Royal Grants to the Jewish Community of Barcelona, 1241-1271
ACA reg. 16 fo. 158; granted 1241
Let it be generally known that we James [I of Aragon] etc., concede to you the entire
congregation of the Jews of Barcelona and give our license and permission that you may
elect among you two or three honest and worthy men (prohoms) or more if you wish,
according to your understanding, who shall diligently see and investigate those persons
who should engage in any folly or say any harmful words to the other Jewish worthies (prohoms) on whom they shall have the power to impose penalties and fines, which we shall receive,
and which in our place is to be given to our bailiff of Barcelona. By their own authority
amongst you, they even may eject [them] either from your Call [the area of Jewish
residence] or outside of Barcelona, according to how they should see fit to expel them.
They also may judge cases between you of law, or suits and plaints [raised] by one Jew
2. ACA reg. 21 fo. 32v; granted 1271
We James, king etc. We have learned of the denunciations made to Guillem Grony, bailiff
of Barcelona, that there are many foolish (or: insane?) Jews in the Jewish Call of
Barcelona who day and night because of their folly cause many injuries, insults and
violences to the other Jewish worthies (prohoms). In order to avoid the follies of
those bad Jews, and to improve further the good customs long in force among the Jews, at
the urging of the community (universitas) of the Jews of Barcelona, thus we decree? . . .
that the community can elect, impose or constitute one or two or many faithful and worthy
Jewish prohoms, however many and whenever they wish, with Alatma or excommunication, as is
customary between Jews (and if it should be necessary at any time, can remove them and
substitute others in their place) who will work, see and investigate all of those perverse
foolish Jews or whoever should injure or insult the other Jewish worthies by word or deed,
day or night, whether within the Jewish Call or outside it, and that they shall ordain
[that they shall] cease their sins and filthiness and whatever else is or seems to be
against the law of the Jews and the good customs of the Jews which have long existed and
been observed among them; they shall also ordain whatever else they need for the
convenience of the community (aljama) of these Jews for the sake of either honor or
utility; they can even impose a penalty or fine on those perverse fools, as they wish,
which penalty or fine we shall have or our bailiff of Barcelona in our place. Moreover,
those Jews who shall be elected or appointed by the Jews or by this community can eject or
expell those foolish Jews from the Jewish Call or even from the entire city by our
authority, however they see fit to get rid of them and coerce them by Alatma and other
punishment? or by fines; We promise to uphold whatever shall be done and ordained by these
Jews who shall be elected to this office or business as is said. Ordering . . . etc.
Translated by Elka Klein email@example.com
© Elka Klein, 1998. The text may be used for non-commercial educational
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Paul Halsall, November 1998