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This volume in the series Documentary History of the Jews in Italy illustrates the history of the Jews in Sicily from 1440 to 1457. It is the sequel to the first four volumes and covers the events during the second half of the rule of King Alphonso the Magnanimous. The King continued to take a personal interest in the affairs of the Jewish communities, but abolished the office of dienchelele, chief justice. Instead, the Jewish communities were again governed by their local leaders, lay and spiritual. During that period the Jewish minority of Sicily continued to flourish economically and socially, although the first ominous signs of change began to appear. Some 800 documents, many of them published here for the first time, record the fortunes of the Jews and their relationships with the authorities and their Christian neighbours. Much new information has come to light, and many facets of Jewish life in Sicily have been uncovered.
The abundance of historical records in the archives of the Crown and of local authorities compares favourably with the relative scarcity of surviving documentation in earlier centuries. Therefore, again, many documents had to be reported in summary form. The volume is provided with additional bibliography and indexes, while the introduction has been relegated to the end of the series on the Jews of the island.