Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Friendship in Medieval Iberia. Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Friendship in Medieval Iberia. Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives

Article excerpt

ANTONELLA LIUZZO SCORPO, Friendship in Medieval Iberia. Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate. 2014. 248 pp. ISBN 9781472412027.

Friendship in Medieval Iberia focusses on the study of friendship as it is portrayed in three works written under the authorial auspices of King Alfonso X of Castile (1252-1284), known as el Sabio - a well-reputed author and literary patron. Those texts, the GalicianPortuguese songs of the Cantigas de Santa María, the monumental legal code, Las Siete Partidas, and the chronicle, Estoria de España, the latter two written in Castilian, are among the most canonical medieval Iberian texts. Liuzzo-Scorpo has mined these works looking to disentangle the meaning of friendship in that time period, to analyse how it functioned and its rules and types. The book is illustrated with many examples and excerpts (provided in the original and in English translation).

Citing Aristotle, Alfonso's Siete Partidas states that 'amistad' (amicitia in Latin) 'is a virtue which is intrinsically good in itself and profitable to human life and, properly speaking, it arises when one person who loves another is beloved by him, for, under other circumstances, true friendship could not exist; and therefore he stated that there is a great difference between friendship, love, benevolence and concord' ( translation by Liuzzo Scorpo: 1). This definition also serves as the starting point for LiuzzoScorpo who sets out to dissect and explore it over the course of six chapters framed by a brief introduction and conclusion. The first chapter is a useful and concise overview of friendship in the Classical and medieval (mostly Pre-Alfonsine) eras. This is followed by an examination of friendship in the works of Alfonso X. Chapter three deals with spiritual and religious friendships: 'relationships forged within the ecclesiastical and monastic communities and between the clergy and their believers' (88). The fourth chapter analyses political friendships that were tied to the need to provide mutual support. …

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