ABSTRACT At the heart of the sodomy trial against Lazarro de Norsa in 1670 before the Modenese Inquisition lies a relationship between the Jewish tailor Lazarro and the son of the household, Cesare Cimicelli. Lazarro sleeps, not in the servants’ quarters, but with Cimicelli. There is nothing unusual or sinister about two men sharing a bed, but when two men of different faiths and status do so it gives rise to gossip and suspicion. This essay focuses on enmity, friendship and homo-sociality among Jews and Christians in an early modern Italian Christian household. It shows how men had a primary role within this domestic space and how relationships between servants could be made and unmade. It also reveals an unusual case in which a Jew appearing before an inquisitorial tribunal was successfully defended by a Christian procurator, paid for by the head of the Christian household, Signor Enrico Cimicelli.
issue 24 / n.2 (2023)