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DIEGO DE VALENCIA:

Spanish troubadour of the fifteenth century; born of Jewish parentage at Valencia de Don Juan, in the kingdom of Leon. After his conversion to Christianity he became a Franciscan monk; and receiving the degree of doctor of theology, was known among his contemporaries as a very learned physician, astrologer, and master of sciences ("gran letrado, físico, astrologo, é mecanico"). He was one of the leading Valencian poets, and most of his poems are contained in the "Cancionero de Baena." He did not consider it beneath his dignity to speak openly, in a number of flippant songs, of his intimacy with various classes of courtezans, nor did he hesitate, in his satirical poems on Jews and Maranos, to make use of Hebrew and rabbinic terms, though he thereby derided himself. Diego chose as the special target of his scoffings a certain Juan de España, who was considered an accomplished Talmudist, and who, after accepting baptism in 1413, wrote a short work on his conversion. The following lines may serve as specimens of Diego's satire:

"Johan de España, muy gran saña Fué aquesta de Adonay, Pues la aljama se derrama Por culpa de Barcelay. Todos fuemos espantados, Maestros, rabies, cohenim, Ca les fueron sus pecados De este sofarahenim Pues quien non tiène beeim, Quiso infinita faser, Hora finque por mansel Pues tan mal pertrecho tray."

Bibliography:
  • J. Amador de los Rios, Estudios, pp. 423 et seq.;
  • Ferd. Wolf, Zur Spanischen und Portugiesischen Litteratur, pp. 201, 209;
  • Kayserlin, Sephardim, pp. 75 et seq.
G. M. K.
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