Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain

Taylor, Scott K.
Date published: 
January 2009

Early modern Spain has long been viewed as having a culture obsessed with honour, where a man resorted to violence when his or his wife's honour was threatened, especially through sexual disgrace. This book, the first to closely examine honour and interpersonal violence in the era, overturns this idea, arguing that the way Spanish men and women actually behaved was very different from the behaviour depicted in dueling manuals, law books, and 'honour plays' of the period.Drawing on criminal and other records to assess the character of violence among non-elite Spaniards, historian Scott Taylor finds that appealing to honour was a rhetorical strategy, and that insults, gestures, and violence were all part of a varied repertoire that allowed both men and women to decide how to dispute issues of truth and reputation.