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FERMOSA:

A Jewess of Toledo named "Rahel," afterward called "Fermosa" (The Beautiful) because of her rare beauty. She held Alfonso VIII. of Castile, husband of the beautiful and clever Donna Leonora, under her spell for almost seven years. With the consent of the clergy she was seized in the presence of the king by members of the Spanish nobility, and murdered, together with those of her coreligionists who gathered about her. This love-story, which had been relegated to the realm of fable by the Marquis de Mondejar ("Memorias Historicas," xxiii. 67 et seq.) and other Spanish literary historians, is related as a fact by Alfonso X., grandson of Alfonso VIII. and by the latter's son Don Sancho. It has been dramatized by Martin de Ulloa, Vicente Garcia de la Huete, and other Spanish writers, as well as by Grillparzer in his play, "Die Jüdin von Toledo."

Bibliography:
  • St. Hillaire, Histoire d'Espagne, v. 181, 527 et seq.;
  • Amador de los Rios, Hist. i. 335 et seq.;
  • Kayserling. Die Jüdischen Frauen, p. 74.
G. M. K.
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