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The Economy

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Chapter Summary

The Jews of Sicily engaged in practically all the occupations, pursuits, and professions practiced in their time on the island. There were only a few exceptions, such as the military service (but including guard duty) and public office in government and town, closed to them because of their ethno-religious identity. The Sicilian economy was mainly an agricultural one, producing grain, oil, sugar, wine, livestock, wool, silk, dairy produce, leather, fish (mainly tunny), and their derivatives. In Sicily fishing meant tunny, although many other fish were caught and consumed, particularly sardines and anchovy, as well as larger fish. Medicine was the first and foremost occupation of Sicilian Jewish professionals. Some 200 Jewish physicians and surgeons were named in the records of the Aragonese period. Among the food articles that Jews helped to produce was salt. It was mined mainly in salt mines, one of the best known being that of Cammarata.

Keywords: Aragonese; Cammarata; Jewish physicians; Jews; Sicilian economy; Sicily fishing

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