Identity theft in the Renaissance

Most people believe that identify theft is a modern concept, but the Renaissance also had its share of frauds and pretenders. In a new book Renaissance Impostors and Proofs of Identity, author Miriam Eliav-Feldon of Tel Aviv University's Department of History looks at men and women of the time who played loosely with the rules of identity.

According to Eliav-Feldon, the concept of individual identity became important when "diplomas, travel papers, and occupational licenses became prevalent, and that necessitated the creation of systems to distribute and authenticate these new forms of identification."