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Probably began in Tiberius, and moved to Jerusalem around 920. Beset by famine , attacks and internal struggles, they tried to press for the prominence of Jerusalem over Babylon. Unlike Babylon where there were two separate offices; the Exilarch ( Reysh Galuta) for political / administrative affairs and the Gaon who headed the yeshivot, they combined both functions. With the Seljuk conquest, it was forced to move, first to Tyre in 1071 and then to Fostat, where it continued in some form until the crusader invasion.

763 - 766 BAGHDAD (Persia)

Baghdad was built as the capital of the Abbasid by the Caliph Al Mansur (754-775), successor to Al Abbari. The Jewish mathematician and astronomer Masha'allah/Mashallah Ibn Athari(see 640), together with a Persian astronomer Ab-Naubakht/Naubakht Ahvazi, were responsible for planning the city, which by the 13th century had a perimeter of 20 miles, 10,000 streets and a population of almost 2,000,000.

767 ANAN BEN DAVID (Babylon)

Founded the Karaite (Bnai Mikra) sect. He was originally supposed to become the Exilarch, but his younger brother, Hanina, was chosen instead by the incumbent Geonim, Judah the blind and Dudai. Anan left for Eretz Israel where he established a synagogue in Jerusalem. The Karaite sect believed only in literal Biblical translations and not in the Oral law. The Karaites considered themselves mourners of Zion, abstaining from wine and meat, spending much of their time in fasting and prayer, and signing all letters "mourner" (avilai tzion). The Karaite sect divided Judaism into two bitterly opposed camps. Some, including Sa'adia Gaon and Abraham ibn David, wrote treatises refuting and condemning the sect. The Karaites slowly diminished in numbers and influence, with the few remaining mostly living in Lithuania and Volhynia. For the most part they disappeared during the Holocaust. Their greatest opponent - who succeeded in stemming the spread of Karaitism - was Sa'adia ben Joseph (882-942). The power of the Exilarch was weakened as a result of the Anan conflict. From then on the Geonim had the final say on all religious matters.

768 - 772 POPE STEPHAN III (Carolingian Empire)

Complained to the Bishops of Narbonne and Septimania about the Frankish Kings allowing Jews to own land.

768 - 814 CHARLEMAGNE (Carolingian Empire)

A Carolingian king who created the first broad-based European state. A devout Christian, he protected Jewish commerce in his kingdom. In general, Jews were permitted to freely practice their religion and most trade.. As the Muslims controlled much of the Mediterranean, the Jews began to take on the role of commercial mediators. Charlemagne saw the Jews as an economic asset and prevented excessive demands being made on them by the Church. Yet he also passed a law erasing debts that existed between Jews and Catholics and threatened to cut off the right hand of any Jew who loaned money and collected debt from the Church or Catholics. The Emperor and his successor considered Jewish property as their own to be bartered but not sold outright.

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