Eliano, Giovanni Battista

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ELIANO, GIOVANNI BATTISTA (1530–1589), apostate and anti-Jewish propagandist. Grandson on his mother's side of Elijah *Levita, whence the surname he adopted, he was formerly known as Solomon Romano. Born in Rome, he traveled widely with his father in the Near East and was converted to Roman Catholicism in Venice in 1551. In the following year he was admitted by Ignatius of Loyola to the newly founded Society of Jesus and thereafter taught Hebrew and Arabic at the Collegio Romano. Together with his elder brother Joseph, converted as Vittorio Eliano, he was largely responsible for the condemnation and burning of the Talmud in Rome in 1553 (see *Talmud, Burning of). Giovanni Battista subsequently returned to the Levant to spread Roman Catholic propaganda among the Copts and Maronites.


J.C. Sola, in: Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu, 4 (1935), 291–321; I. Sonne, Mi-Paolo ha-Revi'i ad Pius ha-Ḥamishi (1954), 150–5; Enciclopedia Cattolica, 5 (1950), s. v., includes bibliography.

[Cecil Roth]