EPIRUS, province in N.W. Greece. Epirus was an independent despotate between c. 1214 and 1340. Under the first and strongest of its despots, Theodore Ducas Angelus, the Jews (see *Durazzo, *Arta, *Ioannina) were subjected to a persecution in which Jewish property was confiscated and Judaism probably prohibited. This was subsequently extended to Salonika, captured by Theodore in 1224, and continued even after Salonika was retaken from Epirus in 1246. With the strengthening of the empire under *Michael VIII Palaeologus, parts of Epirus reverted to the empire and the persecutions came to an end. His son Andronicus II Palaeologus placed the Jews of Ioannina (Janina), the most important of the Epirote communities, under his direct protection and angered the Church by favoring the Jews.
J. Starr, Romania (Eng., 1949), 20–23; J. Mann, in: REJ, 82 (1926), 372–3; P. Charanis, in: Speculum, 22 (1947), 75–76.