Passi, David

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PASSI, DAVID (16th century), Turkish statesman. Passi was born in Portugal a Marrano, lived for a time in Venice, and then settled as a Jew in Constantinople. French, English, Venetian, and Neapolitan envoys all highly appreciated his services, which were largely toward forming an Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain. The sultan is reported to have said that he had slaves like the grand vizier in abundance, but none like Passi. According to a report of 1585, he was invested with the Duchy of Naxos, like Joseph *Nasi before him. He worked, generally, in close cooperation with the physician Moses *Benveniste. In 1589 these two were responsible for the schemes for currency reform, and when the janissaries subsequently attacked the divan, Passi was wounded. In 1591, as a result of a defamatory letter which he wrote to the chancellor of Poland about the grand vizier Sinan Pasha, he was put in chains and exiled to Rhodes; he returned after Sinan's death shortly thereafter, but played no further part in public life.


C. Roth, The House of Nasi: The Duke of Naxos (1948), 204–12; Times Literary Supplement (July 6, 1922); Wolf, in: jhset, 11 (1924–27), 26–28, 63–64, 85ff.

[Cecil Roth]