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SIPONTO , coastal town in Apulia, S. Italy. By the ninth century there was a Jewish settlement in Siponto, which became a considerable center of rabbinic learning. Young scholars from there went to study under *Hai Gaon in Pumbedita, becoming outstanding scholars; they included Leon b. Elhanan, Menahem ha-Kohen, and R. Judah, who spread Jewish learning in Italy. Another important scholar of Siponto was *Isaac b. Melchizedek, author of a commentary on the Mishnah, whose son Judah was encountered by *Benjamin of Tudela in Salerno. Among the liturgical poets of Siponto was Anan b. Marinus ha-Kohen, also a noted rabbinical scholar. Between the years 1256 and 1258 Siponto was deserted by its inhabitants because of an outbreak of malaria. Since then, there are no further records of Jews in the town.


Ferorelli, Ebrei nell' Italia meridionale (1915); A. Schechter, Studies in Jewish Liturgy (1930), 115–7; Schirmann, Italyah, 68; Michael, Or, 508; Roth, Dark Ages, 258. add. bibliography: D. Abulafia, "Il mezzogiorno peninsulare dai bizantini all'espulsione," in: Storia d'Italia. Annali 11, Gli ebrei in Italia. Dall'alto Medioevo all'età dei ghetti, ed. Corrao Vivanti (1996), 5–44.

[Ariel Toaff]