The Family in Turkey
It is well worth mentioning again that Salonika was part of the Ottoman Empire right up to the modern era. Only in 1913 did the city become part of Greece together with the Province of Macedonia. What there is to say here of the Family in today's Turkey is thus rather limited since most lived in Salonika, whereas about Izmir (Smyrna) your collator has alas learnt little to date. It may well be that there are no Benardouts living in today's Turkey, not a single one. In fact, I was unable to bring up even one single clear reference to the family name in connection with Turkey in modern times.


As already seen, Rabbi Ephraim Ben Abraham Ardut of Salonika, the Kabbalist, became Chief Rabbi of Izmir where he died on 18th October, 1767. But as also mentioned before, when surfing under the heading of Izmir or Smyrna he could not be traced. One could suspect that his name may have been "amended " to Aderet or to Arditi in Turkey but this is only logic at work based on a later presence under that name, (see below).


Just as for Salonika, one can bring an immediate short list of Rabbis in Smyrna. But the form of the name is not that used in Salonika, - so are they Family ? Whoever prepared these web-sites seems to think that they were indeed Benardouts under another form of the name, but fails to bring any explanation or reasoning. Care is still counseled despite the fact that elsewhere your collator does come to the conclusion that these surnames were definitely interchangeable both in Spain and throughout the Middle East :

Rabbi Moshe Ben Aderet - died 1818
Rabbi Shlomo Ben Avraham Aderet from the 16th century
Rabbi Shlomo Ben Matzliah Ben Aderet - also died 1818.


Most of the old-timers would know that many a bride was brought from the Izmir and other Turkish communities
to Salonika, - and it would be permissible to assume that these brides may sometimes have themselves been from more distant branches of the Family for there most certainly was a trend towards that level of inter-marriage even in our grandparents' generation.


Similarly, Benardouts by name would equally likely have moved
from Salonika to towns in Turkey in order to marry husbands or wives and to set up home there. This would surely have been a two-way movement.


Some of you might have learned of the degree to which this was or was not so from their own grandparents and can judge for themselves. The undersigned's own maternal grandfather was an Arditi, (spelt with only one "
t " by the way), and he indeed reached London from Izmir (Smyrna). But it is interesting to note that my Mother is the only Arditi to be found throughout the whole length of the known Family Tree, something which seems a little strange since it hardly evidences any such closeness between the two Families of late.


One constantly comes across dissertations as to the connection between the two names of Ardut and Arditi. Such a link, as a close link, is very tempting and many argue the case from the Arditi side, - others dispute how close it is today. One thing is certain, I've never heard claims from the Benardouts that the Arditi's are part of
our Family !! Please correct me if I'm wrong.


The argument pro runs like this : that "Ardit " was simply the original Latin form of the name, from Roman times, (meaning "
bold "), and that "Ardut " is only a derivative developed in Spain quite possibly under Moorish/Arabic liguistic influences. However, family surnames did not exist until trhe 12th century so that an original Latin name seems most unlikely. See : the Navarre chapter.


Your collator suspects that in Arabic Ardut might
mean just the opposite : the conquered or subservient, - only might mind you, - and indicating a submission to the Moorish conquerors, no more than that. That would have been quite in line with the social practice of those times. You would need to see how it was written in Arabic however in order to read the name correctly.


A strong Moorish influence of course obtained in Spain, - as in Azir ibn Ardut, Jewish physician to King Pedro IV of Aragon, (who reigned between 1336 - 1387). Azir is a totally Arabic name. And then, - Islam demands of all that they "submit " to Allah and to the Prophet and it would have been politically expedient to have adjusted a
"bold " family name, (if it was ever that), to one which gave expression to such a willingness...!!

But are the Benardout's usually so politically correct ?
Hmmmmm


But suppose we go back for a minute and
do say that our name comes from the Hebrew or Arabic but not from the Latin at all ? In Hebrew the word-root of a r d, - gives us the meaning of "bronze-metal ", - maybe from days of slavery in the Spanish mines under Roman rule ? Steady - Keep calm - who would have retained that memory until the 12th century ?!! But if Hebrew, the word-root could more likely have been r d t since the "t " is the letter "tet " which has its own real value, and not the more technically used "taf ", - and the "a " could well have been by way of prefix. One could argue all this every ways up and for evermore.


The surname Benardete has also been come across from Turkey, but one has yet to find someone who can say definitively whether that was a local derivative form of Benardout, - I have come to believe that it is, but also have no proof. The most famous of that name was Mair Jose. This gentleman was a Philosopher in his own right whose children were also famous academics. He is described as the first Sephardic Scholar in the USA (1910) and the first Turkish Jew licensed to teach Public School in the USA - a good place to start for research over there perhaps. And interesting, because he would have been continuing with the Family's most favoured profession - teaching.


One must ask why he and his family would have wanted to "ottomanise " a surname which had held out so well throughout the Empire for 500 years as Ben Ardut for there is no evidence of such a change having become necessary nor general. But we see throughout that the name took many forms and this could be just another version.


Upon leaving Spain or Portugal in 1492 and through the earlier decades of the 1500's, those still bearing the name Arditi, (spelt by most today with two "t "'s), found their way to the mainland of Europe, many settling in Italy. Some of them then moved on down to Turkey itself having "Italianised " the name in the meantime by adding the second "t ". So they believe.


But somewhere else an item was found pointing out that so far as researchers have been able to discover and calculate, only a small group of about 190 Arditti's has ever been recorded in Turkey at any one time, - a very modest number one might think. That statement is brought as it was published, without further comment and however illogical it might seem to be.


What also needs to be learnt is whether there may have been as many Arditis in Salonika itself as there were Benardouts there, - for they too have in the meantime spread far and wide.
And they already have their own Spanish language Facebook Page because many are in South America by the way, a Facebook Page in which they openly claim that Benardout is a derivative from Arditi and that we are in effect one family.


One would like to suggest that the whole issue be left to one side for the time being. First of all, the Benardouts themselves have yet to be traced and recorded and secondly,
if 500 years or so ago another Branch of the Family chose to retain a different surname and went off from Spain in a direction differing from ours, then one can argue that it had become and remains a different family altogether. And we have no cause yet to trace ourselves back to Adam.


In all events, by the 1940's the Jewish population of Izmir (Smyrna) had dropped to about 10,000 and in the 1950's that community decided en masse to move to newly-born Israel, leaving only a thousand or so behind within the borders of Turkey itself.


There were clearly a few Benardouts amongst the 10,000 and there are references to that possibility in the chapter on "Modern Israel ", recently [March 2016] developed a little. Marlene and I have come across families in Israel with the surname of Ben Aderet and another of Ben Achdut, (the latter definitely identifying itself with us). We continue to work on this numerically minor but important aspect.
Feel free - I will always relate to what you say
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