Lot 130: Eleven Privileges for Jews of Mantua - Manuscripts - Italy, 17th Century
November 15, 2016
Jerusalem, IsraelLive Auction
Description: Eleven privileges (documents regulating the legal status of Jews) granted to Jews of Mantua through the 17th century and early 18th century. Mantua, 1603-1713. Italian and some Hebrew. Eleven handwritten pamphlets; privileges granted to Jews by the rulers and dukes of Mantua. The pamphlets are signed and some are even accompanied by handwritten comments and commentaries in Hebrew, written not long before their publication, most probably by one of Mantua's Jews. The pamphlets include privileges granted to the Jews of Mantua in the course of more than one hundred years. Among other subjects, mentioned are professions of Jews, housing, settling disputes between Jews and non-Jews, juristic authorities, synagogues, carrying weapons and other subjects which shed light on the life of Jews in Mantua and their relationships with the rulers. It is possible that these privileges were granted by all of Mantua's rulers during the mentioned period: seven dukes from the House of Gonzaga, Duchess Maria Gonzaga (1609 -1660) and the first ruler of Mantua of the Hapsburg Empire - Victor Amadeus II (1666-1732). Privileges were common in the late Middle Ages in Europe, and served as a model for regulating the status of minorities. The Jews of Mantua were permitted at first to be involved in banking and money lending only, and their existence was anchored in an economic contract with the authorities. When the congregation grew, other Jewish professionals joined, and the contract between the Jews and the Duchy of Mantua was changed gradually. In spite of the many changes that occurred in the town, the worsening of the general attitude towards Jews and the changing political needs, the rulers respected the privileges and renewed them. Total of  pp. Leaves in various sizes, most of them approximately 31 cm. Fair condition. Stains, creases and tears to margins of leaves. Perforations to a small number of leaves, with minimal damages or no damages to text. Paper labels are glued at the end of some of the pamphlets (some labels are incomplete or torn). For additional information see: "History of Jews in the Duchy of Mantua" (Hebrew), Shlomo Simonsohn. Published by Tel-Aviv University and Ben Zvi Institute, Jerusalem, 1963, first volume, pp. 72-110.