Renee Levine Melammed

in A Question of Identity

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195170719
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835416 | DOI:

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Conversos choosing to settle in Italy faced the risk of being branded as heretics, for there were inquisitions in papal Rome as well as in Venice, an attractive commercial port for the Portuguese merchant. Each locale had its own ruler who could choose whether or not to invite and protect the newcomers; some, like Leghorn, even extended invitations (La Livornina) and granted them charters. The conversos also had to decide whether they wanted to become Jews and to live in Jewish neighborhoods or ghettos, to remain Catholics, to live as "cultural commuters," or as "fuzzy Jews." Eminent conversos such as Dona Gracia and Amatus Lusitanus can be found here alongside lesser known dissemblers and undecided conversos whose fates were determined in Italy.

Keywords: Italy; Venetian Inquisition; ghettos; La Livornina; cultural commuters; Dona Gracia Mendes

Chapter.  12697 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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