Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 11) online

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■'Teste David cum Sibylla." New texts were con-
tinually produced by medieval prophecy, such as the
sayings of the Tiburtiue sibyl (edited by E. Sacker,
Halle-on-the-Saale, 1898), who predicted death and
destruction for many peoples, and gave forewarning
of the persecution of the Jews under Heraclius, in
the manner of the ancient sibyls (Krauss, I.e. ix.
202-203). The sibylline literature, then, merges into
apocalyptic literature. Similar in nature are the
pseudo-Methodius, the Juda?o-Persian and Coptic
apocalypses of Daniel, and the Ethiopian sibyl (R.
Basset, "Les Apocryphes Ethiopiens," x. 19, Paris,

Bibliography: History and Textual Crltkisin : Friedlleb, Dc
V()dicihiii< Sihiilllnn7um Manwicript is. Breslaii, 1847 ; Volk-
niann, Dc Oiacults SibnUinix, Leipsic. iHTi;! ; idem. Specimen
Nnvce SihyUinoi'uv^ Editionix, lb. 1854: idem. Lectinnea
Sihyllincc, Pyritz, 1861. A number of works by Meineke, Lud-
wich, Nauck, Mendelssohn. Rzach, Buresch. V\ irlh, Tliiel, and
others, are cited In Schiirer. Gench. 3d ed.. iii. 448-449.

Editions: Friedlleb. Die Sihyllitiisrheu Wei.'i.-nmimgen . . .
mit Mctriitcher Deutscher Ueherxelzunu, Leipsic, 1852; the
various editions by Betulelus, Castalio, Gallandi, Alexandre,
Rzach, and Geffken.

Historico-Critiral Studies: The earlier bibliography is given
by Fabriciusln Bihliotheca Grceca, ed. Harles, i. 2;i7-290, and
by Alexandre in his first edition, 11. :i, 71-82; Bleek. Uehcr
die Entstehuiiij uud Zusammensetzung dcr . . . Sihujliui-
ftchcn Orakel, in Theol. Zeit. i. (1819), ii. (182(1) ; Hilgenfeld.
Die JUdische ApokaliD'tik, Leipsic, 1857; Ewald, inAlihand-
lumicn der GOti. GeseUschaft der IVissemtchaJten, 18.58 and
1859; Mi)nntgschrifU 18.59. pp. 241-261; Badt. De Oraculus
Sibiillinis a Jurffcis Compoxitis, Breslau, 18(59 ; idun, Ur-
sprtiug, Iitlialtrmd Text des Vieiten Brtrhcs der SUnilli-
imchen Orakel. ib. 1878; Miibsam, Die JUdl^che Sihiille. Vi-
enna, 1864; Dechent, Ueher t(a.s Emte, Zueitc. und Klfte
Duch der SdniUini.schen Weix.^aguugen. Frankfort-on-ihe-
Main. 1873; idem, in Zeit. fllr Kirchcngeseh. 1878.11.481-
509; Druiiimond. The Jewisti Mes-^inh. pp. 1(J-17 ; S. A. Hlrsoh,
The Jewii<h Sibyliine Oracles. In J. Q. R. 189ti. 11.406-429;
Bouche-Leclere, Histoire de la Diviiiatiuti dans V AutiQUite,
11. 199-214. Paris, 1880; Friedlander, La Sihylle Juire. in R.
E.J. 1894, xxix. 183-19<3 ; idem, Gesch. dcrJUdischeuApoln-
getik. pp. 31-54, Zurich. 1903: Gelbhaus. Apalogie den Juden-
thiims. pp. 65-68. Vienna. 1896; Fehi-. Situdia in Oracula Si-
hyllina. Upsala. 1893; Migne. DictUnmaire des Apocryphes,
11. 931-936; Bousset. Der Anticliri.M. (iottingen. 1895; Idem.
Die Beziehungrn der Aeltcstcn JUdischen Siliyllezitr Chal-
dilischeii SHuille. in Zeit. fVir Aentestamerdliche Wissen-
schaft, ill. 2;)-49; (iruppe. Die Griechisclien Cidte mid
Mythen, 1. 677, Leipsic. 1887 ; Schurer. Gesch. 3d ed.. iii. 421-
450; Harnack. Gcsvh. <ler A1lc}ni^t1iv}ien Lilteratur 1)is
Eusebins, 1. 861-8«». ii. .581.589. Leipsic. 1893 ; E. Oldenburger.
De Oraculonim Sd>yllini>tiim Klorutinne. Rostock. 1904; L
(ieffken. in Nnchiichten der Gott. Griehrt. GeseJIschaft,
1900. pp. 88-102; idem, in Te.rle luid UnterKtiehungen by
Gebhardt and Harnack. 1901 ; Th. Zaiin. in Zeit. fllr Kireli-
llche Wissenschaft, 1886; H. Lewy. in Pliilologus, 1898,
Ivil. 350.

Translations and Extracts: Gntsahinhi. Kleine Schriftcn,
pp. 221-278, Leipsic, 1893; Wintenind Wiin.sche. Die Jildiselie
Litteratiir, i. .59-63; Zockler, Die Apnkryphen drs Altin.
Testament.'', pp. 477-484. Munich. 1901 : Blas.s, in Kautzsch.
Apnkryphen, Ii. 177-217; Geffken, in Henneke. ?\eutes1a-
mentlichc Apnkryphen, pp. 318-;34;), Tubingen. 1904.

G. S. Kh.

SICARII (Greek, (T£/fdpio< = "assassins," "dag-
germen ") : Term applied, in the decades immediately
pi'cceding the destruction of Jerusalem, to the Jewish
Zealots who attempted to exjicl the Romans and
tlieir partizans from the country, even resorting to
murder to at lain their object. Under their cloaks
they concealed "sica?," or small daggers, whence
they received their name; and at popular assem-
blies, especially during the pilgrimage to the Tem-
ple mount, they stabbed their enemies, or, in other
words, those who were friendly to the Romans,
lamenting ostentatiously after the deed, and thus
escaping detection (Josephus, "Ant." xx. 8, § 10;




idem, "B. J." ii. 13, § 3). Although Felix had
cleared the country of the so-called "robbers," their
place was taken by the Sicarii, who were not so
easily to be suppressed. The high priest Jonathan
was assassinated by tlieni at the instigation of Felix,
who did not hesitate to make use of the Sicarii in
this way. During the procuratorship of Cumanus
they killed an imperial servant on the open high-
way near Beth-horon, an act which resulted in lam-
entable consequences.

Festus himself had to contend with the Sicarii;
but Albinus, in return for money and other presents,
left them in peace, and even convicted Sicarii were
released on promising to spare their opponents. On
one occasion they kidnaped the secretary of Eleazar,
governor of the Temple, but liberated him in ex-
change for ten of their comrades (" Ant." xx. 9, ^ 3).
At the beginning of the war against the Romans,
the Sicarii, with the help of other Zealots, gained
secret access to Jerusalem, where they committed
atrocious acts. Their leaders, including Mena-
HEM B. J.\iR, Eleaz.\h Ii. Jaiii, and Bau Gioha,
were among the important figures of this war;
and they held possession of the fortress of Masada
until it was taken by the Romans.

In Latin "sicarius" is a common term for an as-
sassin, as in the title of the law promulgated by
Sulla, the "Lex Cornelia de Sicariis"; and the word
PP'Ip'D lias the same general meaning in the Mishnah
(Bik. i. 2, ii. 3; Git. v. 6; Maksh. i. 6). The Misli-
nah mentions a "sikarikon " law enacting that title
to a piece of property held by a " robber " may be
taken in case it has been first purchased from the
owner and then from the "robber" (such being tlie
meaning of the word in this passage), but not vice

Bibliography : Gratz, Gench. 4th ed., iii. 432; Schurer, Gexch.
3d ed., i. .'>74. On tbe "sikarikon" law : Griitz, in Jahreshe-
richt. IJresIau, 189:i; Rosenthal, in Monatsschrift, 1893;
Krauss, in Biizmitinische Zeitschrift, ii. 511; idem, Lehn-
wOrtcr, ii. 39i2.

G. S. Kn.

SICHEL, JULES: French oculist; born at
Frankfort-on-the-Main 1802; died at Paris Nov. 14,
1868. He studied medicine at Berlin (M.D. 1825),
and took a postgraduate course at Paris. In 1836
he established in the latter city an ophthalmic clinic
for free consultations, and he became one of the
most popular of Parisian oculists.

Of Sichel's works the following (all published in
Paris) may be mentioned : " Propositions Generales
sur rOphlhalmologie " (1833); "Memoireset Obser-
vations sur laChoroidite" (1836); "Traitede I'Oph-
thalmie, la Cataracte, et I'Amaurose" (1837);
"Ieonograi)hie Ophthalmologique " (1852-56); and
"Nouveau Recueil de Pierres Sigillaires d'Oculistes
Romains" (1867).

Bibliography: Vapereau, Dicfiomwiire des Cojitempnrainn.
s. J. Ka.

SICHEL, NATHANEEL: German painter;
born at Mayence Jan. 8, 1843. He studied in
Munich at the Royal Academy of Art (1859-62)
under Julius Schrader. In 1863 his picture en-
titled "Joseph Explains the Dreams of Pharaoh"
won him a scholarship which enabled him to visit
Italy and to remain in Rome for two years. Before

proceeding thither he passed a year in Paris, where
he painted a portrait of the Countess of Ernaudes,
which was exhibited in the Salon of 18G5. During
his sojourn in Rome (1866-68) he jiainted the his-
torical pictures "Leave-Takiug of Maria Stuart,"
from Melville's "Francesca di Rimini and Paulo
Malatesta"; and "Don Carlos Taken Prisoner by
Philip II." In 1869 Sichel returned to Germany,
where he devoted himself to portrait-painting. Of
his more important works maybe mentioned: "The
Beggar of the Pont des Arts " ; " The Theban Wom-
an"; "The Girl from Afar"; "Oriental Dancing
Gill"; "La Favoiita " ; "Fatme"; and "Ghis-

Bibliography : Das Geistii/e Berlin, 1897, pp. 500-501.


SICILY : Large island in the Mediterranean Sea,
southwest of Italy, to which it belongs and from
which it is separated by the Strait of Messina. The
earliest trace of Jews in Sicilv dates from the end of
the sixth centurj', when, at the request of the Sicil-
ian Jews, the Roman community complained to
the pope of the cruelty of the Christians toward the
Jews of the island. Thereupon Gregory the Great
ordered the restitution of stolen property or its
full monetary value, and strictly prohibited bap-
tism by force. Nothing further is heard of Sicil-
ian Jews until the eleventh century, with the excep-
tion of a story of Jewish fanatics corrupting the
morals of women in Catania. Jew.' of Naio are
mentioned in a patent of King Roger I., dating from
the year 1094. Frederick II. endeavored to save the
Jews in Sicily from persecution during the Crusades
by the decrees of 1210 and 1221, in which he placed
the Jews under ecclesiastical jurisdiction and
ordered that no difference be made between their
treatment and that of others.

The council held at Piazza on Oct. 20, 1296, was

of great importance for the Jews. Among other

enactments it decreed that a Christian might not

be treated by a Jewish physician, and

Council of that any breach of this order would

Piazza. entail severe punishment for both. On
May 22, 1327, ecclesiastical govern-
ment was abolished in certain cities, including
Mazzara. The old custom of compelling Jews to clean
both public and private stables on certain days of the
year was abolished by Louis in a patent of protection
dated Nov. 23, 1347. The external decoration of
synagogues was prohibited by Frederick III. on Oct.
12, 1366; in consequence of this law old synagogues
that had already been decorated were pulled down.
The wearing of a special badge was ordered by
the same monarch on Dec. 25, 1309. The badge
consisted of a piece of red material, not smaller than
the largest royal seal; men were required to wear
it under the chin, and women on the breast. The
communities of Marsala and Syracuse, however,
obtained certain concessions. The former, on April
18, 1375, received permission to build a new syna-
gogue; the latter was freed from ecclesia.stical ju-
risdiction and received the right to appeal to the
royal tribunal in difficult legal cases.

Under Martin V., of Aragon, who showed favor
to the Jews in several instances, conditions under-
went little change. The monk Julian, as royal com-





missioner, was ordered in 1392 to confine tlie Jews
to ghettos. In the summer of the same year severe
persecutions broke out iu San Giuliano, Catania,

and Sj'racuse ; manj' Jews fell victims,

Persecu- and every Sunday especially the Jews

tions in those cities were in deadly fear of

of 1392. fresh cruelties. Martin finally was

induced to issue a decree, July 11,
1392, ordering the punishment of those who had
taken part iu the disturbances. In tlie following
year strict decrees were directed against private
ceremonies. Thus, on May 12, 1393, the Jews were
forbidden to use any decorations in connection with
funerals; except in unusual cases, when silk was
permitted, the coffin might be covered with a woolen
pall only. In Marsala the Jews were compelled to
take part in the festival services at Christmas and
on St. Stephen's Day, and were then followed liome
by the mob and stoned on the way. At the begin-
ning of the fifteentii centur}' oppression had in-
creased to such an extent that in 1402 the Jews of
Marsala presented an appeal to the king, in which
they asked for: (1) exemption from compulsory
menial services; (2) the reduction of their taxes to
one-eleventh of the total taxation, since the Jews
were only one-eleventh of the population; (3) the
hearing of their civil suits b}' the royal chief judge,
and of their religious cases by the inquisitor; (4) the
delivery of Hags only to the superintendent of the
royal castle, not to others; (5) the reopening of the
women's bath, which had been closed under Andrea
Chiaramonte. This appeal was granted on Dec. 6

In comparison with other Jewish communities of
Europe, the Sicilians were happily situated. They
even owned a considerable amount of property, since
thirteen of their coranunities were able, in 1413, to
lend the infante Don Juan 437 ounces of gold. This
was repaid on Dec. 24, 1415; in the same year, how-
ever, the Jewish community of Vizzini was expelled
by Queen Blauca, and it was never permitted to

Under Alfonso V. (1416-56) the Jews remained
comparatively unmolested. The first event recorded
as seriously affecting them in this reign was a decree

of Feb. 5, 1428, ordering the Jewish

Under communities throughout Sicily to at-

Alfonso V. tend conversionist sermons. A large

deputation, however, bearing a large
sum of money, appeared before the king at Naples,
with the result that, on Jan. 1, 1430, the decree was
repealed. The rise to infiuence of Capistrano, the
Sicilian monk, occurred in the reign of Alfonso V.
The result of his inflammatory sermons in Sicily
was that a certain Giacomo Sciarci was appointed
to investigate the charges of usury and other wick-
ednesses made against the Jews. In spite of the
negative result of this investigation the Jews were
made to pay a fine of 2,000 ounces of gold. One
of the last decrees of Alfonso was that prohibiting
emigration to the Holy Land. Some Jews from
Africa who were bold enough to attempt it were
made to pay a fine of 1,000 ounces of gold.

The end of the fifteenth century was distin-
guished in Sicily, as elsewhere, by persecutions
of the Jews resulting from accusations of desecrating

the host and of murdering boys. Especially
severe were those in Modica (1474), Noto and Cal-
tagirone (1475), and Syracuse (1487). The tide of
misfortune continued to rise. During the prayer-
week before the Christmas of 1491 a procession
was passing through the streets of Casliglione;
an arm of the crucifix was broken by a stone,
thrown, it was said, by the rabbi Biton from the
open window of his dwelling ; the rabbi was at once
killed by the two brothers Crise, who then betook
themselves to Spain for protection. They were
highly praised by Ferdinand the Catholic, and, when
asked what reward they desired for their deed, they

requested the expulsion of the Jews
Decree of from the whole of {Sicily.
Expulsion. When the decree of banishment,

dated March 31, 1492, reached Sicily,
there were over 100,000 Jews living in the island,
in the fifty-two different places named in the fol-
lowing table:









Calata Bellota


Caltanisetta )

Camaraia ...... (



Castrogiovanni ...




Cefalu )

Cimuoina >

Geraci )


(iiuliana /

Lentini f




Jews First

14th cent.

14th cent.


14th cent.




14th cent.


14th cent.


14th cent.


(see art.)


Jews First










Paterno I

Piana dei G reci f






San Giuliano

San MarcoiiK)

Santa Lucia








14lh cent.






14th cent,
(see art.)

14th cent.


Ferdinand's decree was proclaimed in each town
with a blare of trumpets; the Jews were ordered to
pay all their debts, both to the towns and to private
citizens, before their departure. Three months'
grace, to which forty days were added, Avas given
them to prepare for their exile; after that time
any Jew found in the island was to be liable to the
penalty of death. On June 9 they were forbidden to
depart secretly, .sell their possessions, or conceal any
property; on June 18 the carrying of weapons was
prohibited; their valuables were appraised hy royal
officials on behalf of the state, packed in boxes, and
given into the care of wealthy Christians. On Aug.
13 came the order to be ready to depart; the follow-
ing articles might be taken : one dress, a mattress,
a blanket of wool or serge, a pair of used sheets, a
few provisions, besides three taros as traveling
money. After numerous appeals, the date of de-
parture was postponed to Dec. 18, and later, after
a payment of 5,000 gulden, to Jan. 12, 1493. The
departure actually occurred on Dec. 31. 1492.

The exiles sought refuge in Apulia, Calabria, and
Naples. When Charles VIII. conquered Naples in

f icily



1494, a serious disease, known as " French fly,"
broke out in that region. The responsibility for
this being fixed upon tlie Jews, tliey were ac-
cordingly driven out of Naples. They then
.sought refuge in Turkish territory, and settled
chiefly in Constantinople, Damascus, Salonica, and
Cairo. In a proclamation of Feb. 3, 1740. contain-
ing thirty-seven paragraphs, the Jews were for-
mally inviteti to return; a few came, but, feeling
their lives Insecure, tliey soon went back to Turkey.

In spite of many adverse royal decrees, and of
frequent popular persecutions, in no other state did
tlie Jews of the Middle Ages enjcH' such freedom
and independence as in Sicily. It was the policy of
the rulers to allow the heterogeneous nationalities
thrown together upon the island an autonomous
government, in which, however, the
Taxation. Jews did not siiare. Besides general
state taxes, the Jews were required to
pay an annual capitation-tax of a quarter of an ounce
of gold, called "agostale" (those who failed in this
payment were
placed under
ban by the com-
nuinity itself,
according to a
decree of Sept.
4, 1004); and one
Roman paolo or
one forty-eighth
of an ounce of
gold per head
every year (after
1224) to the in-
quisitor for his
traveling ex-
penses. They
were required
furthermore to
supply flags for
the royal castles
and standards
for the galleys
(only Syracuse
was exempt
from the levy)
and to clean the
royal castles and palaces. The capitation-tax of the
Sicilian Jews in the fifteenth century amounted
on an average to 123j ounces of gold per year. The
Jews of Syracuse were obliged in addition to con-
tribute an ounce of gold daily toward the expenses of
the royal tabic. The community of Mazzara paid
the bishop from 3} to 5 pounds of pepper annually.

Among the civil disabilities of the Jews it should
be mentioned that they might not testify against a
Christian before a court, though neither might a
Christian testify against a Jew; and Jews might
not liave Christian slaves, though they were per-
mitted to own real estate.

The internal administration of the communities in
the larger cities was conducted by a number of offi-
cials. There were twelve presidents (" proti "), three
of whom administered affairs for three months, and
were then succeeded by the next three. The six
" auditori di conti " had charge of the treasury of the

I rV P«NTELl.«f<l» I.



6 I'O iO ao 40 6b


LoD^tude £4iBt

fiaitMAy & CO..N.V.

Map of Sicily Showing Places Where Jews Resided

comraunit}'. A board of twelve members, the "do-
dici," or "dodici nomini probi," reviewed the deci-
sions of the "pi'oti." The "conser-
Communal vatori degli atti" was composed of
Or- several scholars, and had chaige of the

gauization. archives. The nine "sogetti" appor-
tioned the taxes among the individual
members of the community. Besides these there were
a "percettori" (tax-collector), the "sindachi" (pub-
lic syndics and charity administrators), and a " balio,"
or "guvernadore," an executive officer. The relig-
ious administration was v('«ted in the following offi-
cers: the "dienchelele " (^^13 pn), chief judge, or
chief district rabbi (this office was in existence from
1405 to 1425, the appointment being in the hands of
the king); the "manigliore," or "sacri.stano," who
was the guardian of the synagogue and was ap-
pointed by the "'proti " ; the"idubi," public commu-
nal scribes, who drew up documents of marriage and
divorce; the " limosinieri," special officers for distrib-
uting alms; the "giudici spirituali," consisting of

the " proti " and
the rabbi, who
watched over re-
ligious observ-
ances in general.
The p r a j"^ e r -
leaders and
ritual slaugh-
terers were
called "presby-
ters " ; the .syna-
gogue itself,
"meskita" (Ar-

Tile personal
names adopted
by the Jews
were often local
in origin, or
were Latinized
Jewish names,
as Angelo, Do-
nate, Benedic-
tus (= Bar\icli).
Gauden (= Sim-
hah). The in-
timacy between the Jews and some of their Christian
fellow citizens is shown, for instance, by the fact
that in Castrogiovanni a Christian acted as godfather
at the circumcision of a Jewish boy.

The Jews were the chief representatives of com-
merce and industry. They were very active in
financial transactions, and excelled
Occupa- also in agriculture; the grove of date-
tious. palms near Favara was planted by
them, while their farming near Gerbi
was very successful. That they applied themselves
also to all kinds of manual labor may be gathered
from the protest raised by the Sicilians at the de-
parture of the Jews. At the time of their expulsion
many Sicilians stood on the roofs and galleries of
their houses to bid them farewell.

Bibliography : La Lumla, GH Ebrei SicHiani 11,92, ralermo.
1870; B. G. Lagumlna, Codice Diplomaticn del Giudei at
Sicilia, lb. 18S5, 1890; Giovanni de Giovanni, UEhraimw
della Sicilia, Palermo, 1748; I. V. Bozzo, NoU Storiche

t" from

i S) riicuNB

Greenwich 15




iicUiane del Sccnln XIV. ib. 1882; R. SUirrabba, Aned-
UM SicilianU lb. 1«78; Zunz, Z. G. pp. i»i-r,M- Gudemimn,
3e«ch pp. 2«8-~'99, Vienna, 1888; BruU's Jalirh. vi. Itib et


dnti SicU

Geifch^ pp. 2(i8-:





SICK, VISITING THE (Hebrew, "bikkur
holiin"): To visit llie sick in order to show them
sympathy, cheer them, and aid and relieve them in
their suffering is declared by the Kabbis to be a
duty incumbent uiion every Jew, even if the sick
one is a Gentile (Git. 61a). While there exists no
special command in the written law concerning
this act of benevolence, the Rabbis found allusions
to it in several passages of the Pentateuch. Thus,
"Ye shall walk after the Lord your God" (Deut.
xiii. 4) means, say the Rabbis. "Imitate God; as
He visits the »\c.k—e.g., in the case of Abraham
(Gen. xviii. 1, so interpieted by the Rabbis)— so
do thou also visit the sick " (Sotah 14a; Gen. R.
viii., end); when it is said, "Show them the way
wherein they must walk " (Ex. xviii. 20), the duty
of visiting the sick is referred to (B. AI. 30b; corap.
Targ. Yer. ad loc); and likewise Avhen it is said
(Gen. xviii. 29), "He [Abraham] will command his
children and his household after him, and tliey shall
keep the way of tlie Lord, to do righteou.sness "
([Hebr.]; Gen. R. xlix. 7). The haberim, or Hasi-
dic associations, made the performance of this duty
a special obligation ; and therefore the visiting of
the sick is enumerated in Matt. xxv. 36 among the
various forms of chanty. In the Shulhan 'Aruk,
Yoreh De'ah, a whole chapter is devoted to the com-
mand concerning such visitations; and in many
Jewish communities there existed, and still exist,
Bikkur Holim societies, whose particular object is
to visit and care for the sick. See Chaiutv.


SID, SIDI (Arabic, "lord," "noble"): Common
family name among Eastern Jews, borne by several
rabbinical authors.

Abraham Moses Sid : Servian rabbinical au-
thor; born at Nish 1842; died there 1876. He wrote
many works, of which the only ones printed are
the following: ^'Tasheb Enosh " (Salonica, 1869), a
work on ethics in thirty chapters; " Hippazon Pesah "
{ih. 1870), on the Passover laws; " Kezir Hittim"
(ih. 1870), commentary on the Book of Ruth.

The library of the synagogue of Nish contains
four manuscript works by Sid: "Yosheb Tehillot,"

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 11) → online text (page 77 of 160)