La Justicia y el Fuego. Dos Claves Parap Feer la Relacion de Michoacan

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Author: Espejel Carbajal, Claudia

Year: 2008

Publisher: El Colegio de Michoacán

Place: Zamora


2 volumes. 399 pages with maps (three in color and folding), tables with two folding, color figures, bibliography and indices;330 pages with glossary and tables. Small quarto (9 1/4" x 6 1/2") bound in original publisher's pictorial wrappers. First edition limited to 1000 copies.

Since its rediscovery in the mid- nineteenth century Century, the Relacion de Michoacán (RM) has fascinated more than one researcher for a reason other than the extraordinary richness of the information it contains. The anonymity and extreme discretion of the Spanish compiler who, three times in the prologue of the work, presents himself as the mere interpreter of the "elders" of the city of Michoacán and not, he says expressly, Author of Narrative, have led many to believe that the narrative transmitted was a magnificent rhapsody of pure Indian words. It is precisely this vision of the text that Claudia Espejel's work calls into question, largely and fundamentally, though not totally. Before his own study, the most systematic that has been done to date and which it will surely be difficult to surpass, some of them had shown that the text - notably its second historical part - contained fragments of marvelous stories Especially when deities appear there as intervening in human affairs) and therefore endowed with a mythical or symbolic dimension; Moreover, the same or others had suspected and / or identified, in the narratives and descriptions, a certain number of biases favorable to the dominant group. This group had succeeded in monopolizing and organizing power for less than a hundred and fifty years, and its leader had become the cazonci, a term with uncertain etymology, but which designates the supreme sovereign, representing on earth the tutelary god of his group, Curicaueri, numen of fire, sun and war. The historical veracity of the text had therefore been doubted on two fronts: the history of the formation of the Tarascan entity (part 2 of the RM ) and the general image that is brushed from it (Part 3) Do not escape the world of myth or manipulation on the part of the real "authors" of the text, members of the ruling group, if not of the very family of sovereigns, desirous of legitimizing the conquered power. The contribution of Claudia Espejel's work on the text and its illustrations is on another level. The re-reading of the manuscript to which she invites us has forced herself to discover, somewhat unexpectedly, the many similarities presented by the RM and a Spanish text developed in the twelfth century under the reign of Alfonso X Sage, but applied only almost a century later and published with glosses for the first time in Seville in 1491, Las Siete Partidas, a document well known, of course, to Spanish elites, religious in particular, including in New Spain. Considered as a legislative corpus, the Partidas bring together the principles and rules necessary to ensure the maintenance of faith in Christ and to live in peace with one another on earth "según el placer de Dios y según conviene a la vida". In the Partidas the exposition of the rules in question and of the institutions responsible for ensuring their observance follows a precise order, an order that is largely reproduced by the RM , as do several columns concerning Central Mexico. But Claudia Espejel's kinship in the formal arrangement of the themes is only a starting point: as the general tone of the text is too homogeneous to be as an index of the role played by Jerónimo de Alcalá, which turns out to have been more than just a compiler. As Claudia Espejel convincingly demonstrates, the RM , built on a Spanish model, would transmit a real reinterpretation - Spanish, of necessity - of the Tarascan indigenous world, evaluated and reshaped throughout the text, implicitly but nevertheless systematically, The Castilian realities. According to her, and among others, the use of the Spanish terminology of offices and offices to describe the organization of the Tarasque state summit and the structuring of all the information provided around the notion of justice, which was essential for the maintenance of order created by the God of the Christians.


Some light extremity wear else a near fine set.

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