I picked up Joaquin Martinez Pizarro’s The Story of Wamba last spring at Kalamazoo (love those conf discounts). After reading it, I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting. The 250 or so pages include roughly 50 pages of the translation and 200 excellent pages of analysis. I have a more formal review at Library Thing and Amazon but this is the kind of detailed, in-depth examination of a text which I love. Pizarro takes an account of what’s really a fairly minor historical event – a quickly defeated rebellion – and uses it to examine a wide range of historical and literary issues. What does this text tell us about the relationship between religious and secular leadership in 7th century Visigothic Spain? What does it say about how kingship was viewed? What level of literacy does this reveal? What are the literary topoi in use?
I could argue with a few of Pizarro’s conclusions, particularly about the “Penance incident” involving Wamba, but I couldn’t fault his methodology.
Pizarro, Joaquin Martinez. The Story of Wamba: Julian of Toledo’s Historia Wambae regis. Washington, DC. Catholic University of America Press, 2005. ISBN: 978-0-8132-1412-2.