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    Astren, Fred 2014. A Companion to Mediterranean History. p. 392.

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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

19 - The Diaspora, C. 235–638

Summary
In late antiquity, Jewish communities were a common occurrence throughout Italy. Smaller centers and villages in the remoter parts of the Italian countryside became home to well-organized Jewish communities or to groups of Jewish families. The Jewish community of ancient Rome was among the oldest Jewish communities in Italy. A number of medieval legends traced the arrival of Jews in Spain to deep antiquity. The biblical Tarshish was often identified as Tartessus, and it was accepted that Jewish traders had traveled to Spain already under the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. Political loyalty was a recurring theme in the Visigothic period, partly because of the threat of internal rebellion and partly because of the stunning successes of Arab armies abroad. The theme of Jewish political treachery became critical under King Egica. Egica applied unprecedented economic pressures on the Jews in his realm.
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