Sephardic Tid-Bits: Jewish Influence on the Caliphate

Sephardic Tid-Bits

      This is just one story of many involving Hasdai ibn Shaprut. He was a high official in the government of Abd ar-Rahman III of the Cordova Caliphate. (Abd ar-Rahman III ruled much more than just Cordova.) Hasdai was also a highly esteemed physician. One of his assignments was to act as a diplomat and negotiate foreign treaties. The caliphate of Cordova was Moslem. They had been at war with the Christian kingdom of Castile which was ruled by King Ordono III. After several wars Ordono III sought a peace treaty. Hasdai ibn Shaprut negotiated it in 955. It lasted only until 958 when Ordono III died and his brother Sancho I succeeded him. He said he wouldn’t honor the treaty and threatened to attack. Sancho I was not respected. He was considered fat and dumb by his own people….but not by his grandmother Queen Toda. He was about to be dethroned when Queen Toda called upon Abd ar-Rahman III for help. Now the Caliph called on Hasdai to be both a Diplomat and a Physician to help solve Queen Toda’s problem. Hasdai prevailed on the Queen and her grandson to come to Cordova…which was a great victory in itself…but they worked out a new treaty which included therapy by Hasdai the doctor. By 959 Sancho I was no longer fat….nor was he dumb. He was a new person: lean and alert and handsome. Peace did last during Abd ar-Rahman III and Sancho I’s life.