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Cagliari, Italy

CAGLIARI, city in *Sardinia . The first Jewish settlement in Cagliari was possibly established by the freedmen deported from Rome in 19 C.E. by Tiberius Caesar. In 599 the synagogue of Cagliari was desecrated by a Jewish apostate, and in 790 destroyed by fire. In 1258 the Jews were allotted a special quarter in the western part of the town. Under Aragonese rule (from 1325) their lot was comparatively favorable and immigrants from Barcelona, Majorca, and other Aragonese dependencies were absorbed. A charter was granted to the community by Alfonso IV of Aragon in 1335. Many Cagliari Jews were merchants; others were employed as artisans – weavers, metalworkers, silversmiths – or practiced medicine. Communal organization underwent changes in the course of the 14th century. At first, only the wealthy participated in communal government. But from 1369 on, King Peter IV ordered the community to elect 12 members each year, four for each social class. They, in turn, were to appoint three secretaries representing the three classes to administer community affairs. In 1397 King Martin I improved the electoral system, deciding that in case of a disputed candidacy, a majority vote would settle the matter. Although each community at first had its own rabbi, by the beginning of the 15th century only Bonjudes *Bondavin of Marseille held that function in all of Sardinia. After living for a time in Alghero, Bondavin moved to Cagliari, where he was elected leader of the Jewish community. During the 14th century all Sardinian Jews were under the jurisdiction of royal officials: the bailiff in Cagliari and the vicar in Sassari and Alghero. By the beginning of the 15th century the Cagliari community also came under the jurisdiction of the vicar. Nevertheless, city officials also intervened in Jewish affairs. At the beginning of the 15th century the concession for the sale of kosher meat was awarded to a Christian official, but it could still be sold to Christians as before. The position of the Sardinian Jews deteriorated after the accession of Ferdinand of Aragon in 1479. Anti-Jewish restrictions were imposed in 1481 and 1485, and with particular severity in 1487. Although permitted to enlarge the Jewish quarter in 1483, the Cagliari community was not exempted from the edict of expulsion from the Spanish dominions in 1492, and it was from this port that the exiles from Sardinia set sail. The former synagogue was converted into the Church of Santa Croce. An Inquisitional tribunal, the activity of which, however, was slight, was set up to deal with backsliding Jewish converts.


Spano, in: Rivista Sarda, 1 (1875), 23–52; P. Amat di San Filippo, Indagini e studi… Sardegna (1902), 301–503, passim; Eliezer ben David, Gli ebrei di Sardegna (1937 = RMI, 11 (1937), 328–58, 424–43); H.C. Lea, Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies (1908). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Perani, in: Italia, 5 (1985), 104–44; C. Tasca, Gli ebrei in Sardegna, Cagliari (1992), 54–51; A. Rudine, Inquisizione spagnola censura e libri proibiti in Sardegna nel '500 e '600, Sassari (1995), 61–76.

[Umberto (Moses David) Cassuto / Nadia Zeldes (2nd ed.)]

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