revistas electrónicas de la Universidad de Granada

Philoteo Elianus Montaltus Lusitanus two sides of the same coin: The man and his work

Philoteo Elianus Montaltus Lusitanus, dos caras de la misma moneda. El hombre y su obra

Florbela Veiga Frade
CHAM. Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Recibido: 23-07-2015 | Aceptado: 16-11-2015


Filipe Rodrigues, a.k.a. Elias Montalto, was one of several Portuguese doctors in Medicine with international recognition in the Early Modern Age that were forced to run from Inquisition. Montalto’s legacy was quite a few different works and among those was one of religious controversial about Isaiah 53 which had great diffusion in the Sephardic communities through the World – the remaining works are about medical themes, namely Archipathologia precursor in Psychiatry and cited by the leading doctors and scholars on the Medicine vanguard at that time. This paper analyses the figure of Filipe Rodrigues ant the context of his work.

Keywords: Religious polemics; Archipathologia; Medicine Books; Filipe Rodrigues/Elias Montalto; Portuguese Jews.


Filipe Rodrigues o Elías Montalto fue uno de varios médicos portugueses de renombre internacional durante los tiempos modernos que se vieron obligados a huir de la Inquisición. Montalto dejó un legado de varias obras, entre ellas una de polémica religiosa que se centra en Isaías 53 y que se difundió principalmente en las comunidades sefardíes de todo el mundo; y el resto son obras médicas, incluyendo Archipathologia, precursora de la psiquiatría y citada por los principales médicos y estudiosos de medicina de vanguardia de la época. Este estudio se centra en quién fue Filipe Rodrigues, en qué consistió su obra y el contexto de la misma.

Palabras clave: Polémica religiosa, Archipathologia, Libros de Medicina, Filipe Rodrigues/Elias Montalto, judíos portugueses.


This study was made as part of a multidisciplinary project (2013-2014) called “Arte médica e inteligibilidade científica na Archipathologia de Filipe Montalto”, co-ordinated by Adelino Cardoso (Centro de História da Cultura/Portuguese Centre for Global History, UNL) funded by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. I have to express my deepest gratitude to Herman Prins Salomon who reviewed the English version of this text. My gratitude is also extended to Inacio Steinhardt.

cómo citar este trabajo | how to cite this paper

Veiga Frade, F. (2016), Philoteo Elianus Montaltus Lusitanus two sides of the same coin: The man and his work. Miscelánea de Estudios Árabes y Hebraicos. Sección Hebreo, 65: 83-100.

1.Filipe Montalto: doctor, the practitioner and the religious man

In the Early Modern Era Portuguese Medicine was prosperous, counting in its ranks high standard doctors and practitioners. They graduated from some of the best and most prestigious universities in Europe such as Coimbra, Salamanca, Montpellier, Padua, Louvain and others such as Évora, Singüenza or Leiden. There they were disciples of the most renowned professors and masters and even gave professional lectures in those academies. They achieved peer recognition, honour and consideration in political, religious and intellectual circles. Their combined background in theoretical and practice distinguished these Portuguese doctors, some of whom also composed innovative medicinal works 1.

During the 16th and 17th centuries the following Portuguese New-Christian physicians acquired renown: Amato Lusitano (1511-1568), Garcia da Orta (1500-1568), Rodrigo de Castro (1546-1626/9?), António Ribeiro Sanches (1699-1783) and several others. This has led some scholars 2 to believe that there was a predisposition on the part of this special group for the study and practice of medicine, a tendency that on-going studies and projects may bear out. From what we can verify from the available sources, it seems that a significant part of these doctors emigrated from Portugal and became physicians-in-ordinary to kings, princes and European aristocracy, as well as entering the religious and intellectual elites of their time.

Filipe Rodrigues fits into this group. He belonged to the New-Christian Luna Montalto family of Castelo Branco and he was probably the grand-nephew of another well-known medical man, João Rodrigues, alias Amato Lusitano 3 who has to his credit several significant writings. By his marriage to Jerónima (Raquel) da Fonseca, Filipe Rodrigues links up to another important New-Christian family, whose patriarch Lopo da Fonseca was private physician to queen D. Catarina of Austria (1507-1578) wife of D. João III and regent (1557-1562) during the minority of D. Sebastião.

Filipe also fits in with the New-Christian merchant-bankers who assumed a Jewish identity, because he became the brother-in-law of Dr. Jerónimo Nunes Ramires, married to Jerónima’s sister Maria da Fonseca, uncle of the famous Duarte Nunes da Costa 4, a.k.a. Jacob Curiel. The latter was a financier of the WIC (West-Indische Compagnie) in Amsterdam, a Portuguese Crown agent and representative in Hamburg of the Portuguese Company of Brazil. Meanwhile Duarte’s son, Jerónimo Nunes da Costa, a.k.a. Moses Curiel, representated the Company of Brazil in Amsterdam (1645). On the other hand, Lopo Ramires, a.k.a. David Curiel, who had received in 1642 the title of cavaleiro fidalgo of the Portuguese Royal House 5, later joined the opposing party and became a Spanish Crown agent.

The Curiel cousins are among those Portuguese emigres who became correspondents of the famous Father António Vieira (1608-1697), in his capacity as ex officio counsellor to the Portuguese government, because they were the principal financiers of king D. João IV during the War of Restoration opposing Portuguese and Spanish Crowns, mainly after Duarte da Silva’s (1596-1677) arrest by the Inquisition in 1647 6.

Filipe Rodrigues graduated in Salamanca, one of the most celebrated universities for medical studies. Following his graduation he practiced medicine in Portugal and also after his emigration from Portugal in several Italian cities. He was a well-known practitioner and no doubt because of that he was invited by the Duke of Tuscany, father of Marie of Medicis, to teach in Pisa 7. This was confirmed in the preface of the medical work Optica, dedicated to Cosme of Medicis, prince of Etruria:

Licet autem propositus Mihi viae scopus romana est aula, protinus instituti immemor, solum ut tanti principis iussa capesserem, & ut mei erga ipsum observantissimi amoris significationem aliquam exhiberem, Philosophiam e supremo loco edocendam suscepi, in nouis illis Athenis, Pisana in quam academia, in cuiús ilustre augmentum non modo indígenas ille promouet, sed & exterorum plurimos pellicit, doctorum virorum se praestans dulce, & utile praesidium 8.

He was known in Lisbon and Italy as Dr. Filipe Montalto 9 or just Dr. Montalto 10. In Italy, Filipe Rodrigues converted to Judaism under the aegis of the distinguished rabbi Leone de Modena 11 (1571-1648), mentor of the emerging North European Sephardic communities 12. After betaking himself to Paris, to be court physician to queen Maria de Medici and king Henry IV of France, he published his Archipathologia under the assumed name Philothei Eliani Montalto Lusitani.

From the Jewish point of view names are an indispensable instrument for ascertain the essence of an individual. So, it is curious that Montalto changed his name precisely in a medical or scientific book with no apparent connection to religion and with no explicit biblical references. Archipathologia is now still being studied and a Portuguese translation is in process. However, partial conclusions are pointing to a feeble religious support and we find in it no allusions to or citations from religious books. So, we are tempted to think that Montalto experienced a dichotomy between science and religion, or, rather, between scientific and religious knowledge and their practices, even though we can allude to some Judaic remnants in the prescript diets, namely the omission of pork meat, molluscs and fish without fins and scales 13.

The adoption of the name Philothei Eliani Montalto Lusitani is a clear indication of the man’s religiosity. Philothei Eliani means God’s devotee; the prophet who announces the Messiah’s coming. The incorporation of words with similar meanings in various languages are also intriguing. Philothei is the Latinization of the Greek word Philoteos, both meaning “the one who loves and is devoted to God”. The same applies to Eliani, probably the Latinization of the Hebraic word Eliyahu, composed by the substantive El (God) and the tetragramma Yahu, (the unpronounceable) replaced by Adonai or the Eternal, meaning God [is] God 14.

Elijah is the prophet associated to the ritual of Shabbat, Pesah, Brit Milah (ritual circumcision). So, Elijah is strongly linked to several important stages of Jewish life. He has also a messianic function, because he announces the end of time and a peaceful and godly world, when the heavenly kingdom will be transferred to earth 15.

Elijah was the prophet who revisited the mountain where Moses received the Law. Thus it is also relevant that Montalto constitutes the Doctor’s third name, the family one, but in accordance with the semantic field of the previous names it designates the high mount, the Horeb or Horev, sometimes identified with Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. In sum, Montalto (high mount) is the Har-Elohim (God’s Mount), where humanity could reach the divinity.

The last name Lusitani, a clear allusion to the Lusitanians, the people who lived in Iberia in Roman times and are considered by several historians to be the ancestors of the present-day Portuguese 16. Filipe Rodrigues’s possible intention of was to join the Jewish and Christians roots, linking together peoples, long past traditions and spaces.

So, it is intriguing that the Archipathologia has such a complex religious and messianic resonances, besides its relevance in the medical practice and theory: aspects that we want to explore in the future.

2.The dissemination of Montalto’s writings in Europe

To evaluate the real contributions of Elianu Montalto we must delve into his manuscript and printed work, determine how many editions were published; how many citations were made from them in other books and how many copies were preserved during the last centuries.

Montalto’s religious dimension is mainly visible in his manuscript work. We know at least five letters, one of them is addressed to his brother-in-law Tomás da Fonseca, sent from Florence in 1609. In this letter he encourages his brother-in-law and his family to emigrate from Portugal in order to provide rest for their souls: “vossas mercês gozem da quietação de alma e dos mais bens que nosso Senhor dá a quem ama, fora dessa estância” 17. The incitements contained in this letter had a negative impact on the inquisitorial prosecution of Tomás da Fonseca, despite the latter’s attempts at justification.

Four other letters are known, sent from Venice to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and addressed to Montalto’s other brother-in-law, Pedro Rodrigues. These, dated 1611 and 1612, display strong arguments intended to convince Pedro Rodrigues and his family to return to their ancestral faith. Montalto offers to help in whatever way he can, but the letters fell on deaf ears. He signs each one: “Servidor de Vossa Mercê, Amigo de alma, o Dr. Eliau de Luna Montalto” 18 (your Grace’s servant and soulmate, Dr. Eliau de Luna Montalto).

Another manuscript attributed to Montalto is a Hebrew casuistic apology of eleven pages concerning sabbatical rest. It seems that Montalto answered medical calls on Shabbat, travelling by covered wagon to Court in Paris. Someone denounced him for this before the rabbinical court in Venice. The apologetic manuscript, with many rabbinical references, written in the Italian-Hebrew cursive characteristic of Italian Jews, leads to the presumption of authorship by Montalto’s secretary Saul Levi Mortera, instead of direct authorship by Montalto 19. But, on the practical level one may hypothesize that Montalto ordered his private secretary to write the defence using his arguments and the two may be considered co-authors.

The last known manuscript work by Montalto can be classified as polemic or controversial literature. Non-autograph, it remained unpublished until the 18th century. It deals with Isaiah 53. Several copies were made, which spread all over Europe and later into the New World.

To the controversial or polemic genre belong several manuscripts and published works authored by Portuguese Jews during the 16th and the 17th centuries. To list just a few:

João (Moshe) Pinto Delgado (1580-1653) a poet that wrote Dialogo contra a Cristandade which attempts to combine the emotional intensity of his autobiographically described religious experience with a careful reading of rabbinical treatises, revealing as well the cultural influence of Camões and Boccaccio, particularly the latter’s Decameron 20.

Saul Levy Mortera (c. 1596-1660), disciple and secretary of Montalto authored a theological treatise in Portuguese entitled Tratado da Verdade da Lei de Moisés (1639) 21, published for the first time in 1988 by Herman Prins Salomon 22, which accumulates arguments in the defence of rabbinic Judaism over other currents or religions. In other words, a controversial treatise of both intra- and extra-religious nature.

In the field of medical polemic, Bento de Castro (1597-1684) using the pseudonym Philoteus Castellus, authored Flagellum Calumniatum (1631) to defend the Portuguese Jewish physicians whose medical attitudes were criticized by some. He comes to the defence of Tomás Rodrigues Veiga, Ludovicus Mercatus, Estêvão Rodrigues de Castro, Rodrigo da Fonseca, Ambrósio Nunes, Ludovico Lemos, Manuel Nunes Olisiponense, Amato Lusitano, Abraham Namias, Zacuto Lusitano and Eliau Montalto 23, the last-named being the object of the present study. Castro characterizes the social status and successful medicine practice of these doctors as examples and models. But Castro also defends also the ethic and moral standards applied to medical practice, going beyond the hypothetical religious motivations of the Portuguese doctor’s opponents. There then existed currents following or opposing the model of Paracelsus; moreover, there was the eternal competition between universities and lay persons intent on wiping out those who were not part of “our crowd”.

The last name in this abbreviated list is that of the medical man Baltazar Álvares de Oróbio, a.k.a Oróbio de Castro, a native of Bragança (1617-1687) who wrote the anti-Christian polemical Prevenciones Divinas Contra la Vana Ydolatria de las Gentes 24; and like Montalto, a text about Isaiah 53 called Explicação Paraphrastica sobre o Capitulo 53 do Propheta Isahias. Feito por hum Curiozo da Nação Hebrea em Amsterdam, em o mez de Tisry anno 5433 (1673), of which an abbreviated translation appeared in France, entitled Israel Vengé (1770) in turn englished by Grace Aguilar (London 1839).

Thus, Montalto’s treatise on Isaiah 53 is predecessor of Oróbio’s Explicação Paraphrastica and is also the first known religious polemic treatise of its kind, in Portuguese 25. It is an anti-Christian religious disputation, a genre from which Jews did not refrain, although there was some municipal restricting it. Portuguese Jews developed an accurate technique for theological disputation, thereby deepening the theological approach to biblical exegesis, as well as provoking refutations by Christian scholars and authorities.

Montalto says in his treatise that it was written at the request of a Dominican priest who had little time to hear him out, because he was in transit. The priest asked him to forward his text to Spain. Thus, there is a clear definition of the parties involved: a member of the Dominican order, very much involved in the establishment and maintenance of the Inquisition, i.e., the coercive power to impose a total “Truth”, with no space for disagreements, and a Jewish dissenter who, because of that totalitarian doctrine, had to exile himself and his family from his native land.

The wide diffusion in Portuguese Jewish communities as well as in Europe generally of this manuscript and its several copies, allows the hypothesis of the existence of a fertile soil for the dissemination of this kind of ideas. There was a religious questioning going on and there are also growing doubts related to the forms of knowledge, their interpretation and applicability. Either way there is a wide public, regardless the religious belief, that openly identifies with these issues and read this kind of writings.

These manuscripts were mainly written in Portuguese what probably proves that the target audience was essentially the Portuguese Jewish communities, but there are also translations into Spanish, Dutch and English. The places where these manuscripts may be found also partly testify their acceptance in other spaces and language areas. The surviving copies are now mostly in Amsterdam, but elsewhere in Europe, notably in Leiden, London, Munich, Warsaw, Leghorn and Évora. Furthermore there are copies in United Stated, particularly in Columbia University, in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and in Philadelphia. However, the latter presence may simply indicate the migratory path of people originating in the above named communities.

Some of the manuscripts have a confirmed authorship. Such is the case with David Aron Uziel Cardoso, Isaac Navarro and Isaac Musafia, all belonging to Portuguese Jews communities, although one may surmise that they impacted both within and without these communities. The only printed copy of Montalto’s treatise is of 18th century vintage. It was published in London in English translation by someone using the pseudonym Philo Veritas. This edition was also reprinted in the United Kingdom in 2010.

Montalto in his treatise argues that the Messiah had not come, putting himself in the opposite position of the Dominican friar’s who adamantly claims Jesus as the Messiah and the fulfiller of the prophecy contained in Isaiah 53. To defend his arguments Montalto divides his text into three parts: the foundation (fundamento); proof intention (intenção da prova); and God’s Truth (verdade divina) 26.

He bases his refutations of Christianity on the Jewish Scriptures or Tanach, called Old Testament by Christians, namely on all the five books of Pentateuch (Torah); wisdom literature, such as the Psalms and the Book of Proverbs; the historical books of Samuel and Kings; and foremost the prophets notably Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Malachi, Zechariah, Hosea, Micah, Joel, Amos and Daniel. But Montalto uses also the Decalogue and the New Testament, namely the gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John especially in the end of second part and in the third of his treatise, which focus on Jesus’s genealogy.

Montalto quotes inter alia the following authors in the treatise:

Nicholas of Lira (c. 1270-1349) a Franciscan priest and one of the leading theologians and commentators of the Bible;

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and the second volume of Summa Contra Gentiles. This book defends the Christian faith with important arguments against Jews and Muslims. It is about God and the origin of all creatures as well as the nature of human beings.

The Church Fathers Jerome of Stridom (c. 347-420) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430).

Joseph Ben Gorion (IX-X century) the hypothetical author of a work called Josippon. This text became known through a compilation made in the 10th century by an Italian Jew. The first edition appeared at Mantua in 1476 and had several translations. Josippon tells the Israelite story up to the destruction of the Second Temple.

Paul (Camillo) of Borghese (1552-1621), who as Pope Paul V (1605-1621) commissioned the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica and improved the Vatican Library.

We may conclude that Montalto’s theological works, aside from their author’s recognized medical training and practice, had strong foundations. However, these works remained confined to a closed circle, comprised of his family and the Jewish communities in which they were integrated. Nevertheless, his reputation spread beyond that circle.

Known copies of the treatise on Isaiah 53 27:

1. Tractaet over her Drijenvijftighste capittel van den Propheet Esaias gemaeckt door den Doctor Montalto, Raed ende Medecijn des Coninghs ende Coninginne van Vranckrijk (Bibliotheca Thysiana in Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, 170 bis).

2. Manuscript in Portuguese of 1652 copied by Isaac Navarro in Amsterdam (Library Company of Philadelphia, 195 Q 2), quoted by Herman Prins Salomon, Lettre Inédite du Docteur Felipe Rodrigues Montalto. Paris: Calouste Gulbenkian, p. 162 n. 42.

3. Manuscript in Portuguese copied in 1670 by David de Aron Uziel Cardozo (Jewish Institute of Warschau), cited by Loewinger & Weinryb, Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts in the Library of the Jüdische-Thelogisches Seminar in Breslau, Wiesbaden, 1965, nº 70.

4. Part of the treatise and four letters of Montalto to Pedro Rodrigues (British Library MS OR 8698 fls. 145-174), cited by Herman Prins Salomon, Lettre Inédite du Docteur Felipe Rodrigues Montalto. Paris: Calouste Gulbenkian, p. 162 n. 42

5. A possible copy of Montalto’s treatise (Bristish Library, Harl 4634), cited by Pascal de Gayangos, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Spanish Language in the British Museum, 2, Londres, 1877, p. 531.

6. Manuscript named Tratasse sobre o capitulo 53 do Propheta Jesaya (Bodleian 2481 3), cited by A. Neubauer, Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscrips in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1886.

7. A Spanish translation called Tratado hecho por el Doctor Montalto sobre el capitulo 53 de Isachias (Bodleian 2479), also quoted by Neubauer.

8. Manuscript entitled Livro em que se mostra a verdade de diversas textos y cazos, que alegão as gentilidadez para confirmar suas seicta (Columbia University Library), cited by Harry Friedenwald, The Jews and Medicine, 2. Baltimore, 1944, p. 495.

9. Manuscript (Jewish Theological Seminary, Ms Adler 1384), cited by Alexander Marx, “The Polemical Manuscripts in the Library of Jewish Theological Seminary of America”, in A.S. Freidus, Memorial Volume. New York, 1929, pp. 247-78, nº 64.

10. Manuscript (Königliche Bibliothek München), cited by Meyer Kayserling, Biblioteca Española-Portugueza-Judaica. Strasbourg: Charles Trubner, 1890, pp. 72-73; idem „Drei Controversisten“, Monatsschrift für Geschichte uns Wissenschafts 17 (1868), pp 321-36, 323 n. 1.

11. Manuscript in Portuguese probably from late seventeenth century (Amsterdam University Library, Hs Ros 76), cited by L. and R Fuks, Hebrew and Judaic Manuscripts in Amsterdam Public Collections, II, Leiden: Brill, 1975, nº 277.

12. Manuscript in Portuguese (1740) copied from another manuscript of 1670 (Bib. Ets Haim/Montezinos, EH 49 A 1), cited by L. and R. Fuks, op. cit., nº 214.

13. Manuscript in Portuguese (Bib. Ets Haim/Montezinos, EH 48 D 27 or EH 48 D 8), cited by L. and R. Fuks, op. cit., nº 225 or nº 198.

14. Manuscript in Portuguese from eighteenth century (Bib. Ets Haim/Montezinos, EH 48 B 3), cited by L. and R. Fuks, op. cit., nº 226.

15. Spanish translation (Bib. Ets Haim/Montezinos, EH 48 D 8), cited by L. and R. Fuks, op. cit., nº 198.

16. Manuscript in Portuguese from 1722 (5483) and copied by Isaac Musafia in The Hague (Biblioteca Pública de Évora. Cod cv/1-1 d. 1ª série, 87 f.), cited by Joaquim Cunha Rivara, et al, Catálogo dos Manuscritos da Biblioteca Pública Eborense, 4. Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1871, pp. 71-73.

17. Manuscript in Spanish entitled Proposiciones convinientes e ynfalibles sacados de un discurso del Señor Dottor Montalto (Leghorn, Talmud Torah Library), cited by Bernard Cooperman, “Eliahu Montalto’s «Suitable and Incontrovertible Propositions» a Seventeenth-Century Anti-Christian Polemic”, Jewish Thought in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Isadore Twersky & Bernard Septimus, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987, pp. 469-497.

Printed editions:

1. A Jewish Tract on the Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah written by dr. Montalto in Portuguese and translated from his Manuscript by Philo-Veritas, Londres, 1790, cited by H. P. Salomon, art. cit., 162, n. 2)

2. A Jewish Tract, on the Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah. Written by Dr. Montalto, in Portuguese and translated from His Manuscript, by Philo-Veritas. London: Gale Ecco, Print Editions, 2010. (ISBN-139781140681083)

We may conclude that the manuscripts of the Montalto’s treatise on Isaiah 53 were disseminated in libraries that served Portuguese Jewish communities, as well as universities and educational institutions, secular and religious ones.

3.The medical work: Archipathologia

The first known medical work of Montalto is Optica intra Philosophiae dealing with eye diseases. We know of two editions: the first from Florence printed by Cosmum Juntam (1606) and the other, from Cologne (1613), from the printing house P. M. Marceau 28. There are several exemplars of this work by Montalto, spread throughout European libraries, including those of several Portuguese cities.

Optica intra Philosophiae seems to have interested the public only during the first decades of the 17th century, but the same does not apply for the tractate on Isaiah 53 and Archipathologia, which kept their interest public up to the present times. This thought will be developed in the pages below.

We especially focus on another medical work of Montalto entitled Archipathologia, of which no copy is known in Portugal, although it is considered to be an important medical work and a precursor of Psychiatrics. Archipathologia had at least two editions 29, one (1614) from the printing house Franciscum Jacquin and the other (1632) from the printing house of Samuelem Celerium, both in Paris. However, there are several partial printings. For instance, the dedication at the beginning of the book was printed separately as a letter to Maria of Médicis; another separate printing is of the chapter about the lovers; and yet another, the part concerning the headache and related head diseases.

The list of copies is not exhaustive because we did not have access to all library catalogues in Europe and in the United States. Moreover, the list refers only to the editions of Jacquin (1614) and Celerium (1632). We can, however impart the partial conclusions that we have reached at this point in time.

Archipathologia is available in the libraries of several European cities; some of them also have copies of Optica and of the Treatise on Isaiah 53. Those cities also have important universities of high standing with medical faculties, e.g., Jena, Cambridge, Leiden. Others, such as Lyon and London were important intellectual centres, part of the Republic of Letters during the 17th century.

So, considering the number of copies found today in libraries and other institutions where it is/was available to readers, we have affirmative evidence to the effect that the Archipathologia enjoyed considerable dissemination in Europe, and was abundantly cited for a great length of time. However, it is imperative that an exhaustive study be made to verify the history of each copy found in these libraries and other collections.

4.Citations of Archipathologia.

Throughout the modern history of medicine Archipathologia was cited by some well-known authors. The first to do so was Robert Burton (1577-1640) in Anathomy of Melancholy (London, 1621, several reprints 30). He cites Montalto’s work over fifty times, especially in the sections on Melancholy and Head diseases.

Burton was an Oxford scholar and a mathematician with astrological interests. One likes to think that he spread the knowledge of Montalto’s writings to his disciples, as well as through his own written work, that was widely accepted in the Republic of Medical Letters, enjoying continuous new editions. Some of his disciples and readers thus were given access to Montalto’s legacy.

Bento de Castro (1597-1684), as we said earlier, dedicated one book to the defence of Portuguese medical men from some anonymous attacks in pamphlets that apparently circulated in Hamburg and elsewhere, although no copy of any of them is presently known. In Flagellum Calumniatum (Hamburg, 1631) he says:

Ostentat sese in limine Elianus Montalto totius naturae interpres mirabilis, secretioris philosophia praestantisssimus alumnus, & sacro sanctae theologiae solertissimus magister. Hic postquam de visu absolutam theoriam euulgavit, & Archipathologiam, morte praeventus est, fin minus admirabile habebat opus de fabrica mundi, de animae immortalitae, de febribus ad Galeni mentem & alia. Hic vir praefuit saluti Mariae Galliarum & Navarrae Reginae & Christianissimo Regi, quorum fuit intimus consiliarius, diligens, acutus, gravis, imo inculpata vitae perfectissimum exemplar 31.

Castro, son of another important doctor of medicine, Rodrigo de Castro of Hamburg, who is considered a precursor of Gynaecology because he dedicated one of his works to women’s diseases, refers not only to the author of Archipathologia as a high ranking physician at the French Court, but also to the latter’s religious, theological and philosophical dimension.

Johannes Antonides van der Linden (1609-1664) in De Scriptis Medicis (Amsterdam, 1637, reprinted 1651 and 1662) makes use of an efficient classification to access physicians and their writing. Montalto emerges from the indices among optic and cephalic specialists. Both Optica and Archipathogia are recommended for perusal by upcoming doctors. Van der Linden was a graduate of Leiden and professor at Franeker, the second oldest university of the Netherlands, after Leiden. A much corrected edition of De Scriptis Medicis known as Lindenius Renovatus (1686), appeared with a preface by Georg Abraham Mercklin (1644-1702), at Nuremberg, where Mercklin practiced.

Thus we may surmise that the doctors of Franeker, Amsterdam and Nuremberg knew at least the names of Archipathologia and Optica and perhaps some of the contents.

Manuel Álvares de Távora, a.k.a. Abraham Zacuto Lusitano (1575-1642) refers to Montalto and his writings in several books, e.g., De Medicorum Principium Historia published (Cologne, 1629) and in Praxis Historiarum (Lyon, 1644) published posthumously.

Zacuto Lusitano studied in the Jesuitical college of Lisbon, at Coimbra and at Salamanca. He took his degree in Sigüenza (Spain). After practicing in Coimbra he left Portugal and settled in Amsterdam. His circle of friends included Van der Linden; the celebrated poet-physician Manuel Bocarro Francês (c. 1588-1662/8?), who wrote several poems in his honour; Baltazar de Azevedo, Portuguese physician-in-ordinary to Philippe II and master; João Pinto Delgado, a.k.a. Moses Pinto Delgado, the famous poet.

Konrad Schneider (1614-1680) studied in Wittenberg and became professor at Jena University. In his Liber de Morbis Capitis (Wittenberg, 1669) he refers 36 times to Montalto among other specialists of head diseases.

It seems almost certain that Schneider, as university professor, transmitted Montalto´s knowledge to his disciples, future doctors of medicine.

Georgius Mathiae lists Montalto and Archipathologia in Conspectus Historiae Medicorum Chronologicus (Göttingen, 1761) and also refers to several other Portuguese doctors.

Harry Campbell (1867-1915) cited Montalto´s work more than a dozen times in Headache and Other Morbid Cephalic Sensations (London, 1894). Campbell was attached to London Hospital and the Royal College of Physicians.

In Portugal there are also references to Montalto’s works, especially the Archipathologia, by the following authors:

João Curvo Semedo (1635-1719) in Polyanthea Medicinal, first edition Lisbon, 1697. The second edition (1704) lists Montalto in the authors index 32. Curvo Semedo studied at Coimbra University and practiced medicine in Lisbon using chemical remedies. Besides his career as Familiar of the Holy Office (Inquisition), he was also knight of the Order of Christ and friend of Rafael Bluteau who wrote a panegyric included in Polyanthea Medicinal.

Francisco da Fonseca Henriques (1665-1731) quotes both Curvo Semedo and Montalto when he refers to Epilepsy in Medicina Lusitana (Amsterdam, 1710, reprinted 1731; Oporto, 1750). Fonseca Henriques was D. João V’s physician-in-ordinary, rival of Curvo Semedo and a fellow of Lisbon’s Royal Academy of Sciences.

Raphael Bluteau (1638-1734) had Optica and Archipathologia in his private library 33. He mentions the last work of Montalto in several writings e.g. in Primicias Evangelicas ou Sermoens that was printed in Lisbon in 1685 and re-edited in 1732 as Sermoens Panegyricos, under the letter N., and in his well-known work Vocabulario Português (1720) which partly retains its usefulness. Thus in Portugal the dissemination of Archipathologia reached a high point during the reign of D. João V (1707-1750).

To conclude we may say that the present study is but a partial one because still missing an intensive research aiming to find all citations contemporaneous and later medical books. Yet, however partial these conclusions may be, they can be used in the future to more profoundly address the questions at hand.

Montalto’s works had a notable dissemination in Europe in the Republic of Letters as well as in the Republic of Doctors. The books circulated among peers and knowledge had no particular frontiers. The panegyric poems and letters included in several medical works provide evidence of complicity that connected people from different places, religions and methods of practicing medicine.

The presence of Montalto’s work is patent in a number of medical treatises, where they are quoted by authors who were addressing an audience consisting of a specific class of students, doctors and other people interested in science and culture, who entered the Royal Academies.

Montalto’s works shows us a man who is a believer and also a doctor, an inquisitive mind and an argumentative nature, yet also an independent thinker, who doesn’t deny something intangible and out of man’s control. He realizes that man may intervene to cure but ultimately only God has the power over Life and Death. The doctor merely imitates God, inasmuch as He bestows on man His blessing and the remedial herbs to cure.


Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo, Inquisição de Lisboa, processo 1355 (Tomás da Fonseca)

ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 4512 (Simão Rodrigues de Évora).

ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 6677 (Henrique Dias Milão).

ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 7192 (Duarte Nunes da Costa).

ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 9389 (Leonor Henriques).

CASTELLO, Philotheo [Bento de Castro] (1631), Flagellum Calumniatum seu Apologia in qua Anonymi Cujusdam Calumniae Refutantur Ejusdem Mentiendi Libido Detegitur, Clarissimorum Lusitanorum Medicorum Legitima Methodus Comendatur, Empiricorum Inscitia ac Temeritas Tamquam Perniciosa Recpublicae Damnatur. Amsterdam.

MARTIN, Gabriele (1711), Bibliotheca Bultelliana seu Catalogus Librorum Bibliothecae. Paris.

MONTALTO, Elias, Tratado do doctor Montalto sobre o Princípio do Capítulo 53 de Jesayas, 35 (exemplar de Ets Haim).

MONTALTO, Elias, Tratado do doctor Montalto sobre o Princípio do Capítulo 53 de Jesayas, 35 (exemplar da Biblioteca Pública de Évora).

MONTALTO, Philippi (1606), Optica intra philosophiae et medecinae aream, de visu, de visus organo et objecto theoriam accurate complectens. Florença: Cosmum Iuntam.


AZEVEDO, J. Lúcio de (1989), História dos Cristãos-Novos Portugueses. Lisboa: Clássica editora.

BAIÃO, António (1924), Episódios Dramáticos da Inquisição Portuguesa II. Rio de Janeiro: Tipografia Anuário do Brasil.

CARDOSO, Adelino (2013), “Aproximação à Archipathologia de Filipe Montalto”, in Humanismo, Diaspora e Ciência (séculos XVI-XVII): estudos, catálogo, exposiçao. Porto: 41-50.

COHEN, Mark trad. ed. (1989), The Autobiography of a Seventeenth Century Venetian Rabbi. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

D’ ESAGUY, Augusto (2003), “La vie et l’Oeuvre du Dr. Elie Montalto”. In Freudenthal, Gad – Kottek, Samuel (eds), Melanges d’Histoire de la Médecine Hebraïque. Études Choisies (1948-1985). Leiden: Brill.

DASCAL, Marcelo (2004). “On the Uses of Argumentative Reason in Religious Polemics”. in Hettema, Theo – Kooij, Arie van Leer (eds.) Religious polemics in context: papers presented to the Second International Conference of Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions. Assen: Van Gorcum.

DIAS, José Lopes (1961), “Laços Familiares de Amato Lusitano e Filipe Montalto: (novas investigações)”. Imprensa Médica 25: 1-31.

FRADE, Florbela Veiga (2015a), “O Caminho Espiritual de Filipe/Elias Montalto e a sua obra sobre Isaías 53”. Actas do Congresso Lusófono de Ciência das Religiões - Culturas e Identidades. Lisboa, Universidade Lusófona.

FRADE, Florbela Veiga (2015b), “A Família de Filipe Rodrigues Montalto/Filoteu Elias Montalto na documentação Inquisitorial. Uma tentativa de reconstrução histórico-genealógica”. Dor, Sofrimento e saúde Mental na Arquipatologia de Filipe Montalto. Lisboa: CHC (in press).

FRIEDENWALD, Harry (1967), The Jews and Medicine, 2 vols. Nova Iorque, Ktav.

FUKS, L. - FUKS R. (1975), Hebrew and Judaic Manuscripts in Amsterdam Public Collections, 2. Leiden: Brill.

GRANDI, Maria Letizia (2005) La Comunità Giudeo-Portoghese di Amsterdam: un eccezione Culturale. [Napoli]: Universita degli Studi di Napoli.

KAPLAN, Yosef (2004), From Christianity to Judaism: The Story of Isaac Orobio de Castro. Oxford, Littman.LUND, Mary Ann (2010), Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ROODEN, Peter van (1989), A Dutch Adaptation of Elias Montalto’s Tractado sobre o Principio do Capitulo 53 de Jesaias. Text, introduction and commentary. Lias 16: 1-50.

ROTH, Cecil (1929), “Quatre Lettres d’Elie de Montalto”. Revue des Etudes Juives, Paris: Imprimerie H. Elias: 137-165.

SALOMON, Herman Prins (1983), Une Lettre Inédite du Docteur Felipe Rodrigues Montalto. Paris: Calouste Gulbenkian.

SALOMON, Herman Prins (ed) (1988), Tratado da Verdade da Lei de Moisés. Escrito pelo seu próprio punho em português em Amesterdão 1659-1660. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra.

SILVERA, Myriam (ed.) (2013), Prevenciones Divinas contra la vana idolatría de las gentes. Firenze, L.S. Olschki.

SMITH, David Grant, (1975), The Mercantile Class of Portugal and Brazil. Ann Arbor.

SWETSCHINSKI, Daniel (1987), The Portuguese Jewish Merchants of the Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam, 2 vols. Ann Arbor-Michigan.

7.Selected Bibliography about Medicine, Christian and Jewish Portuguese Doctors and their works in Early Modern Era.

ARAÚJO, Ana Cristina (1984), Ilustração, pedagogia e ciência em António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches. Coimbra: Fac. Letras.

BARNETT, Richard (1982), Dr. Jacob de Castro Sarmento and Sephardim in Medical Practice in 18th century London.[S.l. : s.n.].

BERGER, Natalia, (ed.) (1997), Jews and Medicine. Jerusalém: Jewish Publication Society.

BOXER, C. R. (1963), Two pioneers of tropical medicine : Garcia d’Orta and Nicolás Monardes.London: The Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Councils.

BRITO, Alberto (1949), O doutor Tomás Rodrigues da Veiga: ilustre ervanário. Porto.

CARDOSO, Adelino – COSTA, Palmira Fontes da, ed. (2011), Percursos na História do Livro Médico, 1450-1800. Lisboa: Colibri.

CARDOSO, Adelino (rev.) (2011), O Médico Político ou o Tratado sobre os deveres médico-políticos. Domingos Lucas Dias (trad.). Lisboa: Colibri.

D’ESAGUY, Augusto (1946a), Jacob de Castro Sarmento : notas relativas à sua vida e à sua obra. Lisboa: Ática.

D’ESAGUY, Augusto (1946b), A Page from the Portuguese History of Medicine, Dr. Jacob Henrique de Castro Sarmento. Coimbra: Coimbra Editora.

DIAS, José Lopes (1952), João Rodrigues de Castelo Branco, Amato Lusitano: resumo biobibliográfico. Lisboa.

DIAS, José Lopes (1961), Laços Familiares de Amato Lusitano e Filipe Montalto (Novas Investigações) in Primeiro Colóquio de História da Medicina. [s.l., s.n.].

DIAS, José Lopes (1964), O Renascimento em Amato Lusitano e Garcia d’Orta. Lisboa: s.n.

DIAS, José Lopes (1964), O renascimento em Amato Lusitano e Garcia d’Orta. Lisboa: [s.n.].

DIAS, José Lopes (1971), Médecins Portugais de la Renaissance en Europe. [s.l. : s.n].

DIAS, José Lopes (1973), Médicos Portugueses da Renascença vizinhos da Estremadura Espanhola. Porto.

FEILCHENFELD, Alfred (1898), Aus der Älteren Geschichte der Portugiesisch-Israelitischen Gemeinde in Hamburg. Hamburg.

FRADE, Florbela Veiga – SILVA, Sandra Neves (2011), “Rodrigo de Castro e o Medicus Politicus (1614) e Manuel Bocarro Rosales e o Status Astrologicus (1644)”, Sefarad. Revista de Estudios Hebraicos y Sefardies, 71, nº 1. Madrid: CSIC: 51-94.

FRADE, Florbela Veiga (2006), “A Medicina e o Trato na Família Carlos,” in Rumos e Escrita da História. Estudos em Homenagem a A. A. Marques de Almeida, Coord. Maria de Fátima Reis. Lisboa: Ed. Colibri: 253-269.

FRADE, Florbela Veiga (2012), “Identity and Ethics in medical praxis of Portuguese Jews in Hamburg in 16th and 17th Centuries. The case of Rodrigo de Castro (1546-1627/9?)” in Proceedings First International Conference of Jewish Heritage: Science, Culture, Knowledge, ed. José Ribeiro Mendes; Célio Gonçalo Marques. Tomar.

FRIEDENWALD, Harry (1967a), The Jews and Medicine, 2 vols. New York: Ktav Publishers.

FRIEDENWALD, Harry (1967b), Jewish Luminaries in Medical History. New York: Ktav Publishers.

GOUVEIA, A. J. Andrade de (1985), Garcia d’Orta e Amato Lusitano na ciência do seu tempo. Lisboa : Inst. de Cultura e Língua Portuguesa.

KAPLAN, Yosef Kaplan (2000), “Sephardi Students at the University of Leiden”. An Alternative Path to Modernity: The Sephardi Diaspora in Western Europe. Leiden: Brill: 196-211.

KAYSERLING, Meyer (1971), Biblioteca Española-Portuguesa-Judaica. Nova Iorque: Ktav Publishing House.

KELLENBENZ, Hermann (1956), “Dr. Jakob Rosales”. Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte VII: 350-353.

LEMOS, Maximiano (1907), Amato Lusitano: a sua vida e a sua obra. Porto: Eduardo Tavares Martins.

LEMOS, Maximiano (1909), Zacuto Lusitano: a sua vida e a sua obra. Porto: Eduardo Tavares Martins.

LEMOS, Maximiano (1911), Ribeiro Sanches: a sua vida e a sua obra. Porto: Eduardo Tavares Martins.

LEMOS, Maximiano (1916), Estudos de História da Medicina Peninsular. Porto: Tip. A Vapor.

LEMOS, Maximiano (1991), História da Medicina em Portugal. Lisboa: Dom Quixote.

LÉVY, Joseph – ELIANI, Marc (1998), Les Médecins Juifs d’ origine portugaise : quelques figures marquantes. Les Juifs Portugais. Montreal : Médiaspaul.

MORENO CARVALHO, Francisco (1999), “Zacuto Lusitano e um Tratado de Medicina Dirigido ao Brasil”, in Em Nome da Fé. Estudos in Memoriam de Elias Lipiner, ed. Nachman FALBEL et al, São Paulo: 57-74.

MORENO CARVALHO, Francisco (2011), Jacob Rosales/Manoel Bocarro Francês: Judaísmo, Sebastianismo, Medicina e Ciência na Vida Intelectual de um Médico Judeu Português do Século XVII. [Tese de Doutoramento]. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo.

MUCZNIK, Lúcia Liba – MEA, Elvira et al (2009), Dicionário do Judaísmo Português. Lisboa: Presença.

PEYRE, Yvone David (1974), Le Medicus Politicus de Rodrigo de Castro et la musicothérapie. Lisboa: [s.n.].

PINA, Luís de (1955), Verney, Ribeiro Sanches e Diderot na História das Universidades, Porto: [s.n.].

PINTO, Hélio (2015), Jacob de Castro Sarmento e o Conhecimento Médico e Científico do Século XVIII [Tese de Doutoramento]. Lisboa: Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da UNL.

RASTEIRO, Alfredo (1992), Medicina e Descobrimentos. Coimbra: Almedina.

RASTEIRO, Alfredo (2000), Medicina Judaica Lusitana: século XVI. Lisboa: Quarteto Editora.

RUDERMAN, David (1987), Science, Medicine and Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University.

RUDERMAN, David (1995), Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe. New Haven/Londres:Yale University Press.

SCHOEPS, Hans-Joachim (1967), Die Arztfamilie de Castro. Ein Beitrag zur Medizingeschichte des Barock. Sep. Melimata. Festschrift für Werner Leibbrand zum siebzigsten Geburtstag. Mannheim: Boehringer: 127-128.

SERRÃO, J. Veríssimo (1978), “Contribuição para o Estudo dos Portugueses na Universidade de Alcalá (1509-1640)”. Revista Portuguesa de História 17. Lisboa: 37-54

STUDEMUND_HALÉVY, Michael (2000),Biographisches Lexicon der Hamburger Sefarden. Die Grabinschriften des Portugiesenfriedhofs na der Königstraße in Hamburg-Altona. Hamburg: Hans Christians Verlag.

WILLEMSE, David (1966), António Nunes Ribeiro Sanches - élève de Boerhaave et son importance pour la Russie. Leiden.

1. The bibliography about Medicine, Portuguese Doctors and their works and contributions is vast and disperse. See the selected bibliography in the end of this article.

2. Friedenwald, 1967; Ruderman, 1987; Ruderman, 1995 among others.

3. Dias, 1961, see also Frade, 2015b.

4. ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, processo 7192 (Duarte Nunes da Costa). This Inquisition file includes the testimonies of several members of the family that were arrested.

5. This title can be roughly translated by: “knight nobleman by lineage”.

6. Baião, 1924: 266-386; Azevedo, 1989: 265-266; Swetschinski, 1987; Smith, 1975. Duarte da Silva was an important investor in several Crown interests such as diamonds and other goods from the Portuguese domains. He was also responsible for the finances of D. Catarina de Bragança, queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1662-1685), after his release from prison.

7. Roth, 1929: 137.

8. Montalto, 1606.

9. Salomon, 1983: 158; ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 6677 (Henrique Dias Milão), fl. 96 v; Idem, proc. 4512 (Simão Rodrigues de Évora).

10. ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, proc. 9389 (Leonor Henriques): fls.196-197.

11. Roth, 1929: 138. Roth refers Daniel Levi de Barrios and his Relacion de los Poetas to prove that the event of conversion occurred in Venice, where Leon de Modena was rabbi.

12. Leone de Modena was consulted several times regarding issues in the Amsterdam and Hamburg communities, notably in the affair of Uriel da Costa’s herem. He also maintained correspondence with the Mahamad of both cities. About the venetian rabbi biography see Cohen, 1989.

13. Information provided by Sandra Neves Silva.

14. See 1Kings 18:39.

15. Zacarias 14:9.

16. The Lusitanians heroically combated the Romans and were subdued by treason.

17. ANTT, Inquisição de Lisboa, processo 1355 (Tomás da Fonseca): fl. 29-29 v.

18. Roth, 1929:165.

19. Salomon, 1988: XLI-XLII.

20. Grandi, 2005:121. A manuscript copy is in the University of Amsterdam’s Rosenthaliana Collection. See Fuks, 1975:94-95.

21. Grandi, 2005:129.

22. Salomon, 1988.

23. Castello, 1631: 70-76. See also Friedenwald, 1967: 293, 743, 755.

24. This book was published by Silvera, 2013. See also Kaplan, 2004.

25. I thank Herman Prins Salomon for pointing this out to me.

26. About this treatise and the messianic ideas see Frade, 2015a.

27. See Rooden, 1989: 1-50.

28. The frontispiece was published by d’ Esaguy, 2003: 234. However, there is some evidence of another edition (Genoa, 1613?). See Dias, 1961: 30, n. 19.

29. Hervé Baudry discovered that in 1614 Archipathologia had two editions, besides the Franciscum Jacquin one. Petrum Gueffier also printed this work; and there is evidence of yet another edition (Paris, 1618) from the printing house of St. Gervais. See Dias, 1961:30, n. 20.

30. See also Lund, 2010.

31. Castello, 1631:75-76. There are copies in Kiel, Amsterdam and London.

32. This reference is an indication of Joana Mestre Costa.

33. Martin, 1711: 275, 305.


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