Term Definition
Anti-Semitism (in medieval Europe) Religious attitudes were reflected in the economic, social, and political life of medieval Europe. In much of Europe during the Middle Ages, Jews were denied citizenship and its rights, barred from holding posts in government and the military, and excluded from membership in guilds and the professions.

OED Online

From Hebrew Ashkenaz ("Germany"). Member of the Jews who lived in the Rhineland valley and in neighbouring France before their migration eastward to Slavic lands (e.g., Poland, Lithuania, Russia) after the Crusades (11th-13th century) and their descendants. After the 17th-century persecutions in eastern Europe, large numbers of these Jews resettled in western Europe, where they assimilated, as they had done in eastern Europe, with other Jewish communities. In time, all Jews who had adopted the "German rite" synagogue ritual were referred to as Ashkenazim to distinguish them from Sephardic (Spanish rite) Jews.

"Ashkenazi." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010
Ashkenazic Jews of middle and northern Europe as distinguished from Sephardim or Jews of Spain and Portugal.

OED Online
Blackamoor See "Moor"


Early Modern Period (in England) Period marked by the accession of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) to the throne of England in 1558 and that included, among others, the reigns of James I of England and Charles I of England. Elizabethan and Early Stuart Drama: In the Elizabethan and early Stuart period, the theatre was the focal point of the age. Public life was shot through with theatricality-monarchs ruled with ostentatious pageantry, rank and status were defined in a rigid code of dress-while on the stages the tensions and contradictions working to change the nation were embodied and played out. More than any other form, the drama addressed itself to the total experience of its society. Playgoing was inexpensive, and the playhouse yards were thronged with apprentices, fishwives, labourers, and the like.

"English literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010
Elizabethan Belonging to the period of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Elizabethan Literature: body of works written during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603), probably the most splendid age in the history of English literature, during which such writers as Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Roger Ascham, Richard Hooker, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare flourished. The Elizabethan age saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian stanza, dramatic blank verse), was a golden age of drama (especially for the plays of Shakespeare).

"Elizabethan literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010
Ethiopian Peoples known to the ancients as Æthiopes. Often used (now only humorously) as = 'Black'. Ethiopian serenader: a 'nigger' minstrel, a musical performer with face blackened to imitate a negro.

OED Online
Gypsy Romani or traveller. The word derives from Egyptian, as in the Middle Ages the Romanis were believed to have come to Europe from Egypt; in fact they dispersed from an original home in north India.
Jacobean - Stuart Of or pertaining to the reign or times of James I of England (1603-1625). Jacobean Literature: body of works written during the reign of James I of England (1603-1625). The successor to Elizabethan literature, Jacobean literature was often dark in mood, questioning the stability of the social order; some of William Shakespeare's greatest tragedies may date from the beginning of the period, and other dramatists, including John Webster, were often preoccupied with the problem of evil. The era's comedy included the acid satire of Ben Jonson and the varied works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. 

Jacobean literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010
Judaism The profession or practice of the Jewish religion; the religious system or polity of the Jews.

OED Online
Ladino A language based on Old Spanish and written in modified Hebrew characters, used by some Sephardic Jews, especially in Mediterranean countries.

OED Online
Marrano  In Spanish history, a Jew who converted to the Christian faith to escape persecution but who continued to practice Judaism secretly. It was a term of abuse and also applies to any descendants of Marranos. The origin of the word marrano is uncertain. In the late 14th century, Spanish Jewry was threatened with extinction at the hands of mobs of fanatical Christians. Thousands of Jews accepted death, but tens of thousands found safety by ostensibly converting to Christianity. The number of converts is moderately estimated at more than 100,000.

"Marrano." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 09 May. 2010
Moor In English usage, a Moroccan or, formerly, a member of the Muslim population of what is now Spain and Portugal. Of mixed Arab, Spanish, and Amazigh (Berber) origins, the Moors created the Arab Andalusian civilization and subsequently settled as refugees in North Africa between the 11th and 17th centuries. By extension (corresponding to the Spanish moro), the term occasionally denotes any Muslim in general, as in the case of the "Moors" of Sri Lanka or of the Philippines.

Moor." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 10 May. 2010
Morisco (Spanish: "Little Moor"), one of the Spanish Muslims (or their descendants) who became baptized Christians. During the Christian reconquest of Muslim Spain, surrendering Muslim (Mudejar) communities in Aragon (1118), Valencia (1238), and Granada (1492) were usually guaranteed freedom of religion by treaty. This tolerant policy was abandoned in the late 15th century, when Christian authorities began to make conversions and ordered the destruction of Islamic theological books. The Muslims of Granada rebelled. In 1502, offered the choice of baptism or exile, many of them were baptized and continued to practice Islam secretly.

"Morisco." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 11 May. 2010
Mozarab  Spanish Mozárabe (from Arabic mustarib, "arabicized"), any of the Spanish Christians living under Muslim rule (8th-11th century), who, while unconverted to Islam, adopted Arabic language and culture.

"Mozarab." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 09 May. 2010.
Mudejar Spanish Mudéjar (from Arabic mudajjan, "permitted to remain"), any of the Muslims who remained in Spain after the Reconquista, or Christian reconquest, of the Iberian Peninsula (11th-15th century). In return for the payment of a poll tax, the Mudejars-most of whom converted to Islam after the Arab invasion of Spain in the 8th century-were a protected minority, allowed to retain their own religion, language, and customs. With leaders assigned by the local Christian princes, they formed separate communities and quarters in larger towns, where they were subject to their own Muslim laws.

Mudejar." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 11 May. 2010
Muladí  (From Arabic Muwallad, adopted) Christian Spaniard that during the Arabic invasion of Spain converted to Islam embracing its language and religion.

Lexis/22 Vox, Diccionario Enciclopédico Vox
Muslim Of or relating to Islam, its followers, or their culture.

OED Online
Oriental Jews Diaspora Jews who lived for several centuries in North Africa and the Middle East and whose ancestors did not reside in either Germany or Spain.

"Oriental Jews." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010
Orientalism The representation of the Orient (especially the Middle East) in Western academic writing, art, or literature; spec. this representation perceived as stereotyped or exoticizing and therefore embodying a colonialistic attitude.

OED Online
Otherness or Alterity The quality or fact of being other; difference, especially from an expected norm; separateness from or oppositeness to a (frequently specified) thing, or from or to an observer; diversity.

 Frequently with reference to the divine or transcendental, or to what lies outside the observer's own cultural experience.

OED Online
Ottoman 1. Relating to the Turkish dynasty of Osman I (Othman I), founded in c.1300.
2. Relating to the Ottoman Empire ruled by the successors of Osman I.
3. A Turk, especially of the Ottoman period.
Quran (or Koran) The sacred scripture of Islam and, for all Muslims, the very word of God, revealed through the agency of the archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (…) The Quran, which is the central theophany (divine manifestation) of Islam, is written in Arabic, which is Islam’s sacred and liturgical language.

"Quran." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 01 Nov. 2010.
Renaissance Literally "rebirth," the period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages and conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in Classical learning and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder.

"Renaissance." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Jun. 2010.
Scythian Pertaining to Scythia, an ancient region extending over a large part of European and Asiatic Russia, or to the nomadic people by whom it was inhabited.

Sephardi  (From Hebrew Sefarad, Spain) a member of the Jews, or their descendants, who lived in Spain and Portugal from the Middle Ages until their persecution and mass expulsion from those countries in the last decades of the 15th century. The Sephardim initially fled to North Africa and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, and many of these eventually settled in such countries as France, Holland, England, Italy, and the Balkans. Salonika (Thessaloníki) in Macedonia and the city of Amsterdam became major sites of Sephardic settlement.

"Sephardi." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 09 May. 2010.
Sharia The fundamental religious concept of Islam, namely its law, systematized during the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (8th–9th centuries AD). Total and unqualified submission to the will of Allah (God) is the fundamental tenet of Islam: Islamic law is therefore the expression of Allah’s command for Muslim society and, in application, constitutes a system of duties that are incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his religious belief (…) For the first Muslim community established under the leadership of the Prophet at Medina in 622, the Quranic revelations laid down basic standards of conduct. But the Quran is in no sense a comprehensive legal code. No more than 80 verses deal with strictly legal matters; while these verses cover a wide variety of topics and introduce many novel rules, their general effect is simply to modify the existing Arabian customary law in certain important particulars.

"Shari?ah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 01 Nov. 2010.
Stuart See "Jacobean"

Turk 1. A person from Turkey or of Turkish descent.
2. A member of any of the ancient peoples who spoke Turkic languages, such as the Ottomans
White moor See "Moor"


Yamenite See "Oriental Jews"

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