Chapter 5 Memoirs for ‘a Sunlit Doorstep’: Selfhood and Cultural Difference in Tomé Pinheiro da Veiga’s Fastigínia

In: Exile, Diplomacy and Texts
Rui Carvalho Homem
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1 Object, Contexts, Concepts: a Starting Point

This is a study of cultural perplexities and images of national identity in Tomé Pinheiro da Veiga’s Fastigínia – an extensive, often rambling account by a Portuguese visitor to Valladolid at the time (1605) of the celebrations of the birth of the future Philip IV of Spain (and third of Portugal), and of the arrival and sojourn of an English embassy mandated to confirm the Anglo-Spanish peace.* The Fastigínia is seldom discussed, and even less so outside Iberian scholarly contexts. Drawing primarily on insights from imagology (the study of national representations), this essay argues the singularity of Pinheiro da Veiga’s text within Early Modern writing by stressing its cultivated uncertainties. These uncertainties bear on genre; on the relation between public and private profiles in the construction of an authorial persona; and prominently on the authority (informative, judicative) claimed or renounced by the first-person speaker throughout the text, within the various social environments in which he moves.

My engagement with Pinheiro da Veiga’s account acknowledges – and sometimes departs from – a few recent contributions to the field. These include, first and foremost, the critical edition, framed by a massive scholarly apparatus, that in 2011 created the conditions for the text to obtain a substantially renewed attention. The editor, Ernesto Rodrigues, claims that the Fastigínia, ‘our first epistolary novel’ (which he dates from as late as the 1620s), should be read as a key factor in creating a ‘renewed vision of the Portuguese narrative tradition’.1 He further argues that the Fastigínia also ‘decisively questions national identity’ by offering a glimpse into what it meant ‘to be Portuguese’ against a historical background of ‘Iberian and European fractures’.2 These arguments for the text’s singularity are accommodated but also extended below, as the basis for my broader claim that Pinheiro da Veiga’s text affords a set of insights into the relational mechanisms that shape perceived identities in the larger Early Modern context. Other contributions to which this essay is indebted include the recent study of the 1605 events in Valladolid by Berta Cano-Echevarría and Mark Hutchings, especially as regards their emphasis on ‘the semiotics of protocol’, ‘the theatricality of diplomatic ceremonial’ – as also their constructivist claim that ‘rituals of performance’ are not ornaments, but rather of the ‘essence’ of diplomacy.3 However, my focus on Pinheiro da Veiga’s pointedly Portuguese perspective on the events in Valladolid – which in 1601 had become the seat of the Spanish court and government, and hence ‘the cultural center of Spain’4 – amounts to adding a tertium, a third and unbalancing element to Cano-Echevarría and Hutchings’s characterisation of the Anglo-Spanish ceremonies, in their ‘symmetry and reciprocity’, as a ‘two-legged affair’.5 Additionally and in broader terms, the manner in which this study accommodates but also departs from several recent studies of Early Modern diplomacy cited below (Hampton, Adams and Cox, de Carles) will reflect my choice of object, which is not so much the events represented in the Fastigínia as Pinheiro da Veiga’s text itself – a hybrid (literary, political) artefact, and one that provides a solid argument for the constitutive mutuality of text and event.

A few preliminary, informative notes on a little-known text: the Fastigínia is made of three main parts, centred respectively on the events that surrounded the prince’s birth (Part I), the author’s impressions of the city after the (temporary) departure of the king (Part II), and a ‘description, and natural and moral history of Valladolid’ (Part III, my translation). These are preceded by a few ostensible paratexts – a ‘proemium’, a ‘dedication’, an ‘author’s protestation’, a ‘prelude’ – serving a set of informative and rhetorical purposes. Such purposes include establishing an authorial persona, ‘Turpin’, named after the early medieval archbishop of Reims who featured as one of Charlemagne’s knights in the Chanson de Roland (and a character also invoked in an oft-cited passage of Don Quixote).6 For most of this essay I will be focusing on Part I, the ‘Filipestreia’, which combines a description of the festive moments that followed the royal birth with vignettes of a rich social and political scenario that included visits by foreign dignitaries. The most prominent of these was the already-mentioned English embassy, a seven-hundred-strong party led by the Lord High Admiral of England and Earl of Nottingham, Charles Howard, the main purpose of which was to confirm the Anglo-Spanish peace that had been signed the previous year (1604) with the Treaty of London (following the so-called Somerset House conference).

Pinheiro da Veiga’s descriptions of how visitors and hosts interacted are couched in the voice of his jocular and extravagant ‘Turpin’ persona, which, through recognizable references to personal experience, retains a strong authorial implication. His narrative clearly reflects his substantial experience as a Crown official,7 and reads like a garrulous and irreverent version of a detailed account of an administrative or political mission, or indeed of a diplomatic report. Pinheiro da Veiga’s motley rhetoric reminds us that the Fastigínia emerges from a time in European political and institutional history that saw the rise of diplomacy as a distinctive career, ‘an art and practice of representation’ (in the various senses of the word),8 and one that increasingly hinged on the ability to narrativise the relations between states, construed in the guise of interpersonal relations.9 Additionally, the text’s hybridity in genre and register contributes to making it a self-mocking confirmation of those ‘rhetorical and textual skills’ that were increasingly required of Early Modern officials in (para-)diplomatic functions, expected as they were to submit reports that were sometimes focused, solemn and reserved, sometimes outspoken or verbose and ‘more bluntly worded’.10

Among other things, the Fastigínia is a verbal iconoclasm that disguises its author’s concern for accuracy – and the reliability of his narrative – under the self-disparaging rhetoric of someone whose declared intent is merely to leave a memoir for his grandchildren to read at leisure, one day, on some ‘sunlit doorstep’.11 Even while it reveals its author’s alertness to voices and viewpoints from the street, the text’s dominant tone is learned rather than popular, as shown by the wealth and variety of its citations, with a strong input from Classical and Italian Renaissance sources – as ‘Turpin’ plays the role of a ‘literary picaro’ who has privileged access to the most exclusive circles.12 Its proneness to pinpointing the risible downside to solemn circumstances suggests a strong affinity with iconoclastic writings from the humanist tradition of a century earlier (cited sources include Thomas More).13 The breadth of its references enriches the author’s ability to explore his main focus on how the Spanish and the Portuguese viewed and represented themselves mutually, while this duality is sometimes challenged and problematized by the narrative’s regular consideration of third partners, other foreigners encountered or observed in Valladolid. These prominently include the English visitors, who provide both a gauge of the uncertainties and perplexities that envelop the persona’s outspoken views, and a tertium comparationis that lends density and complexity to his otherwise polarized remarks.

Such general conditions also suggest that reading the Fastigínia from perspectives informed by imagology (or ‘image studies’) may prove especially productive – and this for both historical and structural reasons.14 Historically, Pinheiro da Veiga’s account hails from precisely that moment in European history that saw a delineation and consolidation of perceived identities, or rather of set notions arising from the variety of European cultures and communities. As argued by Joep Leerssen in one of his studies of these processes,

In the course of the late sixteenth century and the seventeenth century, a systematization took shape in European attitudes toward nationality, whereby character traits and psychological dispositions were distributed in a fixed division among various ‘nations’.15

Indeed, with a concurrent impulse from the rise of vernaculars and a sharper awareness of territories and borders, Europe was organizing itself into statehood, at the same time as ‘cultural thought on the diversity of the world was beginning to systematize’.16 This entailed that a discursive and argumentative habit of ‘arrang[ing] moral praise and blame into patterns’ acquired particular favour in the period, and, gradually, ‘the notion of [national] character [became] the primary way of sorting out human and cultural differences’.17

A historicised awareness of such tendencies in Early Modern discourses on national identity has converged, conceptually, with the awareness within image studies of the heuristic value of ‘[extrapolating] structural or at least invariant factors […] from the changeable mechanism of character attribution’.18 National representations are thus seen to show homologies and recurrent traits that allow for a delineation of patterns to become intellectually convincing to present-day readers, and I will be arguing that this perception is substantiated by any reading of the Fastigínia that proves alert to the comparative tropes energizing the narrative. Most of what follows will reflect two further assumptions, again arising from notions that have been current in the humanities and social sciences since the final quarter of the twentieth century, while proving their operativity in readings of Early Modern discourses on identity: (i) an understanding that the images in question are discursively constituted rather than ‘found’, i.e. ‘that national identities are constructs’; and (ii) a concomitant perception that the representations in question derive their cogency from operating in a relational – and often, indeed, antithetical – manner, from ‘the interplay between an auto-image and a hetero-image’, ‘the latent presence of its possible opposite’, ‘a polarity between self and Other’.19

2 Exhilaration, Trauma: a Note on Portugal and Its Defining Elsewheres

Not by coincidence, but rather as a reflection of a shared intellectual environment, the relational nexus underpinning discourses of identity is explicitly invoked in recent discussions of Portuguese culture, especially when read against the defining elsewheres it has encountered through history. Eduardo Lourenço, possibly the country’s best-known ‘public intellectual’ of the past half century,20 is explicit in this regard, when he states in the opening paragraphs of an essay entitled ‘Portugal as Destiny’ that ‘just as is the case for individuals, identity is defined only in relation to the other’.21 And Lourenço proceeds to remind his readers of the particular historical contents of that relationality by pointing out that medieval Portugal was ‘obliged to define itself in opposition simultaneously to the neighbouring kingdom of Castile and Leon and to the Moslem presence occupying space that would become Portuguese space’.22

The country’s pride in this agonistically defined separateness and discrete identity generated its own discursive history, buttressed by a few key narratives: how independence was wrested from Castile-León still in the first half of the twelfth century; how Portugal’s territory gained its (nearly) definitive contours as early as the thirteenth century; and how the country rose to the challenge to its independence posed by the dynastic crisis of 1383–1385, towards the end of which the Castilian bid for the Portuguese crown was defeated in the battle of Aljubarrota – another watershed moment in Iberian history.23

For a historical memory grounded in a sense of defining relations, and for the purposes of this particular essay, the late fourteenth-century crisis and its outcomes carry a particular significance on two counts: (i) they obtained a fundamental textualization in the chronicles of Fernão Lopes (vivid recorder and indeed narrativizer of a critical historical moment, construed by himself and generations of readers as decisive for the process of national definition);24 and (ii) the relational nexus involved a third party that played a consistent role in establishing the content and direction of intra-Iberian relations. This third party was England, since (reflecting particular ambitions) English forces aided the Portuguese side in the Luso-Castilian struggle of 1383–1385 and especially in the decisive battle. This convergence was to be confirmed and sealed by dynastic union (Philippa of Lancaster became Queen of Portugal on her marriage to the victorious King John I) and political partnership – through the Treaty of Windsor of 1386, that bound the two states in the longest-lived (still extant) alliance.25

Any reading of the Fastigínia has to take into account those developments of two centuries earlier, but also – and fundamentally – the consequences of the union of the crowns from 1580, when (following the much-mythologized disappearance of the Portuguese King Sebastian on a North African battlefield in 1578) another dynastic crisis eventuated in Philip II of Spain becoming also King of Portugal (as Philip I). Again, the contours and consequences of this crisis acquired Anglo-Iberian implications, since in the first few years following the 1580 crisis the English crown (under Elizabeth) supported a rival Portuguese pretender to the throne, Dom António. This substantiated the perception that, with regard to Peninsular matters, Elizabeth’s much vaunted ‘balance of power’ policy included continuing support for Portugal, in the name of a by then two-century-old alliance, balanced against the increasing drive of Spain as a major power of the age. The shifts introduced by James I after the 1603 accession famously involved an alternative positioning as regards major continental powers, prominently including an approximation to Spain – the ultimately failed strategy that years later was to find its best-known episode in a projected dynastic marriage, ‘the Spanish match’ (1614–1623).26

By 1605, a full quarter of a century had passed on the union of the Iberian crowns, but merely two years since James’s English accession and one year on the Somerset House conference. Such contextual implications (arising both from the more distant and the more recent developments) could hardly be missed by a Portuguese witness to the events in Valladolid, all the more so when the observer and impromptu chronicler was as close to the royal administration and the realities of early modern statecraft as Pinheiro da Veiga undoubtedly was.27 Such an observer would have come of age, as regards his immersion in Portuguese public life, in an environment largely shaped by the discourses of exceptionalism and providentialism fostered by the history of Luso-Castilian relations – but would also have fully absorbed the extent to which such discourses were challenged by the perceived watershed of 1580.

A decisive consequence of this perception was (as again pointed out by Lourenço) that ‘the Portuguese read in a highly dramatic way the forced union with Spain and the political subjugation that that union represented’; and Portugal, in the decades that followed (and prior to the ‘Restoration’, in 1640, of a Portuguese dynasty on the Portuguese throne), gradually ‘flowed back into itself, changing from a glorious imperial island to a lost island on which it awaited the resurrection of its past’.28 The contrasts arising from such representations of the country’s historical plight indeed entailed that, as noted in a recent thesis, the period of dual monarchy ‘was considered by early modern Portuguese as comparable to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews’.29 In other words, the tendency to exalt that glorious past, and to endow it with exemplary value for the supposed virtues of the Portuguese nation, meant that the post-1580 circumstances were inevitably perceived and represented in Portugal as an unmitigated disaster and disgrace, which fostered attitudes of national self-denigration and self-commiseration.30 This sense of an epoch-making shift, and the ensuing political malaise, had to affect the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, when viewed from the westernmost tip of the Peninsula: if the English had been fundamental partners in securing the persistence of Portuguese independence in earlier contexts, they could now be seen entering agreements with the major power (Spain) against which they had previously set themselves.

3 Containment, Exuberance: the Allure of National Stereotypes

The shadows of a dysphoric historical juncture can occasionally be glimpsed behind Pinheiro da Veiga’s loquaciousness (through his Turpin persona). More often than not he comes across as a weathered, largely sceptical observer who is certainly familiar with the pieties of Portuguese historical pessimism – though immersed enough in the realities of power under the dual monarchy to put them in perspective. For over two decades, after all, ‘members of the Portuguese elite had journeyed to the imperial court in quest of recognition and promotion’, bidding for favour, trying ‘their fortunes in the complex game of faction, patronage, and alliance that defined court politics’.31

The Fastigínia shows its persona incessantly demonstrating how adept he is at the various activities brought to him by life at court (occasionally on its periphery), and with varying degrees of immersion in the life of the town. The text’s many entries and episodes illustrate the opportunities afforded by access to exclusive circles, witnessing the actions of royal figures at close range;32 they record intriguing encounters with variously positioned players in public life,33 and regularly feature flirtatious exchanges with ladies, revealing an undisguised pride in Turpin’s repartee34 and his skills at the even more complex endeavour of penning a decent love sonnet.35 The range and flexibility of his activities also suggest a measure of freedom that an agent on a more definite mandate might not enjoy. Indeed, though in Valladolid on state business, Pinheiro da Veiga binds the physical and social itineraries of his authorial persona to a spontaneity that indicates he would hardly have to ‘follow [a] script to the letter’,36 as might be the case of representatives with a narrower remit; and for this element of relative independence, which is somehow replicated in the studied ramblings of his narrative, it would not be indifferent that he was travelling (as often happened in the period with diplomatic staff) ‘at his own cost, with considerable expense’.37

As suggested above, the verbal agility that Pinheiro da Veiga crafts for Turpin is consistently employed to reveal contrasts between the Portuguese and the Spanish. The overarching trope in this regard, easily identifiable as the structural centrepiece to the exploration of national images in the Fastigínia, is that which sets Castilian exuberance up against Portuguese containment. At its most general, it involves the material conditions that structure life in both countries, at the interface between nature and nurture; but the duality easily prompts moral judgements, and these certainly contribute to the favour enjoyed by notions of ‘character’, at this moment in history, when it comes to representing national profiles. Such is the case with a passage from the entry for 26 May, when, apropos the itinerary of the English embassy on entering Valladolid, the speaker remarks on the width and evenness of roads and paths in Castile:

e, assim, são os mais dos caminhos de Castela, […] e isto em toda a Castela Nova e Velha, que diz bem com a fome dos nossos atalhos e silveiras, que é necessário andar de ilharga, e nem o Batista sei como poderia atinar a endireitar estes caminhos e carreiras, que até neles se vê a estreiteza de nossos corações.38

[and thus it is with most pathways in Castile, […] and indeed in all of New and Old Castile, which nicely matches the famine of our own shortcuts or rather thorny wildernesses, where you have to walk sideways, and not even the Baptist could straighten such paths and trails, in which one can see how narrow our hearts are.]39

This passage is exemplary in more than one sense: it epitomises Pinheiro da Veiga’s comparative strategy (through the voice of his persona) and proposes that the landscape matches national character in a revealing way, thus teaching by example as it shows the ground’s morally reflective shapes. This understanding that the land reveals the character of the people operates irrespective of whether it rests on a causal link – the effect of the people’s [in]action over the land – or rather on a ‘natural’ affinity – suggesting that every national group will get the land that it deserves. The latter possibility informs the bitter irony that pervades the passage (that sarcastic diagnosis of a nice ‘match’ between the two countries’ terrain) and a certain fatalism in this instance of early seventeenth-century Portuguese self-denigration: after all, the speaker, despite the ease with which he moves about in a Castilian environment, never allows his readers at this stage to doubt that his use of ‘we’ finds him acknowledging his Portuguese identity.

This acknowledgement is at its bitterest when the trope of exuberance vs containment (or modesty) is turned on its head to mock the pettiness and pretentiousness of the Portuguese nobility – almost as if the remit of the Turpin persona included offering a negative counterpart to that historical narrative of a Portuguese greatness at odds with the country’s territorial smallness. A rollcall of the top echelons of the Spanish nobility is thus followed, early in the text, by the remark: ‘our counts and marquesses claim that they are grandees, because they covered themselves when in front of kings, but they are not admitted to the presence’;40 and, right at the end of the Filipestreia, the entry dated 23 June includes a note on how ordinary Portuguese gentlemen were going about masked in Valladolid, as if they were great ones travelling incognito, whereas the grandees would be seen driving around under no disguise – which prompts the acknowledgement that ‘the Castilians are right in mocking our pride and vanity’.41 Combined with similar passages elsewhere in the text, this indicates the satirical treatment that Pinheiro da Veiga, the experienced official and representative, was ready to give to that ‘pointless squabbling’ over precedence and position which often emerges in descriptions of the pompous behaviour of both aristocrats and diplomatic staff in the period.42

It is also significant that the reflection above on the wide vistas of Castile, by contrast with the narrowness of Portugal, is prompted by the arrival of the English embassy, a third party that the Spanish hosts are intent on welcoming with comfort and stateliness – as if the Portuguese observer were suddenly embarrassed by a sense of how much more difficult it would have been to prepare an adequately dignified entrance (of none other than the ‘old Allies’) in his own environment. This particular triangulation will be approached in greater detail below, but other third parties are indeed cited at different points in the Fastigínia, confirming the Portuguese observer’s intense awareness of a broader world out there, sometimes involving exotic presences or allusions, imperial ambitions and rivalries. The entry for 4 May notes the arrival at the palace of ‘three or four very well-dressed and bejewelled Moorish women’,43 apparently a gift from an Italian privateer to the Duke of Lerma; and 15 May is marked by a sorry incident, the murder of the Persian ambassador, the contours of which include racial and sectarian hatred – an episode that obtains a rather shocked response from the Portuguese observer, who refuses to believe the apparent slander that had been put about to justify the violent killing of the diplomat.44 But a much less sombre emergence of the exotic in this account, and one that resumes the trope of contrasts that bring out Castilian grandeur, occurs in the entry for 3 June. In it the persona describes the fine horses and tack (harnesses, bridles) to be seen on one of the many festive occasions of those days, and hails Castilian wealth by comparing it – in this case – to a fabled, exotic, and (in the recent geopolitics of Europe) adversarial power:

De sorte que […] se podiam ver duas coisas juntas em uma hora, que pode ser que nem na corte do Grão-Turco se pudessem juntar em muitas semanas, que são trezentos cavalos e ginetes tão formosos e trezentos jaezes bordados, e muitos de aljôfar, no que se vê bem que a riqueza da Espanha é, hoje, a maior que há no mundo.45

[And it so happened that […] one could see two things together in one hour that maybe not even at the Court of the Grand Turk might come together in many weeks, which were three hundred so handsome horses and steeds showing three hundred embroidered trappings, and many edged with pearls, in which one can well see that Spain’s wealth is today the greatest in the world.]

In an account that so often invokes a Portuguese foil, the intra-Iberian comparison here remains implicit, but is nonetheless active in the broader context of Pinheiro da Veiga’s text.

There are passages, however, in which the Portuguese view of those grand events gains a critical distance, almost a censorious tone, like the downside to an otherwise admiring stance. This becomes manifest, in fact, from the first celebratory signs of the prince’s birth, when the bells rang through the night of Holy Friday:

e logo se publicou a nova, tocando, tocando os sinos toda a noite: o que os portugueses estranhámos, porque nos pareceu fora de tempo esta alegria, na noite em que a Igreja celebra tão diferentes exéquias, e a tão diferente príncipe; mas os castelhanos, nestas matérias, não guardam o nosso respeito e modéstia.46

[and the news was promptly announced, with the bells ringing and ringing all night: which we, the Portuguese, found strange and untimely, on a night in which the Church observes such distinct rites, honouring such a different prince; but the Castilians, on these matters, do not keep the same respect and modesty.]

Such reservations, however, are quickly revised, as the speaker seems to give in to an acceptance of the apparent emotional authenticity of the Spaniards in their celebrations:

a alegria universal de grandes e pequenos, em que se deixava ver o excesso com que os espanhóis amam o seu príncipe, vendo chorar com alegria até as regateiras; e natural e exteriormente se via no rosto de todos a alegria com que se davam os parabens.47

[the universal jubilation of high and low, revealing the excess with which the Spaniards love their prince, since even the streetsellers could be seen weeping with joy; a joy that was naturally and outwardly expressed on the faces of all, as they greeted one another.]

The ambivalence that transpires from these passages, coming as they do from consecutive paragraphs, includes an element of self-disparagement, the acknowledgement of an emotional containment that is implicitly balanced against that diagnosis of a Spanish alacrity or emotional ‘excess’ and at times found wanting. Later moments in the text suggest that such ambivalence indeed includes an endorsement of possibly the longest-lived trait in a Portuguese national stereotype – that of a supposed inclination towards an undefinable sadness or melancholy, otherwise known through the Portuguese word ‘saudade’. The first recorded set of remarks on this supposed national trait belongs within a treatise dating from nearly two centuries earlier, the Leal Conselheiro [Loyal Advisor] by King Duarte (the eldest son and heir of John I and Philippa of Lancaster), who in a much-cited passage first employed the word suydade, declaring it particular to Portuguese (he had not found its origin or equivalent in Latin or any other language) and theorising it as reflecting a tension between yearning and recollection.48 In a self-reflective passage of the Fastigínia, the ostensible candour of which suggests that the persona’s authorial implication may be at its strongest, the speaker admits he needed to curb a tendency to indulge in what a later age might describe as a culturally specific sadness:

Como eu, neste tempo, andava receando a quaresma da melancolia de Portugal, que se me vinha chegando, folgava em dar um entrudo aos olhos;49

[As, in those days, I was in fear of that Lent of the melancholy of Portugal, which kept haunting me, I indulged myself by providing a Carnival for my eyes;]

This solace takes the generic shape of noting in great detail all that surrounds him – which causally binds the production of his detailed account to the need to keep his ‘melancholy of Portugal’ at bay; but it quickly becomes more specific:

e, assim, me chegava com curiosidade a notar tudo. E, chegando a uma roda de senhoras junto de um altar, vi que uma dizia às outras:

– Hermanas, quieren que hagamos una locura? Vamos a ver comer el embajador y su inglesía?50

[and I would thus, with curiosity, take note of everything. And, as I approached a company of ladies close to an altar, I heard one say to the others: (in Spanish) ‘Hermanas, quieren que hagamos una locura? Vamos a ver comer el embajador y su inglesía?’ / Sisters, shall we do something wild? Shall we go and watch the Ambassador and his English crowd at their dinner?]

As a much-needed distraction, ‘Turpin’ promptly follows them in their socially bold foray – which will also provide an opportunity to acquaint himself and his readers with ‘the manner in which they [the English] ate, and how they were served and accommodated, and how much that cost the king’,51 the details of which cover several pages. In summary: a Portuguese melancholy is redressed by following Spanish ladies as they venture into the palace where the huge English party are lodged and take their meals. And, indeed, ‘noting’ the behaviour of women in Valladolid and the particularities of the English embassy are crucial components of the relational design that informs the Fastigínia.

4 Significant Others: of Women and Foreigners

The entry for 13 June offers a close description of the ladies’ self-assured behaviour throughout their visit to the English party, who were halfway through their meal, and records their witty dialogue with the Lord High Admiral. The latter responds with chivalry to their arrival – showing a flattering but decorous interest in seeing their faces (they wear veils at first), insisting on standing once he notes their presence (in which he is followed by the other English gentlemen), offering them his cup (which they accept), and gallantly joining their repartee. As regards the Admiral’s reported demeanour and that of his group, this episode, centring as it does on interactions between Iberians and their English visitors, rather pointedly confirms the stereotypical expectations that the Turpin persona jokingly cites prior to the English embassy’s arrival, when he describes the crowd that gathered to watch them enter the city, a crowd that included a great number of ladies:

começou a acudir tanta gente e tantos coches, […] com que se fazia uma vista formosíssima […], porque quase todos eram de damas, que o queriam parecer aos Galvões e Lançarotes, para que não tivessem saudades das suas Genebras, Iseus Labrundas, […] trazendo quantas jóias, cordões e anéis têm.52

[many people started gathering and so many carriages, […] which made for a most handsome sight, […] because almost all of them carried ladies keen on showing their beauties to the Gawains and Lancelots, so that they would not miss their Guineveres and Iseult la Blondes, […] loaded with all the jewels, chains and rings they have.]

Through the gallant response of the English, the later episode seems to validate the expectation attributed by Turpin to the Spanish ladies that such visitors should be like Arthurian knights; while the daring initiative in visiting the embassy also reiterates the ladies’ keenness in showing themselves off to the English, as if to test their own power to indeed emulate the Arthurian paragons of female beauty.

Further, this Anglo-Spanish interaction also leads to reflections that explicitly concern the Portuguese perspective on themselves vis-à-vis the Spanish, prompting in fact the clearest and most outspoken occurrence of the text’s repeated remarks on what the observer sees as a huge contrast between socially sanctioned behaviour of women respectively in Spain and Portugal. After reporting on the ladies’ social graces, their show of wit, and their no less elegant exit, Turpin remarks:

Isto se terá em Portugal por soltura e leviandade; mas, suposto ser em corte, e nesta ocasião, pergunto: estas senhoras em que ofenderam a Deus, ou ao próximo, ou à sua opinião? Elas folgam, fazem esta honra aos estrangeiros, que as estimaram muito; tornam-se a suas casas. Folgara em saber onde está o mal desta facilidade e lhaneza, tão contrária à hipocrisia e cativeiro de Portugal, que, como se as mulheres não foram nossas irmãs e filhas de nossos pais, nem foram cristãs e bichinhos que bolem e sabem falar, as queremos fazer animais irracionais e brutos feros, e que não vejam, nem falem, e metê-las, como leões, em cisternas.53

[In Portugal this will be seen as loose and light behaviour; but let us assume this is a court of law and I ask, on this occasion: in what have these ladies offended God, or one’s neighbour, or their reputation? They enjoy themselves, extend this honour to the foreigners, who have much appreciated it; and they return to their homes. I would much like to know where the evil resides in this ease and courtesy, so contrary to the hypocrisy and captivity of Portugal, where, as if women were not our sisters and the daughters of our parents, nor Christians and animated and speaking little beasts, we want to make them irrational, brutish, feral animals that will neither see nor speak, and enclose them, like lions, in cisterns.]

This denunciation recurs throughout the Fastigínia, though with varying degrees of assertiveness and – characteristically in this text – with a measure of ambivalence in the normative assumptions and ethical judgement that envelop these gendered perceptions. In the passage above, even the mock-judicial strategy of defence in the face of an accusation indicates the author’s awareness that he is entering a well-trodden terrain – that of discussions on women’s nature and social roles, and on their presence in domestic and public spaces, which punctuated late medieval and early modern cultures in the form of conduct books, treatises and pamphlets, with a regularity that reveals the topic’s perceived relevance and necessity.54 This is a tradition that the author of the Fastigínia consciously taps into, but his text, which cannibalises distinct genres and rhetorical strategies, and has been described as suggesting (from its title) ‘a kind of galimatias’,55 is not a treatise nor a series of pamphlets. Hence, Turpin’s exculpation of that group of ladies for their foray (which he portrays as characteristic of Spanish mores) and his indictment of Portuguese husbands and fathers for their perceived tyranny do not entail a wholesale celebration of gender relations and womanly virtues in Spain: after all, that early boutade on Spanish ladies yearning to play Guinevere or Iseult to the English visitors could not but remind readers that those legendary Arthurian women were not just paragons of beauty, but also sexually transgressive figures. And, indeed, just a few pages on from his vocal decrying of Portuguese gender attitudes, the persona is claiming the authority of a balanced view of polarised options, refusing to offer an unmitigated endorsement of Spanish liberality, and curiously troping the alternatives as distinct monastic rules for women: ‘I approve neither the fact that in Castile they are Beguines, nor that in Portugal they are Carthusians’.56

Turpin’s ambivalence, though, does not necessarily involve treading the middle ground (that urge to compromise that is proper to diplomacy as ‘an art of peace’ or ‘appeasement’57), but rather, in a number of cases, alternating between nationally defined sympathies. He has only contempt for what he acknowledges and describes as a Portuguese inclination to grope and harass women encountered in the public space, a practice that he notes as already a stereotypical trait of the Portuguese when viewed from Spain:

E é nestas ocasiões [festivas] que se vê bem a largueza dos corações da gente castelhana e a cortesia de todos, pois, em tanto encontro, tanto aperto e tanta liberdade, não há uma peleja, nem um matante ou picão dos nossos, que, como dizia uma castelhana, faça um mimo de Portugal, que é dar um beliscão, que leva meio braço ou a barriga da perna a uma pecadora, que vai manquejando meia hora, e, como se deram lançada a mouro, se vão gabar disso.58

[And it is on such [festive] occasions that one can see how warm-hearted the Castilian people are, and the courtesy of all, since in the course of so many encounters, with such a free-moving throng, no one will fight, and there will be none of those brawlers of ours who will give (in the words of a Castilian wench) a Portuguese caress, i.e. a pinch that will maim any woman in arm or leg leaving her hobbling for a good half hour, and the brawlers boasting about it as if they had speared a Moor.]

This is a stereotype from which the Turpin persona takes care to extricate himself, and indeed to appear as a chivalrous protector of women who move about in public spaces, vindicating their right to do so while somehow making amends for his countrymen. This is especially in evidence in an episode recorded in the entry for 29 May, when he again contrasts ‘the courtesy and nobility of Castilians’ and ‘the ill nature of Portugal’ in this regard, and recounts how on a particular occasion he intervened when another Portuguese, who was with him, ‘not to lose his habit, started playing with his hands’; at which point the lady who was thus harassed vocally challenged the groper, also prompting Turpin to ‘make the peace’ between them and declare himself ‘her bondsman’.59

Against this, there are passages in the Fastigínia that depart from this particular polarity and indictment and have the Portuguese, collectively, pose either as the chivalrous party, or as the source of moral authority for a hostile judgement on women’s actions. The latter case emerges fairly early in the text, in the ‘Prelude’ focusing on solemnities that preceded Holy Week, and takes the form of a colourful and unashamedly misogynous account of a sermon for ‘public women’ (i.e. prostitutes). The episode describes how such women would ‘grimace and quarrel’ in church, making the occasion a source of ‘scandal’ rather than moral ‘profit’. It also includes the remark that such a sermon could with advantage be made before the whole Court – a blanket indictment (of all women at court as courtesans) of the kind that later passages in the text so vocally rebut. This is compounded by the anecdotal report that when any such ‘public women’ repent or ‘convert’, some of the noble ladies will take them in to find them husbands or another occupation – on which the persona comments (with approving sarcasm and the corresponding denigration of Spanish ladies) that ‘we’ (i.e. the Portuguese) believed rather that the noble ladies would be employing the loose women as their conniving ushers.60

As for the former case, when the Portuguese appear as the gallant ones, it revealingly involves third parties, which again help break that recurrent dual mould of Luso-Castilian comparisons. In the entry for 28 May, we learn that, in a courtyard where many were concentrated, trying to see as much of a certain reception as possible, a group of ladies were overheard complaining that some Genoese and other Italians had discourteously stood in front of them, preventing the ladies from coming forward and thus watching the proceedings. This creates an opportunity for the Turpin figure and another Portuguese gentleman to enjoy a social triumph by honouring the presence of the ladies, engaging again in a witty dialogue (in Castilian) with them, and eventually embarrassing those improbably discourteous foreigners (Castiglione’s countrymen, after all), the Italians, who choose to leave after a reminder of their unchivalrous behaviour makes their faces turn ‘three hundred colours’.61

5 Of Eros and Christ: Religion, Sex and the City

28 May marks one of those key moments in the Fastigínia when the web of judgements that it offers on the actions of individuals and groups is richer and more complex, less limited to the intra-Iberian dualities that otherwise prevail. For this particular entry, such complexity is largely due to the English visitors, whose audience with the queen on that day was the reason why so many people at court and on its social periphery (including the frustrated ladies and ‘those few Genoese and other Italians’) were competing for a viewing point. The initial expectation of chivalry (when the entry for 26 May jokingly referred to the English, in general, as ‘Gawains and Lancelots’) is validated by the finesse of their behaviour when received by the queen. This is epitomised in the highly deferential manner of the Lord High Admiral and confirmed by the deportment of his followers, apparently adept at the erotics of diplomacy and cultural exchange – as recorded in a passage in which the Turpin persona does not hesitate to comment on the personal attributes of the various personages:

Alguns dos ingleses principais se chegaram a falar e ver as damas, que lhes faziam muito agasalhado, principalmente a senhora D. Catalina da la Cerda, que é tão formosa como as mais são feias.62

[Some of the most prominent among the English then came over to see and talk to the ladies, who very much warmed to them, especially Doña Catalina da la Cerda, who is as beautiful as the rest are ugly.]

Later passages acknowledge the elegance of the visitors at a variety of courtly activities, such as when ‘the ladies [danced] with the English, who all danced very well, […] so that everyone conceded to the foreigners in the dexterity and ease of their capering, even though they dance with less gravity than ours’63 – a passage in which it becomes unclear whether the first-person plural in this closing comparison refers to the Portuguese, or (jointly) to Iberians, here challenged by the visitors’ panache. The social graces shown by the English, however, seem to be rather grudgingly acknowledged, as the text is in fact punctuated by suggestions that they are ultimately noted for an imbalance between their imposing appearance and the refinement of their manners – once these are more carefully noted:

São altos de corpo, conhecidamente, mais que nós, brancos e loiros, e trazem os cabelos como nazarenos, os mais deles até aos ombros; não há nenhum que não tenha formosíssimas mãos e as tratam com cuidado; em efeito, são gentis-homens, ainda que frios, desleixados e sombrios.64

[They are tall in body, recognisably taller than us, white and blonde, and they wear their hair like Nazarenes, most of them down to their shoulders; none of them will fail to have most handsome hands, that they carefully groom; indeed they are gentlemanly, albeit cold, negligent and sombre.]

The opportunity, mentioned above, to watch them as they had their meals also yields comments on the visitors’ appetite: ‘since they are (God bless them) tall and sturdy, more plates were constantly being brought’ .65 These observations, however, are more than just opportunities for the Portuguese observer to crack jokes at the expense of the visitors: they become his acknowledgement of a political choreography, with deep implications for how the balance of power is enacted and perceived by the main players and their audiences.

A key dimension to the Anglo-Spanish rapport, as seen and annotated by this Portuguese spectator, is religion, inevitably considered against the broader context of a Europe divided by the Reformation. Indeed, the commentary that punctuates the extended description of the English visitors’ meal in the entry for 13 June hinges on a contrast between their otherwise gentlemanly behaviour and certain perceived lapses in their refinement. And this finds its revealing apex, indeed the raison d’être for the observer’s reservations regarding their social graces, in the absence of any religious observance from their table manners:

Sentaram-se à mesa sem oração, nem lavar as mãos, nem comedimento algum, senão sentar e começar a comer. […] Acabada a comida, […] notei que nem benzem a mesa, nem dão graças a Deus.66

[They sat at the table with neither prayer, nor washing of hands, nor any form of restraint – they just sat down and started eating. […] When their meal was done, […] I noticed that they neither bless the table, nor give thanks to God.]

Crucially for the relational design that organises national images throughout the Fastigínia (and crucially for my argument), it is this major area of difference that determines an emphatic shift in the persona’s use of first-person plural forms. Indeed, ‘we’ appears to be reserved for the Portuguese in those parts of the account that focus on Spanish mores, but it recognisably conjoins the Iberian Catholic identities whenever the object under discussion, contemplated with a sense of distance and wariness, is the (nominally Protestant) English embassy (‘they’).

Their behaviour in all matters that are religious or may have a religious significance becomes the object of a scrutiny that appears to be energised by an intense curiosity, but also by wariness and mistrust. True, the persona’s prevalent jocular tone is very clearly qualified by a sterner tone whenever religion is at stake, and not only towards the ‘heretic’ English. Curiosity about differences in religious attitude and practice marks the account from its very beginning, when the opening paragraph of the ‘Prelude’ vows to inform readers ‘of some of the particularities I have noted in the management and ceremony proper to the services this week, that differ from church custom in Portugal’.67 This leads to one of those segments of the text in which Portuguese containment, rather than being lambasted as tantamount to smallness and mediocrity, is in fact praised for proper Christian humility and temperance, set off by the stereotype of Spanish extroversion. Thus, preachers in Valladolid are described as ‘very discomposed on the pulpit, preaching like comedians’, ‘charlatans, loose in their words and even more so in their reasons’, contrasting with the ‘gravity, modesty’ of ‘good Portuguese preachers’;68 and the flagellations proper to Holy Week processions are decried as gratifying an un-Christian taste for gore:

Seguiam-se logo outros quatrocentos disciplinantes […], e alguns deles com uma roseta (a que chamam abrojo), que lhes abre as costas. E afirmo que vi alguns levar postas de sangue coalhado de mais de arrátel, […] que me pareceu demasiada crueldade, e me escandalizou permitir-se tanto excesso.69

[There followed another four hundred penitents […], and some of them with a thorny point (that they call abrojo) cutting into their backs. And I can say that I have seen some with more than a pound […] of curdled blood, which seemed too much cruelty, and I found it a scandal that such excess should be permitted.]

Whenever the English visitors are the object of attention, however, the attitude shifts from this consideration of Iberian differences to a wary observation of how the ‘heretics’ cope with the sustained presence of Catholic clerics, churches and their liturgies along their itineraries at court and around the city. The Portuguese observer’s pious credentials are stated from the outset when, in the entry for 26 May (which contains a description of the arrival of the embassy), he remarks:

São todos hereges sacramentários de diversas seitas rebeldes à Igreja romana; queira Deus não deixem alguma semente em Espanha os seus bons pregadores, de que me mostraram um bispo com o mesmo traje dos outros; depois, disseram que não era senão clérigo como os outros, que vêm principais, com a liberdade e dissolução da vida a que sempre se inclina a gente vadia, de que há tanta na corte.

[they are all sacramental heretics of the various sects that have rebelled against the Roman Church; God forbid they leave any seed in Spain planted by their good preachers, of whom I was shown a bishop apparelled like the others; I was then told that he was just a clergyman like others in the embassy, some of whom of importance, practising that freedom and dissolution of life to which wayward people are always given, as so often seen at Court.]

It is noticeable, however, that the expectation of an insurmountable (sectarian) otherness set by these initial remarks is gradually replaced by a tone of surprise, almost of glee at times, at how the English prove diplomatically adept at negotiating the potential politico-religious pitfalls throughout their visit, and indeed perform the gestures one would expect from ‘good Catholics’. In fact, the paragraph following the passage above includes the news that already in A Coruña (their port of entry in Spain) ‘countless of them had flocked to mass’, and the ambassador had been forced to send thirty of those back to the ship, as a warning to others; while, already in Valladolid, some were seen in church ‘uncovered’ (either out of devotion or ‘curiosity’), on which the author promises to report further.70 The Turpin persona reiterates his pleasure, in the entry for 29 May, at the sight of the most prominent among the English attending the procession and uncovering themselves on entering the church, while the ambassador (as befitted his diplomatic remit) ‘in all behaved prudently’;71 while the same entry includes the rumour that ‘many [among the English] went to the Holy Office to accuse themselves, and seek reconciliation with the Church’,72 with further news of conversions occurring in later entries (e.g. for the 15 June). The satisfaction he expresses in the face of such events is grounded in the perception that eternal damnation would be the penalty for their heresy, and ‘it was a pity to see such handsome people all go to hell’ (12 June; 157). However, his praise of the visitors’ religious stance is not all made of such earnest, even sombre piety, since it also includes celebrating the ability shown by the English, as spectators to a stage play performed in their honour, to accommodate an incidental joke with a sectarian dimension – and this as further evidence of a diplomatic savoir-faire for which all of the nobility present (both English and Spanish) are commended.

This gratulatory emphasis grows towards the end of the Filipestreia (its diary structure extends beyond the embassy only by five days) and culminates in a glowing assessment offered in the entry for 18 June. Turpin’s final appraisal stresses how pleasantly the visit unfolded, with no incidents, somewhat to his surprise, considering that it involved ‘seven hundred people, and English – who are the most presumptuous people in Europe – and heretics’.73 His assessment invokes, once again, national stereotypes, but in this case to signal how limited these can be in explaining human behaviour; and it privileges two areas – in line with main emphases of the whole Fastigínia: religion and sex. As regards the former, the English are again celebrated, despite their ‘heresies’, for having behaved throughout ‘as if they were Catholics’.74 As for the latter, Turpin notes that those seven hundred men spent twenty-two days in Valladolid and ‘it is said that in all that time they did not know any Castilian women, nor did the women give them occasion for that’75 – a record in abstinence that he notes with a sense of wonder. He credits the ambassador for this and much else: ‘Much is due to the admiral’s prudence’;76 above all, the author (through his persona) shows an understanding of how that restraint, involving both soul and body, was a triumph of diplomatic management and political competence that made the embassy, in his eyes, a major success. And this, as suggested above, against the odds – considering the potential for conflict posed by different identities multitudinously present in the space of the city in the course of those three weeks – and against the backdrop of a western Europe glimpsed in the process of rearranging its balance of power.

6 Epilogue – Les Uns et Les Autres

Ultimately, the authorial identity that readers are left with after going through the Fastigínia is that of a meticulous observer and shrewd commentator. His garrulous and jocular manner provides a cover – sustained by the Turpin persona and, indeed, by precedents in the humanist tradition – for discussing public matters in terms that could otherwise prove hazardous for a lifelong administrator and court official. As seen above, the text indeed balances its predominantly learned tenor (supported by regular citation of literary sources) against an outspoken, often brazen tone in its discussion of public and private actions of gentlemen and ladies about the court, including titled nobility. By fashioning it in this manner, Pinheiro da Veiga provides his readers with a privileged glimpse into the tastes, interests and concerns observed in the social circles (themselves diverse) that he claims to have entered during his stay in Valladolid.

The pages above will hopefully have signalled the text’s power of fascination, grounded both in the author’s explicit and sustained appeal to ‘the superior attractiveness of gossip’77 – in other words, exploring the attractions of the incidental, unique and particular – and in his converse deployment of general notions about the national groups that he sees interacting during his stay, and revealing themselves in the process. The Fastigínia therefore becomes a key delineation of some of those national images (both auto- and hetero-) the inception of which, as regards European cultures, imagologists have dated from precisely the Early Modern period; and, in Pinheiro da Veiga’s account, such images manifest themselves relationally, as representations of the Portuguese, Spanish and English exhibit their mutually defining power.

A central conclusion afforded by the reading above is precisely that the relational patterns into which Pinheiro da Veiga’s observations recognisably fall become the text’s major heuristic device, allowing issues of gender, religion and power (especially in its symbolic and performative dimensions) to emerge as intriguingly as they do. This is where the presence of the English embassy finds its impact, introducing complexities in the author’s evident pleasure (at times, one feels, a self-directed Schadenfreude) in pursuing the otherwise prevalent duality involving the two Iberian identities. These are, indeed, intermittently wrested out of an antithetical conformation as the author, challenged by the otherness of the English (northern and Protestant), wavers in his use of the first-person plural – allowing it to refer to a common Iberian (southern and Catholic) identity, rather than to his otherwise emphatic ‘Portugueseness’.

This measure of uncertainty, this hint of an author forced to debate with himself when faced with a more complex set of relations than envisaged, can be read as reflecting the text’s origins in a transitional culture, both in the broader European context and in a specific Iberian framework. This seductive notion, however, has to be qualified by the perception that a decisive prompter of those complexities is the issue of religion – where the author’s incisive sympathies lie with the pre-modern notion of a trans-national Christendom, spanning the various states. Against which, in turn, one has to note the vehemence with which the author declares his sympathy for an ostensibly unconventional gesture that departs from an atavistic Iberian culture – that which sees the Spanish ladies stun (and apparently also delight) the Portuguese observer by appearing as improbable and unannounced visitors to the English embassy. Even if their gesture is promptly answered by the male panache of gallantry, and hence accommodated by an intractably patriarchal culture, their assertive and self-assured foray puts itself at the centre of the narrative’s complex web of sympathies, and certainly becomes one of those lasting images of the Fastigínia that sustain the text’s claims to an unsuspected modernity.


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A version of this study was presented in the form of a keynote lecture at the 3rd Anglo-Iberian Relations Conference: from the Medieval to the Modern (Oviedo, November 2019).


Rodrigues E. (ed.), Fastigínia, de Tomé Pinheiro da Veiga (Lisboa: 2011) XIII. My translation, as with any English versions of passages from the Fastigínia cited in the course of this essay. All citations will refer to Rodrigues’s edition.


Rodrigues, Fastigínia XIII.


Cano-Echevarría B. – Hutchings M., “Valladolid 1605: A theatre for the Peace”, in Mulryne J.R. – De Jonge K. – Morris R. (eds.), Occasions of State: Early Modern European Festivals and the Negotiation of Power (London: 2019) 93–108, here 93.


Ungerer G., “Juan Pantoja de la Cruz and the Circulation of Gifts between the English and Spanish Courts in 1604/5”, Shakespeare Studies 26 (1998) 145–186, here 146.


Cano-Echevarría – Hutchings, “Valladolid 1605” 94.


On Turpin as a ‘formidable figure’, who proves ‘a paragon of chivalry […] while remaining an archbishop’, but also (from his historical outset) ‘a fictional character’, see Gerrard D.M., The Church at War: The Military Activities of Bishops, Abbots and Other Clergy in England, c.900–1200 (Abingdon: 2017). Archbishop Turpin’s role as a chronicler of the achievements of Charlemagne’s paladins makes him an obvious object for Pinheiro da Veiga’s satirical appropriation of his name for the ostensible author of an extensive report on his and his Portuguese associates’ sojourn in Valladolid. Further, for such an appropriation, he could have found a tempting precedent, and one very close to him in time, in Don Quixote’s address to a curate as ‘Archbishop Turpin’ in chapter VII of Cervantes’s novel.


Rodrigues, Fastigínia LXXXCVI.


Craigwood J., “Sidney, Gentili, and the Poetics of Embassy”, in Adams R. – Cox R. (eds.), Diplomacy and Early Modern Culture (Houndmills – New York: 2011) 82–100, here 82.


Hampton T., Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe (Ithaca, NY: 2009) 2–3, 7, 23.


Stewart A., “Francis Bacon’s Bi-literal Cipher and the Materiality of Early Modern Diplomatic Writing”, in Adams R. – Cox R. (eds.), Diplomacy and Early Modern Culture (Houndmills – New York: 2011) 120–137, here 120, 122.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 6.


Rodrigues, Fastigínia CXCVII.


Rodrigues highlights Pinheiro da Veiga’s ‘rare humanistic culture’ (2011: LXXIV and passim) and discusses the elements of ‘carnivalesque nonsense’ in the Fastigínia (CXCIIIII); and his introductory chapters and notes on the text identify a very broad range of sources (a list is provided on CCXXVVI), including a fair share of satirical writing, accommodated in textual practices that ‘often operate parodically’ (CXCIV).


Beller M. – Leerssen J. (eds.), Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters – A Critical Survey (Amsterdam – New York: 2007).


Leerssen J., “The Rhetoric of National Character: A Programmatic Survey”, Poetics Today 21, 2 (Summer 2000) 267–292, here 272.


Leerssen J., National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History (Amsterdam: 2006) 55.


Ibidem 57, 62.


Leerssen, “The Rhetoric of National Character” 275.


Ibidem 275, 279–80, 271.


For a recent discussion of the resonance obtained by the phrase ‘(public) intellectual’ respectively in Anglophone and continental European cultures, see Rawson C., “The last intellectual: Claude Rawson on the fertile mind of Lionel Trilling”, Times Literary Supplement (December 14 2018) np; digital edition.


Lourenço E., This Little Lusitanian House: Essays on Portuguese Culture, ed. and trans. R.W. Sousa (Providence, RI: 2003) 27–28.


Ibidem 29, my emphasis.


Mattoso J. – Sousa A., A Monarquia Feudal (1096–1480), in José Mattoso (gen. ed.), História de Portugal, vol. 2. (n.p.: 1993) passim.


For reasons that include the perceived relevance of the historical material but also the narrative zest of the chronicler, Lopes’s chronicles have consistently been among the earliest primary records in Portuguese historiography presented as mandatory reading in schools. The texts are digitally available in historical editions from the Portuguese National Library at


Mattoso – Sousa, A Monarquia Feudal passim.


The overview of key historical events and developments in the paragraphs above, with a particular bearing on late medieval to early modern Portugal, is common knowledge, and too broad to be sustained by detailed referencing; useful general references include Mattoso and Sousa 1993 and Magalhães 1993. For a recent study of the Iberian and global implications of the Spanish match, see Caldari V., The End of the Anglo-Spanish Match in Global Context,1617–1624 (Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade do Porto: 2015).


Rodrigues, Fastigínia LXXXCVI.


Lourenço, This Little Lusitanian House 36.


Caldari, The End of the Anglo-Spanish Match 134.


Real M., Introdução à Cultura Portuguesa (Lisboa: 2010) 41.


Studnicki-Gizbert D., A Nation Upon the Ocean Sea: Portugal’s Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492–1640 (Oxford: 2007) 125.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 19, 78–79.


Ibidem 22, 47–48, 122–124.


Ibidem 31–32, 34–38, 72, 118–120, 131–133.


Ibidem 48–49, 94–96.


Cano-Echevarría – Hutchings, “Valladolid 1605” 95.


Rodrigues, Fastigínia LXXII. For the financial hardships faced by Early Modern diplomatic staff, who often had to cover their expenses from personal fortune, see Mattingly G., Renaissance Diplomacy (1955) (New York: 1988) 201–203.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 70.


The biblical reference in this passage concerns Isaiah 40.3: ‘The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’. Also Mark 1.3, Matthew 3.3, Luke 3.4, John 1.23.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 20.


Ibidem 201.


Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy 197, 218.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 60.


Ibidem 63–64.


Ibidem 111.


Ibidem 28.


Ibidem 28.


The passage in question can be found in chapter XXV of the Leal Conselheiro: Duarte, King of Portugal, Leal Conselheiro [1437–1438], ed. J. Dionísio (n.p.: 2012), available at (last accessed 30 March 2020).


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 160.




Ibidem 161.


Ibidem 70.


Ibidem 164.


The textual record of such discussions has obtained significant attention in recent scholarship, with a particular focus on the so-called ‘querelle des femmes’ and its processing within humanistic culture. For a brief overview of the issues it raises, see the general introduction to the series ‘The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe’, a series that includes an English edition of the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives’s The Education of a Christian Woman: A Sixteenth-Century Manual, ed. and trans. C. Fantazzi (Chicago – London: 2000) ix–xxvii, especially xxiii–xxiv on ‘the problem of chastity’, xxv–xxvi on ‘the problem of speech’, and xxvi–xxvii on ‘the other voice’. For a general study of early modern perceptions of women, organised into ‘Body’, ‘Mind’ and ‘Spirit’, see Wiesner-Hanks M.E., Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: 2008) especially 174–205 (on ‘Women and the Creation of Culture’) and 276–301 (on ‘Gender and Power’). See also the various issues of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal (last accessed 01/01/2019) – and the sustained activity of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, (both sites last accessed 01/01/2019).


I.e., ‘a. Confused language, meaningless talk, nonsense’, ‘b. […] A mixture, medley’ (Oxford English Dictionary online). Rodrigues, Fastigínia CXCVII.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 167.


Carles N.R. (ed.), “The Poetics of Diplomatic Appeasement in the Early Modern Era”, Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power: The Making of Peace (London: 2016) 1–23, here 3.


Pinheiro da Veiga, Fastigínia 31.


Ibidem 91.


Ibidem 20–21.


Ibidem 79.




Ibidem 181.


Ibidem 168.


Ibidem 117.


Ibidem 161–162.


Ibidem 15.


Ibidem 21.


Ibidem 17.


Ibidem 73.


Ibidem 84.


Ibidem 85.


Ibidem 187.




Ibidem 187–188.


Ibidem 187.


A phrase famously employed by L.C. Knights in his discussion of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Knights L.C., Explorations (London: 1946) 40.

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Exile, Diplomacy and Texts

Exchanges between Iberia and the British Isles, 1500–1767

Series:  Intersections, Volume: 74