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Spanish Bull Fight - 178

The Spanish Bull-Fight
Neither the English term nor the German (Stiergefecht) used to designate this popular diversion of the Spaniards, can be said to express adequately the essential idea of the Spanish corrida de toros.

Great has been the discussion as to the origin of this spectacle. Some attribute it to the Roman Circus, where men contended with wild beasts, among them wild bulls; others—Doñ Nicolás de Moratin, for example—to the customs of the ancient Celtiberians. As Spain was infested by wild bulls, first necessity and afterwards sport led to this personal combat. In this opinion, indeed, is to be found what might be called the philosophic origin of the bull-fight. Man, surrounded by wild natural conditions, saw himself obliged to struggle with wild beasts in order to protect himself from them; and as the peoples naturally acclaimed as heroes those who slew in single combat these ferocious animals, so, when the necessity of protecting life had ceased, brave men still sought glory in these struggles. (In this connection the killing of the Calydonian boar by the Ætolians, as related by Homer, the legend of Hercules and the Nemean lion, the Catalonian legend of Wilfrid slaying the Tarasque, and the Swiss legend preserved by Schiller in his "William Tell", with many others of a like nature, suggest themselves as examples.) But if, putting aside these a priori considerations, we turn our attention to historical facts, we shall find that the Spanish bull-fight originated in a Moorish custom.


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