The social and communal organization of the jewish communities in Epirus during the sixteenth century

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In this article, I describe certain typical characteristics of the social and communal organization common to both of these Jewish communities during the sixteenth century - although there were also some differences between them. Most of the essential information is drawn from the immense responsa literature written in the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth century, especially the responsa authored by the two sages of Arta: R. Benjamin b. Rav Mattatya and R. Samuel Kal’ai.3 Recently, a new manuscript containing the responsa of another sage of Arta, R. Solomon b. Rav Baruch, was discovered.4 This sage was active in the second half of the sixteenth century, and his responsa add illuminating details to those already extracted from others. At present, information from additional sources - whether Jewish, European, or Ottoman - is very limited. A recent research project has demonstrated that there is no known Ottoman documentation on the community of loannina during the first half of the I. On the Byzantine period. see S. Bowman, The Jews of Byzantium: 1204-1453 (Alabama, 1985), pp. 25ff., 43, 73ff., docs. 15b, 36, 43; a new general study of the community of loannina from the beginning until its annihilation, emphasizing the modern era, has been written by R. Dalven, The Jews of loannina (Philadelphia, 1990). On the community from 1787 to 1913, see also M. Schwartz, ‘The Jews of loannina’, Ph.D. thesis (University of Birmingham, 1976).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJews, Christians, and Muslims in the Mediterranean World After 1492
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781135299743
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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