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Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

Cultural History

Historical chronicles

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Full-Text Articles in European History

The Tragedy Of Alcazarquivir: The Collapse Of Kingship, Empire And Narrative, Ruth Mackay Dec 2015

The Tragedy Of Alcazarquivir: The Collapse Of Kingship, Empire And Narrative, Ruth Mackay

Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

After the death of King Sebastian in the Battle of Alcazarquivir (1578), Portugal lost its independence, and the Avis dynasty ended. Many chronicles recounted the defeat, especially as the unwise Sebastian was said to have survived and imposters soon appeared. This article describes the intersection of two genres, epic poetry and poetic historiography, and how their conjunction in the Alcazarquivir chronicles, which were copied and modified for decades and centuries (in Spanish more than in Portuguese), shaped subsequent narratives. The chronicles also were a way of assessing good kingship, conspicuously absent in the case of Sebastian. Features from classical literature ...