Though studies on the Cantigas have emphasized them as a personal and collective plea for salvation, investigated the role of the troubadour, or highlighted depictions of daily life, very few have focused on the space and function of the sea in relation to the broader Alfonsine cultural and imperial project. In response to this lacuna, I argue that certain cantigas can and should be read as textual and visual manifestations (maps) of Alfonso's struggle for, and power over, the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, and contrary to critical notions of the shipwreck text as a counterhistoriographical narrative of empire, as articulated by Josiah Blackmore, I suggest that scenes of shipwreck, piracy, and tempestuous seas in the Cantigas are, in fact, carefully constructed narratives used to demonstrate—by way of divine intercession—the authority and influence of Alfonso's empire beyond the limits of the Peninsula, into and throughout the Mediterranean space.


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pp. 199-221
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