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Sicilian Converts After The Expulsion: Inter-Community Relations, Acculturation And The Preservation Of Group Identity

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Chapter Summary

A large number of conversions occurred during the period of the expulsion, in part as a result of the persuasive tactics of the Sicilian authorities. Generally speaking, endogamy is a good criterion for gauging the extent of assimilation even after conversion. One of the accusations brought against the neophyti of Southern Italy who had remained there after the mass-conversions of the thirteenth century was that they continued to marry only among themselves as late as the middle of the fifteenth century, thus maintaining their separate identity. Out of 200 inventories of convert property, only thirty are listed devotional objects; this signals only limited acculturation and integration into the general society. While, in general, the Old-Christian and New-Christian communities did not maintain close social relations, their separation did not necessarily mean enmity.

Keywords: acculturation; endogamy; group identity; New-Christian community; Old-Christian community; Sicilian authorities



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