ratatusk (ratatusk) wrote in thequestionclub,

I came across a passage in a book recently which mentioned a couple nationalities from the early 1600's that I've never heard of before.

"...The Spanish Inquisition was a nightmare from which many of us still cannot awaken. And yet we Ponentinis, whose forebears esperienced that great dispossession, are just one group, one set of memories. There are Hollanders, Tedeschis, Levantinis."

So who the heck are Ponentinis, Tedeschis, and Levantinis? I've tried Googleing them and haven't come up with a thing. If it helps, this scene is set in 1609, between a Rabbi and a priest in Venice.

ETA: In the book "Knowledge of Angels" by Jill Paton Walsh, there's a word that's use a number of times. I think it means 'to convert to a religion', but I'm not completely sure of that. I believe it started with 'poly' and it isn't a well known word. What's the word?

Also, are there websites where you can look up the definition of a word, without knowing the word?
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