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Women who dared to defy convention and what was expected of them did not end with Miriam of the Exodus, but continued, largely unnoticed throughout history. Sixteenth century Europe witnessed great upheavals in war and religion as well as grand accomplishments in commerce, the arts and literature with extraordinary perosns taking part. Rulers such as Henry VIII, John III of Portugal, Charles VL, Francis I, the Doge of Venice and the Sultan Suleiman, along with Pope Clement VII, dominated its first half. Beatrice Nasi Mendes had to negotiate directly or indirectly with each of them in order to save her family and thousands of conversos and Jews threatened with imprisonment and death by the Inquisition Born in Lisbon in 1510 to parents forced to flee Spain because they were Jews, and converted to Christianity by order of King Manuel, Beatrice is raised as a Christian. Following the death of her parents, while still a young girl, she learns that her mother and father secretly continued to observe the traditions of their true faith. Despite the atmosphere of hate and fear engendered by the current ruler John III, a religious fanatic, Beatrice resolves to learn of her heritage. She turns to the learned and powerful Francisco Mendes to help her study. Francisco, also a secret Jew, is an advisor to the king and with his brother Dogo manages the sale fo Portugal's spices to the rest of Europe. The brothers use their wealth to rescue their people and resettle them in the Ottoman Empire. Her reluctant tutor soon becomes her beloved husband but their happiness is cut short by his death and the imposition of the Inquisition. Widowed at twenty-six with a young daughter, Beatrice undertakes a perilous journey to save her family and other conversos. She joins Diogo in Antwere and works with him to manage the family enterprise and rescue fellow conversos threatened by the Inquisition. Upon his untimely death, Beatrice must direct both endeavors. The Inquisition now threatens her and she flees with her family to Venice, where she is welcomed by the doge but betrayed by her own sister to the Inquisition. Finally freed, Beatrice moves to Ferrara, and then to Constantinople where she may openly practice her faith. There the Sultan Suleiman becomes her ally and supports the embargo she proposes against the port of Ancona, where the pope has ordered the arrest of Jews who settled there after fleeing Portugal. She then persuades the sultan to rent her the city of Tiberias in Palestine, where she undertakes the development of a homeland for the Jews. There, she builds homes, silk factories, academies for girls as well as boys and a synagogue. Jews everywhere mourn her death in 1569
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Emilie M. Barnett Born: Cleveland, OH March 20, 1934 Widowed with 4 children and 3 grandchildren Education: BA CWRU 1963 MSM CWRU 1974 JD CWRU 1977 MA UCA @ SANTA BARBARA 2006From Publishers Weekly:
Beatrice Nasi Mendes, a 16th-century Jewish leader, receives a deservedly epic treatment in Barnett's solid historical novel. While not a household name today, even within the Jewish community, Mendes's accomplishments are impressive. At 17, she was living in Lisbon when she discovered her late parents were Jews who had concealed their faith to protect their family. That shock led Mendes to Judaism, propelling her to a leadership position among Jews in many countries, using diplomacy, her intellect, and family financial resources to rescue her co-religionists from the Inquisition. The author somehow manages to make too-good-to-be-true Mendes human and fallible. And while Barnett's prose isn't particularly sophisticated, the overall effect of the heroine's trials and tribulations is impressive. Many readers will be inspired to seek out Cecil Roth's biography of Mendes.
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Book Description Windjammer Adventure Publishing, 2009. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0615337902