Fighting bull

“The noble deputies, desirous of extending the delight, the joy and the happiness occasioned by the birth of said princess, organised a bullfight”

The Chicago Sun-Times-whatever today reports on continuing efforts to ban bullfighting here. It’s all a bit silly since the audience is elderly and the practice will die of its own accord, but it gets even sillier when people start getting their flags out. One of the national myths created by early C20th Catalanists was that Catalans were more civilised than other Hispanics and, as such, must have had bullfighting somehow imposed on them by those bloodthirsty Castilians. Even if bullfighting were crueler than that pillar of the Catalan economy, pig-rearing, this is simply bad history. Here’s a fragment from p 369, Vol II of the Manual de Novell Ardits, as quoted in Monsignor Francisco de P Baldello’s La Música en Barcelona (Barcelona: Dalmau, 1943):

On December 3rd, 1601, the noble deputies, desirous of extending the delight, the joy and the happiness occasioned by the birth of said princess, organised a bullfight [correr de toros], and so terminated the fiesta with much music of minstrels and many trumpets which were on the stages [catafals].

I presume the princess in question to have been Ana of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria, born in Valladolid on September 22nd and married off to Louis XIII of France just after her 14th birthday, although it would have been nice if it had been Elisenda, one of the local giants, who was apparently also born in 1601 and married Mustafà the Saracen.

I’ll translate more of this book some other time. It includes interesting stuff on the restrictive practices of late mediaeval musicians’ organisations and examples of disgraceful behaviour by the town band.

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Comments

  1. However, I think that the tradition of the correbous doesn’t necessarily involve goring them. It’s more similar to the running of the bulls in San Fermin than to a bullfight (of course, like San Fermin, they sometimes ended in a real bullfight, but not necessarily so).

  2. Countries change a lot along the years. In XVIII century, the catalans were considered a rude and violent people. Feelings about bullfighting in Catalonia, for what i know, are generalized between people with nationalist ideas and other people who do not share the same opinions.

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