The unraveling: Seville, The Jews of Castile, and the Road to the Riots of 1391
Weisenberg, Nathaniel (Georgetown University)
Georgetown University (Honors Thesis, Georgetown University, 2010)
The remnants of the old juderia, or Jewish neighborhood, of the city of Seville mesh awkwardly with modernity. A Star of David crowns the Romanesque doorway of the church of San Isidoro; fragments from a Jewish cemetery can be found, enclosed like museum pieces, inside an underground parking garage. Even the current layout of the neighborhood, with its narrow, winding streets leading away from the city’s Cathedral and Alcazar royal palace, owes more to a desire to attract tourists than to a striving for historical authenticity.
Even though nearly all of the physical evidence of this community’s existence has disappeared, the place of Seville in the history of the Jewish experience on the Iberian Peninsula remains intact. Whether through the histories of figures such as Samuel ha-Levi who attained enormous wealth and power in the service of the Kingdom of Castile, or through the invocation of Seville as one of the cities representative of the supposed religious tolerance of medieval Iberia, the memory of the juderia of Seville is central to the story of the Jewish experience in Spain. This study will focus on a particular period of Sevillian Jewish history: the developments of the fourteenth century leading up to the devastating riots of 1391.