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Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Marranos and Nicodemites in


Sixteenth-Century Venice

John Jeffries Martin


Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Gaspare Ribiera, an aging Portuguese merchant who lived in the Venetian


parish of Santa Maria Formosa, seemed like a good Catholic to most of
his neighbors. Gasparewho celebrated Passover with Jewish friends in the
Ghettonot only attended Mass and occasionally made his confession but
even served as a warden of his parishs Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament.1
Gaspares contemporary Arnaud du Ferrier, the French ambassador to the
Republic, makes a similar impression. When the essayist Michel de Mon-
taigne visited Venice in November of 1580, du Ferrierwhom Montaigne
described as a man with strong Calvinist leaningstook his noted guest
to Mass at San Marco.2 And we know of many others in sixteenth-century
Venice whose religious identities were similarly ambiguous. They partici-
pated in Catholic observances, but it is by no means clear that they followed,
or followed exclusively, the teachings of Rome. To the contrary, a significant
minority of men and women in this early modern city may have only put on
the mask of Catholicism, or they were Catholic in a complicated way, simul-
taneously holding the beliefs and observing the practices of other faiths.
The presence of these various forms of ambiguity is especially strik-
ing against the backdrop of a late medieval and early modern political and
religious culture that increasingly demanded the very opposite: confessional
conformity and clear transparency about ones beliefs. An emphasis on such
conformity had become more and more intense in the late fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries with the emergence of what has come to be called the
confessional state.3 Religious and political identities were meant to cor-
respond to one another. Subjects of the Catholic Crown in Aragon or in
Castile were to be Roman Catholic; the subjects of Henry VIII in England
Anglican; while the burgers of Geneva were expected to be Calvinist and the
residents of Wittenberg Lutheran. The sixteenth century, that is, was charac-
terized by a tightening of the interplay between the state and the faith, and,

Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 41:3, Fall 2011


DOI 10.1215/10829636-1363954 2011 by Duke University Press

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Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

in many regions of Europe, by the establishment of tribunals (inquisitions,


consistories, or state courts) and softer institutions and practices (parishes,
confraternities, schools, liturgies, catechisms, and so on) that attempted to
instill and to enforce uniformity of belief and practice. Indeed, in this era
the shared faith of subjects or citizens was viewed, almost without excep-
tion, as a necessary component of the stability of the stateso much so that
religious dissent came to be seen as a disease that, if allowed to spread, could
lead to political upheaval.
Yet we also know that not everyone was willing, at least in the
recesses of his or her own heart, to accept the religious beliefs that the local
political and ecclesiastical authorities sought to impose. Thus, in Spain and
Portugal, many Jews, though ostensibly converted to Catholicism, contin-
ued to practice their ancestral faith, at times with a full understanding of
the traditions, at other times with only a vague notion of the meanings of
their acts. Indeed, it was fear of precisely such crypto-Judaism that led to
the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478 and, eventually, to the
institution of the Portuguese Inquisition in 1536. Similarly, in France and
Italy, many men and women, while committed to Calvinist or other reform
teachings, continued to worship publically as Catholics in order to avoid
persecutionand there were similar strategies of dissimulation among recu-
sant Catholics in Anglican England and among Moriscos or crypto-Muslims
in Christian Spain.4
Nicodemites was the name John Calvin gave to those Christians
who, having accepted the teachings of Reformed Christianity, dissimulated
their beliefs while continuing to dwell in cities or states that remained Cath-
olic. This epithet was inspired by the example of the Pharisee Nicodemus
who, fearful of persecution, had come to Jesus by night in order that his new
faith not be known by others (John 3:13). Calvin was not the first sixteenth-
c entury reformer to use this example to excoriate dissembling believers, but
he placed more emphasis on this issue than any of his contemporaries, pub-
lishing six treatises on the subject, most notably his Excuse Messieurs les
Nicodmites of 1544.5 To Calvin these dissemblers, by pretending to go along
with Catholic ceremonies, were guilty of idolatry. In his view, the only hope
for their salvation lay either in martyrdom or in flight, as Christians were
obliged to give public testimony of the beliefs they held in their hearts. Since
the early twentieth century, scholars in turn have applied the term Nicode
mismo to the dissembling behaviors of Protestants that were, because of the
repressive measures of the Inquisition and other magistracies, essential for
the survival or prosperity of many heretics in the Age of the Reform.6

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Marranism has a similar meaning. The origin of the term is preju-


dicial; it derives from the Spanish word marranos, which means swine, but
in the late Middle Ages, this word came to be used by Old Christians to
designate converts from Judaism to Christianity. The term first appeared
in the aftermath of the pogroms in Seville in 1381an explosion of anti-
Jewish violence that led many Jews, fearing for their safety in reconquista
Spain, to convert to Christianity. But the same Old Christians, who had
attacked the Jews, were now suspicious of the sincerity of the conversos and,
at the same time, envious of their prosperity and prominence. As a result,
Old Christians established limpieza de sangre (purity of blood) laws aimed at
blocking New Christians from various offices unless they could prove they
had no Jewish ancestors; and they created the Inquisition with the goal of
ferreting out crypto-Jews. Spain, in short, made life so difficult for the New
Christians that eventually many would emigrate. This mass migration led
to the creation of a Sephardic Diaspora that would stretch from Brazil and
Surinam in the New World through such major western European cities as
Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Hamburg, down into Florence, Ferrara, Rome,
and Ancona, and on into Salonica and Constantinople, and even, in some
cases, into Indiaa diaspora in which thousands of Marranos, once they
had reached more tolerant societies, reverted to their ancestral faith.7
In Portugal, it was the forced baptism of all Jews to Christianity
under King Manuel in 1497 that led to the creation of the Portuguese com-
munity of cristos novos. In contrast to Spain, where the conversions had
taken place over a century, the suddenness of this event in Portugal appears
to have enabled the Portuguese New Christians to preserve many aspects of
their Jewish identity, even as they began to conform outwardly to Catholi-
cism. In short, they fit the classic image of the Marrano as a New Christian
harboring Jewish beliefs.8 Yet the distinction between the Spanish and the
Portuguese Marranos points to only one dimension of complexity: not all
forced converts were crypto-Jews; some became committed Christians, oth-
ers seem to have rejected religion altogether, and still others, as we shall see,
developed ambiguous identities, leading lives that somehow blended Chris-
tianity and Judaism.9
Clearlyfrom a purely descriptive perspectiveMarranos and the
Nicodemites appear to have had much in common. In his Ways of Lying, an
influential study on dissimulation in early modern Europe, Perez Zagorin,
makes a powerful case for not limiting the problem of dissimulation exclu-
sively to Nicodemism, a phenomenon that, Zagorin believes, should be
analyzed alongside other forms of religious dissimulation in the sixteenth

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centuryincluding Marranism.10 And many other scholarsamong them


Jean Pierre Cavaill, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Carlos Eirehave also at
times collapsed these two phenomena into one another, although Brian Pul-
lan, one of the preeminent historians of Judaism and Marranism in early
modern Venice, has cautioned against exaggerating the correspondence
between these two groups.11 Indeed, as I hope to show, Nicodemism and
Marranism, while they did overlap in important ways, were not simply two
sides (the Christian and the Jewish) of the same coin (dissimulation). To
the contrary, as forms of adaption to a dominant Catholic culture that was
hostile to each, they constituted markedly different approaches or strate-
gies or forms of accommodation. And the differences in their strategies, as I
shall argue, point to distinct notions of religious identity within their com-
munities. To be sure, most scholars have assumed that both Nicodemites
and Marranos had relatively robust or fixed or stable selves, and that indi-
viduals so anchored in their religious convictions were able to conceal their
true selves through public performances in which they simply pretended to
accept the beliefs of the dominant culture. Yet, while such a view is helpful
in making sense of Nicodemites, it fails to make sense of at least aspects
of the Marranos for whom identity was shaped less by a clear distinction
between interior belief and external acts than by a capacity to hold multiple
identities simultaneously, without necessarily privileging one over the other.
Unlike the Nicodemites, in short, the Marranos were not duplicitous; rather,
they were hybrids.

As the most important port city in the early modern Mediterranean, Ven-
ice is a particularly privileged location from which to explore the histories
of these two groups within a similar social and political environment. The
capital of a Catholic state, with a population of nearly 175,000, Venice had
extensive experience with immigrants and foreign communities. In the late
Middle Ages, the Venetian government had reached an accommodation
with the papacy to make it possible for a large Greek population to live
in the city and worship in accordance with the Orthodox rite.12 In 1516,
it issued a decree confining the Jews to a small area in Cannaregio near
the citys foundery (ghetto); and, while in some respects it was restrictive
as a response to anti-Jewish sentiments stirred up by the mendicants, the
Venetian Ghetto was also an institution designed to protect a community
vital to the Republics commercial interests.13 In the late sixteenth century,
Venice even accepted the presence of German Lutherans in the Fondaco dei

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Tedeschi at Rialto and among the students at the nearby University of Padua.
And, finally, in the early seventeenth century, the government established a
fondaco for Muslim merchants residing in the city.14 The Venetians, in short,
were masterful in the incorporation of foreign communities, enabling the
Republic simultaneously to protect its Catholic identity while nonetheless
preserving commercial tieswhich perforce required the presence of men
and women of other faithswithin this port city.15 Within such a context,
the Marranosthose Portuguese New Christians whose religious identity
was decidedly ambiguousinevitably caused concern.16
Nonetheless, despite these anxieties and frequent pressure from
Rome, especially after the election in 1555 of Pope Paul IV, who was notori-
ously hostile to the Marranos, the Venetian government was, overall, protec-
tive of the New Christians.17 To be sure, there had been periods of friction
even before Paul IV became pope. In 1497 and again in 1550, the Venetians
had issued decrees of expulsion against the citys Marranos, but neither of
these decrees proved effective.18 And tensions would continue: there was a
flurry of inquisitional activity regarding Marranos and Judaizing in the late
sixteenth century, though significantly neither the Venetian government nor
the Holy Office ever tried to repress this community as a whole. To the
contrary, the Republic was moving in the opposite direction. In 1589 the
Venetian Senate finally responded favorably to the proposal of the Portu-
guese Jewish merchant Daniel Rodriga to establish a new port at Spalato
and, simultaneously, to grant all Ponentine Jewsthat is, Jews and even
Marranos from Iberiathe privilege of settling in Venice without fear of
harassment from the Inquisition.19 In theory, the accord reached between
the Senate and Rodriga meant that it would no longer be necessary for Por-
tuguese New Christians to live a duplicitous life, since they could now finally
return to their ancestral faith knowing that they would not be charged with
apostasy. As the charter stated, the aforesaid merchants of Jewish descent,
whatever their nation, may live in security according to their religion, with-
out being subject to inquisition by any office or magistracy, either clerical
or lay, even if in other places they have worn some other dress or followed
some other religion.20 And, indeed, until recently, historians had assumed
that the new arrangements led to the disappearance of the Portuguese New
Christian community in Venice. Many scholars had assumed that Marranos
were essentially crypto-Jews and that they would take up the practice of
their own faith and live with other Jews as soon as it was possible.21 To a
large degree, the records of the Venetian Holy Office appear to confirm this
trajectory, since very few cases against Judaizers were taken up by this tri-

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bunal after 1600.22 But, in a compelling recent study that has examined the
history of this community not only through the records of the Inquisition
but also through notarial archives, the Italian scholar Federica Ruspio has
proven that the Portuguese New Christians were actually a stronger presence
in the city in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries than they had
been earlier.23 This finding suggests that one of the most basic assumptions
historians have made about the Marranosnamely, that they yearned for a
return to their ancestral faithis not correct, at least in the case of this New
Christian community in Venice. To the contrary, Ruspios study raises the
possibility that many individuals in this community did not in fact wish to
give up aspects of their complex, ambiguous, and hybrid identities, not even
when they had the legal right, as they did after 1589, to return to Judaism
without fear of being investigated for apostasy by the Holy Office.
Throughout the sixteenth century, Portuguese New Christians pur-
sued various strategies in order to make new lives for themselves. Some chose
to identify themselves as Jews as soon as they arrived in Venice and imme-
diately took up residence in the Ghetto. Others chose to travel first to the
Ottoman Empire where they were able to revert to Judaism without fear of
prosecution and only then returned to Venice with the assumed identity of
Levantine Jews in order to avoid the suspicions of the authorities that they
were apostates. Both these journeys carried some risks, since it was a reason-
able assumption that all Portuguese Jews from 1497 on had been baptized.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that many Portuguese New Christians
would have found it advantageous to continue to live as Christians outside
the Ghetto, since such a choice would have made it unlikely that they could
be charged with having betrayed their baptism, though, as Ruspios study
makes clear, this choice may have had commercial advantages as well. None-
theless, the mere fact of being a Portuguese New Christian was enough to
raise suspicions among many. In Venice, as elsewhere, it was these to whom
the term Marrano was most easily attached. Such individuals were almost
always subject to the suspicion that their Christianity was a mask; that they
practiced Jewish rites and recited Jewish prayers in secret; in short, that, even
if they werent apostates, they were Judaizersand, if this could be demon-
strated, they could fall, as did apostates, under the authority of the Roman
Inquisition.24
It was precisely such suspicions that Gaspare Ribiera, the patriarch
of a Portuguese New Christian family that had settled in Venice in the
early 1560s, confronted. 25 Gaspare had been a wealthy and well-connected
merchant in Lisbon before leaving Portugalprobably under suspicions of

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Judaizingand had spent some four years in Lyon before moving to Italy.
He and his son Joo were active in a variety of commercial activities
from maritime insurance and making loans to trade in pearls and other
fine goodsand were undoubtedly largely successful in their enterprises.26
Their business interests were international, reaching from Antwerp and
Lyon in the West all the way through the Mediterranean into the Otto-
man Empire and even, briefly, into India.27 Their wealth at times protected
them. At one point Gaspare had even publically boasted that, because of his
wealth, he had the government of Venice . . . in the palm of his hand.28
But wealth also rendered them vulnerable to those who envied their suc-
cess. Many of the witnesses who testified against them made their resent-
ment clear, and many were creditors to a family firm whose commitments
they no longer trusted.
But were the suspicions justified? What, in fact, were the religious
beliefs and practices of the Ribiera family? Did they merely use Christian-
ityas both many Jews and Christians believedas a cover for their Juda-
ism? Were they, as many historians of the Marranos have argued, crypto-
J ews, simply waiting for an opportune time to revert to their ancestral faith?
Certainly, publically and outwardly, Gaspare appeared to be a Christian. He
was, as we have seen, active in his parish church at Santa Maria Formosa.
His daughter married a Christian nobleman from Vicenza, though Gaspare
appears to have resisted this alliance, with the hope that his daughter would
marry a Jew instead.29 On the other hand, when Gaspares Portuguese wife
Isabel de Medina died, he gave her a Christian burial; and he later mar-
ried Elena Zogia, a Venetian Christian.30 To be sure, there were occasional
suspicions that the family was not altogether orthodox, but the Holy Office
resisted investigating them, at least at first. The first denunciations against
the Ribiera had come in 1569; and there had been additional accusations in
1575, but it was not until 1579 that the Inquisition began a formal investiga-
tion into the possibility that Gaspare, who had been christened as a young
childunder the forced baptisms in Portugal in 1497was guilty of Juda-
izing or apostasy.
The most damning evidence against Gapare hinged on his son Joos
marriage to Alumbra de Crescenti, a beautiful, young Jewish woman who
was the cousin of Don Joseph Nasi, the Duke of Naxos and the well-known
advisor to the Ottoman sultan, a position that made him the most power-
ful figure in the Sephardic Diaspora at the time.31 To keep the marriage
secret, Joo had celebrated the wedding in the palazzo of a Venetian noble-
man on the island of Murano, and afterwards he prudently chose not to live

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with his wife but rather to stay with his father in Santa Maria Formosa. For
four years Joo and Alumbra carried on an essentially clandestine marriage,
with the two households exchanging gifts and with Joo often spending the
night with Alumbra in the Ghetto. It was only when Joo died in 1579 and
Alumbra, now widowed, appealed to his father Gaspare for the payment of
the promised bride pricepossibly the Jewish tosefet or moharof three
thousand ducats that the marriage came to the attention of the authorities.32
When Gaspare refused, she took the case before the Avogoria di Comun,
one of the Republics major courts. As the legal case unfolded, it was only a
matter of time before the allegation that Joo and Gaspare had been secret
Jews came to the attention of the Holy Office. There, over the course of
the trial, many witnesses testified that Gaspare had entered into a contract
for the marriage with Alumbras mother and had embraced Alumbra as his
daughter-in-lawevidence ultimately in the eyes of the Inquisition that he
was a Judaizer. The case lasted a long time, with the Holy Office interrogat-
ing nearly thirty witnesses. Before a verdict could be reached, Gaspare, who
was already eighty-six years of age at the start of the trial, died. The court
then ordered that his body not be buried until a final judgment was made,
a process that took another three years until the inquisitors, now reviewing
the trial, finally decreed Gaspare guilty of Judaizing. The Inquisition then
directed that Gaspares body, which had been kept in a coffin in a storeroom
of his former home, be buried in unconsecrated ground. For reasons we do
not know, it was another two years before this order was carried out. Finally,
late in the evening on February 12, 1586, Gaspares remains were taken to
the Lido for burial.33
Largely because of its length and the number of witnesses involved,
the Ribiera trial offers at least a sense of the complexity of notions of reli-
gious identity in Renaissance Venice. The Holy Office itself tended to view
religious identity with particular attention to the inner commitments of the
individual. The inquisitors, that is, assumed a clear distinction between inner
belief and outward practice. Ideally these two should be aligned. A devout
Catholic would go to Mass; a devout Jew would attend synagogue and live
in the Ghetto. What disturbed the Holy Office about the Marranos was
the belief that many were pretending to be Christian in their outward acts
while continuing to hold Jewish beliefs and perhaps even performing certain
domestic Jewish rituals in private. They were, as Giovan Battista Castagna,
the papal ambassador to Venice, reported, a synagogue of false Christians
and true Jews.34 And again and again in the trial against Ribiera the Holy
Office asked witnesses if Gaspare fit into this framework. And many wit-

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nesses appear, at least on the surface, to have shared the view that Marranos
were simply practicing Judaism in secret while pretending to be Christian in
public. It is of course true that in public Gaspare and Joo, Isaac Ibibi told
the Inquisition, show themselves as Christians but in secret, they are Jews,
adding in a subsequent deposition, I know that in Venice Gaspare stayed
outside the Ghetto and wore a black cap like the Christians, but, from what
he told me, he had the soul of a Jew.35 But, of course, the witnesses framed
matters in this way. Doing so they were reflecting the views of the inquisitors
themselves who recurrently asked if Gaspare and his son were good Chris-
tians or, in fact, Jews.36
Yet the testimony of the trial makes it clear that the Holy Offices
assumption that Gaspare was a crypto-Jew constituted only one approach
to making sense of his identity. For many othersat times for the Inquisi-
tion itselfGaspares identity was, above all, a matter of his family origins.
When the Holy Office asked Lisbona Berro, Alumbras mother, why she
had agreed to a marriage between her daughter and to a man who went
about dressed like a Christian, who lived with Christians, and who spent
most of his time with Christians, she answered, I considered Gaspare and
Joo Jewish, of the Hebrew race, and all their family members are Jewish.37
Joseph Serafinatus, another Jew, made a similar point: I knew that Messer
Gaspare and Joo were of the Jewish race, and in my soul, I took them
for Jews since, as I have said, Gaspares sister in Ferrara is Jewish as are his
nephews. And, in addition, the children of Gaspares brotherthey are also
in Ferraraare also Jews.38 The Holy Office also made this connection, at
times focusing on the Gaspares extended family.
Other witnesses approached the question of Gaspares identity from
yet another perspective. They maintained he was somehow either both a
Christian and a Jew or, in a curious inversion, neither a Christian nor a Jew.
Chaim Saruc, a prominent Levantine Jew, told the Venetian Holy Office
that he knew Gaspare as a Marrano, and then made use of a similewell
known from a celebrated article by Brian Pullant hat Marranos were
come quelli navilii che hano do timoni [like ships with two rudders], not-
ing that such ships can sail with one rudder with one wind and another
rudder with another wind.39 To some observers, this dual identity called
into question whether or not Gaspare had any faith at all. Early in the trial,
Fra Henrico de Mello told the Holy Office that Gaspare seemed to him nei-
ther Christian nor Jewish nor Turk nor would it be possible to state which is
his law, apart from earning money.40 The witness Stephano Noghara made
much the same point in his assertion that Joo Ribiera was a bad man, and

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he is neither a Christian nor a Jew.41 But the witness Leo Hebreus was more
restrained: I have understood from ordinary people that Gaspare is known
as the Marrano, and I am not informed whether he is either a good Christian
or a good Jew.42 We find similar language in other trials: These Portuguese
of this kind are neither Christians nor Jews nor Turks nor Moors, but they
live in their own way, and when they go to synagogue they carry a book of
offices in the Christian style in the Portuguese language. They are hated by
the other Jews because they wear nothing but the caps of Jews.43
Perhaps, then, both the Jews and the Christians were too quick
either to fit Gaspare into one category rather than another or to assume
that he was merely without religion, shifting as circumstances dictated from
one faith to another, without any conviction. But none of these alternatives
seems persuasive, and each fails to capture the complexity of Gaspares reli-
gious identity. After all, if religion was a matter of internal conviction, this
did not preclude it also being a matter of family, or of genealogy, and these
two need not coincide. Nor is it clear that religious observances in one faith
precluded observing rites in another. Gaspare, moreover, took pride both
in his participation in his Catholic parish and in his familiarity with the
Ghetto. He appears, the trial records suggest, to have been both a Christian
and a Jew at the same time. This doesnt mean that he was not aware of
these dualities. He simply was not daunted by them. He came from a Jew-
ish family, but he had been baptized as a young child, probably at the age
of four. He married twice: his first wife was a Marrano, with a strong desire
to preserve Jewish customs and beliefs, but his second wife was a Christian,
the daughter of a Venetian jeweler. His own daughter ultimately married a
Christian nobleman from Vicenza, while his son secretly married a noble
Jewish woman, who had moved to Venice from Ferrara. He knew the Lords
Prayer and the Ave Maria by heart, but he may well have known how to
recite Jewish prayers, at least in Portuguese. At moments in the trial records,
his Christianity comes off as being spontaneous, as when he crossed himself
during one of his depositions, and later, when he stated that he wished to
make his confession on his deathbed.44 Yet he also evidently attended seder
in the Ghetto and participated in a variety of Jewish rites.
In recent years, many scholars have characterized figures like Gas-
pare as hybridsthat is, as individuals whose identities consisted of a mix-
ture of cultural markers that traditionally have been viewed as distinct or
even opposed to one another.45 A hybrid identity of this nature emerged
less from within the context of Venice itselfthough the presence of an
important Jewish community there as well as the large number of wealthy

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Christian merchants who undertook business at Rialto certainly reinforced


itthan from the much broader context of the emerging Sephardic Diaspora
that was the creation of the forced exile of Jews from Spain and Portugal in
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The number of New Christians and
Jews in this far-reaching diaspora was never huge, probably never more than
twenty thousand altogether, but it would come to create, as we have seen,
one of the most dynamic commercial networks in the early modern world.46
In Europe alone, merchants and others in this network tended to migrate to
such places as Bordeaux, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Lyon, Venice, and Ferrara.
Most of the merchants in this diaspora were, of course, Jews, but the Portu-
guese New Christians constituted an important subgroup and, like the Jews,
they were able to draw on a shared cultural heritage and the shared experi-
ence of exile in the forging of their economic ties. It is even possible, as Rus-
pio has suggested, that their shared religious secrets may have contributed
to the fostering of a sense of trust among them.47 Above all, perhaps, they
were able, rather like al-Hasan al-Wazzan (better known to us until recently
as the Renaissance geographer Leo Africanus), to move between different
polities, make use of different cultural and social resources, and entangle
or separate them so as to survive.48
Venice itself had a community of probably a hundred or so Por-
tuguese merchants living in the city in the late sixteenth century; and they
were the target of most of the investigations involving Judaism by the Holy
Office, some thirty-five cases in all. Specifically, the most difficult period
lasted from about 1550 down to the late 1580s, and it was in this period
that the major trials against Marranos took place. Enrigues Nues, called
Righetto, tried in 1570, had been born in Portugal in 1531, at about the
same time as Joo Ribiera. He had moved with his mother and aunt to
Antwerp in 1536, following the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal.
Then in the late 1540s, the family moved to Venice, but only briefly, set-
tling finally in Ferrara, where they lived for over a decade as part of a robust
Marrano community; and during this time, Enrigues appears to have been
entirely at home with his Jewish identity. It is true that, following his arrest
in Venice in 1570, little in his trial suggests deep religious conviction. To the
contrary, he came across to the Inquisition, in part as a means of protecting
himself, as an individual who would assume a Christian identity merely to
pursue favor in aristocratic and even royal circles, changing his faith like
others change their clothes.49 Similarly, Filippo de Nis, also a contemporary
of Enrigues and Joo, tried in 1585, was, like them, originally from Portugal.
His father had served as a physician at the royal court in Lisbon. But de Nis,

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or Salomon Marco as he was known in the Jewish community, had been


a merchant in Lisbon, the Azores, then the Caribbean, before settling in
Antwerp and finally, in 1583, in Venice.50 Though not everyone accused of
Judaizing was Portuguese or wealthy, most certainly were. And the fact that
this community of Marranos continued to exist for a long time after Por-
tuguese New Christians were granted the privilege of entering the Ghetto
in 1589 is also significant, since it means that this community preserved its
distinctive vitality well into the seventeenth century.
Gaspare, then, like many other Marranos in Venice, lived across
two faiths. Yet there is no evidence that he ever sought to synthesize them.
His son Joo, by contrast, appears to have sought precisely such a synthesis
earlier when he was still living in Portugal. We learn this from the discovery
by Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini of an earlier trial, held in Lisbon in 156263,
against Joo. From the Portuguese records it emerges that Joo had become
caught up in the powerful currents of Messianism that swept through Por-
tugal in the sixteenth century. Like many other conversos of his generation,
he sought a way to reconcile Judaism with Christianity. In particular, he
came to believe that Jesus had not been the Messiah. Rather he believed,
as the religious conflicts in France at the time intensified, that the Messiah
was soon to come and he would unite all the faiths into one sheepfold.51
And there were similar efforts at reconciling Jewish and Christian ideas in
mid-sixteenth-century Venice, especially among the Venetian Anabaptists.
Anabaptism, in Italy, was marked by a strong anti-Trinitarian current; and
we now know that New Christians in the Neapolitan circle around Juan
de Valdshimself from a converso background and one of the primary
inspirations of the reform movement in Italyplayed a major role in shap-
ing these views on the Trinity. Like Joo, many of these New Christians
had been attracted to the Messianism of the period. Moreover, we know of
a large number of individuals from Naples who wound up in the Anabaptist
sect that was investigated by the Venetian Inquisition in 1551. Appearing
before the Venetian Inquisition, Benedetto Napoletano, a medical student a
the University of Padua who had been arrested on charges of heresy, testified
that in Naples there is a new sect of heretics, a large number and among the
leading figures in Naples, who, among other heresies, maintain that Christ is
not God but a great prophet and that he had not come as the Messiah but as
a prophet. . . . Indeed, they deny all the New Testament and say that it is the
invention of Greeks and Gentiles.52 It is quite possible that these Venetian
anti-Trinitarian Anabaptists drew on a complex blending of Jewish, Mar-
rano, and Christian ideas. If so, they represent a more syncretic hybridity

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than did Gaspare, since it was their primary desire to find ways of reconcil-
ing the competing religious traditions in which they were immersed.
The Marranos were not the only ones in Venice whom the Holy
Office worried might be secretly harboring beliefs at odds with the teach-
ings of the Roman Catholic Church. The authorities were also anxious that
many living in Venice, while pretending to be Catholic, were secretly Protes-
tant, precisely the group whom Calvin had labeled Nicodemites. While not
as easily identified as the Marranos, who were clearly of either Portuguese or
Spanish origin, several Nicodemites nonetheless emerge through the analy-
sis of the records of the Inquisition. And, like the Marranos, many of them
were immigrants. Both Pierre de Huchin and Vicenzo Valgrisi, for example,
had come to Venice from France.53 They were drawn by the prospects of the
printing industry in which they were both immensely successful, though
both had to maintain the appearance of devout Catholicism even while cul-
tivating evangelical and even Calvinist ideas privately. Even more modest
figures found it necessary to dissimulate. Paolo Gaiano or Paolo da Cam-
pogalliano, a weaver from Modena, would have certainly made an outward
show of Catholicism when necessary, though it appears that in the garrets
and textile shops of the city, Paolo, like others who shared his beliefs, could
speak relatively openly about his faith.54
While the Nicodemites shared aspects of the experience of immi-
gration with the Marranos, not all of them were immigrants; and one, in
particular the notary Girolamo da Parto, made it clear that he cultivated a
deep sense of interiority as part of his means of concealing his identity in
the city. Girolamo certainly made a show of going to Mass and confession.
Moreover, he often hid evangelical texts in his sleeves, and he would talk
quietly with those who shared his views for reform. When he was tried by
the Holy Office for a second time in the early 1570s, he told his judges, In
this city you have to live as others do.55 His religious views even seem to
have been fashioned in part to justify his deceptions by downplaying exter-
nal things and emphasizing the spiritual. You are the temple of God, and
the spirit of the Lord dwells in you, Girolamo once said, and not in rock,
wood, or metal, adding, the spirit that has strength in us, which is the
Holy Spirit, does great things in our hearts.56
The emphasis on interiority, in the case of the Nicodemites, may
well have been rooted in many earlier formulations about the nature of a
spiritual Christianity and even explicit justifications for dissimulation. The
ideas of many of the early evangelical reformers such as Lefvre dEtaples
in France and of spiritualists such as the German Sebastian Franck stressed

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the priority of interior belief over outward expression, and many of those
who were Protestant in Catholic lands, despite the warnings of Calvin,
found various rationales for their outward participation in the rites of the
Catholic Church. Again, the teachings of Juan de Valds were particularly
important. The writings of Valds, who had attracted an important circle
of aristocrats and ecclesiastics into his circle in Naples in the 1530s, had
himself never fully revealed his religious beliefs and, in his teachings, he
had minimized the significance of external acts, holding that it was ones
internal beliefs that were decisive. Moreover, as we have seen, Valds was
from a New Christian familya fact suggesting that Marranos and Nico-
demites drew on similar theories of dissimulation. But Italians also drew on
the secular literature of Machiavelli and Castiglione, who had also passed
on a rich vocabulary of prudential behavior through which many reformers
found the ethical justification for their equivocations. Shortly after Calvin
launched his first broadside against the practice, the Sienese nobleman and
evangelical Bartolomeo Carli Piccolomini argued in his Trattato della pru
denza (153738) that Christians should conform externally to the beliefs of
those around them while prudently keeping their private beliefs to them-
selves. And indeed other Italian reformers such as the Sienese antitrinitarian
Lelio Sozzini and the Piemontese heretic Celio Secondo Curione, residing in
Basle, advised heretics in Italy to follow the example of Nicodemus in order
to avoid persecution. But the most robust response to Calvin came from the
radical prophetic reformer Giorgio Siculo in his Epistola . . . alli cittadini di
Riva di Trento (1550), in which he rejected Calvins theory of predestina-
tion and maintained that heretics in Italy and elsewhere not only could but
should participate publicly in Catholic ceremonies in order to avoid persecu-
tion. Though Siculo was hanged for his beliefs in Ferrara in 1551, his ideas,
including those justifying dissimulation, continued to circulate among his
followers until the late 1560s and beyond.57 Whether Girolamo da Parto
knew of any of these ideas or not, his dissimulations certainly were justified
as a strategy of self-preservation. In the mid-1570s, when he momentarily let
down his guard, the Inquisition had him arrested, tried, and executed.
Historians of Nicodemism have also placed great stress on the divide
between interior belief and outward expression, and they have understood
the behavior of Nicodemites largely as the expression of studied dissimula-
tion. Delio Cantimori, the first to use the term Nicodemismo to refer to the
widespread phenomenon of religious dissimulation in early modern Italy,
described Nicodemites as those who kept their own faith hidden, wait-
ing until the fear of martyrdom had passed, before revealing it, and, in the

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meantime, showing their obedience to the ecclesiastical authorities of the


countries where they resided.58 Carlo Ginzburg has made a similar assump-
tion about Nicodemism, even going so far as to argue that, as a practice, it
drew on an explicit theory of interiority developed by the Swiss botanist
and theologian Otto Brunfels, who in his Pandectarum veteris et novi Tes
tamenti of 1527 had maintained that it was legitimate to dissimulate, since
Deus ponderat cor [God weighs the heart].59 And other scholars, too, have
made a clear distinction between inner and outer selves in this literature.
Indeed, again and again in the trials of the Holy Office, we find examples
of artisans and professionalsweavers, printers, notarieswho continued
to practice Catholicism outwardly while holding heretical beliefs in private.
Many appear to have done so self-consciously. They were secretive in their
gatherings with coreligionists and often even attended Mass to make an out-
ward show of an inward conformity.

A comparative history of Marranism and Nicodemism in Venice would


require a far more thorough study than this one, with attention to a much
larger set of sources. Nonetheless, this preliminary analysis strongly suggests
that it is not possible to view Nicodemites and Marranos as twin phenom-
ena, as tempting as this perspective is. In particular, it is possible to draw
three clear distinctions between these groups.
The most decisive distinction between Nicodemites and Marranos
stemmed from the radically different ways in which each group had origi-
nally developed. On the one hand, Nicodemites were voluntary converts.
They had been Roman Catholics who had chosen, of their own accord, to
go over to the Reformation but who, for the protection of their families and
their businesses, or themselves, concealed their faith and justified concealing
their faith in the belief that eventually, as changes came to Italy or France,
it would be possible to proclaim their new faith openly. They were, in short,
individuals who had changed their views about salvationa lways within
the framework of one religious tradition, namely Christianityout of a
desire to convert. By contrast, the Marranos were by definition forced con-
verts or the children of forced converts. They had not chosen Christianity
as a matter of internal commitment. To the contrary, they had been put in a
position in which they had to adapt to Christianitya process of adaption
that inevitably took on many forms, from a self-conscious duplicity (rather
like that of the Nicodemites) to a sincere conversion to, as we have seen, vari-
ous forms of religious hybridity.

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Secondly, the intellectual and cultural traditions within the Reform


tradition, on the one hand, and the Jewish tradition, on the other, shaped
fundamentally different attitudes toward dissimulation. For those who had
chosen to accept Calvinist teachings but who nonetheless continued to live
within Catholic states, the Calvinist theologians offered little support. To the
contrary, Calvin and others were clear in their writings that dissimulation
was unacceptable, since they assumed that the internal convictions of indi-
viduals were not genuine unless they made themselves manifest in exterior
actions. To resist these ideas required that the Nicodemites themselves find
ways of justifying a split between the inner and the outer self. The result was
paradoxical. On the one hand, like the Calvinist theologians, they placed
an emphasis on their internal convictions. On the other hand, they did not
believe it necessary to conform to them outwardly. From their perspective, in
short, their decision to dissimulate their own beliefs while simulating those
of Catholicism was completely legitimate. By contrast, the Marranos faced a
far more forgiving view of their plight in the rabbinical literature. Of course,
Jewish views were complex, and some rabbis had condemned dissimulation
in terms that Calvin would have found familiar, but they were a minority,
and, overall, rabbinical opinion came to be more and more accepting of the
need for forced converts to conform outwardly to Catholic practices. They
drew on scriptural passages and the teachings of such great medieval schol-
ars as Maimonides to argue that the practices of concealment were necessary
given the political and religious circumstances that had come about.60 And
Marranos appear to have acted pragmatically, without deep concern about
the possible divisions between internal belief and exterior acts.
Finally, the very terms inner and outer resonated differently between
the Nicodemites and the Marranos. In a persuasive essay on the seventeenth-
century Venetian scholar Leon Modena, Natalie Zemon Davis draws a
useful distinction between Jewish and Christian notions of what she calls
protected inner space. Christian writers, she notes, in their frequent
meditation on masking and dissimulation, usually assumed the inside/
outside contrast to apply to the individual and to be bad but inevitable in
a society of advancement and preferment, adding, In the Jewish case, the
inside was defined not only as the individual and his or her family but also
the wider Jewish community. In the historical circumstances of the exile, the
contrast was often necessary and not always bad.61 Daviss framing works
for Gaspare and perhaps other Marranos of his generation in Venice. Indeed,
little in these trials suggests that the Marranos, despite the suspicions of
the Inquisition, saw themselves as inwardly Jewish beneath a superficial and

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insincere Catholic exterior. They did not fashion their lives, as we might
expect, on the basis of a clear distinction between their interior and exte-
rior selves. To the contrary, what we find is a community that was bound
together across a wide diaspora by, on the one hand, a shared language and
a shared set of practices that they carried out in the domestic spheretheir
Jewish ritesthat were not so much expressions of a secret religion as
a means of honoring the traditions of their families who had undergone a
shared tragedy. Or, we might say, the Marranos valued closeness more than
interiority or proofs of interior conviction. As merchants, they were at home
with the idea of adaptability; they sailed ships with two rudders. But they
did not see this as hypocritical or a mask so much as a matter of practicality.
For, when they did business with one anothereven in the exposed piazze
of Italian citiesthey knew that they shared a bond with other Marranos.
Nor was it clear to them that their practices, after two generations of exile,
would have made sense within the walls of the Venetian Ghetto or within
other Jewish communities. Ruspio is right to think of these individuals in
terms not of cripto-giudaismo but rather of un attitudine mentale.62
As these contrasts suggest, Nicodemites and Marranos negotiated
the religious and political culture of early modern Venice in different ways.
Both confronted confessional demands that emphasized congruence between
the beliefs one held in ones heart and the expression one gave to those beliefs
in word and in deed. The ideal, then, was what both Catholic and Protestant
reformers of this period had begun to define as sincerity. Among the Protes-
tants, Calvin in particular made an important contribution to the modern
notion of sincerity by describing it as the virtue that connects feeling to
avowal.63 Among the Catholics in this same period, the Inquisition increas-
ingly came to insist on the sincerity of the heretics abjuration as necessary
for his or her reconciliation with the church.64 Tellingly, it was the forms of
insincerity in the Nicodemite and the Marrano communities that varied.
The insincerity of the Nicodemites stemmed from their refusal to bring their
external acts into conformity with their internal beliefs. By contrast, the
insincerity of the Marranos had much less to do with the lack of correspon-
dence between internal belief and outward expression and much more to do
with the mixing of categories. They were, thus, insincere in a more archaic
sense of being neither purely Christian nor purely Jewish. In medieval Latin,
sincerus had conveyed the sense of pure or unmixed and had less to do
with notions of interiority than it would come to have in the sixteenth cen-
tury and later. And it was against this form of insincerity or mixing that the
Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions had reacted. Accordingly, the Iberian

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inquisitions placed less emphasis on the internal state of the accused than on
his or her family originsproving or disproving limpieza de sangre, that is,
purity of blood or the absence of Jewish ancestors. In the long run, limpieza
de sangre was a kind of biological sincerity that would contribute to the shap-
ing of racist thought in Western Europe, Africa, and the New World. Yet,
in Venice, the Holy Office did not respond to the presence of Marranos as a
problem of blood but rather of internal conviction.
To be sure, the Venetian Inquisition did take family origins into
account at times in its investigation of Gaspare Ribiera, but ultimately its
concern was with his inner life. The Holy Office focused in particular on the
question of whether or not he had, as some claimed he had, repented of his
acceptance of his sons marriage to a Jew. The Inquisition placed enormous
emphasis on the question of Gaspares repentance, so much so, that when
the inquisitor Giovanni Battista da Milano learned that Gaspares death
was near, he went, along with two other representatives of the Holy Office,
to Gaspares home, now in the parish of San Barnaba. There they spoke
with Raphael Fabrica, a Jesuit father, who had arrived earlier. According to
Raphael, when he had reached Gaspares bedside, a gentleman who was pres-
ent asked Gaspare in Spanish if he wished to confess his sins, and Gaspare
had responded s twice, but he had not said anything else or even make a
sign when Raphael asked him to do so. At this point the inquisitor himself
approached the bedside of the dying man and asked him if he wished to
confess and, if so, to indicate this however he could, with a movement of his
head, his hand, or his foot. But Gaspare neither spoke nor made a meaning-
ful gesture, even though, as the report noted, his eyes were still clear enough
and he was able to move his arms and legs.65 A servant who spoke Portu-
guese also implored Gaspare to confess, but to no avail, though later that
evening Raphael was able to coax another s, weakly spoken and barely
audible, from the dying man.66
That the Inquisition cared deeply about Gaspares inner state was
also clear in the fall of 1584after an inexplicable hiatus in the proceedings
of about two yearswhen Pietro Morisini, one of the lay members of the
tribunal, along with Lorenzo Campeggio, the papal nuncio to Venice, Gio-
vanni Trevisan, the patriarch of Venice, and Angelo Mirabino da Faenza, the
Inquisitor General, reviewed the records of the case and, in particular, the
report that although Gaspares eyes were clear enough and he was able to
move his arms and legs in the final hours of his life, he nonetheless gave no
sign of penance [nullum dedit signum penitentie]. The result was that they
decreed and declared that Gaspare . . . had been a Judaizer.67 Repenting

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might have saved Gaspare from such a fate. Why the Holy Office believed it
knew Gaspares heart or understood the state of his soul in his last hours is
not clear. Evidently the inquisitors believed that the fact that Gaspare could
move his arm and his legs and that his eyes were clear enough was evi-
dence that he still had some understanding and that he should have been
able to give some signalwith words or with a nod or the movement of his
handthat he was repentant. It was the Jew Moses Cardiel who, in testify-
ing about Gaspare almost two years earlier, had demonstrated the greatest
reluctance to guess at Gaspares inner beliefs. Only God, he said, can
know his heart.68

Notes
I am most appreciative to Stanley Chojnacki and Valeria Finucci for their careful
readings of this article and for the excellent suggestions they offered for its improve-
ment. The shortcomings are my own.
1 Testimony of Nov. 21, 1580, in Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini, ed., Processi del S. Uffizio di
Venezia contro ebrei e giudaizzanti, 14 vols. (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 198099), 5:295,
on Gaspares role as gastaldo of the schola del santissimo Sagramento nella chiesa
de Santa Maria Formosa. On his participation in Passover celebrations in the Ghetto,
see the testimony of Sept. 6, 1580, Processi, 5:210. There are references to his participa-
tion in the Mass, taking Communion, and giving his confession throughout the trial.
Translations in the essay of material from records in Processi and other sources are my
own.
2 Of du Ferriers opinions, Montaigne observed that they penchent fort evidemment
vers les innovations calviniennes; Michel de Montaigne, Journal de voyage, ed. Fran-
ois Rigolot (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1992), 68. On du Ferrier, see
douard Frmy, Un ambassadeur liberal sous Charles IX et Henri III: Ambassades
Venise dArnaud Du Ferrier (Paris, 1880).
3 The literature on confessionalization has focused on Germany and Central Europe
from the mid-sixteenth century on; for a recent overview, see R. Po-chia Hsia, Social
Discipline in the Reformation: Central Europe, 15501750 (London: Routledge, 1989).
Nonetheless, the initiatives of Ferdinand and Isabella in the late fifteenth century
anticipated the church-state dynamics of confessionalization in reformed territories by
more than fifty years; see Allyson M. Poska, Confessionalization and Social Disci-
pline in the Iberian World, Archiv fr Reformationsgeschichte (2003): 30819.
4 On English Catholics, see P. J. Holmes, Resistance and Compromise: The Political
Thought of the Elizabethan Catholics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).
In Islam the Quran itself had authorized dissimulation or taqiyya for Muslims forced
to conform to the religious practices of another faith; see Devin J. Sewart, Taqiy
yah as Performance: The Travels of Baha al-Din al-Amali in the Ottoman Empire

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(99193/158385), in Devin J. Stewart, Baber Johansen, and Amy Singer, Law and
Society in Islam (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996), 170. For a gen-
eral overview of religious deception, see Perez Zagorin, Ways of Lying: Dissimulation,
Persecution, and Conformity in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, 1990).
5 Jean Calvin, Excuse Messieurs les Nicodmites, in Ioannis Calvini Opera quae supersunt
omnia, ed. Guilielmus Baum et al., 59 vols. in 26, Corpus Reformatorum, vols. 2987
(Brunsvigae [Braunschweig], Ger.: C. A. Schwetschke, 18631900), 6:589614.
6 On Nicodemismo, see especially Albert Autin, Un pisode de la vie de Calvin: La crise
du Nicodmisme, 15351545 (Toulon, Fr.: P. Tissot, 1917); Delio Cantimori, Eretici
italiani del cinquecento, ricerche storiche (Firenze: G. C. Sansoni, 1939); Carlo Ginz
burg, Il nicodemismo: Simulazione e dissimulazione religiosa nellEuropa del 500
(Torino: G. Einaudi, 1970); and Carlos Eire, Calvin and Nicodemism: A Reap-
praisal, Sixteenth Century Journal (1979): 4469.
7 Jonathan Israel, Diasporas within a Diaspora: Jews, Crypto-Jews, and the World of Mar
itime Empires (15401740) (Leiden: Brill, 2002).
8 Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto: Isaac Cardoso; A Study
in Seventeenth-Century Marranism and Jewish Apologetics (New York: Columbia Uni-
versity Press, 1971).
9 Ellis Rivkin, The Utilization of Non-Jewish Sources for the Reconstruction of Jew-
ish History, Jewish Quarterly Review (195758): 183203.
10 Zagorin, Ways of Lying, 12.
11 Jean-Pierre Cavaill, Dis/simulations: Jules-Csar Vanini, Franois La Mothe Le Vayer,
Gabriel Naud, Louis Machon et Torquato Accetto; Religion, morale et politique au XVII
sicle (Paris: Honor Champion, 2002), 17; Natalie Zemon Davis, Trickster Travels: A
Sixteenth-Century Muslim between Worlds (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 248;
and Carlos Eire, Calvin and Nicodemism: A Reappraisal. See also Brian Pullan, A
Ship with Two Rudders: Righetto Marrano and the Inquisition in Venice, The His
torical Journal 20 (1977): 48.
12 Deno J. Geanakoplos, Byzantine East and Latin West: Two Worlds of Christendom in
Middle Ages and Renaissance (New York: Harper and Row, 1966).
13 The literature on the history of the Ghetto in Venice is immense. On its foundation,
see Robert Finlay, The Foundation of the Ghetto: Venice, the Jews, and the War of
Cambrai, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 126 (1982): 14952; and,
more recently, Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan, Venice between Jerusalem, Byzantium, and
Divine Retribution: The Origins of the Ghetto, Mediterranean Historical Review 6
(1991): 16379. On the administrative history of the Ghetto, see the outstanding work
by David Joshua Malkiel, A Separate Republic: The Mechanics and Dynamics of Vene
tian Jewish Self-Government, 16071624 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, the Hebrew Uni-
versity, 1991).
14 Agostino Sagredo and Federico Berchet, Il Fondaco dei Turchi in Venezia (Milano,
1860).
15 Two useful introductions to the history of immigration and the foreign communities
in Venice are Giorgio Fedalto, Stranieri a Venezia e a Padova, in Girolamo Arnaldi
and Manlio Pastore Stocchi, eds., Dal primo Quattrocento al Concilio di Trento, vol. 3

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of Storia della cultura Veneta, 3 vols. (Vicenza: N. Pozza, 1980), 1:499535; and Dona-
tella Calabri, Gli stranieri e la citt, in Alberto Tenenti and Ugo Tucci, eds., Storia
di Venezia: Dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, vol. 4, Il Rinascimento: Politica e
cultura (Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996), 91346. On the Sephardim
in Venice, see Benjamin Ravid, Les sfarades Venise, in Henri Mchoulan, ed.,
Les Juifs dEspagne: Histoire dune diaspora, 14921992 (Paris: L. Levi, 1992), 28394.
Cecil Roth, Les Marranes Venise, Revue des tudes Juives 89 (1930): 20123, pro-
vides an early overview of the Portuguese immigrants accused of Judaizing.
16 For an important analysis of the ways in which conversos disrupted traditional socio-
religious categories in late medieval Spain, see David Nirenberg, Mass Conversion
and Genealogical Mentalities in Fifteenth-Century Spain, Past & Present 174 (2002):
341.
17 On Paul IVs view of Marranism, see Nicolas Davidson, The Inquisition and the
Jews, in Stephen Halcizer, ed., Inquisition and Society in Early Modern Europe (Lon-
don: Croom Helm, 1987), 30.
18 David Kaufman, Die Vertreibung der Marranen aus Venedig im Jahre 1550, Jewish
Studies Review 13 (1900): 52629, publishes the degrees of both 1497 and 1550.
19 Benjamin Ravid, An Introduction to the Charters of the Jewish Merchants of Ven-
ice, in Ravid, Studies on the Jews of Venice, 13821797 (Aldershot, Hampshire: Ash-
gate, 2003), 20346.
20 David Chambers and Brian Pullan, eds., Venice: A Documentary History, 14501630
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 347; the entire charter appears on
34649.
21 Gaetano Cozzi, Societ veneziana, societ ebraica, in Cozzi, ed., Gli Ebrei a Vene
zia: Secoli XIVX VIII (Milano: Edizioni di Comunit), 334.
22 Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini, Jews, Crypto-Jews, and the Inquisition, in Robert C.
Davis and Benjamin Ravid, eds., The Jews of Early Modern Venice (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2001), 99 and 11213.
23 Federica Ruspio, La nazione portoghese: Ebrei ponentini e nuovi cristiani a Venezia
(Torino: Silvio Zamorani, 2007).
24 On the jurisdiction of the Roman Inquisition over Judaizing or apostasy, see Brian
Pullan, The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice, 15501670 (Totowa, N.J.:
Barnes and Noble Books, 1983), 5871.
25 On this case, see in addition to Pullanss discussion in Jews of Europe and the Inquisi
tion of Venice, 23041, his analysis in The Inquisition and the Jews of Venice: The
Case of Gaspare Ribiero, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library of Manchester 62 (1979):
20731.
26 For a reconstruction of the familys commercial activities on the basis of a study of the
notarial records, see Ruspio, La nazione portoghese, 26468.
27 On Gaspares possible commercial interest in India, see the brief filed in his defense
by his attorneys on May 20, 1581, in Processi, 5:380.
28 Testimony of Nov. 16, 1575, Processi, 5:376.
29 Testimony of Nov. 26, 1579, Processi, 5:53, for the first reference to Vincenzo Scrofa,
Violantes husband. On earlier efforts to arrange Violantes marriage to a Jew, see the
undated testimony in Processi, 5:35.

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30 Testimony of Apr. 9, 1580, Processi, 5:110.


31 On this figure, see Cecil Roth, The House of Nasi: The Duke of Naxos (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society of America, 1948).
32 In general in Venice, the dowry was paid by the father of the bride, but Jewish cus-
toms may have been at work here. See Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strang
ers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern
Period (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2009), 135. For the most authori-
tative discussion of the dowry in Renaissance Venice, see Stanley Chojnacki, Women
and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2000); especially interesting in light of Alumbras claims
on her dowry is chapter 4, Getting Back the Dowry, 95111.
33 Retulit mihi cancellario Hieronimus suprascriptus se. . . . sepeliisse [sic] cadaver
suprascripti quondam Gasparis in littore maris, in loco ubi sepeliuntur cadavera
defunctorum Hebreorum sine cruce et sine luce. Report of Feb. 13, 1586, Processi,
5:434.
34 Nunziature di Venezia, vol. 11, 18 giugno 157322 dicembre 1576, ed. Adriana Buffardi
(Roma: Istituto Storico Italiano, 1972), 137.
35 Testimony of Jul. 3, 1580, Processi, 5:162; and testimony of Oct. 5, 1580, Processi, 5:224.
36 Memorial of Oct. 19, 1569, Processi, 5:38.
37 Testimony of Mar. 24, 1580, Processi, 5:90.
38 Testimony of Apr. 12, 1580, Processi, 5:127.
39 Testimony of Jan. 26, 1580, Processi, 60:55. See Pullan, A Ship with Two Rudders,
3738.
40 Testimony of Mar. 4, 1570, Processi, 5:58.
41 Processi, 5:406.
42 Processi, 5:313.
43 Testimony of Apr. 23, 1580, Processi, 4:11719.
44 On his knowledge of Christian prayers, see testimony of Mar. 15, 1580, Processi, 5:80.
45 For a useful introduction to this concept, see Peter Burke, Cultural Hybridity (Cam-
bridge: Polity Press, 2009).
46 On the size of the diaspora, see Trivellato, Familiarity of Strangers, 3.
47 Ruspio, Nazione portoghese, 67.
48 Davis, Trickster Travels, 11.
49 In addition to Pullan, A Ship with Two Rudders; see Ioly Zorattini, Anrriquez
Nunez alias Abraham alias Righetto: A Marrano Caught between the SantUfficio
of Venice and the Inquisition of Lisbon, in Ariel Toaff and Simon Schwarzfuchs,
eds., The Mediterranean and the Jews: Banking, Finance, and International Trade
(XVIX VIII Centuries) (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1989), 291317. Zorat-
tinis analysis includes materials from a latter Lisbon trial that significantly enhances
our understanding of Anrriquez.
50 Pullan, Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice, 21517.
51 Sentence of May 16, 1563, Processo de Joam Ribeiro christao novo, Inquisio de
Lisboa, published as an appendix in Processi, vol. 5; see esp. 50910.
52 Testimony of Nov. 13, 1551, in Carlo Ginzburg, ed., I Costituti di don Pietro Manelfi
(DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press; Chicago: Newberry Library, 1970), 69.

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53 Archivio di Stato di Venezia (hereafter ASV), SantUffizio, busta 39, dossier


DOchino Pietro. For Vincenzo Valgrisi, see Paul Grendler, The Roman Inquisition
and the Venetian Press (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977).
54 ASV, SantUffizio, busta 20, dossier Paolo Gaiano.
55 ASV, SantUffizio, busta 37, dossier Parto Girolamo, denunciation of Mar. 27, 1572.
56 ASV, SantUffizio, busta 37, dossier Parto Girolamo, testimony of Mar. 11, 1574.
57 Adriano Prosperi, Leresia del libro grande: Storia di Giorgio Siculo e della sua setta
(Milano: Feltrinelli, 2001).
58 Cantimori, Eretici italiani del cinquecento, 70.
59 Ginzburg, Il nicodemismo, 3.
60 Yerushalmi, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto; and Benzion Netanyahu, The Mar
ranos of Spain: From the Late 14th to the Early 16th Century, according to Contemporary
Hebrew Sources, rev. ed. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999).
61 Natalie Zemon Davis, Fame and Secrecy: Leon Modenas Life as an Early Mod-
ern Autobiography, in Mark R. Cohen, ed. and trans., The Autobiography of a
Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi: Leon Modenas Life of Judah (Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 1988), 69.
62 Ruspio, Nazione portoghese, 21.
63 See John Jeffries Martin, Inventing Sincerity, Refashioning Prudence: The Discov-
ery of the Individual in Renaissance Europe, American Historical Review 102 (1997):
130942.
64 On emerging Catholic ideals of sincerity in this period, see John Jeffries Martin,
Myths of Renaissance Individualism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 10322.
65 Report of May 11, 1581, Processi, 5:363, and undated testimony of Raphael Fabrica,
38990.
66 Undated testimony of Raphael Fabrica, Processi, 5:390.
67 Sentence of Oct. 24, 1584, Processi, 5:43132.
68 Testimony of Sept. 6, 1580, Processi, 5:211. Pullan also closes his essay on Ribiera with
this quote, though to emphasize a more general point; see Inquisition and the Jews of
Venice, 231.

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