Castro Tartas, David De

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CASTRO TARTAS, DAVID DE (c. 1625–c. 1700), Amsterdam printer. Born in Tartas (southern France) and brother of the martyr Isaac de *Castro Tartas, he also wrote his name as de Crasto Tartaz. His New Christian parents left Portugal for Tartas and came to Amsterdam with their children in 1640. He worked in 1647 for *Manasseh Ben Israel as a compositor but in 1662 set up his own press. Among the earliest works printed by de Castro Tartas were a Pentateuch (1666) and an edition of Rashi on the Pentateuch and the Five Scrolls (1664). He produced a fine printing of the Sermoes que pregarao os doctos ingenios do kk de Talmud Torah (Amsterdam, 1675), the seven sermons that leading members of the community preached on successive days at the inauguration of the new synagogue in 1675. Romeyn de Hooghe illustrated the latter work with eight engravings. Another outstanding product of his press was the Gazeta de Amsterdam (from 1672 onward), the earliest known newspaper in Spanish published by a Jewish printer, mainly intended for the Marrano diaspora, and which dealt particularly with mercantile news. He also published an Italian version. In 1687 he took over the publishing of the Amsterdam Yiddish Dinstogishe and Fraytogishe Kurantn. In 1980 a unique copy of an edition by de Castro Tartas of a Yiddish version of the Arthurian legends was discovered in the University Library at Erlangen. In 1694 Hayman Jacobs of Amsterdam bought from Elias Jacobs 10,000 copies of Hebrew books printed by David Tartas. From his press came various works of Solomon de *Oliveyra, and several rabbinical editions. He also printed works in Spanish for the use of the Amsterdam Sephardi community and the greater part of the poetical works by Daniel Levi de Barrios. The majority of messianic prayer books in connection with the false messiah *Shabbetai Zevi, both in Hebrew and in Spanish, was printed by him. De Castro Tartas was actively engaged in the printing trade until 1697. In that year he left the city, selling to Moses b. Abraham Mendes *Coutinho all his printing equipment as well as his exclusive rights to produce certain books and left either for Palestine or Hamburg. The output of de Castro Tartas' press is considerable: about 70 works in Hebrew and Yiddish and over 40 works in Spanish and Portuguese. Coutinho carried on the press until 1711. Associated with de Castro Tartas in the business were his brother Jacob and from 1678 his sonin-law Samuel b. Isaac Texeira Tartas, who worked as a compositor, corrector and general manager, and translated Hebrew prayers into Dutch. He assisted Coutinho in 1699 and then left for Livorno, returning to Amsterdam in about 1722.


Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 2857–58, no. 7900; Brugmans-Frank, 470; esn 1 (1949), 139–147. add. bibliography: Nieuw Isralietisch Weekblad, 111 no. 2 (1975, issue dedicated to the Gazeta de Amsterdam), no. 21 (Jan. 23, 1976); L. Fuks and R.G. Fuks-Mansfeld, Hebrew Typography in the Northern Netherlands 1585–1815, 2 (1987), 339–82; R.G. Fuks-Mansfeld, in: H. Méchoulan and G. Nahon eds., Mémorial I.-S. Révah. Études sur le marranisme, l'héterodoxie juive et Spinoza (2001), 219–25.

[Cecil Roth /

A. K. Offenberg (2nd ed.)]