EDGAR MORTARA, an Italian Jew, of a Bologna family, whose abduction in early childhood (1858) by the Inquisition occupied for several years the attention of European diplomacy.
Edgar Mortara, when between five and six years of age, fell ill.
He accordingly declined to take any action, meanwhile indicating the direction of his sympathies by making Mortara his ward.
In 1861 the Mortara family induced the Italian government to demand the prosecution of the nurse.
The Vatican replied that she had entered a nunnery, and subsequently, on the threat of intervention by Prussia, induced the Mortara family to withdraw their plaint.
After the capture of Rome by the Italian troops in 1870 Edgar Mortara had the opportunity of reverting to Judaism, but he refused to do so, and not long afterwards became an Augustinian.
Field-Marshal dAspre from seizing Mortara, a fault for which he was afterwards courtmartialled and shot, and after some preliminary fighting Radetzky won the decisive battle of Novara (March 23) which broke up the Piedmontese army.
Such incidents were the Damascus charge of ritual murder (1840), the forcible baptism of the Italian child Mortara (1858), and the Russian pogroms at various dates.
Lines diverge from it to Turin via Asti, to Valenza (and thence to Vercelli, Mortara - for Novara or Milan - and Pavia), to Tortona, to Novi, to Acqui and to Bra.