The dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy defines bullfighting as “the art of fighting bulls”. The Bible offers us the first references. In it is symbol of strength, fierceness and compromise. The Iberian people sacrificed the bull in religious holocaust offered to divine justice.
At the time there were already shows where an only man faces a bull. Another historical precedent is the bull hunting. In these early manifestations, skills were more important than strength. It is possible that in this context we find the origin of the current bullfights. Historically it has been considered frequently that the origin of the plaza, coso or redondel (parts of the bullring) is in the Roman circus, nevertheless there are indisputable proofs that in much older times the Celtiberians sacrificed bulls in honor of their gods and their temples already had the rounded shape. Next to Numancia we can visit a temple that meets these characteristics, a clear evidence of the celebration of these pagan rites. With the Roman invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, we are direct recipients of Greco-Roman culture.
With the appearance of the circus as a show makes the connection of the bull with the religious rite disappear. Subsequently the Muslims banned bullfighting celebrations and reappear in medieval Spain as a sport of nobility. The feudal lord on horseback and with a long reed as a spear demonstrates his skill and courage against the animal. Then the Rejoneo was born. That is bullfighting on horseback with a lance. Bullfights as we know them today are born in the eighteenth century. The nobleman leaves the bullfight on horseback and the people keep the custom by making it on foot. There are yet no rules or order.
It will be Francisco Romero the first bullfighter to create the rules of the shows and the creator of the crutch (the piece of red cloth held on a stick) as we know it today. The bullfights in Seville are performed in the bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería popularly called “Cathedral of the Bullfighting” It is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain and the first to have an oval shape. It is also known as “El Baratillo” because it is installed in the mountain of the same name. The arena has a capacity of almost Imagen de Wikipedia – Autor: Tomas Castelazo 13,000 locations and its attendees carry the reputation of being the the most demanding and expert enthusiasts of the world.
The contribution of Seville and province in figures of bullfighting is impressive: Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, Juan Belmonte, Pepe Luis Vázquez, The Peralta Brothers (rejoneadores), Manolo Vázquez, Curro Romero, Paco Camino, Spartacus, Diego Puerta, etc. Many of the most famous cattle ranches are settled in the province of Seville. The first farms dedicated to the breeding and selection of the fighting bull were born centuries ago here and nowadays more than 150,000 hectares are dedicated to the bull. Miura, Guardiola, Peralta, Conde de la Maza are just a small sample of the irons (said of livestock marked with hot iron) that populate the province in their pastures, meadows and marshes.