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The Jewish Community

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Chapter Summary

The mediaeval Jewish community in Europe owed its existence to two main causes: the need for Jewish groups to organize and administer their affairs in an orderly manner, and the desire on the part of the authorities to deal with a Jewish collective rather than with individuals. In Sicily, as in many other places, the Jewish community goes back to Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The community of Palermo too was affected by the zigzagging policies of the government in regard to the elections of Jewish communal officers between 1479 and 1485. In 1468, the Jewish community in Palermo obtained permission from the viceroy to pay a Venetian merchant 150 Venetian ducats for the liberation of a Jewish prisoner and his wife and children and another 54 ducats for that of some other Jewish prisoners.

Keywords: Early Middle Ages; mediaeval Jewish community; Palermo; Sicily

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