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Berenjeneros: The Aubergine Eaters

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Chapter Summary

Berenjenero was, a generic insult used against Toledans in an attempt to hit them where it hurt most, namely alluding to their tainted condition. Roman de la Higuera, that great falsifier of history, did his best to contest the Toledans tainted (Converso) image. The Toledo presented by him in his false chronicles was an illustrious city whose inhabitants, even those of Jewish provenance, were both honorable and pious. However, as the chronicler wrote his hagiographies, celebrating the city's glorious past, Toledo was already in steep decline, its nobility, wealthy merchants and bureaucrats having followed the royal court to Spain's recently established capital, Madrid. It is noteworthy that among these elite exiles were numerous members of the city's influential Converso community. Ironically, when the vilified aubergine eaters left Toledo, in the late sixteenth century, the great city sank.

Keywords: aubergine eaters; Berenjenero; Converso community; Jewish provenance; Toledans



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