Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Language and Culture Studies, Plan B: Latin and Hispanic Studies
Martha K. Risser
“We are like an admirable, wandering Numancia, who prefers to die gradually than to admit defeat” (translated from Alfonso Guerra’s documentary, Exilio). Uttered during the fall of the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Spanish author Luis Araquistáin’s ominous phrase not only speaks to the slow death of Republican hopes while in exile, but also hearkens back to a small town in the north of Spain that existed in the second century AD. Famed for its resistance to the advancing Roman armies, Numantia fell in 133 BC to Scipio Aemilianus who led the forces of the Roman Empire against the city and besieged it for eight months. Yet, even as late as the twentieth century in Spain, people could still hear references being made to this small town; the preservation of the memory of Numantia is largely due to the work of Miguel de Cervantes, who in the 1580s penned El cerco de Numancia (or simply, La destrucción de Numancia), a play based on the events of 133 BC. After Cervantes came multiple playwrights, poets, and even politicians who reinterpreted the play in various forms to communicate distinct messages. One of the most unique moments in the life of Cervantes’ El cerco de Numancia came during the Spanish Civil War; during this clash between visions of the future of Spain, both Republican forces and the Nacionales of Franco utilized the image of Numantia to motivate their constituents and sway others to their cause.
Aigbedion, Irenae A., "In Death, Immortality". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2013.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/341