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MONTALTO, FILOTHEO ELIAU (ELIJAH):

Portuguese physician; born at Castello Branco in the middle of the sixteenth century; died at Tours, France, in 1616. According to Kayserling ("Die Juden in Navarra," p. 146), Montalto was a brother of the physician Amatus Lusitanus; but this supposition is not sufficiently corroborated to make it probable.

Montalto was brought up by his Marano parents in the Jewish religion, and to this he remained faithful during his entire life. Having graduated as physician, he left his native country, where he was always exposed to the rigors of the Inquisition, and went to Italy. He settled first at Leghorn (c. 1598), and several years later at Venice. In the latter city he made the acquaintance of Concino Concini, on whose recommendation he was invited by Maria de Medici to come as physician to the French court. Montalto had declined many high positions in Italy—chief among them being that of successor to the renowned Mercurial in the University of Padua—because he feared that if he accepted them he would not be able to perform his religious obligations. In accepting Maria de Medici's invitation, therefore, he made it a condition that he should have complete religious freedom, and be exempt from any service on Saturday, although the rabbis of Venice decided that in cases of emergency he might travel on that day.

Montalto, who became a general favorite, was appointed councilor; and he remained at the French court until his death, which occurred suddenly while he was accompanying Louis XIII. to Tours. Maria de Medici caused the body to be embalmed, and sent it, accompanied by Morteira and certain of Montalto's relatives, to Amsterdam for burial.

Montalto was considered a high authority, notonly in medicine but in all branches of science. Among his numerous works on medicine the most important were: (1) "Optica Intra Philosophiæ et Medicinæ Aream de Visu, de Visus Organo et Objecto Theor. Accurate Complectens" (Florence, 1606); (2) "Archipathologia in Qua Internarum Capitis Affectionum, Essentia, Causæ Signa, Præsagia, et Curatio Accuratissima Indagine Disseruntur" (Paris, 1614; St. Gervais, 1618; Nuremberg, 1686); (3) "Consultationes Medicæ Itemque de Sensu et Sensato Super Aristotelem" (1614). Montalto was the author also of the following polemical works, still extant in manuscript: (1) "Sobre el Capitulo 53 de Ezayas é Outros Textos da Sagrada Escritura," divided into three parts (Columbia University [New York] MS.); (2) "Livro Fayto . . . em Que Mostra a Verdade de Diversos Textos, e Cazos, Que Alegão as Gentilidades para Confirmar Suas Seictas" (Wolf, "Bibl. Hebr." iii. 104); (3) "Razonamiento del Señor H. M . . . . em Paris, por Mandado del Rey Enrique IV. Delante de los Mayores Teologos y Doctores de Su Corte."

Bibliography:
  • Barrios, Relacion de los Poetas y Escritores Españoles de la Nacion Judayca, p. 55;
  • Manasseh ben Israel, Miḳweh Yisrael, p. 57;
  • Grätz, Gesch. ix. 485-490;
  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 73.
D. I. Br.
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