The Abravanel family (Hebrew אברבנאל, also spelled as Abarbanel, Abrabanel, or Barbernell, literally meaning Ab (father) Rabban (priest) El (of God)) is one of the oldest and most distinguished Jewish families of the Iberian peninsula; they trace their origin from the biblical King David. Members of this family lived in Seville, Córdoba (Spanish province), Castile-Leon, and Calatayud. Seville is where its most prominent representative, Don Judah Abravanel, once dwelt.
Don Judah Abravanel was treasurer and tax-collector under Sancho IV (1284–95) and Ferdinand IV (1295–1312). In 1310 he and other Jews guaranteed the loans made to the crown of Castile to finance the siege of Algeciras. It is probable that he was almoxarife ("collector of revenues") of Castile. Another eminent member of the family was SAMUEL of Seville, of whom Menahem b. Zerah wrote that he was "intelligent, loved wise men, befriended them, was good to them and was eager to study whenever the stress of time permitted." He had great influence at the court of Castile. In 1388 he served as royal treasurer in Andalusia. During the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 he was forcibly converted to Christianity under the name of Juan Sanchez (de Sevilla) and was appointed comptroller in Castile. It is thought that a passage in a poem in the Cancionero de Baena, attributed to Alfonso Alvarez de Villasandino, refers to him. Don Judah Abravanel and his family later fled to Lisbon, Portugal, where they reverted to Judaism and filled important governmental posts