Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Toledo, Spain

Toledo is a city in Castile, central Spain; capital of Castile until 1561.

Early Jewish Settlement and Visigothic Period

There is no substantive information available on the beginnings of the Jewish settlement in Toledo, which was only a small village in the period of Roman rule over Spain. According to a Jewish tradition dating from the period of Muslim rule, the Jewish settlement in Toledo was the most ancient in the Iberian peninsula. This tradition was accepted by Isaac Abrabanel who states (in his commentary to the Book of Kings, at the end, and to Obadiah 20) that the first settlers were exiles from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who had arrived there after the destruction of the First Temple, and were associated with a legend concerning Pirus and Hispan who took part in the siege of Jerusalem. Hence the name “Tuletula” (Lat. Toletum = Toledo) has been explained as deriving from their wanderings (Heb. taltelah) when they were expelled from their land.

Jews probably established themselves there when the town became the capital of the Visigoths, or during the preceding fourth to fifth centuries C.E. The Jewish settlement was, however, inconsiderable, the Jews then being mainly concentrated in the towns on the east coast. Once the Visigoths became converted to Christianity, the Church councils held in Toledo, particularly from the reign of Sisenand onward, directed many decrees against them, which the Visigothic kings strictly applied. The legislation indicates that there were Jewish settlements in Toledo and the vicinity mainly engaged in agriculture.

When the danger of a Muslim invasion seemed imminent, the 17th Church Council, held in Toledo in 694, accused the Jews of plotting, in collaboration with their coreligionists living across the straits, to destroy the Christian kingdom. There is, however, no foundation to the accusation that the Jews delivered the town to the Muslims at the time of its capture (c. 712). Information on the conquest and the presence of Jews in the town is extant from a later period: during the 13th century, Ibn al-Adhari wrote that there had been only a few Jews in the town at the time of its conquest.


GENERAL: Baer, Spain, index; A.M. Gamero, Historia de la Ciudad de Toledo (1862); J. Amador de los Ríos, Historia… de los Judíos de España y Portugal, 3 vols. (1876), passim; Neuman, Spain, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.M. López Álvarez, Catálogo del Museo Sefardí, Toledo (1986); J. Blázquez Miguel, Toledot: Historia del Toledo judío (1989). EARLY JEWISH COMMUNITY AND THE VISIGOTHIC PERIOD: S. Katz, Jews in the Visigothic and Frankish Kingdoms of Spain and Gaul (1937), passim; C.G. Goldaraz, El códice Lucense (1954); H. Beinart, in: Estudios, 3 (1961), 1–32 (includes bibliography). JEWISH QUARTER: Ashtor, Korot, 1 (1960), 211ff.; A. González Palencia, Los mozárabes de Toledo en los siglos XII y XII, estudio preliminar (1930), 72f.; L. Torres Balbas, in: Al-Andalus, 12 (1947), 164–98; F. Cantera, in: Sefarad, 7 (1947), 442–3; M. Reisz, Europe’s Jewish Quarters (1991), 24–37. JEWISH LANDMARKS: C. Roth, in: JQR, 39 (1948), 123ff.; idem, in: Sefarad, 8 (1948), 3–22; F. Cantera, ibid., 26 (1966), 305–14; idem, Sinagogas españolas (1955), 33–150; F. Cantera and J.M. Míllas, Inscripciones hebraicas de España (1956), 36–180, 332–9, 367–8 (incl. bibl.). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Palomera Plaza, A.M. López Alvarez, and Y. Alvarez Delgado, in: Jewish Art, 18 (1992), 48–57; E.W. Goldman, in: ibid., 58–70. MUSLIM PERIOD: Y. Baer, in: Tarbiz, 5 (1934), 186ff.; S.D. Goitein, ibid., 24 (1955), 21ff., 134ff.; 25 (1956), 393ff.; E. Ashtor, in: Zion, 28 (1963), 39–40; Ashtor, Korot; A. González Palencia, Los mozárabes de Toledo en los siglos XII y XII, estudio preliminar (1930), 149–51; Baer, Urkunden, index. CHRISTIAN PERIOD: N. Round, in: Archivum, 16 (1966), 385–446; B. Netanyahu, in: PAAJR, 44 (1977), 93–125; P. León Tello, Judíos de Toledo (1979), 2 vols.; J.M. Nieto Soria, in: Sefarad, 41 (1981), 301–19; 42 (1982), 79–102; J. Porres Martín-Cleto, in: Anales toledanos, 16 (1983), 37–61; N. Roth, in: AJSR, 11 (1986), 189–220; J. Aguado Villalba, in: Arqueología medieval española, II Congreso (1987), 247–57; L. Cardaillac (ed.), Tolède, XIIe-XIIIe: musulmans, chrétiens et juifs; le savoir et la tolérance (1991). CONVERSOS: A.Z. Aescoly, in: Zion, 10 (1945), 136ff.; H. Beinart, ibid., 20 (1955), 1ff.; idem, in: Tarbiz, 26 (1957), 86–71; idem, Anusim be-Din ha-Inkviziẓyah (1965), index; H.C. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, 4 vols. (1906), index; A. de Cartagena, Defensonium unitatis christianae, ed. by M. Alonso (1943); A.A. Sicroff, Les controverses de statuts depureté de sang” en Espagne… (1960); E. Benito Ruano, Toledo en el siglo XV (1961); Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; F. Cantera, Judaizantes del arzobispado de Toledo (1969); idem, El poeta Rodrigo Cota y su familia de judíos Conversos (1970). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Martz, in: Sefarad, 48 (1988), 117–96; J-P. Dedieu, L’administration de la foi: l’Inquisition de Tolède, XVIe–XVIIIe siècle (1989).

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