Aristocrats and Traders:
Sevillian Society in the Sixteenth Century

Ruth Pike

Chapter 2: Section 2

The Elite (1)

[52] Professionals


In many ways the Archdeacon of Niebla, Licentiate Alonso Alvarez de Córdoba, was a typical Sevillian churchman in the sixteenth century: he held a university degree and an important benefice in the Seville Cathedral and during his long career served the Archdiocese in both judicial and administrative posts. Not less significant was his converso origin and his descent from persons punished by the Inquisition in Cordova at the end of the fifteenth century. There was also the stigma of illegitimacy in his background, for he was the grandson of a priest. (2)

There were many men like the Archdeacon of Niebla in the Spanish ecclesiastical hierarchy in the sixteenth century. The presence of large numbers of conversos among the Spanish clergy is not surprising for the church had always kept its ranks open to everyone, regardless of race or social origin. Moreover, a clerical career offered an easy chance of advancement especially for anyone with a university degree. Converso students attended all the universities of Spain, and choice benefices and even ecclesiastical sees were reserved for them. By the mid-sixteenth century it was a [53] well-known fact that the majority of the Spanish clergy in Rome who were seeking ecclesiastical benefices were of converso origin. (3)

Although their exact numbers can never be determined, converso ecclesiastics made up a substantial part of the Sevillian church throughout the sixteenth century. They could be found in all the religious orders and at every level of the secular clergy from parish priests to Cathedral dignitaries. They were especially numerous in such religious orders as the Jesuits and Hieronymites and among the ranks of the Cathedral clergy. At the opening of the sixteenth century they predominated among the members of the Cathedral chapter and, despite the adoption of a statute of limpieza de sangre in 1515, they continued to hold dignities, canonries, and prebends throughout the century. Their continued presence in the Cathedral chapter was actually facilitated by the lenient provisions of the Sevillian statute. In contrast to many of those adopted in other parts of the country, the Sevillian statute did not call for the total exclusion of conversos, but only those whose ancestors had been punished by the Inquisition. Furthermore, it was apparent that Archbishop Diego de Deza (also of converso origin), on whose initiative the limpieza statute was introduced, was motivated by circumstances rather than conviction, for "among the 600 persons burnt and the 6,000 punished by the Inquisition in Seville since its establishment in 1480, there were many clergymen, a considerable number of whom belonged to the Cathedral clergy." (4)

One of the best examples of the ineffectiveness of the [54] statute (even from the beginning) is the case of Juan Rodríguez de Baeza, a Cathedral choirmaster who was nominated for a canonry by Archbishop Deza in 1517. A vocal group within the chapter refused to approve his appointment and called for the application of the limpieza statute since it was widely known that both his parents and grandparents had been penanced by the Inquisition as judaizantes. Regardless of the opposition, Rodríguez de Baeza obtained his canonry, but only through the personal intervention of Archbishop Deza. (5) That he succeeded in keeping it until his death in 1546, despite several attempts to remove him, was also due to the continued protection of Deza and his successor in the Sevillian See, Cardinal Alonso Manrique (1524-1538), also of converso descent.(6) Both men tolerated the existence of conversos in high ecclesiastical posts and even favored them, as can be seen from a study of their nominations to Cathedral benefices. The same holds true for Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro (of similar converso background), who governed the Sevillian Archdiocese from 1582 to 1600. In addition, all three churchmen were especially known for their flagrant use of nepotism and pluralism. Not only did they engage in these practices themselves, but they allowed them to operate throughout their See. One of the most glaring examples of nepotism occurred in the 1590's when Cardinal Castro secured the three highest dignities [55] in the Cathedral chapter for his nephews, Diego, Alvaro, and Alonso Ulloa Osorio, who became the Archdeacons of Ecija, Reina, and Jerez. Despite actions like these, Cardinal Castro was very popular in Seville because, in the words of Canon Licentiate Francisco Pacheco, "he understood the Sevillians and gave them what they wanted -- preference in ecclesiastical appointment." Both the Cardinal and his nephews were related to the Deza family. All were descendants of Juan Talavera of Toro whose sister was the mother of Archbishop Deza. (7)

The widespread practice of nepotism and pluralism in the Sevillian church enabled certain families to acquire for themselves the best canonries and prebends. In many instances benefices were held consecutively by brothers, uncles, and nephews and even by fathers and sons. Younger family members were provided with coadjutorships that carried succession rights to their relatives' positions. Often three generations of the same family possessed one or more benefices. The Pichardos, for example, secured control over two benefices at the end of the sixteenth century and held them through the middle of the seventeenth century. In 1591 Juan Pichardo obtained prebend number 7; in 1617 he resigned it in favor of his coadjutor and nephew Pedro Andrés Pichardo, but at the same time he took over canonry number 11 (with his brother Antonio Díaz Bejarano as coadjutor), which he held until his death in 1628. Number 11 then passed to Antonio and after the latter's death to [56] his nephew Pedro Andrés Pichardo, who subsequently resigned his prebend number 7 in favor of his nephew Pedro Pichardo Osorio. All told, the Pichardos controlled prebend number 7 and canonry number 11 for fifty-two and thirty-one years, respectively. (8)

The perpetuation of a few families, many of whom were of converso background, in rich benefices was further facilitated by the existence of clerical concubinage. Although the ecclesiastical reform ordinances of 1512 banned this practice and prohibited clergy from keeping their offspring with them and attending their baptisms or marriages, these regulations seem to have been ineffective. (9) Nephews were often sons in disguise; such was the case with Luis Fernández de Soria el mozo (the younger), whose father Canon Luis Fernández de Soria was one of the most influential converso members of the Cathedral chapter in the first decades of the sixteenth century and a close friend of the Columbus family. The same was true for Fernán Ruiz de Hojeda, who took over his father's canonry in 1564 with no apparent difficulty even though both his father and his uncle, Luis de Casaverde, had been accused of Lutheranism, made to abjure publicly in the auto de fe of 1562, and suspended from their offices. (10) But the Sevillian chapter was notoriously lenient in this regard; the canon [57] and preacher Juan Gil, known as Dr. Egidio, was brought to trial on the suspicion of heresy, but let off with light punishment and allowed to resume his place in the chapter. It was not until after Egidio's death in 1556 that the extent of his heresy was discovered and his remains burnt in the auto de fe of 1560 along with those of his colleague Canon Constantino Ponce de la Fuente, one of the leaders of the clandestine Protestant community of Seville. (11)

Clerical concubinage also led incidentally to the creation of several important converso families whose members formed part of the ruling elite. The Mexía Guzmáns, for example, were descended from Canon Luis Fernández de Soria and his friend the Prebendary Bernal de Cuenca. Cuenca and his Morisco mistress produced the famous Licentiate Andrés de Vergara, alderman and chief magistrate of Seville, who owed his positions to the favor of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Vergara married Catalina Mexía, the illegitimate daughter of Canon Fernández de Soria and his friend "la Guzmana." Their son Hernán Mexía Guzmán, who inherited his father's aldermanship, married into the wealthy converso Cabrera family and in 1542 accompanied his father-in-law Pedro Luis de Cabrera to Peru where both men acquired large encomiendas. They later [58] served as captains in the Gasca campaign of 1548 and after the war Mexía Guzmán returned to Spain as Gasca's messenger. While he was in Spain he tried to gain entrance into the order of Santiago for his eight-year-old son Pedro de Cabrera de Vergara, but in the subsequent inquiry the family's background was revealed and the candidate rejected. Although this must have been an unpleasant experience for Mexia Guzmán, it apparently did not diminish his zeal for a hábito. Two years later he applied for one for himself and again the same facts were presented with similar results. It is interesting to note in this connection that although one of the principal witnesses against the family on both occasions was the chronicler Pedro Mexía (no relation), he has somehow come down in history as the father of Hernán Mexia Guzmán. (12) One possible explanation of this distortion might be that the family simply appropriated him as an ancestor when constructing a false genealogy in the seventeenth century, due to the similarity of the name.

The progenitors of the Mexía Guzmán family, Luis Fernández de Soria and Bernal de Cuenca, were close friends and colleagues of Rodrigo Fernández de Santaella, Archdeacon of Reina, who founded the College and University of Santa María de Jesús, which became the University of Seville. Santaella, a graduate of the Spanish College in Bologna, wanted to establish a university in Seville that [59] would contain a small college providing support for a limited number of poor (primarily ecclesiastical) scholars. The result was the College of Santa María de Jesús (popularly called the College of Maese Rodrigo), for which Santaella set aside substantial benefices and rents, including property confiscated from the Jews of Seville that he purchased in 1504. Scarcely had Santaella drawn up the charter for the college when he suddenly died in 1509, leaving the Cathedral chapter supervisory powers over the college and his canon friends the responsibility of putting his plans into operation. The college therefore became an appanage of the chapter and most of those connected with it and the university, especially during the early years, were converso ecclesiastics belonging to the Cathedral clergy. The canons Alonso de Campos and Pedro de Fuentes, for example, were the executors of Maese Rodrigo's will, and Campos, who had studied with Santaella in Bologna, selected the first students for the college and drew up the statutes for the university in 1518. Others included the canon Pedro González de Alcocer (an ancestor of the Sevillian poet Gutierre de Cetina) who left his extensive library to the College, the Ruiz de Bojedas; the Casaverdes, including Juan Ruiz de Casaverde who served as College notary, and Iñigo de Rosales, its first rector. The matriculation records also indicate that regardless of the limpieza statute adopted in 1537, students of converso origin were numerous at the university throughout the century. (13) This [60] is not surprising since most of them came from merchant, professional, and hidalgo backgrounds and were drawn from the city itself and the surrounding region.

Men like Santaella and his converso colleagues owed their influence and power to their positions on the Cathedral chapter whose members represented the most select group within the church. In the sixteenth century the Sevillian chapter consisted of eleven dignitaries: dean, chancellor, treasurer, precentor, six archdeacons, and a prior. In 1579 there were forty canons and forty prebendaries (racioneros and medios racioneros). The dean enjoyed a lucrative income of 6,000 ducats, while the canonries were worth 2,000 each and the prebends one third of that amount. (14) A survey of chapter members in the sixteenth century indicates that the overwhelming majority emanated from the commercial, hidalgo, and letrado classes with very few representatives of the high nobility or the peasants. The hidalgo character of the chapter is especially noticeable at the end of the century and coincides with the steady ennoblement throughout the period of the letrado and merchant classes. This contrasts sharply with conditions early in the century when a substantial number of men of artisan background (many of whom were also conversos) were in the chapter. Two good examples are Fernán Ruiz de Hojeda, son of a smith, and Santaella, who came from a poor artisan family.

Chapter members were an elite group not only because [61] of their wealth and birth, but also because of their education, Of 730 canons in the last two decades of the sixteenth century, almost half held higher degrees, mainly the licentiate and the doctorate. Most were graduates of the universities of Salamanca, Alcalá de Henares, Osuna, or Seville, in that order. The largest number were natives of Seville, its immediate area, and other towns in Andalusia, with a few from Toledo, Burgos, and Madrid. There were also a number of Hispanized foreigners -- Genoese, Flemings, and Neapolitans. Several of the most outstanding canons of foreign descent were Genoese, such as the Pinelo brothers, Pedro and Jerónimo, whose father was Francisco Pinelo, a contributor to the Columbian voyages and first factor of the Casa de Contratación. Another was Dr. Luciano de Negrón (1562-1606), son of Licentiate Carlos de Negrón, prosecuting attorney for the Council of Castile. Dr. Negrón achieved prominence in Seville as a preacher, humanist, and poet. (15)

In contrast to the Cathedral chapter the mass of secular clergy consisted of priests of more modest origin. Most came from artisan families and many were of converso descent, as can be seen from a study of the names of parish clergy that appear on the meat tax refund lists. (16) Although [62] it was difficult (and it became increasingly more so as the century advanced) for men of humble origins to obtain preferment in the church, there were always opportunities for improvement within the lower ranks. This was especially true in Seville where over one hundred places were devoted to divine worship and prayer. In 1579 the Cathedral alone had 776 chaplaincies, and 872 were scattered throughout the various parishes. Furthermore, it was always possible for the most able to obtain a university degree, which almost always brought some kind of advancement, even if only a transfer from a small or poorer parish to a better one. Indeed a good number of priests in such wealthy and prestigious parishes as San Salvador and Santa Cruz held baccalaureate and licentiate degrees. Assignment to San Salvador was especially advantageous since it had served as a cathedral at one time and its chapter consisted of eight canons, each one with a yearly income of 800 ducats. There were also men with baccalaureate degrees in some of the less wealthy but larger parishes, like Santa Ana in Triana, and some of the pastors of these parishes held higher degrees. (17)

Statistics are practically nonexistent for the number of secular clergy in Seville during the sixteenth century, except for a few unreliable estimates found in the chronicles. The vecindario of 1561 lists a total of 229 clergymen, but this figure is clearly too low (only 18 of the 40 canons and 16 of 40 prebendaries are mentioned), and it probably represents less than half the actual number. While the vecindario tells little about their numbers, it provides some information about the distribution of the secular clergy. [63] The parishes of Santa María, Santa Cruz, San Vicente, and San Juan de la Palma had the largest number of priests among their inhabitants. Most of the Cathedral clergy lived in Santa María with a few also in Santa Cruz. The presence of a large clerical population in San Vicente and San Juan can be explained by the existence in these two parishes of many noble families whose private chapels they served. Some additional figures can be obtained from the meat tax refund lists. At the end of the century as many as 47 clergymen were connected with a large parish like Santa Ana. Included in this number were both the regular priests assigned to this parish and all others who held chaplaincies in this church. A similar situation existed in San Salvador and Santa Mart'a Magdalena with 49 and 44 priests, respectively. Even a small parish like San Bartolomé had 12 priests, and the rest averaged between 15 and 30. (18)

Some clergymen supplemented their incomes by tutoring or by opening private boys' schools in their homes to teach the rudiments of education. Usually they hired laymen, university graduates, or at least men with some years of university training to teach grammar. At mid-century one of the best known of these schools in Seville was run by Juan Rodríguez, a chaplain in the Cathedral. In 1554 Rodríguez hired Lope de Dueñas, a "schoolmaster," to teach in his school for two years, at a salary of two ducats a week payable at the end of each month. In addition Dueñas was to receive room and board and six maravedís extra a day to cover his incidental expenses. (19)

[64] If information about the secular clergy is scant and fragmentary, there is still less about the religious orders. The church and monastic archives that could provide a description of the internal life of these monasteries and convents still await investigation. In their absence, chroniclers' accounts, notarial deeds, and government records must serve as the principal sources of information about the regular clergy. (20) In 1579 Seville and its suburbs were covered by a network of some 38 religious houses, 19 male and 19 female, but statistics as to their membership are hard to come by, as are reliable figures for the total population of nuns, monks, and friars. Estimates exist for the male religious orders. The Dominicans reputedly had 230 friars in their four houses: 750 in San Pablo, their principal friary, 40 in both Santo Domingo de Portoceli and Regina Celi, and 20 in Montesión. The Franciscans numbered some 300 with 200 friars in the monastery of San Francisco (the largest in Seville) and 100 in Nuestra Señora del Valle. There were also 200 Carmelites divided between two houses, Santa María de los Remedios in Triana and Santa María del Carmen in the parish of San Vicente. (21) As for the female orders, in 1595 the Carmelite Convent of Belén had [65] a total of 59 members -- 44 professed nuns, 6 lay sisters, and 9 novices; this was one of the more popular communities in Seville. Poverty, not a lack of vocations, created this situation. Almost all female communities were contemplative and cloistered, and there were few opportunities for them to supplement their incomes. Most were totally dependent on small rents and the dowries of their members. Since they performed little or no services to the outside community (teaching and nursing activities by nuns were practically unknown in this period), they attracted far less lay financial support than the socially active friars. Therefore, while most male orders were open to all who felt the call of the religious life, entrance into the female communities was limited and restricted to those whose dowries could provide a minimum of subsistence. (22)

These religious communities owed their existence to the piety and generosity of wealthy Sevillians. The nobility was the most active contributor to the establishment and expansion of the several orders. Large and continued contributions by illustrious Sevillian families enabled the Dominicans, for example, to maintain four friaries and three convents (Santa María de Gracia, Santa María la Real, and the prestigious Madre de Dios) in the city. Occasionally the municipal government also aided the religious orders financially. In 1580 the Franciscans built their new monastery of San Diego and the Jesuits their College of San Hermenegildo with funds donated by the city. (23)

[66] One of the most impressive monasteries in Seville lay outside the confines of the town, along the western bank of the Guadalquivir River. The Carthusian monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas faced the river and was surrounded by its own sweet-scented citrus groves that produced an annual revenue of 1,500 ducats for the community. There were accommodations for 70 monks, and when the German traveler J. Münzer visited it at the end of the fifteenth century, it was occupied by 40 priests and 30 lay brothers in addition to the prior. Within the city proper, the monastery of San Francisco domínated the plaza of the same name. It contained cells for 200 friars, its own workshops, and gardens. Connected to the monastery was the Colegio (College) of San Buenaventura for liberal arts and theology with 40 students, all members of the Franciscan order. (24)

Several other orders -- the Carmelites, Friars of San Francisco de Paula, Dominicans, and Jesuits -- were also engaged in teaching and were associated with colleges. The two most famous of these schools were the Dominican Colegio mayor de Santo Tomás de Aquino and the Jesuits' San Hermenegildo. The College of Santo Tomás was founded in 1516 by Archbishop Deza for members of the Dominican order, but from the beginning nonecclesiastics were admitted to the faculties of philosophy and Latin. On the other hand, since it was originally a training school for ecclesiastics, its student body remained small and select. In contrast, the Jesuit Colegio of San Hermenegildo was [67] probably the largest school of its kind in Spain during the sixteenth century, with some nine hundred students in the 1560's. It was also the most prestigious in Seville, catering to the sons of noble and wealthy merchant families like those described by Cervantes in his Coloquio de los perros. For many years both the college and the novitiate were housed together in a building located in the parish of San Salvador that the Jesuits had purchased from Captain Hernán Suárez del Alcázar for 8,000 ducats. In 1580 the college and the novitiate were separated and, with the help of the city government, the college was moved to splendid new quarters in the parish of San Miguel while the novitiate remained on the old site. (25)

The success of the Colegio of San Hermenegildo was due primarily to the teaching ability of the Jesuits (they excelled in Latin and the humanities), but also to support and protection from the governing elite. Throughout the century Sevillians from hidalgo, merchant, and office-holding families, many of whom were of converso origin, entered the Society of Jesus. One of the first Sevillian members of the Order was Father Basilio de Avila (Alonso de Avila, son of Francisco Fernández de Pineda, an official of the Casa de Contratación), who became a Jesuit while a student at Salamanca in 1550. (26) The popularity of the Jesuits [68] among the conversos was clearly related to the Society's emphasis on intellectuality and its lenient attitude toward limpieza de sangre. The Jesuits did not adopt a limpieza statute until 1599 and then only after a long internal controversy. Nor did it last long, for in 1618 it was in effect abrogated. A perfect example of the kind of men that the Jesuits attracted in Seville was Father Luis del Alcázar (1554-1674), a member of the well-known converso family of that name, and author of a famous treatise on the Apocalypse. His intellect was of such high order and he was so totally immersed in his studies that he was popularly considered an eccentric genius. (27)

Another religious order that drew many conversos was the Hieronymites, again mainly because of their intellectual orientation. Their monastery of San Isidro del Campo, located a short distance outside of Seville on the road to Extremadura and Castile, was founded by Alonso Pérez de Guzmán el bueno, the pater familias of the House of Medina Sidonia. In view of the relationship between the Dukes of Medina Sidonia and the conversos, it is not surprising that this Hieronymite monastery became a refuge for New Christians, and in the sixteenth century it was a clandestine center of Protestantism in Seville. Two of the most notable figures of Spanish Protestantism came from San Isidro: Antonio del Corro and Cipriano de Valera, both of whom were New Christians. They fled Seville for Geneva in 1557 before their activities were discovered by the Inquisition. In the auto de fe of 1559 six Hieronymites from San Isidro lost their lives; among them were the Prior, [69] Garci-Arias, known as Maestro Blanco, and Francisco Fox Morcillo, brother of the Sevillian humanist Sebastián Fox Morcillo, both of whom were of converso descent. (28)

The monastic orders, like the church as a whole, always contained a wide selection of men and women from all social classes. In the first part of the sixteenth century a substantial portion of the religious community came from artisan families, and like the secular clergy many were conversos. A good example is Ana Díaz de Vergara, who entered the Augustinian convent of San Leandro in the first decade of the century with a dowry of only 7,000 maravedís (18 ducats). Her father and sisters were embroiderers and her brother was a scribe, that favorite profession of the New Christians. (29) As the century advanced, the steady growth of the hidalgo and letrado classes and the inability of society as constituted to absorb them brought more individuals of higher rank into the regular clergy. This was especially true in the female orders, and such convents as Madre de Dios (Dominicans), San Leandro (Augustinians), and Belén (Carmelites) began to cater to women of noble rank. As early as the 1560's the presence [70] of greater numbers of such women had begun to cause resentment among those of lower rank; at least this was the situation in the Convent of Belén when Padre Rubeo, the Vicar-General of the Carmelites, visited it in 1566. By the end of the century, hidalgo women entered religious orders with large dowries and were accompanied by personal servants and slaves. (30)

Both the regular and secular clergy accumulated large quantities of property in and around the city, the extent of which is difficult to determine. It has been estimated that one-tenth of the urban property of Seville belonged to the church and about one-half of this belonged to the Cathedral chapter. Moreover, church holdings continued to grow through direct donations from laymen in return for chapels and chaplaincies. In addition, many secular priests, especially Cathedral clergy members, owned both urban real estate and country land in their own right. A study of the wills and testaments of chapter members indicates that three or four houses, a store or two, and a few pieces of farm land made up their typical holdings. Santaella's friend, the Canon Alonso de Campos, for example, left all his property to the College of Santa María de Jesús in 1529. It consisted of several pieces of arable land in the Vega of Triana and six or seven houses in the city. Three slaves and a sum of cash (which his executors immediately invested in additional real estate and juros) made up the remainder of the estate. (31)

One question remains to be discussed: the role of the clergy in the transatlantic trade. Churchmen were very [71] much a part of the Sevillian world in the sixteenth century and were inevitably drawn into the mercantile concerns of their city. Many clergymen participated in the transatlantic trade, but almost always indirectly. They invested as silent partners in trading ventures or managed the investments of others. It was not unusual for merchants departing for the Indies to entrust their business in Seville to clerical friends or relatives who used their ecclesiastical associations as a business network. The Cathedral clergy, because of their close ties with the trading elite, were especially active in the collection of debts.

Sevillian churchmen did not allow their mercantile activities to interfere with the performance of their religious duties. One notable exception was Canon Alonso Fajardo de Villalobos, Bishop of Esquilache, who so totally dedicated himself to business as to draw the censure of Archbishop Rodrigo de Castro and eventually the sanctions of the papacy. The Villalobos case is indeed a kind of cause célebre in the annals of the Sevillian church. The entrepreneurial undertakings of Canon Villalobos came to light in the residencia that Archbishop Castro forced him to submit to in 1582. (32) According to the charges levied against him, Villalobos traded in all kinds of merchandise from grain to pearls both in Seville and the New World. It was further alleged that he had converted his residence into a veritable manufacturing center and store where such diverse [72] products as flour, seabiscuit, bricks, and lime were produced and sold. All the witnesses who testified at the hearing gave an unfavorable description of his business methods, claiming that he was totally unscrupulous -- buying cheap and selling dear, taking advantage of scarcities in vital goods to raise prices, and selling grain illegally at more than the established price (tasa). Finally, he had totally neglected the duties of his religious office, "neither saying mass nor attending church" and, in the colorful language of the period, was "living as a man without conscience on the verge of perdition." (33) Fortunately for the Sevillian church there were few clergymen like Villalobos. The majority of churchmen managed to keep their business and spiritual concerns separate without prejudicing one or the other and to profit from both.


Outside of the clergy, Seville's professional class consisted of lawyers, medical practitioners, and notaries. Great diversity in education, training, and social origins characterized this group. At the top were men with university degrees, most of whom came from hidalgo, letrado, and wealthy merchant families; those at the bottom usually had some kind of primary school education, but basically their skills were obtained through apprenticeship or direct practice. There was also a middle stratum -- men who had some amount of higher education but had not received their degrees. A classic example is Cervantes' father, who was forced to suspend his medical studies at the University of Alcalá de Henares because of ill health and, as a result, [73] fell into the unprestigious category of practicing surgeon (médico cirujano). (34) Individuals in the middle and lower groups could originate from the letrado class (as did Cervantes' father), but more generally came from artisan and merchant backgrounds.

It is an established fact that many of the professionals were of converso origin. This was especially true in medicine, which in addition to the church was one of their favorite fields of endeavor in the sixteenth century just as it had been in previous centuries among their ancestors, the Jews. Less is known about their role as lawyers and notaries. Their participation in the legal profession is amply illustrated by the matriculation records of the University of Seville, which reveal that they made up a substantial proportion of the men studying law there during the sixteenth century, while documents from the Protocols Archive show how many of them were practicing before the several tribunals in Seville as procuradores or untitled lawyers. As for their activities as notaries, even a superficial glance at the sources indicates the degree to which they continued to exercise this traditional occupation in sixteenth-century Seville.

Lack of statistics makes it impossible to determine the size of the Sevillian professional class. As for titled professionals, the vecindario of 1561 lists 849 men as having the baccalaureate (bachiller), licentiate (licenciado), and doctorate (doctor) degrees, 87 of whom were clergymen These figures are undoubtedly too low, but it does not appear that the Sevillian titled professional group was a [74] large one. In contrast, untitled professionals seem to have been numerous, especially notaries, whose services were much in demand in a commercial center like Seville. Most of those with the licentiate degree were lawyers (the doctorate in law was a high and uncommon degree), while the holders of the doctorate were medical practitioners. In medicine both the degrees of bachiller and licenciado were used and very common (one of the licenciados in medicine mentioned in the vecindario of 1561 was Licenciado Juan Alemán, uncle of the famous novelist Mateo Alemán). (35)

Among the professionals, degrees were highly solicited for they brought both social prestige and tax exemption. The benefits to be obtained from a diploma were so great that many men fraudulently claimed them. Such deception was not difficult in Seville for the whole atmosphere of the town with its large, cosmopolitan, and transient population and its get-rich-quick attitude actually encouraged this kind of mentality. Some who merely attended a university assumed a title; Cervantes' father, for example, during his first years in Seville called himself Licenciado although he did not have a degree. More frequently men who held the baccalaureate appropriated the licentiate. Fernando de Almirón y Zayas, who obtained his bachiller degree from the University of Seville in 1591, frequently "signed himself licentiate without having that degree," just like Bachiller Pasillas in the Coloquio de los perros. (36)

There was no scarcity of opportunities in Seville for men [75] trained in law. They could practice before the Audiencia and other tribunals or find a governmental position. Often private practice and a salaried legal post were combined, especially by titled lawyers. Judgeships were available for those with the most talent and connections except on the Audiencia, which was closed to natives of Seville and its district. The prohibition against Sevillians on the Audiencia was dictated by a desire to eliminate conflict of interests and other abuses that had characterized the court of the Jueces de los Grados, its predecessor. On the other hand, positions on the second highest tribunal in Seville, the municipal court of the Alcaldes ordinarios or de la Corte, were open to Sevillians and represented the culmination of success for a Sevillian lawyer. This court exercised jurisdiction over both criminal and civil cases and all those in which the city was a party. Originally the judges were selected annually by the municipal council, but after 1557 these positions became lifetime appointments. (37)

The social prestige surrounding these judgeships contrasts sharply with their modest salaries. In 1536 the Jueces de los Grados received annual salaries of 850,000 maravedís (just six times more than the yearly wages of a mason) and a mere 3,000 maravedís extra for expenses. Some twenty-nine years later their successors on the Audiencia did not enjoy much better financial conditions. In a petition which the judges sent to the king in 1565 requesting higher annual compensation they argued that they "could not sustain themselves on their accustomed salaries in a city like Seville where the cost of living was so high." As proof of the [76] urgency of their situation, they noted that three of the most capable judges had resigned their posts because they "became tired of living on credit as most of the judges were forced to do for a greater part of the year" and that a third judge had recently died penniless. But the economic position of the judges was not as bad as they described it for they were tax-exempt and enjoyed countless other perquisites that certainly made them a privileged group. There were also many illegitimate means of augmenting their incomes, which, clearly, many Sevillian judges were willing to use. Finally, in many instances, their precarious financial situation was related to other problems. According to a report of 1589, gambling, women, and ostentatious living played a larger role in corroding the incomes of the judges of the Audiencia than did the high cost of living in Seville or their low salaries. (38)

For most lawyers even a modest steady income was absolutely necessary, and for this reason legal posts with the various governing bodies in the city were much in demand. The city, Audiencia, Inquisition, and Casa de Contratación all employed trained lawyers. Both the Audiencia and the Inquisition had especially large legal staffs, twenty-six lawyers and a prosecuting attorney for the Audiencia and ten lawyers and a prosecutor for the Inquisition. As in the case of judges, salaries were minimal. In 1581 the city paid [77] its four legal advisors a mere 75,000 maravedís a year while lawyers for the Inquisition received even less -- some 10,000 maravedís annually -- but the advantages and exemptions related to these posts placed their occupants in favorable economic positions. (39) Licenciado Luis Someño de Porras, for example, a prominent Sevillian jurist in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, served as a lawyer for the Audiencia and also as prosecuting attorney (fiscal) for the Inquisition. His combined income from these two posts amounted to about 100,000 maravedís, but at the height of his career in 1587 he reputedly had a fortune of over 20,000 ducats. Unfortunately, there is no way to estimate his private practice (which apparently was substantial), but it seems that the bulk of his wealth came from juros, real estate, and commercial investments.(40)

Some titled lawyers became administrators rather than court practitioners. One of the most illustrious of these jurist-administrators was Licenciado Cristóbal Mosquera de Figueroa, who during his long career served the royal government as auditor in the armada of the Marqués of Santa Cruz against the Azores in 1582 and that of his native city as corregidor of several towns in the Sevillian district. Mosquera de Figueroa was a most versatile man. He was a humanist who translated Greek and Latin works, a poet whose verses were eulogized by the leading literary figures of his day, a soldier renowned for his bravery, and an accomplished [78] musician who played the vihuela with skill and feeling. (41)

Licenciado Mosquera de Figueroa's accomplishments, however, appear to have been more outstanding than his lineage. Although he solicited and eventually received recognition of his claim to hidalgo status, it seems suspect, and at least on his mother's side, fraudulent. Documents from the Sevillian Protocols Archive show that his mother came from a family of merchant and converso origin. Her three sisters were all married to men of similar backgrounds -- one of them, Hernando Rodríguez de San Juan (the husband of her sister María de Palma), was a recently ennobled merchant who administered the almojarifazgo in the 1570's and held a seat on the city council. (42) Very little is known about his father's family except that they originated from Badajoz and that they claimed to be related to the Duke of Arcos, Rodrigo Ponce de León. Nevertheless, several witnesses at the official inquiry in 1585 (including a representative of the city) stated that they were not legitimate descendants of the persons they pretended to be. If neither Licenciado Mosquera de Figueroa nor his father paid taxes in Seville, this was not due to their noble status, but rather to their university degrees. (43)

[79] In contrast to the titled lawyers who represented a relatively small and select group were the numerous untitled lawyers (procuradores). Since the titled lawyers were more active as administrators and legal advisors than as court practitioners, the untitled men performed most of the routine day-to-day courtroom work in the city. They competed at all levels with the titled lawyers, practicing as they did before all the various tribunals in Seville. Some of the most capable, like the well-known Pedro García Tortolero, were familiar figures at the Audiencia. The documents show that most of the cases before the Casa de Contratación were handled by the procuradores. These were usually civil suits, but could also include criminal proceedings. Two of the most active Casa procuradores at mid-century were Alvaro de Baena and Gonzalo de Molina (both of converso origin), who had an impressive list of clients among the Seville business community. (44) The popularity of the procuradores was in large part due to their lower fees, but there was considerable variation depending on the time and the circumstances of the case.

In addition to their work as court lawyers, the procuradores acted as guardians and administrators of the estates of minors and widows. It was also customary for businessmen and others who were about to travel to the New World to place their affairs in Seville in the hands of a procurador for the period of their absence. Some procuradores [80] conducted the legal business of their clients on a more permanent basis, that is, for a set salary and over an established period of time, usually a year. In 1549, for example, Casa procurador Alvaro de Baena entered into such an arrangement with the New World trader Luis Sánchez Dalvo, while his colleague Francisco de Aguilar regularly represented several Genoese merchants during the 1550's. (45)

In the popular mind, lawyers, whether titled or untitled, had a reputation for dishonesty and trickery. Actually the profession itself engendered this stereotype because of the numerous occasions for fraud and illicit gains which it offered. In Seville this suspicion had a firm basis in reality, for the whole judicial system was notoriously corrupt. All contemporary accounts agree that it was difficult to obtain a fair hearing in a Sevillian court. In the opinion of Luque Fajardo reals, doubloons, and escudos were worth more than any law, statute, or decree. (46)

The corruption in the Sevillian courts becomes easier to understand when one reads a confidential report written in 1589 by a royal commissioner, Beltrán de Guevara, on the character and qualifications of the judges of the Audiencia. That such a group of men could hold positions on the highest tribunal in the city is indicative of the sorry state of Sevillian justice. Three of the magistrates were consummate [81] gamblers, one of whom, Licenciado Luis de Molina, "was loaded down with gambling debts and although a married man was seen frequently in the company of women other than his wife." Another gambler was Licenciado Rodrigo Velas, who had a further disability: both his son and son- in-law were Sevillian lawyers and therefore no one trusted his decisions. Licenciado Andrés Fernández de Córdoba, on the other hand, was an honest man with a good education, but was "too lenient, dismissing cases at the first opportunity." Guevara described Licenciado Varela as totally inept, while Licenciado Flores and Jusepe del Castillo lacked the correct dispositions to be judges. In conclusion, out of the twelve men on the Audiencia only four, in Beltrán de Guevara's opinion, were really suited to sit on this tribunal and just one, Licenciado Diego de Valdivia, was outstanding in respect to education, intelligence, and moral qualities. No wonder that Mateo Alemán, who had a good knowledge of Sevillian justice, advised bribing the judge and the notary as the best means to obtain a favorable decision in a Sevillian court. (47)

Medical Practitioners

A large segment of Seville's professional class was made up of medical practitioners. Although incomplete documentation makes it impossible to calculate their numbers, my sources indicate that they were more numerous in Seville than in any other city in Spain. (48) The benevolent [82] attitude of the city government undoubtedly attracted medical men to the city. The rapid growth of the city's population caused urban crowding, and the municipality, fearful of the consequences for public health, openly solicited and encouraged qualified medical practitioners to come to Seville. In 1596, for example, when the chief magistrate of Seville, Andrés de Monsalve, who had been commissioned by the city to "survey the universities and other cities to find one or more surgeons," announced at a cabildo meeting that a certain Licenciado Arévalo would be willing to come to Seville and make it his home if the city would finance his move, funds were immediately granted for that purpose. Some four years earlier, the prominent surgeon Dr. Fonseca de Sotomayor had been lured away from Málaga to Seville; one of the principal inducements had been a promise from the city council that he would be allowed to perform an autopsy, but after his arrival the ecclesiastical authorities refused to allow it to take place. (49)

Not only did the city bring medical men to Seville, it also put many of them on the payroll. In the interests of self-protection as well as humanitarianism, the municipality provided some free care for the poor and destitute. Thus the city always employed a sizable and varied group of medical practitioners, ranging from prestigious physicians to primitive folk healers. Typical "town doctors" were Matías de Ayala, a surgeon and bonesetter, who received a yearly salary of 150 ducats in 1597, and Felipe de Tovar, [83] a specialist in urinary problems, whose annual salary in the same year was 100,000 maravedís. Even such an outstanding physician as Dr. Bartolomé Hidalgo de Agüero was on the city payroll; he collected a small salary from the municipality for his services to the sick poor in the Hospital of San Hermenegildo (known popularly as the Hospital del Cardenal). The city also employed a medical man at the city jail and another at the officially sanctioned public brothel to take care of the health of the women there. Although salaries for these positions were low (the prison doctor earned a mere 12,000 maravedís a year), for men like Dr. Hernando Alemán (the novelist's father), who held the latter post from 1557 to 1567, it was a welcome addition to rather meager earnings from private practice. (50)

The position of Seville as the principal center for the receipt and distribution of American imports also created a favorable environment for medical men and studies. All the exotic products of the New World came into the city, including many new medicinal plants. Some Sevillian physicians, most notably Doctors Simón de Tovar and Nicolás de Monardes, studied these American products and wrote treatises on their therapeutic value. In addition, both men maintained botanical gardens where they cultivated and experimented with these new medicinal plants. Monardes, for example, mentions how on one occasion he took several sheets of tobacco grown in his garden and applied them to [84] a sore tooth with the effect, he claimed, of relieving the pain. Monardes and other Sevillian doctors apparently were active in the importation of American drug products. Their partners in this trade were usually pharmacists like Monardes' associate Juan del Valle, who appears as one of the doctor's biggest creditors at the time of his bankruptcy in 1579. (51)

The Sevillian government encouraged medical men, but it also regulated their activities. Municipal decrees against quackery and dishonesty in the practice of medicine and the dispensing of drugs were frequent, and compliance was enforced by the courts. Furthermore, a municipal commission periodically examined and licensed physicians, surgeons, and druggists and inspected apothecary shops. Service on this body was honorary, but apparently so time-consuming that in 1597 Dr. Agustín Gudiel felt obliged to petition the city council to compensate him for the time and money lost from his private practice while a member of the commission. (52)

In plague times doctors were expected to work closely with city authorities. Municipal law required them to remain in the city caring for the afflicted in plague hospitals and private homes. They were paid for their services, but the city's generosity hardly compensated for the dangers involved. During the plague of 1580-1582 the municipal account books show repeated payments to Tomé Sánchez [85] Ronquillo, a surgeon, and Doctors Gómez and León for their work in attending plague victims in the Carretería and Arenal districts of the parish of Santa María. There is also a payment of 50,000 maravedís (dated December 4, 1581) to Dr. Monardes for his services during this contagion. The frequency of epidemic disease in the sixteenth century made the medical profession a hazardous one. Doctors often met premature deaths during these epidemics, as did the uncle of the novelist Mateo Alemán, Licenciado Juan Alemán, who lost his life in the plague of 1568 while attending the sick in the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas. (53) On the other hand, considering the risks they ran, they were extraordinarily immune from the infection.

In addition to their care of the plague-stricken, doctors advised the municipality regarding measures to prevent the spread of disease and to lessen its impact. In 1579, at the first signs of the plague, the Asistente of Seville, Count of Villar, convoked a meeting of the city's medical men to discuss whether an epidemic was imminent and, if so, how to deal with it. Copies of their written opinions were then sent on to the Council of Castile. Some of the collective measures that they advised included cleaning all streets and public places, an embargo on the entrance of goods and persons from plague-infected areas, isolation of the afflicted in specially designated plague hospitals, destruction of the clothing of plague victims, and the burning of aromatic [86] plants in various parts of the city so as to purify the air. Individuals could ward off infection through a combination of special diets, pomanders, and "fumes." Several of those who attended this meeting eventually incorporated their views in treatises on the pestilence, with publication subsidized by the city. (54) A host of medical works were also occasioned by the plague of 1599-1601, with the city again bearing the costs of publication. (55) Moreover, on several occasions during the century one or two prominent medical men were formally commissioned by the city to write such books. This occurred during the epidemic of 1568, when Doctors Andrés Zamudio de Alfaro and Francisco Franco were both asked to prepare treatises about the pestilence of that year. (56)

Regardless of their vital role during plague periods and their importance to society as a whole, doctors had little social prestige and were often the objects of popular criticism. In the sixteenth century the survival of a seriously ill person was more often the result of his own curative powers than the prophylactic measures taken by physicians. The fact that medical men were powerless to prevent death and that many patients died while under their most attentive care laid them open to the charge of quackery and turned [87] the populace against them. Literature attests to the low opinion of contemporaries for the medical profession, for satire against doctors is commonplace in the sixteenth century just as it was in the Middle Ages. Even Mateo Alemán and Cervantes, both offspring of medical men, had harsh words for them, although Cervantes was careful to distinguish between what he called "the 'bad doctors,' the curse of the state (that is, the quacks) and the 'good doctors' who deserve palms and laurels." In Don Quijote he created one of the best caricatures of a sixteenth-century physician -- Dr. Pedro Recio de Agüero, the governor's official doctor on the island of Barataria who, according to Sancho, "gets a salary for killing all the governors who come here." (57)

Popular antipathy toward medical men was, of course, not peculiar to Spain during this period, but existed in most European countries. In Spain, however, this popular image had two sides: quackery and dishonesty on the one hand, anti-Semitism on the other. In the Middle Ages Jews monopolized the medical profession, while in the sixteenth century conversos predominated. For the majority of Spaniards the term "medical practitioner" became synonymous with Jewish descent. (58) The coming together of these two ideas -- Jewish descent and lack of professional integrity -- created the popular concept of the medical man that was held into the eighteenth century. It is therefore not difficult to comprehend the reluctance of the upper classes to enter the field of medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, [88] for to do so would immediately cast suspicion on one's origins.

In addition to projecting a negative image, the medical profession was not very remunerative. The income of most doctors was no more than double that of a master mason. Quite typical was Mateo Alemán's father, who had great difliculties making a living and was frequently in debt. Even some of the most successful physicians, like Bartolomé Hidalgo de Agüero and García Pérez de Morales, lived on modest incomes and never became wealthy in spite of their skill and reputation. Dr. Hidalgo de Agüero held the chair of surgery at the University of Seville and practiced at the Hospital del Cardenal. It was there that he developed a special method for the treatment of wounds called the vía particular as opposed to the commonly used vía común that brought him wide acclaim. No wonder the ruffians of Seville "commended themselves to Dr. Hidalgo de Agüero as well as to God before fighting." Yet despite his fame he never became wealthy; at his death in 1597 he left an insignificant estate -- some property and a small amount of cash -- to his daughter and physician son-in-law, Dr. Francisco Jiménez Guillén. (59) The same was true for Dr. García Pérez de Morales, personal physician to the Count of Ureña and an early occupant of the chair of medicine at the University of Seville, whose total fortune at death amounted to 1,238,527 maravedís (3,302 ducats). This sum included his daughter's dowry, a house in the Calle de la Sierpe which had served as his residence and office, [89] some olive groves, and one-quarter of an oil press in Aznalcázar. (60)

Only one Sevillian physician really achieved both fame and wealth -- Dr. Nicolás de Monardes, who at his death in 1588 left a fortune of over 30,000 ducats. (61) Monardes was a capable doctor, but he was also a skillful businessman, a quality that enabled him to obtain larger rewards from his profession than did many others. His talents in this respect came naturally, for he was of Genoese origin, the son of a Ligurian bookseller who had settled in Seville at the end of the fifteenth century and had married the daughter of a local converso surgeon, Bachiller Martín de Alfaro. Their son Nicolás studied at the University of Alcalá de Henares and after receiving his baccalaureate there, transferred to the University of Seville for his licentiate and doctorate degrees in medicine. He began his professional career in Seville as an assistant to Dr. García Pérez de Morales and married the doctor's daughter. At his father-in-law's death, Monardes inherited his practice and then built up a profitable one of his own, which included aristocrats like the Duchess of Béjar and the Duke of Alcalá; ecciesiastics (the Archbishop of Seville, Cristóbal de Rojas y Sandoval, and the Cathedral chapter); and municipal oflicials (the Asistente of Seville, Count of Barajas, and members of the city council). There is no way to estimate his income from private practice, but it must have been substantial. On one [90] occasion, for example, the Duchess of Béjar gave him 600 ducats for his services.

Besides his private practice Monardes received money for his services to the city, as during the plague of 1580-1582. In addition, he frequently "sponsored" candidates for medical degrees at the university; it was customary on such occasions to reward sponsors (padrinos) with gifts, usually cash. Finally, the doctor made money from his writings, especially those dealing with the prophylactic uses of the recently introduced American medicinal plants. Popular interest in these new drug products was high, and Monardes took advantage of it by writing several books on American pharmacopoeia. These works enjoyed wide circulation both in Spain and abroad, and through them Dr. Monardes' name became known outside of his country.

Although it is clear that Monardes made an excellent living from his profession, the bulk of his fortune was drawn from his varied business dealings. He speculated in real estate both in the city and surrounding countryside, bought and sold juros, and invested in the transatlantic trade. In 1554 he formed a commercial partnership for the trade of merchandise and slaves between Seville and the New World with a merchant named Juan Núñez de Herrera, who soon after took up residence in Panama. After his partner's death in 1563, Monardes associated himself with his son-in-law Rodrigo de Brizuela in a new company specializing in slaves (in 1564 alone they sent slaves to Vera Cruz), cochineal, and hides. A series of economic reverses, however, ruined the enterprise, and in 1567 they went bankrupt. In March 1568, Monardes, fleeing from his creditors, took sanctuary in the monastery of Regina [91] Celi, but he did not remain there for very long. Timely bullion shipments from America enabled him to settle with his creditors and leave his sanctuary. W/ithin a few years he completely recovered from his bankruptcy and at his death in 1588 was generally regarded as a famous doctor and wealthy trader.

Physicians like Dr. Monardes represented the elite among medical men; they held university degrees and practiced mainly among the wealthier classes. Although they had to be knowledgeable about all kinds of diseases, as scholars and theoreticians, they did not work with their hands as did surgeons. The latter were trained by apprenticeship and by hospital instruction and rarely held degrees. Surgeons dealt with structural emergencies, superficial growths, and skin diseases, but since their work was peripheral to the art of medicine (even though it was required on all social levels), their status was inferior to that of physicians. Specialization was frequent among surgeons; some like Maese Francisco Díaz, who offered his services to the city in 1589, were specialists in removing cataracts; others in treating fractures and dislocations (Marco Antonio Parga, for example, whose work for the city brought him an annual salary of 24 ducats at the end of the century). (62) Although most surgeons did routine bleeding, some actually specialized in phlebotomy. After 1507 the phlebotomists had their own guild and were examined and licensed by the city to practice their trade. In addition, some of them were dentists and herbalists on the side. A good example of a man who practiced all three professions of phlebotomist, dentist, and [92] herbalist was Juan de Peralta, a resident of the district of Santa María in 1541. (63)

Besides the regular practitioners of medicine in Seville there was no scarcity of irregular ones -- quacks, charlatans, and folk healers -- who claimed to be able to cure all kinds of infirmities. They had at their disposal various exotic ingredients of supposed medicinal virtue like bezoar, dissolved pearl, potable gold, or the philosopher's stone. Some of these impostors were audacious enough to seek the protection of the municipality, Juan de Herbio, for example, who, after exalting the curative powers of the philosopher's stone in a petition to the city council, asked them to allow him to practice with it and to put him on the payroll. (64) Among the most unusual of the folk healers were the saludadores, or those who cured with "Divine Grace" (gratis data), for which Seville and its district were famous. It was generally believed that certain persons (male and female) were endowed with special God-given powers to cure various illnesses, especially rabies. Treatment consisted of giving the afflicted party small pieces of bread that had been moistened in the mouth of the saludador; the curative powers were presumably in the saliva. Another method, used mainly in cases of gout, was for the saludador to spit in the face of the patient.(65)

[93] Despite their picturesque behavior, folk healers and other irregular practitioners operated freely in the city and reaped a rich harvest among the gullible. Nor did they ply their trade only among the poor and ignorant. Since medical men could do little in some cases, even the wealthier and better educated might turn to them in desperation. The saludadores received a sympathetic hearing from the city government which, it seems, on occasion paid them a salary for "treating persons afflicted with rabies in this city and its district." (66) Furthermore, friction between regular medical men and these irregular practitioners was rare. Physicians and surgeons might call their irregular colleagues impostors and charlatans, but never disputed their existence. Even the municipal licensing system was not devised to exclude them, but rather to label the qualified practitioners. This was a tolerance born of reality, for in the sixteenth century even among the best physicians fortune often prevailed more than skill.


Notaries occupied the lowest stratum of the Sevillian professional class, but their position in the social scale contrasted sharply with their important role in the community. The legalistic sense of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century called for the notarization of all important acts in both private and public life. This whole mass of documentation, from marriage contracts and powers of attorney to official ordinances and petitions, was drawn up by notaries who were experts in legal formulas and terminology. Their training was strictly vocational. It involved the completion [94] of a grammar-school education and a relatively short period of apprenticeship after which application was made to the royal court for a notary's title: escribano de su Majestad (His Majesty's Notary). This title, however, did not bring the right to open an office. Appointments were made on the basis of royal patronage, and the number of offices in the municipalities was fixed by law. In reality, municipal authorities had large powers over these appointments and generally positions were freely bought and sold with royal approval coming after purchase. Since positions had to be purchased and prices were high, most beginners worked in the office of an established notary until they had secured enough money and connections to obtain an office of their own. Notarial offices therefore tended to be large; in addition to the chief notary there were usually two or three others and several apprentices. Quarters were rented rather than owned and had to be spacious enough to accommodate a substantial working group. In 1525, for example, two notaries, Rodrigo Sánchez de Porras and Miguel Díaz, with their respective staffs, rented a whole row of stores in the Plaza de San Francisco and converted them into offices. (67)

In Seville there were twenty-four public notaries (escribanos de número) with offices scattered throughout the city, but most of the prominent men (those with the largest following) were located either in Gradas (the business area near the Cathedral) or on the Plaza de San Francisco in the proximity of the city hall. (68) Their principal duties consisted [95] of drawing up and notarizing public contracts, but since Spanish trials and investigations were mostly written affairs, a considerable amount of time was spent preparing trial transcripts. Some notaries specialized in commercial documents, which in a port like Seville was an important and lucrative business. A successful notary could command a large mercantile clientele that regularly frequented his office.

There is considerable evidence to indicate that the Sevillian merchants had favorite notaries whom they selected on the basis of family and business connections. A survey of the leading Sevillian public notaries during the sixteenth century shows that a majority were related in one way or another -- through blood, marriage, or close business ties -- to the outstanding trading families of the city. This includes such successful notaries as Pedro Fernández, Manuel Segura, Antón Ruiz de Porras, Alonso de Cazalla, and Alonso de la Barrera. A perfect illustration is Alonso de Cazalla, who came from a large and well-placed converso business family that included wealthy merchants and municipal councilmen. The Cazallas were also bound through marriage to other converso trading families: the Ruiz (Councilman Antón Ruiz), the Virués (Beatriz de Virués was the wife of Gaspar de Cazalla), and the Dávilas (Rodrigo Dávila, cousin and partner of Gaspar de Cazalla in Panama). (69) With such family connections, it is not surprising that Alonso de Cazalla was one of the most popular notaries of his period, the mid-century.

[96] Like other professionals, the notaries originated in the merchant and artisan classes; there were also quite a few from families (generally converso) in which the office was traditional, passing from generation to generation. Three generations of the Segura family occupied the same office: Bartolomé Segura (1488-1492), Francisco Segura (c. 1500), and Manuel Segura (1506-1534). The same was true for the Farfáns: Pedro Farfán (1525-1544), his father Martín Rodríguez Farfán (c. 1506), and his grandfather Martín Rodríguez (c. 1467). In addition, one of Pedro's sons, Martín Rodríguez de Alfaro, was trained as a notary and had he not died young would have continued the line. Of the two remaining sons of Pedro and his wife Ana, Alonso went into the church and held a dignity (Archdeacon of Reina) in the Seville Cathedral and Pedro obtained a doctorate in law and served as a judge in the Audiencia of Mexico. (70)

In general notaries were considered good marriage partners because of the possibilities for enrichment inherent in the office. Pedro Farfán's wife Ana de Alfaro was the daughter of a wealthy and prominent Sevillian printer, Juan Varela de Salamanca, and she brought him a dowry of 400,000 maravedís. Even better opportunities were open to the daughters of successful notaries. Farfán's daughter Isabel de Sandoval married the famous Sevillian banker Domingo de Lizarrazas, while Diego de Porras, the chief notary of the Casa de Contratación, married his daughter to [97] Juan López de Arechuleta, a ship captain and trader who had become wealthy in the transatlantic trade. (71) It is significant that both men were nonnatives (Basques) and relative newcomers to Seville; they probably were not aware of the converso background of these families.

Besides the duties regularly connected with their office, notaries also performed tasks that were similar to those carried out by the procuradores. They collected debts and salaries and administered the estates of absentee persons, widows, and minors.(72) Some notaries devoted themselves entirely to government work, serving as clerks and secretaries in the courts, Casa de Contratación, Inquisition, and the various branches of the municipal government. A large number of such positions were available in Seville, but they were both expensive to purchase and competitive. The office of chief notary of the Casa was worth 150,000 maravedís and that of clerk of the city council even more; there were two of them and each had an assistant. Some of the most responsible posts were with the courts -- most notably escribanos de la justicia (clerks of the investigating judges), who took all testimony in writing before presentation to the judges. In Seville there were seven such notaries for criminal cases and four for civil suits, all of whom had their offices in the Plaza de San Francisco. Not only were these positions costly (they were worth some 187,500 maravedís each at the end of the century), but the men who held them had great influence over the outcome of legal cases. [98] Mateo Alemán put it as follows: "For the quill of their pen is more dangerous against whom it is bent, than a brass cannon with all its batteries." (73) Moreover, the court clerks had a reputation for dishonesty and there were few, it seems, who did not take bribes. An anonymous memorial on misgovernment in Seville dating from the last years of the century described them as a "special kind of highway robber who when they took testimony wrote down whatever they wanted (depending on the size of the gift) and in this way perverted justice." (74) Nor were only the court clerks under attack; notaries in general were not held in high esteem. Contemporary opinion held that they customarily "delayed litigation, failed to advise the parties involved, charged excessive prices for their services, made it their business to pry into other people's lives in order to entangle them in the web of the law and plotted with the judges on the principal of 'you scratch me and I'll scratch you.'" (75) In view of all the possibilities for graft and corruption in this profession, no wonder it was such a popular calling.

In addition to their professional duties, notaries, like other professionals, were involved in all kinds of business ventures. Such activities were absolutely necessary, for most professionals were caught in the squeeze between their [99] modest salaries and the need to maintain a standard of living commensurate with their rank in society. Only income derived from sources outside their profession could bridge this gap, and in Seville this meant first and foremost investment in the transatlantic trade. In the last analysis, professionals occupied a fluctuating and insecure status in the social hierarchy -- those at the top close to the nobility, those at the bottom near artisan level -- and most of them had to work hard just to maintain themselves.

Notes for Chapter 2, Section 2

1. Parts of this chapter appeared in the Business History Review, XXXIX (1965), 439-465, and the Kentucky Romance Quarterly, XIV (1967), 349-365, and are reprinted by permission of the publishers.

2. Licentiate Alvarez de Córdoba was the grandson of the choirmaster Juan Rodríguez de Baeza. Information about both men and the other members of the Cathedral chapter has been drawn from documentation preserved in the Cathedral Archives and published by Joaquín Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, 1444-1509 (Seville, 1909), and Vázquez de Leca, 1573-1649 (Seville, 1918).

3. J. Caro Baroja, Los Judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea (Madrid, 1962), II, 213-214.

4. Domínguez Ortiz, "Los conversos," p. 284.

5. Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, p. 327. The family was originally from Montilla (Cordova), and Baeza's father, Fernando de Baeza, had served as secretary to the "Great Captain" Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba.

6. For information about the converso origin of Cardinal Manrique, see Lea, History of the Inquisition, 1, 295, and of Archbishop Deza, Giménez Fernández, Bartolomé de las Casas, II, 948.

7. Francisco Pacheco, "Catálogo de los Arçobispos de Sevilla y primado de las Españas," BNM, MS. 5736 = Q-38, folios 28v-29; see Hazañas y La Rua, Vázquez de Leca, p. 469; Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, pp. 307-309.

8. The name Pichardo is unusual; it was probably a purposeful distortion of Pinchón (pigeon), one of the typical converso names mentioned by Márquez Villanueva, Juan Alvarez Gato, p. 47.

9. These ordinances are listed in Armando Cotarelo y Valledor, Fray Diego de Deza (Madrid, 1922), pp. 200-202.

10. Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, pp. 493-499 for Canon Luis Fernández de Soria, ibid., pp. 245-246; APS, López (X), 17 March 1520, Registro, Indias, 22.

11. For Dr. Egidio, see Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, pp. 370-387; for Constantino de la Fuente, ibid., pp. 387-438. See also M. Menéndez Pelayo, Historia de los heterodoxos españoles, 2d ed. (Madrid, 1928), V, 75-116; E. Schäfer, Beiträge zur Geschichte des spanischen Protestantismus und der Inquisition im sechzehnten Jahrhundert (Gutersloh, 1902), I, 345-367, II, 271-426; P. Hauben, "Reform and Counter-Reform: The Case of the Spanish Heretics," in T. Rabb and J. Siegel, Action and Conviction in Early Modern Europe (Princeton 1969), pp. 154-168.

12. AHN, Ordenes militares, Pruebas de Santiago, nos. 5076, 1357. Some excerpts from these inquiries have been published by Rodríguez Marín, Datos, pp. 407-408. See also CPI, II, no. 5600; III, 2965; and James Lockhart, Spanish Peru, 1532-1560 (Madison, Wis., 1968), p. 42.

13. University of Seville matriculation records for the years 1570, 1580, 1590, and 1610 (courtesy of Professor Richard L. Kagan). For more information on the College of Maese Rodrigo, see Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo; Morgado, Historia, pp. 138-139; and Antonio Martín Villa, Reseña histórica de la Universidad de Sevilla (Seville, 1886), pp. 11-17.

14. 64 BNM, MS. 732=D-42, "Relación particular de la santa iglesia y Arçobispado de Sevilla y oficiales del Arçobispo della," fol. 238.

15. For more on the Negróns and Pinelos, see Pike, Enterprise and Adventure, pp. 3-5, 10.

16. AMS, Libro de Propios, siglo XVI, tomo 2, años 1597 a 1599. In contrast to many other Spanish cities, Seville did not have any special shop where those exempt from municipal taxes (nobles, clergy, and holders of university degrees) could buy meat free of purchase tax (sisa). Therefore a system was devised whereby a tax refund (one-half a maravedí [una blanca] per pound purchase) was returned upon petition to the city council by the interested party.

17. AGS, Expedientes de hacienda, leg. 170; BNM, MS. 732=D-42, folios 238-240.

18. AMS Libro de Propios, años 1597 a 1599; AGS, Expedientes de hacienda, leg. 170.

19. APS, Pérez (XXI), 21 July 1554; Libro III, as quoted in Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), p. 18.

20. In the Archivo Histórico Nacional (Madrid), section "Clero secular y regular" there are only three legajos (nos. 6676, 6677, and 6678) for Seville. They are an incomplete collection (mainly eighteenth-century) of scattered papers -- donations to religious communities and legal transcripts over disputed monastic property. There are also several documents relating to monasteries in Ecija, Marchena, and Osuna.

21. These figures come from Montoto de Sedas, Sevilla, pp. 86-87, but his source is not stated. For the number of religious communities in 1579, see BNM, MS. 732=D-42, fol. 241.

22. O. Steggink, "Beaterios y monasterios carmelitas españoles en los siglos XV y XVI," Carmelus, 11(1963), 175; Domínguez Ortiz, La sociedad española, II (Madrid, 1970), 113.

23. Montoto de Sedas, Sevilla, p. 85; J. Hazañas y Rua, Historia de Sevilla (Seville, 1933), p. 85.

24. Caro, Antigüedades, p. 62v. For Santa María de las Cuevas, see J. Münzer, "Relación de viaje," in Viajes de Extranjeros for España y Portugal, ed. J. García Mercadal, II (Madrid, 1952), 374; Montoto de Sedas, Sevilla, p. 87.

25. For San Hermenegildo see Villa, Universidad de Sevilla, p. 22; A. Astrain, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la Asistencia de España, V (Madrid, 1916), 40-47; Cervantes Saavedra, El coloquio de los perros, pp. 238, 242. For Santo Tomás de Aquino, see Diego Ignacio de Góngora, Historia del Colegio mayor de Santo Tomás (Seville, 1890), 2 vols.; Morgado, Historia, p. 400.

26. Diego Ortiz de Züñiga, Anales eclesiásticos y seculares de la muy noble y leal ciudad de Sevilla, metrópoli de la Andalucía (Madrid, 1796), III, 419.

27. Pacheco, Verdaderos retratos, pp. 10-11v. Luis was a son of Melchor del Alcuizar.

28. BM, MS. Add. 21.447, "Relación de las personas que salieron al auto de fe que se celebró en la placa de San Francisco en esta muy insigne ciudad de Sevilla domingo veinte e quatro días del mes de setiembre de 1559 años," fol. 93; Menéndez Pelayo, Heterodoxos españoles, V, 105-108; M. Méndez Bejarano, Diccionario de escritores maestros y oradores naturales de Sevilla y su actual provincia (Seville, 1922), I, 213.

29. Gestoso, III, 50. For the regular clergy from artisan and converso families, see the entries copied by Muñoz from "Libro de Profesiones del Convento de San Pablo, orden Predicadores de Sevilla desde 1503 a 1545," in RAHM, Colección Juan Bautista Muñoz, MS. 4859, tomo 74, fol. 72.

30. Steggink, "Monasterios carmelitas," p. 175.

31. Hazañas y La Rua, Maese Rodrigo, pp. 479-482. See also AHN, Clero, leg. 6676, 6677, 6678.

32. BM, MS. Add. 28.358, "Los cargos que resultan de la residencia que se tomó por mandado del Rrmo señor don Rodrigo de Castro Arçobispo de Sevilla... contra don Alonso Faxardo de Villalobos Obispo de Esquilache Arcediano y Canónigo de Sevilla," folios 133-134.

33. Ibid., fol. 133v.

34. F. Rodríguez Marín, Cervantes estudió en Sevilla (1564-1565) (Seville, 1905), p. 17.

35. AGS, Expedientes de hacienda, leg. 170.

36. Rodríguez Marín, Datos, p. 4; Cervantes Saavedra, El coloquio de los perros, p. 284; F. Rodríguez Marín, Estudios Cervantinos (Madrid, 1947), p. 57.

37. Morgado, Historia, pp. 181-182; Ortiz de Zúñiga, Anales, III, 395-396, 419.

38. AMS, Archivo de Privilegios, Reales Provisiones, carpeta 24, no. 147; BM, MS. Add. 28.349, "Carta del Cabildo de Sevilla al Presidente del Consejo de Castilla sobre los relatores de la Audiencia Real de los Grados," 24 Oct. 1565; Ibid., Add. 28.335, "Carta del licenciado Beltrán de Guevara, regente de Sevilla a Mateo Vázquez con la relación de lo que toca a aquella Audiencia," 20 June 1589.

39. AMS, Archivo de Privilegios, Tumbo, carpeta 8, no. 131; Morgado, Historia, p. 189; Caro, Antigüedades, pp. 55v-62v.

40. Rodríguez Marín, Datos, pp. 265-266. Licenciado Someño de Porras was a son-in-law of the Sevillian physician Dr. Nicolás de Monardes.

41. Méndez Bejarano, Diccionario, II, 132-135; see also Pacheco, Verdaderos retratos.

42. Rodríguez de San Juan, APS, Palma (XX), 22 Sept. 1570, Libro II, fol. 138. For the rest of the family, see ibid., Pérez (II), 9 June 1555, Libro I, fol, parte 2a. At one time Mosquera de Figueroa was engaged to his cousin María de Azevedo, daughter of Rodríguez de San Juan, but they apparently did not marry.

43. Excerpts from the inquiry have been published by Rodríguez Marín, Datos, pp. 93-95.

44. Baena, APS, Cazalla (XV), 1 July 1538, Libro II, fol 55; Molina, ibid., Franco (XV), 9 Jan. 1551, Libro I, fol. 854. For García Tortolero, ibid., Cívico (VIII), 3 Sept. 1580, Libro III, fol. 492; in a criminal case, L. Porras (XXIV), 20 March 1574, Libro I, fol. 1190.

45. Baena, ibid., Cazalla (XV), 8 Nov. 1549, Libro II, fol. 1088; Aguilar, 26 June 1551, Libro I, fol. 759.

46. Fajardo, "Fiel desengaño contra la ociosidad," p. 591v, as quoted in Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), p. 49. For further information on the corruption of justice in Seville, see BNM, MS. 3207, "Advertencias para su gobierno (Sevilla)," folios 545-556, undated.

47. BM, MS Add 28.335, folios 150-154, Aleman, Guzmán de Alfarache, p. 447.

48. The vecindario of 1561, for example, contains only five names with the designation médico (doctor) or cirujano (surgeon), but several Sevillian physicians appear as vecinos in the various parishes.

49. AMS, Sección Tercera, Escribanías del cabildo, Siglo XVI, tomo 1, no. 76; ibid., Actas Capitulares, cabildo de 6 de marzo de 1593. See also Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), p. 27.

50. Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconere y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), p. 27; AMS, Libros de Propios, año 1597, 12 June; ibid., año 1600, 25 Sept.; AMS, Papeles Importantes, siglo XVI, tomo 9, no. 32; ibid., Varios Antiguos, Médicos, no. 144. The life and tribulations of Mateo Alemán's father are discussed in F. Rodríguez Marín, Discursos leídos ante la Real Academia Española (Seville, 1907).

51. Francisco Guerra, Nicolás Bautista Monardes, su vida y su obra (Mexico City, 1961), p. 82. Regarding Tovar, see Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), pp. 25-26; Guerra, Monardes, pp. 16, 21.

52. AMS, Escribanías del cabildo, siglo XVI, nos. 78, 79.

53. Ibid., Libro de Propios, año 1581, 4 Dec.; for Ronquillo and Drs. Gómez and León, see ibid., Autógrafos de hijos ilustres de la ciudad, carpeta 3. These three documents have been published by Rodríguez Marín, Datos, pp. 261-262. See also AMS, Escribanías del cabildo, siglo XVI, tomo 11, no. 71.

54. AMS, Papeles Importantes, siglo XVI, tomos 5, 6; ibid., Escribanías del cabildo, tomo 7, no 14; J. Velázquez y Sánchez, Anales epidémicos (Seville, 1866), p. 71; BNM, MS. 9372 = Cc-42.

55. AMS, Escribanías del cabildo, siglo XVI, tomo 7, no. 17, contains many documents dealing with the plague of 1599-1601.

56. Velázquez y Sánchez, Anales, p. 7'; Matute y Gaviria, Noticias, p. 66. Dr. Zamudio de Alfaro's work was entitled Tratado de Peste (Seville, 1569) and that of Dr. Franco, Libro de las enfermedades contagiosas (Seville, 1569).

57. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. Martín de Riquer (New York, 1966), 887, 913.

58. Domínguez Ortiz, "Los conversos," p. 369.

59. Méndez Bejarano, Diccionario, I, 320-321; Rodríguez Marín, Datos, p. 495.

60. J. Hazañas y La Rua, La imprenta en Sevilla, II (Seville, 1949), 91; Rodríguez Marín, Datos, p. 243; Méndez Bejarano, Diccionario, II, 220.

61. Information on Dr. Monardes has been drawn from Guerra, Monardes.

62. AMS, Libro de Propios, año 1602, 21 Aug.; ibid., Escribanías del cabildo, siglo XVI, tomo 5, no. 35.

63. J. Gestoso y Pérez, Curiosidades antiguas sevillanas, serie Segunda (Seville, 1910), pp. 136-137.

64. Cervantes Saavedra, Rinconete y Cortadillo (1905 ed.), p. 28.

65. Alonso Sánchez Gordillo, "Memorial de las Grandezas ecclesiásticas de la ciudad de Sevilla y catálogo de sus ilustrísimos arzobispos, año 1632," RAHM, Colección Salazar, MS. R-2; Sebastián de Covarrubias, Tesoro de la Lengua Castel1ana o Española, ed. Martín de Riquer (Barcelona, 1943), p. 923. See also Gestoso y Pérez, Curiosidades, p. 133.

66. Gestoso y Pérez, Curiosidades, p. 134.

67. Morgado, Historia, p. 188; Antonio Xavier Pérez y López, Teatro de la legislación universal de España e indias, Xl (Madrid, 1796), 161-170; APS, A.R. Porras (III), 23 Oct. 1525, Libro II, fol. 6.

68. Morgado, Historia, pp. 188-189.

69. Isabel de Cazalla was the wife of Councilman Ruiz, APS, Cazalla (XV), 11 Nov. 1551, Libro II, fol. 1940; for the Virués and Cazallas, see ibid., 13 Nov., fol. 1938; Dávilas, fol. 1961; in slave trade (including Alonso de Cazalla), 9 Nov., fol. 1921.

70. For the Farfáns, see Hazañas y La Rua, La imprenta, II, 136-137; Rodríguez Marín, Maese Rodrigo, p. 463; for Seguras, Hazañas y La Rua, La imprenta, I, 7; APS, F. R. Porras (III), 30 Oct. 1520, fol. Registro de Indias.

71. Hazañas y La Rua, La imprenta, II, 138-139; APS, Segura (IV), 5 Nov. 1518, Libro V, fol. 447.

72. APS, J. Cuadra (I), 20 Oct. 1517, Libro II, fol. 455; ibid., Castellanos (V), 8 Aug. 1525, Libro III, fol. 211.

73. BNM, MS. 18225; Morgado, Historia, pp. 188-189. For chief notary of the Casa de Contratación, APS, M. Segura (IV), 5 Nov. 1518, Libro V, fol. 447. Mateo Alemán, Guzmán de Alfarache, p. 308.

74. BNM, MS. 3207, fol. 545.

75. Cervantes Saavedra, El coloquio de los perros, p. 269. Similar complaints can be found in the MS. mentioned in the preceding note.