The Jews in the Multicultural Calabria Renaissance

The Jews in the Multicultural Calabria Renaissance

Benedetto Ligorio, Ph.D., Post-Doc. Early Modern History Department of Philosophy in Villa Mirafiori, Sapienza University of Rome.

Conference Calabria cradle of hospitality and multicultural dialogue

Promoted by:

Regione Calabria, città di Nicotera, Calabria Film Commission, Comunità ebraica di Napoli, UCEI Unione Comunità Ebraiche Italiane

The Jewish presence in Calabria, together with the Arberesh, Greek, Slavic ones, in the Early Modern Era is the product of the multiethnic and multicultural texture characterizing the Mediterranean and southern Italy in the long Renaissance. The Jewish presence so rooted and well quantified thanks to the efficient Secular State System can be found not only in large cities, but also in small towns. In this way the paradigm of claimed superiority of the city over the periphery is reversed.

Furthermore, the commercial role played by Jewish merchants, as in the case of the wine trade which in September 1377 connected Sardinia, Cagliari, Calabria and Capri, is proof of how a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural social structure was functional to the correct development of the economy, and how the expulsion of the Jews which took place progressively in 1510, 1531 and 1541 had a profound effect on determining “the southern Italian question”.

In fact many Jews from southern Italy moved to central Italy, where, not always well received by the locals, they often played an avant-garde social-economic and cultural role in Early Modern Era.