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From Roman Citizens To Servants Of The Royal Treasury

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Chapter Summary

Little is known of the Jews in Sicily in the days of Rome and even less of their legal history and civic status there, except by way of analogy with that of the Jews in other parts of the Empire. By the time the first reliable piece of evidence proving the presence of Jews in Roman Sicily emerged from the documentary twilight of the first centuries of the Common Era, namely by the end of the fourth century, the Jews of the Empire had become Roman citizens. The first mention in Sicily of one the prohibitions imposed on the Jews is that of owning Christian slaves. Islam tolerated the protected peoples (dhimmis), i.e., Jews and Christians, unlike pagans, which it did not. The confirmation by Emperor Henry VI to the Jews (and Saracens) of the privileges which they had enjoyed under the Normans left the situation unchanged.

Keywords: Christian slaves; Islam; Jews; Normans; Roman citizens; Sicily



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