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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Capital of the province of Tarragona, Spain the ancient Tarraco. It was called the "City of the Jews" by Edrisi (ed. Conde, p. 64), and contained a community at an early date, as is shown by Jewish coins discovered in the course of excavations there some decades ago (Helfferich, "Der Westgothische Arianismus," p. 68, Berlin, 1860). The Jews' quarter was in the street now known as Plaza de las Monjas de la Enseñ anza and their cemetery was near the Plaza del Milagro. When the Count of Barcelona won Catalonia from the Moors, he granted rights and privileges to the Jews of Tarragona, whose ghetto contained ninety-five houses in 1239. They elected their own administrators, and engaged in commerce, industry, and brokerage, their circumstances and their taxes being similar to those of their coreligionists at Barcelona and other Catalonian cities. In 1322 the Archbishop of Tarragona confiscated the property of the Jews of the city, and in 1348 almost 300 Jews were killed at Tarragona and the neighboring Solsona, while in 1391 the community suffered the same fate as that of Barcelona, many of its members being slain. Even after this Tarragona was the residence of a number of Jews, who were noted for their piety. Isaac Arama officiated for some time as rabbi there and a certain D. Benjamin was city physician. Two tombstones with Hebrew inscriptions, dating from the years 1300,1302, have recently been found at Tarragona: one (1½ meters wide and 43 centimeters high) marks the grave of Ḥ ayyim b. Isaac, who died in the month of Nisan, 1300 and the other commemorates Hananiah b. Simeon , perhaps Alrabi.

Tarragona must not be confounded with Tarazona in Aragon, where the philosopher and apologist Shem-Ṭ ob ben Isaac ibn Shaprut lived for a time, and where there was a small but wealthy community, which paid a poll-tax of 145 "sueldos jaqueses" in 1282, and one of 200 "sueldos" in the middle of the fourteenth century.

Bibliography : Solomon ben Adret, Responsa , Nos. 391, 452,1234 Isaac ben Sheshet, Responsa , Nos. 210, 226,515 Rios, Hist. 1:245 et seq. 2:14, 297 3:229 Joseph ha-Kohen, ' Emeḳ ha-Baka , p. 66 (where should be read instead of see Wiener's German translation, pp. 53, 185) R. E. J. 13:241 Boletin Acad. Hist. 43:460 et seq. Fidel Fita, La Españ a Hebrea , 1:175.G. M. K.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Tarragona'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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