Projekt von Dr. Naomi Lubrich The Jewish Hat – Metamorphoses of a Sign From the twelfth to the seventeenth century, a cone-shaped hat called pileus cornutus served as a distinguishing sign for Jews in the German-speaking regions of the Holy Roman Empire. What did such a hat signify previously, and how did its meaning change after it was imposed on Jews by papal decree in the thirteenth century? This study traces its history as far back as the Bronze Age, when a cone-shaped hat was a symbol of divinity, and on to Greek antiquity, when a pointed “Phrygian” hat was used as a means of identifying barbarians. Traveling on to Rome, where it was known as a pileus, the hat became a symbol for emancipated slaves. Its imposition on Jews in the Middle Ages was a turning point. In increasing numbers of representations of deceived and deceiving hat-wearing Jews on church fronts and furniture, on reliefs and stained-glass windows, in art and illuminations, the stigma increasingly came to represent depravity itself. It proliferated. Pointed hats began to appear in representations of a variety of devious figures, real and mythical, including heretics, criminals, and dwarfs – from medieval magicians to contemporary popular culture. Following the course of the pileus not only sheds light on a singular symbol of otherness; it also stands as a paradigmatic case of a “traveling concept” and helps to refine our understanding of cultural transfer—of culture as transfer.