Producing Patriarchy: Male Sodomy and Gender in Early Modern Spain

Cristian Berco
Journal of the History of Sexuality, Volume 17, Number 3, September 2008, pp. 351-376 (Article)
Published by University of Texas Press DOI: 10.1353/sex.0.0028

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Producing Patriarchy: Male Sodomy and Gender in Early Modern Spain
CRISTIAN BERCO Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Canada


R E C E N T S H I F T I N T H E H I S T O R Y of homosexuality from an essentialist-constructionist debate that sought to find the historical origins of a gay identity into a field dominated by queer studies—an amalgam of theoretical positions that tend to stress the importance of difference as a tool for understanding and even challenging heteronormativity—means that the relationship between this sexual minority position and wider society and power structures has become more central and relevant. Indeed, the history of homosexuality has become in many ways the history of nonnormative sexuality more generally, a scholarly project that is intended ultimately to reveal and to challenge the oppressive forces of what has been called heteronormativity and patriarchy. Generally speaking, historical studies of homosexuality—regardless of their theoretical underpinning—tend to place a positive value on this minority itself while castigating the forces of oppression embedded in the state, religion, and/or the heterosexual family.1 I take no issue with the notion that patriarchy and heteronormativity have produced unbearable pain and suffering to women and sexual minorities throughout history and have been instrumental in guaranteeing or at

Owing much to Michel Foucault’s groundbreaking work (The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley [1976; New York: Pantheon Books, 1978]), literary critics and cultural historians moved from the study of how homosexuality has been constructed in various historical contexts into a rigorous analysis of sexuality in terms of the tension between normativity and difference. Seminal works that established queer theory on the map and expanded theoretical horizons into quite diffuse positions include Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1993); Jonathan Dollimore, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991); and Teresa de Lauretis, “Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Critical Studies 3, no. 2 (1991): 3–18. Useful surveys of the field include Annamarie Jagose, Queer Theory: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 1996); Donald E. Hall, Queer Theories (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); and Nikki Sullivan, A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory (New York: New York University Press, 2003).
Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 17, No. 3, September 2008 © 2008 by the University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin, TX 78713-7819



while not definitive.352 CRISTIAN BERCO least stabilizing the social hierarchy. Sherry Velasco. it seems clear that. challenges the norms upon which various forms of oppression rest? In other words. Lesbian Desire. 3 Although the Spanish monarchs ruled over Portugal between 1580 and 1640. as such. 1996). and Catalina de Erauso (Austin: University of Texas Press. The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. they have not been included in this study. 2000). Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. partly because of the relative dearth of female sodomy cases from the same period and also because examples of lesbian sexuality raise complex questions about early modern perceptions of gender identity and its reversal as well as about the invisibility of lesbian desire at that time. 1. social. while important in analyzing the relationship between patriarchy and homosexual behavior. and racial inequality generation after generation. Early modern Spain. Lisa Vollendorf. with bureaucracies and legal statutes specifically designed for a colonial context. Butterflies Will Burn: Prosecuting Sodomites in Early Modern Spain and Mexico (Austin: University of Texas Press. The matter of female homoeroticism. 52–57. Tenn. these questions point to the wider theoretical concerns about how we understand and do the history of sexuality. producing each other in a system of individual and collective reinforcement. rather than being oppositional forces. The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism. 2003). which included the jointly ruled but still separate kingdoms of Aragon and Castile.2 THE SPANISH CONTEXT A case study from Spanish sources. Based on an examination of male sodomy in an early modern Spanish context. patriarchal culture and sodomy were inextricably linked. 2002). does it produce necessarily the difference that. Rather. what is the relationship between historical patterns of male homosexual behavior and the longstanding traditions of patriarchy? By focusing on this interaction between sexuality and social order. according to recent theorists. this article explores and questions the unwritten assumption that sexual minority status necessarily challenges the patriarchal order. Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain (Nashville. is same-sex erotic behavior a site of difference that is always ultimately problematic to the gender structures of the social order? If not. sexual.3 It was a patriarchal society with strong This argument only applies to male sodomy cases—the focus of this article—and is not intended to include cases of female homoeroticism. it remained a separate kingdom with specific administrative structures and laws and cannot be considered part of Spain. chap. 2 . 2005). falls outside the scope of this article. Men who engage in homosexual activity are at once partakers of patriarchal privilege as men and also victims of the system of patriarchal oppression as members of a “deviant” sexual group. thereby reproducing or attempting to reproduce gender.: Vanderbilt University Press. is male homosexual behavior inevitably queer? That is. can provide fresh insights into the ways in which same-sex eroticism has interplayed and connected with social structures at large. Valerie Traub. the Spanish colonies in the Americas were also legally separate from the mainland kingdoms. and Federico Garza Carbajal. fits the bill nicely for such a case study. Likewise. economic. For this reason. For more on these issues see Bernadette Brooten.

Halperin. and Craig Williams. .. Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Moslem Societies (New York: Haworth Press. Spanish women. “The ‘Nefarious Sin’ in Early Modern Seville. U.Y. and Warren Johansson and William A.: Yale University Press.” in Handbook of Medieval Sexuality. Percy. socially. Vt. “Constructing Convents in Sixteenth-Century Castile: Toledan Widows and Patterns of Patronage. 59–65. For Renaissance Italy see Michael Rocke. 1450–1650 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Related Lives: Confessors and Their Female Penitents. eds. Greek Homosexuality. patriarchal structures were still crucial to the organization of the Spanish family and society as a whole. Poska. 2000). a Mediterranean system of sexuality that witnessed widespread homosexual activity between males. 1989). ed. 2004). 5 Recent contributions that focus on the possibilities available to Spanish women include Helen Nader. Saslow. Sexual Hierarchies. 1980).” in Reclaiming Sodom.” in The Pursuit of Sodomy: Male Homosexuality in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. “Arab Civilization and Male Love.” in Widowhood and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe. Kent Gerard and Gert Hekma (New York: Harrington Park Press. too. 177–95. ed. 2007). thus refining our understanding of its place in Iberian culture and society. “Homosexuality. The importance of meeting gendered expectations of behavior probably increased as the 4 Mediterranean societies have long exhibited patterns of homoeroticism among males often based on age and power differentials. 155–90. Cambridge. Social Tolerance. Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (New York: Oxford University Press. and Allyson M.. and Marc Daniel. We are now much more aware. ed. Brundage (1996.Producing Patriarchy 353 gender expectations that served as the basis for socioeconomic and corporate hierarchies in the context of a heterogeneous population. Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (New York: Oxford University Press. 2003). For the classical world see Kenneth Dover.and seventeenth-century Spain to examine. and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Christianity. 1986). David M. 1450–1750 (Ithaca. especially those women hailing from the upper classes.: Cornell University Press. New York: Garland. Stephanie Fink DeBacker. and James M. 2005). (1978. Sodomy.: Harvard University Press. 2005). and Society in Spain’s Golden Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. seem to have enjoyed a wider margin of action and greater relative freedoms than previously believed. of the possibilities women enjoyed—economically. Moreover. For early modern Spain see Cristian Berco. Mass.: Ashgate. 1989). For the Middle Ages see John Boswell. ed. rev. A thoughtful scholarly reassessment of early modern Spanish patriarchy has been under way for a few years now. Elizabeth Lehfeldt. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality (London: Routledge. For the Islamic world see Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer. 1999). 1996). Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity (New York: Oxford University Press. 1991). Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in Art and Society (New Haven. ed. Bullough and James A. finally. 1994). Jonathan Goldberg (London: Routledge.: Ashgate. even politically—even within the patriarchal order. Conn. 67–90. Alison Levy (Burlington. N. Public Status: Men. and they affected not only women but men.K. 1989). Vern L.5 Nonetheless. ed. and only representative studies can be mentioned. and Mary Elizabeth Perry. The literature on this area is vast. an abundance of sodomy cases that survive from sixteenth. 2005).4 There is. Jodi Bilinkoff. thanks to equally partible inheritance and their legal ability to enter into contracts or bring cases to court. for example. Religious Women in Golden Age Spain: The Permeable Cloister (Aldershot. Power and Gender in Renaissance Spain: Eight Women of the Mendoza Family.

and economic status. Madrid (hereafter BNE).. Thus.8 Likewise. o hecho el copete. for it befitted “frivolous women more than honest and shameful young men.”9 Spanish patriarchal notions were deeply embedded into the fabric of daily life. and Widowers. . Garza Carbajal (Butterflies Will Burn. corporate privileges. married. 101r. and Stephen Haliczer. chap. Like other early modern European societies. R-1789. This was a time not only when the post-Tridentine Catholic Church and the state sought increasingly to police and control wayward women but also when notions of femininity and masculinity seemed more stringently applied or at least more urgently invoked by educators and polemicists. 1531). and obedience. The Education of a Christian Woman. Instrucción y guía de la juventud Christiana [Burgos: Casa de Philippe de Iunta. society. 9 “El cabello no se trayga muy crecido y sin peynar. 1592]. Gaspar Astete. Culture and Control in Counter-Reformation Spain (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. R-25926. argued that young men should desist from wearing feminine perfumes. 8 Francisco de Osuna. the warning to boys who engaged in emasculating behavior. Cruz. Norte de los Estados en que se da regla de bivir a los mancebos y a los casados y a los biudos (Seville: Bartolomé Perez. scholars have made good use of them in their assessment of Spanish masculinity. For a more detailed analysis of idealized male aristocratic behavior see Mar Martínez-Góngora. ed. yet they were also essential to the organization of the family. 28–47. Married Men. 7 Juan Luis Vives. quien dirá que no es mas de mugerzillas livianas. Though conduct manuals for men are not as widely available in modern editions as those for women. probably remains the most widely read and best-known conduct manual for women at the time. and trans. porque es grossería y poca limpieza y floxedad. according to the Jesuit educator Gaspar Astete. originally published in 1523. eds. more adequately. young men should not curl their hair. for example. BNE). then.’” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 78. and ultimately the state.7 Likewise. whether single. A Compass which Provides the Rules of Living for Youth. 1) bases his analysis of the ideal Spanish man in part on conduct manuals. 2002). or widowed—played on notions of femininity such as modesty. Francisco de Osuna’s popular manual. 4 (2001): 421–38. aunque otros lo dexan crecer por vanidad: mas traerlo enriçado. 124–43. birth rights. Charles Fantazi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. “Entre el rigor humanista y la estética cortesana: El ideal de conducta masculine en la ‘Respuesta de Boscán a Don Diego de Mendoza. one could find individuals from old lineages of the Catalan nobility that lived off of rents from their rural estates 6 For the effects of the Tridentine reforms on Spanish women see Mary Elizabeth Perry and Anne J. 2000). Between Exaltation and Infamy: Female Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain (New York: Oxford University Press.354 CRISTIAN BERCO voluptuous optimism of the sixteenth century changed into the guarded nostalgia of the Spanish Golden Age. ethnicity. religious affiliation. for it might lead to lust. Biblioteca Nacional de España. In a teeming port city like Barcelona. sexual purity. no. Spain boasted a highly complex hierarchical system built on a mixture of gender.6 The widespread conduct literature—manuals designed to teach women their proper roles according to their estate. the increasingly popular manuals designed to teach young men how to become upstanding members of society also touched on notions of masculinity or. que de mancebos honestos y vergonçosos?” (P. 1992).

. 1996). finally. 2005). and the Construction of Morisco Identity in Sixteenth-Century Aragon (New York: Columbia University Press. N. 1978). Rafael Carrasco. whether slave or free. more often. the rest of Spain exhibited to some degree or another similar strong hierarchical patterns built around varying ideological assumptions and social factors but. 11 For slavery in Spain see Alfonso Franco Silva. Like Wheat to the Miller: Community. 1979). more importantly. From the king. 1490–1714 (Princeton. and including institutions such as guilds or religious orders that all supported the conceptualization 10 James Amelang. not to mention the many nuns. Vicenta Cortés.: Princeton University Press. and diverse in their background. La population catalane de 1553 à 1717: L’immigration française et les autres facteurs de son développement (Paris: SEVPEN.11 Much like this Barcelonese example. Besides these persons. the scholarship on the subject is vast and still growing rapidly.Producing Patriarchy 355 owned since the Middle Ages hobnobbing with recent arrivals to elite status chosen from among wealthy merchants or. conceived as the ultimate fount of authority within the state. La esclavitud en Sevilla y su tierra a fines de la edad media (Seville: Diputación Provincial. Vicente Graullera Sanz.J. Regarding moriscos. from the lowliest individuals either in search of work or eking out their existence in the king’s galleys to the loftiest members of the very successful Genoese merchant community that maintained a substantial presence in Barcelona. from the relatively well-to-do members of the artisanal guilds to the day laborers who often struggled to make a living. Convivencia. For French immigration into Catalonia see the seminal J. N. 1960). the large number of foreigners who mingled with the Catalan people. One could also find in such a city the teeming masses bustling in infinite occupations. as elsewhere. or their origin: black men and women. their suspect religious affiliation. yet all enjoying certain privileges and rights based on their religious status.J. 2005). Giralt.: Princeton University Press. recent important contributions include Mary Elizabeth Perry. These complex and malleable hierarchies ultimately rested on a patriarchal social organization. one might also have encountered those disadvantaged by the color of their skin. great numbers of the clergy. both secular and regular. and. at once symbols of purity and yet subordinated in their condition as women to men both within and outside of the clergy. La esclavitud en Valencia en los siglos XVI y XVII (Valencia: Instituto Valenciano de Estudios Históricos. The Handless Maiden: Moriscos and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Spain (Princeton.10 One could also find. with often an even greater degree of heterogeneity. La esclavitud en Valencia durante el reinado de los reyes católicos (1479–1516) (Valencia: Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Valencia. and Mary Halavais. from among those who had provided a service to the monarch and been given the coveted title of Honored Citizens of Barcelona. 2005). conversos and moriscos—the descendants of those forcibly converted from Judaism or Islam. 1520–1620: Études francoespagnoles (Montpellier: Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III. Honored Citizens of Barcelona: Patrician Culture and Class Relations. 1964). from poor parish priests to exquisitely educated bishops and generals of a monastic order. still suspect to their contemporaries in their adherence to Christianity and increasingly separated in the social imaginary from the old Christians. La monarchie catholique et les morisques. to patriarchs who applied order to the family. Nadal and E.

and particularly the Crown of Aragon. 14 The case summaries. “Constructing Convents. 936 through 944 for Valencia. “Rebel with a Cause: The Marriage of María Pacheco and the Formation of Mendoza Identity. hereafter leg. effectively assuming patriarchal roles. The most famous example of the contradictions and anxieties produced by a woman wielding patriarchal power remains Queen Isabel (ruled 1471–1504). its meaning intrinsically malleable as both canon and secular law shifted the emphasis of the term in various ways.12 The availability of sodomy trials for Spain. Most of these cases took place between the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some legajos (collected papers. such as AHN-I.). most can be found in a series of libros (books. 730 through 735 for Barcelona. or relaciones de causas.356 CRISTIAN BERCO of a social order whereby some ruled and others deferred. as discussed brilliantly by Barbara F. see DeBacker. hereafter lib. Wielding Power (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.” in Nader. marked “Inquisición” (hereafter AHN-I). 71–92. powerful widows. although a few trials and summaries of deposition are also available for the eighteenth century.14 The term sodomy. Power and Gender. can be found in the inquisitional files at the Archivo Histórico Nacional. see Stephanie Fink. We must understand patriarchy as encompassing more than just the domination of men over women to include the basic political and social organization whereby some generally wealthy or powerful men dominated others: lowerclass men. moreover. specifically.” 189.13 The inquisitorial prosecution of sodomy resulted in hundreds of cases brought to court and surviving either fully or in useful summaries by inquisitorial notaries. . I have kept the original spelling for Spanish place-names such as Zaragoza. Madrid.) also contain mostly sodomy cases. though most hail from Valencia. women. Full descriptions of cases are sometimes available. such as widows were enjoined by moralists to be fathers and mothers to their children. 13 William Monter (Frontiers of Heresy: The Spanish Inquisition from the Basque Lands to Sicily [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. It is in this sense of a wide understanding of patriarchy that we might even think of noblewomen. thanks to a papal brief from 1524 granting them jurisdiction over sodomy—something their counterparts in Castile did not enjoy. Weissberger. 2003). It was in Aragon and through the inquisitorial tribunals seated at Barcelona. 276–78) provides an excellent discussion of the political machinations behind the Aragonese tribunals’ push for jurisdiction over sodomy. and children. or queens with power over others as patriarchs. leg. Valencia. early modern Hispanic society functioned through patriarchal understandings. who usurped men’s political and military roles. Isabel Rules: Constructing Queenship. and Zaragoza that the Catholic magistrates prosecuted the nefarious sin. as many scholars have pointed out. At different times and places sodomy could mean anything from a wide understanding of nonprocreative sex to 12 Some powerful Spanish noblewomen such as María Pacheco could be seen as the precursors of the Golden Age topos of the mujer varonil (manly woman). especially considering that commentators often attributed “masculine” behavioral qualities to these powerful women. 1990]. Some women. 560. Although some do appear interspersed among other types of documentation. provides an excellent opportunity to examine some of these manifold issues. and 989 through 998 for Zaragoza. connoted a variety of sexual acts.

sexuality.: Stanford University Press. The castigation of female sexual agency. this meant that their sense of self. and even kissing that they considered conducive to the ultimate sin. See the seminal Julian Pitt-Rivers. Patriarchy implied then. inquisitors prosecuted the whole gamut of male homosexual behavior. 16 Cultural anthropologists have paid a great deal of attention to masculinity in Spain as indicative of wider patterns. respectively. intellectual. moral. Rather than oppositional forces. inquisitors tended to focus on anal sex. the term encompassed anal intercourse between men. Gilmore. Jordan. and power and thus provide a good starting point for unraveling the crucial relationship between patriarchy and sodomy. a devaluation of the feminine and. The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. then. heterosexual anal sex. both explicitly and implicitly. both because perfect sodomy was difficult to prove and because the inquisitorial net was cast widely. patriarchy and sodomy were inextricably intertwined. because its occurrence called for the penalty of death. Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. masturbation. was partly defined by what it was not: femaleness. 1980). Male homosexual behavior and the accompanying anxieties surrounding it were crucial to the maintenance of patriarchy.15 When inquisitors tried sodomy cases in Aragon. that is. PATRIARCHY AND SODOMY These archival “snapshots” of male homoeroticism. inquisitors also prosecuted a variety of erotic behavior between men that need not have involved anal intercourse. Aggression and Community: Paradoxes and Andalusian . anal intercourse with ejaculation inside the rectum). Modern Sexualities (Stanford. In cases involving men. the calls against women’s public roles.Producing Patriarchy 357 a very specific notion of anal intercourse alone. and Jonathan Goldberg. neither early modern homoeroticism nor its accompanying practices and imagery can be separated from the everyday structures of patriarchy. are replete with early modern assumptions about gender. Calif. In practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. see also Stanley Brandes. and bestiality. the masculinity they so intensely sought in a male-dominated society. 2nd ed. oral genital contact. through the association of femaleness to physical.16 The process whereby men related to each other and constructed hierarchies 15 For the malleability of the term sodomy in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period see Mark D. as it does now. in particular. 1971). Nonetheless. 1997). Sodometries: Renaissance Texts. especially what they termed “perfect sodomy” (sodomía perfecta. In effect. and spiritual weakness. notarial errors. even the everyday battering of wives or daughters were continually justified. (1954. and testimonial fictions. reproducing and amplifying each other at every turn. and David D. They utilized the term molicies to identify other sexual behaviors between men such as mutual fondling. duly constructed through inquisitorial inquiries. For men. an understanding that woman as category represented weakness. The People of the Sierra. 1992).

In many historical societies. 4 (2005): 1073–93. disciplina y masculinidad en textos españoles de la temprana edad moderna (New York: Peter Lang. feeding on codes of masculinity. N.17 The active partner in sodomy. if the dick does not break. “Never. represented the dominator. early modern Spain among them. El hombre atemperado: Autocontrol. the author included the story of a farmer. Culture (New Haven. 2005). and only then did he let go. 25–28. 1. For recent historical and literary treatments of masculinity in early modern Spain see Edward Behrend-Martínez. no. Patriarchal thinking. and Mar Martínez-Góngora. Sexual Hierarchies. aware of his desperate case and hearing the approach of the barking dogs. who obtains a pleasant erection while delousing himself in the nude. “Satilario. 4 (2001): 421–38. Berco. “Manhood and the Neutered Body in Early Modern Spain. the demon falls and impales himself on the farmer’s penis. easily captures the importance of penetration in early modern Spain. A minor demon (described in the original Spanish in masculine terms as un diablo). and the European Conquest of the Americas (Ithaca. even same-sex penetration. Forbidden Friendships. Political Order. in the construction of masculinity. most Spanish men performed masculinity by concurrently idealizing penetration and fearing emasculation. The titillating and anonymous tale Carajicomedia. Upon seeing this. 101–11. Tripping on the lard Satilario had used as lubricant. as a means of forging hierarchies among men. Alongside various saucy tales intended to mock traditional late medieval exempla. penetrative masculinity acted not only as a means for men to dominate the women in their lives but also as a literal and figurative way of imposing their will on other men. the demon. the one who imposed his masculine will on an emasculated object of desire.: Yale University Press.’” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 78. chap. encouraged a penetrative valuation of sexuality. holding him tight. no. let go of me. Satilario’s response is indicative of a penetrative masculinity that promised dominance over other men: [Satilario] grabbed him and held on. gleefully jumps on Satilario. “Entre el rigor humanista y la estética cortesana: El ideal de conducta masculina en la ‘Respuesta de Boscán a Don Diego de Mendoza. If anything. Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence. saying.: Cornell University Press.358 CRISTIAN BERCO of masculine worth depended thus on trumpeting virility and debasing femaleness. calling out for his dogs. 1987). Sodomy need not have impinged on a person’s sense of masculinity and. some have argued. penned early in the sixteenth century. and thereby sodomy. Conn.Y. or moral tales. And the broken-ass demon already started to flee when the dogs were nearby. responded with a fierce voice. started to scream. Satilario. the penetration of other men acted as the ultimate sign of virility.” And so he held him until wetting him [ejaculating]. and Richard Trexler.” Journal of Social History 38. 17 See Rocke.” Meanwhile. 1995). Mar Martínez-Góngora. the penetrator. could even be central to its construction. seeing the lust in the farmer’s eyes and thinking it the perfect opportunity to importune the man to commit a mortal sin. Satilario. In terms of sexuality. . then.

then. y sintiendo venir los perros ladrando. including sodomy. 1981]. In this vein we can likewise mention the somewhat veiled sodomitical accusations on the part of Cervantes against Lope de Vega discussed in Helena Percas de Ponseti. we can find in the historical record someone like Juan Laure.Producing Patriarchy 359 and they pursued him until locking him up in hell. His case is especially pertinent because he was actually arrested for sodomy. in cases of black slaves accused of sodomizing adolescent Christian boys. començó a dar grandes voces. The same can be said. 466. it was. but he claimed to have sodomized many of his fellow soldiers in the regiment. Carlos Varo [Madrid: Editorial Playor. though he was eventually released. suelta. whose comic plays included a great deal of gender bending and homoerotic allusions and humor. llamando a bozes sus perros. 2006). better known as Juan Rana. 20 One of the interesting side effects of Laure’s activities with those superior to him in rank was the challenge his sexuality represented to hierarchies of rank within his regiment. It is not surprising. no. Sexual Hierarchies. but unfortunately do not provide the sentence.’ Y assi le tuvo hasta le remojar. Laure’s case is part of a collection of papers known as alegaciones fiscales (prosecutorial arguments). y los perros tras el. no. with messages about masculinity and status. which outline the basic evidence against men tried for various crimes. Quevedo’s El buscón and its allusions to anal sex or his attacks on Góngora as a sodomite. There is an important tradition of satirical work in Spain dealing with nefarious matters. even going so far as to brag that “concerning all the young sergeants and corporals that [the witness at his trial] saw. hasta le encerrar en el infierno. a means of establishing dominance over them. for instance.’ El qual. that sodomy emerged as one of the many means of establishing dominance over other men. rather. si el carajo no quiebra. 1 (2003): 98–99. “Cervantes y Lope de Vega: Postrimerías de un duelo literario y una hipótesis. y ya llegavan los perros cerca quando el diablo culi roto començó de fuyr. Another fascinating case is that of the Spanish Golden Age actor Cosme Pérez.20 18 “E apretó y tuvo firme. a reaffirmation of the active partner’s masculinity and the concordant emasculation of the passive partner. teniendole rezio con feroz boz respondía: ‘Nunca. To penetrate the demon implied dominance. Lo qual viendo el diablo y mirando su desastrado caso. Sex between men was fraught. diciendo: ‘Satilario. such as the famous trial against a few Valencian slaves in 1624 (see Berco. See Peter Thompson. 19 AHN-I.’”19 It is probably not merely casual that Laure boasted of having sodomizing those superior in rank to him. while patriarchal . ed. 6. 3732. 166–67). depending on the sexual position. The Triumphant Juan Rana: A Gay Actor of the Spanish Golden Age (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. consistently playing up his worth with allusions to his masculine prowess and his ability to dominate other men sexually. Not only did Laure actively sodomize a few adolescent boys. leg. copla 28.” Actas de la VII Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas (1980): 837–45.18 Satilario emerges here as unquestioned victor in a male-to-male struggle through the very act of sodomy. “La obsesión anal en la poesía de Quevedo. for a detailed discussion). where this sad one remains to this day mending his behind.” Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 23. both discussed in María Grazia Profeti. chap. As mentioned above. y entonces le soltó. Thus. a lowly soldier stationed in Zaragoza along with his regiment. ‘all these have been under me. for example. in Cancionero de burlas provocantes a la risa. adonde el triste se esta remendando el culo hasta oy” (Carajicomedia. See. in this context of penetrative virility.

age eighteen.360 CRISTIAN BERCO Whereas penetrators were constructed in the cultural imaginary as male. which led to an emasculation of the passive partner in sodomy. 7 (Bot. passive sodomy emerged as a symbol of the vanquished. no. argued that “some of the youngsters in the village are defamed because the Master of Bot has had intercourse with them.”24 So unsure of his masculine worth was the poor Agustín amidst these swirling rumors that. was not neutral. 1633). full trial in AHN-I. lib. on the one hand. even sex between men was seen through the prism of gender and the mirror of heterosexual relations.”22 Witnesses catching two men in flagrante delicto would likewise utilize this gendered language to describe the sexual encounter. age fifty. age fourteen. leg. testimony regarding what seems to have been consistent liaisons with the town adolescents surfaced. 60r (Selva Campo. Sentence: twelve lashes.” exclaimed the hospital manager in Selva when describing how the older Rafael sodomized a youngster named Guillen in the hospital’s kitchen. lib. case against Onofre Masquero. 939. 308r. Sentence: twenty-four lashes. 7. lib. case against Melchor Armengol. . 1636). “Thrusting as if he was having sex with a woman. Sentence: galley service for three years. he fought with another teenager over the affections of their mutual employer and warned the latter to stay away from his “husband. 1616). a local farmer. witnesses heard two adolescent boys. 559. referring to each other as “wife of mine. case against Gabriel Ferrer. 734. exiled to work in Ibizan salt mines for six years. between kisses and the exertion of heavy foreplay. loss of office and benefices. During the trial of the aforementioned parish priest in Bot. the unmasculine. other factors also played a role. 22 AHN-I.”21 Likewise. perpetual exile from the district of the Valencian Inquisition. The other youngster was tried as an accomplice to the former. age thirteen. 1616). 940. on the other. 37r (Bot. when a youngster engaged in a sexual relationship with a parish priest in the Valencian town of Bot. Miguel Mora. age fifty-four. so that some individuals ended up utilizing sodomy to shape patriarchal hierarchies of dominance as a means of compensating for other realities in which they were subordinate. I have provided the age of the culprit and the sentence received for each trial to give a better sense of the variety of cases encountered. and even magistrates—equated sexual passivity with a shameful emasculation. case against Melchor Armengol. the language of sodomy—shared by defendants. In a patriarchal society. 237r. 23 AHN-I. AHN-I. Beyond the sexual act itself. the weak. 21 AHN-I. lib. leg. 24 AHN-I. In 1633. age twelve. upon being asked by the inquisitorial magistrates notions were crucial in constructing hierarchies. particularly Agustín Villavert and another who has died named Juan Torres. Just as active sodomy reinforced masculinity. 307r (Valencia. case against Salvador Villalobos. Sentence: none provided—the case was most likely not followed to conclusion. 559. husband of mine. no. Sentence: three years of galley service commuted to five years of exile from Spain. witnesses. 940. In fact. the penetrated invariably came to be understood in oppositional terms as female.23 The equation of penetration with masculinity. and passivity with femininity. for instance. and Rafael Ferrer.

2 (Algeciras. no. 1642). fourteen-year-old Juan Beltrán willingly masturbated Francisco Castello. even going so far as threatening to accuse Mauro to the authorities. 1682). Thus. by association. even when threatened with drowning. and Juan Beltranet.26 Likewise. A fifteen-year-old boy was persuaded to engage in mutual fondling. 27 AHN-I. Beltranet was exiled for one year and received twenty-four lashes. leg. 941. first six years to be served in the galleys. age fourteen. 202v–203r (Valencia. In 1642 a youngster rebuffed Mauro Calferola’s attempts at anal penetration when sharing a bed. which would result in emasculation. Sentence: warning without sentence and twelve lashes. they could try the youngster as an accomplice. he went as far as saying that “he is a man. it is not surprising to find individuals who were the subject of sexual advances vehemently rejecting the possibility of being penetrated. 991. [the boy] left the hut. 561. 2 (Alcira. during the trial of Manuel Sánchez. “seeing the bad intent when [Rios] wanted to close the door. Since sexual passivity was equated to femininity and. lib.Producing Patriarchy 361 to state his age and sex as part of their opening questions to him.”27 The problem. case against Juan de Rios.”25 Perhaps one could make too much of a casual reference on his part. making their testimony that they had resisted the advances of the friar less believable.29 Throughout the many trials and case summaries collected over a couple of centuries a clear pattern emerges in which the passive partners in these relationships were often assessed in terms Ibid. but no other witnesses answered the question by including a negation of femininity. age sixteen. but. and not a woman. 26 25 . an older farm laborer. AHN-I. 28 AHN-I.”28 Juan’s lack of consent in the last example is also an interesting indication of the premium placed on demonstrating one’s masculinity and the consequent penalty on exhibiting any sign of femininity. Sentence: one hundred lashes. The issue of consent was important because if the inquisitors deemed a youngster had consented to sexual relations. age twenty-two. “He should let him be. weakness. age forty. no. lib. case against Mauro Calferola. leg. it was perhaps the terrible reputation of Juan de Rios from Daroca that made youngsters wary of him. was not necessarily homoeroticism but the ultimate meaning of such a connection between an older partner and a younger one. 560.” protested the boy. especially the possibility of penetration. but refused to consent. case against Francisco Castello. as he wasn’t his girlfriend. even when many signs pointed to abuse. 1601).. as they had engaged in mutual fondling. to “receiving it in the behind. a friar belonging to the religious order called Mercedarians who was accused of sodomizing a couple of novices in 1672. 1622). Sentence: Castello was exiled from the town of Algeciras for two years and received fifty lashes. 577r (Daroca. 29 AHN-I. inquisitors came to believe that the adolescents had partly consented. Thus. then. 53v. case against Friar Manuel Sanchez. Sentence: exile from Madrid and Valencia for four years. ten years of exile.

Antonio said that he was used to sleeping with a woman. 5 (Valencia. Sentence: relaxed to the secular arm. it was patriarchy itself that. no.33 But the widespread ease with which men pursued their emasculated objects of desire was part and parcel of the way men related to each other. 1624). So damaging to the masculine Spanish self was sexual passivity thought to be that the absence of consent barely rescued the individual from the shame associated with it.32 Likewise. a shoemaker in Barcelona. emphasizing its distance from masculine norms. In fact. inquisitors often assessed consent so broadly as to ensure that all but the most strenuous resistance to being penetrated would be deemed consensual. homosexual relations were part of a wider system of establishing male relationships. case against José Extravagante. age eighteen. patriarchy produced sodomy. maricón. Vicente was condemned to four years of exile for the trouble of having denounced the slave who had presumably accosted him. but his comrades in the inn 30 AHN-I. Consequently. 1 (Valencia. case against Vicente Rastiol. leg. leg. 1583). as aptly demonstrated by Alan Bray. Homosexuality in Renaissance England (London: Gay Men’s Press. When a boy denounced Antonio Galeazo. rather. set the conditions for same-sex sodomy. Sentence: relaxed to the secular arm. 259v (Valencia. Inquisitors deemed that variations in the youngster’s testimony implied that he was lying and had indeed consented to the act. the line between male friendship and homoeroticism was especially vague during the early modern period. 1621). active penetrators often noted how ordinary and commonplace they considered their behavior to be. patriarchal thinking provided incentives for men to sodomize other males as a means of accruing masculinity. age thirty-one. 560. so common was it in the city. Sodomy was more than just a symbol representing the sexual act itself. In a way. In effect. it was patriarchy that assured that male homosociality so easily became homosexuality. 33 AHN-I. in its consistent assertion of the emasculation of the one partner and trumpeting of the virility of the other. age unknown. By making penetration a central facet of masculinity. and bardaj (the last term derived from the Persian word for slave). Sentence: exile from Valencia for four years. José Extravagante told the inquisitors that in the Mediterranean galleys every soldier had his own bardaj to service him. . no. an eighteen year old who accused a slave of attempting to sodomize him while he slept in 1581. In effect. Not uncommon were cases like that of Vicente Rastiol.30 Inquisitors assumed that adolescents such as Vicente lied about passive intercourse probably because of the shame associated with such behavior. the slave Azam mentioned that during a short stay in Valencia’s royal jail he had seen many men engaging in intercourse with each other.362 CRISTIAN BERCO of their level of consent. for raping him. 32 AHN-I. case against Azam. 1988).31 Whereas men who engaged in the passive role could expect derision in public through various insults such as puto. 31 Of course. leg. only to find himself prosecuted for sodomy. 560. 936.

Both of these factors ensured that active partners received harsher treatment at the hands of the magistrates. as lustful creatures. See. for as males they could but only want to penetrate others. those active sodomites unfortunate enough to be denounced and tried before a court suffered tougher punishments than the passive partners. the case against Jusepe Gambao that is found in AHN-I.” again showcasing a certain expectation of the inevitability of homoerotic behavior (AHN-I. Sentence: unknown number of lashes and the galley for life. and Zaragoza. Nonetheless. as if to excuse his actions as inadvertent but not unusual. even going so far as to boast. 941. Sentence: two hundred lashes. 944. ten years in the galleys.35 cases per year for each of these cities—combined with the widespread culture of penetrative virility allowed many men to seek sexual gratification with other males with surprising indifference to the possibility of punishment. most men were expected to attempt to sodomize others. Seen as lustful creatures. 995. In 1586 a monk of the Bernadite order named Gerónimo Valles was prosecuted for blasphemy for publicly stating in Segorbe that “it was impossible for any man to refrain from having sex with either women or men. 2. age thirty-two. 36 Charmarinero boasted to his neighbors that a young man in his company “served him as a woman. where the culprit argued for a distinction between an “evil” sodomitical intent and the “normal” practice of pursuing young men for other types of sexual pleasures such as masturbation. however. 936. for example. Moreover. defendants in trials often erected a somewhat artificial difference between the “normal” desire for adolescent boys that would involve such activities as mutual masturbation and the “abnormal” sin of sodomy. as Carlos Charmarinero did in 1651 to a neighbor and his wife. even by the authorities who nonetheless condemned these actions as sinful and criminal. desiring youngsters was normal. Moreover. lib. the case against Andrés Corrui in AHN-I. Barcelona. 1654). case against Antonio Joan Tobigas. since a large majority of the passive partners were adolescents. 1674). of their conquests. chap. Sexual Hierarchies. 288r (Barcelona.35 Yet because inquisitors tended to consider the active partners as the driving force behind this sexual sin. . lib. could very well seek sodomitical intercourse when they could not satisfy their sexual urges with women. revolved around the difference between actual penetration and Gambao’s habit of making young men masturbate and orally service him. 166v–171v (La Codoñera. many Christian clergymen believed that all men.Producing Patriarchy 363 would tell him that at night and in his sleep he would throw himself atop the boy. 24r–29r (Valencia. 1575). they were automatically considered legal minors and not subject to the death penalty. 730. lib. arguing that the devil induced them to perform the latter and so they were not responsible for their actions. 40r). case against Carlos Charmarinero.” See AHN–I. many men nevertheless engaged in the sexual pursuit of youngsters or other men with little apparent worry. 37 For more on a wide culture of penetrative masculinity see Berco.34 As many men argued even before the inquisitors.37 34 AHN-I. 35 In attempting to avoid conviction. Likewise. Despite the often exemplary punishments meted out to penetrators. providing an average of only 0. 365r. age twenty-one. a sense of normalcy surrounds the basic desire for other men in these narratives. lib.36 The relative lightness of prosecutorial zeal—between 1540 and 1700 only 170 sodomy trials in Aragon originated in the cities of Valencia. lib.

39 Men in general seem to have had little problem in partaking in same-sex eroticism as penetrators. as one witness put it. Sharing a drink and some food during a trip to the town of Murla with a few village men. 731. age thirty. . Escaped before sentencing.38 In a sociosexual system built on notions of penetrative dominance. case against Jufanio Oriu. to which the latter responded by kissing a cross he made with his fingers as if taking a mock oath. lib. because he serves you as a woman. merely proceeding as if the others cared not for the intimate details. eating your bread. The joking. Apparently. I have only done it to him twice. Jusepe Busot. teasing.364 CRISTIAN BERCO It is in this context that men often pursued their erotic interests with little concern for privacy. “Truthfully. Jusepe seemed to be the local “fag” (puto). often the butt of lighthearted jokes yet nonetheless enjoying the sexual camaraderie of other men in the village. at least three people present in a room at the hospital in the small town of Collbató witnessed Juan Martín sodomizing a fifteen-year-old boy: another youngster who shared the same bed and the two men in an adjoining bed. however. you act like a fag. 39 AHN-I. this had been the case since Jusepe’s youth. Had his partner not denounced him to the authorities—either interpreting the advances as molestation or perhaps fearing prosecution himself—he could have enjoyed it without reprisal. men often expected others to turn a blind eye to what they considered normal sexual behavior. his penchant for sexual passivity with the other village men. upon receiving information of his nefarious actions. according to a witness. Cramped rooms were the norm. For instance. 1598). As the inquisitor soon discovered. Whether Jusepe had really engaged in nefarious activities remained unclear for all the men involved. Jusepe seemed to have provided mirthful entertainment because of his sexual proclivities. Guests at an inn in Barcelona saw Jufanio Oriu openly kissing and caressing an adolescent male companion.” according to one witness. age thirty-eight. When confronted in the morning. when friends would tease him by saying. Those closest to their bedroom even heard the bed creaking and loud moaning throughout the night. Sentence: the galley for life. for they clearly saw adolescents and men willing to take the passive role as a pleasurable opportunity to satisfy virile needs. 330r–330v (Barcelona. 1583). however. A Valencian inquisitor visiting the area of Denia in 1632 investigated a local man.” Nofre Cachano teased Pedro Thomas. and friendly banter that surrounded the discourse of same-sex eroticism. reinforces the notion that most 38 AHN-I. with no remorse or even fear apparent in his speech. “Come on. Andrés Boscán. they dismissed the inquisitor’s investigation by claiming it was merely conversation in good fun. 730. “You have Jusepe Busot in your company. lib. particularly. Jufanio responded that he had sodomized the young man twice. 409r (Collbató. case against Juan Martín. but Juan Martín did not even attempt to hide either the lascivious advances or the sexual act itself.” Much laughter from everybody at the table ensued.

Honour.17. 21. through the everyday banter and teasing that glorified penetration and vilified the penetrated. by jealously guarding the honor of its female members and even the young males of the family and by prizing so 40 For a more detailed discussion of the widespread culture of male homoeroticism in early modern Spain see Berco. For a discussion of the social category of “woman” in this period see Georgina Dopico Black. which placed such a premium on penetration. lib. 730. For more on honor and sexuality see Renato Barahona. For instance. The glorification of penetrative masculinity did not appear wholly in the minds of the perpetrators of active sodomy available in the trials.J. 2001).. nor was it merely the product of their perverse imaginations. N. for example. as did even writers of secular proscriptive literature. since his honor was at stake.2). Sex Crimes. chap.: Princeton University Press. 43 Consider.18. the clergy certainly contributed to this cultural climate. reinforced stereotypical and ideal views of how men achieved self-worth. exemplified a common double standard in cases of adultery. or passive partner. the objectifying language of Alvaro Cadena. In 1348 Alfonso XI specifically changed precedent from both the Siete partidas and the Fuero real and allowed husbands to kill their wives if they discovered them committing adultery (Ordenanzas de Alcalá. 2003).g. Poska (Women and Authority. Other Women: Adultery and Inquisition in Early Modern Spain (Durham. N. 312v–314v [Barcelona. while a man could accuse his wife of adultery before local magistrates. 2. 1990]. 3 on wives and chap. the wife could not take the same legal measures if the situation were reversed.40 None of this behavior would have been comprehensible without the overarching ideals of patriarchy. and the Law in Early Modern Spain: Vizcaya 1528–1735 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1990]) shows the sometimes devastating effect of prescriptive literature that constructed women as deviant and unruly (see.41 In sharpening the inequality already in the medieval legal tradition by allowing men to kill an adulterous wife without fear of judicial retribution. In their consistent denigration of the feminine.C. Alvaro showed him a boy who served as his bardaj. and the creation of a climate propitious for the sodomitical accrual of masculine worth was imbibed from cradle to grave in everyday sources.13–14). a Spanish sailor and former captive in North Africa suspected not only of sodomy but also of lapsing from Christianity. 41 Mary Elizabeth Perry (Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville [Princeton.1). research by Nader (Power and Gender.: Princeton University Press. the heterosexual family itself. and tried to persuade him to escape to North Africa. the Siete partidas. the state only solidified the popular view of women as mere objects of desire and as the sexual possessions of their husbands. Nonetheless. adolescent boys. 5–6. a husband who caught his wife and her lover in flagrante delicto could kill the lover but not the wife. for no honor was lost when a man had relations outside of matrimony (7.Producing Patriarchy 365 men easily understood a sexual system that allowed for the expression of virility and dominance through sodomizing other males.3) and in the 1805 Novísima recopilación (12. 1–21). or adult men. At the same time. N.1). chap. 42 The most important medieval Spanish law code. e. 1578]). Penetrative masculinity was central to the apparatus of patriarchy.20. 3–16) has shown that women could skirt these prescriptions. 4 on nuns). that privilege was accorded only to her father (7.43 Finally. whether women. 41–50). and Alison Weber (Teresa of Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity [Princeton.17. where they would “sell [the boy] like a baby goat” (AHN-I. This was reaffirmed in Philip II’s Nueva recopilación of 1567 (8.J.42 Men in general. Perfect Wives. .: Duke University Press. According to a slave to the duke of Cardona. Sexual Hierarchies.

case against Juan de Robles. though upon learning that her own son had suffered such indignity she became “ferocious. custodians. it signaled their emasculation at the hands of other males. a challenge to the patriarchal order of the family. No denunciations exist where parents sought justice after their adolescent son had actively sodomized an adult who had propositioned him to that end. I would like to thank Stephanie Fink DeBacker for suggesting this alternative reading of sexual abuse and parental authority.” all other cases that evince a strong emotional response on the part of a youngster’s parents. Sentence: no punishment. age thirty-five. 1634).”45 Sexual coercion of young boys could not be tolerated by family members precisely because.366 CRISTIAN BERCO highly the obedience of children and wives. Why would the parents’ response differ in cases of adult sexual advances on their young sons. or friends represent instances where the young men were accosted for passive sodomy. among other things. might have signaled a break in the chain of the hierarchy between parent and child and. 941. as ideally only parents would be involved in the choice of sexual partners of their children. Unlike active sodomizers. lib. 46 Another issue might have been the usurpation of parental authority by the would-be abuser. it was never thanks to the parents of the adolescent involved. The unsanctioned sexual coupling with a stranger. age eighteen. case against Leonis Bueno. . even if they 44 AHN-I. likewise. 45 AHN-I. therefore. Yet it is in the sodomy cases under question that family responses reveal the premium placed on penetrative masculinity. 97r–99r (Teruel. Sexual molestation or homosexual behavior per se was not the issue for parents but rather behavior that involved subjecting their sons to penetration. for it points to a key cultural assumption about these sexual roles. The parents of adolescents involved in sodomitical relationships often preferred to keep them secret rather than bring them to the attention of the authorities. reproduced in generation after generation this patriarchal thinking. sometimes turned on the very children they were trying to protect. Sentence: confined perhaps indefinitely to his father’s home. who offered the boy a goat in exchange for intercourse and physically threatened him. only a warning. adolescent and younger males who were themselves sodomized could usually count on a spirited reaction from their parents. depending on sexual role? This is not a banal question. unbeknownst to the parents. 992. lib. The father of youngster Diego de Antón went looking for the shepherd Juan de Robles.44 In Teruel.46 Just as Jaime Bonfil’s anger led him to yell in public at the parish priest of Bot and to call him a “child fucker. Though a few of these cases came to the attention of the authorities. Even then it is pertinent to note that the parents who did approach the authorities were solely the guardians of youngsters who had been either sodomized or the object of unwanted advances. 1640). a fourteen-year-old boy’s mother had heard for years that the older adolescent Leonis Bueno had attempted to sodomize many of the town’s boys. overcome with grief at the emasculation of their sons. 200r (San Per de Calanda. So much was riding on the masculinity of a family’s sons that duly concerned parents.

47 Thomas de Villaroya beat both of his sons and their traveling companion. Consider. since as an emasculated object of desire he was equated metaphorically with femaleness. 389r (Barcelona. including by Carmen Martin Gaite (Usos amorosos del dieciocho en España [Barcelona: Lumen. but. whether it be gift giving. Thus. They replicated the assumptions that perpetuated a penetrative understanding of sexuality. leg. age fourteen. sodomy became the perfect means by which to teach the lessons of patriarchy and masculinity. Some information about early modern sexual relations between men and women in Spain can be found. outright sexual violence. In the context of a society in which the most common male-tomale sexual relationship was intergenerational. they testify to the centrality of penetrative masculinity and the concomitant fear of emasculation to the family. she not only beat the culprit with a stick but also whipped her son. how men’s seduction of adolescent boys mirrored the strategies commonly employed with women. Fernando Díaz-Plaja (La vida amorosa en el siglo de oro [Madrid: Temas de Hoy. and punished them as if they had participated willingly in these activities. from gift giving to rape. he would also learn in the flesh the ways in which men treated the women they desired. age twenty. and while they are anomalous. no. such as the clergy and educators. Further works on heterosexual relationships include Agustin 47 . 48 AHN-I. 1736). too. an adolescent surgeon apprentice in AHN-I.Producing Patriarchy 367 were unwilling victims. These examples show that parents. 730. 9 (Benisanó. when the mother of a prepubescent child found Rafael Perola sodomizing the boy. Inasmuch as patriarchy generated sodomy so.48 The violence meted out on children whose sexual relations with much older companions implied a significant power imbalance and the possibility of molestation can be interpreted as an impassioned reaction to the apparent loss of masculinity embedded in the act of passive sodomy. monetary payment. or. this research usually only addresses formal courtship and does not discuss sexual pursuit. Sentence: an unknown number of lashes and ten years of exile.49 Manuel Romá. when all else failed. as well as payments to prostitutes. early modern families reproduced patriarchal modes of thinking and helped to create a cultural climate intensely gendered by the possibility of penetration. 1981]). blinded by what they considered an irrevocable loss. even one that included active sodomy as a potential for men. when he found out that the latter had sodomized the boys. Not only would a younger passive partner learn about sexual relationships with other men. 1996]) explores the various strategies utilized by men to seduce a woman. the heterosexual family shared in the creation of a cultural climate that produced sodomy because it participated in the devaluation of femininity and sexual receptivity. Francisco Martín Moyano. however. 1582). In 1582. case against José Esteban Gazco. 560. Along with other groups and voices who held masculinity so dearly. for example. did the sexual act itself reproduce patriarchy or act as a mirror wherein patriarchal notions were reflected. lib. case against Rafael Perola. Sentence: ten lashes. adulation. might lose control and turn on the children themselves. 49 Although much has been written about courtship in Spain.

” A few days later. Amours légitimes et amours illégitimes en Espagne (XVIe–XVIIe siècles) (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne Nouvelle. inquisitorial cases teem with references to the assortment of goods offered by men to their teenage lovers. Intent on conquering the boy. the notary Andrés Corrui. let’s go to the fish market where there are toilets in which we can do it. including articles of clothing. ed. . and Maria Elena Sanchez Ortega. 11 (Valencia. Marguerite Carrasco-McGovern and Anne E. allowing adult men to pursue sexual pleasure as they would have with women in a manner that exploited the bodies of the poor. In the case of the former. Relations entre hommes et femmes en Espagne aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne Nouvelle. More refined courtship.” and [Manuel] did not want to agree to go to that spot and told Nicola that the toilets in [the church of] San Juan del Mercado were a better place. then. the notary offered his best rendition of a courtly seduction as he respectfully inquired.51 The offering of coin for sexual favors. Spain: Akal. responded. seeing the profit in what he proposed. on a par with that of any highborn lady at court. no. leg. where he offered him a few carnations “as he kissed him and took off his hat. recently arrived in Valencia. after some monetary negotiation: The said Nicola told him that he would give him one real if he let him stick it up his ass.. Corrui even went so far as to follow him into the cell of a local friar. 560.368 CRISTIAN BERCO eighteenth-century Valencia. perpetual exile from Spain. can also be placed within the context of the gift giving so central to the seduction of both adolescent boys and women. Sex and Love in Golden Age Spain (New Orleans: University Press of the South. “Well. [Manuel]. age thirty-five. why does Your Mercy not come to see me? Woe is me! In what have I offended thee?” Vicente.50 The informal prostitution of adolescent boys was common enough at the time. como con efecto fueron. Sentence: three years in a Spanish fort (presidio) in Africa.. agreed to have sex with an Italian named Nicola. 57–69. 51 For more on informal male prostitution see Rafael Carrasco. McCall. “It was about time we got to this. “Lazarillo on the Street Corner: What the Picaresque Novel Did Not Say about Fallen Boys. ed. 1995). Agustín Redondo. Sex and Love. Redondo. 1992). 50 “Dicho Nicola le dijo a este le daría un real si se lo dejaba meter por el culo y este por el interés de lo que le ofrecía le respondió ‘ya habríamos de estar en eso’ y dicho Nicola le dijo ‘pues vamos a la pescatería donde hay letrinas y alli lo haremos’ y este no quiso convenir fuesen a dicho puesto y le dijo al dicho Nicola mejor puesto era ir a las letrinas de San Juan del Mercado. 1985). was not unknown either. and even the promise of protective company on a long voyage along treacherous roads. 1996). for instance. however. In 1674. Alain Saint-Saëns. La mujer y la sexualidad en el antiguo régimen: La perspectiva inquisitorial (Torrejón de Ardoz. guitars. when he had once again found the object of his lust. 1712).” And the said Nicola told him. where in fact they went.” trans. upon meeting him in the market. case against Nicola Mont.” AHN-I. was smitten with the beauty of a fresh-faced youth he met. in Saint-Saëns. knives. “Sir Vicente.

52 The historical record shows that sexual violence against teenage boys was not uncommon and. . Francisco Ramón. however. gift giving. one victim of abuse himself attempted to apply what he had learned on a woman. 25r (Valencia. his lessons came unfortunately even closer to the reality of sexual patriarchy when Corrui. 53 AHN-I. Pepico. a seven year old who attempted to sodomize his even younger friend. whether consciously or not. named Pedro Juan. declined the invitation. no. 1598).Producing Patriarchy 369 just as respectfully.54 Another case involved Manuel Martínez. age fifteen. case against Andrés Corrui. in what was probably a typical harvesttime chore. no. lib. When finished. only a warning. 944. 560. whether through payment. albeit with little effect because of his tender age. and as the object of such stratagems Vicente learned how a woman should be treated. close to Valencia. again. 54 AHN-I. In any case. 1748). Likewise. or even sexual violence.”53 Pedro Juan thus reaffirmed his hierarchical position within the group. the sodomitical relationships between adult men and adolescent boys often produced behaviors and attitudes consistent with patriarchal notions. In one example fourteen-year-old Benito Campay and his friends spent the afternoon stocking wheat into his father’s granary in the town of San Felipe. case against Benito Ramón. commuted to enclosure in a monastery. case against Gesualdo Felizes. Sentence: exile for five years. The next afternoon all six of them once again convened there and started masturbating when the eldest boy. 1673). As it happened. lib. mirrored what was suffered by countless women. 990. one could also argue that in solidifying his position as eldest Pedro Juan also introduced the younger boys to the reality of a patriarchal penetrative masculinity based on age-discordant relationships. leg. unsatisfied by Vicente’s persistent rebukes. cockily 52 AHN-I. courtly seduction. As these adolescents lived through these experiences.55 In an even more literal re-creation of the sexual patriarchy. “started to throw [the rest of] them face down over the wheat and sodomize them. 55 AHN-I. that this conversation easily mirrored the idealized seduction strategies employed with women. Sentence: exile for four years. 1769). raped a twelve-year-old boy repeatedly in the course of a few days. It is worth noting. or even witnessed or heard of such possibilities. Sentence: no punishment. case against Benito Campay. age fourteen. leg. age forty-five. effectively extending the chain of patriarchal sexuality. 560. proceeded to rape him violently and at the point of a knife. age forty-eight. 7 (Valencia. Sentence: ten years in a Spanish fort (presidio) in Africa. 90r (Cerdán. they sometimes applied what they learned to those boys younger than themselves. the young friends undressed and apparently playfully engaged in mutual masturbation. a fifteen-yearold boy from Cerdán. a young servant boy for the nobleman Gesualdo Felizes and the object of his master’s sexual attention for a few months. moreover. 3 (San Felipe.

it was usually when the wrong men (meaning slaves. leg.” AHN-I. In this way. often quite oblivious to any issues of consent.”58 The verb to use—which in Spanish as in English denotes the employment of some thing Ibid. or native Spaniards) that family members.370 CRISTIAN BERCO sauntered into the kitchen one day and attempted to manhandle Francisca. who often punished them harshly so as to set an example. as the active partner accrued masculinity—could have important ramifications. it is worth reiterating that the prosecution of sodomy entailed serious consequences precisely because sodomy. chap.56 The attempts by these young boys to impose themselves sexually on others. 57 56 . 58 “Que dicho rector se había servido carnalmente de todos los muchachos que le habían servido de monaguillos o escolanos allí en Bot. especially as it borrows from and replicates the conceptual and linguistic framework of the objectification of women’s bodies as sexual objects for men’s pleasure. since she would later testify against both. an idea that enjoyed longstanding discursive power within the patriarchal order. reflect the values of male dominance over feminine or feminized objects of desire and demonstrate the manner by which a male homosexual desire reproduced in turn the very patriarchy that sustained it. neighbors. no. 559. commuted to a five-year exile from Spain. or foreigners) accrued status through the penetration of their social superiors (meaning free adolescents. case against Melchor Armengol. 7. argued that “the master of Bot had carnally used all the boys who had assisted him. In effect. who took Pepico’s explanation of his sexual experiences with the master as ammunition for the future. 1616). an older servant girl. Sentence: three years of galley service. moriscos. the power relations derived from the age and status of the participants were translated by witnesses and magistrates into a sodomitical discourse that dripped with patriarchal assumptions. Sexual Hierarchies. who was a priest of a neighboring church. In addition to reproducing patriarchy through the cultural and gender assumptions embedded in the sexual encounters themselves. as I have discussed in more detail elsewhere. age fifty-four. still. and status were so intimately connected. who was charged with having sodomized his adolescent assistants in 1613. In effect. Berco.57 The precise workings of these denunciations and the specific punishments inflicted upon the guilty are somewhat tangential to the immediate analysis of the connection between sodomy and patriarchy. patriarchy. 6. 30v (Bot. the parish priest of Bot. The initial denouncer of the case. and friends denounced the incident to the authorities. homosexual sodomy also could redeploy patriarchy in the ways in which people thought and spoke about it. whether male or female. even the specific language of sodomy shows itself as crucial to the maintenance of patriarchy. Old Christians. the status that was created through sexuality—that is. This notion of the feminized and objectified body appears regularly in trials dealing with the nefarious sin. This connection between male homosexual sodomy and patriarchy mattered because the latter was integral to the creation of status. In the aforementioned case against Melchor de Armengol.

60 “Y el dicho Mosen Armengol de la huerta le metía en dicha casilla y en el suelo se juntaba carnalmente con este. 45r. The young Agustín Villavert expressed both anger and rancor at the abuse he had suffered. the inquisitorial prosecutor stated the master “would make a certain boy lie with him in bed where he used him as if he was a woman. introducing his virile member in his behind.. The passive partner must be objectified and utilized as a mere instrument of pleasure. At the beginning of this particular case this objectifying language was not everywhere apparent. Agustín’s description of similar instances between another boy and Armengol sometimes betrayed patriarchal language. These gendered assumptions that ignored the issue of consent on the part of the boys were made even clearer in language that gendered them as female. merely stated as a matter of fact that “the said master of Bot had had carnal access to all the boys who had served him as aides. the objectifying language of patriarchal sexuality seeped into his discourse. Even the objects of such gendered assumptions shared the patriarchal expectations embedded in the language of sexual domination. metiéndole su miembro viril por el vaso trasero” (ibid. then. . he should pay dearly. being in the house.” he recalled. or they had “carnal exchanges and touches”). for instance. 61 “Que dicho rector de Bot había tenido parte carnalmente con todos los muchachos que le habían servido de monaguillos o escolanos en Bot” (ibid.. he spied through a hole between the wall and the door of a bedroom. so revealing in its gendered assumptions. “And [Armengol] would unite carnally with this witness on the ground. 35v). y que cuando este vio al dicho Armengol que lo hazía al dicho Lorenzo Altadil..”59 Only through such gendered objectification could this inquisitorial official make sense of a male-to-male relationship. Thus.”60 Consider here the crack in the narrative revealing the patriarchal assumption that men do other people. even demanding to inquisitors that if Armengol were found guilty of sodomy. y este por entre la puerta y la pared que havia una hendija lo vio” (ibid. thirty-fouryear-old Jaime Bonfil. then the prosecutor’s accusation against the master of Bot. and saw the said Armengol doing the said Lorenzo Altadil on a bed. referring to one occasion “when. One of the key witnesses.”61 Little in this statement 59 “Haciendo que cierto muchacho se acostase con el en la cama adonde le usó del como si fuera mujer. We find here. effectively objectifying the other youngster. a conscious connection between the language of a sodomy case and the conceptualization of women’s bodies as something to be used. who had heard of many of these stories over the years.” he said. Yet despite a brave stance when it came to describing his own unfortunate situation. Thus.Producing Patriarchy 371 for an end—implies the objectification of these adolescent boys. estando este en la entrada de la dicha casa y el dicho Armengol y Lorenzo estaban en el dicho aposento sobre la cama. If language itself is power. a concept that only made sense by referring to the parallel sexual objectification of women. added another brick to the edifice of patriarchy. 53r). while he utilized rather neutral language when referring to his own sexual misadventures with his employer (“they united carnally. emphasis added).

but overall it implies shared patriarchal assumptions that signaled some bodies as objects to be used or consumed. he does remember having heard that the said Master has employed Agustín Villavert and Lorenzo Altadil as aides for about three years.” which utilized homosexual sodomy as a metaphor for political and social power. For the participants in this case. Early modern Spaniards easily understood penetration—particularly that of autonomous free men—in both sexual and political terms. having lived through the swirling rumors and the sensationalism of a small village turned upside down through the sexual crime of one of its most powerful members. and his sexual activity. Perhaps because of his patriarchal status. suspected of the nefarious sin. Consider. and that when they were living in his home the said master used them like women. He was a leading member of his community and. el dicho rector se servía de ellos como de mujeres” (ibid.62 This language may owe something to the role of the scribe. who in recording the testimony may have imposed his understanding and his terminology on the historical record. and Olivares. for instance.372 CRISTIAN BERCO presupposes an objectification of victims’ bodies or a conscious patriarchal understanding of sexuality. Bonfil’s language changed. as such. according to those who disliked him. In “Al sexto interrogatorio dijo que el testigo no sabe de cierta ciencia que [el rector de Bot] haya cometido el pecado de sodomía pero que se acuerda haber oído decir que el dicho rector ha tenido algunos tres años poco mas o menos a Agustín Villavert y a Lorenzo Altadil. his political involvement. of becoming a patriarch physically as well as socially. Melchor de Armengol embodied the very characteristics of a local patriarch. The abuse of the youngsters under his charge flowed in part from his political and social power. Armengol could come across as arrogant—while on trial himself he bewailed the lack of refinement of his parishioners—and domineering. The fact of penetration was part of his process of constructing a dominant patriarchal self. 62 . the wider cultural assumptions about penetrative masculinity and sexuality helped to construct a patriarchal body. dominant in sexual and social terms. expected to enjoy a certain status and to wield political influence. the very act of abusive penetration only fuelled his hypermasculine and politically polarized status. his education. In sodomizing those who served him he reinforced his position not only vis-à-vis his specific victims but also in relationship to the villagers as a whole. “Although he does not know for certain that [Armengol] has committed the sin of sodomy. including his clerical status. At the same time. Armengol achieved social power through various means. We know that he had been involved in his share of wheeling and dealing in the local town council. Tordesillas. 94v). and it is in this sense that we must think of Melchor Armengol’s patriarchal self. y que el tiempo que los ha tenido por escolanos en su casa.” responded Bonfil to questioning. Luis de Góngora’s poem entitled “To three men named Carrión. he supervised a number of agents who acted on his behalf in city council matters. and.. Yet a few months later.

” thus placing a triumphant Mohammad in sexual and political control over a vanquished Christendom. 89v. For more on Góngora’s poetry and homosexuality see Adrienne Martín. Góngora had the sheriff sodomizing the citizens of these villages. Regardless. we may speculate that the context of a morisco political utterance. 236v (Montichelvo. a local morisco.”63 The connection of the word “eye” to “anus” was well known to contemporaries. personifying them as passive sodomites and referring to their sheriff (alguazil) in the following terms: “For just and terrible he should be / because he gives to each what he deserves / and he sticks his staff in his eye.C. 64 For the connection between the words “eye” and “anus” see Louis O. the Valencian Inquisition prosecuted Miguel Adriz. for instance. Tordesillas y Olivares indiciados del pecado nefando. 66 AHN-I.” in Queer Iberia: Sexualities. for blasphemy after he allegedly exclaimed that “Muhammad rode [in a sexual way] all the Christians. 1 (2002): 141–60. no. the sodomy in the narrative was useful because it could so easily represent relationships of political power. asserting his sexual dominance and thereby establishing his preeminent social and political position.66 Melchor Armengol’s active sodomy with village adolescents not only helped to shape him into a patriarch through his bodily experiences but also encompassed a wider political and social message of domination over the villagers at large. when a morisco named Jusepe de Alfaro was tried for telling a story—“in very crass words. Somehow. coupled with the story of Christ giving up the fruit to an intruding Muhammad. Unfortunately. Therein perhaps lies the reaction of villagers against Armengol. 1590). strongly implies the latter sodomizing the former. Josiah Blackmore and Gregory and S.65 A similar case took place in Valencia in 1570. they also consciously produced a discourse that targeted Armengol’s inordinate political and social influence. 937. so that. and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.” in Poesías varias.Producing Patriarchy 373 it Góngora cleverly plays on the names of these Castilian towns. “Góngora: Poeta de bujarrones. 3919.” according to the inquisitorial summary—about Christ tending to a cantaloupe field and Muhammad arriving to take some of the fruit. 65 AHN-I.64 The use of sodomy as a political metaphor was not uncommon or even restricted to literary figures. the summary does not provide the exact words utilized. Hutcheson (Durham.: Duke University Press. but. his patriarchal claims. more tellingly. However. Not only did the concerned parents and other villagers complain about the emasculation of these village adolescents. testified that 63 “Por justo y por terrible bien lo sea / porque les da lo suyo a cada uno / y le mete la bara por el ojo” (Luis de Góngora. Cultures. BNE). . “The Semiotics of Phallic Aggression and Anal Penetration as Male Agonistic Ritual in the Libro de Buen Amor. Vasvari. so we cannot know for certain who took the passive and active roles. 92v (Belchite. 1999). lib. lib. 1570). one of the witnesses in the case. ed. implying that the village itself had been sodomized. 988. In 1590. in effect.” Caliope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry 8. “A tres hombres que se llamaban Carrión. in other words. Joan Zabater. 131–33. N. surely a dream for many oppressed moriscos. ms. the story ended with both engaging in sodomy.

374 CRISTIAN BERCO he has commonly heard from most people in Bot. ‘ha ha fotedorat de chicos’” (AHN-I. 85v [Bot. y que hacia libelos infamatarios. Moreover. and his strained political relationship with the village council all coincided in this assessment of the situation. patriarchy provided the necessary preconditions for a sodomitical impulse often designed to dominate emasculated objects of desire. his sexual activities. malsufrido. . y particularmente en la iglesia. who were all members of the legally constituted municipal corporation. 1616]). the son of the said Torres. a sacristan named by the village council to control the expenses of the candles before the Holy Sacrament and other church items. que era un hombre insolente. impatient. custom. At the same time. . as well as in Gandesa. desospechado. Even the public sensationalism of the case helped to reinforce and reproduce it. In creating a culture of masculinity where penetrative behavior was prized. . especially in church. sodomy cases themselves—through the sexual act itself and 67 “Y ha oído decir comúnmente a la mayor parte de la gente de Bot que hablaban de el. it was said in the village of Bot that one day the said master of Bot was quarreling with a certain Torres. . Armengol was obviously going too far. who spoke of [Armengol] that he was an insolent man. familial and political structures. ah. Armengol’s patriarchal body and the power it represented had reached its limit. The historical context to the charge of sodomy in this case shows us how the law. and who wrote inflammatory libels. . “Ah. 7. child fucker!”67 Armengol’s patriarchal personality. who though influential within local communities still stood separate from them because of their juridical and spiritual status. and religiosity all worked to reproduce and even amplify the ideas and assumptions that buttressed a patriarchal society. salió un muchacho. 559. leg. came out and angrily pointed to the master [saying]. Se decía en dicho lugar de Bot que riniendo el dicho rector de Bot con tal Torres sacristán puesto por el consejo de la villa de Bot para que se tenga cuenta en la lumbrería y otras cosas de la iglesia. as evidenced from many trials. CONCLUSION This study of early modern Spanish sodomy trials reveals a dynamic connection between male sodomy and patriarchy. hijo del dicho Torres. . como tiene dicho atrás. when a youngster. suspicious. e dijo contra el rector de Bot en dicha ocasión con cólera estas palabras. and clergymen. Armengol’s sexuality mattered because it interfered with the ideal balance of social and political relations in the village of Bot. no. . In the context of the often convoluted relations between villagers. como en Gandesa. Both the grafting of patriarchal notions on the bodies of participants themselves and the amplification of patriarchal discourse through the momentous instance of a sexual scandal point to the crucial nature of sexuality in maintaining the patriarchal order. así en dicha villa de Bot.

since it was part and parcel of the patriarchal order. Castelli. one could even argue that male sodomy was anything but queer. and lacking a reality unto itself rather than as a force capable of affecting the material world. A Field Left Fallow for Others to Till. the difficulties and continuing resistance to Spanish sexual norms by the Maya in Pete Sigal. its hierarchies. Understanding how patriarchy and sodomy reproduced each other in a machinelike circuit of 68 See Daniel Boyarin and Elizabeth A. seems to be seen solely as part of a process that shapes sexuality by constructing sexual categories. “Introduction: Foucault’s The History of Sexuality: The Fourth Volume. or their various forms of social control. for a wonderfully lucid assessment of Foucault’s understanding of sexuality within his greater project on subjectivity. This difference probably has more to do with differing assumptions behind what is meant by “sexuality”: Foucault and the scholars who have followed him in the realm of feminist and queer theories. This suggestion might seem strange given the dominant bent of historical literature on this topic. 2000). 69 Scholars have pointed.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 10. nos. malleable. to the inability of this apparatus to colonize the interior realm effectively. This is not to say that the notion of queerness is irrelevant to the history of homoeroticism. See. And. outside the norm and destabilizing to heteronormative order. moreover.68 Their preoccupations with questions of subjectivity and identity have meant. In the end. it is also readily apparent. we find a system of sexuality where even homoerotic behavior rested on patriarchal assumptions. that society at large. In the wake of Michel Foucault. or religion. 3–4 (2001): 357–74. we encounter a system whereby patriarchal order and sodomy interacted in mutual reinforcement. sexuality has been seen as the product of discourse and thus immaterial. indeed. Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography (New York: Oxford University Press. it remains mostly anchored in the study of pure discourse and culture. . so steeped in poststructuralist traditions. and tensions rather than on the individual). in the shape of heteronormative order. I seek to understand the interactions between sexuality and society. For the influence of Foucault on queer theory and politics see David M. or the state.69 Rather than approaching sexuality from this perspective. While male homosexual sodomy may have been queer. it was often extremely difficult to influence individuals’ internal desires. From Moon Goddesses to Virgins: The Colonization of Yucatecan Maya Sexual Desire (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1995). since it does seem to make sense when approaching the issue of homosexual sodomy from the point of view of identity formation and subjectivity. that it need not have been necessarily so. have focused largely on the relationship between sexuality and subjectivity. While external behavior could be policed.Producing Patriarchy 375 its retelling and re-creation in language and in a social milieu—reproduced and amplified patriarchal concerns. given its connection to patriarchal culture in early modern Spain. Yet when we approach sodomy from a larger perspective (one centered on society. for example. or. Halperin. however. While this endeavor is laudable in that it reveals much about previous mistaken assumptions regarding identity.

The construction of patriarchal bodies through the very imprinting of gendered assumptions onto the flesh places sexuality not outside the social but concretely in its midst. Though I do not subscribe to his theories in general. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. sodomy. They remind us that though for years we have come to see the relationship between sexuality and linguistic discourse as unshakeable.376 CRISTIAN BERCO transmission between desire. as I argue. a force that we tend to place in the “cultural” realm.70 If. and the hierarchies that have tended to be studied from a purely “materialist” perspective. Mark Seem. in this case. following Foucault. and Helen R. then perhaps we can start thinking of the relationship between evanescent forces like desire and the material world and its collectivities in a different way. and the material world reveals little about subjectivity but a great deal about the connection between sexuality. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 70 . the social order of patriarchy necessitated the constant productive input of sexuality and. trans. see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Robert Hurley. culture. 1983). sexuality is not just confined to language. 1–41. These early modern Spanish sources reveal a social system in which sodomy and patriarchy are deeply intertwined. They demonstrate that sexuality not only absorbs dominant cultural expectations but in turn reproduces and amplifies them to create an essential machinery that maintains social order. much of the inspiration for this sense of sexuality and the social realm stems from Gilles Deleuze’s notion of desiring machines.

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