Subject: hidalgo nobleman
Setting: Siglo de Oro, Habsburg empire 17thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Thompson 1976 p146
"By the mid-seventeenth century Spain seemed to have reverted to quasi-medieval forms of raising armies. The consequence of this was to give a new role to a landed nobility whose traditional military functions had largely atrophied. In the process it contributed to a major re-adjustment of social authority, and hence ultimately of political power within the state, in favour of the nobility and to the detriment of the crown.
"The nobility as vassals of the king had personal obligations in war over and above those owed by the towns and cities they controlled. These obligations were twofold: for the prelates, grandees, titled nobles and other lords of vassals, to send a certain number of horsemen for the defence of the kingdom; for the nobility in general, to serve in person whenever the king went in person to the field. ..."
* Thompson 1976 p148
"[The] concern to maintain the economic and hence the military viability of the nobility, even by relieving them of their military obligations (without of course waiving royal rights) continued to be characteristic of royal policy under Philip III. Under Olivares the situation changed. The Conde Duque's attitude towards the nobility was part of a much wider concept of a Monarchy in which each component was to take its due share of both rights and responsibilities. His policy was not to forget the lanzas of the nobility, but to transmute an archaic military obligation into a financial contribution.
"The real military importance of the nobility, however, did not derive from their feudal or their personal obligations, but from their territorial position as great landowners and their social position in a network of intricate and overlapping family relationships. As the lords of innumerable vassals, cities, towns and villages, they were as intimately involved in the organization of national defence as the royal municipalities; as men of immense local and national prestige and personal authority, they were inevitably called upon to take over at those points where the influence of the central government had ceased to be effective."
* Asch 2003 p76-77
"As in France, in Spain the ability and courage to fight a duel when challenged by an opponent remained an essential part of the code of honour to which noblemen were expected to subscribe. But there had always been fewer duels in Spain than in France -- partly perhaps because until 1640 many members of the social elite in Spain had little direct experience of warfare, and certainly not of warfare at home. Over time the actual duel became much less important than the ley del duelo, the code of honour. In fact duelo became a byword for honour, and in this sense Calderón could call one of his plays También hay duelo en las damas (Ladies too have a sense of honour). The law of the duelo embodied the ideal of honour which noblemen and noblewomen had to follow. The actual duel was its supreme reference point (at least for men), but it was a distant, one might say transcendental, point of reference. The will and ability to fight a duel was sufficient to prove one's honour. One did not actually need to fight with real arms; words and gestures might be sufficient or, at worst, a feigned duel in which one went through the motions of meeting the opponent arms in hand, but where precautions were taken to avoid actual bloodshed (by alerting the authorities through maximum publicity, for example). On the other hand, spontaneous violent combats not regulated by the rules which applied to formal duels continued to play an important part in the life of the Spanish nobility."
* Castle 1885 p173-174
"The swaggering and pugnacious 'diestros,' 'matamoros,' 'valentones,' 'guapos' --- ... the ragged but haughty adventurers ... whose very existence depended on their consummate skill in the management of their prodigious rapiers, are types which ... seem to have become extinct during the eighteenth century. At that time, also, the wearing of the sword, which hitherto every Spaniard had assumed as a right since the days of Charles V., was a privilege which fashion as well as oft-repeated police ordinances began to restrict to gentlemen only, -- although, as every independent Spaniard is 'hidalgo' in his own opinion, this restriction had a less sweeping effect in that country than in any other."
* Puiggarí 1886 p12-13
"Tras el indolente y devoto Felipe III, cuya genialidad contribuyó poderosamente á la decadencia de España; su hijo Felipe IV, no menos ligero, comenzó estableciendo reformas en 1621, con disposiciones absurdas para contener el exceso de vestiduras y muebles, á que se atribuía la creciente miseria pública, llegándose á hacer registrar las tiendas por los esbirros, y quemar en las plazas vestidos y alhajas, prohibidos en las pragmáticas como ruinosos. La supresión de cuellos de encaje en 1623, originó la procaz golilla, emblema de de la gravedad española por todo el resto de siglo, en unión con las guedejas, el moNo, el guardainfante, el escotado y el manto mujeril. Guedejas, copete y jaulilla, vinieron de Francia cuando el enlace de Luís XIII con Ana de Austria, cuyos retratos se representan con dico moño. Al supremirse cuellos y valonas, salió con el guardainfante el jubón escotado, que hácia 1640 seguía en Cataluña, motivando severas censuras del Consejo. ... Sin embargo, el traje vino reduciéndose á la mayor sencillez, sin el garbo extranjero, antes con gran apariencia de probeza y mezquindad, como puede juzgarse por las pinturas de Velazquez y sus contemporáneos. Golillas ó cuellos altos de hombre, sujetos por medio de cuerdas trenzadas; puños pajizos ó vueltas huecas; jubones de peto y mangas perdidas; calzas atusadas y de obra; vestido oscuro de modestos paños, sembrado de botones; capa negra; sombrero de color. Componían de ordinario de traje masculino, valona, jubón, ropilla ó coleto, y capa ó herreruelo, jubón y mangas llenas de picados; lo demás con ribetes y punturas. Las piernas flacas se socorrían de pantorrillas postizas, y sujetaban las medias, vistosas ligagambas ó atapiernas."
* El Quijote en sus trajes 2005 p106 (German Dueñas, "Las armas y la indumentaria en 'El Quijote" p103-111)
"Una prenda de vestir muy común en la época, y que tenía mucha relación con las armas era la capa. Tanta relación tenía que incluso se llegaba a utilizar como tal. Concretamente se utilizaba a modo de arma defensiva, cuando se carecía de broquel o rodela con la que defenderse. Tanto es así que en los manuales de esgrima se dedicaba un apartado a esta forma de lucha. Las capas además eran magnificos camuflajes para cualquier hombre armado, ya que permita ocultar casi cualquier arma. En el caso de la espada no lo era tanto ya que se portaba en ángulo suspendida del tahalí, y con la mano apoyada en la empuñadura, sobresaliendo por tanto por la parte trasera. Esta forma de portar la espada era símbolo de nobleza y distinción, siendo incluso motivo de mofa el portarla de otro modo. Covarrubias nos dice, al referirse a la contera, 'como los bravos la llevan de ordinario alta porque cargan la mano izquierda sobre la guarnición'. Mientras que a los jovencillos se les indica que 'guarden no le mee el perro la contera porque la llava baxa y cayda'. Por ello a mejor espada mejor contera, existiendo dichos de la época que hacían referencia a esta cuestión: 'mui pobre kontera á echado a su espada fulano. para dezir ke á medrado poko'. El arma preferida de los hidalgos, al igual del resto de la nobleza, era la espada, y á la que más tarde nos referiremos con mas extensión."
* Wilcox 1958 p115-116
"Velasquez, who painted during the reign of Philip IV, 1621-1665, has left such magnificent portraits of this period, that his name has become definitely associated with the Spanish mode of his time.
"The predominant color for both men and women was black in rich fabrics such as velvet and satin, ornamented with much gold and silver, often lightened by the use of white taffeta or lingerie fabric in the sleeves and about the neck. Cerise and vermilion were favorite colors too, with occasionally a costume of white. ...
"To Philip is accredited the invention of the small, neat collar of thin lingerie fabric mounted over pasteboard. It flared out of the standing collar of the doublet, a sheer round, flat shape with pointed corners, open in front. This small flaring collar was known in English as the 'neck whisk' and the lay-down style as the 'falling band.' Compared with the ruff, it was a tremendous change and improvement in comfort.
"Men wore the heavy gold chain necklace and their shoe ties became large bows and rosettes, called shoe roses."
Sword & Dagger
* El Quijote en sus trajes 2005 p148
"La espada que llevaban normalmente los hombres a comienzos del siglo XVII en la corona española recibían una denominación diferente a la que se usaba para la guerra. Las primeras eran conocidas como espadas de diario; de ceñir; de cinta, etc. Así mismo tenían unas características morfológicas diferentes de las usadas en el campo de batalla. En primer lugar las hojas eran más estrechas, largas y puntiagudas. Esto se debía a que la esgrima que se practicaba con ella era de estoque, es decir para herir de punta. Por ello y a pesar de existir una legislación restrictiva respecto a las formas y tamaños de las hojas, las espadas civiles tuvieron estas características que se fueron agudizando durante todo el siglo XVII. Las empuñaduras también sufrieron variaciones, pasando a ser formadas por placas compactas, en un primer momento en forma de conchas o veneras, y posteriormente de taza o cazoleta, ya mediado el siglo."
* Castle 1885 p236
"No doubt cup hilts, especially in Italy and Spain, were contemporary with complicated bar guards, and about the end of the sixteenth century it was merely a matter of taste whether to adopt a plain cup hilt of the usual Spanish type, or some picturesque arrangement of bars, of which there was such unlimited choice; but the earliest cup hilt is posterior to the first sword that was improved by the addition of a counterguard.
"We may briefly define the usual cup hilt as consisting of quillons, with or without knuckle-guards, pas d'âne, and, as a covering counter-guard, a cup, either hemispherical or approximating to that shape. "We have seen how commonly the small target -- 'brochiero' or 'broquel' -- was used, especially during the first half of the sixteenth century; the idea may have easily occurred to some ingenious maker to adapt a cup over the quillons which would act as a small brochiero in the right hand, whilst the left could then remain free to use the dagger. If we remember that the broquel or target was always held at arm's length, the idea that the cup hilt might perform a similar office was very plausible. The earliest cup-hilted rapier seems to have come from Spain. In Spain, also, the idea of adapting a similar arrangement on to the dagger was first originated. On the latter, however, this modified broquel was so adapted as still to act as target when held in the correct manner. "It is just possible, also, that the invention of this particular form of 'main gauche' was suggested by someone who had attempted to hold both a dagger and target together in his left hand, and conceived the practical notion of combining the two, or it may be a modification of the Moorish Adarga -- the spear and hand buckler combined. All these are, of course, mere theories." ...
* Martín Gómez 2001 p78
"Desde la segunda mitad del siglo XVI los espaderos comenzaron a sustituir el complicado juego de gavilanes por placas de metal, más sencillas y seguras. Así nació la espada de cazoleta o de taza, que con sus líneas sobrias y depuradas era, y es, un personaje indespensable en cualquier obra teatral del Siglo de Oro."
* Venner 1986 p80-82
"La monture espagnole dite à la Taza est une rapière à coquille dont la fusée est particulièrement courte, ce qui oblige la main à descendre dans la coquille en engageant deux doigts dans le pas d'âne. Toute la garde descend tellement qui parfois les deux longs quillons pénètrent dans la coquille par deux encoches. Le pommeau, souvent ciselé ou repercé, est en forme d'oignon.
"Certaines coquilles espagnoles sont en métal plein. Mais on leur préférait les monture allégées et si joliment repercées qu'elles semblent faites d'une dentelle d'acier. "Les Espagnols étaient les spécialistes de ces rapières magnifiques. Elles étaient portées en ville, comme en guerre, le service en campagne n'excluant nullement le souci de paraître. Leurs lames étaient faites pour l'estoc. Elles sont longues et fines, dans une qualité d'acier exceptionnelle. Leur section est losangée, rarement triangulaire."
* Arms and armor in the Art Institute of Chicago 1995 p89
"While movie and theater producers like to show sixteenth-century swashbucklers wielding cup-hilted swords, such weapons did not in fact appear until about the second quarter of the seventeenth century.
"Apparently developed in Spain, this type of rapier includes a cuplike guard to protect the hand and a stout flange to catch and break an opponent's lance. Those hilts intended for routine use had solid cups. While still quite useable, others ... were often splendidly pierced and chased, as were the guards of the matching daggers. Long crossguards facilitated parrying and helped counterbalance the extremely long blades. However, officials sometimes took drastic steps to limit their lengths. In some areas, officers at the city's gates examined the weapons brought in; if they exceeded the allowable length, they were broken off to make them comply with established standards."
* Clements 1997 p35
"The familiar Spanish cup hilt style did not appear until the 1650s. [CONTRA Castle 1885 p236, Martín Gómez 2001 p78, and Arms and Armor in the Art Institute of Chicago 1995 p89 above.] Once sword duels became predominately thrusting fights, cup hilts developed later as a natural progression of defense."
* Bull 1991 p106 caption
... "Rapiers were commonly carried not only by soldiers but also by gentlemen during the late sixteenth and seventeenth century. This particular cup-hilted form -- with a knuckle-guard, very long quillons and a large, almost hemispherical, cup -- was often made and carried in Spain. Gaining popularity in the 1620s and 1630s, such rapiers continued to be made until the first decade of the eighteenth century. The bowls of most cup hilts are either of solid steel or are decoratively chiselled and pierced. The decoration found on the hilts tends to be remarkably uniform and consists mainly of tightly coiled scrolls of foliage with a variety of different flowers and sometimes birds."
* El Quijote en sus trajes 2005 p110 (German Dueñas, "Las armas y la indumentaria en 'El Quijote'" p103-111)
"Los nobles poseían varia espadas, y se ceñían unas u otras dependiendo del color y ropajes que fueran a ponerse. Así la empuñadura podía ir a juego de las calzones, del jubón, de los botones, etc. Poseían una que are la que normalmente utilizaban y que recibía la denominación de 'de diario'. Luego, y dependiendo del poder adquisitivo y el nivel social de cada miembro de la sociedad, podían tener varias más. Una que podríamosconsiderar de lujo, para ser portada durante acontecimientos especiales, y que normalmente poseía la empuñadura dorada, a través de diferentes técnicas. También era normal poseer alguna espada antigua pertenecienta a algún antepasado y que se conservaba con veneración, aunque en mal estado debido al paso del tiempo y a la falta de cuidado, por lo que normalmente estaban tomadas de orín, como las armas de nuestro hidalgo."
* Martinez 2000 online Part 1
"Spanish swordsmen attack and defend by stepping around each other (Compases) along the circumference of the circle. The swordsmen attempt to create an opening in each other’s defence by varied changes to the rhythm, tempo, and distance. They attack or defend by stepping, passing, or crossing the circle at angles to each other using chords. Diestros never do this in a linear manner directly at each other. Given their stance, the outcome of impalement by attacking on the diameter would be unavoidable. Narvaez states, "Por la linea del diametro no se puede caminar sin peligro." (Along the line of the diameter one can not walk without peril.)
"All attacks, either by cut or thrust, are always executed at an angle to the adversary on either side of the opposing blade. The chords of the circle indicate the angles from which both offensive actions and defensive positioning are the most efficient. The swordsman does not predict the adversary's response. The responses are set up and caused by strategic movement as Narvaez states, "ganando los grados al perfil" (literally, gaining the degrees on the profile, i.e., finding the best position for an attack). This is accomplished by sophisticated footwork which is essential to the mastery of the generalship required in applying the geometry with deadly effectiveness. Narvaez's term for this generalship is "Llave y gobierno de La Destreza" (Key and government of destreza). If the Diestro has accomplished a high level of skill he will be able to command the movements of his adversary by the subtle movements and positioning of his own body. By leading his adversary in this manner the Diestro will be able to create the appropriate angle to launch an offensive action at a moment where his adversary is in a vulnerable position."
* Wilkinson 1978 p91
"Early in the seventeenth century a special left-hand dagger was developed in areas under Spanish influence. It had a rather thin, tapering blade with a very broad, flat ricasso and long, thin cross-quillons terminating in small knobs. It had a small pommel and a wire bound grip but its distinguishing feature was a triangular guard which sprang from the quillons and curved up towards the pommel. This main gauche was often supplied with a matching rapier both decorated en suite."
* Coe, Connolly, Harding, Harris, Larocca, Richardson, North, Spring, & Wilkinson 1993 p62 (Anthony North, "From rapier to smallsword" p58-71)
"The cup-hilt rapier, ancestor of the modern épée and fencing foil, reached its apogee in Spain and those territories under Spanish influence, such as Southern Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. The large deep cup forming the guard gave great scope for craftsmen who were skilled in piercing and chiselling steel. ... It is clear from portraits that cup-hilt rapiers were worn in Spain until almost the end of the eighteenth century."
* Tarassuk & Blair 1979 p402-403
"[I]n Spanish dueling rapiers a cup guard was developed by the mid-17th century, which completely protected the hand.
"[...] In the closing stages of the 17th century the rapier fell out of favor throughout central and northern Europe, where it was being replaced by the smallsword. In Spain and Italy, it retained its glory for several decades to come; during this period rapiers were made there with elaborate decorative work. Although Milan, Naples, and Palermo were Spanish dominions, the decoration style was typically Italian. In southern Italy the dominant features were the fuller running down the blade and the decorative work using the à jour technique. In the north, Milan and Brescia ably met the market requirements with cup guards chiseled with concentric loops or spirals."
* Müller & Kölling 1984 p79
"Der spanische Linkehanddolch besitzt zwischen einer sehr langen, geraden Prierstange und dem Knauf ein gerundetes dreieckförmiges Stichblatt. Es is meist durchbrochen gearbeitet und hat einen umgekrempelten, rompepuntas genannten Rand. Beide technischen Details dienten zum Ab- bzw. Einfangender Degenklinge des Gegners. Diese Dolchtypen wurden auch in Italien hergestellt. Mit den Schalen- und Glokkenrapieren bildeten sie oft eine in gleichem Dekor verzierte Garnitur."
* Fryer 1969 p
"Cup Hilt A type of rapier hilt in which the hand is guarded by a metal cup below the quillons. It is frequently found on Spanish rapiers, and was often finely pierced and chased."
* Fryer 1969 p66
"Main Gauche A seventeenth-century left-hand dagger used in conjunction with a rapier as a parrying weapon. The Spanish form had a broad triangular guard and long straight quillons."