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Melchiorre Palontrotti and the First Giudiata against the Jews of Rome (1647–48)

Fri, March 23, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton Riverside, 3rd Level - Canal Room


The paper aims to present an unpublished archival document concerning a giudiata, a farce against the Jews, that, according to the preamble of the text, was performed in Rome between 1647 and 1648, in the occasion of the burial of the rabbi. The author is Melchiorre Palontrotti who, among other things, wrote a polemical response (Rome, 1641) to the Discorso circa il stato degli hebrei of Simone Luzzatto. Besides providing important details on the play-acting (like the masquerade of young boys singing the chorus, the presence of a pork in a box, etc.), the text – which is written in vernacular Italian and transliterated Hebrew – reveals Palontrotti’s knowledge of Hebrew as well as of the way of speaking of Roman Jews. The whole song pretends to be a praise of the deceased rabbi but it is mocking him while comparing him to the pork in the box.


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