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Moshe Gil

Abstract

This article deals with various aspects of trade in the 11th century as attested by documents written by Jewish merchants, or regarding them, found in the Cairo Geniza. The following topics are discussed: (a) Partnership; it seems that all transactions were carried out by way of partnership, each party acting in a different locality, and dealing with imports and exports from one country to the other. (b) The methods of accounting, based on regular reports between partners. (c) The ways of marketing the goods. (d) The payments, and matters of credit, price reductions, etc. (e) Disputes between merchants, and the ways of settling them, an oath being the most conclusive argument. (f) The nature and functions of a kind of leader of the merchants, wakīl al-tujjār. Cet article traite de différents aspects du commerce au 11ème siècle, tels qu'ils sont attestés dans les documents écrits par des marchands juifs, ou dans des documents qui les concernent, préservés dans la Geniza du Caire. Les points principaux en sont : (a) L'association; il semble que toutes les transactions s'effectuaient par l'intermédiaire d'associés, chacun des associés agissant dans une localité différente et pratiquant en commerce d'importations et d'exportations d'un pays à l'autre. (b) Les systèmes de comptabilité qui étaient fondés sur des comptes-rendus réguliers échangés entre les associés. (c) Les méthodes de vente. (d) Les modes de payement, de crédit, les réductions de prix, etc. (e) Les conflits entre les marchands et les actions entreprises pour les résoudre. (f) Les fonctions du wakīl al-tujjār, le "chef des marchands".

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Moshe Gil

Abstract

Five main problems constitute the background for the decline of Palestine's agrarian economy under the Romans. A considerable part of the land was held by the Roman state, a situation that became more extensive than can be documented under previous regimes. Taxation, as described in talmudic sources, pressed heavily on the cultivators. Usury, a matter contrary to sacrosanct ancient prescriptions, was burdening the agrarian population by stratagems and cover-ups. Expropriation became frequent and there were instances of flight of both owners and sharecroppers. Finally, marriage and inheritance laws and customs brought about a far-reaching parceling of estates. It is shown that the decline was caused not only by Roman oppression, but also by internal factors, which together caused urbanization on the one hand, and emigration on the other. Cinq problèmes principaux constituent l'arrière-plan pour le déclin de l'économie agraire de la Palestine sous les Romains. Une partie considérable de la terre a été tenue par l'état romain, une situation qui est devenue plus étendue que peut être documentée sous des régimes précédents. L'imposition, comme décrite dans des sources talmudiques, oppressait fortement sur les cultivateurs. L'usure, qui contredit les prescriptions antiques sacro-saintes, accablait la population agraire par des stratagèmes et dissimulations. L'expropriation est devenue fréquente et il y avait des exemples de fuite des propriétaires et des métayers. Finalement, le mariage et les lois et coutumes de l'héritage ont produit un morcellement excessif des domaines. Y est montré que le déclin a été produit non seulement par l'oppression romaine, mais également par des facteurs internes, qui ensemble ont causé l'urbanisation d'une part, et l'émigration de l'autre.

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Moshe Gil

This book deals with the history of the Jews in Muslim countries, and consists of four parts; the central part is the second one which is a comprehensive history of the Jews of Iraq and Iran, from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries; the first part discusses the origin of the Jews in Yathrib (al-Madina) and the references to Jews in the founding document of the Muslim umma; the third part is a history of Sicily and its Jews during the period of Muslim rule; the fourth part deals with the role played by Jews in the economic life of the Muslim countries in the early Middle Ages. The studies are based mainly on Arab writings and on documents from the Cairo Geniza.

Jews in Islamic Countries in the Middle Ages has been selected by Choice as Outstanding Academic Title (2005).

This book is also available in paperback.
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Documents of the Jewish pious foundations from the Cairo Geniza

Edited with translations, annotations and a general introduction

Edited by Moshe Gil