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SEVILLE (Sp. Sevilla), leading city of Andalusia, S.W. *Spain. According to a tradition, the Jewish settlement in Seville was of very ancient date; it is related that Jews arrived there at the time of the destruction of the First Temple, and among the families were descendants of the House of David, including the *Abrabanel family. However, it is difficult to adduce evidence for the presence of Jews in this locality during the 11th to 10th centuries B.C.E., unless Seville, or another place within direct proximity of it, is identified with the *Tarshish mentioned in the Bible. There is no doubt that a Jewish settlement existed during the period of Visigothic rule in the peninsula. During the seventh century C.E., *Isidore of Seville wrote anti-Jewish polemics there. When the city was conquered by the Muslims in 712 they formed a Jewish guard for its defense; these soldiers settled in the city and its surroundings.

Muslim Period

Under the *Umayyads, Seville prospered and became an important cultural center. The Jewish community of Seville was one of four major communities in Muslim Spain. *Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon addressed Seville Jewry in the mid-tenth century in his letter to the leading communities in Spain (Abraham ibn Daud, Sefer ha-Qabbalah, Book of Tradition, ed. by G. Cohen (1967), 79). The Jews engaged in commerce and medicine and had a virtual monopoly on the profession of *dyeing. Seville served as a refuge for Jews escaping from *Córdoba after the Berber conquest in 1013. Jewish opponents of *Samuel ha-Nagid in Granada fled to Seville, its major opponent. During the 11th century the Jewish population increased as a result of the anti-Jewish riots in *Granada, as well as a large influx of Jews from North Africa seeking economic improvement. Under the Abbasid dynasty (1023–91) prominent Jews served in various capacities at court. During the reign of al-Muʿtaḍid (1024–69) the wealthy scholar Isaac b. Baruch *Albalia served as court astrologer and head of the Jewish community. His son, the scholar Baruch b. Isaac Albalia, uncle of the historian Abraham *Ibn Daud, was born in Seville. Abraham b. Meir ibn Muhajir also served as vizier and head of the Jewish community under the Abbasid king. Important families included the Ibn al-Yatom, Ibn Kamneill, Ibn Mujahir, and the Abrabanel families. Under the Almoravids (11th century), Seville was a major cultural center. Abu Ayub Sulayman ibn Mu'allim of Seville served as court physician and Abu al-Hasan Abraham b. Meir ibn Kamneil as a diplomat under King Ali ibn Uūsuf (1106–43). The poets Abu Sulayman ibn Mujahir and Abul al-Fatḥ Eleazar ibn Azhar and the scholar Meir ibn Migash lived in Seville in the early 12th century. Seville Jewry suffered the same fate as the other Andalusian communities in the wake of the Almohad conquest and was entirely destroyed.

Location of the Jewish Quarter

Under Muslim rule the Jewish quarter was situated in the western part of the city, in the present parishes of Santa Magdalena and San Lorenzo, where the Cal and Cal Maior streets ("Community Street") are still to be found. This was probably the old Jewish quarter (judería vieja), which was then also the Moorish quarter. The al-Shawwār Gate, known as the Judería Gate during the Middle Ages and later as the Meat Gate (Puerta de la Carne), was situated within the boundaries of the quarter. The other Jewish quarter, established after the city was conquered by the Christians, extended from the Carmona Gate, through the San Esteban, Las Aguilas, and de Abades streets, to the Cathedral, the Oil Street, and the Alcazar to the city wall. Ballesteros (see bibliography) may, however, have been correct in stating that from the Alcazar the boundary of the quarter passed through Matías Gago Street, Sole-dad, to San Nicolas and from there to Madre de Dios Street, St. Bartholomé Square, and Vidrio Street to Tintes Street, through the "Rose" alley. The main street of the Jewish quarter was the one that started in the Puerta de la Judería (today de la Carne) and ended at the gate that used to be in front of San Nicolás, in other words the streets that nowadays are called Santa María la Blanca and San José. The busiest part of the quarter was the square that is today called plaza de Santa María la Blanca. Important localities and streets in the Jewish quarter were the Cruces street and the streets of the Levíes and Archeros, where the original doors of the synagogue (now Santa María la Blanca) were and are still preserved but not used. Santa María la Blanca had been a mosque before it was given by Alfonso X in 1252 to the Jews to use as synagogue together with other two mosques. In 1391 this synagogue was converted into the present church. In the Santa Cruz place there was a synagogue, also formerly a mosque, which was converted into a church in 1391. Before its destruction by the French in 1810, it occupied a large part of the Santa Cruz place. The third mosque that was turned into a synagogue used to be where San Bartolomé church stands. In Susona street, according to legend, lived Susona, who was connected with the plot of the Conversos against the Inquisition. At the time of the expulsion of the Jews of Andalusia in 1483 (see also below), the quarter was surrounded by a wall which ran as far as San Esteban. The inner wall had two gates. There were many synagogues in the quarter, including one erected by Samuel b. Meir ha-Levi *Abulafia of Toledo during the 14th century. The archdeacon of Ecija, Ferrant *Martínez (see also below), enumerated 23 synagogues in Seville during the second half of the 14th century, and related that he destroyed them. The origin of such a large number is unknown; he may have included the yeshivot in this number. Some of the synagogues were converted into churches: Santa María la Blanca is particularly well known. After the quarter ceased to exist, it was named "New Quarter" (Barrionuevo) but its remains may still be seen in the Santa Cruz quarter.

The Jewish cemetery of Seville was near the Puerta de la Carne, formerly de la Judería, in the Bujaira, where the Colegio de Potacoeli now stands. The Inquisition in Seville sat in Triana castle, after a brief period in the Dominican monastery of San Pablo.


Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, index; A. Ballesteros, Sevilla en siglo XIII (1913); J. González, Repartimiento de Sevilla, 2 vols. (1951); Cantera-Millás, Inscripciones, index; B. Eloy Ruano, in: Hispania, 85 (1962), 23–37; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; H.C. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, 1 (1906), 160ff.; 4 (1906), index; B. Llorca, in: Sefarad, 2 (1942), 118ff.; F. Cantera, ibid., 4 (1944), 295–349; B. Llorca, Bulario Pontificio de la Inquisición (1949), 48–67. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. de Mata Carriazo, in: Homenaje a don Ramón Carande, vol. 2 (1963), 95–112; J.V. Baruque, in: Historia, Instituciones, Documentos, 1 (1974), 221–38; A. Collantes de Terán Sánchez, in: Historia, Instituciones, Documentos, 3 (1976), 167–85; K. Wagner, Regesto de documentos del Archivo de Protocolos de Sevilla referents a judíos y moros (1978); A. Domínguez Ortíz, in: Nueva revista de filología hispánica 30 (1981), 609–16; A. Herrera García, in: Sefarad, 41 (1981), 95–110; I. Montes Romero-Camacho, in: La sociedad medieval andaluza; grupos no privilegiados. Actas del III Coloquio de historia medieval andaluza (1984), 57–75; idem, in: La ciudad hispánica durante los sig;os XIII al XVI; Actas del coloquio, 1 (1985–87), 343–65; idem, Andalucía entre oriente y occidente (1261492). Actas del V Coloquio internacional de historia medieval de Andalucía (1988), 551–68; R. Sánchez Saus, in: En la España medieval, V, Estudios en memoria del Profesor D. Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz, 2 (1986), 1119–39; F. Fernández Gómez and A. de la Hoz Gándara, in: I Congreso de Arqueología Medieval Española. Actas, 4 (1986), 49–72; J.A. Ollero Pina, in: Hispania Sacra, 40 (1988), 45–105; F.J. Lobera Serrano, in: Cultura neolatina, 49 (1989), 7–53.