Toward the end of the 11th century, there were a few Jews living in northern Italy, mostly in Verona, pavia, and Lucca, a considerable nucleus in Rome, and numerous groups in the south of the country and in Sicily, totaling a significant number. Although the course of the political events affecting the jews in these seven centuries is almost completely unknown, the venosa tombstone inscriptions, particularly from the fourth and fifth centuries, and the chronicle of Ahimaaz of Oria, which relates events from the ninth century on, throw. The jewish occupations are hardly mentioned, although it is known that there were jewish artisans and merchants, and, especially in the south, dyers and silk weavers; Jews not only owned houses in the towns but also engaged in farming. Something more is now known about the state of Jewish culture, especially around the tenth century. Tombstone inscriptions were by now composed in Hebrew, and not in Latin or Greek as previously. There were talmudic academies in Rome and Lucca (connected with the kalonymus family) and in the south, in Venosa, bari, otranto, oria, and later in Siponto. A legend telling of four rabbis from Bari, who, after being taken prisoners at sea in 972, were set free and later established rabbinical schools in Mediterranean cities (see four Captives would seem to show that Jewish scholarship in Apulia had gained a reputation beyond.
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Much depended also on which of the invaders succeeded in gaining the upper hand in the various parts wanted of Italy. King Theodoric the Ostrogoth proved benevolently disposed toward the jews and, between 507 and 519, intervened on their behalf against their opponents in Milan, genoa, rome, and ravenna. The jews actively sided with the goths when Naples was besieged by the byzantine general Belisarius in 536. As a result they were persecuted by the byzantines when a few decades later they conquered Italy. Among the popes of this period, only Gregory i (590604) is significant for Jewish history. He afforded the jews protection in Rome, terracina, naples, palermo, ravenna, and elsewhere against vexations at the hands of local bishops, insisting that although he desired the conversion of the jews, he was opposed to attaining this by violence. The missionary fervor of the eastern emperors was felt in their Italian possessions, especially in the south. The jews in Oria, bari, brindisi, taranto, and Otranto suffered from discriminatory legislation and campaigns of forcible playwriting conversion under the emperors Basil i in 8734 and Romanus i lecapenus in 9326. About the same period, the population in the south suffered from raids by roving Arab bands from North Africa. In Sicily, the saracenic conquest (8271061) brought more stability and proved beneficial to the jews of the island.
Constantius (33761) extended the prohibition to the ownership of pagan slaves and prohibited marriages between Jews and Christian women, imposing the death penalty for such cases. Church dignitaries sallied forth to the public squares to preach against the jews and incite the populace to destroy their places of worship. In 315 Sylvester, bishop of Rome, is said to have sponsored a public debate directed against the jews; in 388 Philaster, bishop of Brescia, encouraged the populace of Rome to set fire to a synagogue, and Ambrose, bishop of Milan, praised the population of Aquileia. The emperor Theodosius ii prohibited the construction of new synagogues, permitting only those in danger of collapse to be restored but not enlarged. In addition, he debarred Jews from practicing law or entering state employment. The legal codes that bear the names of Theodosius (438) and later of Justinian (52934) established a new status for the jews as inferior citizens. They were salon obliged to carry out numerous special duties and were excluded from public offices and from several professions. The disintegration of the western Roman Empire, the weak and remote influence of the eastern one, and the lack of forceful Church leaders, led to continuous changes in the situation of the jews in Italy, if not always evidenced by the sources.
Caecilius of Calacte, an orator and literary critic who wrote in Greek during the augustan period, was highly esteemed, but none of his works is extant. Josephus composed his major historical works at the imperial court in Rome. It is also known that there was a talmudic academy in Rome which attained distinction in the second century under the guidance of the tanna, mattiah. Early middle Ages ( ). The official acceptance by the roman Empire of Christianity as a religion and its subsequent expansion marked for the jews the transition from an era of tolerance to one of subjection. The Christians did not aim at the complete suppression of Judaism, with which they acknowledged affinity in certain common origins and religious convictions. They therefore desired the physical preservation of the jews, but only in the role of spectral witnesses of ancient truths, with limited possibilities of existence. For this reason, from the fourth century onward the Church Fathers increased their dates efforts to secure new reviews laws that would restrain the jews in their religious practices, limit their political rights, and curb them both socially and economically; at the same time, they exerted pressure. Constantine the Great prohibited conversion to judaism and debarred Jews from owning Christian slaves.
The religious convictions and customs of the jews aroused a certain interest among some sectors of the roman population and sometimes attracted adherents. This picture emerges from the numerous inscriptions found in the jewish catacombs rather than from the evidence provided by the generally hostile roman intellectuals. Outside rome the position was substantially similar, as may be deduced from tombstone inscriptions. Initially, jews settled in the ports: Ostia, porto, pozzuoli, pompeii, taranto, and Otranto. They subsequently spread inland, although it is impossible to state the relative numbers. In the first three centuries of the empire jews were found in Campania: Naples, capua, and Salerno ; in Basilicata, apulia, and Calabria : Bari, otranto, taranto, venosa, and Reggio ; and in Sicily : Syracuse, catania, and Agrigento. In northern Italy, the presence of Jews has been traced in civitavecchia, ferrara, brescia, milan, pola, and Aquileia. Their occupations may be inferred but are attested only in a few cases. No significant evidence concerning Jewish scholarly and literary activities has been preserved.
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The jewish uprisings against Roman rule which broke out in Judea, egypt, and Cyrenaica during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian and culminated in the heroic but vain revolt of Simeon Bar kokhba (1325) are not recorded to have affected the jews in Italy. Antoninus pius (13861 caracalla (2117 Alexander severus (22235 and probably other emperors displayed benevolence toward Jews. Jews were included in the edict issued by caracalla in 212 that extended Roman citizenship to all freemen in the empire. From the end of the second century until the beginning of the fourth, the jewish settlements in the diaspora, although proselytizing intensely, did not encounter opposition from the romans, though Septimius severus in 204 prohibited conversion to judaism. The handwriting Christian communities, however, which expanded rapidly and proved intransigent, were severely dealt with. The fact that the jews in Italy were of petty bourgeois or even servile origin, and that they were not infrequently suspected of opposing Roman policy abroad, prevented individual Jews from attaining prominence in economic or social life. It has been estimated that there were 50,000 Jews in Italy during the first century of the empire, of whom over half were concentrated providing in or around Rome.
In the capital, they engaged in humble occupations and lived in the proletarian sections. Cultural standards were not high, although there were painters, actors, and poets. The communities centered on the synagogues, of which 12 are known to have existed in Rome, although not contemporaneously. The ruins of one have been discovered in Ostia. Their knowledge of Hebrew was rudimentary.
These exemptions were subsequently confirmed by most of the roman emperors. Under Augustus, the number of Jews in the capital increased. E., during the reign of Tiberius, his minister Sejanus deported 4,000 Jewish youths to sardinia to fight banditry, ostensibly to punish the jews for having tried to defraud a woman of the roman nobility. In fact, this was part of the policy to suppress the Oriental cults, and an edict was also issued ordering the jews to leave italy unless they abandoned their religious practices. Tiberius abrogated the measures after Sejanus' execution. The growing friction between the jews of Rome and the rising Christian sect led Claudius to rid Rome of both elements (4950 but this time also the decree was short-lived.
The jewish struggle in Judea against the romans ended in 70 with wholesale destruction and massacre and mass deportations of Jewish prisoners, a large number of whom were brought to Italy. According to later sources, 1,500 arrived in Rome alone, and 5,000 in Apulia. There too they attained freedom after a relatively short time, and many remained in Italy. The emperor Vespasian prohibited the voluntary tribute of the shekel that Jews in the diaspora customarily sent to the temple and changed it to a "Jewish tribute the fiscus Judaicus, to be paid into the public treasury. Under Domitian (8196) the exaction of this tax was brutally enforced. It was mitigated by his successor Nerva, but the tax was not abolished until two centuries later.
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Probably preceded by individual Jews who visited Italy as traders, a jewish embassy was dispatched to rome in 161. By judah Maccabee to conclude a political treaty with the roman senate. It was followed by others sent by his brother Jonathan 15 years later, by simeon in 139, and by hyrcanus i in 133. In 139, either these emissaries or the other Jews living in Rome were apparently accused of conducting religious propaganda among the roman population and expelled from word the city. However, the decree soon became obsolete. Jewish prisoners taken by pompey during his invasion of Ereẓ Israel, 6361. C.E., were brought to Italy, but most were probably freed after a short time. Julius caesar, who considered that the jews represented a cohesive element in the roman world, granted them certain exemptions to enable them to fulfill their religious duties.
through a period of more than 21 centuries. Although a general expulsion was never issued for the jews of Italy, there were frequently partial ones. The jewish community often enjoyed good relationships with the rulers and general population, and at times in history were even granted special privileges. The community, however, remained relatively small and private, though it continued faithful to their traditions. The record of Italian Jewry provides one of the most complex and fascinating chapters in the history of the jewish diaspora. The jewish population in Italy today is approximately 28,000., roman Pagan Era (300bce-313CE), early middle Ages (313-1100), later Middle Ages (1100-1300), the zenith (1300-1500), the Crisis (1492-1600), persecutions (1600-1800). Freedom equality (1815-1938), the holocaust Period, contemporary period, relations with Israel, jewish Musicial Tradition, roman Pagan Era (300 bce - 313 CE).
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