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SAMUEL ẒARFATI:

Court physician to the popes Alexander VI. and Julius II.; died about 1519. The name "Ẓarfati" indicates that Samuel was a native of France, and as he was probably from southern France he is called by Burchard "the Spanish rabbi, physician of the pope" ("Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits," i. 124). At the coronation of Pope Julius II., Samuel presented the petition of the Jews for the continuance of their privileges, making a solemn speech. By a bull of May 14, 1504, Samuel himself was confirmed in the rights previously bestowed upon him by Alexander VI. He was thus appointed court physician of Julius II., granted the privilege of attending Christian patients, freed from the obligation of wearing the Jews' badge, and taken with his entire family under the immediate protection of the pope. On account of his property in France he also obtained letters of protection and safe-conduct from Louis XII. Samuel was an unusually skilful physician, and the pope relied more upon him than upon his Christian physicians. On Aug. 17, 1511, the pope fell seriously ill, and his physicians, with the exception of Samuel, pronounced him dead. Samuel's opinion proved correct, and the pope lived two years longer. There exist certain calendar-tables in Hebrew the author of which is a Samuel Ẓarfati (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 2255, 2), but they may belong to the printer Samuel Ẓarfati of Rome, who lived about the middle of the sixteenth century.

Bibliography:
  • Landau, Gesch. der Jüdischen Aerzte, p. 65;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 29-30, 83-85;
  • Berliner, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, vol. ii., part 1, p. 19.
J. M. Sel.
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