Auction 63
Rare and Important Items

Lot Number 165

The Inquisition of Bologna – Collection of Handwritten Documents – Trials and Investigations of Jews by the Inquisition of Bologna, 15th Century

Sold For
12,000$ $15,000-20,000$
Lot Number 165

The Inquisition of Bologna – Collection of Handwritten Documents – Trials and Investigations of Jews by the Inquisition of Bologna, 15th Century

Eighteen documents, handwritten on paper and on vellum, related to trials and investigations of Jews by the Inquisition of Bologna. Bologna, 15th century. Latin, one item in Italian.
The Inquisition was the name given to a group of institutions headed by the Catholic Church, which were founded in the late Middle Ages to fight the phenomenon of heresy in Europe. In spite of the fact that the Inquisition reached its utmost power in the early modern period, in Spain and Rome, its roots were planted in the 12th century, when local courts started to appear in Italy and in France, headed by monks from the Dominican Order. In Bologna, Northern Italy, Inquisition was developing already in the 13th century, and by the time of the Renaissance, Bologna became one of the most important centers of the Inquisition in Northern Italy. Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, the one in Bologna did not focus on persecuting Jews, but rather on defeating the Christian sects that flourished in those days, and hardly took measures against people of other religions. Documents of the Inquisition of Bologna are rare, and exceptionally scarce are documents related to trials against Jews.
The collection includes:
1-8. Eight documents related to the inquisitorial investigation of the Jewish Musetti family, accused of disgracing Christianity during a procession in 1445. According to the documents, three of the family members – Abraham, his wife Bronella and their relative Decatilus, interrupted the Corpus Christi procession on 27.5.1445, threw objects and aroused commotion in the town.
· Bill of indictment, handwritten on a vellum sheet (4 written pages) with a detailed description of the occurrences, list of crimes committed by the family members and the procedure appropriate for judging Jews, according to the city's laws. At the end of the document appear the names of the judges and the notary's signature.
· Additional copy of the above bill of indictment, written on a long vellum scroll (judging by its form, it is possible that it served for writing during discussions in court).
· A certificate dated 21.6.1445, written on a vellum sheet (3 written pages), with a different version of the accusation as claimed by an inquisitor in court in Rimini. This version emphasized the responsibility of Abraham as head of the family, and suggests to judge the Jews by the "Laws of Moses". At the end of the document appear names of the judges and the notary's signature.
· Two testimonies, written on paper, certifying the claims and mentioning the name of another Jew who was involved in the incident – Joseph. One testimony by a person named Antoninius and another one by a person named Bartholomeus.
· Testimony of a family member, Dactilus (named in the document Datolius), written on paper, accusing two Christians, Melchior and Cantarini, of starting the fight.
· Two letters of encouragement to the family, written on paper.
9-18. Ten handwritten documents related to trials and various investigations of Jews in Bologna throughout the 15th century (it seems that they belonged to one inquisitor):
· Document dated 13.5.1405, referring to a dispute between a Jew named Solomon to another Jew named Simon, from Bologna.
· Letter dated 10.9.1456, sent by a plaintiff named Mateua Maranus from Bologna, announcing the arrest of "criminals" from the Jewish community. Wax seal.
· Document from the 1470s, concerning tax imposed on Jews – "Gabella Grossa" and stating the method of the tax collection.
· Four documents from the years 1472-1479, concerning crimes committed by Jews.
· Document from 1473, regarding payment of debts by Bologna Jews, paid with gold.
· Document regarding the crimes committed by a Jew named Solomon de Vignola, concerning a dispute about making beef Kosher. No date.
Total of eighteen documents and certificates. Size and condition vary. Good-fair overall condition. Stains. Some creases and folding marks. Tears, open tears and pinholes (mostly small, some repaired). Inscription in pen on the back of two items and on the margins of one document (small, not affecting text).

Sold For
12,000$ $15,000-20,000$

Auction house commission: max 23%


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