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COTA, RODRIGO (also known as Cota de Maguaque):

Spanish poet; born at Toledo; died 1497. He came of a Marano family, three members of which—Francisco Cota, Lopez Cota, and Juan Fernandez Cota—were employed by the state, and were deprived of their offices in 1450. It is uncertain whether Rodrigo was the son of Sancho Cota, the Toledo councilor.

Instead of taking the part of his former coreliglonists, Cota sided with their persecutors, and in consequence was reproved by the Marano poet Anton de Montoro, who warned him that the Christians would always scorn him as a convert. The list of secret Jews who had recanted, published at Toledo in 1497, contains the entry "Rodrigo Cota el Viejo [the Elder], y el Mozo" [the Younger]. Rodrigo "the Elder" is the subject of this article. He flourished at the courts of Henry IV. and Queen Isabella, and is usually considered to have been the author of the first act of "Celestina," the earliest Spanish drama. He also composed the "Dialogo Entre el Amor y un Viejo," one of the finest Spanish poems of the fifteenth century (often printed since 1511; in Medina del Campo, 1569).

From Cota's poems, preserved in manuscript in the National Library at Madrid, a scurrilous one on his Marano relation Diego Arias Davila—who had not invited him to the marriage of his son or nephew with a relation of Cardinal D. Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza—has been printed ("Rev. Hispanique," i. 69 et seq., Paris, 1894).

Bibliography:
  • Cancionero de Anton de Montoro, pp. 283 et seq., 344 et seq., Madrid, 1900;
  • Kayserling, Sephardim, pp. 92 et seq.;
  • Rev. Hispanique, i. 85 et seq.
G. M. K.
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