By Peter A. Mazur (auth.)
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Additional info for The New Christians of Spanish Naples 1528–1671: A Fragile Elite
18 The protection that the Este offered to the marrano community of Ferrara seems to have faltered only occasionally. When a group of newly Conversos in Counter-Reformation Italy 41 arrived Portuguese cristãos novos was blamed for bringing plague to the city in 1549, a large part of the community, as many as 500 individuals, was expelled. After the crisis had passed, Ercole II released a new safeconduct that declared the baptism of the Portuguese Jews invalid and invited them to return to Judaism in Ferrara in much stronger terms than before.
In 1549 he held a meeting with representatives of the Portuguese New Christians in which he agreed to pretend that they had never been baptized and that they should therefore be allowed to live as Jews in Ferrara. 20 In such a situation, the cardinals supervising of the Holy Office had to intervene directly and apply political pressure on the Duke. They finally struck directly at Ferrara’s marranos in 1580. 21 Cardinal Savelli’s request put Alfonso II d’Este in a difficult situation. While it was impossible to ignore a request from a high ranking member of the Roman curia, the fact remained that Lopez had been living in Ferrara under a safe-conduct granted by Ercole II in 1566, and he had been guaranteed protection from the Inquisition.
A special commission set up by the Roman curia tried Pedro de Aranda, the Bishop of Calahorra, for judaizing; de Aranda’s property was confiscated and he died in prison in Castel Sant’Angelo. But the harsh treatment of the bishop was combined with a gesture of indulgence toward the larger converso community in Rome; following the trial Alexander pardoned 203 Iberian judaizers living in Rome, welcoming them back into the church without temporal penalty in an auto da fe held at St. 13 This ambiguous attitude continued into the following decades.
The New Christians of Spanish Naples 1528–1671: A Fragile Elite by Peter A. Mazur (auth.)