By Richard Boyer
This interesting exam of bigamy in colonial Mexico unearths for the 1st time the lives, workouts, and networks of traditional humans. the writer, drawing from his shut analyzing of Inquisition documents, situates those humans within the internet of everyday life: in households as they develop up and in groups as they examine the methods of society. With brilliant glimpses of courtship, lack of virginity, marriage, adultery, abusive therapy, and failed marriage, he additionally follows them of their deepest lives. within the crusade to root out bigamy, the Inquisition depended on humans to denounce each other. How they went approximately this unearths that gossip and interest sustained a surer and speedier process of communications than we would have imagined. the numerous items of reports mentioned right here express feelings and reactions hardly preserved from previous centuries. From a tender baby enduring abuse and rape by means of family members to the wily suitor who tips his destiny spouse's father with a story of misplaced loot kept in a robber's cave, all through this quantity we listen the voices of hitherto invisible humans.
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Extra resources for Lives of the Bigamists: Marriage, Family, and Community in Colonial Mexico
See the Appendix for a listing of all known dates. For a general look at bigamy investigations by the Inquisition, one can consult a typescript index in Mexico's national archive. 21 The sample weighs the sixteenth century more heavily in number of cases (16 percent more), although the seventeenth and eighteenth, with more complete files from the institutionally mature period, include more information about each case. Men committed the crime of bigamy far more than women, who were more closely supervised and controlled within Hispanic society.
23 Inquisitorial Procedures The Supreme Council of the Holy Office (Consejo de la Suprema y General Inquisición) in Madrid set Inquisition trial procedures and gave direction to all tribunals. Moya de Contreras, having been inquisitor of Murcia, came to New Spain fully experienced in inquisitorial procedures but also carried with him detailed instructions for the founding of a new Page 19 tribunal. 26 In this the Inquisition shared a common legal tradition with secular jurisdictions, especially that of criminal law.
A "yes" vote meant issuing the order to imprison the suspect in the secret prison. At this point prisoners were presumed guilty and quite likely already detained to prevent flight. Formal indictment and the trial itself were meant to extract a confession and, through penitence, effect reconciliation. This last came in an auto de fe, the public ritual that culminated and dramatized the process. From the first, autos de fe were enormously popular. On February 28, 1574, for example, in Moya's first auto de fe, a huge crowd of both Spaniards and Indians gathered in the main plaza.