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CHIRINO , Spanish Marrano family. Its founder is said to have been a converted Jewish physician, whose son was alonso chirino (d. 1430?), also known as Alonso Chirino de Cuenca or Alonso de Guadalajara. He was physician to John ii of Castile and in 1428 was Cuenca's representative at the Cortes. He wrote three medical works. Espejo de medicina scandalized contemporary doctors by its expressed mistrust of the medical practice of the time. No copy of this is extant. Replicación (Madrid, Nat. Library Ms. 3384) is an answer to his critics including a refutation of astrological medicine. El menor daño de medicina (Toledo, 1505, and Seville, 1506), a further attack on medical incompetence, was frequently republished during the 16th century. In this Chirino advocated physical and moral hygiene and practical home therapeutics.

Alonso Chirino had four sons, one of whom was juan garcia, bishop of Segovia and chaplain to Henry iv. Another son was diego de valera (1412?–1487), historian and poet, who entered the service of John ii in 1427. His Doctrinal de principes was written for the education of his future master, Ferdinand of Aragon. Valera's historical works include the Crónica abreviada de España (Seville, 1482); the Memorial de diversas hazañas (pub. 1941); and the Crónica de los Reyes Católicos (pub. 1927), which deals with the early part of the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. This last work includes a summary of the Inquisition's activity in Seville which was evidently interpolated after the author's death. Valera's correspondence contains some interesting comments on the position of the Conversos during the latter part of the 15th century.

A number of Alonso Chirino's descendants were accused of Judaizing, on which charge his grandson, diego, was in fact condemned. Diego's son, sebastian was tried by the Inquisition at Cuenca in 1566 for showing disrespect to the Inquisition and stating that he would rather be "a pig's tail" than "an Old Christian." He was compelled to recant, and was fined and exiled.


A. Gonzalez, in: Boletín de la Biblioteca Menéndez y Pelayo, 6 (1924), 42–62; J. Torres, in: Revista de bibliografía nacional, 6 (1945), 98–101; A. Millares Carlo, Literatura española… (1950), 274–7; B. Netanyahu, Marranos of Spain (1966), 242–3.

[Kenneth R. Scholberg]