Sources

The project deals with a variety of sources including inscriptions, manuscripts, chronicles, itineraries and documents. A short introduction to some of the sources used is provided here.

 

Inscriptions

The Hebrew inscriptions of the Byzantine Empire have never been brought together and studied systematically in their historical context. A few have been published, generally in relatively inaccessible publications; some unpublished stones have been referred to in print, and some of these now seem to be lost.

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Manuscripts

The precise number of Byzantine Hebrew manuscripts that survive in whole or part is not known, because specialists have only recently begun to develop objective criteria for identifying a manuscript as Byzantine. It has been estimated that about 10 per cent of all medieval Hebrew manuscripts are Byzantine

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Chronicles and Itineraries

The chance survival of a family chronicle compiled in the mid-eleventh century by Ahimaas of Oria (in southern Italy), and extending back some two hundred years, has shed considerable light on Jewish life in Byzantine south Italy, but such texts are very rare.

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Documents

No Byzantine Jewish archives have been preserved, and only in the materials recovered from the Cairo Genizah do we have much in the way of personal or family documents, such as deeds of marriage or divorce, wills or genealogies. Genizah documents began to be published in the 1890s

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  • Mapping the Jewish communities of the Byzantine Empire
  • is funded by:
  • ERC
  • and hosted by:
  • CARTS
  • University of Cambridge