Myth-making and the Historical Imagination: An Investigation of the Historiography of Islamic Iberia through Castilian Literature

Arze, Gaston, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
al-Rahim, Ahmed, As-Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Gerli, E., As-Spanish Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia

This thesis examines the role of medieval Castilian literature in the formation of the Spanish national identity by investigating the historiography of two of its foundational myths. Both the ancient and recent historiographical and philological study of the Prosa Histórica and the Poema de Mio Cid helped support the creation of a hegemonic Catholic Castilian national identity. This shift in national identity is tracked through texts and their reception. This method of tracking utilizes both medieval genealogies and modern reconstructions, and analyzes their influences on the reception of the aforementioned texts. Historiographers and philologists, from Saint Isidore of Seville to Ramón Menéndez Pidal, were instrumental in the long process of shaping the Spanish conception of itself. This process emphasized the perceived Hispano-Roman heritage of the Spanish people and actively diminished the Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, some attention will be paid to the utilization of this historical narrative in the recent political history of the 20th and 21st centuries.

MA (Master of Arts)
Cid, Alfonso X, Historiography, Philology, Nationalism, Spanish, Literature, Islamic Iberia, Francisco Franco, José María Aznar
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