My resources: Some correspondences between the factotum figures of Grüninger’s edition of Terence’s Comoediae (1496) and those of the early Tragicomedias (Sevilla 1502 [1511] and Valencia 1514)

After having systematically related the human figures of the Burgos Comedia to the corresponding factotum figures of the Strasbourg, Johannes Grüninger, 1496 edition of Terence’s Comoediae, I have spent some time looking for the most likely models for the factotum figures of the earliest Tragicomedias, more concretely, the Crombergerian series and the Valencia 1514 series. Not surprisingly at all, both series are for the greatest part dependent on Grüninger’s edition as well, but they do not resort to the very same models

Some debts are really evident. For example, there is no doubt that several factotum figures of the Sevilla, Jacobo Cromberger, 1502 [1511] edition of the Tragicomedia are more or less free copies of certain factotum figures of Grüninger’s edition: at least eight out of nineteen. The figure representing Alisa in act XVI of the Tragicomedia is almost an exact copy of the figure of the Nutrix in Heautont timoroumenos. Mirror copies of Syrus, Sannio and Symo are used to represent Pármeno, Sempronio and Centurio (Syrus), Pármeno, Sosia and Centurio (Sannio), and Pleberio (Symo). Three of the young female figures are mirrored copies of young female figures in Grüninger’s edition up to their heads: headpieces and hairstyles are different, but everything else is alike. Something similar can be said of the factotum figure representing Celestina with a rosary in her hands, with both hands on her bosom: it looks as if Mirrhina’s factotum figure had been given a rosary.

Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], I
Heauton timoroumenos, fol. LXIXv
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], VI
Adelphoe, fol. XCIIr
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], VIII
Heauton timoroumenos, fol. LXIXv
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], III
Adelphoe, fol. XCVIIIv
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], IV
Eunuchus, fol. XXXIIIIv
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], XVI
Heauton timoroumenos, fol. LXXIIIIv
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], XVI
Andria, fol. IIIr
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], IV
Ecyra, fol. CLXVr
For Grüninger’s factotum figures, I use the digital facsimile of the Universitäts und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt. For the Tragicomedia‘s factotum figures, I use my own research photos taken at the British Library.

By contrast, there are almost no direct correspondences between the human figures of the Valencia 1514 edition of the Tragicomedia and those of Grüninger’s edition. Only three out of the twenty-six different figures can be connected to another figure in Grüniger’s edition, and not as definitely as in the former case. The design for Melibea seems to have been taken from the design for Antiphila, with which it shares the headpiece, the position of the hands and, to a certain extent, the dress, despite some differences regarding the shoulders and the lenght of the overskirt. The design for Celestina in act IV is reminiscent of the representation of Syra in the full-page woodcut of the Ecyra, especially when it comes to the position of the hands, but their clothing is different: Celestina wears some kind of cloak that covers her almost entirely.

Tragicomedia, Valencia 1514, I and XTragicomedia, Valencia 1514, IV
Heautontimoroumenos, fol. LXIXv.Ecyra (title page), fol. CLVIr
For the Tragicomedia‘s factotum figures, I use the the B/W images of the portal ATENEX, but also the digital facsimile of the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.

However, the interesting bit is that, even when there is no direct correspondence between the human figures in Grüninger’s edition of Terence and the Spanish Tragicomedias, the influence of the former can be felt everywhere. This is particularly evident in the case of the figures that represent the servants and Centurio. For example, in the Valencia 1514 edition of the Tragicomedia, the doublet worn by Pármeno and Sempronio looks very much like the doublet worn by Therea, even in details: the slits on the front, the baggy embellishments on elbows and shoulders… Moreover, their breeches and hose (and the first Centurio’s and Sosia’s) look very much like Dorax’ (and like Sannio’s, in the case of the second Centurio). Sosia’s design even wears the turbant-like headpiece of Dorax’ representation in the full-page woodcut of Eunuchus, while the first Centurio holds a spearlike weapon in his hand that plays no role in his characterisation but is important for Dorax’. As a result, it seems as if these figures where created by combining elements that were present in some of Grüninger’s human figures.

Tragicomedia, Valencia 1514, I and IITragicomedia, Valencia 1514, II and VITragicomedia, Valencia 1514, XVII and XVTragicomedia, Valencia 1514, XVII
Eunuchus, fol. XXXVIrEunuchus (title page), fol. XLIXvAdelphoe, fol. XCIIEunuchus (title page), fol. XXVIIIv
In this order: Pármeno, Sempronio, Centurio, Sosia.

This is not exclusive of the factotum figures of the Valencia 1514 Tragicomedia. The Sevilla 1502 [1511] ones also convey a similar feeling. For example, there is something in the baggy sleeves of Sempronio and Dorio, and their similar posture, that make them look alike. The same aplies to the wrinkled piece of cloth in the neck of both Celestina and Lena, and the position of their hands.

Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], XII
Phormio, fol. CLXIr
Tragicomedia, Sevilla 1502 [1511], III
Ecyra, fol. CLIIr
Not so sure about these.

Furthermore, I cannot avoid thinking that there is something that feels “German” about how the servants and Centurio are dressed, but I might be wrong, as I am no 16th-century fashion specialist and, actually, striped hoses/breeches were very popular among Italians, as well, and probably fashionable in Spain at the beginning of the century.

In any case, as I see it, there is no doubt that the influence of Grüninger’s 1496 edition of Terence is also to be felt in the early Tragicomedias, but progressively reduced to a set of characteristics that can be combined to design new figures that make them different from the original but still reminds us of it. The so-created figures are then combined with new ones that are not dependent on Grüninger’s series and which, at first sight, try to reflect a more Spanish context. However, this is a topic for another post.