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Capua, Italy

CAPUA, town in southern Italy, 13 mi. (22 km.) north of Naples. The Jewish community dates back to the last centuries of the Roman Empire. Probably Jews continued to live there afterward; the community is known to have flourished in the latter half of the 10th century when some of the ancestors of the chronicler *Ahimaaz b. Paltiel of Oria were prominent there. Ahimaaz' grandfather Samuel b. Hananel was appointed supervisor of the treasury and the mint of the principality of Capua; his father Paltiel b. Samuel (b. 988) was in charge of its finances. About 1167 when *Benjamin of Tudela reached Capua, he was told that there were 300 Jews there. In 1231 Emperor Frederick II granted two Jews the monopoly of the dye-works of Capua. During the wave of anti-Jewish persecutions in southern Italy in 1290–94, 45 Jews were forcibly converted to Christianity. From the 13th to 15th century the community in Capua is often mentioned in connection with its loan-bankers and physicians. In 1464 the Jews of Naples, Aversa, and Capua complained to King Alfonso that taxes were so oppressive that many would have to leave the kingdom. The king accepted their plea and decreed that the Jews must be treated "humanamente." The community increased when refugees from Spain and Sicily reached Capua (1492–93). They later suffered the fate of the Jews in the kingdom of *Naples and were expelled in 1510. A few Jews were permitted to reside there in the following decades, but all were finally expelled in 1540–41.


Ahimaaz ben Paltiel, Megillat Aḥimaaẓ, ed. by B. Klar (1944); N. Ferorelli, Ebrei nell Italia meridionale… (1915; repr. 1990); Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; Frey, Corpus, 1 (1936), no. 553. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Silvestri, "Gli ebrei nel regno di Napoli durante la dominatione aragonese," in: Campania Sacra, 18 (1987), 21–77; D. Abulafia," The Aragonese Kings of Naples and the Jews," in: B.D. Cooperman and B. Garvin (eds.), Memory and Identity (2000), 82–106.

[Attilio Milano / Nadia Zeldes (2nd ed.)]

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