1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Seville (city)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
34568701911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24 — Seville (city)

SEVILLE (Span. Sevilla, Lat. Ispalis or Hispalis, Moorish Ishbīliya), the capital of the Spanish province of Seville, and the chief city of Andalusia, on the left bank of the river Guadalquivir, 54 m. from the Atlantic Ocean, and 355 m. by rail S.S.W. of Madrid. Pop. (1000) 148,315. Seville is an archiepiscopal see, a port with many thriving industries, and in size the fourth city in the kingdom, ranking after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Its history, and its treasures of art and architecture render it one of the most interesting places in Europe. It is built in a level alluvial plain, as productive as a garden. Few parts of the city are more than 30 ft. above sea-level, and owing to the frequency of floods an elaborate system of defences against the Guadalquivir and its affluents the Guadaira, Tamarguillo and Tagarete, was undertaken in 1904. This entailed the construction (spread over many years) of dykes, walls and surface drains, the raising of certain streets and railway embankments and the diversion of the lower Tagarete along a new channel leading into the Tamarguillo. The climate is pleasant at all seasons except in summer, when a shade temperature of 116° Fahr. has been recorded. Water is provided by a British company, and a smaller quantity is obtained from Carmona, but the supply is inadequate.

On the right or western bank of the river is the suburb of the Triana, inhabited to a great extent by gipsies. Seville retains its Moorish appearance in the older quarters, although their narrow and tortuous alleys are lighted by electricity, and traversed, wherever they afford room, by electric' tramways. In the more modern districts there are broad avenues and boulevards, the chief of which is the beautiful Paseo de los Delicias, along the river and below the city.

The animated and picturesque street-life of Seville has often been painted and described, or even, as in Mozart's Figaro and Don Giovanni, Rossini's Barbiere di .Siviglia and Bizet's Carmen, set to music. The townsfolk, and the peasants who have come to town for bull-fights, fairs or carnival, have preserved many of the curious old customs which tend to die out in the other large cities of Spain; they continue to wear the vivid costumes which suit the sunny climate of Andalusia; and their own gaiety, wit and grace of manner are proverbial. Nowhere in Spain are the great Church festivals celebrated with so much splendour; Easter at Seville is especially famous, and at this season the city is usually crowded with foreigners. The stately reserve and formality of Madrid society are almost as unknown here as the feverish industrialism and political passion of Barcelona; or Valencia; loyalty, good humour and light-hearted hedonism have always been characteristic of Seville.

Principal Buildings.—The cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest church in the world, after St Peter's at-=Rome and the Mezquita at Cordova, 'being 414 ft. long, 271 ft. wide and 100 ft. high to the roof of the nave. he west front is approached' by ahigh flight of steps, and the platform on which the cathedral stands is surrounded by a hundred shafts of columns from the mosque which formerly occupied the site. The work of building began in 1402 and was finished in 1519, so that the one style of Spanish 'Gothic is fairly preserved throughout the interior, however much the exterior is spoiled by later additions. Unfortunately the west front remained unfinished until 1827, when the central doorway was completed in a very inferior manner; but this has been renewed in a purer style. The fine relief above it representing the Assumption was added in 1885. At the east end are two Gothic doorways with good sculpture in the tympana; and on the north side the Puerta del Perdon, as it is called, has some exquisite detail over the horse-shoe arch, anda. pair of fine bronze doors. The gateway in the southern façade, designed by Casanova, dates from 1887. The interior forms a parallelogram containing a nave and four aisles with surrounding chapels, a centre dome, 121 ft. high, and at the east end a royal sepulchral chapel, which was an addition of the 16th century. The thirty-two immense clustered columns, the marble Hoof (1787–1795) and the seventy-four windows filled with painted glass, mostly by Flemish artists of the 16th century, produce an unsurpassed effect of magnificence. The reredos is an enormous Gothic work containing forty-four panels of gilt and coloured wood carvings begun by the Fleming Dancart in 1479 and completed by Spanish artists in 1526; the silver statue of the Virgin is by Francisco Alfaro (1596).' 'The archbishop's throne and the choir-stalls (1475–1548) are fine 'pieces of carving, and amongst the notable metal-work are the railings (1519), by Sancho Nufioz, and the lectem by Bartolomé Morel of the same period. The bronze candelabrum for tenebrae, 25 ft. in height, is a splendid work by B. More (1562). In the Sacristia Alta is a silver repoussé reliquary presented by Alphonso the Wise in the 13th century; and in the Sacristia Mayor, which is a good plateresque addition made in 1535 from designs by Diego de Riano (d. 1532), there is a magnificent collection of church plate and vestments, including the famous silver monstrance (1580–1587), 12 ft. high, by Juan de Arfe (Arphe). At the west end of the nave is the grave of Ferdinand, the son of Columbus, and at the east end in the royal chapel (1514–1566) lies the body of St Ferdinand of Castile (1200–1252), which is exposed three times in the year. This chapel also contains the tombs of Alphonso the Wise (1252–1284) and Pedro I. (1350–1369) and a curious life-size image of the Virgin, which was presented to St Ferdinand by St Louis of France in the 15th century. It is in carved wood with movable arms, seated on a silver throne and with hair of spun gold. The chief pictures in the cathedral are the “Guardian Angel,” the “St Anthony,”[1] and other works of Murillo; the “Holy Family” of Alfonso Miguel de Tobar (1678–1738); the “Nativity” and “La Generacion” of Luis de Vargas; Valdes Leal's “Marriage of the Virgin,” and Guadelupe's “Descent from the Cross.” In the Sacristia Alta are three fine paintings by Alexo Fernandez, and in the Sala Capitular are a “Conception” by Murillo and a “St Ferdinand” by Francisco Pacheco. The organs (1777 and 1827) are among the largest in the world. A curious and unique ritual is observed by the choir boys on the festivals of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception–a solemn dance with castanets being performed by ten of them before the altar; the custom is an old one but its origin is obscure. The Sagrario (1618–1662) on the north of the cathedral is a Baroque addition by Miguel de Zumarraga and Fernandez de Iglesias, which serves as the parish church.

At the north-east corner of the cathedral stands the Giralda. a bell tower of Moorish origin, 295 ft. in height. The lower part of the tower, or about 185 ft., was built in the latter half of the 12th century by Yusuf I.; the upper part and the belfry, which is surmounted by a vane formed of a bronze figure 14 ft. high representing Faith, were added (1568) by Fernando Ruiz in the Renaissance style. The ascent is made by a series of inclined planes. The exterior is encrusted with delicate Moorish detail, and the tower is altogether the finest specimen of its kind in Europe. At the base lies the Court of Oranges, of which only two sides now remain; the original Moorish fountain, however, is still preserved. But the chief relic of the Arab dominion in Seville is the Alcazar, a palace comparable in interest and beauty only with the Alhambra of Granada. It was begun in 1181 during the best periods of the Almohades, and was surrounded by walls and towers, of which the Torre del Oro, a decagonal tower on the river side, is now the principal survival. The Torre del Oro (1220) has an 18thcentury superstructure. Pedro I. made considerable alterations and additions in the Alcazar during the 14th century, and worse havoc was afterwards wrought by Charles V., Philip Ill. and Philip V. Restorations have been effected as far as possible, and the palace is now an extremely beautiful example of Moorish work. The facade, the hall of ambassadors and the Patio de las Mufiecas are the most striking portions, after which may be ranked the Patio de las Doncellas and the chapel of Isabella. Among other Moorish remains in Seville may be mentioned the minaret of San Marcos, 75 ft. high. The Casa de Pilatos is Moorish and Renaissance of the 16th century, and in addition to its elegant courtyard surrounded by a marble colonnade, contains some fine decorative work. Somewhat similar in style are the 15th-century Casa de los Pinelos (Casa de Abades) and the 15th-century palace of the dukes of Alva (Palacio de las Duenas or de las Pinedas). The following are the most notable churches in Seville: Santa Maria la Blanca, an old Jewish synagogue; San Pedro, 14th-century Gothic; Santa Marina, with the oldest Christian sculptures in Seville; San Marcos, badly restored, but with a remarkable mudejar portal; San Clemente el Real with beautiful blue and white tile-work (azulejos) of 1588; the Gothic Parroquia of Santa Ana, in the Triana suburb; and Omnium Sanctorum, built by Pedro I., with a Moorish tower and Roman foundations. The church of La Caridad belongs to an almshouse founded in 1661 by the Sevillian Don juan, Miguel de Manara. It possesses six masterpieces by Murillo, and two by Valdes Leal. The chapel of the convent of Santa Paula dates from 1475, and has a portal magnificently decorated with azulejos. Other churches, though generally deficient in architectural interest, are enriched by paintings or sculptures of Pacheco, Montafies, Alonso Cano, Valdes eal, oelas, Campaia, Morales, Vargas and Zurbaran. The museum was formerly the church and convent of La Merced. It now contains priceless examples of the Seville school of painting, which flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the masters represented are Velazquez and Murillo (both natives of Seville), Zurbaran, Roelas, Herrera the Elder, Pacheco, Juan de Castillo, Alonso Cano, Cespedes, Bocanegra, Valdes Leal, Goya and Martin de Vos, The school founded in 1256 by Alfonso X. became a university in 1502; its present buildings were originally a lesuit college built in 1567 from designs either by Herrera or by the Jesuit Bartolomé de Bustamente, but devoted to their present use in 1767 on the expulsion of the Jesuits. The university has faculties ofglaw, philosophy, natural science and medicine. The Casa del Ayuntamiento, in the Renaissance style, was begun in 1527 and has a fine staircase and hall and handsome carved doors. The Lonja, or exchange, was designed by Herrera in his severe classical style, and completed in 1598; the brown and red marble staircase which leads to the Archivo de Indias is the best part of the design. The archives contain 30,000 volumes relating to the voya es of Spanish discoverers, many of which are still unexamined. 'lghe archbishop's palace dates from 1697; the most notable features are the Churrigueresque doorway and staircase. The palace of San Telmo was formerly the seat ot a naval college founded by Ferdinand Columbus. An immense doorway is its principal architectural feature, but its picture gallery is interesting and important. Other noteworthy buildings are the Mudejar palaces of the duke of Osuna and the count of Penaflor; the house occupied by Murillo at the time of his death (1682); the civil hospital built in 1559 and enlarged in 1842; the foundling hospital (1558); the bullring, with room for 14,000 spectators; and fragments of the city walls, which formerly had a circumference of more than 10 m., with 12 gateways and 166 towers.

Commerce and Industries.—The port of Seville, in 37° 10' N. and 6° 10' W. has always been one of the chief outlets of the wealth of Spain. It is the terminus of three railways to Madrid, and of other lines to Cadiz, Almorchon, Ciudad Real, Huelva, Badajoz and Lisbon. Three of these lines have branches down to the water-side of the quays. The quay on the left bank, 4500 ft. long, is provided with powerful cranes, and sheds for merchandise. Navigation up the Guadalquivir from its mouth to Seville (where the river is still tidal) is less dangerous for steamers than for sailing vessels, but is nevertheless uncertain. The construction of a ship-canal 4 m. long from the Punta de los Remedios to the Punta del Verde-two points between which the windings of the river render navigation especially difficult-was first proposed in 1859, and was undertaken in 1907. Dredging operations were begun at the same time, so that on completion of the canal vessels drawing 25 ft. (instead of I6ft.) could come up to Seville. The principal exports are Manzanilla, Amontillado and other wines, oranges and lemons, iron, copper and lead ores, mercury, olives, oil, cork and wool; the imports include coal, wood, iron, manufactured goods, hemp, flax and colonial produce. There are manufactures of machinery, tobacco, chocolate, soap, porcelain, beer, liqueurs, brandies, corks and silk. The royal artillery works and iron foundries are very important. The porcelain and earthenware factory in the Carthusian convent (Cartuja,[2] founded 1401) employs more than 2000 hands. Pottery has been the characteristic industry of the Triana from time immemorial: the patron saints of Seville, Insta and Rulina, are said by tradition to have been potters here. Equally important is the great tobacco and cigar factory, where 6000 women are employed.

History.—Seville appears originally to have been an Iberian town. Under the Romans the city was made the capital of Baetica in the second century B.C., and became a favourite resort for wealthy Romans. It was captured in 45 B.C. by Julius Caesar, who gave it the name of Colonia Julia Romula, and made it one of the conventus juridïci. The emperors Hadrian, Trajan and Theodosius were born in the neighbourhood at Italica (now Santiponce), where are the remains of a considerable amphitheatre. The chief existing monument of the Romans in Seville itself is the remains of an aqueduct, on four hundred and ten arches, by which water from Alcalá de Guadaira was supplied to the town. At the beginning of the 5th century the Silingian Vandals made Seville the seat of their empire, until it passed in 531 under the Visigoths, who chose Toledo for their capital. After the defeat of Don Roderick at Guadalete in 712 the Moors took possession of the city after a siege of some months. Under the Moors Seville continued to flourish. Idrisi speaks in particular of its great export trade in the oil of Aljarafe. The district was in great part occupied by Syrian Arabs from Emesa, -part of the troops that entered Spain with Balj in 741 at the time of the revolt of the Berbers. It was a scion of one of these Emesan families, Abū ’l-Kāsim Mahommed, cadi of Seville, who on the fall of the Spanish caliphate headed the revolt of his townsmen against their Berber masters (1023) and became the founder of the Abbādid dynasty, of which Seville was capital, and which lasted under his son Moʽtadid (1042–1069) and grandson Moʽtamid (1069–1091) till the city was taken by the Almoravides. The later years of the Almoravide rule were very oppressive to the Moslerns of Spain; in 1133 the people of Seville were prepared to welcome the victorious arms of Alphonso VII., and eleven years later Andalusia broke out in general rebellion. Almohade troops now passed over into Spain and took Seville in 1147. Under the Almohades Seville was the seat of government and enjoyed great prosperity; the great mosque (now destroyed) was commenced by Yusuf I. and completed by his son Almanzor. In the decline of the dynasty between 1228 and 1248 Seville underwent various revolutions, and ultimately acknowledged the Hafsite prince, but Ferdinand III. restored it to Christendom in 1248. Ferdinand brought temporary ruin on the city, for it is said that 400,000 of the inhabitants went into voluntary exile. But the position of Seville was too favourable for trade for it to fall into permanent decay, and by the 15th century it was again in a position to derive full benefit from the discovery of America. After the reign of Philip II. its prosperity gradually waned with that of the rest of the Peninsula; yet even in 1700 its silk factories gave employment to thousands of workpeople; their numbers, however, by the end of the 18th century had fallen to four hundred. In 1800 an outbreak of yellow fever carried oi 30,000 of the inhabitants, and in 1810 the city suffered severely from the French under Soult, who plundered to the extent of six- millions sterling. Politically Seville has always had the reputation of peculiar loyalty to the throne from the time when, on the death of Ferdinand III., it was the only city which remained faithful to his son Alphonso the Wise. It was consequently much favoured by the monarchs, and frequently a seat of the court. For its loyalty during the revolt of the Comuneros it received from Charles V. the motto Ab Hercule et Caesare nobilitas; a se ipsa jidelitas. In 1729 the treaty between England, France and Spain was signed in the city; in 1808 the central junta was formed here and removed in 1810 to Cadiz; in 1823 the cortes brought the king with them from Madrid; and in 1848 Seville combined with Malaga and Granada against Espartero, who bombarded the city but Bed on the return of Queen Maria Christina to Madrid.

See P. deMadrazo, Sevilla y Cadiz (Madrid, 1884-1886); R.Contreras, Estudio delos monuments arabes de Sevilla y Cordova (Madrid, 1885); J. Gestoso y Perez, Sevilla monumental y artistic (3 vols., Seville, 1889-1892); A. F. Calvert, Seville (London, 1907); ]. Guichot y Parodi, Historia del Ayuntamiento de la ciudad de Sevilla (3 vols., Seville, 1896-1898); ]. Cascales y Munoz, Sevilla intellectual (Madrid, 1896); W. M. Gallichan, The Story of Seville (London, 1903).

  1. This was stolen in 1874, sold in New York for £50, and returned by its purchaser. Mr Schaus.
  2. The interesting 15th-century tombs formerly in the Cartuja are now in the church of the university.