David Franco Mendes
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David Franco Mendes was a Jewish Hebrew-language poet, born in Amsterdam Aug. 13, 1713; died there Oct. 10, 1792. A business man, he devoted his leisure hours to the study of the Talmud, in which he became very proficient. He knew several languages, and was especially well versed in Hebrew. For six months preceding his death he was honorary secretary of the Spanish-Portuguese community at Amsterdam.
David Franco Mendes was regarded as, next to Moses Hayyim Luzzatto and Naphtali Hirz Wessely, the most important Neo-Hebraic poet of his time. Delitzsch describes his poems as traditional in subject, national in spirit, and artistic in form. He followed Racine in his historical drama "Gemul 'Atalyah," Amsterdam, 1770; Vienna, 1800; Warsaw, 1860. Under the title "Teshu'at Yisrael bi-Yede Yehudit" (Rödelheim, 1840) he translated into Hebrew Pietro Metastasio's "Betulia Liberata." He was a frequent contributor to "Ha-Meassef," in which he published some poems and short biographies of eminent Spanish-Portuguese coreligionists. He left several manuscripts, written partly in Hebrew, partly in Portuguese and Spanish, most of which are in possession of the seminary of the Spanish-Portuguese community at Amsterdam. They include: "Bi'at ha-Mashiaḥ," on the advent of the Messiah; "Nir le-Dawid," responsa, several of which are printed in the collection "Peri 'Eẓ Ḥayyim"; a collection of Hebrew epitaphs; and "Kinnor Dawid," a large collection of poems by him and others. His "Memorias do Estabelecimento e Progresso dos Judeos Portuguezes e Espanhoes nesta Famosa Cidade de Amsterdam: Recapilados de Paneis Antigos Impressos e Escritos, no Ao. 5529 = 1769 "(MS. No. 220, pp. 4)," Memorias Succintas da Consternaçaõ de Nosso K. K. de Amsterdam nos Tribulaçoõs desde Cidade e Provincia, no Ao. 1787" (MS. No. 34, pp. 4), and "Collecaõ de Antiguidades" (manuscript) are of historical value.
He was part of the Franco family, a Jewish family which derived its name from a place near Navarre, Spain.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gotthard Deutsch, M. Franco, Richard Gottheil, Meyer Kayserling, and Isidore Singer (1901–1906). "Franco". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.