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Book Notes: Gli ebrei, I marrani e la figura di Salamone Usque, Gabriella Zavan

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Book Notes Gli ebrei, I marrani e la figura di Salamone Usque, Gabriella Zavan (Editrice Santi Quaranta, Treviso 2004) isbn 88-86496, pp. 226, ?13. Salomon Usque published a Purim play entitled Ester in Venice in 1558, and a translation of Petrarch's sonnets and canzones into Spanish in Venice in 1567, using the pen-name 'Salusque Lusitano'. In Kaiserling's bibliogra? phy he is identified with Duarte Gomes, a wealthy merchant and physician, who was Donna Gracia Nasi's agent in Venice. Cecil Roth wrote a mono? graph in which he argued convincingly that although Duarte Gomes also translated some of Petrarch's sonnets into Spanish, he was a different man. The late Gabriella Zavan, whose interest was primarily in literary history, researched the two names and found much new material on both men. She published a description of the Turkish court and army, which a Salomon Usche presented to the French Ambassador in Constantinople in 1596, as he also did to the English ambassador. She does not decide on their iden? tities, but the evidence that she presents strongly suggests that the author of the memorandum of 1596 was a nephew or grandson of 'Salusque Lusitano'. Quite apart from its literary interest, this study is important for the rich detail it discloses of Donna Gracia's trade from Constantinople with Venice and on the life of her agent, Duarte Gomes, whose Jewish name was David Zaboca. Edgar Samuel</page></plain_text>