In spite of its violent origins, medieval chivalry provided rich imaginative resources for bridging ethnic, religious, and linguistic divisions. Pero Tafur’s Andanças (ca. 1453) relates the travels of one Castilian knight through the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Tafur’s narrative evinces conflicting attitudes toward religious difference. On the one hand, it deploys the conventions of chivalric romance in order to present Tafur’s journey as a oneman reconquista. On the other hand, Tafur’s authority on ethnographic and geographical matters rests on his ability to assimilate to the courts of Muslim and Greek Orthodox rulers. The cosmopolitan potential of chivalry finds its limit in Tafur’s writing about Constantinople. Marked by circumspection about the kinds of cross-cultural and interfaith exchanges that characterized Mediterranean courts, the Andanças’ treatment of Greek chivalry reflects Spain’s increasing tendency to associate the concepts of nobility and courtliness with racial and religious purity.
Chivalric Travel in the Mediterranean: Converts, Kings, and Christian Knights in Pero Tafur’s Andanças
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Shayne Aaron Legassie; Chivalric Travel in the Mediterranean: Converts, Kings, and Christian Knights in Pero Tafur’s Andanças. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 September 2011; 41 (3): 515–544. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-1363936
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