Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Scemmama, Nessim
(663 words)

Nessim Scemmama (Nissim Samama, Shamama) was born in 1805 into a very humble family in the ḥāra (Jewish quarter) of Tunis. Ambitious by nature, Scemmama opened a fabric shop in the ḥāra, the proceeds from which supported him and his extended family, including his three wives (see Polygyny). Scemmama’s life took a dramatic turn when one of his clients, the general Maḥmūd ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAyyād, impressed by his industriousness, invited him to join his retinue. As the general’s servant, Scemmama had access to the court of the bey, where he impressed everyone he met with his ha…

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Richard Parks, “Scemmama, Nessim”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0019940>
First published online: 2010

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