Der Moriskentanz (ital. Moresca, aus span. morisca) ist ein Tanz des Mittelalters und stammt ursprünglich aus Nordafrika. Dabei leitet sich das Wort Moriske von „maurisch“ ab. Morisken, auch Moriscos genannt (spanisch: morisco „maurisch“) sind Mauren, die nach dem Sieg der Reconquista in Spanien lebten.
Dieser zu seiner Zeit sehr beliebte Tanz kennzeichnet sich durch verschiedene charakteristische Sprünge und Körperverdrehungen. Ihn zu tanzen erfordert eine gewisse akrobatische Meisterschaft, weshalb früher auch Gaukler und Schausteller darauf spezialisiert waren. Das Hüpfen und Springen der Narren und Akrobaten in Filmen über das Mittelalter basiert wohl auf Vorstellungen über diesen Tanz. Das wilde, orientalische Springen wird manchmal auch so interpretiert, dass der Ursprung des Moriskentanzes ein Schwerttanz gewesen sei.
Der Moriskentanz benötigte anscheinend eine Reihe von Charakterdarstellern, es gab vermutlich mehrere Rollen. Insgesamt 16 Figuren sollten das ganze mittelalterliche Bevölkerungsspektrum darstellen. Die Zuordnung zu den einzelnen Charakteren erfolgt heutzutage aufgrund mangelnder Dokumente eher willkürlich. So unterscheidet man zum Beispiel: „Bauer“, „Dame“, „zur Hochzeit bereiter Jüngling“, und so weiter.
Im Jahre 1480 erhielt Erasmus Grasser den ehrenvollen
Auftrag, die Bildwerke von Moriskentänzern zur
Ausgestaltung des Rathaussaales der Stadt München zu
schnitzen. Die schalkhaften Tänzer, welche heute im
Stadtmuseum München ausgestellt sind, gehören der
Der Moriskentanz tauchte erstmals im einst spanischen
Süditalien am Hof des Königs von Aragòn auf und
verbreitete sich dann nach Norden.
Im Laufe der Jahrhunderte wurde der Moriskentanz immer
beliebter und wurde auf Tanzfesten als Zwischenspiel
zur Unterbrechung des allgemeinen Tanzes aufgeführt.
Hintergründig lassen die Moriskentänzer die angeborene
naive Freude am drastischen Volksschauspiel und deren
Unsere Tänzer sind nach den Originalen von Erasmus
Grasser frei nachgebildet und stellen unterschiedliche
kecke, verbissene oder schüchterne Charaktere von
Gauklern, Akrobaten und Musikanten dar.
Die Jungfrau, inmitten der Moriskentänzer prämiert den
besten Tänzer mit einem Ring (oder einem Apfel?).
1477 – 1480: Erasmus Grasser - bereits als Meister etabliert - schnitzt im Auftrag der Stadt 11 Wappen, die Gestirne Sonne und Mond und 16 Morisken für das alte Rathaus.
- Turban (Figur mit kleinem Turban)
- Langmähniger (auch Hochzeiter)
- Agraffenmütze (Figur mit Kegelmütze)
- Frauenhut (Figur mit wagenradartiger Krempe)
- Schildkappe (Figur mit banddurchzogender Schildkappe, auch Prophet genannt)
- Stulpenstiefel (auch Bauer)
- Jagdhut (Figur mit jagdhutähnlicher Kopfbedeckung)
- Löwenmütze (Figur mit löwenbesetzter Mütze)
- Perlenmütze (Figur mit Hochmütze)
Cybèle. Numa Pompilius et Égérie
Cote : Français 20 , Fol. 187v
Sanctus Augustinus, De civitate Dei (traduction Raoul de Presles), France, Paris, XVe siècle
Oblivion di termine e confine
Del tutto sei, Elice e Dido a Lethe
Menasti, e famma e tempo hai in toe ruine.
... translated by Marco ...
Oblivion, you are the end and boundary
Of all, you took to Lethe Elice and Dido,
And among your ruins you have fame and time.
Tempo, che gli homini a la morte sproni,
Nestor servasti, e si pur vinne al fine,
De un viver tal non par che se ragioni.
Time, you that hurry men to death,
You saved Nestor, and if in the end he came to an end,
It seems impossible to think of such a life.
... (Nr. 20)
Fortezza d'animo in Lucretia liete
Exequie fece: per purgar sua fama
Se uccise, e all'offensor tese atra rethe,
Inner strength made happy the death of
Lucretia: to clean her fame
She killed herself, and she prepared for the offender a dark net,
And there are other games of many kinds but all were made to resemble the things that
happened according to the times that were, are or could be showing how kings in time of wars
when armies are made are to make war on their enemies fighting to conquer them, by capturing
them and killing them or throwing them off the land. And also as in the time of peace they are to
show their treasures and their riches and the noble and strange things that they have. And
according to this they made games. Some with twelve squares (per side), others with ten, others
with eight, others with six and others with four. And thus they continued descending down to
just one square, which they divided into eight parts.1 And all this they did because of the great
similarities according to the ancient knowledge, which the wise men used.
But among all the other games, they chose as best and most in common the one with the eight
squares because it is not so slow as the one with ten or more nor is it as hurried as the one of six
or fewer. And therefore men commonly use it [f. 3] in all lands, more than the other games. And
the figure of the board is that it is to be square and it is to have eight horizontal ranks and in each
flank eight squares which are in all sixty-four squares. And half of the squares are to be of one
colour and the other half of another and likewise the pieces.
And of the other pieces which are greater one resembles the king, who is the lord of the army and
he should be in one of the two middle squares.
And next to him in the other middle square, is another piece which resembles the fers (alfferez)
who carries the standard of the king’s colours. And there are some men who do not know the
name and call him “fersa” (alfferza).3 And these two pieces each one plays alone and does not
have another in all the sixteen pieces that resembles them.
Footnote 3: While this passage attempts to fix the "castellano drecho" term for the fers, the so-called incorrect latter term is the one used throughout the rest of the ms.
The fers moves one square diagonally and this is in order to guard the king and not leave his side
and to shield him from the checks and checkmates when they are given to him and in order to go
forward helping him to win when the game comes out well.
But he can also on his first move jump to the second4 straight or diagonal square and even if
another piece is in between. And this is in the manner of a good captain who charges ahead in
great feats and battles and rushes everywhere they need him. And in this movement he joins
forces with his foot soldiers and becomes one with them as if forcing them not to leave his side
and to be as one in order to do the best thing and thus he guards himself and them, having some
before him and standing before the others. And therefore when the fers is thus joined with the
pawns, they call it flanked.5
4 The original uses the word for third, which counts the square from which the piece begins as the first.
5 Alf(f)erzada refers the triangular position of reciprocal protection created by a fers diagonally in front of two pawns. I have chosen to translate the alf(f)erzada position like the alf(f)ilada position as flank(ed) due to their resemblance to this type of military support.
The fers also has great advantage because it guards the king more closely than the other pieces
and it is better than the fils because it has more squares in which it can move and capture than
they. And also it guards and captures forwards and back, which the pawns cannot do even if a
flank is made with them, as is described above.
And these movements should be known by all those who wish to play chess well because
without this they could not know how to do it nor understand the chess problems that men
desire to know because of the annoyance given them from the lengthiness of the regular game
when it is played out completely. Also they established for that reason the use of dice in chess so
that it could be played more quickly.
And they assigned the six, which is the highest roll of the die, to the king, which is the most
honored piece on the board. And the five to the fers. And the four to the rook. And the three to
the knight. And the two, to the fil. And the one, which they call ace, to the pawn.
And because the games of chess are differentiated in many ways and problems are even made
out of them, there are some in which take all the pieces are used and in others only some of them,
we wish to talk to you here first of the game which is played with the all the pieces together and
we will show how the board is made and the fashionings of the pieces. However those which are
made best and most completely are to be made in this manner:
The King should be on his chair with his crown on his head and the sword in his hand as if he
were judging or ordering justice to be done.
The fers should be made in the manner of the highest standard bearer of the King who carries the
standard of the colours of the King when they are to enter into battles.
The fils are to be made in the manner of elephants with castles on top of them full of armed men,
as if wanting to fight.
The knights are to be made in the manner of armed knights, like captains who are placed by
order of the king to lead the ranks.
The rooks should be made like the ranks of armed soldiers which are very broad, holding on to
The pawns are to be made in the manner of common people who are armed and outfitted when
they want to fight.
But since in all the lands that play chess they would be very difficult to make, such pieces as
these, men sought out a way in which they could be made more easily and with less cost, but that
they should resemble in some small way those which we describe. And the figure of those which
is the most used in all the lands, and especially in Spain, is that which is painted here.
And we wish next to tell of the game which they call forced. And this is because even though it
may be played according to each player’s will, in it there is also to be an element of force because
a man goes against his will losing his best piece to his opponent’s worst, willing or not by putting
it on a square where the other is forced to capture it, according to the movement of the piece
against which it is put. And this game is arranged just the same as the first and the pieces move
and capture each other in that same way except that there is in addition the forced capture. And
therefore those that play it are to be knowledgeable so that they do not put their best pieces in a
position where they are to give them up to lesser and more lowly pieces. Because in this lies all
the wisdom of this game and its play. And because of this force which we described, they call it
the forced game. But because some tell that the damsels first invented it overseas, they call it the
game of the damsels.
The fil (= bishop) can move and capture in six squares (13) of the board, counting its own, and no more.
Footnote 13: 13 This is an error in the LJ; the fil can move to eight squares counting its own starting square. For example, a fil at c1 can also move to a3, e3, g1, c5, a7, g5 and e7.
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