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Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Sicily is the eighteenth volume of the two series and concludes them. It is a monograph describing the last centuries of the Jewish presence on the island, under the rule of Aragon and Spain and a sequel to the Introduction at the beginning of volume one. It is based on the documents contained in vols 2-17 and illustrates the political, legal, economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and its relations with the Christian majority.
The records show that the Jews in Sicily were citizens and suffered from relatively few disabilities. This was true in particular in the economic sphere. No discriminatory legislation forced them into moneylending and trade in old clothes. They engaged in agriculture and industry, trade and commerce, including international trade and shipping, and in most professions, which in turn enhanced their social status. There was as an unusually large number of craftsmen and physicians among them. The majority, however, were labourers, on the land and in town. In the fifteenth century the Jewish population reached 25,000 or thereabouts. All this came to a sudden end with the expulsion order issued by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Some 80% of the Jews went into exile, while the remainder converted to Catholicism, only to be caught in the net of the Spanish inquisition.
This volume is provided with addenda and corrigenda, additional bibliography and indexes.

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Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the seventh of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority.

Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particularly the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.

Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication, most appearing here for the first time. While some documents are discussed at length, the majority are only presented in summary form. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.

"Simonshon’s last volume confirms once again the importance of his documentary series for students of Italian, Sicilian and Jewish matters, from late antiquity to early modern times. The coherence of both modes of collection and organization of materials, together with copious amount of data and suggestions for further study, continue to spoil scholars and researches who, in years, have come to immensely appreciate the convenience and richness of this comprehensive collection."
Lucia Finotto, Brandeis University
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Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the eighth of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority.
Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particularly the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication, most appearing here for the first time. While some documents are discussed at length, the majority are only presented in summary form. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
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Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the fourth of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority. Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particulary the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication. While some documents were dealt with at length, most had to be presented in summary form, giving only the bare essentials. Most appear here for the first time. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
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Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the third of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority. Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particulary the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication. While some documents were dealt with at length, most had to be presented in summary form, giving only the bare essentials. Most appear here for the first time. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
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Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the second of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority. Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particulary the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication. While some documents were dealt with at length, most had to be presented in summary form, giving only the bare essentials. Most appear here for the first time. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
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Between Scylla and Charybdis

The Jews in Sicily

Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn

The history of the Jews in Sicily covers a period of over a thousand years, from Antiquity to the Expulsion, based on some 40,000 archival records, most of them hitherto unpublished. It illustrates the political, legal, economic, social and religious vicissitudes of the Jewish minority and its relations with the surrounding majority of Romans, Moslems and Christians. While the antecedents of the Jewish presence on the island are shrouded in mystery, more and more historical records surface with the passage of time. Those become abundant toward the later Middle Ages.
At that time the Jews in Sicily were citizens and suffered from relatively few disabilities. This was true in particular in the economic sphere. No discriminatory legislation forced them into moneylending and trade in old clothes. They engaged in agriculture and industry, trade and commerce, including international trade and shipping, and in most professions, which in turn enhanced their social status. There was as an unusually large number of craftsmen and physicians among them. The majority, however, were labourers, on the land and in town. In the fifteenth century the Jewish population reached 25,000 or thereabouts, over half of contemporary Italian Jewry. All this came to a sudden end with the expulsion order issued by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Some 80% of the Jews went into exile, while the remainder converted to Catholicism, only to be caught in the net of the Spanish inquisition.

"This final volume of Simonsohn’s series provides readers with an excellent opportunity to obtain the gist of
the scholarship in the previous volumes. Replete with tables detailing commodity prices, wages and salaries,
marriage contracts, and demographics this work is an extremely informative and very readable description of
the interaction between Jews and non-Jews in a not-so-closed society in the Middle Ages."
Randall C. Belinfante, Librarian/Archivist, American Sephardi Federation, New York (AJL Reviews, Nov/Dec 2011)

This book is also available in hardcover.
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Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the fifth of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority. Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particulary the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication. While some documents were dealt with at length, most had to be presented in summary form, giving only the bare essentials. Most appear here for the first time. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
Restricted Access

Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn

This volume of the Documentary History of the Jews in Italy is the sixth volume of the second series, illustrating the history of the Jews in Sicily based on notarial and court records. It is the sequel to the eight volumes of the first series. Notarial deeds drawn up by public notaries in Palermo and elsewhere and cases brought before the Pretorian Court in Palermo present a kaleidoscopic picture of the private lives of the Jews of Sicily during the last three centuries of their presence on the island. They illustrate the economic, social, and religious history of the Jewish minority and the relations with the Christian majority.
Much information is provided on trade and commerce, crafts and professions, religious and family life. Some light is thrown also on the internal life of the communities, particularly the larger ones, including organization and institutions, the synagogue, education, customs, and traditions.
Although the surviving legal deeds present only a fraction of the total drawn up in those years, they are copious and abundant. Over 30,000 documents of this group were selected for publication, most appearing here for the first time. While some documents are discussed at length, the majority are only presented in summary form. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction will appear at the end of the series.
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Series:

Shlomo Simonsohn