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Encyclopedia Judaica:
Denia, Spain


Spain: Table of Contents| Barcelona | Granada


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DENIA, seaport in Valencia, E. Spain. In the 11th century Denia became the capital of the powerful and tolerant Muslim kingdom of the al-Mujāhid dynasty. Various sources, including documents from the Cairo *Genizah , tell about Jewish settlement in the town from the beginning of the 11th century, and it appears that in the middle of the century there was a substantial community there. The Jews of Denia engaged in trade both by land and by sea and established trading relations especially with Tunisian towns and with Alexandria. The correspondence of a prominent 11th-century merchant of Fostat (old Cairo), Nathan b. Naharai, attests Denia's commercial importance and the role of its Jews. The community included some of the highly respected families of Spanish Jewry, e.g., that of Ibn al-Khatūsh who also engaged in commerce and traveled to the East. In the middle of the 11th century Isaac *Ibn Yashush was the court physician. His contemporary, R. Samuel b. Joseph, was a scholar who came to Spain from Baghdad and corresponded with *Samuel ha-Nagid . The rabbi of the town, Isaac b. Moses ibn Sikhri, left Denia and moved to Babylonia where he was appointed head of the yeshivah of R. *Hai Gaon . He was succeeded in his position in the community of Denia by R. Isaac b. Reuben *Al-Bargeloni . The poet Ibn Khāzin, who lived in the town, exchanged poems with *Judah Halevi .

After the Christian conquest, only a few Jewish families, engaged in maritime trade, were left in Denia. In 1274 the Jews of Denia, together with the Jews of Orembloy, paid 100 solidos in the currency of Barcelona as an annual levy. There is no information on the fate of this community after the anti-Jewish riots of 1391.

In the Muslim period, the Jews of Denia lived in a quarter in the alcazaba, the old city. The place today is in complete ruins.


Sources: Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 31, 195; Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), 120, 391–2; H. Schirmann, in: YMḤSI, 6 (1946), 261; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (1966), 182–6.

[Haim Beinart]

Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

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