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Free Barron's Booknotes-Don Quixote by Migel de Cervantes-Free Book Notes
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GLOSSARY / VOCABULARY LIST

ALONSO FERNANDEZ DE AVELLANEDA - The pen name of the author of the spurious sequel to Part I of Don Quixote.

AMADIS OF GAUL - The most famous chivalric romance in the Spanish language. The adventures of Amadis and his lady love Oriana take place in Wales, the setting of the legends of King Arthur.

ARCADIA - Originally a district in ancient Greece, the home of the god Pan. By Cervantes' time Arcadia was known as a mythical land of happy shepherds and shepherdesses, the setting of many of the pastoral romances.

BACHELOR - A title accorded to university students who had completed a certain portion of their studies.

BISCAYAN (BASQUE) - In Cervantes' time the people of the Basque country had a reputation for being plain-spoken, honest, and a bit humorless.

"HERE TYRIANS AND TROJANS ALL WERE SILENT" - The opening line of Book Two of Virgil's Aeneid. A good example of Cervantes' use of classical references for humorous contrast, this heroic line introduces the ridiculous episode of the puppet show in Part II, Chapter 26.

HIPPOGRIFF - A winged horse with the head of an eagle.


THE HOLY BROTHERHOOD - A kind of lodge whose members were sworn to keep the highways safe from bandits.

THE HOLY OFFICE - The official name of the Inquisition, a group of officials appointed by the Pope to stamp out heresy. In the beginning, the Spanish arm of the Inquisition concentrated on punishing converted Jews and Moslems who practiced their former religions in secret. Later, its duties included censorship.

KNIGHT-ERRANT - A knight who has taken to the road in search of adventure.

LA MANCHA - An arid, thinly populated region of central Spain. The people of La Mancha (known as Manchegans) were considered backward and unsophisticated, so the concept of a knight-errant calling himself Don Quixote de La Mancha was something of a joke.

LAZARILLO DE TORMES - The title and main character of the most famous of the picaresque novels-tales of lower-class rogues who lived by their wits. Gines de Pasamonte compares himself to Lazarillo.

MAMBRINO'S HELMET - The legend of King Mambrino and his helmet can be found in Orlando Furioso by Ariosto.

MARAVEDI - A copper coin worth very little.

MELISENDRA (also spelled Melisande or Melusina) - The heroine of perhaps the best-known French chivalric romance. The heroine of Gines de Pasamonte's puppet show does not necessarily bear any resemblance to the original heroine.

MOOR - A North African Muslim. The Moors conquered Spain in the eighth century and held most of it until the thirteenth century. The last Moorish stronghold in Spain was conquered at the end of the fifteenth century.

MORISCO - A Moor who converted to Christianity. Spain's Moriscos were descendants of the Moorish invaders who had conquered Spain. By Cervantes' time they were a despised minority.

MR. MERRYMAN - This nickname, which the Don gives to Sancho, recalls the custom of referring to a knight's companions in arms as "merry men."

ORLANDO FURIOSO - A chivalric romance (dealing with the Medieval hero Roland) written in the form of an epic poem. The Italian author, Ludovico Ariosto, was known for his sophisticated wit. A number of incidents in Don Quixote, including the adventure in the Sierra Moreno, parody episodes in this famous poem, which appeared in 1532.

RHADAMANTHUS - Along with Minos, two of the mythological judges of hell.

ROLAND - One of Charlemagne's commanders and, according to legend, a hero of the Christian forces that in the eighth century defended Europe against Moorish invaders (in fact, Roland fought the Basques). His exploits are recounted in the French Chanson de Roland (Song of Roland) and the Italian Orlando Furioso (Roland is Furious).

SANTIAGO AND CLOSE! - A Spanish battle cry. Santiago was Saint James, the patron saint of Spain. "Close" was an exhortation to close in on enemy lines.

"SLEEVES ARE GOOD EVEN AFTER EASTER" - A Spanish proverb meaning "better late than never."

TIRANT LO BLANCH (Tirante the White) - The title of a romance written in the Catalan language. It was said to be one of Cervantes' favorite books. See the comments made about it in Part I, Chapter 7.

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