By Jonathan S. Ray
Honorary point out for the 2014 Medieval and Early sleek Jewish background part ebook award awarded via the organization for Jewish Studies
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Extra resources for After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry
Iberian churches were at the mercy of ambitious monarchs who, under the pretext of fighting the “infidel,” would redirect ecclesiastical funds toward their own personal endeavors. Relations between Iberian Christians and Muslims thus varied greatly from year to year, and from 24 << Medieval Inheritance one part of the peninsula to another. 41 Jewish fortunes rose and fell upon these same turbulent seas. As a politically neutral and easily controlled minority, Jews were given opportunities to act as diplomats and translators for Christian lords.
Zacuto was a rabbi and leading mathematician and astronomer who was forty years old at the time of the Expulsion. He had taught at Christian universities in his native Salamanca as well as in Cartagena and Zaragoza before accepting exile in Portugal, where he served as royal astronomer at the court of João II. His travels through Iberia, followed by an escape to North Africa and Jerusalem, gave Zacuto a privileged vantage point from which to observe Hispano-Jewish society during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
34 Jewish bitterness over the perceived opportunism of the Conversos finally burst forth in the immediate aftermath of 1492. The spate of conversions that took place in the few months between the promulgation of the edict in late March and its execution in August fanned the flames of resentment and feelings of abandonment among those Jews who had accepted the burden of exile. 22 << Medieval Inheritance Isaac Abravanel’s account of Ferdinand II’s decision to expel the Jews is telling in this regard.