New research sheds mild on the phenomenon of feminine Jewish slavery and uncovers gang rape in Livorno’s slave jail

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Historian Prof. Tamar Herzig, Vice Dean for Analysis at Entin School of Humanities, uncovered beforehand unknown proof of an organized gang rape of a bunch of enslaved Jewish women and girls from North Africa within the Italian metropolis of Livorno initially of the 17th century. The rape was organized by Dr. Bernardetto Buonromei, a high-ranking state official at Livorno’s slave jail, who was additionally capable of silence any complaints and successfully erase the reminiscence of the victims’ struggling.

In line with the paperwork studied by Herzig, in the summertime of 1610 Buonromei ordered the task of a bunch of enslaved feminine Jews, newly arrived from North Africa, to the boys’s quarters within the slave jail, opposite to the customary separation of ladies and men in several sections. This order resulted within the a number of perpetrator raping of the enslaved Jews by Muslim slaves and Christian pressured laborers. One report notes that one of many victims misplaced her thoughts, and tried to throw her younger daughters out of the jail’s window and commit suicide.

Representatives of Livorno’s influential Jewish neighborhood despatched protests decrying the unprecedented sexual abuse of their enslaved coreligionists to the Tuscan authorities, however all complaints and testimonies had been quickly silenced with the assistance of the Grand duke of Tuscany, who backed Dr. Buonromei. The Grand duke accepted the physician’s claims that his actions had been aimed toward rising the Tuscan state’s income from the slave commerce, by guaranteeing the long run cost of excessive ransom charges for enslaved international Jews by the native Jewish neighborhood in Livorno. Buonromei stored his job because the doctor in control of the slave jail, and when he died a number of years later the Grand duke paid for his tombstone at Livorno’s primary church.

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Livorno’s Jewish neighborhood within the 17th century was one of many wealthiest and most influential Italian Jewish communities, and its relationship with the rulers of the Tuscan state was often sturdy. In line with the paperwork that Prof. Herzig uncovered, the prosperous and well-connected members of Livorno’s Jewish neighborhood had been nonetheless topic to extortion by authorities officers like Buonromei. Prof. Herzig discovered that the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany employed the gang rape incident as a grand spectacle of violence, utilizing it to exert stress on the Jewish neighborhood in order that they’d comply with pay exorbitant ransom charges for Jews captured in North Africa and forcefully transported to Livorno.

Buonromei, who had served as Livorno’s first Mayor earlier than his appointment on the slave jail, remains to be honored as we speak as one of many metropolis’s founding fathers. A road in Livorno is known as after him, and a determine commemorating him is paraded within the annual processions celebrating Livorno’s elevation to the standing of a metropolis.

Prof. Herzig’s research was revealed within the journal The American Historic Evaluate. Prof. Herzig hopes that publicity of her findings within the Italian media will result in a change within the commemoration of Dr. Buonromei, a person who made his fortune from the slave commerce and was personally accountable for the horrendous abuse of enslaved Jewish girls and ladies.

Most research on slavery in seventeenth-century Italy have beforehand centered primarily on male galley slaves, who supposedly suffered from harsher remedy than enslaved girls. Scholarship has additionally centered on Muslim-Christian rivalry on this interval, as the primary motivation for the respective teams’ engagement in enslaving each other. However up to now little or no analysis has addressed the place of Jews as victims of the slave commerce in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italy. Prof. Herzig’s research is the primary to disclose the angle of representatives of the Italian regime towards Jewish girls from North Africa, captured by Italian forces and delivered to Italian ports as slaves—an angle that considerably impacted the relations between native Jews and Christian in Italian cities on the time.

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Prof. Herzig says that “unveiling the feminine and Jewish facets of the Italian slave commerce is essential, as a result of these matters have largely been uncared for in historic scholarship on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I hope that by elevating consciousness concerning the phenomenon of Jewish girls’s enslavement, my analysis will result in a reconsideration of the present commemoration of slavers similar to Bernardetto Buonromei, thereby attaining some historic justice for the victims.”


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Extra data:
Tamar Herzig, Slavery and Interethnic Sexual Violence, The American Historic Evaluate (2022). DOI: 10.1093/ahr/rhac011

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New research sheds mild on the phenomenon of feminine Jewish slavery and uncovers gang rape in Livorno’s slave jail (2022, Might 18)
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