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familiedocumenten/the travels of Moses Cassuto p.6
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The travels of Moses Cassuto, 1733-1735 and 1741-1743
A unique document is the diary of Moses Vita Cassuto, written in the first half of the eighteenth century and describing his two journeys, one to Palestine and one to England and Holland. On this page a part of the summary of this diary describing the final homecoming from his journet to Palestine: from Vienna to Florence

landing in Egypt
arrival in Hebron
Jerusalem and Safed

From Palestine to Constantinople
From Constantinople to Vienna

home: from Vienna to Florence

From Vienna to Florence

The Jews and Vienna

After a description of the Emperor and the Royal Family, he
tells us that:
'In Vienna Jews may not dwell; nor may a Jew spend the night on pain of punishment of 30 ungheri and a further 30 for him who receives him; but if a foreign Jew wishes for urgent purposes to stay in the city day and night, he can easily obtain permission by means of an authorisation from the Emperor, which ordinarily costs a thaler per day, which is paid to the Chancellery on receipt of the authorisation for as many days as have been requested.

About 800 Hebrews reside there permanently, all being privileged, as they are all commissaries of the armies or something else, or have affairs with the Court; and behind this they transact their private affairs in all forms of business, especially in exchange, being great specialists in arbitrage, and many are important jewellers and may live in any quarter.
They are rich and live prosperously in their own houses, some of them drive in carriages and keep open house, where I dined with various Christians, some being men of rank.

There are eight synagogues, seven being German and one Portuguese. They are public, although they are in the private houses of the principal Jews, where the prayers are recited precisely at the usual hours and with the same rules and correctness as elsewhere'. He then describes the Palace and Library of Prince Eugene.

from Vienna to Venice

On Sunday 20 March, two hours before dawn, he left for Venice by the post-chaise.
Five stages of the post carried him through snow into the mountains, passing 'Naistat' (Neustadt), Gratz, capital of Styria, Lubljana, capital of Carinthia, finally to Gorizia, capital of (Austrian) Friuli (here there is a ghetto with many Jews and two synagogues), and Porto-gruer (Porto-gruaro), which was reached on Wednesday nigkt 24 March.
Here they crossed the lagoons in a small boat to Venice, which was reached on Friday 25 March.

Here he had to deliver a package of letters from the Marquis Bartolomei to the Minister of Tuscany ;
the Minister offered to take a Letter from Cassuto, but as it was now the Sabbath he asked him to address the letter to his house in Florence telling them of his safe arrival, though he could not sign it himself now.
But on the Sunday he received word unexpectedly through the Secretary of State that his family were counting the hours to seeing him.

In Venice his friends came to find and embrace him while he stayed four days. Some he sought out himself. It was more exhausting than restful. At the time Princess Eleanora Guastalla (ofTuscany) was in Venice, and he went to pay his respects.
This took some hours, since she wished him to describe to her the progress of his journey.
At the end she recalled to him the time when he was there during Carnival and part of Lent in 1711 when still a beardless youth, unlike now when he had a long beard.

Amid a long description of the city and its customs he speaks of the former Jewish Quarter, called Giuvecca ( corrupted, as he said, from Giudaica).

Here the Jews were first martyred and then driven out.
Some escaped by grace of a certain nobleman and were allowed to return and recorded the event,
as being something at length forgotten, inasmuch as he enabled them now to become famous and re-established them with great privileges and promises that nothing of the kind would ever happen again.

But as the years passed, trade declined and they were unable to keep open shops, but since they have the right to practise freely as traders and brokers, they keep their wares in their own houses and stores. Relations are so good that the word 'Hebrew' is not applied to them but is banned and they are called 'merchants' and addressed as 'Mr. Merchant', and there is no gentleman's house to which they have not free access, especially when they serve that house as major-domo or manager of its affairs.

The Jewish community there has three ghettoes - the Old, the New, and the Newest - all three confined in a walled enclosure with eight synagogues and a Hebrew printing press.

'In the past', he says, 'the Hebrew nation was one of the best features of Venice, when they possessed very powerful houses doing much business and famous throughout the world, but then by reason of controversies and disagreements among themselves they came to contract a heavy debt with the Republic itself - In particular in such a way that the interest grew to extravagant surns - so much, that the capital of all of them would not serve to pay off their debts, and it was thereby worse because today there are few houses which have funds and make a show, but are tolerated, and the Republic, with the utmost clemency, has made them reductions and waived the interest.

Nevertheless they pay every year insufferable amounts which they raise by a miracle. Many houses have left, although the penalties of excommunication have been thundered at those who leave as being debtors to society and the community.
Some from outside who desired to come and open business houses in this city, abstained, because they did not wish to incur the prejudice of the previous debts and therefore it was agreed that anyone could come freely and pay the usual taxes and burdens which might be imposed on him by the Hebrew community according to his status and condition; but that no one without any exception should be taxed more than 500 ducats a year.
To this the Repub1ic gave its pledge and agreed that all who in future should wish should come and live there and open business houses, and in this way many have appeared and there is a Piazza full of business and there is much agreement there.

'This shows how practical it was, because there are business houses which were among those formerly obliged to contribute to the burden of the old debts which are taxed and pay 8,000, 10,000, and in some cases 12,000 ducats a year, yet they carry on and live in splendour and do great business'.

Ferrara and Bologna and some delay because of his long beard

From here he made arrangements to leave by boat for Ferrara on Tuesday 29 March and they reached Ferrara on 30 March. There were a goodly number of Hebrews at Ferrara: some of them very rich. They may practise all sorts of trade and arts, have four synagogues and a ghetto, and carry the Jewish Sign on their hat. He left next day for Bologna, which he describes at length.
There had been Jews there formerly, but Cassuto did not know the reason for their departure, though he knows well that the nobility would 1ike them well and would do everything they could that they should 1ive there, but now there is no sign of them to be seen.
On 31 March he left Bologna and spent the night a Fiorenzuola. But when it came to leaving next morning, the Devil, always looking for trouble, found means of delaying his departure at the last moment of his long and weary journey.
He ran into a battalion of Spanish soldiers near Scarperia. A soldier of the Guard took him to the notary, who, seeing him dressed in Levantine costume, with a long beard, subjected him to a wearisome examination and tried to embroil him because he had with him papers written in Turkish, Hebrew, and German. These were capable of keeping him in restraint for weeks, until finally the interpreters came to recognise him and found nothing to pick on.
God put it into his mouth to claim that, as he was a subject of the Grand Duke, none but his officer could search him in his own State. He offered to send his servant to Florence to obtain a passport or papers from H.R.H. the Duke, while remaining himself as a hostage, and the Commandant agreed. After long argument the notary took a note of all his possessions for the Commandant and let him go, to keep the Sabbath at home.

shaving off the beard and home at Passover

At the bridge of San Piero a Sieve, the Commandant accepted his explanations, and at the Uccellatoio Cassuto found a fast carriage sent by his friend to show him the way to the villa at Romito where, as he had written, he wished to remain outside the town on account of his beard, without having to remove it all at once, and to rest for a few days, free from the visits to be expected from his friends.

On Wednesday 1 Apri1 1735, at twenty-first hour, they reached the Villa of Romito, where he found his wife and others of his circle waiting for him, who had received word of his arrival by the express post.

Then came the barber and removed his thick beard and cut his hair, which he had let grow untouched since the day when he left Florence.
His friends, too, came to see him in some number, though all were busy with the approach of the Passover .

On Tuesday evening 5 April (the eve of the Passover) he left for Florence by carriage. The following day he shaved the rest of his beard and hair, doffed his Levantine dress and at the twenty-third hour left his house to give thanks in the synagogue to omnipotent God for his kindness and mercy in bringing him safely home.

next to come: the second journey to Holland!

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