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Judaism And Trade Essay

662 words - 3 pages

In the early medieval period, there was a strong divide between Christianity in Europe and Islam in the Middle East. This division affected commerce between the two religions that were mostly unwilling to trade with one another. Looking for a way to acquire the luxuries they desired, many Christians turned to Jewish merchants who were in an advantageous place to profit from the Christian and Muslim divide (Turner 96). Throughout the Middle Ages, the Jewish people became important participants in global trade with many trade routes while additionally facing persecution and attempting to keep religious laws and practices intact.
Crucial parts of Jewish trader’s success were their extensive ...view middle of the document...

It was also crucial among merchants traveling through the Middle East to have translators capable in languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Sanskrit.
One challenge faced by Jew’s working as traders in Europe was that of persecution. In France, while being the main traders and respected during Charlemagne’s rule, Jewish traders were mistreated and endured forced conversions in the earlier Merovingian dynasty (Turner 96). Another hardship faced was not based on religion, but solely founded in the trade routes held in Jewish hands. The Venetians, under Byzantine rule, competed heavily with the Jewish merchants and one of the oldest decrees in Venetian law forbade Jews from traveling in Venetian ships, which most definitely hurt Jew’s trying to trade in the waterlogged city of Venice (Turner 96).
The final problem faced by Jews outside of their communities was the attempt to comply with Jewish laws and practices in non-Jewish areas. While some Jews did marry outside of their religion, like Abraham bin Yiju marrying a Hindu...

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