Monday, May 16, 2016

Man Of La Mancha


Miguel de Cervantes is thought to have Jewish ancestry (hidden in later years from the Inquisition). The route that his fictional character Don Quixote de La Mancha took through Toledo in the early 1600s went through much of what had been the Jewish Quarter (La Judería).

His ancestors are thought to have been "conversos," Jews who converted to Catholicism in 1492 to avoid being expelled from Spain. Years later, even that wasn't enough, so families tended to bury their Jewish history if they wanted to remain in Spain (and alive).

On many streets of the Judería were signs that told us we were on the "Route of Cervantes." He wrote the novel while living in Toledo (which is in what is now called Castilla-La Mancha) and his presence, or the presence of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, is everywhere in the city.

Although "La Mancha" comes from the Arab Word "al-mansha," which means "the dry land" or "wilderness," it's thought that Cervantes was making fun of La Mancha, which means "stain" in Spanish.

As translator John Ormsby believed:
Cervantes chose it because it was the most ordinary, prosaic, anti-romantic, and therefore unlikely place from which a chivalrous, romantic hero could originate, making Quixote seem even more absurd.

And now, since I wrote more than I had planned (always a little idle talk of this and that), no more words, just photos taken in the Judería of Toledo.

(Click the images because, as Don Quixote said, "Thou hast seen nothing yet.")












An appropriate song from "Man of La Mancha." Just call me Sancho.

20 comments:

  1. Please don't stop with the 'background history, Mitchell......it adds to the whole picture.
    Juderia looks to be a fine place.....love the stone/brick work, trees, and side/back streets.
    The more you explore, the more I appreciate why you guys like Spain so much. I think you have been cozily 'wrapped up' in this beautiful country.

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    1. Jim:
      I hadn't seen the stone/brick combination like this until Toledo. It is definitely the norm there. Maybe it's the norm in Castilla-La Mancha. I'll have to look into it.

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  2. Yes, yes, I love the background history, too!
    AND the great photos :)

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    1. Judy:
      I did manage to get some decent shots despite the difficult lighting at times. I guess it helps to take more than 400 pictures in 5 days!

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  3. Love the photos AND the commentary.... SO want to see more of Spain!

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    1. Sharon:
      Oh, more photos and commentary to come!

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  4. I could get lost in those curved and cobbled streets.
    No seriously ... send out the dogs. Where am I?

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    1. Bob:
      Very easy to get lost. I did really well until the last morning!

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  5. Fascinating history and terrific photos. Looks like a wonderful place to explore.

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  6. The pics are even more attractive in that their having people (almost) non-existent.

    Just thought thought a nice name for a male pussy could be 'Sancho' - though 'Don' doesn't quite cut it. I suppose, on the same lines, for tabbies 'Dulcie' might be okay, along with 'Rosie'? ('Scuse me. Just musing along!)

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    1. Raybeard:
      You should come on over. You and I can muse and then Jerry can tell us BOTH to stop it.

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  7. lovely place with great roses

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    1. Gosia:
      Those orange roses were astounding. I took pictures on a rainy day but had to go back when the sun was shining.

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  8. Many thanks for the tour - words and visuals. So makes me want to return to Spain... ah well maybe next year.

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    1. Willym:
      You might need to get some special furnishings for the new place!

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  9. The first scholarly thing I published was a collaborative translation of a Spanish article about St. Teresa of Avila's Jewish ancestry, which had been hidden for centuries. Her paternal grandfather and father, a child at the time)had been publicly humiliated and punished by the Inquisition in Toledo/ The family moved to Avila, changed their name (very easy to do at the time)and eventually bought a fake genealogy to prove they were "old Christians." Teresa may not have known the facts of the case, but she made a few interesting remarks later ...
    John of the Cross also had Jewish ancestors and even Moorish Muslim ones through his mother. In his case, the Jewish ancestry was so far back it was forgotten in his day, but his father was disowned by the family when he married a woman who was suspect because of the rumored Moorish connection.

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    1. Michael:
      Thanks for sharing this. The history (and, unfortunately, the hypocrisy) is astounding. I look around now at all the Catholic faces in Spain and wonder how many originated with Jews and Muslims and don't even know it. I plan to read about St. Teresa's history.

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  10. Sigh... wish I were there right now!

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    1. Knatolee:
      Sigh... So do I. We have no NY trip looming and would be such better company. Also, we have summer weather, too, but we've also got Mediterranean breezes. It's glorious. Come back!!!

      Delete

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