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Geography and Empire in the Late Renaissance. Botero's Assignment, Western Universalism, and the Civilizing Process [*].

The article seeks to relate the emerging, new discipline of geography to the European and specifically the Iberian, Catholic experience of expansion, power, and empire in those decades of Spain's alignment with Portugal and their respective colonial enterprises. The case of Giovanni Botero, the preeminent Italian interpreter of America for the later sixteenth century, is examined in terms of Catholic expansion, world geography, hut more immediately in terms of the European civilizing process on the indigenous peoples of America as that process pertains to the pre-Columbian civilizations, Christian conversion and the concurrent practice of the reducciones.

The present essay attempts to draw out and explicate the case for that complex of forces constituting within the Western tradition a comprehensive, unifying, universalizing process released upon the globe by Renaissance Europe, and now peculiarly reinforced by an incipient geographical culture. The inherent imperialism of Europe's geographical knowledge, best known in the work of the Royal Geographical Society during the nineteenth century, [1] had its earliest manifestations in the new trajectory upon which England embarked after 1575 [2] and, as will be argued here, in the practices and attitudes of the Catholic world of Spain and of Rome in America, Asia, and Africa -- in short, wherever new lands and non-European peoples appeared and even where they did not. But in contrast to the better known English example with its distinctively emergent national character, the Iberian, reflecting a Mediterranean culture with pronounced classical roots and antecedents, will evince a more universalizing character in its commitment to a civilizing process.

For such a broad inquiry a few preliminary definitions are in order. From the very beginning of their currency in Europe, the terms geography and cosmography and their connotations would be intertwined, expressive of their common source in Claudius Ptolemy's own Geographia, which in its first Latin translation by Jacopo Angeli da Scarperia would be entided Cosmographia. The same Ptolemy of the better known astronomical Almagest defines at the outset of his Geographia the decisive term "as the pictorial representation of the entire known earth and with what it is generally associated"; chorography, from which it is distinguished, treats the individual local parts. [3] Most simply stated, the geography inherited from classical antiquity included three branches: the mathematical, the chorographic, and the descriptive, the first best evinced by Ptolemy, the last by Strabo. [4] Cosmography figures only as another name, derived from Pliny and imported by Angeli, in keeping with the understanding of the Latins and their respect for the authority of Pliny the Elder. [5] Ptolemy mathematized geography, by treating the celestial and terrestrial globes as equivalent, applying the same grid system to each, and reaffirming the parallel belts or climates. [6] Indeed the charting of the heavens and of the earth would remain so enmeshed that it is possible Ptolemy's crucial third projection for the earth's surface, presented in book 7, was actually constructed through the use of an armillary, the traditional sphere for the construction of the heavens. [7] The gradual detachment of these terms and their substantive connotations would in the course of the sixteenth century lead to the displacement of cosmographia in flavor of geographia, although the former name would linger on until the end of the eighteenth century.

Secondly, as used in this study, the term universal connotes that principle inherited from classical antiquity expressing a potentially comprehensive integration or inclusion of all peoples into a broad community together with the theoretical, legal, and constitutional issues entailed. [8] The expanding oikoumene of the Greek world, informed by the Stoic notion of cosmopolis, found its practical realization in the Roman Empire and Roman Law. While Cicero defines the barbarians and the provincials apart from the resulting community, he extends to them at the same time that community. As Anthony Pagden nicely expresses it: "the frontier between the world of civil men and that of the barbarians was forever dissolving." Christianity itself provides a further reinforcement and dimension to this universal dynamic as evinced in the Pauline appeal, Galatians 3:28, to a transcendent oneness in Christ Jesus. With the grafting of the Christian Church upon the Roman community, the Imperium Christianum partakes of and ex tends this same "simultaneous open exclusiveness," this tension between an apparently narrow identity and a potentially broad inclusion. The Aristotelian-Ciceronian complex served to demarcate the world of civil (urban) civic humanity from the barbarians, provincials, pagani, and outsiders, yet opened itself up to their inclusion. The fifth-century Christian and the sixteenth-century Spaniard would have recourse to this complex mechanism of incorporation.

In the latter case, it would subsequently appear that only the papacy; not the classical Roman Empire or any of its secular derivatives, possessed anything approaching a true universality. For only the Christian Church extended or sought to extend its ecumenical jurisdiction to all humankind, making any independent secular claim to such universality essentially rhetorical, unless it somehow informed and validated itself by the more certain ecclesiastical claims and religious aura. In the sixteenth century such a role would fall to Spain - and to her also the task of attempting to achieve a measure of coincidence among the overlapping concepts of humanity, Christianity, and classical (urban) civility.

Thirdly, as used in this essay, "civilizing process" does not directly connote the properly historical relativism and subtle mutations suggested by Norbert Elias in his fundamental study by that title, but rather a blunter, more substantial reality, operating as an ingredient within the crash program for the conversion of newly discovered indigenous peoples: namely, those rational and humane features informing the classical tradition together with further enhancements by contemporary European culture. [9] While already evident, as we have just argued, in the universalizing tendencies of the Western inheritance as serving decisively to supplement Christianity, the classical component, defining the civilizing process, warrants consideration once again, but now in its more specifically secular dimensions.

Among the new types of knowledge germinating within the Renaissance, geography recommends itself for historical inquiry. Although most modern professional geographers understand geography to have established itself as a distinct, formal discipline only in the course of the later nineteenth century, thereby effectively dismissing the dramatic developments in the sixteenth century, the early practitioners of this study in their own time claimed that their geography constituted a discipline. Indeed they made important and fundamental advances in the mathematical and chorographic branches of this emerging subject as well as its better known descriptive branch, of which the last principally distinguished these early efforts in the eyes of the twentieth-century professional. Yet the abrupt expansion of the geographic enterprise, rooted in the heightened authority of experience as well as mathematics, was not without its ambiguities. Admittedly, the fictitious and the hyperbolic jostled the more scientific features emphasized here; geography, especially under the name of cosmography, would long support a number of traditional fictions, as well as new ones created by the imagination and the intoxication of the autoptic vision. [10] Nevertheless, the mathematical/cartographic import of the young discipline would survive the fictitious and hyperbolic epicycles of inflated claims to personal experience and the indulgent entertainment of a broad readership.

On the other hand, in emphasizing the dignity and scientific character of geography as an emerging discipline, we must not fail to admit its practical and subjective distortions for economic and political ends. As evinced in the map, geographical knowledge promptly assumed the form of a commodity subject to the interests of princely patronage and the political and commercial claims of empire. The map had in fact become a politically and commercially charged product. In the Castilian-Portuguese controversy over the longitude of the Moluccas, the professional geographers, the new scientific experts of the day, would now notably be brought to the negotiating table of high diplomacy where each side sought to advance its own rival, partisan claims. In its basic acquisitiveness -- or better, its essentially rhetorical nature -- the new discipline of study could not afford to be neutral and detached. [11]

The imperializing, universalizing element appears to be integral to the nature of geography, or at least to the exploitation of this new form of knowledge by Europeans of the sixteenth century. Maps represent a language of power anticipating empire: to name, to locate mathematically, to define cartographically in relation to others becomes the essential preparatory step for possession, control, mastery. [12] If the development of perspective in the Renaissance afforded the European the conceptual key to such global dominance, something of the seed of this recognition occurs in the thought of that great pioneer of perspective's study and uses, L. B. Alberti, when he confidently seeks to apply to the visible world the universal, mathematical vision of proportionality, first revealed to the age in Ptolemy's Geography. [13]


A brief consideration of the emerging geographical culture of late medieval and Renaissance Europe best provides the necessary historical context for our investigation. Inherent in this new theater of intellectual enterprise, the study of geography operated universalizing and imperializing forces that would afford Europe the supreme advantage of defining the global arena. For the energies released by the new discipline of geography in the form of mathematical perspective and the graticule of mathematical coordinates would equip Europeans, especially Iberians, with an improved cartography and navigation, opening up the world to their aggressiveness and allowing them to begin to establish a global arena of opportunity, exploitation, and conquest.

Deep within the recesses of the medieval university's instruction, located in the quadrivium of the arts faculty, there existed a practical mathematics involving geometry and optics -- the last of which having implications for perspective. Sacrobosco's De sphaera, as a standard textbook, had played a part in this respect since the mid-thirteenth century. Shortly thereafter, John Pecham's Perspectiva communis became the standard textbook on optics at the universities down to the end of the sixteenth century. Although the work did not address the distancing factor and the rationalization of space, it nevertheless sought to describe how objects appear to an observer. [14] During the period 1344 to 1357, at the University of Paris, Domenico da Chivasso moved toward treating perspective, hence optics, as a mathematical science, to be included with the original four of the quadrivium, which now in its expanded form comprised arithmetic, geometry, music, astrology, and perspectiva. [15] By the time Antonio Pollaiuo lo executed the tomb for Pope Sixtus IV in 1484, he included Perspectiva as the Eighth Liberal Art. [16] And at the turn of the century when Albrecht Durer came to explain the word perspectiva as meaning a seeing through (ein Durchsehung) rather than the earlier optical sense of a seeing clearly, a perspectival view of space had emerged, no longer satisfied with the foreshortening of individual objects but now going on to the creation of a systematic space, a managed distancing: the entire composition had been turned into a window allowing one to look into this rationalized, artificial space. [17] Panofsky identifies this linear, perspectival construction as expressive of "a quite specific, indeed specifically modern sense of space, or if you will, sense of the world." Well might it be inquired as to the meaning of this slide from Raumgefuhl ("sense of space") to Weltgefuhl ("sense of the world") only by means of a mere wenn man so will ("or if you will"). [18] Welt not only entails most immediately the physi cal universe, dragging with it profound implications for its measurement and description in a nascent geography, but more largely it suggests a total perspectival consciousness and a distinctively Western perception of reality. [19]

Yet one of the distinctive features of geography as a new incipient type of knowledge was its necessary and essential links with practicality and application; whatever its mathematical roots in the university, geography from the start appeared as an applied science developing connections with learned humanistic circles outside the university such as that of Paolo Toscanelli in Florence or the Portuguese monarchs' patronage of Jewish astronomers. Here Abraham Zacuto significantly effected the reception of Islamic astronomy and cartography by the Portuguese, as they moved out into the Atlantic to claim new islands and as they inched their way so fatefully down the western coast of Africa during the fifteenth century. [20] Building upon and itself generating an improved knowledge of geography through successive cartographic refinements, navigation provided the tangible evidence and announcement of the diverse roots and practicalities of the new science. Moreover, through navigation Christianity would at last be able to implement globally its claims to universality. [21] The compass would serve as metaphor for a type of knowledge that augured Europe's encompassment and potential conquest of the globe.

No single event so mobilized and reoriented this new learning as the recovery and translation into Latin of Ptolemy's Geographia, hitherto lost to the West. Let it be recognized at the outset that this event profoundly reflected what we have come to expect of humanism and the Renaissance: it occurred within the circle of young, Greek aficionados, created by Manuel Chrysoloras's presence in Florence at the end of the fourteenth century. In the Geographia, Ptolemy defines his subject as a survey of the earth in its just proportions and he calls upon its practitioners to concentrate upon the position rather than the nature of a place. Likewise, in its opening chapter he posits mathematical proportionality as applicable both to geography and painting. The Geographia can well be judged the most significant single work in the Italian Renaissance's recovery of classical texts, for it would beckon artists and astronomers, cartographers, and navigators to apply a mathematical proportionality to the visible world. [22 ]

Through Jacopo Angeli's translation, Ptolemy now described to the Latin world of scholarship three projections. Of these the last, on a modified conic surface, would pictorially reveal to the learned public in its first cartographic publication, Bologna, 1477, the then known inhabited world, the oikoumene. It is difficult to recreate the awe imparted by that intellectual achievement -- perhaps the only comparable modern effect being that conveyed by the Apollo photograph of Earthrise taken from the moon. Ptolemy's depiction of the oikoumene, or more probably a fourteenth-century Byzantine reconstruction based upon his third projection, treated the purchasers of the volume at a glance to a perspective on all that mattered, far superior to what the Olympian gods had been enjoying. [23] This capacity to stand outside and beyond one's tiny home, this planet, and plot its surface through perspective and mathematics would culminate at the end of the century in the tangible, aesthetic as well as intellectual experie nce of the first terrestial globe, produced by Martin Behaim, in the same year that Columbus sailed west.

If we may press further the implications of this tangible reduction of the macrocosm to the microcosm through the earth's mapping, effected in the subsequent decades, we can begin to appreciate the intellectual, aesthetic delight derived from the mathematical achievement of Gerard Mercator. In the Duisburg cartographer's own choice of the word atlas after 1569 to designate his structured collection of maps, he raises the aesthetic experience of intellectual possession to the level of god-like mastery and comprehension. Combining both divine and human qualities in its supernatural inclusiveness, this microcosmic rendering of the macrocosm borders upon the archetypal Hermetic experience of mastery, possession, empire through gnosis. [24]

We think of the Renaissance so much as humanism's recovery of classical rhetoric that we take for granted, even ignore, that transposition of the mind, that intellectual effort to attempt to bring from a fixed vantage point the vestiges of an age and its culture into focus. This aspect of perspective, of seeing, applied to time, a perspective less mathematical than emotional and cognitive, both evinced and promoted a deepening and new complexity to the self. Similarly, the application of perspective to space by means of cartography and mathematics, best known in Renaissance painting, had concurrence and complementarity in Europe's geographical accomplishments that moved toward her conquest of the globe. Moreover at the very least in the mathematical uses of perspective, what has long been recognized as the hallmark of Renaissance painting applied as well to contemporary cartography. For in the recourse to perspective, painters and cartographers moved together and in its early uses were often conjoined in the same person. [25] Serving to nurture Brunelleschi's great experiment that would establish linear perspective, the Ptolemaic seeing from one fixed point with its mathematical construction of space had invaded Florentine high, lay society; artists, the scientifically gifted, plus wealthy patrons could be found convening at a new scriptorium engaged in the reproduction of Ptolemaic atlases whose hand-colored maps, not accidentally, were referred to as pitture. [26] Indeed it would appear that rather than rhetoric or even philology, dame Perspectiva, the human mind's capacity intellectually to project and to survey both in time and in space, this controlled distancing, best assembles the enterprise as well as the import of that cultural movement identified as the Renaissance. Only if we appreciate the decisive nature of this distinctive common ground shared by cartographers and artists in the construction of a rationalized space can the so-called Age of Discovery with all its implications be conceptually integra ted into the main course of the European Renaissance.

Yet perspective alone by no means exhausts the immediate significance of the Latin publication of Ptolemy's Geographia. Despite its grave limitations, which through the course of successive editions would lead to its final displacement by Ortelius's atlas of 1570, Ptolemy's work possessed another feature instructive to our purpose here. Ptolemy cast a net or graticule of mathematical coordinates over the face of the oikoumene, the latitude and longitude of the Alexandrian school, whereby he could presumably establish with mathematical exactitude the location of individual places. The assumption making this act possible arises from the confidence that the earth's surface is essentially homogeneous, thus permitting such mathematization. The grid would shortly be extended to the entire globe and constitute a vital feature of the new geography. Columbus himself, following his first voyage, will call for a new map for navigation wherein the collocations afforded by latitude and longitude might replace the wind ro se of former cartography. [27] The grid would not only be extended globally to an expanded ecumene but refined and tightened ever more increasingly to become another metaphor for human existence in the dawning modern age.

An awakening sense of a new type of knowledge greets us from the beginning of the century and continues to resound. From the Swiss canton of St. Gallen the eminent polymath Joachim Vadian in his edition of the classical geographer Pomponius Mela (1518) will give a significant twist to Plato's admonition that no man is human without a knowledge of arithmetic; now those are designated inhumani who lack a knowledge of geography. He will go on to celebrate that following upon Vespucci's discovery of America (sic) this land appears to be populated in all its zones, as the Portuguese have also made clear in their penetration of the southern hemisphere. [28] In producing what would become for the sixteenth century the standard textbook of mathematical geography, Peter Apian speaks in his dedicatory letter to the Archbishop of Salzburg, figuring as preface to his Cosmographicus liber of 1524, not only of the geographica disciplina but also of the geografica et cosmographica professio. To a learned public still gropi ng its way amid the explosive knowledge of the globe, Apian defines geography in terms of cartography, although the term is still to be minted and his continens is nor yet identical to the modern continent. [29] Likewise with Philip II's cosmografo mayor, Alonso de Santa Cruz, serving the House of Trade at Seville (1536-1564), the prologue to his Islario general de todas las islas del mundo defines geography as the description or picture of the earth (terra), while cosmography is a science or discipline which treats of the universe (mundo); and the author proceeds to define the vocabulary of his subject. [30]

Toward the end of his life Santa Cruz found a young collaborator and intellectual heir in Juan Lopez de Velasco, who would compose the greatest single geographical synthesis of am has Indias in the sixteenth century, although not published until three hundred years later. His Geografia y descripcion universal de las Indias provided the most coherent synthesis of regional geography for a New World that included the Pacific area and farthest Asia as well as the Americas. Appointed to the Council of the Indies as its first cosmografo real, this self-made man, lacking in all academic credentials, worked under its able president, Juan de Ovando 1571-1575. Apparently acting upon the unrealized intentions of his former mentor, Santa Cruz, Velasco composed a searching questionnaire of thirty questions directed to 500 communities in the New World, the true harbinger of the new bureaucratic age. [31] The resulting Relaciones geograficas in its topographic and ethnographic aspects, its inquiry into the resources of the new lands and their populations, at once introduces us to the chorographic level of sixteenth-century geography. In its effort to provide detailed information suitable to government, administration, and policy, the work best exemplifies the natural link between geography and empire. Furthermore, at a time when geography was defining itself apart from cosmography, the geographic work of the cosmografo real -- work geodetic/astronomic, ethnographic, demographic, and topographic -- suggests that geography's later emergence as a recognized discipline in the nineteenth century was in a sense a reoccupation of some of those categories earlier included in the amorphous notion of sixteenth-century cosmography.

In geography's efforts to define itself and achieve intellectual respectability, it resumes its mathematical roots in the university, while at the same time advancing more publicly its practical and descriptive aspects. Giuseppe Moletti, "Filosofo et Matematico Eccelentissimo," who preceded Galileo in the chair of mathematics at Padua, will consciously address all the terms and rules pertaining to geography, when participating in Girolamo Ruscelli's translation and edition of Ptolemy's Geographia (1561). In treating maps, tables, and the collocation of coordinates, he sought to drive his subject alla perfettione della scienza. Emulating Ptolemy, he aspired to produce an entirely new geography of the whole earth, but as it is found today (come hoggidi si truova) with their coordinates. [32] And shortly from Pisa, where he had held the chair of mathematics recently occupied by Galileo, Filippo Fantoni would produce at the end of his life an unpublished Compendiaria institutio cosmographiae et astronomiae prima earum artium rudimenta complectens which, while addressing the announced rudiments of these disciplines (artium), turns emphatically in the direction of that descriptive type of geography now emerging with greater frequency from the press." [33] By 1616 a distinct chair for geography had been established at Leyden, which was rapidly becoming Europe's foremost university. [34]

This rudimentary survey of the tentative beginnings of geography as a distinct form of knowledge has been required not simply because the subject seems to have escaped the direct attention of historians for suggesting a different as well as expanded understanding of the Renaissance; rather more specifically, it is the peculiarly universalizing theme associated with the advancement of geography that also must claim our attention here. For it would appear that no other intellectual discipline, inchoate or developed, serves the total comprehensive aspirations, whether exploitative or missionary, of a civilization as does geography. By its very nature global, in its immediate address to the lands and peoples of the earth, when associated with the improved technology of sixteenth-century navigation, geographic knowledge brought the entire globe within its survey and eventual compass. In keeping with its Ptolemaic roots, geography was at once closely associated with cosmography, pertaining to the astronomical syst em, and yet, as the study of the earth, geography would in the course of the century become increasingly detached and defined apart from cosmography. Such a rich heritage served to establish the peculiarly universalizing character of geography as a new knowledge that could be exploited for religious, political, economic, and military purposes upon a global stage.

The dimensions to our problem of a universalizing process do not end there. For the navigation and confidence that suddenly made the whole world accessible to Europe revealed more profound and subtle aspects to the opportunities and challenges afforded by geography as a new form of knowledge. The thoughts of two humanists command our attention: the Hellenic scholar and Protestant theological leader at Basel at the beginning of the century, Simon Grynaeus, and Michel de Montaigne at its end.

Grynaeus's career exemplifies the passage of humanism from literary texts to the application of its critical exegesis to mathematical, cosmographical, physical, botanical, medical, and metallurgical texts: to be sure, humanism and science here coalesce. To him the discovery of a new continent was no accident but the product of man's rational powers; the systematic inquiry into nature as part of the divine revelation became a religious and specifically Christian duty. Anticipating the later and more extensive collections of Ramusio and of Hakluyt, he published in 1532 his Novus orbis, which brought together a number of accounts of exploration, some pre-dating Columbus. In a prefatory letter he proclaimed mathematics and physics as the highest auxiliary disciplines of theology, for natural philosophy provides another type of knowledge of the supreme Architect -- an intellectual development which would culminate with Robert Boyle and the Royal Society. In a resonant passage he acclaims rational man's overcoming , mastering, and harnessing of every apparent obstacle that Nature might present "once the reliability and constancy of Nature had been established at home":

Indeed, the acuity of [the human] mind surpasses all of the forces of Nature, and as it finds its own way through all obstacles, fulfilling the desire which secretly and silently devours every well-formed intelligence...and as it perceives You more closely, Father, in Your works, it will become all the more deeply perturbed and its visceral appetite will burn all the more intensely. Thus it follows You through all seas, to all ends of the Earth as if crazed.... [35]

Thus had the intellectual contemplatio mundi, now raised by a broadly conceived geographical knowledge to a pitch of religious fervor, become a ravenous thirst, recognizing no barriers, to master the globe. Was it really this that the Christian God had intended -- this encompassing universalization? Plus oultre, indeed! No wonder that as the Spanish juggernaut of conquest and exploration turned as it did in the sixties to farthest Asia, it left in its wake in the governor's palace at Santo Domingo the motto written over the escutcheon: "The World Sufficeth Not." [36]

With Montaigne we encounter a less appalling, more attractive aspect to the universalizing ingredient in European civilization. From the tower-study on his estate outside of Bordeaux, the essayist could reflect upon the present ransacking of America: "So many cities razed, so many nations exterminated, so many millions of people put to the sword ... and [all] for the traffic in pearls and pepper!" (695). And earlier: "Our world has just discovered another world, and who will guarantee that it is the last of its brothers ... ?" (693). Montaigne will conclude all his life musings in the culminating master idea of the commun humain: the definition and affirmation of the common, human pattern, universally applicable -- the intrinsic solidarity and mutuality of all humankind -- rising to that wonderful statement in "On Repentance" that each person bears within oneself the entire form of the human condition (611, 857). [37] For it has been said that the discoveries had thus invented humanity. Here presumably there is intended not the traditional, classical idea of humanitas as an individual, subjective endowment but rather an incipient notion of the human race as a single collectivity. [38] This sudden exposure to an apparently fully inhabited, yet extra-Christian world, this abruptly expanded ecumene with its variety of peoples, would in time create an increasingly secular, religiously neutral lens, gradually revealing the common biological and moral unity of humankind. Differently expressed, in the terrible shock of Europeans upon hitherto unknown peoples, the contacts posited the fact of humanity as an ideal to be realized in some distant future. For beyond the brutal impact and beyond the immense problem of Adam's new found children, the intellectual instruments afforded by the recrudescence of Stoicism and natural law faltered in achieving the universal commitment implicit in the ideal of a single humanity. But in the context of so much explication, the hope presented by this universal ideal briefly attained artic ulation. As Alphonse Dupront argued fifty years ago: "The true fruit of the 'Discovery of the World' is the certitude of a commun humain." [39]

The apparent agent for the realization of the multiple implications for universalism within the Western tradition was none other than the Catholic King, Philip II of Spain. By 1580, through the personal union with Portugal and the alignment of the two Iberian colonial empires, no monarch on earth or in earlier history, other than the Mongol Khans, had ever commanded, however imperfectly, so much real estate. Philip's immediate extra-European holdings revealed a colonialism unique in that it sought to incorporate the indigenous populations into a total, comprehensive Catholic system. The broadly held belief advanced by most cartographers as to the existence of a great southern continent, since the 1540s known as Terra Australis or Magellanica, presumably pulsating with other peoples and abounding in resources, held out the seeming opportunity for further exploitation and missionizing in a world whose boundaries still awaited definition. Within Europe itself the Italian possessions of Castile in Naples and Mil an provided the most evident support to the Spanish imperial system. From each city would come, in the last decade of the sixteenth century, the preeminent political statements of the age: from Naples, Tommaso Campanella's Monarchia di Spagna; from Milan via Rome Giovanni Botero's Relationi universali. In the case of the latter, the nature of his assignment, which served to generate the composition of the Relations, compelled him to look beyond the Spanish monarchy to the presence of Christianity in general throughout the globe. For his patron and lord, Federico Borromeo, Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, inquired what the newly constituted globe signified for the Christian religion in general. [40] The assignment intrinsically required an extensive exercise in that third branch of geography, the descriptive, together with an assessment of political conditions and opportunities throughout the globe. Less technical and mathematical than political and narrative, Botero's addressing of geography would engage the imp erializing features of the new subject.


Born in Piedmont in 1544, Giovanni Botero matured in the brilliant luminosity imparted by the Italian Counter Reformation and a restored Rome, as it assumed its trumphalist, Baroque guise. His training as a Jesuit brought him into contact with Robert Bellarmine as a classmate. But after almost twenty years as a Jusuit, a certain waywardness in his temperament made him unsuitable for the Society, and eight years after his ordination to the priesthood, in 1580, he honorably withdrew from becoming professed. Carlo Borromeo, the imposing Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, drew him into his service and made him his secretary for the last two years of that reformer's life. Between 1584 and 1586, Botero served the House of Savoy in Paris and then entered the service of Federico Borromeo, cousin of Carlo, as tutor and later as secretary, Shortly thereafter he published the first of his three main works, The Causes of the Greatness of Cities, which would provide the chief claim for Botero's reputation as the founder of dem ographic studies. Indeed, his awareness of the increase in Europe's population, the strength of a political community in terms of its population, and his theorizing on the influence of disease, famine, and war upon populations would carry over henceforth into his later works. Although credited with being the first demographer as well as the first oceanographer, Botero has been generally assessed as at best a second-rate mind whose literary produce, by the very nature of its largely pedestrian nature, lent itself to a wide, lay readership. The Reason of State, which appeared in 1589, brought into issue the amorality of Machiavelli for politics and served to promote the literature of anti-Machiavellianism. By this work, he is best known to us today.

Yet it would be his third work, the Universal Relations, which would give the greatest currency to the author in his own time. Beginning first in 1591, with subsequent parts coming out in 1592, 1595, and the Bergamo first complete edition of 1596, this vast compendium of contemporary knowledge of the known world -- physical, geographical, anthropological, economic, political, and religious -- marked a new genre, namely that of political geography. The book would remain for nearly a century "the true and proper geopolitical manual of the whole European governing class," according to Luigi Firpo. Before the end of the seventeenth century over sixty editions and translations of the totality or its parts appeared in Latin (1596), German (1596), English (1601), Spanish (1603), and Polish (1609). [41]

The universal, comprehensive inquiry expected of Botero's assignment figured as part of a larger concurrence of evangelical energies evinced by Catholicism at this time. For in the last decade of the sixteenth century the great ground swell of Rome's revival best expressed itself in the manifold programs for world evangelization cresting at the century's turn. The global opportunities, presented by vistas of extra-Christian peoples stretched out to Rome, would soon lead to the establishment of the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide in 1622. Our former Jesuit shared a space/time with some formidable contemporaries engaged in the enterprise of proselytizing on a global scale: Jose de Acosta and Alonso Sanchez, Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci, Alessandro Valignano and Antonio Possevino. Botero only differed from his former fellow Jesuits in that he would never leave his desk at Rome for distant parts in the missionary fields of the world. The repeated publication of his Relations would benefit from those universal izing forces stemming once more from caput mundi -- forces that charted a broad current in the history of early modern Europe and its relation to the outside world. In fact Possevino's own plan for world evangelization, present in his Bibliotheca selecta, appeared in 1593 almost simultaneously with the beginnings of Botero's more expressly geographical effort. [42]

The Relationi universali is laid out in four parts: 1) the general collocation of continents and islands comprising the terraqueous globe; 2) the major princes and states of the globe; 3) the earth's peoples and their beliefs; and 4) the superstitions of the people of the New World and the difficulty of introducing the Christian religion. Although it will be this last part that requires our study, a few salient characteristics regarding Botero's approach can be quickly culled from the earlier parts.

God, we are told, has given to man the compass for evangelization -- to facilitate the preaching of the gospel to those peoples long buried in paganism and also to compensate the church for losses to heresy in Germany as well as northern Europe in general:

It allows him to pursue the investigation now of a new world, now of the Arctic strait, now the Antarctic, now the Moluccas, now the Philippines, now the Solomon Islands, and to circumnavigate all the world on a fragile wooden ship, as if contending in both speed and greatness of extent with those of the sun. [43]

Botero partakes of a European geographical knowledge of the world that is still inconclusive and in need of definition. In addressing the emerging fact of the so-called New World, he prefers to speak of continents, namely two, America and Magellanica, the first comprised of two huge peninsulas, North and South America, linked by an isthmus in Nicaragua which would appear to invite, more politically than economically for Spain, a canal. Weighing its costs in labor and treasure, Botero seems to hesitate on its construction. For if God has given the world for the use of us humans, has he not placed termini to the sea not to be removed by human ardor? (1.5, 177; 1.[5].189) As for Magellanica, which for the majority of cosmographers surpasses in grandeur all of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Botero himself remains skeptical; rather than still another continent sprawling around the earth's southern pole, the various expeditions of the English and Castilians would suggest that it is simply a vast number of islands (1.6.1 97, 208; 1[vol.2].1.7).

In turning to the islands on the earth's surface, a distinct subject in the geography of the day as evinced in the isolario, Botero asks if there can be any limits of a topographical nature placed upon the Roman Church. Denying any possible boundaries, and nicely coupling the classical with the Christian, he appeals not only to the traditional mandate of the Great Commission to go forth and teach all peoples (Matt. 28:19-20), but also to the Aeneid 1.278-79, when it speaks of placing neither limits nor times upon the Romans and of giving them imperium without end. For Botero, however, the last reference pertains not to the Roman emperors, but to the Roman pontiffs (1[vol.2].1.3-4).

Part 2 provides two further comparisons that move in the direction of assembling the basis for a European imperialist universalism. In pursuit of political examples of grandezza, Botero at the very outset claims that just as Vergil called Italy pregnant with empire on account of the multitude of free cities, this image can now be extended to contemporary Europe as a whole, pregnant with the explosive energies of rival stati, yet marked by a counterpoise of forces (2.1.1). He concludes the section with the observation that from the creation of the world there has never been an empire greater than that which God has conceded the Catholic King (Philip II) especially after the union with Portugal (2.4.109). Location enhances navigation in promoting the opportunities for global rule: just as Italy's location gave her dominion of the Mediterranean Sea, so now Spain's geographical position prepares her per l'Imperio dell'Oceano (2.4.118).

In Part 3's consideration of peoples of all belief, Christian, Jew, Moslem, and pagan, the varieties of the first loom largest. Beyond Catholicism, Botero treats the Protestants (understood here as schismatics), the Jacobites, Maronites, Copts of the Near East and North Africa, as well as the Nestorians or St. Thomas Christians of India. Greek and Russian Orthodoxy receive scant consideration under "Moscovia." In his consideration of Africa, caught between the disproportionate prevalence of "Mohammadism" (i.e., Islam) and the pervasiveness of Gentilism, especially interesting are his allusions to the Portuguese reaching out to the Grand Negus of Abyssinia, whom he associates with the followers of the mythical figure of Prester John. These Prestegianni are of Monophysite persuasion, located in an expanded Abyssinia called by contemporary geographers Monomatapa on the eastern coast of Africa roughly opposite Madagascar. In Japan and the Moluccas, the Jesuits and Franciscans obtain converts. The general picture is one of scattered clusters of Christians amidst a sea of Moslems, pagan idolaters (Gentilism), and Jews.

Thus all the more pressing become the challenge and the opportunity of advancing Christianity in the New World. With part 4, Botero addresses the disposition of the newly discovered American peoples to the gospel. Here he significantly couches his answer in terms of a broadly sustained peace as a function of empire, promoting the classical values of civic polity.

Peace and quiet usually flourish primarily under a great monarch. . . . Peace opens the portals of kingdoms and cities, giving access to commerce, exchange, the mutual communication of peoples and consequently to the expansion of the word and the name of God. With peace flourish right teaching, uprightness, civility, order, good customs, and the arts devised to render man more pleasing, hospitable, kind and cultivated. Without them there is nothing. . . . The greatness of empire then signifies much for the preaching of the gospel of peace, for to empire alone is peace conjoined. And for this reason in the primitive church Christians prayed assiduously to God for the preservation of the Roman Empire. [44]

Botero would certainly not be alone at this time in preaching up the implicit parallel between the late Roman imperial order and the present emerging global order of the Catholic King, insofar as each sought to provide a stable ground upon which layers of religious instruction (doctrina) and civic virtues (virtu, civilta, politia) might be inculcated. [45]

In assessing the resources for addressing the immense problem of conversion, Botero, always capable of thinking concretely beyond the immediate pieties, identifies three: arms, language, and the relative political unity achieved through empire, before which there had been neither laws nor comity. Here the former apostle of the medium-sized administerable kingdom, which made good sense for the European context presented in Reason of State, now in the continental context of America, becomes the advocate of empire and the world ruler. For he seeks to relate the greatness of dominion to the effective cultivation of the sciences, industry, and study, which, we are told, were never so great as with Alexander the Great and Augustus. He seems to want to correlate evangelization with the well organized external power of a great ruler, un gran Monarca, as the channel for civility and all gentleness. [46] In fact he readily grants that the pre-Columbian great monarchies of the Mexicans and the Incas had achieved importa nt preparatory steps for the present task of evangelization. First empire serves to effect the common currency of language: just as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Portuguese spread a unifying language, likewise the power of the Mexicans and Incas went far to reduce a welter of dialects respectively to a common one, thereby in each case expediting the present task of evangelization (4.2.12). Furthermore grandezza dell'Imperio served to congregate the people, living scattered about heretofore, and bring them into one place. In contrast to the roving existence evident today with the Brazilians, Chichimeca, and Floridas, the Inca and Mexicans attained among their own a measure of community, inducing them to live together in order that they might govern these newly conquered peoples more easily. Here, however, he finds that Mexico surpassed Peru; whereas only Cuzco merits being called a city, Mexico has several such. Nevertheless, before the coming of the Imperio dell'Inga the people of Peru lived like beasts; aft erwards through la grandezza dello stato del Dominio they achieve a degree of political sophistication and effective control so as to possess sufficient civilta to have brought their peoples from dispersion and barbarism to the stabilizing arts of agriculture, textile manufacture, mining, and viable government (4.2.13-14). Perhaps even more interesting here than Botero's positive preference for monarchia of the grand style is his granting the Mexicans and Inca a respectable measure of native civilta prior to the arrival of the Spaniards.

While idealizing the progress and extent of conversion, Botero readily admits the real obstacles present in the customs of the American peoples: namely, sodomy, idolatry; cannibalism, varying degrees of nudity, plus lack of settled residence and effective government (4.3.36-40). Christ commands preaching the gospel and teaching all peoples, but because not all peoples are of one disposition and the same capacity, it is not advisable to instruct and teach them all in the same way. Aristotle says that ferocious peoples ought to be tamed by force. In the beginning of the enterprise one could doubt whether it was licit to use force, but now it seems to Botero no longer a matter of dispute, especially given the current danger presented by the Moslems in the Philippines and the English and other heretics in America. The conversion of the New World depends upon preaching, which depends upon government. Drawing as so many of the missionaries did upon the experience of the early church in order to provide some parall el for guidance, Botero makes a significant distinction: the Apostles for their preaching needed miracles to achieve headway against the Moses of the Jews and the philosophy of the Greeks. But here in the New World where bestiality prevails, there is no need of miracles but rather of human help and ingenuity to conduce these peoples "ad uso di ragione, e a gusto d'humanita" [47] And in a notable aside he observes that the beauty of God's law can work today without the earlier impediments of Greek arrogance or Jewish presumption (4.3.41). Implicitly, Botero subscribes to the belief, broadly held by the religious orders at least in the earlier part of the century and best evident in Las Casas, whose writings Botero knows, that the minds of the natives are like wax or putty to be shaped at will. Nevertheless none imagined that the conversion of the New World would be effected without many and great difficulties -- the prime one being ignorance of the languages with the consequent incongruities arising from ineff ective translation (4.3.42).

Botero was certainly enough the product of Renaissance humanism to recognize the intimate links of language with cognition and social bearing. If the linguistic wall preventing effective communication for the Christian message was to be pierced, it fell inevitably to the initiative of the missionaries to attempt the breakthrough from their side by achieving better than competence in the native languages. Beyond the intrinsic difficulty of learning a pre-Columbian language stood an even more imposing difficulty succinctly stated by a recent study: "to convey in an alien language a message which was itself alien to the culture which that language articulated." [48] Botero's apparent respect for the beauty of some of the native languages at one point allows him to challenge implicitly the assumption of any conquering people as to the transparent superiority of its own civilization, vested preeminently in its language. While his raptures over the Mexican language can elicit exclamations regarding its richness an d beauty, [49] when he turns to describe the high culture of the Mechouacans, he momentarily throws into question the whole enterprise of Hispanicity and for that matter European civilization. For he claims the Mechouacan language to be so copious and rich in words, so metaphorical and sophisticated, that those who know it, prefer it to Latin. [50] When one considers the centrality of Latinitas for Romanitas and Christian civilization, although we cannot credit Botero with such grand concepts, it would nevertheless appear that this present enthusiasm might undermine his whole intention. Yet his larger purpose here would appear to dictate the implicit argument that pre-Columbian civilta serves, if not directly as a praeparatio evangelica, as had classical culture, at least as a useful preparation for European political order and culture. Indeed language was the problem, drawing with it and bringing into focus the issue of civilta in general and in its extra-European dimensions.

Botero's occasional enthusiasm for another people's culture suggests that long exposure and reflection upon foreign peoples had given considerable elasticity to the outlook of this champion of Baroque Rome. The most outstanding indication of our ex-Jesuit's cultural flexibility, even relativity, appears, as one might expect, with his treatment of China. For Botero belonged to the first generation of European Sinophiles and strongly acclaims the intrinsic, superior merits of Chinese nelle cose civili e politiche. After favorably comparing China's wealth, abundance, long history, and natural salubrity to those of Europe, he will subscribe to the widely held and reiterated parable of the three eyes in the early modern period: that while the Chinese have two and the peoples of Europe (i popoli d'Europa) have one, the rest of humankind have none. [51]

The issue of the relationship between conversion to Christ and conversion to European civilization comes into focus. The two had been so closely associated in the course of the Middle Ages as to be virtually indistinguishable; only with the Renaissance would the rudiments of a concept of "civilization" begin to emerge, the term itself having to wait until the late eighteenth century. In his De inventoribus rerum, in a concluding passage on the Preeminence of the Christian Commonwealth dating from 1521, Polydore Vergil identifies the process of civilizing with the very heart and purpose of Christianity; in that the reception of the Christian religion led to the replacement of savagery with a multitude of social virtues, civilization appears as the virtual goal of the Christian faith. [52]

With the Jesuits, these apparent priorities are more appropriately reversed. For the Jesuits, it had become a matter of missionary policy, whether evangelizing in the Indies or in those otras Indias, such as the back alleys of Naples, first to establish "civility" before attempting baptism and formal conversion. [53] We are reminded of their coalescence, the Christian and the broadly classical, when Botero avers that there is nothing more alien to evangelical doctrine than unsociableness in our bearing and cruelty of mind, for Christ presents himself as gentle and humble of heart in which manner it is easier to teach peoples more effectively the meaning of humanity. We hear the apostle asking us to bear each other's burdens and in another place duly to respect our superiors -- ecco la somma della civilta, e d'ogni gentilezza:

Thus I consider it the greatest advantage to the introduction of the faith that refinement, whatever it may be, is introduced by government and by rule (Imperio) of the great princes in America, because it removes peoples from rudeness and from harshness, disposing them to the gentleness and pleasantness that so become the life of a Christian. [54]

The classical informs, promotes, and is fulfilled in the Christian. Embarked on a process of ultimate universal inclusion of all humanity, now made seemingly possible by geographical knowledge and navigational ability, Rome through un gran Monarca, the Catholic King, was exporting a Christian religion, necessarily reinforced by and itself imparting a classically based, European civility.

Probably more than any others, for his sources Botero leans upon Gomara and Acosta, often following the latter in points of fact, detail, and judgment. [55] About the middle of 1592, after completing the first redaction of the "Prima parte" Botero came into possession of the great Jesuit's Historia natural y moral. [56] His dependence upon Acosta for understanding the geography and ethnography of America can often prove to be quite specific, although he shows himself on occasions capable of emancipating his judgement from the Jesuit. [57] Nevertheless it is through his recourse to Acosta's earlier work, the De procuranda Indorum salute of 1588, that we see Botero to have absorbed something of Acosta's awareness of cultural differences among peoples and the consequent sense of due proportion and of appropriately diverse means for their conversion.

In the De procuranda Indorum salute Jose de Acosta had made the two features of literacy and settlement, but chiefly literacy, the prime determinants for distinguishing different degrees of civilization within the broad category of barbarism. Thus the Chinese as most obviously literate as well as settled recommended themselves in the first category, the Mexicans and Peruvians as settled but only most primitively literate belonged to an intermediate category, whereas such nomadic pre-literate peoples as the Brazilians and Chichimeca revealed a pre-social condition of utter savagery (5977). By defining a measure of civilization religiously neutral according to the determinants of literacy and settlement, Acosta had in effect provided a fragile, slender ledge upon which could be extended the broadly recognized and even admired architectural and social features of the Mexican and Incan peoples. Earlier in his Cities, Botero had taken note of how the Portuguese in Brazil together with the Jesuits coax those scatt ered in caves and huts into more settled circumstances, where living civilly and socially (vivendo civilmente) they may be more effectively instructed in the faith and governed by officials of the king. [58] In his analysis of the opposition of savagery versus civilization at the root of his anthropological thinking, he enriches this contrast by a series of intermediate elements that tend to dissolve the dichotomy into an expanded notion of civility or civilization comprehending the extra-European areas of America and Asia. [59]

We are concerned here with the specifically secularizing, classical element of polizia or civilta as it figures in the larger composition and effecting of Christian conversion. Not that evangelization and civilization can ever be ultimately separable, but what we should be prepared to see in Botero is a humanistically based, greater appreciation of the classical, Aristotelian notion of society that charts a civilizing process, or what scholars refer to as incivilimento, a word which, alas, Botero never attains, although he has the sense. The passage to ever higher forms of understanding God certainly remains one of the essential characteristics of incivilimento, indeed the prime one. But for its very existence it cannot omit an assemblage of other factors, mutually reinforcing the specifically religious, affording a more ample and complex purpose: namely, the economic, with the passage from nomadic and pastoral to agricultural; the political and juridic, evident in stable government and promulgated laws; and the cultural, most immediately evident in architecture. Thus for the author of Cities and Reason of State a people's acceptance of Christian doctrine, no matter how essential to the whole process, could never prove wholly satisfactory without also appropriating the economic, industrial, political, scientific, and artistic components that served to define civilta. [60] These components are necessarily discovered in the city as social, political, legal community.

While Botero can grant at least formal preeminence to the Catholic religion as the civilizing force and applies to it the protective, unifying role of the world ruler, his sensitivity to material structures and social factors make the city the center of his interest in the process of civilizing. [61] Indeed, as we have seen, as a result of his broad, superficial exposure to the peoples of the earth, Botero is sufficiently elastic and relativistic that he can admit other civilizations beyond the classically based present Christian European civilization and even assert the superiority of the Chinese with its unsurpassed cities. More than just etymologically, the very assemblage of presumably Aristotelianly sociable humans in the urban context of a city, European or otherwise, requires and creates a civility; "that refinement whatever it may be." Perhaps our enterprising ex-Jesuit is here as much the father of urban studies as he is the first demographer and oceanographer. Notwithstanding his apparent relativis m and openness to other cultures, Botero's commitment to Rome, to Catholicism, and to his assignment would work ultimately to lock into place the universalizing implications of a classically based European refinement.

Yet it must be confessed that the Universal Relations offers few instances for the identification of civilization with its most obvious reference -- the classically based, European civic polity. It would appear that for the former author of the Cities, the recognized need in the New World for protection and control provided by un gran Monarca has necessitated a shift: the polity of the city as nursery of culture gives way to the polity of empire as shield for the cultivation of such presumed civic qualities nurtured by urban community.


Although Botero has been considered the preeminent Italian authority on matters American during the later sixteenth century, [62] it would be misleading to expect here any exact fit between his own ideas on Spain's empire in the New World and those of the Council of the Indies. Indeed the latter seemed quite innocent of any and simply saw the lands of the New World as extrapolations from the core kingdom of Castile. [63] To appreciate the Italianate propensity for empire in this period we need to recall the political context of opportunity that existed in the peninsula during the two centuries of Spanish Habsburg dominance: the fragmentation and divisions in the peninsula's past, yet the continuance and even revival of Roman imperial themes, meant that, lacking any viable national context, the political realities of the day moved between the two poles of the particular and the Imperial, between campanilismo and universalism. As evinced in the earlier case of Charles V's Grand Chancellor Gattinara, more than o ne child of the peninsula would be drawn into the orbit of Spain's global expansion and to the apparent vocation of empire. [64]

Botero's understanding of the civilizing process operative in the New World comes to focus on three forces: the Christianizing with religion's inevitable and essential reinforcement of the political; the imperializing with the protective shield offered by the new global monarch to the heralds of the faith; and the city as the social and institutional structure for the nurturing of settled living. The last of these, especially as mediated through the support of empire, renders the apparent goal of evangelization or the conversion of the indigenous population to Christianity a servant to the more explicit task of Hispanization or Europeanization or more immediately integration into the emerging colonial order. While Christianization, Hispanization, and civilization interlock uneasily, it is the last of these, with its specifically European dictates, that gains effective preeminence. A brief look at viceregal Peruvian order in the sixteenth century as expressed in architecture and in government policy suggests that Botero's presentation of the challenge and opportunities for Spain in the New World essentially reflected the three forces at play in the Spanish colonial development. Although nothing can be claimed for any influence at this time in shaping imperial policy, Botero's ideas, especially those bearing on population, were well known and entertained among the arbitristas in the highest reaches of the Monarquids government. [65]

If it can be admitted that the religious, specifically Christian, ingredient in the mix of universalizing energies constituting the civilizing process largely serves a political, social, secular end for sixteenth-century Castile and exists as one among several other influences offering a complex already evident in the thought of Ramusio, [66] we are better prepared to entertain the possibility of the prominence, if not preeminence, of the city itself as the salient and decisive civilizing force. Confidence in the civilizing endowments of the classical polis or civitas seems implicit in the thought of our worldly-minded, ex-Jesuit. And such also seems quite explicit in the Spanish colonial presence in America in the first century of its existence. The architecture of Spanish colonial urban planning and the policy of Francisco de Toledo both provide evidence for this belief.

Central to the very inmost existence of the Spaniard is the pueblo, the municipality, the ordered community. Before advancing on Tenochtitlan, Cortes had quickly refashioned his rebellious expedition into a municipality at Vera Cruz as a means of obtaining greater legal leverage and thus justifying his actions before the emperor. [67] The conquerors would soon repeatedly express their admiration for the orderly layout of the pre-Columbian city, most particularly that of Cuzco that betrayed a measure of policia, the crucial word in all urban political discourse. Policia connoted a civil society having a just form of government; furthermore it conveyed a number of attributes of civilized existence such as order, rationality, politeness, cleanliness. While the conqueror could often informally credit the conquered with at best a degree of policia, such recognition never figured in the official thinking and practices of the new colonial system. In fact there is an apparent assimilation to Spanish practice; for exa mple, one reports on the nature of Inca masonry that "the stones are so smooth that they look like polished slabs with the joints in regular order after the usage in Spain." [68] Some Spanish analyses went so far as to credit the previous Inca conquerors of the indigenous population with the capacity to reduce these letterless barbarians to policia y cultura. Indeed long before Francisco de Toledo, the terms reducir and reduccion, suggesting resettlement, figured most significantly in the lexicon of conquest. [69]

The policia of civic existence, impelling its practitioners to civilization, had many finer aspects beyond the obvious features of straight, smooth streets and the grouping of the chief buildings around the plaza. Along with the presumed orderly, settled existence it included getting the natives to wear clothes, sit in chairs, eat at tables rather than off the ground, sleep in beds, and have one wife. The oidor of the Audiencia of Charcas, Juan de Matienzo, who would soon become chief adviser to the great viceroy Toledo, can extol in 1567 the virtues of reducciones, which would bring the Indians, hitherto scattered about in caves and ravines, into policia for conversion. His basic assumption was broadly shared: living in towns meant becoming Christian and even more, becoming true men. To a Franciscan friar four years later, the orderly cities "made their inhabitants worthy of being called men." One often finds again that triad of a larger universalizing process marching together: civility, Christianity, and h umanity. On the eve of the viceregal ordinances, the grid plan seemed to provide the best and indeed obvious form for the towns of both Spaniards and Indians, for it served as the visible manifestation of the ordered, Christian community. [70]

Of the last two, humanity and Christianity, whose long history of association we have earlier suggested, the sixteenth-century Spaniard from Las Casas to Acosta could agree that the capacity of the Indian for Christianization, a process dependent upon the possession of a rational soul, became the definitive determinant of a native's actual humanity [71] But what we need to appreciate in this respect for Botero, and independently evinced in Spanish practice, is the association of these two with the apparent necessity of a rational civility, which would indicate that Christianity itself did not exhaust the civilizing process.

Yet for those Franciscans like Geronimo de Mendieta, who took their apostolic poverty seriously and sought to create the Indians as a special apostolic people of the final age, free of European corruptions, it was important to distinguish between Christianitas and Hispanitas. In his distrust of the habits and social polity of his fellow Spaniards, the Franciscan saw the two concepts as mutually exclusive. He assailed the government's practices of Hispanization through the Audiencia and its encouraging the Indians to litigate in the Audiencia as a means of acquiring the principles of Roman law and civilization embodied by this high court. [72] The Franciscan vision throws into relief that the coalescence of the two concepts and the advancement of the triad, Christianization, Hispanization, and Civilization, belonged to the larger political purposes of the administrators. Yet again it is clarifying to consider the thoughts of Acosta as he composes in 1576-1577 the tentative rules defining a college for cacique s. The Jesuit father specifies that the native laws of the Republica Indiana, insofar as they do not conflict with the natural and the Christian law, are to be maintained -- for to do otherwise would only prove calamitous to all order -- and that it should not be our intention to make them Spaniards in all things. [73]

In the advancement of the reduccion as the comprehensive answer to Spain's colonial needs, the basic idea emerges early, although its implementation remains delayed. In March 1503, the governor of Espanola, Don Nicolas de Ovando, received orders from Alcala de Henares, and again shortly thereafter from Zaragoza, to gather the Indians en pueblos for the express purpose primarily to instruct them more effectively in the Catholic faith, but also to exercise both political and economic control over their services. The only hint of the social and civilizing aspect of the program can be found in the modest desire that they live together (vivan juntamente), which hardly attains to the notion of policia. In further royal cedulas, the need for administrable control of the natives for economic purposes begins to loom more ominously over the need for their indoctrination. [74] In Mexico, Cortes was encouraged to build upon the already existing Aztec practices for urban existence. In Peru, however, the long raging civil wars between the conquerors prevented for several decades the systematic application of a policy that would address the scattered, remote living conditions among large numbers of the native population. In the instructions given to the Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza in 1538 the commitment to civil order in the planned community reemerges beside the effort to achieve better Christianization of the natives. [75] Subsequently the Crown's effort to implement reducciones and to have the Indians treated as Christians and hombres libres persists. To Juan de Matienzo in his complaint to the Audiencia at Lima in 1567, the many Indians living scattered apart do not live en policia, which is the principal inconvenience preventing their indoctrination. His detailed plan for the internal layout of each pueblo would serve as the basis for the reducciones shortly to be instituted. [76]

By the time that the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo arrived on the scene, more than half a century of bureaucratic thought had come to see the reduccion as essential to the effecting of conversion, doctrina y costumbre y policia (conversion, religious instruction, conventional practice, civil society). He began with the Cercado in Lima itself where he expressed the intention that in the municipal community the Indians "might be more separate in the sense of individualized [independientes], have more conveniences, live with social decency and allow the priest and the magistrate greater facility for educating and protecting them." [77] Perhaps because of the special attention afforded by the capital, the Cercado for the Indians at Lima proved fairly effective; according to one observer in 1630 the Indians were so espanolizados that virtually all the men and women spoke and understood Spanish, maintained Spanish households, indeed had black slaves and demonstrated ability with a variety of musical instruments. Neve rtheless the reducciones that followed the viceroy's general inspection of 1571 proved to be, at best, of ambiguous worth, if not deleterious to the life of the disoriented Indian. Two reasons may be offered for the mixed, disappointing results: the poor quality of the executors, undertaking such an ambitious program; and, almost inevitably, the economic and narrowly political needs of controlling the labor services of the Indians came to displace in importance the civilizing, socializing possibilities and even the interests for effective Christian indoctrination. [78] Whatever the degree of failure, there can be no doubt as to the presence of the civilizing ideal in the purposes of the reduccion, coexisting along with the religious and the patently economic and administrative.


In any final assessment of Botero's purpose and intention in the Relations, the nature of the original assignment forced itself upon the ultimate composition and completion of his work, as it also prevails in concluding our own investigation here: the preeminence of the religious asserted itself, leaving Botero's civil excursions and his adumbration of incivilimento as a reminder of a not inconsequential ingredient operative in the imperialist program of Spanish colonialism. In the end and at a considerably later date he must report that "in general throughout the globe the Christians are more than the Mohammadans, the heretics more than the Catholics, the schismatics more than the heretics and the Mohammadans, schismatics and heretics more than the Jews, but the pagans are disproportionately more than all the rest of humankind together." [79] Nevertheless, the subdued imperial and universalizing themes of Botero's geography, inevitable products of their original Christian and classical sources, persist in th e text as they do in so much of the Iberian geographical enterprise of the late Renaissance.

As Spain in 1618 entered the deepening international conflagration for a longer stay than the thirty years allotted to most, the possibility of realizing some sort of Hispanic-Roman global hegemony began to recede. With Rome and Madrid normally at odds, there could hardly be a viable fit between Spanish imperialism and Roman universalism, although they overlapped constantly in the twofold patronal systems and uneasily, perforce, drew upon each other. In the very same years that saw Botero contending with defining the new global opportunities for Christendom, a Portuguese cartographer, Inacio Moreira, in the retinue of the Jesuit inspector general, Alessandro Valignano, visiting the Emperor of Japan in 1585, produced a much needed, more precise, although since lost, map of Japan. Later, sometime in the 1590s, Moreira further produced a map of the world, which was only recovered in 1986. Conceived as an instrument for Christian proselytizing, the map represents religious geography in the grand manner and as a f orm of Christian propaganda: Christian kingdoms are colored gold and Christian peoples appear within pagan kingdoms. Intended to lend further impetus to the conversion of the Japanese, the map presents a global vision of contemporary Christianity. [80] It amounted to being a geographical proclamation of an advancing Christian empire throughout the globe. Thus the broad definitions and confident colorings of the cartographer, operating on the other side of the earth, could present more positive prospects for Christianity than had the ultimately ambiguous and muted letters offered by Giovanni Botero in his Relationi universali. Yet the Piemontese had suggested that the possibilities for European universalism did not limit themselves to the specific dimension of Christianity and the religious alone, but drew upon and promoted deep-seated classical and imperial elements for their enhancement and promotion.

(*.) This article is dedicated to John W. O'Malley in anticipation of his seventy-fifth birthday. It was presented in three previous for a during 1998: the Renaissance Workshop at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar at the National Humanities Center; and at the John Carter Brown Library. The author wishes to thank the members of all three for their criticism and especially Melissa Bullard, Peter Burke, Martin Lewis, John Richards, and Ronald Witt for their thoughtful reading of the paper and individual suggestions. He wishes also to recognize a generous grant received from the John Carter Brown Library allowing him to complete his work on Botero at this present stage of inquiry.

(1.) Richards, 106-07.

(2.) Cormack, 1997.

(3.) Ptolemaeus, I.i (sig.a): Geographia imitatio est picturae totius partis terrae cognitae, cum ijs, quae sibi quasi universaliter sunt annexa.

(4.) Cormack, 1991, 641-42.

(5.) De Smet, 16-17.

(6.) Cormack, 1991, 644.

(7.) Ptolemaeus, (sig. M4).

(8.) I am here drawing upon the significant exposition of this idea by Pagden, 1995, 11-62, esp. 21-24, but largely as interpreted by my own review article of the book in 1996, 875-77.

(9.) Cf. Elias, 1:53-59.

(10.) See Lestringant.

(11.) On the decisive nature of this controversy for the early definition of geography and more generally for the map as a commercial and political product see the valuable study by Brotton, 138-53 and passim. Cf. Buisseret, 1992.

(12.) On the political reading and import of maps see Harley, 1988a in general and 1988b, 282 and 301, and most recently Blair, 174-75.

(13.) Gadol, 198.

(14.) Lindberg, 29-35.

(15.) See Vescovini.

(16.) Lindberg, 32.

(17.) Panofsky, 27; 75-76.

(18.) Ibid., 15.

(19.) Ibid.

(20.) Goldstein, 14-25; Seed, 1995, 118-26.

(21.) Phelan, 88.

(22.) 0n the recovery of the manuscript of Ptolemy's Geography see Hankins, 119-27; on its content and import see Gadol, 69-71.

(23.) See map 1.

(24.) The import of the cognitive resonances created by mapping and terrestial globes warrants further consideration for the late Renaissance. On Mercator here see Akerman, 21, 24; on geography and possession see Blair, 174-75.

(25.) Buisseret, 1998.

(26.) Edgerton, 98-99; Broc, 205-21, esp. 205-07 and 217-21 for the intimate association and collaboration of painters and geographers in the ordering of space.

(27.) Rico, 2:600; cf. Thrower, 51-53.

(28.) Naf 1:267, 270.

(29.) Lindgren, 155.

(30.) For the text of Santa Crux's Islario general see Naude, 127-70 at 140, 145.

(31.) Butzer, 353-57, 361; cf. Mundy, 18.

(32.) Favaro, 51-53.

(33.) Schmitt, 56-60.

(34.) Gusdorf 3.1:383.

(35.) Pendergrass, 36.

(36.) Scammell, 412. For Charles V's motto Plus oultre, see Rosenthal.

(37.) Montaigne, 1965; cf. Villey and Saulniers 1988 edition of Les essais 3:13, 1116.

(38.) Godinho, 41; Bodeker, 1074-76.

(39.) Dupront, 53. Even in the hell that ostensible European universalism had created for the African and Indian peoples, the fragile, flickering survival of notions of humanity and natural rights can be found not only in the writings and actions of a Las Casas but also with Tomas de Mercado, Bartolome de Albornoz, and Alonso de Sandoval. On this see Blackburn, 150-56.

(40.) Botero, 1622, Relationi universali (hereafter, Ru) 3.1.3-4. There is no bibliographical study and analysis of the Relationi universali other than the individual items provided in European Americana and Streit's Bibliotheca Missionum, vol. 1. After the Bergamo edition of 1596, subsequent editions follow with only minor changes and rearrangements, especially in the dedicatory letters to the separate books constituting each of the four parts. The only departure from this basic organization occurs when Parte prima becomes so long that the printer or author sought to separate out, as volume 2, all the materials bearing upon islands, in apparent respect to the long established tradition of the isolario. The pagination is in accordance with each individual part. On the basis of the numerous editions that I have examined at the John Carter Brown Library a pagination consecutive throughout first occurs in the Bertani edition (Venice, 1671), a copy of which Professor Paul Grendler lent me. I have chosen to use he re the 1622 Venice edition. The first number represents the Parte, the second, the libro, and the third refers to the page therein.

(41.) Bireley, 46-48; cf. Firpo's article on Botero, particularly at 357 where he broadly gives "un centinaio" of editions and translations, while Bireley unaccountably reckons eighty. I count sixty-one. On Botero's work being the geopolitical manual of the entire European governing class, Firpo indeed proved too enthusiastic. The English reception is disappointingly limited to the second part, the political, and then becomes in successive later editions first a travel guide to Europe and then an epitome of the entirety. The Relations never saw a French printing. Nevertheless, Pierre d'Avity apparently undertook a French translation. For in his Le monde, in the dedicatory letter to Pierre Seguier, written by Claude d'Avity with a preface by an anonymous friend, who has collected the materials and published them posthumously, we read at sigs. eij-eiij" first that "Les Geographes ont figure le tableau de toute la terre, & regardons le monde comme tine ville, ont voulu le faire cognoistre aux hommes, qui en sont les citoyens." After articulating this idea of the global village, newly created by geography and already present in Louis Le Roy and Jean Bodin, the preface goes on: "traduit le Botero en nostre langue a donne moyen a tous les Francais de le lire plus facilement." That the work in question is Botero's Ru becomes clear by allusions to the author having addressed the same matters as had D'Avity and as pertaining to the languages and rarities of all peoples. On the Ru as representing a new genre and Botero's practices of compilation see Smith, 136-42.

(42.) Donnelly; cf. Chabod, 390-96.

(43.) Botero, Ru 1.4.170: "... e qui si pub veramente conoscere quanto Iddio si diletti di far operationi maravigliose per mez[z]i bassi, e di pochissimo rilievo: perche, che cosa ha in se un'aguglia di ferro, stropicciata con la calamita, di riguardevole, a di prerioso? e pur da lei dipende la maggior impresa, e la piu ammirabile arte, che si esserciti dall' huomo, ch'e la navigatione. Ella porge ardimento al marinate di lasciarsi a dietro le Gadi e'l termine, che pose. / / A'primi naviganti Hercole invitto. e di mettersi nell' inchiesta horn di un nuovo Mondo; hora dello stretto, Artico; hora dell's Antartico; hora delle Molucche; hora delle Filippine; hora dell'isole di Salamone; e di girare sopra un fragil legno, tutto il mondo, quasi contendendo, e di velocita, e di grandezza di viaggi co'l Sole." Cf. 1.1.1-2. All translations of Botero are my own unless otherwise stated.

(44.) Ru 4.2.12: "Primieramente sotto un gran Monarca fiorisce ordinariamente la quiete, e la pace . . . la pace apre l'entrate, e i porte de' Regni, e le porte delle Citta a'commertij, a'traffichi, alla scanibievole communicatione delle genti: e per consequenza alla dilatatione della parola e del name de Dio. Con la pace fiorisce la dortrina, e la virtb, la civilta, e la politia, i buoni costumi, e le atti atte a render l'huomo piu piacevole, e piu hospitale, mansueto, e domestico, ch'egli senza quelle, non e . . . [m]olto dunque imporra alla predicatione dell'Evangelio della Pace la grandezza dell' Imperlo, alla quale suole communemente esser congiunta la pace: per questa cagione nella chiesa primitiva i Christiani pregavano assiduamente Iddio per la conservatione dell'Imperio Romano." The Italian word imperio does not primarily signify empire but something more general -- power, authority, political order, rule. I have tried to do justice to Botero's indiscriminate use of the term, but where the context se ems to demand "empire," when associated with the rule of un gran Monarca or the word Roman, I have felt free to use it. Similarly monarchia has its ambiguities but they are more political and conceptual than intrinsically verbal. For in the present period of Habsburg preponderance there occurs a restructuring of the terms monarch and monarchy to connote a universal world emperor and empire. On this matter see Headley, 1996, 880 and the references cited therein. While Botero never alludes to a Spanish Monarchy, he does apply the term, as one might expect, to the church -- Monarchia della Chiesa Christiana, as having its own see (seggio) in the newly discovered regions outside of Europe (Ru 1.1.2).

(45.) On this point see Headley, 1995, 643.

(46.) Ru 4.2.13-14: "Hor sotto un gran Monarca i popoli si raffazzonano e si ripuliscono; e si essercitano nell'humanita; i Superiori per saper governare, i sudditi per saper ubidire, e mettere in essecutione quel, che lor vien comandato: & a Prencipi torna bene introducere ne gil stati loro le arti per cavarne utile, e commodo, e di favorire la virtu per essere serviti con piu grandezza, e decoro: e la possanza, si come desta i Prencipi a pensieri generosi, & ad alte imprese, cosi eccita anche i sudditi ad essequirle, & a metterle in effetto. Percio veggiamo, che le arti d'ogni sorte non fiorano in Grecia mai tanto, quanto sotto Alessandro Magno, ne in Roma, quanto sotto Augusto Cesare. Crebbero con la grandezza del Dominio le arti, e le industrie, le scienze & gli studij."

(47.) Ru 4.3.41: "to rational habit and human refinement."

(48.) Pagden, 1982, 158.

(49.) Ru 4.2.12: "la lingua Messicana ... (ch'e bellissima, e ricchissima)."

(50.) Ru 1.5.185: "ma molto piu si puo comprendere dalla lingua loro, che tanto copiosa, e ricca di vocaboli; tanto figurata, & artificiosa quei, che s'intendono, la preferiscono alla Latina." An extraordinary statement even after taking into account the occasional, yet all too isolated, statements of respect offered by the conqueror to the cultural achievements of the indigenous peoples. Montaigne readily offers himself as an example (158). Cases could be multiplied: the notable interpreter and translator Juan Baptista de Lagunas in his Arte y dictionario speaks of the vocabulary as "quan subtil y curiosa" and in the Arte de la lengua Tarasca he is claimed to have written in the same style as Nebrija "porque la lacitud, frasis y encarecimiento del Tarasco sea muy elegantes y llenos de miscerios." In the preface to the reader in the Vocabulario en lengua Castellana y Mexicana by Alonso de Molina we read of the secrets of the native language "la qual es tan copiosa, tan elegante y tanto artiflcio y primos en sus metaforas y maneras de decir." See also Icazbalcera, 181 and 190. Bocero's statement bears comparison with that of Mendieta's similar reaction, 1945, 3.4:215: "Y puedo con verdad afirmar, que la mexicana no es menos galana y curiosa que la latina, y aun pienso que mas artizada en composicion y derivacion de vocablos, y en mentaforas, cuya inceligencia y uso se ha perdido, y aim el comtin hablar se va de eada dia mas corrompiendo." Unfortunately, the work was not published until 1870, and it is most unlikely that Botero could have ever had contact with Mendiera when the latter came to Madrid in the early 1570s. How then are we to understand Botero's statement? Is it merely formulaic? An empty; passing nod? Or something more? The fact that the earliest editions of the Ru, specffically the Rome, 1591-1592, and the Ferrara, 1592-1593, include Greek as well as Latin, thus "la preferiscono alla Greca, & alla Larina" at 1.4.173 and 369 respectively, causes its later omission to argue for something more considere d and deliberate.

(51.) Ru 2.2.55. For an extensive presentation and analysis of the parable of the three eyes, see the forthcoming study of Rubies, made available to me by courtesy of Cambridge University Press. For a useful treatment of Botero's political thought with reference to Asia in general, see Lach, 235-52.

(52.) Hay, 77-78.

(53.) Selwyn, 8. I am grateful to my colleague Prof. Lance Lazar for bringing this article to my attention. On Otras Indias see Prosperi.

(54.) Ru 4.2.14: "Reco dunque giovamente grandissimo all'introduttione della Fede Ia pulitezza (quale ella si fosse) introdotta dal governo, e dall'Imperio de Prencipi grandi nell'America: perche tolse a i popoli della ruvidezza, e dall'asprezza, egli dispose alla mansuetudine, & piacevolezza, che si ricerca nella vita d'un Christiano." "Pulitezza" here seems to have something of the sense of civilization.

(55.) Albonico, 102, 115, 118, 130, 137-51, 161-69, 178-83.

(56.) Ibid., 161.

(57.) Ibid., 167, 170-71.

(58.) Albonico, 94.

(59.) Ferritti, 231.

(60.) Chabod, 337. For the full consolidation of the term incivilimento in its modern multi-secular implications and as associated with the general development of human society, a maturation occurring during the seventeenth century, see Vivanti.

(61.) Ferretti, 236-40; Ru 2. Proemio, [3]-[5].

(62.) Romeo, 89-93.

(63.) According to a royal edict of 22 October 1523, the islands and terra firma emerging as it were from el mar oceano are irrevocably to be annexed to the Grown of Castile. Coleccion 1895, ix. pt. 2: 185-87.

(64.) Barbero, 7.

(65.) Namely the Junta de Reformacion, a special commission reviewing the prospects of reform in the period marked by the shift from the regime of Lerma to that of Olivates. See Coleccion 1932, 236: "pues entre las demas cossas porque Espana es tenida por esteril, (como dice, Juan Botero) no es por defecto de la tierra, sino por la falta de la genre" (Anonmino a Felipe IV, 1621).

(66.) See Headley, 1997, 13-14.

(67.) Nader, 94-98.

(68.) Fraser, 23, 29, 48.

(69.) Ibid., 22-24.

(70.) Ibid., 42-46. On Juan de Matienzo as the veritable brains behind Toledo's reduciones see the "Etude preliminaire" to Matienzo, 1967, lxi-lxii and the chapters cited therein.

(71.) Seed, 1993.

(72.) Phelan, 88-89.

(73.) Monumenta Peruana II (1576-80). 457-6 1 at 460.

(74.) Medina, 142-43.

(75.) Ibid., 144-45.

(76.) Ibid., 155-56.

(77.) Ibid., 157.

(78.) Ibid., 163-67.

(79.) Gioda, 3:327. Botero's final, fifth part of the Ru, which he wrote in the last decade of his life, did not appear in print until the end of the nineteenth century with the study of Carlo Gioda.

(80.) Nebenzahl, 21-23; cf. map 2. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Nebenzahl for permission to present it here as well as for providing me with a fresh facsimile of the map.


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