Companion to Empire: A Genealogy of the Written Word in by David Rojinsky

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By David Rojinsky

This quantity strains a family tree of the various conceptions and capabilities of alphabetic writing in Hispanic cultures of the pre-modern and early colonial classes. The ancient junctures chosen are these at which the written note (in grammatical, old and felony discourse) assumed elevated ideological significance for bolstering other kinds of 'imperial' energy. In impression, Companion to Empire posits a constellation of old eventualities, instead of a unique legendary starting place within which the alliance among writing and imperium should be discerned. The corpus of basic texts thought of within the quantity derives from works by way of foundational figures within the background of pre-modern language theories (Isidore of Seville, Alfonso X the clever, Antonio de Nebrija) and from these pointed out with the early transatlantic growth of alphabetic writing (Peter Martyr D'Anghiera, Bernardino de Sahagún, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán). by way of interpreting those canonical texts opposed to the grain, the writer avoids the totalizing gesture of histories of the language, and in its place focuses upon the connection among status written languages, the production of a 'literate mentality' and the necessity to consolidate imperium on either side of the Atlantic. Companion to Empire will therefore be of curiosity to these adopting a 'post-philological' method of Hispanic stories, in addition to these drawn to medieval and transatlantic imperium experiences.

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Extra info for Companion to Empire: A Genealogy of the Written Word in Spain and New Spain, c.550 - 1550. (Foro Hispanico)

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254). The point here is clearly to contrast the illegality of Hermenegild’s aggression as an attempt to usurp power like an ancient tyrant, and Leovigild’s lawful rule. Meanwhile, if in section 52 of the history, Recarred, Leogivild’s successor, is portrayed, as “elevating” the Goths culturally by his religiosity “cultu praeditus religionis” [he was gifted with a reverence for religion], by his piety with respect to the Catholic faith “fide pius” and his dedication to peace “pace praeclarus”, his father, Leogivild, is soberly commended (for) “ille armorum artibus gentis imperium dilatans” [increasing the dominion of the Gothic people by the arts of war] (1975: 52.

3. 4), all individual words were grounded in a primordial moment of signification which, not surprisingly, an etymological methodology was well equipped to reveal (Bloch 1983: 43). Similarly, contemporaneous grammatical theory stressed not only the centrality of etymology as a fundamental methodological tool, but that language itself could be reduced anatomically into original parts which, when assembled, would increase and produce discourse. Just as Hebrew was the ‘maternal’ language, and the etymon of a word revealed the original ‘authentic’ meaning of that same word, the letter was regarded as the original foundation on which words, groups of words, figures of speech and whole languages were dependent for their ‘generation’.

Irvine argues compellingly for an understanding of the Christian translatio imperii et studii of the late empire in terms of a preservation of a classical grammatical tradition which permitted its practitioners access to political power: During the time of the empire, only those trained in grammatica could hope to rise to political power, serving in the upper levels of Roman civil and imperial administration. It was this system that the young Augustine, Cassiodorus and future Pope Gregory I, like generations of Romans before them, were trained to exploit for their own advancement.

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