festering within her. Studies of actual cases of poisoning during medieval and early modern times show that while “women were more likely to die from poisoning than to be victims of street brawls or of fights in taverns, spaces more likely to be occupied by men,” they “were at less risk than men because there was less interest in the elimination of women, who were usually excluded from positions of power that invited rivalries and murder” (Collard 88). As mentioned earlier, it is, of course, possible that many cases went unreported and that instances where poison was really involved were mistaken for a natural death. This is, in fact, the case in La prvdencia en el castigo, where physicians never suspect foul

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play and instead rule that the queen died of “vn gran dolor encubierto” (367) (a great and hidden pain). Howsoever this may be, the majority of cases of real or suspected poisoning reported in Barrionuevo’s Avisos involve powerful men in the role of victim, and the same is true in literary narratives of poisoning. In Francisco Bances Candamo’s El esclavo en grillos de oro (The Slave in Golden Shackles), written as a speculum principum,32 Camilo is given fifteen days to learn to rule, after which the Roman senate will confer upon him the title of Caesar. Camilo only needs a few days to realize that reigning is no easy task. With no free time at all and no freedom to wed the woman he loves, learning that his rival Adriano is seeking permission to marry his beloved Sirene is simply the last straw. Desperate, Camilo heeds Lidoro’s advice to poison Adriano and to make a pass at Sirene. Fortunately for Adriano, the aspiring emperor soon realizes his mistakes and withdraws his candidacy. Allegedly a pièce à clef meant to educate an inexperienced King Charles II about following bad advice from selfish counsellors, such as the eighth Count of Oropesa, the play resonates with popular beliefs connected to princely safety. The fact that many of the victims of poisoning were men of import led people to conjecture that powerful figures always needed to live on alert. Never is Sancho Panza more mindful of what he eats than upon becoming governor of the Ínsula Barataria and learning that some enemies in disguise are eager to take his life, most likely by poisoning his food (2.47: 390–91). Indeed, toxicological literature persistently recommends ecclesiastic and political magnates to carefully select their servants and entourage as one of the main preventive measures against poisoning. Many of the comedias dealing with poisoning are set in Italy, including El esclavo en grillos de oro, where poison never materializes, although its mention reveals cultural perceptions regarding the probable nationality of the crime. According to Collard, Italy’s links to poison were due to its contact with Islam and to the fact that for a long time it was the final outpost in the trade routes (40). To be sure, Italy’s association with poison was legendary all across Europe. English preacher Thomas Adams echoes this sentiment in one of the sermons collected in his The Deuills Banket (1614): For it is ob∫erued, that there are ∫innes adherent to Nations, proper, peculiar, genuine, as their fle∫h cleaueth to their bones … So that many Countries are more dangerous, either for ∫innes or calamities … If we ∫hould gather Sinnes to their particular Centers, wee would appoint Pride to Spaine, Lu∫t to France, Poy∫oning to Italie, Drunkenne∫∫e to Germanie, Epicuri∫me to England. (291)


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Lope de Vega’s Amar como se ha de amar (To Love the Way One’s Supposed To) proffers the story of a spiteful and jealous Neapolitan princess, Clarinda, who plots to poison her love adversary Ricarda in order to marry Don Pedro de Cardona. Although the crime is averted, Clarinda informs Don Pedro that she has carried off the villainy. Apparently well versed in scientia venenorum, Clarinda compares Ricarda to Sophonisba, the Carthaginian princess who, according to legend, poisoned herself to avoid being captured by the Romans during the Second Punic War. She then describes the moments following the ingestion in very graphic terms: “Fue∫∫e luego al coraçon. … / Començó luego a temblar, / y entre va∫cas, y congoxas, / tales palabras pro∫igue, / palida. …” (fol. 231r) (It went right to her heart. … / She then started to shiver, / and with nausea and distress, / such words she began to utter / pale. …). The story shows, once again, the purported association of women with poison and deceptiveness. The two comedias by Francisco Tárrega dealing with poison(ing) take place in Italy. In La enemiga favorable (The Favourable Enemy), a comedia praised by the well-read canon in Don Quixote 1.48, veneno comes in many shapes and forms. It is first introduced by Queen Irene when she informs her brother Belisardo that her husband, the King of Naples, is betraying her with Laura, Belisardo’s love interest: ¡Ay hermano! Si supieses las traiciones de un ingrato y de un tirano darias á tus pasiones y á sus embustes de mano. Harias de ese Galeno un Nerón para matar, y del arábico seno penetrante rejalgar, y de amor sangre y veneno.


Woe, my brother! If only you knew of the betrayals of an ingrate and a tyrant, you would leave aside your passions and their lies. You would make of that Galen a Nero to kill, and of that Arabic breast penetrating realgar, and of love, blood and poison.

Irene’s plea to be avenged by means of poison constitutes also an instance of premonitory irony, for soon she will become the target of two different murder plots.

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Act II opens with a scene of confrontation between the queen and her rival, Laura. After accusing Laura of betrayal (107), Irene ends up slapping her, an affront that has Laura crying out for vengeance. Both the king and Belisardo are happy to oblige, but the king has state affairs to tend to before he can resolve the issue. Belisardo is thus the first one to ask Laura if she would rather have his sister Irene murdered “con veneno ó con acero” (109) (by poison or by sword), although he will eventually choose none of these forms of murder. Instead, in an effort to have the queen die with no honour, he will lie to the king about Irene’s faithfulness. However, before Belisardo falsely informs the king of Irene’s “adultery,” Laura threatens to never see the king again unless he does something regarding her tarnished honour. It is at this point that the king himself prompts a happily complying Laura to fix the poison of her choice to kill his wife (111–12). Laura is, thus, the sole venefica or potion-maker in the story, her lethal solution being described as a sweet and potent liquor that resembles water (112). Despite the two plots to murder her, serendipity ends up saving Irene from death and defamation, although the author seesaws with the possibility of veneficium up to the end, when the queen herself pleads to die with honour on the gallows or by poisoning (117). While all of the main characters in the play are shown to be potential venenarii, Laura is by far the most poisonous of all. Portrayed as a seductive woman capable of combining her sexuality with her intellect to manipulate the behaviour of two men and bring havoc to Naples, she also possesses a special secret knowledge of poisons that she uses to concoct a murderous potion. Collard points at the fact that in reality as in literature the poisoning of kin and loved ones was rather common (106–9). In 1655, “A Adrián, autor de comedias, le ahorcaron en Barcelona porque dio veneno a su hermana Damiana y a un caballero que la trataba” (Barrionuevo 1: 150b) (Adrián, theatrical producer, was hung for giving poison to his sister Damiana and to a gentleman who had a relationship with her). A year later, Don Gabriel de Quijada was arrested “por haber querido matar tres veces a su mujer ... la primera, con tósigo ...” (Barrionuevo 2: 22b) (because he tried thrice to kill his wife ... the first of them with poison ... ). In 1658, a young lady and her priest lover murdered her father on the third poisoning attempt (Barrionuevo 2: 162b). It is the very fear that poison could come from the people we trust most that triggered rumours about Philip II’s involvement in the death of his eldest son, Don Carlos, in 1568. In Tárrega’s La Duquesa constante (The Faithful Duchess), Duke Valentino is forced to set sail for Spain leaving behind his wife Flaminia,


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whose care he entrusts to Torcato. Before embarking, the duke gives a sealed letter to Torcato instructing him to open it if something happens to him. The letter contains orders to poison Flaminia in the event his death becomes imminent, to prevent her from falling into the hands of others. Torcato, who covets the duchess for himself in spite of being married, seizes the opportunity to murder Flaminia as a way to seek revenge for her disdain, thus commissioning Otavio to procure a poison that can kill within one hour. While quick deaths tend to be the norm when dealing with poisoning, some substances act more slowly or have a delayed effect, making it almost impossible to find the cause of death or the responsible party (Collard 55–7). Moreover, certain opioid sleeping concoctions, such as laudanum, made from opium poppy, or small doses of toxic substances such as hemlock or belladonna, had the potential to replicate some of the symptoms associated with death.33 Since, as Paracelsus taught, the dosage determined the outcome, this kind of potion presumed a mastery possessed by few. Otavio obtains an expensive solution “que deja / muchas horas como muerto / un hombre, sin pulso alguno / y retirado el aliento” (94) (that leaves a man looking dead for hours, pulseless, with no breath).34 After getting the weapon, Torcato, increasingly suspicious of his servant’s loyalty, decides to poison Otavio as well. To this end, he divides the contents of the glass into two equal parts, and commissions the captain of the guard to murder Otavio. As for Flaminia, Torcato forces her to choose between him or the poison. After the faithful duchess drinks from the goblet, she “dies” offstage. A page who has witnessed her passing describes the scene to the captain who has just “poisoned” Otavio, to the duke who eavesdrops, and to an audience avid for morbid details. The page compares the changes in Flaminia’s facial colour after ingesting the poison to a withering flower, and goes on to say that her sudden and unaccounted death has the doctor perplexed and the people talking (90). Flaminia’s resuscitation is cause for admiration among those present (95). Similar concoctions are found in Lope’s Castelvines y Monteses (The Capulets and Montagues) and Rojas Zorrilla’s Los bandos de Verona (The Rival Houses of Verona), both of which, like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, dramatize stories “well known throughout western Europe, not least through the short stories of Mateo Bandello and the translations and adaptations of his work into English, French, and Spanish” (Edwards x). Gwynne Edwards attributes the parallels between Lope’s and Shakespeare’s versions of the story of the Veronese lovers and their feuding families to their shared sources (xxxiv). However, the differences between these

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coetaneous plays35 are credited to “the imaginative and artistic predilections of both dramatists” (xxxiv). While sleeping draughts prepared by old herbalists are present in both plays, Lope leaves out the poison that kills Romeo in Bandello’s novella and in Shakespeare’s tragedy, and opts instead to please his audience with a happy ending whereby love conquers all. Lope’s departure from his sources seems anodyne when compared with the changes found in the comedia commissioned to open the new court theatre, the Coliseo del Buen Retiro, in 1640: Zorrilla’s The Rival Houses of Verona. Here, it is Julia’s father Antonio who bids his nephew Andrés to return with a deadly poison, allegedly to kill an imprudent servant. But Andrés suspects the poison is destined for Julia, whom he loves, and therefore asks a foreign friend to mix “tan unidos un apio, y un veleño, / que no dè muerte, pero que infunda sueño” (fol. 18r) (so thoroughly a celery and henbane, / that it does not cause death, but produces sleep). It is noteworthy that the ingredients are named and that, even though he seeks help from an expert to ensure the correct dosage and hinder Antonio’s plan, Andrés has plenty of botanical knowledge. Both celery and henbane were indispensable merchandise in apothecary shops (they are listed, for instance, in part 7 of Rodríguez de Tudela’s Compendium, fol. xlviv). Celery in particular is a popular ingredient in the elaboration of many medicines (Laredo 2.55; 2.76–7; 2.83–8; 2.113–14), and the alexiteric properties of celery as well as the narcotic and hallucinatory effects of henbane are described in detail in Laguna’s Pedacio (Dubler 3: 312; 4: 417–18; 6: 585). Guardainfante, the play’s gracioso, creates the term “enmedicarse” (fol. 17r) (roughly translatable as “to make a physician of oneself”) in reference to Antonio, who alternatively attempts to “bleed” his daughter (by killing her by stabbing) and to “purge” her (by forcing her to drink the poison). In revealing the secret recipe of the concoction, not only does Rojas Zorrilla make a physician of himself, but he furnishes his audience with a physician’s knowledge as well. As we have seen, Spanish comedia replicates the social imaginary through its biased representations of poisoning. Not only are specific groups textually (and visually) stigmatized as proditores, or traitors, their acts on stage being a painful reminder of much greater ignominious deeds. Certain nations are often associated with poisoners, and common perceptions tying poisoning to the upper classes resonate as well in these plays, the vast majority of which take place at court and assign the victim’s role to a person of import. However, the crime of poisoning does far more than echo prevailing attitudes against outsider


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groups such as Jews, Moors, Italians, and dissolute women, or about certain social classes. The acts of one poisoner are reflective of the evil inherent in all human nature. Moreover, poisoning narratives dramatize a spiritually sick world, inhabited by individuals who willfully stray from God by means of unnatural acts and who can infect not only the immediate victim but also the entire body politic. Furthermore, in the real as well as in the textual world, stories of unsuccessful or incompetent venenarii together with those of misreading physicians, signal the hurdles of scientific knowledge, making poison an “apt metaphor for the complications of epistemology” (Wilson xxi). Finally, the correlation between theatre, pharmaceutics, and medicine is made explicit in the language used time and again by moralists, law specialists, and theologians to describe the comedia. For instance, in 1600, Fr José de Jesús María writes “Y así podemos con gran propiedad decir que la comedia con los entremeses que hoy se usan es como aquella serpiente Anfisbena, de quien dicen San Isidoro y Plinio que tiene dos cabezas en las dos puntas del cuerpo y por entrambas echa ponzoña” (And thus we can appropriately say that today’s comedia and interludes are like the snake Amphisbaena, of whom say Saint Isidore and Pliny that it has two heads on each end of the body and that it expels poison from both of them) (Cotarelo y Mori 380b). In sum, the workings of the comedia can be identified with drugs and venomous creatures since, like them, they subsume caustic and therapeutic effects. Thus, comedia functions, paradoxically, both as a poison and as a thériaque for all early modern theatre-goers.

NOTES 1 The compartmentalization of the natural sciences into precise disciplines took place over many centuries and is related to the evolution of the guild framework. Still, field overlapping persisted (Puerto Sarmiento 75–6). 2 Popular medicinal and herbal knowledge and sanctioned medical wisdom informed each other and often appeared hand in hand in authoritative books (see, for instance, Dubler 1: 190–210). Bernardo Cienfuegos laments that knowledge of plants is dwindling in Spain because such wisdom lived “en mugerillas, y muchos moriscos o, Africanos que ∫e curaban con ellas y fueron expelidos de∫tos Reinos” (II: fol. Ir) (in women of ill repute, and in many moriscos, or Africans, that used to heal with them and were expelled from these realms). The compilations of the most disparate recipes known

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4 5

6 7 8 9




as books of secrets also attest to the crisscross of popular and official practices. On these, see Eamon; Rodríguez Guerrero; Ray 15–16 and 46–72; Rey Bueno; and Saguar García. Álvarez López; Puerto Sarmiento 110–18; Riquelme Salar. Works by Iberian natural historians, botanists, and physicians speak to the fervour with which the medicinal properties of materials native to the eastern and western Indies were studied. On the appropriation by Spanish invaders of indigenous natural wisdom about American flora and fauna, see Huerta Jaramillo (46). Sevillian doctor Simón Tovar, for instance, corresponded with Clusius and Paludanus. For a succinct yet thorough review of the history of the Royal Protomedicato Tribunal and of the different regulations pertaining to qualifications required of physicians, surgeons, and pharmacists during early modern times, see Puerto Sarmiento 77–85. Similar restrictions affected albéiteres (veterinarians) (Etxaniz Makazaga 2). For a very brief history of regulations pertaining to physicians and apothecaries in New Spain, see Huerta Jaramillo 47–9. On medical pluralism and the permeability of medical scientific knowledge see Solomon. Giving the recipe for a syrup, Castell remarks, “el punto del xaraue no ∫e pone, porque ya no ay muger que no lo ∫epa, quantimas los boticarios” (my emphasis, fol. 2v) (the boiling point of the syrup is omitted, because there is not a woman who does not know it, more so apothecaries). See, for instance, Castell (fol. §§2). See Biblioteca Digital Siglo de Oro. Juan Jarava’s version of the Materia Medica is generally considered inferior in quality to Laguna’s work (Dubler 1: 63; Puerto Sarmiento 104). According to López-Muñoz et al. it is “the only book on medical or pharmaceutical matters cited by Cervantes in any of his works” (87). It is also the only contemporary medical authority mentioned by Tirso (Sancho de San Román 11). See also Dubler 4: 17–18. Especieros (spice sellers) and other types of druggists were present in cities as well as in monasteries and convents during the Middles Ages (Bénézet 55–62; Puerto Sarmiento 90, 92, 125–6). Speaking of Aqua Tofana, a poison allegedly created in Sicily in about 1630 and that was continued to be manufactured and sold in Rome throughout the seventeenth century, Mike Dash reports that “According to an investigation that took place in the late 1650s, Tofana’s gang obtained a supply of arsenic via a priest, Father Girolamo of Sant’Agnese in Agone” whose brother “was an apothecary with access to the poison” (64).


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12 Collard notes that “the image of the specialist in pharmaceutics who provides poison dates back a long time: Cicero introduces it first in Pro Cluentio” (44). On early dispositions concerning toxic substances found in apothecary shops, see Bénézet 65–6. 13 This paso is part of the Registro de representantes (Actors’ Register, 1570) published by Joan Timoneda, where three other pasos are attributed to Lope de Rueda. While some scholars assume “El paso del médico simple” was also written by Lope de Rueda, most consider it anonymous. 14 Rodríguez de Tudela’s Compendium lists all the things necessary in any apothecary shop. Among them: henbane, opium poppy, colocynth, Laudanum, white lead, arsenic, and scorpion oil (fol. Xlviv–liiv). 15 An appendix added by Antonio Paz y Meliá to his edition of Barrionuevo’s Warnings containing letters written by different authors includes the case of an inept cirujano (surgeon) who gave “un ungüento hecho con mucho solimán” (2: 230a) (an unguent made with too much mercury sublimate) to the eldest son of Count of Puñonrostro to calm a scalp itchiness, and that of the Marquis of Liche’s notorious failed attempt to poison a slave who could inform the authorities about his involvement in blowing up the Royal Coliseum Theater (2: 271a; 2: 272b–74a). On this case, see also Flórez Asensio 171–80. 16 Aside from an hechicera (witch) who acted as an accessory in one of the cases (2: 162b), there is only one female mentioned in relation to a public poisoning (1: 295a). 17 Powders facilitate “the spread of the poison into the organism, where it circulated like medication” (Collard 50) and are easy to carry, hide, and add to edibles and drinks without being detected. However, poison came in different forms and shapes, and poisoning could happen with the most seemingly innocuous substances (Barrionuevo 1: 295a; 2: 10a; 2: 81a; 2: 169a; 2: 187a; 2: 230a). 18 Early modernity witnessed an increased textual interest in poison and poisoners not just in Spain. In Renaissance England, as Miranda Wilson notes, “poisoning functions as a site of intersection, as a sort of intellectual common ground, bringing together a variety of discourses” (xx). For France and other European countries, see Minois. 19 Luis Cabrera de Córdoba refers to several poisonings in his Relaciones de las cosas sucedidas en la corte de España, desde 1599 hasta 1614 (285, 300, 305) (Accounts of the Things Occurred in the Court of Spain, from 1599 to 1614) and in his Historia de Felipe II, Rey de España (1: 65, 1: 308, 1: 365, 2: 448) (History of Philip II, King of Spain). Poisoning plots are mentioned in political correspondence of the time (see Raumer 1: 155–64 and Barker 71).

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20 21


23 24




Homicide, tyrannicide, and suicide by poison are discussed in legal, political, and theological texts such as Francisco de Vitoria’s Relección del Homicidio (511, 519–20) (Lecture on Homicide) or Juan de Mariana’s Del Rey y de la institución real (About the King and the Royal Institution) (483b–85a). In his Memorias (Memoirs), historian Matías de Novoa tells extensively about the rumoured poisonings attributed to Rodrigo Calderón, whom he vigorously defends from what he considers slander (100–23). While Pollard is referring to early modern English theatre, I find her words relevant to Spanish theatre of the same period. In early modern Spanish drama, poison is often used symbolically to represent love or, more specifically, aegritudo amoris. For Tirso’s metaphorical use of poison, see Sancho de San Román (63). Poison’s theatrical versatility is manifest as well in English drama of the time. Covarrubias defines triaca as “… un medicamento eficaci∫simo compue∫to de muchos ∫imples, y lo que es mas de admirar, los mas dellos veneno∫os, que remedia a los que e∫tan emponçoñados con qualquier genero de veneno …” (54) (… a very effective medicine composed of many simples the majority of which, most astonishingly, are poisonous, and that remedies those who are poisoned with any kind of poison …). For a discussion on the date of the auto’s first performance, see Escudero 13. After considering the motives behind the self-poisoning of two of Rojas Zorrilla’s heroines (Cleopatra, from Los aspides de Cleopatra [Cleopatra’s Serpents], and Florinda, from Numancia destruida [Numantia Destroyed]) and the seudo-self-poisoning of Julia in Los bandos de Verona (The Rival Houses of Verona), Julio concludes that such acts are only means to achieve an end. González Cañal mentions poisoning as an example of the many tragic dénouements present in the works of Rojas Zorrilla (86). Because poisoning someone secretly or with force constitutes a way of making the person actually commit suicide, a mortal sin, writers such as Jesuit scholar Juan de Mariana condemned it as an act contrary to nature and unjust (484b). In La prudencia, however, the Queen’s acts, including that of forcing the Jewish physician to drink poison, are meant to signal political wisdom, as Doña María strays from the medieval anarchism that prevailed during her actual regency, and as Tirso, through her example, strives to “teach” King Philip IV how to effectively rule over Spain (Kennedy). The idea that physicians get paid to kill, frequent in satirical literature of the time, is also present in Tirsian works (Sancho de San Román 11–68).


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27 This fear is openly articulated in ordinances such as the ones promulgated in Saragossa in 1533 concerning apothecaries and chandlers (Bénézet 77–8). The case of Rodrigo Lopez, Queen Elizabeth I of England’s Jewish physician-in-chief who was executed in 1594 on charges of conspiring with the Spanish to poison the queen, also exemplifies “the longstanding stereotype of the ‘poisoning Jew’” (Wilson 155n5). 28 For the stage effect of the falling painting, see Oechler. 29 Detection was fortuitous most of the time (Watson 55–6). Barrionuevo reports a case in which the victim notices the presence of poison in his wine after pouring it into a glass that bursts into pieces from the force of the substance (2: 91a–91b). However, whenever the suspicion existed, and no tasters were available, the use of animals, especially dogs, to detect poison was the standard (Collard 67). In another case related by Barrionuevo, birds are used to detect arsenic (2: 209a). 30 Unlike Rojas Zorrilla, Manuel Morchón faithfully follows Mexía’s account of the legend in his La razón bvsca venganza (Reason Seeks Revenge, 1657), where Rosimunda does indeed plan and execute the poisoning of her second husband (393–5). 31 Despite the mystery surrounding Cleopatra’s death, a host of medieval and early modern authors blame it on poison following ancient writers’ accounts (Rice 86–91; Tsoucalas and Sgantzos 11–20). 32 Kennedy also interprets La prudencia en la mujer as “one of the various mirrors for princes that were written with Philip IV in mind” (1134). 33 I would like to thank Dr John Brian Matthew Geisler for his valuable input on matters of toxic herbology. 34 The poison is most likely obtained from an apothecary who is mentioned early in the play as a friend of Otavio’s (81). 35 Scholars cannot ascertain the dates of composition of these two plays. 1604 is the terminus ante quem for Lope’s play, whereas 1596 is said to be the year Shakespeare completed Romeo and Juliet (Edwards xxxiii).

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Bibliográfico. 4 Jun. 2016. .cmd?id=420116. González Cañal, Rafael. “Desenlaces trágicos en el teatro de Rojas Zorrilla.” Violencia en escena y escenas de violencia en el Siglo de Oro. Ed. Ignacio Arellano, Juan Antonio Martínez Berbel. New York: IDEA, 2013. 85–100. 17 Jun. 2016. _Gonzalez_Canal.pdf. Hallissy, Margaret. Venomous Woman: Fear of the Female in Literature. Westport, CT.: Greenwood P, 1987. Huerta Jaramillo, Ana María. “Los boticarios en Nueva España (siglos XVIIXVIII). El caso de Puebla.” Elementos 19.3 (1993): 46–53. Julio, Teresa. “Violencia y mujer en la dramaturgia de Rojas Zorrilla.” Violencia en escena y escenas de violencia en el Siglo de Oro. Ed. Ignacio Arellano, Juan Antonio Martínez Berbel. New York: IDEA, 2013. 129–42. 18 Jun. 2016. _Julio.pdf. Kennedy, Ruth Lee. “La prudencia en la mujer and the Ambient that Brought It Forth.” PMLA 63.4 (1948): 1131–90. 15 Sept. 2017. Laredo, Bernardino de. Sobre el Me∫ue e Nicolao. Modus faciẽdi cũ ordine medicandi. 2nd ed. Sevilla: Juan Cromberger, 1534. Biblioteca Complutense, 2008. 26 Jul. 2016.;view= 1up;seq=9. López-Muñoz, Francisco, Cecilio Álamo, Pilar García García. “Than all the herbs described by Dioscorides …”: The Traces of Andrés Laguna in the Works of Cervantes.” Pharmacy in History 49.3 (2007): 87–108. MacCurdy, Raymond R. Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla and the Tragedy. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1958. – Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1968. Mahalik, Christa. “The Rising Gorge: Poison, Hamlet, and Sin.” The Apothecary’s Chest: Magic, Art and Medication. Ed. Konstantina Georganta, Fabienne Collignon and Anne-Marie Millim. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 49–57. Mariana, Juan de. Del rey y de la institución real. In Obras del Padre Juan de Mariana. Ed. Francisco Pi y Margall. BAE 31. Madrid: Atlas, 1950. 463–576. Minois, Georges. Le couteau et le poison: L’assassinat politique en Europe (1400– 1800). Paris: Fayard, 1997. Molina, Tirso de. La prudencia en la mujer. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 1999. 14 Jun. 2016. bmcrj4d3.


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Morchón, Manuel. La razón bvsca venganza. Madrid: Gregorio Rodríguez, 1657. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2010. 1 Oct. 2017. www Neumeister, Sebastian. Mito clásico y ostentación: los dramas mitológicos de Calderón. Trad. Eva Reichenberger and Juan Luis Milán. Kassel: Reichenberger, 2000. Novoa, Matías de. Memorias de Matías de Novoa, ayuda de cámara de Felipe IV. In Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España. Ed. Feliciano Ramírez de Arellano and José León Sancho Rayón. Vol. 61. Madrid: Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta, 1875. HathiTrust Digital Library. 20 Sept. 2017.;view=1up;seq=5. Oechler, Christopher C. “The Performance of Divine Providence on the Early Modern Stage: Tumbling Canvases and History Plays.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 67.2 (2015): 49–65. Pollard, Tanya. “Vulnerable Ears: Hamlet and Poisonous Theater.” Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. 123–43. Pradilla Barnuevo, Francisco. Svma de Todas las Leyes Penales, Canonicas, Ciuiles, y de∫tos Reynos, de mucha vtilidad, y prouecho, no solo para los naturales dellos, pero para todos en general. Ed. Andrés de Carrasquilla. Madrid: Viuda de Cosme Delgado, 1621. Biblioteca Complutense. Madrid. 11 Jul. 2016. babel;view=1up;seq=5. Puerto Sarmiento, Francisco Javier. “La farmacia renacentista española y la botica de El Escorial.” Ed. Francisco Javier Campos y Fernández de Sevilla. La ciencia en el Monasterio del Escorial: Actas del Simposium (1/4-IX-1993). Vol 1. San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Ediciones Escurialenses, 1994. 73–131. Raumer, Frederick von. History of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Illustrated by Original Documents. Vol. 1. London: John Murray, 1835. Ray, Meredith K. Daughters of Alchemy. Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy. London, England; Cambridge, MA.: Harvard UP, 2015. Rey Bueno, Mar. “Primeras ediciones en castellano de los libros secretos de Alejo Piamontes [sic].” Pecía Complutense 2 (2005): 26–34. Rice, E.E. Cleopatra. Stroud: Sutton, 1999. Riquelme Salar, José. Médicos, farmacéuticos y veterinarios en la conquista y colonización de América. Madrid: López Valdés, 1950. Rodríguez de Tudela, Alfonso, trad. Saladino. Compendium aromatariorum. Valladolid: Arnao Guillén de Brocar, 1515. R/4125. Biblioteca Digital Hispánica. Biblioteca Nacional de España. 13 Apr. 2016. .vm?id=0000056121&page=1. Rodríguez Guerrero, José. “Vendedores de panaceas alquímicas entre los siglos XVI y XVII.” Azogue 5 (2007): 90–9.

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Rojas Zorrilla, Francisco de. Morir pensando matar. Valencia: Claudio Macé, 1642. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2010. 18 Jul. 2016. www – Los aspides de Cleopatra. Madrid: Francisco Martínez, 1645. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2009. 5 Aug. 2016. ark:/59851/bmcrr2h6. – La prvdencia en el castigo. Madrid: Roque Rico de Miranda, 1678. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2013. 10 Aug. 2016. nd/ark:/59851/bmcqz2k0. – Los bandos de Verona. Segunda parte de las comedias de don Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla. Madrid: Francisco Martínez, 1645. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2009. 30 Apr. 2016. Rueda, Lope de. Pasos. Ed. José Luis Canet. Madrid: Castalia, 1992. Saguar García, Amaranta. “Una edición desconocida del Libro de los secretos de Alejo Piamontés: Juan Perier, Salamanca, 1573.” El pasado ajeno: Estudios en honor y recuerdo de Jaime Moll. Ed. Guillermo Gómez Sánchez-Ferrer and Amaranta Saguar García. Córdoba: Academia de Cronistas de Ciudades de Andalucía, 2012. 59–81. Salustrio del Poyo, Damián. La próspera fortuna de Ruy López de Ávalos. In Dramáticos contemporáneos a Lope de Vega. Ed. Ramón Mesonero Romanos. Vol.1. Madrid: Atlas, 1951. 437–63. Sancho de San Román, Rafael. La medicina y los médicos en la obra de Tirso de Molina. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 1960. Solomon, Michael. Fictions of Well-Being: Sickly Readers and Vernacular Medical Writing in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2010. Tárrega, Francisco. La Duquesa constante. In Dramáticos contemporáneos a Lope de Vega. Ed. Ramón Mesonero Romanos. Vol.1. Madrid: Atlas, 1951. 78–95. – La enemiga favorable. In Dramáticos contemporáneos a Lope de Vega. Ed. Ramón Mesonero Romanos. Vol.1. Madrid: Atlas, 1951. 100–22. Touwaide, Alain. “Harmful Botanicals.” History of Toxicology and Environmental Health: Toxicology in Antiquity. Ed. Philip Wexler. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: Academic P, 2014. 60–8. 14 May 2016. Published%20papers/2014-Wexler-1630459-book%20chapter.pdf. – “Pietro d’Abano, De venenis: Reintroducing Greek Toxicology into Late Medieval Medicine.” Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Ed. Philip Wexler. London: Academic P, 2017. 43–52. Tsoucalas, Gregory, and Markos Sgantzos. “The Death of Cleopatra: Suicide by Snakebite or Poisoned by Her Enemies?” History of Toxicology and Environmental Health: Toxicology in Antiquity. Ed. Philip Wexler. Vol. 1.


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Amsterdam: Academic P, 2014. 11–20. 18 September. 2017. yunus.hacettepe chapter.pdf. Vega Carpio, Félix Lope de. La fvndacion de la Alhambra de Granada. Lisboa: Pedro Crasbeeck, 1603. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2009. 20 Jun., 2016. – Amar como se ha de amar. (Sevilla?): n.p., n.d. Biblioteca Complutense. 7 Jun. 2016. ver&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false. – Castelvines y Monteses. Zaragoza: Viuda de Pedro Verges, 1647. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2003. 10 Jun. 2016. nd/ark:/59851/bmc416t9. Web. 10 Jun. 2016. – Con sv pan se lo coma. Madrid: Viuda de Fernando Correa, 1622. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2009. 59851/bmcxd1f5. Web. 4 Sept. 2016. Vitoria, Francisco de. Relección del homicidio. In Relecciones teológicas. Ed. Jaime Torrubiano Ripoll. Buenos Aires: Enero, 1946. 487–525. Watson, Katherine D. “El envenenamiento criminal en Inglaterra y los orígenes del ensayo de Marsh para detectar arsénico.” Entre la ciencia y el crimen: Mateu Orfila y la toxicología en el siglo XIX. Barcelona: Fundación Dr. Antonio Esteve, 2006. 55–72. Wilson, Miranda. Poison’s Dark Works in Renaissance England. Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2014.

6 The Soul under Siege: Strategy and Neostoicism in Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá stephen rupp University of Toronto

Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá, first staged at the court of Philip IV in the fall of 1625 under the aegis of his first minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, celebrates Spain’s capture in June of the same year of a strongly defended and strategically important city in the Brabant.1 Ambrogio Spinola, the Genoese leader who exercised general command of the Spanish Army of Flanders, stands at the centre of the dramatic action. Calderón’s Espínola directs the allied commanders in charge of the various troops – Burgundian, German, Italian, Walloon, Spanish – who sustain the long siege, and he plans and oversees the tactics of artillery fire and strategic blockade that reduce Breda to Spanish control. Under Espínola’s authority the Count of Vergas negotiates terms of surrender that are strikingly generous, with the exception of restrictions on Protestant rites and practices within the subject city. Vergas explains that a noble victor owes such honour to the vanquished and that a bright display of the enemy’s arms heightens the value of military success (3009–19). The idea of mutual respect between the parties of the siege is confirmed in the play’s final scene, as the city’s governor surrenders the keys of its fortress to Espínola, who recognizes the part that the valiant defenders have played in enhancing his fame and that of his army (3213–16). Diego Velázquez’s La rendición de Breda (The Surrender of Breda) – commissioned in 1634 for the Hall of the Realms in the Buen Retiro – recalls this tableau, depicting Spinola’s gesture of grace and conciliation as, amidst a crowd of armed soldiers from both sides, he receives the key to the city from Justin of Nassau. Calderón’s comedia and Velázquez’s painting present the victory at Breda in similar terms. Both avoid the iconography of submission conventionally associated with scenes of surrender so that they may portray the Spanish


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commander as an exemplar of nobility and generosity.2 Through his compassion for the enemy Spinola embodies a received heroic ethos that combines excellence at arms with clemency. This gesture towards chivalry can be linked to the recovery and renewal of martial and religious values under the authority of Philip IV. In his representation of the campaign against Breda, however, Calderón attributes tactics and values to Espínola that resist such a conservative reading of his character. Espínola takes the city by siege, a method that is subject to objections under established conventions and laws of war. In addition, the tactics for defending and seizing a walled city or fortress evolved over the course of the sixteenth century into matters that demanded specialized knowledge and technical expertise. In directing the long assault on Breda, Espínola demonstrates his command of military technology and his ability to manage the challenges of early modern warfare. Espínola responds to the difficult conditions of the sustained siege by practising the virtues of early modern Neostoicism, both the constancy and reason that enable human beings to face public evils and the specific skills and qualities of mind that Neostoic thought assigns to effective military leadership. This essay will trace Calderón’s presentation in the play of these two interrelated technologies, one grounded in expert knowledge and the other in the proper disposition of the soul, in Espínola’s deployment of the techniques and tactics of siege warfare and in the equanimity and self-control that secure his command over others. Despite its closing gesture to the traditional ethos of chivalry, El sitio de Bredá appeals to the Neostoic ideas that informed the agenda of official reforms planned and promoted by the Count-Duke of Olivares (Paterson 275). Espínola outlines his tactics at Breda to the Prince of Poland, who has arrived on a diplomatic visit to the site of this important conflict. As commander of the Hapsburg army, he explains that the city’s unassailable walls have constrained him to lay a siege, a strategic recourse that has made him confident of victory: No tengo ya que rrecelarme en nada, pues ellos mismos se an de hacer la guerra: mientras la jente es más que está sitiada, ni los asalto, ni combato el muro, que estoy con más contrarios más seguro.


I now have no cause to fear, since they are bound to make war on themselves: while a greater number of people is held under siege I will not

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assault them, nor make combat on their wall, since more opponents make me more secure.

Espínola states explicitly the logic of siege warfare. He has placed his army in positions surrounding Breda, to block the arrival of supplies or relief troops and to turn back any civilians who attempt to leave. Confined within their walls, the residents will fall victim to starvation and turn on one another in an internal war. The number of people held within the city assures Espínola that hunger and attrition will force his opponents to surrender. The Prince of Poland praises Espínola for his martial prudence. Siege tactics are nonetheless subject to ethical and legal objections. An established convention of war forbids attacks on noncombatants. Under certain conditions some harm to civilians may be unavoidable, but such harm is acceptable only when an act of war is directed primarily against soldiers and is free of any intent to damage others. A siege defies this convention. Soldiers and civilians are enclosed together within a city and subjected to starvation. The object is to produce surrender, not through violence exercised against the opposing army, but through the painful deaths of noncombatants. Justifications can be offered for mounting a siege. Civilians can be treated as combatants if they form common cause with soldiers to defend their homes, and military necessity can be invoked if no other course of action is viable.3 The moral challenges of this tactical choice, however, retain their force, and Spanish theatre in Calderón’s time responds to these issues. In Cervantes’s El cerco de Numancia – a siege play that takes as its subject the Roman conquest of the Celtiberian city of Numantia in 133 BCE – the Roman general Cipión declares his commitment to the use of force in decisive battles but attains his victory through encirclement and starvation. The play explores the tensions between a traditional heroic ethos that favours open force and the tactics of the siege, categorized by the Numantians as ignoble and deceptive. Cipión justifies his choice of strategy through the argument of military necessity, but the dramatic action confers fame – the reward for martial valour in classical epic – on the city’s defenders.4 The interrelationship of tactics and technology raised additional questions about the ethos of war in early modern Europe. Over the course of the fifteenth century, large gunpowder weapons that fired stone projectiles made the high walls of medieval fortifications vulnerable to bombardment. In response, military architects developed a new


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system to protect fortresses and urban centres, based on a combination of defensive elements: low and thick walls constructed to resist cannon shot, bastions placed at an angle to the main walls to allow for flanking fire against infantry attack, ditches or moats to keep the enemy’s artillery at a distance, and triangular ravelins beyond these obstacles to offer additional protection for the area at the base of the main walls. In larger cities, smaller redoubts could be placed in the surrounding countryside to complement the main defences. Developed in northern Italy to protect its city-states against French invasion, this system quickly spread to France and the Netherlands, through the work of Italian architects and engineers. The recognizable form of the trace italienne – low star-shaped walls with bastions, ditches or moats, and ravelins – became the standard pattern of urban fortification. Cities defended in this way could resist direct assaults, and laying siege to them required some combination of parallel technical measures: siegeworks constructed to enclose the city and prevent the arrival of relief until it surrendered, trenches dug to allow soldiers to fire or attack at close range, tunnels excavated so that gunpowder mines could be placed under the walls. Under these conditions offensive and defensive war approached a state of equilibrium, and both depended on the pragmatic deployment of technology.5 Calderón’s Espínola shows his military pragmatism in his direction of the Spanish siege. At the end of Act II he relates to the Prince of Poland a detailed account of Breda (1907–2185), as the two characters observe a painting or engraving of the besieged city and its surroundings.6 Espínola presents a comprehensive view of Breda’s site, its fortified walls, and its defensive works in the adjacent countryside. He also surveys the placement of his troops and the means that he has employed to increase strategic pressure on the city and limit its capacity to sustain its internal economy. Here Calderón’s text engages a tradition in northern Renaissance art of detailed engraving of cities under siege. Siege maps captured the aspect of early modern war as spectacle, and the detailed pictorial representation of a “militarized landscape” appealed to the Dutch “national epic” of reclaiming and defending their territory (Kunzle 441, 445). During its siege, Breda was the subject of prints by Dutch artists, such as Nicolaes Geilkerck (1624) and C.J. Visscher (1624). In 1627 the distinguished French artist Jacques Callot produced a series of six large engravings of Breda, with details of technical measures and camp life. Both Visscher and Callot depict the city’s fortifications and the countervailing siegeworks constructed under Spinola’s command.7

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In Calderón’s comedia Espínola’s account of the enemy’s situation and vulnerabilities speaks to his technical knowledge of fortification and the effective methods of siegecraft. In its depiction of Spain’s impressive tactical structures, his extended speech also captures the spectacle of the siege, invoking in the audience “a sense of wonder at Spanish military might” (Whitaker 529).8 Espínola begins with Breda’s strategic location, on the borders of the provinces of Batavia, Zeeland, and Brabant and subject to the intemperate influences of a northern climate. He outlines its urban plan and enumerates the three gates that give access to its centre and the ten bastions that guard them. He knows the names that the city’s residents have given to the bastions and the specific troops in command of each one. These initial details show us Espínola’s respect for accurate and timely information. The general intelligence that he has obtained concerning the city’s situation and the forces at its disposal informs his tactical planning. Espínola is also aware that both walls and water provide defence against any assault on the city: Tres fosos tiene en sus muros, que aquí distantes la zercan, y llena de fuego y agua, es zentro de tres esferas.


Its walls have three moats that encircle it here at a distance and, full of fire and water, it is the centre of three spheres.

Espínola records the moats that surround in Breda, in terms that lend metaphorical weight to their deterrent effect. The “water” of the three moats complements the “fire” of the artillery that the defenders can discharge from within their fortifications. Breda stands secure in its “centre,” as if it were a world surrounded by three planetary “spheres.” Water is a natural resource that can be channelled for the city’s defence. The river above which it is built – the Mark – is a supply route for stores and relief troops and can be diverted to flood the path of incoming troops. Any army that marches on Breda would appear to do battle with the elements themselves: fire, water, and the “proud waves” of a river that would defy the power of Jove (1967–70). The city’s capacity to resist also rests on the resolve of its population. Espínola describes its residents as a “warlike people,” trained in the


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“school of Mars” and in the sound of the recruiter’s drum (1973–80). United in martial discipline, they have armed their city with care: a tanto llega en efecto su ynjeniosa dilijenzia, que están minados de suerte que, si asaltarla quisiera, siendo posible ganarla por las armas, no lo fuera rreduzir a cantidad de números y de quentas la jente que nos costara ganar vn palmo de tierra.


Their ingenious diligence has attained so much, mining their walls in such way that, if I wished to assault the city, and it were possible to take it by arms, it would not be possible to reckon by number and count the men it would cost us to take a few inches of ground.

The citizens of Breda have placed mines around the circuit of their walls to hold enemy soldiers at a distance that will prevent any direct assault. In putting this measure in place, they have employed technical skills central to warfare in their time. In early modern texts the standard term for a military engineer is “ingeniero,” someone who applies “ingenio” to designing and maintaining fortifications.9 The people of Breda are both bellicose and “ynjeniosa,” possessed of this capacity for technical invention. Espínola concedes that an open attack would exact an incalculable cost in soldiers’ lives. It is also the case, however, that Breda’s location and defences help to justify the tactics of his siege. On pragmatic grounds, a city that has been rendered invulnerable to infantry attack must be reduced through bombardment and blockade. In addition, the martial spirit that unites the community of Breda blurs the distinction between soldiers and civilians. To the extent that they have turned their diligence to mining the approaches to their city, the residents can be treated as active participants in the war between Spain and the Dutch rebels. Although Espínola does not refer directly to the ethical considerations that bear on siege warfare, he offers here an implicit response to them. Espínola claims that the extent of the land on which Breda has laid mines and built outer siegeworks is an additional factor in determining

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the strategies can be used against it. He states that Breda controls a total perimeter of ten Spanish leagues, and calculates, on the basis of his own experience, the unattainable number of troops that would be required to surround fully this line of defence. On a past campaign Espínola took control of ten leagues to besiege the enemy’s perimeter of two; he proposes that a perimeter of ten leagues would require control on his part of 200, at a ratio of 75,000 soldiers for every two leagues, an armed force beyond what all of Europe could supply (2035–46). Rather than relying on the abilities of others, Espínola has made his own calculations of Breda’s perimeter and the potential demand for troops. He is a modern commander who has based his strategy on an exact “demonstration” of the scale of the area that the enemy can defend: “Bien hecha / está la demostrazión; / más de un desbelo me cuesta.” (2046–8) (The demonstration is well made; it has cost me many hours plagued with cares). The demands of court performance and the requirements of technical warfare coincide in this statement. The cares that Espínola has invested in measurement and calculation recall the ceaseless labour that Olivares claimed to have dedicated to the service of Philip IV. Espínola has cultivated and applied his skills in mathematics, the definitive discipline of military architecture and siegecraft in early modern Europe.10 The elements of Breda’s defences – its walls, moats, mines, and perimeter – both justify Espínola’s tactics and limit the methods that he can employ. He must lay siege because he cannot prevail through a direct assault. He nonetheless cannot fully encircle the city with his troops, the classic strategy of siege that the Roman general Cipión employs in Cervantes’s Numancia. These conditions test Espínola’s pragmatism and his tactical expertise. His verbal map concludes with an account of the various troops that he has placed around the city and the measures that he has taken to diminish and counteract its defences. His attention shifts here from fortification and siegeworks to the offensive stance of the Hapsburg forces under his authority. Espínola begins with the location of his own field headquarters, in close proximity to the city’s walls: En el balle de Jinequen, que es éste, puse mi tienda, ques un portátil alcázar, y está del muro tan zerca, que ya e bisto algunas bezes entrar sus balas en ella.



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Here in this valley of Ginneken I placed my tent, which is a portable fortress, and it is so close to the wall that at times I have seen bullets penetrate it.

Effective direction of the siege requires both exposure to the immediate dangers of combat and flexibility. By placing his command post within firing distance of the enemy’s weapons, Espínola maintains his immediate awareness of the shifting conditions of war and shares the burden of risk with his subordinates and with the common soldiers of his army. The mobility of his post allows him to control the full extent of the area on which Breda has built its defences and to maintain the force of the siege. From his post Espínola deploys multiple tactics across the field of conflict. He has stationed his army in barracks that mark the countryside, and he has constructed three “royal strongholds” staffed by groups of soldiers from the nations that have contributed to his campaign. It is probable that the fortresses are described as royal because each one houses a batterie royale, a standard suite of artillery pieces placed in line to shell the bastions of the enemy’s fortifications.11 Other measures complement the artillery fire that maintains the pressures on Breda. Espínola has built a lock to divert the flow of the Mark, to neutralize the strategic advantage that the city enjoys from its river and to impede relief from the sea. At some distance he has blocked another arm of the Mark with a line of fire ships and a wooden blockade beneath its surface, to ensure that river-borne vessels cannot bring in supplies to maintain Breda or troops to renew its forces. In addition to the infantry troops garrisoned in the barracks, he maintains a cavalry force that can move on immediate demand to critical points of conflict (2159–66). These offensive measures confirm that expert knowledge and careful preparation sustain Espínola’s command. Espínola consistently relies on his technical expertise in his direction of the siege. At the beginning of Act II he attends to despatches and makes plans to receive the Prince of Poland. A military engineer approaches to explain that he can place twelve fire ships in the river Mark. As Espínola continues to write, he tells the engineer that he need not outline the details of his plan: Ya sé del modo que son: tiene cada una dentro gran turba – que ansí se llama – de piedras, árboles gruesos,

The Soul under Siege peñascos, piezas quebradas, tierra, bigas, plomo y yerro. Éstas tiene sólo vn honbre cada vna.



I know their kind: each one has within it a crowded mass – as they say – of stones, massive spars, ragged rocks, debris, earth, timbers, lead and iron. Each one carries a single man.

Rather than taking advice from the engineer, Espínola speaks with him as someone who shares the knowledge of his profession. He understands the construction of the fire ships and their destructive potential. Packed with material to cast a broad field of shrapnel and crewed by one soldier to set it alight when the enemy approaches, a single ship contains the force of a natural cataclysm, “vn Etna de fuego horrible” (an Etna of terrible fire) (1129). Espínola is also aware of the calculus that should govern the use of such an imprecise weapon. To reduce the risk that the enemy will seize the ships and turn them back against the Spanish barracks, he orders a stockade of stripped trees to be constructed in the river, aligned across the current and armed with steel points (1136–44). Espínola and the engineer are discussing a weapon that was deployed in the Lowlands, albeit with reservations about its effectiveness. In April 1585 one of two fire ships or infernal machines prepared by the military engineer Federigo Giambelli destroyed the Spanish bridge at Antwerp in a massive explosion. Philip II nonetheless remained skeptical of the use of a weapon that was regarded as experimental and unstable.12 In this dialogue with the engineer, Espínola demonstrates another aspect of his technical expertise. As an expert commander, he comprehends and deploys every measure of siegecraft: detailed intelligence on Breda’s defences, artillery fire directed on its fortifications, closure of any routes of relief or escape, and control of the river that offers the city natural advantages. Espínola secures victory over Breda through his tactics of bombardment and blockade. Enrique of Nassau, who attempts to bring in Flemish troops to relieve the city, concedes that the valour of the Italian infantry has defeated him (2566–76). Madame Flora, a civilian enclosed within Breda’s walls, laments that the afflictions of hunger and disease have made surrender the only viable remedy (2566–76). The effectiveness of Espínola’s tactical approach is clear. In early modern Spanish drama, however, successful sieges can lead to questions and self-doubt. At the


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end of El cerco de Numancia, Cipión recognizes the ethical cost of his strategic victory. He understands that the violent end of his siege may deprive him of his formal triumph in Rome and praises the defenders of Numancia for their fidelity to an ethos of heroic force.13 Espínola, in contrast, suffers from no such doubts. The moral assurance that Calderón attributes to him may reflect a shift in the Dutch sieges to more humane conditions of surrender that allowed cities to negotiate honourable terms and to avoid starvation and pillage by unruly soldiers (Kunzle 441). In addition, Espínola is faithful to a Neostoic code that enables him to face the violence and moral challenges of war with equanimity. The influential works of the Northern humanist Justus Lipsius set out principles that can be traced in Espínola’s conduct. His general stance under the duress of combat follows the moral counsel of Lipsius’s Concerning Constancy (1584); his habits of command can be referred to the specific advice on military matters in the Sixe Bookes of Politickes or Civil Doctrine (1589). Calderón attributes to Espínola a set of Neostoic values that makes him effective in the field and provides a moral foundation for his leadership. Concerning Constancy is a dialogue in Latin prose between Lipsius and his mentor Langius. Its central theme is tranquility of mind, an internal quality that allows individuals to strengthen themselves against the afflictions of personal life and political instability. Langius argues that this quality can be cultivated through the practice of constancy, “an upright and unmoved vigor of mind that is neither uplifted nor cast down by outward or chance occurrence” (Constancy I.4, 27–9), and patience, “the willing endurance without complaint of whatever occurs or befalls a man from without” (Constancy I.4, 29). He distinguishes constancy – a firmness based on reason and good judgment – from the tenacity that leads to pride and inflexibility. The virtues that Langius recommends enable individuals to assess from a rational and corrective perspective the “false goods” that society has to offer and the “false evils” that appear to plague human life (Constancy I.7, 37). Langius places a particular stress on “public evils,” since they impinge on civic affairs and “afflict at one and the same time many persons” (Constancy I.7, 37). He argues that the goods and evils that affect us are external to the mind and need not provoke our habitual reactions of desire or fear. Constancy and patience provide an internal equilibrium that protects the mind from private tribulations and disturbances in politics and the state. Individuals find true freedom in this liberation from the passions and the influence of fortune.

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A strong sense of public purpose shapes the moral advice that Langius offers to Lipsius. Their dialogue is framed in relation to the civil and martial disturbances that afflict Lipsius’s home in the Lowlands. His treatise shares with early modern Spanish siege plays a concern with the impact of war and rebellion, articulated in Lipsius’s case from the perspective of the Dutch population. In this context, the virtues of constancy and patience provide “the watchword for resistance against the external ills of the world” (Oestreich 13). Langius places limits on patriotism, arguing against a self-interested attachment to one’s homeland and praising Socrates as a world citizen. An appropriate understanding of providence fortifies the mind against passion and suffering. War and tyranny are public evils, but they are visited upon humankind as part of a providential design, and individual subjects should understand them as moral tests. The end of Neostoic ethics is not withdrawal from public life, but engagement with its trials. In his treatise Lipsius advocates for “the renewal of the self by self-liberation and active participation in civil society” (Oestreich 18).14 Espínola demonstrates the virtues of the Neostoic subject during the campaign against Breda. He has the patience to wait out the enemy during a long siege, and he shows equanimity in his relations with his subordinate generals and his troops. Specific incidents stress his quality of constancy under the difficult conditions of war. In the opening scene of Act II Espínola receives and sends despatches from the tent that he has set up as his command post. He tells Alonso Ladrón – a gracioso who voices the bravado and pride of a common soldier – that this paperwork demands his undivided attention: Ninguno llegue a ablarme, porque tengo mil cosas que despachar a España, quando me beo çercado de obligaçiones y de mil cuidados lleno.

(ll. 985–90)

Let no one approach to speak with me, because I have one thousand matters to despatch to Spain, now that I am besieged with obligations and full of a thousand cares.

Espínola expresses his dedication to every duty of military leadership. As he maintains the long campaign against Breda, he finds himself


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“besieged” in his mind with the “obligations” and “cares” of command, and he sets aside the concerns of the immediate conflict to attend to correspondence with his superiors in Spain. It is clear that this concentration requires mental discipline. Alonso Ladrón reports that the defenders are sustaining fire from the city’s walls, casting a cloud of artillery smoke over the encampments of the Habsburg troops. Amidst the noise and fury of the enemy’s weapons Espínola continues to read and write, showing equanimity and constancy in the face of active fire. The war within – the control of the fears that can afflict the mind – is as central to his leadership as his command over others. The despatches that Espínola reads reveal the scale of his interest in military affairs. He receives news of commanders and conflicts in southern Europe and the New World: the Duke of Feria in Milan; the Duke of Alba in Naples; two armadas embarking from Lisbon for Brazil; the Duke of Savoy, pressing his campaign against Genoa. The notice that his native city of Genoa is in danger prompts a moment of self-questioning, in which Espínola concedes with regret that he is exercising his courage and skills for the Hapsburg monarchy, and not in defence of his home. Against this doubt he sets his recognition that he has committed himself to serving a king who maintains a Catholic empire across the world. The simultaneous wars in Italy, Brazil, and Flanders attest to the excellence of Spain’s armies and to the religious purpose that shapes its wars.15 At Breda, Espínola has joined Philip IV’s subjects in fighting for the cause of religion: ¿Qué mucho pues que un monarca, que a un tienpo tiene duçientos mil honbres en la canpaña, peleando y defendiendo la fe, pida a sus basallos ayuden al justo zelo, sirban a la aczión piadosa de tan relijioso efecto?


Is it any wonder that a monarch, who has at one time two hundred thousand men on campaign fighting and defending the faith, should ask of his vassals that they support his just zeal and serve in this pious action for such a religious purpose?

Espínola’s respect for the Spanish Crown speaks to his fidelity to his profession as a soldier and to the international spirit of the Neostoic

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subject. He invests in the larger objectives of Hapsburg policy, rather than in the interests of his homeland. He also gestures to the idea that wars should be understood as part of the order of providence. The references to the piety and zeal that the king can ask of his subjects reinforce the claim that Spain is defending its patrimony in the Lowlands for religious reasons, to defend the Catholic faith that underwrites its imperial regime. Espínola practices the mental habits of the Neostoic subject to resist the internal fears and unrest caused by external events. He also relies on the specific qualities of military leadership that Lipsius sets out in his Sixe Bookes of Politickes. Lipsius’s views on martial affairs can be read as an extension of his general counsel concerning the mental stance and ethical codes of the individual. Lipsius regards war as an external evil, but he recognizes that a state may need to resort to violence to defend its territory or to exact recompense for an injury that another state has committed and refuses to remedy under the terms of the laws that govern relations among nations. If the prince cannot avoid war, he should exercise command in accordance with the principles of constancy and patience. Lipsius stresses the continuity in the instructions that he offers to the prince and to the individual subject (Oestreich 42). Lipsius’s Politickes offers a comprehensive account of the prince’s authority and obligations and of the principles that should inform his conduct in the different contexts and conditions of government. In the first two books, he discusses “princely rule as a moral institution”; in the next two he turns to “the state as an institution and a force for order”; in the final two he addresses matters of “war and peace” (Oestreich 40). His discussion makes extensive use of classical authorities in history (Tacitus, Livy, Sallust), moral philosophy (Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero), and military theory (Xenophon, Vegetius), on the assumption that ancient writing is a storehouse of lessons and examples for public life. Lipsius applies the principles of classical Stoicism to the problems of the modern state, arguing that the prince should govern himself by the foundations of prudentia, or the practical application of proper judgment, and virtus, stability against the uncertain powers of fortune (Oestreich 42–3). On Ciceronian precedent, Lipsius states that the highest of the princely qualities is military virtue (Oestreich 52), and he sets out five attributes that define true leadership in wars with other states: scientia, virtus, providentia, auctoritas, and fortuna (Oestreich 55). In addition to cultivating and applying these personal qualities, the


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commander should determine his tactics on the basis of consultation (consilia) and show care in the selection (dilectus) of his troops and in military discipline (disciplina). Lipsius advocates for a moral reform of early modern armies, grounded in Roman models of order and organization (Oestreich 53). In El sitio de Bredá, Calderón presents Espínola as an exemplary Lipsian commander who possesses the five attributes that define military virtue (Paterson 286). The qualities of Neostoic leadership are evident in the orders that he delivers to his troops, in the measures that he takes to maintain the siege and seize advantages over the enemy, in his praise of the men who serve under him, and in the terms in which others describe his conduct. Calderón’s text offers us both models of exemplary leadership and a Neostoic lexicon of military prudence. The affiliation with Lipsius’s ideas concerning the prince’s duties during times of war is clear. After Espínola has received the Prince of Poland and explained to him the tactical rationale for the siege, a sergeant offers the prince temporary command of the army at Breda for the duration of his stay. The prince responds to this formal gesture of respect by expressing his admiration for Espínola and his generalship: Digno de rrenombre es el Marqués; deçidle que yo debo esta lisonja, mas que no me atrebo a suplir la prudente fortaleza de su ynjenio, y es fuerza dibertirme de peso que oprimió tanta grandeza.


The Marquis deserves his renown; tell him that I acknowledge this flattering gesture, but that I dare not replace his expertise and prudent fortitude, and that I must decline the burden borne by such greatness.

The Prince praises Espínola’s reputation, the respect of allies and enemies that secures a leader’s auctoritas (Politickes V.15, 165), and he protests, with topical modesty, that he cannot equal his host’s eminence in military affairs. Espínola’s distinction rests on prudence and fortitude, qualities that manifest Lipsian constancy in a martial context. The prince also recognizes his host’s “ingenio,” the expertise that a professional engineer exercises in designing works to defend cities and mount sieges against them.

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The centrality of practical knowledge for Neostoic leadership is apparent in Lipsius’s summary statement on scientia, a term rendered as “skill” in William Jones’s English translation of 1594: Skill: that he be expert in his arte, and such a one, who by long vse, hath gotten skill in warre, not by report, or reading alone: but I say such a one, who hath himselfe taken pay in diuerse countries: and that there be no kinde of warre, wherein Fortune hath not made trial of him: who knoweth, the order of an army, what care there ought to be, to see how the enemy lieth, what way is best, either to prouoke the enemy, or to drawe the warre in length: who is expert both in things prosperous, and in matters dangerous, and doubtfull, and therefore not amazed at them. (V.15, 162–3)

Calderón attributes to Espínola the range of experience that defines this attribute. A Genoese commander in service to the Spanish Crown, he is attentive to campaigns across Europe and he has encountered the various trials of war. At Breda, he has surveyed the enemy’s extensive defences and disposed his troops to sustain an extended siege. He remains unmoved by the uncertain advantages and risks of daily combat in close proximity to the enemy, showing no wonder at “dangerous” or “doubtful” turns in the progress of the conflict. Expertise and experience have trained Espínola in the art of war. Lipius defines military virtus as “a certaine vigor, or liuelinesse of the body, and wit, conioyned with goodnesse of the minde” (V.15, 163). Parallel to constancy against external evils, this quality is extended to embrace mental stability and physical strength, since warfare demands readiness of body and mind. Such virtue informs the leader’s actions and animates his subordinates. In Lipsius’s view, it is crucial for the commander’s role “That he himself commonly do take paines in the army; that he be among the common souldiers, always retaining the honor, and authoritie of a leader. Who dare geue the first onset when any work is to be undertaken, and that he shew the way to others” (V.15, 163). Espínola demonstrates his preparedness to take direct action when he visits his barracks and issues orders for stopping the troops that are advancing under Enrique of Nassau’s command to relieve Breda (2377–88). His subordinate leaders assume the labour of common soldiers in Act Two, when notice arrives that relief ships are approaching on the Mark. Here Gonzalo de Córdoba, Fadrique Bazán, and Vicente Pimentel volunteer to begin construction of the stockade that Espínola has planned, taking up implements of manual labour – axes and mattocks – to complete the


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engineering works that seal and press the Spanish siege (1257–62). They put into practice the virtue that Lipsius urges the leader to exercise in relation to his men, “that he do teach them, and not commande them to endure labour” (V.15, 163). Espínola sets a standard of virtue for his subordinates, through practices of “fortaleza” and “ingenio” that can be assimilated to the Lipsian qualities of command: “fortitude in danger, industrie in vundertaking, speedinesse in executing” (V.15, 163). Providentia, the leader’s capacity to assess when to stay his troops and when to press the enemy, is related to fortuna, the felicity granted by divine dispensation. Prudence and reason rein in temerity and attract positive influences. Lipsius commends “those warie and aduised Captaines, who in no place, do hazard and commit themselves to fortune, but in as much as necessitie compelleth them” (V.15, 163). Citing Polybius, he warns that haste, sudden passions, and arrogance play to the enemy’s interests (V.15, 164). The critical point is to weigh the risks of rash action against fair tactical opportunities, and Espínola is able to strike this balance. He recognizes that the conditions at Breda require a long siege, but when he can attack Nassau’s relief troops, he is quick to order his cavalry into the field: quel bolante esquadrón corre a todas partes, y oy espero que el cuello dome a esta erética arroganzia, rrelijión dañada y torpe; pues oy en qualquier suzeso, que deste enquentro se note, tengo de entrar en Bredá, postrando a mis plantas nobles la oposiçión de sus muros, la eminenzia de sus torres.


The mobile squadron shall run to every point, and I hope that today I shall cast down the heretical arrogance of this wicked and false religion, since on any occasion that can be seized in today’s encounter I must take Breda, humbling at my noble feet its opposing walls and eminent towers.

The attack on Nassau’s troops is both a necessary measure to maintain the restrictions on Breda’s resources and a tactical opportunity to end the siege. If the defenders realize that Espínola’s army can block any

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attempt at relief, they may surrender their city into his hands. Espínola attributes to his enemies the qualities that discourage providence in Neostoic thought. The citizens of Breda are arrogant in their heresy, and their towers are a symbol of human presumption. Although the fortifications that surround Breda are not the high walls of ancient and medieval strongholds but the low, wide barriers of early modern siege defences, they are described here as eminent towers to engage scriptural connotations of vanity and pride.16 Espínola’s decisive response to Nassau’s arrival illustrates the centrality of timing and opportunity in warfare. After beleaguering his objective through tactics of attrition, Espínola takes quick action to conquer Breda for the religious cause of his Habsburg masters. His action is not taken out of temerity, but as the prudent seizing of a strategic advantage. Espínola’s leadership illustrates the five attributes that Lipsius associates with military prudence. His campaign also depends on the practices of consultation and discipline that Lipsius recommends to the Neostoic prince. Espínola plans his strategies through prudent consideration and discussion with his subordinates and cultivates a spirit of obligation and obedience in his army. In Lipsius’s Politics consultation includes the counsel or deliberation that the commander holds within himself and the communications through which he disposes his soldiers for conflict and strengthens their morale. Due counsel resembles providence in that it attracts the favours of fortune and enables the leader to seize propitious occasions. It is a “necessarie instrument” for successful action and an important complement to direct force: “great Captains haue brought more things to passe by counsel then by strength” (V.16, 166). Lipsius concedes that no prescriptive method can anticipate every circumstance of war, and he divides counsel into two distinct kinds: “Direct counsels, are those, which march in the beaten way of warre: Indirect counsels, which passe by the secret path of fraud and deceipt” (V.16, 167). Under the terms of direct counsel the commander should receive reports concerning the character and strength of the enemy, gather information about his own army, review the site of conflict, and assess the times and seasons of the war. This intelligence will inform timely and considered decisions: That leader is to be commended, who doth not attempt all things by hazard, but gouerneth both prosperous matters, and things aduerse and contrarie, by ripe deliberation and counsel; who is not throwne downe by contrarie accidents, nor lifted up with pride at any good successe, but changing the raines, knoweth how to prolong the time, and the meanes to get the victorie. (V.16, 169)


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Counsel encourages constancy in the shifting conditions of war and sets the timing of tactics for victory. The successful commander depends not on chance, but on detailed knowledge and detached deliberation. Espínola’s survey of Breda’s defences speaks of the importance that he grants to collecting information and making tactical choices, the forms of internal counsel that Lipsius urges upon the prince in times of war. Espínola also consults his subordinates, in a process that balances the guidance he receives with the need for decisive action. The play opens with a council of war near Turnhout, in which Espínola asks the leaders of the various national troops of the Habsburg army to advise him on selecting one of two fortified cities as the next objective of his campaign: Breda or Grave in the North Brabant. Espínola affirms his attention to the “prudent words” of “valiant soldiers” and his respect for the general will of such councils (254–60). When the leaders are divided in their views, however, Espínola recognizes that he must take responsibility for the choice upon himself and orders the army to march on Grave (325– 31). His decisiveness follows from the principle that firm and definite action is necessary to seize advantage over the enemy. Espínola appeals to this principle again when he suddenly modifies his orders, commanding the Spanish troops to change direction and march on Breda: abisad que cuando ya marche el canpo a Grabe, la rretaguarda benga la buelta a Bredá, pues con aquesto bendrá entonzes a ser banguardia, y a ser Bredá la zercada.


Let them know that, when the army has begun its march to Grave, the rearguard shall return to Breda, since by this means it will become the vanguard, and Breda the city under siege.

Espínola makes optimal deployment of his Spanish soldiers, transforming them from the rearguard of the column despatched against Grave to the vanguard of the action on Breda. He balances the advice of his subordinates with the inner counsel of his own strategic assessment. In the terms of Lipsian prudence, he also weighs direct counsel against indirect counsel, choosing to mislead the enemy through indirection and to place the second objective of Breda under siege. After

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some consideration of the legitimacy of stratagems in war, Lipsius concedes that such measures may be both pragmatic and commendable: “those martiall deedes which are executed in the sight of all the world, and with mayne force, deserve lesse praise, then those which are wrought by industrie, and the opportunitie and slights” (Politics V.17, 176). Espínola’s strategic judgment and ingenio allow him to practice Lipsian counsel. Consultation informs the direction that the commander provides for his army; order and morale through the ranks rest on discipline, a concept that is central to Lipsius’s project for military reform in early modern Europe. Lipsius defines this reform as the recovery of a Roman excellence that has been lost (Oestreich 52), and he draws many of his precepts from Roman sources, particularly Vegetius and Tacitus. A leader can recruit men with care, but he must take measures to ensure that they become good soldiers: “Nature bringeth forth some few valiant men, but good order thorow industrie maketh many more” (Politics V.13, 151–2). Such order follows from training and regulation: “I call Discipline, a seuere conforming of the soldier to value, and vertue” (Politics V.13, 152). Soldiers acquire “value” through preparation in practical skills: drill with weapons, exercise in physical labour, construction of camps and fortifications. They are expected to act on “Stoic virtue given an active form” (Oestreich 53), including self-control and obedience within the chain of command: an armie set in good order, is a thing of great ioy to the sight of thy friends, and a terrour to thy enemyes. Yea it is a profitable thing: because an armie consisting more distinctlie of many partes, may with more ease be deuided as occasion, and neede shall require, and with more ease agayne be joined together: and it is more easily commanunded, when the soldier knoweth how to obey his Serieant, the Serieant his Captaine. (Politics V.13, 154)

Lipsius stresses the practical importance of military order. The various corps of a disciplined army can be despatched on demand, for the purpose of seizing occasions of strategic advantage. Martial discipline sustains this capacity, since effective authority follows from obedience across all ranks. Espínola sets an example of self-control and dedication to the labours of war, and he demands of his subordinate leaders and the soldiers under his general command a discipline that he articulates through a lexicon of obligation and obedience. As the vanguard of his army approaches Breda to place it under siege, the city despatches a squadron in its own defence. Francisco de Medina brings a report of this


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skirmish to Espínola and praises Fadrique de Bazán for the valour that he has shown against the enemy. Espínola, however, declines to commend actions undertaken taken as a matter of duty: Vn noble caballero ques soldado con enpresas, trofeos y blasones, no haçe más que cunplir obligaciones: luego ningún aplauso en su alabanza muebe si paga en sangre lo que en sangre debe.


A noble knight and soldier, with emblems, trophies, and arms, does no more than fulfil obligations, so no acclaim should be offered in his praise, if he pays in blood what he owes in blood.

The position of a subordinate leader is defined here with reference to the traditional view of the nobility as an estate charged with defending the commonwealth. Fadrique de Bazán possesses symbols of the heroism that has distinguished his family in the past – emblems, trophies, heraldic arms – and at Breda he has met the obligations of his estate in society. His wounds display the blood that is the mark of his aristocratic status. Espínola understands that this spirit of martial duty must unite and regulate his army as a whole. When he disposes his troops to resist the advance of Nassau’s relief column, he insists that each unit must stand in place until he can determine the best order of counter-attack. He is concerned that the Spanish soldiers will chafe at this constraint, and he orders Gonzalo de Córdoba to rein in their will for battle: “pues conoze / su cólera, quando bea / que no pelean, rreporte / su arroganzia” (since you are aware of their anger, when you see that they are not fighting, restrain their arrogance) (2442–5). The risk is that these troops will yield to the passions of anger and arrogance that run counter to providence. Gonzalo recognizes the importance of the control that he has been asked to maintain: La obedienzia es la que en la guerra pone mayor prisión a un soldado: más alabanza y más nonbre que conquistar animoso le da el rresistirse dózil.


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Obedience is the quality that most restrains a soldier at war: patient restraint brings him more praise and renown than bold conquest.

War demands obedience. In the conditions of early modern conflicts, a soldier wins the greater reward not through spirited acts of heroism, but by resisting the passions that disrupt the order of his army. The structure of Espínola’s command rests on Neostoic discipline, a collective spirit that inspires and unites his Spanish troops (Paterson 286). In El sitio de Bredá, the comedia parallels epic poetry as a vehicle for considering the technologies of gunpowder and siegecraft in early modern warfare.17 Calderón portrays Espínola as a modern leader from two perspectives. He possesses expert knowledge and engineering skills that enable him to plan and sustain the Spanish siege, and he cultivates Neostoic qualities that allow him to face the dangers of war with equanimity and to exercise authority over his troops. He practices both external command of military techniques and internal control of the self. These two aspects of his character are complementary, in that Neostoic constancy underwrites both his practical direction of the long campaign against Breda and his ethical assurance in the face of traditional objections to the tactics of siege warfare. In the context of the play’s first performance, Espínola’s virtues and skills contribute to the praise of the Hapsburg monarchy. Espínola declares his loyalty to Philip IV, a king who can call on the sun to bear witness to the extent of his empire (1093–8), and he finds the qualities of obedience and valour perfectly joined in his Spanish troops (2815–20). This celebration of Spain’s martial excellence can be linked to the Neostoic program that shaped the reform of armies and the structures of state power in early modern Europe. Through the heroic figure of Espínola, Calderón explores the technical and logistical challenges of laying siege to a fortified city and the ideals of constancy and fortitude that sustained military leadership and statecraft in his time.

NOTES 1 Whitaker reconstructs the celebratory circumstances of the first performance of El sitio de Bredá and comments on the probability that Calderón drew on contemporary chronicles and on siege plans and official reports supplied to him by Olivares in writing this comedia.


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2 Brown and Elliott place The Surrender of Breda in the context of the twelve battle paintings commissioned for the Hall of the Realms, an ensemble planned to depict “the great victories won by the armies of Philip IV in every quarter of his worldwide empire” (142). The representation of these victories exalted the king and articulated the program of his first minister Olivares for defending the Spanish monarchy and the Catholic religion against rebellion and heresy (161–2). Brown and Elliott also discuss the iconography of nobility and clemency that Velázquez’s painting shares with El sitio de Bredá. 3 I rely on Walzer’s review and analysis of the ethical principles that govern the status of non-combatants and the strategic uses of sieges and blockades (151–3, 160–70). 4 King’s seminal article on issues of siege warfare and imperialism in La Numancia has led to a series of critical analyses that examine the tension in the play between heroic force and strategic prudence. Representative studies along these lines include de Armas 97–115, Johnson, Rupp 33–62, and Simerka 97–106. 5 This account of the development of fortifications and the tactics of siege warfare follows Parker 7–16. Duffy provides a complementary discussion focused on cities and sieges in the Netherlands during the Eighty Years War of 1566 to 1648 (58–105), including Spinola’s long and costly campaign against Breda (100–1). 6 Whitaker notes that the many uses of the demonstratives “aquí” (here) and “este” (this) in Espínola’s long speech suggest that he is pointing to positions and fortifications on a plan of the city and that Olivares could have supplied military maps to serve as models for a visual representation of the siege (526–8). 7 Kunzle discusses the engravings that depict the siege of Breda in 1624–5, in the context of the pictorial genres that inform such maps and their detailed and programmatic representation of siege warfare (461–78). One of Callot’s engravings includes the figure of an engineer taking measurements with a rod and compass (472). Vosters also discusses the maps of Spinola’s siege and their influence on the composition of Velázquez’s Surrender of Breda (78–90). 8 As García Santo-Tomás has noted, the extensive fortifications of Italian cities appear as objects of praise and value in the Comentarios of the Duque de Estrada, in a striking transformation of the Renaissance celebration of cultural monuments (85–6). 9 In his entry for “ingenio” Covarrubias records its semantic connection with the term “ingeniero”: “assí llamamos ingeniero al que fabrica

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14 15


máquinas para defenderse del enemigo y ofenderle” (thus we call someone an engineer who makes devices for defence against the enemy and for assaulting him) (737b). For Covarrubias, “ingenio” includes the arts of indirection (“sutilezas”) and deception (“engaños”) and the primary sense of “ingeniero” centres on military engineering. The Diccionario de autoridades relates this sense of “ingeniero” specifically to fortification and siege warfare: “Se llama tambien el que discurre, dispone y traza máchinas y artificios en la architectúra Militár, para defensa ù ofensa de las fortalezas” (it refers as well to someone who invents, orders, and designs devices and instruments in the field of military architecture, for the defence or assault of fortresses) (4: 269b). Kunzle discusses the centrality of the mathematical sciences in the codification of military planning and the education of officers and engineers. Mathematics became the true “art” that guided early modern warfare, and the concept of “mathematical coordination” inspired generals and engineers alike (443–5, 450). The standard batterie royale was a single group of artillery pieces, placed on a natural hill or a constructed elevation within range of the fortified walls (400–700 paces); it maintained its fire for the duration of the siege (Duffy 96). In the early seventeenth century, Western European armies reduced the size of the batterie royale and constructed smaller supplementary batteries to provide flanking fire (Duffy 96). Duffy discusses the defenders’ deployment of Giambelli’s infernal machines during the Duke of Parma’s siege of Antwerp; he notes that Philip II “had little use for such gadgetry” and used bureaucratic measures to keep Giambelli at a careful distance (76–9). Morey compares El cerco de Numancia and El sitio de Bredá. Her analysis notes that the Roman siege of Numantia can be interpreted as historically parallel to the Spanish siege of Bredá and that the commanders in both plays avoid direct assault and turn to tactics of blockade and starvation. Her conclusion stresses the contrast between Cervantes’s interrogation of the “epic worth” of siegecraft and Calderón’s celebration of Spain’s military and imperial powers (96–8). This summary of the central concepts of Lipsian ethics in his Concerning Constancy follows Oestreich (13–27). Loftis notes that Calderón’s references to Spain’s simultaneous wars in Europe and the New World both celebrate the king’s capacity to conduct multiple military actions and suggest the pressures that such campaigns placed on the Crown’s fiscal resources (189–90).


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16 The Tower of Babel, built by the descendants of Noah after the flood to assert their identity and unity, is a standard emblem of human presumption: “Venite, faciamus nobis civitatem et turrim, cuius culmen pertingat ad caelum” (Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens) Genesis 11.4. Parallel passages in the Old Testament associate walls with the vanity of human designs: “Substantia divitis urbs roboris eius, / Et quasi murus validus circumdans eum” (A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, / and like a high wall protecting him) Proverbs 18.11; “Et non confluent ad eum ultra gentes, / Siquidem et murus Babylonis corruet” (The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen) Jeremiah 51.44. 17 Murrin has explored the ways in which Renaissance authors rework the conventions of classical epic to represent and ennoble the conditions and tactics of gunpowder warfare (138–96). Martínez’s recent study explores the interaction of elements drawn from such gunpowder epics and popular writings on warfare in vernacular epic poetry from sixteenthcentury Spain (67–76).

WORKS CITED Brown, Jonathan, and J.H. Elliott. A Palace for a King: The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1980. Calderón de la Barca, Pedro. El sitio de Bredá. Ed. Johanna Rudolphine Schrek. ‘s.Gravenhage: G.B. Van Goor Zonen’s, 1957. Covarrubias Orozco, Sebastián de. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española. 1611. Madrid: Turner, 1979. De Armas, Frederick A. Cervantes, Raphael and the Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. Diccionario de autoridades. 6 vols. 1726–39. Madrid: Gredos, 1979. Duffy, Christopher. Siege Warfare: The Fortress in the Early Modern World 1494–1660. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979. García Santo-Tomás, Enrique. “Ruptured Narratives: Tracing Defeat in Diego Duque de Estrada’s Comentarios del desengañado de sí mismo (1614–1645).” eHumanista 17 (2011): 78–98. Johnson, Carroll B. “La Numancia and the Structure of Cervantine Ambiguity.” Ideologies and Literature 3 (1980): 74–94. King, Willard F. “Cervantes” Numancia and Imperial Spain.’ MLN 94.2 (1979): 200–21. Kunzle, David. From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art 1550–1672. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

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Lipsius, Justus. Concerning Constancy. Ed. and trans. R.V. Young. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2011. – Sixe Bookes of Politickes or Civil Doctrine. Trans. William Jones. 1594. Amsterdam: Da Capo, 1970. Loftis, John. Renaissance Drama in England and Spain: Topical Allusion and History Plays. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987. Martínez, Miguel. Front Lines: Soldiers’ Writing in the Early Modern Hispanic World. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2016. Morey, Tracy Crowe. Between History and Fiction: The Early Modern Spanish Siege Play. Bern: Peter Lang, 2010. Murrin, Michael. History and Warfare in Renaissance Epic. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1994. Oestreich, Gerhard. Neostoicism and the Early Modern State. Ed. Brigitta Oestreich and H. G. Koenigsberger. Trans. David McLintock. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982. Parker, Geoffrey. The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Paterson, Alan K. G. “Justo Lipsio en el teatro de Calderón.” El mundo teatral español en su Siglo de Oro: Ensayos dedicados a John E. Varey. Ed. J.M. Ruano de la Haza. Ottawa: Dovehouse, 1989. 275–91. Rupp, Stephen. Heroic Forms: Cervantes and the Literature of War. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2014. Simerka, Barbara. Discourses of Empire: Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 2003. Vosters, Simon A. La rendición de Bredá en la literatura y el arte de España. London: Tamesis, 1973. Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. 2nd ed. New York: Basic, 1992. Whitaker, Shirley B. “The First Performance of Calderón’s El sitio de Bredá.” Renaissance Quarterly 31.4 (1978): 515–31.

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• Performing Numbers

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7 Figures of Arithmetic: Numeracy, Calculation, and Accounting in the Comedia elvira vilches Duke University

This chapter explores the pervasiveness of numbers in episodes of human life. Specifically, I look at the dissemination of applied mathematics in print culture and the role of theatre production and performance in spreading numeracy and rational calculation. More than any other genre, drama is fully immersed in the bustling commercial society of early modern Spain. Theatre companies, corrales, charitable institutions, playwrights, and actors all wove together a complex network of financial interests and obligations. Despite its ubiquity, however, there are several aspects of the commercial scaffolding of cultural life that remain hidden: the sums paid for scripts, costumes, wages, and leases, along with the reckoning of transactions, accounts, and bookkeeping that enabled, managed, and governed the circulation of money – thereby making the calculation of profits and shares possible.1 Numeracy was crucial in a society increasingly structured by the clock, taxes, and money (A’Hearn et al.) However, the strong correlation between increasing rates of literacy and numeracy has largely escaped critical scrutiny. Studies on print and writing cultures and the rise of science in Habsburg Spain often overlook the segment of didactic texts teaching arithmetic and spreading the arts of calculation beyond mercantile circles.2 Unlike algebra, geometry, cartography, and astronomy, non-algebraic arithmetic may seem obvious and ordinary to the point where it may not appear to require extended consideration. Yet arithmetic not only gives meaning to the prose of life, which money represents, but it also illustrates the process of abstraction, rationalization, and quantitative calculation required for the development of capitalism. In early modern Spain, the ubiquitous presence of monetary practices and financial anecdotes across cultural and literary fields reveals that,


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before the businessman as a hero even emerged, matters of exchange and the principles of arithmetic penetrated all areas of society. And so did the understanding that money, while irreducibly abstract, effectively organizes social life and its increasing calculating networks of relationships. In his novel Guzmán de Alfarache (1604), Mateo Alemán articulates this view succinctly: “Que no hay otra cordura ni otra ciencia en el mundo, sino mucho tener y más tener” (II, 2, cap 7, 553). (There is no other knowledge and science in the world but to have more and more; this is the only thing that matters). As the most abstract and impersonal element of human life, money becomes the most perfect means of economic calculation, transforming the world into an arithmetic problem by reducing quality into quantity to the extent that, only with money, “we do not ask what and how, but how much” (Simmel 412). In fact, sociologists and economists have argued, with Max Weber, Werner Sombart, and Joseph Schumpeter, that the process of abstraction inherent in reckoning and accounting is key in articulating concepts like capital, profit, and depreciation (Carruthers). The same logic applies to multiple cultural formations that assimilate monetary calculation into the private sphere, resulting in a twofold process of mental accounting that registers social relations and feelings in financial terms (Zelizer). I argue that paying critical attention to reckoning, accounting, and managing gives us the opportunity to examine how numeracy and the rational logic of calculation operates on and off the stage. I examine the theatre as a matrix of figures where numbers imbue the dramatic form, mediate the interactions among characters, quantify emotions, and extend a bridge between the fictional world of the stage and the audience by displaying the unlimited capacity to transform social relations and personal affections into abstract numerical equivalents, financial procedures, and accounting methods. I suggest that arithmetic and alphanumeric discourse are paramount to understanding the spread of numeracy through the intersection of didactic and figurative segments of a wider print culture to which dramatic texts also belong. The habits of quantitative calculation linking these contrasting texts to the stage and society indicate that the expanding credit economy was, contrary to assumption, not at all abstract. Indeed, credit contracts were part and parcel of extensive monetary practices wrestling with multiple currencies and unminted metals. The multiplicity of monetary forms required the capability to mentally convert different units and even commodities to the unit of account, typically the maravedí, and, for large payments,

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the ducado. This process also entailed dealing with credit, taxes, and a wide range of monetary instruments subject to variations in valuation. In what follows, I explore the intersection of didactic and dramatic elements and their alphanumeric discourses. Characters display a variety of numeracy levels and arithmetic skills that enable them to wrestle with rejection, loyalty, and primordial debt. Specifically, I focus on love as a mathematical question, accounting as the governance tool of the state, and the logic of sin and penance. Tirso de Molina’s Celos con celos se curan (Jealousy Is Healed with Jealousy, 1635), for example, gives a numerate voice to jealous lovers. Lope de Vega’s Las cuentas del Gran Capitán (The Accounts of the Great Captain, 1638) challenges fiscal and factual information numbers render with values that money cannot buy. Finally, Calderón de la Barca’s religious play La nave del mercader (The Merchant’s Ship, 1677) challenges the limits of mental counting by asking the audience to fathom the extremes of value and magnitude – the impossibly large and the incredibly small – in the economy of salvation.3 I argue that in these plays, the interaction among characters revolves around figures, mental calculation, financial transactions, and multifaceted accounting procedures, all of which have so far escaped critical scrutiny. Numeracy, Arithmetic, and Knowledge Early modern Spaniards became numerate through the ordinary practices of a monetarized society embedded in a complex economic space. Castile and Aragon had their own currencies and measures, and so did Barcelona and Valencia. The flow of money combined a chronic scarcity of minted coins with occasional unminted pieces in the form of jewellery and bullion of diverse purity and value, and the frequent use of a variety of credit instruments ranging from bills of exchange, promissory notes, mortgage contracts, and any sort of financial obligations recorded in books of account (Giráldez, Munro). Calculating a price or a profit, converting back and forth from coins to other monetary instruments, dealing with fluctuations of value, and keeping accounts were ordinary practices that required mental agility and arithmetical sophistication (Vilches). Working out figures and reckoning with credit and debt on a daily basis reveals the fluency in calculating numbers that the money economy required. Early modern Spaniards became fluent in the ordinary practices of exchange and commerce thanks to a flurry of manuals published in Aragon and Castile from 1510s onwards.4 Commercial


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arithmetic provided training, self-help, and daily reference to a wider audience. In contrast, more advanced textbooks covered business matters pertaining to all branches of trade, devoting extensive space to problems of exchange, banking, and finance. The former taught basic operations and rules for computing prices and profits as well as calculating shares and losses. These publications were sought by retailers and craftsmen, as well as professionals who needed some knowledge of business and computation. The latter were especially useful for wholesalers, bankers, and large merchants, as well as for young men aspiring to work for commercial firms, bankers, the royal administration, and private estates.5 Prologues and prefatory pieces provide readers with an intellectual compass and illustrations to how to implement their perfected mathematical skills as the means to advance learning, benefit individuals, and create a more prosperous society. Reckoning masters typically fill their preliminary pages with conversations about mathematics, knowledge, the divine, and good government that concerned classical philosophers, from Pythagoras to Plato, Plutarch, and Aristippus. In Sumario breve de la práctica de la aritmética (Brief Summary of the Practice of Arithmetics, 1515), attributed to Juan de Andrés, the mathematician compares arithmetic with the bright torch that shines on poetry and music, brightens medicine and astrology, and enlightens society by revealing the path to good government.6 For Juan de Icíar, reckonmaster, engraver, and bookseller, arithmetic lays the firm foundation of all sciences in a series of ascending stages. He observes that studying the property of numbers disciplines the mind by encouraging inductive thinking, precision, and attention to detail. Thanks to arithmetic, he suggests, we compute quantities, weights, and measures, as well as accounts, so the foundations of civilized and well-governed republics can be established. Finally, he concludes that calculation and proportion, as the means for a harmonious political life, are mere reflections of the divine mathematical laws sustaining the universe. Combining the idea of the divine origin of numbers with the civil and intellectual merits of arithmetic illustrates a common stock about numeracy that informs dramatic poetry as well. The alleged author of Sumario breve de la aritmética suggests that metre and cadence could not exist without numbers. He would have argued with Mary Gaylord that the variety of metrical forms become an essential force in the comedia (Gaylord 80). In addition to the effective ways in which poetic form can evoke social tensions and foreshadow conflicts in the most economic

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terms, dramatic poetry also dwells on the divine origin of numbers, as well as the social and intellectual merits of arithmetic. Consider Lope de Vega’s La prueba de los ingenious (The Test of Wits), for example: to help Florela, the sibyl of Mantua, forget her deceitful lover, Ricardo encourages her to embrace her studies with a renewed zeal by conjuring up all the disciplines weaving the intricate tapestry of knowledge: En celebrada poesía, natural filosofía, y Aritmética despierta, en Matemática cierta, y curiosa Astrología. Bien te sabrás consolar, divertir, y entretener.


You will find solace, recreation, and amusement in famous Poetry, natural Philosophy, sharp Arithmetic, exact Mathematics, and inquisitive Astrology.

We find comparable epistemic relations in Calderón’s La exaltación de la cruz (The Exaltation of the Cross) where Zacarías understands arithmetic as the expression of divine knowledge and power. Confronted with the question of whether God can do math, Zacarías responds that all the branches of mathematics are part of God’s creation together with the arts from music to grammar, rhetoric, and poetry. Knowledge finds its centre in God, who epitomizes the science of all sciences: Luego si Filosofía están, y Iurisprudencia, Medicina, y Theología, Matemáticas, y en ellas las Artes, como en su centro, en Dios, y Dios los enseña, este Dios, en quien están, ciencia será de las ciencias.


Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Medicine, Theology, and Mathematics, as well as the Arts, all find their center in God. For God is their teacher, master, and source of knowledge.


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In the prosaic world of arithmetic manuals, this systemic view of knowledge becomes reduced to the materiality of the ordinary practices of economic life that numbers best express. Typically, handbooks contrast cuenta castellana (Roman numerals) with Arabic figures, covering integers and fractions, proportionality, progressions, the extraction of roots, as well as linear and indeterminate equations. Some titles explain calculation with counters to be read out loud to the illiterate (Icíar, Gutiérrez de Gualda, Pérez de Moya). The diverse currencies, measures, and units of account of the Spanish kingdoms hold a central place in these manuals, along with ready reckoners and equivalence tables for currency and units of weights, volume, and distance. These calculation aids simplify compound numbers key to quantifying all goods – including money, either in the form of coin or bullion. Extensive word problem sections teach mathematical rules, such as the rule of three and the rule of company, to calculate proportions and percentages in the computation of price, interest, profit, and shares (Ausejo). Is Love an Arithmetical Question? Lessons in arithmetic begin with nombrar, or learning to count from 1 to 9, before explaining that zero is the most important cypher. As a placeholder, the cypher is worth nothing on its own, but it changes the place value of other digits, turning units into tens, hundreds, thousands, and millions. This explanation may seem simple, but precisely the way in which a pure empty mark, by virtue of its position, can generate higher values for proper numbers became a matter that was frequently considered in the cultural field. In Suma de tratos y contratos (Summa of Trade and Contracts, 1571), published in Seville, Tomás de Mercado examines the speculative frenzy in credit contracts in Castile at the height of Atlantic trade by assimilating the capacity of financial operations to produce unlimited surplus value to the arcane calculations that skillful arithmeticians contrive to raise any number into the highest exponent. Thus, the theologian and economic thinker understands that financial trading consists in manipulating numbers by throwing them into confusion without any regard for counting and reckoning (2: 377, 79). The power of zero to defy the discrete and ordered quantity that numbers provide is the question that Sirena, the leading lady in Tirso’s aforementioned Celos con celos se curan, explores. Sirena shows that the best rhyme for celos (jealousy) is cero. She registers her love for César as

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the principal of her banking account, whose balance keeps growing as she speculates with jealousy. Sirena wonders how love can be quantified, whether love requires a unit of account to estimate devotion and affection, what transactions can increase its value, and the best way to invest. Although similar questions are also on César’s mind, it is Sirena who counts and does the counting.7 This arithmetic lesson begins in the last section of the first act. After eavesdropping on a passionate exchange between César and Narcisa, Sirena confronts her fiancé in a lengthy exposition where she addresses her fear to lose César’s love in the language of banking. She understands her anxiety and the intensity of her passion as unminted bullion, whose worth in money has to be reckoned by reducing its karats into money of account – such as a maravedís, a denomination used in reckoning, but not issued as actual coins – before depositing the amount in the “bank account” of her feelings. Sirena’s intention is to examine the balance and take stock to see how she can increase the capital of her love, making César jealous. But soon she realizes that her fiancé simply cannot do the math: “mas tú, porque presuma / tu poco amor, / erraste en la suma” (2552–3) (you miscalculated the sum of your sparse affections). But she is willing to start solving the equation again: “Vuelve César, no valga cuenta errada” (2555–6) (Come back César, and let’s not worry about this mistaken calculation). César finds that Sirena has reckoned such a large figure that he is incapable of doing the math: “Añadiste tantos ceros / que ya es imposible hacer / la cuenta” (2559–60) (You added so many zeros that it’s impossible to do the calculation). César’s difficulty in adding and balancing debits and credits is reflected in his urgency in cancelling out the language of finances and calculation. He compensates for his mathematical limitations by resorting to the imagery of the household. As he ponders how suspicion can intensify passion, he morphs love into a dinner table and jealousy into a salt shaker: En la mesa del amor, los celos son el salero, que para ser verdadero estos le han de dar sabor


At the table of love, jealousy is the salt shaker that should enhance the flavor of love.


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Unlike Serena’s sophisticated reckoning, César requires neither a unit of measure nor any sort of numerical calculation. The knife tip and the hand provide a conversion table to size the right amount: con la punta del cuchillo toma sal el cortesano, porque con toda la mano no es templallo, es desabrillo.


The courtier takes his salt with the tip of his knife because a handful does not improve but rather spoils flavor and taste.

This shift from rational calculation to the most rudimentary form of quantifying measure is significant for at least two reasons. First, César’s domestic imagery disrupts Sirena’s calculative thinking to the extent that she doubts her financial acumen (“quise aquilatar con celos; / salióme mal este arbitrio”) (2901) (I intended to increase the worth of my stock with jealousy, but my scheme failed). Second, by censuring monetary calculation, César’s domestic imagery cancels out Sirena’s tendency to equate intimacy with financial assets. For César, love belongs to the household economy that the landed estate secures and protects against the risks of speculation.8 This inversion of the emotional economy reaches further because, in the end, marriage proves that the capital that ultimately brings fortune is love rather than banking on jealousy, although César is willing to admit that first, love has to be proven through plotting and double-dealing (“que amor funda estados / y da en admitir arbitrios”) (3083–4) (Before love can establish estates, it allows schemes and intrigues). Imaging love as the source of arithmetic calculation is a celebrated trope even when Tirso’s lovers find themselves at odds with the poetic models of classical tradition. Catullus’s famous Carmina V and VII articulate passion in terms of mathematical operations defying the human imagination. The sequence explores whether lovers should keep their rendezvous secret or make it known. In the first instance, the poet quantifies his passion for Lesbia by counting the number of kisses, while considering the need to conceal them from the gossip and gaze of the envious. Dame mil besos y ciento luego, y con mil acompaña

Figures of Arithmetic éstos, y luego otros mil y otros cientos me da blanda; y tras éstos otros mil, y otros ciento; y cuando hayan confundido los millares la cuenta con esta traza, confusos los mezclaremos, sin saber en qué fin paran.


(Quevedo 138)

Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred. then, another thousand, and a second hundred. then, yet another thousand, and a hundred. then, when we have counted up many thousands, let us shake the abacus, so that no one may know the number, and become jealous when they see how many kisses we have shared.

Calculating the sheer number of kisses is rendered pointless in Carmen VII. The poet solves the problem with images of the impossibly small but the boundlessly vast like desert sands, blades of grass, and the numberless stars shining in the quiet night: Tantos besos de tu boca Cuantas doradas estrellas Ven, cuando la noche calla, Los hurtos que amor ordena En los oscuros amantes, Amigos de las tinieblas.


As many kisses from you As all the golden stars that witness the secret love affairs of men, when the night is silent.9

Quevedo’s translation and Tirso’s variation articulate a paradigm shift wherein Arabic figures, as engines of calculation, displaced Roman numerals. Print culture accounts for this arithmetical turn with the series of vernacular primers and manuals to which I referred earlier. In fact, understanding the resonance of Sirena’s complaint and Quevedo’s rendition of Catullus’s numerical poems within a larger audience of


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numerate voices requires placing each lover’s request in the context of these segments of didactic texts. The arithmetical operations conveyed in the play and the poem evoke the first lesson that mathematical textbooks lay out. Juan Gutiérrez Gualda, a priest from Toledo and author of Arte breve y muy provechoso de cuenta castellana y arismetica (Brief and Useful Art of Castilian Computation and Arithmetic, 1539), published in Toledo, titles the first chapter “capítulo primero para conocer las letras.” The chapter covers how to count from 1 to 9. It contrasts Roman numerals used in cuenta castellana with Arabic numbers in parallel lines and then proceeds to explain zero. We have to notice, Gutiérrez Gualda explains, that the last figure is 0, which does not have value on its own, yet has the power to increase the value of any other number. Then he proceeds with the first arithmetic rule, known as nombrar or to count (fol. ii). In his Guía de contadores (Guide for Accountants, 1579), published in Madrid, he uses money as the default example to encourage readers. He then illustrates how the value positions of the unity, tens, hundreds, and thousands, move from right to left. What follows is the enumeration of such a progression from 1 to 1018 or a trillion (1 million million millions): Unidad, dezena, centena, millar, decena de millar, centena de millar, quento, decena de quento, centena de quento, millar de quento, dezena de millar de quento, centena de millar de quento, quento de quentos, dezena de quento de quentos, centena de quento de quentos, dezena de millar de quento de quentos, centena de millar de quento de quentos, quento de quento de quento. (fol iv) One, ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, one million, ten million, one hundred million, one thousand million, ten thousand million, one hundred thousand million, one million millions, ten million millions, one hundred million millions, ten thousand million millions, one hundred thousand million millions, one million million millions.

In this quote, the term cuento, or 1 million, reveals the full capacity of zero to promote the value of 1 to unbelievable sums. Both Sirena and the poet explore the tension between the 1 and a myriad of large figures by turning the cypher into financial metaphors to express the increasing intensity of passion. In both cases, counting and enumeration transpose

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such discrete units of rejection and the touch of lips into the realm of the boundless and the innumerable. Their arithmetic lessons resort to mental computation to fill their own senses with wonder. Sirena realizes that speculating with the assets of her love account leads to confusion as the sheer number of zeros renders her purpose impossible. The poet, in turn, takes solace in the imagination and proposes to look at vast desert sands and the shining stars of the silent night, in which the minimal part can count for the endless whole. Mental computation was regarded as an invaluable ability. As Icíar suggests, the property of numbers encourages inductive thinking and precision. The intended reader that technical authors have in mind is one who uses the pen to follow all explanations and solves all the problems with the guidance of a teacher. Authors also stress the advantages of learning how to simplify operations to do the mental calculation of prices, conversions, and measurements. They recommend that readers commit sets of equivalences among disparate units to memory and reduce numbers to their next tens and hundreds (Gutiérrez de Gualda fol xii). Writing his Miscelánea in the 1580s, Courtier Luis Zapata de Chaves mentions three instances of illiterate servants in his household who are capable of carrying out all sorts of complex computations. The most outstanding case is Juan de Leganés, a farmer who could quickly solve operations that would take hours and the power of the pen to solve. Leganés’s mathematical abilities provided frequent entertainment for the amusement of royal officials at the Royal Palace (Zapata 85), a practice that mirrors the sections of puzzles, games, and calendar divinations that reckoning masters included in their manuals (Burdick 183–201). Counting, Accounting, and Character Arithmetic manuals belong to a larger assemblage of calculative technologies compounding printed works with a variety of written texts: calculation tables, daily reckoners, accounting manuals, and mercantile law textbooks. All of them provide extensions for a variety of handwritten business documentation and books of account used for private, fiscal, and financial purposes. Bookkeeping is typically referred as cuenta y razón. The term, though, denotes a variety of accounting methods and writing forms, along with different assemblages of written pages in numerous formats: books of memory (librillos de memoria), loose pages typically referred to as carta cuenta, and books of account popularly


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known as cartapacios – a general term for thick folders and bound books that also denote the set of books needed for professional accounting or double-entry bookkeeping, which consisted of a wastebook, a journal, and a ledger (manual, diario, libro de caxa). In addition to the specific materiality of written texts, cuenta y razón reveals the close interdependence of figures and words, as the combined underlying principle of factual information rendering transactions, the particulars of goods and possessions, as well as the social relationships of credit and debt. Cuenta y razón literally means the overlaying of figures and words to report and keep records of assets, expenses, lending, borrowing, and outstanding debts. In addition, the term implies that arithmetical information has to be completed with brief narratives explaining the order, manner, and persons involved in the series of transactions recorded. Conceptually, the overlaying of numbers and words brings numbers closer to the ordinary occurrences of social life. Rhetorically, the formal coherence of accounting professional methods displays the credibility of a corps of bookkeepers working for estates, the royal administration, religious institutions, and commercial networks (Mills). The extensive legal procedure discussed in the accounting manuals written by lawyers and merchants attests to the rhetorical significance of alphanumeric discourse. Diego del Castillo’s Tratado de cuentas (Treatise on Accounts, 1522) spells out the legal obligations of stewards and estate agents to keep records while providing instruction in proper reporting and accounting procedures. Juan de Hevia Bolaño’s famous mercantile law compendium, Laberinto de comercio naval y terrestre (The Labyrinth of Trade by Sea and Land, 1619), recommends bookkeepers record the following data for each entry: the day, month, and year; the amounts involved; a notation as to whether these amounts were in goods or money, or moneys of account; the exchange rate for foreign trade; the reason for the transaction; and finally, the parties involved and their addresses (Book 2, Chap 8, Paragraph 5). The text makes clear why accounts might be deemed fraudulent by noting in detail what actions may tamper with original entries, which include errors, erasures, additions, emendations, interlineations, and reductions. Thus, the manual suggests avoiding blank pages, as well as numbering and signing all pages to prove that no pages were torn. This formulaic system of writing produced political and social ramifications that exceeded the refinement of accounting concepts, protocols, and techniques. Cuenta y razón, as shorthand for either the debe y ha de haber (double-entry bookkeeping) or cargo y data (charge and discharge)

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methods, consists of an important calculative practice that belongs to a wider apparatus of power.10 It was used not only for the effective management of commercial networks and estates, but also for governing a large-scale administrative, military, and colonial state. Arithmetic and accounting manuals address these aspects of governmentality by providing a set of knowledge, technologies, and practices that operate under a logic that binds the individual and the state in increasingly economic terms. In appealing to their professional experience in law, commerce, and administration, technical authors commend the advantages of embracing merchant practices such as double entry bookkeeping to improve the operation of a large-scale administration and the prosperity of the state (Larrinaga 166–7). The normalization of these practices of governmentality structured power relations between bureaucrats and commoners, merchants and factors, as well as freeholders and leaseholders (Bigoni).11 One of the direct effects of embracing the bureaucratic use of calculation is the construction of an accountable subject who adopts these administrative techniques to better govern himself, his affairs, and his household. Moreover, the increasing cultural expectation to document what they had, their outstanding obligations, and what they were owed hinged on the distinctive languages and discourses that earmarked coins and sums according to the affective intentions that characterized those exchanges. The axiomatic and the intimate converged in a twofold process of mental accounting wherein specific amounts speak either the language of marriage, dependence and reciprocity, or penance and salvation. In early modern culture, the accounting form is strongly associated with books of memory, the blank books that urban professionals from notaries to royal officials, merchants, academics, and individuals used to record ordinary transactions along with historical and personal events (Gómez Bravo 139–43; Castillo 59–75). People from all walks of life kept accounts in diverse formats to record transactions as they occurred, listing receipts and disbursements, as well as acknowledgments of debts. Heads of the family, women, stewards, farmers – all kept books of account (Castillo Gómez 74–81). These vexed interactions linking bureaucracy, the accountable self, and the aristocratic relations of dependence inform the narrative of Lope’s aforementioned Las cuentas del Gran Capitán, a historical play set


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in the aftermath of the Italian Wars (1499–1504). King Fernando travels to Italy to hinder Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba’s ambitions as viceroy of Naples. At the viceroyal palace, Fernando witnesses the audit of Gonzalo’s tenure, who has been accused of embezzlement by envious slanderers. Diego García de Paredes, Gonzalo’s loyal friend, is so outraged that he ponders whether adopting math-based behaviour as an art of government can clearly convey honour, loyalty, and martial valour. Concerned with what he perceives as a realm of higher values, he wonders about the limitations of numbers. Are numbers mere symbols of quantities? Do they mean what they say? Are numbers objective aids to describe and understand the world? He directs these questions to one of the bookkeepers of the exchequer. For García de Paredes, the official authority of the contador lies in his command over zero’s unlimited generative power. He holds the cypher as a sign for what is not, a figure that fails to account for the merit of Gonzalo’s feat of arms and unremitting heroism. García de Paredes’s speech addresses these questions as he ponders the multiple tasks and discourses that the pen brings forth as the instrument for reckoning, accounting, and recording. He doubts that numbers alone will do any justice to Gonzalo as they fail to account for his countless victories and superb heroism: Contar quiere vn Contador, lo que mil historiadores no pueden ser contadores, siendo infinito valor.


How can a bookkeeper reckon and keep up with the multiple accounts that thousands of historians have written about (Gonzalo’s) unsurpassable courage.

In his view, the capacity of zero to multiply any other value has unsuspected affective and historical limitations, for the arithmetic zeal of contadores compromises Gonzalo’s character: que queréis ceros crueles, a vn hombre, que no ha tenido arena el mar para ceros, de la suma de las sumas de sus vitorias?


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How cruel zeros are to a man who has won so many victories that their number exceeds the sands in the bottom of the ocean?

García de Paredes’s unrestrained use of hyperbole turns zeros into swords or acero, as he wonders how many pens are needed to count and write worthy accounts of Gonzalo’s countless feats of arms: qué plumas han de sumar sus azeros a numeros infinitos? donde los aueis de hallar, sino se pueden sumar, ni están en el mundo escritos?


Which pens would be capable of adding together numberless swords? How will bookkeepers be able to reckon so many feats of arms when their chronicles have not been written yet?

García de Paredes’s disapproving objections to the increasing advance of accounting as a bureaucratic tool explore another dimension that may seem diametrically opposed to the realm of literary representation. Accounts, sums, reckoning, and giving accounts are the common denominators of what may seem factual forms of communication, such as calculating, bookkeeping, and retelling events. These activities give nuance to forms of speech that we usually take for granted. Cuenta, cuento, dar cuenta, and cuenta y razón convey account, accounting, accountable, and storytelling, as well as one million, or a story in the case of cuento. Dar cuenta denotes recounting and reporting information in factual and fictitious discourses as well as documents providing legal evidence, such as probanza de mérito, relación, or memoria. These expressions also appeal to memory, judgment, and retribution. The play registers the prominence of accounting as a form of governmentality by exploring the actual audit of Gonzalo’s tenure as viceroy from multiple angles originating in the materiality of cuenta y razón. Detailed stage directions specify the pens, papers, account books, and portable writing desks that contadores must display on their table. In the scene, the contadores’s careful inspection overlaps with García de Paredes’s monologue. Gonzalo’s loyal friend reminds the audience of the Italian wars while directing their attention to the imposing size of


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the cartapacios, shorthand for books of account, the auditors’ menacing silence and their focused concentration, and the divergence between the ledger’s factual information and Gonzalo’s military reputation: Ved como se van sentando! ved los libraços que ogean! que aquestas las hojas sean, que estuuieron relumbrando quando este Reino ganó.


Look at how the auditors sit down and the big books they leaf through! Who could imagine what kind of information these pages are recording about how Gonzalo conquered this kingdom (Naples).

The play resorts to parody to reconcile the factual and the fictional. After completing long computations filling numberless pages, the contadores hold Gonzalo accountable for 260,000 escudos. Against their allegations of embezzlement, the Gran Capitán produces his own books of account, or memorias revealing his detailed records of expenses. In his speech, Gonzalo methodically lists outrageous expenses, such as spending 8,000 ducats in gunpowder, and paying 25,634 ducats for postal services. The flow of astounding figures moves from the extravagant costs of celebrating numberless masses, to big-hearted donations to poor soldiers and covering doctor bills for the wounded. The audit turns the aristocratic bond of servicios y mercedes upside down as contadores replace the aristocratic ethos of valour and dependence with a grand total of fiscal and bureaucratic obligations. Gonzalo’s creative accounting, however, voids such an attempt. Against the orderly fiscal world of the royal administration and its logic of control and accountability, Gonzalo’s speech and the king’s reaction convey the persistence of a higher order of values in which martial valour is directly associated with sovereignty. The hyperbolic accounting of Gonzalo’s notorious books reminds Fernando that the formulaic alphanumeric discourse of cuenta y razón cannot properly render either Gonzalo’s military acumen, or the geopolitical importance of the kingdoms of Granada and Naples. Interestingly, the play articulates an appeal to the national spirit by twinning the aristocratic ethos of the war hero with the arithmetic sagacity of an audience familiar with the practices of accounting. In fact, Gonzalo’s emphatic and deliberate flaunting of

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excessive expenses engages the audience, stimulating the mental calculation of amazing sums in good coin at a time marked by the abundance of worthless copper money, encumbering debt, and shifting social values. The concern with the modern ideal of the accountable self emerges in Lope’s De cosario a cosario, a romantic intrigue set in Madrid. In order to explore the new mode of subjectivity that results from adopting mathbased behaviour for governing states and society, the play confronts the logic of rational calculation and passions. Upon his arrival in Madrid, Juan, a young and wealthy indiano, considers how the rationale of the accounting form appeals to prudence by linking reckoning, logical thinking, and the ability to make considered decisions. Anxious about misspending his fortune and falling for the enticing madrileñas, Juan reflects about his ability to govern himself, exercise good judgment, and discipline his inclinations. The first scene of the first act conveys Juan’s concern quite economically: the indiano urgently tries to emulate this ideal of prudence and good governing by requesting some pages to record and account for his expenses (“un papel para que me pueda gobernar’), unaware of the difficulties he will encounter to manage his fortune well and harness his passions. Lope registers the century’s preoccupation with accounting through an array of professional, creative, and careless bookkeepers. His interest in the dramatic dimensions and social ramifications of cartapacios, computation, and accounting as a writing form finds its visual expression in Juan de Pareja’s The Calling of Saint Matthew (1661). In the painting, Christ appears in a tax collector’s office to call on Matthew to follow him. Pareja’s counting house is filled to the brim with shelves swarming with thick books of accounts, binders, and loose papers. In the left corner, the artist stands behind a group of men seated around a table handling bills and accounts. The central figure is a contador calculating and writing down the value of the gold coins and jewels lying on the edge of the table. There is a boy behind him holding an enormous book, suggesting the completion of a previous audit. The flurry of loose sheets, unbound quires, and books of account speaks to the demands of a credit economy and a fiscal bureaucratic state. The layers of documentation depict the growing expectation that individuals write down what they own and what they owe. Drawing together the financial, the secular, and the spiritual, cartapacios, accounts, and money represent the ordinary business transactions that Matthew discusses in his parables.

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Figure 7.1  Juan de Pareja, The Calling of Saint Matthew (1661).

The Reckoning Pareja’s contemporary setting of Matthew’s calling also reminds viewers of the sacrament of confession and its close conceptual ties with the accounting form. But the textual support that bookkeepers need becomes an explicit reference to the Book of Life and the final hour of reckoning. Alonso de Ledesma considers this topos in his poem titled “Dios y el hombre,” in which he juxtaposes the biblical Book of Accounts with the Book of Life. The former consists of the judicial record kept on earth. The latter holds the spiritual deeds of the faithful in the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev., 20.11–15). At the hour of reckoning, the poetic voice wonders how he could pay the enormous debt of divine redemption (“Si a cobrar venís a mí, / Señor, mal podéis cobrar”). The Lord responds that He will pay the sinner’s debt (“No te pienso eje-

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cutar, (…) que yo pagaré por ti.”). But this offer is not boundless; rather, it provides an extension of the terms of the debt and a formal reminder about the legal process of debt collection. The sinner asks for a written statement of his obligation (“¿Tenéis, Señor, por escrito / lo que debo en mi cuenta?”), prompting the assurance of good bookkeeping in God’s response: everything is on the books. (“Todo en mi libro se asienta”). Ledesma’s logic of grace resonates with the Judeo-Christian tradition of conceptualizing the relationship with the divine in terms of a primordial debt (Eubank). What is particular about the exchange, however, is the medium that makes such an understanding tangible. In the painting and the poem, accounts and their recording systems translate the conversation about the divine grace in Christ into the more familiar terms of accounting and the ordinary procedures of the counting house. Historically, during the commercial revolution of the fourteenth century, the logic of confession and penance prominently intertwines with a rational calculus towards salvation. The calculating mentality that understood the connection between time and money also gave rise to the notion of purgatory and to a complex system of spiritual investments, such as indulgences, suffrages, and donations. This commercial register renders the promise of salvation as a mathematical problem that believers have to solve by reckoning the cost to expiate their sins (Dameron 89–91). Turning debt and guilt into an exact and quantifiable science also extends to the representation of the Redeemer. If Christ dies to redeem sins and cancel debts, he is also the chief accountant and the perfect merchant. For instance, Francisco de Osuna, the first Castilian mystic to write in the vernacular and author of Abecedario espiritual (Spiritual Alphabet, 1528), uses the ordinary practices of exchange to portray Jesus’s interactions with humans. Osuna’s extended parables examine Jesus as a merchant, while Abbess Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534) employs nuanced details about commercial life in prosperous sixteenth-century Castile to explain grace and redemption in well-known terms (Boone). The twofold logic of banking and eternal salvation has a prominent role in Calderón’s La nave del mercader (1674). Calderón reimagines the rationality of redemption in his own historical time of far-reaching trade and a credit economy that intersects markets and individuals through obligations of debt. The play recreates Matthew’s parables of the rare pearl and the five talents. In the first case, a merchant is willing to alienate all his possessions to acquire the most beautiful pearl symbolizing the Kingdom of Heaven. The image of God as masterful banker is patent in the second parable, where the Lord entrusts money to his servants


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and then demands both the principal and the accrued interest. Hombre is the insolvent debtor held in prison. Christ is the merchant in quest of the rarest pearl, willing to pay Hombre’s debt with the bountiful riches of the eucharistical wheat that he has loaded in his ship. The stage directions feature two ships converging on an island that will later morph first into a prison and finally into a cloud. The white angelical vessel belongs to Mercader. The second is a pirate ship where Demonio sails along with Culpa, Deseo, Lascivia, and Mundo. Once both vessels chance up the island, Hombre has to decide whether he will accompany Mercader in his quest for the rarest pearl, or take Deseo’s enticing invitation to travel to court. As soon as Hombre decides to follow Deseo, he borrows money from Tiempo and pledges his soul, represented by Memoria, Entendimiento, and Voluntad. The objects symbolizing the three faculties of the soul, a wedding ring (Memoria), a rich adorned hatband (Entendimiento), and a heart-shaped jewel (Voluntad), constitute the collateral for Hombre’s high-interest loan. In the scene, Tiempo carries a portable desk and is surrounded by quires and books of account. At the crucial scenes in which Hombre obtains his loan and finds out when it is due, the dialogue refers in detail to the financial and legal aspects of this transaction, while the staging visually recreates the universe of papers and thick handwritten books of account in Pareja’s painting. Engulfed by his desire and passions, Hombre fails to return the five talents he borrowed in addition to the other five requested as interest. His insolvency creates a counterpoint with the diligent merchant increasing his fortune in the commercial enclaves across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The plot examines the contrast between the flawless merchant and the matchless spender by inquiring into the cognitive process guiding free will. The sustained counterpoint invites the audience to ponder how Hombre can make the right decision when he can no longer recall, reason, and anticipate outcomes, once he has pledged the faculties of his immortal soul. Once the loan is due, the discussion about the facilities of the soul, free will, and redemption take an arithmetical turn. How is it possible to calculate the infinite debt that Hombre has contracted with his sins? How does his debt compare with the infinite mercy of God and his promise of eternal life? How can an ordinary grain such as wheat reach an unsurpassable value? And finally, who will be able to esteem the spiritual treasures that holy wheat embodies? The series of scenes tracing Hombre’s insolvency, from the maturity of his loan to his arrival in prison, places these questions into the realm of the legal process of

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debt collection. At this point all characters surround Tiempo, who has shifted his role from money lender to a debt collector judge executing the payment of the loan: (“Ya ejecutado, que a la tierra lo prestado / vuelva, al cielo lo adquirido” [195]) (Now that the loan is due, what was borrowed must be returned to Earth, and what was gained to Heaven). As soon as they learn that the amount Hombre has borrowed vanished into thin air, the creditors (Memoria, Entendimiento, and Voluntad) take their turn to probe into Hombre’s finances. The creditors’ inquiry about recovering the assets invested (the wedding ring, the ornamented hatband, the heart-shaped jewel) results in Hombre’s own reckoning. His creditors request an itemized description of expenses to understand why he has become insolvent. In their frustration, Memoria, Entendimiento, and Voluntad call on Sentidos. The latter corroborates that Hombre was misled by his senses and instincts, thereby losing his ability to reason, count money, and foresee the consequence of his actions, suggesting as well that Hombre is not able to exercise prudence and engage in abstract thinking (183).12 In Sentidos’s speech, reason (ratio) conveys its double meaning indicating the power to think as well as the capacity to reckon. Prudence’s mathematical dimension becomes clearer as the exchange between the Sentidos and Hombre unfolds. The former demands an audit of the expenses (“en qué empleaste, di, el uno y otro talento” [196]). But Hombre can barely offer any explanation other than that he was driven by his desire: Mi Deseo los gastó en alhajas que llevó en humo y en polvo el viento.


Hombre’s desire spent all his stock in jewels that the wind turned into smoke and dust. Hombre cannot account for the collateral that his creditors pledged. He admits that his uncontrolled passion blinded him to the simple requirements of reason (“Quien me lo robó no sé, / mas sé que sin él quedé, / sin su razón y sin mi” [197]). In debtors’ prison, Hombre realizes that the overwhelming debt of redemption is impossible to estimate as he starts doing his own reckoning: ¿Qué satisfacción podré dar siendo infinito el precio de mi delito?



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What satisfaction of my debt can I pledge when the price of my sin is so infinite that it is impossible to calculate?

Unbeknownst to Hombre, Mercader carries out such calculations by considering that human misery or pena is the most fitting unit of account for judging both the value of Hombre’s outstanding debt and the price of his bail Cuantas penas hay y cuantas ha habido y ha de haber caben en sola aquesa palabra, … sabe que valen más mis sobras que sus faltas.


All the misery and sorrows from the past and the present can be expressed by this only word, and through this word (Tiempo) knows that my possessions have a higher value than Hombre’s sins.

The debt judge (Tiempo) and the rest of the characters remain unconvinced. To gain their trust, Mercader flaunts his fortune, which consists of an affluent cargo of divine wheat. But the religious symbolism of his stock is not apparent, raising questions about which unit of account should be determined to render a symmetrical equivalence among such varying items as financial debt, redemption, and eucharistical wheat. Culpa argues that even when wheat kernels can reach the highest price and yield numberless grains, the result of multiplying these factors would still fall short: ¿Cómo es posible que sea tan grande vuestra ignorancia que en trigo os satisfagáis? ¿Puede por mucho que valga valer infinito precio por más que la nave traiga? Pues siendo así que infinita deuda es la que Dios agravia por ser objeto infinito ¿cómo es posible que haya caudal en una semilla de infinito valor?


How can your ignorance be so great that you could accept wheat as means of payment? No matter how much wheat may be worth, no matter how

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big the shipload of wheat is, it can never reach such an infinite price? How is it possible that such an ordinary seed can have infinite value so that it can yield such an endless wealth so infinite as the debt afflicting God, who is infinite himself?

Mercader’s calls attention to Culpa’s mistaken logic. He reminds creditors that the unsurpassable quality of his cargo is such that just one ear of wheat can fetch an unthinkable price: Digo, que no solo en su cantidad tanta consiste el valor de aqueste trigo; que una espiga basta a tener precio infinito.


I say that the price of this wheat is not only in its quantity, for one single sprig holds infinite value.

This clarification is much richer. Mercader is implicitly asking his creditors to keep in mind that his precious wheat stands next to grace as the monetary denomination to estimate his unimaginable fortune of redemption. The final scene demonstrates Mercader’s scale of value. The rock that, during the course of the performance, has morphed from an island into debtors’ prison, is now newly transformed into a cloud opening wide to reveal Amor holding the precious pearl in the form of the Host (Ostia) and the Chalice (Cáliz). The scene compares the ordinary exchanges in earth with the extraordinary ones taking place in Heaven. Now the concerns about redemption are solved; the free and undeserved grace of God cancels the original debt. Being both the symbol and the thing symbolized, the Eucharist freely distributes unlimited blessings, so that the assurance of salvation can deliver the sinner. The closing verses once again fuse redemption with the legal processing of debt: La nave del mercader, que de su trigo cargada embarcado en puerto de Ostia en Cáliz se desembarca, a primero y segundo Adán restaura en los dos reparando deuda y finanza.



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Laden with Wheat, the Merchant’s ship set off from the port of Ostia and arrived in Cáliz to satisfy the debt and surety of the first and second Adams.

Salvation may be a matter of faith, but the play explores the logic of this spiritual economy by highlighting that, in the same way that the credit economy relies on belief and trust, the economy of salvation can only work when participants can be trusted to fulfil their commitments. La nave del mercader suggests that as faith and trust lie at the heart of economic activity, such a notion finds a mundane equivalent in day-today business and exchange practices. Borrowing, spending, accounting, and debt build up the plot’s conflicts, lending a lower level of abstraction closer to the events of human life to Catholic doctrine. Similarly, sin, confession, and accounting coalesce in late medieval Catholicism. Scholars argue that the sacrament of confession, which promises the expiation of sinful acts through acts of penance, is conceptually aligned with bookkeeping procedures and the rhetorical tropes rationalizing double-entry bookkeeping. The practice of taking note of sins for making a confession is thought to have provided the model for business accounting, especially in terms of the balancing of debits and credits (Aho). This logic binds the spiritual and the pragmatic by articulating the promise of eternal salvation and the final hour of reckoning through the calculus of primordial debt. The textual support that enables and secures these obligations ranges from the biblical Books of Accounts and Life, to the blank book of memory, and the books of account, bound in thick cartapacios. In this formulaic form of writing, distributive and corrective justice is determined by the rendering of arithmetical equivalence. The practice of sacramental confession and penance becomes a formalized sense of indebtedness that required that something of equal value must be returned. Tiempo may have his books, but Salvation has no number. It exists outside the domain of counting and accounting, yet the redemption of sins can only be framed in the language and practices specific to commerce and accounting, a key technology for the proper management of the state, public institutions, and private affairs. Why one counts, what is counted, and how arithmetical operations are used and understood in social life are the questions that these plays examine. Characters look into the pervasiveness of calculation and quantification by delving into the logic, principles, and practices of exchange. They pay attention to arithmetical operations of summation and multiplication, and the generative powers of zero to alter and

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disrupt amounts to consider how it is possible to quantify love, valour, and mercy. How can the mind fathom the boundless and the minimal? To what extent can the intellect think things out and calculate the causes and consequences of actions? Sirena assimilates the logic of desire and rejection to banking and her acumen for business and math. García de Paredes and the Gran Capitán underscore the close links between accounting and character, while exploring the juxtaposition between factual information and the relation of events in alphanumeric discourse its hybrid writing forms. In the end, the audit of Gonzalo’s finances becomes the foil of Hombre’s tribulations in the hour of reckoning. Both characters straddle the public and the devotional in an effort to restore moral debts, which are discussed alternately in terms of valour and sin. These conversations about reckoning numbers, exploring their signifying limitations, and keeping up with an increasing volume of alphanumeric information show that matters and notions of commercial arithmetic penetrated all aspects of society. Commercial arithmetic manuals propose that applied mathematics is the threshold to science and knowledge, the foundation of a civilized and well-ordered society, and the path to a prosperous commonwealth. This is the ethos that technical writers propose in the preliminary materials of their textbooks. Typically, they dramatize an open-ended search for equity by discussing notions of distributive and corrective justice based on arithmetical equivalence. Finally, the ubiquitous presence of monetary practices across literary and cultural fields suggests that middlebrow business handbooks played a pivotal role in creating a mercantile culture that embraced objectivity, accumulation, enumeration, and description. The spread of numeracy and applied mathematics that accompanied the rise of commerce also disseminated the use of accounting and bookkeeping as a technique of government used by the state to manage resources, people, and things. In sum, much like we do today, early modern Spaniards lived in a world saturated with numbers, all kinds of business practices, and concerns about money. Now and then, money transforms the world into a mathematical problem. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the appreciations of calculation and rationalization spilled from business circles into everyday practices and discourses wrestling with a variety of exchange operations, forms of money, and abstractions such as profit, loss, and unit of account. This calculating and utilitarian approach, however, goes both ways, for money’s unlimited capacity to transform transactions and commodities into abstract and objective numerical


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equivalents does not strip it of its cultural meaning. Both dimensions converge in a twofold process of mental accounting that understands intimacy, heroism, and redemption through the logic and skills of monetary calculation.

NOTES This research was supported by the National Endowment for Humanities, the John Carter Brown Library, the American Association of Learned Societies, and the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University. I am indebted to Caroline J. Enloe for her invaluable help and compiling preliminary materials and providing initial translations. Betsy Wright brought to my attention Luis Zapata’s fascination for mental computation. Ryan Szpiech provided initial editorial corrections, and made a clarification regarding the mathematician Juan de Andrés. My gratitude also goes to Shelley Garrigan for her brilliant editorial suggestions and to Enrique García-Santo Tomás for his patience and for the enthusiastic reception of this article. 1 García-Reidy, Greer and Junguito, and Sanz Ayán in their respective studies discuss the development of commercial theatre and the economic intersections of theatre production and financial practices from buying and selling plays to hiring and training actors. 2 Significant titles on printing and writing cultures include, among others Bouza Álvarez; Castillo Gómez; Harlee. 3 For Celos con celos se curan and Las cuentas del Gran Capitán, I am using the editions curated for the database Teatro Español del Siglo de Oro. For Calderón’s auto I am following the edition prepared by Ignacio Arellano. 4 This is a sample of commercial textbooks written by both clerics and merchants. Well-known titles written by clerics include Juan Ortega, Suma de arithmetica y geometria pratica utilissima (Lyon, 1512); Juan Andrés, Sumario breve de la práctica de la arithmética (Valencia, 1515); and Juan Díez Freyle, Sumario compendioso de las cuentas de plata y oro (Mexico, 1556). A sample of textbooks written by merchants includes Gaspar de Tejada, Suma de arithmetica pratica y de todas mercaderias; con la horden de contadores (Valladolid, 1546); Marco Aurel, Libro primero, de arithmetica algebratica, en el qual se contiene el arte Mercantiuol (Valencia, 1552); and Salvador Bartolomé Solórzano, Libro de caxa y manual de mercaderes (Madrid, 1590). 5 To examine the close ties between commerce, state administration, and the instruction see Swetz; Ausejo; Davis.

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6 For the controversy about the Muslim origin of Juan de Andrés, see Szpiech. 7 For the mathematical skills of female actors and managers of theatrical companies see Mckendrick, and Sanz Ayán. 8 I explore these questions in “Doing Things with Money in Early Modern Spain” in Companion to the Spanish Renaissance. Ed. Hilaire Kallendorf. Leiden & Boston: Brill. Commissioned by the Renaissance Society of America (forthcoming). 9 I am following Negenborn’s translation of Catullus’s Carmina V and VII 10 During the sixteenth century several public institutions used doubleentry bookkeeping. One of the earliest to implement this accounting method was the Casa de Contratación (Donoso Anes). By 1549 and 1552 the Crown issued two pragmatics requesting that all merchants and bankers use the debe y de haber also known as libro de caxa con su manual method and write their entries in Spanish (Hernández Esteve). These pragmatics coincided not only with the reorganization of the royal exchequer, but with the extended use of this professional accounting method by religious institutions such as the Jesuit order (Quattrone) brotherhoods (Carmona). 11 Michel Foucault’s 1977–8 lecture series published under the title Security, Territory, Population looks into the emergence of the art of government and the modern state. Foucault argues that the technologies of power evolve from the religious sphere (pastoral power) into the secular realm during the sixteenth century. His study on governmentality has inspired studies examining the key role accounting played in statecraft, management, economics, and psychology. Binoni, for instance, argues that the history of accounting reveals how this technique of power is intimately linked to a wide variety disciplinary regimes. Focusing in the early modern Hispanic world, Urton traces the emergence of a new kind of authority that used mathematics to advance practical needs and interest of public and private institutions. 12 For a discussion of the close relationship between this notion of the cognitive process and theories of right reason guiding the metaphors of the body politic and the public good, see Cook.

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Eleyzalde, Miguel de. Guía de contadores. Madrid: Pierre Cosin, 1579. Eubank, Nathan. Wages of Cross-Bearing and Debt of Sin: The Economy of Heaven in Matthew’s Gospel. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. Foucault, Michel. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France. Trans. Graham Burchell. New York: Picador, 2007. García-Reidy, Alejandro. “Spanish Comedias as Commodities: Possession, Circulation, and Institutional Regulation.” Hispanic Review 80. 2 (2012): 199–219. Gaylord, Mary Malcom. “How to Do Things with Polimetría.” Approaches to Teaching Early Modern Spanish Drama. Ed. Margaret R. Greer and Laura Bass. New York: Modern Language Association, 2006. 76–84. Giráldez, Arturo. “Cacao Beans in Colonial Mexico.” Money in the Pre-Industrial World: Bullion, Debasements, and Coin Substitute. Ed. John Munro. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012. 147–63. Gómez-Bravo, Ana María. Textual Agency: Writing Culture and Social Networks in Fifteenth-Century Spain. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. Greer, Margaret R., and Andrea Junguito. “Economies of the Early Modern Spanish Stage.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 29 (2004): 31–46. Gutiérrez de Gualda, Juan. Arte breve y muy provechoso de cuenta castellana y arithmética. Zaragoza: Miguel de Guessa, 1569. Harlee, Carol D. “Pull Yourself up by Your Inkwell: Pedro De Maradiaga’s Honra de escribanos (1565) and Social Mobility.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 85. 5 (2008): 545–67. Hernández Esteve, Esteban. “Pedro Luis de Torregrosa, primer contador del libro de caxa de Felipe II: introducción de la contabilidad por partida doble en la Real Hacienda de Castilla (1592).” Revista de Historia Económica 3.2 (1985): 205–17. Hevia Bolaños, Juan de. Laberinto de comercio naval y terrestre. Madrid: Luis Sánchez, 1619. Icíar, Juan. Libro intitulado arithmetica práctica para toda persona que quisiere exercitarse en aprender a contar. Zaragoza, 1549. Larrinaga, Carlos, and Marta Macías. “Spain.” Global History of Accounting, Financial Reporting, and Public Policy: Europe. Ed. Gary Previts and Peter Walton. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, 2010. 163–89. Ledesma, Antonio de. “Conceptos espirituales.” Romancero y cancionero sagrados: colección de poesías cristianas, morales y divinas. Ed. Justo de Sancha. Madrid: M. Rivadeneyra, 1885. 221. Mckendrick, Melveena. “Representing Their Sex: Actresses in SeventeenthCentury Spain.” Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain. Ed. Richard Pym. London: Tamesis, 2004. 72–91.


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Mercado, Tomás de. Suma de tratos y contratos. Ed. Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz. Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 1977. Miller, Peter, and Ted O’Leary. “Accounting and the Construction of the Governable Person.” Accounting Organizations and Society 21. 3 (1987): 235–65. Mills, Patti. “The Probative Capacity of Accounts in Early Modern Spain.” Accounting Historians Journal 14. 1 (1987): 95–108. Munro, John H. “Money in the Pre-Industrial World: Bullion, Debasements and Coin Substitutes.” London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012. 1–13. Pérez de Moya, Juan. Arithmérica, práctica y speculativa. Alcalá de Henares: Juan Gracián, 1573. Quevedo Villegas, Francisco de. Obras Completas. Aureliano FernándezGuerra y Orbe and Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, eds. Sevilla: Sociedad de Bibliófilos Andaluces, E. Rasco, 1903, vol. 2. Salvador Solórzano, Bartolomé. Libro de caxa y manual de cuentas de mercaderes. London and Tokyo: Scholar Press and the Yushodo Press, 1980. Sanz Ayán, Carmen. “Las ‘Autoras’ en comedias del Siglo XVII.” Calderón de la Barca y la España del Barroco. Ed. José Alcalá Zamora and Eernest Belenguer Cebria. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Constitucionales, 2001, vol. 2. 543–79. Simmel, Georg. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Kurt H. Wolff, ed. and trans. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1950. Swetz, Frank. Capitalism and Arithmetic: The New Math of the 15th Century, Including the Full Text of the Treviso Arithmetic of 1478. Translated by David Eugene Smith. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1987. Szpiech, Ryan. “A Witness of Their Own Nation: On the Influence of Juan Andrés.” After Conversion: Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity. Ed. Mercedes García Arenal. Leiden: Brill, 2016. 174–98. Téllez, Fray Gabriel. “Zelos con zelos se curan.” Quarte parte de las comedias de Tirso de Molina. Recogidas por don Francisco Lucas de Auila, María de Quiñones, 1635. frameset.htx 10 April 2017. Timoneda, Juan de. Timón de tratantes muy necesario y provechoso de saber a todo tratante que hubiere de dar y recibir dineros. Valencia: Pedro de Huete, 1575. Urton, Gary. “Mathematics and Authority a Case of Study in Old and New World Accounting.” Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics. Ed. Eleanor Robson and Jacqueline Stedall. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 29–55. Vega, Lope de. “La prueba de los ingenios.” Doze comedias de Lope de Vega, sacadas de sus originales por el mismo. Dirigidas al excelentissimo señor don Luys Fernandez de Cordoua y Aragon ... Novena parte, Viuda de Alonso de Balboa, 1617. https://

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209 htxview?template=basic.htx&content=frameset.htx. 10 April 2017. – “Las cuentas del Gran Capitán.” Parte veinte y tres de las comedias de Lope Felix de Vega Carpio. Dedicadas A D. Gutierre Domingo de Teran, y Castañeda. Ed. Manuel Faria y Sousa, María Quiñones, 1638. https:// htxview?template=basic.htx&content=frameset.htx, 10 April 2017. Venegas, Alejo. Primera parte de las differencias de libros que ay en el vniuerso. Aora nuamente [sic] emendada y corregida por el mesmo autor. Pedro Laso, 1572. Vilches, Elvira. “Trade, Silver, and Print Culture in the Colonial Americas.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 24. 3 (2015): 315–34. Zapata, Luis. Miscelánea. Madrid: Imprenta Nacional, 1859. Zelizer, Viviana. “The Social Meaning of Money: Special Monies.” American Journal of Sociology 95. 2 (1989): 342–77.

8 Automatons and the Early Modern Drama of Skepticism seth kimmel Columbia University John Elliott Member at the Institute for Advanced Study (2018–19)

An early modern trope employed the rhetoric of the miracle to describe the capacity of the machine. In his Antiguedades de las ciudades de España (Antiquities of the Cities of Spain) of 1575, for instance, the Iberian historian Ambrosio de Morales celebrated the abilities of royal clockmaker and engineer Juanelo Turriano and others knowledgeable in mathematics to accomplish “cosas marauillosas, y que fuessen como milagros” (marvellous things, that would be like miracles) (92r).1 In the chapter on architecture in his Plaza universal de todas las ciencias y artes (Universal Plaza of All the Sciences and Arts, 1615), the scholar and translator Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa likewise described engineering as “cosa hecha con artificio, como el mouer casi por milagro, y fuera de la humana pujança grandissimos pesos con pequeña fuerça” (something accomplished through artifice, like the movement, almost by miracle, and beyond human strength, of enormous weights with little force) (330r). Accompanied by flashes of creativity, the routines of experimentalism produced artefacts that suggested divine exceptionality. That Morales and Suárez de Figueroa highlighted this parallel through cautious evocation rather than outright equivalency, however, signals anxiety about the relationship between deception, on the one hand, and useful industry or righteous representation, on the other hand. This anxiety is at the heart of Spanish Baroque aesthetics. It is also central to the late-sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century revival of skepticism, which increasingly sophisticated practices of mechanical engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, and clockmaking both reflected and intensified. Advances in these fields reflected a skeptical posture because, as the intellectual historian Richard Popkin famously argued, early modern concern about the inability to access the hidden essence of human

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experience and social and religious order generated a focus on modes of producing and manipulating that experience and order (18–41). These scientific advances intensified skepticism’s revival because, as machinery both material and metaphorical began to pervade all aspects of Baroque representation, transforming court politics, theatrical conventions, religious spectacle, and so much else besides, the senses ceased to seem reliable and shared presuppositions about the relationship between reality and appearances began to fray. This was the early modern drama of skepticism. Although they seem to have played a bit part, the self-propelled and lifelike machines known since the early sixteenth century as automatons aptly capture the entanglement between technological know-how and epistemological anxiety that characterized this drama.2 It is tempting but wrong to understand automatons simply as elaborate ruses fashioned by disingenuous experts for gullible spectators, to reduce the complexities of early modern skepticism to one-dimensional cynicism. For, no less than those experts who constructed or deployed them, most such spectators came to understand that hidden mechanisms rather than divine or demonic stimulation powered these objects’ movements. Automatons were nevertheless not simply tools for the creation and circulation of doubt, for the democratization of an elite form of skepticism among a wider swathe of churchgoers and theatre aficionados. As I argue in the first part of this essay, they were also technologies of belief, in the sense that they modelled the physical discipline required to cultivate certainty. The history of automatons thus reveals an aspect of the early modern drama of skepticism that scholars focused on northern Europe tend to miss and specialists in Iberian literature and culture tend to understate: Although skepticism came to serve radical ends in the late modern long term, in the early modern short term it strengthened the theological and political status quo. A study of automatons’ allegorical potential alongside their material and textual history makes visible this key relationship between knowledge of the applied sciences and a paradoxically conformist strand of skepticism. For Miguel de Cervantes, as well as for René Descartes and Thomas Hobbes, automatons were figures of thought, tools of argumentation and persuasion. This figurative quality of automatons, examined in the second part of this essay, is intrinsic to their iron and wooden construction, whose external layer conceals the gears, tubes, joints, paddles, and other contrivances that allowed the appearance of independent articulation, the production of sound, and even, in some cases, the discharge


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of blood or other signs of life. To read the machine is to imagine such innards, to interpret their relationship with the discernible surface. Between the artefacts and their representation in the textual worlds of fiction and philosophy, moreover, was the codex. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century translators, editors, illustrators, and collectors, as well as engineers themselves, together amassed a sizable printed corpus of automatons. Cornelius Agrippa, Bernardino Baldi, Jacques Besson, Salomon de Caus, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, and Agostino Ramelli, not to mention Morales and other peninsular authors, recuperated the machines first designed by Hero of Alexandria in the ancient world and then catalogued them alongside later inventions for their contemporary readers (Aracil 297–339; Duce García 70–81). The Greek word “automaton,” whose first early modern use to mean “se ipsos mouentes” (selfpropelled machine) is found in Agrippa’s De occulta philosophia libri tres (Three Books of Occult Philosophy) of 1533, is itself a result of this process of assemblage (Agrippa 99v; Grafton 31–4; Kang 7). These varied authors’ anthologies both rendered automatons accessible to non-specialist readers and facilitated the work of experts who sought to improve on the designs included in the texts. As the literary scholar Jonathan Sawday has put it, the “Renaissance machine was the invention of print culture” (78). The nomenclature of the titles of some of these early modern compendiums also underscores the range of connotations of the word “theatre” in the early modern period and the visual and dramatic aspects of the work of compilation itself – Besson’s Theatrum instrumentorum et machinarum (Theatre of Instruments and Machines), an anthology of machines published posthumously in 1578, is surely modelled on Abraham Ortelius’s 1570 atlas, Theatrum orbis terrarum (Theatre of the World), for example, though it nonetheless encapsulates the overlap between mechanical and dramatic artifice examined in this essay. The broader point is that anthologies like Besson’s opened up the state of early modern engineering to those lacking engineering expertise or an opportunity to visit such places as the private cabinet of curiosities maintained outside of Madrid by the early-seventeenth-century polymath Juan de Espina or the royal gardens designed by Tommaso Francini in SaintGermain-en-Laye, both replete with automatons (Eamon 308; García Santo-Tomás; Reilly 55). An exploration of the automaton as an object and figure of thought entails interweaving the history of science with literary and cultural studies, a process that some of my fellow contributors to this volume

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have pioneered in the field of Iberian studies, and which I seek to emulate here. There are rather more remote scholars whose visions of the disciplines justify this approach, too, though. In his Didascalicon, the twelfthcentury theologian Hugh of Saint Victor imagined as a mechanical art a whole range of public spectacle, which he dubbed “theatrica,” closer in kind to navigation and fortification than to rhetoric or philosophy. That subsequent scholars, from the thirteenth-century encyclopedist Vincent de Beauvais to the fifteenth-century humanist Angelo Poliziano and beyond, similarly understood theatre suggests that the polyvalent senses of making contained in key terms of the Spanish Baroque, such as ingenio (ingenuity), industria (industry), and artificio (artifice) are features of rather than bugs in pre-modern taxonomies of the disciplines (Saint Victor, bk. 2, chs. 21, 28; Tatarkiewicz; Swift, “Robot Saints” 60). Embodying this polyvalence, automatons illuminate it. Technologies of Belief Of the few late medieval and early modern automatons that still exist in working order, perhaps the most striking is the small figure of a Franciscan monk that the specialist Elizabeth King believes was produced by Juanelo Turriano, although Morales does not mention it in the relevant section of his Antiguedades de las ciudades de España. Now held in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Science and Technology, the figure is clad in the traditional cloak and sandals of his religious order. It is constructed of hollowed out wood and hand-forged iron gadgetry. Once the mechanism is wound, the monk turns his head as he steps forward. His eyes look around, his mouth opens and closes, and his right arm strikes his chest with an audible, penitent blow. Towards the end of the thirtysecond circuit of action, he raises his left arm to kiss the wooden cross in his left hand. He then turns to his right to begin the act anew. This automaton is unusual not only because it still works, but also because its machinery is hidden within the figure himself. So few similar automatons from the early modern period remain that it seems plausible if not likely that the same expert or two crafted them all, including a saint figure now in Budapest’s Museum of Applied Arts and another monk in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich (Mittman). Unlike most other automatons from before the eighteenth century, these figures are not attached to any trick table or fake wall to obscure the gears. Neither is there any human-sized space for a judicious assistant to pull the levers, wind the mainspring, or, as is the case with Don Antonio


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Moreno’s enchanted head, described in 1615 in Part 2 of Don Quijote and examined in detail below, to offer aphoristic prophecies. There is no mount, frame, or back room to give the engineer some extra design space, as there often was for the period’s most intricate clocks, for instance. Absent too is a backstage in which to hide the animating mechanism, as there were for some of the elaborate props constructed by the Florentine fountain and stage designer Cosimo Lotti for the Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca plays performed in the Retiro park’s then new Coliseo, or other works staged in the Jesuit College of Madrid (Arellano 84–96; Maravall 453–98). The self-contained aspect of the Smithsonian’s Franciscan monk is an important feature of its verisimilitude, its smallness a marker of its maker’s craftsmanship. Although we know little about how, when, or why its early modern owners displayed this particular Franciscan figure, we know more about other peninsular automatons that perform lifelike acts of devotion and penitence. In the mid-fifteenth-century, for example, the constable of Castile Álvaro de Luna and his wife had built an ostentatious brass statue for their personal chapel in the Cathedral of Toledo that, at least according to the sixteenth-century historian Pedro de Alcocer, was able to stand up and bend its knees in prayer (79v). Alcocer suggested that the statue was a work of sorcery, an idea advocated as well in Hernán Nuñez’s 1499 commentary to verse 265 of the late medieval poet Juan de Mena’s Laberinto de fortuna (Labyrinth of Fortune), which describes this artefact, though without the crucial detail about its independent articulation (Mena 177v; Rodríguez Porto). If the statue, which Luna’s enemies destroyed in 1449 before killing the patron himself in 1453, did in fact appear to move independently, then it likely contained a series of joints and other machinery that either functioned with the force stored in pre-wound springs or was manipulated by a concealed operator. Luna’s statue and others like it, such as the still extant Virgen de los Reyes and Cristo de los Gascones, articulating figures now held in the Cathedral of Seville and the Church of San Justo in Segovia, respectively, are examples of patronage so flamboyant as to risk the appearance of impiety (Swift, “Robot Saints”). Based on circumstantial evidence, specialists have suggested that the Smithsonian’s penitent friar was a product of similarly ambivalent motivations. The story goes that Charles V ordered the elaboration of this automaton in repayment for the miraculous recovery of his son, the future Philip II, who took a serious tumble down a flight of stairs in his youth and found himself temporarily blind and delirious. The automaton – perhaps conceived

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as a miniature Diego de Alcalá, the Franciscan friar whose relics were present during Philip’s health crisis and who, so his hagiographers later insisted, played a decisive role in the boy’s recovery – was the result of Charles V’s order. A product of devout sponsorship, the figure was also a masterful display of engineering expertise and an eerie simulation of penitence. Exemplifying the disciplinary practices that produce and exhibit faith, human-like machinery nevertheless exacerbates the tension between piety and pretension. The early modern Iberian physician Juan Huarte de San Juan sought to mitigate this risk by insisting that Spaniards were inured against the accusation of concocting mechanical deception for the simple reason that they were middling engineers. Alluding to the Lombardan Turriano’s machine for raising water from the Tajo River to the city of Toledo, among other inventions, Huarte nevertheless insisted in his Examen de ingenios (Examination of Wits) of 1575 that it was northern Europeans, with their powerful memory and active imagination, who excelled as makers. “Hacen relojes, suben el agua a Toledo, fingen maquinamientos y obras de mucho ingenio, las cuales no pueden fabricar los españoles por ser faltos de imaginativa” (They make watches, raise water to Toledo, and dream up gadgetry and work of great ingenuity, which Spaniards, lacking imagination, are unable to fabricate) (416), wrote Huarte.3 More than elsewhere in his text, which elaborates a climactic theory of human potential, Huarte was here concerned with the difference between Spanish and foreign, not to say heretical, ingenio. In taking for granted that clocks, waterworks, automatons, and other feats of engineering must come from beyond the Iberian Peninsula, he suggested, however strategically, that his countrymen were more trustworthy than the mechanically inclined foreigners whose works Philip II and his successors nevertheless enthusiastically commissioned. There was some truth to the sense in sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury Madrid and Seville that genuine engineering expertise was the domain of foreigners. Think not only of Turriano and Lotti, but also of the mathematical humanists Federico Commandino and his student Bernardino Baldi, who recuperated and translated from Greek the works of Hero of Alexandria. The Milanese Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo dedicated a section of his 1584 Trattato dell’arte della pittura, scoltura, et architettura (Treatise on the Art of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture) to “mathematical motions,” where he included what has become a canonical list of ancient self-moving machines, such as the statues of Daedalus, Vulcan’s tripods, and statues of Mercury, as well as Leonardo da Vinci’s


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flying machine and a walking lion mentioned by Giorgio Vasari (Taglialagamba 21–51; Mayr 3–27). In the early modern period, this sort of mechanical knowledge was but one element of multifaceted misdirection that, especially after Machiavelli, came to seem particularly Italian. In the medieval period, the group best known for their mechanical expertise was notorious among Christians for other sorts of dissimulation as well: Muslims. In Abbasid Baghdad, especially during the ninthcentury reign of the caliph al-Ma’mūn, court engineers, known as the Banū Mūsā, produced a treatise on automatons called the Kitāb al-Ḥiyal (Book of Ingenious Devices). This text was a source for later work, known in English as The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, by the early-thirteenth-century engineer al-Jazarī, who lived in what is now Turkey. Some knowledge of these oriental designs, as well as astronomical tools and water clocks, filtered from the Islamic context into the Christian world via the translation workshops of Alfonso X. According to the medieval historian Juan Vernet, parts of the Andalusi scholar Ibn Khalaf al-Murādī’s work on automatons and time-keeping, for instance, ended up in Alfonso X’s Libro del saber de astronomía (Book of Astronomical Knowledge), as well as in other Alfonsine works. The goal of reviewing this brief history of applied scientific knowledge in the medieval and early modern periods is to underscore the extent to which audiences on the Iberian Peninsula would have been skeptical of as well as enticed by feats of engineering like automatons. Aware of this association between mechanical expertise and foreigners or non-believers, peninsular witnesses to automatons and other machines would have been on guard against their deceptions. Yet this combination of wariness and fascination is different from the philosophical skepticism associated in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. As the theatre historian and Iberian medievalist Christopher Swift has argued, peninsular audiences from as early as the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries were conditioned to the presence of automatons, particularly in the religious contexts of church ritual and holy processions. The abovementioned articulating Virgen de los Reyes in Seville and the Cristo de los Gascones in Segovia are germane examples. So too is the Cristo de Burgos, as well as other pre-modern Iberian statues capable not only of articulation, but also of spilling what looked like actual blood from their wounds (Martínez Martínez; Pereda 127–38; Swift, “Robot Saints”). These mechanical works of religious art neither inspired a simplistic kind of disbelief nor merely misled spectators into uninformed faith.

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“Theatricality,” as Swift has elegantly put it, “was an internal mechanism of medieval devotion,” a statement that I believe is doubly true for the early modern period, when both the conceptual and the material reality of an “internal mechanism” played an increasingly important role in sacred and secular forms of spectacle (Swift, “Technology” 34). To recognize that technological knowledge enables the seemingly miraculous movements of automatons and other contrivances, even without completely understanding the mechanics, is to embrace the importance of both materiality and demonstration in the cultivation of belief. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, such an embrace had become a prominent theme in Golden Age theatre in addition to a central tenet of post-Tridentine Catholicism. Opponents of the mechanical turn in the comedia, which eventually came to include previous advocates, such as Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina, argued that pleasing the masses with “máquinas milagreras” (faux-miraculous machines) (258), as the Spanish critic Eugenio Asensio phrased it, represented a mistaken disregard for poetry in favour of staging. Lope’s ridicule of this approach in both correspondence and in dramatic works themselves, such as in his miracle and martyr play Lo fingido verdadero, sometimes translated into English as Acting is Believing, did little to slow the increasing presence of lifts, movable backdrops, mechanical waves and clouds, and even actual automatons on the seventeenthcentury Iberian stage. From a comprehensive analysis of Lope’s comedias to the archival recuperation of short comic pieces called mojigangas, recent scholarship on dramaturgical history has expanded and deepened José María Ruano de la Haza’s important work on this topic (Rodríguez García 39–242; Plata 217; Ruano de la Haza 223–69). The lexicographical and literary evidence likewise supports archival accounts of technology’s centrality to peninsular drama in the early modern period. As Alejandro García-Reidy argues in his contribution to this volume, the word máquina evoked the place, performance, and experience of early modern theatre, even if it also denoted the sort of industrial work that we now commonly associate with machinery. Discussing criticism levelled by the novelist and playwright Alonso Jerónimo de Salas Barbadillo against an unnamed play by the famously sensationalist dramatist Luis Vélez de Guevara, Asensio depicted with a clever turn of phrase both this growing importance of technology in theatre and the ambivalence produced by such a development: “La comedia era de tramoyas” (The comedy was stage machinery) (261). In Asensio’s view, that is, Salas Barbadillo’s criticism was that Vélez


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de Guevara’s comedia and other similar works were both “about” and “composed of” stage machinery. In early-seventeenth-century Spain and Italy, at least, it had become impossible to separate engineering knowledge and dramatic expertise, a point suggested by the juxtaposition of “machinery” and “scenery” in the title of the Italian engineer Nicola Sabbatini’s Pratica di fabricar scene e machine ne’ teatri (The Practice of Fabricating Scenery and Machinery in the Theatres) of 1638. Special effects surely filled seats and pleased Philip III and his court, but it is shortsighted to join Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Alonso Jerónimo de Salas Barbadillo in their dismissal of this aspect of early modern Iberian stagecraft as a form of dangerous pandering to the uncultured or uninformed masses. For both the popularity of these special effects among spectators and the logic of their detractors point towards a broader epistemological point, one that I have sought thus far to develop in this essay: Just as audiences recognized technology and theatricality for what they were in religious contexts, so too did they know to distinguish among varieties of artifice in the theatre. This capacity contributed to the aesthetic pleasure. A heightening familiarity with technologically advanced special effects undoubtedly added to the pleasure, which was in turn an essential didactic tool. That even Lope eventually followed the example of Jesuit dramaturges and other playwrights and scenographers in the deployment of special effects, often in the representation of miracles, does not, in other words, confirm a desire to deceive in the service of the Church. On the contrary, the floating angels of Lope’s Los locos por el cielo (The Madmen for Heaven) or Barlaán y Josafat (Barlaam and Josephat) reveal a confidence in audiences’ ability to recognize mechanical artifice as but a pious imitation of the miraculous (Ramírez Ruiz 429; Ruano de la Haza 250). To echo Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa’s assessment of feats of civil engineering, it was no secret that theatre’s special effects were not actually the work of God, even if they seemed to approximate it. In short, the vocabulary and conceptual insights that underpinned the construction and deployment of stage machinery (tramoyas) and other dramatic contraptions (artilugios) served the effort to inculcate orthodox habits of body and mind in the living. Among the late modern products of this collaboration among engineering know-how, dramatic creation, and religious regulation is an uncharitable view of pious practice and social identity formation, not to mention industrial production, in which the populace at large is a cog in institutional programs designed and policed by cynical elites. This is

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the origin of the linguistic slippage between “automaton” as a humanlike machine and “automaton” as a machine-like human worker, a point made, however obliquely, by Walter Benjamin in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” But a more generous and, I think, convincing perspective is to acknowledge that religious and other sorts of collective identity require exercise, which sometimes takes the form of participation in public spectacles. This was Ignatius of Loyola and his fellow Jesuits’ important contribution to religious practice, though it is true for the secular sphere as well. From this perspective, the potentially deceptive quality of performance both mechanical and human was less powerful than the effect of such performances as collective exercises. Precisely because engineering had long been associated with various forms of duplicity in late medieval and early modern Iberia, the automaton came to serve as a technology of belief as well as deception. Figures of Thought All automatons are allegorical, though some more so than others. The objects discussed in the first part of this essay are either extant or documented in the historical record or theatrical archive. The automatons analysed below are foremost instruments of argumentation and persuasion, whatever their real-world corollaries or models. This line between material and metaphorical automatons is often blurry. The Alfonsine history of science mentioned above, for example, provided only incomplete evidence for the artificial birds, clocks, and fountains known principally in Latin Christendom through those ever-inventive storytellers, Christian and Jewish travellers to the Middle and Far East and narrators of chivalric romances (Truitt 1–11, 64–8; Duce García 97–115). As mythology around the copper statue of Álvaro de Luna similarly attests, a significant feature of automatons is the mystery characterizing their mechanical function, if not also doubt about their very existence. Along with the relationship between the internal mechanism and the visible figure, this ingrained doubt is another reason why automatons came to serve as tools of philosophical inquiry: They were vessels, at once intangible and profoundly material, that authors with diverse motivations might fill in their own unique ways. Consider the episode in Part 2 of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quijote, when the eponymous hero and his squire Sancho Panza encounter in Barcelona the nobleman Don Antonio Moreno’s enchanted head. According to Don Antonio, a Polish wizard and disciple of Duns Scotus


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had fabricated the head, though the medieval figure most closely associated with such an artefact was in fact Roger Bacon. After some introductory queries by Don Antonio and his companions, Don Quijote asks this enchanted head a series of questions: “Dime tú, el que respondes: ¿fue verdad, o fue sueño lo que yo cuento que me pasó en la cueva de Montesinos? ¿Serán ciertos los azotes de Sancho mi escudero? ¿Tendrá efecto el desencanto de Dulcinea?” (Tell me, you who respond: was my account of what happened to me in the Cave of Montesinos the truth or a dream? Will the lashes of my squire Sancho be completed? Will the disenchantment of Dulcinea take place?) (Spanish, 1028; English, 870). Note the circumlocution of the important first question, which combines a query about the veracity of Don Quijote’s experience in the Cave of Montesinos with an emphasis on his own role as an unreliable narrator of that adventure. Cervantes suggests at a number of different points that Don Quijote’s vision in the cave was a dream. Most obvious is the fact that Don Quijote returned from the adventure so fast asleep that his companions could barely wake him. Sancho and the book’s other characters are likewise skeptical of Don Quijote’s story. So too is the Muslim historian Cide Hamete Benengeli, who explains in a marginal commentary written in his own hand on the “original” Don Quijote manuscript found in the marketplace of Toledo that all of Don Quijote’s adventures until the cave episode “han sido contingibles y verisímiles, pero esta de esta cueva no le hallo entrada alguna para tenerla por verdadera” (have been possible and plausible, but with regard to this one in the cave, I can find no way to consider it true). Invoking the work required for the construction of elaborate fictions, Benengeli then immediately hedges: “No pudo fabricar en tan breve espacio tan gran máquina de disparates” (In so short a time, he (Don Quijote) could not fabricate so enormous a quantity of nonsense) (Spanish, 734; English, 614). I will return below to the connotations of fabrication and machinery in Don Quijote. For the moment, I want just to emphasize, along with Anthony Cascardi, the multilayered struggle among Don Quijote, Sancho, Cide Hamete Benengeli, and other characters in the book over how to adjudicate the veracity or mendacity of the adventure in the Cave of Montesinos. This skeptical crisis deepens over the course of Part 2, as Don Quijote and Sancho enter into veritable negotiations over the truth of their stories. Recall Don Quijote’s offer to Sancho following the latter’s tall tale about his celestial travels on the back of the wooden horse Clavileño, another automaton of sorts: “Sancho, pues vos queréis que se os crea lo que habéis visto en el cielo, yo quiero que vos me creáis

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a mí lo que vi en la cueva de Montesinos. Y no os digo más.” (Sancho, just as you want people to believe what you have seen in the sky, I want you to believe what I saw in the Cave of Montesinos. And that is all I have to say) (Spanish, 865; English, 727). However jokingly, Cervantes represents Don Antonio’s automaton as an arbiter of truth. At the end of the enchanted-head episode, Benengeli pulls back the curtain on the inner workings of Don Antonio’s contrivance: “por no tener suspenso al mundo creyendo que algún hechicero y extraordinario misterio en la tal cabeza encerraba, y, así, dice (Benengeli) que Don Antonio Moreno, a imitación de otra cabeza que vio en Madrid fabricada por un estampero, hizo ésta en su casa para entretenerse y suspender a los ignorantes” (in order to curb the astonishment of those who might think that some magical and extraordinary mystery was contained in the head, and, so, he (Benengeli) says that Don Antonio Moreno, in imitation of another head he had seen in Madrid, which had been fabricated by an engraver, had this one made in his own house for his own entertainment and to astound the ignorant) (Spanish, 1029–30; English, 871). Benengeli explains the “la fábrica” (construction) of the “maravillosa máquina” (marvellous device) (Spanish, 1029, 1030; English, 871, 872). The apparently solid statue and table were in fact hollow. They were spacious enough to fit a nephew of Don Antonio, who communicated with his interlocutors through a tube connected to the figure’s mouth. There is a parallel between the Cave of Montesinos and Don Antonio’s statue, two hollowed out places where fictions are fabricated. This language also links engineering and printing, two technologies of belief and deception (Castañón; Vivanco Cervero 28–31). That the enchanted head episode occurs in the same chapter as the scene in the Barcelona print shop emphasizes this connection, as does the shared vocabulary. On his visit to the print shop, Don Quijote “vio tirar en una parte, corregir en otra, componer en ésta, enmendar en aquélla, y, finalmente, toda aquella máquina que en las imprentas grandes se muestra” (saw them printing in one place, correcting in another, typesetting here, revising there, in short, all of the procedures (máquinas) that can be seen in large printing houses) (Spanish, 1031; English, 872). Benengeli’s mention of the Madrid engraver repeats the Cave of Montesinos’s language of fabrication and foreshadows the work of printing, three scenes woven together with common imagery and epistemological concerns. One effect of this interweaving is to recognize the power of the printing press to make authors appear as automatons, a point made in another context by the historian of science Simon Schaffer (131–2).


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Cervantes asks his readers to consider the skeptical challenge and Baroque dramatic topos of how to distinguish between artifice and reality. Not unlike Bernardo Baldi in his De gli automati, overo machine se moventi (On Automatons, or Self-Moving Machines) of 1589 or Agostino Ramelli in his bilingual Italian-French Le Diverse et artificiose machine (The Various and Ingenious Machines) of 1588, both well-known texts on the Iberian Peninsula, Cervantes put the tools of dramatic and mechanical ingenuity on display in the form of little vignettes. Don Antonio’s talking head is but one of several figures in Cervantes’s extended representation of the relationship among narration, picaresque ingenuity, skepticism, and religion. Cervantes makes fun of certain kinds of superstition and popular piety, but he also recognizes the shared efficacy of mechanical artifice to transform people’s understanding of their own lives. The enchanted head was a ruse that nevertheless contributed to the narrative conditions of truth within the logic of the text. The episode in this way parallels the Wedding of Camacho scene, also in Part 2 of Don Quijote, in which the marriage between the rogue Basilio and his beloved Quiteria remains binding despite the former’s theatrical industria, which motivated the celebration of the sacrament in the first place (Kimmel). These and other scenes thematize a particularly Iberian genealogy of skepticism, one that is born through an embrace rather than a rejection of the shared technologies of ritual and dramatic efficacy. Even beyond the peninsula, automatons did not serve as markers of a deep and abiding skepticism, as we might expect. In France and England, automatons were allegories for epistemological certainty about the nature of human experience, both personal and political. Having begun his Discours de la méthode (Discourse on Method) of 1637 with an account of radical doubt, Descartes then reconstructs both his own and his God’s existence. Indulging an interest in human anatomy in a way that at first glance seems out of place, Descartes employs the figure of the automaton to argue that the complexity of machines made by man offers a ready parallel to the infinitely greater complexity of the human body, fashioned by God. Man as both automaton and automaton-maker is proof of God’s existence. That our bodies can move according to our will ought not to seem strange, Descartes argues: “Sachant combien de divers automates, ou machines mouvantes, l’industrie des hommes peut fair, sans y employer que fort peu de pièces, à comparaison de la grande multitude des os, des muscles, des nerfs, des artères, des veines, et de toutes les autres parties qui son dans le corps de chaque animal

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considéreront ce corps comme une machine, qui, ayant été faite des mains de Dieu, est incomparablement mieux ordonnée” (Cognizant of how many different automatons or moving machines the ingenuity (industrie) of man can devise, using only a very small number of parts, in comparison to the great multitude of bones, muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, and all the other parts which are in the body of each animal, they will consider this body like a machine that, having been made by the hand of God, is incomparably better ordered and has within itself movements far more admirable than any of those machines that can be invented by men) (French, 91; English, 32). Despite this parallel between human and divine industrie, we know an automaton by its repetition and rigidity, which are proof of both its lack of humanity and man’s limited mechanical capacity in comparison to God. However unsatisfying for his contemporary critics and late modern readers, for Descartes it was necessary to quiet the skeptical tradition that he himself had invoked in order to prove the existence of God. The narrative of a skeptical crisis buttressed the ensuing certainty, at its core mechanistic. This sense of certainty helped to shape the scientific revolution (Solla Price 23). Descartes’s image of automatons and mechanical skill more generally was informed both by the automaton collection located in the gardens at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which he lived nearby for a period, and by Besson’s Theatrum instrumentum et machinarum and Salomon de Caus’s 1615 Les raisons des forces mouvantes (The Reasons for Moving Forces), two often reprinted texts (Mayer 62–7). Familiarity with these marvels of engineering demystified them, which allowed them to serve as instruments of persuasion. Their mechanisms revealed, their allegorical quality became portable. For the automaton to function as a figure of thought, the distinction between real-life miracles and artificial quasimiracles had to be mechanically and textually self-evident. Newfound awareness of the actual designs of automatons produced rather than undermined belief in God. Like Descartes’s rhetoric of the automaton in Discours de la méthode and other texts, Thomas Hobbes’s introduction to Leviathan, whose complete 1651 title is Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill, draws on similar mechanical and biological vocabulary. As is clear from this title, at stake for Hobbes was an understanding of political order rather than God’s existence, even if the former is deeply intertwined with the latter. As if to underscore from the outset the importance of the material features


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of this commonwealth, Hobbes opened the text with the image of an automaton: For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principall part within; why may we not say, that all Automata (Engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificiall life? For what is the Heart, but a Spring; and the Nerves, but so many Strings; and the Joynts, but so many Wheeles, giving motion to the whole Body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that Rationall and most excellent worke of Nature, Man. For by Art is created that great Leviathan called a Common-wealth, or State (9, italics and capitalization in the original).

In Hobbes’s view, political order was entirely and necessarily artificial, in part because human understanding of the world was similarly artificial. Human understanding was “contaminated by illusion” (338), as the historian of political thought Richard Tuck put it. Like a watch crafted by an expert clockmaker, the commonwealth also had to function automatically. The Leviathan was an allegory for the state only to the extent that it was an automaton. As various scholars have pointed out, Hobbes and his successors viewed this mechanistic (or materialistic) approach to politics as fitting for a world increasingly mechanical and even specifically automaton-like in its operation, one populated by humans who performed machine-like labour and by machines who passed for humans (Mayr 104–5; Oakeshott 311; Sawday 120; Schama 126). Rather than examining Hobbes’s importance for the development of this line of thought, my more modest goal here is to signal the centrality of the automaton as an instrument of Hobbes’s political theory, not to mention his conservatism: Because we find ourselves in a natural state of violence, which we are unable to fully understand because of both layer upon layer of artifice and our imperfect senses, Hobbes believed that we should agree as members of the commonwealth to subject ourselves to an absolute sovereign. The effect of understanding the mechanics of that sovereign’s exercise of power was to legitimize rather than delegitimize him. To unveil and represent these mechanics was paradoxically to underscore their necessity, to submit candidly rather than blindly to the sovereign’s authority. Richard Popkin was right that early modern scholars embraced man’s inability to understand the true nature of personal as well as social experience. Such an embrace produced the Baroque obsession with illusion, with honing arts both mechanical and liberal in the service of

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representation. This is a familiar view on the origins of mechanics in particular and experimental science more generally. By studying the shifting uses and perceptions of automatons in early modern Iberia and elsewhere, however, it is possible to see experimental science’s intimate connection to forms of craft that are essential aspects of religious and philosophical certainty, as well as aesthetic representation. This insight goes a long way towards resolving a central dilemma of early modern Iberian studies: How was it possible for various forms of Iberian spectacle – from church processions to Golden Age theatre – to suggest in meta-theatrical terms that all the world was a stage while at the same time endeavouring to reinforce, as José Antonio Maravall put it, “una cultura conservadora” (a conservative culture) (268–306).4 From this perspective, the automaton is less a symbol of early modern preoccupation with the distinction between truth and deception, piety and dissimulation, and reality and dreams than a frank, post-Tridentine celebration of the overlapping qualities and conservative uses of these various anxieties, a celebration that after the Enlightenment became too embarrassing to acknowledge, even if it conveyed the truth that artifice has served and continues to serve many masters.

NOTES 1 Except for English translations of Don Quijote, which are by Edith Grossman, all translations from Spanish and Latin to English are my own. English translations of René Descartes’s French are by Donald Cress. Early versions of this chapter were presented at two conferences, “Doubt to Unbelief: Forms of Skepticism in the Iberian World,” organized in Madrid, Spain in November 2015 by Mercedes García-Arenal and Stefania Pastore, and “Literature, Politics and the Public Sphere in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” organized in Syracuse, NY in November 2016 by Alejandro García-Reidy and Xavier Tubau Moreu. Thank you to the organizers and the other participants for their valuable feedback, and also to the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica for funding the John Elliott Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study. 2 Helpful introductions to the construction, collection, and allegorical meaning of automatons in the early modern period include Bedini; Bredekamp 1–6, 46–50; and Kang 14–102. See also the entry for “automaton” in The Classical Tradition. 3 On Turriano’s Toledo artificio and other constructions, see López Piñero 240–4, García-Diego, and García Tapia and Carillo Castillo 27–56. The latter


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also studies Pedro Juan de Lastanosa, Juan de Herrera, and Jerónimo de Ayanz, three other important early modern Iberian engineers. 4 “Una cultura conservadora” is the title of Chapter 5 of Maravall’s La cultura del Barroco.

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Solla Price, Derek J. “Automata and the Origins of Mechanism and Mechanistic Philosophy.” Technology and Culture 5.1 (Winter, 1964): 9–23. Jstor. 11 Dec. 2016. Suárez de Figueroa, Cristóbal. Plaza universal de todas las ciencias y artes. Madrid: Luis Sanchez, 1615. Google Books. 7 Dec. 2017. https://books gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Swift, Christopher. “Robot Saints.” Special Issue: Animating Medieval Art. Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural 4.1 (2015): 52–77. Jstor. 7 Dec. 2016. – “Technology and Wonder in Thirteenth-Century Iberia and Beyond.” Performing Objects and Theatrical Things, 21–35. Eds. Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy. Houndmills, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Taglialagamba, Sara. Leonardo da Vinci: automazioni = automations and robotics. Poggio a Caiano: CB, 2010. Tatarkiewicz, W. “Theatrica, the Science of Entertainment: From the XIIth to the XVIIth Century.” Journal of the History of Ideas 26.2 (Apr.–Jun. 1965): 263–72. Jstor. 22 Oct. 2018. Tuck, Richard. “(Hobbes on Skepticism and Moral Conflict).” Selected in Leviathan, 338–47 by Thomas Hobbes. Eds. Richard E. Flathman and David Johnston. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. Truitt, E.R. Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2015. UPCC Books. 11 Dec. 2016. https://ebookcentral Vernet, Juan. “Un texto árabe en la corte de Alfonso X el Sabio.” Al-Andalus: Revista de las Escuelas de Estudios Árabes de Madrid y Granada 43.2 (1978): 405–21. Periodicals Archive Online. 12 Dec. 2016. http://ezproxy.cul Vivanco Cervero, Verónica. “La palabra “máquina” en el Quijote.” La Colmena: Revista de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, no. 73 (2012): 25–32. Dialnet. 12 Dec. 2016. articulo?codigo=5573108.

9 Daedalean Epistemology: Staging the Labyrinth of Knowledge in Velázquez’s Las Hilanderas and Calderón de la Barca’s Los tres mayores prodigios matthew g. ancell Brigham Young University Semejante al carnero que va a embestir, corro por las galerías de piedra hasta rodar al suelo, mareado. Me agazapo a la sombra de un aljibe o a la vuelta de un corredor y juego a que me buscan. – Jorge Luis Borges, “La casa de Asterión” Sometimes I run like a charging ram through the halls of stone until I tumble dizzily to the ground; sometimes I crouch in the shadow of a wellhead or at a corner in one of the corridors and pretend I am being hunted.

In the opening scene of Calderón’s mythological play Los tres mayores prodigios (The Three Greatest Prodigies, 1636), members of the court at Colchis spot an object on the horizon. The king Aetes, his daughter Medea, and others have difficulty determining the form of the ship. Friso, a nobleman, perceives the vessel as a mountain. Astrea, one of Medea’s damas, understands it to be a cloud. Another dama, Sirene thinks it is a fish, and the caballero Absinto takes it to be a sea bird. MEDEA: Todos han dicho bien; montaña ha sido, pues con árboles tantos ha vagueado; nube, pues con el viento se ha movido hidrópica a beberse el mar salado; pájaro, pues las alas ha batido; pez, pues sobre las ondas ha nadado; y montaña, nube, ave y pez engaña, pues no es pez, ave, nube ni montaña. REY: Sin ver qué es, acercándosenos viene. ASTREA: ¿Qué defensa a tan fiero montsruo haremos?



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MEDEA: All of you have spoken correctly. It was a forested, resting moun-

tain; then a heavy cloud that moved with the wind to lap the salt sea. Then a bird that beat its wings, then a fish that swam in the waves. Mountain, cloud, fish, and bird are deceptive, however, because it is neither bird, nor fish, nor cloud, nor mountain. KING: Without seeing what it is, it is approaching us. ASTREA: What sort of defence can we mount against such a terrible monster?

All of them view the ship as impending punishment for Medea’s blasphemy when she asserted her superiority over the gods, “no hay deidad que mayor sea” (there is no greater deity) (1551a). The ship, as it turns out, is the Argo, led by Jasón, one of the play’s titular prodigios – the other two are his Argonaut companions, Teseo and Hércules – who will all bring about tragic events while performing heroic deeds. The shifting vision of the Argo, along with the plot, structure, and staging of the comedia, participate in a Baroque logic of the frame as seen in Calderón’s contemporary at court, Diego de Velázquez and illuminated by Jacques Derrida’s notion of framing as parergon. The limits for this examination will be Los tres mayores prodigios and Las hilanderas (ca. 1644–8). While a few years apart, the works embody a logic operable in both the poet and artist, so that many pairings of their works are possible.1 One thread that connects these two in particular is the figure of the labyrinth. Both works touch on the myth of Daedalus’s invention. In Los tres mayores prodigios, there is the literal labyrinth from the Theseus and Ariadne myth. While in the painting, the labyrinth lies embedded in the pictorial narrative and conceptual framework. Both comedia and painting structurally form labyrinths that figure ontological and epistemological boundaries. At the temporal border of the Scientific Revolution, these labyrinthine baroque works form boundaries around knowledge, which is dearly bought and often ambivalent, revealing itself after the twists and turns of narrative uncertainty and optical obscurity. The term prodigio deserves some attention. The Diccionario de autoridades gives the following definitions: “Sucesso extraño que excede à los límites regulares de la naturaleza. … cosa especiál, rara ò primorosa. … milagro” (a strange event that exceeds the regular limits of nature. … a special, rare, or fine thing. … a miracle) (Diccionario de autoridades). All of its derivative senses in Spanish overlap with the Latin prodigium, “omen, portent. … monster, prodigy” (Lewis and Short). The heroes of this comedia, as prodigios, share the same epithet as the monsters they

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Figure 9.1  Diego Velázquez, Las hilanderas (ca. 1644–8) Prado Museum, Madrid.

slay. The ambiguity of the term leads Michael Kidd to not only remind us that the classical notion of a hero did not imply that they were models for emulation, but also to conclude that their excessive qualities and actions result in “the failure of the heroes to ‘fit’ into the honour code” (120). Consequently, as a type of frame that sets limits on the characters and the genre, honour does not withstand its representation on stage, as it does not protect characters from external reputational malignment. Moreover, vengeful attempts at justice will always exceed the very boundaries of justice. In the loa to Los tres mayores prodigios (not included in the standard edition by Valbuena-Briones) Jasón and Teseo prevent Hércules, in a fury, from killing himself over the kidnapping of Deyanira by the centaur Neso. Jasón and Teseo swear to help Hércules exact vengeance and repair his honour. Hércules remains in Africa, while Jasón and Teseo search Asia and Europe, respectively. As the play proper begins with Act I,


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Jasón comes to Colchis and competes with Friso for Medea’s attention, losing sight of his quest to find Deyanira in the process. Ultimately, he steals away with Medea, the golden fleece, and the kingdom’s honour instead of Hércules. Act II is of particular interest, because it recounts the story of Teseo and Ariadna, wherein Teseo enters the labyrinth on Crete and slays the minotaur with the help of a dagger and potion given to him by Dédalo. Teseo lets his desire impede the task of restoring honour to Hércules, like Jasón, compounding the offences against honour by abandoning Ariadna and fleeing with Fedra. In Act III, Hércules finds Neso and Deyanira and kills the centaur with a poisoned arrow, attempting to slay her as well, even though she has not been raped. Even when these three heroes obey the rules of Spanish honour, which Hércules technically does, their actions are monstrous and expose the terrifying logic at the heart of such a system. The Argo, in its ostensibly shifting form, is also called a prodigy (prodigio sí de los hombres [prodigy of men]) (1153a), and so functions as a metonymy for the heroes it has carried. Jasón is still aboard in Act I. The vessel is hard to interpret, not just by the characters but as a figure in the play. A long tradition, based on a passage from Euripides’s Andromache, maintains that the Argo was the first ship (Euripides 861–5). Other classical sources, such as the Argonautica, mention ships that pre-date the Argo (Jackson 249). While its novelty could account for the characters’ inability to identify it, the imagery invokes a more cosmic significance. Arriving as it does “fiado en sus disformes fuerzas” (trusting in its deformed forces) (1553b), the ship is simultaneously, or alternately, a “landscape” of mountains, a fish, a cloud, and sea bird. The Argo seems to encapsulate the four elements, known from Plato’s Timaeus, according to a common scheme in Calderonian drama identified by Edward Wilson (“The Four” 10–11). For example, when Guacolda, an Incan character in La aurora en Copacabana (ca. 1661) sees a European ship for the first time, she tries to describe it, assigning it aspects (visos) of the four elements (1317a–b), but the contradictory (violent, in scholastic terms) nature of the figure confounds her taxonomies. The play tells the story of how Guacolda, a priestess of the sun, is chosen for human sacrifice to help fend off Spaniards who succeed in conquering them. The Incans factionalize, some converting to Christianity, and those who don’t at first are ultimately baptized after a miracle involving a broken image of the Virgin that is restored by angelic intervention. Guacolda’s confused vision seems to function as a symbol for the abrupt conversion of identity of her people. Moreover, Roberto González Echevarría notes that

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the changing appearance of the ship, its “cuatro visos” (1317b), leaves Guacolda unable to interpret the ship beyond its glimmering surface and the monstrosity of its strange, dual character (González Echevarría 91). “Visos,” it should be noted, is also a technical term from painting, used to indicate the outline of figures in perspectival painting. “Viso” can also connote “point of view” (Diccionario de autoridades). Another example of a Calderonian figure that embodies cosmic chaos, which I have discussed elsewhere, occurs in La vida es sueño at the appearance of Rosaura on horseback to Clarín, who declares “monstruo es de fuego, tierra, mar y viento” (a monster of earth, fire, sea, and wind) (2681), and has trouble “painting” the scene: “fuerza es el pintallo” (2673). Here, Rosaura, carrying the weapons of man, and thus a “monstruo de una especie y otra” (a monstrous hybrid) (2725) dramatizes tensions enacted by many characters in the comedia. Calderón thus paints a crepuscular world, populated with characters who confront instability and inscrutability as they oscillate between realities (Ancell, “Painted” 73). In Los tres mayores prodigios, mountains, fish, and clouds fall into the conventional scheme identified by Wilson – of earth, water, and air, respectively – but the sea bird is curious: “pájaro sí, y aun pájaro marino / de los que para asombro del mar nacen” (indeed a bird, even a sea bird / of those which are born to the amazement of the sea) (1552b). It would seem natural to assign the bird to the element of air, as is typical, but the force of the poetic image of an astonishing, even prodigious, birth and species suggests that the sea bird is meant to symbolize the fourth element of fire, as would a miraculously born bird such as the phoenix in the scheme (Wilson, “The Four” 11). Alternatively, the element of air is represented twice and the cosmos is thus heavily out of balance and incomplete. Either way, such a world is prodigious and terrible, subject to the wrath of the gods. The tragic world of classical myth expresses the world of Calderón’s Spain. Its contingency and uncertainty motivate its artists to employ strategies described by Jeremy Robbins as “arts of perception,” intended to “overcome and exploit epistemic problems to enable the individual to act effectively, however this is understood, in the moral, political, social or religious sphere” (Robbins 1). With received knowledge thrown into doubt, literature and the plastic arts represent this epistemological crisis through monstrous forms and figures. The Argo embodies the very problem of perception and knowledge in a mutable and thus inscrutable world. Returning to the opening scene of Los tres mayores prodigios, Friso reflects on the ship and asks, “¿No veis estos y aquellos confundidos /


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con los nuevos fragmentos y despojos, / que el mar nos trae a ver nuestro horizonte?” (Can’t you see all the eyes and ears confused at the fragments and spoils that the sea makes visible on the horizon?) (1552b). The horizon suggests both ontological and epistemological limits, not just about the fate of the play’s characters, but of the tragic universe as a whole. As Didier Maleuvre theorizes: Insubstantial yet insuperable, the horizon symbolizes the shifting frontline between knowledge and reality. It is an image of the elusive, slippery, onward character of our limitedness in time, space, and understanding. Like the end of existence or the outer edge of knowledge, the horizon at the far end of the earth and sky does not come up and unveil itself there, earth and sky do not come lip to lip. Drawing not the empirical boundary of the world but the soft edge where perception fades off, the “offing” is really a trick of vision. Where it glimmers, sight beholds its own vanishing. This vanishing – the trace of human vision seeing itself out – is indeed what we mean by horizon. (Maleuvre 2)

The glimmering ship on the horizon, with its prodigious passengers and monstrous appearance, encarnates fate. While the Argo is not a simple ship, having a wondrous beam in the prow that utters prophecy, that its appearance so radically differs among its viewers indicates that this is a matter of perception. Lying on the horizon, not only does the ship change shape according to the descriptions applied to it, it doesn’t actually occupy, or “lie” on, the horizon except from the point of view of the perceiver, since the horizon is not a place but a geometrical line. The horizon is a limit, determined by the position of the viewer, that in turn determines both the subject’s fate and knowledge about that fate. The Greek concept of fate (moira) includes the notion of “part,” or “portion,” apportioned to both gods and mortals. It is a limit imposed, and not an entitity so much as a fact (Burkert 129). At the boundary of life, fate is inescapable, yet not apprehensible. Its visibility is deceptive, contouring the shape of the tragic life, yet not completely legible visually or semantically. The horizon of fate functions as it does in perspectival painting, ordering all points and lines in the visual field, bisecting and framing human experience. Performed on St John’s Night 1636 at the Buen Retiro, Los tres mayores prodigios employed an unusual, if not unique, staging. John Aston, the English ambassador, gives an account that describes the performance as

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“of the greatest ostentation and curiosity as I haue seene of the kinde” (qtd. in Shergold 285). His description continues: (T)he entertainment was a play that was made on purpose to be acted by three seuerall companies of players of this towne, the invention whereof was soe good, the place where it was acted sett out with three seuerall sceanes of soe much ostentation and the disposition of the lights soe full of nouelty and delight, that I am hugely tempted to giue your honour a larger description of it, but that would proue to be business enough for a large letter. (285)

Shergold laments that Aston did not give in to his temptation, and it is a shame he did not write more. Spanish writers also attest to the spectacle, especially the tramoyas (theatrical machines), but these were not uncommon for this type of play at court. The other intriguing detail that caught viewers’ attention was that there were the multiple stages, also noted in the text of the play itself. There were three separate stages, one for each act, with Act I on the right, Act II on the left, and Act III in the centre. Each act was performed by a different company, the respective managers being: Tomás Fernández, Pedro de la Rosa, and Antonio de Prado (286). Though some of the events in the three acts take place, in part, simultaneously – as the three heroes have separated before the beginning of Act I, and reunite in Act III – the acts are dramatized sequentially. Santiago Fernández Mosquera, reversing previous characterizations of Calderonian theatrical space, describes the use of space as a protagonist in Los tres mayores prodigios, referring to the play as a “teatro de jardín convertido en un jardín de teatros” (garden theatre converted into a garden of theatres) (60). The multiplicity of stages in this “garden of theatres” suggests a narrative and visual triptych (Watson 774; Rose 248). Each act is, then, a kind of mythological tableau or “kind of décor simultané” (Watson 774) or simultaneous setting similar to a medieval staging technique, originating in liturgical drama. On the conceptual level, the play functions like a painting in that all three panels, if we see them that way, are juxaposed, inviting the viewer to imagine some of the action of a previous act happening at the same time, in the same way the viewer’s eye can wander from one section of the triptych to another at will. Each act is framed separately, on a different stage, although we don’t know how far apart the stages were. It seems that in order to juxatapose them, they would have been


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fairly close, if not touching. Since some of the action of the three acts takes place concurrently, one could even imagine, to continue the triptych metaphor, the narrative plots folded onto each other spatially, as they partly overlap in time. Seen in this way, the comedia consists of frames within frames, a labyrinth. The viewer’s attention can oscillate between all these frames, just as with Las hilanderas, as we shall see. Thomas O’Connor also observes that “there are two planes on which the action advances: first, the human plane in which Jasón searches for Neso and Deyanira; and the second, the divine plane which the gods’ designs are slowly advancing to their end” (O’Connor 139). Narratively, fate produces a unicursal maze, that is, one with only one possible outcome. If, as O’Connor argues, Jasón seems to embody science and reason and Medea the irrational, with her involvement in magic, necromancy, astrology, and pyromancy (139), then Pasifaë in Act II functions similarly as mad, and the labyrinth and Minotaur incarnate madness brought about by passion. As Gwynne Edwards argues: (I)t is no coincidence that the Labyrinth should occur in the middle Act of the play. Situated there, it becomes, in effect, the central point and the key symbol of the play as a whole, its meaning extending outwards from Theseus and Ariadne to embrace as well the characters from the other Acts – Medea, Jason, Hercules, the Centaur, Deianira – for they, no less than Theseus and Ariadne, are hopelessly lost in the maze-like and dark world of passion. The Labyrinth, it can be argued, may well be the key symbol in the theatre of Calderón as whole, for it encapsulates as only the language of myth can do a vision of man desperately and often hopelessly groping to find his way out of confusion and darkness. (Edwards 332)

I would argue that the labyrinth does not have to be entirely negative as a symbol, as it can be dealt with as concomitant with the skeptical condition. That is, the labyrinth enacts the ontological predicament of being framed in mortality, with a horizon that constantly shifts, but always enfolds us in its limits. In the realm of tragedy, however, the labyrinth dramatizes the more terrifying aspects of the epistemological crises of the seventeenth century in the terms Edwards describes. The blindness of the minotaur’s victims is certainly symbolic of epistemological blindness, and in the conventions of tragedy, blindness (or ate in Greek) is a kind of delusion, an irrational mental condition or temporary insanity that fosters hubris. Pasifaë’s crime is symbolic of all

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the play’s protagonists, for they are really prodigios or monsters, problems that must be engaged, rather than models for emulation like epic heroes. The myth of the labyrinth links the two works under discussion in this essay. O’Connor notes that “The background stories of Pasifaë and the Minotauro serve as brooding presence that tinctures all that comes into contact with it” (140). Indeed, we could say that both the comedia and painting are framed by the myth of the minotaur in the labyrinth. In Los tres mayores prodigios, the Cretan legend lies left of the centre of the visual scheme of the dramatic triptych, but is central to the plot of Act II. In Las hilanderas, the labyrinth and its monster lie outside the work of art. Yet, in the play, the first two acts and their respective stages frame the third, spatially central act, their plots and characters eventually crossing over the border. While the painting, as we will see, forms a labyrinth, which hides the prodigious minotaur’s presence. In The Truth in Painting, Jacques Derrida develops the concept of the frame with the term parergon. Not simply lying outside the work, the parergon interacts with the ergon, or work itself. The extent of this interaction puts into question, unsurprisingly, the very idea of the “itself”: A parergon comes against, besides, and in addition to the ergon, the work done [fait], the fact [le fait], the work, but it does not fall to one side, it touches and cooperates within the operation, from a certain outside. Neither simply outside nor simply inside. Like an accessory that one is obliged to welcome on the border, on board [au bord, à bord]. It is first of all the on (the) bo(a)rd(er) [Il est d’abord l’àbord]. (54)

The parergon is, to use a familiar deconstructive term, supplemental, and mediates what surrounds the work. As with the horizon, the parergon not only delimits the work, but becomes part of it. In a painting, the frame helps create the work, but its materiality, like wood, “creaks and cracks, breaks down, and dislocates even as it cooperates in the production of the product, overflows it and is deducted from it. It never lets itself be simply exposed” (Derrida 75). In terms of Los tres mayores prodigios, the frames break down in Act III when characters from all three acts combine and spill onto the stage. Furthermore, if we consider the play an honour drama, as Michael Kidd does, pace Valbuena-Briones (102), then the tragic ending dismantles the efficacy and wisdom of that social code (113). Hércules doesn’t kill Deyanira, despite the loss of his honour and his contempt


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for her, an unexpected result if contrasted with Calderón’s wife-murder plays. Epistemologically, the logic of honour fails. This failure is clear in Act III, with Hércules’s horrible death after the pursuit of honour. Hércules’s shame is linked to Minos in the shared shame of honra muerta, as Thomas O’Connor observes, as he “reads his honra muerta in the faces of others, or rather imagines his dishonor in their visages. Unlike Minos, he cannot incarcerate his “dishonor” in an external labyrinth of somber intricacy but rather interiorizes it in his own tortuous heart” (147). Honour becomes a curious kind of parergon. As the ground of action and the structure of behaviour in the comedia, it is entirely external to the individual, defining him or her according to the perception of the viewer. Like the horizon, it demarcates the boundaries within which characters must act, yet it is fragile, susceptible to misperception, rumour, and, of course, recognition of truth by others. Honour touches the characters, framing them in a system that they do not get to design, but that determines their legibility to others: There is always a form on a ground, but the parergon is a form which has as its traditional determination not that it stands out but that it disappears, buries itself, effaces itself, melts away at the moment it deploys its greatest energy. The frame is in no case a background in the way that the milieu or the work can be, but neither is its thickness as margin a figure. Or at least it is a figure which comes away of its own accord (s’enleve d’elle-même). (Derrida 61)

Honour, as parergon, dominates the drama, and gives the characters a certain ontological status, both in its presence and absence, yet it only exists inasmuch as the characters do. It is a supplement, not an independent entity or abstract concept, existing in relation to characters without an ostensible interiority, as must be the case in drama, for the only access we have to their “selves,” if we are to use that term here, is from what is not exterior to them, but that which lies on the surface, their actions and words. Honour depends on perception and appearance to paint the character. Once that surface is deformed or tainted, the character must be reframed, set right, or justified. Nevertheless, as always with revenge, it is impossible to exact perfect vengeance by recreating the conditions of the original (or at least previous) offence. There is always an injustice, an innocent victim, or other surplus. In this case, it is Deyanira following Hércules onto the sacrificial pyre.

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Las hilanderas depicts an ostensibly more irenic scene than the final act of Los tres mayores prodigios. Consisting of multiple planes that form a narrative labyrinth, its frames conceal the myth of the minotaur.2 While by no means explicit, the minotaur lies behind the work, or is perhaps hiding on the margin of the picture, in its frame. In the foreground, however, to start there, are five figures engaged in the act of spinning. In the alcove stand five more figures. Unlike the spatial relationship between the figures in the foreground and the background, in the alcove it is fuzzy, and quite literally so, since the only figures identifiable as mythological characters, Minerva and Arachne, are painted with the kind of borrones or blotchy style attributable to Velázquez. Behind them lies a tapestry copy of Titian’s Rape of Europa (1560–2). The painting’s perspectival scheme, combined with the lighting and compositional centrality of the figures in the background, marks them as thematically important. The seeming lack of connection between the two sets of five figures, solicits a query as to why the recognizable mythological scene and the citation of Titian occupy the background. Surprisingly, the identification of the subject as the Ovidian fable of Arachne did not happen until 1948 (Pym 189). Velázquez’s library included several editions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in both Spanish and Italian, including Pérez de Moya’s Philosophia secreta (Stratton-Pruitt 146), from which he drew inspiration for his mythological paintings. Ovid recounts in Book VI how the accomplished Lydian weaver Arachne unwisely boasted that her skill was as great if not better than that of the gods. Offended, Minerva appears in disguise as an old woman to a group of women in Lydia and asks Arachne if she thinks her abilities surpass those of Minerva, the patron goddess of arts and crafts. Arachne, responding in the affirmative, motivates Minerva to reveal her identity and challenge her to a competition. Minerva weaves a scene of the founding of Athens, of which she is, of course, the patron. Impiously, Arachne depicts Jupiter, as a bull, carrying Europa off to Crete. While the contest is technically a draw, Arachne’s hubristic actions – first in bragging about her skill, then mocking the gods – incites Minerva to anger. Fearful of punishment, Arachne tries to hang herself, but is transformed into a spider, to spin forever. As well as being an etiological myth, the tale warns against hubris, the kind of overweening pride that transgresses mortal boundaries. Arachne’s crime, like Medea’s, lies in the conscious violation of a limit, rather than an act of misperception or misunderstanding typical of divine punishments in tragedy (Vernant and Vidal-Naquet 114). The


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tragic hero, exceptional in ability, inhabits the border between the virtuous exercising of skill and the criminal disregard for religious limits. This dilemma is not unlike the position of a painter at court such as Velázquez. Jonathan Brown has demonstrated that with Las hilanderas, along with Las Meninas (1656), Velázquez intends to ennoble the practice of painting, and to bolster his own credentials, with the allusion to Titian, court painter to Philip II (Brown 1986, 252–3). Since the subject of the painting concerns an artistic contest, Velázquez invites comparison to the relationship to his own patron, Philip IV. Considered, and taxed, as craftsmen, seventeenth-century Spanish painters lagged behind their Italian contemporaries, who had already secured the status of artists on par with poets and other noble professions. Calderón himself championed painting as an arte liberal in his Deposición a favor de los profesores de la pintura (1677), translated as “Tractate in Defence of the Nobility of Painting” (Curtius; Wilson, “El texto” 1974). The low-born Arachne’s competition with a deity suggests that the figures in the foreground, dressed in common garb, have at least a thematic correspondence with those in the background. Other critics have noted a possible analogy to the painter’s relationship to his patron. Sira Dambe makes a case that the competition reflects Velázquez and Philip IV, who “is confronted by a power, creative artistry, which equals, and challenges, (the king’s) own” (251). Given the tact with which Velázquez approaches the inclusion of his own image in Las Meninas (Brown 1978), it seems unlikely that he would be so bold to even think such a thing, much less portray it. More likely, it is enough to elevate the status of the artist. Javier Portús sees an endowing of the artist with divine power in the defeat of a goddess by a gifted but simple weaver (Portús 294). It is art, as Marcia Welles observes, that can lift craft from its lower position: “The gap dividing mortals from the gods is bridged through art, for only by means of art can one approximate the gods’ great gift of creation” (154). As Jonathan Thacker notes, the literary source material furthers Velázquez’s objectives: “By taking a subject from Ovid … (Velázquez) is arguing for the acceptance of painting as liberal art by advertising his ‘trabajo intelectual,’ and bolstering his own case for honour (also craved by the low-born Arachne) and ennoblement” (1008). Portús notes that, “One of the arguments used to prove the liberal nature of painting was the wide variety of knowledge required to practice it and the range of disciplines, from history and philosophy to mathematics and anatomy, it covered” (289). As I have argued elsewhere, Velázquez reframes painting as an intellectual as well as aesthetic medium. He

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does so not only by depicting the liberal arts, or by employing linear perspective as a branch of mathematics, for example, but also by using the very medium of painting to advance philosophical arguments (Ancell, “The Theology” 165). Pym has made a case for a deliberate ambiguity in the Las hilanderas, a strategy that takes advantage of, in particular, the relationship between the foreground and the background, “which conspires in truly Baroque fashion to elide by stealth the boundary between its world of representation and the world of the spectator” (196). While the painting’s frame does not extend to enclose the viewer, as in Las Meninas, the layers within the represented space pose questions about the ontological and epistemological status of the perceiver. The skeptical crisis of seventeenth-century Spain results, in part, in the dichotomy between reality and appearance, ser and parecer. While a critical cliché, it holds true in the works of both Calderón and Velázquez. The works of both these figures explore the space in between reality and appearance. Velázquez is rightly praised for his verisimilitude, but so often this comes about despite his highly stylized borrones brushwork or the fact that the work involves a certain level of ambiguity that belies ostensible claims to realistic representation. Works such as Las Meninas and Las hilanderas take advantage of both. Calderón’s mythological plays don’t contain a high degree of verisimilitude in plot, but as with all drama, there is inherent verisimilitude with the drama of live actors and the proximity of the audience to the action. Las hilanderas’s superimposition of genre and myth deserves attention. Brown states the intention as Velázquez seeking “to reconcile the artificial world of the myth with the palpable world of visual reality without sacrificing the decorum required by the one, or the verisimilitude, by the other” (Brown, Velázquez 253). The different planes do, in fact, offer space for reconciliation, despite their apparent disconnection. The Ovidian source text sets the theme as transformation: Jupiter has become a bull, Arachne will morph into a spider. In turn, figures on the stage, who would seem to be actors, have been transformed from the spinners. Critics do not agree about the identity of all the figures, though, or their relationship to each other. Without rehearsing the objections, I follow the line of thought based on the compositional relationship between the deceptively old woman at the wheel and the figure in the background. Both are turned in the same position to a figure to their right. If the woman at the wheel is meant to be Minerva in disguise, an immortally young goddess in the garb of an older woman, then she is chiastically swapped with the Arachne figure in background, who is


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about to be struck by the now disclosed Minerva with her attributive helm. The spinner on the right would seem to be another Arachne, lit up like her counterpart in the background by, somehow, the same stream of light while the other four women surrounding her are in the shadows. López-Rey notes the lack of light in the foreground, indicating a nonliteral illumination (107). Pym refutes objections to the apparent youth of the spinner on the left by noting she is sartorially consistent with older women and widows in the seventeenth century, not to mention that the canvas is in poor enough condition from overpainting to make her face “of indeterminate middle age,” and her uncovered leg is more divine than anything else (195). The repetition of figures constitutes a Baroque mixing of frames, as one level of narrative bleeds into the next. Their parerga shift to both include and exclude other planes of the painting, depending on the viewer’s attempts to transgress the boundaries of class, chronology, and myth versus reality. Another parergon worth noting is that the canvas was expanded in the eighteenth century by 48 centimetres a little above the tapestry as well as 19 centimetres in width. The expansion is most obvious to the naked eye in the red veil on the left. As displayed now in the Prado, the new frame restores the original dimensions of the painting, focusing more attention on the figures, and eliding the confusing and impossible geometry of the archway (Ancell, “The Theology” 164). The addition illustrates the point, however, about how boundaries influence interpretation, and how in the logic of the parergon, frames supplement the work, accreting, supplanting, and hiding meaning. Within the original work alone, though, the same phenomenon obtains. In the lighted background section, beyond the red curtain, is what appears to be a dramatic rehearsal or even a performance. I don’t exclude the latter, because while the action in the foreground could be taken literally to be in the same space at the same time – if not taken as a repetition or beginning of the mythological narrative – it allows for discontinuous action in the visual field of the painting. Ana Beamud goes so far as to propose that it could be Calderón’s Darlo todo y dar nada (Giving Everything and Giving Nothing, 1651) (39). The viola de gamba (an instrument used in the theatre), the ladder, and possibly the curtain all but ascertain that this is a theatre scene, perhaps simply explained as a rehearsal in the spinners’ workshop, which just happens to have a stage-like platform. By analogy with plausible interpretations of Las Meninas and Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (1618), it is possible

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to think of the lighted section as a trompe l’oeil painting, instead of a recessed space, which compresses the tapestry, the mythological story, and the three contemporary women into one plane. It seems unlikely, due to the lighting and the angle of the wall on the right, but then, of course, the very point of trompe l’oeil is deception. The examples of Baroque art and architecture that succeed in such illusionism, often in collusion with architectural space, are too numerous to mention. While not as persuasive as other interpretations, it cannot be ruled out, because, after all, this is a two-dimensional surface and the question of what is included in the frame of reality, and what is merely representation, when all planes are completely framed in representation, goes to the very heart of philosophical skepticism. The horizons of perception remind us of our epistemological limits. There is no “outside the frame” of our perception. The perspectival scene suggests, though, that this area is a recessed space in the larger room, that the three women are, within the rules of the realm of representation, real, as are Minerva and Arachne. The tapestry is another matter, and one could make a similar case that the mythological figures are woven into it, conflating the two myths (López-Rey 108). Again, the motivation would be simply to confound the viewer with frames within frames, a vertiginous superimposition of ambiguous parerga. A small shadow from Arachne is visible on the stage floor, and the shading of her dress puts it in relief from the tapestry. As López-Rey notes, these spatial relations are not well-articulated (108). Oddly, the light filling the space does not reflect off Arachne, as it does Minerva’s helmet or the other women’s clothing, adding to the ambiguity. That she might be cloth suggests how intertwined the differing strata in the painting could be. The various parerga in the work create narrative boundaries that can be perceived as separate, yet they could also be interpreted as intertwined. Velázquez weaves the various fabrics together both visually and narratively to demonstrate his skill and superiority to Titian, creator of the Rape of Europa, of which Ruben’s copy serves as a model for the tapestry in the painting. Ovid recounts how Jupiter spied Europa, her maidens, and cattle on a pastoral shore. Appearing as a white bull, Jupiter lulled her into trusting him and waited until she climbed on his back before carrying her away into the sea and off to Crete. Velázquez’s painting occludes the violent eroticism of Titian’s work. The Sevillan would have known the painting from its placement in the Palacio Real, which is where Rubens would have seen it as well (López-Rey 107). Setting aside


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the competition between Velázquez and his predecessor Titian (engaged as he was, like Arachne challenging Minerva), and despite its seemingly unimportant role in Las hilanderas, the tapestry of Europa’s abduction might be its most important detail. Once in Crete, Jupiter sires King Minos by Europa, and the rest of the myth is well known from Book VIII of the Metamorphoses. Ovid makes clear that Minos’s father was a beast and that his lineage is cursed (Ovid VIII.217–304). The king’s wife, Pasiphaë, enamoured of a bull, bears the minotaur, and Minos has Daedalus construct a labyrinth in which to hide and imprison her son. As we saw in Act II of Los tres mayores prodigios, each year fourteen youths were fed to him. Both Minos and the minotaur result from bestial acts of infidelity. The latter is a prodigio alluded to indirectly in the tapestry in Las hilanderas that furthers the notion of the painting as a labyrinth, not only in structure but now in theme. Acting as a parergon, the tapestry conceals the minotaur in the periphery of the pictorial maze. Hidden in the frame, or perhaps allowed to enter through the “fractures” opened in the space between the work and parergon, as Heller-Andrist notes is possible (35), the minotaur surfaces, making apparent Minos’s lost honour. It is analogous to the central plot of Los tres mayores prodigios as well, with the half-man, half-beast Neso carrying off Deyanira, but also in Jasón’s absconding with Medea and the refutation of Ariadna by Teseo. Outside the domain of intention, it is possible that the minotaur emerges to disturb the historicist argument about Velázquez’s attempt to ennoble painting. For Velázquez seems to identify with the Arachne of the background and her critique of divinity, rather than with the artisans of the foreground. The question of lineage is bound up with his competition with Titian as court painter, and would haunt him as he sought knighthood in the Order of Santiago, which was ultimately conferred on him, but not without royal intervention to overcome his low-born status. It is safer, it seems, to occupy the realm of reality than that of myth, as Velázquez only profited from his circumspect attempts at exceeding the boundaries of his birth, avoiding the fate of Arachne and the prodigios of Calderón’s play. What frames these myths, the play, and the painting is monstrosity, albeit hidden. Monstrosity is symbolic of that which exceeds reason and vision, and is the sine qua non of the Baroque. The violent mixing of opposites, the superimposition, and juxtapositions in both Los tres mayores prodigios and Las hilanderas attest to the profoundly conflicted nature of seventeenth-century Spanish thought. It was a time when the boundaries of secular, scientific, and religious knowledge cracked,

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moved, and revealed wonders great and terrible. The boundaries that gave comfort, stability, and even legibility to the universe shifted and broke, while the familiar morphed on the horizon and threatened to destroy anything certain. Calderón and Velázquez confront this problem by acknowledging that the seen world is provisional, often inscrutable, and in some aspects quite terrifying. The labyrinths of their art, constructed with Baroque frames, allow the viewer to inhabit the labyrinth, wandering between interpretations, but not without a certain cognizance of the dangers that lurk about in their confusing halls. Perhaps most insightfully, they observe that the limit of sight is like that of touch: we only ever see the horizon and touch the limit. Their art brushes up against the limits of aesthetics and knowledge, and affirms the limitations of seeing beyond, of penetrating to the truth as such, of perspective, and of the impossibility of philosophy thinking its own outside.

NOTES 1 For example, Ancell, “The Theology” and “Painted.” 2 I am grateful to Claire Bradford and Jennifer Jensen, two fine students who, while in writing on Las hilanderas, wove their own tapestries in friendly competition with each other, to their own and my benefit.

WORKS CITED Ancell, Matthew G. “The Theology of Painting: Velázquez and the Picturing of Philosophy.” The Comparatist 37 (2013): 156–68. – “Painted Twilight: Anamorphic Monstrosity in Calderón’s La vida es sueño.” Renaissance Drama 42.1 (2014): 57–90. Beamud, Ana M. “Las Hilanderas, the Theater, and a Comedia by Calderón.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 34.1 (1982): 37–44. Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Trans. Andrew Hurley. New York: Viking, 1998. – Obras completas. 1923–1949. Barcelona: Emecé, 1989. Brown, Jonathan. Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Painting. Princeton Essays on the Arts; 6. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1978. – Velázquez, Painter and Courtier. New Haven: Yale UP, 1986. Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical. Oxford: Blackwell, 1984.


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Calderón de la Barca, Pedro. La vida es sueño. 24th ed. Ed. Ciriaco Morón Arroyo. Madrid: Cátedra, 1998. – Obras completas. Ed. Angel Valbuena-Briones and Angel Valbuena Prat. Madrid: Aguilar, 1969. Curtius, Ernst Robert. “Calderón’s Theory of Art and the Artes Liberales.” European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask New York: Harper & Row, 1963: 559–70. Dambe, Sira. ““Enslaved Sovereign”: Aesthetics of Power in Foucault, Velázquez and Ovid.” Journal of Literary Studies 22.3–4 (2006): 229–56. Derrida, Jacques. The Truth in Painting. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987. Diccionario de autoridades. Madrid: Gredos, 1964. Edwards, Gwynne. “Calderón’s Los tres mayores prodigios and El pintor de su deshonra: The Modernization of Ancient Myth.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 61.3 (1984): 326–34. Euripides. Euripides Vol. 2. David Kovacs, ed. Loeb Classical Library 484. London: Harvard UP, 1995. Fernández Mosquera, Santiago. “Espacio experimental en la comedia mitológica Los tres mayores prodigios de Calderón: premisas iniciales.” Los cielos se agotaron de prodigios’: Essays in Honor of Frederick A. de Armas. Eds. Christopher B. Weimer, Kerry K. Wilks, Benjamin J. Nelson, and Julio Vélez-Sainz. Newark: Juan de la Cuesta, 2018. 53–62. González Echevarría, Roberto. Celestina’s Brood: Continuities of the Baroque in Spanish and Latin American Literature. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. Heller-Andrist, Simone. The Friction of the Frame: Derrida’s Parergon in Literature. Schweizer Anglistische Arbeiten. Tübingen: Francke, 2012. Jackson, Steven. “Argo: The First Ship?” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. 140.3–4 (1997): 249–57. Kidd, Michael. Stages of Desire: The Mythological Tradition in Classical and Contemporary Spanish Theater. Penn State Studies in Romance Literatures. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 1999. Lewis, Charlton Thomas, and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary. Clarendon: Oxford, 1980. López-Rey, José. Velazquez’ Work and World. Greenwich, CN: New York Graphic Society, 1968. Maleuvre, Didier. The Horizon: A History of Our Infinite Longing. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011. O’Connor, Thomas. Myth and Mythology in the Theater of Pedro Calderón de la Barca. San Antonio, TX: Trinity UP, 1988. Ovid. Metamorphoses. Vols. 1–2. Trans. Frank Justus Miller. 7th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1946.

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Portús Pérez, Javier. Velázquez’s Fables: Mythology and Sacred History in the Golden Age. Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007. Pym, Richard. “Interdiction of Closure in Velázquez’s Fable of Arachne.” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 5.2 (1999): 189–99. Robbins, Jeremy. Arts of Perception: The Epistemological Mentality of the Spanish Baroque, 1580–1720. Abingdon, England and New York: Routledge, 2007. Rose, Constance H. “El arte de escribir: Los tres mayores prodigios de Calderón y la pintura.” Hacia Calderón: Décimo Coloquio anglogermano, Passau 1993. Ed. Klaus Dirscherl and Hans Flasche. Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1994: 243–52. Shergold, N.D. A History of the Spanish Stage: From Medieval Times until the End of the Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967. Stratton-Pruitt, Suzanne L., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Velázquez. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. Thacker, Jonathan. “‘Que yo le haré de suerte que os espante, Si el fingimiento a la verdad excede’: Creative Use of Art in Lope de Vega’s ‘Los locos de Valencia’ (and Velazquez’s ‘Fábula de Aracne’).” The Modern Language Review 95.4 (2000): 1007–18. Vernant, Jean-Pierre, and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece. Trans. Janet Lloyd. New York: Zone Books, 1988. Watson, A.I. “Hercules and the Tunic of Shame: Calderón’s Los tres mayores prodigios.” Homenaje a William L. Fichter: Estudios sobre el teatro antiguo hispánico y otros ensayos. Eds. A. David Kossoff and José Amor y Vázquez. Madrid: Castalia, 1971. Welles, Marcia L. Arachne’s Tapestry: The Transformation of Myth in SeventeenthCentury Spain. San Antonio, TX: Trinity UP, 1986. Wilson, Edward M. “The Four Elements in the Imagery of Calderón.” Spanish and English Literature of the 16th and 17th Centuries: Studies in Discretion, Illusion and Mutability. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980. 1–14. – “El texto de la ‘Deposición a favor de los profesores de la pintura’, de Don Pedro Calderón de la Barca.” Revista de archivos, bibliotecas y museos 77.2 (1974): 709–27.

Conclusion: Looking Behind the Curtain: Clues of Early Modern Spanish Science maría m. portuondo Johns Hopkins University

“So, true philosophers spend a lifetime not believing what they do see, and theorizing on what they don’t see, and it’s not, to my way of thinking, a very enviable situation. On this subject I have always thought that nature is very much like an opera house. ... Whoever sees nature as it truly is simply sees the backstage area of the theater.” “In that case,” said the Marquise, “nature has become very mechanical.” “So mechanical,” I replied, “that I fear we’ll soon grow ashamed of it …” – Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686)1

For Bernard de Fontenelle, the study of nature was like a game of hide-and-seek, something akin to peering at what lurked behind the stage curtain at the opera, just outside the public’s view. Philosophers searched for secrets of nature only to view with disbelief what they discovered there. Fontenelle encapsulated in the metaphor the interplay of curiosity, wonder, skepticism, and profound desire to understand nature that characterized the western scientific enterprise during the seventeenth century. It was an era in which some new (and some very old) tools were (re)directed to the study of the natural world with the objective of finding new perspectives that would clarify what nature seemingly obfuscated. The results were new vantage points built on the remains of Aristotelian Scholasticism. For some this meant embracing the ancient Pythagorean promise of mathematics, while others preferred Epicurean Atomism or the Platonic notion of an orderly, perfect cosmos, whose imperfect reflection could be gleaned on Earth. For some

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thinkers, as seemingly disparate as Benito Arias Montano and Robert Fludd, the best alternative was to turn to the Bible in search of the first principles on which to fashion a new philosophy of nature. For still others, the key to unravelling how nature worked was found in the transmutations of the alchemist’s furnace, within the doctrine of signatures deftly manipulated by the magus or perhaps in the study of the position of celestial bodies and their effects on the sublunary world. Some of the new vantage points also sidestepped natural philosophical systems in favour of interpreting the natural world through a purely empirical lens. Thus, the arithmetic of the counting house, the geometry of fortifications, the urban grids used to lay out new cities and the mechanics of pulleys and levers were just as characteristic of the seventeenth-century scientific enterprise as the philosophers’ musings. The New Science of experimental natural philosophy emerged which sought to derive its postulates from knowledge gained through experiments rather than a priori first principles, as Aristotelianism had done. By the midseventeenth century, when Gassendi, Descartes, and Boyle were articulating the parameters of their mechanical philosophies, the experiment and its witnessed demonstration became – not without its problems – an integral part of mechanical philosophy (Gaukroger 352–99). For some mechanical philosophers and experimentalists, mathematics provided more than Euclidean demonstrations; it was the analytical language through which real physical propositions could be manipulated. There remained, nonetheless, a sizable conservative camp still comfortable with Scholastic Aristotelianism, but which increasingly realized that aspects of it were in need of reform. During this period, aspects of what we now call “science” still held on to its Aristotelian definition as the knowledge attained by logical demonstration and which entailed a search for the essential nature of things. For natural philosophers – and this includes many university-trained physicians – the era was permeated by an epistemic uncertainty and increased skepticism. There was a fine gradation among these persistent Aristotelians. Among the Jesuits, for example, proposals ranged from the suitability of applying mathematics in natural philosophy, as debated by Benito Pereira and Christopher Clavius, to the metaphysical refinements posited by Francisco Suárez, the hybrid cosmology of Giovanni Battista Riccioli, and the effusive demonstrations of Athanasius Kircher. The historical study of science has conceptualized instances of significant change in different ways. Some have suggested that changes of this kind are best described as revolutions – scientific, chemical, Darwinian,


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quantum. Some, following Thomas Kuhn, have described radical changes in scientific thought as “paradigm shifts,” while still others have used sociological tools to unpack the social processes involved in knowledge creation (Henry 8–11). But where some see dramatic shifts, others see continuity and argue that during the scientific revolution, changes in the way knowledge of nature was created were far more gradual than the label “revolution” suggests. Yet what remains difficult to challenge is the notion that, between roughly 1500 and 1750, there were profound changes in the way Europeans developed explanations about the natural world and where the epistemic foundation of this knowledge lay, including new knowledge about how the human body works. The very foundation of science and medicine was shifting, yet not inexorably towards the parameters that make up modern science – as some linear historical narratives would have us believe – but into an uncertain terrain of competing natural philosophical systems following new methodologies and epistemologies. It was an era marked by epistemic unease – some would qualify it as “confusion” – which was both propelled and challenged by skepticism. Proposals for alternative world systems and natural philosophies proliferated like arbitrios laid before a Spanish king and were met with similar misgivings. The essays in this collection find in the theatre of the Spanish Golden Age convincing expressions of the epistemic unease that characterized the seventeenth century. Likewise, they show that theatrical practices embraced the pragmatic and empiricist attitude embodied in the technological developments of the era. Rather than showing that Golden Age theatre engaged with the specific postulates of a new philosophical proposal, these essays effectively situate theatrical productions in a cultural context where both playwrights and audiences understood the broader epistemic issues of the seventeenth-century scientific enterprise. This is the clue the authors of these essays have discovered behind the theatre curtain. My objective in this coda is to recapitulate some recent trends in historical studies of science in Spain, distill what the essays in this volume contribute to this historical discourse, and provide some suggestions for further avenues of investigation into cultural studies of science, medicine, and technology in Golden Age Spain.

• Current historical studies of Spanish science of the seventeenth century take place within new historical frameworks also shared by the authors

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in this collection. The initial step towards formulating these new frameworks was dismantling a question posed at least since the nineteenth century by historians of the Spanish Golden Age: how could it be that the cultural flourishing that earned Spain its “Golden Age” did not coincide with an equally impressive flourishing in science? Variants of this question had been formulated along the lines of, why were there no Galileos and Newtons in Spain? Or, why did Spain not contribute to the scientific revolution? These questions were seemingly straightforward enough, but they masked several presuppositions contemporary historians and literary scholars are happy to challenge. The original questions assumed that scientific thought, just like works of literature and art, are cultural markers that ought to progress in line, or not too out of line, with each other. Yet by accepting the notion that scientific inquiry in Spain lagged behind developments elsewhere in Europe that lay the foundation for modern science, and relying on a modern understanding of scientific progress as something that successful nation-states aspire to achieve, this model of progress made Spain an anomaly. Finally, the set of questions was predicated on very specific criteria for what constituted flourishing scientific inquiry during the seventeenth century. This often meant singling out those developments that led to modern science at the expense of other avenues of inquiry into nature that were deemed to be “pseudoscience,” considered old fashioned, or pejoratively labelled as “Baroque.” And yet for all the easily dismantled presuppositions implied in these questions, these questions were not without their merits, particularly once sketchy notions about historical cycles of flourish and decline, whiggish assumptions about the scientific enterprise, and nonsensical national comparisons were abandoned. What the original questions achieved was to point to a very interesting locus for historical investigation: the cultural effervescence of the Spanish Golden Age and its relationship to the dynamic panorama of seventeenth-century science. Historical studies of science in early modern Spain have now coalesced around the notion that it has been limiting – some would say wrong – to approach this field of study by trying to answer these questions, or acquiescing to its presuppositions.2 For example, answering categorically in the affirmative that it is in fact possible to tell what flourishing science and medicine looked like during the seventeenth century is only possible if we are willing to establish a comparative framework that measures Spain not only against its European counterparts, but also against the contributions of a few scholars whose articulated theories remained relevant over centuries of knowledge-making to inform


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modern science. This requires pegging developments in Spain to a unitary grand narrative of science – only to watch them not measure up – or, more perniciously, allowing that narrative to serve as the script for our study. In fact, the very notion of a unitary grand narrative in science, including the predominant narrative of the scientific revolution, has come under increased scrutiny. Nevertheless, studies of seventeenth-century Spanish science still present a bleak picture when answering why the New Science, with its emphasis on experiments and mechanical philosophy, was so slowly received in Spain. It is difficult to challenge the historical facts: there was a precipitous decline in the publication of scientific books, university enrollments collapsed, and inquisitorial postures stiffened against non-Catholic authors. These events were all punctuated by Philip III and Philip IV’s general lack of interest in patronizing scientific or medical works (López Piñero 371–6, 388). It seemed then that just as Spain was growing politically and militarily isolated, it was growing scientifically isolated from the rest of Europe as well. José María López Piñero framed the reception of the New Science in Spain as the product of two opposing camps: traditionalists and moderates. The moderates would emerge in the later part of the seventeenth century as the novatores, who would embrace some aspects of the New Science, while the traditionalists remained the dominant voices at the universities. The subjugation of the disciplines of physics and astronomy to metaphysical and cosmological paradigms intertwined with theological doctrines as the principal impediment for a positive reception of new theories (López Piñero 435). Víctor Navarro Brotons, echoing López Piñero, argued that scientific isolation was a consequence of the stiffening religious postures aimed at insulating Spain from heterodox ideas, yet he finds a bright spot at the Jesuit Imperial College in Madrid where foreign professors served as a conduit for new ideas. Therefore, the rise of Baconian or Galilean experimentalism and the mechanical philosophies of Descartes and Gassendi were not unknown in Spain, but these developments were filtered through the Jesuit lens rather than through the lay institutions of the previous century. Recent studies of Jesuit science in Spain show that the Jesuit engagement with science operated on several registers at once: a scientific one we could relate to the work of the philosophers mentioned above, but also a representational one in which the object, experiment, or demonstration stood in for a broader web of representations intended to lead to religious reflection about God’s creation and humans’ place in

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it (Marcaida 202). While all the explanations for Spain’s modest or delayed engagement with the New Science described above – nationwide decline, scientific isolation, and Jesuit-mediated reception – can be convincing, there remain a number of historical questions that perhaps cultural studies can answer. New perspectives brought to the field from cultural and social history, literary studies, and the social sciences have led us to reconsider the whole of the scientific and medical enterprise in Spain, not just as a subset of a grander narrative of scientific and medical progress, but as a culturally embedded enterprise that may or may not have dovetailed with developments elsewhere. This approach builds upon a longstanding and rigorous tradition of archival research that has defined Spanish scholarship and that is essential for studies in this field. The result has been an invigorated field that has added to its roots in intellectual history flexible and creative approaches to investigate science and medicine in all registers of the human experience. This includes approaching science as something that resonated beyond the intellectual registers of elites and also had repercussions in other segments of society and areas of cultural expression. The essays in this volume explore one slice of this range – the theatre – and find that certain aspects of plays, their performance, and audience reception are understood best by relating them to concerns that also preoccupied natural philosophers and mathematical practitioners. Is sense perception a reliable foundation for knowledge? How can technological and mathematical tools establish some order on unruly reality? What type of knowledge is necessary to help us live in an empirically defined world? Longstanding analytical categories have been reconsidered. Our contemporary concept of “Spain” as a nation-state would not have been familiar to actors – or anyone else – in the seventeenth century. Thinking of Spain as a composite monarchy, in John Elliott’s canonical words, has helped scholars disentangle the geographical, cultural, and governance contours of the varied polity of seventeenth-century Spain. It was a global empire, but one ruled as distinct kingdoms, viceroyalties, and corporative bodies, each with their own ardently defended privileges and rights. Governance was thus an intensely local affair, though local rulers also had to contend with corporative bodies capable of exerting significant centralizing power, such as the king’s royal councils, the Inquisition, and the military. Within the many centres of this composite monarchy, the small slice of patronage devoted to what we would describe today as science was given out in ways that supported local


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initiatives or responded to specific corporative interests. For example, when we consider the cosmographical developments taking place at the Casa de la Contratación, we must circumscribe these efforts to Castile and la empresa de las Indias (the enterprise of the Indies). Shifting the angle of vision from a Peninsular one to one that encompasses Spain’s Atlantic and Pacific reach has allowed scholars to conceptualize the spaces delimited as oceans of interactions, that is, as dynamic sites of knowledge production where Europeans first rehearsed how to incorporate vast amounts of new knowledge into the ossified genres inherited from antiquity and polished by humanists; these “oceans of exchange” were the sites of the first globalization. Early in the history of globalization studies (the year 2000!) Juan Pimentel reminded us that Spanish science during the sixteenth and seventieth century served the ends of a universal monarchy intent on implementing and representing a Spanish empire of the world and therefore put in place scientific programs that were not intended to reveal new knowledge about the world to the world, but to serve the empire (Pimentel 22). This knowledge was rarely, if ever, intended for unfettered public consumption. How far into the seventeenth century this proprietary attitude prevailed is still very much an open historical question. But as a result of Spain’s focus on its empire, the contours of the scientific enterprise underwritten by the Spanish monarchy did not articulate the same ideals of openness expressed by Francis Bacon and the savants of the seventeenth-century republic of letters. The New World venture demanded new institutions, such as the Casa de la Contratación and the Council of Indies, where knowledge was compiled and reshaped, to serve the demands of the empire (Portuondo 2009, 103–40). It also stretched the limits of the genres associated with certain scientific disciplines, with herbals or compilations of materia medica being perhaps the most striking examples. Throughout the sixteenth century, in sites such as the Colegio Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, on the expedition of Francisco Hernández and in Nicolás Monardes’s garden in Seville, it became apparent that the Dioscoridian way of cataloguing and describing plants did not adequately encompass the knowledge about medicinal plants transmitted by indigenous informants (Pardo-Tomás 2002, 122–6, 146–51). In a somewhat analogous and parallel process, Northern European naturalists were also developing new taxonomies and modes of botanical representations in the hope of creating a comprehensive catalogue of the plant kingdom that truly represented the European flora. By the seventeenth century, printed illustrated botanical books were making the results of these efforts available to a broader

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audience, with the exotic origins of certain remedies and poisons carefully noted in the plants’ descriptions. In her essay in this volume, Lourdes Albuixech finds in theatrical productions echoes of knowledge about poisons gleaned from Andrés Laguna’s Pedacio Dioscorides or Gil de Zamora’s Liber contra venena. This shows that the erudite new catalogues compiled by naturalists also found a receptive audience among the playwrights of the era. The material therein was intelligible to these playwrights and to the public who attended their plays. For all the attempts to homogenize the peninsula’s cultural and religious profile, early modern Spain remained Europe’s most multicultural monarchy; expulsions of non-Catholics and proclamations of orthodox Catholicism, particularly during the Counterreformation, did not obliterate the vestiges of centuries of cross-acculturation between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. As Ryan Szpiech shows in the chapter that opens this volume, the scientific and medical legacy of Iberian Jews and Muslims continued to be an important strand of seventeenth-century Spanish natural philosophical thought, and particularly of astronomical and medical practice. Knowledge exchange in the early modern Hispanic world also involved transcultural interactions whereby Amerindians, Filipinos, and Africans, among others, moulded the nature and manner of the exchange. The characters of “the Jew,” “the Moor,” and “the Amerindian” featured in Golden Age theatre as “the other,” whose presence destabilized established discourses about national identity and colonial projects (Castillo 247–8). They also stood in as agents possessing arcane knowledge and, as Albuixech shows, could use this knowledge in ways that did not conform to accepted moral codes. The exchange of goods that crisscrossed this multicultural landscape has also been singled out as a particular kind of knowledge-making process. These studies show that as commodities travelled between cultures they were reinscribed within European cultural norms, but also within the genre of natural history. Commodities travelled accompanied by a cultural capital that proved to be very fluid as it was assimilated or rejected by a receiving culture (Aram 5–6). Studying how a commodity, animal, instrument, or archaeological artefact was perceived as it transitioned between cultures can reveal not just vastly different cultural norms, but also distinct natural historical regimes. Marcy Norton’s Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures shows how indigenous and AfricanAmerican conceptions and uses of tobacco and chocolate intersected with and influenced the development of a European sensorial aesthetic that eventually shaped the cultural perceptions of the new products.


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Norton was able to do this by taking seriously the intangible aspects of human interaction with things, such as taste, smell, and unwritten social conventions that came about from the association between different cultural and racial groups. As Miruna Achim explains further when referring to artefacts of cultural exchange, “the objects ... lead double or multiple lives at the interfaces of medicine and religion, occult philosophy and quantified science, physiology and politics, nature and culture, art and engineering, commerce and pharmacy” (112). Within the parameters of European humanist natural history, this meant assigning the artefact a place within the myriad of then-prevailing taxonomic systems and explaining its significance in the natural order. As John Elliott reminded us decades ago, “it was not the innocent but the selective eye which first viewed America” (17). Studies of these encounters have taught us that writing about the natural history of the New World involved mediating between the novelty of nature being described, the literary genres used to describe it, and a humanistic sensitivity that also situated persons and artefacts in conversation with ancient authorities (Pagden 89–96). The first wave of globalization brought to Europe’s doorstep a heretofore unimagined variety of artefacts. Once reinscribed within European cultural and natural philosophical paradigms, these artefacts were carefully catalogued and displayed, sometimes simply for the sake of ostentation, but also as a way of putting on display the knowledge embedded in them. Collections spoke to a culture keen on lavish visual display and theatricality. Historical perspectives adopted from the history of the book, art history, and cultural studies have explained the development of new techniques of reading and collecting vast amounts of information contained in texts and artefacts alike. Collecting naturalia and artificialia served as another way of organizing knowledge that used the representational power of the object to recall a web of associations between the natural object, others akin to it, the wider world, and the Divine plan. In Spain, studies of the collectors and alchemists Vicencio Juan de Lastanosa and Juan de Espina have begun to shed the mythology that arose around these figures. They are now studied as exemplars of the culture of collecting that became so typical of the era (López Pérez 82–100; Morán and Checa, 205–11). The theatres of science and medicine were many and varied in the seventeenth century. In fact, recent historiography has interpreted early modern experimental practices as performances. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, in their study of the experimental practices at the Royal

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Society, would have us believe that the New Science, with its focus on public demonstration and experimentation, was in essence a performance, a kind of epistemic stage where knowledge was proposed and negotiated within the gentlemanly culture of the Royal Society. Meanwhile, at the Collegio Romano, Athanasius Kircher found in spectacle and display a way to create and convey knowledge, but, in his case, intentionally cloaked as wonder and meant to inspire in the viewer piety and reflection. In Florence, the members of the Accademia del Cimento conducted their theatre of experiments in private and only revealed their findings to the public in the carefully crafted, (nearly) anonymous tableaux of the Saggi di Naturali Esperienze (1667). In Spain, the lack of an analogous institution devoted to presenting experiments to the public makes it difficult to establish parallels or even to explore the performativity of science. Yet in the cases of Lastanosa and Espina we find individuals who displayed their collections to achieve maximum theatrical effect, often mimicking stage effects to inspire wonder in their carefully selected audience. Following Seth Kimmel’s argument in this volume, the technology and stagecraft of collection display functioned as “tools of argumentation and persuasion,” but also celebrated the uncertainty that the rare objects displayed were meant to convey. In recent decades, the history of early modern medicine has also expanded beyond the study of medical ideas of university-trained physicians to encompass a broad range of practitioners, their conceptualizations about the human body, and vernacular healing traditions. As mechanistic conceptions of the body began to make inroads into the established medical canon during the seventeenth century, the period became one of ongoing negotiation between this view, Galenic humoral theories, and a myriad of vitalistic notions. The theoretical aspects of these polemics played out in public controversies, such as those surrounding the Carta filosófica (1687) of Juan de Cabriada, and also permeated the realm of medical therapeutics. In England, for example, debates pitted Galenists, with their focus on dietetics as the means of restoring humoral constitutional balance, against Paracelsians and their emphasis on chemical remedies. By contrast, in Spain, chemical remedies were not a novelty, but had been inherited from the Islamic tradition and integrated into medical practice. The Paracelsian approach simply confirmed the validity of iatrochemical remedies Spanish doctors knew about through the work of pseudo-Llull, Vilanova, and Rupescissa. Anglophone historiography tends to associate the new emphasis on chemical medicine with the rise of experimental philosophy. This might


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have been the case in England, but not in Spain where alchemical laboratories had been distilling simples and making chemical medicines for centuries (Rey Bueno 46). A focus on the patient and the agency they exerted in the medical marketplace has also received much attention, with a greater understanding of the role of gender, sexuality, and the female body now central to the field. Recovering the “invisible healer” – mostly women or healers without academic credentials – has opened up the field to new conceptions of the body and disease that had previously gone unacknowledged by the historiography (Fissell 1–17; Cabré and Ortiz 17–24). The study of the plurality of medical cultures of the early modern Spanish empire reveals points of commonality and conflict emanating from multicultural understandings of disease and the medicalized body. So far, the studies have concentrated on ferreting out – where the sources exist – the plurality of culturally embedded medical beliefs and practices. In this variegated tableau of medical cultures, academic medicine emerges as a marginal, albeit prestigious, medical practice, yet centre stage had yielded to intensely local medical practices and a variety of practitioners (Slater et al. 2014, 2–4). The Inquisition has always loomed large in the intellectual panorama of early modern Spanish science, but it was not until José Pardo-Tomás’s seminal 1991 study that the role of the institution was assessed systematically. Recent Inquisition studies have tended to focus on recapturing the subaltern voices of crypto-Jewish and Muslim populations, as well as from witches, homosexuals, and women, that lay “silenced” in the archives. For historians of science, this focus on subaltern actors has placed the spotlight on practitioners of disciplines formerly labelled by the historiography as pseudosciences, such as alchemists, astrologers, and a great variety of unlicensed healers. However, in the case of these practitioners, as in the case of other voices recaptured from inquisitorial archives, a note of caution is in order. Their presence in the archives should not be read as wholesale indictments by the Inquisition against these disciplines. Each case should be interpreted as a particular instance of potential heresy; the specific circumstances of each case often mattered most. For example, astrologers only caught the Inquisition’s attention if their practice engaged in judiciary astrology and had political repercussions. After all, placing these disciplines in the category of pseudosciences and considering their practitioners as subaltern are the result of constructs of historians’ making that do not map directly to categories used by the Inquisition.

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Defining the role of the Inquisition in science is complicated by the range of genres in which natural philosophical speculation was discussed. In Spain, speculation about alternative cosmologies often took place in biblical commentaries and not in specialized scientific treatises. The commentary genre attracted the Inquisition’s attention because it presupposed that theological issues were discussed therein. This explains why Diego de Zuñiga’s Commentary on Job (1584), which contained an endorsement of the Copernican thesis, would get the censor’s attention – particularly after the heliocentric “error” was censored in Rome. What is clear is that the censorial control exercised by the Inquisition over the circulation of scientific and medical ideas was more moderate than what earlier historiographies suggested. Indeed, the works of some Protestant scientists and doctors were banned, but this was mostly on the basis of their religious beliefs and not the contents of their books. Some works were “rehabilitated” via expurgations and others were allowed to circulate as long as auctore damnatus was written on the front cover (Pardo-Tomás 1991, 343–7). Observers of early modern Spain have often noted the utilitarian character of its scientific and medical enterprises (Menéndez y Pelayo xliv–xlv). During the sixteenth century, there was an emphasis on the practical aspects of certain disciplines that could be marshalled in support of the imperial project. For example, the Habsburg monarchy bestowed patronage on the more utilitarian aspects of astronomy – cosmography and celestial navigation – rather than the more theoretical aspects of the discipline, such as mathematical models of planetary motions. Whereas in Northern Europe the mathematical and aesthetic parameters of a new, lavishly engraved cartography were being developed, in Spain the cosmographers at the Casa de la Contratación focused their efforts on drafting manuscript maps designed to serve the needs of the Armada de Indias, which were never meant to be published. Mechanics and geometry were taught in university settings, but the real-world application of this knowledge was rarely effectively emphasized in the academic setting, with the notable exception of the disciplines taught at the court’s Real Academia de Matemáticas, whose classes Lope de Vega attended. Instead, the practical applications of these and other mathematical disciplines were transmitted in Spain and elsewhere by technical experts who more often than not had learned their trades as apprentices. As Pamela Long pointed out, the theoretical knowledge of mechanics and the practical aspects of geometry that allowed imagined machines to be reduced to practice were exchanged in “trading zones”


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composed early on of distinct groups of artisans and learned humanists, groups that later “moved closer together in terms of their empirical values, their knowledge base (...) and with designing and fabricating or constructing physical things” (95–96). These zones coalesced around particular projects and sites, such as fortifications, navigation, and war machinery. Alejandro García-Reidy’s essay in this collection shows how theatre architecture and the tramoyas that made the sophisticated spectacles possible were the product of similar, highly specialized, itinerant craft workers who transmitted this knowledge orally. These artisans clearly formed part of the cadre of experts operating at the intersection of technology and art, whose professional profile increased during the sixteenth century and became an essential component of European princely courts (Smith 19). One of the pressing questions investigated by contemporary historians of Spanish science concerns the role of sense perception and empiricism in the knowledge regime of an ever-expanding empire. Observing nature attentively and learning from these observations was nothing new; what was new to the early modern era, however, was the scale of the projects put in place to systematize the collection of empirical knowledge. Two scholars of the sixteenth-century Spanish empire, Antonio Barrera-Osorio and Arndt Brendecke, have described how experiential knowledge and eyewitness testimony became the cornerstones of an empirical epistemology – if we can refer to it by this shorthand – that permitted the rapid global expansion of Spanish and Portuguese empires. In the New World natural histories of Fernández de Oviedo, Cristóbal Acosta, and Nicolás Monardes we find the contours of this empirical epistemology, albeit one enmeshed with humanistic scholarship in a way that defined the style of presentation and demanded an ongoing conversation with ancient authorities (Gerbi 255–305). It also counted towards securing the institutional support of the monarchy of Philip II, who found that it yielded useful products in botanical gardens, distillation laboratories, and cosmographical studios. Stephen Rupp’s assessment in this volume of playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s depiction of Ambrogio Spinola leaves little doubt that the commander was meant to be seen as operating within a wholly rational and empirical world view. More important, Spinola’s Neostoic, impassive view of the disorder of war suggests to Rupp that these traits are virtues of a new type of warrior, who is formed not just in the field of Mars, but can also assess the reality of war empirically and apply to it mathematical principles.

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Yet an empirical epistemology such as Spinola’s also had many critics in Spain, who saw as problematic the pursuit of empirical knowledge for its own sake and without a concomitant natural philosophy. It presented not just philosophical problems but theological ones as well. The problem, as the critics saw it, was how to integrate this empirical knowledge into a coherent natural philosophical system when the old approaches began to be perceived as inadequate (Portuondo, “Early Modern” 202–5). Yet this empirical epistemology did not have a prophet in Spain nor did the Spanish consider it a viable philosophical program. The role of prophet would be played by Francis Bacon during the early decades of the seventeenth century. His writings on the subject placed empirical knowledge as the very cornerstone of the new experimental science. It explains why he is often the point of departure for many literary studies or histories of science whose arguments rely on the rise of empiricism and its influence on cultural productions during the seventeenth century. Yet studying the Spanish case illustrates the obvious: Bacon’s Novum Organum (1620) was not the starting point of an empirical epistemology, but rather the first coherent articulation of a knowledge program in which knowledge gained empirically and confirmed by experimentation formed the epistemic basis of science. This empirical epistemology stood side by side with a commitment to the tools that mathematized some aspects of the tangible world and helped produce useful artefacts, whether they were fortresses, ships, or the mechanisms for producing theatrical spectacles. As García-Reidy, Slater, and Kimmel show in this volume, there is little doubt that the community of “theatrical engineers” (pardon the anachronism) who staged the máquina barroca (Baroque machine) of Spanish Golden Age theatre shared a sophisticated understanding of geometry, mechanics, perspective, and architecture. Their mathematical and technological expertise was the handmaiden of theatre and marshalled the production of spectacle. Furthermore, as John Slater argues here, their use of arithmetic and geometry speaks to a willingness to embrace the rationality and order inherent in a gridded space, whether on a stage, in a garden, or in a city plan. The mathematical arts brought order and allowed for the realization of spaces that could previously only be imagined. Yet in the theatre, these ordered spaces were meant to serve as counterpoints to a much more disordered reality, let alone the disordered world served up in a comedia. Along similar lines, Elvira Vilches shows how the language and techniques used in manuals of commercial arithmetic were echoed in theatrical language in the form of rhetorical


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mathematical equations to explain relationships between subjectivities: love as having the incommensurability of a geometrical point or of an infinite quantity, time on earth as an amortizing loan, or the logic of salvation expressed in mathematical terms. What then does identifying this empirical epistemology and interest in practical mathematics as important characteristics of Golden Age theatre tell us about the Spanish scientific enterprise during the seventeenth century? It principally makes manifest the extent to which the scientific and technological projects Spain embarked on to consolidate its empire in Europe, America, and Asia became imprinted in broader cultural registers at home. The rationality implied by geographical grids of latitude and longitudes, the ability to design and construct effective fortifications, and the skill to administer accounting systems that reckoned the spoils of empire seemed to have suggested to Golden Age playwrights and their audiences that these were valid approaches promising to bring control and order to an otherwise rapidly changing and destabilized world. Mathematics, geometry, mechanics, perspective, and architecture, and the derivative disciplines of accounting, fencing, tailoring, siege strategy, and fortifications, were represented as tools to counter the disorder resulting from the introduction of new and different people, places, and things into Spanish culture. I am not suggesting that this empiricism and use of mathematical practices also implied a commitment to transforming into predictive mathematical models relationships involving matter, space, and time (something that may be implied by the use of the word “science” to describe applied mathematics). Largely as a result of Aristotle’s ambiguity concerning the adequacy of mathematical demonstrations in natural philosophy, these types of models had been restricted to the fields of mixed sciences: optics, mechanics, and astronomy. This began to change during the latter half of the seventeenth century with the success of Galileo’s work in mechanics, Kepler’s laws of celestial mechanics, and Descartes’s convincing use of geometrical proofs to support his mechanical philosophy. But the change also had to do with the changing social role of the mathematical practitioner and the rise of mechanical philosophy (Bennett 12–20). The establishment of the Real Academia de Matemáticas speaks to the more prominent profile of mathematical practitioners in late-sixteenth-century Spain. But the increase in patronage and social profile of mathematical practitioners in Spain does not mean that the language of mathematizing nature translated well into the world of the natural philosopher there as well. It is also essential

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to point out that these mathematical disciplines can be practiced with little or no natural philosophical commitments underpinning them. They function – quite happily and productively – in the theory-free zone of an empirical epistemology. In fact, the theory-free empirical epistemology of sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century Spain might explain why something we do not find represented in its theatre, unlike in seventeenth-century English theatre – I am thinking here of Thomas Shadwell’s The Virtuoso (1676) – was the form of empiricism that would lay the foundation of the New Science. Absent from the Spanish stage, to the best of my knowledge, are any references to or representations of experiments being used to investigate natural phenomena.

• Having peered behind the curtain of seventeenth-century Spanish science, the historian is baffled by the number of actors, sets, and props waiting to take the stage. Discarded scripts lie about, having been rehearsed but found wanting. What is clear is that clues to the whole spectacle will not be declaimed by an actor stepping forth as the narrator. The studies in this volume have approached theatrical productions of the Spanish Golden Age in search of these clues and have uncovered a previously unrecognized discourse that engages certain aspects of early modern science and technology. Historians of science readily recognize aspects of this discourse, among them artisans as the agents transmitting technological expertise, practical mathematics as a rationalizing tool, and a general epistemic anxiety about the nature of reality. Nonetheless, many questions remain unanswered and many avenues unexplored. Perhaps clues to answering these questions lie in the relationship that the spectacle seeks to establish with the audience and how the audience interprets the performance. This interaction takes place in the “shared universe,” as Enrique García Santo-Tomás has described it, at the intersections of science and culture. The relationship between the two may manifest itself through an engagement with social preoccupations not directly related with the spheres of scientific or medical practice and theory. Would a more integrated perspective when studying scientific and literary texts yield new explanations about this shared universe?3 An integrated approach calls for setting aside disciplinary distinctions that divide the study of scientific texts from that of literary ones and urges scholars to move beyond an analytical approach that only seeks to identify influences of one corpus on the other, say, like spotting hints of


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Neoplatonic cosmology in Sor Juana’s poems or unpacking the rhetorical strategies deployed by Copernicus in his dedication of De revolutionibus to the pope. A more integrated perspective seeks common traits among a broad range of cultural productions that will elucidate thematic and stylistic points of intersection (Aït-Touati, “Littérature” 33). Some proponents of this type of intertextual study insist that scientific and literary works should simply be considered “texts,” and studied in similar ways without ascribing more value to one or the other. Yet in my view, this analytical egalitarianism risks forgetting the importance of the medium; a play is not written or experienced in the same way as a novel. Neither is a treatise on metaphysics written or read the same way as a gunnery manual. When the study of texts inhabiting a shared cultural universe is done conscientiously, it involves the judicious application of methodologies from both science and literature criticism. This might mean applying textual analysis to scientific discourses, but it also means bringing into the textual analysis the technical, mathematical, and theoretical aspects of the scientific discourse in question. Likewise, it means recognizing that texts wholly produced and intended for popular audiences engage with science and medicine in ways and for reasons profoundly different from those that drive the natural philosopher and healer. The engagement may be direct and unambiguous, but it might also disguise these references as they address different audiences and make different points. So, while searching for “influences” is out of fashion, the challenge that remains is how to identify the cultural referents within scientific discourses, or alternatively, the scientific or medical ones within literature. Science and culture might share a universe, but it is one where scientific and medical ideas are expressed using distinct linguistic conventions that can migrate across genres. Vilches’s essay in this collection is an excellent example of this. She shows how when mathematical concepts and terminology crossed over into the broader social register, discipline-specific language accrued new meanings as it switched genres and faced new audiences. Following the trail of this type of linguistic migration reveals how different elements of society were engaging with mathematical concepts and shows the measure in which quantification had become associated with religious ideas. Similarly, García SantoTomás has shown (2014), for example, how the diffusion of Galileo’s ideas concerning a heliocentric universe and his telescopic discoveries, particularly those of the Sidereus nuncius (1610), diffused into other cultural registers of Golden Age Spain through the mediation of the Jesuit scholars of the Colegio Imperial de Madrid – a situation not without its

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irony given the Roman Jesuits’ initial ambivalence towards the telescope and its rejection of Copernicanism. This study not only uncovers the level of familiarity of these novel scientific ideas within Spanish literary circles, which they disseminated to the popular audience through their poetry and plays, it also shows how the language associated with the telescope and the decentred universe it attempted to demonstrate was adopted and adapted to the social discourse of the era. García SantoTomás explains that the telescope, because of its dual capacity to make a distant object appear close but also distort the image, destabilized notions of reality and played into a pervasive preoccupation of Spanish thinkers with reality and illusion, truth, and lies. It was an era, as historians and literary scholars have shown, in which cultural production was permeated with concerns about the absolute value of truth and articulated by the engaño/desengaño binomial. Yet questions remain: was the engaño/desengaño binomial also something that concerned Spanish natural philosophers? And if so, what solutions did they propose? Contemporary literary studies aim for a deeper understanding of how cross-cultural influences operate, not just in the register of language or style, but also in the epistemic domain. Likewise, understanding and explaining knowledge-making practices across disciplines is at the heart of the history and philosophy of science. Yet in the history of science, the lens is often trained upon a much more narrowly defined locus interrogandi and not, as is often the case in literary studies, upon the whole cultural milieu. Historians of science tend to ask circumspect questions, such as: did so and so draw from works written in other disciplines? Did he/she exchange correspondence with so and so? The same historian will also ask: did the scientist who built this experimental apparatus draw on artisanal knowledge to fashion it? What rhetorical strategies did the scientist employ to show his argument in the most favourable light? Literary studies and art history, in contrast, often operate under the presumption that knowledge-making regimes migrate with remarkable fluidity between very different types of cultural productions and the broader culture in general. Given these premises, it is generally an unproblematic proposition for literary studies to seek referents within a much broader range of cultural registers, whether or not there are direct linkages to the work in question. Yet lest we dilute history to the point where everything is an influence on everything else, it remains essential to identify the epistemic or knowledgemaking regimes at play in a given work. We should ask whether the epistemic anxiety displayed in the theatre of the Spanish Golden Age


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was the same as the one that concerned natural philosophers. Yes, they both questioned the reliability of sensual perception and adopted mathematics to establish order, but were they getting at the same thing? Was one simply mimicking the other? To what extent can we consider crosscultural influences to be wholly reciprocal? Literary critics have a keen understanding of the use of language and the sophisticated ways it is deployed to convey ideas and emotions. How is that which is unseen or even entirely unknown conveyed to the audience? How do analogies and metaphors function within genres? How do authors use them to situate an argument in a particular context, or to bring assumptions accepted in one field into another? Similar questions are also valid to ask of scientific texts. Since the development of Scholasticism, linguistic precision, careful attention to language, and an awareness of the power of rhetoric have been part and parcel of natural philosophy. It should come as no surprise that this continued to be the case in the early modern era. Yet while many advocates of the new experimental science, such as Bacon, denounced the convoluted constructs of the Scholastics in what became almost routine denunciations of their excesses, their call for a science expressed in simple and clear language should not be mistaken as a call for abandoning the careful attention to rhetoric that has characterized science since antiquity – and still does (Skouen 247–53). Words and their usage matter and the challenge continues for historians of science to pay attention to semantics and rhetoric, not just by identifying what certain words meant, but the implications they carried in the shared scientific, medical, and cultural universe. Early modern natural philosophers and physicians, like writers of all stripes, selected carefully among the genres and rhetorical tools at their disposal to help articulate their ideas and situate their arguments. This means that we must read them with a profound understanding of what it implied to write within a genre, the thematic strictures it imposed, and the expectations it raised in the reader. A stellar example is Slater’s reading of Cabriada’s Carta (1686); exaggerations, foils, misrepresentation of accepted wisdom, and veiled references pour out of his reading of a text that for years had been read by historians of science as Spain’s first didactic manifesto in favour of the New Science. Since the practices of science and medicine are culturally embedded, it is fair to ask whether something is gained by applying periodization labels and style concepts, such as “Renaissance” or “Baroque,” developed in one field of study to another. Do we understand Athanasius

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Kircher better when we associate his science with the Baroque? At its most beneficial, the cultural descriptors serve as a reminder of scientific practices as embedded in a given milieu and draw out similarities and relationships between different cultural productions. But they can also obfuscate or problematize needlessly when asked to do too much, particularly when they claim to identify essences or mentalities of a given era. The style concepts are most productive when they are not used as broad characterizations but focus instead on specific points of intersection between styles, such as in an image or poem, and explore the ways in which they mutually reinforce each other. For Pimentel and Marcaida, describing Spanish seventeenth-century science as “Baroque” points precisely to a different context than the one in which the tenets of modern science were, or are supposed to have been, forged (141). It was a scenario where emotions and the cult of wonders and spectacle existed hand in hand with the dispassionate – if we believe this qualifier – observation of experiment. Meanwhile, Ofer Gal and Raz Chen-Morris insist that they do not embrace the term “Baroque” in their study of seventeenth-century science for what it suggests stylistically, but rather use the term as a reminder that science is also a cultural production, as well as to highlight the responses to the challenges of empiricism and mathematization of nature, which were often far from neat, orderly, rational, or inevitable and not without tensions, struggles, and paradoxes (10–11). One salient feature of seventeenth-century science was its increasing reliance on images and the central role of ocular demonstration and visuality. From the early sixteenth century’s modest use of illustration – the occasional depiction of nested celestial spheres, geometrical drawings, or rudimentary botanical sketches – the use of images exploded in the following century. Investigating this phenomenon in the Spanish context, José Ramón Marcaida López has explored the relationship between image and sight through artistic depictions of natural objects, particularly among Jesuit scholars associated with the Colegio Imperial de Madrid. His central claim is provocative: the project of the artist and the scientist were not dissimilar. They both sought to make hidden things visible and knowable. For the artist, this might have involved evoking associations implied by symbols, while for the natural philosopher it could be revealing natural phenomena that lay hidden from sense experience. For the artist, the objective was to provoke a profound emotional response, while for the scientist it was to guide the student of nature to greater knowledge and insight into the natural world. In the


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case of the Jesuit naturalist López studies, Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, the study of nature was meant to be accompanied by spiritual meditation and the exploration of theological tenets. The use of images as explanatory devices in science belies a greater preoccupation with increasing reliance on empirical knowledge in natural philosophical explanations, and thus the need to understand the epistemic limits of knowledge gained through sense perception. Not only did optical illusions make it patently obvious that the sense of vision can fool even the most disciplined observer, but they also demonstrated that human vision was limited in what it could see. Nature not only hid her secrets – as Bacon explained – but often hid them in the infinitesimally small or immensely distant. While some natural philosophers tried to overcome these limitations with new instruments, such as the telescope and the microscope, others knew that the only way to surmount these limits was by constructing in the mind’s eye images of what could be possible. Descartes and other advocates of the mechanical philosophy imagined invisible, twirling, and colliding particles and made them constitutive of their systems. Historians of science understand these to be heuristic devices and yet debate endlessly about the philosopher’s commitment to their existence. To some literary scholars, however, they are fictional constructs and should be studied as such, prompting the questions: how distant is natural philosophical speculation from imaginative fiction? Do they operate in similar registers in the knowledge-making process? Elizabeth Spiller and others have investigated the knowledge-making function of imaginative fiction. They find in its deliberate play between truth and invention that the genre of fiction shares with science a desire to recreate experience, observations, and experiments, so that the reader both witnesses and vicariously partakes in the knowledgemaking process. In both speculative natural philosophy and fiction, authors imagine new worlds ruled by laws, customs, and mores of their own choosing. How close a natural philosopher wants to tread to an observed reality, or a writer of stage fiction within the realm of the familiar, might not be dissimilar exercises. It is precisely during the seventeenth century, long before there was a scientific method that drew a firm line between fact and fiction, when the natural philosopher, doctor, alchemist, and vernacular healer was able to fashion figurative worlds into which they could plot and rehearse their ideas. It is no coincidence that the same century saw the flourishing of the imaginary cosmic voyage (Aït-Touati, Fictions 193–7). From the pens of a Kepler or a Sor Juana

Looking Behind the Curtain


flowed flights of exploration into the alternative cosmologies that operated under new rules of physics.

• In his essay in this collection, Matthew G. Ancell argues that the multilayered tableaus, the frames within a frame, and parallel plots typical of Spanish Golden Age plays were an expression of a pervasive concern with the limitations of sense perception and the question of what was real. They were attempts to identify a new, more stable reality in what was a highly destabilized world. Not only were things not as they had been, but they were not what they appeared to be either; the multiplicity of frames gave the Baroque audience the chance to select a reality. It was precisely during the seventeenth century that the epistemic foundation of natural philosophy began to shift from the Aristotelian causal explanation of nature to the one we associate with modern science, where the basis of knowledge rests on empirical, verifiable facts and is articulated (ideally) in the language of mathematics. Yet for the Baroque audience living through these changes this outcome was neither predetermined nor clear. The essays in this collection have shown that the “disorder” of the Baroque theatre, with all its technical wonders and automatons, was in reality a celebration of epistemic uncertainty – an uncertainty also shared by natural philosophers.

NOTES 1 Fontenelle, 11–12. 2 For a recent, concise historiographical survey of history of science and medicine in Spain, see Nieto-Galán. For some candid perspectives on the development of the field, see Pimentel and Pardo-Tomás’s, as well as Slater and López-Terrada’s contributions to a special issue of History of Science 55.2 (June 2017) on Iberian science and medicine. 3 I will refer the reader to Marchitello’s excellent survey of literature/science studies approach.

WORKS CITED Achim, Miruna, ed. “Science in Translation: The Commerce of Facts and Artifacts in the Transatlantic Spanish World.” Special issue of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 8. 2 (2007).


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Art of Collecting in Early Modern Spain, Ed. Mar Rey Bueno and Miguel López Pérez. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. 82–100. López Piñero, José María. Ciencia y técnica en la sociedad española de los siglos XVI y XVII. Barcelona: Labor Universitaria, 1979, 1st ed. Marcaida López, José Ramón. Arte y ciencia en el Barroco español: historia natural, coleccionismo y cultura visual. Madrid: Marcial Pons Historia, 2014. Marchitello, Howard. The Machine in the Text: Science and Literature in the Age of Shakespeare and Galileo. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Menéndez y Pelayo, Marcelino. “Proemio.” Acisclo Fernández Vallín, Cultura científica en España en el siglo XVI. Edición facsimilar y proemio por Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, 1989 reprint, Padilla Libros, 1893. Morán, José Miguel, and Fernando Checa. El coleccionismo en España: de la cámara de maravillas a la galería de pinturas. Madrid: Cátedra, 1985. Navarro Brotons, Víctor. “Los Jesuitas y la renovación científica en la España del siglo XVII.” Studia historica. Historia moderna 14 (1996): 15–44. Nieto-Galan, Agustí. “The History of Science in Spain. A Critical Overview.” Nuncius 23. 2 (2008): 211–36. DOI: 10.1163/221058708X00566. Norton, Marcy. Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2008. Pagden, Anthony. European Encounters with the New World: from Renaissance to Romanticism. New Haven: Yale UP, 1993. Pardo-Tomás, José. Ciencia y censura: la Inquisición Española y los libros científicos en los siglos XVI y XVII. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1991. – Oviedo, Monardes, Hernández: el tesoro natural de América. Colonialismo y ciencia en el siglo XVI. Madrid: Nivola, 2002. Pimentel, Juan. “The Iberian Vision: Science and Empire in the Framework of a Universal Monarchy, 1500–1800.” Osiris 15. 1 (2000): 17–30. Pimentel, Juan, and José Ramón Marcaida. “La ciencia moderna en la cultura del Barroco.” Revista de Occidente 328 (2008): 136–51. Pimentel, Juan and José Pardo-Tomás. “And yet, we were modern. The paradoxes of Iberian Science after the Grand Narratives.” History of Science 55.2 (June 2017): 133–47. Portuondo, María M. Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009. Portuondo, María M. “On Early Modern Science in Spain.” The Early Modern Hispanic World. Transnational and Interdisciplinary Approaches, Ed. Kimberly Lynn and Erin Kathleen Rowe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2017. 193–219. Rey Bueno, María del Mar. “Los paracelsistas españoles: medicina química en la España moderna.” Más allá de la Leyenda Negra: España y la revolución


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científica, Ed. Víctor Navarro Brotons and William Eamon. Valencia: Universidad de Valencia, CSIC, 2007. 41–55. Shapin, Steven and Simon Schaffer. Leviathan and the Air-pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985. Skouen, Tina. “Science versus Rhetoric? Sprat’s History of the Royal Society Reconsidered.” Rhetoric and the Early Royal Society: A Sourcebook, Ed. Tina Skouen and Ryan Stark. Leiden: Brill, 2014. 237–68. Slater, John. “Rereading Cabriada’s Carta: Alchemy and Rhetoric in Baroque Spain.” Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 7 (2009): 67–80. Slater, John, and Maríaluz López-Terrada. “Being Beyond: The Black Legend and How We Got Over It.” History of Science 55.2 (June 2017): 148–66. Slater, John, Maríaluz López-Terrada, and José Pardo-Tomás, eds. Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire. Farnham, Surrey (England): Ashgate, 2014. Smith, Pamela H. The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Spiller, Elizabeth. Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature: The Art of Making Knowledge, 1580–1670. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004.


Lourdes Albuixech is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her research revolves mainly around the areas of late medieval and early modern Spanish literature and culture. She has written extensively about Spanish sentimental romance, Spanish comedia, and Cervantes, and published in journals such as Celestinesca, Hispanófila, Anales cervantinos, and Bulletin of the Comediantes. Albuixech is also co-author of an introductory study to Luis Vélez de Guevara’s La Serrana de la Vera (2002). Matthew G. Ancell received his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine, and is now Associate Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brigham Young University. His research interests include the Baroque in Spain and Italy, early modern skepticism, and deconstruction. He has published articles on Luis de Góngora, Calderón de la Barca, Diego Velázquez, and Jacques Derrida in venues such as Oxford Art Journal, Hispanic Review, Renaissance Drama, The Comparatist, and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, among others. For the past three years, he has co-directed BYU’s International Cinema Program. Currently, he is co-editing (with Aneta Georgievska-Shine) a collection, The Dialectics of Faith and Doubt in Seventeenth-Century Spain: Visual and Literary Reflections, and writing a monograph on Calderón de la Barca and visual art. Alejandro García-Reidy is a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the IEMYRhdUniversidad de Salamanca and Associate Professor (on leave) at Syracuse University. He has held positions at Universitat Autònoma de



Barcelona, Duke University, and Universitat de València. His research focuses on early modern Spanish literature and culture, especially in relation to theatre and Digital Humanities. He has published the monograph Las musas rameras: Oficio dramático y conciencia profesional en Lope de Vega (2013) and several critical editions, such as Lope de Vega’s Mujeres y criados (2014) and El castigo sin venganza (2009). His articles have appeared in journals such as MLN, Hispanic Review, Renaissance Studies, Criticón, Symposium, Anuario Calderoniano, Anuario Lope de Vega, and Bulletin of the Comediantes. He is also co-creator of the databases Manos, DICAT, CATCOM, and ARTELOPE. Enrique García Santo-Tomás is the Frank P. Casa Collegiate Professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan. He is the author of La creación del “Fénix”: Recepción crítica y formación canónica del teatro de Lope de Vega (2000; recipient of the “Premio Moratín de Ensayo a la Investigación Teatral” 2001); Espacio urbano y creación literaria en el Madrid de Felipe IV (2004; winner of the “Premio de Investigación Municipal Antonio Maura” 2005); Modernidad bajo sospecha: Salas Barbadillo y la cultura material del siglo XVII (2008); and La musa refractada: Literatura y óptica en la España del Barroco (2014, 2015; English translation, 2017). He has edited several books on early modern Spanish culture and has prepared editions of Lope de Vega’s Las bizarrías de Belisa (2004) and Arte nuevo de hacer comedias (2006; 6th edition, 2018); Alonso Jerónimo de Salas Barbadillo’s La hija de Celestina (2008) and Don Diego de noche (2013); Tirso de Molina’s Don Gil de las calzas verdes (2009; 6th edition, 2018) and Amar por arte mayor (2015); and Francisco Santos’s Día y noche de Madrid (2017). Seth Kimmel is Assistant Professor of early modern cultural studies in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. During the 2018–19 academic year, he is also the John Elliott Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, where he is working on his second book project, a study of how early modern methods of book collection and cataloguing helped to shape the period’s new spatial sense of the world. His first book, Parables of Coercion: Conversion and Knowledge at the End of Islamic Spain (2015), won the 2017 Harry Levin Prize, awarded by the American Comparative Literature Association for the best first book in the field of comparative literature. His scholarly articles have appeared in Comparative Literature, MLN, the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, among various other journals and book volumes.

Contributors 277

María M. Portuondo is Associate Professor and Chair of the History of Science and Technology Department at Johns Hopkins University. She is a historian of the scientific enterprise in the Hispanic world during the early modern era. In her writing and teaching she focuses on epistemological issues of knowledge production, methodological aspects of scientific practice, intellectual history, the role of science in an imperial context, and the history of technology in Colonial Latin America. She is the author of Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World (2009) and of The Spanish Disquiet: The Biblical Natural Philosophy of Benito Arias Montano (2019). Stephen Rupp teaches Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, where he is a Senior Fellow of Massey College. His research centres on literature and practices of imperial rule in early modern Spain and on the political uses of literary genres, both classical and modern. He has written on political theory and statecraft in Calderón and on representations of warfare and soldiers’ lives in Cervantes. He is currently working on Cervantes’s engagement with the long tradition of poetry on the works and days of rural labour. His most recent book is Heroic Forms: Cervantes and the Literature of War (2014). John Slater is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of California, Davis. His research examines the ways in which baroque literatures organize experiences of nature, heath and sickness, and scientific knowledge. He is the author of Todos son hojas: Literatura e historia natural en el barroco español (2010), as well as co-editor of Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire (2014). His articles about the histories of science, medicine, and literature have appeared in journals from History of Science and Social History of Medicine to MLN and Bulletin of the Comediantes. His current book project – Alchemical Reformation: Medicine and Religion in Early Modern Spain – shows that the development of chemical medicine in Spain was a product of religious reforms, fuelled by rivalries between religious orders and medical institutions. Ryan Szpiech is Associate Professor of Spanish and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He has published numerous articles on medieval polemics, translation, and religious conversion in the Western Mediterranean, and is the author of Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic (2013), which won the



La Corónica International Book Award for Best Book in Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in 2015. He is also the editor of Medieval Exegesis and Religious Difference: Commentary, Conflict, and Community in the Premodern Mediterranean (2015), co-editor (with Charles Burnett, Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas, and Silke Ackermann) of Astrolabes in Medieval Culture (2019), and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Medieval Encounters. Julio Vélez-Sainz is Profesor Titular at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a member of the Instituto de Teatro de Madrid. He has published over a dozen monographs and critical editions, and over seventy research pieces in refereed journals. His most recent books are “De amor, de honor e de donas”: Mujer e ideales corteses en la Castilla de Juan II (1406–1454) (2013), La defensa de la mujer en la literatura hispánica: Siglos XV–XVII (Cátedra, 2015), and “El rey planeta”: Suerte de una divisa en el entramado encomiástico en torno a Felipe IV (2017). He currently leads the research projects Early Spanish Classical Theatre ( ptce) and Teatro en Madrid ( He chronicles the theatre scene for the Huffington Post in Spain ( julio-velez-sainz). Elvira Vilches is Associate Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University. Her scholarship focuses on early modern Spanish literature, culture, and economic history. She has received fellowships from American Council of Learned Societies, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Carter Brown Library. She is the author of New World Gold: Monetary Disorders and Cultural Anxiety in Early Modern Spain (2010; Choice List of Outstanding Books 2011). Her most recent publications explore shifting value systems in the Iberian Atlantic; money and public trust; the experiences of financial crisis past and present; as well as monetary practices and the spread of numeracy. She is currently working on a new book project titled Commerce and Culture in Early Modern Spain.

Toronto Iberic


Robert Davidson (Toronto) and Frederick A. de Armas


Josiah Blackmore (Harvard); Marina Brownlee (Princeton); Anthony J. Cascardi (Berkeley); Justin Crumbaugh (Mt Holyoke); Emily Francomano (Georgetown); Jordana Mendelson (NYU); Joan Ramon Resina (Stanford); Enrique García Santo-Tomás (U Michigan); Kathleen Vernon (SUNY Stony Brook)

1 Anthony J. Cascardi, Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics 2 Jessica A. Boon, The Mystical Science of the Soul: Medieval Cognition in Bernardino de Laredo’s Recollection Method 3 Susan Byrne, Law and History in Cervantes’ Don Quixote 4 Mary E. Barnard and Frederick A. de Armas (eds), Objects of Culture in the Literature of Imperial Spain 5 Nil Santiáñez, Topographies of Fascism: Habitus, Space, and Writing in Twentieth-Century Spain 6 Nelson Orringer, Lorca in Tune with Falla: Literary and Musical Interludes 7 Ana M. Gómez-Bravo, Textual Agency: Writing Culture and Social Networks in Fifteenth-Century Spain 8 Javier Irigoyen-García, The Spanish Arcadia: Sheep Herding, Pastoral Discourse, and Ethnicity in Early Modern Spain 9 Stephanie Sieburth, Survival Songs: Conchita Piquer’s Coplas and Franco’s Regime of Terror 10 Christine Arkinstall, Spanish Female Writers and the Freethinking Press, 1879–1926

11 Margaret Boyle, Unruly Women: Performance, Penitence, and Punishment in Early Modern Spain 12 Evelina Gužauskytė, Christopher Columbus’s Naming in the diarios of the Four Voyages (1492–1504): A Discourse of Negotiation 13 Mary E. Barnard, Garcilaso de la Vega and the Material Culture of Renaissance Europe 14 William Viestenz, By the Grace of God: Francoist Spain and the Sacred Roots of Political Imagination 15 Michael Scham, Lector Ludens: The Representation of Games and Play in Cervantes 16 Stephen Rupp, Heroic Forms: Cervantes and the Literature of War 17 Enrique Fernandez, Anxieties of Interiority and Dissection in Early Modern Spain 18 Susan Byrne, Ficino in Spain 19 Patricia M. Keller, Ghostly Landscapes: Film, Photography, and the Aesthetics of Haunting in Contemporary Spanish Culture 20 Carolyn A. Nadeau, Food Matters: Alonso Quijano’s Diet and the Discourse of Food in Early Modern Spain 21 Cristian Berco, From Body to Community: Venereal Disease and Society in Baroque Spain 22 Elizabeth R. Wright, The Epic of Juan Latino: Dilemmas of Race and Religion in Renaissance Spain 23 Ryan D. Giles, Inscribed Power: Amulets and Magic in Early Spanish Literature 24 Jorge Pérez, Confessional Cinema: Religion, Film, and Modernity in Spain’s Development Years (1960–1975) 25 Joan Ramon Resina, Josep Pla: Seeing the World in the Form of Articles 26 Javier Irigoyen-García, “Moors Dressed as Moors”: Clothing, Social Distinction, and Ethnicity in Early Modern Iberia 27 Jean Dangler, Edging towards Iberia 28 Ryan D. Giles and Steven Wagschal (eds.), Beyond Sight: Engaging the Senses in Iberian Literatures and Cultures, 1200–1750 29 Silvia Bermúdez, Rocking the Boat: Migration and Race in Contemporary Spanish Music 30 Hilaire Kallendorf, Ambiguous Antidotes: Virtue as Vaccine for Vice in Early Modern Spain 31 Leslie Harkema, Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth: From Miguel de Unamuno to La Joven Literatura 32 Benjamin Fraser, Cognitive Disability Aesthetics: Visual Culture, Disability Representations, and the (In)Visibility of Cognitive Difference

33 Robert Patrick Newcomb, Iberianism and Crisis: Spain and Portugal at the Turn of the Twentieth Century 34 Sara J. Brenneis, Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940–2015 35 Silvia Bermúdez and Roberta Johnson (eds.), A New History of Iberian Feminisms 36 Steven Wagschal, Minding Animals in the Old and New Worlds: A Cognitive Historical Analysis 37 Heather Bamford, Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100–1600 38 Enrique García Santo-Tomás (ed.), Science on Stage in Early Modern Spain