AHC: Alternative Jewish-like ethnicities

What other groups of people could have created (in Europe) a group similar to the Jews?

So:
1. Different ethnic origins than the res of the population
2. Largely separating itself from the rest of society
3. Not Christian
4. Possessing a high emphasis on learning

Some people from Asia could fill that role but I feel they're too different from Christianity to be accepted in Medieval-Early Modern Europe.
 
Samaritans remain a very big presence in holy land, Druze probably but to have the level of geographic spread that Jews had would require very specific conditions
 
What other groups of people could have created (in Europe) a group similar to the Jews?

So:
1. Different ethnic origins than the res of the population
2. Largely separating itself from the rest of society
3. Not Christian
4. Possessing a high emphasis on learning

Some people from Asia could fill that role but I feel they're too different from Christianity to be accepted in Medieval-Early Modern Europe.
Zoroastrians
 
Zoroastrians or Buddhists could be some real interesting religions from the East to introduce to Europe during Antiquity/Middle Ages periods. The Baha'i could also migrate from the Middle East into Europe, forming a small religious minority in places like France or Britain.
 
The Romani are close in some ways, although they were not urban elites but rural wanderers.
They are only close as in they are a minority which fills some particular niche, outside that they are completely different in religious particularism, endogamy, professions and so on.
 
Keep the Byzantines more closely economically connected with the rest of Europe and the Armenians might work in this role. They had/have that role throughout the Middle East historically.
 
Keep the Byzantines more closely economically connected with the rest of Europe and the Armenians might work in this role. They had/have that role throughout the Middle East historically.
Armenians are definitely a close parallel. On a similar note, I wonder if a more oppressive Ottomans might cause a similar situation for Greeks. As with Armenians, preventing conversion and assimilation would be the biggest hurdle though.

I had a thread few months ago about plausibility of Muslim refugees in Europe. Consensus there was that it was only really plausible in the low countries, but depending on how widespread you want this alternate group to be, that could be a possibility.
 
- Could Native Americans do this in the US?

- More slaves in America develop Voodoo beliefs and form isolated communities?

- How much has Sikhism spread to other British Commonwealth nations?

- Buddhist monks are a obvious choice as others have said.
 
What about some sort of surviving strand of paganism in an otherwise largely Christian Europe? I always thought that it would be interesting to develop a scenario where Margaret Murray's witch-cult hypothesis was more-or-less an accurate reflection of historical reality.
 
Keep the Byzantines more closely economically connected with the rest of Europe and the Armenians might work in this role. They had/have that role throughout the Middle East historically.
Armenians are Christian and likely wouldn't be endogamous and would probably convert to whatever local strand of Christianity is there at some point.

I had a thread few months ago about plausibility of Muslim refugees in Europe. Consensus there was that it was only really plausible in the low countries, but depending on how widespread you want this alternate group to be, that could be a possibility.
Would such a minority really put an high emphasis on learning and be that urban? And if it separates itself from society it seems to me it would compared to the Jewish community highly prone to be expelled or vanquished, especially if it's a recent creation, it's not like corsairs of Dutch origin in North Africa created a persistent local community.
 
What about some sort of surviving strand of paganism in an otherwise largely Christian Europe? I always thought that it would be interesting to develop a scenario where Margaret Murray's witch-cult hypothesis was more-or-less an accurate reflection of historical reality.
Give the word paganus is associated with rural areas and its inhabitant it seems to me that it's hard with a christianization like OTL.
 
What about some sort of surviving strand of paganism in an otherwise largely Christian Europe? I always thought that it would be interesting to develop a scenario where Margaret Murray's witch-cult hypothesis was more-or-less an accurate reflection of historical reality.
I think the best region to have a secret pagan population is probably in the Baltics or in Finland since iirc they were one of the last places to be Christianized OTL. If the Teutonic Order did not exist or were less inclined towards converting the natives, then it's possible a pagan population could survive as a peasant group that is culturally distinct from the Germanized nobility.
 
Armenians are Christian and likely wouldn't be endogamous and would probably convert to whatever local strand of Christianity is there at some point.
I don’t know, they have historically been very proud of their distinct Christianity and refused to convert under other Christian regimes, e.g. under the Byzantines and Georgians. It would probably take substantial migration to create populations large enough to maintain cultural continuity, though—maybe at the time of the Seljuk invasion the attempt at creating Cilician Armenia falls through for whatever reason and the refugees are forced farther west.
 
Give the word paganus is associated with rural areas and its inhabitant it seems to me that it's hard with a christianization like OTL.
Instead of paganism in its purest form, what about one of the various cults that competed with Christianity for dominance in the late Roman Empire, either derived from the traditional Greco-Roman religion (for instance, Sol Invictus, or perhaps the worship of Bacchus) or another exotic belief system originating on the edge of the empire, or even outside of its borders, such as the cult of Isis, Mithraism, or Manichaeism?

Heck, what about a world where Christianity itself is never adopted as the state religion of Rome, but rather than fading away, adherents survive in Europe by occupying some specific socioeconomic niche? Of course, going by the stipulations of the OP, that would be off-topic.
 
I don’t know, they have historically been very proud of their distinct Christianity and refused to convert under other Christian regimes, e.g. under the Byzantines and Georgians. It would probably take substantial migration to create populations large enough to maintain cultural continuity, though—maybe at the time of the Seljuk invasion the attempt at creating Cilician Armenia falls through for whatever reason and the refugees are forced farther west.
Well the Armenian community that settled the Balkans from time to time in the middle ages didn't really go anywhere and it seems it was assimilated into the local populations, only the Ottoman one survived AFAIK.
 
Instead of paganism in its purest form, what about one of the various cults that competed with Christianity for dominance in the late Roman Empire, either derived from the traditional Greco-Roman religion (for instance, Sol Invictus, or perhaps the worship of Bacchus) or another exotic belief system originating on the edge of the empire, or even outside of its borders, such as the cult of Isis, Mithraism, or Manichaeism?

Heck, what about a world where Christianity itself is never adopted as the state religion of Rome, but rather than fading away, adherents survive in Europe by occupying some specific socioeconomic niche? Of course, going by the stipulations of the OP, that would be off-topic.
In a Europe dominated by Christianity, trying to maintain pagan cults like Mithraism or Manichaeism would be exceptionally hard past their OTL lifespans. Christianity was pretty anti-pagan while Mithraism was a mystery cult that didn't proselytize. It sucks though because a lot of late Antiquity pagan religions were very unique and awesome, so any way to preserve though ancient traditions would be welcome indeed.
 
If you have a surviving Zoroastrian Persia, the Manichaeists may survive in Mesopotamia. Perhaps they can cause problems with the empire, causing a bunch of them to become an exiled people. This would give them a similar niche to the Jews being outsiders to both Christendom and Islam (in this case Zoroastrianism).
 
Jews were the only non-Christians permitted to settle in Christian Europe (at least some of the time), because they were 'of the book', to borrow a term from Islam; and because they were non-proselytizing. For those same reasons another, similar group is all but impossible.
Islam is all about proselytism, and as it's later than Christianity is seen as heretical. Even the Samaritans are unlikely as they'd be considered heretical to Judaism. I think this also discounts groups like the Druze, Alawites, Cathars, Arians etc.
The Romani were persecuted as is, despite typically adopting whatever branch of Christianity was prevalent wherever they went. If they were explicitly non-Christian they'd have had no chance; and besides, their culture is essentially antithetical to education.
Surviving pagans are unthinkable unless Christianity itself is hugely altered. There were countless massacres and numerous desecrations of holy sites to ensure that the entire population was either Christian or, in sporadic exception, Jewish.
 
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