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Review Article INTERPRETING AUTHORITY IN FIFTEENTH-CENTURY SPAIN: ALONSO DE CARTAGENA'S POR MARCELO AND THECATHONIANACONFECTIO Ryan Giles University of Chicago During the past decade, an increasing number ofworks by Alonso de Cartagena have been published in modern editions.1 Most recently, Andrea Baldissera has brought to light the Castilian translation ofPro Marcello Oratio (c. 1422-1427),2 and Barry Taylor has edited the Cathoniana Confectio that Cartagena presented to the Count of Haro in an Epistula (c. 1440).3 The publication of these overlooked texts encourages literary historians to re-evaluate what has often been viewed as the intellectual ambivalence of Cartagena - his humanistic commitment to recovering the classical writings ofCicero and Seneca, coupled widi his scholastic conservatism and distrust of imaginative literature. Born into an affluent converso family, Cartagena studied canon law at die University of Salamanca, rapidly ascended to the position of royal advisor at die court of Juan II, and later became Bishop of 1 María Morras has in recent years published De questionibus hortalanis, as well as Cartagena's translations ofDe Senetute anà De los oficios. - PorMarcelo [Pro Marcello]. Edizione critica, introduzione e note. Ed. Andrea Baldissera. Aguay Peña 18. Lucca: Mauro Varoni Editore, 2003. 170pp. ISBN 88-8209-275-5. 3 "Cathoniana Confectio":A Latin Gloss on the "Disticha Calonis"andthe "Contemptum mundi". Ed. and trans. Barry Taylor. Hispanic, Portuguese, and LatinAmerican Monographs. Bristol: U Bristol P, 2004. xxxiii, 21 1 pp. ISBN 08-6292-550-9. La corónica 35.1 (Fall, 2006): 293-300 294Ryan GilesLa corónica 35.1, 2006 Burgos.4 During the 1420s, while participating in a series ofdiplomatic missions in Portugal, he translated one of Cicero's most well-known speeches, Pro Marcello.5 This panegyric honors Julius Caesar for magnanimously pardoning Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a senator who had opposed the dictator during the civil war of 49 B.C.6 Cartagena's translation, entitled Por Marcelo, has survived in four known codices: Harl. 4796 of the British Library, El Escorial M-II-5, and Biblioteca Nacional Ms 9132 and Res. 27. Andrea Baldissera has consulted all four of these, producing an excellent edition, complete with a detailed introduction (9-96), scholarly notes (121-25), the Latin text ofPro Marcello for comparison, a critical apparatus (129-52), and an up-to-date bibliography (155-70). His introduction provides a brief overview of early humanism and vernacular translation in fifteenth-century Spain, discusses Cartagena's orientation as a translator ofCicero and "uomo di Chiesa", his cultivation ofclassical rhetoric as a "buon strumento pedagogico", and die political relevancy of Ciceronian discourse during a period when monarchical power was being contested and consolidated in Castile (1-29). In parts two and diree ofhis study, Baldisserameticulously evaluates the Castilian translation oíPro Marcello and its manuscript tradition (30-62). Cartagena set out to translate both die meaning and style ofRoman oratory. These aims are made clear in his prologues to De officiis and De inventioni where the Bishop characterizes Cicero's speeches as "sçiencia" and "eloqüencia", and observes that "si el interpretador sigue del todo la letra, nescesario es que escriptura sea obscura e pierda gran parte del dulçor" (207; 31). In spite of his emphasis on clarity, the translator on more than one occasion confuses or obscures the meaning of Pro Marcello through inaccurate readings of sentence structure and lexicon, or what Baldissera calls "passi falsi" (35).7 For 4Alonso de Cartagena's father, Selomo ha-Levi, had converted to Christianity in 1390 and taken the name Pablo de Santa Maria (for abiography ofCartagena, see Luis Fernando Gallardo and Noel Fallows).° This mission was intended to ratify a peace treaty and maintain Castilian control over the Canary Islands. R.R. Dyer observes that "ProMarcello has stood out, inthe centuries when Cicero was the authority and source for the study and practice ofrhetoric, as a mine ofrhetorical techniques and figures for the classroom teacher" (20). 6 The speech also promotes a return to the Republic. Dyer has seen this as part of "Cicero's campaign against the despotic actions and aimlessness of policy which he perceived beneath Caesar's facade ofgentle conqueror" (30). 7 For example, Cartagena...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 293-300
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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