Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crusade pageants in New Spain

Note this from Tyerman's God's War, pp. 672-3.

In faraway Central America, local allies in the conquistadors that Tlaxcala, a state city state east of Mexico, marked the Treaty of Aigues Mortes between Charles V and the French king Francis I in 1538 at the lavish pageant showing the anticipated conquest of Jerusalem by the King of Spain. On Corpus Christi Day 1539 in the presence of the consecrated host, the lavish display included two Christian armies laying siege to the holy city, 11 compromising Europeans, the other commanded by the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza with the Tlaxcalans and other "New Spaniards" in their own war costumes, complete with "feathers, devices and shields." Seemingly a good time was had by all. A few weeks earlier, the Mexicans to the east had laid on a similar show depicting the Turkish siege of Rhodes. Through these traditional images of past future crusading, New Spain was being assimilated into the culture of the old.

Tyerman calls these "bizarre consequences" of the appropriation of crusading as an element in national identity and imperialism (Spanish). But how is this any more bizarre than other aspects of crusading?

It is pretty colorful, though.

Image: Cortez and Dona Marina negotiate with the Tlaxcalans.

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Blogger Matthew Gabriele said...

Odd that Tyreman would call it "bizarre." These Spaniards were, at heart, little different than any other crusaders. Columbus wanted to find Prester John so that he and Ferdinand and Isabella could link up to retake Jerusalem. Bernal Diaz, in his Conquest of New Spain, compares the fall of Tenochtitlan to the fall of Jerusalem in 1099.

This stuff is sooooo interesting...

8:51 AM  

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