If you want to know “who was boss?” in the High and Late Middle Ages in the Iberian Peninsula, read our sociohistorical analysis.

Also, we have used the information extracted from that study to learn how the Portuguese pronoun system changed throughout the medieval period, so you may be interested in reading too our study on pronoun usage.

Sociohistorical Approach

It is likely that the first thing that have called your attention after viewing ournetwork visualization is the fact that some of the nodes are not linked to the network in any way, which means that is broken.

Some of the independent nodes were to be expected: some of the poets present in the corpus, the ones under the fifth period label, are from the fifteenth century, that is a one hundred years long gap after the ones under the fourth period category.

The fact that is broken at its very beginning is not as problematic as it could seem either. For once, there are fewer texts and authors preserved, so we have fewer relationships to analyze (view Fig. 2). Furthermore, even if we could not find the agents that kept the flow of cultural production, the geographic and historical information can help us here to find the connections. Rodrigo Gomez, count of Trastámara, was a member of the House of Traba, so that node would not be broken if we had encoded relationships between patronages as well as the flow of poets through courts. If you want to learn more about medieval genealogies, you can browse here the work by Cawley, Charles (2006): Medieval Lands. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy.

One of the most important matters when studying a particular cultural movement is to find out how and where it began. The social network visualization points out that the origin of the Galician-Portuguese poetry school is intimately related to Galician noble houses. However, we can see how Galician poets began to be less predominant through time.

Fig. 1. Relationship between the origin of the poets and their period of activity

(55.38%) 3rd period 36.1% 30.6% 19.5% 5.6% 5.6% 2.8% (21.54%) 2nd period 78.6% 21.4% (10.77%) 4th period 71.4% 28.6% (7.69%) 1st period 60% 40% (4.62%) 5th period 100% Galician Portuguese Castilian Aragonese Occitan Italian

The third period (1230-1300) is the most prolific (view Fig. 2), but, as we could see in Fig. 1, it is also the most diverse regarding the origin of the poets. It is important to notice, then, that this poetic movement attracted artists from other parts of Europe who would learn the language and the rethorical schemes.

Fig. 2. Percentages of poets per period

(55.38%) 3rd period (21.54%) 2nd period (10.77%) 4th period (7.69%) 1st period (4.62%) 5th period

From a social point of view, we can see in a way how lords lost power in favor of the royal courts. It would be sloppy of us to say that this is a proof of the progressive decay of Feudalism as the predominant economic system, but our data seems to confirm that, at some point, royal courts seemed more atractive to poets than those ruled by lords.

Fig. 3. Relationship between the type of affiliation and the period

(12.31%) 1st period 37% 50% 13% (38.46%) 2nd period 48% 48% 4% (87.69%) 3rd period 21.1% 73.7% 5.3% (21.54%) 4th period 21.4% 78.6% (4.62%) 5th period 67% 33% Lordship Patronage Royal Court Unknown

We can infer from our maps and graphs that, without any doubts, Alfonso X of Castile's court is the most important node in this cultural network. He is the responsible for a boom of cultural activity in the third quarter of the XIII century, and we can attest that hosting poets was part of his cultural program.

Another aspect we must consider is that, as part of the cultural activity promoted in this court, they established scriptoria dedicated to the translation and copy of texts. This may explain, at least partially, why we have more preserved documents and poets from this period than from any other one.

Be that as it may, the importance of Alfonso X for the development and preservation of the Galician-Portuguese poetry is unquestionable. He was the most powerful king in the Iberian Peninsula at the time, but his ambitions were even greater: he aspired to be elected as the Holy Roman Emperor. One of the reasons that motivated him to invest so many efforts in strengthening the cultural activity of his court could most likely be related to this aspiration as part of his electoral campaign.

After his death, the Portuguese royal courts were, practically, the only hosts of this cultural movement.

In the Research section of this site, you can find a more extensive explanation about the criteria used when making up the social network graph. However, we want to recall the definition of edge betweenness to identify the social butterflies of the network:

Surprisingly enough, they are not the most famous poets from a strictly literary point of view. Their works do not stand out, and the number of their compositions is a bit irrelevant when compared to the most prestigious authors. However, they have built the right relations and so their contribution to this poetry school must be measure according to other parameters.

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Linguistic results

In the texts, we found 137 total pronouns, both archaic and modern. For each period, the percentage is relative to that period and the number of poems in it. The breakdown looked like this:

0% 50% 100% 33% 67% Period 1 16% 84% Period 2 43% 57% Period 3 23% 77% Period 4 21% 79% Period 5 24% 72% Total Modern Archaic

There are several forms that appeared in the texts that Williams did not account for in his studies. One of these was the pronoun lhi, an archaic form of the modern lhe. Another archaic form that was not documented by Williams was present in the text. While Williams did account for lis, he did not inlcude lhis which was present in our texts. He also did not document xi which appeared in our texts as the archaic form of se. These pronouns could be absent from William's documentation for various reasons, such as dialectal variation and a different sample of texts.

So What?

The chonological breakdown of the periods is as such:

Williams offers that the earliest documentation of archaic Portuguese appeared at the end of the twelfth century, which holds true with our findings here. However, a gradual change from archaic to modern pronouns is not readily apparent in our data. Instead, there is general trend of modern pronoun dominance throughout the texts. This could be due to a lack of variance in the sample texts we used. We used a small sample of texts that don't offer as clear a picture of diachronic variation as a larger sampling would; indeed it would be foolish to think that an entire language change could be represented in a series of nineteen poems. Still, our research shows that our poets, and perhaps by extension the Galician-Portuguese troubadours of the Middle Ages as a whole, tended towards the more modern forms of Portuguese pronouns. An extension of this study could look at larger sample size and could include more linguistic features, such as syntax and other morphological features, but for now, we must regard this project as a starting point for future projects.

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