paleo Ideofact

Monday, February 10, 2003
Nasi and Mendes
Referrer logs, which allow us to see who is linking us, are wonderful things (sadly, I haven't had much of a chance to check mine of late). But I did make a note of a few, like this comment thread from the excellent and daily-read-worthy Cinderella Bloggerfeller, in which Combustible Boy called me "perhaps the most Islam-friendly of the non-Muslim pundit bloggers," or this compliment that Razib of Gene Expression bestowed on me (and on the excellent Procrastination, I should add). I also came across this post from Kristina of isfogailsi, who wrote,
I'm also planning to read
The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age
due to mention with regards to authorial intent of Marlowe's Faust as mentioned here by Ideofact. (Not that the interpretation which he lists as the main doesn't have real validity, I think; but elaborating on that would require going in on authorial intent, deconstructionism, and how I put all those things to use. And I'm tired and cranky and hungry, so no: I'm not going to think about that too hard right now.)
The book, by the excellent Frances Yates, isn't her best, but I found this passage of interest. She's writing about the 16th Century, when Jews were banned from England, had been exiled or forced to convert in Spain and Portugal (conversos or marranos, the converts were called):
By far the greater number of the Jewish exiles went to the east and found a refuge in the Ottoman empire. The Crescent was infinitely more tolerant of Jews than the Cross; within the Turkish domains, they were allowed to profess their religion openly. 'No one was persecuted for his religion in Solyman's time, when the Inquisition was carrying on its deadly work in Spain and the Netherlands.' The centre of gravity of Judaism shifted from the west to the east, from Spain to Turkey. The relative freedom of the Jewish immigrants in Turkey allowed them to rise, through their ability, to positions of high influence. Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos, a marrano refugee, was at one time considered virtually the ruler of the Turkish empire. Alvaro Mendes, also a Sephardic Jew, was very powerful at the Turkish court; he was one of the prime movers in the epoch-making alliance between England and Turkey against Spain, was in close contact with Burleigh, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
There's a bio of Nasi here, and a paragraph about Mendes here.