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The Jewish Mercantile Settlement of Twelfth and Thirteenth Century Venice: Reality or Conjecture?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2009

Benjamin Ravid
Brandeis University
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It has hitherto been generally accepted that the Jews played an active part in the overseas commerce of Venice during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, that they were present in the city not only as transients but also as residents, and that they were even confined to a special area. However, a closer investigation reveals that this view constitutes a highly questionable reconstruction of the course of events, based simultaneously on the clear misunderstanding of certain alleged data, and also on dubious philological arguments supported by unproven conjecture and expanded by undocumented speculation.

Research Article
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 1977

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1. For the general economic and commercial background, see Luzzatto, Gino, Storia economica di Venezia dall XI al XVI secolo (Venice, 1961), andGoogle ScholarLane, Frederic, Venice: A Maritime Republic (Baltimore, 1973), especially pp. 22117.Google Scholar

2. E.g.,Schiavi, Luigi, “Gli Ebrei a Venezia,” Nuova Anlologia 47 (1893): 312, 318–19;Google ScholarRoth, Cecil, [The Jewish Community of] Venice (Philadelphia, 1930), pp. 8 12 (Italian translation [Rome, 1933], pp. 10–14);Google ScholarBaron, Salo, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 16 vols. to date (Philadelphia, 1952-) 4:25; 10:292 (hereafter cited as SRHJ);Google ScholarMilano, Attilio, Storia degli Ebrei in Italia (Turin, 1963), pp. 71, 107, 13637;Google ScholarEncyclopaedia Judaica, 16 vols. (Jerusalem, 1971), s.v. “Venice.” See Goitein, S.D., Mediterranean Society, 2 vols. to date (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967), 1:54, for a reference to a scholar on the payroll of the Jewish Community of Cairene called “the son of the Bunduqui” which according to Goitein “at that time could hardly mean anything else than ‘the man from Venice'”; I am indebted to Professor Goitein for advising me in a conversation of April 30, 1973 that the “son of the Bunduqui” could also refer to a seller of hazelnuts, and if it indeed did refer to someone from Venice, that person was not a trader.Google Scholar

3. Schiavi, “Gli Ebrei,” p. 311; Roth, Venice, p. 9; Baron, SRHJ, 4:25; 10:292; Milano, Storia, p. 71; Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice.”Google Scholar

4. Schiavi, “Gli Ebrei,” p. 312; Roth, Venice, p. 10; Baron, SRHJ, 10:292; Milano, Storia, p. 137; Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice.”Google Scholar

5. Schiavi, “Gli Ebrei,” pp. 312, 318–19; Roth, Venice, p. 9; Baron, SRHJ, 4:25; Milano, Storia, p. 137; Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice”. Also, Lane, Venice, p. 300: “Levantine Jews early gave its name to the island in Venice called the Giudecca.”Google Scholar

6. For Gallicciolli's material on the Jews, see 2:278–326 (sees. 872–990); on the census of 1290, 2:278–79 (sees. 874–75) (quoted in the next note).Google Scholar

7. The account in Gallicciolli reads as follows (2:278–79 [sees. 874–75]): Che antichissimi per tanto siano gli Ebrei in Venezia consta da irrefragabili documenti, che in seguito produrremo. In una Cronaca dello Svajer altrove citata portasi il censo di Venezia, che dicesi fatto nel 1152, 12 Maggio, e vi si notano: Ma io veramente temo, che siavi errore nella data, forse provenuto da chi trascrisse quella Cronaca, e che questa numerazione a piu bassi secoli appartenga, vedendovisi troppo grande numero di Frati, e sapendosi altronde, che tanto grande numero di Ebrei in quel tempo non era probabile. For Gallicciolli's reference to the chronicle of Vanzi, which he calls “le piu copiose Storiche Memorie della Giudaica gente in Venezia un esemplare di cui trovavasi nei Mss. raccolti dallo Svager,” among which, Gallicciolli related, were also other manuscripts containing much information on the Jews, all of which he utilized, see Memorie venete, 2:280 (sec. 878). According to Samuele Romanin, Storia documemata di Venezia, 10 vols. (Venice, 185361), 2:378, Vanzi's work was entitled “Memoria sulla Ricondotta degli Ebreo nello Stato Veneto 1767.” I have located, through the microfilm collection of the Historical Society of Israel in Jerusalem, a version of Vanzi's manuscript in the Museo Civico Correr, Venice, MS Cicogna 2380. It was apparently entitled “Memorie istoriche relative alia ricondotta delli Giudei nello stato della Serma Republica di Venezia.” However, both the microfilmed text in Jerusalem and the text which I have obtained from the Museo Civico Correr, through the kind efforts of Signorina Lina Frizziero of Venice, are incomplete and do not contain the census figures. Possibly they were drawn from another manuscript in the Svajer collection and not from Vanzi.

8. The population figures and dates presented by Gallicciolli were accepted unquestioningly by Cappelletti, Giuseppe, Storia della repubblica di Venezia dal suo principio sino al giorno d'oggi, 13 vols. (Venice, 1850–1855), 10:120 (with a footnote reference to Gallicciolli), and by Schiavi, “Gli Ebrei,” p. 311 with a footnote reference to Cappelletti. Pompeo Molmenti took the information from Schiavi, and acknowledgingGoogle Scholar, Schiavi, incorporated the data into his widely read and translated La storia di Venezia nella vita privata dalle origine alia caduta della repubblica (many editions; see the seventh, 3 vols. [Bergamo, 192729], 1:7879), thereby extensively disseminating the misinformation among many readers unlikely to read any book or article on the Jews. On the other hand, Ricardo Rocca, “Cenni sulla communita israelitica di Venezia,” Annali di Statistica, 3d ser. 9 (1884): 168, without giving a source, wrote that a manuscript in the Svajer collection referred to a census professing to have been taken on May 12, 1152, which recorded that the population of 160,208 inhabitants included 1,300 Jews; however, he noted, some maintained that the figures came from a later date, and that in 1152 the Jews were not so numerous. Roth in his Venice, p. 9, considered this figure to be “possibly an exaggeration, but a clear proof nevertheless that they must already have formed an important nucleus.” In his later History of the Jews of Italy (Philadelphia, 1946), p. 76, Roth was somewhat more critical: “There were probably a few immigrant traders at Venice, though a report which fixes their number in 1152 at 1,300 is almost certainly unauthentic.” Milano, Storia, p. 71 wrote: “Tale cifra [1300], presumibilmente troppo alta, e tuttavia sintomo della importanza che I'elemento ebraico aveva gia cominciato ad assumere nella vita commerciale di Venezia”; cf.Google ScholarIbid p. 105:“. la notizia alquanto dubbiosa” See also Milano's earlier “Gli Ebrei in Italia nei secoli XI eXII,” La rassegna mensile di Israel 13 (1938): 2526. The population estimate is mentioned by Baron, SRHJ, 4:25, where it is considered “almost certainly a gross exaggeration,” and also 10:292 (“a gross exaggeration”). See also the Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice,” with the comment “the figure is considered an extreme exaggeration.”

9. For actual figures on the Jewish population of Venice, see Beloch, Julius, “Bevolkerungsgeschichte der Republik Venedig,” Jahrbucher fur Nationalokonomie und Statistik 73 (1899): 150, esp. 45;CrossRefGoogle ScholarContento, Aldo, “II censimento della popolazione sotto la repubblica veneta,” Nuovo archivio veneto 19 (1900): 542Google Scholar, 179–240; 20 (1900): 5–96, 171–235, esp. 37, 40; , Beloch, “La popolazione di Venezia nei secoli XVI e XVII,Nuovo archivio veneto ns. 3 (1902): 549Google Scholar, esp. 10, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 27, 29, 37, 38, and also 12, on the problem of the number of friars; Morpurgo, Edgardo, “Bibliografia della storia degli Ebrei nei Veneto,” La rivista israelitica 7 (1910): 218–21, items 624, 625 and 632; Roth, Venice, pp. 106–7;Google ScholarBeltrami, Daniele, Storia della popolazione di Venezia dalle fine del secolo XVI alia caduta della repubblica (Padua, 1954), esp. pp. 43, 51, 58, 79, 120–21, tables 2 and 15;Google ScholarHarris, Alan C., “La demografia del ghetto in Italia,” La rassegna mensile di Israel 33 (1967): 168Google Scholar (separate pagination at end of volume), esp. pp. 15–17, 24–25, 26–28, 42^t3, 52–53, 55. The closest approximation to the figures given by Gallicciolli is found in a census of 1555 (Contento, “II censimento,” 19:37; Beloch, “Populazione,” p. 10): I have so far been unable to find any census giving a Jewish population of 1,300 or a total population of 160,208. (I wish to thank Professor Reinhold Mueller for sending me an offprint of his valuable revisionist article “Les preteurs juifs de Venise au moyen age,” Annales: economies, societies civilisations 30 (1975): 12771302, which appeared after this article was submitted and accepted for publication. On p. 1296, n. 4, Mueller observed that the total population figure given by Gallicciolli for Venice was only reached in the sixteenth century and “Bien que Gallicciolli, p. 279, ait lui-meme note que ce chiffre etait sans doute posterieur et que la date transcrite etait probablement erronee, les historiens des juifs n'ont pas cesse de l'attribuer au XIIe siecle. Certains ont admis que le chiffre semblait exagere, tout en y voyant un bon indice de l'importance commerciale des juifs dans la Venise du XIIe siecle..”)

10. Gallicciolli, Memorie venete, 2:27980 (sec. 877): “E veramente bisogna riconoscere, che per tempissimo gli Ebrei nello Stato nostro, e in Venezia principalmente soggiornassero trafficando, mentre trovasi decreto, Ms. Svaj. del M.C. fino dal 1290, per cui gli Ebrei vengono astretti a pagar il 5 per 100 di entrata e uscita delle loro merci. Ma questo stesso Decreto, se male io non m'oppongo, ci fa ancora sentire, che solo nel Secolo XIII, e forse molto bene adulto, quella Nazione trafficante principiasse ad essere tra noi osservabile, mentre per lo innanzi o il poco numero, o la meschinita del loro mercimonio sembra che non rendesse gran fatto riflessibili i Giudei.” The text of the Vanzi manuscript related that “edi fatto del MCCXC ai 27 di luglio, si vede che questa Nazione con li veneti commerciava [footnote 18 of Vanzi: Parte del Maggior Consiglio], poiche si ordina, che gli Ebrei dovessero pagare il cinque per cento d'ingresso ed uscita di tutte le Mercanzie.”

11. Cessi, Roberto, Deliberazioni del maggior consiglio di Venezia, 3 vols. (Venice, 1931–1950), 3:274, July 27, 1290: “Capta fuit pars quod omnes iudei nostri Comunis de Nigroponte et de omni alio loco, qui navigabunt per mare, debeant solvere pro quolibet centenario yperpera quinque ad intratam et quinque ad exitum, sicut solvunt illi de Creta. Et cenaddatur in commissionibus Rectorum de Nigroponte quod debeant accipere dictum comercium ad intratam et exitum. Et si consilium est contra, sit revocatum quantum in hoc. Pars de XL.” Subsequently, this tax was eliminated twenty-eight years later in 1318;Google Scholarsee Freddy, Thiriet, ed., Deliberations des assemblies venitiennes, 2 vols. (Paris, 196671), 1:17576, (sec. 395): “Sur la demande presentee par les autorites locales, on accepte d'affranchir les Juifs de Negrepont de diverses obligations: entre autres, ils ne seront plus astreints a la taxe de 5% qu'ils devaient acquitter sur la valeur des marchandises qu'ils exportaient ou importaient par mer.” (“Liber clericus-civicus,” fols. 141r-141v, March 30, 1318).Google Scholar See also Starr, Joshua, Romania: The Jewries of the Levant After the Fourth Crusade (Paris, 1949), p.44, explaining that the elimination of the tax was a reward for the loyalty of the Jews in defending the town against the Catalans; however, two decades later, a 5 percent tax was imposed on all goods imported and exported by Jews and other non-citizens in order to provide funds for heightening the wall around the Venetian compound.Google Scholar

12. See e.g., Colorni, Vittore, Gli Ebrei nel sistema del diritto comune (Milan, 1956), pp. 54– 60 (non vidi); Milano, Storia, pp. 521–23;Google Scholar, Colorni, “Ebrei in Ferrara nei secoli XIII e XIV,” in Miscellanea di studi in memoria di Dario Disegni (Turin, 1969), p. 95, note 129;Google ScholarAnkori, Zvi, “The Jewish Quarter of Candia,” Salo W. Baron Jubilee Volume, 3 vols. (Jerusalem, 1974), 1:82Google Scholar1 am indebted to Professor Talmage, Frank for advising me in a letter of July 24,1975, that “one of the old Catalan words for Jewry is Judeca: Diccionari catala-valencia-balear, 10 vols. (Palma de Mallorca, 1951–62), 6:785.”Google Scholar

13. Muratori, Lodovico, Dissertazione (Milan, 1751), p. 188: “Ne si vuol ommettere, che il Luogo, conceduto a i Giudei per loro abitazione nelle Citta, da noi ora appellato Ghetto, anticamente si chiamava Judaea, Judaica, Judaearia, etc. Di qua e nato il nome di Giudecca conservato fin qui in Venezia, come anche in Ferrara, dove ha il nome di Zuecca. Di questi nomi s'ha riscontro in un Diploma di Ruggieri Duca di Puglia, Figlio di Roberto Guiscardo Duca, il quale nell Anno 1090 dona all‘Arcivescovo di Salerno totam Judaeam hujus nostrae Salernitanae Civitatis cum omnibus Judaeis, qui in hac eadem modo habitanles sum, el fuerint etc con tutte le rendite, che si cavavano da quella gente. La Giudeca di Venezia si truova nominata in un Diploma di Vitale Faletro Doge di Venezia e Dalmazia nell anno 1090.” The text of 1090 was published byGoogle ScholarCornaro, Flaminio, Ecclesiae Venetae antiquis monumentis, 18 vols. (Venice, 1749), 8:21215.Google ScholarTemanza, Tommaso, Arnica pianta dell‘inclita cilia di Venezia (Venice, 1781), p. 53, followed by Gallicciolli, Memorie venele, 1:116 (sec. 121), correctly observed that the reference was to the Giudecca of Constantinople, rather than to a Giudecca in Venice; see also Romanin, Storia documentata, 1:151. However, Roth, Italy, pp. 69–70 and Milano, Storia, pp. 71 and 85 accepted the passage as referring to Venice and used it as evidence of the early settlement of the Jews in the city. This view is also repeated in Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice.” Of course, the identification of the Giudecca with the later ghetto vecchio in Selig Cassell's article “Juden (Geschichte)” in Ersch andGoogle Scholar, Gruber, Allgemeiner Encyklopedie der Wissenschaft und Kunst, 150 vols. (Leipzig, 181850) is erroneous.Google Scholar

14. The document was first partially quoted in Tommaso Temanza, Arnica pianta, p. 56, where it was dated September 8, 1252. On the map itself, found by Temanza in a codex written by a Franciscan in the fourteenth century and published by Temanza as a “foldout” at the end of the bookand reproduced by Mutinelli, Fabio, Del costume veneziano sino al decimo settimo secolo (Venice, 1831)Google Scholar, p. 24the island of Spinalunga is labelled Judaica. On the basis of the physical delineations and names on the map, Temanza believed that it dated from some time prior to 1141, and was found by the fourteenth century Franciscan who added some names on the map (including apparently the word Judaica) and then put the map with his other papers (pp. 5255, esp. 53, note a). It should be pointed out that on the basis of the documents and discussion on pp. 56ff., in the sentence on p. 53, “. questa porzione di Giudecca, la quale nel XII secolo Giudecca Nuova appellavasi non fu interrata, che poco dopo l'anno 1250,” the “XII secolo” should read “XIII secolo.” A briefer passage from the legislation was also quoted, from a work of Trevisano, by Gallicciolli, Memorie venete, 1:115 (sec. 121), and dated October 8, 1252. The date 1252 is also encountered in Cappelletti, Storia, 9:122 (from Gallicciolli); Schiavi, “Gli Ebrei,” p. 319; Roth, Venice, p. 9; Baron, SRHJ, 4:25; 10:292; Milano, Storia, p. 137; Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. “Venice.” However, Romanin, Storia documentata, 2:379, n. 3, gave a date of September 8, 1254. (See now Zordan, Giorgio, Le persone nella storia del diritto veneziano prestatutorio[Padua, 1973], p. 102, n. 27, for the assertion, apparently correct, that the date of the legislation should be September 23, 1254, on the basis of the text‘in Cessi, Deliberazioni, 2:120.)Google Scholar

15. Tentori, Cristoforo, in his Saggio sulla storia civile politico ecclesiastica e sulla corografia e topograjia degli stati della repubblica di Venezia, 11 vols. (Venice, 1785–1790), 2:194, enumerated those authors who believed that the island of Spinalunga took on the name of Giudecca because it was first inhabited by Jews: Bernardo Giustiniano, Lorenzo de' Monacis, Marco Antonio Sabellico, Francesco Sansovino, P. Coronelli, Vettor Sandi and Filiasi in his Saggio sopra i primi Veneliani. Tentori, however, disagreed with their derivation (see below).Google Scholar

16. fol. 90r “L'Isola della Giudecca, chiamata prima Spinalonga, ma Giudecca poi, per la prima habitatione che vi fece la natione de Giudei quando venne a Venetia.” Vanzi, in his unpublished chronicle, wrote that “io concorro col Sansovino [n. 17: Storia di Venezia} a credere che PIsola di Spinalonga si chiamasse Giudecca, oggi volgarmente Zuecca, appunto perche cola stanziassero li Giudei sino da quando grandioso era lo traffico della Repubblica coll isola di Candia, luoco assegnato alia Nazione Giudaica, come a tant‘altre in quella Citta, onde potesse aqartievava [marginal note: non e voce di lingua] le proprie merci; e pretende l'lstorico sudetto che un tal nome riportasse [marginal note: cangia questa voce] sino dal MCC.” For the continuation of the text of Vanzi, see the passage quoted in n. 10, aboveGoogle Scholar

17. Ibid fol. \%2r. “L'Isola della Giudecca, chiamata gia Spinalunga; nella quale furono primi ad habitare l'anno 856 i Barbolani, i Scoli et i Selvi, Tribuni antichi, et che furono banditi, et confiscati i loro beni per certe discordie, c'hebbero con altre famiglie. Ma ritornati a casa ad instantia di Lodovico II Re de'romani et non havendo case, fu concesso loro, che fabricassero nella Giudecca.” For further details on these alleged settlers on the Giudecca, see Romanin, Storia documentata, 1:18182

18. See p. 250. It should be noted that these changes in the entry “Spinalunga” necessitated also changes in the entry “ghetto.” Sansovino had originally written in his text in the entry “ghetto”: “Percioche essendo questa patria stanza frequentata da molte genti d'ogni lingua et paese, ci vennero anco gli Hebrei i quali la prima volta si misero in Spinalunga, che poi cambiato nome, fu detta per lo nome loro Giudecca” (fol. 135v). accordance with his view on the derivation of Spinalunga, changed the sentence to read: “Percioche essendo questa Patria una stanza assai frequententa da molte genti di ogni lingua et paese, ci vennero anco gli Hebrei che habitavano per tutta la terra” (fol. 256v). Subsequently in his third edition, Martinioni restored the reading of the first edition (p. 368). In the following century, Muratori, accepting the Jewish origin of the word Giudecca, greatly confused the issue by relating the words Giudecca and ghetto (see quotation above, n. 13). His view was accepted by Sandi, Vettor, Principi di storia civile delta repubblica di Venezia dalla sua fondazione sino nell'annodi N. S. 1700,3 vols. (Venice, 17551756), vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 436, who was severely criticized by Tentori, Saggio, 2:19697. Interestingly, Stringa, who denied the Jewish derivation of Giudecca, correctly added a gloss to the entry “ghetto” in Sansovino, explaining that the ghetto was so called because formerly artillery was cast there, as could be ascertained from the ball painted on the main gate: “Anticamente vi si gettavano l'artigliarie: si come per segno si vede ancora una balla dipinta posta sopra la porta maestra” (fol. 256r-v). This explanation, dropped from the third edition, led Roth to suggest “that conceivably this may have been the origin of the pawnbroker's characteristic sign of the Three Balls, never I think adequately explained”; see Personalities and Events in Jewish History (Philadelphia, 1961), p. 236, n. 9. Perhaps Roth's hypothesis can be supported by the fact that, from 1573 on, the Jews operated three loan banks in the Venetian ghetto. Apropos of the origin of the word ghetto, see the passage in Temanza, Antica pianta, p. 70: “Quell'ampia Isola, che ora da ricetto al maggior numero degli Ebrei, denominato Ghetto Nuovo, contiguo al Rio di S. Girolamo, sino dal principio del Secolo XV. era una fondura, ed una pozzanghera. L'altra vicina verso Canareggio, che Ghetto Vecchio s'appella, gia molto prima abbonita, ed innalzata, era destinata alle Pubbliche Fonderie, ed era la Sede del Magistrato presidente alle stesse. Percio quel luogo dicevasi il Getto. Ivi c'erano XII. Fornaci, i rifiuti, ed i calcinacci delle quali si spargevano di tratto in tratto sulla prossima fondura. In questo modo a poco a poco si e fatta la bonificazione di quell'isola, sulla quale vi furono poi murate quelle Case, che oggidi si veggono, le quali prima, che gli Ebrei nel 1516. vi mettessero piede, ricettavano numerose Famiglie di Cristiani.” The first part of this description was substantially reproduced by Tentori, Saggio, 2:19697. Gallicciolli, Memorie venete, 1:111–13 (sec. 120) also presented this etymology for the ghetto, but did not accept it, preferring to derive the name of the Jewish ghetto from the Hebrew nghedah ('edah), synagogue, group or congregation, in Aramaic and Syriac nghetto, transliterated into Italian as ghetto. See Giuseppe Tassini, Curiosita veneziane (Venice, 1887), pp. 319–20, s.v. “ghetto vecchio,” for references to the ghetto-foundry prior to the settlement of the Jews on the site in 1516, and a rejection of this etymology proposed by Gallicciolli. This obvious origin of the term ghetto in Venice has not always been recognized. Although “discovered” by David Kaufmann (see his “A Contribution to the History of the Venetian Jews,” Jewish Quarterly Review, o.s. 2 [1899–90]: 297–98, 302–3) it was not universally accepted, and indeed became the subject of much controversy. See the index entry “ghetto” in A. Milano, Bibliolheca historica italo-judaica (Florence, 1954), the Supplemento, 1954 1963 (Florence, 1964) and “Bibliografia degli studi sulla storia degli Ebrei in Italia, 19641966,” La rassegna mensile di Israel 32 (1966): 319 (supplement following p. 428); also Ariel Toaff, “Getto-ghetto,” The American Sephardi 6 (1973): 71–77. In my article, “The Establishment of the Ghetto Vecchio of Venice, 1541: Background and Reappraisal,” Proceedings of the Sixth World Congress for Jewish Studies, 1973 (Jerusalem, 1975), 2:160, n. 17, I have pointed out that caution should be taken in arguing on orthographical grounds, since official Venetian documents dealing with the establishment of the ghetto nuovo of 1516 employ the spelling geto and getto, while in legislation of 1541 establishing the ghetto vecchio, all four possible spellings ghetto, gheto, getto, and geto are encountered.Google Scholar

19. Coronelli, Vincenzo, Isolario, 2 vols. (Venice, 1696), 2:20Google Scholar

20. 20. Sandi, Principi, p. 436, acknowledging as his source Muratori (quoted above, n. 13): “Ecco il come ed il perche ebbero nelle Citta i Giudei il conceduto luogo di loro abitazione, volgarmente Ghetto, originariamente Giudea, o Giudaica, poi Giudecca.” (Sandi, however, did not follow Muratori in stating that the Giudecca mentioned in the diplomata of the Doge Vitale Faletro was the Giudecca of Venice, but rather located it in Constantinople.) See above, n. 18, for Tentori's criticism of Sandi (and Muratori).

21. Temanza, Antica pianta, p. 53, note aGoogle Scholar

22. It must be noted that D. P. Carpenter, in his 1840 edition of du Cange, added an entry “Judeca” (1:911): “regio Judaeorum in oppidis. Charta ann. 1090,” citing Muratori as his source. This addition has been retained in subsequent editions of du Cange.

23. In that year the compulsory ghetto nuovo was established; see Roth, Venice, pp. 4955; Pullan, Brian, Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice (Cambridge, 1971), p. 486; Ravid, “The Establishment,” pp. 15661.Google Scholar

24. Tentori, Saggio, 2:194–95.Google Scholar

25. Tentori, Saggio, 2:19596: “Non da' Giudei, come il Volgo si crede, poiche non ci habitarono giammai, ma da Santi died, che ci sono, alia Greca anticamente ebbe il nome.”Google Scholar

26. Tentori, Saggio, 2:196.Google Scholar

27. Gallicciolli, Memorie Venete,1:115–17 (sec. 121), especially pp. 116–17: “Maessendo questa cosa tanto incerta, e di mera supposizione, nulla altra conghiettura io posso proporre, se non la seguente. Allo spirar del IX secolo ai Congiurati Flabanici e Caloprini, i beni dei quali erano stati confiscati, dopo la riconciliazione si assegnarono in ricompensa alcuni fondi in Spina longa, lo che unanimi attestano i Cronisti, che di cid fanno parola. Si sara detto allora che quelli erano fondi assegnati dal Giudicato,ossivero dal Magistrato o Consiglio. Pronunciavano allora questa voce come si legge nei vecchi Cronisti, e principalmente nel Rota: 1077 circa. In queslo tempo fu principiado la Zudega de Proprio.Cosi spesso occorreyar el Zudeca, o Zudega,judicatum facere. Questa guisa di parlare probabilmente degenero prima in Zudeca, poi Judecha, Zuecca, e finalmente Giudaica, perche i Notaj volendo scrivere latino, ne sapendo forse l'origine del nome, credettero bene espresso judaica e judaea. Io pero non voglio esser mallevadore di questa mia opinione.” For further details on the Flabanici and Caloprini, and the assassination of the doge, see Romanin, Storia documentata,1:18283; Heinrich Kretschmayr, Geschichte von Venedig,3 vols. (Gotha and Stuttgart, 1905–35), 1:96, also 429–30; Cessi, Storia del/a repubblica di Venezia, 2vols. (Venice, 194446), 1:52; idem, “Politica, economia, religione,” in Storia di Venezia,2 vols. (Venice, 1957–58), 2:148–49, 190; and especially idem, Venezia ducale, 2vols. (Venice, 1963–65), 1:222, 253–57. Gallicciolli acknowledged that there had been on the Giudecca two synagogues which had been destroyed “not too many years ago” to make way for new construction (“non sono molti anni che due sinagoghe alia zuecca furono rovinate per farvi altri edifizj”), but on the basis of the legislation of 1516 establishing the ghetto, which had stated that the Jews were erecting synagogues everywhere, claimed that the two synagogues could not have originated in the thirteenth century, by which time the island was already known as la Zuecca; Memorie venete,1:116 (sec. 121). For a slightly less skeptical approach, see 2:279 (sec. 876).

28. Battagia, Michele, Cenni storici e statistici sopra lisola della Giudecca (Venice, 1832), p. 14: “essersi trovata pochi anni sono, in un casamento non molto discosto dalle Zitelle, una pietra della grandezza di un piede quadrato circa, con caratteri ebraici incisi sopra un lato di essa (la qual pietra, caduta in mano di persona ignorante, ando smarrita).” See also pp. 14,46, 47.Google Scholar

29. Roth, Venice,p. 9; Baron, SRHJ,4:25; Milano, Storia,p. 137; Encyclopaedia Judaica,s.v. “Venice.”

30. Shulvass, M.A, “A Story of the Misfortunes which Afflicted [the Jews] in Italy,Hebrew Union College Annual 22 (1949): 121Google Scholar (Hebrew section); republished in Shulvass, In the Grip of Centuries (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, 1960), pp. 76–102, and also partially in Sonne, Isaiah, From Paul IV to Pius V (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1954), pp. 187202.Google Scholar

31. HUCA22 (1949): 17–18; Paul IV,pp. 198–99. Shulvass observed that the story was not confirmed by any other source and believed that it was one of the legendary stories on the Jews of Venice which have a historical basis; apparently its intention was to explain the end, under unknown circumstances, of the Jewish settlement on the Giudecca (HUCA,p. 17, n. 58). Shulvass also noted that according to the Chronicle,the first Jewish settlers were Ashkenazim, i.e., of German origin, while it had hitherto been accepted that the first Jews in Venice had been Levantine merchants. Actually, the Chronicle did not state that the first settlers were Ashkenazim, but only that one family was called, in German, Lippman. The phenomenon of the resentment of the Jewish wealth should not be taken literally, since the author of the Chronicle often utilized that theme in his attempt to explain anti-Jewish hostility; see the comments of Sonne, HUCA,pp. 24–25 and Paul IV,pp. 184– 85 placing that theme in its sixteenth century context

32. First published by Sonne, I., “Chapters from a Tract on Expulsions,” HUCA 22 (1949): 2344 (Hebrew section). (Those incidents related in both the list and the Story were republished together in Paul IV, pp. 187–202.)Google Scholar

33. HUCA,p. 30; Paul IV,p. 198.

34. HUCA,p. 30; Paul IV.p. 198.

35. Famiglie venete,2:66566: “Li suoi maggiori per attestato del Malfatti et di altre Croniche furono Giudei, quali venuti in cognitione della vera Legge di Dio, presero l'aqua del Santo Battesimo et lasciarono tutte le loro facolta, ma Stefano uno di essi, havendo poi trovato un grandissimo tesoro sotto terra, ingrandi la casa, et rese il lustro alia famiglia, quale secondo il Frescot, si trasferi a Venetia l'anno 908, dove gode la cittadinanza sino che Tanno 1381. per li servigi resi da Pietro Lippamano capo della famiglia nella guerra di Chioggia, venne aggregata all'ordine patritio.” I wish to thank Signorina Frizziero for locating and sending me reproductions of the pages on the Lippomano family in the Famiglie veneteand for informing me that Malfatti and Frescot were chroniclers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; since she has also advised me that there are over 1,000 other chronicles, it seems that the vicissitudes of the Lippomani family merit a separate study.

36. The only twentieth century writer to sound a cautious note was Gino Luzzatto in his “Breve cenni introduttivi ad una guida dei templi veneziani,” La rassegna mensile di Israel30 (1964): 204. Luzzatto did not mention either the population estimate of 1152 or the customs payment of 1290, but merely noted that the information regarding the presence of Jews in Venice before the sixteenth century was very uncertain and fragmentary. He related that it was generally affirmed that a group of them lived in the city on the basis of the name Giudecca given to the island previously known as Spinalunga. He observed, however, that except for the name, which undoubtedly had a notable significance since it was used to designate the quarter in which the Jews resided of their own will in Southern Italy, no other evidence had been preserved proving the existence of this colony on the island of Spinalunga. No value, he asserted, could be ascribed to the oral tradition according to which that alleged community had two synagogues. However, he added that even if no definite records remained of groups of Jews dwelling in Venice between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, it was certain that Venice became the preferred port of transit for many Jews, who often for business reasons stayed there for some time. Additionally, he pointed out that Benjamin of Tudela did not give any information on Jews living in the region north of the Appennines (p. 203). Cf. also Luzzatto's views expressed in his Sloria economica di Venezia dall XI al XVI secolo,p. 40: “The Jews seem, although it cannot be documented with certainty, to have been assigned for a certain time as residence the island of Spinalunga, which owed to them its name of Giudecca and that expelled from there, they moved to Mestre, outside the dogado.”However, if the conjectured Jewish inhabitants of Spinalunga were Levantine merchants, it is highly unlikely that they moved to Mestre, where, as far as is known, the only Jewish inhabitants were moneylenders from elsewhere in Italy and from Germany. (See now Mueller, “Les preteurs juifs.”) Baron, while accepting the traditional view regarding the role of the Jews in Venetian com merce, nevertheless observed that “no definitely Jewish names could be identified in the extensive collection of Documents del commercio veneziano nei secoli XIXIII,vols. 1 and 2 compiled by R. Morozzo Delia Rocca and A. Lombardo,” Baron, SRHJ,4:332, n. 47. See also now Nuovi documenti del commercio veneto dei secoli XIXIII(Venice, 1953) by the same authors. (See also the views of Zordan, Le persone nella storia del diritto veneziano prestatutario,summarized in the Appendix below.) In support of the possibility that Jews came to Venice as traders without however settling in the city, see the following fromKrekic, Batisa, Dubrovnik in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries: A City Between East and Wes(Norman, Oklahoma, 1972), p. 30: “A ‘Giudecca’ is mentioned at this time [the middle of the fourteenth century] in Dubrovnik, probably a Jewish quarter, situated in the eastern suburb of the city. However, since there were very few Jews in Dubrovnik and there is no proof that any had settled permanently in the city, it seems probable that the Giudecca designated the place where foreign Jewish merchants lived while visiting Dubrovnik.”Google Scholar

37. On Jewish moneylenders in Italy, see , Milanou, “Lineamenti storici del prestito ebraico in Italia,La rassegna mensile di Israel 11 (1937): 257–74Google Scholar; Roth, Italy, pp. 103–17; Shulvass, The Jews in the World oj the Renaissance (Leiden and Chicago, 1973, from the Hebrew of 1955), pp. 114–33; , Milano, “I primordi del prestito ebraico in Italia,” La rassegna mensile di Israel 19 (1953): 221–30, 272–80, 306–19, 360–71, 398–406, 450–60; idem, Storia, especially pp. 67–211, passim;Google ScholarPoliakov, Leon, Les banchieri juifs et le saint-siege du xiie au xviie siecle (Paris, 1965); Baron, SRHJ, 10:220–96, passim. On Venice specifically, see in addition to Gallicciolli, Memorie venete, and Roth, Venice, also A. A. Viola, Compilazione delle leggi. in materia d'offici, e banchi del ghetto, 5 vols. in 6 (n.p., 1786), vol. 5, pt. 2; A. Milano, “I banchi dei poveri a Venezia,” La rassegna mensile di Israel 17 (1951): 250–65; Poliakov, Banchieri, pp. 271–81; Pullan, Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice, pp. 431621; Mueller, “Les preteurs juifs”; Ravid, “From Riches to Rags: The Socioeconomic Background of the Expulsion of the Jews from Venice in 1571,” to appear in a forthcoming Festschrift in honor of Professor Ben Halpern.Google Scholar

38. Thus the account of Roth, Venice,pp. 812 requires fundamental revision. There is no evidence whatsoever that “a transient Jewish population gradually gathered in the city” (p. 9). Neither can it be maintained that “the city became recognized as a center of Jewish population” (p. 11) on the basis of the two pieces of evidence offered by Roth: that Isaiah di Trani resided for some time in Venice, and that in 1288 Hillel of Verona suggested Venice as one of the possible places to convene a conference to settle the Maimonidean controversy.

Regarding Isaiah di Trani, it is only related that he used to travel by boat (gondola?) in Venice on the Sabbath; see Shibbole ha-Leqet, ed. Solomon Buber (Vilna, 1866), p. 42a. However, one cannot conclude from this that Isaiah lived in Venice for any length of time, and assert that Venice was a center of Jewish population. Although very little is known about Isaiah of Trani, it is known that he traveled widely and possibly spent time in Venice awaiting suitable transportation elsewhere. For speculation that he may have traveled from Venice to Palestine, see S. K. Mirsky, “R. Isaiah of Trani and the Author of Shiboley Haleket” (Hebrew), Talpiot 9 (196465): 78. Isaiah justified his conduct with the rationale that the gondola would make its journey in any case, and hence no labor was being performed specially for a Jew (the Hebrew legal principle, le-'asman hem mitkawenim). See also Mirsky's, edition of Shibbolei Haleket Completum by R. Zedekiah Ben R. Abraham Harofe (New York, 1966Google Scholar), p. 33. In the seventeenth century, the Venetian Rabbi Simone Luzzatto issued a ruling permitting travel by gondola on the Sabbath, but the lay council of the Jewish community made him rescind his ruling, which is now no longer extant and hence Luzzatto's reasoning is unknown; see Isaac Lampronte, Pahad Yifhaq (Hebrew), 12 vols. (Venice, Reggio, Lyck and Berlin, 1749–1887), 7:58b and Roth, Venice, p. 230.

Hillel of Verona had indeed suggested Venice as one of the possible places to convene a conference to settle the Maimonidean controversy; see The Responsa of Maimonides (Hebrew) 3 vols. (Leipzig, 1859), 3:14b. He also suggested Marseilles and Genoa. While Marseilles did have a Jewish community throughout the Middle Ages, it is very problematic indeed whether there was a Jewish community in thirteenth century Genoa; see Roth, “Genoese Jews in the Thirteenth Century,” Speculum 25 (1950): 19097, and the reservations expressed by David Jacoby in his “The Jews in Chios Under Genoese Rule, 1346–1566” (Hebrew), Zion 26 (1961): 186, n. 42.

Unfortunately, I have so far not been able to locate the source of the statement of Roth (Venice, p. 10) that “ancient records speak even of a Jew who was instrumental in introducing this vital branch of commerce to the city.”