Le projet SION-Digit a pour objectif de rendre accessible une grande quantité de sources archivistiques concernant des Juifs dans le triangle géographique de Venise, Bordeaux et Amsterdam, entre c. 1500 et 1700. Les sources relèvent essentiellement des archives notariales. Le but du carnet est de publier régulièrement des annonces et articles, mettant au courant ses lecteurs de nouvelles découvertes, des ressources numériques créées par SION-Digit, des débats et rencontres autour du projet, ainsi que des publications le concernant.

About the project

The project SION-Digit consists of locating, cataloguing, digitizing and transcribing a representative corpus of notarial deeds revealing everyday-life, objects and transborder transactions of Jews, 1500-1700, within the geographical triangle Venice-Bordeaux-Amsterdam. The majority of these lives still go unnoticed due to the dispersal of notarial records absorbed within larger, Christian, administrations. SION-DIGIT aims to create the resource for tracing persons, objects and texts and reconstruct the spatial and temporal networks within which they existed. The notarial deeds from the cities’ different repositories are presently hard to find or impossible to access and online reproduction by the institutions unlikely to happen. While scholarship has acknowledged the existence of interconnected charity networks it remains uninformed of many everyday life details. SION-DIGIT will organise, reproduce and transcribe a representative set of records from different institutions. It aims at enhancing their accessibility through an Open Access searchable database and a suite of analytic and statistical tools.

Disclosing archives, specifically notarial records, from early modern Jewry’s main urban centres Venice, Amsterdam and Bordeaux, during the period 1500-1700, SION-DIGIT will address a major gap of present-day scholarship. These involve information on transborder exchanges in relation to individuals’ everyday life, from literacy and intellectual transfers to estate property. Lacking systematic analysis of notarial deeds as a major source, analysis of cultual and cultural objects’ dissemination, of wealth-distribution and inheritance is still missing important elements. Notarial deeds contain information on objects that represent any form of ‘wealth’, both intellectual and material. SION-DIGIT aims at resolving complications stemming from archival preservation and decoding (challenging accessibility and readability, dispersal and incomplete or inexistent indexing and cataloguing), affecting the exploration of notarial records.

While we are aware of the connections between Venice, Amsterdam and Bordeaux through a charity system (see for ex. Bodian 1987), we are in dire need of archival data, especially from before 1660, on other types of transactions allowing historiography to fill those gaps. Moreover, the study of records in Jewish community archives has been isolated from collections within state and town archives, thus truncating these records’ meaning. Conversely, studies isolating deeds integrated into the larger governing – Christian – system blur their meaning. This long-unperceived binary but complementary administrative presence partly reflects the double status of Jews, turned into Conversos, the first period after the expulsion of Spain and Portugal (1492, 1497). SION-DIGIT will offer an archival collection that is complementary to the Pinkasim Project. The latter harvested and prepared digitized versions of 1500-1800 communities’ minute books of Ashkenazic Europe and northern Italy for open-access publication on the National Library of Israel’s website.

SION-Digit will address the current need for data and knowledge regarding Jewish lives, counterbalancing the isolation and furthermore extremely scarce pinkasim material surviving for the cities and period here taken into consideration. SION-DIGIT’s approach will unearth new constellations of texts and people, as well as hitherto unnoticed links in European Jewry and wider European culture. Producing a large and unprecedented dataset in the field of early modern Jewish and urban network studies alike, saving these archives and data from their current dispersed character, resolving material problems of accessibility and readability, SION-DIGIT will unearth and reproduce the material in such a way that it offers a new archival repository that allows serial analysis and reconsidering main-stream narratives of the complex and nuanced role of early modern Jews.

Découverte d’un autographe inédit de Montaigne

SION-Digit à la Une de l’InSHS du CNRS – La recherche face à une histoire trouée

L’Institut des Sciences humaines et sociales du CNRS avait demandé à Evelien Chayes (IRHT-UPR 841), à l’origine du projet SION-Digit, d’écrire une page pour présenter ses travaux. Sa découverte d’un autographe de Montaigne totalement inconnu depuis 440 ans a été une expérience hors du commun. Mais les découvertes de vies inattendues des XVIe et XVIIe siècles, qu’elle évoque ici, la touchent parfois profondément, d’une manière bien plus intime.

Si les références aux traditions juives disparaissent du monde de l’écrit du XVIe siècle, ne serait-ce que pour les renvoyer à un autre monde ou au monde de l’autre, comment s’expliquerait alors leur réapparition graduelle dans les sources autour de 1650 ? Serait-elle due tout simplement et uniquement au flux intensif de mobilité des personnes ? Comment la recherche peut-elle faire face au défaut de traces vérifiables ?

Evelien Chayes dans “La recherche face à une histoire trouée de la Renaissance: vies des juifs”.

SION Digit Sfarim lauréat du deuxième appel à manifestation d’intérêt Biblissima+ (2023)

Type de projet: Projet partenarial

Responsable scientifique: Evelien Chayes

Établissement porteur: IRHT – Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes


Archives départementales de la Gironde

Archivio di Stato di Venezia

Signifier des textes anciens et leurs réseaux : cultures juives du livre à travers les actes notariés, 1500-1700

Le projet SION-Digit-Sfarim, en partenariat avec les archives de la Gironde et Venise, a pour objectif de localiser, cataloguer, numériser, transcrire et exploiter un corpus représentatif d’actes notariés de la période 1500-1700 relatifs à la vie, aux objets et aux transmissions et transactions effectuées par des Juifs, remontant parfois à une époque bien antérieure à l’acte notarié, et dans le triangle géographique de Venise, Amsterdam et Bordeaux, d’une forte mobilité de personnes et d’objets entre elles. Nombre d’actes notariés font l’inventaire de collections de livres : bibliothèques enregistrées dans des testaments, inventaires après-décès, donations ou renoncements. Ainsi, ces sources constituent de précieux documents pour la reconstitution de la transmission des textes anciens – en effet, on trouve des collections d’hebraïca à côté de textes en grec, latin et en langues vulgaires – de génération en génération. Recouvrant une grande quantité de sources, ce projet offrira les bases scientifiques pour évaluer la culture du livre dans les milieux juifs, la réception des textes anciens, le lectorat juif ainsi que la possession du livre.

An unpublished autograph by Montaigne among notarial deeds discovered by an IRHT-CNRS researcher living in Bordeaux

A hitherto unknown autograph manuscript of the early modern author Michel de Montaigne, together with a set of notarial deeds regarding the philosopher, have recently been discovered by Evelien Chayes. They survived 440 years since 1583, as a batch that was stitched together with sixteenth-century thread and bound in a larger portion of deeds as a so-called liasse (bundle) as part of the archives of the notary Pierre Marraquier, which, after the death of his successors, were given to the Garde-Note*, before entering the repository of the Archives départementales de la Gironde in 1828.

During the summer of 2022, while conducting her research in the context of her project SION-Digit, Evelien Chayes discovered the documents by chance. She benefitted from her ‘montaigniste’-eye, trained by dint of her collaboration, at the Humanism-department of the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, within the Montaigne à l’œuvre project, directed by Marie-Luce Demonet and Alain Legros (Centre d’Études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours). Chayes contacted Legros, in order to combine their expertise. This resulted in the publication of a co-authored article in the periodical Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, LXXXV-2023, pp. 87-95: ‘Un brouillon inédit de Montaigne parmi des actes notariés’.

The notarial deeds, six in total, are dated from 30 December 1583 to 8 September 1584, during the period when Michel de Montaigne served his second mandate as Major of Bordeaux (he was re-elected on 1 August 1583). These documents concern the construction of a depot on a plot of land owned by Montaigne, situated in the Chartrons neighbourhood, not far from Château Trompette. This fortress was demolished in the first half of the nineteenth century and the area is now occupied by the esplanade des Quinconces. His plan to build on his piece of urban land was instrumentalised against him by ultra-catholic notables. In their attempt to rise to power in the office of Bordeaux’s Major, they accused him of wanting to sacrifice the public interest for his own benefit. However, once the battle was ended by the conclusive re-election of the moderate Montaigne, the royal approval for the building allowed the project to be realised, once the deeds were registered in front of the notary Marraquier.

These archives, abounding with everyday-life elements, contribute to the reconstruction of the history of sixteenth-century Bordeaux. Moreover, they contextualise Montaigne in his relationships with contemporaries, not only princes and lords, but also artisans, notaries, clerics and the witnesses that emerge in the deeds. The sixteenth-century figure who became a celebrity is part of the same tissue as the micro-histories of Bordeaux told by these sources.

Thus, this discovery gracefully illustrates the objectives of the project SION-Digit (Signifying Objects, Texts and Networks, 1500-1700. Digitising Transactions in Jewish European Culture): to render accessible a large quantity of archival sources, essentially notarial deeds, concerning Jews within the geographical triangle Venice-Bordeaux-Amsterdam, 1500-1700.

The autograph text, written by Montaigne – on the right side of the verso of a folio-size sheet containing a deed on the left side – is the draft version of a letter, enigmatic at first sight, as it only contains some disjointed sentences, scribbled down on the first blank sheet that came to hand for a careful redaction. The recipient of the lost letter turns out to be the Duke of Épernon, Henry III’s archimignon, who at the time way staying on the right bank of the Garonne, facing Bordeaux. The missive from the Major invited him to ignore the dispute that then opposed him to Matignon, the King’s lieutenant general in Guyenne, and receive, in the name of the King, the homage of a truly ‘princely entry’ during the first days of June 1584. A letter from Henry III to Matignon shows that, without mentioning him, Montaigne succeeded to convince the duke in the given circumstances.

* Garde-Note: since 1575, a general repository of all notarial minutes.


translated from: ‘Découverte d’un autographe inédit de Montaigne’, IRHT – Actualités:

Le colloque du 28.9.2022 est en ligne sur Akadem


et ici:

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search