LUMBROSO, Italian-Tunisian family of scholars, diplomats, leaders, and rabbis of Castilian origin. JACOB and RAPHAEL, sons of DANIEL LUMBROSO, intervened on behalf of their community in 1686, after a heavy tax had been imposed upon it by the bey. They were the leaders of the *Gornim community (of Leghorn origin) in *Tunis.
ISAAC BEN JACOB (d. 1752) was one of the most brilliant representatives of Tunisian Jewry. He promoted talmudic studies and was largely responsible for the numerous rabbis of eminence who lived in 18th-century Tunis. During his period of office as chief rabbi, the split between the Tuansa (native Tunisian Jews) and Gornim occurred (1710). He attempted to find a compromise solution to the difficulties which arose between the two groups. For a long time he acted as the bey's tax collector; the bey also appointed him qāʾid (= leader) of the Jews. Wealthy and generous, he gave his financial support to many students. His principal work, entitled Zera' Yiẓḥak ("Seed of Isaac," 1768), was published in Tunis after his death. It is a voluminous didactic commentary on several parts of the Talmud and also contains funeral eulogies delivered by the author, as well as some scholarly notes on several passages in the Bible. The second part of the book Benei Joseph by Joseph *Tanuji, consisting of notes on several tractates of the Talmud and seven responsa by Isaac Lumbroso, which were found by the editor after Lumbroso's Zera' Yiẓḥak had been printed, is also entitled Zera' Yiẓḥak. To this day, Isaac is widely renowned among Jews of Tunisian origin as having been a scholar and a mystic.
ISAAC VITA (1793–1871), who was born in Tunis, was known especially for his philanthropy. For several decades he was the undisputed leader of the Leghorn Jews in Tunis and president of the "Portuguese" congregation. He was also a dayyan.
His son ABRAM BEN ISAAC VITA (1813–1887), who was also born in Tunis, was appointed personal physician of the bey and minister of health in the Tunisian government. He established learned societies, and under the patronage of his sovereign he propagated Western culture in Tunisia. He was also a philanthropist. He wrote several authoritative scientific studies in the field of medicine. The king of Italy granted him the title of baron. His brother GIACOMO was one of the most prominent merchants of Marseilles, where until 1881 he was the exclusive representative of Tunisia for the whole of France, with the rank of consul general. DAVID (1817–1880), who was born in Tunis, was an important financier and diplomat. He played a prominent role in Tunisian politics. ACHILLE (1858–1914), who was born in Mahdia, was a shipowner in Gabès, where he represented Italy. He was known especially as a poet and author.
Abram's son, GIACOMO LUMBROSO (1844–1925), was a classical historian and archaeologist. Born in Tunis, he taught at the universities of Palermo, Pisa, and Rome, and was elected to the famous Accademia dei Lincei. A specialist in the hellenistic civilization of Egypt, he was widely recognized as an expert in the ancillary disciplines of papyrology and epigraphy. His major published works were Recherches sur l'économie politique de l'Egypte sous les Lagides (1870) and L'Egitto altempo dei Greci e dei Romani (1882, 18952). He also compiled a glossary in ten folio volumes, Testi e commenti concernenti l'antica Alessandria. After his death, publication of this work was begun under the auspices of the Italian journal Aegyptus (serie scientifica, vol. 4), but only a small part was printed (1934, 1936) before wartime priorities ended the project.
His son was ALBERTO EMMANUELE LUMBROSO (1872–1942), Italian historian, who was born in Turin, and like his father, turned from law to history. He specialized in the Napoleonic period, on which he wrote numerous articles and books. His first major work was a Napoleonic bibliography (1894–96) that was followed by a study of the continental system, Napoleone I. e l'Inghilterra (1897) and Napoleone II (2 vols., 1902–05). In 1903 he became director of the Revue Napoléonienne (published in Paris). In 1904, after the National Library in Turin suffered a disastrous fire, Lumbroso donated his personal library as the core of a new collection. In 1916–18 he was Italian military attaché to Greece. In his Le origini economiche e diplomatiche della guerra mondiale (2 vols., 1926–28), he argued that World War I represented a triumph of Anglo-Saxon imperialism. His Bibliografia ragionata della guerra delle nazioni was published in 1920.
[Frank D. Grande]
D. Cazès, Notes bibliographiques… (1893), index; M. Eisenbeth, in: Revue Africaine, 96 (1952), 360–1; J. Ganiage, ibid., 99 (1955), 153–73; Hirschberg, Afrikah, index.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.