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Two big Jewish settlements were sitting on the shores of the Mediterranean in the 11th century: one in Fatimid Egypt, mainly in the city of Fustat, close to Cairo, the second in Muslim-Suni Spain, mainly in the cities of Cordova – the capital of the Umyyads caliphs, and Granada – the capital of the Granada Emirate.

How related were those two settlements to each other by means of communication, mutual influences, similar behavior and the main aspect: relying on a Muslim rule which might be similar in its basis but completely different in its outlook. This article aims to look at a certain institution of Jewish leadership in those two settlements, an institution that relies on a Muslim rule while supported by the Jewish community. It aims to inspect the validity of this institution's existence and the sources of its power and authority, and to view the system of connections and mutual influences between the two settlements, in spite of the different conditions within which they operated. The institution referred to is the nagid or "Head of Jews" - ra'is al-yahud, and methodological questions related to the research.


Head of the Jews, nagid, ra'is al-yahud, Spain, Cordova, Granada, Egypt, Fustat, geonim, Shmuel ha-levi ha-nagid, Exilarch

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Copyright © 2013 by Elinoar Bareket

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