Judah Leon Medigo Abravanel (1460 - 1535)

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Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Death: Died in Italy
Occupation: physician, philosopher and writer
Managed by: Ilana Burgess
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About Judah Leon Medigo Abravanel

(note;-IB birthday according to Portuguese records)


Judah Leon Abravanel (or Abrabanel, otherwise known as: in Latin, Leo Hebraeus; in Portuguese, Leão Hebreu; in Spanish, León Hebreo; in Italian, Leone Ebreo; in English, Leo the Hebrew; and in Hebrew, יהודה בן יצחק אברבנאל [Yehuda ben Yitzhak Abravanel]) (c. 1465 - c. 1523) was a Jewish Portuguese physician, poet and philosopher. His work Dialoghi d'amore (Dialogues of Love) was one of the most important philosophical works of his time. He was born of Spanish Jewish heritage in Lisbon, and wrote his most important work in Italian.

The year 1492 brought a turbulent change to the Abravanel family and to all Jews in Spain, as Isabel and Fernando ordered the conversion or expulsion of all Jews in Spain. Dom Isaac, in a desperate plea, threw himself at the feet of the Catholic Kings and begged them to revoke their decree, but to no avail. He made plans to move his family to Naples, Italy. A plot was hatched to kidnap Judah’s son as an attempt to persuade the Abravanel family to convert to Christianity and, ultimately, to remain in the service of Los Reyes Católicos. In an attempt to circumvent the plot, Judah sent his son to Portugal with a nurse, but by order of the king, the son was seized and baptized. This occurrence was a devastating insult to Judah and to his family, and was a source of bitterness throughout Judah’s life and the topic of his writings years later.

The Abravanel family chose exile over conversion, although it was not an easy choice, considering that there were not many places in Europe that Jews were welcomed and that living in exile required money, and the Jews were not allowed to take much with them. Originally intent on traveling to the Ottoman Empire, Isaac and his family settled in Naples. There, Dom Isaac became a financial advisor to the King of Naples, Ferrante, and his son Alfonso. The Abravanel family enjoyed a position of prestige in the court of Naples until 1494 when Charles VIII, king of France, invaded Naples. The Neapolitan royal family then fled to Sicily, accompanied by Dom Isaac.Wikipedia

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Judah Leon Medigo Abravanel's Timeline

Lisbon, Portugal
, 1535
Age 75