Alfonso X playing chess

Alfonso X playing chess

A study by Dr Şizen Yiacoup, Lecturer in Medieval & Early Modern Spanish Studies, entitled ‘Games of Love & War in the Castilian Frontier Ballads: El romance del juego de ajedrez and El romance de la conquista de Antequera’, has recently been published as a chapter of the volume Medieval Hispanic Studies in Honour of Alan Deyermond (Tamesis, 2013).


A Moor and a Christian playing the lute

Dr Yiacoup’s analysis explores the use of the game as a poetic motif and the way in which it creates an atmosphere of tension relating to a shift of fortune, serving as a visible, condensed, localized expression of the emotional conquest involved in courtship. More specifically, her study focuses on two medieval frontier ballads, El romance del juego de ajedrez and La conquista de Antequera, and the ways in which these poems employ games – those of chess and of jousting respectively – not only as a 9781855662506means of denoting emotional and military conquest but also as an enduringly evocative means of highlighting the unique cultural identity shared by Castilians and Granadans on the medieval frontier.

The book Medieval Hispanic Studies in Honour of Alan Deyermond has recently been published by Tamesis. Professor Alan Deyermond was one of the leading British Hispanists of the last fifty years, whose work had a formative influence on medieval Hispanic studies around the world. As well as Dr Yiacoup’s essay on frontier balladry, the book includes studies on his wide range of research interests, ranging chronologically from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, covering subjects such as clerical verse narrative, historical and codicological studies and hagiography.