Splendid public celebrations projected the grandeur of rulers’ authority to the general public, which served to enhance ideas of cosmic order and transcendental hierarchy to uphold rulers’ power, particularly in times of social unrest. Spanish Naples presents an ideal case study for an investigation of a festive culture flourishing in the midst of a conflictive society. This study explores the interaction of factors which defined the viceregal court’s festive culture: Spanish foreign rule, the viceroys’ relative political fragility, and the city’s social imbalances. It will focus on celebrations promoted by the viceroys on special occasions related to the Spanish monarchy to assess both the role played by the Spanish administration while organizing a festive program and the response of local social groups to the call for celebration. It will then evaluate the degree of success of characteristically Spanish elements in Neapolitan festivities, exploring the transmission of Spanish tournaments and their reception among the local population.
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