Cuadernos de historia de España
On-line version ISSN 1850-2717
MUNOZ FERNANDEZ, Ángela. Llanto, palabras y gestos. La muerte y el duelo en el mundo medieval hispánico (morfología ritual, agencias culturales y controversias). Cuad. hist. Esp. [online]. 2009, vol.83, pp. 107-139. ISSN 1850-2717.
This article focuses on mourning, that is, on the many ways in which people expressed externally the pain caused by the loss of fellow human beings in medieval Spain. Its goal is to look further into the ritual status enjoyed in the Middle Ages by mourning practices, that have been often merely described or presented in culturally simplistic terms. When we look beyond the surface and delve into what legislators, clerics and writers of diverse backgrounds considered archaic or in disorder, a still unresolved hotbed of historical, anthropological and cultural issues emerge. In order to fulfil our goal, we first explore these funerary rituals and their lexicon, with the aim to identify a typology of concurrent elements. We single out tears, words and gestures as the basis of a stable, recurring morphological structure, and we analyze each of these elements. Secondly, we take into consideration the question of ritual agency as well as the controversies that these mourning rituals arose. Finally, we propose to consider these rooted mourning practices as a complex elaboration of rituals, where the suffering and grieving bodies adopted the necessary status of cultural mediators.
Keywords : Death; Mourning; Tears; Women; Ritual agency; Ritual morphology; Controversies on mourning.