Mythical Figures of Iberian Culture

Myths have abundantly populated Iberian culture: figures, events, facts, institutions, currents. Myths and mythologized constructs are a constitutive part of the construction process of the different national Iberian identities. Myths are the result of historical contexts and the fermentation of mentalities, and are structural elements of the peninsular imaginary cartography, allowing for a better understanding of many drifts and interfaces of all political and cultural history.

Our project aims to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of a restricted field of such a mythologizing process, which was settled through the ages and had its manifestations in different spheres of thought, literature, the arts, etc.. By mythologizing we mean the transformation of a set of ideas, values, opinions, concepts and preconceptions of a group in axioms or in absolute and indisputable truths, and we have selected a set of figures – some more historically real and more tangible than others – that have intensely experienced that process and underwent wide dissemination.

We will observe the construction and reception of their images as well as their cultural (re)interpretations in different contexts and epochs, under different ideological, religious and social interests and political regimes. Besides research and writing, and confronting real biography and mythologized biography, we will seek discussions of the main texts and contexts of creation and construction of the mythologized images of certain figures; we will try to establish typologies and to study the physiognomy of these products of the imagination, as well as to critically observe their enrollment in the scope of mentalities. In parallel, we will identify their influence on the dynamics of Iberian history, as well as its reception and reworking in the various fields of culture.

Thus, we have the following objectives:

• Identify, understand and characterize the mythologized figures of Iberian culture
• Analyze the mythologizing processes and its constraints
• Establish and explain typologies
• Understand the mechanisms and features of the process of mythologizing
• Revisit the continuous networks of socio-cultural interrelationships across history
• Studying the reception of mythologized constructs at the service of identity building
• Understanding the constructs’ mobilizing effects as imaginary products