Transient marginal identities and networks in early modern Madrid: The 1614 case of the ‘Armenian’, ‘Greek’ and ‘Turkish’ counterfeiters

Konstantin Mierau*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This article centres on a trial held in Madrid in 1614 involving a group identified as ‘vagrants’ of ‘Armenian’ and ‘Greek’ background. In order to tease out the ways in which the presence of foreigners challenged the institutions and citizens, this article approaches these defendants as relationally defined actors in the urban dynamic. It reveals the tactics marginal groups employed vis-à-vis strategic attempts by the municipal government to control foreigners by assigning them identities based on ethnicity. This case-study thus calls into question notions of vagrancy and identification based on ethnicity (‘Armenian’ and ‘Greek’, in particular) in Madrid under Phillip III and IV. In doing so, it shows marginality to be a key yet elusive site for cultural encounters and collaboration in early modern Europe, in which multilingual and culturally fluid social actors related to the Armenian diaspora played a central role
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)28-43
    Number of pages16
    JournalUrban history
    Issue number1
    Early online date7-Dec-2020
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2022

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