Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-27-2004


Fewer than one hundred years after the forced conversions of 1500 and very shortly before the impending Morisco expulsion decree of 1609, in the shadow of the rebellion of the Alpujarras and during a time of royal edicts aimed at destroying any visible trace of “Moorishness” in the Morisco populations of Spain, Miguel de Luna published La verdadera historia del Rev don Rodrigo. Luna’s “true history” of the first fifty years of Spain’s Islamic period functions on several levels to create a literary space wherein the various communities known as the “Moriscos” can be united in a shared past, and can be presented to an Old Christian reading audience in a positive light. La verdadera historia is a late sixteenth-century, pseudo-history of the Islamic conquest of Spain that was purported by its author to have been written during the first half of the eighth century by a Muslim captain who directly participated in the events of the conquest. In his chronicle, Luna re-writes Spanish history and portrays the conquering Moors, who were considered to be the predecessors of the Moriscos, in a positive light. To this end, Miguel de Luna takes significant liberties with the historical circumstances which underlie his text, and uses recognizable and iconic figures (the Virgin Mary, Visigothic king Rodrigo and Muslim ruler king Almanzor) in unexpected ways in order to recontextualize the history he (re)presents. Luna’s representational strategies include adherence to sixteenth-century generic requirements for historical discourse, re-writing existing literary genres such as the Moorish novel, and re-emplotting historical and religious figures of national importance within surprising and unusual contexts that emphasize the worth of the Morisco community to the Spanish crown. Luna’s strategies represent an attempt to re-write Morisco history and identity in a positive light, thereby suggesting Morisco incorporation within Old Christian society as opposed to their impending expulsion in 1609. To this end, Miguel de Luna subverts existing narratives concerning the nature of the Morisco, and forges a sense of communal history and identity among the varied and divergent Morisco groups in Spain.