ALFONSO °, name of many Spanish sovereigns. Of special significance in Jewish history were the following:
Kings of Aragon
alfonso i (1104–34; "the Battler"). After capturing Tudela from the Moors in 1114, he permitted Jews who had fled during the fighting to return to the city. alfonso ii (1162–96). He employed a number of Jews as stewards or physicians. alfonso v (1416–58). In 1414, as infante, he intervened on behalf of the *Saragossa community, which had been ordered to send a delegation of representatives to the papal court at the time of the disputation of *Tortosa. Alfonso asked the pope for a postponement until the Jewish leaders could complete their seasonal duties in the community. As king, in 1424, Alfonso confirmed a ban prohibiting the establishment of a Jewish community in Barcelona.
Kings of Castile and Leon
Alfonso vi (1072–1109). After the capture of *Toledo from the Muslims in 1085, Alfonso permitted the Jews to remain in their quarter (judería), and granted residence rights to Jews seeking refuge there. He also appointed Jews to important state posts. Thus, Joseph b. *Ferrizuel (Cidellus), became royal physician. alfonso vii (1126–57). Like his father, Alfonso vi, he also appointed Jews to high positions; Judah ibn Ezra was his almoxarife ("collector of revenues") and in 1147 was in charge of *Calatrava, a stronghold on the Muslim border, where Jewish refugees from the *Almohad persecutions were welcomed. alfonso viii (1158–1214), had a number of Jewish courtiers. He also settled Jews in frontier garrison towns, with complete autonomy within their fortified quarters. alfonso x (1252–84; "the Wise"). He was a patron of scholarship, and several Jewish translators and scientists, such as Isaac ibn Sid (Don Çaf) and Judah b. Moses ha-Kohen, worked under his auspices. Notable among their productions were the Alfonsine Tables Libros del saber de astronomía, one of the important scientific achievements of the reign. The code known as the Siete Partidas was produced under Alfonso's auspices, though not enforced until the following century. While this guaranteed the Jews physical security and rights of worship, it ordered the enforcement under the severest penalties of the conventional restrictions on the Jews, like the wearing of the Jewish *badge, and authorized judicial prosecution of the Jews for ritual murder (see *Blood Libel). Toward the end of his reign, Alfonso's attitude to the Jews changed for the worse. In 1279 he had all the Jewish tax-farmers imprisoned. In January 1281, he ordered the wholesale arrest of the Jews while they were attending synagogue on the Sabbath and demanded a ransom of 4,380,000 gold maravedis for their release. alfonso xi (1312–50). Although Jewish officials, such as Don Yuçaf (Joseph) de *Ecija, attended his court, his policy toward the Jews was often influenced or directed by the church or by anti-Jewish courtiers, such as Gonzalo Martinez de Oviedo. In 1348 Alfonso prohibited moneylending by Jews, but the Cortes revoked the decree in 1351.
Baer, Spain, index; Neuman, Spain, index; M. Kayserling, Juden in Navarra (1961), index s.v.Alphons; rej, index to vols. 51–100 (1936); Sefarad, index to vols. 1–15 (1957), 381–2.