Dorothy Tarrant Lecture, “Aquí fue Troia nobles caballeros:” Intertextuality in Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s 'Historia de la Nueva México'

Dorothy Tarrant Lecture, “Aquí fue Troia nobles caballeros:” Intertextuality in Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s 'Historia de la Nueva México'
Date
13 May 2019, 5.00pm - 7.00pm
Type
Lecture
Venue
Room 349, Third Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Description

Margaret Malamud, New Mexico State University

I am currently extending my reach in the reception of antiquity in the United States to include a study of an epic poem about the founding of what is today the state of New Mexico. In 1610, Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá completed a remarkable hybrid epic written in hendecasyllabic verse, 'Historia de la Nueva México', an account of the conquistador Don Juan Oñate’s preparations for and colonization of territory at the northern edge of the Spanish empire, from 1595 through 1599. Villagrá was a captain in Oñate’s army, and a participant in events the poem narrates. The first half of the poem describes the arduous journey to Nueva México and the establishment of a colony. The second half of the poem chronicles the savage destruction of the Acoma pueblo, a pueblo that resisted Spanish demands for resources. Looking around at the masses of bodies after the bloody final battle, Villagrá has one of the Spanish warriors say “Aquí fue Troia nobles caballeros.” This was by no means the first classical reference in this poem—the epic opens with Villagrá calling Oñate an Aeneas and a Christian Achilles, immediately anchoring his text with Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad. Indeed, the epic is saturated with intertextual allusions to Virgil, Homer, and Lucan. What can an understanding of the Homeric, Virgilian and Lucanian references bring to us as readers of this early modern epic about early Spanish New Mexico? My paper will also answer the question, why did vandals amputate the right foot of a statue of Oñate in Alcalde, New Mexico in 1998?

Contact

Valerie James
valerie.james@sas.ac.uk
020 7862 8716