04/10/2006 I was recently asked by Víctor Gutiérrez Alba to review his book El Lobo Ibérico en Andalucía. This is a comprehensive account of the wolf in Andalusia covering its history, mythology and relations with man, with fascinating chapters such as the The Wolf as a Transforming Element of the Landscape, War and Wolves, Wolves and Andalusian witchcraft and Wolves and Transhumance. The book is very well researched and brimming with historical anecdotes. It begins with a perhaps overly exhaustive review of the decline extinction of wolves in Andalusia . For the time being here’s an extract from the start of the book from one Enrique IV Alonso de Palencia who writes in the 1570s of the presence of two wolves in the centre of Seville, at a time when wolves roamed throughout the region:
Once the sun had risen, two wolves came into Seville and ran across the city. One of them, frightened by the shouts from the people, entered the Church of Santa Catalina, ran up to the high altar and stained the priest’s chasuble with its saliva , before fleeing from the people in pursuit and those attending mass. It doubled back before being slain by arrows in the outskirts by the Church of San Pedro . Its head was cut off and taken to the Duke. The other wolf fled towards the Templo de St Lucia and left the city unharmed.
An excellent read and I’ll be translating more short extracts over the coming months.. You can order a copy here from Oryx. Snip at 30 euros. (I’m not on any commission by the way).