Toronto Medievalist Delivers Lecture on Violence and Intermarriage in Medieval Spain

Author: Emily Mahan

Meyerson Lecture Web

On February 1, 2018, Mark Meyerson, Professor of History and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto and a specialist on medieval Spain and the Mediterranean world, presented a lecture at Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute entitled “Violence and Intermarriage: The Integration of Jewish Converts in Fifteenth-Century Spain.”

Meyerson’s research and teaching focus particularly on social history and the relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and on the history of violence. His lecture examined the integration of Conversos (forcibly baptized Jews and their descendants) into Old Christian society in Valencia, Spain, between 1391 and 1500.

Cases of violence between Conversos and Old Christians were discussed as evidence for the ways in which Conversos were competing for honor and status as accepted members of the Christian community during this period. Relations, however, were not always violent; Conversos and Old Christians intermarried as well, and Meyerson’s lecture explored the ways that couples dealt with their religious differences and traced the often complicated assimilation of Converso families over the course of generations.

The Spanish Inquisition began to operate in Valencia in 1481. This, argued Meyerson, proved an impediment to such “informal processes of accommodation and assimilation.”

Professor Meyerson is currently at work on a project that will further explore these issues, “Of Bloodshed and Baptism: Social Violence and Religious Conflict in Late Medieval Valencia,” supported by the Guggenheim Foundation.

Meyerson is the author of A Jewish Renaissance in Fifteenth-Century Spain, Jews in An Iberian Frontier Kingdom, and The Muslims of Valencia in the Age of Fernando and Isabel: Between Coexistence and Crusade, as well as editor of “A Great Effusion of Blood”? Interpreting Medieval Violence and Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Medieval and Early Modern Spain