Manuel I Comnenus°

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MANUEL I COMNENUS °, Byzantine emperor (1143–1180). He added humiliating procedures to the standard *oathmore judaico requiring that the Jew spit on his circumcision. But he also continued to permit the Jews to use the older and less offensive formula of the oath. Manuel confirmed Jewish access to ordinary courts, giving them recourse to the protection of imperial law, thus abolishing the practice of having Jews summarily tried by a minor local official. Manuel had a Jewish physician who may have influenced him to moderate his position toward the Jews. The economic and cultural life of Byzantine Jewry during Manuel's reign is described by Benjamin of Tudela.


M.N. Adler (ed.), Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (1907), 10–14; J. Starr, Jews in the Byzantine Empire 6411204 (1939), 221–3, and index; Baron, Social2, 4 (1962), 194f.; Patlagean, in: rej, 124 (1965), 138–51.

[Andrew Sharf]