“Medieval” Period in the West

(ca. 600-1500)


 

610 Visigothic ruler Sesbut prohibits Judaism after several anti-Jewish edicts are ignored. Exiled Jews return to Byzantine Spain under Sesbut's successor, Swintilla.
614 Persian General Romizanes captures Jerusalem and allows Jews to run the city. At this time, aproximately 150,000 Jews are living in 43 settlements in Eretz-Israel.
617 The Persians renege on their promises and forbid Jews to settle within a three mile radius of Jerusalem.
638 Although Chintilla decrees that only Catholics are permitted to live in Visogoth Spain, many Jews continue to live there.
638 Islamic conquest of Jerusalem.
682 Visigoth King Erwig continues oppression of Jews, making it illegal to practice any Jewish rites and pressing for the conversion or emigration of the remaining Jews.
691 First account of Jews in England.
712 Jews help Muslim invaders capture Spain, ending Visogoth rule and beginning a 150 year period of relative peace, in which Jews were free to study and practice religion as they wished.
722 In the wake of a narrow military defeat over Muslim forces, Leo III of Constantinople decided his nation's weakness lay in its heterogenious population, and began the forcible conversion of the Jews, as well as the "New Christians." Most converted under Leo III clandestinely continued their Jewish practices.
1040 Birth of Rashi.
1066 In the wake of the Norman conquest of England, Jews left Normandy and settled in London and later in York, Norwich, Oxford, Bristol and Lincoln.
1078 Pope Gregory VII prohibited Jews from holding offices in Christendom.
1086-1145 The greatest Hebrew poet of his time, Judah Halevi.
1090 Iban Iashufin, King of the Almoravides, captured Granada and destroyed the Jewish community, the survivors fled to Toledo.
1095 Henry IV of Germany, who granted Jews favorable conditions whenever possible, issued a charter to the Jews and a decree against forced baptism.
1131 Birth of Rambam.
1171 In the town of Blois, southwest of Paris, Jews are falsely accused of committing ritual murder ((killing of a Christian child) and blood libel. The adult Jews of the city are arrested and most are executed after refusing to convert. Thirty-one or 32 of the Jews are killed. The Jewish children are forcibly baptized.
1210 Group of 300 French and English rabbis make aliyah and settle in Israel.
1215 The Church's Fourth Lateran Council decrees that Jews be differentiated from others by their type of clothing to avoid intercourse between Jews and Christians. Jews are sometimes required to wear a badge; sometimes a pointed hat.
1227-1274 Christian theologian, who called for the slavery of all Jews, Saint Thomas Aquinas.
1229 King Henry III of England forced Jews to pay half the value of thier property in taxes.
1242 Burning of the Talmud in Paris.
1244 Tartars capture Jerusalem.
1253 King Henry III of England ordered Jewish worship in synagogue to be held quietly so that Christians passing by do not have to hear it. e also ordered that Jews may not employ Christian nurses or maids, nor may any Jew prevent another from converting to Christianity.
1254 French King Louis IX expelled the Jews from France, ending the Tosaphists period. Most Jews went to Germany and further east.
1255 Seeing himself as the "master of the Jews," King Henry II of England transferred his rights to the Jews to his brother, Richard, for 5,000 marks.
1267 In a special session, the Vienna city council forced Jews to wear the Pileum cornutum, a cone-shaped headress prevelent in many medieval woodcuts illustrating Jews. This form of distinctive dress was an additon to badge Jews were forced to wear.
1267 Ramban (Nachmanides) arrives in Israel.
1275 King Edward of England banned usury and unsuccessfully encouraged Jews in agriculture, crafts and local trades. He also forced Jews over the age of seven to wear an indentifying badge.
1282 The Archbishop of Canterbury, John Pectin, ordered all London synagogues to closed and prohibited Jewish physicians from practicing on Christians.
1285 Blood libel in Munich, Germany results in the death of 68 Jews. An additional 180 Jews are burned alive at the synagogue.
1287 A mob in Oberwesel, Germany kills 40 Jewish men, women and children after a ritual murder accusation.
1290 Bowing political pressure, English King Edward I expels the Jews from England. They were only allowed to take what they could carry and most went to France, paying for thier passage only to be robbed and cast overboard by the ship captains.
1306 Philip IV orders all Jews expelled from France, with their property to be sold at public auction. Some 125,000 Jews are forced to leave.
1321 Similar to accusations made during the Black Plague, Jews were accused of encouraging lepers to poison Christian wells in France. An estimated five thousand Jews were killed before the king, Philip the Tall, admitted the Jews were innocent.
1321 Henry II of Castile forces Jews to wear yellow badges.
1322 Charles IV of France expels all French Jews without the one year period he had promised them.
1348-1349 Much of Europe blames the Black Plague on the Jews and tortured to confess that they poisoned the wells. Despite the pleas of innocence of Pope Clement VI, the accusations resulted in the destruction of over 60 large and 150 small Jewish communities.
1348 Basle burns 600 Jews at the stake and forcibly baptizes 140 children, expelling the city's other Jews. The city's Christian residents convert the synagogue into a church and destroy the Jewish cemetery.
1348 Pope Clement VI issues an edict repudiating the libel against Jews, saying that they too were suffering from the Plague.
1360 Samuel ben Meir Abulafia is arrested and tortured to death by King Pedro without any explination. The king also confiscated his great wealth.
1385-1386 German Emperor Wenceslaus arrests Jews living in the Swabian League, a group of free cities in S. Germany, and confiscates their books. Later, he expelled the Jews of Strassburg after a community debate.
1386 Emperor Wenceslaus expelles the Jews from Strassbourg and confiscate their property.
1389 After a priest was hit with some sand from a few small Jewish boys playing in the street, he insisted that the Jewish community was plotting against him and began a virulent campaign against the city's Jews, resulting in the massacre of thousands and the destruction of the city's synagogue and Jewish cemetery. King Wenceslaus refused to condemn the act, insisting that the responsibility lay with the Jews for going outside during the Holy Week.
1389 Pope Boniface continues the policy of Clement VI, forbidding the Christians to harm Jews, destroy their cemeteries or forcibly baptize them.
1391 Ferrand Martinez, archdeacon of Ecija, begins a campaign against Spanish Jewry, killing over 10,000 and destroying the Jewish quarter in Barcelona. The campaign quickly spreads throughout Spain, except for Granada, and destroys Jewish communities in Valencia and Palma De Majorca.
1391 King Pedro I orders Spain not to harm the remaining Jews and decrees that synagogues not be converted into churches.
1392 King Pedro I announces his compliance with the Bull of Pope Boniface IX, protecting Jews from baptism. He extends this edict to Spanish Jewish refugees.
1415 Benedict XIII bans the study of the Talmud in any form, institutes forced Christian sermons and tries to restrict Jewish life completely.
1420 Pope Martin V favorably reinstates old privleges of the Jews and orders that no child under the age of 12 can be forcibly baptized without parental consent.
1420 All Jews are expelled from Lyons, including the refugees from Paris who were expelled 20 years earliers. Jews now only remain in Provence (until 1500) and in the possessions of the Holy See.
1422 Pope Martin V issues a bull reminding Christians that Christianity was derived from Judaism and warns the Friars not to incite against the Jews. The Bull was withdrawn the following year, alleging that the Jews of Rome attained the Bull by fraud.
1480 Inquisition established in Spain.

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