Lemma 7.47.11. Let $\mathcal{C}$ be a category. Let $\{ \mathcal{F}_ i \} _{i\in I}$ be a collection of presheaves of sets on $\mathcal{C}$. For each $U \in \mathop{\mathrm{Ob}}\nolimits (\mathcal{C})$ denote $J(U)$ the set of sieves $S$ with the following property: For every morphism $V \to U$, the maps

\[ \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(h_ V, \mathcal{F}_ i) \longrightarrow \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(S \times _ U V, \mathcal{F}_ i) \]

are bijective for all $i \in I$. Then $J$ defines a topology on $\mathcal{C}$. This topology is the finest topology in which all of the $\mathcal{F}_ i$ are sheaves.

**Proof.**
If we show that $J$ is a topology, then the last statement of the lemma immediately follows. The first and third axioms of a topology are immediately verified. Thus, assume that we have an object $U$, and sieves $S, S'$ of $U$ such that $S \in J(U)$, and for all $V \to U$ in $S(V)$ we have $S' \times _ U V \in J(V)$. We have to show that $S' \in J(U)$. In other words, we have to show that for any $f : W \to U$, the maps

\[ \mathcal{F}_ i(W) = \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(h_ W, \mathcal{F}_ i) \longrightarrow \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(S' \times _ U W, \mathcal{F}_ i) \]

are bijective for all $i \in I$. Pick an element $i \in I$ and pick an element $\varphi \in \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(S' \times _ U W, \mathcal{F}_ i)$. We will construct a section $s \in \mathcal{F}_ i(W)$ mapping to $\varphi $.

Suppose $\alpha : V \to W$ is an element of $S \times _ U W$. According to the definition of pullbacks we see that the composition $f \circ \alpha : V \to W \to U$ is in $S$. Hence $S' \times _ U V$ is in $J(W)$ by assumption on the pair of sieves $S, S'$. Now we have a commutative diagram of presheaves

\[ \xymatrix{ S' \times _ U V \ar[r] \ar[d] & h_ V \ar[d] \\ S' \times _ U W \ar[r] & h_ W } \]

The restriction of $\varphi $ to $S' \times _ U V$ corresponds to an element $s_{V, \alpha } \in \mathcal{F}_ i(V)$. This we see from the definition of $J$, and because $S' \times _ U V$ is in $J(W)$. We leave it to the reader to check that the rule $(V, \alpha ) \mapsto s_{V, \alpha }$ defines an element $\psi \in \mathop{\mathrm{Mor}}\nolimits _{\textit{PSh}(\mathcal{C})}(S \times _ U W, \mathcal{F}_ i)$. Since $S \in J(U)$ we see immediately from the definition of $J$ that $\psi $ corresponds to an element $s$ of $\mathcal{F}_ i(W)$.

We leave it to the reader to verify that the construction $\varphi \mapsto s$ is inverse to the natural map displayed above.
$\square$

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