By Michael Toch

The commercial heritage of eu Jews deals a thorough revision of demographics and economics. It explains how the presence of Jews used to be a restricted one and their alternate used to be simply that, exchange by way of Jews, now not Jewish exchange.

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106 Of these Jewish merchant princes the Arabic account of Ibn-Khordadhbeh, to be treated below in Part II chapter 6c, mentions in its very first sentence that they speak Arabic and Persian and Rumi, that is Greek, as well as further tongues.  Some of them turn to beyond Byzantium to the land of the Slavs. Another possible outlet for the illicit export of silk could be the Jewish merchants from Italy who used the shipping services of the Venetians from Byzantium. In 991/2 the Imperial administration undertook yet another attempt to control such trade.

His nonJewish patron is most probably a merchant. However, wealth is not enough, and the patron himself needs a powerful “protector,” who in this context is undoubtedly not a financial backer, but rather a man of power, who capitalizes on his influence. The focus of the text, the theological to and fro towards acceptance of Christianity, is placed in Carthage within a group of Jewish expatriates from Palestine. 77 The Doctrina Jacobi thus presents us with a segment of shipping and commercial activity in the Byzantine Empire, between the capital and the eastern as well as western periphery, one moment before Islam was to change this geography forever.

Evidence on Jews working in the textile branches, including silk and dyeing, goes back to late antiquity. As has been mentioned, the high value of the garments to be sold by the previously mentioned Jacob (mid-7th 83 Quoted in Dagron, 1991a: 351. Cf. Jacoby, 1995: 227. 84 Benjamin of Tudela: 14. 85 De Lange, 1996: 21–27, no. 4. 86 Crete site and governmental imposition: Ankori, 1968: 327, 352. Monopoly of Jewish guild: Ankori, 1959: p. 176, note 28, p. 142 and note 213, p. 145. 30 chapter one century) and the secretive nature of his venture possibly point to silk, the export of which was tightly controlled by the Byzantine state.

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