Jews have been using armorial bearings since the oldest times.
In the 14th century this use, first reserved to Cohaim and Levites, begins to spread also to other Jews and gradually a heraldry tradition is invented. Family's emblems were used for religious purpose (to mark tombstones or to embellish ketuboth) but also for civil purpose: to mark belongings, homes, etc.
Jews started entering the ranks of the European nobility in the 17th century, when some important Jew received the title for his merits. This in Italy happened more frequently in the 19th century when Jews generously financed philanthropic institutions or financed the wars of Unification and received a title in recognition.
|Corinaldi - Earls
Title granted to Michele Corinaldi (Pisa) with Decree of the King Vittorio Emanuele II the 21st of April 1862. Michele Corinaldi was a patriot, helped political refugees.
Granted the title Gran Croce of the Order of San Marino and Knight of the Ordine Tunisino.
|- Michele + Benedetta
Treves de Benfili
- Augusto + Emma Treves de Bonfili
- Amedeo + Margherita Rignano
- Mathilde (b. 1874) + Giorgio del Valle
- Gustavo (b. 1868) + Giulia Padoa
- Benedetta + Moisè Trieste
- Bianca, (b. 1877)
- Elia (b. 1872)
- Amedeo (1866-1912)
------ Adolfo (b. 1898)
------ Elena (b. 1899)
------ Gilberto (b. 1902)
|Lusena - Livorno|
The heraldic emblems are taken from the Tradition, often
adapted through the Spanish and Portuguese customs.
|Lumbroso - Barons
Abram Received the title in 1866 from King Vittorio Emanuele II
Abram (1813 - 1887) + Emilia da Costa
----- Giacomo Jakov + Todros
|Labor ac Virtus|
|Franchetti - Barons
Title granted to Abramo Franchetti the 17th October 1858 with Decree of Vittorio Emanuele II the King of Sardegna
|- Abramo + Allegrana Sonnino
- Augusto + Sara Rothschild
- Elisa + Barone Emilio Vitta
- Alberto + Margherita Levi
|Morpurgo - Barons
Title granted to Giuseppe the 21st of January 1867
- Giuseppe (1815 - 28/2/1898)
- Elio (d. 1876)
|Levi De Veali - Barons
Title granted to Mosè Zekut by
King Umberto I in 1892
|Mosè Zekut + Rosina Luzzatti (d.1910)
|Calamo et Aratri|
|Ottolenghi di Vallepiana - Earls
Title granted to Mosè Zekut with Decree of
King Umberto I the 10th February 1884
|Jacob Salomone + Milca Vitale
----- Meir Emilio + Benedetta Bedarida
----- Adolfo + Lidia Ottolenghi
----- Ugo Emilio Giuseppe
The symbols of this heraldic are the star of David, the lion of Judah, the Menorah, the two hands of the Levites, the palm tree, etc.The lion of Judah often takes the appearance of an heraldic lion rampant.
Some figures clearly recall the meaning of the surnames.
Giacomo C. Bascapé, Note di araldica e simbologia ebraiche [Notes on Jewish Heraldry and Symbology] , in Giacomo C. Bascapé; Marcello Del Piazzo, Insegne e simboli. Araldica pubblica e privata medievale e moderna, Roma, Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, 1983, pp. 443-446.
Umberto Cassuto, Gli stemmi presso gli ebrei, in «Il Vessillo Israelitico», a. LV, 1907, pp. 28-30, 117-118.
Daniel Friedenberg, Medieval Jewish Seals from Europe,. Wayne State University Press, 1987.
Havah Lazar, Coats of Arms of Italian Jews, in Proceedings of the 8th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, 1982, division D, pp. 57-62.
The New Jewish encyclopedia, New York, 1976. Behrman House (s.v. Heraldry and Titles of Nobility).
Edoardo Morpurgo, Notizie sulle famiglie ebree esistite a Padova nel XVI secolo, in «II Corriere israelitico», a. XLVII, 1908-1909, p. 161-165; 193-196; 229-234; 257-260, passim;
Franco Pisa, Parnassim: Le Grandi Famiglie Ebraiche Italiane dal Secolo XI al XIX in Annuario di Studi Ebraici, ed. by Ariel Toaff, Carucci Editore, a. X, 1980-1984, Roma, 1984, pp. 291-491.
Cecil Roth, Stemmi di famiglie ebraiche italiane [Armorial Bearings of Jewish Italian Families] in Daniel Carpi Attilio Milano, Alexander Rofé, Scritti in memoria di Leone Carpi, Jerusalem: 1967, p. 165-184.
Samuel Schaerf, I cognomi degli ebrei d'Italia, [The surnames of the Jews of Italy] Ed. Israel, Firenze 1925 has a chapter on Famiglie ebree nobili d'Italia [Jewish Noble Italian Families].
Heraldica.org has a page on Jewish Heraldry