Picho (or Pichon), Joseph

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PICHO (or Pichon), JOSEPH

PICHO (or Pichon ), JOSEPH (d. 1379), contador mayor ("auditor general") of Henry ii of Castile, Spain. He gradually rose in rank from being an adviser to Henry, before the latter seized power, to one of the foremost officials at court. In 1366 his signature appears on official documents, and a year later he was entrusted with an important mission, probably financial, to the king of Aragon. In 1369 Picho was appointed chief tax collector and made responsible for the crown revenues, while in 1371 he appears as chief tax farmer of Castile. In consequence of his governmental position he was vested with much authority which he abused at times. In 1379 certain Jews who were jealous of Picho's position obtained a writ issued in blank authorizing them to punish *informers. On the authority of this document Picho was convicted and executed. According to the evidence of the contemporary Spanish historian, Lopez de Ayala, the only available source for this episode, these events took place in Burgos, at the time of the coronation of Pedro iii, the son of Henry. This angered the young king, and as a result the Cortes, at its session in Soria in 1380, abrogated the rights of criminal jurisdiction previously held by the Jews of Castile.

bibliography:

Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 366f., 376, 450; Baer, Urkunden, index, s.v.Joseph Picho; Neuman, Spain, index; H. Beinart, Kevuẓot Illit u-Shekhavot Manhigot (1966), 66.