The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Communities > Plague in Padua


Olam hafukh ṿe-hu sipur ha-magefah asher neheytah be-yamaṿ be-geṭo Padova be-shnat 5391.
Manuscript in Hebrew, on paper.
Ca. 17th century.
MS X893 Ab8
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Great Plague epidemic of 1629-1631 resulted in the deaths of about 280,000 people throughout Northern Italy.  The plague had a particularly devastating effect on the Jews of Padua, where two-thirds of its members succumbed to the disease.  This manuscript, written by a physician who assisted in the aftermath of the plague, is entitled Olam ḥafukh (A World Turned Upside-Down), and chronicles the aftermath of the plague and its massive impact on life in the community.  At the end of the manuscript is a poetic rendering of procedures to be followed in the event of future outbreaks.

Gift of Messers Benjamin Stern and Charles A. Dunn.



Olam hafukh: Title page.


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