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Merchants, Artisans And Others

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Chapter Summary

The most important information from the Cairo Geniza on the Jews of Sicily during the Moslem domination concerns business. This is only natural, considering that nearly all letters were written by merchants who lived in Sicily or carried on trade with the island. The Sicilian merchants were a section, for a while perhaps the weightiest during the period to which most of the letters refer, but not the only economic element among the Jews of the island. The shipping routes between Sicily-North Africa-Egypt were in the main coastal lanes along the North African littoral between Egypt and the Maghreb, and from there, to and from Sicily, making use of anchorages on some of the islands en route. Local artisans were employed by Jewish merchants to process and improve raw materials and semi-finished articles, which were then marketed locally or shipped abroad.

Keywords: artisans; Cairo Geniza; Egypt; Jews; merchants; Moslem; North Africa; Sicily



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