Rocinante

Rocinante

[Sp. raw-thee-nahn-te, -see-]
Rocinante is the name of Don Quixote's horse, in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra.

Rocín in Spanish means work-horse or low-quality horse ("nag"), but also illiterate or rough man. There are similar words in French (roussin; rosse), Portuguese (rossim) and Italian (ronzino). The etymology is uncertain. The name is, however, a pun. On the first order, the Spanish ante means "before" or "previously". On the second order, it also translates as 'in front of'. On the third order, the suffix -ante in Spanish is adverbial; rocinante refers to functioning as or being a rocín reflexively. As such, Cervantes establishes a pattern of ambiguous interpretations present in many instances of verbiage in the novel.

As the narration of the novel reads at the beginning of the book, Don Quixote thinks of a name to give to his steed in order to set out on his adventures, and chooses 'Rocinante' to establish the horse as no longer a nag.

Other uses in literature

Elsewhere in literature, Rocinante refers to:

  • The name John Steinbeck gives to the modified camper truck in which he travelled the country in his book Travels With Charley
  • The interstellar vessel piloted into a black hole by a man who has fallen for his own misguided interest in it in the two part mini-saga Cygnus X-1 by Canadian progressive rock band Rush
  • Julia de Burgos's description of herself in her 1938 poem 'A Julia de Burgos': "que yo soy Rocinante corriendo desbocado" (trans. by Grace Schulman: "I am Rocinante, bolting free, wildly").
  • The ship flown by Cervantes Quinn, a colorful freelance trader, in "Harbinger," the first volume of the Star Trek Vanguard novel series.
  • The name "Rocinante" is also the name given to a captured alien ship in Marathon 2: Durandal.
  • Rocinante is the name of a horse in the Inside Track Betting in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • Rosinante is the name of a defunct publication from Chile.
  • "Rocinante" is the moniker bestowed upon Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht's tireless and only slightly-rusted 1984 Chevy Caprice Classic, which he has driven his entire tenure at the Court. In August 2008 after nearly 250,000 miles and four terms, Rocinante finally met a transmission problem no Texas mechanic could fix, and was retired. Rocinante was reportedly succeeded by a late-model Chevy Avalanche, dubbed "Rocinante II."

See also

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