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Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

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Mendel Metzger

Family of Jewish printers, active in Italy, Turkey and Egypt. They originated in Germany but emigrated to Lombardy and settled in Soncino near Crema in 1454, taking the name of the town as their patronymic. Their first printing press was set up in Soncino by Yoshua (d 1493) and Moses (d 1489), sons of Israel Nathan (d 1492?), a physician. The family was active between 1483, the date of Yoshua’s first book, and 1562, when the 184th and last publication was printed by his great-great-nephew in Cairo. Seven family members were printers: Yoshua, his brother Moses, Moses’s sons Solomon and Gershom [Hieronymus Soncinus] (d 1534), Gershom’s children Moses and Eliezer (d 1547) and Eliezer’s son Gershom (d 1562). Yoshua published only Hebrew books (42 editions, all incunabula) during his short career (1483–9 in Soncino, 1489–92 in Naples). Gershom’s career, however, was one of the longest (...