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PARMA. Located in the region of Emilia in northern Italy, Parma and its surrounding territory, never independent, became part of the Papal States in 1521. In 1545 Pope Paul III (reigned 15341549) created the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, a nearby town, and made his son Pier Luigi Farnese (15031547) the ruler. Paul III saw the duchy as a counterweight to Spanish power centered in Milan, while the Spanish viceroy in Milan, Ferrante Gonzaga, viewed it as a threat. In addition, some nobles of Piacenza saw Pier Luigi's rule as oppressive. So, with the support of Gonzaga, they assassinated Pier Luigi on 10 September 1547. In the settling of accounts afterward, the duchy remained in Farnese hands but under Spanish protection.

From that point onward, Farnese dukes pursued a cautious pro-Spanish foreign policy that kept them out of most conflicts and was sometimes accompanied by suppression of internal dissent. The city of Parma had 20,000 to 25,000 people in the sixteenth century, grew to 33,000 people in the early seventeenth century, declined to a low of 19,000 by 1650, and then rose again to about 35,000 in the eighteenth century. The duchy had 350,000 to 400,000 inhabitants in 1600.

Farnese dukes pursued a policy of support for education, the arts, and building projects, which won friendship and prestige outside the state. In 1601 Duke Ranuccio I (15691622; ruled 15921622) founded the University of Parma, the only Italian university to include members of the Society of Jesus as members of the faculty. Jesuit professors taught the humanities, logic, philosophy, mathematics, and theology, while laymen appointed by the duke taught law and medicine, the larger part of the university. The University of Parma successfully competed for professors and students with older Italian universities.

Also in 1601 Ranuccio I founded a boarding school for boys of noble blood. It accepted boys between the ages of eleven and fourteen who might remain until the age of twenty. In 1604 Ranuccio awarded direction of the school to the Jesuits. In additional to the standard Jesuit curriculum of humanities, philosophy, mathematics, and religious instruction, the Parma school taught French, singing, dancing, designing fortifications, and horsemanship, and it charged high fees. The boarders could also hunt in the duke's preserve and received honored places at public events. The Parma school attracted noble boys from Italy and other parts of Europe, because it offered a curriculum designed for them and the opportunity to mix with peers. Enrollment climbed to a peak of 550 to 600 boys between 1670 and 1700 before a gradual decline set in. Parma's school for nobles had imitators across Europe.

Other Farnese dukes engaged in building programs. They began to erect a huge ducal palace in 1583, which was not finished until the next century. The Farnese Theater opened in 1628 and immediately became a preferred setting for plays, spectacles, and operas, including those of Claudio Monteverdi (15671643).

The Farnese dynasty ruled successfully and married well into other Italian ruling families and Spain. The dynasty ended when Duke Antonio (16791731; ruled 17271731) died without heirs in 1731. Because Elisabetta Farnese (16921766) was the wife of King Philip V of Spain, the duchy passed in 1732 into the hands of their son, Don Carlos de Bourbon (17161788; ruled Parma 17321736, ruled Spain as Charles III, 17591788). The duchy fell into Austrian hands from 1735 to 1748 but returned to the Spanish Bourbons in 1748 and remained there for the rest of the century. The most important figure of this period was Guillaume du Tillot, chief minister from 1749 to 1771. He brought with him French cultural influences and learning to the court, as well as French Enlightenment administrative reforms, agricultural methods, and restrictions on the rights of the church.

See also Bourbon Dynasty (Spain) ; Jesuits ; Papacy and Papal States ; Universities .


Brizzi, Gian Paolo. La formazione della classe dirigente nel Sei-Settecento: I seminaria nobilium nell'Italia centrosettentrionale. Bologna, 1976. Study of the school for nobles at Parma and similar schools.

Grendler, Paul F. The Universities of the Italian Renaissance. Baltimore, 2002. See pages 129137 et passim for the University of Parma.

Romani, M. A., and A. Quondam, eds. Le corti farnesiana di Parma e Piacenza, 15451622. 2 vols. Rome, 1978.

Paul F. Grendler

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PARMA , city in N. Italy, capital of the province and former duchy of the same name. Jews are mentioned in Parma around the middle of the 14th century when the town was ruled by the Visconti dukes of Mantua. When the *Black Death was raging in 1348, the Jews were accused of poisoning wells and fountains, and some were put to death. Under the Visconti, Jewish moneylenders were able to carry on business in Parma. In 1440 Elias, physician and lecturer at the medical school of Pavia, was appointed physician to the duke of Parma; among other physicians who practiced there were Giacobb, who may be identical with Giacobbe who treated Duke Erede i of Este in 1467, and Abraham, son of Moses of Prato (1480).

Under the rule of the Sforza, about the middle of the 15th century, the Jews enjoyed the protection of the dukes against oppression by the municipal authorities. The Franciscan Bernardino da *Feltre instigated the expulsion of some Jewish women who had given dancing lessons to aristocratic women in Parma. In 1488 Bernardino succeeded in having a Christian loan-bank (*Monte di Pietà) established there; the Jewish loan-bankers began to leave the town, taking refuge in Piacenza and the smaller centers of the duchy. Following the bull "cum nimis absurdum" issued by Pope *Pauliv in July 1555, Jews were no longer permitted to carry on their moneylending activities or to reside in Parma. Under Paul's successor, Pius iv, the Jews were permitted in 1562 to open loan-banks in 16 smaller centers in the duchy of Parma and Piacenza (at Colorno, Roccabianca, Soragna, Borgo San Donnino (now Fidenza), Busseto, San Secondo Parmense, and Sissa). The concession, valid for a duration of 12 years, was later renewed for eight centers only; these included the first five mentioned above. Renewals were granted every 12 years, the last dating from 1669. The loan-banks were a necessity for the predominantly agricultural population. The Jews were accorded political equality on July 12, 1803 by the French commissaire Moreau de Saint-Méry, but this was rescinded in 1816 by the archduchess Marie Louise. Jews were now beginning to resettle in Parma itself. Publication of a Rivista Israelitica was begun in Parma in 1845, but lasted only for three years. Emancipation followed the inclusion of Parma in the Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1866 the renewed community of Parma drew up its constitution and arranged for the building of a synagogue. Rabbis of Parma include Donato Camerini (1866–1921), editor of a prayer book according to the Italian rite (Parma, 1912). The community numbered 510 in 1840, and 684 in 1881, declining to 415 in 1911.

[Alfredo Mordechai Rabello]

In 1931 there were 232 Jews in the community of Parma. During the Holocaust at least 12 were sent to extermination camps. After the war the community had a membership of 86, which declined to 60 by 1969.

[Sergio Della Pergola]

Palatina Library

The Palatina Library in Parma contains one of the richest collections of Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula in the world, among them many valuable illuminated manuscripts. Included in the collection are early Bible codices, and it is especially rich in liturgical manuscripts. Important manuscripts of Midrashim and rabbinical works include the commentaries of Menahem b. Solomon *Meiri. In 1816 Marie-Louise, Napoleon's wife, bought the G.B. de' *Rossi collection of more than 1,500 manuscripts. In 1846 the library acquired over 100 Hebrew manuscripts from the collection of M.B. *Foa of Reggio Emilia. The codices are amply described by G.B. de' Rossi in his Manuscripti codices Hebraici bibliothecae (3 vols., 1803); the 55 manuscripts later acquired by de' Rossi were described by M. Steinschneider in: hb, 6–7 (1863–64); 12 (1872); 14 (1874) and by P. *Perreau (Catologo dei Codici ebraici de… non descritti dal de' Rossi, 1880). G. Tamani described the library's illuminated manuscripts (in: La Bibliofilia, 70 (1968), 39–139).

[Alfredo Mordechai Rabello]


Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; V. Rovè, L'Educatore Israelita, 18 (1870); A. Orvieto, in: Il Vessillo Israelitico, 43 (1895), 323–7, 357–60; E. Loevinson, in: rmi, 7 (1932), 350–8; G. Bachi, ibid., 12 (1938), 204–5; 28 (1962), 37 (statistics); P. Colbi, ibid., 29 (1963), 438–45; E. Urbach, in: mgwj, 80 (1936), 275–81; M.A. Szulwas, Ḥayyei ha-Yehudim be-Italyah… (1955), index. palatina library: Zunz, Gesch, 240; G. Gabrieli, Manoscritti… (1930); idem, in: rmi, 7 (1932–33), 167–75; E. Loevinson, ibid., 477–92; U. Cassuto, I Manoscritti Palatini ebraici della Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana… (1935); G. Tamani, Studii nell Oriente e le Bibbie (1967), 201–26.

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Parma City in n Italy; capital of Parma province. Parma is famed for its food products, such as Parma ham and Parmesan cheese. It was founded by the Romans in 183 bc. In the 9th century ad, it became a bishopric, and in 1513 was incorporated into the Papal States. In 1545, Pope Paul III established the duchy of Parma, and until 1731 it was controlled by the Farnese family. Despite suffering severe bombing in World War II, the city retains many historic buildings. Pop. (2000) 170,031.

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