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Chapter Summary

The presence of the Jews in Sicily lasted over one thousand years. Its antecedents go back to Roman times and are shrouded in obscurity. Jewish communities in Sicily during the Moslem period existed in a dozen or so localities, including Palermo, Messina, Catania, Syracuse and Trapani. With the Norman conquest the Jews of Sicily returned to Christian rule and to Church legislation and Christian missionary efforts. The Jews of Sicily under the rule of Aragon-Spain became more and more integrated into the Jewry regime of Western Europe. For obvious reasons, Aragonese influence was paramount. The relationship between the Crown and its Jews, and for that matter between the barons and their Jews, was based on charters of privileges which spelt out the relationship between the two parties, their rights and duties. In Sicily, there were no compulsory Jewish quarters, and Jews and Christians lived in close proximity to each other.

Keywords: Aragonese; Christian; Church; Jews; Moslem period; Norman; Sicily



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