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RAVAYA (Ravalia, Ravaylla), family of courtiers in 13th-cen-tury Spain, originating from Gerona in Aragon. Its prominent members included ASTRUG RAVAYA, bailiff of Gerona from 1276 to 1281. In the 1260s Astrug and his son JOSEPH (d. 1282) loaned large sums to King James I, and also farmed the royal revenues. Joseph was the treasurer of King Pedro the Great (1276–85). In the reign of Pedro's father, James I, Joseph had served as the infante's banker and for a time managed all the latter's property. From 1268 Joseph was bailiff of Besalú and from 1271 also of Gerona and district. Apart from the king and the infante, Joseph was the only person in the kingdom of Aragon whose functions enabled him to act in the three states of the crown (Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia). The general local bailiffs as well as various other officials were all subordinated to his authority. Muca de *Portella, Aaron Abinafia, and Joseph's brother, Moses (see below), served under him as district commissioners, their functions being similar to those of the general bailiffs in later periods. As king's treasurer, Joseph had to supervise the royal accounts and manage the crown revenues. In 1279 he is mentioned by the title thesaurarius ("treasurer"). Joseph had a part in the appointment or dismissal of royal officials and often served Pedro in an advisory capacity. He accompanied the king at the siege of Balaguer against the rebel Catalonian nobles (1280) and during the campaign against Sicily (1282). Various state documents contain Joseph's signature in Hebrew and other administrative notes in this language.

Joseph's brother, MOSES, headed the crown administration of Catalonia until his dismissal (before February 1283). In that year, when he was about to inherit his brother's office in charge of the three states of the kingdom, the king ordered that Moses' functions should be restricted to Catalonia only, while for the first time Christian officials were appointed to these posts in Aragon and Valencia. Moses also continued his activities under Alfonso III (1285–91), despite the laws of 1283 which barred Jews from holding public office in the kingdom.


Baer, Spain, index; Sefarad, index; D. Romano, Los funcionarios judíos de Pedro el Grande de Aragón (1970).

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