Captive Maidens and Gallant Knights: the Sephardi Ballad Tradition

June 22, 2021, 9:00 am - 10:15 am

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The most popular form of poetry in fifteenth-century Spain was the ballad (romansa), enjoyed by court and masses alike. After their Expulsion from Spain, Sephardi Jews took these narrative songs into exile in Morocco and the Ottoman Empire. Many of those medieval Spanish romansas survived into the twentieth century.

Why….

  • did the Sephardi Jews continue to sing about Spanish kings and queens and battles between Christians and Moors?
  • did seductive, even murderous, women, incest and abduction become material for Sephardi ballads and even provide the melodies for devotional hymns?

Dr. Hilary Pomeroy will help us explore the survival of the ballad tradition and the ways in which a subtle Jewish presence can be discerned in these medieval tales.

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