1st Edition

Food, Feasting and Table Manners in the Late Middle Ages Volume I: The Iberian Peninsula in the European Context

Edited By Guillermo Alvar Nuño Copyright 2024
    350 Pages 20 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a study of what and how people ate in the Iberian Peninsula between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.

    It has long been recognized that Mediterranean cultures attach great importance to communal meals and food cooked with great refinement. However, whilst medieval feasting in England, France and Italy has been thoroughly studied, Spain and Portugal have both been somewhat neglected in this area of study. This volume analyses how medieval men of the Iberian Peninsula questioned themselves about different aspects deemed important in social feasting. It investigates the acquisition of table manners and rhetorical skills, the interaction between medicine and eating, and the presence of food in literature and religion. The book also shows how this shared society and culture, as well as their attitude towards food, connected them to a Western European tradition.

    The book will appeal to scholars and students alike interested in food and feasting from the perspectives of literature, history, language, art, religion and medicine, and to those interested in a social, cultural and literary overview of life in the Iberian Peninsula during the late Middle Ages.


    Framing the importance of banquets in the late Middle Ages (Guillermo Alvar Nuño)

    1. How should I eat before a king? Feasts as public display of moral manners (Guillermo Alvar Nuño)

    2. Rhetorics as a social virtue: holding conversations when eating in public (María Díez Yáñez)

    3. The theory of humours applied to food in the Middle Ages: from the Graeco-Roman tradition to mediaeval Latin Europe (María Teresa Santamaría Hernández)

    4. Biblical feasts in the thirteenth century: miniatures in the Bibles historiales (Elisa Borsari)

    5. A Caution against excess: Gula in John Gower’s works (Antonio Cortijo Ocaña)

    6. Eating with the lords of Portugal: continuities and discontinuities from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries (Margarida Esperança Pina)

    7. Imagining the meal of a crusader: food, feasting and fasting in Baudouin de Sebourc (Claude Roussel)

    8. Don Juan Manuel and food: eating and didacticism. Mirrors of princes, regiments of health and treatises on the virtues and vices in the world view of a fourteenth-century Castilian aristocrat (Barry Taylor)

    9. Food, political elites and cultural invective in the poetry of the Cancioneros (Andrea Zinato)

    10. Religious context and eating in late Middle Ages castile: aubergines as a conflict between Jews, Muslims, and Christians (Hélène Jawhara Piñer)

    11. Food in popular culture: wording, practice and symbolic aspects in Castilian proverb collections (Alexandra Oddo)

    12. The land of Cockaigne in European literatures (thirteenthfourteenth centuries) (Filippo Ribani)


    Guillermo Alvar Nuño obtained his PhD in Latin Philology from the Complutense University of Madrid. He developed his teaching career at the Université de Franche-Comté (Besançon, France, 2014–2017) and the University of Alcalá (2017–), where he currently teaches subjects related to the ancient and medieval worlds. As a researcher, he has worked with late antique and medieval pedagogical texts on the moral formation of ancient and medieval man. He has also researched the development of the courtly model in medieval Europe, the influence of classical authors in the Middle Ages and the development of Spanish humanism in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.