Braudel on Jewish Civilization - Peter Myers, May 22, 2002; update March 232, 2003. My comments are shown {thus}.

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Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II, vol. 2, tr. Sian Reynolds, Fontana/Collins, Bangay, Suffolk 1982.

{p. 803} There {p. 804} was quite updoubtedly a Jewish civilization, so individual that it is not always recognized as an authentic civilization. ...  It is essential then to accept that there are civilizations of the diaspora type ... {p. 806} And yet the Jews are not a race ... German Jews or Ashkenazim, Spanish Jews or Sephardim are biologically at least half German or Spanish, for there was frequent intermarriage and Jewish communities often originated in local conversions to Judaism ... {p. 807} in Portugal, the Jews had intermarried with the aristocracy even more than with the common people.  ... the isolation of the Jewish communities was the result not of racial incompatibility, as is often suggested, but of the hostility of others towards them and their own feelings of repugnance towards others. The root of it all was religion: isolation was the consequence of a whole complex of inherited habits, beliefs, even methods of preparing food.


All the conflicts discussed so far have been confined to a dialogue between two civilizations. In the case of the Jews, every civilization was implicated and invariably found itself in a position of overwhelming superiority. Against such strength and numbers the Jews were but a tiny band of adversaries. But these adversaries had unusual opportunities: one prince might persecute them, another protect them: one economy might ruin them, another make their fortunes; one civilization might reject them and another welcome them with open arms. Spain expelled them in 1492 and Turkey received them, glad perhaps of the opportunity to use them as

{p. 803} counters against the Greeks. It was also possible to exert pressure, to be the indirect source of action, as the Jews of Portugal amply demonstrated. They were able to obtain the tolerance which money can buy and at Rome they had an ambassador generally sympathetic to their cause. So it was comparatively simple to see to it that the measures enacted against them by the Lisbon government remained a dead letter: they were unfailingly either repealed or rendered ineffective, as Luis Sarmiento explained to Charles V in December, 1535. The conversos, converted Jews, had obtained from the Pope a bull pardoning them for their previous errors, which would impede government action against them, the more so since the conversos had lent money to the king of Portugal who was hopelessly in debt: 500,000 ducats, not counting the rest in Flanders 'and on the exchanges'. Meanwhile the populace continued to mutter against these merchants of peixe seco (the dried fish eaten by the poor) and muttered very bitterly, fieramente, as a late Venetian letter observes in October, 1604, over half a century after the establishrnent of the Portuguese Inquisition in 1536.

And then there were the perennial resources of the weak: resignation, the subtle distinctions learned from the Talmud, cunning, obstinacy, courage and even heroism. To complicate their case even further to the historian, the Jews, wherever they might find themselves, have always seemed extremely capable of adapting to the prevailing environment. They have proved quick to acclimatize themselves, whether their encounter with a civilization is lasting or short-lived. Jewish artists and writers have been recognized as authentic artistic representatives of Castile, Aragon or wherever it may be. They have adapted equally quickly to the social situations offered to or imposed upon them, humble and brilliant alike. It would seem then that they might be perilously near cultural shipwreck, that loss of identity of which there is no lack of examples. But in most cases, they succeeded in preserving what sociologists and anthropologists would call their 'basic personality'. They remained enclosed within their beliefs, at the centre of a universe from which nothing could dislodge them. This obstinacy, these desperate refusals are the dominant features of their destiny. The Christians were not mistaken when they complained that the marranos (the pejorative name for converted Jews) secretly persisted in practising Judaism. There

{p. 804} was quite updoubtedly a Jewish civilization, so individual that it is not always recognized as an authentic civilization. And yet it exerted its influence, transmitted certain cultural values, resisted others, sometirnes accepting, sometimes refusing: it possessed all the qualities by which we have defined civilization. True it was not or was only notionally rooted to any one place; it did not obey any stable and unvarying geographical imperatives. This was one of its most original features, but not the only one.

An unquestionable civilization. The matter of this civilization was dispersed, scattered, like tiny drops of oil, over the deep waters of other civilizations, never truly blending with them yet always dependent on them. So its movements were always the movements of others, and consequently exceptionally sensitive 'indicators'. Ernile-Felix Gautier, trying to find an equivalent of the Jewish diaspora, proposed as a very humble example, the history of the Mozabites of North Africa, who were also dispersed in very small colonies. Another possible parallel is the case of the Armenians, mountain peasants who at about the time of the Renaissance in western Europe, were becoming international merchants from the Philippines to Amsterdam; or there are the Parsees in India or the Nestorian Christians of Asia. It is essential then to accept that there are civilizations of the diaspora type, scattering their countless islands in foreign waters, and they are more numerous than one might imagine at first sight: for instance the Christian communities in North Africa, from the Moslem conquest of the eighth century until the Almohad persecutions, in the thirteenth, which all but put an end to their existence. In a sense, the same is true of European colonies in the Third World countries both before and after independence; not to mention the Moriscos, the repository of Moslem civilization, whom Spain brutally cast out, in a gesture of cold hatred, as we have already seen.

If these islands made contact with each other, the whole situation could be very different. In medieval Spain for instance, until the ferocious persecution of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Jewish communities tended to form a more or less coherent network, a sort of confessional nation, a millet as the Turks called it, a mellah as it was known in North Africa. Portugal owed its originality to the fact that in 1492 its Jewish population was massively reinforced by refugees from Spain. The Levant retreived a similar influx for the same reason. So too in the suddenly enlarged Poland of early modern times, from the fifteenth century on, there was an increased Jewish presence, the result of large numbers,

{p. 805} indeed almost a Jewish nation within the nation, a state within the state, which was to be swept away by economic hardship and pitiless repression in the seventeenth century, with the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648. Again, in the sparsely mhabited Brazil of early days, the Jews were less threatened than elsewhere until the end of the sixteenth century. The relative density of the Jewish population was always a significant factor.

But even when numbers did not favour or exaggerate the Jewish presence, these small communities, primary cells, were linked by education, beliefs, the regular travels of merchants, rabbis and beggars (who were legion); by the uninterrupted flow of letters of business, friendship or family matters; and by printed books. Printing served Jewish quarrels but it served the cause of Jewish unity even more. To burn or confiscate all these books, so vital and so easily reprodueed, would have been an impossible task. The life stories of certain wanderers are illustrations of the vitality of these unifying links. Jacob Sasportas was born towards the beginning of the seventeenth century in Oran, which was then held by the Spanish: he became a rabbi first at Tlemcen, then at Marrakesh and Fez; imprisoned, he escaped and fled to Amsterdam where he was a professor at the Pinto Academy; he returned to Africa and in 1655 accompanied Manasseh ben Israel on his embassy to London; he once more officiated as rabbi, in particular in Hamburg from 1666-1673; then returned to Amsterdam, was called to Leghorn, and returned to Amsterdam where he died. This network of connections both explains and reinforces the coherence of the Jewish destiny. Johann Gottfried von Herder, in his Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1785-1792), was even then saying that 'the Jews continue to be an Asiatic people in Europe, foreign to our part of the world, inextricably the prisoners of an ancient law given to them under a distant sky'.

{p. 806} And yet the Jews are not a race: all scientific studies prove the contrary. Their colonies are biologically dependent on the host-nations with which they have lived for centuries. German Jews or Ashkenazim, Spanish Jews or Sephardim are biologically at least half German or Spanish, for there was frequent intermarriage and Jewish communities often originated in local conversions to Judaism; they never cloistered themselves from the outside world to which, on the contrary, they were often wide open. It would in any case be surprising if the accumulation of sometimes very many centuries had not led to such intermingling of different populations. The Jews who left Sicily in 1492 had been there after all for over 1500 years.

Moreover the Jews did not always live apart, nor wear any distinctive dress or sign, such as the yellow cap or the rotella, a yellow badge, the 'segno de tela zala in mezo del pecto' as a Venetian text described it in 1496. They did not always inhabit a separate quarter of the city, the ghetto (from the name of the quarter which was assigned to them in Venice and whose name is supposed to be derived from its formerly being the foundry where iron was cast - ghettare for getare - into moulds to make cannon). In August, 1540, the Jews of Naples for example, in their battle against that deep-rooted hostility towards them which finally triumphed a year later, were still protesting against orders obliging thern to 'live together and wear a special badge', 'habitar junto y traer seiial', which was contrary to their privileges. And even when there was official segregation, it was very often infringed and disobeyed. In Venice, Jews passing through the city and others, says a senatorial debate of March, 1556, 'have recently been spreading throughout the city, staying in Christian houses, going wherever they please, by day and night'. It is essential that this scandal cease: they must be ordered to live in the ghetto 'and not to keep an inn in any other part of the city but that one'. At about the same period, Jews from Turkey were arriving in Italy wearing white turbans (the privilege of the Turks) when they should have been wearing yellow. It is knavery on their part, writes Belon, they are usurping the good faith of the Turks which is better established in the West than their own. In 1566, though this was not the first alarm, the Jews of Milan were obliged to wear a yellow cap.

Frequently segregation was enforced at a late date and was only partially effective. At Verona in 1599 (although it had been mooted since at least 1593) the Jews who 'lived scattered, one here, another there', had to take

{p. 807} up residence 'near the main square of the city', 'where they sell wine', along the street running to the church of San Sebastiano, thereafter popularly known as the via delli Hebrei. It was not until 1602 that a similar measure was enacted at Padua, where until then, the 'Israelites had for the most part lived scattered in all four corners of the town'. In August 1602, there were incidents at Mantua arising from the fact that Jews were walking about in black caps like anybody else.

In Spain and Portugal, coexistence had been the rule for centuries. In Portugal, one of the most common popular demands concerned the obligation laid by the Pope on the Jews (who did not observe it) to wear distinctive marks upon their clothing, in order, the Cortes went so far as to say, to prevent the many attempts by Jews to seduce Christian women. Jewish tailors and shoemakers were frequently accused of seducing the wives and daughters of the peasants in whose houses they went to work. In fact, in Portugal, the Jews had intermarried with the aristocracy even more than with the common people. In Turkey, the Jews had Christian slaves, both men and women, and 'use Christian slave-women with no more qualms over mixing with them than if they were Jewish women'. Whichever side found itself proscribed, the isolation of the Jewish communities was the result not of racial incompatibility, as is often suggested, but of the hostility of others towards them and their own feelings of repugnance towards others. The root of it all was religion: isolation was the consequence of a whole complex of inherited habits, beliefs, even methods of preparing food. Of converted Jews, Bernaldez, the historiographer of the Catholic Kings, says: 'they never lost the habit of eating in the Jewish manner, preparing their meat dishes with onions and garlic and frying them in oil, which they use instead of bacon fat' - to a modern reader a description of Spanish cooking today. But the use of pork fat in cooking was of course the way of the Old Christians and, as Salvador de Madariaga says, its eventual displacement by oil was a legacy of the Jews, a cultural transfer. The converted Jew or marrano also gave himself away by carefully forgetting to light a fire in his house on Saturdays. An inquisitor once said to the governor of Seville: 'My lord, if you wish to see how the conversos keep the Sabbath, come up the tower with me.' When they reached the top, he pointed around, saying 'See how you can tell the houses of these conversos: however cold it is, you will never see smoke coming from their chimneys on a Saturday.' This story, told by Ibn

{p. 808} Verga (about 1500) has a ring of truth; cold spells in Seville in winter were certainly only too real. There were other revealing details: in the Levant, the Jews 'will never eat of any meat prepared by a Turk, Greek or Frank and will accept no fat from either Christians or Turks, nor will they drink any wine sold by a Turk or Christian'.

But all Jewish communities were obliged to engage in a dialogue, sometimes in dramatic circumstances when around them the entire nature of the dominant civilization changed. The Moslems replaced the Christians in Spain, then the Christians returned after the belated victories of the Reconquest. Jews who had spoken Arabic now had to learn Spanish. They were in the same unhappy position in Hungary when, with the imperial advance of 1593-1606, the Jews of Buda were caught between the twin perils of the Imperials and the Turks. Changing circumstances made them the involuntary heirs of once-powerful civilizations, whose gifts they were to pass on in one direction or another. Unintentionally, they were until the thirteenth century and even later, the intermediaries through whom the West received Arab thought and science, as philosophers, mathematicians, doctors and cosmographers. In the fifteenth century they rapidly developed an enthusiasm for printing: the first book to be printed in Portugal was the Pentateuch (at Faro, in 1487, by Samuel Gacon). Not until about ten years later did German printers appear in Portugal. When one remembers that printing was not introduced to Spain by the Germans until 1475, the haste with which the Jews set about printing sacred texts is the more striking. Expelled from Spain in 1492, the Jews took the art of printing with them to Turkey. By 1550, they had 'translated all manner of books into the Hebrew tongue'. Founding a press was a work of devotion, undertaken for example by the widow of Joseph Micas in the countryside of Koregismi, near Constantinople.

In 1573, Venice was preparing to drive out her Jews in accordance with the decision of 14th December, 1571. But things had changed since Lepanto, and at this point Soranzo arrived from Constantinople, where he had held the office of bailo. According to a Jewish chronicler, he addressed the Council of Ten in the following terms: 'What pernicious act is this, to expel the Jews? Do you not know what it may cost you in years to come? Who gave the Turk his strength and where else would he have found the skilled craftsmen to make the cannon, bows, shot, swords, shields and bucklers which enable him to measure himself against other powers, if not among the Jews who were expelled by the Kings of Spain?' An earlier French description of Constantinople (about 1550) had al-

{p. 809} ready noted as much: 'and these [the marranos] are the men who have made known to the Turks the manner of trading and handling those things we use mechanically.'

They had a further advantage: the Jews were, in the East, born interpreters of all speech and without their help much business would have been impossible or difficult. Belon explains: 'those of them who left Spain, Germany, Hungary and Bohemia have taught the languages [of those countries] to their children; and their children have learnt the languages of the nations in which they have to live and speak, it might be Greek, Slavonic, Turkish, Arabic, Armenian or Italian' ... The Jews who live in Turkey ordinarily speak four or five languages: and there are several who know ten or twelve.' He made a similar observation al Rosetta in Egypt, where the Jews, 'have so multiplied over all the lands ruled by the Turk, that there is no town or village where they do not live and increase. And so they speak every language, and have been of great service to us, not only in translating for us but in communicating to us how things are in that country.'

Linguistically, it is curious that the Jews expelled from Germany in the fourteenth, fifteenth and even sixteenth centuries, who were to contribute to the fortunes of Polish Jewry, should have introduced their own language, Yiddish, a form of German, just as the Spanish Jews who after 1492 formed the large colonies in Istanbul and above all Salonica, brought with them their own language, ladino, Renaissance Spanish, and preserved a genuine feeling for Spain, of which there is abundant evidence, proof that the soil of a man's native land may cling to his shoes. Such memories survive in curious details: a student of Spanish literature of our own day has discovered among the Jews of Morocco knowledge of the words and melodies of medieval Spanish romances; a historian has noted the reluctance and lack of facility with which the Sephardites of Hamburg adapted to the German tongue. Loyalty to their origins persisted too in the names of the Jewish communities at Salonica - Messina, Sicilia, Puglio, Calabria.

Such fidelity was not without its drawbacks: it created categories. Several Jewish nations could be distinguished and there was sometimes corflict between them. Venice for instance set up one after another, between 1516 and 1633, three ghettoes: the vecchio, the nuovo and the nuovissimo, linked islands where the houses stood sometimes as much as seven storeys high - for space was scarce and the density of the population here was the highest in the city. The ghetto vecchio, reserved for Jews from the Levant (levantini), had been under the control of the Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia since 1541; the nuovo, under the control of the Cattaveri,

{p. 810} harboured German Jews (Todeschi), some of whom, since there was not room for all, went to live in the old ghetto. These Todeschi, who had been accepted in the city at the time of the League of Cambrai, were poor Jews dealing in second-hand clothes and pawnbroking and they were to run the Monte di Pieta in Venice - 'li banchi della poverta'. Meanwhile certain Jews specializing in large-scale trade, Portuguese and Levantine, by turns detested and wooed by the Signoria, obtained a special status, probably after 158l. But in 1633, all the Jews, including the Ponentini, were confined to the same ghettoes - hence the many social, religious and cultural conflicts within this artificial near-concentration-camp world.

Such differences could not however prevent the existence of a Jewish civilization in its own right, a civilization full of vitality and movement, and certainly not inert or 'fossilized', as Arnold Toynbee calls it. It was on the contrary both vigilant and aggressive, swept from time to time by strange messianic outbursts, particularly in the early modern period when it was divided between, on the one hand, that rationalism which led some towards scepticism and atheism, well before Spinoza, and on the other, the propensity of the masses to irrational superstition and exaltation. All persecution tended to produce by reaction messianic movements, for example that of the so-called Messiahs David Rubeni and Diego Pires who caused a stir among the Portuguese Jews in the time of Charles V, between 1525 and 1531, or the immense wave of popular feeling provoked by the Messianic propaganda of Sabbatal Zevi in the East, Poland and even farther afield.

But even apart from these acute crises, it would be wrong to assume that the Jewish attitude was ordinarily peaceful and tolerant. There were unmistakable signs of activity, combative spirit and eagerness to proselytize. The ghetto may have been the prison within which the Jews were confined but it was also the citadel into which they withdrew to defend their faith and the continuity of the Talmud. A historian as sympathetic towards the Jewish cause as the great Lucio de Azevedo maintained that Jewish intolerance, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, was 'certainly greater than that of the Christians', which is probably an exaggeration. But clearly intolerance there was. It was even rumoured - absurd though it seems - in about 1532, that the Jews had tried to convert Charles V to the Mosaic faith during his stay at Mantua!

{p. 811} The ubiquity of Jewish communities. Willingly or unwiUingly, the Jews were forced into the role of agents of cultural exchange. It could hardly have been otherwise. They were, or had been, everywhere; despite expulsion orders they did not always leave the forbidden land, and they might return. Officially, they were absent from England between 1290 and 1655, the date of their so-called 're-entry' under Cromwell - in fact London had its Jewish merchants from the beginning of the seventeenth century and perhaps earlier. France too in theory expelled all Jews in 1394 but they very soon reappeared (as marranos and outwardly Christian it is true) in Rouen, Nantes, Bordeaux, Bayonne, the natural stopping places for Portuguese marranos travelling to Antwerp and Amsterdam. Henri II, 'king of France, allowed the Jewish merchants of Mantua to enter the cities of his kingdom and to trade in the country. He also exempted them from taxes and when they went to present him with their thanks and homage, he showed himself benevolent towards them, that year', no doubt in 1547. More remarkable, if not more important, was the rumour that circulated in spring 1597 in Paris and possibly in Nantes, where it was picked up by Spanish intelligenoe, to the effect that the king of France was thinking of 'bringing back the Jews whom the Most Christian King St. Louis had expelled'. The rumour reappeared four years later in 1601. 'A leading Jew [of Portugal]', Philippe de Canaye the ambassador explained to Henri IV, 'told me that if Your Majesty would permit his nation to live in France, you would receive much profit from it, and would people your Kingdom with over 50,000 intelligent and hard working families.' Towards 1610, among the Moriscos who entered France, usually on their way elsewhere, there were a notable number of Jews and Portuguese marranos who mingled with the exiles and 'probably settled under Christian masks in France and particularly in the Auvergne'.

In the south of France, the Jews were few in number. Towards 1568-1570, they were driven out of the cities of Provence and were received amicably in Savoy. In Marseilles, where municipal policy varied, there were only a few Jews at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 settled in Languedoc, remained there and 'accustomed [the French] to trade with Barbary'. As New Christians they became apothecaries and doctors at Montpellier: Felix Platter lodged in the house of one of them. In Avignon at the end of the century, when

{p. 812} his brother Thomas was there, they numbered about 500, protected by the Pope, but did not have the right 'to buy either house, garden, field or meadow, within or without the town', and were reduced to the trades of tailor or old clothes dealer.

Germany and Italy were of course too divided to be able to expel the Jews simultaneously from every region, and yet heaven knows they were harassed enough. One city would close its gates to them, another open them up. When Milan, after much hesitation, finally ordered the few 'Hebrews' in the city to leave in 1597, the latter went, as far as we can see, to Vercelli, Mantua, Modena, Verona, Padua 'and the surrounding localities'. Their trek from door to door, even when unsuccessful, had farcical overtones: in Genoa for instance, from which city the Jews were solemnly expelled in 1516 - only to return in 1517. The same kind of thing happened at Venice and Ragusa because they were always allowed back in the end: in May, 1515, Ragusa was stirred up by a Franciscan monk and drove out its Jews; the latter immediately organized a grain blockage in Apulia and Morea against the Republic of St Blaise (proving that they controlled the grain trade) and the city had to take them back - in 1545, the thought of expelling them again had hardly crossed the mind of the Ragusans before the sultan was calling them to order. In 1550, it was the turn of Venice to think of expelling the Jews, but she immediately realized that they controlled and handled the bulk of her trade: wool, silk, sugar, spice - and that the Venetians themselves were often content merely to retail the merchandize of Jews, 'guadagnando le nostre solite provizioni', earning only the usual commission. In fact Italy had taken in large numbers of Jews, following the mass expulsions from France, Spain and Portugal, particularly the papal states, where more Jews settled for preference than elsewhere. They became remarkably prosperous at Ancona: before their violent persecution at the hands of Paul IV in 1555 and 1556, they numbered 1770 heads of household and bought as much property as they wished, houses, vineyards, 'and bore no sign to distinguish them from Christians'. In 1492, the expulsion of the Jews from Sicily affected over 40,000 persons, we are told, the vast

{p. 813} bulk of whom were the humble artisans whose departure the island oould not well afford. In Naples, by contrast, which did not fall under the control of the Catholic King until ten years later, the Jews were permitted to remain, in small numbers it is true but including such rich and active families as the Abravanel, until 1541.

It may seem incongruous to compare these fugitive Jews with the vigilant bands of outlaws, but after all both Jews and brigands were able to take advantage of a complicated political map, whether in Italy or Germany. Germany had the convenient nearby refuge of Poland, towards which the wagons piled with the possessions of refugees could make their way; Italy offered convenient means of escape by sea and to the Levant. When, in 1571, there was talk of expelling the Jews from Venice, some were already aboard departing ships when the order was revoked. Escape by sea was not without its risks of course. The master of a vessel might be tempted to sell his passengers and seize their belongings. In 1540, the captain of a Ragusan ship robbed his passengers, Jews fleeing from Naples, and abandoned them at Marseilles, where the king of France, Francois I, took pity on them and sent them in his own ships to the Levant. In 1558, Jews escaping from Pesaro made their way to Ragusa then took ship for the Levant. The ship's crew, possibly Ragusan, seized them and sold them as slaves in Apulia. In 1583, a Greek crew massacred S2 of their 53 Jewish passengers.

Always in search of towns 'where their weary feet could rest', the Jews finally and inevitably ended scattered everywhere. In 1514 there were Jews living in Cyprus, where the Rectors received orders from the Signoria of Venice not to authorize any of these Jews to wear the black instead of the yellow cap. In Istanbul, twelve Cretan Jews are recorded in poor circumstances, and we learn that on their island, 'they number above 500'. On another Venetian island, Corfu, they numbered 400, 'sparsi per la citta con le lor case conggionte con quelle di Christiani', scattered through the town, their houses mingled with those of Christians: it would be wise, continued our document, to separate them from each other for the satisfaction of both sides. In fact the Jews of Corfu were always to enjoy certain advantages in their relations with the Venetian authorities.

If one wished to pursue the dispersion of the Jews throughout the Greater Mediterranean and indeed the world, one could easily find them

{p. 814} in Goa, Aden, in Persia, 'under the stick, in the shadow of which they pass their weary lives throughout the Levant', but this comment dates from 1660 when the wheel had turned and it would turn again. In 1693, a French document describes Portuguese and Italian Jews as having been settled in the Levant 'for forty years' and having placed themselves under the protection of the French consuls at Smyrna. They had also managed to enter Marseilles, where 'imperceptibly they had possessed themselves of a major part of the Levant trade, which obliged the late M. de Seignelay to expel them from Marseilles by royal ordinance'. But they were soon handling the other end of the line, in the Levant. There were Jews in Madeira and so numerous were they on the island of Sao Tome, that (these were obviously New Christians) they 'openly' practised Judaism; they were among the earliest arrivals in America and the earliest martyrs, (in 1515 in Cuba), of the Spanish Inquisition, which did not stop there; in 1543, Philip as regent of the kingdoms of Spain had expelled them a purely theoretical gesture - from the Castilian Indies. Jews were also numerous in North Africa as far south as the Sahara.

Judaism and capitalism. The Jew, originally, like the Armenian, a peasant, had many centuries before turned away from life on the land. Now he was invariably financier, supply-master, merchant, usurer, pawnbroker, doctor, artisan, tailor, weaver, even blacksmith. He was often very poor: sometimes an extremely modest pawnbroker. Amongst the poorest undoubtedly, were the Jewish women who sold haberdashery, handkerchiefs, napkins, and bed canopies, in the markets of Turkey, and all the Jews scattered throughout the Balkans, whose disputes and occupations (usually modest) we can gather from the records of rabbinical decisions. Pawnbrokers, even the very humblest, constituted as it were the bourgeoisie of these often impoverished communities. In Italy the number of such small moneylenders was high and their services were much appreciated in the countryside and small market towns. In September, 1573, the podesta of Capodistria asked for a Jewish banker to be sent to the town, otherwise the inhabitants, victims of continually rising prices, would be obliged to go (as they were already) to usurers in Trieste who lent money at 30 and 40 per cent; this would never happen with a local

{p. 815} Jewish moneylender. In the following year, 1574, the povera comn7unitd of Castelfranco asked the Signoria of Venice, which granted the request on 6th April, to allow 'Josef ebreo di tener banco nella cittadina, col divieto pero di poter prestare salvo che sopra beni mobili', to lend money on movables, that is to say personal belongings, only. Similarly in 1575, the communita of Pordenone petitioned in turn 'for the sake of the many poor', for 'un ebreo a tener banco'. All this does not necessarily imply that relations were always good between Jewish moneylenders and their Christian clients. In 1573, the communita of Cividale del Friul had asked 'to be liberated from Hebrew voracity which is continually devouring and consuming the poor of this town'. A monte di hebrei was looted at Conegliano in July, 1607 by highwaymen, fuorusciti. The capelletti of the Signoria (seventeenth century carabinieri) gave chase and recovered the stolen goods (5000 ducats' worth of jewels and other pledges), killed four of the bandits whose heads were carried to Treviso, and brought back two prisoners alive.

But as well as small-time moneylenders and usurers, there were the great Jewish merchant families, sometimes expelled only to be recalled, always in demand. We find them at Lisbon masquerading as new Christians, or, if they were rich, as perfect Christians, the Ximene, Caldeira and Evora. They might be innovators: for example Michael Rodriguez or Rodrigua, the Levantine Jew of Venice who conceived the idea of the port of Spalato; they might be powerful like the rich Abravanel farnily. Samuel Abravanel and his relations for years controlled the fate of the Jews of Naples, lending money to the king, holding interests in the Madeira sugar trade, the Lanciano fairs and the grain trade. Success on a colossal scale can be glimpsed in the unparalleled career of the Portuguese Mendes family, in particular of a nephew, Juan Minguez or Miques, the Joseph Micas of Spanish avisos from the Levant. A marrano, he

{p. 816} reverted to Judaism at Constantinople, where he became a sort of eastern Fugger, powerful almost until his death (1579), dreaming of becoming a 'King of the Jews' and founding a state in the Holy Land (he had surveyed the ruins of Tiberias), or 'King of Cyprus', finally contenting himself with the title conferred on him by the sultan, of Duke of Naxos, the name by which he is known to those historians, usually willing hagiographers, who have concerned themselves with him.

But even this outstanding success depended on the general economic situation. Historians writing about sixteenth-century Turkey have noted (rather late in the day perhaps) the triumph of Jewish merchants. They, with the Greek merchanti, were soon to be farming the fiscal revenues of the state and even the revenues of rich landowners and the network of their interests stretched over the whole empire. Pierre Belon, who observed them in about 1550, says of them: 'They have so taken hold of trade in merchandise in Turkey that the riches and revenue of the Turk are in their hands; for they put the highest price on the collection of tribute from the provinces, farming the salt-taxes, the taxes on shipped wine and other things in Turkey.' And, he concludes, 'since I have many times been obliged to use the services of the Jews and to frequent them, I have quickly learnt that theirs is the most intelligent of nations and the most malicious'. Had it not been for such general success, careers like that of the Duke of Naxos would have been impossible, much as I imagine the fortunes after the Thirty Years' War of the German Jewish financiers, the Hofjuden or court Jews, would have been inconceivable without the accumulation of riches following the Peace of Augsburg (1555) which paved the way for future revenge on German Jewry. Similarly, at the end of the sixteenth century, the network of Portuguese Jews who controlled the sugar and spice trades and possessed ample capital, furthered the success of Amsterdam. America too was completely covered with their network of relations.

That is not to say that all Jewish merchants were rich and trouble-free; nor that Judaism was, by any speculative vocation or ethical assumptions, responsible for what we now call the capitalism, or rather pre-capitalism of the sixteenth century; nor that 'Israel passes over Europe like the sun: at its coming new life bursts forth; at its going all falls into decay.' It is rather that the Jews were able to adapt to the geography as well as the changing circumstances of the business world. If Israel was a 'sun' it was a sun teleguided from the ground. Jewish merchants went towards regions of growth and took advantage of their advance as much as they contributed to it. The services rendered were mutual. Capitalism can mean many things. It implies amongst others a system of calculation, an acquaintance with certain techniques relating to money and credit: even before the fall

{p. 817} of Jerusalem to the Crusaders in 1099, the Jews were already familiar with the suftaya (bill of exchange) and the sakh (cheque), which were in common use in the Moslem world. This acquisition was maintained through all the forced migrations of Jewish communities.

But beyond this, capitalism, to be successful, presupposes a network the organization of mutual confidence and cooperation throughout the world. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) did not automatically lead to the success of Protestant banking, which had been inaugurated in the sixteenth century, but it ushered in a period of great prosperity for it, the Protestants possessing in France, Geneva, the Netherlands and England a network of intelligence and collaboration. The same had been true for centuries of the Jewish merchants. They formed the leading commercial network in the world, for they had representatives everywhere: in backward or under-developed regions where they were artisans, shopkeepers and pawnbrokers and in key cities where they participated in economic growth and booming trade. Their numbers might be very small: there were only 1424 Jews in Venice in 1586; barely a hundred in Hamburg at the beginning of the seventeenth century; 2000 at most in Amsterdam, 400 in Antwerp in 1570. Giovanni Botero does, at the end of the sixteenth century, mention 160,000 Jews in Constantinople and Salonica, the latter city being the principal refuge of exiles, but he notes hardly 160 families at Valona, the same in Santa Mauro, 500 in Rhodes, 2500 altogether in Cairo, Alexandria, Tripoli in Syria, Aleppo and Ankara. Such figures are only moderately reliable. But we can say with confidence that where the population was densest, in Constantinople and Salonica for instance, difficulties could be expected and the exiles would have to be prepared to work at any trade even the lowest-paid; these were the weavers and dyers of Salonica, Istanbul and elsewhere, the itinerant merchants at local fairs buying fleeces and hides. Smaller colonies, on the other hand, frequently consisted of opulent merchants, favoured by the concentration of several rich trades, often attracted by these trades and therefore recent arrivals.

In the thirteenth century, the Fairs of Champagne were the centre of western commerce. Into the fairs and out of them flowed every kind of merchandise. The Jews were there too, in the towns and villages of Champagne, some of them concerned in the agricultural life of the region, others artisans, owning fields, vines, real estate or houses which

{p. 818} they bought and sold, but for the most part they were already merchants and moneylenders, 'lending, it appears, being more popular with them than trade', their loans being made to noblemen, particularly the Counts of Champagne, and to monasteries. Though attracted by the Champagne fairs and the prosperity surrounding them, the Jews (with a few exceptions) did not participate directly and certainly did not dominate them, but they did control certain of the approaches to them.

With the general recession of the sixteenth century, the only region not economically threatened in the West was Italy: Jewish merchants spread all over the country and a recent study shows that they were colonizing the lower levels of usury, ousting their rivals from this elementary plane of commercial life.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the major Mediterranean trade currents led to North Africa and the Levant. In 1509, when Spanish intervention provoked the massacre of Christian merchants by the crowd in Tlemcen, the Jews shared their fate. They were also to be found in Bougie and in Tripoli which the Spaniards took over in 1510. Again in Tlemcen, in 1541, when Spanish troops entered the city, 'the Jews who were there in great numbers were taken prisoner and sold as slaves by the conqueror.... Some of them were ransomed at Oran and Fez, others were taken as captives to Spain, where they were forced to deny the Eternal, the God of Israel.' A few years earlier, a similar spectacle had marked the capture of Tunis by Charles V in 1535. The Jews 'were sold, both men and women', recounts the doctor Joseph Ha Cohen, 'in the most diverse countries, but in Naples and Genoa, the Italian communities bought the freedom of many, may God remember them for it!'

In North Africa, according to Leo Africanus, the Jewish colonies were thriving and still belligerent at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and capable of resistance, thus managing to survive in the inhospitable Spanish presidio of Oran until 1668, with a finger in every pie. An enquiry conducted in the Oran presidio in 1626 mentions the arrival of camel trains from the Sahara, one of them, coming from Tafilalet and Figuig, accompanied by 'Jews of war' - 'judios de guerra' - in fact simple

{p. 819} merchants, for in Spain as in the Islamic countries, a distinction was made between the Moros de paz, subjects who lived near the citadel, and the still unsubdued Moros de guerra: in the same way there were Jews de paz and de guerra. But the presence of Jewish merchants on this ancient trade axis is in itself worth noting.

In the Levant, contemporary accounts all agree on the major role played by the Jewish merchants; they controlled the markets at Aleppo and (particularly Portuguese Jews) in Cairo, as moneylenders to whom the Christians often had recourse and in whose hands the entire caravan trade was clearly concentrated.

What else is there to say? In Venice, the Jewish presence was maintained in spite of tensions and quarrels followed by pacts or reconciliation. One expulsion certainly took place, that of the rich marranos in 1497, following their speculation in the Sicilian wheat upon which Venice depended, but they were only a small fraction of the Jewish population and recent arrivals at that (who seem to have returned, since there was once more talk of expelling them in 1550 and we find them mentioned by name in Venice until the end of the century and even later). We have also seen that the Jews were present in Milan and the Milanese until 1597. In Rome, they led a rather cramped existence, but became prosperous at Ancona as long as Ancona thrived, that is until the first years of the seventeenth century; in Leghorn they were the architects of the Medici revival from its effective beginnings, that is after 1593.

One would like above all to know what their situation was in Genoa, capital of world finance, but on this subject there is very little information. One thing is certain: there was hostility towards them. In Genoa, the jealousy felt by local artisans and doctors towards their Jewish rivals led to the expulsion of the community on 2nd April, 1550, the decree being 'proclaimed to the sound of trumpets, as it was', writes a witness, 'in the time of my father, Rabbi Jehoshua ha-Cohen' in 1516. The same witness, the physician Joseph Ha Cohen, went to live not far away, still in the territory of the Dominante, at Voltaggio, where he continued to practise medicine. In 1559, there was a fresh outbreak of hostility from Genoa or rather from one prominent Genoese citizen, Negron de Negri, 'that perverse man who was as a goad in the flesh' of the Jews; he attempted, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to have them expelled from Piedmont. In June, 1567, the Genoese expelled them from the Dominio where they had been tolerated after the edict forbidding them to live within the city itself. Joseph Ha Cohen the doctor then left Voltaggio and moved 'to Castelleto in the territory of Monferrato, where everyone received me with joy'. It is frustrating to have no more precise information. Am I justified or not

{p. 820} in thinking that the wealthier Jewish merchants had access to the Piacenza fairs?

One last point to bear in mind is the spread of the marranos throughout the Mediterranean, preparing the way for the Dutch and marking the beginning of the age of Amsterdam in world history. In 1627, the Count Duke of Olivares introduced the Portuguese marranos to the vital business of the asientos, giving formal recognition to a new financial era which had in fact begun well before this date. It was discernible by many signs. As early as 1605, there had been talk of granting 10,000 Jews permission to settle in Spain, to help order the finances of the Catholic King better than they had been under the rule of the Christian asentistas. It would be easy enough to prolong the list and quote evidence of a Jewish presence in the seventeenth century in Marseilles, Leghorn, Smyrna, the three thriving cities of the Mediterranean; in Seville, Madrid and Lisbon, which were still important, and in Amsterdam and even London, where the rich merchant Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, 'the great Jew', settled some time between 1630 and 1635. I think the point has been sufficiently demonstrated.

Jews and the general economic situation. If a chronological table were drawn up of the persecutions, massacres, expulsions and forced conversions which make up the martyrology of Jewish history, a correlation would be discernible between changes in the immediate economic situation and the savagery of anti-Jewish measures. Persecution was always determined by, and accompanied, a worsening in the economic climate. It was not simply the hostility of their fellow men, whether princes or 'perverted' individuals (whose role will not of course be denied) which put an end to the happiness and prosperity of western Jewry in England (1290), Germany (1348-1375), Spain (the pogrom of Seville and forced conversions of 1391), or France (the definitive expulsion of the Jews from Paris in 1394). The chief culprit was the general recession of the western world. On this point it seems to me that no argument is possible. Similarly, to take the single example of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492), this event 'of world-wide import', according to Werner Sombart occurred late on in a long period of economic depression, which had begun with the reign of the Catholic Kings and lasted until at least 1509 and possibly 1520.

Just as the secular recession of 1350-1450 sent the Jews to Italy and its sheltered economy, so the crisis of 1600-1650 finds them in the equally sheltered economic sector of the North Sea. The Protestant world saved them and showed them kindness and in return they saved and showed

{p. 821} kindness to the Protestant world. After all, as Werner Sombart has remarked, Genoa was just as well placed as Hamburg or Amsterdam for access to the maritime routes to America, the Indies or China.

But the parallelism between the economic situation and the vicissitudes of the Jewish people is evident not only in major events and over long periods, but even in minor crises, where it can be observed to the year, almost to the day. It was quite logical, to return to this minute example, that Ragusa should have contemplated expelling the Jews from the city in 1545, for the republic was going through a period of economic difficulty. Similar motives lay behind the measures so promptly taken by Venice against the Jews both within the city and on the mainland, during the long recession from 1559-1575, in particular during the war with Turkey, 1570-1573: Levantine Jews were arrested; Jewish merchandise was confiscated, strict conditions were imposed on the maintenance of the Jewish colony in Venice (18th December, 1571), there was a proposal to expel the Jews from Brescia and from Venice itself; young Jews were seized in the Adriatic and sent to the galleys 'until the end of the war'. These were painful times for 'Jacob'. And they were dictated, as far as one can see, by the economic situation. So too was the violent persecution of the Jews at Felrara, in 1581, another item to be added to the already copious dossier on the pronounced cyclical crisis of 1580-1584.

But when the long-term trend re-asserted itself between 1575 and 1595 and the sky lightened, an improvement appeared in the economic activity of the whole Mediterranean and in particular in that of the Jewish colonies, wherever they had taken root. In Rome, Sixtus V himself protected them (1585-1590). Thereafter it looks as if the part played by Jewish capitalism in maritime exchange grew unhindered. It was certainly the dominant force at Ancona, but also at Ferrara, if not at Venice itsel£. All these 'Portuguese' or 'Levantine' success stories; the

{p. 822} liaison with the Moroccan Sus and its sugar mills, the creation of the port of Spalato; the proposal made in March, 1587 by the influential Daniel Rodriga that a deposit account of 20,000 ducats be set up at Istanbul to be controlled by the bailo in return for an equivalent advance on the Venetian customs; or the suggestion, made in about 1589, that the Jews of Ferrara be received into the city: such freedom of planning and action indicates a change in climate. The regime introduced for 'Levantine' and 'Ponentine' Jews (levantini and ponentini) in 1598, was a genuinely liberal one: they were given passes valid for ten years which would automatically be renewed on expiry unless they were renounced; the conditions were the same as those granted in 1589, ten years earlier. One small additional favour was granted: 'they may wear a black cap and the usual arms when travelling, but not in Venice'. In fact, Venice now became, to Ferrara's loss, the major rendezvous for marranos in Italy, the point at which they made contact with Jews from Germany and the Levant, as appeared from one unmistakable sign: Venice had become an intellectual capital. Marrano literature, both Spanish and Portuguese, was produced by Venetian printing presses, until their role was eventually taken over by the printers of Amsterdam and Hamburg.

So from Amsterdam to Lisbon, Venice and Istanbul, Jewish colonies were entering a period of success or at least of more comfortable circumstances. The habitual hunt for Jewish cargoes on board Mediterranean ships was by no means a fruitless activity nor an insignificant detail, but on the contrary the mark of a certain prosperity which excited the envy of a multitude of enemies. It was a hunt which had begun many years before. As early as 1552 and again in 1565, Jewish protests had singled out for complaint the ships of the 'most evil monks' of Malta, that 'trap and net which catches booty stolen at the expense of Jews'. By the end of the century, Tuscans, Sicilians, Neapolitans and Greeks from the islands had joined the pirate galleys; perhaps the prizes had increased. There are other signs of this revival in Jewish fortunes, the reopening of commercial relations with Naples for instance. Following their expulsion in 1541 they had been allowed access only to the fairs of Lanciano and

{p. 823} Lucera, it seems. But after 1590 there was talk of re-establishing their trading rights and these were finally acquired in September, 1613.

Historians already refer to the 'age' of the Fuggers and the 'age' of the Genoese: it is not entirely unrealistic in the present state of scholarship to talk of an 'age' of great Jewish merchants, beginning in the decade of the 1590s and lasting until 1621 or possibly even 1650. Their age was one of intellectual brilliance.

Understanding Spain. The destiny of the Jews cannot be studied outside the context of world history, in particular the history of capitalism. (It has been rather too quickly assumed that the Jews did not invent capitalism, which may well be true - can any single group claim to have done so? Certainly they participated wholeheartedly in its beginnings.) It may be helpful to approach this far from simple problem through the single but spectacular case of Spain. The destiny of the Jewish people both reflects and is reflected in the many-faceted mirror of Spanish history.

One major difficulty will be to prevent the emotions, vocabulary and polemic of our own age from intruding into this highly-charged debate; to refuse to be drawn by the simple language of moralists into the rigid separation of black and white, good and evil. I cannot consider Spain guilty of the murder of Israel. Has there been any civilization at any time in the past which has sacrificed its own existence to that of another? Certainly not Islam or Israel any more than anyone else. I say this dispassionately, for I am bound to share the feelings of twentieth century man; my sympathy lies with all those who are oppressed in their liberty, their persons, their possessions and their convictions. In the Spanish situation I am therefore naturally on the side of the Jews, the conversos, Protestants, alumbrados and Moriscos. But such feelings, which I cannot avoid, are irrelevant to the basic problem. To call sixteenth century Spain a 'totalitarian' or racist country strikes me as unreasonable. It has some harrowing scenes to offer, but then so do France, Germany, England, or Venice (from a reading of the judicial archives) at the same period.

Let me stress once more that the economic situation, a blind force in Spain, as much as in Turkey or the New World now entering international history, must take its share of the blame. When they expelled the Jews in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella were not acting as individuals, in the aftermath of the fall of Granada, victory as always being a bad counsellor: their action was encouraged by the poor economic climate and the reluctance of certain wounds to heal. Civilizations, like economies, have their long-term history: they are prone to mass movements, carried as it were imperceptibly forward by the weight of history, sliding down a hidden slope so gradual that their movement is unaided and unheeded by rnan. And it is the fate of civilizations to 'divide' themselves, to prune

{p. 824} their excess growth, shedding part of their heritage as they move forward. Every civilization is the heir to its own past and must choose between the possessions bequeathed by another generation. Some things must be left behind. No civilization has been forced to inflict so much change upon itself, to 'divide' itself or rather tear itself apart so much as the Iberian civilization in the age of its greatest glory, from the time of the Catholic Kings to Philip IV. I say Iberian civilization expressly. For this is a particular variety of western civilization, an outpost or promontory of it, at one time almost entirely washed over by foreign waters. During the 'extended' sixteenth century, the Peninsula, in order to reintegrate itself with Europe, turned itself into the Church Militant; it shed its two unwanted religions, the Moslem and the Hebrew. It refused to become either African or Oriental in a process which in some ways resembles that of modern de-colonization. Other destinies can be imagined for Iberia: it could have remained a bridge between Europe and Africa, in obedience to its geographical position and what was for centuries its historical vocation. It might have been possible - but a bridge implies two-way traftic. Europe conquered the Peninsula by way of the Pyrenees and by the Atlantic and Mediterranean shipping routes: along this frontier zone it defeated Islam with the victories of the Reconquest which were victories for Europe. As historians of the Peninsula will tell us, Claudio Sanchez Albornoz as well as Arnerico Castro, the 'Ultramontane' forces won the day, the reconquest of Spain by Europe going hand in hand with the purely Spanish reconquest of Moslem soil. The great discoveries later did the rest: they placed the Peninsula at the centre of the modern world, that is at the centre of European world conquest.

To say that Spain should not have become part of Europe is one point of view and it has been voiced. But it is hard to see how she could have avoided it. Political considerations alone did not determine the expulsion of heterodoxies or create the Spanish Inquisition in 1478 and the Portuguese Inquisition in 1536; there was also popular pressure, the intolerance of the masses. To our eyes, the Inquisition seems abhorrent, less for the number of its victims, which was relatively small, than for the methods it employed. But were the Inquisition, the Catholic Kings, the various rulers of Spain and Portugal really the major forces responsible for a combat urged by the profound desires of the multitude?

Before the nationalism of the nineteenth century, peoples felt truly united only by the bonds of religious belief; in other words by civilization. The massive cohesion of Spain in the fifteenth century was that of a people which had for centuries been the underdog in relation to another civilization, the weaker, the less intelligent, the less brilliant and the less rich, now suddenly liberated. Although the superior power at last, it had not yet acquired the internal confidence nor the reflexes of a superior power. It went on fighting. If the terrible Inquisition in the end claimed

{p. 825} few victims, it was because there was little for it to get its teeth into. Spain was still subconsciously too fearful and too militant for heterodoxy to insinuate itself with ease. There was no place in Spain for Erasmianism or for the doubtful converso any more than for the Protestant.

In the context of this cultural conflict, the passionate and seductive arguments of Leon Poliakov do not entirely satisfy me. He sees only one side of the tragedy, the grievances of Israel, not recognizing those of the Spain of different periods, which were in no way illusory, fictitious or diabolical. A Christian Spain was struggling to be born. The glacier displaced by its emergence crushed the trees and houses in its path. And I prefer not to divert the debate to a moralizing level by saying that Spain was amply punished for her crimes, for the expulsion of 1492, the persecution inflicted on so many conversos and the angry measures taken against the Moriscos in 1609-1614. Some have said that these crimes and passions cost her her glory. But the most glorious age of Spain began precisely in 1492 and lasted undimmed until Rocroi (1643) or even 1650. The punishment, depending on which date one chooses, came at least forty years if not a century late. Nor can I accept that the expulsion of the Jews deprived Spain of a vigorous bourgeoisie. The truth is that a commercial bourgeoisie had never developed in Spain in the first place, as Felipe Ruiz Martin has shown, owing to the implantation there of a harmful international capitalism, that of the Genoese bankers and their equivalents. Another argument frequently heard is that the tragedy of limpieza de sangre, purity of blood, was to be the trial and scourge of Spain. No one would deny the trials it brought and their fearful sequds, but all western societies erected barriers in the seventeenth century, consecrated social privileges, without having the reasons attributed to Spain.

Let us accept rather that all civilizations move towards their destiny, whether willingly or unwillingly. If the train in which I am sitting moves off, the passenger in a train alongside has the sensation of moving in the opposite direction. Civilizations too may be carried past one another. Do they understand each other? I am not at all sure that they do. Spain was moving towards political unity, which could not be conceived, in the sixteenth century, as anything other than religious unity. Israel, meanwhile was being carried towards the destiny of the diaspora, a single destiny in its way, but its theatre was the whole world, it spanned oceans and seas, new nations and ancient civilizations. The latter it disputed and defied. It was a modern destiny, ahead of its times. Even as lucid an observer as Francisco de Quevedo saw it as possessing diabolical features. The devil is always the Other, in this case the other civilization. La Isla de los Monopantes (1639) is a pamphlet directed against the Count Duke of Olivares and the marrano bankers of his entourage, and possibly not written by Quevedo himself. 'In Rouen', say the Jews of the Island of Monopantes, 'we hold the purse-strings of France against Spain and at the same time those of Spain against France; and in Spain, under a disguise which conceals our circumcision, we help the monarch [in this case

{p. 826} Philip IV] with the wealth we possess in Arnsterdam, in the country of his mortal enemies. We do the same in Germany, Italy and Constantinople. We weave the blind web, the source of wars, helping everyone with money taken from the pocket of his greatest enemy, for our help is like that of the banker lending money at huge interest to a gambler who plays and loses, so that he will lose even more.' In short a critique of capitalism. From one civilization to another, every man gives his own version of the truth. The neighbour's version is never acceptable. The one thing of which we can be certain is that the destiny of Israel, its strength, its survival and its misfortunes are all the consequence of its remaining irreducible, refusing to be diluted, that is of being a civilization faithful to itself. Every civilization is its own heaven and hell.


He who gives, dominates. The theory of the donor works not only at the level of individuals and societies but also for civilizations. That such giving may in the long run cause impoverishment is possible. But while it lasts it is a sign of superiority and this observation completes the central thesis of Part Two of this book: the Mediterranean remained, for a hundred years after Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama, the centre of the world, a strong and brilliant universe. How do we know? Because it was educating others, teaching them its own ways of life. And I would stress that it was the whole Mediterranean world, Moslem and Christian, which projected its light beyond its own shores.

{end of quotes}

Arnold J. Toynbee was one of the leading intellectuals of the British Empire. He combined deep insight into Civilizational History, with propaganda for the One-World goals of Cecil Rhodes' Round Table group. Here he writes about the formation of Judaism, and argues the case for World Government: toynbee.html.

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