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Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) - at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan
Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) - at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan
Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) – at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan

Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

Carlos Conde Solares (Northumbria University)

Imago Temporis- Medium Aevum: 6 (1). pp. 277-298.

Abstract

This article focuses on Aragonese courtier Hugo de Urriés’s public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, his letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s. It is not often that the medieval scholar is presented with the chance to analyze a self-evident symbiosis between the public and private personae of a late medieval knight. As part of Urriés’s public profile, his translation of Valerius Maximus and his foreword to King Fernando of Aragón are contextualized as an integral part of an agenda of legitimization of royal and imperial power, an agenda in which Urriés actively participated and one that he militantly promoted throughout his life. This article juxtaposes diplomacy, courtliness and translation of classics as a means of showcasing some of the markers of nation building in the years of the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.

Most scholarly attention given to the figure of Hugo de Urriés has traditionally been focused on his poetry and his role as a possible compiler of the Cancionero de Herberay, one of the most interesting and diverse courtly literature collections in the Spanish fifteenth century.1 His cultural, literary and political influence made him a very important man of his time. Moreover, it is not often that the medieval scholar is presented with the chance to analyze a self-evident symbiosis between the public and private personae of a late medieval knight. His poetry —most notably, that addressed to his wife— forms a rare and revealing corpus of late medieval and early modern ideas about gender relations and marriage. For this reason, he is better known for being the only Spanish courtly poet to address his poems to his wife: the so called “devout lover of married love”. This unusual degree of public exposure of his private life has already attracted some critical attention. This article, however, will focus solely on his public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, Urriés’s introductory letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s.

Click here to read this article from Imago Temporis- Medium Aevum







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