The October 19th issue of Lanciostory, the popular weekly Italian comics magazine, will display a new adventure of the well-known Italian cartoon character Dago, titled "The wandering Jewess,” written by Gianluca Piredda and drawn by Leo Sgarbi.
This new story will see Dago meeting and help Gracia Mendes Nasi (1510–1569), a Portuguese intellectual and one of the wealthiest Jewish women of Renaissance Europe.
Born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1510, Gracia's family was from Aragon in Spain and were forcibly converted Jews, known as Conversos or Marranos.
In order to keep practicing their Judaism, her family fled to Portugal when the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, expelled the Jews in 1492.
Five years later, in 1497, they were forcibly converted to Catholicism along with all the other Jews in Portugal at that time.
Gracia married Francisco Mendes/Benveniste and was the aunt and business partner of Joao Micas - alias, Hebrew name Joseph Nasi - who became a prominent figure in the politics of the Ottoman Empire.
Gracia also developed an escape network that saved hundreds of Conversos from the Inquisition. Her name Gracia is Spanish for the Hebrew Hannah, which means Grace; she was also known by her Christianized name Beatrice de Luna.
In the story, set between Pesaro and Venice, the story of Dona Gracia until her departure for Turkey is told.
Created in 1980 by Robin Wood, Dago has been one of the pillars of the weekly Lanciostory since 1983 and one of the best-known comic characters in Italy.
Dago tells the story a 16th-century Venetian nobleman who is betrayed and stabbed in the back by his best friend as part of a political plot during which his family is murdered and framed for treason.
He is found adrift in the sea with the dagger still in his back by an Ottoman ship whose crewmembers save him, enslave him and baptize him "Dago" in reference to the dagger that, like a mother, gives him a new life as a slave.
As he realizes he's still alive, he swears vengeance on the four men that took part in the conspiracy to destroy his family.