The Uncertainties of Empire: Essays in Iberian and Ibero-American Intellectual History, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Uncertainties of Empire

Essays in Iberian and Ibero-American Intellectual History, 1st Edition

By Anthony Pagden


298 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784616
pub: 1994-11-24
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The essays in this book are concerned with the intellectual development of the Spanish Empire in America from 1492 until Independence in the 1820s. The first section deals with the creation of a powerful language of natural law in the 16th and 17th centuries. The second explores the ways in which this was used to account for, and to deprecate, the cultures of the Native Americas. The final section traces the emergence of Enlightenment modes of approaching the subject of ’Others’, both in Europe and the New World, and charts the emergence of a separate cultural identity among the creole population of the Americas.

Table of Contents

Contents: The diffusion of Aristotle’s moral philosophy in Spain c.1400-c.1600; Nueva luz sobre una versión espan}ola cuatrocentista de la ’Ética a Nicomaco’; The search for order: the ’School of Salamanca’ and the ius naturae; The reception of the ’New philosophy’ in 18th century Spain; The humanism of Vasco de Quiroga’s Información en derecho; Ius et Factum: text and experience in the writings of Bartolomé de las Casas; The forbidden food: Francisco de Vitoria and José de Acosta on cannibalism; Cannibalismo e contagio; The savage critic: some European images of the primitive; Indios e immaginazione europea: come l’indiano europeo divenne l’indiano americano; The ’defence of civilization’ in 18th century social theory; La lotta contra l’ eterodossia nelle città dell’ impero spagnolo; ’Con título y con no menos mérito que el de Alemania, que Vuestro Sacra Majestad posee’: Rethinking the conquest of Mexico; The creation of identity in colonial Spanish America: c.1520-c.1830; Liberty, honour and Comercio libre: the structure of the debates over the Spanish Empire in the 18th century; 1492-1992: five centuries of anxiety; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General