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BLOOD PASSOVER
(PASQUE DI SANGUE)

by ARIEL TOAFF

CHAPTER TWO

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SALAMONCINO DA PIOVE DI SACCO, PREDATORY FINANCIER

Salamoncino da Piove had four sons and a daughter. His family, in addition to managing the ("al Volto dei Negri") lending banks of Piove di Sacco and Padua, had major joint interests in other banks operating in Verona, Ferrara, Montegnara, Soave, Monselice, Cittadela, Bassano and Badia Polesine and was active in the textiles and precious stone trade. A secret and elite clientele, ranging from the Sforza at Milan to the Soranzo of Venice [1], came to them for huge sums. Marcuccio, Salomone's first-born son, when not operating in Piove si Sacco and Padua [2], supported by his brothers, stayed at Venice to assist his father in the company set up with David Mavrogonato, and to take over their functions when they accompanied the merchant from Candia in his maritime missions, which were conducted more or less secretly. He was in the City of the Lagoons in the autumn of 1466, as well as in the first half of the following year; thus, he was there in 1468, at the beginning of 1469, during the imperial visit of Friedrich III, and in 1473.

While Salomone was considered a bold and nonchalant businessman, his first-born, Marcuccio, and above all his other son, Salamoncino, darkened his reputation, at least in this respect. Marcuccio was famous to all for his overbearing boastfulness. It was said that, in that of Padua, he used to brag of his strength, real or presumed, with resounding threats:

"There is no Christian who would have had the temerity to touch me with one finger, and would not have gotten a good hiding from a couple of well-armed ruffians" [3].

Marcuccio, who lived at Padua "facing the Parenzo or il Volto dei Negri" at least until the end of the winter of 1473, made his appearance as an officially approved money lender at Montagnana in 1475. He was still to be found in that financial center at the beginning of the summer of 1494, when Bernardino da Feltre arrived there to preach. On that occasion, Marcuccio did not hesitate to strut about on the piazza with a defiant air

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where the violent and fiery Friar da Feltre was expected to preach. As a result, Marcuccio was soon recognized by a Christian who insulted him, and the whole affair terminated in a sensational brawl, with a mutual exchange of fisticuffs, at the culmination of which the infuriated Marcuccio unsheathed his dagger threateningly. It is not surprising that he was to find himself imprisoned in the prisons of the Republic with relative frequency [4].

Marcuccio could nevertheless still count on the influential protection of the city of Venice, which protection he had inherited, together with the privileges obtained by his father, Salomone da Piove. In April 1480, the Council of Ten declared him a fidelis noster civis [loyal citizen] of Venice, under the terms of a law approved by the Serenissima at the end of 1463 on the protection of Jewish money lenders. We know that his father chose to live in Venice during this same period, and it is not difficult to believe that this law was in some way the product of some self-interested initiative [5].

But it was Salamoncino, his brother, who maintained uncontested primacy in this poorly regulated financial sector, where transactions took place with the underworld and the law was only obeyed in those rare cases in which its defenders refused large bribes. Salamoncino took over the management of the bank at Pivoe di Sacco after 1464, when his father took up a more or less stable residence at Venice for the purpose of looking after Mavrogonato’s interests, although -- as we shall see -- he seems to have taken up provisional residence at Verona in the years 1470-1480 [6]. In 1474, the Duke of Milan ordered an inquiry of Salamoncino and his suspected accomplices, all accused of illegal purchasing and selling pearls, despite the legal provisions prohibiting Jews from engaging in this trade [7].

Salamoncino had already experienced serious legal problems. In 1472, two common criminals, Giovanni Antonio da Milano and Abbondio da Como, were arrested in Venice under the accusation of importing large quantities of counterfeit silver coin from Ferrara and selling it in Venice, earning large profits [8]. This fraudulent trade was operated through a front operation, a butcher shop owned by a certain Nicola Fugazzone, "butcher at Venice", at San Cassian, and a Jewish intermediary, Zaccaria di Isacco, who had his provisional residence in Venice, and was responsible to Salamoncino, money lender at Piove di Sacco [9]. The police authorities succeeded in laying their hands on all members of the gang, and they were tried before the judges of the Municipal Avogaria of Venice on 29 May 1472.

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The two criminals, from Lombardy, Giovanni Antonio and Abbondio, were sentenced to the cruel amputation of the right hand, the loss of an eye, a fine of fifty thousand ducats in gold each, and were banned in perpetuity from Venice and all the territories of the Republic [10]. The sentence was carried out publicly on the same day, in the usual place, the Piazza San Marco, between the columns of San Marco and San Todaro, where the waters of the lagoon washed the pavement. The butcher, Nicola, and one accomplice, Lorenzo Paolo, were condemned to one year's imprisonment, and banned from Venice for eight years. Paolo was also fined one hundred ducats [11]. The intermediary, Zaccaria, considered Salamoncino’s "enforcer", was sentenced one year's imprisonment, in addition the fine of two hundred gold ducats. After serving the sentence, he is said to have been banned from Venice and its territories for eight years [12].

Trading the counterfeit coins

Salamoncino was obviously linked to the shady traffic at both ends: at Ferrara, where his family had a bank, and where the counterfeiters operated, sending the counterfeit coins to Venice, via their couriers; and at Piove di Sacco, where Salamoncino usually resided, and where the counterfeit coins were usually shipped before being distributed to retailers [13].

Arrested and subjected to torture, Salamoncino signed a confession and admitted that he had earned a profit of ten percent from the trade in counterfeit coin [14].

The Venetian judges sentenced him to six months imprisonment and the huge fine of three thousand gold ducats: two thousand payable to the Arsenal, and the remaining one thousand payable to the Avogaria di Comun. Furthermore, the banker from Piove was banned for ten years from Venice and the surrounding district, as well as from Padua and the territory of Padua. In the event of violation of the ban, the penalty of another year’s imprisonment and a further fine of one thousand gold ducats was provided for [15]. While, on the one hand, Salamoncino may have more or less voluntarily submitted to the fine and perhaps to the imprisonment, at the same time, he is thought to have found a way -- and it is not difficult to imagine how -- to evade the ban, at least in part. At the end of the year, he was already active again at Soave and Verona; five years later -- as we shall see -- he firmly resumed management of the bank at Piove di Sacco and the Volto di Negri bank at Padua [16].

The wolf had lost a few tufts of fur, but not his teeth. According to records written by the Paduan orator, Giolamo Campagnola, in 1480, Salamoncino was then presumably resident at Verona, and once again found himself in prison, at the disposition of the Council of Ten,

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under the accusation of selling clipped and counterfeit coin, a charge which he was able to evade in part by shifting the blame onto an accomplice, a miserable brigand from Verona, who ended up at the stake [17].

Plan of assassination of Mahomet II - "Great Turk"

Salamoninco da Piove, Salamoncino's father, was dead by the beginning of 1477. Maestro Valco, the Jewish physician who had received the assignment -- obviously for pay -- of assassinating Mahomet II at the behest of the Serenissima, had, in the meantime, returned to Venice, presumably to render account to his instigator of the progress of the plot. At Venice, or during the course of his voyage from Constantinople, the physician had been informed that Salamoncino was no longer alive. Understandably anxious about the continued existence of the mission, but, above all, because he feared for his pay, which had been promised by the now-deceased banker, Valco set out to track down Salamoncino, returning rapidly to Piove di Sasso.

At first, Salamoncino was thunderstruck; but, then, examining his father's records, he found clear evidence of the contract signed with the homicidal physician in the past. As a practical and alert person, Salamoncino was immediately aware that Valco possessed the necessary talents to carry out the hazardous mission of assassinating the Great Turk successfully.

At the same time, he weighed all the potential benefits to be derived from future relations with the government of Venice. At this point, Salamoncino did not hesitate to assume responsibility for continuation of his father's commitment from both the strategic and financial points of view. On 9 July 1477, he officially informed the Council of Ten of his resolution to do so, making it to appear an act of disinterested devotion to the Republic. Obviously, in 1470, Salamone da Piove, perhaps inheriting a project initially dreamed up by Mavrogonato, suggested that Maestro Valco should carry out the plan "to take the life of the Great Turk", by 1480 -- a period of ten years, believed sufficient for the task. Salamoncino, rejoining the ranks of the conspiracy, ensured the city of Venice that the task would indeed be carried out during the stipulated time period, and that, Mahomet II would meet the death he deserved, at Valco’s hands, in less than two and one half years.

"Maestro Valco, a Jewish physician [...] who returned and, finding the said Salamon (a Jew who kept the banco da Pieve) to be dead, turned to Salamoncin, son of the said Salamon, and, having informed him of the matter, and Salamon, examining the books, found this to be the case.

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"Not wishing to be a lesser servant of your most Illustrious Lordship than he who was my father, and having learned from the said Maestro Valco, Jewish physician, of that which had happened to the person of the Great Turk [...], Salamonzin examined the said Maestro Valco, and having witnessed his courage and intelligence and being convinced of his determination, being the slave and servant of your Most Illustrious Lordship [18], as was his father, without costing your Most Illustrious Lordship one penny, offers to send the said Maestro Valco, with all things requested by the said Valco, at Salamoncin’s own expense [...] and is certain that the said Maestro Valco will kill the said Lord Turk by the end of 28 May, which matter will be to the glory of this Illustrious State and all Christianity [19]."

It goes without saying that Salamoncino was not entirely disinterested. In exchange for these services, "because, in so doing, he acts in danger of his life, which cannot be repaid with money", if the mission ended successfully, Salamoncino, following in Mavrogonato’s footsteps, asked Venice for a few privileges, including an annual provision of two thousand florins, the beneficiaries of which are said to have included Salamoncino, Maestro Valco and their descendants in perpetuity, the entitlement of occupying themselves with some branch of trade ("request that the said Salamoncino and his brothers, with their descendants, be permitted to deal in trade in this terrain, as any gentleman may do"), a privilege generally prohibited to Jews, and to purchase real property at Venice and its dominions, up to a total value of twenty five thousand ducats [20]. Salamoncino, who was certainly not lacking in healthy doses of impudence, in addition to an uncommon dose of greed, furthermore requested that he be permitted to open lending banks modeled on the example of those operating at Mestre, and, in particular, one in the much-sought after piazza of the island of Murano ("intending that one of these locations be understood to refer to Murano"). He finally requested that he enjoy immunity from any possible future bans issued by the Venetian authorities against him personally or any member of his family [21].

The Council of Ten officially accepted Salamoncino’s petitions, but on the condition that the granting of the privileges be subject to the presentation of certain proof of the death of Mahomet II at the hands of Maestro Valco. But things turned out differently. In 1480, Mahomet II was still alive, despite the efforts of Valco and Simoncino to bring about a contrary state of affairs, while Venice, concerned with the pressure of the Turkish armies on its confines, had already signed a

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peace treaty with the Sublime Porte a year before. The Sultan then terminated his earthly existence in 1481 – in all probability, as the result of perfectly natural causes. Salamoncino's financial plans and those of his family, linked to the ambitious plot, which had failed miserably, therefore appeared definitely on the wane.

Either something or someone had moved the city of Venice to grant the benefits requested by Salamoncino, at least in part. In fact, we know that the government of Padua, in 1495, under pressure from the weavers' guild, had requested Venice to abrogate the privileges enjoyed by Salamoncino and his family at Piove di Sacco and Padua [22]. Even more interesting is the confirmation that, much later, in 1557, a certain "Salamon, a Jew, a certain Marcuzio, known as ‘da Muran’", was called upon to testify in a trial held before the Holy Office at Venice. This Salamon was certainly a descendant of Salamone da Piove -- or, to be more exact, a nephew of his son Giacobbe. The fact that he was known as the "Jew of Muran" is an indication, not to be undervalued, in support of the hypothesis that the plan to open a lending bank on the island of Murano, strongly desired by Salamoncino, had in some way succeeded, for reasons unknown to us [23].

During the second half of the 15th century, the family of Salamone da Piove and the Camposampiero was experiencing the ups and downs of the loan market sector at Padua, enjoying undisputed hegemony within the local Jewish community [24]. It was in 1453, precisely in the palace of Salomone di Marcuccio da Cividale (who is later believed to have become the famous Salomone da Piove), at Padua, in the Santo Stefano district, that Salomone Levi had taken over the ownership of the bank of Camposampiero, thus initiating his fortunate career as a high-ranking banker [25].

But the unforeseen and disagreeable presence of a certain someone constituted grounds for disturbance and concern. After the Jewish banks of Padua were officially closed in 1455, a Swiss Jew appeared in the city in the early summer of 1464, not concealing his own intentions and, above all, without having asked and obtained the implicit and apparently indispensable authorization of the powerful bankers of Piove and Camposampiero. The Swiss Jew was Aronne di Jacob, a Jew from Wil, north of Zurich, a short distance from Schaffhausen, on the Rhine, a village located at the boundary between the Swiss Confederation and Germany. Aronne had decided to move to the strategic Venetian financial center in search of

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money and fortune, dragging his two brothers, Vita and Benedetto, along with him [26]. Furthermore, around 1471, just as other Jewish bankers had already done in the district, in 1468, Aronne obtained authorization to carry on activity as approved lender at Padua, three days in the week, ultimately freeing himself this de facto restriction. He thus began to operate the bank "del Duomo" with undeniable success, despite the powerful cartel of his adversaries [27].

It should not surprise us that in the spring of 1472, an anonymous denunciation, easily attributable to the entourage of bankers of Piove and Camposampiero, noted that Aronne's bank, against all the regulations, had kept its doors open on Sunday, in open violation of the Christian religion [28]. In the summer of 1473, Salomone da Piove, in a dispute with Mattia, lender of the Paduan bank of San Lorenzo, appointed as arbiter a friend of the family, i.e., Jacob, the son of Salomone da Campsosampiero. Representing the adverse party was Aronne, who did not bother to conceal his own enmity towards the powerful bankers of Piove and Camposampiero [29].

A few years later, in 1476, the Swiss Jew saw himself compelled to sell the two banks owned by him, the "del Duomo" bank at Padua and the bank at Monselice, to Abramo di Bonaventura, a Jew of Ashkenazi origin from Ulm, Germany [30]. Abramo hastened to fall in line with the Paduan cartel of Jewish bankers, particularly, Jacob, Salomone di Padova’s son, and Simone, Salomone da Camposampiero’s son, who already controlled the two most important banks in the town center of Padua -- the "al Volto dei Negri" bank and the bank of San Lorenzo -- since 1472. Exactly who formed of this powerful cartel emerges clearly from the negotiations between the Republic of Venice and the Paduan Jewish bankers in 1486, including Jacob da Piove, Simone da Composampiero, Abramo da Ulm and Isacchetto Finzi [31].

Aronne appears not to have been very successful in the difficult business of lending money at interest, both at Padua and Monselice. Obstacles were placed in his way on many occasions, and it was a consolation to him that he had not been broken or killed. Aronne had already restricted his activity to that of "rag paper making" as early as 1473 [32]; a few years later, he attempted to invest the modest sums he had been able to scrape together from the sale of his bank in a safe manner. Aronne, the Swiss Jew from Wil, had arrived at Padua as an outsider, bold and without resources, at least in the eyes of Piove and Camposampiero. Salomone da Piove’s

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impatient and fiery sons had their pockets full and were waiting for Aronne to hit bottom.

A colossal swindle bankrupting a bank and pocketing the stolen money

In 1481, Salamoncino da Piove dreamed up a colossal swindle -- this time to the detriment of other Jews -- to rake in money by the wheelbarrow full. In cahoots with David di Anselmo, known as "David Schwab", he secretly decided to transfer the savings invested by Paduan Jews in the Bank at Soave, to bank at Piove di Sacco, owned by David di Anselmo. These savings amounted to a huge sum, as much as 1,500 ducats in gold, belonging to Paduan Jews, from the lower middle classes, mostly small investors and savers.

The victims of the inevitable, deliberate, collapse of the Banco di Soave included rabbis, students, widows and other poor people, among them the unfortunate Aronne da Wil, who had deposited the money collected from the sale of his banks there in 1476.

Aronne, acting on behalf of the other victims of the fraud as well, had the Banco di Soave agent -- Jacob di Lazzaro – arrested; this same agent was still in jail at the end of 1485, when he finally succeeded in obtaining his release, after withdrawing part of the money earlier stolen via Salamoncino’s bank and returning it to Aronne [33]. But he was obviously the smallest fish of the lot.

"David Schwab" went bankrupt "with his pockets full", in an artful financial crash thought up in league with the negligent bankers of Piove, who had gotten their hands on a notable slice of the money embezzled from the tills of the Banco di Soave. But Schwab was pursued by a religious interdict (cherem), pregnant with consequences, handed down against him by Rabbi Anshel (Asher) Enschkin, who had lost more than a thousand ducats entrusted to him for investment by persons of modest wealth. Enschkin publicly unmasked Schwab, who had declared bankruptcy "notwithstanding the fact that he still had all the money". The religious condemnation handed down by Enschkin, was approved and subscribed by some of the most influential rabbis of Germany [34].

Nor did Aronne da Wil intend to stop attempting to bring an action directly against Salamoncino da Piove and his Paduan accomplices. In the spring of 1481, the two contending parties, by common accord, decided to submit to the arbitration of two Jews of German origin, residents of the region of Padua. The two arbitrators were the rabbis Isach Ingdam and Viviano da Vacheron, residents of the Duomo and San Cancian districts, at Padua, respectively [35]. Obviously the final award, expressed in accord with the legal system in use at Venice, was far from satisfactory

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to Salamoncino, who was, on several occasions during the following years, obliged to face his exasperating and implacable rival in court. In the end, the Piove di Sacco banker lost his patience -- which he must not have possessed in excessive doses -- and decided to take the law into his own hands, freeing himself from what he now considered an enemy to be eliminated.

Salamoncino hiring a killer to eliminate the swindle victim

In the winter of 1487, Salamoncino sent a hired killer to Venice, where Aronne was staying at that time, with the assignment of getting rid of Aronne without a trace. In a night in January Isaia Teutonico, known as Salamoncino’s servant and bodyguard, attacked the impoverished Aronne from behind, just as Aronne was leaving the Jewish hospice at San Polo, before he could reach his son-in-law’s home, a few islands away. Aronne was struck on the head with an edged weapon and left to die, on the ground, in a pool of blood [36].

Aronne, despite a serious head wound and skull fracture, survived the attack, and later denounced his unknown aggressor. A reward was immediately placed on the attacker’s head, and his identity was quite soon discovered by the police authorities [37]. On 22 May 1488, the would-be killer, Isaia, who had, in the meantime, prudently taken flight, was tried in absentia and banned in perpetuity from Venice and its territories. If he was captured, he was to suffer a particularly cruel fate: dragged to the scene of the crime, he was to lose his right hand, after which, with his own hand appended to his neck, he was to be conducted to the Piazza San Marco and publicly beheaded between the two usual columns [38].

Once the attacker was identified, it was child’s play for the Venetian city authorities to identify the instigator, the unscrupulous businessman from Piove di Sacco, who had already served more than one term in the prisons of the Republic. Finding himself unmasked, Salamoncino spontaneously appeared at the Public Prosecutor’s office, admitting to commissioning the crime and paying the killer to commit it. He then excused himself by saying that the victim had never ceased importuning him, dragging him through one long, exhausting judicial dispute after another until, driven to his wits’ end, he had decided to free himself from the intolerable nuisance once and for all [39]. Salamoncino got off with a relatively mild sentence, which is not surprising in view of the type of relationship linking him, more or less obviously and officially, with the Venetian authorities. In the end, he was sentenced to six months imprison, in commutation of which he would be banned from Venice

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and its territories for four years, in addition to the payment of a fine of two hundred gold ducats, to be paid partly to the Hospital of Piety [40].

Salamoncino back at work managing his network of banks

But Salamoncino was back at work as early as one year later, in 1489, managing his network of banks, at Piove di Sacco and Padua [41]. In 1495, the municipality of Padua petitioned the Republic of Venice to revoke the chapters of the loan granted to Salamoncino as well as all related privileges [42]. But Venice refused. As mentioned by Marin Sanudo in his Diaries, in 1499, "Salamonsin de Piove de Sacho" was one of the Jewish bankers engaged in negotiations with Venice for the concession of the huge sum of fifteen thousand ducats, to be pledged by the Republic "in the Turkish matters", i.e., the war effort against the Sublime Porte [43].

Salamoncino -- who had intended to remain at Piove di Sacco at least until 1504, according to Sanudo -- was definitively expelled from the city of Venice one year later, allowing the city to breathe one last sigh of relief. Salamoncino’s memory, ambiguous and disturbing, was then lost in the mists of the lagoons of Venice.


NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO

[1] Cfr. D. Carpi, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ. Saggi di storia degli ebrei a Padova e nel Veneto nell'eta del Rinascimento, Florence, 2002, pp. 39, 48.

[2] On the activities of Marcuccio at Padova and Piove di Sacco, cfr ibidem, pp. 45-50.

[3] Girolamo Campagnola da Padova, in an unpublished oration, written after 1480 in celebration of the martyrdom of Simone da Trento and of Sebastiano Novello at PortobuffolŔ, recalled Marcuccio’s exasperating arrogance, at that time a money lender at Montagnana: "Quis Marcutio fratre (Salamoncini hebraeo), etiam carcere concluso, audacior et insolentior unquam fuit? Ille mihi ait: scias, velim, Christiani nominis esse neminem, qui mihi digiti, ut ajunt, offensiunculam faciat, quin alteram duorum sibi lacertorum non reddam" [Approximately: "Is there anybody more audacious and impudent than Marcuccio, the brother of Salmoncino the Jew, who spends half his time in jail? He told me, look, no Christian would dare do me any offense, without getting a good beating from two of his henchmen"] (cfr. [Benedetto Bonelli], Dissertazione apologetica sul martirio del beato Simone da Trento nell'anno MCCCCLXXV dagli ebrei ucciso, Trent, Grianbattista Parone, 1747, pp. 280-281).

[4] On 27 February 1473 Marcuccio, at that time a resident of Padua, together with his brother Salomoninco and their father Salomone da Piove, were denounced for calumny and embezzlement by a law student at the Studio (ASP, Notarile, Luca Talmazzo, 253, cc. 252r-254r). On his long residence in Montagnara, documented since 1475, his activity as an approved money lender and the events linked to the visit of Bernardino da Feltre, see, in particular, V. Meneghin, Bernardino da Feltre e I Monti di PietÓ, Vicenza, 1974, pp. 489-502.

[5] ASV, Consiglio dei Dieci, Lettere, file 2 (1476-1483). The heads of the Consiglio called Marcuccio "fidelis noster civis Marcuonus (recte: Marcutius) ebreus quondam Salomonis de Plebesaccii" ["Marcuccio, loyal citizen of our city, (son of) the late Salamone di Plebe di Sacco"], then a resident of Montagnana. The privileges Marcuccio enjoyed, and his father as well, constituted an extension of those granted by Venice to David Mavrogonato and his family in the past. The Doge, in a letter to the rulers of Candia in 1532, referring to Meir Mavrogonato, a descendent of David, recommended the application in his regard of the privileges which he enjoyed, "essendo trattato come li cittadini Venetiani nelle datiii et alter fattioni, et esento lui et figlioli dell'angarie che fanno l'Hebrei, secondo la forma delli soi privilegge" ["being treated like the citizens of Venice in all respects, and free of the annoyances suffered by Jews, according to the manner of their privileges"] (cfr. D. Jacoby, On the Status of Jews in the Venetian Colonies in the Middle Ages, in "Zion", XXVIII, 1963, pp. 57-69 [in Hebrew].

[6] On Salamoncino’s mercantile and financial activity at Piove di Sacco, Padova and Verona, see D. Jocoby, New Evidence on Jewish Bankers in Venice and the Venetian Terraferma (c. 1450-1550), in A. Toaff and Sh. Schwarzfuchs, The Mediterranean and the Jews. Banking, Finance and International Trade (XVI-XVIII Centuries), Ramat Gan, 1989, pp. 155-156; Capri, L’ individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., pp. 54-58; G.M. Varanini, Appunti per la storia del prestito e dell'insediamento ebraico a Verona nel Quattrocento, in G. Cozzi, Gli ebrei e Venezia (secoli XIV-XVIII), Milan, 1987, p. 621.

[7] Cfr. Sh. Simonsohn, The Jews in the Duchy of Milan, Jerusalem, 1982, vol. I, p. 633, no. 1538. The document is dated: Lonate, 30 October 1474.

[8] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3653 (II), cc. 8v-9r (29 May 1472). I wish to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Rachele Scuro for her invaluable assistance in transcribing the documents and my friend Reiny Mueller of Venice for his archiving tips, which were always illuminating. "Joannes Antonius de Mediolano et Abundius de Cumis [...] confessi fuerunt se pluries conduxisse e Farraria Venetias multam quantitatem monetarum argenti falsarum verum grossestos et grossones ad similitudinem stampe Dominii Nostri, quas monetas scienter accipiebant a fabricatoribus illarum et illas, reductas Venetias, dispensabant diversis personis, a quibus habebant ad incontrum ducatos auri et argenti cum certa sua utilitate". On the crisis of May 1472 and the "monetary war" being waged between Venice and Milan, see, in particular, R.C. Mueller, L'imperialismo monetario veneziano nel Quattrocento, in "SocietÓ et Storia", VIII (1980), pp. 227-297 (292-294); Id., Guerra monetaria fra Venezia e Milano nel Quattrocento, in La Zecca di Milano, Records of the Congress, Milan, May 1983, pp. 341-355.

[9] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3653 (II), c. 9rv (29 May 1472):

"Nicolaus Fugaconus, becharius de Veneciis et socii quos processum fuit [...] pro eo quod etiam ipse habuit commertium cum Abundio infrascripto, conductore monetarum falsum, a quo recepit satis bonam quantitatem dictarum falsarum pecuniarium, cum utilitate .XIII pro centenario, et fuit medius ad faciendum quod Salamoncinus supascriptus haberet de dictis monetis cum infrascripto Zacharia, etiam judeo [...] quod procedatur contra Nicolaus Fugaconus, Laurentium Paulo et Zachariam iudeum qui, spiritu avaritie ducti, scienter acceptaverunt, cum certa utilitate, monetas argenti falsas ex Ferraria Venetias conductas, illas dispensando pro bonis".

[10] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3653 (II), cc. 8v-9r (29 May 1472): [...] quod Johannes Antonius infrasciptus hodie postprandium hora solita conducatur in medio duarum colunnarum, ubi per ministrum iustitie sibi ascindatur manus dextera et eruatur unus oculus et solvat ducatos quingentos auri [...] et postea banniatur perpetuo de Venetiis et de omnibus terris et locis Dominii Nostrii, tam a parte terre quam maris [...] et quod iste Abondius hodie post prandium hora solita conducatur in medio duarum colunnarum, ubi per ministrum iustitie ascindatur manus dextera eruatur unus oculus et solvat ducatos. Vc. Auri [...] et postea banniatur perpetuo de Venetiis et de omnibus terris Dominii Nostri, tam a parte terre quam maris".

[11] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Rapse, 3653 (II), c. 9v: "[...] quod iste Nicolaus Fugaconus compleat annum in carcere et deinde banniatur per annos octo de Venetiis et districtu [...] et quod banchum becharie reservetur, et Laurentius Paulo compleat annum unum in carcere et solvat ducatos centum Advocatoribus et deinde banniatur per annos octo de Venetiis et districtu".

[12] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3653 (II), c. 9v: "Zacharias iudeus quondam Isahac, hospes in Venetiis, compleat annum unum in carcere et solvat ducatos ducentos auri [...] et deinde banniatur per annos octo de Venetiis et districtu".

[13] Salomone di Marcuccio da Piove and his children were the proprietors of the "Banco dei Carri" on the town square of Ferrara in 1473 (cfr. P. Norsa, Una famiglia di banchieri: la famiglia Norsa, 1350-1950, Napoli, 1953, p. 15).

[14] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3653 (II), c. 9r (c. 114r of the modern pencil numeration at the bottom of the page, 29 May 1472): "Salamoncinus Salamonis, hebreus de Prebesacci, contra quem fuit et est processum [...] quod spiritu avaritie ductus, non contentus de usuris [...] scienter se inmiscuit in acceptando et dispensando de monetis falsis, cum utilitate ducatorum .x pro centenario, sicut ad torturam confessum est".

[15] The Trial "contra Salamoncinum filium Salomonis fenetoris in Plebesacci" concluded with the sentence "quod iste Salamoncinus stet menses sex in carceribus clausus, et solvat ducatis duomille nostro arsenatui et mille Advocatoribus nostris, qui dent quantum accusatori, et non incipiat tempus carceris nisi cum integritate persolverit et deinde banniatur per annos decem de Venetiis et districtus et Padua et territorio paduano, et si tempore banni contrafecerit stet anno in carcere et solvat ducatos mille et iterum remittatur ad bannum et sic publicetur in schalis Rivoalti". Salomone, his father, being compelled to take over the management of the Banco di Piove di Sacco, on 16 July 1472 conferred the position upon Moise di Elyakim de Alemannia for the duration of ten years (cfr Carpi, L'individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., p. 40). Salomone, who is thought to have passed on to a better life before 1476, truly could not have imagined that five years later, in 1477, Salamoncino would already have returned to Piove.

[16] Cfr. Carpi, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., pp. 47, 55.

[17] "Fama est Salamoncinum hebreum, decem Virorum issu, in vinculis in presentarium detentum, cum adulterinae monetae majestatis crimine alias damnatus esset. Ut se ab exitio per Christiani hominis pernicem liberaret, pauperem quendam Veronensem ad cudendam monetam circumvenisse; ab eo postmodo accusatum flammarum subisse supplicium; utque alterum civem ab se furti crimine accusatum in exilium compelleret, quidquid fide dignis testibus ostendere non valuit, magicis artibus conjectari, indiciarique curasse; quibus corvum humanam emisse vocem, ipsumque furem nominasse fertur"

([Bonelli], Dissertazione apologetica, cit., pp. 280-281).

This quotation, together with the fact that the manuscript oration of Girolamo Campagnola is preserved at Verona, seems to confirm the arguments put forth by Varanini (Appunti per la storia del prestito, cit., p. 621) that Salamoncino was residing in Verona more or less permanently around 1470- 1480.

[18] The expression may refer to the role of "Hofsklaven ", assigned to the Jews under the Germanic Empire.

[19] Salamoncino da Piove's petition to the Consiglio dei Dieci, dated 9 July 1477, has been published in its entirety in F. Babinger, Ja'aqub- Pascha, ein Leibarzt Mehmeds II, Leben und Schicksale des Maestros Jacopo aus Gaeta, in "Rivista degli Studi Orientali", XXVI (1951), pp. 196-197. Similar privileges are said to have been requested by Salamoncino's brother, Fays, from Francesco II Gonzaga in 1495 (cfr. E. Castelli, I banchi feneratizi ebraici nel mantovano, 1386-1808, Mantua, 1959, p. 215).

[20] This would have had to have been in obvious derogation from the law of 1423, otherwise rigid relating to the landed property of the Jews (cfr. R.C. Mueller, Les prŕteurs juifs de Venise au Moyen Age, in "Annales ESC", XXX, 1975, p. 1302, no. 96).

[21] Cfr. Jacoby, New Evidence on Jewish Bankers in Venice, cit., pp. 156-157; Carpi, L'individuo e la collettivitÓ , cit., pp. 54-55.

[22] Cfr. Jacoby, New Evidence of Jewish Bankers in Venice, cit., pp. 156-157; Carpi, L'individua e la collettivitÓ , cit., p. 55.

[23] Cfr. P.C. Ioly Zorattini, Processi del S. Uffizio contro ebrei e giudaizzanti. I: 1560-1560, Florence, 1980, pp. 270-272.

[24] Cfr. Jacoby, New Evidence on Jewish Bankers in Venice, cit., pp. 151-178; Carpi, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., pp. 27-110.

[25] Cfr. Carpi, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., p. 61.

[26] On 27 March 1466, Aronne di Jacob signed a postal service agreement with a porter from Padua, who was to look after his epistolary relationships with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, both of them resident at Wil (Vil), in Switzerland (ASP, Notarile, Giacomo Bono, 216, c. 51r). As early in 1464 (14 June) Aronne was a resident of Padua, in the district of San Cancian, lending money at interest, benefiting from the banking services at Piove di Sacco (ASP, Notarile, Francesco Giusto senior, 1591, c. 384r).

[27] Cfr. D. Carpi, The Jews of Padua During the Renaissance (1369-1509), a doctoral thesis written in Jerusalem in 1967, p. 193. For the money lending activity carried on by Aronne at Padua, probably without official approval, in the past years, see ASP, Notarile, Nicolo Brutto, 3117, c. 414r (10 June 1465); Notarile, Giannantonio da Mirano, 2681, c. 214v (30 June 1466). Alessandro di Jacob was associated with the three brothers, Aronne, Vita and Benedetto da Wil, in the affairs of the Banco del Duomo at Padua and the other bank at Monselice, also under his ownership.

[28] Cfr. Carip, The Jews of Padua, cit., p. 193.

[29] On this controversy, see Carpi, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., p. 48. Aronne had already had a dispute with Salomone "hebreus fenerans in Plebe Sacci", but had in some way reached a settlement ("dictus Aron et dictus Salomon, nolentes ire per litigia sed parcere litibus et expensis, devenerunt ad compositionem"). See ASP, Notarile, Francesco Giusti senior, 1591, c. 384r. (14 June 1464).

[30] "Abram qm magistri Bonaventure ab Ulmo, hebreus fenerator Padue in contrata Domi, habens loco Ixep Sacerdotis et Aronis qm Jacob hebreorum ad fenerandum in Padua et Montselice, ut constat ducalibus datis die XVI augusti MCCCCLXXVI" (ASP, Notarile, Francesco Fabrizio, 2917, c. 271r). Abramo da Ulm was the father-in-law of that Abba del Medigo di Candia of whom we will have occasion to speak at length in the next chapter.

[31] Cfr. Capri, L’individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., p. 47, 53.

[32] As early as 23 February 1473 Aronne appears as a "strazzarolo in contra' San Cancian" ["rag-paper maker in the San Cancian district"] at Padua (ASP, Notarile, Luca Talmazzo, 253, c. 251r).

[33] On the fraudulent insolvency of the Banco di Soave and the arrest of Jacob, David Schwab's factor, see ASP, Notarile, Ambrogio da Rudena, 779, c. 460r (3 November 1485). Jacob delivered 155 gold ducats to Aronne "existentes penes Salabmonzium hebreum de Plebe [...] quos denarios dictus Jacob affirmavit fuisse et esse dictorum bonorum intromissum ad dictum banchum Suapsis". As early as 1470, Aronne da Wil, turning to the Paduan tax authorities, asserted that he had operated mostly for the accounts of other savers: "io non trafego del mio altro che liere octozente [= 800 lire], e de questo, piasendo ale spectabilitÓ vostre, sempre me ne faro fede de questo, ma io trafego robe de diversi zodii" (ASP, Estimo 1418, 92, c. 14r).

[34] In this regard, see J. Hutner, Quattro responsi rituali relativi ad un rabbino che aveva emesso un interdetto religioso che colpiva colui che lo aveva defraudato, in Memoriale Volume in Honor of Rabbi J.B. Zolti, Jerusalem, 1987, pp. 256-263 (in Hebrew).

[35] "Haron ebreus qm Jacob, habitator in contrata Domi, parte una, et Jacob qm Salamonis de Plebe, suo nomine et Fais et Salamonis (i.e.: Salamoncini) fratrum, Isachetus qm Consilii de contrata Strate, Enselmus filius quibuscumque differentiis existentibus inter dictas partes se compromiserunt in magistrum Isach Ingdam hebreum, habitatorem in contrata Domi elledum pro parte dicti Haron, et in magistrum Vivianum de Vaischoron de contrata S. Canciani, electum per superscriptos Jacob et socios, secundum morem, leges et stillum alme civitas Veneciarum" (ASP, Notarile, Luca Talmazzo, 251, c. 58r. (10 May 1481).

[36] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3656 (II), c. 72r. (22 May 1488). "Isaas iudeus theothonicus, solitus esse famulus Salamoncini iudei de Plebesacci, absens, contra quem processum fuit [...] coram officium suum in consilio prefatorum dominorum Advocatorum comunis cum gravissima querella comparuisse Aron quondam Jacob iudeus et exposuisset quod quodam siro, circa prima in secunda horam noctis, dum veniret ab hospitio iudeorum de contracta sanctii Pauli et iret ad domum Jacob iudei, generi sui, parum procul ab ipso hospitio, fuerit a quodam incognito proditorie a parte posteriori cum uno case percussus et vulneratus una percussione de taleo supra caput cum maxima effusione sanquinis et fracturam longa[m] per unum digitum, pro quo quidem delicto petebat iustitiam administrari".

[37] "[...] et tandem posita est et capita fuit pars de talea sub die xxi aprilis proxima et consequentis publicata in schalis Rivoalti, cuius vertute data noticia officio prefatorum dominorum Advocatorum quod dictus Isayas fuerit et est ille qui tale maleficium commisit gratia et ad instantiam infrascripti Salamoncini [...] et sic captum fuit quod ipse Isayas retinetur [...] Fuit itaque proclamatus in schalis Rivoalti ad se defenderum cum termine dierum octo, qui dum non comparuisset, immo in sua contumacia perseverasset, fuit absens".

[38] "[...] quod procedatur contra Isayam teothonicum iudeum, alias solitum esse famulum Salamoncini iudei de Plebesacci, absentem sed legitime citatum super schalis Rivoalti, ex eo quod, ad instantium dicti Salamoncini, de mense januarii 1486 [= 1487] tempore noctis, percussit Aronem iudeum proditorie una percussione de taleo super capite, cum incisione et effusione sanguine ac offensione ossis [...] et captum fuit quod iste Isayas sit bannitus perpetuo de Venetiis et districtus et de aliis terris et locis Nostri Dominii ad confinia furum, et si quo tempore contrafecerit banno et captus fuerit, conducatur ad locum delicti commissi ubi sibi manus dextera amputetur et deinde, cum ea appensa ad collum, conducatur in medio duarum collunnarum ubi sibi caput a spatulis amputetur sic quod moriatur".

[39] ASV, Avogaria di Comun, Raspe, 3536 (II), c. 72rv (c. 179rv according to the modern numbering in pencil on a paper label (23 May 1488). "Salamoncinus quondam Salamonis, iudeus de Plebesacci, contra quem processum fuit [...] super casu infrascriptis insultis et vulneris, illatis in personam infrascripti Aronis [...] venit ad officium advocarie se ipsum manifestavit et quomodo ipse erat in societate euisdem Isaie supscrascripti, ut quod eius Salamoncini causa motus ipsum taliter vulneravetur [...] quia sepius et continue fuerat molestatus Salamoncinus ipse in litibus ab ipso Arone".

[40] "[...] quod dictus Salamoncinus, iam prope ea retentus, bene retentus remaneat [...] et quod procedatur contra Salamoncinum quondam Salamonis de Plebisacci iudei, qui fuit mandator et auctor dicte percussionis [...] captum fuit quod ipse Salamoncinus complere debeat menses sex in carceribus clausus, solvat ducatos ducentos auri, quorum centum sint hospitali Pietatis, alii verum centum sint Advocatorum comunis, sit postea bannitus per annos quatuor".

[41] In the summer of 1490, Salamoncino invested capital in the Banco dei Finzi at Rovigo (cfr. E. Traniello, Gli ebrei e le piccole cittÓ. Economia e societÓ nel Polesine del Quattrocento, Rovigo, 2004, pp. 116-117).

[42] Cfr. Jacoby, New Evidence on Jewish Bankers in Venice, cit., pp. 156-157; Carpi, L'individuo e la collettivitÓ, cit., p. 58. On 11 February 1495, a legal dispute was recorded between the municipality of Piove di Sacco and "Salamoncinus, hebreus phoenerans in hoc loc Plebiscacci". The document summarizes the clauses of the items for the loan, granted in a timely fashion by the community to Salamoncino, including that of being able to accept any type of pledge as security for loans, with the exception of objects of worship of the Christian religion ("[...] per formam capitulorum concessum est ipsi Salamoncino libere praestari super quocumque pignore indifferenter, exceptis crucibus et calcibus, sive rebus ecclesiasticus sacratis, tamquam phoenerator publicus"). Cfr. P. Plinton, Codice Diplomatico Saccense, Rome, 1894, no. 552.

[43] Marin Sanudo, I diarii, by R. Fulin et al., Venice, 1879-1903, II, column 42 (22 May 1499), III, column 803 (1500).

REVISION DATE SEPT. 14, 2007
ROSH HOSHANA, NIGHTFALL (5768)

Revised by the original translators, Feb. 2011

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