[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Knights and Jews

Poster: jsrechts@imap.unc.edu

> In defense of both re-enactors and the Medieval Church and Chivalric
>orders, I would like to point out that saying Medieval knights 
> hated Jews and bullied/killed them is both an uncomfortable generalization

Note that I said many.  I still stand by my claim.  Yes, there were local clergy
and knights who did their best to protect Jews.  There were others who,
especially during the Crusades, promised safety, took the Jews' money and then
broke their word.  Time and time again, however, there were proclaimations
against the Jews.  Innocent III was the most notorious as he formally
established the Ghettos.

>and in some cases wildly inaccurate.  More often it was the lower classes
> who were disenfranchised and looking for a scapegoat, just as in NaziGermany >
>it was the working class that was drawn to the Nazi movement.

Both lower and upper classes in Germany participated in the genocide in Germany.
Just as lower and upper classes participated in pogroms in medieval Europe.  It
is true though, the "People's Crusade," which was made up of mostly lower class
people was more ruthless.

>Jews traditionally acted as moneylenders (one of the few professions open
to them, and one that was illegal for Christians).

Yes.  Actually, once the Venetian trade started flourishing, the Christian
bankers started increasing pressure on Jews so they (the Christian bankers)
could get an advantage.

>  The majority of the
>ime, riots against the Jewish ghettos can be traced back to financial,
>rather than religious, concerns.  

Yes, I agree.  Just as today, it's not always the moralistic but the money
issues.  Marx had a good point in basing historical analysis on economics.

>  I wouldn't argue that Medieval knights were bullies,

>but they generally didn't have to dirty their hands with mass slaughter.
>And if you look at countries other than England, such as France and
>Italy, the Jewish communities blended in much more seamlessly and without
>as much violence.   

Oh no, look at Germany and France.  St. Louis kicked the jews out for a time in
France.  Expelling an entire group is not exactly non-violent, especially during
that time.  German Jews suffered terribly during the Crusades and later Jews all
over Europe were subject to being a scapegoat for the black death.  There were a
number of pogroms in the 14th century against Jews who were accused of poisoning

>As a Jew who's been an SCA member for almost ten years, I have a problem
>with reducing the whole of the middle ages, and the *ideals* of chivalry,
>to nothing more than religious intolerance and instances of the strong
>preying on the weak.

Please re-read my post.  I said that when I have mentioned medieval re-enactment
to folks at synagogue, I've been given "the look"  I asked if others had similar
situations.  In Hebrew school we were taught "knights killed Jews."  This is a
broad and innacurate statement but it makes its impact on many (in my experience
in the Jewish community) people's concept of medieval chivalry.  I implied that
the reenactors who do Vietnam and WWII Germany hit home to some folks.
Additionally, as far back as the middles ages was, dressing up and playing
knight can still make some uncomfortable.  
  > I don't know of anyone, even the most militant feminist, who would reduce
>the entire Medieval period

Not all militant feminist are distortors of history either.  

>  Aside from the general offensiveness of the "Mafia" comment, both to
re-enactors and Italians, you're making the mistake of forgetting that not
all Italians belonged to the Mafia... 

Huh?  Mafia doesn't refer to just Italians.  There is the Italian Mafia of
course, there is also the Russian Mafia, the Japanese Mafia and in the 20's the
infamous Jewish Mafia.  I find there is commonality between the Mafia and
chivalric culture of the middle ages.  Both regularly used violence as a means
of accomplishing a goal, both had a strict code of conduct, religion played a
part in both cultures, there was a hierarchy and both had an appreciation for
the arts.  

Oh - stay away from Norman Cantor's writings, he made some very bizarre claims.
See ya at Kalamazoo?

- Lyanna another Jewish medievalist

List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://merryrose.atlantia.sca.org/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org