VIENNE, town in the department of Isère, S.E. France. The earliest confirmed Jewish presence in France was in Vienne. In the year 6 C.E., *Archelaus, ethnarch of Judah, was consigned there by Emperor Augustus; he died there in about 16 C.E. This fact was probably the source of the error in the Roman provençal of Girard de Vienne, in which it is asserted that a Jew named Joachim arrived in Vienne after the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus. At the beginning of the ninth century there was an important Jewish community in Vienne that was confronted by the coercive missionary activities organized by *Agobard, bishop of Lyons. After Agobard's failure, he induced the bishop of Vienne to call on his community to avoid all relations with the Jews. From 849 a plot of land inside the town was commonly owned by the Jews. This may have been the nucleus of the Jewish quarter, Burgus publicus Hebraeurum, which is mentioned from the last quarter of the tenth century and is commemorated by the "Saint-Pierre entre Juifs" parish and the Rue de Juiverie near the St.-Maurice church. From the tenth century the Jews of Vienne also owned and cultivated agricultural estates, including many vineyards within the proximity of Vienne. They constantly expanded these properties and the purchase of land by Jews was often camouflaged under a fictitious promissory note, for which a pledge in real estate was taken. Also, the Jews often exchanged plots of land, occasionally with the Church itself. At the close of the tenth century the Jew Astier was invested with the function of steward by the abbot of St.-André-le-Bas to deal with business (negotia monachorum). The tenor of the relationship with the Christian community changed radically in 1247, when the archbishop of Vienne had to be exhorted by Pope Innocent IV to guarantee the protection of the Jews of his diocese after the *Valréas blood libel. One of the last details known about the Jews of Vienne during the Middle Ages concerns the search carried out in 1389 to seize the promissory notes. Among the Jewish scholars of Vienne during the Middle Ages were the legal authority Tobiah b. Elijah (first half of the 13th century) and the posek Yakar (second half of the 13th century).
Gross, Gal Jud, 191–4; L. Clair, in: Vienne; Mélanges d' Archéologie et d'Histoire, 1 (1923/24), 59–62; Roman Provençal de Girard de Vienne, ed. by G. Ranier (1829), 32; B. Blumenkranz, in: Comptes-Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1969), 162; idem, Juifs et Chrétiens dans le Monde Occidental (1960), index; see also A. Prudhomme, in: REJ, 9 (1884), 232, 253f.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.