Manos is a collaborative project, directed by Margaret R. Greer (Duke University), dedicated to the analysis of the treasure-trove of surviving manuscripts of Spanish Classical theater.


The scholar who has studied the traits of a specific manuscript.


A number of manuscripts bound together in a given collection. Most frequently, autos sacramentales.


The dramatist who wrote the play, or part of the play.


A holograph or manuscript written by a playwright in his own handwriting.

Autor de comedias

See “Theater company”.

Auto sacramental

One-act allegorical religious plays regularly performed open air in Corpus Christi celebrations. They could later be performed in corrales.


A complete or partial list of actors and actresses who were assigned roles for the performance of a play. Sometimes playwrights themselves suggested a specific cast to the theater company owner who was going to premiere their play.


Civil or ecclesiastic officials charged with reading play manuscripts prior to their performance, and certifying that they could be performed as written or specifying that changes be made to the text.


The library or private collection in which a manuscript of interest is preserved.


The person who copied part or all of a play, an auto sacramental, or an interlude.


The public theater in which plays were performed. So called because the corrales derived from performances in the open patios within a hospital or inn or between houses. Public theaters in some cities of Spain were also known as casas de comedias, such as in Valencia.

Dance (Baile)

A short piece including singing and dancing that might conclude a performance.

Folio / Page

Manuscripts are frequently number by folios rather than pages. If so, points in the manuscript are identified as f.2r (i.e., folio 2 recto – the front face of the folio; or f.2v – folio 2 vuelto the back of the folio)


The roles a person fulfills as it relates to theater manuscripts: e.g., author, copyist, theater company owner, prompter.

ID number

The identification number recorded in the Manos database for persons, hands, and performances.

Interlude (Entremés)

A short play performed between the acts or at the end of a longer work, or between the prologue and an auto or at its conclusion. They could also be called by other titles, such as mojiganga or baile or baile entremesado, depending on their literary and theatrical characteristics.


The same as “act”.

Letter forms

The shapes of individual letters described in Manos analysis by numbers, such as f3 or h4a. See the letter form sheet included.


Authorization to perform a given theatrical text, granted by municipal officials and recorded on the manuscript to be performed, with the date and place at which it was recorded.

Mano (Hand)

The handwriting of a person who participated in a manuscript. Each hand has a hand id.


The software program now being used to help identify hands.


The final version of a play as written by a playwright and sold to a theatrical company for its performance.


The spelling characteristics of a given hand.


The record of a performance of a certain manuscript that can be recovered from cast list or other indications on the manuscript.


Any individual, identified or as-yet unidentified, who participated in a manuscript; e.g., as author, copyist, or performer. Each person has a person id number.

Play (Comedia)

The most common theatrical form, usually a three-act work known as a comedia, whether comic, tragic, or tragicomic.

Prologue (Loa)

A short introductory dramatic piece performed before a play or an auto.


The member of a theater company charged with reminding actors of lines when memory failed. They often copied out parts for actors from the master copy of the manuscript, and could add alterations to the manuscript.


An article, book, or website cited in the notes of a manuscript, author, copyist, or performance record.

Theater company

The troupe of actors and actresses that performed plays and autos in various cities and towns of the Spanish empire, and sometimes beyond. The companies were known by the name of the theater company owner, known as an autor de comedias. His wife, if an actress who also performed in the troupe, is often referred to as autora. Certain autoras became theater company owners in their own right.