Notes for my entry, The Legions of Eyes shall rise, in the Tales of the Slayers Ficathon:

Fountains of thanks to Nyxie for the fantastic ficathon idea, and Gloss for the great story premise. I had a ball researching for this story, and I didn't do the concept justice. I learned an enormous amount, and wanted to switch the story location to Venice.

Some interesting historical facts: Doctor Rodrigo Lopez was a historical figure. He was the Queen's physician, a converso of Portuguese descent, and he was executed in 1594 for attempting to assassinate the Queen in a plot with some other Portuguese men who were theoretically double agents for Spain. His guilt is not clear. Lopez provoked a small round of anti Jewish feeling and was probably the inspiration for the character Shylock.

Jews did not live openly in Elizabethan England. Though exact dates are controversial, Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and not readmitted until 1656. In reality there were certainly Jews in England during that time, but they did not practice their faith openly.

The Inquisition did not bother Jews; its concern was with heretics. Christians who were not Catholics, or Catholics who violated canon law were vulnerable to the Inquisition. Moreover, conversos (Jews who had converted to Catholicism) who were suspected of retaining Jewish practices were also vulnerable to the Inquisition. Of course, since Portugal had forcibly converted all Jews in its borders, Portuguese Jews immediately became Catholics, and thus, if they practiced as Jews, were heretics vulnerable to the Inquisition. In 1556, Pope Paul IV decreed that since it was illegal for Jew to live in Portugal, anyone who have lived or been born in Portugal was for all practical purposes Christian, and thus subject to the Inquisition.

There were substantial material advantages to being seen as Jewish by the Jewish merchant community. In some cases, Christians masqueraded as Jews (and therefore were subject to the Inquisition). Some people attempted to live as Moslems in Turkish lands, Jews in ghettos of Venice, and Christians elsewhere, in order to maximize their trading possibilities with people of each culture.

Contrary to the text of my favorite historical romance novel, "Christian" was a woman's name in Elizabethan England, not a man's. Alas.

In my world, the watchers were originally part of the Catholic Church in the Western World, and were torn into many messy pieces by the Reformation. In the Catholic world, they were absorbed into the Inquisition, and became distracted from their purpose by torturing heretics. In Germany, they pretty much dissolved in the light of new pragmatism. In England, they had a very civil generational schism that flopped back and forth as the country changed official religion. The eventual Watcher's Council as we know it formed when the Protestant sons of the old Catholic Collegium Spectatorum split off from their Catholic fathers. Two consectutive slayers ended up being in England, by chance, and so the English ways retained power in the chaos.

Some fascinating reading:

Castelli, Jorge H. The Lopez Plot. <http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Documents/lopez_plot.htm>.
"John Dee." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 18 September 2004. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dee>.
Pullan, Brian S. The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice, 1550-1670. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1983.
Shapiro, James. Shakespeare and the Jews. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
"Writings of John Dee (1527-1608)" Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica. Peterson, Joseph H., ed. <http://www.esotericarchives.com/dee/index.html>.


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