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From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
The Gaonim were the scholarly and spiritual leaders of the Jewish communities in Babylonia from about 580 to 1040 A.D. "Gaonim" is the plural of "gaon," a Biblical Hebrew term meaning glory or splendor.
The era of the Gaonim was the fourth era of post-Temple Jewish history.
In contrast to the corporate talmudic works that had been produced by the Tannaim and Amoraim of the preceding eras, the major works of the Gaonim were individually authored Halakhic and liturgical contributions.