Chivalry and Alterity at the Renaissance Court
About This Event
Guest speaker: Alexander Bevilacqua (Williams College)
In 16th c. Europe, princes and nobles donned costumes and masks to impersonate warriors and kings from foreign lands. During this age of European expansion, equestrian tournaments became an activity for imagining and experiencing human difference, both cultural and embodied. If early masked tournaments focused especially on the rivalry between Christians and Muslims, later ones also represented participants from the Americas, Africa, and South Asia, seeking eventually to evoke the entire world. In this era of early globalization, the tournament—a medieval festivity at which the military elite celebrated its martial values—proved a remarkably flexible medium for interpreting the newly expanded world. It also, inevitably, served to assert European superiority. By expressing their understanding of human difference through equestrian exercises and masquerades, however, princes and nobles not only asserted their claim to rule but also shaped early European ideas about the world's people.
Co-sponsors: Hamilton College Department of History & Hamilton College Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Hamilton College Department of History Hamilton College Medieval and Renaissance Studies