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

$33.99 (C)

  • Author: Flora Cassen, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Date Published: March 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316627471

$ 33.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • The first book-length treatment of the Jewish badge in over one hundred years, appealing to readers who want to understand the history of the Jewish badge and the history of antisemitism
    • Studies the social, economic, and political ramifications of discriminatory policies in Renaissance Italy, and will be of interest to social and cultural history readers, and those interested in the history of Jews in Europe
    • The focus on the badge as a physical marker allows readers to explore the symbolism behind the marker and its implications then and through time
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this fascinating study, instead of focusing on the better-known Venice, Rome, and Florence and their ghettos, Flora Cassen has chosen to concentrate on northern Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the under-studied areas of Piedmont, the Duchy of Milan, and Genoa, where Jewish communities were small. … a stimulating and informative contribution to Jewish–Christian studies.' Christopher F. Black, Renaissance and Reformation

    'Cassen’s book takes us beyond a simplified interpretation of the Jewish badge as a means to make Jews recognizable. … It certainly speaks not only to scholars of Renaissance Italy but also to anybody interested in mechanisms of social inclusion and exclusion in medieval and early modern Jewish history, including graduate students.' Cornelia Aust, H-Judaic

    'Cassen’s study will guide students into the rich possibilities and complexities of archival research and will serve as the English point of reference for any future study of the real-life context of the Jewish badge.' Bernard Dov Cooperman, The American Historical Review

    ‘… convincingly reveals the political precarity of late medieval and early modern Jewish communities.’ Bianca Lopez, Comptes Rendus

    ‘… thought-provoking … An important addition to debates on anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, the book will appeal to scholars of religion interested in understanding how Christians attempted to place one religious minority apart from the majority during the Italian Renaissance.’ Deborah Kaye, Religious Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316627471
    • length: 233 pages
    • dimensions: 150 x 230 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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

  • Author

    Flora Cassen, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    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.

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