Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Southern Italy and Bari
(872 words)

The earliest evidence for Jewish settlement in southern Italy dates from the fourth century C.E. Despite occasional episodes of persecution, the communities of Bari, Oria, Taranto, and Otranto flourished under Byzantine rule, which extended from the sixth to the tenth century. Their high level of learning is reflected in the saying of Rabbenu Tam(12th century): “From Bari shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Otranto.” Most of the information on Jews in the pre-Islamic period is gleaned from tomb inscriptions and Byzantine legislation.

After the Muslims gained a pe…

Cite this page
Nadia Zeldes, “Southern Italy and Bari”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 01 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_000114>
First published online: 2010

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