Stephen Bowd

Detail from Massacre of the Innocents, Guido Reni, 1611.

The conflicts that devastated Renaissance Europe were justified by ancient ideas rooted in natural law and Christianity. Though replaced by legal frameworks for the conduct of war between states, the killing continues.

The persecution and execution of Jews in 15th-century Italy highlights the ambiguous attitudes of Renaissance intellectuals towards Jewish people, their beliefs and their historical relationship with Christian theology, as Stephen Bowd explains.