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Chapter Summary

The demography of the Jews of Sicily, particularly at the time of the expulsion, has engrossed the minds of many historians from Di Giovanni (if one may so describe him) to the present. A Palermitan census carried out in 1479 to ascertain the number of able-bodied men and the quantity of arms available for the defence against the Turk showed the same figure for Palermo as did the census of 26 years later: 25,000. The main defect of estimating population data, Jewish and non-Jewish, based in one form or another on tax figures, is due to the methods adopted for tax assessments/returns purposes. Although there is no automatic correlation between population size and taxes, a change in one often carried with it an adjustment in the other.

Keywords: demography; Di Giovanni; Jews; Palermo; Sicily; tax assessments



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