publisher colophon

67. Seal of Tárreaa

Dimensions: 15 × 11 mm. Impression.

Location: Barcelona Municipal Archives, Folio 176.

Bibliography: Sagarra, 1922, No. 1811.

The Municipal Archives of Barcelona possesses a letter from the Jews of Tárrega, a small town about fifty miles northwest of Barcelona, dated July 30, 1458. This letter is said to have been sent by the Jewish community of Tárrega to the consuls of Barcelona, which had suzerainty over it, at the time of the death of Alfonso IV of Catalonia.

The seal appended to this letter, which concerns the obligations of the Tárrega Jewish community as a result of the king’s death, is said in the text entry, 1811, to be octagonal, and stamped in vermilion wax. The device is a “sign similar to a lily flower,” with an illegible legend. For No. 1811 Sagarra reproduces a bad photograph of a seal which in size, shape, and device bears no resemblance to the description given.

There is little evidence that this could be a Jewish community seal from Tárrega. Such seals were specifically prohibited in the neighboring state of Navarre. The power of the notary throughout the Iberian kingdoms rendered sealing unnecessary for private individuals and local communities. Furthermore, the Jewry of Tárrega for all practical purposes had been wiped out over a hundred years earlier in the riots attending the Black Death, with no resettlement of consequence in that community thereafter. The seal might have belonged to the richest resident Jew, but the indecipherable inscription leaves even this possibility unresolved. Perhaps even more conclusive, Cantera y Burgos and Millás Vallicrosa, who were surely familiar with all literature on the subject, do not mention this seal.


The caption in Sagarra’s catalogue summarizing the letter quotes the beginning of it, in Catalan, including “the sad news of the death of the very Illustrious and Excellent Senyor the senyor King of Aragon.” Alfonso IV of Aragon reigned from 1327 to 1336, while the more famous Alfonso V reigned from 1416 to 1458, the date of this letter. This may be a misprint in Sagarra’s summary.

The caption in Sagarra’s catalogue summarizing the letter quotes the beginning of it, in Catalan, including “the sad news of the death of the very Illustrious and Excellent Senyor the senyor King of Aragon.” Alfonso IV of Aragon reigned from 1327 to 1336, while the more famous Alfonso V reigned from 1416 to 1458, the date of this letter. This may be a misprint in Sagarra’s summary.

The Municipal Archives of Barcelona possesses a letter from the Jews of Tárrega, a small town about fifty miles northwest of Barcelona, dated July 30, 1458. This letter is said to have been sent by the Jewish community of Tárrega to the consuls of Barcelona, which had suzerainty over it, at the time of the death of Alfonso IV of Catalonia.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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