We recently noticed that Law and Order in Medieval Spain is a huge bestseller on Kobo, reaching as high as number 1 in two categories and number 3 in a third. This came as a surprise, a very agreeable surprise! Our new volume is conceived as a companion piece to Law and Order, and, in the same vein, is illustrated with cantigas and supporting artwork. It’s a survey, meant to stimulate interest in the fascinating social scene of thirteenth-century Spain.
In order to describe the miracles of the Virgin Mary, Alfonso X el Sabio’s Cantigas de Santa Maria show life at its worst, and this often includes violence, which may disconcert a modern audience even more than its original medieval one. This essay examines the lyrics and the miniatures of these songs in order to show how they illustrate the balance of power in thirteenth-century Spain. The role of Mary herself illustrates the role of gender and the divine in giving social meaning to acts of physical violence. Illustrated with twelve color plates.
Update 10/10/12: Deu-lles o que merecian is a Kobo bestseller! Top 7 in all three categories, number 2 in one and number one in the other! Thanks for your support of this title dear to my heart.