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Slay Them Not Lest My People Forget

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Chapter Summary

The Augustinian formula, based on "the remnant shall be saved" and "slay them not lest my people forget" remained valid in Aragonese Sicily, as it had been throughout mediaeval Christian Europe. The Crown was torn between Christian piety and the need to maintain law and order. The Jewish community in Palermo complained to the Martins and Queen Mary, who ordered the inquisitors and other clergy to desist from interfering with the community on the pretext that they were harbouring Jews who in fact were Christians. Business relations between converts and Jews, reciprocal employment, and close living quarters appear to have been the rule rather than the exception in fourteenth and fifteenth century Sicily. The expulsion put an end to all this. Jewish 'pravity' and 'corrupting influence' had been successfully extirpated.

Keywords: Aragonese Sicily; Jewish community; mediaeval Christian Europe; Palermo

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