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A History of the Marranos by Cecil Roth

By Cecil Roth

Original yr of publication: 1932

Publisher's Description
The list of the "New Christians" is an inseparable a part of the tales of Spain and Portugal, on the interval in their maximum brilliance. It constitutes a primary, even though tragic, bankruptcy of ecclesiastical historical past. It touches at the lifetime of each nation of Western Europe within the seventeenth and 18th centuries, at the most important issues. it's the history to the biography of numerous individuals of the top eminence, either within the Peninsula and in another country. It had vital reactions in politics, literature, technological know-how and trade. all through, it obtained lurid illumination from the flares of the autos-da-fe.

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Example text

Andrés Heli, another writer of high eminence, traced his descent to a Jewish family of Saragossa. In a later generation, Pedro Guttierez de Santa Clara, the historian of the conquest of Peru, belonged to the same category. Fernando de Rojas, the father of the Spanish novel and author of Celestina, which had an immeasurable influence upon European literature in every country, was similarly of Jewish blood. Juan de España of Toledo, known as El Viejo, was a sound Talmudist as well as a poet of note, and introduced rabbinic phrases into his pasquinades against his former coreligionists.

At Barcelona, in spite of the protection of the authorities, the whole community was wiped out. From Catalonia, the frenzy spread to the Balearic Islands, where on August 2 an exterminatory massacre took place at Palma. The total number of victims was said to have amounted to as many as fifty thousand in all. There were some important communi- 16 HISTORY OF THE MARRANOS ties—as, for example, that of Barcelona, which had maintained an unbroken existence from the eighth century at least—which henceforth were never reestablished.

However, the fact that the term was practically9 unknown amongst the Jews indicates that it did not originate amongst them, and that a non-Hebrew origin must be sought for it. One such derivation which has been suggested is from the second word in the ecclesiastical term of execration Anathema Maranatha;10 another is from the Arabic Mura’in, signifying hypocrite. However, all this linguistic speculation is needless. The word Marrano is an old Spanish term dating back to the early Middle Ages and meaning swine.

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