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Old 10-04-2012, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Capetown, South Africa
Posts: 2
Spanish Court Etiquette

Hi, everyone.

Not sure this is the best place to post this question, but maybe you can point me in the right direction.

I'm working on a production of Calderon's The Mayor of Zalamea and desperately trying to find out more information about etiquette in Spain during the time of the play (written in 1636). I'm specifically trying to find out how men and women (of all ranks) would behave towards the King. In the last scene of the play, the King comes to visit the town of Zalamea (I believe the King at that time was Philip IV of the House of Habsburg) and we need to find out how people would bow, for instance. For some reason it's really hard to find out how women would curtsey.

Would you be able to help me out? Anything would be really appreciated, even if you have some vague idea of a book I could go in search for.

Thanks very much!


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Old 11-17-2012, 05:20 AM
Royal Highness
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: alpine village, Germany
Posts: 1,868
Here's a series of articles about the Spanish court etiquette at the court of Vienna.

From the second article: The emperor "was due the tiefe Reverentz or ‘Spanish reverence’: as a symbol of submission before His Imperial Majesty, courtiers made a deep bow on bended knee."

In the article on
the author explains, similarily to what is explained on the other website, that there never was a fixed manual of court etiqutte but that there were experts who were trained for years in understanding the sense and function the etiquette had and to work out a ceremonial form for certain events.

Only after 1650 these ceremonial structures were written down into protocolls which were used by the experts then as a help to create a new ceremonial event.

This is a very interesting point as it shows the etiquette never was meant to be static, but to be adapted to changing situations.

So maybe you should go into more research how the author meant the situation to be for the king and then think up your own ceremony in order to convey what the author meant.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Capetown, South Africa
Posts: 2
Dear Kataryn,

Thank you so much for your reply and for your help. You've given me some great leads as to the direction in which I should take the work. Very much appreciated!

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Old 11-18-2012, 02:23 PM
Kleio's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: *, Spain
Posts: 158
Originally Posted by ilinca.radulian View Post
Dear Kataryn,

Thank you so much for your reply and for your help. You've given me some great leads as to the direction in which I should take the work. Very much appreciated!


Really interesting work, Ilinca!
Hope this link will help you, too! (you can use Google translator)
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