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Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe

Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe

Bernard S. Bachrach
Copyright Date: 1977
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe
    Book Description:

    This is the first study of early medieval Jewish policy in the West which examines the nature of this policy from the perspective and aims of its formulators. As the author points out, most specialists in Jewish history have been dominated by what the historian Salo Baron has called the “lachrymose conception,’ a view which emphasized persecution and suffering as a fundamental theme of Jewish history. Professor Bachrach challenges this view and attacks what he calls the myth of Christian church domination of the early medieval world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6125-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. CHAPTER I Visigothic Jewish Policy
    (pp. 3-26)

    For almost a century (418-507) the Visigoths ruled most of Aquitaine in southwestern Gaul, and from the last quarter of the fifth century until 711 they ruled the greater part of the Iberian peninsula. Until 589 the Visigoths were Arian Christians, and scholars generally agree that they pursued a policy of tolerance toward the many Jewish communities that flourished under their rule in both Gaul and Spain.¹

    The letters of Sidonius Apollinaris (d. ca. 489), a Gallo-Roman of the senatorial class who also served as the orthodox Christian bishop of Clermont Ferrand, depict this atmosphere of tolerance and close relations...

  5. CHAPTER II Jewish Policy in Early Medieval Italy (476-774)
    (pp. 27-43)

    During the some two centuries in which Spain was ruled by the Visigoths, Italy was subjected to a series of conquerors. Odoacer, the leader of a war band comprised of several barbarian peoples, ruled much of Italy for thirteen years (476-489). From 489 until 493 Odoacer and the Ostrogothic king Theoderic fought for control of the peninsula. The latter won, and his dynasty ruled until 554. The last two decades of this period, however, were disturbed by an ongoing war with the Byzantine armies of Justinian I. The Byzantines were victorious but enjoyed the fruits of their conquest for only...

  6. CHAPTER III Merovingian Jewish Policy
    (pp. 44-65)

    Shortly after Clovis succeeded his father Childeric as the ruler of Tournai in 481, he expanded Frankish control to the region between the Somme and the Seine. In 503-504, about seven years after his acceptance of Orthodox Christianity, Clovis extended his kingdom south of the Seine and then conquered most of Aquitaine. During the next three years Clovis conquered the northeastern quarter of Gaul.¹

    Clevis’s rapid rise to dominance in Gaul can be attributed, in part, to his acceptance of Orthodox Christianity which brought him the support of both ecclesiastical and lay magnates of Roman origin.² Baptism, however, does not...

  7. CHAPTER IV Jewish Policy in the Early Carolingian Empire and Its Environs
    (pp. 66-83)

    After about a century of prominence as mayors of the palace, the Carolingians finally replaced the Merovingians as kings in 751. It is only in 768, however, when King Peppin I conquered Aquitaine and brought the entireregnum Francorumunder Carolingian domination that we obtain our first glimpse of the new dynasty’s Jewish policy. As part of his efforts to win over the newly conquered inhabitants of southwestern Gaul to the support of the Carolingian house, Peppin continued the policies of previous rulers and issued a capitulary directing that the personality of the law would obtain among the various peoples...

  8. CHAPTER V Jewish Policy under Louis the Pious (814-840) and in the Environs of the Empire
    (pp. 84-105)

    When Charlemagne died on 28 January 814, he was succeeded by his son Louis the Pious. The new emperor whom scholars have credited with having noteworthy administrative talent followed his father’s pro-Jewish policies. Louis, however, tended to systematize and organize governmental institutions in the empire. Among the new administrative offices that he created were themagistri, and among these was themagister Judaeorum.¹ Although there is no document that describes in full the powers of the variousmagistri, it is clear from a wide variety of sources that all of these officers were closely associated with the royal court. The...

  9. CHAPTER VI Jewish Policy in the Carolingian Empire and Its Environs during the Period of Dissolution (840-877)
    (pp. 106-131)

    When Louis the Pious died in 840, the discord within the empire that had become manifest during the previous decade was exacerbated. Louis’s three principal heirs, Lothair, Louis the German, and Charles the Bald, went to war. For three years alliances shifted and the balance of power swung from one faction to another. Finally, a bloody battle was fought at Fontenoy which was decisive not because one side was clearly victorious but because immense losses were sustained by everyone involved. The single most important result of the battle of Fontenoy was that it turned the interests of the nobles from...

  10. CHAPTER VII Conclusions
    (pp. 132-140)

    The division by scholars of medieval European history into three chronological periods: the early, high, and later Middle Ages, has led to the expectation that generalizations be formulated to characterize various aspects of these eras. In the present study, 400 years of Jewish policy have been examined and discussed for an area that includes most of Western Europe. During this period several hundred rulers from dozens of dynasties led scores of polities in the area under consideration. In light of the sheer number of persons involved in decision-making capacities and the varying circumstances in which each of them functioned, it...

  11. Abbreviations
    (pp. 142-143)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 144-191)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 192-204)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-214)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-215)