Marking the Jews in Renaissance Italy: Politics, Religion, and the Power of Symbols

Marking the Jews in Renaissance Italy: Politics, Religion, and the Power of Symbols

by Flora Cassen


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It is a little known fact that as early as the thirteenth century, Europe's political and religious powers tried to physically mark and distinguish the Jews from the rest of society. During the Renaissance, Italian Jews first had to wear a yellow round badge on their chest, and then later, a yellow beret. The discriminatory marks were a widespread phenomenon with serious consequences for Jewish communities and their relations with Christians. Beginning with a sartorial study - how the Jews were marked on their clothing and what these marks meant - the book offers an in-depth analysis of anti-Jewish discrimination across three Italian city-states: Milan, Genoa, and Piedmont. Moving beyond Italy, it also examines the place of Jews and Jewry law in the increasingly interconnected world of Early Modern European politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107175433
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 08/03/2017
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Flora Cassen is Associate Professor of History and JMA and Sonja Van der Horst Scholar in Jewish History and Culture, both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the history of Jews in early modern Italy, Spain, and the Mediterranean. She has published articles on these subjects in the Association for Jewish Studies Review and The Journal of Early Modern History.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Origins and symbolic meaning of the Jewish badge; 2. Dukes, friars and Jews in fifteenth-century Milan; 3. Strangers at home: the Jewish badge in Spanish Milan (1512-1597); 4. From black to yellow: loss of solidarity among the Jews of Piedmont; 5. No Jews in Genoa; Conclusion.

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