BARCHILON (BARCILON, EL BARCHILLON, HABARQUELONI, BARCHILO,

BARCHILLO, BARGELONI, BARCHILONE).

 

 

These Jewish family names come from the Hebrew transcript of  "BARCHINONE",

the ancient Latin name for the city of Barcelona, Spain (Barchelouna in Arabic),

Mediterranean  port in Catalonia, North-East Spain, Seat of one of the oldest Jewish       

communities in the country.

 

The earliest records of this name dates from the 11th century, when documents reveal

the name of Isaac ABEN RUBEN HA-BARQELONI  (ALBARQELONI/

ALBARCELONI) who was also known as Isaac of  FES  (Rabbi Itzhak ALFASSI),

born in 1043, in Barcelona,  and Judah BEN BARZILAI  AL-BARCELONI  HA-NACI,

Rabbi of  Barcelona in the 11th to 12th century.  In the beginning of the 12th century,

the  "SEFER  HA-SHETAROT"  of Judah BEN  BARZILAI  AL-BARGELONI was

written.

 

Spanish family names beautifully illustrate the history of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula.

The first  Jews,  arriving in Spain during the times  of the  Roman  Empire, bore Greek,

Latin and Hebrew  names.  In the early eighth century, when Spain was conquered by the

Arabs and came under Islamic Rule, she became the shelter for many more Jews where

they enjoyed religious freedom  and were greatly involved in the Government  and

Administration.   During this period,  many Jews adopted Arabic names,  as well as

retained their Hebrew names,  leaving  a legacy of fascinating combination of Arabic

and Hebrew.

 

Even after the tenth century,  when Spain was reconquered by the Christians,  these same

Arabic and Hebrew names were still being used by the Spanish Jews.  It was not until the

sixteenth century  Inquisition  that Jews changed their names,  when many were forcibly

converted and baptised and took Spanish-Christian names,  becoming the "New Christians"

or  "Marranos"  of  Spain.  Yet the same conservatism and love of  Tradition can be seen

amongst  the Marranos,  who retained their Spanish-Christian names when much later

they were able to "Re-convert"  to Judaism,  just as those who fled the country tended to

keep there Spanish names wherever they moved to.

 

This trend amongst Sephardi Jews to retain their Family names intact has enabled us today

to trace closely  their Histories.  Especially interesting is the fact that a large proportion

of Spanish names are derived from Place names,  many of them in their original forms

from Ancient times and no longer existing today.

 

 

BENAQUIN (Gaby BENZAKEIN, son voyage en Israel).

Reću le 1.10.97 (Lettre du 22.9.97 de Liliane BARUCHEL Y  COHEN, Fontenay, France).

 

                     

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