Abraham Portaleone

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Abraham Portaleone (died July 29, 1612) was an Italian-Jewish physician in Mantua. He was a pupil of Jacob Fano.


Dialogi Tres de Auro by Portaleone, published in Venice, 1584

The Dukes Guglielmo and Vincenzo of Mantua, in whose service he was, granted him privileges in 1577 and 1587 respectively; and Pope Gregory XIV. gave him a dispensation which enabled him to attend Christians.


At the request of Duke Guglielmo he wrote two medical treatises in Latin, which he dedicated to his patron, under the titles Consilia Medica and Dialogi Tres de Auro respectively; the latter treatise was published in 1584.

His Shilte ha-Gibborim (or Shiltei, meaning shields of the heroes – other works share this title) was an encyclopedic work[1] that related arts and sciences to the Temple;[2] it included techniques of warfare.[3] It was printed in 1612.[4] Abraham Melamed[5] considers he was clearly influenced by Machiavelli. B. Barry Levy [6] notes it as the first Hebrew book to adopt European punctuation, but also considers it typical of Renaissance thought in its integration of science and religion.


He was great-grandson of Guglielmo Portaleone (son of David, son of Lazzaro, son of Guglielmo).


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2007-11-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link):Included in the central theme of the description of Solomon's temple and the liturgical service are scientific and profane subjects. Related to the theatra mundi, the work originates in the meeting of Lullyian medieval mnemotechnical theories with Hermetic Cabbalistic thought. Solomon’s temple acquires a metaphysical meaning: the tempus sapientiae takes the place of the theatrum mundi.
  2. ^ Matt Goldish, Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton, p. 86.
  3. ^ Raphael Patai, The Jewish Mind (1996), p. 171.
  4. ^ Chapters On Jewish Literature - Chapter XXI. Historians and Chroniclers (by Israel Abrahams)
  5. ^ Medieval and Renaissance Political Philosophy, p. 433, in History of Jewish Philosophy, edited Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman.
  6. ^ Planets, Potions, and Parchments: Scientifica Hebraica from the Dead Sea (1990), p. 57.


  • Gianfranco Miletto, La Biblioteca di Avraham ben David Portaleone secondo l'inventario della sua eredità, Firenze, Olschki, 2013 ISBN 978 88 222 6273 8.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Abraham Portaleone". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.