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8 The Jewish Communities in the Social Fabric of Latin Greece: Between Segregation and Interaction

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Chapter Summary

The population of the Byzantine territories occupied by the Latins after the Fourth Crusade was overwhelmingly Greek. Jews resided in their midst. They were the only ethnic and religious minority continuously present in Byzantium since Antiquity. Despite their small numbers, they were the object of more attention than any other minority in the empire. To a large extent the Church, the state, and the surrounding society shaped both their individual and collective condition, characterised by social segregation. Indeed, the Jews also formed a distinct ethnic and religious community segregated by choice. They differed markedly from the bulk of the Byzantine population by their religious creed, social cohesion, lifestyle, customs, and cultural traits. Venetian Crete is the only region of Latin Greece for which one have detailed evidence regarding social relations between Jews and Christians, both Greeks and Latins.

Keywords: Byzantine territories; Christians; Fourth Crusade; Jews; Latin; social segregation

10.1163/9789004284104_009
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