By: Meyer Kayserling
Prior of Crato, pretender to the throne of Portugal; died 1595. He was a natural son of Dom Luis, brother of King Henry of Portugal, and of the converted Jewess Iolanthe, Henry's mistress, but was legitimated by his father. The numerous secret Jews of Portugal naturally looked forward to his accession with satisfaction, as it was not likely he would continue the persecution of his own mother's relatives and coreligionists. After the death of Dom Henry (Jan. 31, 1580), Philip II. of Spain claimed the Portuguese crown, and offered in vain to Dom Antonio an annual income of 40,000 ducats, in addition to the receipts of the priory, if he would relinquish his claims. As soon as Philip began to wage war with Portugal, Antonio had himself proclaimed king. The Duke of Alba, the commander-in-chief of the Spanish troops, attacked the adherents of Antonio with the utmost fury. In the battle of Alcantara, Antonio with difficulty avoided falling into the hands of the pursuing foe, and fled with a few thousand followers to Oporto. Pursued thither, he was again obliged to seek safety in flight, and died in exile. He visited England, where, it has been conjectured, his presence gave particular point to the character of Shylock. Philip, the new ruler of Portugal, revenged himself most cruelly on the Maranos.
- Kayserling, Gesch. d. Juden in Portugal, p. 276;
- M. Philippson, Ein Ministerium unter Philip II.—Kardinal Granvella, pp. 87 et seq., Berlin, 1895.