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Duarte de Paz

PAZ, DUARTE DE (d. c. 1542), representative in Rome of Portuguese Marranos. Of Marrano descent, Duarte began a career in diplomacy as the Portuguese military attaché for North Africa. He won the confidence of King John III, who knighted him in 1532 and sent him on a secret mission. Instead he went to Rome to enlist the Curia's intercession for the Marranos. He had a cool and cunning style and plied the cardinals and Pope Clement VII with money made available for this purpose by the Marranos. His initial success was the issuance on Oct. 17, 1532 of a papal decree abrogating the bull Cum ad nihil magis of 1531, which had introduced the Inquisition into Portugal. His second success, on April 7, 1533, was the issuance of a bull pardoning the Marranos for "lapses" into Judaism on the ground that their forced conversions were not valid (see *Inquisition, *Portugal). Continuing his activities under Pope Paul III (1534–49), Duarte achieved another success on Oct. 2, 1535, when a papal bull extended the civil rights of Marranos, resulting in the immediate release of 1,800 Marranos from Portuguese dungeons. By this time King John had taken furious notice of Duarte's insubordinate activities and ordered him stripped of commission and honor. In January 1536 Duarte was attacked by masked men, stabbed 14 times, and left for dead on the road. Because of concealed armor he was wearing and the subsequent careful nursing by the pope's doctors, he recovered and accused King John of having ordered his assassination. John denied the accusation, and in any event, since Duarte was no longer in a position to defend his constituents effectively, he proceeded to bring his affairs to a close. When the Marranos questioned Duarte accusingly about a missing 4,000 ducats, enraged, he turned completely against them and denounced both them and their new representative, Diogo Antonio, in many courts in Europe. While on a visit to *Ferrara he was taken by surprise and imprisoned. On his release, he openly espoused Judaism and migrated to Turkey, where, shortly before his death, he reportedly became a Muslim.


Baron, Social, index; M.A. Cohen (trans.), Usque's Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel (1965), 1–9; Graetz, Hist, 4 (1894), 512–20; Roth, Marranos, index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.