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2. Words

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Chapter Summary

Simple prose inscriptions, noting the name of the deceased and the date of death, are the most common variety found in Jewish graveyards of the pre-modern era. These monuments are valuable tools for the study of demographic patterns and social structures, as well as for genealogical research. The use of paronomasia is considered characteristic, and seen that numerical plays on words were popular in the Jews' graveyards, as were Biblicisms, which is another form of word play. The most elaborate feat of literary acrobatics in the Padua graveyards is the epitaph poem of Azriel Cantarini which is a parody of "Lord of the World", a popular hymn from the daily liturgy. Poets of the Italian Renaissance wrote epitaph poems for great men and beloved relatives: Petrarch wrote six couplets for the marble tomb of his grandchild Francescuolo, and Salutati left epitaph poems for illustrious members of Florentine society.

Keywords: epitaph poems; Jewish graveyards; Padua graveyards; paronomasia; Petrarch; word play



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