Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Commerce and Economy in the Medieval Period
(2,267 words)

At the time of the Islamic conquests, most Jews lived in Babylonia and pursued occupations related to agriculture. There were, however, a number of important Jewish urban settlements—for example, Damascus and Alexandria—in which Jews would have been involved in crafts production; as well as Jewish communities in trading centers—such as Medina (see Hijaz) and Tyre, which supported Jewish endeavors in both local and long-distance trade. Yet investment in land, farming, and sharecropping were the primary sources of income for Jews in the early period. Even well…

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Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, “Commerce and Economy in the Medieval Period”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 14 October 2019
First published online: 2010



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