Jews and Magic in Medici Florence
In the 17th century, Jews in Florence’s tiny ghetto struggled to earn a living by any means possible, including loan-sharking, rag-picking, and second-hand dealing. They were often viewed as an uncanny people with rare supernatural powers. Historian Edward Goldberg shared how businessman and aspiring scholar Benedetto Blanis used this mystical misperception to his advantage, seeking a grand position at the Medici Court
and winning the admiration of Don Giovanni de’ Medici.