Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Legal Aspects of the Spanish Epic Tradition

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2004), 81, (4), 453–462.

Abstract

Many of the now lost epic legends of medieval Spain contain some degree of emphasis on legal matters: this is true of the stories of Fernán González, the Infantes de Lara, the infante García, and Sancho II. It is also true of a less widely known story, that of the 'Slandered Queen', wife of Sancho el mayor of Navarra. The one extant poetic text of the genre, the Poema de mio Cid, also betrays its author's preoccupation with the written word and with legalism, not only in obvious instances like the document issued by the king when the Cid is banished, but also in more incidental (and thus possibly more significant) minor respects such as the sale of Alcocer to the Moors, the threat of legal action uttered by the Cid's daughters before the afrenta de Corpes, and the concentration on the court scene as a more prolonged and effective climax to the action than the rather anticlimactic ensuing duels.

En muchas de las leyendas épicas del medioevo español, ya perdidas, se encuentra cierto énfasis en lo legal: esto se ve en las historias de Fernán González, los Infantes de Lara, el Infante García y Sancho II. Asimismo se nota en una historia bastante menos conocida, la de la 'Reina calumniada', mujer de Sancho el mayor de Navarra. El único texto poético existente del género, el Poema de mio Cid, también revela la preocupación del autor por lo escrito y lo legal, no sólo en casos obvios como el del mandato real promulgado por el rey en el momento del destierro del héroe, sino también en ejemplos incidentales (y quizás por eso más significativos) tales como la venta de Alcocer a los moros, la amenaza de consecuencias legales proferida por las hijas del Cid antes de la afrenta de Corpes, y la concentración en la escena de la corte como punto culminante de la acción, más prolongado y más efectivo que los duelos subsiguientes.

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Pattison, David