Toreados is a Spanish word that refers to the act of bullfighting or being a bullfighter. It comes from the word “toro” meaning bull, and the suffix “-ados” denotes something that is done or someone who does something. So toreados literally translates to “bullfightered” in English.
Some quick answers to questions about the meaning of toreados:
What part of speech is toreados?
Toreados is a verb in Spanish. It is the past participle form of the verb “torear” which means “to bullfight”.
In what contexts is toreados used?
Toreados is most commonly used in contexts related to bullfighting and bullfighters in Spanish-speaking countries. For example, you could say “El torero fue toreados por el toro” to say “The bullfighter was bullfighted by the bull”.
Does toreados only refer to bullfighters?
While toreados is mostly used to refer to bullfighters doing the action of fighting bulls, it can also be used to refer to the bulls themselves being fought. The bulls are “toreados” by the bullfighter.
Origins and History of Toreados
The word toreados comes from the Spanish word “toreo” meaning bullfight or the act of bullfighting. Bullfighting has a long history in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries dating back many centuries.
Some key points in the origins and history of toreados:
– Bullfighting is thought to have originated as a ritualistic spectacle during bull festivals and ceremonies in ancient Crete and Turkey. Bull leaping was practiced where athletes would publicly jump over and perform acrobatics with bulls.
– The Romans likely introduced bullfighting traditions to Spain when they conquered the Iberian peninsula around 200 BC. Spanish tribes like the Celtiberians were known to have practiced forms of bullfighting.
– The first Spanish bullfighting competition (corrida) is thought to have taken place in around 711 AD when the Moors from North Africa ruled over Spain. Bullfighting became popular among Moorish rulers and spread across Spain.
– Over many centuries, Spanish bullfighting continued to evolve. The matador or bullfighter role developed alongside impromptu feats of bullfighting on horseback. Killing the bull on foot entered mainstream practice in the 1700s.
– Francisco Romero is considered the father of modern Spanish bullfighting. In the 1700s he introduced the muleta (red cape) and sword as key tools for the bullfight on foot, and developed many classical bullfighting methods still used today.
Bullfighting Traditions and Culture
In countries like Spain, Mexico, Peru, France, and Portugal, bullfighting remains a culturally significant tradition and artform. The traditions around toreados reflect this culture and history.
Some key cultural elements related to toreados include:
– The matador’s elaborate “traje de luces” (suit of lights) originated in the 18th century and its golden decorations and intricate embroidery carries symbolic meaning.
– Bullrings (plazas de toros) were constructed as grand amphitheaters that could hold thousands of spectators to view the bullfights.
– Special training schools exist to train matadors in bullfighting technique for years before they qualify to fight bulls in major plazas.
– The matador’s team includes the cuadrilla who are the banderilleros and picadores that assist in different stages of the fight.
– Before the bullfight, a bullrunning (encierro) takes place running bulls through city streets into the plaza de toros.
– Rituals occur before the bullfight such as the matador praying before a statue of the Virgin Mary asking for protection.
– A special dance called the paso doble emulates the movements and drama of a bullfight.
– Bullfighting language is full of special terms for the specific components like the capote, banderillas, faena, and estocada.
Steps and Sequences in a Bullfight
Modern bullfights are highly ritualized and consist of three distinct stages or tercios. Each stage contains sequences of actions between the bullfighter and bull that reflect the meaning of toreados.
Here are the general steps and sequences in a bullfight:
1. The “Tercio de Varas”
– The matador first tests out the bull’s aggression and charges with a few close cape passes.
– The picadores enter on horseback and pierce the muscular mass at the top of the bull’s neck weakening the neck muscles with the vara (lance).
– This causes the first blood and begins to tire the bull for the next stages.
2. The “Tercio de Banderillas”
– The banderilleros enter and provoke charges from the bull to perform their dangerous dance of planting banderillas (decorated darts) into the bull’s shoulders.
– They may place up to 6 banderillas while demonstrating their skill and courage before the crowd and matador.
3. The “Tercio de Muerte”
– For the final killing, the matador performs the faena showing total mastery and grace with cape passes bringing the bull directly past him.
– The matador simulates killing thrusts with the sword (estocada) before making the final thrust between the bull’s shoulder blades to kill it.
4. If the crowd approves, the matador is awarded the bull’s ear or tail as a trophy. A great performance could earn both ears cut from the dead bull.
Styles and Techniques Used in Toreados
There are a number of iconic moves, styles, and techniques used by the matador when performing toreados:
– The basic cape pass called the “veronica” is done by swinging the cape before the charging bull while staying still or just taking small steps side-to-side.
– The “rejoneo” style is fighting the bull on horseback using a special bullfighting spear. Rejoneadors are mounted bullfighters.
– Trick cape passes like the “mariposa” (butterfly) and “navarra” involve various flicks and twirls of the cape from different stances.
– The “manoletina” sword kill involves plunging the sword between the bull’s shoulders while reaching over the bull’s horns with the off hand.
– “Faena de muleta” is the set of cape passes performed before the kill, requiring grace and composure from the matador.
– “El pase natural” is a dramatic pass with the cape extended at the widest point and swept past the bull’s horns.
– “Media verónica” is a smaller cape pass with a single sideways swing of the cape.
Famous Matadors Known for Toreados
Throughout history there have been many legendary bullfighting toreros who became famous across Spain and the world for their toreados bullfighting.
Some of the most well-known matadors include:
– Juan Belmonte (1892-1962) – Belmonte revolutionized toreados in the early 1900s by developing a style of tragic, introspective solemnity, and performing dangerously close daring passes.
– Manolete (1917-1947) – Known as the greatest matador of all time, Manolete took toreados to new heights in the 1940s before dying from a bull’s goring wound in the ring.
– El Cordobes (b. 1936) – A flamboyant, charismatic celebrity bullfighter whose toreados electrified crowds and gained international fame in the 1950s-60s.
– Curro Romero (b. 1933) – A precise, elegant, and technical matador still actively performing into his 80s known for his classic “quiet” toreados style.
– Jose Tomas (b. 1975) – The heir to the toreo traditions combines grace with sober intensity in his modern stripped-down toreados that purists praise.
The Toreador in Other Cultural Contexts
Beyond bullfighting culture, the idea of the toreo and matadors has appeared in various creative works and popular culture contexts.
Some examples include:
– Bizet’s famous opera Carmen features a bullfighter character Escamillo singing the well-known Toreador Song about the excitements of toreo.
– Images of matadors and bullfighting appear in works by artists like Pablo Picasso who was fascinated by toreo themes.
– Author Ernest Hemingway wrote the nonfiction book Death in the Afternoon reflecting his strong interest in Spanish bullfighting and toreo customs.
– The American comedy film Nacho Libre features Jack Black as a Mexican friar who becomes an amateur bullfighter/luchador and adopts the persona of Nacho the Toreador.
– Red Bull GmbH uses a stylized cartoon toreo/matador as its logo and marketing icon, seen as a symbol of strength, daring, and energy.
Controversies and Debates Around Toreados
While a culturally significant tradition, bullfighting and toreo have also long been controversial and contested by animal rights activists and some political groups.
Some of the major criticisms and debates surrounding toreados include:
– The ethics of injuring and killing the bull for entertainment have been called into question with modern sensibilities.
– Campaigns to ban bullfighting as animal cruelty have arisen in recent decades, resulting in some restrictions in certain areas.
– In response to bans, some defenders of toreo argue it should be protected as cultural heritage.
– The Catholic church has debated the morality of bullfighting across history with some popes speaking out against it and others supporting it.
– Critics point out the declining public interest in bullfighting among younger generations today as cultural perceptions shift.
– Some bullrings have closed down or are used instead for alternative events like concerts in places where the tradition’s popularity has waned.
– Debates continue around government funding/subsidies for bullfighting in countries like Spain and how this should adapt to match current cultural tastes.
In summary, toreados embodies a long and complex cultural tradition around matadors, bullfighting and concepts of bravery, skill and ritual. While ingrained into Hispanic history, its future is debated as cultural norms evolve. Understanding toreados provides insight into Spanish language and history across Spain, Latin America, and beyond. Looking at its traditions and techniques illuminates concepts like courage, honor, and the human mastery of animals found across cultures. The vivid imagery and symbolism around toreados also endures in creative works and popular conscience. Though controversial, toreados represents an influential Hispanic cultural practice that still impacts art, language, and identity.