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Medieval Sourcebook:
Royal Grants to the Jewish Community of Barcelona, 1241-1271

ACA reg. 16 fo. 158; granted 1241

Let it be generally known that we James [I of Aragon] etc., concede to you the entire congregation of the Jews of Barcelona and give our license and permission that you may elect among you two or three honest and worthy men (prohoms) or more if you wish, according to your understanding, who shall diligently see and investigate those persons who should engage in any folly or say any harmful words to the other Jewish worthies (prohoms) on whom they shall have the power to impose penalties and fines, which we shall receive, and which in our place is to be given to our bailiff of Barcelona. By their own authority amongst you, they even may eject [them] either from your Call [the area of Jewish residence] or outside of Barcelona, according to how they should see fit to expel them. They also may judge cases between you of law, or suits and plaints [raised] by one Jew against another.

2. ACA reg. 21 fo. 32v; granted 1271

We James, king etc. We have learned of the denunciations made to Guillem Grony, bailiff of Barcelona, that there are many foolish (or: insane?) Jews in the Jewish Call of Barcelona who day and night because of their folly cause many injuries, insults and violences to the other Jewish worthies (prohoms). In order to avoid the follies of those bad Jews, and to improve further the good customs long in force among the Jews, at the urging of the community (universitas) of the Jews of Barcelona, thus we decree? . . . that the community can elect, impose or constitute one or two or many faithful and worthy Jewish prohoms, however many and whenever they wish, with Alatma or excommunication, as is customary between Jews (and if it should be necessary at any time, can remove them and substitute others in their place) who will work, see and investigate all of those perverse foolish Jews or whoever should injure or insult the other Jewish worthies by word or deed, day or night, whether within the Jewish Call or outside it, and that they shall ordain [that they shall] cease their sins and filthiness and whatever else is or seems to be against the law of the Jews and the good customs of the Jews which have long existed and been observed among them; they shall also ordain whatever else they need for the convenience of the community (aljama) of these Jews for the sake of either honor or utility; they can even impose a penalty or fine on those perverse fools, as they wish, which penalty or fine we shall have or our bailiff of Barcelona in our place. Moreover, those Jews who shall be elected or appointed by the Jews or by this community can eject or expell those foolish Jews from the Jewish Call or even from the entire city by our authority, however they see fit to get rid of them and coerce them by Alatma and other punishment? or by fines; We promise to uphold whatever shall be done and ordained by these Jews who shall be elected to this office or business as is said. Ordering . . . etc.


Translated by Elka Klein

©  Elka Klein, 1998. The text may be used for non-commercial educational purposes, including use course packets.  Further publication in other forms (including by university presses) requires permission. Do not reproduce this text on other websites.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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Paul Halsall, November 1998


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