Living under the Evil Pope

The Hebrew Chronicle of Pope Paul IV by Benjamin Neḥemiah ben Elnathan from Civitanova Marche (16th cent.)


In Living under the Evil Pope, Martina Mampieri presents the Hebrew Chronicle of Pope Paul IV, written in the second half of the sixteenth century by the Italian Jewish moneylender Benjamin Neḥemiah ben Elnathan (alias Guglielmo di Diodato) from Civitanova Marche. The text remained in manuscript for about four centuries until the Galician scholar Isaiah Sonne (1887-1960) published a Hebrew annotated edition of the chronicle in the 1930s. This remarkable source offers an account of the events of the Papal States during Paul IV’s pontificate (1555-59). Making use of broad archival materials, Martina Mampieri reflects on the nature of this work, its historical background, and contents, providing a revised edition of the Hebrew text as well as the first unabridged English translation and commentary.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Martina Mampieri, Ph.D. in History and Jewish Studies (University of Roma Tre and University of Hamburg, 2017), is a Moritz Stern Fellow at the University of Göttingen and was a Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University. She specializes in Jewish cultural history and historiography in early modern and modern times.
List of Abbreviations and Bibliographical Notes
Notes on Currency, Measures, and Time
List of Maps and Plates
Transliteration from Hebrew
The Popes of the Roman Catholic Church (16th Cent.)


Part 1: The Work and Its Context

1 The Jews in Civitanova Marche (15th–16th Cent.)
 1.1 At the Origins of the Jewish Settlement
 1.2 Networks of Credit: Moneylending, Trade, and Other Jewish Businesses
 1.3 Jewish Life, Jewish Spaces
 1.4 Family, Dowry, and Inheritance
 1.5 Observant Preaching and the Rise of the Monte di Pietà (1556)
 1.6 Crisis and Decline of the Jewish Presence in Civitanova Marche

2 Benjamin Neḥemiah ben Elnathan and His Chronicle of Pope Paul IV
 2.1 The Author between Fiction and History
 2.2 Narrative Structure
 2.3 Sources, Language, and Style
 2.4 The Legacy of Amalek and the Writing of History

Part 2: A Reading of Paul IV’s Pontificate (1555–59)

3 Paul IV and Papal Policy towards the Jews
 3.1 Marcellus II and the Alleged Blood Libel against the Jews of Rome
 3.2 Paul IV’s Election to the Papal Throne (1555)
 3.3 “Since It Is Absurd …”
 3.4 The Burning at the Stake of the Portuguese Conversos in Ancona (1556)

4 Between the Centre and the Periphery of the Papal States
 4.1 The Strengthening of the Roman Inquisition
 4.2 The Pope’s War with Spain (1556–57)
 4.3 The Exile of the Carafas and the Creation of the Sacro Consiglio
 4.4 The Government of the Marca and Its Jews (1557–59)

5 Arrest and Imprisonment of the Jews of Civitanova Marche
 5.1 “Dangerous Bonds”: Neophytes, Slanderers, and “Jewish Dogs”
 5.2 From Civitanova Marche to Rome
 5.3 The Inquisition Prisons at Ripetta

6 From Paul IV “the Evil” to Pius IV “the Merciful”
 6.1 Sickness and Death of Paul IV
 6.2 The Vacancy of the Holy See
 6.3 Pius IV’s Election and the Fall of the House of Carafa

Part 3: The Text

Preface to the Edition and Annotated English Translation
 The Manuscript and Isaiah Sonne’s Edition
 Notes and Abbreviations
 List of Hebrew Abbreviations (רשימת הקיצורים)

Hebrew Text and English Translation

Facsimile of NLI, Ms. Heb. 8°984

Documentary Appendix
 Archival Documents
 Chronology of the Events Reported in the Chronicle
 Archival and Manuscript Sources
 Primary Sources
 Studies and Reference Works
Index of Names and Places
All interested in the history of Italian Jewry and Jewish-Christian relations in the early modern period, and anyone concerned with the history of the Catholic Church and the Roman Inquisition.