Lv 7
Kevin7 asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

can someone tell me about Jews in Europe in the Middle Ages?

4 Answers

  • Ve
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Jews settled in Europe during the time of the Roman Empire, but the rise of the Roman Catholic Church resulted in frequent expulsions and persecutions. The Crusades routinely attacked Jewish communities, and increasingly harsh laws restricted them from most economic activity and land ownership, leaving open only money-lending and a few other trades. Jews were subject to expulsions from England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire throughout the Middle Ages, with most of the population moving to Eastern Europe and especially Poland, which was uniquely tolerant of the Jews through the 1700s. The final mass expulsion of the Jews, and the largest, occurred after the Christian conquest (Reconquista) of Iberia in 1492 (see History of the Jews in Spain and History of the Jews in Portugal). Even after the end of the expulsions in the 17th century, individual conditions varied from country to country and time to time, but, as rule, Jews in Western Europe generally were forced, by decree or by informal pressure, to live in highly segregated ghettos and shtetls. By the beginning of the twentieth century, most European Jews lived in the so-called Pale of Settlement, the Western frontier of the Russian Empire consisting generally of the modern-day countries of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and neighboring regions.

    In the Iberian Peninsula, under Muslim rule, Jews were able to make great advances in mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, chemistry, and philology.[54] This era is sometimes referred to as the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

    During early Islam, Leon Poliakov writes, Jews enjoyed great privileges, and their communities prospered. There was no legislation or social barriers preventing them from conducting commercial activities. Many Jews migrated to areas newly conquered by Muslims and established communities there. The vizier of Baghdad entrusted his capital with Jewish bankers. The Jews were put in charge of certain parts of maritime and slave trade. Siraf, the principal port of the caliphate in the 10th century CE, had a Jewish governor.

    Throughout history, there have been numerous instances of pogroms against Jews. Examples include the 1066 Granada massacre, where the razing of the entire Jewish quarter in the Andalucian city of Granada in 1066. In North Africa, there were cases of violence against Jews in the Middle Ages, and in other Arab lands including Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.

    The Almohads, who had taken control of much of Islamic Iberia by 1172, far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Jews and Christians were expelled from Morocco and Islamic Spain. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, some Jews, such as the family of Maimonides, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.

  • 1 decade ago

    In simple summary form:

    The Jews were subject to many expulsions during the Middle Ages in Europe, including:

    1290 -16,000 Jews were expelled from England

    1396 - 100,000 from France (Also expelled in 1307)

    1421 - thousands were expelled from Austria.

    Many of these Jews settled in Eastern Europe, especially Poland where they were prey for the Nazi's after 1939.

    1492 - 200,000 were expelled from Spain

    1493 - Sicily 37,000 Jews

    1496 - Portugal

    The expelled Jews fled mainly to the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands, and North Africa, others migrating to Southern Europe and the Middle East.

    Why? Because they often did not assimilate with the local populace. Outsiders are often persecuted in hard times. Humans love to have someone to blame for misfortunes - as the Jews were blamed for the Black plague in 1347-48 (even though their death rate was just as high). They were successful which led to jealousy. And most importantly, people - including princes and kings - owed them money. The best way to get out of debt was often to expel the people who aristocrats owed money to.

  • Karen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I have read the novel "Ivanhoe" by SIr Walter Scott, and from what i read i find that it was so hottible to be a Jew in medieval Europe. Really strange since the old testament is a basic part of the bible.

  • Connie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    What a sad time in history...

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