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character of Israel. Impotent to assail their enemies, they entrenched themselves behind the most powerful though mournful bulwarks of misery -association and their national obstinacy.
The history of the Roman Jews, which we purpose to glance at in these pages,
is difficult to follow, as far as the earlier phases are concerned, and few allusions are made to them by Latin writers. With the forcible entry of Pompey into the holy of holies at Jerusalem, commences a permanent connexion between that city and Rome. Pompey seems to have brought the first Jewish slaves home : at least, it is indisputable that, dating from him, Jewish freedmen and others, seduced by the spirit of speculation, settled at Rome. They lived there peacefully, and as a separate sect with the privileges of its own law, while their princes and princesses, held in equal honour with the other conquered kings, appeared before the senate and at court to defend their own interests. Herod the Fortunate might be seen, attired in all the pomp of a king, seated at the table of Cæsar and at the theatre. Antipas and Antipater, Archelaus and the Princess Salome, were often visible in the streets of the capital, and several Jewish princes were educated at court. Agrippa, Herod's grandson, a chevalier d'industrie, was brought up with Drusus, son of Tiberius, and was the bosom friend of Caligula, in whose revels he shared. The young
Jewish roué had scarce been released from confinement for debt, when Tiberius cast him into a dungeon, where he pined for six months, until the death of the emperor released him, and Caligula made him king of the Jews. The lovely Princess Veronica, or Berenice, sister and rival of Agrippa the younger, last king of the Jews, played a very brilliant part in Rome. After the destruction of Jerusalem she lived for a season with Titus ; but, spite of her intrigues, she could not succeed in mcunting the imperial throne. _Herod Agrippa was the last Jew who flashed his splendour in ancient Rome, and from that period his people saw no Jew held in honour at Rome except Baron Rothschild, who had great fêtes offered him during the papacy of Gregory XVI., for reasons that may be easily guessed.
In the mean while the Jews had gained firm ground in Rome. Cæsar favoured them, as is proved by their lamenting the whole night after his murder. Augustus also tolerated them, and gave them full liberty to carry on business in Rome : hence they lamented his death too, and wept, it is said, during a whole week. At that time they were not confined to any particular quarter, although we find in Philo that Augustus gave the Jews the Trastevere to live in. According to the Roman tradition, St. Peter lodged in that quarter A.D. 45, near the present church of St. Cecilia, because the Jews resided there; but he also lived in the Aventine, in the house of St. Aquila and Prisca, a Jewish couple who had been converted to Christianity. How mildly Augustus treated the Jews is seen in Philo's curious book, " The Embassy to Caius.” The learned Alexandrian Jew states that the emperor ever behaved to the Jews mercifully, and allowed them the exercise of their religion, although they were principally Libertini, or freedmen. A curious monument on the Via Appia, bearing the names of two libertine Jews, Zabda and Akiba, is still visible. The emperor knew, Philo continues, that they possessed synagogues, where they assembled weekly, and were instructed in the wisdom of their fathers. He also allowed them to send money to Jeru
salem, that sacrifices might be made for them in the temple. He even, Philo adds, decorated the temple with splendid presents, and offered up sacrificial victims; and respected the Sabbath so much, that he ordered the sportule to be given the Jews on the following day, because on that holy day they were not allowed to give or receive presents. We know that Philo was sent in the year 40 by the Alexandrine Jews, at the head of an embassy to Caius (Caligula), to hand in their complaints about the shameful treatment the Jews received from the Alexandrians. He tells us how Caligula received the Jewish envoys at a country house, where he ran like a madman from one room to another, while the Jews were forced to follow him, under a fire of shouts and laughter. The emperor asked them, mockingly, why they eat no pork. “The noise of those," says Philo,“ who ridiculed and maltreated us with coarse jests, was as great as if we had been in a theatre.” And thus we find at that early period the same scenes as those which were witnessed in the middle ages, and almost to the present day in Rome, where the Jews were drawn up on Monte Giordano, or at the Arch of Titus, to welcome the newly-elected pope, and were met by the shouts of the boys or the hoarse laughter of the populace.
Caligula had special reasons for being angry with the Jews. He had determined on having a colossal statue of himself erected in the sanctuary at Jerusalem, because he had learned that the Jews were the only people in the world who refused to pay him divine honours. He therefore gave Petronius, viceroy of Phænicia, orders to have his statue erected. “ Then,” as Josephus and Philo tell us, “all Judæa proceeded int Phænicia, men, women, and children, and covered the country like a cloud. Their lamentation and weeping were so great that, even when they had become silent, the echo shook the air. They threw themselves at the feet of Petronius, imploring him to murder them all, but they would never suffer the sanctuary of their God to be defiled.” Petronius was greatly moved, and wrote an apologetic letter to the emperor: King Agrippa also proceeded to Rome to intercede for his nation. Philo states, doubtlessly with exaggeration, that his horror at Caligula's threatened desecration of the temple was so great that he was carried away in a fainting condition, and was attacked by a dangerous illness; then he wrote a masterly letter to the emperor, in consequence of which Caligula, to whom the whole world had erected temples and altars, gave up his design, and the temple was spared. His speedy death alone saved the Roman Jews from feeling his vengeance. We regret that Philo gives us no details of the Jews then residing in Trastevere ; it appears, however, that they formed a separate synagogue of Libertini, or “Strangers in Rome,” the name by which they are alluded to in the Acts.
When the mysteries of Christianity had penetrated into Rome, Jews and Christians were regarded as a common sect, which was the more natural, as the Christians were chiefly converted Jews. Both suffered the same persecution. In the year 51, Claudius expelled them all from the eity, after Tiberius had already ordered them to be deported to Sardinia by the advice of Sejanus, in order to stop their abominable usury, which proves that they had already learnt the advantages of lending money: Still they constantly returned, and their number grew so that it is stated to have been eight thousand under the earlier emperors, or double the
present amount; but this estimate appears extreme. With the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, who brought a number of Jewish captives to Rome, the people were dispersed, and,
as a natural consequence, numbers flocked to Rome. Vespasian then built a magnificent temple to peace, in which he placed the sacred utensils brought from Jerusalem. The triumphal arch, on which the sacred vessels and the invasion are depicted with such wondrous fidelity, was not completed till after the death of Titus. In the middle ages it was called the Arch of the Seven Candlesticks, or, as the book on the “ Mirabilia" of Rome says, “ Arcus Septem Lucernarum Titi et Vespasiani, ubi est candelabrum Moysi cum arca.' Its appearance was greatly altered by the powerful Frangipanni in the middle ages, when they held the Forum and the Coliseum, for they converted the triumphal arch into a fort, and built a tower upon it, called the Turris Cartularia. During the papacy of Pius VII., in the year 1821, the arch was restored to its present state, as one of the most remarkable antiquities in the city and most modern renovation.
Titus, after the triumph, spurned the name of “ Judaicus," to which he had a claim-a proof how much he despised the Jews. But both himself and Vespasian tolerated the Jews in Rome, and they were allowed the full exercise of their religion, on condition that they paid the old temple-tax of half a shekel to Jupiter Capitolinus. To the present day the Jews pay their tribute to the Camera Capitolina. In the reign of Domitian, this Fiscus Judaicus, as Suetonius tells us, was sharply looked after. The Jews resided at that time in the Trastevere, but were mercilessly expelled by Domitian, who ordered them to live in the valley of Egeria and pay ground-rent.* Juvenal saw the Jews in a very poor condition, as it seems, going in and out with bundles of hay and baskets, and living a thorough gipsy life. The hay served as a bed, and in the baskets they carried their provisions and any unconsidered trifles they could pick up. In the fourteenth Satire, Juvenal complains of the disgraceful superstition which induced some Romans to be initiated in Judaism. At that time, too, the Jews, like the gipsies among ourselves, indulged in fortune-telling, preparing charms, &c., as our author tells us in his sixth Satire, where he gives us such a vivid description of Jewish customs that we fancy we see the gipsy woman standing before us. And just as in Domitian's time, Jewish women crept in by night from the valley of Egeria to satisfy the aspirations of some love-sick Roman lady, they appear to have gone on to the present day; for many Hebrew dames have before now glided from the Ghetto into the city to explain dreams and sell love philters. The bull of Pope Pius V., bearing date 1569, and commencing “ Hebræorum gens sola à Deo electa,” bears especial reference to this fact. This remarkable document, which expelled the Jews from all the cities of the Papal States except Rome and Ancona, is a very
valuable historical memorial, from which we will quote a few passages for comparison with the verses of Juvenal to which we referred." We read in it, “ After that this people had lost its priesthood, and the authority of the law had been taken from it, the Jews were scattered from their own residence, which a merciful and generous God had prepared from the foundation of this nation, as a land flowing with milk and honey. Since that period they have been wandering over the face of the globe: odious, bedecked with
* Cf. Juvenal, Sat. iii.
every infamy and vice, they exercise all descriptions of nefarious and scandalous arts by which they may satisfy their hunger.” Then follows a list of these arts. “For, not to mention the numerous varieties of usury by which the Jews swallow up the fortunes of poor Christians, we believe it to be sufficiently well known that they are the accomplices of robbers and thieves, and receive all manner of stolen property, not only profane, but even that belonging to the holy faith, which they conceal for a while, or even dare to transform, so that it may not be recognised. Many of them also creep into the houses of respectable women, and seduce them to commit all sorts of immorality, and, what is worst of all, they delude many unsuspecting and weak persons by satanic lures, such as fortune-telling, charms, magic arts, and witchcraft, making them believe that the future can be revealed ; that theft, hidden treasures, and concealed things can be made known, and much more brought to light that no mortal was ever yet able of even conjecturing.” So far the papal bull, but we doubt not that Jewish women carry on their iniquitous schemes even to the present day in Rome, in defiance of the bull.
The circumstances of the Jews under the later emperors are obscure ; we read that Alexander Severus permitted them to remain in Trastevere, which must have been inhabited by Jews far into the middle ages, for Hadrian's bridge, the Ponte San Angelo, was known as the Jews' bridge. Hadrian completed the destruction of Jerusalem, and swarms of Jews were sold in the markets of Syria at the price of cattle. This indubitably increased the number of Jews in Rome. So soon, however, as Christianity became the state religion of Rome, the Jews began to hold a very dangerous position, for to the contempt of the Romans was added the hatred of the Christian religion towards the enemies of Christ. Constantine the Great issued a decree forbidding the Jews to keep Christian servants, which proves that a demarcation between Christians and Jews was beginning to be regarded as a religious duty. The Theodosian code contains very stringent regulations against any fusion of Christians and Jews, and forbade the Hebrews holding a festival in which they had been wont to express their rancour against the crucified Saviour. It was the festival they held to commemorate the fall of their enemy Haman, whom they exposed on a cross and burnt with shouts of fiendish joy, as if it had been Christ in person. So long, however, as the Roman senate was maintained as a merely civic authority, the Jews enjoyed an endurable fate, but with the sway of the popes, they were the victims of a fanaticism which gradually increased to legalised barbarity. In the beginning of the middle ages the hatred of the Jews had not attained such a pitch that they should be treated as outcasts of humanity; and even in the time of Alexander III. there were free and respected Jews in Rome, more especially physicians, and even servants of the pope. Benjamin of Tudela tells us in his travels that, during Alexander's pontificate, he found at Rome nearly two hundred Jews, tributary to none, among whom several were papal officers. Among them were some very
persons, the first of them being the great Rabbi Daniel, and the Rabbi Dehiel was the pope's minister—a well-favoured youth, clever and well read, who performed the functions of steward."
But still more curious is the announcement that the anti-Pope Anaclete II. Piero Leone was a baptised Jew, or the son of one.
The family of Piero Leone was one of the most respected in Rome for several
centuries ; so, while Jewish women were prowling about the city, telling fortunes and selling love philters, the Jews had free access to the popes, became the ministers of their secret pleasures, their bankers, and finally their physicians. All the Jewish physicians attached to the popes are enumerated in Mandosio's work, "Degli Archiatri Pontifici," which Marini completed and published in 1784. The first of the goodly company is Joshuah Hallorki, physician to the anti-Pope Benedict XIII.a man who seems to have had a good liking for the Jews, as we read that a Jewish woman had the washing of his linen and robes. Hallorki was afterwards baptised, and took the name of Hieronymus de Santa Fede, adding to his crime by writing a book against the Jews ;* he was publicly cursed in the synagogue, in the same way as Uriel Acosta. Innocent VII. also gave the Jews civil rights in the Trastevere in 1406. Among others, to Maestri Elia di Sabbato, Mose di Lisbona, and Mose di Tivoli, who were all physicians. As such, they had great privileges, and were freed from the degrading brand of Judaism. Martin V. Colonna favoured the Jews greatly, and Elias, from the Ghetto, was his private physician. Till far into the sixteenth century we find Jews attached as physicians to the popes, in spite of all the bulls that fanatic popes fulminated against them; for, as Orientals and kinsmen of the Arabs, the Jews stood high in repute with emperors and kings. Samuel Sarfadi, a Spanish rabbi, was physician to Leo X., and was a very learned and eloquent man. It is to be hoped that the favour these men stood in was employed by them to alleviate the misery of their unfortunate brethren.
Owing to the nature of the papal government, which is quite personal and dependent on the temper of the ruler, the Jews were kept in a state of constant irritation, hoping or fearing a change of condition. At the commencement of the middle ages, numerous councils had recommended the separation of Jews from Christians by some special badge; and this order was renewed by Innocent III. in 1215, and by many of his successors, as may be seen in the “ Dizionario di Erudizione Storico Ecclesiastico," under the article “ Ebrei.” But the Jews generally managed to evade these sumptuary laws, or purchased exemption; in fact, it was impossible to carry them into effect, for a merciful pope would overthrow the bigoted decrees of his predecessors. John XXII, had persecuted the Jews, and finally burned their Talmud publicly; Innocent VII., on the contrary, was very kind to them, as was Martin V. Colonna, a Roman by birth. He restored them the privilege of practising as physicians, and decreed that all the Jews in the Papal States should
their quota to the Carnival-tax, which had hitherto fallen exclusively on the Roman Jews. But his successor, Eugene IV. Condolmieri, a Venetian by birth, and naturally hostile to the mercantile race, restricted their privileges. Jews were forbidden any intercourse with Christians, or even to prescribe for them. They were not allowed to walk about the city, and their testimony was invalid against that of a Christian. In addition, they were ordered to pay the Capitoline treasury an annual sum of 1130 florins. In this reign, too, began the custom of rendering the Jews objects of ridicule at the Carnival feasts. Paul II. Pietro Barbo, a Venetian, in 1468 ordered the Jews to take part in the Corso races, after they had already suffered the indignity of seeing a
* Hieronymi de sancta Fide, ex Judæo Christiani, contrà Judæorum perfidiam et Talmud tractatus, sive libri duo ad mandatum D.P.P. Benedicti XIII.