Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Castles in Spain: History and Legends (I)

                                                       Province of Palencia

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Castle of Saldaña (11th c) It is currently in ruins. 19th c drawing / Queen Urraca of León and Castile. (Tumbo A, 12th c)
Place of death of Queen Urraca of León and Castile (1126). In 1128 the castle witnessed the royal wedding of his son Alfonso VII and Berenguela of Barcelona. A bullfight took place at the Plaza Vieja to celebrate the event. It is the first documentary reference to a bullfight in Spain. The Castle of Saldaña is also the birthplace of Bernardo del Carpio, a hero of medieval Kingdom of Asturias. He was the son of the Count of Saldaña and Dona Ximena. King Alfonso II was not happy with this secret marriage, so he had Count Sancho blinded. He raised the child and ordered not to tell his nephew who his father was. Stories feature him striving against Alfonso to release his father from prison.

Castle of Monzón de Campos
In 1028 Count García was killed on his way to meet his bride in the city of León. He was speared to death by the three Vela brothers, in revenge for an offence against their family. The facts are recounted in the Romanz del Infant García. According to the legend, they sought refuge in the castle of Monzón de Campos, where they were surrounded and executed.

Palace of Astudillo 14th c;ISL;es;Mon01;23;es
Pedro the Cruel and María de Padilla built this islamic stylish palace. It houses a Museum of Mudejar art.

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Castle of Ampudia (15th c)
The sons of Francis I of France lodged there as they were held hostage after the Battle of Pavia.

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Castle of the Sarmiento family (15th c)

According to the legend, in the past there was an ancient sword whose hilt, wrapped into parchment, was embedded into the wall (SE round turret). It is said it had belonged to Sancho Díaz (Bernardo del Carpios's father). The steel blade projected from the wall; it was the symbol of the lord's jurisdictional rights and perhaps was used in executions. 

Castle of Hornillos de Cerrato
In 1507 Queen Joanna of Castile (Joanna the Mad) took her husband's coffin and had it carried through the fields, as she lodged in the castle, on her way to Tordesillas.

Castle of Torremormojón (15th c)
It is said that there is a secret tunnel leading from this castle to the castle of Ampudia. It is called "The Star of Campos" (The Star of the Fields), since at the time of Reconquista signal fires were lit in the night to communicate with the nearby castles.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Notable Codices

Codex Argenteus (The Silver Bible), 6th c translation of the Bible into the Gothic language.

Codex Amiatinus, 8th c, the earliest surviving manuscript of the nearly complete Bible (Latin Vulgate).

Codex Abrogans, 8th c glossary from Latin into Old High German

Codex Augiensis, 9th c manuscript of the Pauline Epistles in double parallel columns of Greek and Latin.

The Leningrad Codex (1008) is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew.

Codex Calixtinus, 12th c advice for pilgrims following the Way of St James.

Codex Cumanicus (12th c)

Wiesbaden Codex (ca. 1200), containing the collected works of Hildegard of Bingen. It is a giant codex, weighing 15 kg. A lingua ignota, one of the earliest known constructed languages, is described in it.

In Lebor Ogaim (The book of Ogams) (1390) is an Old Irish treatise on the ogham alphabet.

Flateyjarbók  (Flatey Book), 14th c. The sagas of the Norse kings are compiled in this Icelandic manuscript.

Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis (Little Book of the Medicinal Herbs of the Indians), translated by Juan Badiano from a Nahuatl original (1552). It is a book describing herbal remedies used by the Aztecs.

Visigothic Churches in Spain

Church of San Juan Bautista (Baños de Cerrato. Province of Palencia) (661 AD)

Church of Santa Comba (Bande, province of Orense) (7th c)

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Church of San Pedro de la Nave (Province of Zamora) (c. 680 AD)

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Crypt of San Antolín (Cathedral of Palencia) (7th c)

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Baptistery of San Miguel de Tarrasa (Barcelona) (7th c)

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Church of Santa María de Melque (Province of Toledo) (c. 668-729 AD)
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Hermitage of Santa María (Quintanilla de las Viñas, province of Burgos) (7th c)

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Church of San Pedro de la Mata (Sonseca, province of Toledo)

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Santa Lucía del Trampal (Province of Caceres)

Friday, 4 January 2013

50 Books You Should Read

Le Grand Meaulnes (The Lost Domain) by Alain-Fournier
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil
Le Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
A Set of Six by Joseph Conrad
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Treasure Island by Robert L. Stevenson
Kidnapped & Catriona by Robert L. Stevenson
The Master of Ballantrae by Robert L. Stevenson
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Stories by Augusto Monterroso
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Mister President by Miguel Ángel Asturias
War of Time by Alejo Carpentier
A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique
Against the Grain by Joris-Karl Huysmans
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Letters from my Windmill by Alphonse Daudet
Odes by John Keats
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Childhood, Boyhood and Youth by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart by Chrétien de Troyes
Lais by Marie de France
The Heptameron by Marguerite of Navarre
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Metamorphoses by Ovid
Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Disdain with Disdain by Agustín Moreto
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The Odyssey by Homer
The Iliad by Homer
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Thursday, 3 January 2013

9 Great Autobiographies

Leo Tolstoy, Childhood, Boyhood and Youth (1852, 1854, 1856)

Benvenuto Cellini, Vita (1558-1563)

Catalina de Erauso, Lieutenant Nun (1626)

Peter Abelard, Historia calamitatum

Mohamed Choukri, For Bread Alone (1973)

St Augustine, Confessions (397- 398)

Alonso de Contreras, The Adventures of Captain Alonso De Contreras: A 17th Century Journey.

Diego Duque de Estrada, Memoirs of Diego Duque de Estrada

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The True History of the Conquest of New Spain