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Beyond their dowries. Women and wealth in medieval and early modern north-central Italy

Inheritance and wealth among Jewish women in the ghettos of north-central Italy (17th-18th centuries)

Michaël Gasperoni
p. 183-197

Résumé

This article examines the main issues surrounding wealth and inheritance among Jewish women in the early modern ghettos of north-central Italy. Constrained to live in ghettos since the mid-16th century, subjected to fiscal pressure coupled with increased pauperization and concerned with ensuring the good Government of ghettos, the Jewish communities elaborated internal regulations (capitoli) that reserved a central role to fiscal and patrimonial questions. While the importance of dotal assets has already been widely stressed by historiography, my aim here is to pursue the question of inheritance and the contribution of female wealth in a decidedly comparative approach and within the broader perspective of the economic, social and institutional history of the Jewish societies in Italy.

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Inheritance, women, family and kinship

  • 1 Allegra 1993; Allegra 1996; Allegra 1997a; Allegra 1997b. Scholarly literature on Jewish women in (...)

1To speak of female or Jewish inheritance beyond dowries is not a simple task since scholars have generally attributed fundamental importance to the connection between dowry and inheritance in Jewish societies. In addressing the management of dowries and wealth in premodern times, past scholarly literature has stressed that Jewish women enjoyed substantial autonomy when compared to their Christian counterparts. In this respect, scholars have likewise pointed out how even within the same Jewish group differences existed between Ashkenazi and «Italian» or Sephardic women. But medievalists and modernists agree on the importance, if not the centrality, of dowries to both single families, and the Jewish group as a whole. So much so, that drawing from these general considerations and on the basis of the case of Turin in the 18th century, Luciano Allegra has recognized a specific and uniquely distinctive «model of Jewish devolution».1

2Discussing inheritance also means discussing marriage, family, reproduction and social mobility. As a matter of fact, transmission does not involve only material wealth. One can transmit also a status, a social or symbolic capital, a network of relatives, friends or interpersonal relationships, clients or partners, and even a reputation, a title, a family name.

  • 2 Among the abundant bibliography on modern times, see, besides the aforementioned Allegra and Stow, (...)
  • 3 I am referring to the collection of essays in Luzzati 1985; Luzzati 1990 and Luzzati 1996.
  • 4 On Jewish marriage law, see in particular Rabello 2002. On matrilineal transmission in Judaism, Di (...)
  • 5 Gasperoni 2013. See also the comparative approach to kinship systems proposed by Delille 2013.
  • 6 That is, the possibility to marry between close relatives within the agnatic group (between cousin (...)
  • 7 See in particular Colorni 1945; Colorni 1956; Stow 1995; Stow 2011.

3There are now many studies on the history of the Jewish family;2 and it is precisely the Jewish family which, according to Michele Luzzati, must be considered as a useful key to understanding the diversity of Italian Judaism, made up of numerous and scattered settlements on the peninsula.3 The laws of Jewish marriage have been frequently object of study, at times in relation to the so-called matrilineal transmission of Jewish identity,4 but scholars have only rarely attempted a systematic and standardized research on Jewish marriage practices in early modern times.5 The Jewish kinship «system», largely similar to that which anthropologists call mariage arabe (patrilateral parallel cousin marriage),6 should not be underestimated when considering a population that lived in sometimes very different situations regarding rules against incest. For instance, in the Christian context, matrimonial prohibitions were extensive (up to the fourth degree of consanguinity and affinity in early modern times). The importance of this diversity of kinship systems should be stressed even further if we consider that, in matters of inheritance or dowries, Jews could be subjected to rules in force in the cities in which they lived, or to Roman law.7

4For example, the fact that a Jewish man could marry his own cousin or niece, or a widower his deceased wife’s sister (in the case of a sororate), or that a widow could marry her deceased husband’s brother (in the case of a levirate), had certain implications that were unknown or unthinkable to Christians. These implications did not only regard the ideas they had of family and incest, but also of inheritance. Consequently, the «game» of patrimonial redistribution in Jewish communities should be considered and addressed on the basis of the range of marriage possibilities. This was broader than in Christian society but, at the same time, much more confined, in that the choice was often made within the family unit and the marriage market was sometimes very limited, particularly in small communities. In fact, it is likely that the specific Jewish matrimonial system that allowed marriages between close relatives was one of the keys to local Jewish continuity, especially in very confined settlements with few families.

  • 8 Stow 1987.
  • 9 Stow 2011.
  • 10 Bonazzoli 1998; Galasso 2002, p. 76‑79; Ligorio 2017; Andreoni 2017.
  • 11 For Rome see in particular the case of the Ascarelli family, Gasperoni 2014, p. 103‑104; Gasperoni (...)

5Even within the small Jewish world, membership to different groups (Italian, Ashkenazi or Sephardic) could have substantial effects on marriage (and therefore on inheritance) practices: for example, while the Sephardi valued marriages between close relatives, this was not the case among the Ashkenazi.8 An individual’s place within a family, the actual or symbolic plays of power among kin, and consequently the mechanisms of inheritance, must also be considered in light of the special system of Jewish kinship. To give another example, the simple fact that a Jewish man could marry his niece or cousin meant that his own brother or sister, or his uncle and aunt, could become his parents-in-law. This could direct the inheritance towards certain lines of descent and could also determine this orientation based on affective or hierarchical criteria within families. Here we must also take into account the fact that Jewish populations lived in a context of juridical and institutional pluralism, which they knew how to turn to their own advantage.9 Membership – understood as a position or status defined by legal norms – could vary from one State to another or, within the same State, even from city to city. This either interfered with or overlapped rules deriving from Roman law, but also with rules within the same Jewish world. If, for example, we consider the counter-dowry (tosefet in Hebrew) in the Papal States, it amounted to 25% of the dowry in Rome (called the quarto dotale in the statutes of Rome), 17% in Senigallia, 12% in Urbino and Pesaro and 10% in Lugo. Likewise it amounted to 10% in Florence, while in the Sephardi communities it was equal to 50% of the dowry, a significant proportion when we consider that amounts given in dowry were often high and that the cash was immediately invested in family businesses.10 The transfer of assets through the dowry could therefore go in the opposite direction, that is, from the husband’s family to the wife, especially in cases of premature death. In marriages between close agnatic relatives, the dowry reinforced the group of unilineal descent, concentrating agnatic wealth through the women. Not only did this allow families to extend the lifetime of their businesses, whose capital was intertwined bilaterally, but it also allowed them (and especially the more affluent families of the ghetto) to avoid portioning out their houses, thereby keeping them undivided within the same kin group.11

6Although in principle dowered women were excluded from inheritance, the sources – especially those that have been studied the most – such as marriage contracts and wills, elucidate that Jewish women retained an important position in the inheritance system. Moreover, female wealth needs to be measured on the basis of other documents, that illustrate the actual moment when wealth was redistributed: wills, inter vivos donations, division of assets or post mortem inventories. Here, too, women and dotal assets are especially present, since dowries were significant debts for the husband or his family, and therefore these were often settled first. But in these documents, agnates also seem much more visible.

  • 12 On Jewish inheritance, see Cohen 2012, p. 348‑376; Milgram 2016.
  • 13 Besides the classical studies on Turin by Allegra 1996, see Galasso 2002, p. 72-84, 157-160 for Li (...)

7The gender criterion was therefore essential in inheritance. This was already perceivable in Biblical transmission rules, which favoured male and agnatic primogeniture, to then be re-equilibrated by the Talmudic tradition, giving women the chance to inherit through the dowry.12 There are plenty of studies, a few of which comparative, on Jewish dowries for the 17th and 18th centuries.13 They allow for a more general reflection on the question of male and female wealth in the ghettos of various places in north-central Italy.

The impact of the ghetto on the economic and material life of Jews

  • 14 Todeschini 2016.
  • 15 The political and economic perspectives proposed by Todeschini are beyond the scope of this articl (...)
  • 16 Allegra 2009, p. 171‑172.

8The segregation of the Jews into ghettos, which Giacomo Todeschini urged us recently to think of as a marginalization that was not only spatial and social, but especially economic,14 must therefore be taken into consideration, as must its temporality. To a certain extent the ghetto was the keystone, or the formal, juridical, symbolic, spatial and also religious15 expression, of the redefinition of economic relationships between the Jews and the rest of society. This new context, where, as of the second half of the 16th century a large portion of the Italian Jewish population was forced to live, must not be underestimated (see fig. 1). Segregation had a very strong impact on economic capability, material culture and, consequently, on the transfer of wealth within the Jewish communities. Luciano Allegra has highlighted differences in the economic and social situations of the various ghettos, especially in relation to the «degree of osmosis» that individual communities – whether ghettoized or not – could have with the surrounding society.16

Fig. 1 – Jewish presence on the Italian peninsula around 1730.

Fig. 1 – Jewish presence on the Italian peninsula around 1730.

Re-elaborated version of the map published in: M. Gasperoni, 1516, naissance des ghettos, in L'Histoire, 427, 2016, p. 15.

  • 17 Andreoni 2013.
  • 18 Milano 1988, p. 85‑109; Grassi 1994; Groppi 2014. On the Roman Jewish bankers and the closure of t (...)
  • 19 Archivio di Stato di Roma [henceforth ASR], TNC, Uff. 33, Antonio Bianchi, 279, 11.IV.1672, cc. 10 (...)
  • 20 Trivellato 2009.

9So, we can find diverging situations, even within the same State. If we take, for example, the Papal States, we can observe substantial differences between Rome and Ancona. The Jews of Ancona could rely on the port (a free port as of 1732), which allowed them to participate in long-distance trade. They were supported by very influential merchant networks, towards both western Europe and the Levant, eventually becoming a «nation in commerce», in the words of Luca Andreoni.17 On the threshold of the 18th century Rome stood at the other extreme: the local community was especially indebted and had to endure the closure of the lending banks in 1682, which was certainly a hard hit from the economic and social perspectives.18 Roman Jews had to reorganize a part of their economy and, unsurprisingly this situation had negative effects on their financial and commercial abilities, which seem to decline from the end of the 17th century onward. In Rome, there was no specific mercantile class capable of relying on longstanding trade networks, at least not until the second half of the 18th century. A serial analysis of notarial documentation of the period spanning 1640 to 1750 shows how large companies, which were rather common in Rome before 1682, eventually disappeared. Just a few years earlier, in fact, in 1672, the Roman banker Moisè di Leone Jair concluded an agreement with a Sephardi merchant from Livorno, Isach di Abram Gomez Silvera, to «found, and open here in the City of Rome a lending or any other kind of commercial partnership with the capital of twenty-five thousand Roman scudi» for five years, tacitly renewable.19 The sum of 25,000 Roman scudi is exceptional, and testifies to the Roman Jews’ ability to trade with wealthy merchants like the Gomez Silveras, who was among the main players in the community of Livorno, studied by Francesca Trivellato.20

  • 21 Milano 1988, p. 162‑163; Gasperoni 2013; Gasperoni 2015a; Andreoni 2017.
  • 22 For Rome, see Ago 1998b; Calcaterra 2004, p. 26; for Pesaro, see Gasperoni 2009, p. 87.
  • 23 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 199, 209-213.
  • 24 Allegra 2009.

10The Roman ghetto’s economic situation at the end of the 17th century can be interpreted through the average dowry exchanged between families, which decreased significantly compared to those in the other ghettos in the Papal States.21 In Rome, before 1682, Jewish dowries of 4 or 5,000 scudi – which roughly equalled those bestowed upon daughters of the lower Roman nobility – were not rare. These amounts also matched those conveyed by rich Roman merchants or the aristocracy in Pesaro or other cities in the Marche.22 In the first third of the 18th century, however, the highest Roman Jewish dowry amounted to just 1,200 scudi, when compared to 4,000 scudi in Pesaro and Ancona. If the dowry is an indicator of family wealth – certainly one of many, and not the only factor – the collapse of average and maximum dowries could signal a more general trend of impoverishment of certain ghettos, such as the Roman one. When we look at matrimonial relationships compared to other Jewish communities of the time, the one in Rome seems exceptionally endogamic: 97.7% of marriages happened between Romans. This demonstrates a sort of inability on their part to form marriage bonds outside the city; exogamic bonds, even at long distances, were more frequent in the previous century. In Pesaro and Senigallia, but even in a smaller context like Urbino, endogamic marriages were respectively, 60.5%, 68.2% and 59.3%.23 The economic and social situation of individual ghettos saw considerable variations between the 16th and 19th centuries. At any rate, this variable economic situation that was faced internally by the population of the ghetto, should be considered against the backdrop of the surrounding context on which the ghetto obviously depended.24

11Ghettoization accelerated and/or consolidated the process of internal organisation of the communities. The demographic reasons are clear: the population of the communities increased mechanically when the boundaries were first established. Closure into ghettos went hand in hand with spatial reduction and a concentration of the Jewish population in certain cities. In the middle ages and early modernity, Jews were dispersed across the peninsula in many «settlements». With the establishment of ghettos they were forced to leave the villages and small urban centres where they had sometimes lived for centuries in order to reside exclusively in cities equipped with a walled quarter. The Jewish presence within the cities was thus reduced to a well-defined area, which caused overcrowding, and therefore an urgent need to regulate daily life and to respond to increasingly tough coercive measures regarding taxation, especially at the end of the 17th century.

  • 25 Toaff 1984; Stow 2001, p. 22‑29. On Florence, see Cassuto 1965, p. 215.
  • 26 Cassuto 1912, p. 204‑205. On Florence, see also Cassuto 1965, p. 215.
  • 27 Bonfil 1988, p. 18‑24; Foa 2004, p. 166‑168. For Rome, see Milano 1988, p. 235‑257; Haia Antonucci (...)

12A more developed internal organisation of the ghettos was essential for their «good government» and to deal with problems posed by a population that was both numerous (with a very high density in a restricted walled quarter and subject to various prohibitions), and sometimes very heterogeneous (communities included Italian, Spanish, Levantine and German Jews, etc.). Moreover, social stratification was particularly affected by increasing pauperism, though this varied depending on the community. In Rome, the first Capitoli were published at the beginning of the 16th century to put an end to conflicts between «Roman» Jews and outsiders from France, Southern Italy and particularly from Spain following the 1492 expulsions.25 While in Florence these internal regulations were established immediately after the institution of the ghetto,26 elsewhere, the process was gradual. It should be noted that capitoli were systematically published in most ghettos starting from the end of the 1600s. They were grouped into small notebooks and validated by the authorities, whether central or local, and laid the groundwork for a more structured organization of the Universitates hebreorum (the formal Jewish Communities). The movement of people – rabbis, merchants and wanderers – from ghetto to ghetto could have circulated «models» of capitoli, as is sometimes explicitly expressed in some of them. From the 16th century onward, we can see a proliferation of charitable organizations and Jewish confraternities, whose importance in the redistribution of wealth in the ghettos grew increasingly, a clear sign of progressive pauperization.27

  • 28 On the issue of taxation and estate estimation in Rome, see in particular Milano 1988, p. 155‑174.
  • 29 On Senigallia, see Centro bibliografico Tullia Zevi [henceforth CBTZ], Archivio della Comunità di (...)

13In these capitoli, the issue of wealth and the tax system are central and make up a large part of the established rules, also because often these redactions were written specifically to regulate taxation.28 The title of the capitoli themselves often shows this, as in the case of Senigallia: «Capitoli, or Laws on Taxes, and the good Government of the Jews of Senigaglia to be observed completely by the entire Università»; while in Pesaro they were to be observed «in sharing the burdens of the Università».29

Inheritance and taxation

  • 30 CBTZ, cit., cap. XXV.
  • 31 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, b. 18, fasc. 9, «Capitoli et ordini Per regolare il giuramento universale (...)

14The internal regulations of the ghettos were more or less detailed and developed, depending on the community. Some encompass very wide-ranging themes essential to the daily life of the ghetto. The Jews were certainly aware of the importance of dowries in the intricate system of Jewish inheritance, so it is not surprising that entire paragraphs of community regulations were dedicated to this topic. To give a specific example, dowries appear in 15 out of 61 paragraphs in the Capitoli of the Roman ghetto. A tax of 1% on the dowry had to be paid by the recipient, which was subject to strict control by the community authorities (in Senigallia the tax was 0.5% on the total).30 The Roman regulations further stipulated that «no Rabbi, nor any other person» could «officiate a marriage according to Jewish custom unless it had been certified that the groom had made the tax payment, nor can the groom be received in the Synagogue and given the usual rites and services until he has completely paid off his debt to the Università».31

15The Jewish Università were therefore watchful of the departure of their women and, consequently, they were also vigilant about the sizeable assets they could take away with them. Even the families that wanted to leave the ghetto to settle in another one faced a system of taxation that favoured the integration of external wealth and tended to limit the exit of internal wealth.

  • 32 Gasperoni 2014, p. 93‑96.

16It was thus «forbidden to the Jews of Rome to extract and take away money or objects from Rome in order to give them as a dowry to their daughters marrying Jews outside of Rome» without paying the tax owed to the Università.32 This rule certainly impeded the Jews of the ghetto from forming alliances outside, especially since, as stated, the access to the marriage market of other ghettos, like those in Ancona, Pesaro and Ferrara, was more difficult than in Rome (in these communities, dowries were significantly higher). The capitoli always kept track of the various matrimonial configurations possible (unions between Jews from the same ghetto or between locals and outsiders) in evaluating taxation on dowries. The amount of the tax varied depending on the nature of the assets (cash, trousseau and furniture, gold and silver), and on the origin of the spouse. Very often, but not always, tax regulations promoted the seizure of wealth coming from the outside or penalized the exit of capital in an effort to keep it in place. In this case, taxation did not concern only the outsider husband taking local wealth outside of the ghetto, but also the family disbursing the dowry for their daughter.

  • 33 On this issue, see in particular Muzzarelli 2015.
  • 34 On the method of calculating the value of goods (modo di stimar le robbe) in the Roman ghetto, see (...)
  • 35 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 30.

17The taxation of dowries followed the rules of the more general taxation on income, which imposed levies on assets based on their nature and quality. Cash and objects made of gold, silver or other types of metal, including clothing and fabrics embellished with these materials (also subject to sumptuary laws in Rome)33 were taxable because they could be invested in various businesses, or reflect social and economic prestige. Instead, furniture and clothing were exempt, as they remained for personal use.34 So, in Pesaro (also in Senigallia), in the case of a marriage between locals, the bride’s family deducted the entire amount paid in cash for the daughter’s dowry from their wealth, while the husband had to declare just three quarters of the dotal fund (two thirds in Rome).35 This tax relief in favour of the husband can be explained by the fact that the expenses of the wedding, which fell upon the groom and his family, were also taken into account when drawing up tax estimates.

  • 36 ASR, Congregazioni particolari deputati, «Capitoli e regole da osservarsi dagli Hebrei di Pesaro n (...)
  • 37 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 6 and 13.

18If, on the other hand, a Jewish woman from the ghetto married an outsider, her family was still taxed on half the cash with which the dowry was paid. Finally, if a local man married an outside woman and brought a dowry from the outside into the ghetto, he had to declare only half of the part paid in cash, without the bride’s natal family being taxed.36 In this last case, even if the dowry had not yet been delivered into the hands of the family, in compliance with the method of estimating wealth in Rome, the groom had to declare 80% of the taxable amount of cash in the estimates. For what concerns objects of value («habbiti, e drappi tessuti con oro, e argento, e delle guarnitioni, e merlette d’oro, ò argento»), these were taxed at 50% because of sumptuary laws.37

  • 38 CBTZ, cit., cap. XIII: «In caso de’ matrimonij […] che se seguiranno tra Ebrei di Senigaglia, si d (...)
  • 39 Central Archives for the History of Jewish People [henceforth CAHJP], Archivio della comunità ebra (...)
  • 40 See the regulations of the community of Ancona (1740), published in Andreoni 2008, p. 217‑218 and (...)

19In Senigallia, the dowry that «came into the town» was taxed around 30%, depending on the nature of the goods. The dowry that left, on the other hand, was untaxed for the part paid in cash and at 30% for objects of value (excluding furniture and clothing for daily use).38 As in Senigallia, the community of Rovigo taxed dowries that left the ghetto less than other ghettos, like Pesaro and Rome.39 In Ancona, taxes on assets varied based on their nature (unlike other communities, Ancona also taxed furniture and clothing that were part of a dowry), but also based on the socio-professional status or the origin of the contributors (Levantines were exempted, in theory, or at least for the first ten years of residency).40

20The comparison between total dowries and estimates of wealth (when both were known) conducted by Luca Andreoni for Ancona in the first half of the 18th century logically shows how dowry assets took on a very different weight and function depending on the socio-economic status of the families. According to Andreoni,

  • 41 Andreoni 2017, p. 104.

the investment in dowries was therefore perceived in a more cogent way, or as advantageous and secure, where individuals possessed only patrimonial assets of lesser value. On the contrary, in those cases where the elite possessed patrimonial assets which were particularly valuable, dowry amounts were not proportional to the ratio between patrimonial assets and amounts given in dowry observable for the rest of the population of the ghetto. Consequently, the absolute value of the dowries of the elite was relatively modest while their percentage value was very low.41

  • 42 Gasperoni 2015a.

21As a matter of fact, Jewish society was characterized by a homogeneous marriage market that could be accessed only at rather high financial costs (since the average sum of dowries was quite high but with not very pronounced extremes). It follows that the impact of a dowry on the economy of a household varied widely depending on the overall wealth of each single family. Even a simple worker (industriante) could sometimes receive a dowry which was almost equal to that conveyed to a wealthy merchant. In this case dowry assets could be a large part, if not all, of his capital to be declared.42

  • 43 CAHJP, Archivio della comunità ebraica di Pesaro, IT/Pes 67, Registro della Congregazione (peritie (...)
  • 44 Archivio di Stato di Pesaro [henceforth ASPs], Archivio notarile, Biagio Fantini, 1732, cc. 20-22, (...)
  • 45 The scribe mistakenly listed Diamante as Laudadio’s daughter-in-law in the tax estimates, see fig. (...)

22For example, if we consider the case of the Pesaro ghetto in this period, it seems clear how the economic situation of Laudadio d’Ancona, an affluent merchant, who declared a capital of 12,500 scudi in 1731, was totally discordant with that of the brothers Aron and Vital Fano, who declared together a wealth of only 1,050 scudi.43 Among the kin living in Laudadio’s household was Diamante Camerini of Senigallia, the widow of his late brother. In 1731, Diamante married Aron Fano, and therefore Laudadio restored Diamante’s dowry which she immediately transferred to her new husband.44 The tax estimation of the year (fig. 2) was drawn up almost concurrently to the shift in the configuration of the two households. The information contained therein is particularly interesting, as it testifies with utter clarity to the temporality of family. Here we see that the patrimonial situation of those mentioned above changed as soon as their family situation changed: the document below clearly shows that the information was immediately added by the agents in charge of the estimates who as a consequence corrected the estimates of both households (fig. 2). While Laudadio was deducted the taxable part of his sister-in-law’s dowry (1,237 scudi),45 the capital of the Fano brothers increased by 1,000 scudi (a total of 2,050 scudi) since the agents added to Aron’s tax declaration the taxable amount of his wife’s dowry (i.e. ¾, as provided by tax regulations).

  • 46 That is, the sons of Diamante and her late husband.

23The above example shows how there could be substantial economic disparity between families related through the same female link, and how in this case the dowry would take on a different role for them. While in Laudadio’s case Diamante’s dotal fund represented a little less than 10% that was taxable of the family’s entire capital (Laudadio was married and childless and lived with his nephews ex fratre),46 that same dowry completely changed the financial outlook of Aron’s family unit, doubling its taxable capital. The rather high average of dowries certainly weighed on the budgets of families, in that on the one hand, it probably emphasized social inequalities, especially when wealth was redistributed and when dowries had to be restored. On the other hand it entailed that contrary to what can be observed in coeval Christian society – which was characterized by a rather rigid social stratification – in the ghettos, matrimonial opportunities could cut across the lines of the social scale, thus preventing the creation of well-defined and closed social groups.

Fig. 2 – Estimate of assets, Pesaro, 1731. CAHJP, IT/PES 67 – Registro della Congregazione, f. 36v, 8.V.1731.

Fig. 2 – Estimate of assets, Pesaro, 1731. CAHJP, IT/PES 67 – Registro della Congregazione, f. 36v, 8.V.1731.

Published with the permission of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem.

  • 47 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 4: «Venirà il Capo della Casa assieme con gli altri huomini di (...)

24In any case, while dowries appear clearly in the ghetto families’ estimates of assets, and sometimes make up a crucial part of them, it is much more difficult to perceive the impact and weight of non-dotal assets and the daily work of women so as to gauge their overall wealth. Non-dotal assets can often – but not always – be identified or surmised from wills, post mortem inventories or inter vivos donations, but measuring them in the framework of daily life is not simple. In the community regulations, non-dotal assets are not always explicitly mentioned, but the capitoli of some ghettos provide some helpful indications. In paragraph 4 of the Roman Capitoli, which addresses who owes tax (and the sanctions, in case of transgression), we see «widows, and women, with non-dotal assets that must swear to have delivered all».47 The non-dotal assets of women, whether wives of the head of the family, daughters- or sisters-in-law, widows or not, were integrated into the assets of the family and taxed together with other property.

  • 48 CBTZ, cit., cap. VII.

25In Senigallia, too, women had to declare «all the possessions, assets and capitals that they possess […] both in the Papal States and in any other part of the world, that is, everything they have beneath heaven».48 In the Capitoli, a form was also attached that presented the formula to use for the oath on family capital, which concerned all the members of the family, including the women:

  • 49 CBTZ, cit., cc. 26v-27r: «Io N.N di N.N toccando questo Santo Libro della Legge di Moisè alla pres (...)

I, N.N of N.N, touching this Holy Book of the Law of Moses in the presence of you, Deputies of the Università of Jews of this Ghetto, most solemnly swear, with serious oath, legal in the Holy Name of God of Israel, according to his Holy intention, and according to public intention, and according to the intention of the Rabbis of Zefad, and according to the intention of You here present, with no cunning, nor fraud, nor any invention, that my faculty, and of all those included or named in my tax, even those living separate from me, possessions, riches, goods, and effects, credits of any kind, that I possess, including all that is found in power of my Consort, children, daughters, brothers, sisters respectively, Relatives, Friends, and any other person, in this city, as in any other place in the world, known, or unknown, do not exceed the sum of ….. Scudi calculated according to the tenor of the Tax Law on Capitals, and I declare with vigour, and the weight of this oath, and as above not to have protested before it against it to annul it, nor any of its formalities, solemnities, and clauses, nor to deteriorate, or lighten its weight, nor in any other way. And so I swear, with sound mind, and certain of having done my accounts and calculations carefully, according to the aforementioned Tax Law, and not to have subtracted anything from the calculations not permitted to be subtracted by the Capitoli, and Law of Tax, and likewise I swear that I have done every possible diligence, and discovered, and found out how much to discover, and know how to do it (still through the oath in the form above Santi Thephlim given to my Consort, brothers, sons, daughters, Nieces, Nephews, Son-in-law, Sons-in-law, etc. over thirteen years of age respectively, Widow, or Widows of my same principle family, or Owners of their dowries) that no one of my family, or Household, has taken away, nor hidden anything subject to the aforementioned Tax Law; Intending for brothers, sons, Nephews, Son-in-laws, and Widows and those aforementioned people, that live with me, and so I swear in the aforementioned form.49

26The oath concerning work followed exactly the same principle. The income of all family members aged thirteen and over, regardless of sex, had to be declared annually by the head of the family and integrated into his own assets. The work of the women was therefore taxed equally to that of the men of the family. It is then probable that, when preparing the annual declarations of income, a family could produce reminders or accounts, thus leaving evidence that, at the right moment (i.e. upon their husband’s predecease) women could use to reclaim their personal non-dotal wealth which was kept separate from their husband’s property. The assets that Jewish women in the ghettos inherited, managed and passed on varied greatly, as we will see in detail through the example of dowries.

What did the women of the ghetto inherit and what did they transmit?

  • 50 On the jus gazagà, see in particular Laras 1968; Milano 1988, p. 199‑200; Andreoni 2013, p. 220‑23 (...)
  • 51 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 203‑208.

27The mostly urban character of the numerous Jewish communities of north-central Italy must be taken into consideration, since it had a strong impact, not so much on the mechanisms of inheritance, but on the quality of the assets passed on. We must remember that one of the measures accompanying the segregation into ghettos was the impossibility, for the Jews, of possessing real estate and, consequently, also land in the surrounding countryside. They were therefore condemned to be eternal tenants in their own residences. However, this ban did not stop the emergence of a form of right of possession, called jus gazagà, which gave Jews the possibility of enjoying a perpetual low-cost rent. Some jurists, like Giovanni Battista De Luca (1614-1683), recognized an advantageous right to housing in this.50 Notarial records show a marked female presence on the real estate market regulated by this particular right, which could be ceded as dowry, sold, mortgaged or donated. In Rome, it is practically omnipresent in dowry agreements, so much so that one can sometimes notice a unilinear female inheritance through several generations of this property right: for example, a daughter could receive a jus gazagà in dowry from her mother, who had herself received it from her respective mother, who had received it from her respective mother, and so on. This generated a significant fragmentation of households and a constant circulation of men and families within the houses of the ghetto, around groups of female offspring.51 Real estate property made up an important part of the assets that women received and transmitted, even more so if we consider that some amounts of money given in dowries came from the parents’ sale of a jus gazagà.

  • 52 Only rarely were books given in dowry in Rome. So far I have identified a single case, concerning (...)
  • 53 Allegra 1996, p. 178‑179. For Senigallia, see Gasperoni 2015a, p. 202.
  • 54 Allegra 1996, p. 182‑183; Gasperoni 2015a, p. 191‑196. For the Christian context see D’Amelia 1988 (...)
  • 55 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 202.

28In the communities in the Marche, the jus gazagà accompanied the dowry less frequently. The dowry was usually made up of cash for one third, the trousseau (clothing and bed linens) for another third, and gold and silver for the last third. The trousseaus of Jewish women in the Marche were well equipped, with clothing and often sophisticated household furnishings, including books or ritual objects. In Rome, a lack of books,52 jewellery and silver, as well as the lower value of objects and clothing given to daughters, explains why dowries were frequently paid with the transfer of a jus gazagà or with cash, which the husband could invest in a business. Sometimes, the dowry was made up of temporary room and board. During this period of time the son-in-law would work for the father-in-law or the bride’s family, which put the husband in subordination to his family-in-law. Even Synagogue seats were given in dowry in some communities, like Turin or Senigallia (in Rome, no cases were found out of 1,360 marriage contracts between 1640 and 1750). According to Luciano Allegra, «the “synagogue seats” (luoghi di scola) constituted one of the few strategic resources in difficult moments: it is no coincidence that they powered a lively trade market».53 Sometimes, it was women that made up their own dowries alone, and the poorest could rely (by making a request and then being selected) on various confraternities and dowry charities, not unlike what was happening in the surrounding Christian society.54 In some cases, the dowry was used by the husband to pay for own sister’s dowry, or even to buy clothing for himself.55

  • 56 Toaff 2007, p. 28‑29.
  • 57 Allegra 1996, p. 175.

29The Jewish dowry was also always accompanied by gifts from relatives, half of which would go to the bride herself. Ariel Toaff emphasizes how trousseaus and gifts could be considered an indicator of the families’ material wealth and status.56 However, it should be noted that in some cases, low-value dowries included gifts of a much higher value, in percentage total of the dowry, compared to the dowries of wealthy families. This also demonstrates the ability of less affluent families to mobilize family ties or solidarity networks within the community.57 Assets inherited by Jewish women through dowries and their use were therefore extremely varied, depending on the families’ status and economic and social capabilities, which did not always follow a pattern of perfect social reproduction. In Rome, we can find even heads of upper-echelon families (rabbis and medical doctors) that could barely afford to dower their own daughters, and were therefore forced to alienate their wives’ dowries in order to provide their daughters with a dotal fund. Moreover, because of the daily uncertainty of segregation or the unpredictability linked to certain professions (commerce, finance), the economic situation of families could go from wealth to relative poverty and vice versa from one generation to the next.

  • 58 See for instance Rebecca Gattegnaʼs dowry which amounted to 800 Roman scudi, paid partly (500 scud (...)
  • 59 On the issue of public debt, see in particular Moioli – Piola Caselli 2004; Colzi 2005.
  • 60 De Luca 1673, Lib. X, Cap. XXVII, 4.

30It should be noted how, in Rome and also in Tuscany, some dowries, even low ones, were made up of credits or deposits in the Monte di Pietà or irredeemable (non vacabili) public debt securities (Luoghi di Monte).58 For families, depositing in public banks was a way of directing their savings and wealth, of gaining annuities, security and financial guarantees.59 The citizen status enjoyed by Jews in Rome and in the Papal States ensured them a series of rights, like investing in debt securities, as was recalled by the jurist Giovanni Battista De Luca (1614-1683), according to whom «the Jews can be considered citizens, and, like the Christians, enjoy the benefit of common and statutory law, even in privileged matters […] they can have luoghi di Monte, and they also possess the jus gazagà, which is a sort of stable asset».60 The fact that De Luca takes the possibility given to the Jews to deposit and invest in public banks, and to enjoy a sort of property right, as an example is no coincidence. This was a real chance to insure and direct savings under the form of annuity, which circulated through the women.

  • 61 ASR, TNC, Uff. 11, Domenico Orsini, 274, 21.V.1697, cc. 605-646. The Università degli ebrei di Rom (...)

31Even more interesting is the fact that some dowries, especially those of the ghetto’s elite, were paid with what was configured as a sort of «community public debt security». In 1697, such was the dowry of Angelica Castelnuovo, betrothed to Moisè Isach Ascarelli of 1,000 scudi, of which 935 were part of an exchange (cambio) her father had with the Jewish Università of Rome. As stated, the Roman community, was particularly indebted. The Università could certainly count on support from the Jewish credit bankers before 1682. The closure of Jewish banks, however, forced it to find private creditors (often ex-bankers that continued to invest in public Roman banks and to lend to the community through operations of exchange) to settle the many debts it had with the Apostolic Chamber or with the owners of uninhabited houses in the ghetto, for which it had to pay the rent in the absence of tenants.61

  • 62 On the work of the women in the ghetto, see in particular Allegra 2007.

32Jewish women were therefore very active, not only in «strategies» of inheritance and asset redistribution, but also in the job market, whether they were simply menders of used clothing, (a common female occupation in the Roman ghetto), or real «businesswomen» active in the credit sector or in more general commerce, whether supported by their husbands or children, or even in their own name as widows or single women. It is, however, not always easy to evaluate the weight of female assets and to quantify it more generally. The terms of dowry restoration, which are at the heart of dowry agreements, give us precise information on the rules that theoretically regulated the return of assets into the hands of women. In practice, however, it is difficult to evaluate what could actually be returned to the wife if we consider that, for example, some objects were perishable and there is little information on property or savings accrued through a routine job.62 To sum up, this is a complex and intricate history, that links economic and social history, family history, cultural and religious history, political and institutional history, as well as legal history, and which still must be unravelled.

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Notes

1 Allegra 1993; Allegra 1996; Allegra 1997a; Allegra 1997b. Scholarly literature on Jewish women in early modern Italy has become abundant. See in particular Stow – Stow Debenedetti 1986; Adelman 1998 and the edited volume with extensive bibliographical references, Luzzati – Galasso 2007. On Jewish women and property in premodern north-central Italy, see besides Stow – Stow DeBenedetti 1986, in particular Stow 1995; Frank 2009; Francesconi 2009. For the Roman context, see Ago 1998a.

2 Among the abundant bibliography on modern times, see, besides the aforementioned Allegra and Stow, also Weinstein 2004.

3 I am referring to the collection of essays in Luzzati 1985; Luzzati 1990 and Luzzati 1996.

4 On Jewish marriage law, see in particular Rabello 2002. On matrilineal transmission in Judaism, Di Segni 1989; Cohen 1999, p. 263‑307; Mélèze-Modrzejewski 2011, p. 357‑422; Vârtejanu-Joubert 2011; Goldberg 2017.

5 Gasperoni 2013. See also the comparative approach to kinship systems proposed by Delille 2013.

6 That is, the possibility to marry between close relatives within the agnatic group (between cousins, or between uncles and nieces). On the matter, see in particular Barry 2008, p. 232‑373.

7 See in particular Colorni 1945; Colorni 1956; Stow 1995; Stow 2011.

8 Stow 1987.

9 Stow 2011.

10 Bonazzoli 1998; Galasso 2002, p. 76‑79; Ligorio 2017; Andreoni 2017.

11 For Rome see in particular the case of the Ascarelli family, Gasperoni 2014, p. 103‑104; Gasperoni 2018.

12 On Jewish inheritance, see Cohen 2012, p. 348‑376; Milgram 2016.

13 Besides the classical studies on Turin by Allegra 1996, see Galasso 2002, p. 72-84, 157-160 for Livorno; for different ghettos in the Church State, Milano 1988; Gasperoni 2013; Gasperoni 2015a and Andreoni 2017.

14 Todeschini 2016.

15 The political and economic perspectives proposed by Todeschini are beyond the scope of this article. I will just point out that the marginalization of Jews is set against the backdrop of theological and political dynamics that need to be taken into account. See in particular Cluse 2015 and Dorin 2016.

16 Allegra 2009, p. 171‑172.

17 Andreoni 2013.

18 Milano 1988, p. 85‑109; Grassi 1994; Groppi 2014. On the Roman Jewish bankers and the closure of the banks, see Poliakov 1965; Milano 1988, p. 93‑94; Stow 1992; Procaccia 2011, p. 174‑179.

19 Archivio di Stato di Roma [henceforth ASR], TNC, Uff. 33, Antonio Bianchi, 279, 11.IV.1672, cc. 1059-1063 e 280, 27.VI.1672, cc. 483-511.

20 Trivellato 2009.

21 Milano 1988, p. 162‑163; Gasperoni 2013; Gasperoni 2015a; Andreoni 2017.

22 For Rome, see Ago 1998b; Calcaterra 2004, p. 26; for Pesaro, see Gasperoni 2009, p. 87.

23 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 199, 209-213.

24 Allegra 2009.

25 Toaff 1984; Stow 2001, p. 22‑29. On Florence, see Cassuto 1965, p. 215.

26 Cassuto 1912, p. 204‑205. On Florence, see also Cassuto 1965, p. 215.

27 Bonfil 1988, p. 18‑24; Foa 2004, p. 166‑168. For Rome, see Milano 1988, p. 235‑257; Haia Antonucci 2011.

28 On the issue of taxation and estate estimation in Rome, see in particular Milano 1988, p. 155‑174.

29 On Senigallia, see Centro bibliografico Tullia Zevi [henceforth CBTZ], Archivio della Comunità di Senigallia, b. 6, fasc. 2, anno 1721. For Pesaro, ASR, Congregazioni particolari deputati, b. 34, 11.VII.1696. Also in Florence the capitoli were drafted by the Jews «per il buon governo del loro recinto», see Milano 1992, p. 534‑535.

30 CBTZ, cit., cap. XXV.

31 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, b. 18, fasc. 9, «Capitoli et ordini Per regolare il giuramento universale da prestarsi dagli ebri dimoranti nella Città di Roma. Per il Quinquennio principiato il primo Agosto 1701 e pubblicati li 15 Aprile 1703», Cap. 60: «Ciascuno, che riceve dote di qualsivoglia grado, e conditione rispondente a’ dazij, ò non rispondente, dovrà pagare un scudo per cento di tutto quello, che riceverà, e non possi godere esentione alcuna, e detto pagamento si dovrà far subito nel tempo, che riceve la dote, e di quanto riceve, ò habbi ricevuto per il passato, restando sempre obligato lo sposo per quella parte, e che non havesse ricevuto di pagar la detta portione nel tempo, che sarà satisfatto, & assegnandosi in conto di dote, stabili, ò חזקות (ḥazaqot), ò mobili dovrà pagare à ragione di quella rata di danaro, che vien computato in dote. Non possino i Rabbini, ne qualsiasi altra persona far la celebratione delle nozze, come usa lo Stile Ebraico, se non quando sarà certificato, che lo sposo habbia fatto detto pagamento, e così medemamente non possa riceversi nelle nostre Scuole, ne farli li solite visite, e funzioni fino che non haverà intieramente satisfatto all’Università».

32 Gasperoni 2014, p. 93‑96.

33 On this issue, see in particular Muzzarelli 2015.

34 On the method of calculating the value of goods (modo di stimar le robbe) in the Roman ghetto, see ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 5 e 6.

35 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 30.

36 ASR, Congregazioni particolari deputati, «Capitoli e regole da osservarsi dagli Hebrei di Pesaro nel ripartire i pesi dell’Università», cit.: Cap. XIV: «In caso di matrimonij si dichiara, che, se seguiranno trà Hebrei di pesaro, si dovrà dall’Università defalcare per il contante della dote l’intiero à chi lo sborserà, & augumentare li tre quarti di esso contante alla parte dello sposo, che tirerà la Dote, e questo per la riflessione delle spese, che si stanno in queste occasioni.» Cap. XV: «Caso che si maritassero Donne Hebree con forastieri, e che le Doti andassero fuori di Città, si dovrà defalcare per la metà del contante, à chi lo sborserà, quali defalchi tutti s’intendano durante il triennio, che all’hora correrà, perché poi tutti saranno soggetti al successivo ripartimento, e peritia.» Cap. XVI: «Seguendo li matrimonij trà Hebrei di Pesaro con Donne forastiere, si dovrà augumentare per la metà del contante à chi lo riceverà, e durante il triennio come sopra.»

37 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 6 and 13.

38 CBTZ, cit., cap. XIII: «In caso de’ matrimonij […] che se seguiranno tra Ebrei di Senigaglia, si dovrà dall’Università, o da’ suoi Deputati difalcare dalla sua tassa per il contante del dote l’intiero a chi lo sborserà, ed augumentare tre quarti di esso contante alla parte dello sposo, che tirarà il dote, e questo per la riflessione delle spese, che si fanno in tali occasioni, e gl’ori, e gioje per il giusto loro valore, e per la porzione de’ mobili, e vestimenti riservati, non quelli di proprio, e di ordinario uso, dovranno scemarsi, e respettivamente agiongersi colla stima di trenta per cento; Caso poi, che si maritassero Ebrei di questo ghetto con Ebrei forastiere degli altri Ghetti, che allora il Dote entrarà in paese si dovrà alteriere augumentare la sua Tassa un terzo meno del contante, che riceverà, ed Ori, Gioje, Vestimenti nel modo sudetto, l’Oro, e Gioje per il puro valore, e Vestimenti, Mobili come sopra colla stima di trenta percento, e succedendo che, Donne di questo ghetto si maritassero fuori con Ebrei d’altri Ghetti, che il Dote in quel caso andarebbe fuori di Senigallia; si dovrà difalcar l’intiero a chi ne farà lo sborso, in ordine al contante, e per il rimanente al computo, e raguaglio suddetto».

39 Central Archives for the History of Jewish People [henceforth CAHJP], Archivio della comunità ebraica di Rovigo, IT/Rov 143, Regole et ordini da esigersi le gravezze dell’Università degl’Ebrei di Rovigo per anni quattro. Avranno il loro principio a’ primo Marzo 1761, cap. XIV: «Li matrimonij che veranno stabilii da persone soggette alla nostra Università, e che le Doti che andassero in Stato Alieno, saranno obbligati quelli Foresti che riceveranno le Doti medesime, prima della loro partenza contribuire alla nostra Università, per una volta tanto il due per cento sopra li contanti, argenti, ori, e gioje, e mercanzie (esclusi però li mobili per uso), che venissero estratte».

40 See the regulations of the community of Ancona (1740), published in Andreoni 2008, p. 217‑218 and Andreoni 2017.

41 Andreoni 2017, p. 104.

42 Gasperoni 2015a.

43 CAHJP, Archivio della comunità ebraica di Pesaro, IT/Pes 67, Registro della Congregazione (peritie e stime dei capitali), c. 36v, 8.V.1731.

44 Archivio di Stato di Pesaro [henceforth ASPs], Archivio notarile, Biagio Fantini, 1732, cc. 20-22, 11.I.1732 (agreement between Laudadio d’Ancona and his nephews, and Aron Fano on the restoration of the dowry of Diamante Camerini).

45 The scribe mistakenly listed Diamante as Laudadio’s daughter-in-law in the tax estimates, see fig. 2. We know that she was actually his sister-in-law from the agreement on the restoration of her dowry, see n. 45.

46 That is, the sons of Diamante and her late husband.

47 ASR, Camerale II, Ebrei, cit., cap. 4: «Venirà il Capo della Casa assieme con gli altri huomini di sua Casa maggiori di anni tredici nella Scuola à quest’effetto destinata, nella quale doveranno assistere almeno due delli Fattori pro tempore, e due delli huomini deputati per assistere alli Giuramenti, & altri due huomini pratichi, e timorati di Dio, e stimati tali dall’università, da eleggersi questi ad arbitrio de medesimi Fattori, & alla presenza loro il Rabbino à quest’effetto deputato dalla Congrega doverà ammonire tutti quelli, che haveranno da giurare dell’importanza del giuramento, imponendoci l’Anathema detta nel Levitico à trasgressori, e lettoli la Scommunica maggiore distesa dal כל בו (Kol Bo), quale, e quali debbano posare sopra di chi (Iddio non guardi) giura il falso. Fatte tutte le sopradette ammonitioni, il medemo Rabbino l’interrogherà s’hà letto, ò fattosi leggere li presenti Capitoli, e se l’hà ben considerati, in modo, che nell’intelligenza d’essi non v’habbi difficoltà, e se à tenore di essi hà fatto riflessione, e revisione del suo stato, e minutamente rivedute li suoi conti per poterne prestare sincero, e giusto giuramento, & affermando di sì, doverà allora il medesimo Rabbino alla presenza di detti Fattori, & Huomini dare il giuramento prima à tutti quelli, che vivono in commune di dover rivelare, ò haver rivelato al Maggiore quanto tengono, e tenevano da parte, e si trovano sotto il Cielo, & essendoci Vedova in Casa, che viva in communione, ò altra Donna, etiamo Moglie del Maggiore, ò altra della Casa, che havesse Beni estradotali, ò altro che à se particolarmente spettase; il Rabbino con uno di quelli, che assistono, anderà in Casa delle medesime, e li darà il giuramento sopra il כל בו (Kol Bo) di haver rivelato al detto Maggiore, ò Marito respettivamente tutto quello, che teneva, ò tiene à parte come sopra, e poi tornando alla Scuola, farà prendere all’istesso Maggiore nelle Braccia il Pentateuco continente li cinque Libri di Mosè detto in Ebraico ספר תורה (Sefer Torah), e li darà solenne giuramento d’haver sinceramente fatto il conto, come nelli contenuti Capitoli è descritto, ò fatto descrivere tutte le sue facoltà con le revelate dalli altri, in conformità delle presenti Ordinationi, e la somma di quello scriverlo, ò farlo scrivere nel Bollettino segnato di fuori da uno de Fattori, il tenore del qual Bolettino s’imprimerà à piedi de presenti Capitoli, acciòche da niuno non possi opporsi di non haverlo diligentemente osservato, e considerato, e prometteranno tutti con il medesimo giuramento l’osservanza precisa, e particolare di tutti li presenti Capitoli, e di quelli, che in avvenire si faranno, e di adempire puntualmente al pagamento conforme il repartimento, e Tassa fatta, e da farsi in adempimento de presenti Capitoli, e sottoscriverà il medesimo Bolettino in primo luogo il Maggiore, e doppo tutti quelli, che vivono in commune, & haveranno giurato per la relatione, e chi non sa sottoscrivere, ordinerà all’altro, che sottoscriva per lui» (underlined by the author).

48 CBTZ, cit., cap. VII.

49 CBTZ, cit., cc. 26v-27r: «Io N.N di N.N toccando questo Santo Libro della Legge di Moisè alla presenza di Voi Deputati dell’Università degli Ebrei di questo Ghetto giuro nella forma più solenne, con giuramento grave, e legale nel Nome Santissimo di Dio d’Israele, secondo la sua Santa intenzione, e secondo l’intenzione pubblica, e secondo l’intenzione de’ Rabini di Zefad, e secondo l’intenzione di Voi qui presenti, senz’astuzia, né inganno, né invenzione alcuna, che la mia facoltà, e di tutti quelli, che sono compresi, o nominati nella mia Tassa, ancorché vivessero separati da me, averi, valsenti, beni, ed effetti, crediti di qualsivoglia genere, che io possiedo, comprendendovi anco tutto quello, che si trova in potere di mia Consorte, figli, figlie, fratelli, sorelle rispettivamente, Parenti, Amici, e qualsivoglia altra persona, tanto in questa Città, come in un altro luogo del Mondo, palesi, o nascosti, non passano la somma di Scudi ….. calcolati conforme, ed a tenore della Legge di Tassa sopra Capitali, e dichiaro col vigore, e peso di questo giuramento, e come sopra di non aver protestato prima di esso contro il medesimo per annullarlo, né per annullare nessuna delle sue formalità, solennità, e clausole, né per deteriorare, o alleggerire il peso, né in altro modo. E così giuro, stando in mente serena, e quieta di aver fatto minutamente i miei conti, e calcoli, conforme dispone la Legge di Tassa suddetta, e di non aver sottratto dal computo niuna cosa, che non sia permessa sottarsi dalli Capitoli, e legge della Tassa, e parimenti giuro di aver fatto ogni possibile diligenze, e scoperto, e saputo quanto scoprire, e sapere si puole (mediante ancora il giuramento in forma sopra li Santi Thephlim dato a mia Consorte, fratelli, figliuoli, figliuole, Nipote, Nipoti, Genero, Generi &c. maggior d’anni tredici respettivamente, Vedova, o Vedove della medesima famiglia mia principali, o Padroni delle loro doti) che niuno della mia famiglia, o Casa, abbi sottratto, ne nascosto niuna cosa soggetta alla suddetta Legge di Tassa; Intendendo per fratelli, figliuoli, Nipoti, Generi, e Vedove suddette quelle persone, che vivono con me in comune, e così giuro nella forma suddetta».

50 On the jus gazagà, see in particular Laras 1968; Milano 1988, p. 199‑200; Andreoni 2013, p. 220‑239; Gasperoni 2015b.

51 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 203‑208.

52 Only rarely were books given in dowry in Rome. So far I have identified a single case, concerning Rachele Dias, daughter of a Jew from Livorno, who received a dowry for her marriage with a doctor, Rubino di Cave from Rome. Part of the dowry (425 scudi in total) comprised «several books on medicine», see ASR, TNC, Uff. 31, Geremia de’ Rossi, 267, 28.II.1677, c. 425v.

53 Allegra 1996, p. 178‑179. For Senigallia, see Gasperoni 2015a, p. 202.

54 Allegra 1996, p. 182‑183; Gasperoni 2015a, p. 191‑196. For the Christian context see D’Amelia 1988; D’Amelia 1990; Groppi 1994; Ago 1996; Groppi 1996; Fine – Groppi 1998.

55 Gasperoni 2015a, p. 202.

56 Toaff 2007, p. 28‑29.

57 Allegra 1996, p. 175.

58 See for instance Rebecca Gattegnaʼs dowry which amounted to 800 Roman scudi, paid partly (500 scudi) in cedole of the Banco di Santo Spirito in ASR, TNC, Uff. 33, Filippo Baldassare Pini, 316, 6.VII.1684, cc. 414-426 or the restoration of the dowry of a Florentine Jew, Allegra Pesaro, whose dowry was composed of a jus gazagà and five luoghi of the Florentine Monte di Pietà (ASR, TNC, Uff. 5, Policreto Abbatoni, 351, 22. IX.1696, cc. 46-75). See also the dowry of just 200 scudi of Graziosa Torre, paid partly (95 scudi) with cedole of the Roman Monte di Pietà and the Banco di Santo Spirito (ASR, TNC, Uff. 39, Giuseppe Bonaventura Bonanni, 39, 1, 22. VI.1719, cc. 346-349). Also in Livorno female property was invested in the Monte di Pietà or in various public debt securities, see Galasso 2002, p. 75.

59 On the issue of public debt, see in particular Moioli – Piola Caselli 2004; Colzi 2005.

60 De Luca 1673, Lib. X, Cap. XXVII, 4.

61 ASR, TNC, Uff. 11, Domenico Orsini, 274, 21.V.1697, cc. 605-646. The Università degli ebrei di Roma, represented by the Congrega dei Sessanta, declared in fact reperiri gravatam diversis debitis ad favorem plurium et diversarum personarum [...] pro restitutione sortis principalis a die totalis abolitionis et suppressionis bancorum ac fructuum seu usurariorum olim hebreis Bancherijs Urbis concessorum ex quibus causis dicta Universitas eiusque factores maximum damnum et preiudicium recipiunt (ASR, TNC, Uff. 37, Stefano Giuseppe Orsini, 224, 29.V.1684, cc. 353-363).

62 On the work of the women in the ghetto, see in particular Allegra 2007.

 

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Jewish presence on the Italian peninsula around 1730.
Crédits Re-elaborated version of the map published in: M. Gasperoni, 1516, naissance des ghettos, in L'Histoire, 427, 2016, p. 15.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mefrm/docannexe/image/4060/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 856k
Titre Fig. 2 – Estimate of assets, Pesaro, 1731. CAHJP, IT/PES 67 – Registro della Congregazione, f. 36v, 8.V.1731.
Crédits Published with the permission of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mefrm/docannexe/image/4060/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 795k
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Michaël Gasperoni, « Inheritance and wealth among Jewish women in the ghettos of north-central Italy (17th-18th centuries) », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Moyen Âge, 130-1 | -1, 183-197.

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Michaël Gasperoni, « Inheritance and wealth among Jewish women in the ghettos of north-central Italy (17th-18th centuries) », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Moyen Âge [En ligne], 130-1 | 2018, mis en ligne le 30 octobre 2018, consulté le 28 novembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mefrm/4060 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/mefrm.4060

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Michaël Gasperoni

CNRS – Centre Roland Mousnier, michael.gasperoni27@gmail.com

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