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The accepted other: Tolerance towards the Jews in Middle Ages Galicia


Carlos Barros

University of Santiago of Compostela



The Latin term tolerantia, which was used in the Middle Ages[1] in its ethimological sense of suffering and patience, will later take on, specifically from the Enlightenment onwards, a second, more positive meaning referred to the otherness, where tolerance connotes  accepting  the other.

 It is our intention, by  taking medieval Galicia as an example, to study Christian tolerance towards the Jewish minority, more as a conscious practice of the Christian society than as an intellectual conception. Thus, we will attempt to rebalance the traditional approach by researchers, which -not without motives- has so far been excessively focused on the anti-Semitic constant. By questioning history from the perspective of current problems[2], by learning today from the experiences of the past, in our case, from the irregular medieval historical process which led , after a century-long coexistence , to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1496.

In psychological terms , tolerance, the conceptual tool for our anlysis, could be defined  as an attitude and a behaviour based on flexivility an self-control in response to external stimuli which contradict our own beliefs and opinions. A predisposition - and the subsequent behaviour - to peaceful coexistence with those who are different or hold diverging opinons as regards religion, race, nationality, social status or ideology. The tolerant self implies  acceptance and respect towards the other . We are , therefore, speaking of an identity, whose foundations are to be found in the otherness.  A tolerant attitude does not, therefore, entail the renounce to one’s own convictions. It maintains the discrepancy with opposing beliefs , and implies persuading the other through dialogue and not through violence . The resort to violence to impose any given belief or ideology, by getting rid of those who do not share it, establishes the moment of hememony of intolerance, that is to say , the predisposition to exclude the other, often physically through banishment, torture and death.


A postponed issue


The relative exceptionality - sometimes a prolonged one - of tolerance as a collective attitude  has its explanation in the fact that it often advocates an egalitarian treatment amidst unequal social groups as regards their number or political influence[3], in the context of a very polarised society. Eventually, the logic of power and exclusion tends to impose,pushing into the background, as a consequence, tolerance as a historiographical theme to the benefit of a violent and triumphalist anti-Semitism  . The final solution of forcing the conversion and/ or the expulsion of medieval Jews, first in Europe and much later in the Iberian Peninsule, has- in many cases - made many historians consign into oblivion the periods of peaceful coexistence - which indeed were never free from a conflictive dimension- but which, strictly speaking, occupy most of Spanish Middle Ages.

Jewish-Muslim-Christian coexistence,and the attitudes underlying it, have therefore been considered secondary issues in recent Spanish historiography[4]. This cannot be even justified on the necessity to reconstruct from a professional and democratic ideological stance a history of Spain which had just undergone an ideological manipulation by Francoism because the latter did not vindicate the three-culture Spain but rather the contrary, as it is well known . It is for this reason that  the First International Conference ”Encuentro de tres culturas”, held in Toledo in 1982, acquires for some authors relevance as a legitimate search for medieval historical predecents of “the coexistence of different cultures” in the context of the fledgling Spanish democracy[5].The Renaissance and Humanist image of a barbarian Middle Ages obscured the fact that it was at the time of both the protestant Reform and the Catholic Contrareform in Europe when religious intolerance was taken to its ultimate consequences. The religious wars in the second half of the sixteenth century are a good paradigm of it. Popular pogroms in  Late Middle Ages Castile were a child’s play in comparison to the persecutory violence of the Inquisition throughout the Modern Age against anyone who believed - and especially practiced- in a way other than that of the State religion.

The undervaluing of the tolerant part of reality derives from the characteristic conception of  anti-Semitism  as a social mentality of long duration which bursts in some given social, political and mental environments, periodically reaching increasingly more extreme levels . It is not surprising , therefore, that ever since the Jewish genocide and that of other minorities during the Second World War the pesimistic image of tolerance and coexistence have been stressed as historical and historiographical byproducts.

 Historians, nonetheless,should transcend the hindrance posed by the length of time to  analyse the Jewish issue on a middle and a close perspective, being oblivious to the romantic idealisation of a medieval context free from conflicts. Rather, historians should always seek to reproduce history in full, that is to say, a dialectic history, by looking at complementary, and even antagonical views -in the case under discussion- of the exclusion and/or acceptance of the other.

The scientific aim of objectivity must therefore seek to complete and confront - something which is not always feasible- the majoritary, Christian point of view, based on Christian sources and the minoritary, Jewish point of view based on Hebrew sources. A previous and necessary step for this necessary assessment of Jewish specificity is the understanding of the changing Jewish-Christian relationship as a mobile, complex system of tolerance and intolerance, even of intellectual controversy for and against Judaism[6].


Double tendency


The recovery of tolerance as a research topic may not be possible or may prove fruitless unless we leave behind the old historiograpic controversy - intensified around the Fifth Centenary- that took place forty years ago between Américo Castro and Claudio Sánchez Albornoz. The former posited that Spain was the consequence of the blend of three cultures, namely the Christian, the Jewish and the Muslim[7], while the latter denied it by branding as ‘supposed’ such medieval coexistence of Christian, Jews and Muslims [8]. Needless to say , there is documental evidence to support both stances. Tolerance and anti-Semitism  are, in actual fact, compatible and complementary attitudes and behaviours. They justify and need each other. They do not exist in isolation. Strickly speaking, then,  the controversity is proven false  from the moment we define tolerance as coexisting with the other[9]: " without suspending our views on our beliefs and behaviours, but renouncing to use them as justification for persecution"[10]. In fact, in Medieval laws , the Partidas in particular, we find protective rules as well as discriminative rules coexisting together establishing a feedback relationship, which defines a unique framework of tolerance among Chistians, Moors and Jews . It is for this reason that we are going to find in each class or group both hostility and respect towards the Jewish communities, in variable proportions according to the social background, the moment and the place.

Underlying the tolerant coexistence there is a dichotomy of interests, beliefs and images  at work, in which mutual relationships go from acceptance to exclusion, depending on the situation, the social group and / or the places . In other words, we find in the tolerant attitude traces of anti-Semitism , obviously in a moderate form; its opposite would not be intolerance but  philo-Judaism, a phenomenon althogether marginal in Medieval Spain[11], and which, in any case, springs to the surface only in periods of persecution, when those who were tolerant in the past  are forced to choose between the hostigating and the protecting sides, between those opposed to and those in favour of Jews ( or converts for that ).

The value of tolerance could be defined as a theoretical balance point between the anti-Semitism  of some and the anti-Christianism of the others...  If forces were on a level , but that is not the case, and consequently the tolerance/ intolerance alternative becomes , more than anything, a prerogative of dominating Christian society rather than an option of the Hebrew minority.

A double, contradictory and inseparable tendency  is found across Middle Ages Europe: the accepted other versus the excluded other ( the bridge between both is the invented other).  The  subjetivism of the historian, who has the privilege of knowing the final outcome ( the expulsion in 1492) must not lead us to deny or ignore the prolonged coexistence  which made that , for the people of the time, the coexistence between Christians, Jews (and Moors),  was the alternative they were more acquainted with and desired the most ; the most stable and feasible among both communities . What today seems like a precarious balance bound to result in persecution and banishment, might not have been interpreted by contemporaries up to 1492 as a reality of coexistance which was episodically broken by outbursts of violence and intolerance?

This double medieval tendency, a mixture of friendship and detachment , of permissiveness and discrimanation, whose surprising and prolonged stability is accounted for by the fragmentation of power and the weakness of the State in feudal times, is materially generated by a daily and  economic life to a great extent shared , especially in medieval cities. Its  intellectual correspondence is to be found in a religious relativism, more widespread than it is usually believed, which divided the truth of God amidst the three “book -based religions”.

The tolerance towards Jews and Moors was markedly religious ( but also legal, socio-economic and mental ). Its relativist content is mirrored in eurdite and courtesan culture in a number of ways, for instance, when it comes to establishing the different forms of swearing for Christians, Jews and Moors , each according to their beliefs and in their religious buildings (Christian church, synagogue or mosque )[12]. This religious diversity , admitted by the laws,  has a correspondence in a popular and oral vision. Such vision was expressed in in late fifteenth century Castile by converts and cristianos viejos ( priests included ) in the following way: " it was believed that each was salved in their law "; "three laws hath God made and I could not say which is  the truest "; “fellow man,God made three laws. And it is unknown to man which is the truest"; "the good Jew would salve and so would the good Moor in their law"; "none of them knowst which is that God loves the most"[13]. Obviously enough , the “everything-is-equally-true mentality” of common people surpasses the tolerant intentions of the elite culture, which does not renounce to conversion in the future. Thus writes the jurist, on behalf of  Alfonso XI (1348): "and it is our will that Jews remain in our domain ; and the Holy Church thus orders because although they have not converted to our faith nor obtain salvation according to the profecies, being able to honestly procure a living and sustenance in our domain, we consider fair that they may own and purchase properties "[14]. This sort of earthly purgatory - official version of what we call here double tendency- in which written culture confined the Jews, is in deep contrast with the oral culture which ensured the same heaven to the observant Jew.

The very Jew minority was interested in a certain degree of separation - if not the enjoyment of certain legal privileges - in relation to the Christian majority, and above all, it longed for self-rule, which would enable them to maintain and practice their religion and abide by their law. It favoured, therefore, a certain segregation materialized in the existence of the Jewry  (with its synagogue, its burial ground and sometimes its walls), location and physical identification of the other- also present in the obligation, usually flouted- of wearing an emblem or distinctive garments - which in general focalised a tolerant attitude and also, in given instances, the brutality of a majority.

                Were not the Jews , on the other hand, a necessary part of Medieval Western society? It would be a serious antimaterialist mistake if we considered that anti-Semitism  had its only source in the economic basis of feudal society[15].  The production conditions were shared by both Christians and Jews. The importance of the economic and professional function of Jews  where Christians could not collaborate efficiently ( loans, tax collection, administration, medicine), especially on the urban, finantial and courtesan scene reinforced their economic integration in a social system which, at the same time, structurally segregated them by definition, because Christians could not assimilate Jews in the main productive feudal relationship, neither as vassals nor as lords[16]. Jews, consequently, were organised  according to a unique statute as a private possession of the King , servi regis: "Jews belong to the King; although they have the power of wealthy men"[17]. Kings, in some occasions, delegated this exceptional power over the Jews on lay and eccesiastic lords, who, like the king, received them in their lands, leving taxes on them and benefiting from their knowledge  [18].We shall mention below one of such cases in the territory of Ourense in Galicia.


The invented other


Jacques Le Goff pointed out the ambivalent character of medieval Christianity between the closed religion of the Old Testament and the open religion of the New Testament, although the latter had a particularist and hostile tendence towards the other religions: "Your God is unique.Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain"[19]. This ambiguity leads Christians to both hate and admire Jews - and other segragated minorities, cutting off- at the same time- any dialogue with them through persecutions and carnages throughout the Middle Ages[20]. A double sense which concerns- in different degrees- all classes and groups in medieval society, depending on time and space coordenates.

The paradoxical basis of the attitude of the Christian society towards medieval Jews  makes the anthropological notion of otherness[21] a key tool for the understanding of a relationship which, not doubt, is more contradictory for us than it was for medieval people, and   one which, if we are to properly comprehend, the classical criteria for approaching the quantitative ( majority/ minority) or the spatitial ( central/marginal) problem prove insufficient.  We must go deeper into the psychosocial relationship with the other, regardless of their number[22], since it is one of markedly quantitative nature . This notion of otherness is expressed through an affective, imaginary and unconscious mentality, which explains the mentioned paradoxical behaviour[23] - along with the economic contradictions on which it is based . Likewise, this mentality also accounts for the known function of the Jew as scapegoat in moments of serious social, political and /or mental crisis.

The violence which characterizes the passing from the near, accepted, tolerated other to the far, excluded and persecuted other is inseparable from  -thus giving rise to an unconsious projection in search for an scapegoat - what Marxism appropriately  calls‘ false conscience’,  the aprehension of reality as something invented , imaginary . With the notion of otherness, social imagination enters the picture , especially when we go from peaceful acceptance to refusal, in search of the extermination of the other . Then, the accepted other is radically transformed into the invented other ; the diverse becomes the opposed ; the difference turns into the opposite: the difference becomes alienation and, strickly speaking, otherness turns into  alienidad[24]. It is then the time of false accusations, of the antisemitic stereotype, of the deformed image of the Jew as an enemy ,a long-lasting latent image, which as we mentioned above, is brought to the foregound or pushed into the background depending on the mental circumstances . The mental change from the acceptance to the fiction of the other acts as a bridge , paves the way and sets the environment for the great outburst of sublimating violence  against the bouc émissaire, ultimate representation of the invented other.


Tolerant Galicia


It has been a general norm of the authors [25] who have studied the Jews in Medieval Galicia to stress the predominance of tolerance over exclusion and the remarkable non-existence of Late Middle Ages pogroms listings [26]. Amador de los Ríos says of the medieval kingdom of  Galicia: "where seldom were Jews victims of the people’s anger "[27]. This is so to the extent that if research on the Jews were exclusively centred on antisemitic mentality and practice , it could be said that Hebrew Galicia would hardly exist. Galicia is, therefore, since the people’s anti-Semitism  did not went beyond the threshold of violence during the Middle Ages, the adequate scenario to study the weight of tolerance on Jew-Christian relations, without this meaning, of course, that the particular situation of Galicia may be simply  extrapolated to the other kingdoms of Castile and Leon.

Not only Galicia stood aside from the violent antisemitic wave, the carnages of 1391 in Castile and Catalonia did not extend to Leon, Portugal or Navarre[28] either. From a typological point of view, in the Late Middle Ages, the movements against lords arise more  intensily on the northern territories of the Crown of Castile, especially in Galicia, whereas the movements against the Jews are stronger in the South, notably in Andalusia, where pogroms have their origin in  1391[29]. These regional differences in the domain of the kingdoms of Castile and Leon as regards "the level of anti-Semitic manifestations"[30], are also perceived as regards the level of tolerance towards the Jews.[31]. The legislator is aware of it. For that reason in the  Ordenamiento de Alcalá de 1348, when purchases by Jews are limited so as to prevent an uncontroled increase in their properties,  greater permissiveness is shown north of the  Douro, Duero allende, in other words, in the kingdoms of  Galicia, Asturias, Leon  and the Basque  provinces, than South of that river , Duero aquende: "In the north of the Douro  the limit is set in the amount of thirty thousand  mr. for everyone owning a house there ; and south of the Douro in the remaining counties up to the amount of twenty thousand each as it has been established"[32].

The greater the tolerance, the more sincere the conversions (i.e. less forced).  It is a shared belief among fifteenth century narrative sources that northern converts (Old Castile) were more sincere than southern converts  (New Castile and even more so in Andalusia), more notorious before cristianos viejos . That is the reason why the Inquisition concentrated its efforts during Late Middle Ages on the sourthern area[33]. This environment of growing  coexistence as we move north has to do with the fewer number of Medieval Jewish settlements[34], and underscores the representativity of Galician tolerance.

Given the evidence of the spectacularly of triumphant anti-Semitism  in Castile, its tolerant counterpoint goes unnoticed , despite its temporal continuity .It even comes back to life in the places most affected by the 1391 carnage -,hence the value of studying less tense scenarios such as the Galiacian one in throwing light onto the mentioned tendency.

Of the Medieval Jewries we have fewer documental traces[35] than in the case of Castilian ones [36],which were also more important and conflictive. We know , however, more of the Jews  in Medieval Galicia than of those in the remaining north of the peninsule[37], data being more abundant from the fifteenth century onwards[38].  In the years previous to the expulsion, between  1474 y 1491,  we know from the royal taxes paid by Jewries ( services and contributions for the war in Granada) in which Galician cities there were significative Jewish communities ( although the list of places where there is documental evidence of the presence of Jewish is more comprehensive): Allariz, Bayona, Betanzos, A Coruña, Monforte, Ourense, Pontedeume, Ribadavia y Ribadeo[39]. The amount of  maravedíes contributed place Galician Jews living in those towns[40] below the level of  the Castilian Jews, which confirms their relatively reduced number [41]. The attitude of the Christian majority towards the Jewish minority, is, anyway, a subjective issue. In other words, it is a qualitative rather than a quantitavity issue[42].  The Jews numerical inferiority favoured on the one hand, integration and tolerance , as the hegemonic Christian society felt less threatened , but this should not be  reason enough for anti-Semitism not  to act in a exteme way , exaggerating the number of the enemies of  the faith [43]. José María Monsalvo has already pointed out the role of social psychology[44] in accounting for the fact that the 1391 carnages did not spread to the Castilian north despite the size of its Jewries, for instance,  to Burgos (120-150 families) - the second most important Jewry after Toledo[45]. An outburst of popular wrath against Jews does not actually require a great number of opponents, but rather factors working as catalysts: an adequate mental universe - the invention of the other - materialized in false accussations , spread by overexcited preachers -and latent social tensions whose only letout is to agitate a well-known medieval stereotype[46], whose origin and ramifications  take us well back into the distant past.


Tolerance as otherness : Allariz


On May 20th  1289 the local council of  Allariz reach a paradigmatic [47] agreement before the royal Chief Justice of the village "and the priests there ", with Isaac Ismael, "Senior Jew of the Jews with abode in this village", in order to regulate the peaceful coexistence of Chistrians and Jews: a true pact of otherness . The first remarkable point is the mediating role of the royal power[48] as well as that of the Church, together with the equitable and egalitarian nature of the agreement. The tolerance that is established is mutual; particular care is put in not making Christian superiority explicit . As regards religions, an agreement is made to separate Christian and Jewish public celebrations, thus preventing the ones from attending the celebrations of the others so as to avoid anyone showing anti-Semitic or anti-Christian opinions.

It is thus established that  "During the prayers and celebrations that the said Jews held on the outskirts of the village at the foot of our Castelo[49], there should be no Christian, dweller of the aforementioned village, whose intention be to scorn or disrupt their prayers". Jewish processions took place, significatively enough, outside the city, thus revealing the original  Jewish marginality. A typical form of anti-Semitism  was to cause disruption by resorting to legal accions in their religious ceremonies, with the apparent collusion of the local council. A renounce to such accion was established by mutual agreement .

 Most surely these anti-Semitic actions had prompted retaliatory measures and /or vicerversa.

Jews, on the other hand, were obliged to respect Christian processions: "and when we take our God and His mother, Holy Mary, out in the streets no Jew should attend , and Christians will be alert in the streets where we shall take our God unless there is any mockery, disruption, heinous act or riot as it is often the case". This disrespectful behaviour was, in fact, habitual among Jews by way of retaliation for the discrimination they suffered : they made fun of their God ( Jesus Christ) and His mother, Holy Mary. But it is the Christian wording of ‘ our God ‘ which we would like to stress upon as  it amounts to recognising the plurality of beliefs, thus moving away from the official nomopolism and proselitistism and allowing us to glimpse a clear glimmering of religious relativism, which we have already mentioned and which, in this particular case, demonstrates the sincerity of the offer of an egalitarian treatment on the part of the mayoritary religion.

Tolerance and segregation- this time voluntary, accepted- in the urban scene is the agreed form to articulate the mutual acceptance of the other . Not only in processions must they be separated, but also in the quarters. "And no Christian shall dwell on the Jewish quarter", reads the agreement, thus informing us of the pre-existence of a Jewry in the village[50]; the motivation to live together and in a non-discrimitatory way derives from the very agreement itself : "nor there shall be any riot ". From the other party it is established: "That the aforesaid Senior Jew nor his people purchase, barter or dwell on any house outside the  Jewry  or any other street in the village where Chistians dwell".  It is therefore agreed that  Alarican Jews cannot open their shops or live outside the Jewry. But by way of compensation they are entitled to take their victuals and goods across the village: "and Jews may use the gates of the village to carry to the Jewry whatever victuals  they consider necessary"[51].

In other words, yes, there is segregation . But Jews are not denied the use of the walled town when they consider it commercially necessary. Thus they mutally facilitate their daily and economic life by yielding in both civil and religious issues.

Likewise, it is agreed that the Xudeu Maior, Isaac Ismael, who happens to be an important proprietor of real estate outside the Jewry, both in and outside the town walls, should leave “ the house in the borough’ as security to Xoan de Amoeiro "for the damages that his Jews may cause"[52]. This compensation for damages points to a respect for the judicial automony of the Jewry- the Senior Jew pledges his assets as security , on the understanting that the necessary legal measures will be taken among themselves  - as a civil basis for accepting the other. Furthermore, the council obtains another commitment from Isaac Ismael - one to which, we infer , he had been resisting - which has to do with the tolerance  of Jews towards  the religion of the Christians ( the latter yield on the basis of their political power and the former on the basis of their economic power) "and donate to Sancha Eanez, abbess of the Nunnery of  Saint Clare- under construction- the perpetual ownership on a price agreed by both parties of the orchard he owns on the outskirts of the village , so that  the ladies of the nunnery , founded by Queen Lady Violante, may extend their orchard and build up their graveyard". And thus the nuns of the Order of Saint Clare will have their graveyard thanks to the Jews living in Allariz, not far from the Jewry and beyond the walls of the town. The fact that both the Jewry and the Nunnery of Saint Clare were outside the town walls demonstrates that it did no longer function as a diviving line between both communities.

This notarial document is drawn up and endorsed in a joint assembly of “men” of the council “and Jews” , which gives credit to tolerance as the articulation of the otherness by the end of the thirteenth century . This agreement which will be honoured for centuries : Late Middle Ages references after the 1289 agreement do not contradict it. Rather the contrary seems to be the case.

On May 5th 1366, shortly before  the civil war, the champion of the cause of King Pedro I in Galicia, Fernando de Castro, judge and Royal Representative, who is also in charge of the Royal Fortress in Allariz, proclaims an amnisty for the neighbours of the village,intended to pardon  all unresolved cases and suspend every judiciary action of the royal Chief Justice: "that any action of justice that the King took against them, and whoever of them for whatever reason, for whatever wrongdoing they may have done, or for whatever they may have failed to do , to everyone both Christians and Jews..., all of them are pronounced free"[53].This implies the acknowledgement by the lords and the Crown of the persistence  by mid-fourteenth century of two well-differentiated communities , equally treated as regards civil liability.

Almost two hundred years after the founding agreement , on June 15th 1487, it is the parish priest of the Christian church of Saint Stephen who provides Jews with an extension of the graveyard of the field of La Mina, at the foot of the wall, next to the Jewry, ceding on lease a neighbouring estate  to all "the Jews of the Jewry, neighbours and inhabitants of the village of Allariz... as you have had your burials in the other estate"[54]. The basically religious nature of mutual tolerance of Christians and Jews underscores the importance of this reference to illustrate the tacit vigency of the agreement by the end of the thirteenth century. A witness of this very special scenario is  Juan Alfonso Carpintero, an important leader of the Irmandiña Revolt in Allariz, for which several years before (1467) a common front of Christians,Jews and Moors had been organised against the lords of the kingdom and their fortresses.

The great stability of the tolerant attitudes among Jews and Christians in Allariz does not obviously mean that there have not been tensions and confrontation practices, like the ones which resulted in the 1289 agreement . What is characteristic of Allariz, however, is its acceptable inter-ethnic relationships , which will lead Mosé Péres, a royal tax collector, to seek refuge there in 1488 to protect himself from the discrimatory confinement then imposed in the capital of Ourense .


Tolerance as integration: Ourense


Ourense, by the end of the Middle Ages, appears as a much more agitated urban society than Allariz. Notarial documents from the local council and the chapter show a background of revolts and partisan struggle in the fifteenth century which could not but have an influence in the coexistence with the Jewry, otherwise deeply integrated in the city.  The Jews from Ourense appear in documents as a distinguished but accepted category. They are treated as “neighbours “ -and as such- protected by the council [55] . As usual, they work in trades of great economic significance (collectors of royal and lord  taxes, dealers, silversmiths[56]); and enjoy, apart from the preceptive religious freedom [57],  a finantial autonomy which verges on self-government : in 1433, the Jewish silversmith Salomón files a complaint to the city Mayor because ‘the custom’ had not been respected according to which when the time came to collect the city taxes , Jews would choose one of them  "Under the oath of their law to collect among them the said payments", thus obtaining from the council the endorsement of their traditional autonomy: "ruled that from now on such payment was not made unless on the presence of the said Jew so that they shared  the mentioned mrs among them."[58].

The council, nothetheless, although it accepted the Jewry, did not accept anti-Christian attitudes . In 1441, the mayor had Jewish silversmith Mosé Marcos arrested, "on the grounds that he affirmed that the former had spoken mocking and infamious words against God and Holy Mary when he said that Holy Mary had delivered thrice", and the council procurator demands from the council that justice falls on him[59]. If torelance implies that the majority accepts the religion of the minority and marks itself off from anti-Semitic groups, all the more reason not to accept disrespectful behaviour on the part of Jews towards the religion of Christians. The irrevence of the Jews, in any case, reveals that - like in the case of late thirteenth century Allariz- both ethnias saw themselves on a level, also when it came to wrongdoing. On this basis it was build the policy of tolerance and integration.

In Ourense, unlike Allariz, it does not seem so urgent to organise coexistence by separating both communities: mutual tolerance is organised in a much more natural way, perhaps with not such a clear awareness of otherness. Both Christians and Jews lived much more mixed, without this implying a renounce by the latter to claim their rights whenever deemed necessary.  Such integration accounts for the fact that in time rifts tend to happen horizontally.

As to the radicalisation of collective attitudes , consequence and cause of the increase in social conflictivity around mid-fifteenth century[60], how does it particularly affect to the good vecinity among Christians and Jews? First, nobiliar intolerance arises : the assult of the synagogue in 1442. Secondly, the fraternization within the 1467 popular brotherhood of citizens. Not surprisingly, the previous good relationships between the Jewish community and the council lead the city to side with the synagogue and Jews to side with the citizens.



Nobiliar anti-Semitism 


The economic potential of Jews - of some Jews rather - made them into a target of nobiliar plundering; no doubt, an antisemitic environment- not always explicit in the sources- would potentially favour the aggressors’ impunity.

 On this respect, there are two precedents in the province of Ourense. In the eleventh century,  between the lands of  Allariz and Celanova and those of the capital, there had his domains a nobleman, Menendo González. He protected  certain “ Hebrew” traders in rags, who were attacked and robbed by another nobleman, Arias Oduáriz, who in retaliation is made a prisoner by  Menendo. The latter eventually obtains the restitutition of what had been robbed after a number of legal disputes which last several years and imply the transfer of the domain of several villages from aggreding Arias to nobleman Menendo for whom the Jews worked when they were attacked [61].

In the fourteenth century, when the troops of the Duke of Lancaster take Ribadavia (1386) chronicler Froissart, an eyewitness of the event, tells the following: "Ainsi fut la ville de Ribadave gaignée à force, et eurent ceulx qui y entrèrent, grant butin d'or de d'argent ès maisons des Juifs par espécial"[62]. Again , the reference to the ethnic -religious origin of the victims is linked to wealth as the objective of nobiliar plundering. In other words, anti-Semitism, like in the preceding case , is with all assurance the contributory cause of the aggression.

We get thus to the 1442 assault of the Jewish synagogue in Ourense by men on the service of Lord  Pedro Díaz de Cadórniga. Apart from the theft of some money (50 old mrs.),  affront stands as the primary objective : the destruction of the synagogue and the theft of the tress were affronts with a religious significance .Obviously enough, the council sides with the Jews, honouring the tradition of tolerance , reporting on Lord  Cadórniga on April 15th  1442, who pledges to “punish his men" for the affronts caused "to the Jews of the said city and the synogogue which was destroyed"[63].

These grievances inflicted on the Jews thus come top in one of those anti-lord memorials frequently written by Ourense inhabitants in the Late Middle Ages. The fact that emphasis is made on Jews as victims goes out to demonstrate  the century-long policy of integration as well as the egalitarianism of the anti-lord denouncement[64]. This policy  occassionally gives rise to a division of opinions among the most influential neighbours, in which Jews also participated. The latter hesitated when it came to confronting the powerful, even when it was something so close to their hearts as the attack to a synagogue.

On June 26th 1442, before several  canons and the men of Pedro Díaz de Cadórniga, four Jews from Ourense declare before the notary of the cathedral chapter in order to exonerate the said lord from the theft “in their house of praying” so as to free him from excomunion, which was the situation in which he found himself for having destroyed the synagogue, together with some of his men, "despite there being no lawsuit on the part of  the said Jews". In other words, apart from the above mentioned lawsuit by the city council , there was another of religious nature which resulted in the excomunion of the guilty party and of Pedro Díaz himself . This was done against the advice of the faction of the Cadórnigas, to which undoubtly belonged the canons, relatives, and -in some way- the Jews who appear in this notarial document dated on June 26th.  Despite it, the exonerating Jews declare that  "Exception were made of  anyone who had the trees that were taken away from the said house of prayer so that they were not aquitted until the trees were brought back to them"[65]. It was their intention, therefore, to exonarate the head of the nobiliar group but without going beyond the mental threshold implied in the seriousness of the religious crime of the misappropiation of the trees belonging to the Jews, which had not been restituted . The religious dimension of the affront was above any partisanism. It was something umpardonable in fifteenth century Ourense, even for the friends of the lord .

When it came to coexisting with the Jews, the Cathedral Church of Ourense goes much further in 1442 than the Allariz church ,when it cedes lands in 1487 for the Jewish cementery. It adopts a philo-Jewish attitude precisely on religious matters . It punishes a religious attack against a synagogue as if it had been directed against a Christian church . It  goes even further than the city council, who exonerates Pedro Díaz on April 15th , whereas the Church excomulgates him through the Bishop’s ecclesiastical judge- provisor with the likely support of the majority of the chapter.  The loss of value of excomunion as eclesiastic censure since it was applied to any crime affecting ecclesiastic issues, does not diminish the importance of this defence of the Jews in the form of a canonical sentence.

The serious civil conflict between the Cadórnigas and the Church of Ourense[66], provides ecclesiastic support to Jewish victims but it does not throw light onto the concrete use of excumunion, which entails the exclusion from Christian church, to punish a crime committed against members of other religion. In fact, it is as if the maxim that “each is salved in his own law” came into effect.

To summarize, the closer Galicia came to an anti-Semitic mutiny in the Middle Ages, the attack against the synagogue of Ourense in 1442, has more of a thuggish act by a lord than any other thing.  In this case, it is not perceived as the search for a letout for popular  discontent which makes Jews into scapegoats of Late Middle Ages social conflictivity. The people represented by the city council are clearly with the Jews , and will be even more clearly as social tensions grow sharper and we draw nearer to the 1467 revolution.

From tolerance to fraternity


In 1457 a unique event occurs during the wedding of a hidalgo from Orense called  Alvaro Suares: the reconciliation , on behest of their Christian hosts , of two rival, Jewish families  ( two women were in prison for a row). The notarial document reads:"being there the bride and those honest ladies from the city and fidalgos and squires, they reconciled them and made all the Jews friends anew with those in prison , on which they embraced and forgave, on the request of those noblemen and ladies "[67]. The reconciliatory act takes place under the protection of the council : "before  Vasco Gomes, alderman of the said city , where they were kept imprisoned and by way of compensation a fine of six hundred  mrs,which shall be spent on good and honorable causes"[68]. The alderman accepts and legally ratifies the resolution of the newly-weds and of the rest of Christian noblemen, liberating from the local gaol the two women with a feud, who, on the following day, appear accompanied by their husbands before a Jewish tribunal to solve their differences [69], thus the judicical autonomy of the Jewry being recovered .

These small Christian noblemen, who mediate between these Jews, make a fair use of their authority and do not take advantage of the situation to impose the superiority of the majoritary religion. Jewish integration in the society of Ourense was not uniforming , as we very well know . It implied a respect for their religion and their autonomy . As regards civil rights, they treat Jews as if they were Christians without forcing them to be Christian . It is more than merely accepting the other . It is to fraternise, thus doing away with the herarchic notion that “a non-Christian is not a true man. Hence, only a Christian may enjoy all human rights "[70].

The Christian-Jewish wedding went against both the Christian and Jewish law (although the greater transgression was that corresponding to the existing legal rules, namely the Christian ones ).The Partidas explicitly prohibited joint wedding receptions: "that no Christian may invite no Jew nor accept any invitation from them for eating or drinking"[71]. The laws of  Valladolid from  1412 ban Jews from participating in Christian celebrations[72].  The confessor  of Henry IV, Alonso de Espina, prescribes in 1460 in his Fortalitium Fidei: "may not eat together nor invite each other"[73].  Jewish laws and customs, on the other hand, did not permit that their differences were settled before Christian judges[74], to say nothing of simple citizens (although they are hidalgos). Weddings, feasts and popular receptions in the Middle Ages had an egalitarian end . They implied such a reversal of values that it is easy to understand the disregard for norms and discriminatory intentions as the ones cited.

Father Mariana justifies in early seventeenth century the establishment of the Holy Inquistion in  "On the great liberty of the past years and because Moors and Christians were mixed up on every kind of conversation and deal "[75]. In Galicia, by mid-fifteenth century , they were even more mixed : united in weddings and revolts. On April 25th 1467,  a canon from Ourense tells, when he was about to take part in the Irmandiño assault to  Castelo Ramiro -rebelious accion which according to his testimony "he was forced to do"-: "those of theHoly Brotherhood had publicy announced that both lay and clergics, Jews and Christians, went and brought down  castelo Ramiro"[76]. The egalitarian and fair sense of the revolt abstracted ethnic and religious differences as well as of religious herarchy.  We have already mentioned elsewhere the autonomous character of some popular notions on religion which arise with the Irmandiña mentality of  revolt[77]. On the other hand, given the background of the Jewish -Christian relationships , it should not surprise too much the unity of action in 1467.

Does this mean that with the anti-lord revolt anti-Semitic attitutes disappear ? Ten days before the oral testimony of the cautious canon, a local brotherhood gives the Farm of  Reza back to the monastery of  San Miguel de Bóveda, which had previously been substracted to the monks by  Diego Pérez Sarmiento, Count of Santa Marta, through his steward and tax collector Abrahán de León, a well-known Jew from Ourense.  The peasants working in the farm  de Reza testify against the Sarmiento’s steward in the above mentioned act of Irmandiña restitution, identifying him as a Jewish thief on reproducing a sentence,  " I deceived Lady Abbess with a fishtail ...!"[78], by which the mentioned Abrahán de León boasted of having deceitfully gained the property of the farm of Reza for his Lord Sarmiento. This slight anti-Semitic manifestation comes to the surface stirred by anti-lord attitudes, which tend to locate Galician Jews on the popular group. The cited remark is nothing more than a marginal remark during the Insurrection in the spring of 1467, dominated by the egalitarian urban and rural revolt of "lay and clerics , Jews and Moors " consequence of many years of integration and friendly relationships. Those who have been defended as victims by the popular side are now fairly called upon as rebels against the old common enemy, materialized in Ourense in the fortress of  Castelo Ramiro, which not by chance, in 1446, four years after the assault of the synagogue was in the hands of the very  Pedro Díaz de Cadórniga himself[79].

To summarise, Late Middle Ages social conflictivity in Galicia does not transform tolerance into persecution. On the contrary, it grows and metamorphoses into fraternity. By mid-fifteenth century, otherness turns into identity. In a way, it is as if the other were me. There is a revesal of values which, despite its temporary nature, proves very significative. The Galician people of the time, according to the known documents and facts , rather than seggregating , discriminating against and hostigating Jews in search of scapegoats as a way of sublimating and letting out tensions , make them into wedding guests and brothers in their  fight against lords in search for justice.

The value of these moments of fraternity between Christians and Jews will be better understood if we compare them with the carnages which, at the same time, occur in  Castile and Leon. We are speaking about the armed confrontation , in July 1467, between converts and cristianos viejos in Toledo, and the killings of Jews in 1468 in Sepúlveda and in 1469 in Tolosa[80]. During  the fifties and sixties in the fifteenth century, while in the Kingdom of Galicia the sociopolitical preconditions are shaped for a great revolt against the Lords in the the fortresses, in Castile and Leon anti-Semitic tensions are sharpened and the environment is set for the 1492 expulsion decree[81].

The political dependency of Galicia in the newly strengthened Castilian monarquy will force Galician cities to implement the new and definitive anti-Semitic policy. The integration of Galicia in the centralised State of the Catholic Monarchs  and the House of Austrias, results in the loss of certain medieval freedoms , namely, the tradition of liberal and friendly relationships between Jews and Christians . Having said this, it should be stressed that good relations did not imply wiping away anti-Semitic currents in Medieval Galicia ( which, in modern times ,are going to find a much more favourable institutional context ). There is no tolerance without an antisemictic counterpoint. The problem is to know which is hegemonic in each place and time.


The modernity of the anti-Semitic stereotype in Galicia


The formation in the collective mentalities of the anti-Semitic imagery can not be separated from the spread of a number of false accusations, suspiciously universal. That the anti-Semitic sterotype remains constant despite the diversity of situations[82], reveals its induced nature, and the collusion of interested institutions.

Which data illustrate this invention of the other in Galicia ? By the end of the eighteenth century , Manuel Risco includes a fact taken from the already mentioned anti-Semitic work by  Alonso de Espina Fortalitium Fidei (1460) attributed to the Bishop of Lugo, García Martínez de Bahamonde (1452-1456). The latter, while baptizing a Jew, “ told of how he had witnessed a henious act performed by Jews in the City of Saona in the Republic of Genoa, where they murdered with utmost cruelty a Christian child, whose blood they ate, mixed with some fruits"[83]. This ritual murder of a Christian child did not occur in Galicia but in Italy. The cult communicators are prelates and Christian writers: Bishop García Martínez, the clergy  Espina, the Agustinian  Risco. From the eighteenth century is also the fabrication that Jews in Monforte whipped  "In their infamous Synagogue" the image of Jesus Christ  "which is in the Sacristy and the Cell of the Guardian Fathers". The image miracously shouted alerting Franscicans, who took it away and reported the event to the Inquisition, who" apprehended and punished the Jews "[84]. This anachronism of placing a synagogue in Monforte de Lemos at the time of the Inquisition, is avoided in Ribadavia by the originators of a similar cult tradition ( which later became an oral tratition) : an image of Christ  would be whipped by Jewish converts who would gather on Saturdays at the house of Coenga, until the Inquisition intervened and prosecuted the desecrators; hence the popular saying: "Jews from Ribadavia would go to whip the image of  Christ  to Coenga"[85]. In fact, the Inquisition itself spread these fantastic accusations of sacrilage against false converts, whose greater crime was to clandestinely maintain the practice of the religion of their elders.

Despite the universal rituals of murdering children and abusing crucified Christ, there was, of course, in Old Regime Galicia news about the profanation of consecrated hosts .  Ourense Bishop de la Cueva writes in 1726, that in 1672 there was a theft in the Church of the Jesuits in Ourense, with the disappearance of the consecrated hosts, the finger being pointed at the descendants of Jews , whose synagogue -according to Onega- had been placed in the same place where the Jesuits were now. The great religious acts in amendment for the desecration provide evidence of the climate of Inquisitorial mentality of the time[86], which is the opposite to the climate of tolerance found in medieval Ourence .Little wonder that all references of the anti-Semitic sterotype are modern, of cultivated and ecclesiastic  origin and are linked, in one way or another and, with varying degrees of success and spread, to the inquisitorial mentality implanted by the institutions of the new State .


Seclusion and expulsion


The décalage in the fifteenth century of Galicia with respect to the rest of the Crown makes that the tolerance and even the brotherhood there prevailing is -in Castile and Leon- a value subordinated to trimphant anti-Semitism , especially after the 1391 carnages.  Thus, the radical measures adopted by the Catholic Monarchs are going to clash in the kingdom of  Galicia with the absence of a popular anti-Semitic tradition on which to take root; an anti-Semitism  which the Galician Church had not incited either, busy as it was in surviving the vicissitudes of a fifteenth century in which usurpations, wars and revolts were rife. Despite it, the old as well as the new institutions were obliged to comply with the discriminatory rules issued in the Court,  which grew harder and more expeditive, against Jews and converts . Galicia, therefore, will be forced to follow suit, albeit unenthusiastically and above all slowly.

The Courts of Toledo in 1480 give town councils a period of two years to confine Jews to isolated, walled quarters to prevent their pernicious influence on Christians and converts[87]. It is an old segregationist endeavour. We saw in Allariz how it was applied on mutual agreement ; now what is underscored is the racist and coercive nature of the ruling and the determination of its instigators. In fact, the failure of the seclusion measures will leave explusion as the only solution.  By the following year, the city council of Madrid goes as far as paying for the wall for the isolation of the new quarter, on the face of the poverty of the Jewish neighbours[88]. In the same year,1481, two thousand Jews are burnt to death in the territory of Seville by Dominican Inquisitors , who thus inaugurate the genocide practice that the Holy Office will attempt to spread in the Modern Ages across Spain[89].

Let us see what the city council of Ourense does before the renewed anti-Semitic demands of the State.  To begin with, the medieval maxim of  "obeying but not enforcing”  is still valid. Thus, in July 3rd 1484, at the synagogue, before the presence as witnessses of two canons, the city council formally calls upon Jews to “ comply with the Law of Toledo” ordering that within three days "be moved to where they would be assigned a place"[90]. It is a mere ruse, they did not even bother to assign a placement for the ghetto. But three years later, on May 22nd 1487[91], with  new aldermen, they resume the issue more seriously saying that "Your Royal Highness orders that all Jews be separated in all their kingdoms", specifying the place where the Jewry would be located "at the Rúa Nova of the aforesaid city, by the gates of the city", and most strongly criticising the previous city councils for not having enforced the Law of Toledo: " they complain and have complained that the aldermen and judges of the past, not having enforced the said seclusion in virtue of the said law , as of law,  they were deserving  punishment". Subsequently, they assign the houses in the Rúa Nova where refractary Jews must live and be identifiable (tax collectors, traders and silversmiths) no later than the coming Monday. Tax collector Mosé Péres, one of the "secluded" faces up to this proposed break with a century-long tradition of integration and tolerance  to claim that he appealed to the Queen and King arguing that "there were unfairly treated".  But with the change in the council’s mentality and policy, there was no turning back and the new  judges confirm their resolution on January 28th 1488, again calling upon each and every one of  the Jews living outside the Jewry  to move under the threat of punishment in accordance with the 1480 law[92]. As Mosé Péres is not present, the warrant is given to a servant and on November 6th 1488, the rebellious Jew is warned  again, along with Yudá Perés ,at his house out of the Jewry.  On the following day, the two well-off Jews answer to the council with cunning and haughtiness.

They declare that in actual fact they no longer were neighbours of Ourense -"nor do we  desire to be "they add- but of  Allariz (Mosé Péres) and of  Villafranca de Valcáçar (Yudá Péres). But as they hold the position of Royal tax collectors of the sales taxes in the province of Ourense they must stay a few days in the capital, being the alderman obliged - and thus the defendants becoming prosecutors - " to provide us with lodgings in the said city ...  which be safe to keep there the taxes of your Royal Highness", protesting the unsuitability of the houses in the Jewry where they intended to allocate them : "they are unhabited and in a place which is not safe"; the disclaimer goes on to morally discredit the prosecuting alderman : "the aforesaid warrant was unduly made", " you threatened us and the Jews who have rented those properties", "protest  any grievance . . . . because you are biased against us”; and ends with the announcement by the aggraviated Jews that they are going to lodge an appeal before the Governor of Galicia[93].

The choice of  Allariz  by Mosé Péres as a place of peaceful life confirms that there, as we have already noted, tolerance continues to be the rule for coexistence up until the last moment , depite state demands. Up until the previous year , 1487, the Jews extended , with the help of the parish priest of  Saint Stephen, their cementery of the field of La Mina, thus demonstrating a certain dynamism in the Jewry of Allariz, whereas in 1500, thirteen years later, authorities are forced to remove that cementery [94] as the Jewish community of Allariz extinguished for exogenous reasons : the expulsion decree of 1492. 

But let us go back to Ourense, where after a decade of resistence, the spatial, social and mental  separation of the two communities proves a reality. For some Ourense inhabitants the Irmandiña friendship turns into anti-Semitic hatred.  A formerly, almost unknown anti-Semitic feeling  grows at the doors of  modernity, which sought popular roots in Galicia, as it did in  Castile and Leon, and which was mainly addressed against the wealthiest  Jews - as it is the case of  Mosé y Yudá Péres-, who perhaps for that reason are less willing to lose their social status as a consequence of socio-religious segregation[95].

In February 1489, we find that the Jews from Ourense are the protagonist of two royal documents[96] which present segregation as a consolidated fact and point to new problems. The inhabitants of the Jewry demand from the Catholic Monarchs  the protection the council had provided for a long time as neighbours of the city. The Catholic Monarchs grant them on February 21st a letter of  reassurance " as they claim to fear and be wary of certain gentlemen and persons who out of hatred and spite show enmity towards them". Despite the attack against the gentlemen, by then always useful to gain support at the court , especially in the case of Galicia, we know  that it was not so much the gentlemen as the citizens of the council who were the new enemies of the Jews of Ourense . This is shown in a second royal letter sent by the Catholic Monarchs on February 27th to Governor López de Haro, in which he was ordered to support the Jews in Rúa Nova so that the Council did not changed the location of the ghetto for the worst and so they could keep the shops where they traded in the square of the city, to the point of sentencing the aldermen-judges who in 1488 had forced them to pay fines for the amount of  3.000 mrs. for resisting the change to Rúa Nova. At the same time, the royals censored Christians who still lived in the Jewry and had refused to leave their houses to the Jews ... In other words, once the Christian-Jewish sympathy in Ourense had been broken , there only remained the Royal authority to protect them  and when in the critical year of 1492, the monarchy turns against the Jews, it means the end for them .

The decree of  expulsion of  Jews  - not the converted into Christianism - from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon is dated on March  31th 1492. The deadline for their departure expired on July 1st  1492.  As they were forcibly made to leave their Sefarad, they could not take  "Gold nor silver nor minted coin, nor the other things the law prohibited, except  goods"[97].  This prohibition, frequently flouted by wealthy Jews, leaves us with a document that proves that the decree of expulsion also worked in the kingdom of Galicia.

In May 13th 1493, the Catholic Monarchs order an investigation after the denounce by  Marcos Alonso, neighbour of A Coruña, against the persons who favoured and benifited from the flight of another citizen of A Coruña, Jewish silversmith Isaque, who had smuggled two million and half in "gold and silver coins and pearls and other valuable things", after making underhand payments to A Coruña tax sales officials for their collaboration and silence , as well as to the skipper of the vessel, merchant Juan de San Juan, who took him to the lands of  Africa[98]. The same document makes apparent that collusion with the the expelled was widespread in Galicia, and it includes - following Marcos Alonso’s lost  report - the  A coruña Royal Judge himself among the friends of the Jews "together with other vessel skippers who took other Jews from the said Villafranca and from Ferrol and Ponte d'Eume de Lisbona"[99], which shows A Coruña harbour up as the usual route for the clandestine exodus of both Galician and non-Galician Jews after March 1492.

In the same way that the tolerant tradition facilitates the escape of wealthy Jewish in Galicia without that implying the loss of their assets, the hypothesis that for the same motives - namely, the weakness of the anti-Semitic movement - most of them remained in Galicia, converted into Christianism and reintagrated in the civil society of the time, seems quite  plausible[100]. The medieval tolerance towards the Jews will be easily reproduced as modern tolerance towards convert Jews who often continued practicising and teaching their religion to their children . Little wonder that the greater number of cases tried by the Inquisition in Galicia between 1565 and 1683 corresponds to Judaizers[101].


Resistence to the Holy  Inquisition


The medieval Inquisition is born in the thirteenth century at the behest of  Gregory IX to fight heresies; it spreads across the whole of Europe,including  the Crown of Aragon. In the rest of the Iberian Peninsule, the Inquisition is rather a modern phenomenon.  Inquisition officials begin to act in a number of cities of Castile from 1478 under the rule of  the Catholic Monarchs  (bull of Sixtus IV), the new institution later spreading towards the periphery, not without resistence . As to the kingdom of Galicia, we can consider the the Holy Inquistion consolidated around 1574[102], almost a century after of its foundation in Castile.  A late indicator of the fact that medieval tolerant Galicia and a medieval Castile were out of step as regards anti-Semitism , the latter with a much more marked tencency towards antisemtimism.

The imposition of the inquistion clashed in Galicia with the medieval tradition of torerance as far as beliefs and ethnias are concerned . We are, therefore, before a conflict of mentalities and , likewise, a conflict of a foreign jurisdictional power with local powers: for all these reasons Galician resistance to the Holy Office is global, sustained and, at first, quite effective. Apart from a sustained and blurred popular resistence[103], the Inquisition , which came from Castile comes up against a host of problems with councils , royal officials and the Church[104]. In fact, the tribunal does not openly tackle the issue of Judaizers in Galicia until Portuguese inmigrants- already in the seventeenth century - force it to intervene[105].  For the last third of the sixteenth century persecution is centred on Luterans[106], in such a way that the tolerance of the cristianos viejos in Galicia towards old-time Jews, now Judaizers and converts, is maintained almost a century after the decree of expulsion or forced conversion.  This retarded and laborious implantation of the inquistotial mentality - understood as the “pedagogy of fright"[107]- in Galicia, together with a prolonged medieval customs of acceptance of the other, gives historical credibility to a traditional characteristic of Galician mentality pointed out by several authors : tolerance. 


The Galician peculiarity


When investigating the causes of this particular attitude of the hegemonic society in Galicia towards the Jewish minority , the quantivative argument comes top. The number of Galician Jews was small. This is true, although by the fifteenth century the situation changes in some cities ; on the other hand, the affluency of the best known Jews compensates for their numberic inferiority when it comes to establishing power relations between both communities. The studied cases of Allariz and Ourense support this statement. But the important issue is that the legal weakness of Jewish communities favours the tolerance of the Christian majority  but it does not, however, account for the low incidence of anti-Semitism  in Galicia: anti-Semitism  is to a great extent irrational and its manifestation is not closely related with a high number of Jews.

Given that the concern for religious homogenisation has its origin in  the State emerging in Castile and Aragon during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age, the kingdom of Galicia was in the periphery of this new ultimately unifying power. This political marginality may undoubtedly have facilitated the survival of a medieval tradition  based on the acceptance of the other . The weakness of the monarquy and of its administrative and ideological machinery in the kingdom of Galicia hamper the change from the accepted other to the excluded other, the homologation of Galicia with the rest.  The resistance to change of the collective mentalities favours in this case the maintainance of medieval tolerance as a norm of behaviour .

Anti-Semitism  was a habitual letout for the social tensions in the Late Middle Ages, although not the one which posed the greatest problems to the established system. If during the Late Middle Ages , the Jew is not the scapegoat par excellence, it is because there are other scapegoats which most clearly arouse the revolt , which have a deeper influence in the popular mind, for instance, the fortresses of the lords. The intensity of the social confrontation between vassals and lords in fifteenth century Galicia does not, therefore, require the invention of imaginary enemies.





 [1] Tolerare is to endure, to bear, to withstand, to sustain, "Universal Vocabulario" de Alfonso de Palencia. Registro de voces españolas internas (1490), John M. Hill ed., Madrid, 1957, p. 185; this same sense is expressed when people claim not to bear intolerable damages, C. BARROS, Mentalidad justiciera de los irmandiños, siglo XV, Madrid, 1990, pp. 96, 113-116.

 ‘t The rebirth of racism, of anti-Semitism , and of nationalism,as well as the spread of religious fundamentalism bring to the foreground the issue of tolerance / intolerance towards those who are different as regards their religion , race or nationality. For a historical analysis of the recovered notion of tolerance as opposed to the increase of the phenomenon of intolerance,as ideology and practice of the non-acceptance of diversity see L'intolleranza: uguali e diversi nella storia, Bolonia, 1986, p. 9 (Proceedings of the International Conference that took place in Bolognia between December 12-14 1985 in collaboration with Amnisty International); that same year there was a similar colloquium in París: La tolérance, 13e Colloque International de Recherches sur les civilisations de l'Occident moderne (1985), París, 1986.

 [3] However Joseph Pérez justifies medieval tolerance in Spain - the tolerance of the élites and the anti-Semitism of the people - as he puts it - on the objective impossibility for Christian power to convert or terminate the Jews minority until the completion of the Reconquest in 1492, interpreting as a consequence the ‘idealised’ image of three-culture, Medieval Spain as the modern consequence of Morisco and Sephardic nostalgy, "Chrétiens, juifs et musulmans en Espagne, le mythe de la tolérance religieuse (VIIIe-XVe siècle)", L'Histoire, nº 137, 1990.

[4] An example: out of the 436 bibliographic references listed by Enrique Cantera Montenegro in 1986 ("Los judíos en la Edad Media hispana", Cuadernos de Investigación Medieval, nº 5) only one makes an explicit referecence to the issue under discussion : Fernando DIAZ ESTEBAN, Aspectos de la convivencia jurídica desde el punto de vista judío en la España medieval, II Congreso Internacional "Encuentros de las Tres Culturas", Toledo, 1985, pp. 105-116.

 [5] Mikel EPALZA, "Pluralisme et tolérance, un modèle tolédan?", Tolède XIIe-XIIIe. Musulmans, chrétiens et juifs: le savoir et la tolérance, pp. 242-243.

 [6] Bernard VINCENT, 1492: "El año admirable", Barcelona, 1992, pp. 37-38.

 [7] A. CASTRO, España en su historia. Cristianos, moros y judíos (1948), Barcelona, 1983 (2ª ed.).

 [8] Claudio SANCHEZ ALBORNOZ, España, un enigma histórico (1957), 2 vols., Barcelona, 1985 (10ª ed.);El drama de la formación de España y los españoles, Barcelona, 1977, pp. 55-62.

 [9] We are not convinced by the notion that medieval tolerance is based on hypocresy given that Christians accepted other religions on the belief that theirs was superior and the rest should not exist , while today we have a ‘higher’ understading of religious tolerance (Mikel de Eepalza, "Pluralisme et tolérance, un modèle tolédan?", pp. 247, 149, 250); the truth is that each religion , today like yesterday, considers itself the true one , without that making peaceful coexistence any harder. As pertains the present , despite the laicism of States and Western civil societies, intolerance is widespread . We have nothing to envy the Middle Ages on this respect.

 [10] Fernando SAVATER, "La tolerancia, institución pública y virtud privada", Claves, nº 5, 1990, p. 30.

 [11] José María MONSALVO ANTON, Teoría y evolución de un conflicto social. El antisemitismo en la Corona de Castilla en la Baja Edad Media, Madrid, Siglo XXI, 1985, pp. 114-117.

 [12] Partidas III, 11, 19-21.

 [13] José María MONSALVO ANTON, "Herejía conversa y contestación religiosa a fines de la edad Media. Las denuncias a la Inquisición en el Obispado de Osma", Studia Historica, II, 1984, pp. 125-126, 131.


 [14] Cortes de los antiguos reinos de León y Castilla, I, Madrid, 1861, p. 533.


 [15] It was a Marxist, Russian Theoritisian , Ber Borojov- who met an early death in 1917- that set the foundations for a Marxist conception of the Jewish problem , and the national issue at large , by bringing together the explanation of communitary facts, the notion of production conditions and the notion of production , Nacionalismo y lucha de clases, México, 1979; we have dealt with this issue in depth in "A base material e histórica da nación en Marx e Engels", Dende Galicia: Marx. Homenaxe a Marx no 1º centenario da súa morte; Carlos BARROS, J. VILAS NOGUEIRA edits., A Coruña, 1985, pp. 139-207.

 [16] Jacques LE GOFF, La civilización del Occidente medieval, Barcelona, 1969, p. 425.

 [17] Galo SANCHEZ, ed., Libro de los Fueros de Castilla, Barcelona, 1924.

 [18] Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, I, Madrid, 1981, pp. 68, 71-72; on European Jews as royal serfs, see R.I. MOORE, La formación de una sociedad represora. Poder y disidencia en la Europa Occidental, 950-1250, Barcelona, 1989, pp. 52-56.

 [19] Jacques LE GOFF, La civilización del Occidente medieval (1965), Barcelona, 1969, pp. 215-216.

 [20] ídem, pp. 423-424.

 [21] Anthropology can be defined as the science of the other, Marc AUGE, "Qui est l'autre? Un itinéraire anthropologique", L'Homme, nº 103, 1987, pp. 7-26; see as well Eloy BENITO RUANO, De la alteridad en la historia, Madrid, 1988; T. TODOROV, Nous et les autres, Paris, 1989.

 [22] Numeric inferiority was usually compensated for by their greater political and economic influence.

 [23]T The paradox is not such when we move outside that rational side of the mental that plays such an important role in medieval mentalities.

 [24] Y. A. DAUGE, Le barbare. Recherches sur la concepcion romaine de la barbarie et de la civilisation, Bruselas, 1982. p. 32.

 [25] Benito F. ALONSO, "Los judíos en Orense (siglos XV al XVII)", Boletín de la Comisión de Monumentos de Orense, II, 1904, pp. 166, 182; Leopoldo MERUENDANO, Los judíos de Ribadavia (1915), Lugo, 1981, pp. 6-7, 13-15, 24-25; Carlos DEAÑO, "Judíos", Gran Enciclopédea Gallega, XVIII, 1974, pp. 120-123; José Ramón ONEGA, Los judíos en el Reino de Galicia, Madrid, 1981, pp. 199, 247, 272, 280, 291, 326, 361, 365, 407, 417, 443, 543; Anselmo LOPEZ CARREIRA, "Os xudeus de Ourense no século XV", Boletín Auriense, XIII, 1983, pp. 164-165, 168.

 [26] Except for the assault to Orense ‘s synagogue in 1442, an event which will be dealt with below,by the noble band of the Cadórnigas, and which could hardly be described as an popular antisemitic riot.

 [27] It only mentions the aggression and looting of Jews in Ribadavia in 1386 by foreign troops under the command of the Duke of Lancaster, remarking that the hatred agisnt the Hebrew race had taken root not only among the Spaniards , José AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, Historia de los judíos de España y Portugal, II, Madrid, 1984, pp. 329-330 n3; III, Madrid, 1984, p. 647.

 [28] Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, II, Madrid, 1981, pp. 386, 395, 402, 439; David ROMANO, "Los judíos de la corona de Aragón en la Edad Media", España. Al-Andalus. Sefarad: Síntesis y nuevas perspectivas, p. 156.

 [29] Julio VALDEON, Los conflictos sociales en el reino de Castilla en los siglos XIV y XV, Madrid, 1975, p. 50.

 [30] José María MONSALVO ANTON, Teoría y evolución de un conflicto social. El antisemitismo en la Corona de Castilla en la Baja Edad Media, Madrid, 1985, p. 7.

 [31] The complemetarity and the imposssibility to separate out the antisemitic and tolerant attitudes transform this mental and social system with a double tendency is a sort of communicating vessels.

 [32] Cortes de los antiguos reinos de León y Castilla, I, Madrid, 1861, p. 533.

 [33] Julio CARO BAROJA, Los judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea, I, Madrid, 1986, pp. 145, 158.

 [34] Julio CARO BAROJA, Los judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea, I, Madrid, 1986, pp. 45, 50, 58, 60-61; Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, I, Madrid, 1981, pp. 153, 155, 159.

 [35] The fundamental problem is the loss of medieval archives in Galician urban councils. In cases- like that of Ourense- where council document have been better kept , data abound. 

 [36] As regards the Crown of Castile fewer documents have been kept than in the case of the Crown of Aragon, David ROMANO, "Los judíos de la corona de Aragón en la Edad Media", España. Al-Andalus. Sefarad: Síntesis y nuevas perspectivas. p. 154.

 [37] Julio CARO BAROJA, Los judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea, I, Madrid, 1986, p. 60.

 [38] During the fifteenth century, there was an increase in the number of Jews in the Crown of Castile, especially in small villages, Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, II, Madrid, 1981, pp. 504-505; on the other hand , massive conversions in the places where carnages occured in 1391, highlight the religious and political importance of Northern and Northwest Jewish communities .

 [39] Luis SUAREZ FERNANDEZ, Documentos acerca de la expulsión de los judíos, Valladolid, 1964, pp. 66, 68, 69, 79.

 [40] In the 1474 list Gallician Jews do not appear as Jewry of but as Jews whose abode is, which seems to confirm a smaller size, Luis SUAREZ FERNANDEZ, Documentos acerca de la expulsión de los judíos, p. 79.

 [41] The amount of 1,500 Jews that according to Froissart lived in Ribadavia by late fourteenth century is to be sure an exaggeration, LETTENHOVE, Kervyn, edit., Oeuvres de Froissart. Chroniques, (1386-1389), XII, Bruselas, 1871, p. 86.

 [42] Not even the biggest Jewish communities in Spain -which no doubt - were much bigger than those in the rest of Europe were beyond 200-400 families. Hebrew culture flourished even in the smallest villages , something to be noticed in order to understand the social and religious life of those days , Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, I, Madrid, 1981, p. 158.

 [43] In accordance with the 1432 statutes, wherever there were over ten Jewish households there must be a synagogue, Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, II, Madrid, 1981, p. 517.

 [44] José María MONSALVO ANTON, Teoría y evolución de un conflicto social. El antisemitismo en la Corona de Castilla en la Baja Edad Media, Madrid, 1985, p. 262.

 [45] Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, I, Madrid, 1981, pp. 155-156.

 [46] The universallity of the stereotype unifies the anti-Semitic image in the terrritories of Castile and beyond into medieval Western, José María MONSALVO ANTON, Teoría y evolución de un conflicto social. El antisemitismo en la Corona de Castilla en la Baja Edad Media, Madrid, 1985, p. 114.

 [47] Document from the archive of the local council of Allariz published by José AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, Historia de los judíos de España y Portugal (1875), II, Madrid, 1984, pp. 553-554; also reproduced in Alfredo CID RUMBAO,Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984, pp. 64-65.

 [48] The village of Allariz had a close relationship witht the royal family in the thirteenth century. The infants lived there and Queen Violante founded there the Nunnery of Santa Clara, Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984.

 [49] Between the castle and Arnoia River, therefore, outside the walls of the villiage, there is still a street parallel to socastelo s treet popularly known as sinagoga, Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984. p. 266.

 [50] According to local historiograohy, the first news about the Jewry in Allariz is from early thirteenth century, see Alfredo CID RUMBAO, "Alariz", Gran Enciclopedia Gallega, I, 1974, p. 195; this could account for the lack of references to Jews in the twelfth century l Fuero de Allariz .

 [51] Most surely the Jewry was at the NW, between the wall and the river. There were only two ways of gaining access to it: either skirting the wall or going through the Porta da vila and cross it ; see attached map on Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984.

 [52] The transcription published by Alfredo Cid Rumbao (Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984, p. 64) throws light onto this issue of the agreement according to Amador de los Ríos’ version, which, in general, we are following in our analysis .

 [53] Publica Benito F. ALONSO, El pontificado gallego, Ourense, 1897, p. 307 (my italics ); también Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984, p. 89.

 [54] Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984, p. 122; the church of Saint Stephen was precisely , within the walled area, up by the Jewry .

 [55] Anselmo LOPEZ CARREIRA, "Os xudeus de Ourense no século XV", Boletín Auriense, XIII, 1983, pp. 164-165.

 [56] ídem, p. 172.

 [57] The synagogue at Rúa Nova was incorporated into the urban scenery and surrounded by houses inhabited by Christians ; references to it are found in the years 1427, 1441, 1442 y 1474, ídem, pp. 161-162; apart from being a place for praying , it was the place chosen to administer justice on issues related to the Jewish community (1457 y 1484), Xesús FERRO COUSELO, A vida e a fala dos devanceiros, II, Vigo, 1967, pp. 232-233.

 [58] Xesús FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., p. 227.

 [59] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., pp. 228-229; the council procurator’s suspicion , a figure which in Ourense stems from a tradition of defense of the commons, is mainly of social nature. No doubt neighbours feared or might fear that the mayor , turned a blind eye on the issue given the social status of the blasfemous Jew.

 [60] Its height is the 1455 insurrection, Carlos BARROS, Mentalidad justiciera de los irmandiños, siglo XV, Madrid, 1990, pp. 32, 45.

 [61] The documents, dated in 1044 and 1047, were published by Fidel Fita en Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, tomo XXII, 1893, pp. 171-180.

 [62] Kervyn de LETTENHOVE, ed., Oeuvres de Froissart. Chroniques, tomo XII (1386-1389), Brussels, 1981, p. 86.

 [63] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., pp. 273-274.

 [64] Similarly in another memorial dating from 1442, Affronts which are made to the city council by Pedro Dias and his men, the council includes among the victims two cases involving Jews :Item his squire Alvaro Gandio killed our neighbour Alonso, a Jew , (...) Item Gomes de Paazos attempted to kill our neighbour Nuño Patiño, a Jew , Benito F. ALONSO, Los judíos en Orense, Ourense, 1904, p. 17.

 [65] Documentos del archivo de la catedral de Orense, I, Ourense, 1923, pp. 424-425.

 [66] The provisor and the chapter were in litigation with García Díaz de Cadórniga in 1440 and 1441, as it is made public in Boletín de la Comisión de Monumentos de Orense, VI, pp. 230, 269-270; Ruy Díaz de Cadórniga is executed in 1450 for affronts to the bishops of Ourense, and Pedro Díaz de Cadórnigadies dies in 1459 being in gaol - and again excomulgated- in the gaol of the Cathedra Church , ídem, pp. 162, 231-232, 272.

 [67] Likewise, it has a certain significance , within the nobiliar framework, the relationship established in the text between the low nobility condition of the mediators and the pursued aim of friendliness.

 [68] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., p. 321.

 [69] ídem, p. 232.

 [70] Jacques LE GOFF, La civilización del Occidente medieval, Barcelona, 1969, p. 215.

 [71] Partidas VII, 24, 8.

 [72] Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, II, Madrid, 1981, p. 440.

 [73] José AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, Historia de los judíos de España y Portugal, III, Madrid, 1984, p. 399.

 [74] Yitzhak BAER, Historia de los judíos en la España cristiana, I, Madrid, 1981, p. 145.

 [75] "Historia de España", Obras del padre Juan de Mariana, II, Madrid, 1854, p. 202.

 [76] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., p. 375.

 [77] Carlos BARROS, Mentalidad justiciera de los irmandiños, pp. 143-145.

 [78] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., p. 146.

 [79] X. FERRRO COUSELO, op. cit., II, p. 290.

 [80] José AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, Historia de los judíos de España y Portugal, III, Madrid, 1984, pp. 147-152, 648; A. MACKAY, "Popular movements and progroms in fifteenth-century Castile", Past and Present, nº 55, 1972, pp. 34-35.

 [81] José María MONSALVO ANTON, Teoría y evolución de un conflicto social. El antisemitismo en la Corona de Castilla en la Baja Edad Media, Madrid, 1985, pp. 297 ss.

 [82] José María MONSALVO ANTON, op. cit., pp. 114-115.

 [83] España Sagrada, tomo XLI, Madrid, 1798, p. 138.

 [84] Jacobo de CASTRO, Arbol cronológico de la Santa Provincia de Santiago, I, Salamanca, 1722, p. 215.

 [85] Leopoldo MERUENDANO, Los judíos de Ribadavia (1915), Lugo, 1981, pp. 17-18.

 [86] José Ramón ONEGA, Los judíos en el Reino de Galicia, Madrid, 1981, p. 581.

 [87] Luis SUAREZ, Judíos españoles en la Edad Media, Madrid, 1980, pp. 263-264; José AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, op. cit., III, p. 287; Cortes de los antiguos reinos de León y Castilla, IV, Madrid, 1861-2, pp. 149-151.

 [88] J. AMADOR DE LOS RIOS, op. cit., III, p. 288 n 1.

 [89] Julio CARO BAROJA, Los judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea, I, Madrid, 1986, pp. 153-154.

 [90] X. FERRO COUSELO, op. cit., p. 233.

 [91] loc. cit., pp. 235-236.

 [92] As they were rebels and did not obey and refused to comply [with the rulings of the city council ] ,as of law , and for that reason, they had been charged and given the aforesaid sentences, which were included in the aforementioned law of Toledo , everyone being witness to the fact , loc. cit., p. 237; we will see later that the city countil did actually enforce the sentences.

 [93] ídem, pp. 239-240.

 [94] Alfredo CID RUMBAO, Historia de Allariz, Orense, 1984, p. 125.

 [95] refractary Jews will soon realise that the best avenue to maintain their social position was to convert to Christianism , although there were no such antecendents throughout the fifteenth century . Previously, Jews had not needed to change their religion to gain the respect and the steem of dominant Christian society .

 [96] Luis SUAREZ FERNANDEZ, Documentos acerca de la expulsión de los judíos, Valladolid, 1964, pp. 320-322.

 [97] Alfonso GARCIA GALLO, Manual de historia del derecho español. II. Antología de fuentes del antiguo derecho, Madrid, 1982, pp. 767-769.

 [98] Luis SUAREZ FERNANDEZ, Documentos acerca de la expulsión de los judíos, Valladolid, 1964, pp. 513-514.

 [99] loc. cit., p. 514.

 [100] Benito F. ALONSO, "Los judíos en Orense (siglos XV al XVII)", Boletín de la Comisión de Monumentos de Orense, II, 1904, pp. 23-29.

 [101] Carmelo LISON TOLOSANA, Brujería, estructura social y simbolismo en Galicia, Madrid, 1983, 2º ed., p. 11 n 3.

 [102] Jaime CONTRERAS, El Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en Galicia (poder, sociedad y cultura), Madrid, 1982, p. 60.

 [103] J. CONTRERAS, op. cit., pp. 681-685; C. LISON TOLOSANA, op. cit., pp. 27 ss.

 [104] j. CONTRERAS, op. cit., pp. 23 ss, 35-39, 57 ss.

 [105] J. CONTRERAS, op. cit., p. 467, 591-592, 599-604.

 [106] J. CONTRERAS, op. cit., pp. 590-591, 609 ss.

 [107] Angel ALCALA y otros, Inquisición española y mentalidad inquisitorial, Barcelona, 1984, pp. 174-182.