SARDINIA, Mediterranean island belonging to Italy. The first authentic information regarding Jews in Sardinia is that in 19 C.E. Emperor Tiberius deported 4,000 Jewish youths to the island because a Roman Jew had defrauded a proselyte named Fulvia, wife of the senator Saturninus. Jewish inscriptions of the classical period have been found in Sardinia, in particular at San Antioco. The situation of the Jews was presumably similar to that of Jews in the other parts of the Roman Empire but deteriorated with the triumph of Christianity. In 599 a newly baptized Jew named Peter burst into the synagogue at Cagliari on Easter Sunday with a mob at his heels and deposited his baptismal robe, together with a crucifix and an image of the Virgin, in front of the Ark. When the Jews appealed to Pope Gregory I, he ordered reparation to be made. From the seventh century until 1326, when the island came under Aragonese rule, the situation of the Jews was generally good, although anti-Jewish riots occurred in Oristano and in the district of Arborea, which resulted in their expulsion from these localities. The Jewish settlement in Iglesias was prohibited temporarily after 1327. The Jews continued to prosper during the first century of Aragonese rule and were even granted additional privileges, mainly in alghero ; Sassari and cagliari also had sizable communities. Many Jews from Spain settled in Sardinia. Each community was headed by elected officers who had authority to decide in civil cases between Jews, and on minor claims between Jews and Christians. From 1430 conditions deteriorated. Except in Alghero, the Jews were obliged to wear a special badge . They were forbidden to wear jewelry and allowed to wear only black shoes. Jews were prohibited from trading on Christian holidays and from employing Christians. No additional Jews were allowed to settle on the island. In 1485 the Jews were declared the property of the king and placed under the jurisdiction of a special royal officer. They were also forbidden to export any property or wares from the island. With the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the Aragonese dominions in July 1492, the Jews were compelled to leave Sardinia. Many of the Sardinian exiles settled temporarily in the kingdom of Naples, others went to North Africa and to Turkey, especially Constantinople, where the surname Sardaigna is still common. Some, however, remained in Sardinia as converts to Christianity – notably the Caracassonna family, which for a while played a considerable role in Sardinian public life. A tribunal of the Inquisition was established in 1492 and remained sporadically active for some years. From the close of the Middle Ages, no Jewish community of importance has existed in the island, and it was only in the 19th century that a few individual Jews settled here and there, generally on a temporary basis. By the Italian law regulating Jewish communal organization in 1931, Sardinia was included in the jurisdiction of the Rome community. Some historians consider that, during the tranquil period in the Middle Ages before Aragonese rule, considerable groups of Jews merged into the Christian population, instanced by the relatively small number of Jews found there in the 15th century. The absorption of the Jews into the general population is said to have left its mark on Sardinian life and institutions. Jewish elements may be found, according to some writers, in local folk customs, and in names of persons and places. However, such elements may be the result of the influence of other cultures which had a common source with Judaism or of chance resemblances. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Falchi, Gli Ebrei nella storia e nella poesia popolare dei Sardi (1934); idem, La dominazione ebraica in Sardegna (1936); Milano, Bibliotheca, index, S.V. Sardegna; Milano, Italia, index, S.V. Sardegune; Roth, Italy, index; Spano, in: Rivista Sarda, 1 (1875), 23–52; Medina, in: RMI, 10 (1935/36), 145–6; Eliezer ben David (Bedarida), ibid., 11 (1936/37), 328–58, 424–3; Levi, ibid., 12 (1937/38), 129–62; Frey, Corpus, 1 (1936), nos. 656–60; Boscolo, in: Annali della Facoltà di lettere e filosofia dell' Università di Cagliari, 19 (1952), 162–71. (Menachem E. Artom)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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