Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos

Is your surname Nasi?

Research the Nasi family

Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Joseph Nasi (Micas), Duke of Naxos

Hebrew: דון יוסף נשיא, דוכס נקסוס, Italian: Giuseppe Nassi, Duke of Naxos, Portuguese: Dom João Miques/Micas Mendes, Duke of Naxos
Also Known As: "João Micas"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Portugal
Death: 1579 (54-55)
Istanbul, Constentinople, Turkey
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Agostinho (Samuel) Mendes Beneveniste and Beatriz Mendes
Husband of Anna Reyna Mendes Nassi
Brother of Samuel Mendes Nasi

Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:

About Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos

Don Yosef Nassi, Duke of Naxos

Banker at Antwerp.

Turkish statesman and financier; born in Portugal at the beginning of the sixteenth century; died at Constantinople Aug. 2, 1579. His father, a younger brother of Francisco and Diogo Nasi-Mendez, and a member of the Marano family Nasi which had fled to Portugal from Spain during the persecutions at the end of the fifteenth century, died at an early age. To escape the religious intolerance in Portugal, Joseph soon emigrated to Antwerp together with his uncle Diogo. There they established, in partnership with their kinsman Abraham Benveniste, an extensive banking-house. Nasi's handsome presence and amiable character, as well as the far-reaching commercial relations of the house, soon won for him the favor of the nobility, and even that of Queen Mary, regent of the Netherlands from 1531 and sister of Charles V. Joseph, however, and his aunt Gracia, who had gone to Antwerp in 1536, felt oppressed by the pretense of Christianity, which they were obliged to feign even here; and they determined to emigrate to Turkey. With much difficulty and at great expense they succeeded in 1549 in reaching as far as Venice.

In Turkey.

All the Maranos in Venice were banished in the year 1550. It was probably at this time that Joseph asked the republic of Venice for one of the neighboring islands where the exiles might find refuge and whither the heavy emigration of Portuguese Jews might be diverted. His request, however, was refused. When Gracia, in consequence of the incautious statements of her niece (who bore the same name), was imprisoned on the charge of relapse into Judaism and her property was confiscated by the republic, Joseph appealed to Sultan Sulaiman II. (1520-66) at Constantinople, and through the influential court physician Moses Hamon he succeeded in attracting the attention of the sultan to the commercial and financial advantages which Turkey would gain if the Nasi family and other rich Jewish houses should settle in the country. The sultan thereupon sent an ambassador to Venice with the command to release Gracia and her property. Two years, however, elapsed before the negotiations with the republic were completed and Gracia was able to proceed to Constantinople. She was followed the next year (1553) by Joseph. Here at last he could openly profess Judaism. He adopted his family name, Joseph Nasi, instead of his Christian one of João Miguez, and married Reyna, the beautiful, much-courted daughter of Gracia. Through his letters of introduction Joseph soon gained influence at the court of Sultan Sulaiman. In the struggle for the throne between Sulaiman's two sons, Salim, prefect of the province of Kutaya, and Bayazid, the younger but far more talented, Joseph from the first adopted Salim's cause and succeeded in influencing the sultan in his favor. In the decisive battle at Konia between the two rivals, Bayazid was defeated. He escaped to Persia, and was there murderedwith his four sons. After this success Salim made Joseph a member of his guard of honor, while Sulaiman gave him Tiberias in Palestine and seven smaller places in its vicinity as his property, to be used exclusively for Jewish colonization.

Lord of Tiberias.

Joseph sent to Tiberias Joseph ibn Adret, in whom he placed implicit confidence, with a royal firman and well supplied with money (derived principally from Gracia's property) to rebuild the walls. In spite of the opposition of the Arabian workmen, who, partly from envy, partly from superstitions roused by an old sheik, wished to withdraw from the work, the walls were completed in 1565 with the help of the Pasha of Damascus. During the excavations a flight of steps was found leading to an old church vault filled with marble statues; and three bells were also discovered, dating, it was said, from the time of Guido, the last king of Jerusalem. These were recast into cannon.

To promote the industries of Palestine, Joseph planted mulberry-trees for the purpose of raising silkworms, and imported cloth from Venice. At the same time he issued a proclamation to the Jews to the effect that all the persecuted who were willing to labor as farmers or artisans might find refuge in the new Jewish community. His invitation was addressed especially to the Jews of the Roman Campagna, who had much to endure under Pope Paul IV. (1555-59), and who were to be transported from Venice to Tiberias in Joseph's own ships. The little community of Cori in the Campagna, numbering about 200 souls, decided to emigrate to Tiberias in a body; and they sent envoys to their coreligionists in the larger Italian cities asking for money wherewith to defray the expenses of their journey. The longing for this new Tiberias was increased when Pius V. issued his well-known bull (Feb. 26, 1569) banishing the Jews from the Papal States. Thereupon the community of Pesaro also sent a ship from Venice with 102 Jewish emigrants; but it fell into the hands of Maltese pirates, who sold their victims into slavery. The Pesarians in this extremity wrote to Nasi for help, but whether their petition met with any success is not known.

Duke of Naxos.

When the pleasure-loving Salim ascended the throne in 1566 on the death of Sulaiman, Joseph's influence reached its zenith. On his return from Belgrade, Salim made Joseph a duke and gave him the islands of Naxos, Andros, Milo, Paros, Santorina, and the other Cyclades, which had hitherto belonged to the regent of Naxos. The latter, Giacomo Crispo, had been deposed on account of the numerous complaints of his Greek subjects. Joseph governed the islands through a Christian Spaniard, Francisco Coronello, probably to avoid any antipathy on the part of the Greek inhabitants, and levied very light taxes, as he himself had to pay to the Turks only the extremely moderate tax of 14,000 ducats per annum. Salim also granted him the tax on wines imported into Turkey by way of the Black Sea.

Despite the jealousy and intrigues of the grand vizier, Mohammed Sokolli, Nasi was so influential with Salim that the representatives of European powers sometimes found it necessary to interest Joseph in their behalf. When Maximilian II., Emperor of Germany (1564-76), desired to conclude peace with Turkey (1567), he did not fail to direct his ambassador, Verantius, to give presents to Nasi as well as to the other high court officials. Verantius did not do this, however, but borrowed money from Nasi instead. In 1571 the emperor addressed an autograph letter to him.

Political Influence.

In 1566 Nasi encouraged the Protestant council of Antwerp to hold out against the Catholic king of Spain, by pointing out Salim's hostile attitude toward the latter country. Thereupon William of Orange (1569) sent a confidential messenger to him asking him, in view of the revolt which the Dutch were planning against Spanish supremacy, to urge the sultan to declare war on Spain so that the latter would be obliged to withdraw her troops from the Netherlands. Joseph, however, did not succeed in obtaining a declaration of war. He carried on an active and friendly correspondence with Sigismund August II., King of Poland, who borrowed a large sum of money from him in 1570, granting him in return extensive commercial privileges, although the council of the city of Lemberg protested against this action.

In Sept., 1569, a great fire broke out in the arsenal at Venice. Nasi learned of this almost immediately, and at once urged Salim to carry out his long-cherished plan for the conquest of Cyprus. Salim finally allowed himself to be involved in a war with the Venetians and deprived them of Cyprus in 1571. There is a story that Salim in a fit of drunkenness promised Joseph the title of King of Cyprus, and that Joseph had already placed in his house the armorial bearings of the island, with his own name beneath them. However this may have been, Salim did not fulfil this alleged promise after the conquest of Cyprus.

Seizes French Ships.

In 1569, to punish France, which for years had been trying all possible means to escape payment of the 150,000 scudi which it owed the Nasi family, the sultan gave Joseph permission to seize all French ships sailing in Turkish waters and to hold them as security until the debt should be discharged. Joseph succeeded in capturing certain French ships in the harbor of Alexandria, and sold their cargoes to the amount of the debt, despite the protests lodged with the Porte by the French ambassador. The French government tried to take revenge for the humiliation, and the French ambassador at Constantinople, De Grandchamp, succeeded in bribing a low fellow named David to charge Nasi with high treason. The latter discovered the clumsy plot in time, however, and easily convinced the sultan of his innocence and loyalty. David and his accomplices were banished to Rhodes, and at Nasi's instance were excommunicated by the rabbis of several communities. When, however, Joseph heard of David's repentance, he tried to have the rabbinical ban removed; but most of the rabbis declined to accede to his request.

On the death of Salim (Dec. 12, 1574), Nasi lost his political influence, although he retained his officesand income; and the remainder of his life was passed in quiet seclusion in his castle of Belvedere. Nasi died childless; and his property was seized shortly after his death by the sultan Murad on the advice of Sokolli. The death of Nasi was generally lamented. The poet R. Saadia Longo composed an elegy upon him. Moses Almosnino dedicated to him his ethical work entitled "El Regimento de la Vida" (Salonica, 1564; Venice, 1604), and Eliezer Ashkenazi his commentary on Esther, "Yosif Leḳaḥ" (Cremona, 1576).

A Mæcenas.

Although Joseph accomplished nothing great or lasting for Judaism, a certain Jewish interest, both communal and literary, is associated with him. He supported Talmudic scholars and especially the yeshibah founded in Constantinople by Joseph ibn Leb at the instance of Gracia. In his house he had a considerable Hebrew library; and he allowed the public to make use of his manuscripts. He also founded a Hebrew printing-press in Constantinople, which, however, existed only a short time. As the result of conversations with certain dignitaries at his castle of Belvedere, Nasi is said to have composed a small theological work to prove to a Christian that the Torah was superior to the Greek philosophy. It has been supposed that it was written in Spanish, and that Isaac Onḳeneira translated it into Hebrew under the title "Ben Porat Yosef" (printed in Constantinople, 1577). According to Steinschneider, however, Onḳeneira was the author of the book.

_____________________________________________________________________

Don Joseph Nasi דון יוסף נשיא (or Nassi; also known as João Miques/Micas and Dom João Migas Mendes in a Portuguese variant, Giuseppe Nasi in Italian, and as Yasef Nassi in Ottoman Turkish; 1524, Portugal – 1579, Constantinople) was a Jewish diplomat and administrator, member of the House of Mendes/Benveniste, and a nephew of Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi, and influential figure in the Ottoman Empire during the rules of both Sultan Suleiman I and his son Selim II. He was a great benefactor of the Jewish people.

A Court Jew, he was appointed the Lord of Tiberias, with the expressed aim of resettling Jews in Ottoman Syria and encouraging industry there; the attempt failed, and, later, he was appointed the Duke of Naxos. Nasi also brought about war with the Republic of Venice, at the end of which Venice lost the island of Cyprus to the Ottomans. After the death of Selim, he lost influence in the Ottoman Court, but was allowed to keep his titles and pension for the remainder of his life.

Early life

Joao Micas, Yosef Nasi was born in Portugal as a Marrano (practicing Judaism in secret), a son of the doctor Agostinho Micas (?-1525), a well known physician and professor at the University of Lisbon. A friend of Maximilian, nephew of the Habsburg King Charles I of Spain. He escaped to Portugal after Charles decided to confiscate the Mendes fortune, and, after the Holy Inquisition began operating against Portuguese Marranos in 1546, moved to Antwerp, in the Habsburg Netherlands, with his aunt, Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi. He studied at the University of Louvain, but had to flee the Inquisition in 1547. He then moved to France and later to Venice, before finally leaving for the Ottoman realm in 1554, where he married Brianda 'Reyna' Mendes, the daughter of his aunt Gracia Mendes Nasi.

Ottoman Court

When he arrived in Constantinople together with his aunt Gracia Mendes Nasi, Nasi made a fortunate decision in supporting the future sultan Selim II, against his rival Bayezid; as a result, he was favored by the Seraglio, and eventually became a high ranking diplomat and minister.

Due to his trading connections in Europe, he was able to exercise great influence on Ottoman foreign policy. Among his achievements were negotiating peace with Poland and influencing the new election of the Polish king. He was awarded the monopoly of the beeswax trade with Poland, and of the wine trade with Moldavia, and maneuvered in the latter country to keep princes favorable to his policies in power. In 1561, Nasi backed Ioan Iacob Heraclid to rule as despot, supported Alexandru Lăpuşneanu's return to the throne in place of Ştefan Tomşa (1564), and ultimately endorsed Ion Vodă cel Cumplit (1572); he was himself considered a suitable choice for hospodar of either Moldavia or Wallachia in 1571, but Selim II rejected the proposal.

During the war between the Ottomans and the Republic of Venice, Nasi's negotiations with the Jewish community in Venetian-ruled Cyprus were uncovered, and, as a result, the Jewish population of Famagusta (with the exception of Jews who were natives of the city) was expelled in June, 1568 (see History of the Jews in Cyprus). It is believed that he intended parts of Cyprus to be a Jewish colony and encouraged the Ottoman annexation of Cyprus in the war to that end; he was granted a coat of arms by Selim that indicated he would be given viceregal rank in that colony. Nasi's relative Abraham Benveniste (Righetto Marrano) was arrested in 1570, on charges of having set fire to the Venetian Arsenal on Nasi's instigation.

Maintaining contacts with William the Silent, Nasi encouraged the Netherlands to revolt against Spain, a major adversary of the Ottoman Empire (the rebellion was ultimately carried out by the Union of Utrecht, as the start of the Eighty Years' War). For this and other achievements, he was appointed by Selim to become the Duke of Naxos; he also later became the Count of Andros. Represented locally by one Francesco Coronello, Nasi mainly ruled the Duchy from his palace of Belvedere, where he also maintained his own Hebrew printing press, which was kept by his wife, Doña Reyna, after Joseph's death.

Settling Tiberias

Joseph Nasi is best known to history for his attempt to resettle the towns of Tiberias and Safed in 1561. He was the first person to attempt to settle Jews in the cities of what was then Southern Syria by practical means, as opposed to waiting for the Messiah.

Don Joseph Nasi (or Nassi; also known as João Miques/Micas and Dom João Migas Mendes in a Portuguese variant, Giuseppe Nasi in Italian, and as Yasef Nassi in Ottoman Turkish; 1524, Portugal – 1579, Constantinople) was a Jewish diplomat and administrator, member of the House of Mendes/Benveniste, and a nephew of Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi, and influential figure in the Ottoman Empire during the rules of both Sultan Suleiman I and his son Selim II. He was a great benefactor of the Jewish people.

A Court Jew, he was appointed the Lord of Tiberias, with the expressed aim of resettling Jews in Ottoman Syria and encouraging industry there; the attempt failed, and, later, he was appointed the Duke of Naxos.[4] Nasi also brought about war with the Republic of Venice, at the end of which Venice lost the island of Cyprus to the Ottomans. After the death of Selim, he lost influence in the Ottoman Court, but was allowed to keep his titles and pension for the remainder of his life.

About דון יוסף נשיא (עברית)

ויקיפדיה: דון יוסף נשיא, 1524 (תאריך משוער) - 1579, מדינאי יהודי, בן למשפחת אנוסים מפורטוגל

דון יוסף נשיא נולד בפורטוגל כבן משפחת מיקאס - נשיא. אביו נפטר בצעירותו והוא גודל על ידי דודתו דונה גרציה נשיא. הוא גודל כנוצרי קתולי, בשם ז'ואן מיגאל מיקאס, אך הוא ודודיו האנוסים שמרו בסתר על יהדותם. בשנת 1547 ברח דון יוסף מפורטוגל לאנטוורפן עם דודתו דונה גרציה, אשת פרנשיסקו בנבנשתי/מנדש, והצטרף לניהול עסקי המסחר והבנקאות הגדולים של משפחת בנבנשתי/מנדש, יחד עם דודתו. בהמשך, עזבו דון יוסף ודודתו דונה גרציה את אנטוורפן, עקב סכסוך עם דודה אחרת, אשת דייגו, על הירושה של בעלה, והיגרו לוונציה. מוונציה עברו דון יוסף ודונה גרציה בשנת 1549 לפריירה שבאיטליה, ומשם, לפי הזמנתו של הסולטאן סולימאן הראשון "המפואר", בונה חומות ירושלים העתיקה, עבר בשנת 1552 לקושטא בירת האימפריה העות'מאנית, שם התקרב מאוד לסולטאן ולווזירים שלו. ב-1553 נישא דון יוסף לבת דודתו ובתה של דונה גרציה, אנה-ריינה. בשנת 1554 שב דון-יוסף ליהדות בגלוי, וקרא לעצמו דון יוסף נשיא. עם השיבה ליהדות, הצליח דון יוסף להעביר לקושטא את מרבית עסקיו ואת משפחתו. בהיותו סוחר עשיר ובעל מעמד, פעל דון יוסף רבות כדי למצוא מקום מגורים לצאצאי היהודים שגורשו מספרד ופורטוגל. דיון יוסף זכה להשפעה גדולה מאוד באימפריה העות'מאנית, ואף קיבל את התואר "דוכס נקסוס והאיים הקיקלאדיים". דון יוסף החזיק במונופול הסחר ביין עם נסיכות מולדובה, והסחר בשעווה ובדבש עם פולין והיה מעורב בהמלכת הנסיכים הרומניים על ידי השער הנשגב (למשל, במקרה של יואן יאקוב הראקליד) י

יחד עם דונה גרציה, פעל דון יוסף רבות לחידוש ולשיקום היישוב היהודי בטבריה, מתוך כוונה להקים בטבריה "מרכז יהודי גדול, רוחני וכלכלי כאחד".‏ בשנת 1561 חכר דון יוסף נשיא ב-1000 דוקטים של זהב לכל שנה, את "טבריה ושבע ערי הפריזי אשר סביבתה" מידי הסולטאן אשר אישר זאת בצו רשמי. הוא מימן מכספו הקמת מבני ציבור ורכישת בתים, פנה לקהילות היהודים מגורשי ספרד והציע להם לעלות לארץ ישראל ולעבור להתגורר בטבריה, ואף שכר ספינות שהביאו יהודים מאיטליה לארץ למטרה זו. רבים נענו לו ועברו לעיר. הוא עצמו מעולם לא ביקר בטבריה. בשנת 1563 שלח דון יוסף לעיר את נציגו, רבי יוסף בן ארדיט (או אבן ארדיטי), והחל בפעילות של שיקום העיר וביצורה. ביזומתם שתלו בעיר עצי תות לפיתוח תעשיית משי והביאו כבשים מרונים לפיתוח תעשיית אריגים. בשנת 1564 נחנכה החומה החדשה. השמועה על חידוש היישוב היהודי בטבריה עשתה גלים בעולם היהודי, ונתפסה כפעמי הגאולה, וקהילות יהודיות רבות ביקשו לעלות ולתרום את תרומתן לחידוש היישוב בעיר. דונה גרציה ודון יוסף ביקשו לבסס את העיר על תעשיית המשי והצמר, אך לא הצליחו לממש את חזונם. דונה גרציה מתה באיסטנבול בשנת 1569. ובשנת 1579 מת דון יוסף נשיא, בטרם הצליח לבסס את חזונו על הקמת העיר טבריה. את דרכם המשיך לזמן מה יהודי פורטוגזי אחר, לאחר ששב ליהדות, שלמה בן יעיש. הוא חכר ב-1585 את טבריה מהסולטאן מוראט השלישי, ושלח אליה את בנו יעקב

דון יוסף תמך כלכלית ופוליטית בקהילה היהודית בטורקיה מול השלטון העות'ומני, וכן יסד בית דפוס שדאג להוצאתם לאור של חיבורים תורניים רבים. הוא התווכח עם שליחי הכנסייה שפעלו בקונסטנטינופול, ואף הצליח להביאם להודות

לא ידועים צאצאיו



Don Joseph Nasi (or Nassi; also known as João Miques/Micas and Dom João Migas Mendes in a Portuguese variant, Giuseppe Nasi in Italian, and as Yasef Nassi in Ottoman Turkish; 1524, Portugal – 1579, Constantinople) was a Jewish diplomat and administrator, member of the House of Mendes/Benveniste, and a nephew of Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi, and influential figure in the Ottoman Empire during the rules of both Sultan Suleiman I and his son Selim II. He was a great benefactor of the Jewish people.

A Court Jew, he was appointed the Lord of Tiberias, with the expressed aim of resettling Jews in Ottoman Syria and encouraging industry there; the attempt failed, and, later, he was appointed the Duke of Naxos.[4] Nasi also brought about war with the Republic of Venice, at the end of which Venice lost the island of Cyprus to the Ottomans. After the death of Selim, he lost influence in the Ottoman Court, but was allowed to keep his titles and pension for the remainder of his life.

https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%93%D7%95%D7%9F_%D7%99%D7%95%D7%A1...

view all

Joseph Nasi, Duke of Naxos's Timeline

1524
1524
Portugal
1579
1579
Age 55
Istanbul, Constentinople, Turkey