La Conquistadora: The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds

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9780199893003: La Conquistadora: The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds

While most books about Mary emphasize her role as the compassionate mother of God, this book uncovers her significant role as an active and often belligerent patron of warfare, as seen from the mosques and castles of medieval Iberia to the cities and shrines of colonial Mexico and finally to present-day New Mexico. Amy Remensnyder explores Mary's prominence on and off the battlefield in the culturally and ethnically diverse world of medieval Iberia, where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived side by side, and in colonial Mexico, where Spaniards and indigenous peoples mingled. As this array of peoples turned to her to articulate their identities, Mary was drawn into both hostile and peaceful cross-cultural encounters. Although Mary became an icon of the Christian conquest of Muslims, medieval Muslims and Christians shared her, sometimes even joining together in rituals of worship in her churches. In the New World, some indigenous peoples of the Americas appropriated from the Spanish the idea of Mary as Conquistadora, using it to reinforce the identity they fashioned for themselves as native conquistadors. Offering a ground-breaking look at the Virgin Mary, La Conquistadora connects medieval and early modern understandings of this iconic figure to reveal her enduring legacy.

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About the Author:


Amy G. Remensnyder is Associate Professor of History at Brown University. She is the author of Remembering Kings Past: Monastic Foundation Legends in Medieval Southern France and a co-editor of Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice.

Review:


"[D]etailed and complex....This is a dense, complex, and tightly woven book about Mary and her relationship with the Spanish over several centuries....This is a fascinating work, quite unlikely any other."--John F. Schwaller, H-LatAm


"In this admirably comprehensive and multifaceted reconstruction of the development of the Hispanic perception of the Virgin Mary as Conqueror, Amy Remensnyder displays staggering range and insight. The book covers nearly a thousand years of Marian history, from the origins of the Reconquista in Spain through to the re-conquest of New Mexico after the Pueblo revolts in the seventeenth century. A work of impeccable scholarship and impressive erudition, narrated with gusto and elegance, it is a splendid achievement."--Fernando Cervantes, University of Bristol


"Sailing smoothly not only across the academic divides that separate medievalists from modernists, and historians from literary scholars and anthropologists, but also across fourteen centuries and a huge colonial empire, Amy Remensnyder reveals the intriguing and ever-changing figure of La Conquistadora. Mary lives in a continuous tension between the universal and the local, mother of us all incarnated in a bewildering variety of statues, sanctuaries, cults, and epithets. In this fascinating study, Remensnyder shows how, in the context of interreligious struggles, Mary, and her supposed role in these struggles, took on meaning for a wide variety of people."--John Tolan, author of Saint Francis and the Sultan


"The ways in which the Virgin Mary's martial associations undergirded Spanish aims of conquest, colonization, and conversion among non-Christians across portions of the medieval and early modern Spanish world are where Amy Remensnyder begins. But, sensitive to her data, they are rarely where she ends up. La Conquistadora will animate the study of Christianizing settings in the early modern Iberian world, and of quite other times and places as well."--Kenneth Mills, co-editor of Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque


"The author's thorough exploration of the wide use of Mary's symbolism by governments and dynasties, particularly the Spanish monarchy, gives this book encyclopedic scope and makes it a fine reference on the numerous roles that Mary has played for civilizations that have artfully deployed her image in settings as diverse as medieval kingdoms and pioneer outposts of the New World."--The Catholic Historical Review


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