Auction 92 Part 1 Rare and Important Items

Statements Defending the Right of Jews to Remain in Milan and Avoid Expulsion – Milan, 1589

Opening: $1,000
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Sold for: $5,000
Including buyer's premium

Instruttione et Allegatione per gli Hebrei del Stato di Milano […] [Instructions and statements in favor of the Jews of the State of Milan…]. [Milan, after April 25, 1589]. Italian.
The present memorandum represents a long defense of the right of Jews to reside in the territories of the Duchy of Milan. It is dated 1589 – a time when the Duchy of Milan was under the rule of the Spanish Crown – and was dispatched to Madrid at the request of King Philip II of Spain, who, in those days, was pondering whether or not to expel the Jews. The memorandum, prepared by the Senate of Milan, provides a list of theological, economic and legal reasons why the Jews should not be expelled, all on condition that they obey the laws of the Duchy and behave properly. It includes a series of affidavits signed (in print) by non-Jewish officials and magistrates from across the Duchy of Milan, and mentions the contribution made by Jews to the economic and commercial prosperity of the various cities. Toward the end, the document gives an assessment of the total population of Jews residing in all the cities under the jurisdiction of the Duchy: 889 individuals in all.
The presence of Jews in the city of Milan is documented dating back as far as the Roman period. Jews had first been expelled from the city in 1320, and over the following period of roughly three hundred years, they were allowed to return and settle there, only to be periodically expelled time after time. Notwithstanding all the arguments contained in the present memorandum, in 1591 Philip II decided to have the Jews of the Duchy of Milan expelled once again, and the order was put into effect in 1597.

Rare document: Not in NLI nor in OCLC.

[3] leaves (six printed pages) + [1] blank leaf. 32 cm. Good condition. Stains, including dampstains and ink stains. Tears, including minor open tears, partly mended with paper. Fold lines. Handwritten notation (Hebrew) on blank leaf: "Testimonies from the State of Milan that they cannot expel the Jews"; several additional notations. New paper cover.

1. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Jews in the Duchy of Milan, Vol. III, 1566-1788, Jerusalem, 1982, pp. 1813-19.
2. Flora Cassen, The Expulsion of the Jews from the State of Milan: Same Event with Views from Different Archives, Early Modern Workshop: Resources in Jewish History, Vol. 14, 2017.

Italian Jewry – Manuscripts and Printed Items