What is the matter with empire? Or rather, what is it made of? This question drives Bentancor’s philosophical exploration of scholastic thought and applied science in the colonial Andes, focused on the silver mines of Potosí. In five dense chapters, Bentancor spans a long century to link the writings of Francisco de Vitoria, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (and his nemesis, Bartolomé de Las Casas), José de Acosta, a small group of writers that he labels “the circle of Toledo” (a reference to the Peruvian Viceroy Francisco de Toledo who formalized the Potosí mita labor draft and introduced mercury amalgamation), and Juan de Solórzano Pereira. Adding select metallurgical treatises to their works, including the world-famous Arte de los Metales (Madrid, 1640) by Álvaro Alonso Barba, Bentancor argues that understanding Spanish scholasticism as developed by the School of Salamanca and its heirs is central to understanding the mining and refining of precious...
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November 01 2017
The Matter of Empire: Metaphysics and Mining in Colonial Peru
The Matter of Empire: Metaphysics and Mining in Colonial Peru. By
University of Pittsburgh Press,
Online Issn: 1530-9169
Print Issn: 0022-1953
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2017) 48 (3): 428–431.
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Kris Lane; The Matter of Empire: Metaphysics and Mining in Colonial Peru. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2017; 48 (3): 428–431. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_01188
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