Carlo(s) Verardi [Carolus Verardus]
(1440 - 1500)
Spanish dramatist and composer (?). Best known as the author of Historia Baetica, a prose drama celebrating Ferdinand and Isabella's reconquest of Granada in 1492. Although some portions were in verse, most of it was written in prose. It was nonetheless written to be performed on stage. It was indeed performed in Rome in 1492, and copies of it were printed in Rome in both 1492 and 1493.
Verardus's subject matter was the Spanish conquest in 1492 of the last Moorish territories in the Iberian peninsula. Islamic rulers had conquered almost all of what is now Spain and Portugal in 711-12. The three Christian monarchies of Portugal, Castile, and Aragon had begun to reconquer the peninsula in the ninth century. The kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united in 1479 by the marriage of Ferdinand (Castile) and Isabella (Aragon); in 1482, the new kingdom of Spain launched the conquest of the Islamic state of Granada, succeeding in 1492.
As a great victory over the heathen by "their catholic majesties," it was natural for the conquest of Granada to be celebrated in Rome, home of the Catholic Church.
To the most invincible King of Spain.
No region now can add to Spain's great deeds: to such men all the world is yet too small. An Orient land, found far beyond the waves, will add, great Baetic, to thy renown. Then to Columbus, the true finder, give due thanks; but greater still to God on high; who makes new kingdoms for himself and thee. Both firm and pious let thy conduct be.
The crisis facing the Spanish monarchy was evident. The reconquista was over. Spanish society, which had evolved to support many substantial militant Christian orders, was in danger of collapsing unless a new release could be found for the military. And, just by chance, just after Granada is conquered, Columbus returns with news of a rich and fertile land filled with heathens who are ripe for conversion and who lack the attributes of civilization.
The work concluded with a Villancico en italiano.