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Book Notes: La Nazione Ebraica Spagnola e Portuguese negli Stati Estensi, Aron di Leone Leoni

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">La Nazione Ebraica Spagnola e Portuguese negli Stati Estensi, Aron di Leone Leoni (ISBN 88-85050, Luise Editore, Rimini 1992) 431 pp. Dr Leoni has discovered a hitherto unknown Early-Modern Portuguese Jewish community in Reggio Emilia off the main international sea-trade routes but engaged in the silk trade. He has also discovered and publishes here as an appendix their Red Book, or Libro de Corame Rosso, in which is recorded the charter of privileges granted to them by Francisco d'Este, Duke of Modena, in 1652 and 1653. This cites in full an amazing range of earlier charters. 269</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes The charter of Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, in 1555 is astonishing. It is addressed to 'some Spaniards and Portuguese of Hebrew ancestry' and promises them safe conduct and right of domicile in Ferrara with licence to trade and practise any craft without fear of any Inquisition, which, after all, is no more than King Manoel I of Portugal promised his forcibly baptized Jews in 1497. Then Duke Ercole goes on to grant them permission to open a synagogue and practise Judaism, despite their Christian past, and claims that Pope Julius III had issued an Apostolic Letter giving permission for this in Papal territory in 1552. Also quoted are a confirmation of this charter by Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, in 1558; a charter of the Duke of Savoy granted to the Sephardi community of Nice in 1572; another of 1648 by a later Duke of Savoy; and the very important charter of Ferdinando di Medici, Duke of Tuscany, granting the Jews the privil? eges to settle and trade in Pisa and Livorno in 1592. Edgar Samuel</page></plain_text>

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