Nathan, Venguessone

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NATHAN, VENGUESSONE , major landowner and money-lender in 15th-century Provence. In a survey of 1424 Nathan is listed as the largest Jewish landowner in Arles, with property including a house, vineyard, and shop where she sold drapery and crockery. She also owned books in Hebrew and Latin. At her death, she was owed money from debts, claims, and pledges. In her will, notarized in 1436, Venguessone's largest bequests went to her grandsons. (Her son, Isaac, had a great deal of money of his own.) Her unmarried granddaughters received money for their dowries (probably in addition to what their father would contribute) and her married granddaughters received 25 florins for clothing for their first birthing. Venguessone left several charitable legacies, including money for the cemetery, a light for the synagogue, ten florins for the crown of the Torah scroll, and money for dowries for poor brides.

Venguessone's mother, Esther de Caylar, granddaughter of Bonjues Nathan, the patriarch of a prominent Arles family, is known to have represented the Nathan family as a delegate, with one other woman, Regina, at an assembly for the reorganization of a free school for the Arles Jewish community, held from November 8–December 23, 1407.


P. Hildenfinger, "Documents relatifs aux Juifs d'Arles," in: Revue des études juives 42 (1900), 87; D. Iancu-Agou, "Une vente de livres hébreux à Arles en 1434: Tableau de l'élite juive Arlesienne au mileu du xve siècle," in: Revue des études juives 146 (1987), 5–62; L. Stouff, "Isaac Nathan et les siens. Une famille juive d'Arles des xive et xve siècles," in: Provence Historique 37:150 (1987), 499–12; E. Taitz, S. Henry, and C. Tallan, "Nathan, Venguessone," in: The jps Guide to Jewish Women, 600 b.c.e.1900 c.e. (2003), 82; idem, "Esther de Caylar," ibid., 79.

[Cheryl Tallan (2nd ed.)]