Jews, Church & Civilization
TimeLine Volume IV
from Volume III
1537 CE: SULEIMAN
Ottoman ruler Sultan “Suleiman the Magnificent” rebuilds the city walls of Jerusalem, 7 of the 8 gates, and the Tower of David.
Why not the eighth gate?
The “eighth gate” is the legendary “Golden Gate,” the gate that Jesus of Nazareth is asserted as having ridden through in his legendary procession into Jerusalem in the days leading–into Passover.
The gate is located in the middle of the eastern side of the Temple Mount.
In both Jewish and Christian traditions (but more emphasized in Christian tradition) this is the gate through which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem.
But, neither the Jews, nor the Muslims believe that Jesus is the Messiah. So, to preclude the Messiah (of the Jews) from entering Jerusalem (through the Golden Gate, at least) Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed off the Golden Gate in 1541.
Suleiman takes Jewish tradition very, very seriously. And is defending against a myriad of threats.
The Muslims also built a Muslim cemetery in front of the gate, in the hope that it would be a deterrent, of sorts, to even the precursor to the Messiah, Elijah, to pass through, since Elijah is a Kohen (Priestly Class) (and a Kohen, a member of the Jewish Priestly class, is precluded from traversing Jewish cemeteries). Meaning, Suleiman’s advisors were pretty sophisticated. (But note: A bona fide Jewish cemetery (as opposed to a Muslim cemetery) would thus have technically been a tougher theological deterrent to Elijah in this drama…)
In any event, one must certainly credit Suleiman for attempting to cover all bases, and one can only be enchanted by his bona fide apprehension about the (Jewish) messiah to–come.
The “Golden Gate” remains visible—and visitable, albeit sealed—to this day.
Suleiman protects Jewish civil rights, orders the Imperial Divan Courts to expose the lies of Blood Libels against the Jews, and declares Jerusalem an “Open City” for all faiths.
(Note: Kishmo ken–hoo, as per his name, so he is indeed magnificent.)
The Ottoman Empire will peak in 1683.
1537 CE: CHRISTIAN III OF DENMARK
–decrees Lutheranism state religion of Norway and Denmark
1538 CE: ANTI-SEMITIC LUTHER
Luther writes against the Jews in “Against the Sabbatarians.”
1538 CE: TITIAN PAINTS THE VENUS OF URBINO
1539 CE: HENRY VIII AT WORK
Henry VIII is still occasionally burning Lutherans and hanging Roman Catholics.
The statute Six Articles Against Lutheranism issued by the (British) Crown.
Hugh Latimer, (Anglican) bishop of Worcester (England), opposes the statute, is forced to resign, and is imprisoned in the Tower of London (which he was to return to again in 1546). In 1955 under Queen Mary he was later burnt at the stake, becoming one of three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
1539 CE: HENRY VIII ON–THE–MOVE
Henry VIII marries and divorces Anne of Cleves, executes the now-unpopular Thomas Cromwell, and marries Katherine Howard.
1539 CE: FRANKFURT (GERMANY) TRUCE
–declared between Catholic and Protestant territories.
1539 CE: KING SIGISMUND I (POLAND)
December 31: Ordered the Jews of Cracow, Posan and Lemberg (Lvov) to buy 3,350 Jewish books from the Printing house of the apostate Helitz brothers. The Jews bought the books as ordered – and then destroyed them all.
– Eli Birnbaum
1539–40 CE: SIMONS
–publishes the Foundation Book of Anabaptist faith.
1540 CE: JESUITS ADVANCE
Pope recognizes order of Jesuits; will make them the chief agents of Counter Reformation.
1540 CE: CONFERENCES AT HAGENAU AND WORMS
–fail to reconcile Protestants and Catholics.
1541 CE: EL GRECO BORN
Painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.
(b. 1541 CE Crete, Republic of Venice; d. 1614 CE, Toledo, Spain)
…Greece, Spain, Italy).
El Greco’s (extraordinary) art is so individualistic, that it really belongs to no conventional school.
1541 CE: DAVID GANS
–through 1613: Prague, Bohemia
Tsemach David (Spirit of David) by a Jewish historian and scholar was printed in 1592. It was based on both Jewish and general history and was translated into other languages such as Latin and Yiddish. Gans was a student of Moses Isserles and Judah Lowe (the Maharal). He composed the study of the visible universe, something he wrote in Hebrew regarding cosmography and Nehmad Ve’Naim (Delightful and Pleasant). He made connection with Johannes Kepler.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1541 CE: PETER RIEDEMAN
–writes Hutterite ‘Confession of Faith.’
1541 CE: HENRY VIII EXPANDS HIS TURF
Henry VIII assumes titles of King of Ireland and Head of Irish Church.
1541 CE: CALVIN v. PIGHIUS
Calvin writes a treatise on free will against the Roman Catholic theologian Albert Pighius.
1541 CE: HERNANDO DE SOTO “DISCOVERS” THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
De Soto will die shortly thereafter on the west bank of the river, in the American Indian village of Guachoya (near present–day McArthur, Arkansas) the following year on May 21, 1542.
1542 CE: ROMAN INQUISITION
–established by Pope Paul III
The Congregation of the Holy office – also known as the Roman Inquisition – was established, originally to counter Protestantism.
In 1555, when Cardinal Caraffa became Pope Paul IV, he immediately extended its operation, advocating the tracking down of all “suspects,” especially suspect conversos (Jews who had converted to Christianity, but still practiced Judaism).
Until this date, many (‘returning’) conversos had found refuge in the Papal States and were able to return to Judaism unmolested.
After this, the Inquisition operated across the Papal States - Venice, Milan, Naples, Mantua, and Tuscany.
– Eli Birnbaum
1542 CE: CHURCH SYNOD
Piotrkov, Poland: As the Reformation began to make headway in Poland, the Catholic Church under Archbishop Peter Gamrat and the Papal Nuncio Luigi Lippomano decided to combat it by increasing the level of Judeophobia and demanding that Jews be expelled or at least be put into ghettos. rnHost desecration and ritual murder accusations, led by church leaders, became far more common throughout the next 200 years.
– Eli Birnbaum
1543 CE: MARY STUART CROWNED QUEEN OF SCOTS
–before her first birthday
She is raised in France under the supervision of her French uncles, the Due de Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine. Less than a year old, she has no shortage of enemies, however.
(See also 1585 CE)
1543 CE: LUTHER WRITES CONCERNING THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES
Martin Luther's 1520 work called "Jesus was a Jew." He turned sour when the Jews rejected his views and revolution.
He thereupon called for the Jews to be slaves to the serfs, and to not even touch the hand of a German Christian. His attacks, however, were generally not based upon the malicious anti-Jewish writings of past Christian ‘luminaries,’ such a Church Father Chrysostom.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1543 CE: COPERNICUS WRITES THAT EARTH REVOLVES AROUND SUN
1543 CE: ALLIANCE
–between Henry VIII and Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) against Scotland and France.
1543 CE: HOUSE OF CATECHUMENS
February 19: Italy
This establishment by the Vatican, supported by forced Jewish taxation, had a sole purpose, to further-along identified potential converts from Judaism. A potential convert was subjected to 40 days of intense “instruction.” If he declined baptism after that time, he was allowed to return to his home – but few declined. Well over 3,000 Jews were converted in Rome alone via this modality before the ‘house’ was abolished in 1810. They set up similar ‘houses’ in a few cities in Italy.
1544 CE: TRUCE
(European) Ferdinand I of Spain and (Ottoman) Suleiman I agree to truce.
1544 CE: HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR CHARLES V
April 3: Jewish community leader advocate, Josel of Rosheim (a.k.a. Joselmann a.k.a. Yoselmann) convinced the Emperor to condemn accusation of ritual murder and ordained that no Jew should be sentenced without sufficient proof.
(The reign of Charles V was from 1519 – 1556 CE.)
1545 CE: COUNTER–REFORMATION COMMENCES
Council of Trent – to span twenty-five sessions thru 1563 – opens for the revival of the Catholic Church vis à vis the Protestant Reformation.
(Trent was located inside the Holy Roman Empire, now Italy)
The Council more lucidly re-defines the official Catholic theology and biblical canon.
The Counter-Reformation a.k.a. the Catholic Reformation a.k.a. the Catholic Revival—is generally denoted as spanning the period bracketed by the commencement of the Council of Trent (1545) and ending with the close of the Thirty Years War (1648) 103 years later.
[The next major Catholic ‘Ecumenical’ Council – The First Vatican Council – would take place over 300 years later (also in Rome, but at the Vatican). Its best-known decision was its definition of papal infallibility.]
1545 CE: FINALE
In (Anglican) Henry VIII’s last speech to Parliament, he says that Papist, Lutheran, Anabaptist are names devised by the devil to sunder one man’s heart from another.
[Henry reigned from 1509-1547CE, 37 years, 282 days]
1545 CE: LUTHER v. VATICAN
Luther writes Against the Papacy at Rome – an Institution of the Devil.
(born and died in Eisleben, Saxony, Holy Roman Empire: b.1483 Saxony, d. 1546 CE)
1546 CE: REAFFIRMATION OF CHRISTIAN CANON
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church reaffirms once and for all the full list of 27 holy books. The council also confirms the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical books which had been a part of the Bible canon since the early Church and had been confirmed at the councils of 393, 373, 787 and 1442 CE.
1547 CE: HENRY VIII DIES
1547 CE: IVAN THE TERRIBLE
Ivan IV Vasilyevich, The Terrible: Czar of Russia 1533-1584. Forced conversions of Polish Jews (conquered by his Russians) to Greek Orthodoxy were his legacy to the Jews.
[b. 1533; d. 1584 CE]
1547 CE: ASOLO, ITALY
November 22: With no such motives, ten of thirty Jews in this town were killed and robbed. This could be one of the few pogroms recorded here.
1548 CE: FRANCISCO SUAREZ
–through 1617 (Spain)
He was a Spanish Jesuit, theologian and philosopher. The banning of the Talmud and barring the building of synagogues were publicly supported by him. He also forbade the influence of the Jews.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1549 CE: (ORIGINAL) BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
–of the Church of England by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from December 1533 – December 1555.
1550 CE: EPHRAIM SOLOMON OF LUNTSCHITZ
“Ephraim of Luntschitz” was a rabbi, preacher and biblical commentator. He was known for his brilliant sermons, in which he spared no sector. He criticized the rich for being greedy and pretensions of religious status based on money rather than good deeds. On the other hand he thought the poor did not “help themselves” by overly relying on charity. His sermons were collected and published in Ir Giborim, Revivot Efrayim and others. His Klei Yakar is included in many editions of the Bible as a standard commentary.
1550 CE: MICHELANGELO FRESCOES
–completed / Vatican Pauline Chapel
Full name: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarrotti Simon
1551 CE: SIGISMUND II AGUSTUS
August 13: The last Jagiellon monarch of Poland/Grand Duchy of Lithuania (reign: 1548-1569) issued a proclamation that Jews were permitted to elect their own chief rabbi and judges and dealt only with the King. It is appropriately called the “Magna Carta of Jewish Self-Government.” He let Jews live in Vilna without limiting them to certain streets.
He was the last Jagiellon monarch, as he remained childless after three marriages. Subsequent to his reign, the Union of Lublin introduced Elective monarchy.
1552 CE: DEATH OF FRANCIS XAVIER
…Jesuit missionary, “Apostle of the Indies”
–of a fever – on Chinese island of Shangchuan.
1553 CE: THE BURNING OF ROMAN JEWS + TALMUDS
–by Papal States Inquisition.
Rome, Papal States: Inquisitor Caraffa, operating by appointment of Pope Paul III presides over the burning at the stake of dozens of Jews, whether suspected as “insincere” conversios (converts to Christianity), suspected marranos (underground Jews), suspected cryptos (converts to Christianity still maintaining some Jewish traditions), or suspected “relapsed” Jews (converts to Christianity who actually converted back to Judaism). All such genres were suspect by the Inquisition. (Some of the category lines are blurred.)
Caraffa also ordered all Talmuds seized and burned. Jewish homes and synagogues were invaded and copies of the Talmud seized. They were hauled to Rome’s Campo dei Fiori, a broad square that still exists today, and were burned in a huge bonfire.
Caraffa becomes Pope Paul IV in 1555 (see below).
Half–a–century later, in 1600, the “renegade thinker” Dominican monk Giordano Bruno (1548–1600) was burnt at the stake in the very same Rome square, for positing and refusing to recant his postulations of the infinitude of the universe and the brotherhood of man.
1553 CE: EDWARD VI > MARY I
Edward VI dies; succeeded by Mary I (“Bloody Mary”)
1553 CE: MICHAEL SERVETUS
Founder of a belief system which was to evolve into Unitaranism. (Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer and humanist)
He participates in the Protestant Reformation and later develops a nontrinitarian Christology (i.e a Christian belief system, which rejects the concept of the Trinity)
–condemned by Catholics and Protestant s alike
–burned-at-the-stake in Geneva as a heretic by order of the Protestant Geneva governing council.
1553 CE: FIRMAN (ROYAL DECREE)
In late 1553 or 1554, Suleiman the Magnificent, the reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, issues a firman (royal decree) formally denouncing blood libels against the Jews.
1554 CE: CORDOVERO
Establishes a Kabbalah academy in Safad (Israel)…the Ramak…Rav Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, also known as Moshe Cordevero…(1522–1570 CE).
Authors Pardes Rimonim (1548)…and the 16–volume magnum opus Ohr Yakar (Precious Light) commentary on the literature of the (Kabbalistic) Zohar.
Authors, as well, Mussar (ethical instruction) – work Tomer Devorah (Palm Tree of Deborah); Kabbalistic fundamentals Ohr Neerav, and philosophical–metaphysical Elimah Rabbati, among other works.
1554 CE: MARY I (“Bloody Mary”) COMES TO POWER IN ENGLAND
– Eldest daughter of Henry VIII
– the only surviving child of Catherine of Aragon
– the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty
– restores Catholicism to England
(later to be reversed by Elizabeth I (reign: 1558-1603) her
half-sister, who Mary had imprisoned for nearly a year on
suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels).
– marries Philip ( later Philip II of Spain), the son of her cousin Charles V
(Holy Roman Emperor 1519-1556).
During Mary’s reign, about 300 Protestants are burned, including 5 bishops, 100 priests, 60 women. John Rogers, Tyndale’s close assistant (alias “Thomas Matthew”), was the first to burn.
The roster of other prominent victims would include Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London; and the reformers John Rogers and Hugh Latimer.
Protestants are forced into exile or hiding. An attempt by Cardinal Pole (Mary’s archbishop of Canterbury) to restore monasticism fizzles when, among 1500 surviving monks, nuns, and friars, fewer than 100 are willing to return to celibacy.
1554 CE: IGNATIUS
Principal founder and the first Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church…
…wrote Jesuit (Society of Jesus) constitution, adopted in 1554…motto of Ignatius, and then of the order, as a whole: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam—“For the greater glory of God.”
Jesuits today form the largest religious order of priests of the Catholic Church… 19,000+…nine Jesuit priests have been formally recognized by Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem for their valor in aiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust.
The Jesuits have morphed into a more benign and enlightened form, from their incarnations in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries.
The Jesuits are an important and dynamic intellectual force on the world landscape today.
1554 CE: CORNELIO DA MONTALCINO
September 4: Rome: A Franciscian Friar who converted to Judaism – was burned alive.
– Eli Birnbaum
1555 CE: NOSTRADAMUS PUBLISHES LES PROPHETIES
French apothecary, healer and seer who rides into history with his vague predictions. Over two hundred editions of his The Prophecies have appeared, with over 2,000 commentaries.
[b. 1503; d. 1566 (both in France)]
1555 CE: POPE PAUL IV
Papal bull Cum Nimis Absurdum, which among other travesties against the Jews, mandated a (single–street) ghetto for the Jews of Rome, the wearing of yellow conical hats by all Jewish males, confines Jews to ghettos, confines Jews to their homes at night, and bans them from working in most professions. Jewish ghettos would exist in Europe for the next 315 years.
[Same (yellow) color, concept and tactics employed 400 years later by the Nazis in their first–stage assaults on the Jews. Possibly, so there was precedent in the cumulative memory of Europe for the current Nazi denigration. Possibly so they could point to Church precedent to the masses—and/or be politically “bullet–proof” from potential Vatican attacks…(no comment at this point)].
Paul IV introduced the Index Liborum Prohibitorum or “Index of Prohibited Books” to Venice, then an independent state, in order to crack down on the growing threat of Protestantism and the recently introduced printing press.
Giovani Pietro Carafa was pope from May 1555 until his death August 1559..
[b. 1476 in Naples; d. 1559 in Rome]
1555 CE: PEACE OF AUGSBURG
–between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes.
Augsburg (now in present-day Bavaria, Germany): Since the proclamation of a reformed church by Martin Luther, the problems of the co-existence of Catholics and Lutherans on the same territory had bedeviled the Holy Roman Empire. At Augsburg the Holy Roman Empire represented by the Ferdinand I, the brother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, confronted an alliance of Lutheran princes, who came under the rubric of the Schmalkaldic League. An agreement was reached.
The Peace (treaty) established the principle of Cuius region, eius religio, meaning for each region, its religion. Meaning, the insurgent Lutheran princes effectively prevailed.
The Peace of Augsburg allowed each of the empire’s princes to select one of the two religions as the official state religion for his principality. Subjects, citizens or residents who did not wish to conform their own practices to that of the prince were urged to migrate to a religiously consonant principality.
1555 CE: THE MAHARSHA
Kraków, Poland (1555 CE – 1631 CE).
Rav Shmuel Eliezer Eidels, highly sophisticated and widely revered commentator. His works include, among others:
Chiddushei Halachot (“Novellae in Jewish Law”) commentary on the Torah, the Talmud, Rashi and Tosefot.
Chiddushei Aggadot (“Novellae in Aggadah”) commentary on the Aggadot of the Talmud…coursing through philosophy and Kabbalah.
1556 CE: MORE PAUL IV
March: Ancona, Italy
Under orders of Paul IV, privileges granted to Jews were revoked. Former Marranos were forced back into Christianity. 23 men and woman were burned for refusing.
The Sultan Suleiman complained (March 9th) that some of his Turkish Jewish subjects traveling through Italy had been imprisoned by the papacy, and that because of this he had lost a substantial amount of money. He demanded that all Turkish Marranos be set free.
1556 CE: EARTHQUAKE DAMAGES THE CITY OF JERUSALEM
1558 CE: REIGN OF ELIZABETH I
–through 1603. The first Marranos were unofficially allowed to enter England as Christians.
1558 CE: RECANATI (ITALY)
September 22: The Day of Atonement, a baptized Jew, Joseph (Paul) More entered a synagogue under the protection of Pope Paul IV. He held a crucifix planning to start a conversion sermon. The congregation evicted him that led to a subsequent execution of the Jews. Eventually the entire Jewish population was wiped-out.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1559 CE: MILITARY ORDER OF THE GOLDEN SPUR
–a papal Order of Chivalry (i.e. honorific) founded by Pope Paul IV
The highest papal order—The Order of Christ—was established (according to the Vatican, but disputed by Portugal) c. 1319. The Golden Spur is the second highest.
1559 CE: FIRST PRINTING OF THE TALMUD IN POLAND
The printing of Talmud in Poland occurred after the public burning of the Talmud in Rome.
1560 CE: GOA (INDIA) INQUISITION ESTABLISHED
Indian state of Goa: Portuguese Catholic Asia: Roman Catholic Inquisition established following Vasco da Gama’s intrusion into the area and the request of Jesuit (St.) Francis Xavier. This Inquisition continued for 252 years (aside from a 4–year hiatus 1774–778).
According to the research of H.P. Solomon and I.S.D. Sassoon, over the period 16,202 persons were brought to trial and 57 ultimately executed. The Inquisition was employed against a variety of cultures and groups: Jews, conversios, Hindus, and Muslims, among others, were all eligible “candidates” for arrest and trial.
Back in Europe, the Goa Inquisition became notorious for its torture and inter–related cruelty. The French philosopher Voltaire wrote: “Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, which is contrary to morality as well as to commerce. The Portuguese monks deluded us into believing that the local populace was worshiping the Devil, while in reality it is these monks who serve him (the Devil).”
1560 CE: JOHN KNOX, SCOTLAND
August: John Knox and five other ministers draw up the ‘Scots Confession,’ which was to serve as a pillar of the embryonic Presbyterian Church, the ‘Kirk.’ This was followed several months later by the Book of Discipline, which articulated the organization of the new church.
1561 CE: MICHELANGELO DIES
–two weeks shy of his eighty–seventh birthday.
He has outlived twelve popes, and has worked for nine of them.
1561 CE: HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR FERDINAND I
Promised to ban the Jews from Prague. However, the Jewish leader and advocate Mordechai Zemach saved them. He went to Rome to convince Pope Pius IV to release the Emperor from his oath. While Zemach was gone, many Jews were forced to leave or were attacked by robber barons.
– after Eli Birnbaum
Reign as Holy Roman Emperor: 1531–1564
[b. 1503, Castile, Spain; d. 1564, Vienna, Austria]
1562 CE: TITIAN PAINTS THE RAPE OF EUROPA
1564 CE: THE TERM “PURITAN” FIRST USED
1564 CE: JOHN CALVIN DIES
1564 CE: POPE PIUS IV
March 24: Authorized the publication of the Talmud only after the deletion and modification of the name “Talmud.”
1564 CE: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE BORN
–in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
1564 CE: BREST LITVOSK (LITHUANIA)
July 13: The son of a wealthy and envied Jewish tax collector, Abraham, was accused to be the killer of the family’s Christian servant for ritual purposes. As punishment, the loacals tortured and executed him.
Future charges of ritual murder was forbidden by King Sigmund Augustus; he called them "groundless".
c. 1565 CE: ISAIAH BEN ABRAHAM HA-LEVI HOROWITZ
Prague, Bohemia-Tiberias, Eretz Israel
Known as the SheLaH Hakadosh for his major work Shnai Luchot Habrit (Two Tablets of the Covenant) which combines Halacha and Kabbalah as a way of life, Isaiah was perfect as Rabbi, kabbalist, and Jewish leader.
In 1621 after the death of his wife, he moved to Eretz Israel. In 1625 he was arrested with many other Rabbis and held for ransom by the Pasha.
As Ashkenazi Rabbi, Horowitz served as leader in Jerusalem. He served the community through his financial wealth and he believed that he was privileged to be able to observe the commandments tied to the land of Israel. He was buried in Tiberias, next to Maimonides.
1566 CE: THE “ROMAN CATECHISM”
…i.e. the Roman Catholic Catechism of 1566
–commissioned by the (Catholic) Council of Trent (noted above, 1545–1563 CE)
–to expound doctrine and to improve theological understanding – with the Catholic clergy itself as the primary intended audience.
It enjoyed an authority within the Catholic Church enjoyed by no other catechism until the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1992 (428 years later).
1566 CE: COMMENCEMENT OF REIGN OF SELIM II “THE MAGNIFICENT”
[ Bayezid I > Selim I > Suleiman I > Selim II ]
Don Joseph Nasi was appointed Duke of Naxos as one of the important positions in Selim II government. This is due to the support he received from the Jews in his claim to the throne. Selim II also permitted Marranos fleeing Portugal to settle in Turkey.
1567 CE: MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS
–is executed (at age 24) by order of a Death Warrant signed by her cousin Elizabeth I.
The two had never met.
Mary had been crowned at age of 9 months in December 1542. Her father, James V of Scotland had died when she was 6 days old. She spent the last 19 of her 24 years of life in custody in England.
Elizabeth I would, after the execution of her cousin, later assert (and historians would agree) that although she had signed the Death Warrant, she had never given the actual green light for the execution. Her Privy Councillor, William Davidson was then, as a consequence, imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Note: Mary I of England (“Bloody Mary”) had died at age 42 back in November, 1558.
1567 CE: “JESHIVA”
Jewish school – possibly accommodating 5–25 year olds – founded in Poland.
Connected with Rav Moses Isserles (lived 1520-1572 CE). Details of Jeshiva remain sketchy.
Note that subsequent to local and/or nationwide French, English, German, Swiss, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian expulsions of the Jews (sometimes overlapping or simultaneous) spanning the prior 500-1000 years, Poland had emerged as an important Jewish haven.
Due to similar dynamics, Lithuania also emerged as a key Jewish intellectual center.
Note that over the centuries Lithuania has been intermittently Prussian Russian, Polish, independent, and Nazi-occupied). Lithuania, situated in Northern Europe, is the southernmost of the three Balticstates – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Lithuania emerged as the center of gravity of the great yeshivas of Europe pre-Hitler.
These would ultimately include the iconic institutions of higher Talmudic study –
– and, offshoot yeshiva movements
(with some emphasis on slightly broader Jewish studies)
Brisker (ultimately morphs to Yeshiva University/
Modern Orthodox in Washington Heights,
Manhattan in the 20th century)
1569 CE: PAPAL STATES
February 26: Anyone who refused to convert was ordered by Pope Pius V to be evicted. This includes all the papal states except Rome and Verona.
Almost 1000 Jewish families decided to emigrate due to the threat.
1569 CE: THE UNION OF LUBLIN
July 1: The unity of the two countries, kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania, heightened the security of the two political leaders from Russia under Ivan IV. Jews help discover the new towns and villages near the borders of the two countries. Although Lithuania kept its security separately, the general status aligned with those of Poland. Less than total union retained its own independent Jewish council that had no connection to the Council of the Lands in Poland.
1571 CE: DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH
1571 CE: MEXICAN INQUISITION COMMENCES
San Diego, Mexico: Parallel to its forerunner, the notorious Spanish Inquisition (of the 1490s), the notorious inquisition follows the spread of Catholicism across Mexico. The Mexican Inquisition was directed primarily at Protestants, Native American “heretics,” and the occasional suspected (of potential “relapse” to Judaism) conversios. There were relatively few conversios or any Jews to begin with in Mexico, so the pool of potential targets from this particular group was small. In one form or another, the Roman Catholic Inquisition in Mexico lasts about 200 years.
1572 CE: THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW DAY’S MASSACRE
August 24: Roman Catholics kill thousands of Huguenots (a French protestant sect) in Paris. Similar massacres took place in other French towns in the weeks following. Modern estimates of the Huguenot death toll vary widely, ranging from between 5,000 and 30,000. In 1573 the Roman Catholic French powers that be pardoned the perpetrators.
1573 CE: DONNE
John Donne, England (1572 CE – 1631 CE) – and fellow British poets.
“No man is an island, entire of itself…
…any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
– Meditation XVII by Donne
1574 CE: DEATH OF SULTAN SULEIMAN II
The Ottoman Empire he had led then begins to decay, and the situation of its Jews deteriorates.
1575 CE: MIGUEL DE CERVANTES
At age 28, the future Spanish novelist is captured by pirates off the coast of Spain when the ship he was aboard, the Sol, is taken-over by Algerian pirates.
Cervantes will spend the next five years as a quasi–slave, imprisoned by the pirate group in Algiers. He will ultimately be ransomed by his parents back in Madrid in conjunction with the Trinitarians, a Catholic order.
The first part of his most famous literary work, Don Quixote, will incorporate, as well, some vignettes based on this captivity. His classic will appear in 1605 (~30 years later).
1575 CE: AZARIAH DE ROSSI
–Publishes his Me’or Einayim (Enlightenment to the Eyes). After a strong earthquake in Ferrara, he wrote the first Jewish historical work based on secular Jewish sources; over 100 secular quotes included. This controversial book was believed to not written based on historical truth as per De Rossi who examined talmudic legends with a critical view. He delved deeply into the chronology of events, comparing Jewish and secular sources. The book was severely criticized by Joseph Caro and Judah Loew b. Bezalel of Prague, among others, who believed in the UNION unqualified truth of the talmudic legends. For more than 100 years, the book received a ban.
– after Eli Birnbaum
1577 CE: HEBREW PRINTING PRESS
In Safad (northern Palestine)
1577 CE: ALLIANCE BETWEEN ENGLAND AND NETHERLANDS
1578 CE: MOROCCAN PURIM
Aug 4: Jews faced near disaster when the Moroccan opposition championed and spearheaded by King Sebastian of Portugal, nearly succeeded in overthrowing the leadership. The date of the Portuguese defeat at al–Qasr al–Kabir (the “Battle of Three Kings”) became a day of celebration and thanksgiving for the Jewish community of Morocco.
1579 CE: UNION OF UTRECHT
To counteract the League of Arras, a loose confederation in the Northern Netherlands (Holland) was formed by the Spanish Catholics in the Low Countries (i.e. Belgium), marking the beginning of an enlightened atmosphere regarding the Jews in the Netherlands.
1580 CE: “COUNCIL OF FOUR LANDS”
(Va’ad Arba’ Aratzot) meets for the first time in Poland.
Seventy delegates from four lands meet as a council in Lublin, Poland to discuss issues of importance to the Jews.
And which were these “Four Lands”?
Greater Poland, Little Poland, Ruthenia and Volhynia.
1581 CE: POPE GREGORY XIII
March 30: Many popes did not mind using Jews as their personal physicians although a Bull banning the use of Jewish doctors was issued by the Pope.
1581 CE: PRIVATEER > KNIGHT
(Sir) Francis Drake knighted by the British.
Had led the first British circumnavigation of the globe (1577-1580).
A hero to the British, but just a plain pirate to the a+
Spanish. His ‘work experience’ would include: privateer, slave trader, navigator and politician. Later, in 1588, Drake would become Vice Admiral of the British Fleet against the Spanish Armada.
1583 CE: SARALBO
February 19: Rome, Italy: One of the three Portuguese Marranos from Ferrara that was burned in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori at the command of Pope Gregory XIII was Joseph Saralbo. He had helped 800 Marranos return to Judaism. The reports indicated that he asked the Jews of Rome not to mourn for him stating “I am on my way to meet immortality.”
1585 CE: WALTER RALEIGH ESTABLISHES AN ENGLISH SETTLEMENT
–on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. However, the colony fails twice. Queen Elizabeth will make him a knight anyway, possibly enamored of his (alleged) charm.
However, after Elizabeth dies and is succeeded by King James I, Raleigh has a stormy relationship with the new king, with intense ups–and–downs. During the final “down,” Raleigh is beheaded at Whitehall, London.
c. 1585 CE: GOLEM
The Maharal of Prague creates his Golem.
The MaHaRaL is the Hebrew acronym of Moreinu ha–Rav Loew – “Our Teacher the Rabbi Loew.”
Judah Loew ben Bezalel, (c. 1520–1609) also known as Yehudah ben Bezalel Levai, was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in Prague (now in the Czech Republic) for most of his life. He is buried at the Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague in Josefov district. His grave with its tombstone intact, and can still be visited (as of 2010).
He is known for his works on Jewish philosophy and Jewish mysticism and his super commentary – the Gur Aryeh – on Rashi’s Torah commentary.
The Maharal is particularly known for the GOLEM story/legend/tale, which first appears in print close to 200 years after his death. According to the tale, using mystical powers the rabbi created a living entity/being – the GOLEM – out of clay – to defend the Jews of the Prague Ghetto from anti–Semitic attacks. The GOLEM story reverberates independent of its veracity, as a testament to the adoration and endearment in which the Maharal’s legacy is held.
1586 CE: POPE SIXTUS V
October 22: Gregory’s successor. He revokes Gregory’s policies which allowed Jews to reside in the Papal states and to print the Talmud.
The less strident policies which preceded Sixtus V were, however, reinstated upon his death.
1587 CE: SALAMONE DE ROSSI APPOINTED COURT MUSICIAN
–in Mantua, Italy
He was an Italian Jewish violinist and composer and a transitional figure between the late Italian Renaissance and early Baroque. The invitation by Alessandro, Duke of Mirandola, as “the Jew Salamone and his company,” had given him an opportunity to have his own orchestra. He was excused from wearing the yellow badge, the requirement made to the Jews in Mantua, because he was so well thought of at the court of Mantua.
1588 CE: “THE DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA”
August: The English Channel, off of Gravelines, Flanders (then, Spanish Netherlands): Spanish Armada of 128 ships attacked by the 116 ships of the British Fleet. The British hoped to forestall the Spaniards from opening a sea lane to transport 30,000 of their soldiers by barges across the Channel (from Gravelines) to the English shore near London.
[Apparently, the Pope Sixtus-backed Spanish fleet had more priests on-board than trained gunners.]
The outnumbered British Fleet prevails. The Spanish Armada retreats.
Considered a turning point in the fortunes of the two countries. In any event, the (victorious) British lost 50-100 dead in the actual battle, but 6,000-8,000 underpaid sailors dead from typhus, dysentery and malnutrition upon discharge.