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CREDIT, DEBT, AND HONOR IN CASTILE, 1600-1650

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Based largely on the findings of anthropologists of the Mediterranean in the twentieth century, the traditional understanding of honor in early modern Spain has been defined as a concern for chastity, for women, and a willingness to protect women's sexual purity and avenge affronts, for men. Criminal cases from Castile in the period 1600-1650 demonstrate that creditworthiness was also an important component of honor, both for men and for women. In these cases, early modern Castilians became involved in violent disputes over credit, invoking honor and the rituals of the duel to justify their positions and attack their opponents. Understanding the connection between credit, debt, and honor leads us to update the anthropological models that pre-modern European historians employ, on the one hand, and to a new appreciation for the way seventeenth-century Castilians understood their public reputations and identity, on the other.

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