martes, 16 de octubre de 2012

Visit to the Medieval Jews District of Valencia, Spain

Valencian Medieval Jewish District: The Jewish Valencia is an unknown for many people so that we I will propose you today this detailed itinerary across the jewish ghetto about 1390 BC-
The name for Jewish Ghetto in local language was jueria and officially was called the Call to some coming from qahal legal community, to other from Latin Callis, the "street".
The extent of Jewish district Valencia matched the parish of Santo Tomás around 1240 and its expansion in 1390 with San Andrés Parish church.
We begin our tour of the call walking along r the expansion of 1390, highlighted in blue color on map

Wall. Inside the cloister of the ancient University, in the way toward the history library, one can see see on the ground some houses beneath the Christian wall canvas from the time of Pedro el Ceremonioso, King of Aragon, from 1356 around. The Jewish quarter of that time contained the expansion of the ancient settlement by population growth or new families coming in the fourteenth century.
According to the some historians close to the later Palacio del Patriarca (Patriarch Palace) stood the synagogue Çamalhesit, perhaps the last synagogue built. The Hebrew word would sound as shem - a (l) - hesed, "The Name of the Pious One" or “compassionate Lord”. The hasidies are the current orthodox in Jerusalem. The synagogue was called in Hebrew Beth-hakeneset, “The House of the Community” and next to it was the Bet-midrash "the" House of Study ".
The walls of the Jewish district bordered the present University and Palace “Marques de Dos Aguas” until reaching the Plaza Margarita Valdaura.  
Margarita De Valdaura and Luis VIves streets

Next to which was the Market or souk, the busiest part of this craftsmanship and hand-working people. The Jews lived devoted to crafts and trade in luxury items and making loans. The craft had been represented by items of inlay, gold and silver. In this souk lived workers engaged in crafts, with artisans dedicated to footwear, textile (tailors, weavers, dyers, metal), paying oft renting for the obrador (Stall). Near here, to the Market square, Jewish merchants were intermediaries in the trade of oriental silks and leather pieces and weapons from Northern Europe. This call was semi-destroyed in the assault on the wall that took place by the summer of 1391, when a priest from Andalucia (archdeacon of Ecija)) made some anti-Semitic sermons in Seville's Cathedral and sparked a wave of antisemitism that lighted the flame of hate at northern Spain, following the destruction of the Call.
Between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the golden age of Valencian culture, three illustrious Jews lived around this site. According to tradition on the edge of the old souk, near Plaza of Margaret of Valdaura, the great humanist Juan Luis Vives (1492-1540). The illustrious Renaissance man studied at the newly founded University of Valencia around 1508 and in Paris from 1509 to 1512 and then moved to Flanders in 1512. Meanwhile, both his father and grandmother in Valencia fell into the hands of the Inquisition. His friendship with Erasmus of Rotterdam led him to teach at the renowned Leuven University, then got a friendship with Thomas More which opened to him the doors of Oxford University. Back in Leuven, Vives tutored many noble persons from the environment of Emperor Charles V and came to consult supporters both of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. His classical thought seeks to give the Prince a harmonious education which will bring peace among states. His theory of education based on the Bible and the Greek classics in a transfer of tradition from master to disciple may have influenced the Essays of Michel de Montaigne. His wife, Margarita of Valdaura born in 1505 in the heart of a wealthy Jewish family, moved to Bruges shortly thereafter, considered an extension of the Crown. Luis Vives was his preceptor when she was only seven years old, and Margarita was his faithful wife and the secretary of this encyclopedic man and secular intellectual model for the time. Also dramatic was the end of another Valencian family of the mid-15th century, the Alcanyis. Lluís Alcanyís was born in Xàtiva and moved to Valencia where he followed medical studies from1467 to 1462, period in which he joins the local cultural life, and highlighting interest in letters and medical research. He was married twice, with Jewish converts women. His second wife, Elionor Esparça gave him four daughters and a young, Francesc, also a doctor. In his teaching as Professor Lluís Alcanyís was medical examiner from 1467 to 1477 and taught surgery until 1487. With the founding of the University of Valencia in 1499 Lluís took the medicine and surgery chair, and between 1500 and 1504 he taught in the chair of "Principles and Practice of Medicine". As a part of this discipline he wrote a treatise against epidemics whose title Regiment contra la Pestilencia shows his concern for the prevention of diseases, due to the recent Valencia plague of 1490. Luis Alcanys along with his wife, Eleanor Esparza, were condemned by the Inquisition to the stake in Valencia.

 Original Map of P. Tosca, of XVIIth Valencia
at St Thomas Church 

Finally Luis de Santángel, born in Valencia the same year than Luis Vives in 1492, was born in a family of converted Jewish who came from Aragon. His grandfather Azariah, was founder of the Jewish community of Daroca, and moved to Valencia for commercial reasons , where he settled nearby the parish of St. Thomas. His son Luis Santángel was enriched through the leasing fees and taxes for the crown to the Genovese community. When he died, his son Luis Santángel Vilamarchant was granted by King Ferdinand of Aragon the printing money supervision from 1479 to 1481 when he was charged with general supervision of Royal Finances. Luis met with a Cristobal Colon discouraged in his projects at 1486 and Santangel intercession was essential for the acceptance of the “Capitulaciones de Santa Fe”, signed by the same Santángel, who advanced part of the sum for the expedition. Columbus himself will write to him the first letter with the relationship of the discovery of the New World. In 1497 Santangel obtained a status of limpieza de sangre (Blood cleaned statute), a privilege that protected him before the Holy Office. Louis died in 1544.
Three such important Louis for so small neighborhood, don't you think?


Hinojosa, José , la judería de Valencia en la Edad Media, Valencia 2007.

Niclós,José Vicente, Tres culturas tres religiones en la Península Ibérica, Salamanca 2012, pp.285-340.
 Rodrigo y Pertegas, José, La judería de Valencia, apéndice a la obra de José Sánchis Sivera, La iglesia parroquial de san Esteban, Valencia 1913, pp.245-267.

Sanz Ruíz, Fernando,“Guía de recorridos históricos de Valencia”, Valencia 2006.

Teixidor de Otto, Mª J.-Boira i Marqués, El entorno urbano de la Universitat, pp. 164-165.

“Un paseo por la judería de Valencia”, Levante-Emt, 28-01-2006

“Los judíos en la Valencia medieval”, Las Provincias, 23-09-2012

"Plano de la judería", Esther Blanco Tamayo (UPV), basado en plano de Rodrigo y Pertegás.