Reniassance Ergo Essay, Research Paper
The cities of Ancona and Pesaro were each a place of refuge for Marrano Jews in the early sixteenth-century. The Marranos (formally Sephardic and Portuguese Conversos) who settled in the cities of Ancona and Pesaro fled the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) in the late fifteenth-century as result of the Spanish Inquisition. Many Jews sought refuge in Renaissance Italy, and initially found ?acceptance? by many of its local inhabitants. Cohabitation was tolerated on a marginal scale upon the arrival of the Sephardic Jews. The two cities Ancona and Pesaro located in Central Italy were similar in that mercantile commerce was the main source of revenue. Large Numbers of Marrano Jews in Ancona and Pesaro had established themselves as competent businessmen. During the sixteenth-century, the Catholic Church underwent a significant change. Accompanying this new change was conflict with the relatively new Converso (Jewish) population. The cities of Ancona and Pesaro experienced the effects of Counter Reformation that led to Inquisition or ?Acts of Faith in the summer and spring of 1556. The political and economic reasons behind leaders and the pope acting the way they did against the Jews, was to prohibit Jews from being an economic power in Italy, and to force Jews in to a subservient role.
The Spanish Inquisition forced Sephardic Jews of Spain and Converso Jews living in Portugal to relocate to Italy. ?The Spanish Inquisition was established with papal approval in 1478 at the Request of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I. This Inquisition was to deal with the problems of the Marrano Jews, who through coercion or social pressure had insincerely converted to Christianity?. Many Catholics in Spain felt that the end (Second Coming of Christ) was coming soon and did not want any ?non believers? to have a negative effect on the coming of their Messiah. As a direct result, thousands of Sephardic and Converso Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal. Many of these Jewish families had lived in either Spain or Portugal for hundreds of years, but still faced the total eviction from their homes and personal property. We began to see Jews relocating to Italy in about 1492.
The cities of Ancona and Pesaro like many cities in Italy, served as a place of refuge for many of the expelled Jews. These two cities were different from most, because they each possessed harbors, and had relatively small populations. This was beneficial to the small Jewish communities because they had the opportunity to participate in the business realm. Initially, upon the arrival of the Marrano Jews they were accepted with little discretion. At the time, the Catholic Church had tolerant attitudes towards the Jewish community. ?Pope Paul III adhered to the opinion of his counselors, who considered forced baptism null and void, and he allowed the settlement of conversos in the territories of the State of the Church, particularly at Ancona, where the newcomers were expected to make a positive contribution to the development of the economy?. We must understand that the Church was an elite power during the Renaissance. The Catholic Church dictated political policy, imposed taxes, raised armies, punished criminals, and held trials throughout the sixteenth- century. In essence, the Church’s premise in allowing Jews to occupy various regions of Italy that were under Papal control was financially motivated.
Many of the Jews who now found themselves living in Italy had a relatively easy time reestablishing the type of lives and positions that they held in their former homeland. A direct example was Marrano, ? Dr. Francisco Barboso, who had acquired riches and fame?and treated the governor of the city, and prior of local Dominican convent?. In addition, many Jews were involved in the money lending industry and pawnshops. Many Jews were also involved in trade with Levantine merchants. The Jewish population was prospering and things looked to be going well.
The events that occurred throughout the latter half of the sixteenth- century, in Ancona and Pesaro were the effects of Counter Reformation. This began at the turn of the century with the expulsion of Jews from Spain and later Portugal. The desire of the Catholic Church to enforce its presence in Italy led to the Inquisitions in the 1530?s, initially against Protestants and later Jews. Ancona was unique because it has a small Jewish population that had been settled there for years. In contrast, Pesaro had a Converso Jewish population. The ?Ancona Boycott Incident?, set a major split between the Converso population living in Pesaro and the Jews that had been living in Ancona. The result was that each group faced the persecution of the Catholic Church, the major difference being many Conversos were killed or either put into ghettos. The end result was the further perpetuation of the diaspora, and a precedent was set for Jews that lasted until the nineteenth- century.
In 1556, there was a dramatic change that affected the cities of Ancona and Pesaro. This was the election of Pope Paul IV. Before being pope, he led Inquisitions in various parts of Italy, and was known for his anti-Jewish sentiment. ?As for Paul IV, the Jews did nor have to wait for his elevation to the papal throne to discover his true sentiments. As head of the Inquisition prior to his election, the future pope Cardinal Caraffa had made no effort to keep them a secret. He played a leading role in Julius III?s decision to order the bonfire of all extant copies of the Talmud in Campo de? Fiori in September 1553, and to invite other Italian heads of state to follow his example?Less than two months after his ascent to the papacy, on 14 July 1555, the pope published the bull Cum nimis absurdum, which marked the complete reversal of traditional policy with regard to Jews and the beginning of a revolution in their condition wherever they might be?. This bull was extremely detrimental to the Jewish community. It stated that as long as Jews do not accept Christianity they would eternally be servants of the Christian people, ?the righteous servant of Jesus Christ?. In addition, they were forced to wear labels, distinguishing them as Jews, and were not allowed to hold positions of power in a Papal State.
A major incident that accompanied Pope Paul IV was the ?Acts of Faith ? that took place in Ancona in 1556. ?In the spring and summer of 1556, a series of ?Acts of Faith? was held in the Campo della Mostra at Ancona, twenty-four in number, were handed over to the secular arm, for the execution of the capital penalty with which the Church could nominally have no direct association, first being strangled and then burned.?. Jews were being unjustly killed by the Catholic Church. Pope Paul IV forced a reign of terror upon the Jews. He was ridiculing and murdering them at alarming rates for no legitimate reason. The claim by the Church was that, the Jews who were killed they converted to Christianity and were actively practicing Judaism. It was the Church?s ?Divine Right? to cleanse their souls, which could only be achieved with death.
Pope Paul IV wanted to prohibit Jews in Italy from being successful, and wanted to force them into a subservient role. Politics and Economics had absolutely nothing to do with Pope Paul IV?s treatment of the Jews in Ancona, or Italy for that matter. Pope Paul IV had a genuine hatred towards the Jewish people. He did not want bribes from them; he just wanted them dead. The bull that he issued displayed the hate and intolerance that he had for the Jews. The pope wanted to dehumanize the Jews. A clear example of this was the burning of the Talmud, creation of the ghetto system, and color symbolism according to race.
Since their arrival, the Marranos had flourished in Italy. The Renaissance was affecting their art, rhetoric, ideologies, and language. They were making significant gains in business. Marranos built presses and began making copies of the Talmud for the first time in history. The cities of Ancona and Pesaro were historically significant, because although they had such a small Jewish population they were able to accomplish so much. Marranos living in Ancona and Pesaro created boarding schools to educate their children to allow their culture to flourish. They also maintained their Hebrew language throughout the Renaissance. The Conversos continued practicing their religion, regardless of the criticism that they received. The Jewish culture was not lost or weakened instead, it was strengthened. People began being closer than they had ever been. The establishing of the ghettos allowed Jews to congregate and build a support base. They were able to build a homogenous society to build on for the future, and in a sense had their own Renaissance. ?As a part of Counter Reformation, a reaction set in against the Jews of the Papal States, later spread to the whole of Italy. Yet even now there was among the Italian people a basic kindliness: and even now, the long acclimatization of the Jews in the country attuned them completely to the Italian outlook and Italian cultural life. Thus, in a certain sense, Renaissance conceptions prevailed even in the ghetto?. Individuals like Pope Paul IV were jealous and envious of their success that was why he took the actions that he did. I conclude in saying that the will of the Jewish people could never be broken, and know matter how adverse a situation seems faith allows success. The Jews in Ancona and Pesaro made the best out of their individual situations, and through faith, they survived the Inquisitions and the Catholic Church.