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Title: The history of the Jews: From the war with Rome to the present time
Author: Adams, H. C. (Henry Cadwallader)
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The history of the Jews: From the war with Rome to the present time" ***

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                         HISTORY OF THE JEWS

                   _FROM THE WAR WITH ROME TO THE
                           PRESENT TIME_.


                         HISTORY OF THE JEWS

                   _FROM THE WAR WITH ROME TO THE
                           PRESENT TIME_.

                               BY THE

                       REV. H. C. ADAMS, M.A.

                       VICAR OF OLD SHOREHAM.

      _Author of ‘Wykehamica,’ ‘Schoolboy Honour,’ etc., etc._


                    THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
                        56, PATERNOSTER ROW.


                          BUTLER & TANNER,
                     THE SELWOOD PRINTING WORKS,
                         FROME, AND LONDON.



  PREFACE                                                              3

                               PART I.


    CHAP.       A.D.

      I.        7-70.   From the Revolt of Judas to the Siege of
                            Jerusalem                                 17

     II.      71, 72.   The Siege of Jerusalem by Titus               27

    III.      72-131.   The Jews under the Emperors Trajan and Adrian 37

     IV.     131-135.   The Revolt of Barchochebas                    46

      V.     135-323.   The Jews under the Roman Emperors from Adrian
                            to Constantine                            53

     VI.     323-363.   The Princes of the Captivity.—Manes.—The Jews
                            under the Roman Emperors from Constantine
                            to Julian                                 62

    VII.     363-429.   Jovian to Honorius.—Mutual Jealousies and
                            Outrages.—Suppression of the Patriarchate
                            of Tiberias                               71

   VIII.     429-622.   Honorius to Heraclius.—Jewish Slave-holders.
                            —Justinian.—Chosroes                      79

     IX.     622-651.   Mahomet.—Conquest of Arabia, Persia, Syria,
                            and Egypt                                 89

      X.     622-740.   The Jews in the Eastern Empire, in Spain,
                            in France                                 98

     XI.     740-980.   The Jews under the Caliphs in the East       106

    XII.        —      The Jews of the Far East                      114

   XIII.     740-980.   The Jews under Charlemagne                   122

    XIV.    980-1100.   The Jews in Spain.—In England.—The Crusades  131

     XV.   1100-1200.   The Crusades.—Jews in France, Spain,
                            Germany, and Hungary                     139

    XVI.   1100-1200.   The Jews in England.—Jewish Impostors        148

   XVII.       —       Great Jewish Doctors.—Aben Ezra, Maimonides,
                            Benjamin of Tudela                       156

  XVIII.   1200-1300.   The Jews in France and Germany               163

    XIX.   1200-1300.   The Jews in Spain                            171

     XX.   1200-1300.   The Jews in England                          179

                              PART II.


     XXI. 1300-1400. The Jews in France                              189

    XXII. 1300-1400. The Jews in Italy                               196

   XXIII. 1300-1400. The Jews in Germany, the Low Countries, etc.    203

    XXIV. 1300-1400. The Jews in Spain                               211

     XXV. 1400-1500. The Jews in Germany and Italy                   219

    XXVI. 1400-1500. The Jews in Spain                               227

   XXVII. 1400-1500. The Jews in Spain (_continued_)                 235

  XXVIII. 1400-1500. The Jews in Portugal                            243

    XXIX. 1500-1600. The Jews in Italy                               251

     XXX. 1500-1600. The Jews in Portugal, Spain, and Holland        259

    XXXI. 1500-1600. The Jews in Germany and Central Europe          267

   XXXII. 1500-1600. The Jews in Asia and Africa                     275

  XXXIII. 1600-1700. The Jews in Germany and Central Europe          283

   XXXIV. 1600-1700. The Jews in Holland.—Da Costa, Spinoza          291

    XXXV. 1600-1700. The Jews in Spain, England, and Italy           300

   XXXVI. 1600-1700. The Jews in the East.—Sabbathai Sevi            308

  XXXVII. 1700-1800. The Jews in Spain, Italy, and France            316

 XXXVIII. 1700-1800. The Jew’s in Germany and Central Europe         323

   XXXIX. 1700-1800. The Jews in Poland: The Chasidim.—Frank.
                            —Mendelssohn                             331

      XL. 1700-1800. The Jews in England                             339

     XLI. 1800-1885. The Jews in England (_continued_)               348

    XLII. 1800-1885. The Jews in France, Italy, and Germany          356

   XLIII. 1800-1885. The Jews in other European Countries            364

    XLIV. 1800-1885. The Jews in Africa, America, and Asia.
                            —Conclusion                              372



    I. Statistics of Jewish Population                               379

   II. The Talmuds                                                   385

  III. The Targums, Massora, Cabbala, Sepher-Yetzira, and Zohar      392

   IV. The Attempt, under Julian, to Rebuild the Temple              398

    V. The Blood Accusations                                         403


The reader will understand that this work does not profess to be
anything more than a popular history, with just so much reference
to Jewish learning and controversy as may be necessary to a due
comprehension of the facts related, and the character of the people
treated of. But such references will not, for various reasons, be
frequent. Of the vast accumulations of Jewish literature, the most
valuable portions are the Commentaries of their doctors on Scripture,
and their contributions to grammar, mathematics, and physical
science. With these, however, the writer of history has but little
concern. The abstruse and intricate speculations of the Rabbins,
the subtleties of the Cabbalists, the wild fancies—or what, at all
events, the sober Western intellect accounts such—of the Talmuds, the
Sepher-Yetzira, and the Zohar, might absorb whole years of study,
but would yield the historian only a barren return for the labour.
The poetry of the Hebrews is said to be plaintive and touching, but
too exclusively national to have interest for any but Jews. Their
ancient historians, again, overlay their narratives with exaggeration
and fable to such an extent that their statements cannot be received
without the greatest caution. It is mainly from writers belonging to
other races that we must derive our record of the strange and varied
fortunes of the people of Israel.

This must, of course, place them at some disadvantage. Yet there
is no history so full of striking incident and mournful pathos
as theirs, none which stirs such solemn questions, or imparts so
profound a wisdom to those who rightly study it. As an illustration
of the sad interest it awakens, the words of Leopold Zunz, one of
the greatest of modern Jews, may suffice. ‘If there are gradations
in suffering,’ he writes, ‘Israel has reached its highest acme. If
the long duration of sufferings, and the patience with which they are
borne, ennobles a people, then the Jews may defy the high-born of
any lands.’ In truth, again and again, in every succeeding century
of their annals, the evidences of a heroism which no persistence in
severity could bend, and no pressure of persecution could break,
engage the attention of the reader. Whatever may be his estimate of
the worth or the demerits of the Jews, their tragic story at least
commands his sympathy.

In these respects other nations, though they may not have rivalled,
at least resemble, them. But there are peculiarities in their history
which separate them from every other people on the earth. Foremost
among these is the question—Are we still to regard them, as our
fathers for so many generations regarded them, as lying under the
special curse of God, a perpetual monument of His anger? Was the
imprecation uttered before Pilate’s tribunal (St. Matt. xxvii. 25),
‘His blood be on us, and on our children!’ ratified, so to speak, by
Almighty God? Is the Lord’s blood still upon them? Is that the true
explanation of their past miseries and their present condition?

Let us consider what the guilt of the Jews, who slew the Lord, really
amounted to. They do not, I believe, themselves deny that they are
suffering under Divine displeasure, or that that displeasure has
been occasioned by their sin. On the contrary, they hold that it
is their sin that has delayed, and still delays, the coming of the
Messiah. But, far from thinking that sin to have been the murder of
Jesus Christ, they do not consider that their fathers were guilty in
that matter at all. Their law, so they contend, requires them to put
to death blasphemers and setters up of strange gods. The assertion
of Jesus, ‘I and My Father are one,’ say they, was both blasphemy
and the setting up of a strange god. They would only therefore have
obeyed a Divine command if they had put Him to death. But, they add,
it was not they, but the Romans, by whose sentence He died, for
declaring Himself King of the Jews. This, they say, is sufficiently
evident from the manner of His death by crucifixion, which was one
never inflicted by Jews, and by the inscription on the cross, ‘This
is the King of the Jews.’ It is extremely doubtful, they add, whether
their fathers possessed the power of putting Him to death, but at
all events they did not exercise it. The Jewish people, according to
their view, had nothing to do with the matter. Some of the multitude
may have imprecated the blood of Jesus on themselves and their
children; but if so, the curse could only come on those few persons
on whom it had been invoked. Jost and others even deny that the
Sanhedrim was ever legally convened, the meeting that condemned Jesus
and delated Him to Pilate being, as they hold, merely a tumultuary
assembly of the enemies of Christ.

It will, of course, be answered that to charge our Lord with
blasphemy and setting up of a strange god, is simply to beg the whole
question at issue between Jew and Christian. Indeed, considering that
the Hebrew Scriptures distinctly declare the Messiah to be God[1]
(Psa. xlv. 6; Isa. vii. 14; ix. 6, etc.), according to this view of
the matter, at whatever period He might come, it must be the duty
of the Jews to put Him to death, as soon as He declared His true
character. It might be asked—How were the Jews to know that Jesus
was really what He proclaimed Himself? Our answer is, that in the
fulfilment of prophecy in Him, in the exercise of His miraculous
powers, and the superhuman holiness of His teaching, they had
sufficient evidence that He was indeed the Christ. They had, in fact,
_the_ evidence of it which Divine wisdom accounted sufficient.

Again, it was doubtless by the order of a Roman magistrate that He
was crucified; and it may perhaps be true that during the Roman
Procuratorship the Sanhedrim had no power of pronouncing a capital
sentence.[2] But it was the Jews who carried our Lord before Pilate
and demanded His death. Far from being anxious to condemn Him, Pilate
was most reluctant to order the execution. It was only when the
dangerous insinuation of disloyalty to Cæsar was suggested that he
consented to their wishes. Who can doubt that the guilt was theirs?
Pilate might as well have put off the blame on the centurion who
commanded the quaternion at Calvary, or he on the three soldiers who
put in force the sentence. The statement again, that the Sanhedrim
was not convened, is in direct contradiction to that of St. Mark
(xv. 1). Nor does it appear that the Evangelist’s assertion was ever
called in question by contemporary writers.

There can be no reasonable doubt in the mind of any man who accepts
the Gospel narrative as a true—I do not here say an inspired—history,
that the Jews of that day were guilty of the blood of our Lord, and
that it was a deed of the most flagrant wickedness. But it remains
to be proved that they slew Him, knowing Him to be their Incarnate
God, and I think that would be found extremely difficult of
proof. If we are to be guided by Scripture in the matter, we shall
entertain a different opinion. St. Peter said to these very men,
not many weeks afterwards, ‘I wot that ye did it in ignorance,’ and
then called upon them ‘to repent, that their sin might be blotted
out.’[3] Our Lord also pleaded their ignorance of the nature of the
deed they were perpetrating, in their behalf.[4] Both these passages
are inconsistent with the idea of an abiding and inexorable curse.
Their guilt was like that of the Athenian people when they condemned
Socrates to death, or of that of the Florentines, when they similarly
murdered Savonarola, or again of the Romans, when they assassinated
Count Rossi—like theirs, though doubtless more aggravated. The sin of
rejecting the preachers of holiness, and silencing their voices in
their blood, is one of the worst of which a people can be guilty, and
must needs draw down the heavy wrath of the All Just; but surely not
on their descendants for all after ages.

As regards the other argument advanced, no doubt the slayers of
Socrates or Savonarola did not imprecate on themselves and their
children the consequences of their deed, as the Jews did. But what
then? The Jews at the crucifixion could have had no more power than
other men to cut themselves off from repentance, much less to cut
their children off from it. The blood of Christ can cleanse men
from _any_ sin. This, even if it were not the plain declaration of
Scripture, would be proved by St. Peter’s address to them, already
quoted. Even were this otherwise, what claim could these men have
had to represent the Jewish people? There were, as is shown
elsewhere,[5] probably some six or seven millions of Jews in the
world. Of these not one half, in all likelihood, had heard of our
Lord till after His death. Many never heard of Him for generations
afterwards. Of the two or three millions present in the Holy Land
when the crucifixion took place, not the thousandth part could have
heard Pilate’s protest, or the rejoinder of the crowd. On what
principle is this small section to be regarded as representing the
whole Jewish people, for whose words and acts it is to be held
accountable? When the Cordeliers, with their frantic blasphemies, in
the name of the French people disavowed God, doubtless they drew down
Divine anger on all concerned; but are we to believe that the guilt
of their impiety will rest on the French nation for ever? Such an
idea appears to me to be alien alike to the spirit of both natural
and revealed religion.

But it will, no doubt, be asked—How, then, is the strange and
exceptional condition of the Jews for so many centuries to be
accounted for? No careful student of God’s Word will have any
difficulty in answering this question. Great and enduring blessings
had been promised to Abraham, ‘the friend of God,’ and to his
posterity for his sake. These had been repeated to David, ‘the man
after God’s own heart,’ with an assurance of still greater mercies.
The faithfulness of God to His promises is a thing wholly independent
of lapse of time. To us, a promise given nearly 4,000 years ago may
seem a thing wholly obsolete; to Him it is as fresh and binding as
if it had been made yesterday. Therefore, although any other nation
but that which sprung from the loins of Abraham would have been
destroyed and rooted out for such a series of rebellious deeds as
that which culminated in the crucifixion of the Lord, the remembrance
of Abraham and David has prevented its entire destruction. We are
distinctly told that this was the case at other periods of their
history. When Jeroboam relapsed into idolatry, he and his whole race
were cut off root and branch. But when Solomon did the same, the
kingdom, though with reduced strength and splendour, was continued to
his posterity. When the kingdom of Israel offended beyond endurance,
it was scattered into all lands, and its nationality perished.
When that of Judah was equally guilty, its dispersion was only for
awhile, and then it was allowed to return and resume its national
existence. A remnant of the nation was preserved for Abraham’s sake,
that particular remnant, for the sake of David. Such, it is most
reasonable to conclude, is the true explanation of their marvellous
history for the last eighteen hundred years. Their protracted
existence in their present condition is indeed a miracle, but a
miracle, not of wrath, but of mercy. This they are themselves quick
to perceive.

But, as in the cases above alleged, the continuance of the sceptre
to Solomon’s descendants, and the restoration of Judah after the
Captivity, did not exempt them from the penalty of their subsequent
disobedience, so now the preservation of Israel through so many
centuries of danger and suffering, does not annul or modify the
consequences of their unbelief. Like all nations which come into
contact with Christianity, but do not accept Christ, they share the
benefits of His sacrifice, in the amended moral tone of the world,
which is the slow growth of His teaching; but they can only gain, or
to speak more correctly, regain, His favour, by taking Him as their
Lord and their God.[6] They cannot rightly be said to be living under
a curse, but they assuredly fail to obtain a blessing. But to this
they continue persistently blind.

This is the key to their history. This is the explanation of their
persistent isolation, their resolute endurance, their unconquerable
self-reliance. Descendants of the special favourites of Heaven,
fully persuaded that its favour has not been forfeited, but only
temporarily withdrawn, this high-spirited and gifted race has
ever felt that, supported by this conviction, it could, like ‘the
charity’ of St. Paul, hope and endure all things. Races that had
not sprung into existence when theirs had reached the highest point
of civilization and glory, might pretend to despise them: but, to
use the language which Sir Walter Scott puts into the mouth of the
bard, Cadwallon, they knew that the blood which flowed in the veins
of their persecutors, when compared with their own, ‘was but as the
puddle of the highway to the silver fountain.’[7]

Their history is sad and humiliating to read; and no less sad and
humiliating to them, than to those whose ancestors trampled upon and
persecuted them. It brings out into strong relief, not only the good,
but also the bad points of their national character. The stubborn
unbelief of generation after generation; the way in which business
ability, under the pressure of injustice, developed into craft, into
the power of heaping up wealth by usury, and relentless exaction of
the uttermost farthing; the slow processes by which the most manifest
characteristic of a Jew became that of the harsh and merciless
creditor;—these are the dark shadows upon a great national character,
and a national story of the deepest interest.

On the other hand, their history shows, as no other can, the
folly and wickedness of that most deadly, though sometimes most
fair-seeming, of all Satanic influences, religious persecution.
Our fathers were wont in those evil times to enlarge with horror
on the sin of the Jew in obstinately rejecting Christ. In the day
when account will be required of all, may it not be found that the
deadliest of their own sins was, that by their hideous travesty of
the Christian faith they shut out from the Jew the knowledge of the

For centuries the bitterest persecutions came from those who, while
robbing and ill-treating the Jews, because they charged them with
heaping ridicule upon Christianity and eagerly aiding its enemies,
were themselves ignorant of the first principles of the Gospel, and
devoted adherents of the Church of those times. As the Reformation of
the Church developed, and as the power of evangelical principles has
increased, the persecution of the Jew has ceased. More and more has
the Church everywhere realized the truth, that Christ died for the
Jew no less than for the Gentile, and that He can be better served
in this respect by the proclamation of His own loving message of
forgiveness, than by any attempts to usurp His function as Judge, or
to compel an outward submission, in which the heart has no part.

Israel has, indeed, a heavy account against the Anglo-Saxon race,
though, it may be, not so heavy as against the Goth, the Teuton,
and the Slav. There is some comfort in reflecting that we in this
century have done somewhat to reduce the balance that stands against
us. May our children learn the lesson of mercy and toleration in
all its fulness, and so make such reparation as is possible for the
mistakes and sins of our fathers!


[1] A Jew would doubtless deny this. I do not pursue the question
further, as this is not a work of controversial theology; and,
besides, the point has been made so clear by Christian divines that
there can be no need of any advocacy of mine. Let the reader who may
have any doubt on the subject consider Isa. xl. 10; xlv. 24; xlviii.
17; Jer. xxiii. 6; Hosea i. 7; Zech. ii. 10, 11; Malachi iii. 1,
where not the title Elohim only, but that of Jehovah, is given to the

[2] No question has been more disputed than whether the Sanhedrim,
during the rule of the Roman Procurators, possessed the power of
putting to death persons convicted of capital crimes. The statement
made, St. John xviii. 31, and the action of Albinus, who, A.D. 63,
deposed the High Priest Ananus, because the Sanhedrim had put St.
James to death without his sanction, seem conclusive that they could
not capitally punish persons _convicted of blasphemy_, unless under
the Procurator’s order. The case of St. Stephen, Acts viii., does
not disprove this; for that was evidently a tumultuary procedure,
no sentence having been pronounced. But the Sanhedrim certainly had
the power of capitally punishing _some_ offenders, as, for instance,
any Gentile passing beyond the barrier between the Temple Courts
(see Jos. _B.J._ vi. 2, 4), an offence closely resembling blasphemy.
Possibly they could inflict death for certain specified crimes, but
only for these. It would be quite consistent with the principle
of Roman government to allow the High Priests to punish capitally
persons convicted of grave moral offences, but not such as were only
guilty in matters relating ‘to their own superstitions,’ as they
would phrase it.

[3] Acts iii. 17.

[4] St. Luke xxiii. 34.

[5] See Appendix I.

[6] ‘Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say,
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord’ (St. Luke xiii.
35)—that is, ‘ye shall not apprehend Me, and the blessings I come to
bring you, until you acknowledge Me as the true Messiah and Saviour
of the world.’ To ‘_see_’ the Lord is, in the New Testament phrase,
spiritually to discern and understand Him.

[7] _Betrothed_, chap. 31.

                              _PART I._


                             CHAPTER I.

                             A.D. 7-70.


It is not proposed in these pages to deal with the history of the
Jews during the long period which intervened between the origin of
the nation in the family of Abraham[8] and their final revolt from
the Roman power. The records of those times are to be found in the
inspired volume, or in the narrative of Josephus; and we have no
further concern with them than to inquire how the various changes
in their fortunes—from bondage to freedom, and from freedom to
bondage, under lawgiver, judge and high priest, foreign tyrant and
native sovereign, contributed to the formation of their national
character—the most strongly marked, it may confidently be affirmed,
that ever distinguished any people.

The childhood of the Jewish nation was a hard and harsh one. They
grew up into national existence under alien rulers, who feared and
hated them, imposed on them intolerable burdens, and would have
destroyed them from off the face of the earth, but for the Divine
protection extended over them. Delivered by the same visible display
of Divine power from these tyrants, they were transported to a rich
and genial land, powerful and warlike nations being ejected to make
way for them. Their first national, and true, idea must needs have
been their special privileges as the favoured people of Heaven; but
to this they added the untrue persuasion that nothing could ever
forfeit them; and this rooted itself so deeply in their belief, that
all the experience of after generations was unable to destroy, or
even modify it. Their own participation in the sins of neighbouring
nations—those very sins which had drawn down Divine vengeance on
_them_—did not shake this confidence in their secure possession of
Almighty favour. Visited with sharp chastisement for disobedience,
they were for the moment alarmed and humbled; but they resumed their
old complacency the moment that deliverance from suffering was
vouchsafed. The woes of foreign subjugation, exile and captivity, so
far affected them, that they abandoned the idolatry which had been
the main cause of their miseries. But it did not abate their sense of
ascendency over all other races, and of their special and inalienable
possession of the favour of the Most High.

It was impossible, they believed, that they could be under the
dominion of any foreign people. They might seem to be so for a while,
but they were not really so. The fact that they were for seventy
years the vassals of the King of Babylon; for two hundred more the
dependants, to use a mild term, of the sovereigns of Persia; for
several generations afterwards at the mercy of one potentate or
another, who dealt with them as his caprice might dictate; that their
own Asmonæan kingdom was, in reality, but a dependency of Imperial
Rome, existing only so long as she chose to permit it—all this went
for nothing with them. Nay, even the reduction of Judæa to the
status of a Roman province, and the residence of a Roman procurator
in Judæa, did not prevent them from replying to our Lord that ‘they
were Abraham’s children, and had never been in bondage to any man.’
So long as it was possible, on any pretext however transparent, to
assert their independence, they persisted in doing so.

At the same time, they were too intelligent not to be aware that
Imperial Rome would endure neither opposition to her arms nor evasion
of her claims. It must needs have been long evident to them, that the
time must come, sooner or later, when they would have to make their
choice between genuine allegiance to, or open rebellion against,
the empire of the Cæsars. They were purposed, however, to defer it
as long as they could. Requirements might be made, which they would
rather perish than comply with; but until these were advanced, there
was no need to anticipate them; and the mildness which always marked
the Roman sway, when unopposed, its strict observance of justice in
all its dealings with a conquered people,[9] and its toleration of
their customs and prejudices, long delayed the terrible struggle
which ensued at last.

The deposition of Archelaus, and the conversion of Judæa into a
Roman province, brought about the first overt act of rebellion.
Judas, called the ‘Galilæan,’ raised an insurrection, which was
with difficulty put down. He took for his watchword the significant
sentence, ‘We have no other master but God.’ The reasons already
alleged, in all likelihood, restrained the more influential classes
of the Jews from lending him the support he expected. He was crushed
and put to death. But the spirit he evoked lived long after him,
and Josephus attributes to it all the outbreaks which ensued, which
culminated at last in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion
of the Jews.[10]

Coponius, the first Roman governor, was allowed to take up his abode
at Cæsarea without opposition. That city, rather than Jerusalem, was
chosen as his seat of government probably out of consideration for
the feelings of the Jews. He was succeeded after a short interval by
Ambivius and Rufus. After him Valerius Gratus held the reins of power
for nearly twelve years. Throughout their prefectures, and for some
years afterwards, Judæa remained tranquil. But at Rome, the Jews, who
under Augustus had been treated with great indulgence, were expelled
from the city by his successor, Tiberius. This act is said to have
been really due to the enmity of Sejanus, though the pretext alleged
was their extortion of money from Fulvia, a noble matron. Four
thousand Jews were forced to enter the army, the greater part of whom
died of malaria, in the island of Sardinia. After Sejanus’s fall, the
edict against the Jews was revoked.

To Gratus succeeded Pontius Pilatus, who held office for ten years.
During the government of this procurator, another formidable
insurrection occurred, or rather, series of insurrections, caused
in the first instance by the removal of the Roman army, with its
idolatrous standards, to Jerusalem. On this occasion there was a very
general rising of the people; and if Pilatus had remained in power,
hostilities with Rome might have broken out a generation previously
to their actual occurrence. But after committing, with apparent
impunity, several sanguinary massacres of Jews, whom his wanton
disregard of their feelings had stirred up to insurrection, Pilatus
was accused to Vitellius, the Prefect of Syria, by the Samaritans, of
a similar outrage on them. Vitellius ordered him to Rome, to take his
trial. There he was deposed, and sentenced to exile.

Some time afterwards Judæa was again converted, for a brief space,
into a Jewish kingdom under Agrippa I., whose strange and terrible
end is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Agrippa was the son
of Aristobulus, and grandson of Herod the Great. He early attached
himself to Caligula, and thereby aroused the suspicion of Tiberius,
who threw him into prison. He would probably have been put to death,
if the decease of the emperor had not rescued him from the danger.
On his succession to the empire, Caligula gave him the tetrarchies
formerly held by Lysanias and Philip, together with the title of
King. But his reign was soon beset with trouble. The royal dignity
bestowed on him roused the jealousy of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of
Galilee. Accompanied by his wife, Herodias, he sailed to Rome, in the
hope of ousting Agrippa, by charges of disloyalty, from the Imperial
favour. But Agrippa retorted on Antipas with a counter-charge of
treasonable correspondence with the Parthians; and the result was
the banishment of Antipas, and the addition of his dominions to
those already ruled by Agrippa. The latter was a rigid observer of
the Mosaic law; and his murder of St. James and persecution of St.
Peter were probably due to this, rather than to tyranny or cruelty.
During his reign of seven years he seems to have done his best for
his kingdom and country. He built the third wall round Jerusalem,
and endeavoured to reconcile the contending factions, which were
destroying the life of the nation.

It was a short time before his accession that the event occurred
which roused the anger of the Jews to a higher pitch than had ever
before been manifested; and had the outrage been pushed further,
a civil war would have undoubtedly been the result. This was the
attempt of the Emperor Caligula to erect his statue as that of ‘The
Younger Jupiter,’ as he styled himself, in the most sacred part of
the Jewish Temple.

The design seems to have been the result of a mere whim, conceived
by the half-crazy emperor, and pertinaciously persisted in, when he
learned (as he did from both the Jews themselves, and Petronius,
the Procurator of Syria) that its execution would occasion among
the worshippers of the God of the Hebrews unspeakable horror and
alarm.[11] There can be no doubt that the impiety was intended.
The statue had been ordered, if not completed; but the wise and
generous procrastination of Petronius, the earnest representations
of Agrippa, who was a favourite of the emperor, together with the
death of the emperor himself, which followed almost immediately
afterwards, averted the accomplishment of the design. The narrative
of the transaction is valuable, because it shows that at that
time the Jews were disposed to wise and moderate counsels, which
contrast forcibly with their reckless violence a generation later.
When the fatal intentions of Caligula were made known, the whole
population, we are told, of all ranks and ages, from a vast distance
round Jerusalem, crowded round the chair of the Roman procurator,
declaring their determination to die rather than witness so fearful
a profanation.[12] Their demeanour so deeply affected Petronius,
that he thenceforth strove by every means in his power to avert the
dreaded catastrophe; and, aided by circumstances and the intercession
of Agrippa, he succeeded in his attempt. Caligula, however, could not
forgive his disobedience, and it is said that the emperor’s death
alone saved Petronius from the consequences of his anger.

Through the favour of Claudius, who now mounted the Imperial throne
(and whose reign, notwithstanding one act of severity,[13] was
favourable to the Jews), Agrippa succeeded to the whole of the
dominions of his grandfather, Herod the Great, and held them for four
years, when he died, A.D. 44, in the manner already referred to; and
Judæa again became a Roman province, Cuspius Fadus being sent as
governor.[14] During his rule, and that of his successor Tiberius
Alexander, the peace of Palestine continued undisturbed, except by
the outbreaks of one or two of the turbulent incendiaries, of which
the land contained great numbers. These were easily put down. But
during the procuratorship of Ventidius Cumanus, the animosity between
the people and the Roman soldiers, which had long been smouldering,
burst out into a flame. During one of the Jewish festivals, a soldier
offered a gross insult to the ceremonial in progress, which roused
the fury of the Jews against, not only the offender, but Cumanus
himself. The latter, hearing the furious cries with which he was
assailed, marched his whole force into the Antonia, and commenced
an indiscriminate massacre, in which 20,000 perished. For this
outrage and his subsequent conduct in a hostile encounter between
the Jews and Samaritans, Cumanus was tried at Rome, and condemned to

He was succeeded by the profligate Felix, whose government was worse
than that of any of his predecessors. It was, in fact, one long scene
of cruelty and treachery. He allied himself with some of the bands of
robbers now infesting Judæa, and by their aid murdered, in the very
precincts of the Temple, Jonathan, the high priest, who had rebuked
his vices. After eleven years of misrule, he was accused by the Jews
in Cæsarea of the barbarous slaughter of some of their countrymen. He
was tried at Rome, but escaped through the interest of his brother,
Pallas. He was, however, a vigorous ruler, and put down the notorious
Egyptian Jew, who, with 30,000 followers, had raised a formidable
insurrection (Acts xxi. 38).

After his prefecture, and that of his more humane and upright
successor Porcius Festus, the inveterate evils which afflicted the
whole of Judæa continued to grow in violence and intensity. Banditti
overspread the country, and carried on their lawless depredations
almost with impunity. Impostors and fanatics started up on every
side, and drew after them great multitudes, to whom they preached
rebellion against their Roman governors as a religious duty. Riot
and bloodshed, and armed encounters with the Roman soldiery,
became matters of continual occurrence, which the authority of the
procurator was unable to restrain. The evil was aggravated by the
succession of the corrupt Albinus to the office vacated by the death
of Festus; but it was not until he, in his turn, was superseded by
the infamous Gessius Florus that the discontent of the unhappy Jews
culminated in the rebellious outbreak which brought on their ruin.

It can hardly be supposed that it was actually Florus’s object to
drive the Jews into rebellion; yet the course he pursued persistently
from the very commencement of his rule could have had no other
result. It was not merely that he took bribes from all men who
sought his favour or feared his anger. He leagued with robbers and
assassins, sharing their gains and countenancing their crimes. He
exacted large sums alike from public treasuries and private coffers,
on the flimsiest pretexts, and often on no pretext at all. He
inflamed the angry feelings, already dangerously excited, by every
possible insult and outrage which lawless power could exercise; and,
finally, having by pillage and butchery stirred up the infuriated
Jews to refuse obedience to an authority which appeared to exist only
for their destruction, he called in Cestius Gallus, the Prefect of
Syria, to lead the Roman forces under his command to put down the

This officer, though a man of narrow views and mediocre ability,
was a Roman functionary, and, as such, would not act on _ex parte_
evidence. He sent a tribune named Neapolitanus to Jerusalem, to
inquire into the truth of Florus’s charges; and Agrippa,[15] who
was cognisant of what had passed, and was anxious to avert the ruin
that threatened his country, accompanied him to the Jewish capital.
Fully convinced of the truth of the charges against Florus, they
nevertheless hesitated to uphold his accusers, and endeavoured to
persuade the people to make submission to him. But they had been too
deeply incensed by Florus’s barbarities: and the seditious spirits
among them had gained too much ascendency to allow this advice to
prevail; notwithstanding that the upper classes of the citizens,
who were still desirous of avoiding war, declared in its favour.
They drove Neapolitanus and Agrippa, with insult, from the city, and
openly renounced allegiance to Rome.[16]

Shortly afterwards a new adventurer, Menahem, the son of Judas the
Gaulonite, appeared, and was gladly welcomed by the people. But he
soon provoked the jealousy of Eleazar, the leader of the Zealots, by
whom he was deposed and slain. Eleazar having gained complete mastery
in the city, proceeded to murder, with shameless treachery, the
Roman garrison, which had surrendered on condition of being spared.
Almost coincidently with this shocking deed, one of equal horror was
perpetrated at Cæsarea, where 20,000 Jews were slaughtered by the
Greek inhabitants. In this atmosphere of treachery and bloodshed
the whole nation appears to have gone mad. They were resolved,
apparently, that as every man’s hand was against them, so should
their hand be against every man. They took up arms, plundered several
of the Syrian cities, laying waste the whole country round them. The
Syrians retaliated with equal barbarity, everywhere slaying without
mercy their Jewish fellow-citizens. Neither Agrippa’s dominions nor
Egypt escaped the contagion. In the former, a feud between Varus, the
deputy, to whom Agrippa had committed the government of his kingdom
during his absence at Antioch, and Philip, the general of his army,
very nearly caused a civil war. At Antioch another quarrel between
the Jews and Greeks, relative to the right of the former to attend
public assemblies, led, first to a riot, and then to a general rising
of the Hebrew population. The governor, Tiberius Alexander—who was
by birth a Jew, and had some years previously been Procurator of
Judæa, afterwards holding a command in Titus’s army at the siege of
Jerusalem—sent for the principal men among the Jews, and exhorted
them to use their influence in quieting the disturbance. Failing in
this attempt, he ordered out the troops, and made an attack on the
Jews’ quarter, in which 50,000 persons were slain. Throughout the
whole of Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, strife and bloodshed prevailed.
The advance of the Roman army was anxiously looked for by all who
retained their reason, as the only hope of putting an end to the
frantic anarchy wherewith the whole land was now overspread.


[8] It is an error, I think, to connect the name Hebrew with Heber,
or Eber, the great-grandson of Shem. Abraham was called the Hebrew,
or passer over, ὁ περάτης (Gen. xiv. 13, LXX.), because, in obedience
to Divine command, he ‘passed over’ the Euphrates, leaving his home
and people, to settle in a strange land. Heber was the progenitor,
not of the Hebrews only, but many other nations. The notion that
they were called after him, because at the dispersion of Babel he
retained and transmitted the primitive language of the world to one
only of his descendants, is a mere fancy. He may have been, and very
probably was called the ‘passer’ or ‘carrier away,’ because he was
the patriarch of the dispersion. But Abraham’s name was given to him
for a different reason, and altogether independently of Heber.

[9] In proof of this may be alleged the fact, that in the brief space
of sixty years no less than four Roman procurators were summoned
before the Imperial Tribunal to answer complaints brought against
them by the Jews; and two of them were punished by banishment for

[10] Judas was born at Gamala, a city of Gaulonitis. He was a brave,
able, and eloquent man. Supported by Sadoc, an influential Pharisee,
he founded the party of the Gaulonites, who were the predecessors of
the Zealots and Assassins of later times. Though multitudes gathered
round his standard, he was not supported by the nation generally,
and the power of Rome was too great for him to contend with. He was
overpowered and put to death. He is referred to in Acts v. 37.

[11] It was not in Judæa only that these feelings were aroused. In
Alexandria, the proposal made by the Greeks, to place the emperor’s
statue in the Jewish Proseuchæ, provoked riots, in which much
property was wrecked, and terrible carnage took place. The Roman
governor, Flaccus Aquilius, for many years a wise and able ruler,
but who had grown reckless since the accession of Caligula, towards
whom he bore no good will, made no attempt to repress, but rather
encouraged, the outrages. He was so unwise as to openly insult the
emperor’s friend, Agrippa. He was arrested by order of Caligula, and
put to death with barbarous cruelty.

[12] The celebrated Philo came from Alexandria on this occasion to
plead the cause of his countrymen.

[13] Banishing the Jews from Rome A.D. 54. Acts xviii. 2; Suet.
Claud. 25.

[14] During his tenure of office, an impostor named Theudas, who
claimed to be a prophet, raised a formidable insurrection. But Fadus,
a man of action, arrested and executed him. He is mentioned in Acts
v. 36.

[15] This was Agrippa II., son of Agrippa I. It was before him that
St. Paul pleaded (Acts xxvi.). Suet. (_Vesp._ 4).

[16] According to Suetonius, Florus was slain by the Jews in a
tumultuous outbreak. Josephus has been thought to contradict him. But
his language may be interpreted so as to harmonize with Suetonius.

                             CHAPTER II.

                            A.D. 71, 72.

                    SIEGE OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS.

War was now openly declared, and Cestius marched on Jerusalem with
10,000 Roman soldiers, and a still larger force of allies, to put
down the rebellion and avenge the murder of his countrymen. The
result was the most terrible disaster to the Roman arms which they
had sustained since the defeat of Varus. Unsuccessful in some
preliminary skirmishing, Gallus assaulted the city, and after five
days of indecisive fighting, forced his way on the sixth to the wall
on the north side of the Temple. Every effort to scale this having
failed, he ordered the legionaries to lock their shields together and
form the testudo, their usual mode of obtaining a cover, under which
they undermined fortifications which they could not surmount. The
manœuvre was successful. The wall was all but pierced through, and
the garrison on the point of flight, when Gallus suddenly, without
any apparent reason, ordered a retreat,[17] withdrew in haste, first
to his camp, and afterwards to Antipatris, losing in his retreat his
whole battering train and 6,000 soldiers.

The Jews had now offended beyond hope of forgiveness, and both
parties braced themselves for the fierce and deadly struggle which
had become inevitable. The rebels recruited their comparatively
scanty numbers by securing the support of the inhabitants of Idumæa
(of whom 20,000 were enlisted), Peræa, and Galilee. On the other
side, Rome summoned into the field a formidable force, which was
placed under the command of T. Flavius Vespasian, the greatest
soldier of his day. In the hope, apparently, that the Jews, when they
learned the strength of the force sent against them, would submit
without further resistance, Vespasian delayed the attack on Jerusalem
for more than two years, choosing first to reduce the cities of
Galilee—Gadara, Jotapata, Gischala, and others; which, indeed, no
prudent general could leave unsubdued in his rear. The whole of
this province, which had been placed under the government of the
celebrated historian, Josephus,[18] remained throughout this period
in a state of internal dissension, fomented in a great measure by the
notorious John of Gischala, giving but little hope of a successful
resistance to Rome when the actual struggle should begin. Yet some
of these cities, notably Gamala Tarichæa, above all Jotapata, where
Josephus commanded in person, offered a protracted and desperate

When the road to Jerusalem had been laid fully open, the civil
strife, by which the empire had been distracted, had come to an
end. Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, one after another, had succeeded
to the Imperial sceptre, only to have it snatched from their grasp;
and, finally, Vespasian had been advanced to the throne of the
Cæsars. Leaving to his son Titus the task of reducing to obedience
the rebellious city, Vespasian set sail for Italy; and the Roman
army, 60,000 strong,[20] advanced under its new leader to the final
encounter in the spring of A.D. 70.

Jerusalem was at that time one of the strongest, as well as one of
the most picturesque, cities in the world. It stands upon a rocky
plateau about 2,600 feet above the level of the sea. On all sides
except one it is surrounded by mountains; which do not, however, rise
to a much greater altitude than the city itself. The plateau consists
of two principal eminences, Zion and Acra, on the former of which
stood the Upper City, or the City of David, and on the latter what
was called the Lower City. A third—a smaller and somewhat lower hill,
called Moriah—was anciently divided from Mount Acra by the Tyropœon,
or Valley of the Cheesemongers, which was filled up by the Maccabees,
who raised Moriah to the same level as the neighbouring hill. It was
on the summit of Moriah that the Temple stood. In later times the
suburb called Bezetha was added to the city, and the whole environed
by walls.

Of these there were three—one inside another. The first began on the
north side at the tower called Hippicus, terminating at the western
cloister of the Temple. The second wall began at the gate called
Gennath, enclosing the northern quarter of the city only, and ending
at the Tower of Antonia. The third, which was designed to protect
Bezetha, was incomplete at the time of the outbreak of the Jewish
war, but was then completed, in anticipation of the approaching
siege. These walls were strengthened by towers of solid masonry—some
of the stones being of enormous size—and rose to a great height above
the level of the walls. The Tower of Antonia stood on a rock ninety
feet high, the fortress itself being fully seventy feet higher; and
at the portions not defended by these walls, the platform of rock
itself, sinking down, as it did almost with a sheer descent, into the
ravines below, formed an impregnable defence. In times when the use
of gunpowder was unknown, it could be captured only by blockade, or
after the most frightful waste of human life.

Meanwhile the city was distracted by factions, which appeared to be
more likely to destroy one another than to maintain a successful
defence against an enemy. After the massacre of the Roman troops,
Ananus the High Priest, a wise and good man, gained some authority in
the city, and endeavoured to counteract the influence of the Zealots.
He might have succeeded in averting the war. But Eleazar, the leader
of the Zealots, and John of Gischala,[21] the chief of the Galilæans,
conspired against him, and by night introduced the Idumæans, in
overwhelming force, into the city. By them Ananus and his friends
were murdered, and Jerusalem thenceforth was given up to hopeless

Such authority as there was, rested with the chiefs of the three
factions, Eleazar, John, and Simon;[22] but between these there was
not only no accord, but the most bitter and persistent animosity.
Of the Zealots there were about 2,500, of the Galilæans 6,000, and
of the Assassins (as Simon’s followers were called) 10,000 Jews and
5000 Idumæans. Few of these, comparatively speaking, had undergone
any military training. But their desperate and fanatical courage,
stimulated by their total disregard of all laws, human and Divine,
rendered them the most formidable enemies that Rome herself ever
encountered. Not only between the three leaders, but their followers
also, there subsisted the bitterest hate, which they gratified by
continual quarrels and murders; and had it been in their power, they
would gladly have exterminated one another. Yet in the field they
combined against the common foe with the most perfect unanimity.

The great bulk of the inhabitants awaited the approach of the
Romans with uneasiness and alarm. The city was densely crowded,
multitudes having come in from the country to celebrate the Passover.
Josephus’s numbers are doubtless an exaggeration.[23] But, on the
other hand, there has been a tendency among modern writers to err
in the opposite direction. It may safely be affirmed that the total
of inhabitants, when the Roman standards came in sight, could not
have been less than a million, and probably exceeded that amount.
There was much, independently of the terror of the Roman name, to
awaken their apprehensions. There had been signs in heaven and on
earth of approaching disaster. A fiery sword is said to have hung
over Jerusalem, day and night, for many months. The whole sky on
one occasion was full of what seemed to be chariots and horses of
fire, environing Jerusalem. It was whispered that the great gate of
the Temple had opened of itself at midnight, and a voice had been
heard to exclaim, ‘Let us depart hence.’ A simple herdsman, Jesus,
the son of Hanani, was suddenly seized with the spirit of prophecy,
and for several years went up and down the city exclaiming, ‘Woe,
woe, to Jerusalem!’ He was carried before the Roman governor, and
scourged till his bones were laid bare. But he never desisted from
his mournful chaunt, until one day during the siege he was struck by
a stone from a catapult, and slain.

But nothing daunted the determined spirits of the garrison. At the
very outset of the siege, Titus had a signal proof of the character
of the enemies with whom he had to deal. He had approached the city
for the purpose of surveying it, accompanied by 600 horsemen, never
dreaming that they would be rash enough to assail him, and rather
anticipating that his presence would strike terror into them, and
induce them to capitulate. But the moment he approached the walls the
Jews sallied out, surrounding his troop, and cutting him off from his
supports; and it was only by the most desperate exercise of personal
valour that he escaped being slain. On the following day they twice
attacked the tenth legion, while engaged in fortifying the camp, and
threw it into confusion; and it was Titus’s promptitude alone which
averted a great disaster. Soon afterwards they contrived to allure
a body of Roman soldiers under the walls, by a pretended offer of
surrender, and almost entirely cut it off. It became at once evident
that if these men were to be conquered, or even kept in check, the
utmost vigilance and promptitude would be required.

Two fortified camps were accordingly formed, too strong to be
attacked even by desperate men; and then the siege proper commenced.
After careful survey, Titus resolved to assault the triple wall on
the north side of the city; which was, after all, less difficult to
surmount than the mighty ramparts, reared by nature and aided by
art, which the other parts of the defences presented. He accordingly
constructed three great walls, cutting down for the purpose all
the timber which was to be found near the city. On these he set up
his military engines, which hurled huge stones and darts against
the defenders of the wall, and then set the rams at work to batter
it down. Towers were also erected, sheeted with iron, so as to be
proof against fire, and overtopping the defences, thus rendering it
impossible for the defenders to man the ramparts. After a desperate
attempt to set the works of the besiegers on fire, the Jews were
obliged to abandon the outer wall, and fall back on the second.

This was captured and thrown down in a much shorter space of time
than had been spent on the reduction of the former. But the success
was not obtained without more than one repulse, and heavy loss;
and the defences still to be surmounted appeared so formidable,
garrisoned as they were by men whom nothing could daunt or weary out,
that Titus resolved to make a display under their eyes of his whole
military array, in the hope that by showing the impossibility of
ultimate resistance, he might induce them to surrender. He caused all
his troops to pass in review before him, in sight of the city, all
arrayed in their complete accoutrements and observing the strictest
form of military discipline—a splendid but terrible sight to men who
knew that it was impossible for them to offer effectual resistance.
But Simon, and John, and their fierce followers knew also that they
had offended too deeply for forgiveness; they looked sternly and
gloomily on, but made no sign; nor would they reply to Josephus,
when soon afterwards he offered his intercession. Titus saw that all
efforts at conciliation were vain, and the last scene of the fearful
tragedy began.

So unconquerable was the ferocity of the Jewish soldiery,[24] that it
may be doubted whether even the stern discipline, the high military
spirit, and the overwhelming numbers of the Romans would not have
been compelled ultimately to give way before them, if it had not been
that Rome now acquired two new allies, more terrible than any they
had yet brought into the field. Jerusalem, at all times a populous
city, was now crowded to excess by strangers, who had come over
to keep the Jewish Passover, and had been unable to withdraw. The
supplies of food soon began to fail, and the famine which ensued grew
every hour more pressing. The soldiers had to supply their own wants
by making the round of the houses, and tearing their daily meals
from the mouths of their starving fellow-citizens. Numbers of these
were driven by hunger to steal out of the city by night, to gather
herbs and roots, which might afford temporary relief. Titus, hoping
to terrify the besieged by a display of severity which would save in
the end more lives than he sacrificed, ordered these unhappy wretches
to be crucified in the sight of their countrymen; and the city in
which the Lord of Life had undergone the same form of death was
surrounded by a multitude of crosses, on which the agonized sufferers
slowly yielded up their lives in torment. Others, who implored
the protection of the Romans, were ruthlessly ripped open in vast
numbers by the barbarous soldiery, who believed that the fugitives
had swallowed gold, which they would find in their entrails. The
fate of these, dreadful as it was, was less terrible than that of
the wretches who remained to perish of famine. Scenes almost too
shocking for belief have yet been recorded on authority which cannot
be disputed. Husbands saw their wives perishing before their eyes,
and were unable to save them; parents snatched the food from the
mouths of their starving children; hungry wretches crawled to the
walls, and entreated the soldiers to slay them, and failing to obtain
this last mercy, lay down by hundreds in the streets, and died.
Nay, the last horror of all but too surely was accomplished, and
mothers slew and ate their own nursing children! The numbers of the
dead lying unburied soon bred pestilence, and added to the horrors
of the time. An attempt was made to bury the corpses at the public
expense; but the accumulating numbers rendered this impossible, and
they were thrown by thousands over the walls in the sight of the
horror-stricken Romans.

Through all these frightful scenes the siege of the inner wall
went on. The frantic followers of Simon and John continued to
fight with unabated ferocity against their enemies without and
their countrymen within the wall, undeterred by the sufferings of
their fellow-citizens or the near approach of the avenging swords
of the besiegers. It was at this time that the judicial murder of
the High Priest, Matthias, took place. He was an inoffensive old
man, who had introduced Simon into the city, hoping that he would
restrain the violence of John. Simon now accused him of a treacherous
correspondence with the enemy.[25] He was put to death along with his
sons and several of the Sanhedrin.

Titus now built fresh walls on which to plant his engines; but
they were undermined or destroyed by fire, and he was compelled to
surround the whole city by a vast circumvallation, and then to erect
fresh platforms and towers, from which the inner wall, with Antonia
and the Temple, might be assailed. After several repulses and severe
fighting, this was accomplished. The heights were scaled, Antonia
levelled with the ground, and the Temple itself laid open to attack.
Struck with horror at the profanation of a place dedicated to the
service of God, which must ensue if the strife was continued, Titus
offered to permit the Jews to come forth and meet him on any other
battle ground, promising in that case himself to keep the Temple
inviolate from the step of any enemy. He represented that the daily
services had already ceased, and the holy ground had been polluted
by human blood. He wished to have no share in such impieties, and
would prevent them, if he could. His overtures were contemptuously
rejected. The Jews themselves set fire to the western cloister, and
so laid bare the space between the remains of the Antonia and the

Another assault was now ordered, and a close and murderous strife,
which raged for eight hours, ensued without material gain to either
party. It was the 10th of August—the anniversary, always dreaded by
the Jews, of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple. Both parties seemed
to have entertained the idea that the day would prove fatal to the
second Temple, as it had to the first. But this apparently had proved
fallacious. The Romans had retired, and the guard for the night had
been set, when suddenly a cry was raised that the Temple was on fire.
Some of the Jews had again provoked a skirmish. The Romans had not
only driven them back, but had forced their way into the innermost
court, and one of them had hurled a firebrand into the sanctuary
itself, which had instantly caught fire. This was contrary to the
express order of Titus; and he instantly hurried down, accompanied
by his officers, to extinguish the flames. The courts were full of
armed men engaged in desperate strife, and his commands were unheard
or unheeded. The devouring fire wreathed round the stately pillars
and surged within the cedar roofs. Before the resistance of the few
survivors had ceased, the Temple was one vast pagoda of roaring
flame; and when the morning dawned, the Holy House and the chosen
nation had passed away forever.


[17] By this the Christians in Jerusalem were enabled to secure
their retreat to Pella, where they remained uninjured by the fearful
sufferings which ensued, so making good the Lord’s promise, St. Luke
xxi. 20, 21.

[18] Flavius Josephus was born A.D. 37 at Jerusalem, and was
connected on the mother’s side with the Asmonæan family. He received
a liberal education, and at the age of 20 attached himself to the
sect of the Pharisees. When the war with Rome broke out he was made
Governor of Galilee, and defended Jotapata for nearly seven weeks
against Vespasian. When it was taken, he fell into the hands of the
enemy, by whom he was favourably received. He now attached himself
to the Romans, and was present in Titus’s camp during the siege of
Jerusalem. He accompanied the conquerors to Rome, where he wrote his
historical works. He died about the end of the first century. His
countrymen have generally regarded him as a traitor.

[19] The fall of Jotapata is one of those occurrences, often repeated
in the history of the Jews, which strikingly illustrate their
national character. After a desperate defence, when the place had
been carried by assault, the remnant of the garrison took refuge in a
cavern; and here, rejecting the offers of the Romans, they, by mutual
consent, slew one another, until only Josephus and one of his men
were left alive. These two then gave themselves up to the mercy of

[20] Titus had four Roman legions, and a large force of Greek and
Syrian auxiliaries. The number, 60,000, has been objected to, as an
exaggeration, but it is probably rather under than over the mark.

[21] John was the son of Levi, and a native of Gischala, who began
his career as a robber, and raised a band, it is said, of 4,000 men.
In craft, daring, and merciless cruelty he has never been exceeded.
He defended Gischala, from which he fled when its capture was
imminent. He repaired to Jerusalem, where he gained great ascendency,
and with Eleazar and Simon defended it to the last. At its capture,
he surrendered to the Romans, and was sentenced to imprisonment for

[22] Simon, the son of Gioras, was a man as fierce and lawless,
though hardly as crafty, as his rival John. He was a native of
Gerasa, and first appeared in history when he attacked the troops
of Cestius Gallus in their retreat from Jerusalem. Driven out of
Judæa by Ananus, he took possession with his banditti of Masada, and
ravaged the neighbourhood. The Idumæans rose against him and, after
several battles, drove him out of the country. Soon afterwards they
captured his wife, whom they carried to Jerusalem. Simon repaired
thither with his followers, and terrified the citizens, by his
barbarities, to surrender her to him. In the spring of the following
year, A.D. 69, a party in Jerusalem, headed by Matthias, invited
Simon to enter the city. Then ensued an internecine struggle between
the three factions, which lasted until the Romans environed the city,
and indeed to the end of the siege. When the city was at length
captured by the Romans, he surrendered himself prisoner, was conveyed
to Rome, figured in the triumphal procession of Vespasian and Titus,
and was then put to death.

[23] See Appendix I.

[24] An extraordinary instance of the desperate courage with which
the Jews fought occurred about this time. Antiochus, King of
Commagene, had arrived in Titus’s camp, with a chosen band of youths,
armed in the Macedonian fashion. He expressed his surprise that
Titus did not take the city by escalade. Titus suggested that he
should himself make the attempt with his warriors. This he did; but
though his men fought with the utmost valour, they were all killed or
severely wounded.

[25] There may have been some grounds for this suspicion. A
considerable number of the chief priests (including one of the
sons of this same Matthias) effected their escape, and were kindly
received by Titus.

                            CHAPTER III.

                            A.D. 72-131.


The destruction of the Temple, though it was the death-knell of the
Jewish people, did not at once put an end to the siege. The Upper
City, into which Simon and John had retreated, still held out, and
was to all appearance stronger and more difficult to assault than
what had been already captured. But the spirit of the Jewish leaders,
fierce as it was, had been broken by the failure of their cherished
hope—the direct interference of Heaven in behalf of the Temple.
They demanded a parley, which was granted them, and Titus would
have spared their lives, on condition of absolute surrender. But
they required terms which he refused to grant, and hostilities were
renewed. After incessant labour, occupying nearly three weeks, Titus
raised his works to a sufficient height to enable him to attack the
walls by which the Upper City was guarded, and an assault was made.
It was almost instantly successful. The determined obstinacy of the
defenders had sunk into sullen despair. They gave way on all sides;
their leaders took refuge in the vaults beneath the city, soon
afterwards surrendering to the mercy of Titus; and the whole city
fell into the hands of the besiegers.

But even this did not put a period to the war. Three strong
fortresses, Herodion, Machærus, and Masada, garrisoned by men as
fierce and resolute as the defenders of Jerusalem itself, still
remained unconquered. The first of these, indeed, surrendered as
soon as summoned; and the second, after some fierce conflicts with
the Romans, was induced to do the same. But the third, Masada, the
favourite stronghold of Herod the Great, offered a long and desperate
resistance. It stood on a lofty rock, on the south-west border of
the Dead Sea, and was only accessible by two narrow paths on the
east and west, winding up lofty precipices, where the slightest slip
of the foot would be inevitable death. When these tracks, which
were three or four miles in length, were surmounted, the fortress
of Masada appeared, standing in the centre of a broad plateau, and
surrounded by a wall twenty-two feet high, defended by massive
towers. It was strongly garrisoned, and supplied with provisions
sufficient for a siege of almost any duration. Silva, as the Roman
general sent against it was called, blockaded the place, and then
erected a mound of enormous height, on the top of which he planted
his battering rams. A breach was made, to which the besieged opposed
an inner wall of timber. But this the Romans set on fire and reduced
to ashes; upon which the besieged, finding it impossible to offer
further resistance, and resolved not to surrender, took the desperate
resolution of perishing by their own deed. They first slew their
wives and children. Then, appointing ten executioners for the work,
they all submitted their own breasts to the sword: the ten then fell,
each by his neighbour’s hand, and finally the surviving one drove the
weapon into his own heart! This terrible catastrophe forms a fitting
conclusion to the long catalogue of horrors which the Jewish wars

Judæa being now completely subdued, it remained for Titus to
determine how the vanquished were to be dealt with. Further
severities could hardly be required, even if they were possible. The
numbers which had already perished are very variously stated. Those
given by Josephus may certainly be regarded as an exaggeration,
while the estimate of some later writers clearly fall short of the
fact.[26] It is enough to say, that the whole of Galilee and Judæa
had become one vast wreck—the fields and vineyards wasted, the woods
cut down, the cities heaps of ruins, the land a graveyard. The very
soldiers were weary of the work of carnage. Yet even of the miserable
remnant of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as were old and weakly,
and would not therefore realize a price in the auction mart, were
put to death. Of those that remained, the tallest and best looking
were reserved to grace the triumph of the conqueror at Rome. The rest
were sent to labour in the Egyptian mines, or despatched in batches
to distant provinces—to work as slaves, or be exhibited in the
amphitheatres, as gladiators or combatants with wild beasts. A large
proportion of the captives is said to have died of hunger.

As regards the leaders, the life of John was spared, though of all
men who took part in the defence of Jerusalem he least deserved
mercy. Simon was carried to Rome, and walked in the triumphal
procession which Vespasian and Titus led up to the Capitol. This is
said to have exceeded in splendour all previous pageants. Among the
spoils displayed were the golden table, the silver trumpets, the
seven-branched candlestick, and the book of the law; and these, the
sole surviving monuments of the glories of the Latter House, still
remain sculptured on the entablature of the Arch of Titus, to attest
to posterity this terrible tale of crime and suffering.

With the fall of Jerusalem and the overthrow of the Temple, as has
been already observed, the national existence of the Jews terminated.
Thenceforth, though they were to be found in large numbers in almost
every country in the world, they were strangers and sojourners
among other nations, no longer themselves a people. It must not,
however, be supposed, though the mistake is a common one, that their
dispersion dates from the conquest of Judæa by Titus. They had spread
into distant lands long before that time, and had formed large and
powerful communities. It was only a portion of the Jews that returned
from Babylon after the captivity. A large number had remained
behind, occupying the homes which they had made for themselves,
and enjoying prosperity and peace. In Egypt and Cyrene they were
almost as numerous; in Rome, and in other great Italian cities, they
constituted no small section of the inhabitants. How widely they were
scattered may be gathered from the catalogue given by St. Luke, in
his narrative of the doings of the Day of Pentecost.

The real change which now took place consisted in the destruction of
their great centre of life and unity. It was like cutting off the
main fountain in some system of artificial irrigation. The waters
still remained in a hundred reservoirs, but the system itself existed
no longer. With any other nation in the world, the result, in the
course of a few generations, would have been the disappearance of
all the peculiar and distinctive features of the people. They would
have become fused with, and incorporated in, the nations among whom
they were dwelling, as was the case with the Danes and Saxons among
ourselves. But though they have resided among alien races for two
thousand years, they have ever dwelt, and still dwell, apart from
them. They obey the laws and comply with the customs of the land
in which they reside; they converse in its language and respect
its religious observances. But they cling to the Jewish laws and
customs, so far as it is possible for them to do so. The Hebrew is
still their national language; the ancient worship of Israel the
only one they will render. Like the stream of the Rhone at Chalons,
which mingles with that of the Saone, yet continues to retain the
peculiarity of its colour, they are dwellers among many nations, but
Jews after all, and Jews only.

It was this distinctive feature that enabled them, before the
lapse of many years, to resume something of the organization which
had been, to all appearance, destroyed by the heavy blow they had
sustained. The Sanhedrin, which they had always acknowledged as the
chief authority of Palestine, had escaped, it was said, the general
wreck, and was presently re-established at Jamnia. How far this may
have been the case is a moot point in history. But it is certain that
a school of theology, commanding very wide and general respect, grew
up in that city; and its presidents exercised considerable influence
over their countrymen. The Eastern Jews were under the authority of
a chief, known as ‘the Prince of Captivity,’ while those lying more
to the west acknowledged a similar ruler, who assumed the title of
‘the Patriarch of the West.’ The synagogues also, which had in later
generations been set up in every Jewish city, though they could not
supply the void caused by the destruction of the Temple, afforded,
nevertheless, something of a centre of religious unity. In this
manner, before the lapse of two generations, the Jews, with the
amazing vitality that has ever distinguished them, had recovered in
a great measure their numbers, their wealth, and their unconquerable

Throughout the reigns of Titus, Domitian, and Nerva, little is heard
of them. It is said indeed that Vespasian ordered search to be made
for any blood-relations of Jesus, the Son of David, whom he purposed
to put to death, as possible aspirants to the crown of Judæa; and
Hegesippus affirms that two grandsons of St. Jude were cited before
Domitian for the same reason. But we learn that they were at once
dismissed as unworthy of notice. Nor, throughout Nerva’s reign, was
any burden laid upon them, beyond the didrachma imposed by Vespasian.
But during Trajan’s Parthian wars, which necessitated the absence
of the Roman troops from the garrison towns of Africa, the Jews in
Egypt and Cyrene broke out into insurrection, and terrible bloodshed
ensued. It began with the massacre of the entire Jewish population
at Alexandria by the Greeks, who had taken up arms to oppose them.
Maddened by the tidings of this disaster, the Cyrenian Jews are
said to have committed unheard-of atrocities; sawing in twain the
bodies of their prisoners, or compelling them to fight in the
amphitheatres—it was even alleged, feasting on their flesh. They are
thought to have slaughtered more than 200,000, some say 600,000 men.
The revolt had hardly attained its height, when it was followed by
two others, one in Cyprus, and the other in Mesopotamia. They were
put down after a little while, with frightful carnage, by the Romans
and more particularly by Lucius Quietus, one of the ablest generals
of the day. Trajan’s anger seems to have been greatly roused by the
outbreak, for which he felt that his mild and equitable government
had given no adequate cause. He required their total expulsion from
Mesopotamia; and it is likely that his death in the ensuing year
alone prevented the accomplishment of his purpose.

The Jews, however, fared little better under his successor, Adrian.
This emperor had been a witness of the atrocities perpetrated by
the Jews during the insurrection in Cyprus; and he had probably
some reason for anticipating a similar demonstration in Palestine.
Scarcely fifty years had elapsed since that land had been reduced to
the condition of a desert.[27] But so irrepressible was the vigour of
the Hebrew race, that the fields had been recultivated, the forests
replanted, most of the cities rebuilt, and tenanted by large and
thriving populations. It was obvious, if Jerusalem should rise from
its ruins, and a new temple crown Mount Moriah, that a repetition
of the war, which had cost Rome so much blood and treasure, would
inevitably ensue. It is not known with any certainty what was the
condition of Jerusalem at this time. When the city fell entirely into
the hands of Titus, he ordered the whole of it to be destroyed, with
the exception of the three stately towers of Hippicus, Phasaelus, and
Psephinus, together with part of the western wall,—which was left as
a shelter to the Roman camp, where about eight hundred legionaries
were stationed, as a garrison, to preserve order in the neighbouring
country. How long they remained there is uncertain. But no one seems
to have interfered with such persons as chose to return to the
deserted spot, and erect new homes out of the heaps of ruin that lay
scattered round. What numbers may by this time have assembled on the
site of the Holy City we are not told. But Adrian resolved to put a
stop to the fancies which, not improbably, really were current among
the Jews, by establishing a Roman colony on the spot, and building on
Mount Moriah a temple of Jupiter.[28]

It is probable that the emperor did not understand—indeed, no heathen
could understand—the horror and despair which the publication of
the design caused among the unhappy Jews. It was in their eyes the
most fearful impiety—the most horrible profanation. Their only hope
lay in the advent of the long-promised Messiah; who now surely, if
ever, might be expected to appear on earth, and redeem His people
from the depth of degradation and misery to which they had sunk. In
the midst of these alternations of despondency and reassurance, a
rumour suddenly reached them, that the long-expected deliverer _had_
at last made his appearance, and was even then, on his way, at the
head of an armed force, to take possession of the ruins of Jerusalem,
and prevent the perpetration of the intended impiety. His name, they
were told, was Barchochebas, ‘the son,’ that is to say, ‘of the
star,’—the star predicted by Balaam, ‘which was to come out of Jacob,
and smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.’

It is likely that the faith of the Jewish people in the appearance
of a promised Messiah was by this time a good deal shaken. So many
impostors had appeared, and lured their thousands to destruction,
that even the deeply seated belief in his speedy advent was not
sufficient to induce them to admit the pretensions of any fresh
aspirant without careful inquiry. But in the present instance there
were two considerations, each of which had been enough by itself to
remove all doubt or hesitation. The first is, what has been already
mentioned, the flagrancy of the insult offered to Almighty God;
which, in the judgment of the Jews, was certain to bring down signal
and immediate judgment on its authors. The other was the fact that
Barchochebas had been accepted as the veritable Messiah by Akiba,
the greatest of their Rabbis, and chief of the schools at Bethor.
Something should be said of both these men, who played so conspicuous
a part at this crisis in Jewish history.


    The numbers of those slain in the Jewish wars, as reported by
                       Josephus, are as under.

  At Cæsarea                  20,000 | At Mt. Gerizim           11,600
  ”  Scythopolis              13,000 | ”  Jotapata              40,000
  ”  Alexandria               50,000 | ”  Gamala                15,000
  ”  Damascus                 10,000 | ”  Gadara                15,000
  ”  Ascalon (3 massacres)    20,000 | ”  Jerusalem          1,100,000
  ”  Joppa                    15,000 |

 At other places there were smaller totals, amounting altogether to
 upwards of 100,000, and making the entire sum of slain something
 less than a million and a half. But, as is elsewhere intimated
 (Appendix I.), Josephus’s statements must be received with caution.
 The large population found in Palestine in Adrian’s reign is not
 easily reconcilable with it. Lightfoot’s opinion seems the more
 probable one. Notwithstanding the great carnage, he says, ‘Tantum
 abfuit gens a totali et consummatâ deletione, ut undique adhuc
 restaret innumera multitudo, quæ se pacate Romano nutui dedidisset,
 et pace sedibus suis quiete frueretur. Ita ut Templum et Metropolim
 quidem desiderares, verum terram habitatoribus repletam, compositum
 Synedrii, Synagogarum, Populi statum illico cerneres.’—Lightfoot,
 vol. xi. 468.


[26] According to Josephus’s account, 600,000 perished of hunger
during the siege; and the total of those who died during the
campaign amounted to little short of a million and half. But that he
exaggerates is beyond dispute. See Appendix I.

[27] See note at end of chapter.

[28] He is said at the same time to have issued a decree forbidding
the Jews to circumcise their children.

                             CHAPTER IV.

                            A.D. 131-135.

                     THE REVOLT OF BARCHOCHEBAS.

Rabbi Akiba was a proselyte of Canaanitish descent, a herdsman in
the employ of a wealthy man named Kalba-Sabua. His master’s daughter
fell in love with him, and they were married, though without the
father’s knowledge. When he learned the fact, he drove them from
his house; and Akiba, at the age of forty, began the study of the
law. He obtained great reputation in it, being accounted one of
the chief authorities of that Rabbinical school of interpretation
which upholds the absolute integrity of the received text, and
teaches that every word, nay every letter of it, has its special and
mystical meaning. After twelve years of study, when he had risen
to considerable eminence, he paid a visit to Kalba-Sabua, followed
by 12,000 disciples, who attended on his teaching. The old man
continuing inflexible, Akiba returned to his studies for twelve years
more, when he again appeared at his father-in-law’s house, this time
accompanied by 24,000 scholars. This evidence of the honour in which
his son-in-law was held overcame Kalba-Sabua’s resentment, and he
bestowed a large portion of his riches upon him. At the time of the
revolt from Adrian, Akiba was nearly 120 years old.[29] He had been
recently travelling in Northern Africa and Mesopotamia, where he had
witnessed the zeal of his countrymen for the Hope of Israel; and he
was resolved that he and his should not fall behind them in courage
and devotion.

His feelings must have been very warmly awakened to allow of his
accepting Barchochebas, as he called himself, as the true Messiah
that was to come. Who Barchochebas really was, has always been a
problem with historians. By some he is said to have been a captain
of banditti, notorious for his robberies and murders. But this may,
not impossibly, be a calumny. He may have been the leader of one of
the bands of wild warriors, who in those lawless times lived, like
the more modern Bedouins, after a predatory manner, but are hardly
to be regarded as mere robbers. Though undoubtedly an impostor, and
conscious of his own imposture,[30] he was nevertheless a man of
courage and ability, who might, under more favourable circumstances,
have succeeded in establishing the independence of his country.

His first step, as we have seen, was to march with such forces as he
could raise to Jerusalem; where he put a stop to the sacrilegious
work which had been already commenced by Adrian’s order. He then
proceeded to the strong city of Bithor, or Bethor, which lay at no
great distance from Jerusalem. Here he was publicly acknowledged by
Akiba as the Messiah, and large numbers of Jews, not from Judæa only,
but from other neighbouring countries, flocked in to his standard.
The levies at his command are said to have amounted at one time
to 200,000 men; a force with which the Roman troops in Judæa were
wholly unable to cope. The whole country fell under his dominion,
and the utmost zeal and loyalty were displayed in his service. The
only persons throughout the whole of Palestine who stood aloof
were the Christians; who, knowing that Jesus Christ was the true
Deliverer of the Jewish people, could not acknowledge any other to be
such. Barchochebas is said to have punished their defection, as he
considered it, with the most savage cruelty, regarding them as rebels
and traitors, more criminal than the Romans themselves.

Adrian, who could not for a long time be induced to believe that
the Jews, after the terrible lesson which their fathers had learned
of the consequences of rebellion against Rome, would again provoke
a mortal quarrel, treated the outbreak as a matter of but small
importance. But the tales that reached him, of large military stores
being in the possession of the Jews, who had for a long time past
been secretly collecting them; of their countrymen from Egypt and the
East thronging to their standard; and even of multitudes of strangers
to their faith and nation nevertheless joining them, in the hope of
obtaining plunder, roused him at length to vigorous action. He sent
a reinforcement of troops to Ticinius, or Tinnius, by some called
Turnus Rufus,[31] who commanded in Judæa, and recalled from Britain
Julius Severus, the ablest officer of his time, to put down, what—it
was now impossible to disguise—had become a dangerous rebellion.

Severus, on his arrival, found the condition of things so
unfavourable to the Roman arms that he did not venture to meet
Barchochebas in the field. The latter was in possession of fifty
fortified places, and nearly a thousand villages and towns. Rufus
had done little but exercise the most merciless severities on all,
even women and children, who had fallen into his power; thus,
without really diminishing the strength of his enemies, increasing
tenfold their exasperation. If he had continued in command, it is
far from improbable that the yoke of Rome would, for a time at all
events, have been cast off. But Severus had learned the art of war
in his campaigns in Britain; and the consequences of the change of
the general in command soon became evident. Avoiding, as has been
already intimated, any decisive engagement, he harassed the Jews by
an endless succession of petty conflicts, in nearly all of which they
were worsted, driving them into their strongholds, which he then
besieged and captured,[32] until nearly all that had revolted were
reduced to submission.[33] By the end of the third year of the war,
the rebels were driven into the strong city of Bithor, or Bethor, the
situation of which is uncertain, but is generally believed to have
been somewhere in the neighbourhood of Bethhoron. Here Barchochebas
and Akiba sustained, we are told, a long and terrible siege, ‘the
rebels being driven,’ says Eusebius, ‘to the last extremities
by famine.’ But there is no historian of this war to record its
particulars with the minuteness and accuracy of a Josephus. The
Rabbins have indeed given many details; but it is impossible to rely
on their statements. Thus, they relate, that when the prospects of
the besieged became gloomy and threatening, one of the most zealous
of their body, Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Hamadai, following the
example of Moses at Rephidim, remained on his knees in prayer during
the whole time that the fighting was going on; and the result of his
prayers was, that the Jews fought with signal success, everywhere
driving the besiegers back. To avert the disaster which seemed likely
to result to the Roman arms, a treacherous Samaritan pretended to
be discovered in carrying treasonable communications between the
Rabbi and the Romans. Barchochebas, without inquiry, ordered the
Rabbi to be slain; and from that moment, it is said, the courage
of the besieged gave way. Bithor was at length taken by storm.
Barchochebas, according to some, was killed in action, according
to others, put to death with cruel tortures by the conquerors. The
slaughter that ensued is described as exceeding anything on record.
The streams of blood were so great as to carry heavy stones the whole
way from the city to the sea, and the ground for eighteen miles
round is said to have been covered with corpses! These flights of
Rabbinical imagination may be dismissed as worthless; but the more
sober historian, Dion Cassius, reports that more than half a million
perished by the sword, independently of vast numbers who died by
disease and famine. Judæa once more became a barren waste. The cities
were reduced to heaps of ruin, and the wild beasts tenanted the
streets. The inhabitants who escaped the sword were sold as slaves,
and transported to foreign lands.

The fate of the stern old Rabbi Akiba should not be passed over. He
was treated with the utmost barbarity by Rufus, who seems to have
been in command at the capture of the city. While under examination
before the Roman tribunal, the hour of prayer came round, and Akiba,
wholly disregarding the presence of his judge, and his own mortal
peril, fell on his knees and calmly went through his usual devotions.
Only a scanty pittance of water was allowed him in his dungeon;
but though he was consumed with thirst, he applied the water to
the customary ceremonial ablutions. He was sentenced to death, and
executed with the most barbarous cruelty, some writers affirming that
he was flayed alive, and afterwards slain, others that he was torn
to pieces with iron combs.[34]

Adrian now carried out his design, the commencement of which had
been the immediate cause of the war, and built a heathen city on
the site of ancient Jerusalem. This he called Ælia Capitolina—Ælia
after his own name Ælius, and Capitolina, because it was dedicated
to the Capitoline Jupiter. It was built in the style prevalent among
the Romans of that day; and was enclosed by a wall, which included
Mount Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre, but did not take in Mount Zion.
In the execution of his plan he was careful to show all possible
dishonour to the localities which the Jews and also the Christians
regarded with veneration. The temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was
erected on the site of the Temple itself; over the gate which looked
towards Bethlehem, the city of David, a marble figure of a hog was
set up; on Mount Calvary was placed a statue of Venus, the foulest
of the heathen deities; and in the grotto at Bethlehem, where the
Saviour was born, the worship of Adonis was established. Why Adrian
should have been thus studious to profane these latter places,
which, though they possessed special sanctity in the eyes of the
Christians, had little or none in those of the Jews, does not appear.
We can only suppose that the confusion between the Jews and the
Christians, who for many generations were regarded as being merely
a schismatical Jewish sect, misled the Roman emperor, even at this
date and that he regarded Mount Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre as
spots especially venerated by Jews. It is certain that no part of his
anger was levelled against the Christians. He suffered them to settle
within his newly erected city, and carry on their worship there
without interruption. Ælia became, not long afterwards, the seat of a
Christian bishopric.

But to the Jews he extended no such grace. He issued two edicts; one
renewing the order which forbade the circumcision of their children;
the other interdicting them, on pain of instant death, from entering
the newly-built city, or even approaching so near to it as to be able
to discern with their eyes the sacred precincts. It would seem that
this prohibition was subsequently relaxed, so far as one day in the
year was concerned, the anniversary, namely, of the capture of the
city in the war with Titus, and again, in that with Barchochebas; for
it is a singular fact that the two events occurred in the same month
and on the same day.[35] On the recurrence of that day of misery
and despair, they were allowed to pass the Roman sentinels, and
gaze once more on the ruins of the past. Jerome has given a moving
account of the scene, which, it would appear, he himself witnessed,
two centuries afterwards—the crowd of dejected exiles, the sobs of
the women, the agonized despair of the men, the jeers and scoffs of
the bystanders, and the rude demands of the Roman soldiers for bribes
of money, as the only condition on which they could be allowed to
indulge their sorrow.[36]


[29] So, at least, say the Jewish biographers. But as they labour to
assimilate him in all things to Moses, it is not unlikely that they
have accommodated his age to their theories.

[30] He is said to have resorted to the expedient, already practised
by pretenders before him, of filling his mouth with lighted tow, and
so appearing to vomit flame.

[31] The Jews often confounded this man, who is the object of their
special enmity, with the Terentius Rufus to whom Titus entrusted the
final demolition of Jerusalem, and who is almost equally detested by

[32] It is a doubtful point whether Jerusalem was one of the places
so taken. It appears most probable that it was; and that the work of
demolition, which had been begun by Titus, was completed by Adrian,
and every trace of old Jerusalem destroyed.

[33] There is evidence, however, that these successes were not
obtained without severe reverses. The language of Adrian in his
despatches to the Senate, in which he omits his usual assurance, that
all is well with the army, is significant of this fact.

[34] The Talmud affirms that his cheerful demeanour, while subjected
to the most agonizing tortures, amazed his executioners, and that he
told them, that having the love of God in his heart, he could not but

[35] August 9th. This was also the day of the taking of Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar. One cannot but entertain suspicion of the accuracy of
these statements.

[36] Their exclusion from Jerusalem is mentioned by many writers
earlier than Jerome—Justin Martyr, Eusebius, and Tertullian, amongst

                             CHAPTER V.

                            A.D. 135-323.


Deplorable as had been the condition of the Jews after the war with
Titus, that of their descendants appeared to be still worse, when
their struggle for independence was closed by the fall of Bethor.
The devastation of their lands, and the destruction of their cities,
could not have been worse than it was on the former occasion. But
they were not then forbidden by their conquerors to return to their
ancient homes, or practise the initiatory rite of their religion. To
all appearance, the total extinction of the nation, by the absorption
of its scattered members among the various communities to which they
had fled for shelter, must inevitably ensue. Nevertheless, this did
not occur. On the contrary, a period of nearly two hundred years
now elapsed, during which they continued, undisturbed by Imperial
severity or intestine commotion, to recruit their numbers and
increase their wealth and influence in almost every portion of the
Roman Empire. This appears to have been due in the first instance
to the favour of Antoninus, who succeeded to the Imperial purple on
the death of Adrian. A story is told of a miraculous cure of the
Emperor’s daughter by a Jew,[37] in requital of which the edict
forbidding circumcision was repealed. But the story rests on no
trustworthy authority. The prohibition was renewed by Aurelius, when
the Eastern Jews offended him by joining the standard of the rebel
Avidius Cassius. But it was soon repealed, if it was ever acted on.

It is evident, however, that, notwithstanding the toleration extended
to the Jews, they were closely watched, and little trust was reposed
in their good faith. At Jamnia (a town, according to Eusebius,
between Diospolis and Azotus), where a great Rabbinical school had
been established after the fall of Jerusalem, the jealousy of the
Romans was roused by an imprudent speech made by the celebrated Simon
(or Simeon) Jochaides, the reputed author of the Book of Zohar,
and the person by whom (as the reader is informed in the note) the
cure of Antoninus’s daughter is said to have been effected. On
the occasion of some public debate, he denounced the rapacity and
selfishness of the heathen rulers. For this expression of opinion
he was condemned to death, which he only escaped by flight; and the
school at Jamnia was suppressed. On another occasion the periodical
sounding of the trumpet, in the month Tisri, was mistaken by the
governor of the city for the signal of a general revolt.

In Rome itself—indeed, in all the great cities of the Empire—during
the reigns of the emperors who succeeded Aurelius, up to the time
of Constantine, the Jews were but little interfered with. This was
owing partly to their long residence in the capital. The date of
their first settlement there is unknown. It has been supposed to be
coincident with Pompey’s victories, which probably did bring a large
number of Jewish slaves to Rome. Philo’s testimony to this fact, and
to their general emancipation by their purchasers, seems trustworthy
enough. But it is certain that the Jews had spread far and wide
among all nations before that date, and hence it is most unlikely
that so great a commercial centre as Rome would be overlooked by
them. Josephus says that 8,000 of them attended when Archelaus was
received by Augustus; and though Claudius banished them, it was
only temporarily. It is plain that there were great numbers there,
when St. Paul was imprisoned at Rome. Juvenal, again, speaks of
the mendicant hordes who profaned the grove of Egeria; and the
testimony of Tacitus and Martial is to the same effect. The Jews were
regarded with contemptuous dislike, but there was no inclination to
persecute them. There was another reason, too, why they were treated
with leniency. After Adrian’s time, attention was directed to the
Christians, as the professors of a faith distinct from, and alien to,
Judaism. Thenceforth the Jews were regarded in a different light.
As Christianity grew and spread throughout the empire, its converts
came to be accounted the deadly enemies of the State; and the Jews,
who disliked them as much as the heathen did, were naturally welcomed
as allies against the common enemy. In any persecution of the ‘New
Superstition,’ the Jews were ever ready to take their part[38]; and
their wealth, their numbers, and their zeal rendered their help
valuable. The Pagan rulers felt but little inclination to inquire
into the shortcomings and offences of such useful partisans.

It will be proper here to say a few words respecting the Sanhedrin,
which, during this period, as well previously and subsequently,
exercised a certain authority. The origin of this National Council
is a matter of dispute. By some it is affirmed that it was first
instituted by Moses (Num. xi. 16), and is identical with the ‘Elders’
of Joshua xxiv. 1 and Judges ii. 7. But even if that be so, there is
no mention of it in subsequent Jewish history for some 1,200 years,
and the absolute power exercised by the kings (as _e.g._ 1 Kings ii.
27-46) is altogether inconsistent with the existence of any such
judicial body in their day. Others hold that the Great Synagogue,
which Ezra established after the return from the Captivity, gradually
developed into the Sanhedrin. But it is denied by writers whose
opinion is of weight that there was any connection between the Great
Synagogue and the Sanhedrin. Its true origin seems to have been in
the time of Judas Maccabæus, or possibly his brother Jonathan. We
read how the latter wrote a letter to the Lacedæmonians in the names
of ‘Jonathan the High Priest, the Elders of the nation, the priests
and other people of the Jews.’ It is likely that the High Priest and
the Elders continued from that time forth to exercise supreme power
in judicial matters, including that of life and death, until the time
when Judæa became a Roman province, and disputes and jealousies with
the Roman procurators on the subject ensued.

The statement has already, been noticed, that the Sanhedrin escaped
destruction during the war with Titus. Some of its members were
slain, but the greater part were allowed—so it is averred—to depart
from Jerusalem, and settle at Jamnia. Thence they removed to
Sepphoris, and afterwards to Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, whence
the President of the Sanhedrin came to be styled ‘the Patriarch
of Tiberias.’ His authority was acknowledged by all Jews residing
within the limits of the Roman Empire.[39] How far obedience to
him was voluntary, how far a matter of compulsion, it would not
be very easy to determine. The Romans in all likelihood would be
tolerant enough of the exercise of any such authority, which did not
infringe their Imperial power—nay, would probably refer to it all
matters relating to the peculiar usages of the Jews, in the same
spirit in which Claudius Lysias wrote to Felix, and Gallio refused
to listen to the Jewish disputants. The people on their part would
readily submit themselves to the Patriarch of their own nation, if
only in protest against the hated rule of the stranger. Hence, for
many generations, Gamaliel and his successors wielded a wide and
undisputed authority.[40]

The Sanhedrin consisted of seventy-one members, who were chosen
entirely for the moral excellence of their characters. No young or
unmarried man, no alien, and no one who followed a disreputable
calling, was eligible. With these exceptions, membership was open to
all ranks and conditions of men.

To this era belongs the Jerusalem Talmud; but of that, and also
of the Babylonian Talmud, the reader will find a full account in
Appendix II.

To resume our narrative. At the accession of Septimius Severus, who
attained the Imperial purple at the close of the struggle which
ensued after the murder of Commodus, the Jews are said to have
received harsh treatment at his hands; which may well occasion the
reader surprise, as they almost everywhere joined his standard,
as the rival of their bitter enemy, Niger. Yet it is certain that
he re-enacted the old laws against proselytism, or entering the
precincts of Jerusalem; and, if Eusebius is to be credited, he
actually made war on the Jews, and a triumph was decreed him for
his successes in the campaign.[41] But even if this be true, his
anger must soon have subsided; for during his reign they enjoyed
a considerable share of his favour, for which writers hint that
they had to pay heavily. It would appear again that they prospered
under the rule of his depraved and barbarous son Caracalla.[42]
This Emperor is said in early life to have been warmly attached
to a Jewish playmate, the only person for whom he seems ever to
have felt any affection. A few years afterwards they had a still
more extraordinary and discreditable patron in Heliogabalus, the
very vilest, it may safely be affirmed, of all the Roman emperors.
Actuated by the strange caprice which commonly swayed his actions,
he adopted the Jewish customs of circumcision and abstinence from
swine’s flesh. It does not appear, however, that he bestowed
any special marks of regard on the Jews, in consequence of the
inclination he showed for their peculiar tenets. Their religion,
in fact, was only one out of many from which he borrowed one
observance or another; and if it is true that he was on the point of
proclaiming himself to be the chief object of all religious worship,
which all must render him on pain of death, his murder came only just
in time to save them from a sharp persecution. Under his successor,
Alexander Severus, they are thought to have experienced unusual
kindness,[43] because that prince had imbibed from his mother Mammæa
(the disciple, it is said, of Origen) a great prejudice in their
favour. He did show some feeling of this kind, in that he set up the
statue of Abraham in his private chapel, as one of those worthy of
Divine honours.

But it should be borne in mind that this virtuous prince was after
all a heathen, and had very vague and imperfect ideas about religion.
He regarded all good men as equally worthy of honour, and his
theology hardly extended further. In the shrine already referred to,
he placed not only the statue of Abraham, but of Orpheus, Apollonius
Tyaneus,[44] and Jesus Christ! It is needless to say that the man who
did this could have been no proselyte to Judaism (let the Rabbins say
what they will), or to Christianity either.

A similar protection was extended to the Jews during the reign of
Philip the Arabian—another sovereign about whom similar fancies are
entertained by Jewish writers, and with no more reason, apparently,
than in the other instances. The Christians also experienced the
same merciful sway. But with the accession of Decius, A.D. 249, the
persecution of the Christians, which had slumbered, with only some
slight and partial renewals, since the time of Aurelius, broke out
with greater violence than ever, and continued to rage, with rare
intermissions, through the reigns of successive emperors, until
the accession of Constantine. There is little or nothing to record
respecting the Jews during this period, so far as those of the West
are concerned, unless the war waged by one of the most powerful of
the later occupants of the Imperial throne, Aurelian, with Zenobia,
Queen of Palmyra, may be thought to have some relation to Jewish
affairs. This princess is said to have been a descendant of the
Asmonæan family, or, at all events, of Jewish birth,[45] and to have
been brought up in the Jewish faith. Some go so far as to say she was
a zealous professor of it.[46] It is certain that she built splendid
synagogues for the use of the Jews, and advanced them to the highest
posts of dignity. The celebrated Paul of Samosata,[47] who enjoyed
her special favour, has been thought to have attempted to effect a
reconciliation between Christianity and Judaism, insisting on the
necessity of the rite of circumcision, and teaching that Jesus was,
although a man, one in whom the Divine Λόγος dwelt. This, it is
thought, may have had her approval. If such was really his design, it
proved, as might have been expected, a total failure, both parties
alike rejecting his teaching. After the fall of Zenobia, he was
deprived of his office, and vanished into obscurity.

But in any case her history belongs more properly to that of the
Eastern Jews, that large section of the Hebrew race which had spread
far to the eastward of the great river, and who dwelt under the
rule of the Patriarch, known by the title of the ‘Prince of the
Captivity.’ It will be proper now to turn to their affairs.


[37] According to others, it was the daughter of Aurelius who was
healed. A deputation had been sent to protest against the severe
edicts of Verus. The celebrated mystic, Simon ben Jochai, was the
envoy, and he cast an evil spirit out of the Emperor’s daughter. The
Rabbins assert also that Antoninus received circumcision. But their
testimony on this, as on many similar matters, cannot be relied on.

[38] Thus it is mentioned that the Jews were more forward than the
heathen in bringing faggots to burn the Christian martyr Polycarp—‘as
is their habit,’ says the historian (_Polyc. Martyr._ xiii.).

[39] Origen affirms that the power of the patriarchs was little less
than that of a king (Orig., _Epist. ad Afric._).

[40] The Presidents of the Sanhedrin are said to have been—

 1. Ezra, who, according to this list, must have survived to the
 reign of Darius Codomannus, fully 200 years.

 2. Simon the Just (identified by some with Jaddua who received
 Alexander the Great).

 3. Antigonus of Soco.

 4. Joseph of Zeredah.

 5. Joshua, banished by Hyrcanus.

 6. Judah, contemporary with A. Jann.

 7. Shemaiah.

 8. Hillel, the renowned Jewish Doctor.

 9. Simeon, son of Hillel, supposed by some to be the same who took
 Jesus into his arms (St. Luke ii. 25).

 10. Gamaliel (St. Paul’s teacher).

 11. Simeon, son of Gamaliel, killed during the siege of Jerusalem.

 12. Jochanan.

 13. Gamaliel II., son of Simeon, first Patriarch of Jerusalem.

 14. Simeon, called the Just.

 15. Judah II., called Hakkadosh.

 16. Gamaliel III., in whose time the Sanhedrin is said to have
 ceased to exist.

 17. Judah II.

 18. Hillel II., who drew up the permanent Jewish calendar.

 19. Judah III.

 20. Hillel III.

 21. Gamaliel IV., with whom the Patriarchate of Tiberias expired,
 A.D. 429.

[41] It may be that it was not against the Jews, but the Samaritans,
that Severus waged war, and that he temporarily confounded them with
the Jews. The Romans continually made such mistakes.

[42] Some of the Rabbins assert that Caracalla received circumcision,
but with no more evidence in support of their statement than in the
instance of Antoninus. There was, however, something unusual in the
education of Caracalla. Tertullian says that he received a Christian
education ‘lacte Christiano educatus’ (Tertull. _ad Scop._). If so,
he profited but little by it.

[43] This seems to have been notorious, as the nickname of the
‘Ruler of the Synagogue,’ given him by the wits of the day, seems to

[44] This extraordinary man was born at Tyana, in Cappadocia, a year
or two before our Lord. Hierocles, A.D. 300, wrote a comparison
between him and Jesus Christ, in which the main points of resemblance
are his (supposed) miraculous birth and power of working miracles,
his attempt to reform the religion of the world, and the voice from
heaven, which is said to have summoned him from earth. His history,
written by Philostratus is overlaid with exaggeration and fable; but
he is to be regarded rather as an enthusiast and a mystic than as an
impostor. His fame was at its zenith in the time of Alexander Severus.

[45] Theodoret, _de Hær. Fab. Athanas, de solit. vit._

[46] Zenobia has been claimed as an upholder of, if not a convert to,
Christianity. She was probably an eclectic with no settled faith.
Hence her patronage of Paul.

[47] This notorious heresiarch was a native of Samosata, in Syria. He
was made Bishop of Antioch A.D. 260; but his elevation seems to have
turned his head. He thenceforth affected great state and splendour.
Encouraged by the favour of Zenobia, he usurped great power in the
Church. To gain her favour, it is said, he attempted the alleged
compromise between Judaism and Christianity. A council was held A.D.
265, to consider his opinions, over which Firmilian presided, and by
which he was condemned. He refused to obey the decree; but a second
council was thereupon summoned, by which he was deposed, and its
sentence was confirmed by Aurelian.

                             CHAPTER VI.

                            A.D. 323-363.


It is probable that the authority exercised by the Patriarchs of the
East[48] grew up after the abandonment by Adrian of his predecessor’s
conquests beyond the Euphrates. The power of the Parthian kings had
been broken by the victories of Trajan; and in the remoter parts of
their dominions they exercised but a feeble authority. Hence little
opposition would be offered to the rule of the Jewish Patriarch—the
less, because the respect and obedience rendered to him did not in
any way trench on the allegiance due to the civil ruler.

His power appeared to be everywhere firmly established; yet in
the ensuing generation it was assailed, and in a great measure
superseded, by the interference of his Western rival, the Patriarch
of Tiberias. Simeon, son of Gamaliel II., called ‘the Just,’ was a
man of ambitious and restless character. Believing that Jerusalem
was the true centre of Jewish unity, and that his Patriarchate was,
in reality, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, he argued that he ought
to exercise undivided sway over the whole of the Jewish community,
and regarded his brother of Babylon as a usurper. He sent a delegate
to him, accordingly, who was instructed to approach him with all
possible deference; but as soon as he had made good his position,
to throw off the mask, and demand his submission. His scheme took
effect: the delegate was kindly received, and admitted to the
confidence of his entertainers; when he suddenly changed his tone,
and sharply censuring some of the prince’s acts, required, in the
name of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, that they should be rescinded. A
scene of angry resistance followed. But the name of Jerusalem had too
strong a hold on the heart of every Jew to allow of any successful
opposition. The Babylonian potentate was obliged to succumb, and
until the Patriarchate of Tiberias ceased to exist continued to hold
a place subordinate to his rival.

But in the succeeding century the Prince of the Captivity recovered
all, and more than all, the power exercised by his predecessors.
Tales are related of his grandeur and magnificence, which it is
difficult to credit, and the more so, because they do not seem to
have diminished after the accession of the Persian kings,[49] who
might reasonably have been expected to be jealous of such subjects.
The Patriarch was wont to be installed in his office with the
greatest pomp. He was carried in a splendid procession, attended by
the Rabbins, and preceded by trumpets, to the Synagogue, where he
was formally admitted to his office, amid the prayers and blessings
of the people. He then returned in like fashion to his palace, where
he entertained his chief officers at a sumptuous banquet. He lived
in the seclusion usual among Eastern potentates. But whenever he
went abroad or entered a house he was received with every token of
respect. He would sometimes, we are told, pay a visit to the king;
when one of the royal chariots would be sent for his use—which,
however, he would decline, remembering that, after all, he was an
alien and a captive. But this studied humility was visible in nothing
else. He was robed in the most splendid vestments, and preceded by
a guard of fifty soldiers. The way was cleared before him, and all
who met him saluted him with the profoundest respect. At the door of
the palace he was met by the royal officers, who conducted him to
the king’s presence; where, after the first reverence had been paid,
he was placed on the left hand of the throne, to confer with the
sovereign on the affairs of the State.

It seems that intercourse with the Persians, who were fire
worshippers,[50] and at least as bigoted in their religious opinions
as the Jews, did not bring about enmity and persecution. Yet many of
the Jewish practices must have been highly offensive to them. Thus
the Jews have always interred their dead, and that practice is an
abomination in the eyes of the Ghebirs. Again, there were certain
occasions when no lights were permitted to be kindled except in the
Fire Temples;[51] and the Jews were, in consequence, obliged to
extinguish their household fires. We should naturally have expected
that some at least among the Jews would refuse compliance, and so
bring themselves into collision with the law. But we do not hear of
any disputes of this kind[52] until the time of Sapor, who, at the
outset of his reign, had shown the Jews great favour. But having
embarked one day in a controversy with the Rabbins on the subject
of the burial of the dead, he required that they should produce some
passage out of their Scriptures in which interment in the earth was
ordered. The doctors, unable to do this, gave some evasive answer;
which so incensed him that he began a fierce persecution. Sapor,
however, died A.D. 272, and we do not hear that the persecution was

This is also the era of the notorious Mani, or Manes, who founded
the sect which caused such widespread strife and division in the
Christian Church. He is said by some to have held many conferences
with Jewish doctors during Sapor’s reign, and to have urged upon them
that the acts attributed to their God in the Old Testament, such as
the extirpation of the nations of Canaan, were inconsistent with
the Divine attribute of mercy. He was, in fact, according to Mani’s
teaching, the God of Darkness; from whom they ought to turn, to
worship the God of Light. It is needless to say that the Jews utterly
rejected his teaching. Through their influence, he lost the favour of
Sapor, and was banished from his dominions.[53]

Turning again to the West, we now come to the era of Constantine,
when the pagan idolatry was abolished by law, and the religion of
Christ publicly recognised. It is obvious that this was a matter
which gravely affected the Jews no less than the heathen. They were
as much opposed to the newly authorized faith as any pagans could
have been—far more so, in fact, because they had a profound belief
in, and an earnest zeal for, their own creed, which was altogether
wanting in the instance of the heathen. It would seem that the Roman
Emperor contemplated making the religion of Christ the religion of
the world; in which case he must insist on its adoption by the Jews,
as well as by all the other subjects of the Roman empire. Whether
the idea of compulsory conversion was ever entertained must remain
doubtful. But it is tolerably clear that Constantine did hope for, if
he did not anticipate, their adoption of his own faith. Conferences
with Jewish doctors were held in his presence, at which the
disputants on both sides not only upheld their cause by argument, but
endeavoured to prove its truth by resort to miracles. If Constantine
hoped anything from trials like these,[54] in which anything that
appeared to be preternatural was claimed on the one side as having
been effected by the finger of God, and denounced on the other as due
to the agency of Satan—he was certainly disappointed; and to this
failure perhaps may be imputed the severe laws against the Jews,
some of which he certainly decreed. Thus he issued an edict that any
Jew who imperilled the life of a Christian should be burned alive;
he forbade proselytizing by the Jews on the severest penalties; he
prohibited Jews from having Christian slaves. In one of his Acts
he styles the Jews ‘the most hateful of all people.’ On the other
hand, he has been unjustly charged with acts of positive cruelty
towards them, which would have soiled the lustre of his name, if they
had been really committed. It is said, for instance, that having
heard that large numbers of them had assembled for the purpose of
rebuilding Jerusalem, he ordered their ears to be cut off, and
themselves banished,[55] and again that he required them to accept
baptism, whether they would or not, and to eat swine’s flesh on
Easter Day.[56] But these charges refute themselves. Jerusalem was
a large and noble city in his day, and it is absurd to talk of the
Jews having wished to rebuild it. Nor among all his edicts, preserved
in the Theodosian Code, is there a word about cutting off ears or
compulsory eating of pork.

During this reign the Jews in Persia are accused of having stirred up
a sanguinary persecution against the Christians. The latter had, for
a long time past, been making their way into Sapor’s dominions, to
the great vexation of the Jews. But when at last they had succeeded
in converting to their faith Ustazades, one of Sapor’s chief
officers, the irritation of the Jews rose to so great a height that
they persuaded Sapor to put down the growing evil by the severest
measures. A long and bloody persecution ensued, in which Simeon,
Bishop of Ctesiphon, suffered martyrdom, the newly built churches
were destroyed, and every trace of Christianity obliterated.

Constans, the son of Constantine, who succeeded to the throne A.D.
353, far from relaxing any of the severities laid on the Jews by
his father, proceeded to greater lengths against them. Provoked by
an insurrection they had raised in Judæa, he re-enacted the laws
of Adrian and his father—adding to them that any Jew who married a
Christian, who circumcised, or even kept, any Christian slave, should
be put to death. He also greatly increased the heavy taxes with which
they were already loaded.

It is no wonder that the accession of Julian—who, immediately after
his assumption of the purple, publicly declared his abnegation of
Christianity—should have been hailed by the Jews, as well as the
pagans, as the dawn of a new day of freedom and prosperity to them.
They hastened to present him with an address, representing, among
other grievances, the great wrong done them in their exclusion from
Jerusalem, the scene of the ancient glories of their race, the
never-forgotten home of their ancestors, though the heathen were
permitted to dwell there without molestation. While the most sacred
sites were hidden by Christian churches, and devoted to Christian
worship, the spot where their own beloved Temple had once stood lay
desolate, and they were not even permitted to approach and gaze
upon its ruins. Julian replied even more favourably than they could
have hoped. He addressed the Jewish patriarch as ‘his brother;’ he
inveighed against the unmerited severity with which they had been
treated; he remitted the imposts of which they complained; annulled
the decree by which they had been forbidden to enter Jerusalem;
and finally gave them permission to rebuild the Temple on Mount
Moriah, promising them every help in the execution of the work, and
appointing one of his own favourite officers, Alypius, to superintend

His motives for this extraordinary step are not difficult to
conjecture. He had not the slightest inclination to Judaism, being
a devoted follower of the ancient creed of Greece and Rome, as held
by the sages, whom he had made his study. But he wished, in the
first place, to repair the injustice of past years; in the second,
to conciliate the Jews, whose help might be of the greatest service
to him in his Persian expedition; and in the third, to confute and
establish the falsehood of Christianity. It was well known that the
universal belief among the Christians was, that the voice of prophecy
had declared that the Jewish Temple should never be rebuilt;[57] at
all events, never until the Jewish people had accepted Jesus Christ
as their God. If then he could prove that their belief was untrue on
one point, why might it not be untrue on all?

It is needless to say that this unexpected grace filled the whole
Jewish world with wonder and delight. Funds for providing the
required materials poured in, in abundance; thousands offered
themselves as labourers; men of the highest position and wealth, even
delicately nurtured ladies, were seen digging up the ground with
pickaxes made of gold and silver, or carrying away the earth in
silken handkerchiefs. The work advanced with great rapidity, till it
was suddenly interrupted by flames bursting forth from the ground,
accompanied by earthquakes, which repeatedly injured or destroyed
the labourers engaged in the undertaking, and ultimately compelled
them to desist from it.[58] Other strange circumstances are said to
have accompanied this occurrence. Fiery crosses filled the air, and
were seen on the dresses of the fugitives, as they escaped from the
dangerous precincts. Some of the latter, who fled to the shelter of
a neighbouring church, found the doors closed by some unseen power
against them.

Doubtless much that has been related must be regarded as idle tales,
the result of panic or exaggeration. But to suppose the whole
occurrence to be simply attributable to natural causes appears
impossible. This, however, is a matter requiring careful and minute
inquiry. The reader will find a full examination of it in Appendix IV.

Not long afterwards (on the 26th of June, 363) the death of Julian,
in battle with the Persians, put a period—not only to any renewal of
this particular undertaking—but to the hopes in which the Jews had
indulged, of Imperial favour especially bestowed on them. So ended
the last recorded attempt to rebuild the Jewish Temple.


 The origin of this religious belief is lost in the darkness of
 antiquity. The Magi existed, a body highly honoured, long before
 the time of Zerdusht or Zoroaster, who lived B.C. 589. He seems to
 have remodelled and formulated the ancient doctrine. According to
 his teaching, there are two independent ruling powers, Ormuzd and
 Ahriman, the principles of good and evil, symbolized by light and
 darkness.[59] Ormuzd created man good and happy. Ahriman marred his
 happiness by the introduction of evil. The strife between these two
 is to continue, until the victory is finally gained by Ormuzd.

 Their religious rites are of a very simple character. They had
 originally neither temples, altars, nor statues, though later on,
 fire temples were built. They adored fire, light, and the sun, as
 the emblems of purity and beneficence. But, in the first instance
 at all events, they did not regard these as independent deities;
 though afterwards, following the rule of all false religions, they
 offered worship to the symbols themselves, instead of the principles
 symbolized. They exposed their dead to be devoured by vultures,
 considering it an abomination to bury them in the earth. They still
 exist, a numerous people, in India, under the name of Parsees,
 a name derived from Pars, said to be the ancient designation of
 Persia. By some it is affirmed that Zoroaster maintained the
 existence of a third deity, superior to the other two.


[48] Josephus, who wrote as late as Trajan’s reign, evidently knows
nothing of them.

[49] The Parthian kingdom, after a long decline, may be said to have
died out, A.D. 230.

[50] See note at the end of the chapter.

[51] Such is Jost’s statement (ii. 141). He adds that the Jews obeyed
the edict, but very unwillingly.

[52] Nothing more, that is, than discontented murmurs. It is related
that when Abba bar Huna lay sick at Pumbeditha, and Rabbi Jehuda was
attending him, a Magian came into the room and carried off the light:
whereupon the Rabbi prayed that the people might pass under the
dominion of the Romans again, rather than endure such ignominy.

[53] The date of Mani’s birth seems uncertain. The time when he
attracted notice was circ. 272. He returned to the Persian Court
circ. 278, when Hormisdas, or some say Varanes, caused him to be
flayed alive, for failing to cure the king’s son; but Beausobre
discredits this story.

[54] To quote an example of these. A disputation was held between
the Rabbins and the Christians, headed by Pope Sylvester. The Jews
brought in an ox, and one of their miracle-mongers whispered the name
of God in its ear, whereupon it instantly fell dead. But Sylvester,
no-way discomposed, ordered the ox, in the name of Jesus Christ, to
return to life. Upon which, we are told, it got up and began feeding!

[55] Chrysost. _Or. in Jud._ He seems to have confounded Constantine
with Adrian.

[56] Eutych. vol. i. 466.

[57] Probably founded on Daniel ix. 26, 27. But that prophecy is
obscure, and susceptible of a different interpretation. Even if the
Temple had been rebuilt, every one of our Lord’s prophecies would
still have been fulfilled. (See Appendix iv.)

[58] Cyril, it should be remarked, says nothing of these miracles,
which are reported by Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret.

[59] Comp. Isa. xlv. 6, 7, where the idea is directly confuted.

                            CHAPTER VII.

                            A.D. 363-429.


Jovian, a stern enemy of the Jews, succeeded to the throne vacated
by Julian, but, fortunately for them, reigned for a few months
only. Valens and Valentinian, who followed, reinstated the Jews in
the possession of their ancient rights, but withdrew the exemption
from serving public offices, which they had hitherto enjoyed. Under
their rule, as under that of all succeeding emperors to the time
of Justinian, the main things that attract the reader’s notice are
the mutual jealousies of the Jews and Christians, for ever breaking
out into acts of lawless violence, the blame of which does not lie
wholly on one side. The idea seems to have possessed the minds of the
Christians, even of their bishops (whose training and office should
have taught them better), that the Jews as a race were the personal
enemies of Christ,[60] and, as such, objects of aversion and horror.
This was a fruitful source of the wrongs, oppressions, and cruelties
with which the pages of their after history are so deeply stained.
The emperors strove, to the best of their ability, to hold the
balance of justice evenly between the contending parties, but often
found it impossible to do so. Thus, a synagogue having been burnt by
the Christians at Rome (A.D. 387), Maximus the Usurper, who was at
that time in possession of the capital, ordered it to be rebuilt by
those who had wrecked it. For this righteous act he was denounced
by Ambrose,[61] Bishop of Milan, who attributed his subsequent fall
and ruin to that act, and induced Theodosius to revoke the decree.
A similar outrage having been committed at Osrhoene, a city of
Mesopotamia (A.D. 395), the same order was issued by Theodosius
himself. But Ambrose again interfered, and addressed a most indignant
letter to the Emperor. Overlooking altogether the wrong committed by
the Christians, he argued that it was most unjust to require them
to take part in building up a Jewish synagogue; which was, he says,
‘the home of perfidy, the dwelling-place of impiety.’ It is said
also, by Zonaras, that he preached publicly to the same effect at
Milan; but of that there is no evidence. Theodosius, who entertained
the profoundest respect for Ambrose, was overawed, and withdrew his
edict.[62] But that his conviction as to the justice of the case was
unaltered, we may see by the law which Theodosius promulgated in the
last year of his life, which secured protection to the Jews in the
exercise of their religion, and decreed the punishment of all who
assailed them.[63]

On the other hand, the Jews were not behindhand in displaying a
very turbulent and rancorous temper. On all occasions which offered
themselves, and these were neither few nor trivial, they did their
best to harass and mortify the Christians. The Arian controversy,
which so grievously distracted the East, and for so long a period,
could not have concerned them. Yet they were always ready to support
the Arian leaders with their influence, and unite with Arian mobs
in attacking the churches of the Orthodox. Nor were these the only
outrages they committed. At some of their feasts, when, ‘flown with
insolence and wine,’ they issued forth from the banqueting chamber,
they were wont to insult and attack any Christians they might meet.
At the feast of Purim in particular such displays were likely to
occur. On that occasion it was their practice to erect a gibbet, to
which a figure representing Haman was fastened, and whenever his
name occurred in the service for the day they broke out into furious
execrations against him. On the occasion of one of the celebrations
of this feast at Inmestar, a city of Chalcis, near Antioch, their
insolence was carried to a most shocking height. Rushing out into the
street, some of the drunken Jews seized on a Christian boy whom they
met, and dragging him into the house, fastened him to the gibbet,
from which the figure of Haman had been removed, and which, in
mockery doubtless of the crucifixion, had been fashioned in the shape
of a cross.[64] They then proceeded to scourge the lad so severely
that he is said to have died under their hands. The Christians were
roused to fury by the murder, and a bloody fight ensued, in which
many lives were lost. This occurred A.D. 412.

Several strange stories are told of occurrences during the early part
of the fifth century, which illustrate the temper of the times. They
are mostly concerned with conversions; to effect which great zeal
was undoubtedly displayed; but it is not often of a kind that we can
either admire or approve. Offers of worldly advantages of one kind or
another were made by those who were anxious to secure converts; and
no one will wonder at hearing that many, in consequence, professed
themselves willing to submit to baptism. These converts, however,
were not inclined to be content with profiting once only by so
easy a mode of obtaining the good things of life. They presented
themselves as candidates for baptism at the churches of every sect in
Constantinople. The practice was detected. A tradition relates that
when one of these pseudo-converts was brought to the font, the water
receded from the sacred vessel, so that the ministrant could not
perform his office. Startled at so strange an occurrence, he set on
foot a strict inquiry, and elicited the fact that the man had already
been baptized in the churches belonging to every sect in the city,
except the one in which this incident was reported to have occurred.
Unfortunately, the church belonged, not to the Orthodox, but to the
Novatians. The extent to which the scandal had reached is proved by
the enactment of a law, which forbade the baptism of any Jew, until
strict inquiry had been made as to his character and motives, and a
certain noviciate passed.

Not unfrequently the conversions were what may be termed wholesale,
large bodies of men offering themselves at the same time for
admission to the Church; and these were brought about after what most
persons would consider a strange fashion. Thus, in the island of
Minorca (A.D. 418), Severus, the bishop, had been greatly distressed
by the presence of a Jewish synagogue under a Rabbi named Theodorus,
and exerted himself to the utmost to effect their conversion.
He had heard that Theodorus was a man of unusual learning and
ability, as well as of the highest character, and well accustomed to
controversy—a formidable antagonist, in fact, for whom, it was to be
feared, the bishop himself was no match. Nevertheless, fortified by
the possession of the relics of St. Stephen, which, it appears, had
been left in the island, he challenged Theodorus to a disputation,
which he proposed to hold in a church at Magona. The Jews declined
the contest, on the ground that it was their Sabbath day, on which
they could enter no unclean place. The bishop then proposed that the
meeting should take place in the Jews’ synagogue; and when they came
up in large numbers to his house, to decline that suggestion also,
he solved the difficulty by marching with all his followers to the
synagogue. A riot broke out in the street, and the Christians pursued
their opponents into their place of worship, which they plundered
and then burned. This procedure failing to convert the Jews, a
disputation was at last held, at which Theodorus made an oration so
learned and powerful that Bishop Severus was unable to answer him.
Happily, however, there was no need for him to do so. When he had
concluded, the whole of the Christians, anxious to gain so worthy
a proselyte, broke out into a general cry, ‘Theodorus, believe in
Christ.’ The Jews mistook the words for ‘Theodorus _believes_ in
Christ,’ and straightway, stricken to the heart by this terrible
apostasy, fled into the woods, leaving Theodorus in the hands of the
Christians. The bishop did not fail to point out to him that the hand
of Heaven was plainly discernible in what had passed; and Theodorus,
perplexed by the position in which he found himself placed, angered
at his desertion by his countrymen, and possibly influenced by the
hopes of worldly advancement, submitted to baptism; and his example
was followed by his congregation. The bishop plumed himself on his
victory, and besought his brethren everywhere to adopt the same
method with the Jews. In burning down synagogues, as Milman remarks,
they were ready enough to adopt his advice.

Another general conversion took place in Crete (A.D. 432) where the
circumstances, though not exactly similar, were equally strange. An
impostor, who had assumed the name of Moses, gained so much influence
over the Jews in that island, who, we are told, were numerous and
wealthy, as to persuade them that he could open a way for them
to the Holy Land through the waters of the Mediterranean, as his
namesake had done of old through those of the Red Sea. The delusion
spread so far, that the Jews abandoned their houses and lands and
all their personal possessions, except such as they could carry with
them, and having been led by their conductor to the top of a high
rock, threw themselves by his order into the sea. He himself then
disappeared,[65] having probably reaped all that he could hope to
gain by the transaction. Great numbers were drowned, and more would
probably have shared their fate, if it had not chanced that there
were some fishing boats lying off that part of the coast, which came
to their assistance. The occupants of these boats were Christians;
and this circumstance, added to the fact that the impostor had been a
Jew, induced large numbers to adopt Christianity.

Turning to Egypt, always a place of importance in Jewish history, we
learn that there were, about the middle of the reign of the Emperor
Theodosius II., great disturbances, caused mainly by the continual
feuds between the Christians and Jews. The latter had always been
conspicuous, not more on account of their wealth and numbers, than of
their turbulent spirit. This, however, was in a great measure stirred
into action by the accession of Cyril to the bishopric of Alexandria,
vacated by Theophilus, A.D. 412. Cyril was a man of great force of
character, but vain, hasty, and imperious. He soon obtained a most
commanding influence in the city, of which the Prefect Orestes
was naturally jealous. Desiring to punish the insolence of Cyril’s
followers, he ordered one of them, Hierax, a schoolmaster, who had
committed some breach of the peace, to be publicly scourged. Cyril
sent for the Jews who had delated Hierax to Orestes, and threatened
them with his anger unless they adopted a different course in their
dealings with the Christians. Anticipating that this threat would
soon be followed by an open attack upon them, the Jews resolved
to be beforehand with him. Having put on rings of bark, in order
to be able to distinguish one another in the dark, they raised at
midnight the cry that one of the principal churches was on fire. The
Christians rushed out in great numbers to extinguish the flames, and
the Jews falling upon them, made a great slaughter of them. In the
morning Cyril armed his followers, and assailing the Jews in his
turn, slew great numbers, plundered and burned their houses, and
drove the survivors out of the city. Orestes interfered on their
behalf, but was himself attacked, and wounded in the head by a stone.
Both parties made their appeal to Theodosius, at that time a boy of
fourteen. Whether it was that the Court of Constantinople was too
much engaged with affairs of State to attend to troubles in Egypt,
or that Cyril’s private influence gained the ascendency, we are not
told; but it does not appear that any of the criminals, not even the
murderers of Hypatia,[66] were ever punished, or the Jews, who had
been expelled from Alexandria, reinstated in their homes.

Some years afterwards (A.D. 429), the Jews received a severe blow in
the suppression of the Patriarchate of Tiberias; which had existed
for about three hundred years, but now expired in the person of
Gamaliel IV., the ninth patriarch who had held that office. The
revenue by which the patriarchs had been supported, was derived
from certain duties levied upon the Jews residing in all quarters
of the empire, the patriarch’s collectors being sent everywhere for
that purpose. It is probable that the tie which united the Jews to
the ancient centre of their faith had for a long time been growing
gradually weaker, as the severance itself widened; and the periodical
visits to Jerusalem, which had kept up the bond of attachment, had
long ceased to be observed. It is said that petitions were presented
to the emperors requesting the abolition of the impost. However
that may have been, an edict was issued by Honorius, forbidding the
levying of the duty at Rome, and, most probably, in any part of the
Western empire. That raised in the East appears to have gone directly
into the Imperial treasury. This step did not formally abrogate the
patriarchal office, but it was a deathblow to it. Gamaliel retained
the name, and some show of authority, during the remainder of his
life, but no successor was appointed when he died.


[60] I have elsewhere pointed out how fearfully mistaken is such
a belief. Granting, for the argument’s sake, that the Jews who
crucified our Lord are to be regarded as His enemies, and, as such,
just objects of our abhorrence, their genuine descendants, those who
should inherit that abhorrence, are not their children according to
the flesh, but they (St. John viii. 41, 44) who imitate their deeds.
These are their genuine children. These ‘crucify the Son of God
afresh.’ If we must abhor any as the enemies of Christ, let us abhor

[61] Ambrose, _Epist._ xxix.

[62] A similar case occurred at Antioch, under Theodosius II. (A.D.
423), where the clergy were ordered to make restitution to the Jews,
whose synagogue they had gutted and plundered. The celebrated Simeon
Stylites interfered on this occasion, and succeeded, as Ambrose had
done, in annulling the Imperial order.

[63] Cod. Theod. viii. 16.

[64] It is not improbable that the tradition of this occurrence gave
rise to the charge so often made, and which seems so inexplicable,
against the Jews in after ages, of crucifying boys in mockery of
the Saviour’s passion, though no evidence of such an act was ever

[65] The historian Socrates is persuaded that the impostor was a
demon, who assumed human shape to beguile the Jews. But seeing that
the cheat resulted in a numerous conversion to the Christian faith,
it is strange that he should have entertained such a notion.

[66] Hypatia was a young lady of Alexandria, professing heathenism,
and of rare accomplishments, great beauty, and unspotted character.
Cyril is said to have been jealous of her influence in the city; and,
in the hope of pleasing him by the deed, the fierce Christian mob
tore her from her chariot, and cut her to pieces with oyster shells.
This barbarous and revolting murder is the worst deed of those cruel
and lawless times.

                            CHAPTER VIII.

                            A.D. 429-622.


The great change in the condition of Europe, the first symptoms of
which had appeared a generation or two previously to this era, now
began to make itself everywhere felt. The irruption of the barbarian
tribes of the North, which resembled at first the few drops of an
approaching shower, became, as the century advanced, the heavy
downpour of the storm itself. Every year witnessed their further
advance into Europe, in vast and irresistible hordes, disorganizing,
and, in some instances, wholly changing the face of society. There
were new rulers in the seats of Government, new languages spoken in
the streets of cities. The armies carried strange standards, and
wielded weapons hitherto unknown in European warfare. Even at the
plough and by the cottage fireside, there were forms and faces of a
type hitherto unknown. In many places the ancient inhabitants had
been driven into exile; in many more, they had been put to the sword;
in many more, they cowered out of the sight of their new masters.
There must have been terrible and protracted suffering among high and
low alike.

But there was one class upon whom these woes fell harmlessly, and
this class was the Jews. It is bitter for men to be driven from their
homes and deprived of their rights of citizenship. But the Jew had
no home to lose, no right of citizenship to forfeit. His nationality
had long been destroyed, and could not be taken from him. He was
like Ladurlad, in Southey’s poem, whom the flood could not swallow
up or the sea-monster destroy, because Kehama’s curse had rendered
him secure against all minor ills. If the country in which the Jew
was a sojourner was threatened by the approach of an invading horde,
he simply removed elsewhere, and took his money with him. Nay, the
march of the barbarian armies, which brought terror and destruction
to others, was to him a source of profit. When some bloody defeat
on the battle-field, or some frightful sack of a populous town, had
plunged a whole people in misery and desolation, the Jew would drive
a thriving trade with the ignorant conquerors, purchasing of them
the spoil they had obtained by the plunder of palaces and churches,
for, it might be, the twentieth part of their value, and conveying
it to lands which were, as yet, safe from invasion; where they sold
it again at an enormous profit. Their establishment in all the great
cities of the known world, and the strong bonds of brotherhood which
subsisted among them, made it easy for them to carry on mercantile
transactions of this kind; nor can the rapidity with which they
acquired wealth—and which was popularly attributed to their alliance
with the Evil One—be any cause of wonder to us. Even in times when
the principles on which commerce is conducted have become generally
understood and acted on, the Jews have always had the advantage over
their Christian neighbours, by reason of their greater astuteness and
perseverance. But in those days, when they alone understood those
principles, even in the rudest manner, it would have been a marvel
indeed, if they had failed to gather riches, almost as easily as a
child gathers pebbles on the shore.

One very profitable, but somewhat odious, branch of commerce seems
to have fallen almost entirely into their hands. After one of the
great victories of the Goths or Huns, when large numbers of captives
became the property of the barbarian conquerors, their native
ferocity often induced them to put their vanquished enemies to the
sword; and possibly they might always have done so, had it not been
that avarice, stimulated by the offer of money in exchange for them,
proved the more potent passion of the two. The Jew knew what would
be the value of an able-bodied slave in the markets of Alexandria or
Constantinople, and was willing to pay, it might be, the sixth part
of that price to the Goth or the Hun, for the prisoner whom he had at
his disposal. None but the Jews, as has been observed, pursued this
particular traffic; and the consequence was, that large numbers of
Christian slaves passed into the possession of Hebrew masters, who
in every city exposed them publicly for sale. It would not have been
human nature if the Jews, despised and rejected as they were by their
Christian fellow-citizens, had not experienced a sense of triumph, at
finding themselves in this manner the undisputed owners and masters
of those who had long held them in contempt. It is even less wonder
that the spectacle should have roused the greatest indignation among
the Christians themselves.

By the ancient law it was illegal, nay, a capital offence, for a
Jew to keep a Christian in bondage. But either this law was treated
from the first as a nullity, or it had been repealed by one of
Constantine’s successors; for the edict of Honorius, while it forbids
Jews to proselytize their Christian slaves, allows the full right of
ownership over them. Now, however, the Jews had become the masters,
not of a few Christian bondsmen, but of large numbers of them, many
being persons belonging to a higher station, and reduced to their
present state of degradation by having been conquered in battle
with the barbarians. This appeared an intolerable scandal; and it
is not unlikely that the old law of Constantine would have been
re-enacted, if it had not been for the pretty certain fact that,
in that case, all prisoners taken in battle would thenceforth be
massacred. Therefore, though many efforts were made, and especially
by the Church, to mitigate the evil, it was never proposed to
prohibit the purchase of slaves by Hebrew masters. The Council of
Macon, A.D. 582, distinctly lays down that ‘the conditions upon which
a Christian—whether as a captive in war or by purchase—has become the
slave of a Jew, must be respected.’ All that is stipulated for by
that, or any other of the many Councils which deal with the subject,
is, that the slaves shall have the right of purchasing their own
freedom, or that others shall have the right of purchasing it for
them. The Councils, further, continually exhort the clergy, indeed,
all Christians, to shelter any slaves who may take refuge with them
from the tyranny of their masters, and even to pay the price which
will redeem them from captivity.

It is needless to add that these injunctions had but little effect.
Neither clergy nor laity have, in any age, except that of the
Apostles, been thus ready to part with their money for the benefit
of any unhappy sufferer who might appeal to them. Gregory the Great,
who succeeded to the Papal chair A.D. 590, was very earnest in his
efforts to put down a traffic which he regarded as abominable. His
letters, addressed to kings and bishops and others in authority,
evince the warmth of his zeal and the nobility of his nature; but
they show also that all efforts, up to that time, to eradicate the
evil had proved abortive.

The condition of the Italian Jews at this period seems to have been
unusually prosperous. They were protected by Theodoric, who several
times—at Rome, at Milan, at Genoa—interfered to chastise those who
had wrecked and plundered Jewish synagogues, and directed that due
reparation should be made. The Bishops of Rome, throughout the
century, and especially Gregory, towards its close, treated them
with justice and clemency, and, though filled with an earnest desire
for their conversion, repressed all violence or imprudent zeal.

But it was different in other parts of the world about this time.
The attempts at proselytizing, which had hitherto erred on the side
of holding out worldly inducements to bribe men to embrace the
Gospel, were now exchanged for the still worse method of violent
compulsion. Chilperic, the youngest son of Clotaire I., a monster of
lust and cruelty, appears to have been the first who practised this.
Believing, perhaps, that his own misdeeds might be atoned for by what
he regarded as zeal in the cause of Christ, he forcibly compelled
all the Jews in his dominions to receive baptism on pain of instant
death. They appear to have complied—nothing more than the mere
performance of the ceremony having been required of them—but to have
carried on their own form of worship exactly as before.

Turning now to the Eastern Empire, we find that there is but little
mention of the Jews during the fifth century of Christianity. But,
whatever changes took place in their condition, we may reasonably
infer that they were changes for the worse. Notwithstanding the
religious distractions of the reign of the Eutychian Anastasius, the
Church continued throughout this century to grow in power, several
of the Roman emperors, Theodosius II., Marcian, and Leo, being her
devoted adherents. We do not wonder at hearing that in the reign
of Justin I., A.D. 518, who was at least as orthodox as any of his
predecessors, the Jews were excluded by statute from all offices of
state, as well as from holding commissions in the army. His nephew,
Justinian, who succeeded him, not only confirmed these laws, but
evinced such harshness to both Jews and Samaritans, as provoked a
rebellious outbreak among the latter people. One Julian, who (like
so many before and after him) professed himself the Messiah, stirred
up an insurrection, and was only put down and slain after a bloody
battle. Many of the Samaritans, we are told, became converts to the
Gospel: but there are shrewd reasons for suspecting that their motive
was to escape thereby the consequences of their rebellion.

Encouraged apparently by this success, Justinian proceeded to still
harsher measures against the Jews. He no longer allowed their
evidence to be taken against Christians. He materially limited their
power of making wills and disposing of their property. He enacted
that in case of a marriage between a Jew and a Christian—which he
strongly discouraged—the control of the children should belong to
the Christian parent. Finally, he interdicted the use of the Jewish
Mishna, as a production full of absurdity and falsehood, and urged
the use of the Greek language by the Jews, instead of the Hebrew. It
is hardly necessary to add that these harsh measures had but little
effect. The use of the Talmud was not discontinued, and the empire
experienced, in the alienation of a wealthy and powerful body, such
as the Jews then constituted, a sensible loss of strength.[67] A few
years afterwards a new Imperial decree somewhat modified the rigour
of these enactments. The Samaritans were allowed to make wills;
but in case of intestacy, if any of their children had embraced
the Christian faith, they inherited the father’s property to the
exclusion of the others; if a will had been made, unbelievers could
inherit one-sixth only of the property under it. About twenty-five
years afterwards, the Jews and Samaritans in Cæsarea broke out in
insurrection, and were with difficulty put down.

Farther eastward, under the reigns of the Persian sovereigns,
beginning with that of Artaxerxes (the successor, A.D. 384, of
Sapor), the Magians, who had obtained the upper hand in the royal
counsels, persecuted Jews and Christians with equal severity.
Even the observance of the Sabbath by the former is said to have
been suppressed. Nevertheless, we are told that the Prince of the
Captivity still retained his office, and even his wealth and dignity.
The animosities between him and Chanina, the master of the Jewish
schools, are related at length by the historians of those times;
but are intermingled with wild and fanciful tales, to which it is
impossible to attach any credit. It was at some time during this dark
period that the Babylonian Talmud, to which reference was made in a
recent chapter, first saw the light. It was mainly the work of Rabbi
Asa, or Asche, chief of the schools at Sora. But he died before its
completion, and the finishing touches were given to it by his pupils.
The date of its appearance is a matter of much dispute; but the
probability is that it was first published during this period. (See
Appendix II.)

Not long after its appearance—early in the sixth century—a fierce
persecution was set on foot by Cavades, or Kobad, one of the Persian
kings, who desired to oblige all unbelievers in Magianism to embrace
its tenets. In his time a Rabbinical impostor, named Meir, who
probably pretended to be the Messiah, raised a rebellion, which was
prolonged for seven years. Whether the insurrection was due to the
persecution or the persecution to the insurrection, does not clearly
appear. The impostor pretended, as nearly all his prototypes had
done, to work miracles, and, amongst others, to raise up a fiery
column, which always accompanied his march, as had been the case with
his fathers in the wilderness. He was defeated, and slain by Kobad,
and the Prince of the Captivity was involved in his fate.[68]

The Jews fared no better under Chosroes, or Nushirvan, called ‘the
Great,’[69] who closed their schools and forbade the propagation of
their faith. But, notwithstanding this harshness, the severities of
Justinian were felt by the Western Jews to be so intolerable, that
they sent a deputation to Chosroes, inciting him to make war on the
empire. They roused his cupidity by describing to him the riches
which were to be found in Jerusalem, and offered to aid him with
50,000 men. Chosroes listened to their overtures, and twice made
preparations for war. But on the first occasion Justinian purchased
peace by payment of a large bribe; and on the second the superior
generalship of Belisarius obliged him to retreat.

After a reign of nearly fifty years, Chosroes was succeeded by
Hormisdas, a weak and vicious ruler, but who nevertheless permitted
the Jews to reopen their schools; and a new series of presidents of
these, called the Geonim, or the illustrious, assumed authority.
Hormisdas was assassinated after a reign of eleven years, and a
usurper named Behram (or Varanes, as he is also called) seized the
throne, and received considerable support from the Jews. By the
help of the Greek Emperor Mauritius, Hormisdas’s son, Chosroes II.
succeeded in crushing Behram, punishing at the same time with great
severity the Jews, who had upheld him. Among others, the Jews of
Antioch were put to death, or reduced to slavery.

In A.D. 602, Mauritius was murdered by Phocas, who usurped the
throne; and Chosroes, claiming to avenge his old ally, declared
war on the assassin and marched on Constantinople. Meanwhile the
Jews in Palestine, too eager to wait for the arrival of Carusia,
Chosroes’s general, rose against Phocas, who had attempted their
forcible conversion, and laid siege to Jerusalem. It was defended by
the Bishop Zacharias, whose first step was to seize all the Jews in
the city. The besiegers gained possession of the suburbs, and began
burning the Christian churches. The besieged retaliated by beheading
100 Jewish prisoners for every church destroyed. Neither party would
be outdone in barbarity. Twenty churches were demolished, and the
heads of 2000 Jews were thrown over the city wall! Unable to reduce
the place, the Jews retired to join Carusia, under whose standard
they presently entered Jerusalem. They had the insults and wrongs
of five centuries to avenge, and they exacted the penalty with no
sparing hand, their Persian allies permitting them apparently to do
much as they pleased. Every Christian church was destroyed, and the
entire Christian population, to the number of 90,000, massacred.

But neither they nor Chosroes reaped much advantage from this
success. The war with Phocas was carried on with various fortune
until 610, when Heraclius,[70] the son of the Exarch of Africa,
attacked Constantinople, overthrew Phocas, and was proclaimed emperor
in his place. After a few years of inaction, he roused himself
to confront the enemies of the empire. In a campaign, extending
over several years, conducted with amazing energy and ability, he
recovered the whole of the provinces overrun by Chosroes, who was
soon afterwards deposed and slain. Palestine was among the countries
reconquered; and we are told that in 629 Heraclius went as a pilgrim
to Jerusalem, where the cross was replaced in its ancient position,
the Christian bishop restored to his patriarchal throne, and heavy
retribution exacted of the Jews. Among other severities, the law of
Adrian was revived, forbidding the Jews to approach nearer than three
miles’ distance from Jerusalem.

But a new actor now appears on the scene, destined to exercise
the most momentous influence on the fortunes of the Jews for many
generations to come. We must direct our attention to him.


[67] What injury they were capable of inflicting on their oppressors,
was seen plainly enough at the siege of Naples by Belisarius.
Convinced that they would receive no mercy at his hands, the Jews
persuaded the citizens to abandon the proposals for capitulation
which they were meditating, by promising them supplies of provisions
and arms. The siege was in consequence considerably prolonged; and
when the assault took place, the Jews defended one quarter with a
desperation which caused great loss of life.

[68] He was hanged, together with the President of the Council. No
successor to him was appointed. His son, Zutia II., fled to Judæa,
and became President of the Senate there. The office, however, was
subsequently revived, and lasted as late as the eleventh century. The
Resch Glutha, or Exilarch, as the Prince of the Captivity was called,
was, it should be remarked, a distinct person from the Geon. The
latter was concerned with religious matters only; the former, with

[69] Of this king many fables are related. A monkish chronicler says
that he besieged a fortress defended by evil spirits. Failing to take
it by assault, he summoned the ministers of all the religious bodies
in his dominions, and ordered them to use their superhuman powers
for its capture. The Magi, the Magicians, and the Jews, each in turn
essayed the task, but in vain. But, it is added, when the Christian
priests employed the sign of the cross, the place was immediately

[70] Heraclius is one of the most extraordinary characters in
history. Some of his exploits are as grand as any achieved by the
most renowned of his predecessors, while sometimes his conduct was
unaccountably weak and contemptible. He began by restoring the
ancient glory of the Roman empire, but he left it at last weaker than
he had found it. The first few years of his reign are the last of
Roman glory.

                             CHAPTER IX.

                            A.D. 622-651.


Mahomet was born at Mecca, in the April of the year 569. His father
Abdallah, and his mother Amina, belonged to the illustrious tribe of
the Koreish; and the guardianship of the Kaaba,[71] the great centre
of Arabian worship, was hereditary in his family. Brought up in a
priestly household, a man of his intelligent mind would naturally
be drawn to examine the received traditions and ceremonial of the
national faith; and, considering how corrupt and degraded this had
become in his day, we can well understand how an earnest desire
to reform and purify it would suggest itself to him. That Mahomet
was, in a certain sense, an impostor cannot be denied; though he
cannot fairly be considered such at the outset of his career. But
his genuine wish to rescue religion from the grossness of idolatry,
and his enthusiastic belief in the sacredness of his mission,
became gradually lessened by the admixture of worldly policy,
which is ever the besetting danger of reformers. Then pious frauds
were resorted to, to ensure the success which zeal and honesty had
failed to obtain. When these, too, failed, simple imposture was
employed—though, so far as we can judge, his belief in his divine
office remained unimpaired to the last. Such has been the history of
many a religious zealot before, and since, his time, though none have
ventured to put forth claims so daring, or have produced results so
vast and enduring.

All sorts of portents are related to have occurred coincidently with
his birth. A divine light illuminated Mecca and its vicinity; the
palace of the Persian kings tottered to its foundations; the sacred
fire of the Magi was extinguished in the Gheber temples; the newborn
infant raised his eyes to heaven, and exclaimed, ‘God is great.’ But
notwithstanding these, and many other, divine tokens of the mission
he was to accomplish, he continued to lead the life of an ordinary
Arab, until at the age of twenty-five a marriage with a wealthy
widow, named Kadijah, lifted him to a position of importance amongst
his countrymen.

Some fifteen years afterwards the corrupt state of the national
religion[72]—which, it is probable, had always more or less engaged
his thoughts—seems wholly to have engrossed them. He withdrew from
society, passing his days and nights in mountain caverns, visited by
continual dreams and visions. The idea took possession of his mind
that the Deity had sent into the world a succession of Prophets, each
of whom was to restore to its pristine purity the faith, which had
been gradually declining since the removal of his predecessor. Noah,
Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, had all in this manner succeeded one
another. Now the time had arrived for the appearance of another—that
other being himself. This was the revelation which had been
vouchsafed to him; this was the message[73] he was to deliver to men.

He returned home, and began to attempt the conversion of proselytes
to this belief; but his progress was slow, and the opposition he
provoked bitter and deadly. He was in his fifty-third year when the
crisis of his career arrived, and he had to fly, at the imminent
peril of his life, from Mecca to Medina. This is regarded by the
disciples of Islam as the first open promulgation of their faith. At
Medina he found himself at the head of an armed force, with which
he resolved to enter on his mission of converting the world. At the
same time he determined that the instrument by which this was to be
effected was the sword.

The attempt seemed a wild one. Yet we must remark that the condition
of the world at that period was unusually favourable to it. There
existed then but two powerful sovereignties—the Eastern Empire,
governed by Heraclius, and the Persian kingdom of Chosroes and
afterwards of Yezdegird. The two last named were men of very
ordinary capacity; and either indolence or the pressure of external
circumstances kept Heraclius inactive. Nor could they command
the services of any great soldier, such as Aetius, or Narses, or
Belisarius, whose military genius might avail in driving back the
invasion of barbarous and fanatic hordes. They were also greatly
weakened by long and desolating wars. But, however propitious the
occasion may have been, it is obvious that Mahomet, whatever might be
his ultimate views, could not then attempt hostile measures against
them. Necessarily his first task must be to reduce to obedience the
inhabitants of Arabia itself; and the most formidable of these were
the various Jewish communities, with which the land was at that time

For many centuries previously to this time, seven or eight at the
least, a Jewish kingdom had been established in that district of
Yemen which was known as Homeritis. During the long ages when their
brethren, in the Holy Land and elsewhere, were experiencing the
most terrible miseries, the Jews of Homeritis seem to have lived in
unbroken peace and prosperity in the lovely and fertile valleys of
Arabia Felix. The Arians, after a while, had made their way into
the country; and with them, as seems always to have been the case,
the Jews lived on terms of amity. But when the Catholic Christians
also obtained a domicile in the country, under the protection of the
neighbouring King of Ethiopia, Dunaan, the Homeritic king, made an
effort to exterminate them. He attacked their principal city, Nagra,
with a large army, induced it to capitulate, and then, breaking
faith, slew and imprisoned the chief men among the Christians.
They were avenged in the ensuing year by the King of Ethiopia, who
marched against Dunaan with 120,000 men, conquered, dethroned, and
slew him. With him the Homeritic kingdom expired; but the subjects
of Dunaan formed themselves into a number of independent tribes,
more difficult, probably, to subdue than any single community would
have been. Mahomet seems to have hoped at first to bring these over
to his views. As has been pointed out, their faith was nearly the
same as that proclaimed by himself, except as regarded that one
article of his own supernatural claims. But the fact of his descent
from Ishmael, instead of Isaac, was an insuperable obstacle to any
acknowledgment of him by them; and he was obliged to resort to the
method of conversion which he had himself proclaimed. The tribes of
Kainoka and of Nadir, the inhabitants of Koraidha, Fadai, and Khaibar
were attacked in turn, and in every instance overpowered and almost
exterminated. The most merciless severity was shown to the conquered.
Seven hundred Koraidhites, who had surrendered to his mercy, were
dragged into the city of Medina, and slaughtered in cold blood, in
the presence of the Prophet, who himself enjoined and applauded the

In the same spirit, after the capture of the citadel of Khaibar,
Kenana, the gallant Jewish prince, was put by the conquerors to the
severest tortures, to induce him to confess where he had concealed
his treasure; and when these failed to accomplish their purpose, his
head was struck off with a sabre. But Mahomet narrowly escaped, at
this time, feeling the vengeance of the Jewish people, by the act of
a woman. On his arrival within the citadel, he required that some
food should be served, and a shoulder of lamb was placed before him
and his followers. But the first mouthful caused him severe internal
pain; and though he instantly vomited forth what he had eaten,
his system had imbibed so much of the poison which the meat had
contained, as to cause him continual paroxysms of suffering during
the remainder of his life. The Jewish woman by whom the lamb had
been poisoned calmly avowed and justified the deed.[74] Her fate is

Having now attained the position of an independent potentate,
Mahomet despatched letters to Heraclius, Chosroes, and the Governor
of Egypt, inviting them to adopt his faith. By Chosroes these were
received with scorn and anger; by the other two, we are told, with
civility and feigned respect. Nevertheless, reports were brought that
Heraclius was assembling an army for the purpose of crushing him; and
it is probable that Mahomet would now have followed out what had long
been his persistent purpose, and entered on the forcible conversion
of neighbouring nations, if he had not felt the approaching decay
of the powers of life. He did go so far as to assemble an army, and
advance across the country to Tabuc; but the tidings brought him that
the Syrians had collected large bodies of troops, and the experience
of the battle of Muta, in which they had proved themselves formidable
enemies, induced him to withdraw to Medina.

But after his death, Abu Beker, the first Caliph, prepared to carry
out without delay the programme of his predecessor. An army was sent
into Irak, the ancient Chaldæa and Babylonia, under Khaled, called
the ‘Sword of God,’ and one of the most able of the Moslem leaders,
with orders to overrun and subdue Hira, Cufa, and Aila, all of them
tributary kingdoms owning the suzerainty of Persia.[75] Khaled
accomplished his task with astonishing rapidity and completeness; and
when he was withdrawn to take the command in Syria, his successors
followed up his victories, with but few reverses, into the very heart
of Persia, won great battles, captured Modayn, Hamadan, and Istakan
(the ancient Ctesiphon, Ecbatana, and Persepolis), and finally hunted
down and slew the hapless Yezdegird. With him the Sassanian dynasty
came to an end, and the whole of Persia, A.D. 651, submitted to the
dominion of the Caliphs.

The like amazing success marked the progress of the warriors of Islam
in Syria and Egypt. In the former country, notwithstanding that they
were opposed to disciplined troops, who still retained the tradition
of ancient Roman warfare, their fiery valour proved everywhere
victorious. The light Arab horsemen recoiled indeed from the serried
ranks of the Grecian phalanx; but only to return again and again to
the encounter, till their trained antagonists were daunted or wearied
out. Whether they fought behind the ramparts of a fortified city or
in the open plain, it was the same. Bosra, Damascus, Baalbec, Emesa,
after protracted sieges, were compelled to open their gates to the
conquerors. At Aizhadin, and on the banks of the Yermouk, military
skill and superior numbers were alike of no avail to check the
overwhelming tide of conquest.

After allowing themselves a brief repose, the victorious Saracens
advanced to besiege Jerusalem, a city regarded by them with a
reverence almost as deep as that of the Jews themselves.[76] The
reader has already been told how nature and art have combined to
render this city almost impregnable to assault. In the present
instance its fortifications had been carefully repaired and
strengthened, in expectation of a siege; it was well victualled,
and garrisoned by a large and disciplined force. Against an enemy
so inexperienced in the arts of warfare as the Saracens, it might
well have defied even the most persistent blockade. Yet but four
months elapsed before an offer of surrender was made and accepted,
and the Caliph Omar[77] arrived to arrange the terms. These were,
that the lives and property of the inhabitants should be spared, and
the free exercise of their religion allowed; but upon conditions
to which nothing but the fear of immediate and inevitable death
could have induced the Christians to submit. They were to build
no new churches; set up no new crosses; were to make no proselytes
to their faith; nor hinder any Christian from professing Islamism.
They were to wear a peculiar dress, carry no arms, possess no Moslem
slaves, and salute every Mussulman as a superior! On the site of the
Jewish temple, which had so long lain desolate, a Mahometan mosque
was erected: in which, from that day to this, with but a brief
intermission, the worship of Islam has been carried on.

If the narratives of the conquests of Persia and Syria appear to us
surprising, that of Egypt must be regarded with still greater wonder.
The empire of the Pharaohs had indeed greatly deteriorated from its
ancient consequence and strength; but it was still a powerful State,
capable of bringing numerous armies into the field. Nevertheless,
Amru, who was entrusted with the command of an expedition to overrun
and subdue it, had but five thousand men assigned him for the
purpose. With these he proceeded to invest Farwah, or Pelusium; and
having captured this city through the treachery of the governor,
marched on to Alexandria. That also, after a siege of fourteen
months, was surrendered to them, and the submission of all Egypt

In recording this extraordinary career of conquest, our concern of
course is, how it affected the Jews; and everywhere it will be found
that—as in the instance of the incursion of the Northern nations—what
was ruin and misery to others failed to injure, nay, benefited
them. In Persia, Yezdegird had visited them with the most cruel
persecutions, had shut up their synagogues and schools, and slain
numbers who refused to embrace Magianism. In Palestine they had been
subject to harsh laws, unmerited scorn, and exclusion from their
ancient capital. In Africa, they had similarly undergone violence
at the hands of Arian Vandals and Catholic Christians. All this had
now come to an end. Their new masters allowed them equal rights of
residence and citizenship, the free exercise of their religion, the
secure tenure of their property, equality of imports with their
Christian neighbours. Whoever else might have reason to lament the
change which had passed over the face of the world, they, at least,
had none.


[71] The Kaaba is said to have been built by Ishmael, aided by
his father Abraham, in imitation of the shrine which, according
to legend, existed in Paradise, and in which Adam worshipped. In
one corner of it stands the sacred stone, believed by the Arabs to
be the Guardian Angel of Adam and Eve, changed into that shape,
in punishment of the neglect which permitted their fall. It was
originally of a dazzling white colour, but the kisses of sinful men
have reduced it to its present blackness. To this shrine the Arabs
make their pilgrimages, performing seven circuits round it, in memory
of the seven circuits which the Angels in Paradise had been wont to

[72] The idolatry of the Arabs was, at this time, of the grossest
kind. No less than 360 idols had been set up in the Kaaba—many
of them gods of neighbouring nations, or of deceased kings and

[73] The Koran claims to be, not the composition of Mahomet, but a
divine revelation, which he had to report with the minutest accuracy.
It professes to republish what had been already delivered to Abraham,
Moses, and Christ, and now more explicitly, to Mahomet. It teaches
I. The Unity of God. II. The Ministrations of Angels and Prophets.
III. Absolute Predestination, or Fatalism. IV. The Resurrection and
Future Judgment. It rejects the Trinity, and Godhead of our Lord, and
insists on the divine mission of Mahomet. In this last particular,
and in the respect shown to Christ, it differs from Judaism.

[74] ‘If he is the Messiah,’ she said, ‘the poison cannot hurt him;
if he is not, he is an impostor, and deserves death.’

[75] When Chosroes received Mahomet’s letter, inviting him to embrace
Islamism, he disdainfully tore it in pieces. When Mahomet heard of
this he exclaimed, ‘Even so shall his kingdom be torn.’ Doubtless Abu
Beker had this in mind when he sent out the expedition.

[76] On the morning of the assault on Jerusalem, the address of
Moses to the Israelites in the Koran, ‘Enter, O ye people, into the
Holy Land, which God hath destined for you,’ was shouted aloud after
morning prayer, by the whole besieging army.

[77] Omar had succeeded Abu Beker, A.D. 633, less than two years
after the death of the Prophet. He was the Caliph who burned the
Alexandrian library, and was the first of the Ommiades.

                             CHAPTER X.

                            A.D. 622-740.


Recurring now to the Jews under the rule of the Eastern emperors, we
cannot fail to be struck by the difference of the demeanour exhibited
by these latter towards them from what has been recorded of the
Moslem conquerors. Mahomet, it is true, would permit the existence of
but one faith in Arabia; but outside the bounds of that sacred land,
all who would acknowledge the dominion of the Caliph were secure from
insult or wrong. But the Christian emperors of Constantinople—such
of them, that is to say, as felt themselves strong enough to invade
the rights of any portion of their subjects—made it a matter of
conscience to endeavour to require the acceptance of Christianity
by the Jews, though at this period they did not proceed to inflict
penalties in case of refusal. Even Phocas, whose zeal for the faith
could not have been very keen, had sent the Prefect Georgius to
Jerusalem, requiring the principal Jews there, on their allegiance,
to receive baptism. Heraclius attempted the same, using, it is
said, violent and cruel measures to accomplish his purpose, but
with very partial success. This emperor had two special causes of
dislike to them, one of which appealed to the nobler, the other to
the weaker side of his character. The first was the recollection of
the barbarities practised by them at the capture of Jerusalem by
the Persian troops; the second, the prediction delivered to him by
a soothsayer in whom he trusted, that the Roman empire should be
overthrown by a circumcised people.[78] Ignorant altogether of the
storm which was gathering in the mountains of Arabia, he naturally
presumed the people in question to be the Jews, and therefore sought
to avert the evil by converting these to the Gospel. He is said to
have been so far influenced by his alarm as to despatch letters to
the Kings of Spain and France, urging them to unite with him in the
extirpation of the dangerous race.

Whether any of the many feeble successors to the purple who
intervened between him and the Isaurian Leo pursued the same policy,
we are not informed. But it is unlikely that they would attempt it.
The existence of a circumcised and warlike race different from that
of the Jews, would in their time have become matter of notoriety;
and alarm would have been directed to a different quarter. Nor
would it have been either safe or politic to attack the Jews. Their
wealth and intelligence rendered them useful instruments in carrying
out the imperial policy, and their numbers and turbulent spirits
discouraged interference with them. In the numerous riots which took
place between the Orthodox Christians and their adversaries, the Jews
were wont to interfere and give the preponderance to the latter.[79]
Unless they provoked interference of the authorities by actual
sedition, it is likely that they would be left to themselves.

But when a powerful ruler in the person of Leo again grasped the
sceptre, A.D. 716, the case became different. It was said, indeed,
that this emperor had been promised the purple, on condition of his
employing the power thus committed to him in the destruction of
images in Christian churches; but the tale rests on no trustworthy
evidence, and is disproved by his acts at the very outset of his
reign; for he was no sooner seated on his throne than he required
that all his Jewish and Montanist subjects should submit to baptism.
The Jews seem to have consented to the ceremony, though they
continued the exercise of their own faith without change. What part
they took in the subsequent destruction of images,[80] and wrecking
of Christian churches, may readily be surmised from what has been
already told.

Passing to Spain, we find the Jews, during this century, occupying
a different position, and subjected to far heavier penalties. In
this country they had long been settled, certainly previously to the
Christian era, and, as it would appear, lived in peace and security.
Previously to the Council of Elvira, no law is recorded to have been
made which restrained their liberty. But it was then decreed that
no marriages should take place between Christians and Jews, nor
should they sit down to table together. This was the first note, as
it were, of the bigotry and intolerance which afterward rang with
such hideous discord throughout the length and breadth of Spain. The
outburst was checked for a while by the incursion of the Visigoths,
who, though Christians, professed the Arian creed. With them, as
has been already remarked, the Jews always lived on terms of amity.
But towards the end of the sixth century Reccared abjured Arianism,
embracing the Catholic faith; and a new condition of things was soon
the result.[81] By the decree of the Council of Toledo, held in the
fourth year of his reign, Jews were not allowed to have Christian
slaves, or to hold public offices, or marry Christian wives, or sing
psalms when carrying their dead to the grave.

These decrees were soon followed up by much severer measures.
Sisebut, who succeeded to the Gothic kingdom A.D. 612, is supposed to
have received an urgent entreaty from the Emperor Heraclius, as has
already been intimated, to put down Judaism throughout his dominions.
Whether the report be true or not, he certainly acted as though such
was his intention. He issued the command that all Jews should offer
themselves for baptism, imprisoning many, and putting to death many
more, who would not obey his order. Large numbers abandoned their
whole possessions, and migrated to various parts of Gaul. Yet the
Spanish historians affirm that as many as 90,000 were baptized, not
because of any change in their convictions, but through dread of the
consequences of refusal. After the death of Sisebut there seems to
have been a short lull in the storm of persecution, and many of the
pseudo-converts thereupon returned to the profession of their ancient

The fourth Council of Toledo, held A.D. 633, under the presidency
of Isidore of Seville, enacted that ‘men ought not to be forced
into believing, but believe of their own free will.’ But although
Isidore—to whom in all likelihood this single ray of light in the
midst of surrounding darkness must be attributed—could thus give
expression to the language of charity and truth, he was not wise
enough, or perhaps influential enough, to be consistent; for the
decree adds, immediately afterwards, that all who had received
baptism—whether willingly or unwillingly—must be compelled to abide
by it, ‘because otherwise the Holy Name of God would be blasphemed,
and the faith disgraced;’ as though there was not worse blasphemy and
deeper disgrace in a false profession than in an honest renunciation!

The same Council adds decrees against which Isidore’s large and
charitable nature must have rebelled. The 60th canon requires ‘that
the sons and daughters of Jews should be separated from their
parents, lest they be involved in their errors;’ the 63rd, that ‘Jews
who have Christian wives, if they wish to live with them, must become
Christians; and if they refuse to obey, they are to be separated;’
the 64th, that ‘Jews who were formerly Christians are not to be
admitted as witnesses;’ the 65th, that ‘Jews and their descendants
are not to hold public offices, and any one who obtains such office
shall be publicly scourged.’ A still more monstrous decree enacts
that any Christian convert who so much as speaks to a Jew shall
become a slave, and the Jew he spoke to be publicly scourged!

The twelfth Council of Toledo, in 681, repeats these merciless
severities, which (it is no wonder to find) could not be carried
into effect, except by direct State interference, and adds others
of a like character. ‘The Jews,’ it is ordered, ‘are to offer
themselves, their children, and their servants for baptism:’ they
‘shall not celebrate the Passover, or practise circumcision:’ they
‘shall not presume to observe the Sabbath or any Jewish festival:’
they ‘shall not dare to defend their religion to the disparagement
of the Christian faith:’ and ‘they shall not read books abhorred by
the Christian faith.’ The penalties for breach of these and the like
statutes had hitherto been death. But the extreme severity of such
a sentence, it is argued, had acted as a preventive to its being
enforced. Therefore new orders were issued, by which the rigour of
the punishments was abated. Henceforth, if a Jew profaned the name
of Christ or of the Holy Trinity, or rejected the Sacraments, or
kept the Jewish feasts, or worked on the Sunday, he was _only_ to
receive one hundred lashes on his naked body, and afterwards be put
into chains and banished from the country, his whole property being
confiscated to the State! If a man circumcised his child, he was to
suffer mutilation, or if it were a woman who so offended, she was
to lose her nose. If a Jew presumed to take a public office under a
noble, he was to forfeit half his property, and suffer scourging;
but if it was under an ecclesiastical superior that he undertook a
situation of trust, he was to lose his whole estate, or be burned
alive! The reader will surely call to mind Solomon’s saying,
respecting the ‘tender mercies of the wicked,’ as he reads these

But the avenger was at hand. For some years past the tide of Saracen
conquest had been rolling along the northern coast of Africa, until
it had reached the kingdom of Morocco; when it must turn southward
into the barren wastes of the Sahara, or northwards, into the
populous and fertile land of Spain. There could be little doubt
which of the two they would prefer; and Wamba, one of the wisest
and ablest of the Gothic sovereigns of Spain, in anticipation of
such a catastrophe, collected a fleet, with which he encountered the
Saracens, A.D. 675, and inflicted on them a disastrous defeat, which
deferred the invasion of Spain for nearly forty years. But in the
reign of Egica, and still more in that of his successor, Witiza, the
imminent danger of the Spanish monarchy became so evident, and the
fear that the Jews would co-operate in and accelerate the Mussulman
invasion so alarming, that measures were taken to prevent it which
indicate at once terror, haste, and self-reproach.

At first attempts were made to intimidate the Jews. Egica declared
that he had learned, by their open avowal, that the Jews had plotted
with enemies beyond the sea to effect the ruin of Christendom.
Therefore, to counteract their efforts, all Jewish children upwards
of seven years old were to be taken from their parents, the males
married to Christian girls, and the girls to Christian men, and the
children in all instances brought up in the Christian belief, so
that in the next generation the Jews might cease altogether to exist
as a separate people. This seems to have had no other effect than
that of causing a general flight of Jews from Spain, the very thing
of all others likely to bring about the mischief that was dreaded.
Witiza endeavoured to repair the mistake. He issued a proclamation
permitting all Jews to return to Spain, and enjoy there the full
rights of freedom and citizenship. But the step was taken too late.
If the Jews had concerted with Muza the invasion of Spain, as their
enemies affirmed, their intrigues could not be annulled. In the year
711, two years after the accession of a new sovereign, Roderic,[82]
to the throne, the Moors crossed into Spain; a decisive battle was
fought on the banks of the Guadelete, in which the Moslems were
victorious, and the Gothic kingdom of Spain ceased to exist.

Once more the miseries of fire and sword, which laid waste the whole
of the Spanish peninsula, inflicted no suffering on the Jews residing
within it. Whether any of the accusations with which the Christians
have assailed them—of leaguing with the Moslem, furnishing them with
secret information, opening the gates of beleaguered cities to them
and the like—contain any admixture of truth, it would be difficult to
say. In some instances the charges are manifestly false; in others
the decision is very doubtful. But even allowing them to be true,
it cannot be matter of wonder that men so persistently wronged and
slandered should turn on their oppressors, when the opportunity was
given them. The settlement of the Moors in Spain was followed by a
long period of prosperity and peace, during which the Jews became
famous throughout Europe for their wealth, their intelligence, and
their learning. A famous Hebrew school was founded at Cordova, to
which students from all parts of Europe are said to have resorted.

In France, during this century, something of the same spirit seems to
have prevailed, by which the Catholic kings of Spain were actuated.
Chilperic, as has been already recorded, towards the end of the
previous century had insisted on the compulsory baptism of his Jewish

Early in the seventh century Clotaire II. issued a decree forbidding
Jews to hold any military or civil office. Dagobert, who reigned from
628 to 638, enacted still more sternly, that the whole of his Jewish
subjects should forswear their faith or depart from his dominions.
It is said that he too acted under the influence of the Emperor
Heraclius.[83] But of this there is no evidence, and it has been
urged that the royal order, if issued, was but little observed, since
the Jews, in the southern parts of his kingdom at least, continued
to be a numerous and wealthy body throughout his reign. Wamba,
the Gothic king of Languedoc, however, certainly took the step in
question, and banished them from his kingdom.


[78] One would suspect the genuineness of this story, but that
historians accept it apparently without doubt.

[79] The Jews took the opportunity of the popular outbreak against
Martina and Heracleonas, to desecrate the church of St. Sophia with
every kind of outrage, and apparently with impunity.

[80] Beyond doubt they were charged with having incited it.

[81] I do not desire to imply that the concord between the Arians
and Jews, as contrasted with the disagreements between the Catholics
and Jews, is any ground for commending the one or blaming the other.
It may not unreasonably be argued that it is the indifference of the
Arians to our Lord’s honour, and the zeal of the Catholics for its
maintenance, which occasion both the concord and the strife. I only
record the fact.

[82] The commonly received story—that Count Julian persuaded Muza
to invade Spain, in order to avenge the violation of his daughter
Florinda—is in all likelihood mere fiction. It is not mentioned
by any historian for nearly 500 years after Roderic’s death, and
then only as a legend. Considering the manners of the time and the
unbounded licence of the Gothic kings, it is most unlikely that such
an act, if perpetrated, would have been so furiously resented: and
the invasion of Spain is to be accounted for in a more simple way,
viz., the carrying out of Mahomet’s plan of progressive conquest.

[83] Rabbi Joseph, i. p. 2.

                             CHAPTER XI.

                            A.D. 740-980.


The period which ensued after the Conquest of Persia and Syria in
the East, and of Spain in the West, is called by Milman the ‘Golden
Age of Judaism’; but the title does not suit very well with the
circumstances of the case. It was not, as the Golden Age of legend is
represented to have been, a peaceful and happy beginning, which the
crimes of men gradually embittered and corrupted. It rather resembled
a succession of cool showers on a burning summer day, when the fierce
heat of the morning is tempered during the midday hours, but only to
break out with more intolerable oppression as the afternoon comes on.
The contrast which this lull in the storm of injustice and cruelty
presented to the savage fury of preceding, as well as after times, is
indeed most striking. Everywhere the flames of persecution sank down;
and what had been a consuming fire smouldered on, with only a feeble
flicker here and there, to show that it was not quite extinct.

In the Byzantine empire we are told singularly little of the
condition and actions of the Jews during this period. The emperors
who filled the throne were, for the most part, men of very ordinary
ability. Nor were there among their subjects men of greater mark.
‘On the throne, in the camp, and in the schools,’ says the historian
Gibbon, ‘we search, perhaps with fruitless diligence, for names
and characters that deserve to be rescued from oblivion.’ This may
in itself explain why so little is heard of the Jews. Occupy high
positions in Church or State we know they could not, or openly
interfere with the direction of public affairs; and what private
influence they might exercise in these would be carefully kept
secret. As for attacks upon them, we have already seen that their
numbers, their rare intelligence, and their ever increasing wealth,
rendered them a dangerous body for any but a powerful ruler to
assail; and assuredly the weak and incompetent occupants of the
imperial throne at that era would be but little inclined to make the
experiment. What little has been recorded goes to prove that the
emperors were anxious to conciliate them. Nicephorus, who received
the purple A.D. 793, is said to have shown them particular favour,
probably because of their acquiescence in his iconoclastic views; and
Michael the Stammerer, whose reign dates from 821, was reviled by his
enemies as being half a Jew.[84] When we remember how Constantinople
was at this period distracted at once by civil and religious
factions, and that the Jews—however little they might seem to be
personally interested in the question at issue—were always ready to
throw their weight into the one scale or the other, we shall cease to
wonder that they remained wholly unmolested.

In the dominions of the newly established Caliphs they were not only
left in peace, but treated with especial honour.[85] The victorious
Arabs were but a rude and uncivilized people, and the aid of the
Jews in teaching them the arts and pleasures of a refined state of
society was found alike useful and welcome. Their learning, their
intelligence, their widespread knowledge of foreign lands, rendered
them especially qualified for this office. Omar, the second Caliph,
is related to have entrusted the coinage to a Jew, immediately after
his accession to the throne. It was a subject with which, as might
be expected, he had no acquaintance, nor was there any one among
his principal officers who knew more of the matter. Similarly,
if an embassy was to be despatched to a foreign sovereign, or a
subsidy negotiated, the person selected for the office would in
all likelihood be a Jew. When Abu Giafar imposed a heavy fine on
the Christians, it was to Hebrew officials that the collection of
the impost was committed; and even between sovereigns so potent
as Charlemagne and the Caliph Haroun Alraschid, the envoy who was
entrusted with the letters and presents was a Jew.

In war they were no less necessary than in peace. The sums required
for the equipment of a fleet or the victualling of an army were
furnished from Hebrew coffers. Nor were their avocations limited to
this. The Jews would accompany the march of the Mussulman armies,
and—as their fathers had done in the instance of the Gothic and
Hunnite invasions—purchase from the ignorant soldiery the plunder
they had amassed, at a price which brought them an enormous
profit,[86] or it might be a captive whose family or friends
afterwards redeemed him at a price tenfold exceeding what they had
given. We learn that at this time they almost entirely abandoned
agriculture; partly because of the heavy tax laid on unbelievers, and
partly because trade had become so much more profitable to them.
They cultivated also astrology and medicine, and became everywhere
the most successful professors of both sciences. In many, if not in
most of the royal courts, the chief physicians and astrologers were
Jews. Nor were they less successful in literature. In the East and
West alike, their schools were crowded with students, and the names
of their learned men of this era are held in reverence even to the
present day.

It is at this date that we first hear of a sect called the
Karaites.[87] They claim, indeed, a far greater antiquity, insisting
on their descent from the ten tribes led captive by Shalmaneser, and
putting forward a catalogue of their doctors, in regular succession
from the time of Ezra. But it is believed that their first founder
was one Ananus, a Babylonian Jew of the race of David, who, together
with his son Saul, A.D. 750, entered a public protest against the
extent to which tradition had corrupted the written word, and
insisted on this latter as the sole rule of faith. We have evidence
in the Gospels, of the length to which tradition had run even in
our Lord’s day, and how He had, declared that the Pharisees ‘had
made the Word of God of none effect’ through it. But after that
time the Cabbalist and Masoric Rabbins, who were the successors of
the Pharisees, laid greater stress than ever on the importance of
tradition; and the completion of the Babylonian Talmud in the sixth
century, was, as it were, the keystone of their work. We cannot
wonder that men of sense and reverent feeling should be shocked at
the wild fables and ridiculous fancies of the Talmudists. It would
appear that a strong feeling was widely entertained in secret on
the subject; but its first expression was due to the failure of
Ananus to obtain the dignity of Prince of the Captivity, for which
office he was a candidate. Disgusted at the election of a younger
man to the post, Ananus gathered together the remains of the old
Sadducean party, or what was so called, and induced them to nominate
him as a rival to his successful opponent. Ananus was thrown into
prison, but gained the ear of the Caliph sufficiently to obtain his
release. He then retired, with his followers, to the neighbourhood of
Jerusalem, where they established themselves as a separate sect. They
still exist, chiefly in Eastern countries, and in parts of Europe,
especially the Crimea.[88]

Notwithstanding the general prosperity enjoyed by the Jews at this
period, there were some reverses. Giaffir, called the Great, is
said to have issued an edict requiring Christians and Jews alike to
embrace Islamism. Al Wathek also, the successor of Mamun, one of
the Abasside Caliphs, residing at Cufa, inflicted heavy fines upon
them, partly because they had committed frauds in the management of
the finances entrusted to them, and partly because they refused the
religion of Mahomet. But the amount of suffering inflicted could
not, in either instance, have been great. Motakavel, however, his
brother and successor, was still harsher in his dealings with them.
He compelled them to wear a leathern girdle, to distinguish them from
the Faithful. He prohibited them from using stirrups when they rode
on horseback, and afterwards from riding horses at all. A summary of
the various badges and marks of degradation imposed on the Jews by
European and Asiatic sovereigns would form a curious study.

To this period also belongs the strange story of the kingdom of
Khozar, which has been regarded by some historians as being full of
misstatement and exaggeration, and by some as simple fiction. Khozar
belonged to the Turcomans, a heathen people; and it is reported
that, somewhere about the middle of the eighth century, Bular, its
king, a pious and thoughtful prince, received a revelation through a
dream,—or, according to another version, through the instruction of
an angel,—which showed the hollowness of the religion he professed.
Thereupon he began to make inquiry after a purer faith: and having
conversed with learned men professing Christianity, Islamism, and
Judaism, he made his election in favour of the last-named creed.
According to one version of the story, he came to this resolution
in a somewhat singular manner. Conversing apart with a Christian,
he asked of him whether he did not consider Judaism preferable to
Mahometanism, and was answered that he did. Then holding a similar
discussion with a Mahometan, he inquired whether _he_ did not regard
Judaism as superior to Christianity. Receiving an affirmative answer
here also, he decided in favour of the first-named faith, as it
appeared that it held the first place in the estimation of the Jew,
and the second in that of each of the other two. Having himself
received circumcision, he sent for learned Jews from neighbouring
countries, by whom in time the whole of his people were brought over
to the faith of Israel. A tabernacle was erected, similar to that
set up by Moses in the wilderness, and the Jewish worship regularly
carried on.

The authenticity of the story having been disputed some two centuries
and a half afterwards, Rabbi Hosdai, a learned man, much patronized
by Abderraman, the Caliph of Cordova, resolved to ascertain the
truth respecting it, and obtained, with considerable difficulty, a
letter from Joseph, the reigning sovereign of Khozar. In this the
king repeated the history of his ancestor’s conversion, very much
as popular rumour had stated it. The letter of Hosdai is still
extant, as well as the reply, and there seems no reason to doubt the
authenticity of the former, at all events.

Basnage and others reject the whole story as fable. It is argued
that this kingdom of Khozar, when searched for, could no more be
found than the Eldorado of the Spaniards, or the dominions of Prester
John; even the famous traveller of Hosdai’s time, Benjamin of Tudela,
though anxious, for the credit of his patron, to discover it,
entirely failed to do so. But modern research has proved that such a
kingdom did at all events exist; and the most judicious historians,
Jost among them, incline to believe that the story may have at all
events a groundwork of truth.

In Spain, during this period, all seems to have gone prosperously
with the Jews, except that an impostor named Serenus, who professed,
as so many before and after his time have done, to be the Messiah,
taking advantage of the unsettled state of things between France and
Spain, persuaded large numbers of his countrymen to follow him into
Palestine, where he proposed to set up his kingdom. He does not seem
to have reached the Holy Land, and the greater part of his followers
perished in the attempt. Those who survived returned to their homes,
but only to find that their possessions had been confiscated to the

In the year 750 a revolution took place at Damascus, during which
nearly the whole of the Ommiad dynasty (as the descendants of
Caliph Omar were called) was cut off, and Abul Abbas succeeded to
the Caliphate. Yusef, the Mussulman Emir in Spain, sided with the
usurping family; but the Moorish chiefs generally were desirous of
establishing their own independence, and finding in Abderachman ben
Moasiah a still surviving representative of the Ommiad family, placed
him on the throne, under the title of the Caliph of Cordova. His
government was wise and powerful, and under him the Jews attained the
zenith of their prosperity.

We are now about to transfer our attention to the countries of
Western Europe, where occurred almost every event of importance in
which the Jews are concerned for several ensuing centuries. But
before doing so, it will be proper to record what is known of the
Hebrew communities who dwelt in those countries of the distant
East which acknowledged neither the sceptre of Rome nor of Persia.
The records of these are very scanty, and rest upon very doubtful
authority, but that affords no sufficient reason for not preserving
all that can be gleaned from various sources respecting them.


[84] Similarly, and for the like reason, Constantine Copronymus was
nicknamed ‘the Jew.’

[85] The Caliph Almamon, a great patron of learning, caused many of
the Rabbinical books to be translated into Arabic, and placed in the
Royal Library at Bagdad.

[86] After the capture of Rhodes, a Jew belonging to Edessa purchased
the remains of the celebrated Colossus, which had been lying on the
ground since its overthrow by an earthquake. It had been seventy
cubits high, and was constructed of brass. The fragments are said to
have loaded nine hundred camels. Probably the purchase money was a
sum ridiculously small, the profit enormous.

[87] Textualists, that is. It was attached to them in the first
instance as a term of reproach.

[88] The tenets of the Karaites are said to have been:

1. The Creation of the world, as opposed to its eternal existence.

2. That God had no beginning, has no form, and that His unity is

3. That He sent Moses, and delivered to him the Law.

4. That every believer must derive his belief from the simple
interpretation of Holy Scripture, without regard to tradition.

5. That God will raise the dead, and judge men hereafter.

6. That He has not cast away His chosen people.

In recording these opinions, it should be noted that it is quite
possible (indeed, likely) that a party existed among the Jews,
long previously to the time of Ananus, who held notions identical
with or very like them, and who were also called Karaites, _i.e._,
‘Textualists;’ but they did not withdraw themselves into a separate
community, under the name of Karaites, until A.D. 780.

                            CHAPTER XII.

                      THE JEWS OF THE FAR EAST.

How far the bounds of the authority possessed by the Prince of the
Captivity extended must always be a matter of uncertainty. Records
exist of what occurred in the Roman empire down to the time of its
fall, which may be relied on with tolerable certainty. The kingdom
of Persia also has its historians, who throw a fair amount of light
upon what passed in that country during the centuries with which we
have been dealing. But of what took place farther eastward we have
no trustworthy knowledge at all. In Arabia, as we have seen, there
existed numerous and flourishing Jewish communities—indeed, a Jewish
kingdom had endured for many ages there, able to hold its own with
neighbouring sovereignties. Again, it is certain that there were not
only Jews in Parthia and Media, in Elam (or Persia), Mesopotamia,
Cappadocia, Pontus, Phrygia, Pamphylia, and Ionia,[89] as noted in
the second chapter of the Acts; but there are grounds for believing
that they extended much farther eastward.

The traditions of the Early Church affirm that the Gospel was
preached by several of the Apostles—notably by Thomas,[90] Simon
Zelotes, and Matthias—in Asiatic Ethiopia, or the Land of Cush; the
bounds of which are wholly uncertain, but which extended a long
way to the eastward of the two great rivers. It is stated that
they encountered opposition from the Jews of those regions.[91]
Benjamin of Tudela also affirms that the authority of the Resch
Glutha ‘extended eastward to the Iron Gates, and as far as India.’
This assertion must be regarded as doubtful; but it certainly goes
to prove that there were Jewish communities in the districts he
names. Nothing, indeed, is more probable than that the Jews should
have migrated towards the East, when Chosroes let loose against them
the merciless wrath of an Eastern despot. To the West lay the Roman
empire, where harsh laws against their nation were in force: to the
South the new Arabian impostor was persecuting their countrymen: to
the North all was barren and ungenial. But to the East were rich and
pleasant regions, where, though they might encounter hostility from
neighbouring tribes, they were strong enough to maintain themselves
in peace and security. But though there is great likelihood of
their having done this, there is no certainty. We must acquiesce in
Milman’s opinion, that ‘the history of the Oriental Jews at this
early period is so obscure, so entirely or so nearly fabulous, that
it may wisely be dismissed.’

But though authentic history does not record the immigration of the
Jews into these countries, there are not wanting incidental evidences
to the fact. Take as an example the collection of Eastern tales
called the Arabian Nights. The date of these cannot be later than the
eighth century, and they are probably much older. In the various
countries to which they relate,—Persia, Turkestan, India, China,
etc., the presence of Jews as an integral part of the population is
assumed as a matter of course. In Balsora, in Kashgar, and other
cities, there is the Jewish merchant, the Jewish physician, the
Jewish banker—no strangers evidently, but recognised citizens. In
the tale of ‘The King of the Black Isles,’ described in the story
as a part of India, lying to the east of Persia, the people of the
country are represented as being changed by enchantment into four
different kinds of fishes, the four being the Mahometans, _the Jews_,
the Christians, and the Parsees. No writer would have introduced
this into his story, if the Jews had not formed a considerable and
recognised part of the population.

A fact also is recorded by a Mahometan historian of the ninth
century, which shows that even so far east as China, the Jews were
to be found in large numbers. He states that when the rebel Baechoo
took Canton, he massacred 120,000 Mahometans, _Jews_, Christians, and

The most interesting evidence on this subject is derived from the
narrative of the Jesuit Ricci in the sixteenth century.[92] It will
be remembered how, 150 years before, Francis Xavier had failed in his
earnest efforts to gain access to the Celestial Empire. When Ricci
succeeded, and had established himself in Canton, he was visited,
soon after his arrival, by a stranger, who professed his satisfaction
at the presence of persons of the same faith with himself. Ricci
took his visitor into the chapel, where he bowed reverently to the
altar-piece representing the Virgin Mary and the pictures of the four
Evangelists, whom he assumed to be ‘some of the Twelve.’ But further
conversation elicited the fact that the man was a Jew, and had
mistaken the picture of the Madonna for that of Rebekah with Jacob
and Esau, and supposed the portraits of the Evangelists to be some
of the twelve Patriarchs.

Great curiosity was aroused in Europe by the publication of Ricci’s
narrative, but further inquiries were checked by his death in 1610.
His successors later in the same century, Fathers Gozani, Domenge,
and Gaubil, transmitted a good deal of interesting information
to their friends in Europe, though they were greatly hampered by
their ignorance of Hebrew. Towards the close of the century other
missionaries arrived, who were acquainted with the Jewish language;
and probably a very complete knowledge of them would have been
arrived at, if it had not been that in 1723 the Jesuits were driven
out of China, and the country remained closed for nearly 100 years to
Christian missionaries.

Nevertheless, much valuable and interesting information was
obtained. It appeared, in the first place, that the Chinese Jews
were ignorant of our Lord’s existence, and did not understand the
meaning of the crucifix. When asked if they had heard of Jesus, they
replied that there was a holy man so called, who was the Son of
Sirach, but they knew of no other. They also had never heard of the
Septuagint or Samaritan versions, and their Hebrew text is without
the vowel points.[93] Further, they do not call themselves Jews, but
Israelites. They are strict observers of the Sabbath, never kindling
fires or preparing food on that day. They practise circumcision, and
intermarry only with their own people. They keep the Passover, the
feasts of Weeks and Tabernacles, and the great Day of Atonement. They
believe in a resurrection, in Purgatory and Hell, in Paradise and
heaven, in angels and spirits, and in a final judgment.

Their place of worship more nearly resembles the ancient Jewish
Temple than the synagogue of later times. It has a Holy Place, and
a Holy of Holies, in which are deposited the Books of the Law, and
which is entered by the High Priest only. The latter, however, does
not wear the Aaronic vestments, a scarf of red silk being his sole
distinguishing badge. They still expect the Messiah to come, but
their belief on this point is vague.

From some of the particulars recorded of them, the idea was once
entertained that they were the descendants, not of the remnants of
the Captivity, but of the ten tribes. This, however, is an evident
error, as they not only possess the Book of Ezra, for whom they
profess profound respect, but those of Esther and Maccabees also.

There is the greatest difficulty in determining when they first
arrived in China. According to some authorities, the immigration
began several centuries before the birth of Christ. According
to others, it was coincident with the persecution of Antiochus
Epiphanes, or Pompey’s Jewish wars, or the siege of Jerusalem under
Titus. Others date it from the period of Chosroes’s attempts at
forcible proselytism; and it is certain that there is a mixture of
Persian words in their language, which lends some likelihood to this

The most reasonable opinion at which we can arrive is, that although
there may have been some connection for commercial purposes in very
early times—as early even as those of David and Solomon—there was
nothing like a settlement before the 3rd or 4th century preceding the
birth of Christ. Then it seems likely that a number of Jews, who may
in the first instance have left Palestine under terror of Haman’s
persecution, established themselves in China. There may have been
other immigrations between that time and the destruction of Jerusalem
by Titus. But at that period there was a second and a larger influx.
From the Jews who then entered China the greater part of the modern
Chinese Jews are descended. A third considerable entrance into the
country may have taken place in the reign of Chosroes, the likelihood
of which has already been pointed out. Supposing these various
bodies to have settled in different districts widely removed from one
another, the strange variations in their statements respecting their
ancestry and date of settlement[94] in China would be accounted for.
This theory is in some degree supported by the fact that many of the
Chinese Jews report themselves as having sprung from seven tribes,
each called after the name of one of the emperors of China. It is not
unreasonable to argue that each of these tribes was called after the
name of the emperor during whose reign it arrived in the country.

But, whatever may have been the true length of their residence, it is
certain that the Taou-kin-keaon (dividers of the sinew, Gen. xxxii.
32), as the Chinese call them, have retained in those far distant
lands, and in that extreme isolation, their own habits, sentiments,
and religious peculiarities as inflexibly as their countrymen in
other lands have always done.

The annals of the Jews of Malabar date their arrival in that country
as having occurred A.D. 70, the time of the destruction of Jerusalem
by Titus. But others place this event in the fifth century of
Christianity, when one of the persecutions occurred in Persia, and
caused a numerous exodus of the Jews. The title which the Hebrew
leader of the refugees is said to have borne is Rabbana; and that
variation of the title Rabbi is said to belong to that special epoch.
In features and colour these Indian Jews very nearly resemble the
other inhabitants of the country; but their religious customs, their
prayers, and their reverence for the Talmud, distinguish them clearly
enough from all others.

The Jews of Cochin China also claim a very high antiquity. In the
latter part of the 17th century a letter was sent by them to the
Synagogue of Portuguese Jews at Amsterdam, in which they asserted
that their fathers had emigrated to the Indies when the Romans
conquered the Holy Land; that they had founded an independent
kingdom, which had lasted for a thousand years, during which time
seventy-two kings had succeeded one another. But a civil war
having broken out in consequence of the rivalry of two brothers, a
neighbouring sovereign had subdued them. Since that time they had
been in subjection to him; but they were nevertheless well treated
and their religion tolerated. How much of this may be true, it would
be difficult to say; but it appears to be beyond a doubt that the
Jews of that country have long enjoyed great prosperity, and populate
large and important cities.

Mention is also made of another race of Jews dwelling in the
neighbourhood of the Mahrattas. They call themselves Beni-Israel,
and acknowledge no relationship with the Jews of Malabar, China, or
Cochin China; but we are told that their Jewish physiognomies allow
of no doubt of their origin; nor do they bear any resemblance to
their Hindoo or Mahometan neighbours. There are other distinctions
also between them and the other Oriental Hebrews. While they resemble
them in the invocation of the Supreme God, in the observance of
circumcision on the eighth day, in their observance of feasts and
fasts, and especially of the great Day of Atonement, they do not
celebrate the Feast of Purim and Dedication, do not possess the
prophetical writings, have no remembrance of the destruction of the
second Temple by Titus—in fine, are unacquainted with the history of
their people since the time of the Babylonish captivity. If it were
not a subject which past experience warns every prudent man to avoid,
one would be tempted to inquire whether here were not to be found
some genuine traces of the lost tribes of Israel.

Other fancies have been put forward by one writer or another,
intimating the wide dispersion of the Hebrew race, which may be
mentioned as curious historical puzzles, though nothing more. Among
these is the tale of the Jewish inscription found on a tomb in the
island of St. Michael, one of the Azores, which seems to intimate
that some Jews once settled there; who must have subsequently died
out. Also the report of the Spaniards who conquered Peru, and
who affirmed that they found in that country a large and stately
edifice, built after a fashion and by the use of tools unknown to
the Peruvians. Tradition affirmed that it was the work of ‘bearded
men’ in very ancient times. It was dedicated to the one Maker of the
world, and bore all the appearance of a Jewish synagogue!


[89] ‘Asia’ in Acts ii. 9, no doubt means the Roman province, over
which a pro-consul ruled. It comprised Ionia and Mysia, Ephesus being
its capital. It is mentioned also Acts xvi. 6.

[90] Matthias is said to have been martyred by the Jews at
Sebastople, whichever of the towns of that name may be intended.

[91] See further on what is said of the Jews of Malabar.

[92] For a very complete account of the Jews in China, see Brotier’s
note, in the third volume of his edition of Tacitus.

[93] When questioned as to the absence of these vowels, they are said
to have answered, that God delivered the words to Moses with such
rapidity that he had no time to insert the vowels.

[94] Thus, Father Alvarez, the Portuguese Jesuit who wrote a history
of China, affirms that the Jews had not been settled there for more
than 600 years.

                            CHAPTER XIII.

                            A.D. 740-980.

                     THE JEWS UNDER CHARLEMAGNE.

The Mahometan invaders of Spain having accomplished the conquest of
that country, again turned their arms northwards, and passed the
Pyrenees, but only to encounter, on the plains of Tours, decisive
and disastrous defeat.[95] We learn that the Jews were suspected of
having invited, or at least encouraged, the attempt. To repeat the
remark made in a previous chapter—when we call to mind the treatment
they had received at the hands of some of the Frankish kings, and
contrast it with the toleration exhibited by the Moslem conquerors
of Spain, such an accusation does not seem to us a very improbable
one, though no certain evidence of it has been produced. Similarly,
some sixty years afterwards,[96] when the Moors again burst into
Aquitaine, and were repelled by the Count of Toulouse, the Jews
are charged with having betrayed that city into the hands of the
invaders. After the retreat of the enemy, and recapture of the town,
it is said that the emperor had resolved to punish severely the
treachery of the Jewish conspirators, but was persuaded to limit the
retribution he exacted to their leaders. Basnage disputes altogether
the accuracy of the allegation. But some truth in the story there
must be. It is an unquestioned fact that for a considerable period
after the Saracen irruption—as late indeed as the twelfth century—it
was the custom at Toulouse for a Jew, acting as the representative of
the whole of his co-religionists in the city, to appear three times
in every year at the gate of one of the churches in Toulouse, and
there receive a box (or, as some report, three boxes) on the ear,[97]
and at the same time pay over a fine in the shape of thirteen pounds
of wax. It would be difficult to understand what could have been the
origin of a custom like this,—which reminds us of the penalty imposed
on the citizens of Oxford, for their alleged participation in the
bloodshed of St. Scholastica’s day, and which was exacted up to the
commencement of the present century,—unless it was the story of their
betrayal of the city, as above related.

But if Charlemagne was cognisant of the disaffection of his Jewish
subjects, he took the wisest, and, as the sequel proved, the most
effectual mode of curing the evil. A study of this great man’s life
will convince us that he regarded his sovereignty, not merely as
a trust committed to him by the Divine Ruler of the Universe—for
that many sovereigns have done—but as a trust held on behalf of the
Catholic Church of Christ, which was, in his view, identical with
the State.[98] It followed therefore that, in his eyes, whosoever
refused obedience to the Church was a rebel to the State; and
the Jews, according to this view of the matter, must be the most
inveterate of all rebels. It is creditable to him, therefore, that
he not only abstained from religious persecution, but awarded the
most even-handed justice to his Hebrew subjects. He required of them
no more than simple obedience to the laws of the land in matters
which did not put any constraint on the conscience. Thus, in the
instance of nuptial contracts, he did not allow them to marry within
the degree prohibited to his other subjects, nor to dispose of
their property after a manner contrary to his laws. But these are
requirements to which citizens of any country might be reasonably
expected to conform. So again, the edicts which forbade them to keep
Christian slaves, or to purchase or keep in pawn the sacerdotal
vestments, or the sacred vessels used in churches, were obviously
made, not for the injury of the Jews, but for the benefit of the
Christian community. Had such practices indeed been permitted, they
could have had no other effect than that of exciting prejudice and
disgust against the Jews. But there was no restriction imposed on
their commerce, no special fines levied on their effects. They dwelt
in ease and luxury, in houses as handsome and well furnished as their
inclination prompted and their purses would allow. The most splendid
quarter in the rich town of Lyons was that inhabited by the Jews. In
Narbonne, of the two prefects of the city, one was always a Jew.

The same state of things continued through the reign of the son and
successor of Charlemagne, Louis le Debonnaire. At his court we are
told the Jews possessed so much influence, that nobles and envoys
of foreign princes paid court to them, and offered bribes to secure
their favour. An officer known as the ‘Master of the Jews,’ whose
business it was to take special care of their interests, resided in
the precincts of the palace. They were permitted to enjoy, not only
all rights possessed by their Christian fellow-subjects, but even
more. The day on which markets were wont to be held, if it chanced
to be a Saturday, was sometimes altered for their convenience.
Charters are still extant, in which special privileges, such as
exemptions from tolls and taxes, or permission to hire Christian
slaves, are granted to Jews. In criminal and civil actions, their
rights were as much respected, their evidence was accounted as good,
as that of the other citizens of the country. Their lives were
protected by a heavy penalty imposed on any one who slew them. They
were exempted from ordeal by fire or water. Their slaves could not
be baptized without their consent. They were free to build their
synagogues where they pleased, and carry on their peculiar form of
worship within them.

A condition of things like this could hardly fail, sooner or later,
to provoke the anger and jealousy of the clergy. Agobard, Bishop
of Lyons, saw with indignation the growth of their wealth and
importance. It was not only that the ports were crowded with their
merchantmen, the quays piled with their bales, the streets thronged
with their slaves; that while Christian men walked afoot, clad in
mean apparel, and lodged in humble cottages, the Jew reclined in his
chariot arrayed in gorgeous attire, or feasted in a splendid palace.
This might be borne. But their synagogues vied in magnificence with
the stateliest Christian churches, and their preachers drew away
crowds who ought to worship at Catholic altars. It was even said that
they sold Christians as slaves to the Moors. Agobard exerted his
episcopal power to remedy the mischief, so far as he was able. He
forbade under pain of spiritual censure, his flock to sell Christian
slaves to the Jews,[99] or to work for them on Sundays or holidays,
or to buy wine of them, or deal with them at all during the season of

It is a marked sign of the times, that the Jews ventured to appeal to
the king against this exercise of the bishop’s authority. Louis sent
three commissioners to Lyons to inquire into the matter, who decided
against the bishop. Mortified and astonished, he preferred fresh
charges against the Jews, and when these also failed of their effect,
himself repaired to Paris, and demanded a personal interview with the
emperor; it was all in vain. He was refused an audience, informed
that the emperor had dismissed his appeal, and was ordered to return
to his diocese! We can hardly believe that this took place in a
country which, two centuries before, had seen Jews forcibly dragged
to the font for baptism, and, three centuries afterwards, witnessed
their forcible expulsion from the country, for no other offence than
that of their national existence.

Under Louis’s successor, Charles the Bald, the Jews still continued
to enjoy immunity from the persecution; but signs were not wanting
that this state of things was not long to endure. Remegius, Bishop
of Lyons, following up with more success the efforts of Agobard,
caused—we are not told by what means—so many Jewish boys and girls
to be brought to baptism, that the parents were fain to send their
children to be educated in Arles and other cities. Following up
his advantage, Remegius petitioned the emperor that the Bishop of
Arles might be admonished to pursue the same course as himself. It
would appear that Charles granted this request, for we are informed
that great numbers of Jewish children were now baptized. Not long
afterwards he is said to have been poisoned by his Jewish physician,
Zedekias, who was believed to have been incited to the murder by
his countrymen. Whether this is true or not must be regarded as a
doubtful matter. It was certainly a most fatal as well as a most
wicked policy, if it was really adopted. The effect of the death of
Charles was to break up the existing authority in France. The strong
hand which upheld the law was withdrawn. Disorder and anarchy ensued,
from which none suffered so much as the Jews. Popular rumours accused
them of secretly abetting the inroads of the Normans, from which the
country now began seriously to suffer. It was urged that when the
invaders overran districts and sacked cities, the Jews alone escaped
injury. This was possibly due to the same causes which had exempted
them from suffering during the incursions of the Goths and Huns and
other Northern nations, and which have been adverted to in a previous
chapter. But, however that may be, it was believed that they were
secretly in league with the Northmen, and they became in consequence
everywhere the objects of popular execration and attack. At Beziers,
in Languedoc, it became the practice every year to drive them about
with volleys of stone, from Palm Sunday to Tuesday in Easter Week.
During the feeble reigns of Louis II., III., and IV., Lothair,
Charles II., and III., scarcely any mention is made of them. But what
little is told goes to prove that their position was continually
growing worse. As the power of the kings diminished, the protection
they were able to extend to the Jews diminished also. The great
feudatories dealt with them as they pleased, disregarding the royal
authority, or employing it for the oppression of the Jews. During
the reign of Charles III., called the Simple, we find the Archbishop
of Narbonne demanding (A.D. 897) and obtaining from the king a grant
of all the landed property in the possession of the Jews throughout
his diocese. Whether this was the effect of an act forbidding the
Jews to hold landed property, or mere lawless pillage, makes little
difference. Similarly, in 889, the Archbishop of Sens, without any
cause assigned or reference to the royal authority, expels the whole
of the Jews from the bounds of his episcopate.

In Spain, however, the interval of peace and goodwill lasted long
beyond the times of which we are now writing. From the foundation of
the Moorish kingdom of Cordova by Abderachman I., A.D. 755, to the
close of the tenth century, whatever civilization and learning still
existed in Europe found its most congenial home in his dominions.
Under him and his successors, the Jews appear to have enjoyed, not
only the impartial protection of the laws, but free participation in
all public offices and distinctions. They were eminent as ministers
of state, ambassadors, and financiers. Under him and his successors,
the schools at Toledo, Granada, and Cordova became famous throughout
the world, and it was said that there was not a Jew to be found
through the whole of Spain who could not read his Bible.

Hitherto the great centres of learning had been in the East, and
the most promising scholars, even from Spain itself, had resorted
thither. But the Persian Caliphate had, for a century or two,
been undergoing a gradual but total change. The sovereigns were
enervated by ease and luxury; usurpers rent away large portions of
their dominions; and the great Emirs grew ever more independent,
grasping at last nearly the whole power of the Crown. It was probably
these new rulers who set on foot the persecution of their Jewish
fellow-subjects. Indifferent as Omar himself could have been to the
high repute which the Oriental Academies had attained, they shut
up the Jewish Colleges, exiled their learned doctors, and in fine,
A.D. 980, drove the Jews altogether from Babylon. Four of the most
renowned of the Rabbins were captured, on their outward voyage, by
one of the corsairs belonging to the Caliph of Cordova, whom he
had sent to cruise in the Greek Archipelago. These four were Rabbi
Shemariah, Rabbi Hoshiel, Rabbi Moses, and his son, Rabbi Hanoch.
The fate of these four was remarkable. Utterly ignorant of the
high value which men of culture and refinement would set upon his
prisoners, the corsair sold Shemariah at Alexandria, and the slave
rose to be the chief man among the Alexandrian Jews. Rabbi Hoshiel
he similarly disposed of to a purchaser on the coast of Africa; and
Hoshiel was thence conveyed to Alkihoran, where he attained the rank
of Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Moses and his son he conveyed to Cordova. It
chanced that the wife of the former was a beautiful woman, and the
brutal corsair, captivated by her charms, assailed her with his
importunities. Finding herself wholly in his power, she inquired
of her husband whether, at the Day of Judgment, the sea would give
up its dead. He answered her from the 68th Psalm, ‘The Lord said,
Mine own will I bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the
depths of the sea;’ on receiving which reply, seeing no other way
of escaping violence, she plunged into the sea and was drowned. A
similar tale is told of Esther Cohen in the sixteenth century.

On the arrival of the captives at Cordova, the two Rabbins were
ransomed by their countrymen, though the latter knew nothing of
their ability and learning. Their condition was so miserable that
they had no clothes, but only some rags of sackcloth to cover their
nakedness. In this sordid guise they entered the schools, over which
Rabbi Nathan presided. The discussion in progress was on the subject
of the Day of Atonement. Rabbi Moses took part in it, and expounded
it with such learning and clearness that Rabbi Nathan rose from his
seat and said, ‘The stranger in sackcloth is my master, and I am his
pupil. Make ye him judge of the Congregation of Cordova.’ All present
assented. Riches and honours became immediately his portion, and he
allied himself with one of the wealthiest families in Cordova. The
captain of the vessel, learning the value of the captive, for whom he
asked no more than the ordinary price of a slave, wished to cancel
the sale; but when the matter was referred to the Caliph, he would
not allow it. By one of the disciples of Moses, Rabbi Joseph, the
Talmud was translated into Arabic, and gained the translator great
repute, though he was afterwards disgraced and driven into exile.
Rabbi Hanoch, the fourth of the captives, succeeded to his father’s
office at his death. By him the fame of the College of Cordova was
raised to the highest pitch it attained.

The decay of the Babylonian schools had been in progress throughout
the tenth century, learning and ability alike, as the reader has
heard, being transferred to the flourishing Rabbinical establishment
in Cordova. The quarrels between David ben Zacchai, the Prince of the
Captivity, and the celebrated Saadi ben Joseph, the Geon, did much
towards bringing this about. There was a temporary rally, when the
renowned Scherira, and after him, his scarcely less distinguished
son, Hai, held the office of Geon. But the former was deposed and
put to death by the Caliph Ahmed Kader; and though Hai escaped and
transferred his office to Hiskiah, the great-grandson of David
Zacchai, yet the respite was for two years only. At the end of that
time the Caliph Abdalla deposed Hiskiah, and finally closed the
schools. With Hiskiah, A.D. 1038, the line of the Resch Glutha is
generally considered to have become extinct.


[95] At the hands of Charles Martel, A.D. 732.

[96] A.D. 793. It is likely that the Jews of Beziers were charged at
the same time, or possibly a few years later, with a similar offence.
(See p. 27.)

[97] Hallam (‘Middle Ages,’ vol. ii. p. 225) quotes from a French
historian that it was the custom at Toulouse, at this time, to give
_every_ Jew a blow on the face on Easter Day, and that this was
commuted for a fine some time in the 12th century. This is plainly
the same story, with some variations.

[98] The theocracy of the Old Testament, where the religious and
civil ruler were one and the same, and which probably was the
primitive form of government (Gen. xiv. 18), was the model which
Charlemagne considered all rulers ought to follow.

[99] It would appear from this, that the law prevalent in the last
reign forbidding Jews to hold Christian slaves, had been relaxed.

                            CHAPTER XIV.

                           A.D. 980-1100.


With the downfall of the Carlovingian dynasty, a period of seven
centuries began, during which the Jews underwent the most terrible
wrongs and sufferings in almost every European country. In some
lands persecution showed itself earlier, in others later; in some it
reached a greater height, in others it lasted longer. But several
generations passed before it was displayed in all its horrible
deformity. During the interval we have now under consideration, A.D.
980 to 1100, though acts of injustice and cruelty were occasionally
perpetrated, and a fierce spirit of intolerance manifested—which, it
was but too evident, needed only to be roused by some popular tumult,
to run to the most fearful heights—yet none of the terrible tragedies
were enacted by which the succeeding generations were disgraced.

It is somewhat strange that the first massacre should have occurred
among a people heretofore remarkable, not merely for their toleration
of the Jews, but for the kindness and consideration uniformly shown
them. But in 1068 an insurrection broke out in Granada, during which
1500 families were slaughtered. It had been caused partly by the
pride of Rabbi Joseph, the chief minister of the Moorish king. His
father, Rabbi Samuel, had gained the royal favour by his knowledge
and ability; and at his death the same high office had been continued
to his son. But the latter differed in character from his father,
who had ever shown himself humble-minded and forbearing. The hauteur
and implacable temper of the son raised him up enemies among the
grandees, who were ever on the watch for an occasion to effect his
fall. About the same time a fanatical zealot provoked an insurrection
by attempting to convert the Moorish people of Granada to the Jewish
faith. This is an act forbidden by the laws of every Moslem State,
under penalty of death. The indiscretion was taken advantage of by
the enemies of Joseph. He was assassinated by the insurgents; the
preacher was hanged, and the mob, not satisfied with this revenge,
and doubtless in no way unwilling to despoil the wealthy Jews,
attacked and pillaged their houses, massacring them, as the reader
has heard, to the number probably of seven or eight thousand persons.

Monstrous and barbarous as this outbreak was, it must be allowed that
it was mainly provoked by the Jews themselves; but in what ensued a
few years afterwards at the Court of Ferdinand the First, called the
Great, the aggression was wholly unprovoked. This monarch, who united
under his sway the crowns of Leon and Castile, had resolved on a
religious war for the extirpation of the Moslem power in Spain. But,
before entering on this, he was advised by his queen, Donna Sancha,
that the surest way to call down the blessing of Heaven upon his
enterprise, would be to massacre all the Jews in his dominions! It is
a redeeming feature in the sad history of that time, that the Spanish
bishops interfered, and forbade the massacre on pain of spiritual
penalties, and the reigning Pope, Alexander II., upheld them in their
action. Ferdinand’s successor, Alphonso VI., adopted a totally
different policy. He found himself so hardly pressed by the action
of the Moors in Africa, that the help of the Jews became a matter of
pressing necessity with him.[100] He in consequence not only avoided
all persecuting measures, but bestowed on them so many favours and
privileges, that Pope Alexander’s successor severely censured him for
his policy, which he declared to be ‘a submission of the Church to
the synagogue of Satan.’

At this period we have to mention, as we have not done previously,
the position of the Jews in England. It is a popular mistake to
suppose that they made their appearance there, for the first time,
in the train of William the Norman. Many Jews, no doubt, settled in
England at that time; but others had been resident there, though
probably in scanty numbers, before this date. A canon of Egbert
of York (made A.D. 740) prohibits Christians from taking part in
the Jewish festivals. There is mention of them a hundred years
later in a charter granted to the monks of Croyland. The laws of
Edward the Confessor (A.D. 1041) declare them to be the property
of the sovereign, as was the case at that time in France. But it
was not until the reign of William Rufus that they took any part
in English history. Then we find that that king, who cared little
for religion in any shape, and entertained a bitter dislike to the
clergy, permitted the Jews publicly to uphold their religion in any
way they pleased. Nay, he proclaimed a formal disputation between
the advocates of the rival religions in London, and swore, if the
Rabbins got the better of the Bishops, ‘by St. Luke, he would turn
Jew himself!’ The Jews are said to have claimed the victory, though
we do not hear of the king keeping his vow. At Rouen, afterwards, he
entertained a complaint made by certain Jews, that their children had
been beguiled into professing Christianity, offering at the same
time to pay a handsome sum if the children returned to their ancient
faith. The king took the money, and ordered the converts to abjure
their new profession. Failing in one or two instances to effect this,
we are told he was very unwilling to refund the money paid him.

These incidents, scandalous as doubtless they are, show nevertheless
that the Jews at this time enjoyed immunity from persecution;
unless, indeed, the heavy and lawless exactions made on them by the
Norman kings themselves are to be regarded as acts of persecution.
The property of the Jews was by no means secure from _them_, but
it was secure from all other spoilers. We are told that in London
and York they dwelt in splendid mansions, resembling the castles
of the barons; while in Oxford they possessed three halls for the
education of their youth,—Lombard Hall, Moses Hall, and Jacob Hall;
nor does their presence seem to have been objected to.[101] They had
a cemetery at St. Giles’s, Cripplegate.

But it will now be proper to enter on a consideration of the causes
which led to the renewal of popular bitterness against the Hebrew
race in all the countries of Europe. First among these must be noted
the prevalence of the Feudal System. This singular institution was,
we must allow, in theory, both comprehensive and consistent. The
position and duties of every man were defined, the rights of every
man secured and protected. The serf tilled his feudal superior’s
lands; the freeman fought his battles. Both received in return
maintenance and protection, while from the feudal baron there lay an
appeal to the sovereign. But at the same time we must also allow,
as a matter of fact, that under it the very extremity of lawless
injustice prevailed—that every feudal castle was practically the
stronghold of an arbitrary and irresponsible despot, whose soldiers
executed his pleasure, however iniquitous or barbarous, without
scruple and without remorse. Still, all classes had nominally the
guardians of their rights and interests, with the single exception of
the Jews. The latter could not be feudatories. The law of the land
and the prejudice of the people would not have suffered that; nor
could they be serfs or vassals. They never practised agriculture,
and the noble profession of arms would have been thought disgraced
by their admission to it. Consequently, they had no place in
society, nor were there any to whom they could appeal for justice or
protection, except where they were directly the dependants of the
sovereign himself. But even where this was the case, any attempt to
obtain justice was precarious and perilous. If one of the robber
barons seized a Jew who might be travelling through his domains,
and subjected him to agonizing tortures until he had obtained his
release by paying a large sum of money—there was practically no
remedy. The attempt to obtain it would probably end in twofold loss
and suffering to himself. Any sympathy shown him by the peasantry
or townsfolk would bring, in all likelihood, the vengeance of the
aggressor on them. If they concerned themselves in any way with the
sufferer, it would probably be by following the example set them by
their superiors, and maltreating and plundering him. In this manner
the Jews became the outcasts of society; and all classes of men were
willing enough to adopt the ignorant and rancorous intolerance of the
clergy of the day, who (with some noble exceptions) inveighed against
them as the enemies of Christ, finding in the odium thus cast on them
an excuse for them own lawless rapacity and violence.

Another reason for the general dislike in which they were held was
their wealth, and the manner in which it had been amassed. They were,
as has been already intimated, the only bankers, almost the only
traders, of the day. They had become an absolute necessity of life to
many classes of men. If the sovereign wished to negotiate a marriage,
or embark in a foreign war, a large sum of money was required, which
the Jews alone could supply. The same was the case with the nobles
and land-owners of lesser rank; and even the Christian merchant
could sometimes save his credit only by a timely loan, which was to
be obtained from none but Hebrew coffers. It was affirmed that the
usury exacted for these was inordinate; that the Jews took advantage
of their opportunity to accumulate enormous gains, to the total ruin
of their debtors. The rate of interest demanded was, as a general
rule, extortionate. Yet it should be borne in mind that the monstrous
injustice often shown them, when they were,—on any pretext, or on
no pretext at all,—despoiled of their money, if it did not render
the exaction of these terms necessary to secure to the lender, in
the long run, his fair profit, it did offer a strong temptation for
exaction, and gave him a ready excuse for offering only the hardest
terms to the borrower.[102] Whatever value, however, this argument
may possess, it was utterly disregarded by the enemies of the Jews
in those days, who took into account only two facts—one, that the
Jews demanded an enormous amount of usury, which brought them immense
wealth, and the other, that its payment reduced themselves to poverty.

These influences had been for a long time at work, causing the Jews
to be regarded with ever-increasing disfavour. But it may be doubted
whether they would ever have burst forth into the furious volcano
of persecution which the next generation witnessed, if it had not
been that the element of religious fanaticism was now added to
those already at work. The cry that Christ was dishonoured through
the profanation of the scenes of His birth and crucifixion by the
unhallowed rites of the Infidels, and that it was the bounden duty of
all faithful Christians to wrest the holy places from their grasp,
now resounded through Christendom, and roused an enthusiasm of which
the world had never before beheld the like.

It may surprise us, not that this feeling should have been awakened,
but that it should not have been awakened _before_. Three hundred
and fifty years had elapsed since the conquest of Jerusalem by the
Saracens; and ever since then it had been in the occupation of the
unbelievers. Why was the possession of the Holy City by them a
greater outrage on the feelings of Christian men in one generation
than in another? Or are we to suppose that men were more zealous
for God’s honour in the eleventh than they had been in the seventh
century? No, not so. The causes which provoked the Crusades were
different from these, and they are of importance to us, because they
throw a light on the feeling which simultaneously arose against the
Jews also.

During the first two centuries of the occupation of the Holy City by
the Saracens, the latter had been ruled by the Ommiad or Abasside
Caliphs—men who, for the most part, governed equitably, and were
courteous and tolerant in their dealings with strangers. The number
of pilgrims who visited Palestine was small, and they were uniformly
received with friendliness. But in the tenth century, when the idea
was widely entertained throughout Western Europe that the world was
on the very point of coming to an end, and further, that all who
died in the Holy Land would certainly be saved, the number of those
who travelled thither was greatly multiplied. Those who returned
brought back with them tales of outrage and unprovoked insult, which
everywhere roused indignation. Jerusalem had passed into the hands of
the Turks, a fierce and uncultured race, who had adopted Islamism in
its most fanatic spirit. The murder of men, and the outrages offered
to women, were good deeds in their eyes; and where they abstained
from this extremity of violence, it was only to display their hate
and scorn under some other form. The resentment which these wrongs
called forth had spread through all European countries. The air
was, as it were, everywhere charged with inflammable vapour, and it
needed only the torch which Peter the Hermit had lighted to cause it
to burst forth in one consuming flame. ‘Death to the Infidels. It
is the will of God!’ was the cry that rang throughout Europe. All
men hastened to obey the call. From the king on his throne to the
journeyman in his workshop, they bound the cross on their shoulders,
and went forth to rescue the Holy Land from the profane grasp of the

This is the age of the five celebrated Talmudists, called ‘the Five
Isaacs,’ all of them bearing that name. They are distinguished as
Isaac of Cordova, of Lucena, of Barcelona, of Pumbeditha, and of Fez.
The Spanish Poet Halevi was born towards the close of this period.
From the middle of the eleventh century, Spain was for four hundred
years the chief seat of Rabbinical learning. The great schools were
at Barcelona, Granada, and Toledo.

To this era also belongs the renowned Solomon Gabriol, poet and
philosopher, author of ‘The Fountain of Life.’ He was born at Malaga,
1021, and died A.D. 1070.


[100] It was this Alphonso who wrote the singular letter to Yusef,
king of the Almoravides, inviting him to fight a pitched battle
on the ensuing Monday, ‘because,’ he said, ‘Friday would not suit
the Mahometans in his army, or Saturday the Jews, or Sunday the

[101] There appears, indeed, to have been at that time an amount
of toleration which may well surprise us. One Mossey, a Jew of
Wallingford, was wont, we are told, openly to ridicule the miracles
of St. Frideswide. He would crook his fingers as if they were
paralysed, and presently straighten them, or limp like a cripple, and
then suddenly leap or dance, crying out ‘A miracle!’ This was a calm
on the edge of a storm such as has rarely been seen!—‘Rise, Fall, and
Future Restoration of Jews,’ ch. iii.

[102] It is plainly intimated by Bernard of Clairvaulx that there
were Christians (he probably meant Lombard merchants) who exacted
more excessive usury than the Jews themselves.

                             CHAPTER XV.

                           A.D. 1100-1200.


‘Death to the infidel. It is the will of God!’ Such was the cry
that rang through Europe—‘Death to the Moslem, whose unhallowed
shrine overshadows the holy place, in which the Saviour Himself has
worshipped, whose blasphemies awake the same echoes which His Divine
preaching once called forth!’ Yes. But were these the only shrines
where false worship was offered? were they in Jerusalem the only ones
who blasphemed the Lord? If the slaughter of the unbelieving Turk was
acceptable to the Most High, why not that of the unbelieving Jew?
It was strange that this peril should not have been dreaded by the
Jews dwelling in the lands which the mania called forth by Peter the
Hermit overspread. But it does not seem to have done so; they made no
attempt to escape from the approaching danger. They even continued
the ordinary course of their business, making the same enormous gains
out of the Crusaders’ necessities, which they had done out of every
other political movement for generations past. The great baron, who
had vowed to lead his hundreds, or it might be his thousands, of
armed followers to the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre, mortgaged his
lands, or his jewels, or perhaps sold them outright, to the Jews, on
such terms as we can hardly believe that the one could have asked or
the other agreed to. Poorer men parted with their all on the like
terms. But that there were some shrewd men left among the Christians,
who were not carried away by the tide of popular excitement, the
whole wealth of the community would have passed into the hands of the
Jews. It is needless to add that the bitter feelings towards this
isolated race—who were for ever battening on the wants and sufferings
of others—were greatly aggravated by these proceedings, and it was
not long before this burst out into a flame.

All over Northern France and Germany, the Jews seem to have been
numerous at this time; but in what is now Rhenish Prussia, and along
the banks of the Moselle, they were to be found in the greatest
abundance. It was near the city of Treves that the first vast
multitude of undisciplined fanatics assembled, under the leadership
of Walther von Habenicht and Peter the Hermit. As they set forth,
under the guidance of a goat and a goose, to find their way to the
Holy Land, a cry was suddenly raised, doubtless by some enemy of
the Jews, that while they were marching to destroy the enemies of
the Lord Jesus in Palestine, they were leaving unassailed at home
those who were not only His enemies, but His murderers—the Jews! The
cry was instantly caught up, the frantic crowd rushed into Treves,
and began a general pillage of the Jews’ houses, and a massacre
of their occupants. Taken by surprise, the authorities offered
no interference; indeed, no interference they could have offered
would have been of the slightest avail. The unhappy Jews, equally
unprepared, could neither resist nor escape. Scenes too shocking
for description ensued. Women tied heavy weights round their necks,
and threw themselves into the rivers to avoid the last dishonour.
Men slew their own children, to save them from the tortures to
which they would be subjected; their own lives they yielded up in
despairing silence. Some fled to the citadel, hoping to be protected
against the violence of their assailants; but the Bishop of Treves
received them with threats and reproaches, refusing to interfere in
their behalf, unless they would accept baptism. The same scenes took
place in Cologne, Worms, Spires, and Mayence. Everywhere the only
hope of escape from torture and death was baptism; except, indeed,
where a heavy bribe had been paid for episcopal protection, or where,
as at Spires, the Jews armed themselves and sold their lives dearly.
The tide of murder rolled on, sweeping the shores of the Maine and
the Danube, the same scenes being everywhere repeated. In Bavaria,
it is said that as many as 12,000 Jews were slaughtered. The Emperor
Henry IV. seems to have been the only potentate whom these atrocities
struck with horror. He issued a decree, repairing, so far as was
possible, the wrongs that had been done, and forbidding them for the
future. But, for the most part, the historians of those times relate
the horrors that took place with a _sangfroid_ which speaks volumes
as to the light in which they were regarded by those who witnessed

But the three mighty hosts, led by Peter and his two colleagues,
passed on and perished, and the exhaustion succeeded which such a
drain on the population must necessarily occasion. It was not until
half the twelfth century had passed away that the crusading mania
was again roused. Then a fanatic monk, named Rodolph, commenced
a mission through the German cities, calling on all men, by the
watchword ‘Hep, Hep’ (the initials of the words _Hierosolyma est
perdita_) to assist in slaying and crushing the enemies of God. The
Jews knew too well, by past experience, that they were included under
this latter term, and many effected a timely retreat. Nevertheless,
a frightful carnage took place in Strasburg, Mayence, and the other
Rhine cities, encouraged, unhappily, by too many of the clergy. It
is like a bright gleam of sunshine on a dark November day, to read
the protest addressed by the saintly Bernard of Clairvaulx, to his
brother clergy against the blind and savage spirit by which Rodolph
was possessed.[103]

‘The Jews,’ he writes, ‘ought not to be persecuted; they ought not to
be put to death, they ought not to be driven into banishment. What
says the Scripture? “Slay them not, lest My people forget.” The Jews
are living monuments to remind us of the sufferings of the Lord.
Therefore it is that they are scattered.... Therefore they endure a
hard bondage under Christian princes; yet, in the eventide of the
world, they will be converted, and He will remember them. Addressing
Rodolph himself, he says, ‘You are of another mind from Him who said,
“Put up thy sword into the sheath, for he that taketh the sword shall
perish with the sword.” Does not the Church triumph more gloriously
over the Jews when she refutes and converts them, than if she slew
them with the edge of the sword?’ It is satisfactory also to learn
that Pope Eugenius III. advocated the same view, and that Rodolph was
ordered back to his convent, though not before he had occasioned the
most terrible crimes and sufferings.

But the condition of the Jews grew no better, but rather worse, as
the century advanced. The calumny—whether it was the revival of
an ancient accusation against the Jews, or one newly invented at
this period—of crucifying boys at their Passover, in mockery of the
Saviour’s passion, was widely diffused and credited. It was reported
that, about A.D. 1180, during the youth of Philip Augustus, they had
in this manner murdered one Richard, a youth belonging to Pontoise;
and, in confirmation of the truth of the story, the body, when it
was conveyed to Paris, worked many miracles. Philip had no sooner
ascended his throne than he put forth an edict, A.D. 1182, whereby
all debts due to Jews were annulled, and all pledges held by them
were to be restored to the original owners. Not satisfied with this
display of somewhat cheap generosity, he made a second proclamation,
confiscating all their property which was not removable, and
commanding them to sell everything else belonging to them, and depart
from his dominions. In vain they appealed for mercy. King and nobles
and bishops alike closed their ears. The twofold offence of holding
heretical opinions and mortgages on estates was not to be forgiven.
It will readily be credited that at the enforced sale of their goods
the prices bidden were of the lowest. The unhappy Jews were compelled
to depart, amid the execrations of the populace, from the homes in
which their whole lives had been passed, carrying with them little
but their wives and children. It was not enough that they had been,
by the most high-handed injustice, stripped of their possessions;
they were not to be allowed to remain in the land where the wrong had
been done, and so remind the doers of their crime!

It will surprise no one to be told that their removal did not
increase the wealth or relieve the public burdens of the nation.
It was found that the expulsion of the Jews was, as Fouché said of
the murder of the Duke d’Enghien, ‘more than a crime, for it was a
blunder.’ Within twenty years Philip found it necessary to issue
a new edict, permitting their return. But it _does_ occasion our
wonder to hear that the Jews consented to the step. It speaks volumes
for the depth of the misery to which they had been reduced, that
they could be prevailed on to trust themselves again to the justice
and mercy of a king who had so flagrantly proved his disregard of
both.[104] Not long after their return, we are told that they held
an assembly by permission of the Queen’s mother, at a castle on the
Seine. Here the old charge of scourging, crucifying, and crowning
with thorns a youth whom they had seized was once more alleged
against them. Philip repaired in person to the spot, where he
condemned eighty of the accused to be burned alive.[105]

In Spain, during this century, the Jews were still equitably dealt
with, though there were signs of the change of feeling towards them
which was gradually taking possession of the public mind. For this
two causes may be assigned. In the first place, the power of the
Mahometans, who had always been the protectors of the Jews, was fast
waning; and the Christian sovereigns no longer dreaded the enmity
of the Jews, who in previous generations might have been dangerous
allies to their rivals. In the second, the downfall of the Ommiad
Caliphs, who had uniformly been just and generous in their dealings
with the Jews, proved most disastrous to them. The Almohades,
who, A.D. 1150, superseded them, were fierce and bloody fanatics,
inclined to force the faith of Islam on all with whom they came in
contact. One of the first edicts of Abdel-Mumen, the founder of the
dynasty, required all his subjects, of whatsoever creed, to profess
Mahometanism. The usual consequences followed. Many Jews went into
voluntary exile; many more made an outward profession of their
persecutor’s creed, still secretly retaining their own. The happy
days of the Spanish Jews were over. Moorish rule was ended.

In the Christian kingdom, however, justice and right still prevailed.
The royal authority was uniformly exerted for the protection of
peaceable and unoffending men. But there were occasions on which this
power proved insufficient to restrain the violence of the people, who
had probably learned from their neighbours to regard the Jews with
disfavour. Thus, a riot occurred at Toledo, A.D. 1108, instigated,
in all likelihood, by the crusaders, who were just on the point of
setting out for Palestine. The populace, under the usual pretext of
slaying the enemies of Christ, attacked and burned the houses of the
Jews, wrecked the synagogues, immolating the Rabbins, as it were, on
their own altars, and made a general massacre of the common people.
Alphonso tried in vain, first to repress, and then to punish, the

But this occurrence, shocking as it was, was a mere temporary
outburst of popular fury. It was not repeated, not even in the reign
of his descendant, Alphonso VIII., in 1171, when, above all other
times, a Jewish massacre might have been looked for. This king
had become deeply enamoured of a beautiful Jewess, named Rachel
Fermosa. For her society he neglected his queen, and withdrew himself
from public business. Grave misfortunes ensued: his forces were
defeated at Alarcos, and the kingdom menaced by the hostility of
the neighbouring states. The people believed that these calamities
were due, not to the bad administration of public affairs, but to
the indignation of Heaven at the king’s unhallowed affection for an
unbeliever. Their jealousy was also roused by the favour shown to
her countrymen. A rebellion broke out, the rioters burst into the
king’s palace, and assassinated Fermosa before the eyes of her lover.
But they satisfied themselves with her death, and did not molest the
Jewish favourites whom she had patronized.

Alphonso IX. showed even greater favour to the Jews than had been
bestowed on them by his predecessors. Innocent III. repeated in
his instance the charge which Gregory VII. had brought against his
ancestor, ‘of elevating the Synagogue at the cost of the Church.’
He relieved both Jews and Moors, we are told, from the payment of
tithes, and allowed them to hold landed property,—a rare privilege
in those days. One of his laws—which allowed a Jew, in the event of
one of his slaves being converted to Christianity, to claim, at the
hands of the person who had converted him whatever indemnity he
might think proper—seems to be as unfair to the Christians as the
legislation of those times usually was to the Jews.

In Hungary, Germany, and Bohemia, their condition, during the period
we have under consideration, appears to have been prosperous.
Ladislas, King of Hungary, convened, we are told, a Synod in 1092,
in which various regulations relating to the Jews were made. It
was ordered that if a Jew bought a Christian slave of either
sex, the slave should be set at liberty, and the price paid for
him confiscated to the bishop. His son Coloman re-enacted this
prohibition against the use of Christian slaves, but permitted the
Jews to purchase and cultivate lands, on condition of employing
Jewish or pagan labour, and settling in such places only as were
under the jurisdiction of a bishop. These laws prove that the Jews
must have been both a numerous and wealthy part of the population.

In Germany and Bohemia they had many stately synagogues, particularly
in the great towns, and were not interfered with by the government.
Nevertheless, they did not escape persecution. A fanatic priest,
named Gotesel, incited a band of lawless ruffians, amounting in
number to fifteen thousand, to attack the Jews; and he was supported,
it is believed, in secret, by persons high in authority. He plundered
the property of the Jews, outraged their women, and massacred the
men all over Franconia. He then entered Hungary, and commenced
perpetrating the like atrocities; when he was attacked and slain,
together with the greater part of his followers. Soon afterwards
the Landgrave of Leiningen declared in like manner a religious war
against the Jews, and having assembled a body of troops, committed
great havoc among them, pursuing them at last, like his predecessor,
into Hungary; where, like his predecessor again, he was defeated and

In Russia, early in the twelfth century (A.D. 1113), there was a
savage outbreak in the city of Kief, against the Jews. The same cry
seems to have been raised which has so frequently been heard in other
lands, their accumulation of wealth, at the cost, it was supposed, of
their neighbours. The merciful Vladimir, who succeeded to the throne,
tried to protect them, but could only do so by assenting to their
expulsion from Russia. This was their first, and their longest, term
of banishment from any European country. They were not allowed to
return for 600 years.

During this period lived Solomon, called Rashi, or as it is more
commonly written, Jarchi. He was the most renowned of the many
commentators on the Talmud. It is said that no edition of that work
has appeared since his time which had not his commentary appended to
it. He was born A.D. 1040, and died A.D. 1105.


[103] Arnold, Archbishop of Cologne, also did his best to
discountenance the persecutors. He gave them the fortress of
Wolkenstein as a refuge, and they there made an armed and successful

[104] They were not readmitted without the enactment of several laws
which materially affected their future position. Among others, they
were obliged to wear a distinctive badge; and the persons to whom
they might lend money, the articles they might receive in pledge,
and the amount of interest they might require, were all settled by

[105] See a full discussion of this charge and its probable origin.
Appendix V.

[106] Rabbi Joseph has given us (vol. i. 30, 35) a long and terrible
picture of the barbarous cruelties inflicted at this period on his
countrymen, in consequence of their refusal ‘to submit to the proud
waters, or enter the House of Error’ (_i.e._, to be baptized, or be
admitted to the Church). Comp. Psalm cxxiv. 4.

                            CHAPTER XVI.

                    A.D. 1100-1200 (_continued_).


It has been noted in a previous chapter that, up to the end of
William Rufus’s reign, the chief hardship that befell the Jews in
England was, that the Norman kings extracted large sums from them,
partly as loans—for which, perhaps, payment was hardly contemplated
by either party—and partly as the price of the protection afforded
them. The same state of things continued during the reigns of Henry
I., Stephen, and Henry II. Throughout this long period,—not much
less than a hundred years,—the Jews continued to gather in riches
without molestation, to an extent which proved ruinous to themselves
in subsequent generations, little as they anticipated such a result
at the time.[107] There were not wanting signs, however, which
might have indicated the approaching danger. During the reign of
Stephen, A.D. 1145, the charge was made against the Jews,—for the
first time in England, if not in Europe,—of having kidnapped and
crucified a boy at Norwich, in contemptuous parody of the Saviour’s
passion. The case was brought before the notice of the king, and the
accused were adjudged to pay a fine to the Crown—a most suspicious
termination of the inquiry. No further outbreak, however, occurred:
and during the protracted reign of his successor, Henry II., the
same condition of things continued. That able and powerful monarch,
whatever might be his difficulties with the clergy, repressed with a
strong hand all overt acts of violence against the peculiar people,
who looked to him for protection.[108] But he could not prevent their
growing unpopularity. Society had become largely influenced by the
crusading spirit. The loss of Jerusalem,—which had been wrested by
so large an expenditure of blood and treasure from the hold of the
Infidel,—roused everywhere a more bitter feeling than ever against
the enemies of Christ. It was mainly through the Crusades that the
Jews had acquired their wealth; and the spectacle of unbelievers
living in ease and luxury, at the cost of the faithful servants
of Christ, whose bones were whitening the plains of Palestine, or
who had returned to England to pine in poverty, stirred public
indignation to the utmost. The train was already laid for a furious
onslaught upon them. It needed but a spark to bring about the

The crisis came almost immediately after the death of Henry. Anxious
at once to show their loyalty and secure the protection of the
new sovereign, the Jews sent a deputation, consisting of men of
the highest repute among them, to attend the coronation of King
Richard, and present him with rich gifts suitable to the occasion.
Their presence was regarded as a profanation of the ceremony, and
orders were sent them to stay away. They obeyed, but a few of their
number, supposing themselves unknown, or that they would not be
noticed, ventured into the Abbey. They were detected and dragged
violently out. The popular fury was inflamed. The houses of the Jews
were everywhere broken open, plundered, and set on fire. The king
endeavoured to put a stop to the riot, but in vain. The pillage and
murder went on throughout the entire night. On the following day
order was restored, many of the rioters were arrested, and a strict
inquiry made. Three were hanged, but it is a curious illustration
of the state of the public feeling of the day, that none of these
were punished for injuries done to the Jews. Two of the three had
robbed a Christian, pretending that he was a Jew, and the third had
set on fire the house of a Jew, but, unluckily for the offender, a
Christian’s house had been burned along with it. It would really seem
that, in the existing state of public feeling, the government dared
not punish any one for the simple offence of injuring a Jew!

The news of the outbreak ran like wild fire through the country, and
everywhere the rabble were roused to the same violence. In Norwich
and Stamford, and other large towns, the Jews were attacked, their
houses gutted, themselves maltreated and slain. At Lincoln, the
humane governor of the castle gave them timely warning. They retired
with their valuables within its shelter, and were preserved. At
York, a Jew named Benedict, who had declared himself a convert to
Christianity to save his life, and had afterwards recanted, became
the special object of popular fury. He had died of exhaustion
and terror before the commencement of the _émeute_; but the mob,
disregarding that circumstance, attacked his house, burned it to
the ground, and murdered his wife and children. The other Jews—as
many of them, that is, as had heard in time of the danger that
was threatening them—took refuge within the walls of York Castle,
thinking, probably, to escape as their brethren at Lincoln had done.
Those who were left behind were ruthlessly massacred, man, woman, and
child, a few only excepted, who submitted to be baptized.

The Jews within the castle seem to have been received favourably by
the governor. But they suspected him of treachery. Unhappily, their
Christian brethren had given them but too good reason for their
suspicious temper. A rumour was circulated among them that he meant
to open the gates to the rioters, conditionally on being rewarded
for his treachery by receiving a large portion of the plunder. One
day, when he had gone out into the town, they took the desperate step
of shutting the gates against him, and, manning the walls, declared
they would defend themselves against all who might attack them. The
governor’s indignation was roused to the utmost at this ingratitude.
It chanced that the sheriff of the county was in York, attended by an
armed force. The governor appealed to him to recapture the fortress
from the traitors who had seized it. The sheriff assented, and, aided
by the mob, made an assault on the castle. The besieged defended
themselves manfully, and for a long time kept their enemies at bay.
At last it became evident that they could resist no further. Then
their Rabbi, a man of learning and high character, addressed them,
and warned them that there was nothing but death before them—a speedy
and honourable death by their own hands, or a death attended by every
circumstance of insult and barbarity by the hands of their enemies.
Surely it was better to choose the first.

This proposal was agreed to by nearly all present. They collected
their valuables. Such as were combustible they burned, the rest they
buried. They then set fire to the castle in several places, slew,
first of all, their wives and children, and then one another. The
Rabbi was the last to die. He stabbed the last survivor of his flock,
and then drove the sword into his own heart. The fearful scene which
had taken place, a thousand years before, in the Castle of Masada,
was repeated, with scarcely any variation but those caused by the
difference of time and place. If any evidence were required of the
resolute and unchangeable character of the Jewish people, this story
would surely suffice.

In the morning a renewed assault was made, and then came the fearful
discovery of what had taken place. The conduct of the victors fully
justified the forebodings of the Rabbi; the few who had shrunk from
death at the hands of their countrymen were dragged out of their
hiding-places and butchered. Then the work of plunder began. The gold
and jewels were carefully secured, but the papers, of which there
was a great store, were burned. This was an unhappy mistake for the
rioters. The papers were mostly bonds and acknowledgments of debts,
the reversion of which, by the law, became the property of the Crown.
Consequently, by this act, large sums were forfeited which would have
enriched the royal treasury. The reader will not be surprised to
hear that a commission of inquiry was straightway sent down to York.
But the papers had been hopelessly destroyed, and the ringleaders of
the outrage had fled to Scotland. The chief citizens entered into
recognizances for the better observance of order; but it does not
appear that any of the perpetrators of this horrible murder of 500,
or some say 1500, innocent persons ever underwent any legal penalty.

When Richard returned from his captivity, however, he resolved to
place the affairs of the Jews in a more satisfactory condition. He
found that during his absence the utmost lawlessness had prevailed.
The Norman baron had been in the habit of seizing on any wealthy Jew,
carrying him to his castle, and inflicting any amount of torture on
him, till he paid the sum demanded of him.[109] He forbade this,
declaring the Jews to be the chattels of the Crown, with which it
would be treason to meddle. A special court in the king’s Exchequer
was set apart for the management of Jewish finances. The amount of
property belonging to every Jew was duly registered and assessed.
This was no doubt arbitrary and extortionate, but still it was better
than lawless pillage, and probably did not prevent the Jews from
continuing to amass large fortunes. During the remainder of his short
reign they experienced no further persecution.

Richard died in the last year of the century, and John, the cruellest
and most detestable of the English kings, succeeded to the throne.
But for a time his usage of the Jews was milder than that of any
of his predecessors. He issued a charter restoring to them all the
privileges they had possessed in the times of the pure Norman kings.
They might dwell where they pleased; might hold lands and fees; their
evidence was to be of equal value with that of Christians; and, if
charged with an offence, they could be tried only in the King’s
Court. With what motive this was done, it is not easy to say. John
may have simply wished to conciliate their goodwill and so induce
them to be as liberal to him as possible. But the suspicion that
he meant to allow them time and opportunity for accumulating vast
riches, and then seize on them himself, has much to justify it. It
is, again, not unlikely that the countenance which he showed them
rendered them more than ever odious to his subjects; and when this
became patent, he was in no way inclined to incur unpopularity on
their account.[110] Any way, some ten years after his accession,
there was a sudden and total change in his demeanour towards them.
Without any reason assigned, the whole of the Jews were arrested,
cast into prison, and their property confiscated to the Crown.
Suspecting that they had disclosed to the authorities only a portion
of their wealth, and that large secret hoards still existed, he
caused them to be put to the most cruel tortures, to compel them
to give up these also. The well-known tale of the Jew of Bristol,
of whom 10,000 marks of silver[111] were demanded, and who, on his
refusal, was sentenced to lose a tooth every day until he paid it, is
perfectly well authenticated. He allowed, it is related, seven of his
teeth to be knocked out of his head, and then, to save the remainder,
consented to the payment. The king is said to have obtained as much
as 60,000 marks by this pillage of his subjects. Nor did the cruelty
and injustice end here. The rebellious barons, regarding the Jews as
the property of the Crown, seized upon their treasures and demolished
their houses, to repair the breaches in the walls of London.

Before concluding the history of the twelfth century, it will be
proper to give some brief account of the various impostors claiming
to be the expected Messiah who made their appearance during its
continuance, and also to say something of the great doctors and
learned men who adorned the period in question.

As regards the first of these subjects—adventurers claiming to be the
Messiah of prophecy have put forward their pretensions throughout
the whole of Jewish history, from the times of Judas of Galilee to
those of which we are now writing; but never in such numbers as at
this era. The first of them appeared in France in 1137. He was put
to death, many synagogues were destroyed, and their congregations
severely punished on his account. Another followed, a few years
afterwards, in Spain, where he received the support of a learned
Rabbi in Cordova. Notwithstanding this, he seems to have had but
few disciples, and soon subsided into insignificance. A third, in
Moravia, attracted more attention. He claimed to have the power of
rendering himself invisible, and several times—it is presumed by the
help of some juggling trick—succeeded in escaping from his pursuers.
His followers at last, dreading the anger of the king, delivered him
up, and he was hanged.

Several more made their appearance in the East, chiefly in Arabia
and Persia. One of these, who had been cured, by what he thought
a miracle, of his leprosy, drew great multitudes after him. His
pretensions were exposed by the Jewish doctors; but nevertheless
large numbers of Jews were slain in consequence of the tumults he
excited. Another, an Arabian, is chiefly remarkable for the ingenuity
by which he escaped torture. He told the king that if his head should
be cut off he would rise again from the dead. The king instantly
beheaded him with his scimitar, but only to find that the impostor
had by this stratagem baffled his tormentors.

But the most famous of all was Eldavid, on whose strange history
Disraeli has founded his ‘Wondrous Tale of Alroy.’[112] He was
born about the middle of the twelfth century, in Amaria, a city
tributary to the sovereign of Persia. He was acquainted with
Talmudical learning, and had learned, it was said, some strange
cabalistic secrets. He raised an insurrection among his countrymen,
whom he deluded by several apparent miracles. After some unavailing
attempts to get him into their power, the Persians bribed his
father-in-law, with a promise of ten thousand crowns, to betray him.
His father-in-law invited him to a feast, and there assassinated him.


[107] At a Parliament held at Northampton, when it was proposed
to raise a tax for an expedition to the Holy Land, the Jews were
assessed at £60,000, and the whole of the rest of the population of
the country at £70,000 only.

[108] Two of these, similar to the outbreak in Stephen’s time,
occurred in 1160 and 1181. It has been shrewdly remarked, that the
Jews were always charged with this crime just at the times when the
kings wanted money.

[109] The readers of Sir Walter Scott will remember the graphic scene
in ‘Ivanhoe,’ where Front de Bœuf threatens to roast Isaac of York
alive, unless he pays his demand.

[110] It is said that, deceived probably by the long continuance of
their immunity from ill-usage, the Jews had begun to make display of
their wealth, in a manner which gave great offence to the citizens of
London; who treated them, in consequence, with many indignities. This
had reached the king’s ears, and he wrote a letter to them respecting

[111] Between six and seven thousand pounds, English money.

[112] His history is given in detail by the celebrated Benjamin of

                            CHAPTER XVII.


It would be impossible, within the limits of a work like this, to
give even an outline of the great schools of Jewish learning, which
date from an age anterior to the coming of Christ, and have been
continued even to modern times. The mere enumeration of the names of
their renowned Rabbins, each the author of some profound thesis or
learned commentary, would fill a volume. During the gloomiest ages
of Christendom, when the lamp of learning was all but extinct, even
in the cloister, where alone it glimmered, the Jews had light in
their dwellings, like their ancestors of old who sojourned in Goshen,
while the world without was wrapped in Egyptian darkness. They are,
as a rule, but little known to ordinary readers, one reason of which
doubtless is, that they concern themselves mainly with subjects
which very nearly affect their own people, and find exercise for
their peculiar mode of thought, but which neither suit the fancy nor
awaken the interest of other races. Their treatises on the Talmuds
and the Cabbala, on cosmogony and judicial astrology, even their
commentaries on the Pentateuch and the Hebrew Prophets, are read
with profound attention by their own people; but their learning and
ability is lost on other readers. Nevertheless, there are some great
names among their literary celebrities, which are familiar to the
ears of all students, and with which all ought to be acquainted who
would know anything of their history. There are three in particular,
belonging nearly to the era with which we are now dealing, which
ought not to be passed over. These are Aben Ezra, Moses the son of
Maimon, commonly known as Maimonides, and Benjamin of Tudela.

Aben Ezra was born about A.D. 1092 at Toledo, of a family already
distinguished for learning and literary ability. He was an eminent
commentator and Cabbalist, a writer on grammar, philosophy,
mathematics, and astronomy, celebrated also as a physician and a
poet. His commentaries include nearly the whole of the Old Testament,
the earlier prophets being the only ones on which he has not written.
Being a man of substance, he was able to gratify his fancy for
travelling, which was a rare taste in those days, but possessed
by several others of his brethren also. The places at which his
various writings were composed may serve to illustrate the extent
of his wanderings. Thus one of his treatises is dated from Mantua,
another from Rome, a third from London, and a fourth from some Greek
city, and the like. He visited Africa also, as well as Palestine,
and conferred with learned men of his own race at Tiberias, where
the Patriarch of the West had once fixed his abode. He died on his
return from this pilgrimage, in his seventy-fifth year, A.D. 1174.
Posterity has bestowed on him the title of ‘Hachacham, or the Wise,’
and learned men of all races and ages have done justice to his genius
and learning.[113]

Still more renowned for the extent and variety of his knowledge
was Moses Maimonides. He was born March 30th, 1135, in Cordova.
His father, Maimon, held the office of Judge of the Jews in his
native city, which, indeed, for generations past had been almost
hereditary in his family. Two different accounts are given us of
his early youth; one says that he showed from the first symptoms
of extraordinary ability, and his father began, almost from his
cradle, to instruct him in the elements of science; the other, that
he was treated by his family generally with contempt, because his
mother had been a woman of inferior birth, and by his father with
harshness, on account of his intellectual dulness. According to
the latter statement, he was sent away from home to be under the
charge of another teacher, but returned home so greatly improved in
learning and manners that the opinion of his relatives respecting
him was altogether changed. He studied astronomy and medicine under
the famous Averroes. It was in this last-named science that he
became especially excellent, both as a practitioner and a writer.
From Averroes, also, he acquired the knowledge of the writings of
Aristotle, which were unknown in Western Europe at this date.

Intrigues among the Jews of Cordova obliged Maimon to fly with his
family from Spain, and take refuge in Morocco; but after a short
residence in that country he removed to Egypt, and settled at Cairo.
Maimon died soon afterwards, and his two sons maintained themselves
for a while by trading in jewels; but a revolution having taken
place in Egypt, by reason of the conquest of the country by the
Turks, Maimonides attached himself to Abdebrahim, one of the Turkish
generals, whom he served in the twofold capacity of counsellor and
physician. Though we do not hear of his having previously practised
medicine, it is probable that he did so, as his knowledge of it
appears to have been always considerable. Through his connection with
his Turkish employer he was not long afterwards brought to the notice
of the famous Saladin, now Soldan of Egypt, who took him into his
employ as his physician. He retained this post at the court not only
of Saladin but of his successor, until his death in 1204. There was,
however, a very unhappy episode in his life during this period, when
he was accused of having attempted to poison the Sultan; and he was
in consequence sent away in disgrace from the court. He is said to
have spent the whole time of his exile in a cave, where he studied
incessantly, filling many volumes with the fruits of his researches.
He was afterwards recalled and replaced in his former office. During
what is called the Third Crusade, we are told that he was invited to
attend the English King, Richard Cœur de Lion, during his illness,
but that he declined the office.

Maimonides had advanced far beyond his contemporaries in knowledge.
Instructed in the philosophy of Aristotle, and a devout student of
Plato, his mind broke loose from the fetters of Judaical Rabbinism,
and sought to base religion on philosophy rather than on revelation.
At one period of his life it is known that he did, under strong
external pressure, make an outward profession of Mahometanism, or
at least conformed to its ritual. Possibly his experience of its
rigid stereotyped creed—on account of which Gibbon has bestowed such
strange praise upon it—may have made him less tolerant of the fetters
of Rabbinical tradition. It is certain that he introduced new lights
and strange forms of thought into his teaching, which alarmed and
irritated his brother Rabbins. His opinions were attacked by able and
learned men; their supposed errors exposed and condemned. In France,
more particularly, the feeling against them became so strong that his
works were publicly burned as heretical. A fierce warfare was waged
over his writings, which lasted many years, but ended at last in his
entire restoration to the respect and admiration of his countrymen. A
deputation was sent, in 1232, to his grave in Hebron, to ask pardon
of his ashes. If strict justice were done in this life, of how many
of its greatest men would not the same entreaty for forgiveness have
to be asked! In Maimonides’ instance, at all events, the entreaty
was sincere. He is now acknowledged by the Jews to have been the
greatest man that has arisen among them since the days of the great
Lawgiver who led them out of Egypt. Their common saying about him is,
‘From Moses to Moses there arose not a Moses!’ His writings consist
of commentaries and expositions, partly of Scripture, partly of
the Talmuds, treatises on logic, metaphysics, medicine, astrology,
natural history, and other subjects, in such numbers that they would
of themselves form an extensive library.

Here also should be mentioned some others of the chief writers of
that golden age of Jewish literature—the three Kimchis, Moses,
Joseph, and David, born in 1160, 1190, and 1192, all of them Jews
of Spanish descent, but natives of Narbonne, and renowned for their
ability and learning. David, the most distinguished of the three,
was the author of a Hebrew grammar and dictionary of such excellence
that he obtained the title of the ‘Prince of Grammarians.’ In the
great struggle of those days between the supporters and opponents of
science, he ranged himself on the side of the former, and travelled
into Spain to endeavour to form a league of those who held his views;
and, though we are told he did not prosper in his errand, we cannot
doubt that his advocacy had its effect in the ultimate determination
of the question.

Nor ought the celebrated Moses ben Nachman, generally known as
Nachmanides, to be passed over, though he belongs to a generation
later than the above. He is chiefly remarkable for the part he took
in the public disputation held at Barcelona in 1263, by order of the
King of Spain, between the Jews and the Christians. Pablo, said to be
a converted Jew, was the disputant on the side of the Christians, and
Nachmanides on that of his own people. It lasted four days, and the
reader has already been informed that both sides claimed the victory.
Nachmanides subsequently emigrated to Palestine, where he died.

But the writer of this period with whom we are most deeply concerned
is not a divine or a philosopher, but a traveller, the well-known
Benjamin of Tudela. He is one of the earliest, if not the earliest,
of the mediæval travellers—two centuries before Maundeville and Marco
Polo. Like the first-named of those authors, he appears anxious to
record everything he has seen or heard, of what were in his day the
strange and unexplored regions of the East. He cannot match with Sir
John Maundeville for monstrous and extravagant fictions; but a very
large percentage of his statements must be accepted with doubt and
caution. Especially is this the case where the credit of his own
people is concerned.

He was born in Tudela, a city of Navarre, somewhere near the
beginning of the twelfth century. He left Spain in 1260, and spent
about fifteen years in visiting the various Jewish colonies in
the East and West. He tells us that in Persia and the contiguous
countries he found numerous communities of his countrymen, mostly
living at their ease, and enjoying the free exercise of their
religion. Thus, at Bassorah, a city situated on an island in the
Tigris, he found a colony of four thousand Jews; at Almozal, a city
built on the site of ancient Nineveh, out of the _débris_ of its
ruins, there were as many as seven thousand, ruled over by Zacchæus,
a prince claiming descent from David. Journeying thence to Bagdad,
he passed Rehoboth, where he found two thousand, and at Elnabar, the
ancient Pumbeditha, celebrated of old as the centre of Rabbinical
learning, but now fallen from its high estate and sunk to little
better than a village, there were still a few doctors and students,
and two thousand inhabitants.

Reaching Bagdad, at that time under the rule of Mostanged, a prince
who protected and favoured the Jews, he found as many as twenty-eight
synagogues, and ten courts, each presided over by one of the chief
men of the nation. These ten were called the ‘ten idle men,’ and
were subject to an official whom he styles, after the ancient title,
‘the Prince of the Captivity.’ He affirms that the authority of
this dignitary extended over all the Jews under the dominion of the
Caliph of Bagdad, from Syria eastward as far as India. He assures
us that he was regarded in the light of a potentate to whom even
the Mahometans were obliged to render reverence, rising up when he
entered their presence, and bowing their heads as he passed; and he
was escorted wherever he went by a hundred soldiers. It is difficult
to reconcile these statements with what we are told of the entire
suppression of the Princes of the Captivity nearly two centuries

Leaving Bagdad, he visited Resen, Hela, Cufa, and Thema, in each
of which he found large and flourishing Jewish populations, and
then passed on into Egypt. Here he found his countrymen still more
numerous. He mentions a city which he visited, called Chouts, where
there were as many as thirty thousand. But no city so called is known
to geographers; and it is plain, from the errors with which this part
of his narrative is filled, that he either picked up information at
second-hand without inquiry, or was extremely hasty and superficial
in his researches.

He next explored the Holy Land, which, if his account is to be
trusted, had been at this time almost emptied of its Hebrew
inhabitants, those who still dwelt there having been reduced to a
condition of poverty and wretchedness. In Ascalon he found but one
hundred and fifty Jews; in Tiberias, anciently the central point
of Western Rabbinism, there were but fifty; in Jerusalem itself,
scarcely two hundred. In Tyre and Shunem they were more numerous,
five hundred in the one, and three hundred in the other. But, as a
rule, the cities of Palestine could hardly have contained ten Jews
out of every thousand inhabitants. The disappearance of the Hebrew
residents was probably owing to the exterminating swords of the

Leaving Palestine, Benjamin travelled through Greece, Constantinople,
Italy, and Germany, in all of which the Jewish population was greatly
less than we should have anticipated—due, it is to be feared, in a
great measure, to the cruel and devouring sword of persecution, which
had been at work with fatal effect for several generations past.


[113] Among his other accomplishments, he was, we are told, a skilful
chess-player. The Jews were famous for their passion for and skill at
that game. Among Aben Ezra’s writings was a poem on chess, which was
rendered into Latin, and published at Oxford in 1694.

                           CHAPTER XVIII.

                           A.D. 1200-1300.

                   THE JEWS IN FRANCE AND GERMANY.

In France, during the first quarter of the thirteenth century, no
persecutions of the Jews are recorded. In the south their condition
appears to have been prosperous. They were protected by Raymond, the
heretic but powerful Count of Toulouse. One of the bitterest charges
made against him by Innocent III. was, that he employed and favoured
Jews; and when, after his submission, he had to sign the conditions
on which his offences would be overlooked, one of them was, that he
should no longer employ Jewish officers.

In 1223, Philip Augustus died, and was succeeded by Louis VIII.,
called, it is to be presumed in mockery, Louis the Lion. During his
short reign of three years, we hear that he passed a decree annulling
all future interest on debts incurred to Jews, and ordering the
payment of the capital, in three separate instalments, each after the
interval of a year.

In 1226, Louis VIII. died, and his son, the renowned Louis IX., known
to history as St. Louis, succeeded to the throne. He was at the time
a minor, and France was under the Regency of Blanche of Castile for
nearly ten years. Louis’s first act seems to have been the annulling
of one third of all debts due to Jews, and an immunity from arrest or
distraint for the two remaining portions. He also called a council at
Melun on the Seine, which forbade Christian men, for the future, to
borrow money from the Jews on any terms. He is said to have issued
this order ‘for the good of his soul.’ How this could be does not
clearly appear. Possibly he felt so strongly the power and the will
of the Jews to use their money-lending facilities in an oppressive
way that he sought in this way to prevent their injurious influence.
Or he may have regarded the scriptural prohibitions addressed to the
Jews, against lending their money on usury _to their own countrymen_,
as applying to _all_ loans on usury, though Scripture expressly
asserts otherwise (Deut. xxiii. 20). That this was so seems evident
from the fact that Louis’s enactment was levelled as much against the
Lombards and Caorsini[114] usurers as against the Jews. It would seem
that Louis wished to induce them to abandon usury for agriculture or
handicraft, as was also the desire of his contemporary Edward I. of
England. But both monarchs failed in the attempt.

In the state to which matters had now grown, it would have been next
to impossible to abate the dislike of the people to them, so as to
induce them to permit the Jews to engage in the work either of the
artisan or the peasant. The hatred of the populace was in no way
abated by the quiet of the last forty years. In 1239 there were riots
in Paris and Orleans, and other great cities, on the old charge of
crucifying boys at the Passover, in which property was wrecked and
wholesale murders took place. At Ploermel, in Brittany, the duke
of that country summoned an assembly of the nobles and bishops, at
which it was declared that agriculture was ruined by the monstrous
exactions of the Jews; and a series of laws were passed, which for
injustice and cruelty exceed any ever put forth in any country. It
was decreed that all debts to Jews should be cancelled; that all Jews
should be banished from the country; that no person who should kill
a Jew should be liable to prosecution for it; and that no judge or
magistrate should take cognisance of any such offence. A petition was
further addressed to the King of France, requesting him to carry out
the same regulations throughout his dominions. The Council of Lyons,
held in the ensuing year, required all Christian princes, on pain
of excommunication, to force the Jews in their several territories
to refund to the Crusaders the sums they had exacted from them. The
Jews were forbidden to exact any debt from a Crusader’s family,
until he himself returned from Palestine, or until satisfactory
evidence of his death had been produced. Another Council prohibited
them from practising as physicians, ‘because, being in direct league
with Satan, if they did cure any one, it would probably be by their
master’s aid!’ Whatever evils men experienced, for which they were
unable to assign any special cause, were supposed to be due to the
secret spells and diabolical influence of the Jews, much as in a
succeeding generation the same evils were attributed to witchcraft.
The main source and centre of their evil knowledge was supposed to
be the mysterious and terrible Talmud. Edicts were issued for its
destruction, and it was burned, we are told, by cartloads in the
streets of Paris.

A considerable exodus seems to have followed on these measures; which
was taken advantage of by the king, who seized on the goods of those
who had taken flight, and thus raised money for the crusade on which
he was about to enter. About the same time he ordered them to wear a
special badge, called the _rouelle_—a piece of blue cloth worn both
on the front and on the back of the Jewish gabardine.

Notwithstanding these severities, it is plain that Louis was actuated
more by a desire of converting the Jews to Christ than of venting
his horror and hate of them. We read of a solemn conference held
in the year 1254 between Rabbi Jechiel and a convert from Judaism,
named Nicolas, before Blanche, who acted as regent during her son’s
absence. Both parties claimed the victory; neither, consequently,
underwent any conversion. It was probably disappointment at this
result which induced Louis to send home orders that they should now
be banished from the realm, which, we are told, the queen-mother
punctually executed.

During Louis’s absence occurred also the first ‘rising of the
shepherds,’ as it is called. This was led by an apostate Hungarian
monk, who had originally been a Mussulman. The avowed purpose was the
rescue of King Louis from the hands of his enemies. They committed
pillage and murder wherever they went, but the Jews were the especial
objects of their violence. It is probable that if they had confined
their outrages to them, they might have escaped punishment. But
the massacre of the Christians could not be overlooked, especially
of priests and friars; and the Hungarian and his followers were
overpowered and slain.

Philip the Hardy succeeded to the throne in 1270, and one of
his first acts was to recall the Jews to France, it having been
discovered that, however much the people might complain of their
avarice and exactions, they got on considerably worse without them.
It is said that during his reign, which lasted for twenty-five years,
they continued unmolested, and again gathered in great riches. They
were banished, however, from Gascony, in 1288, by Edward I. of
England, a preliminary measure, one might think, to his expulsion
of them from his English domains. A story is told by Walsingham of
his having taken this step in consequence of a miraculous escape
which he had from being struck dead by a flash of lightning, which
passed directly over his bed and killed two of his chamberlains
who were standing close by. As a sign of his gratitude for this
deliverance, he is said to have banished the Jews. Edward was a man
rather in advance of his day, and it is difficult to believe that
he could have thought that the merciless banishment of the Jews
would be a fit requital of mercy shown to him. We shall see more of
his motives in an ensuing chapter. But it is proper to remark that
this age, apparently beyond any other, credited the most extravagant
conceptions respecting the Satanic hatred of the Jews for the
Christian mysteries. They are continually charged with endeavouring
to possess themselves of the sacred wafer, and then offering it
the grossest insults, their sacrilege being as often exposed and
punished by some special miracle. A woman is persuaded by a Jew to
convey to him the consecrated host, which he stabs in several places,
whereupon it bleeds profusely; and some Christian customers, coming
in, see it, and indict him for the offence; or he puts the wafer
into his purse, in which are a number of silver pieces, and these
are turned into seven wafers, similar to the one he had placed among
them. Staggered by the miracle, he becomes a convert to the gospel.
Stories like these are continually to be met with. That the mass of
the people believed them is beyond dispute; but whether the more
intelligent among the clergy attached any real faith to such tales,
or simply used them as a means of accomplishing their own ends, in
exciting popular fury against the Jews, is a matter very difficult to

In 1285, Philip IV., called the Fair, the shameless murderer of
the Knights Templars, succeeded his father. His first acts were
extremely hostile to the Church, but he showed no lenity to the
Jews. Six years after his accession, he repeated the act of several
of his predecessors, and expelled them from the kingdom. It does
not appear that the banishment was rigidly enforced, as we find a
second expulsion taking place not many years afterwards. In fact,
these repeated sentences of exile and subsequent recall read very
much as though they were simply regular stages in a prescribed system
of spoliation. After the Jews had been resident in a country a
sufficient length of time to have amassed wealth enough to be worth
seizing upon, it was discovered that they had been guilty of some
terrible wickedness, which rendered it impossible for a Christian
sovereign to tolerate them within his dominions. They had seized some
Christian boy, perhaps, and indulged their natural hate at once of
the Saviour and His worshippers, by subjecting him to death on the
cross. The fact that they had done so was made abundantly clear by
some astounding miracle, which rendered human testimony needless.
The immediate authors of the deed were executed, and their property
confiscated to the Crown, and their countrymen were condemned to
forfeit all but their movables, and with these to quit the realm.
Sometimes the charge was varied, and they were found to have poisoned
wells, or leagued with some foreign enemies, or (as we have seen)
profaned or insulted the Host. But it always came to the same result.
The Jews were driven out of the land, until they were in a condition
to pay a large sum for readmission; and then the king, in the midst
of his just anger, remembered mercy, and allowed them to return and
grow rich, until their renewed wealth brought some fresh wickedness
to light.

In Germany, though the virulence of both clergy and people seems
to have been very nearly of the same character as in France, the
sovereigns of the country were evidently disposed to extend the
shield of their protection over this unhappy and persecuted race.
Frederick II., a monarch whose character forms a curious and
interesting study, dealt with them in a manner which contrasts
strangely with the demeanour of contemporary rulers towards them. At
Hagenau, in Lower Alsatia, three children had been found dead in the
house of a Jew. There was no evidence that the Jew had murdered them;
but the tale was instantly conveyed to the emperor with a demand for
vengeance. ‘Three children found dead! Let them be buried then,’
was his answer. He followed up this novel mode of dealing with the
matter, by causing a judicial inquiry to be made as to whether it
was a regular Jewish custom to sacrifice Christian children at the
feast of the Passover. Of course no legal tribunal could give any
other decision than that there was no sort of evidence of such a

At the Council of Vienna, held in 1267, restrictions unheard of
even in the harshest times were proposed and ordered. The Jews were
forbidden to hold even the most ordinary intercourse of every-day
life with the Christians. They were not to be allowed to use the
public baths, or put up at the public inns, or to accept any public
contract, or employ any Christian servant. To the requirements
already exacted of them was added that of wearing a high peaked cap,
which at once and inevitably declared their nationality. A permit
must be purchased, before it could be lawful for any one to buy meat
of a Jew.

At Munich, in 1287, an old woman having confessed that she had sold a
child to the Jews, whose blood they intended to use for some unholy
purpose, the rabble, without further inquiry, slaughtered all the
Jews on whom they could lay their hands. The city guard, unable to
quell the tumult, advised the Jews to retire for safety into their
synagogue, which being a building of solid stone, was likely to be
secure against violence. But the populace attacked and destroyed it,
and all within it, notwithstanding the efforts of the duke himself to
protect them.

To close the horrors of this century, there was another frightful
massacre of the Jews at Nuremburg in 1292. A fanatic peasant, named
Raind Fleish, gave out, during the war raging between Nassau and
Austria, that he had been sent by Almighty God to exterminate the
whole race of Israel. The people, believing him, set upon the Jews
in Nuremburg and the other Bavarian cities, and burnt all that fell
into their hands. The others, preferring to die by their own act
rather than by the swords of their enemies, set their own houses on
fire, and perished with their wives and children in the flames.


[114] Caorsini, Italian usurers who drove a great trade in

[115] As an instance of the unbounded credulity of the people as
to any accusation made against the Jews, it was affirmed that they
had entered into a league with the Mongolian Tartars, to enter and
overrun Germany. They had loaded a number of waggons, it is said,
with arms for their use, and pretended that the casks in which their
arms were conveyed contained poisoned wine, which the Mongolians
would unsuspectingly drink, and so be destroyed. The story was
generally believed.

                            CHAPTER XIX.

                     A.D. 1200-1300—_continued_.

                         THE JEWS IN SPAIN.

Turning now to Spain, we find that the Jews, during this century,
still continued to enjoy, if not the full measure of justice to which
they were entitled, yet nevertheless an amount of it which contrasts
favourably with the treatment they underwent in other lands. The
wisdom, justice, and clemency also shown by the Spanish kings on many
occasions are so unlike the spirit manifested in after generations,
that we can hardly believe that we are writing of the same Spain
which approved the barbarities of Torquemada, or the horrors of the
Jewish exodus.

James (or Jayme) I. of Aragon, who began his long reign early in
this century, is said to have granted especial favour to the Jews,
notwithstanding that he showed a very persecuting spirit in the
instance of the Albigenses. He often sought instruction of Jewish
Rabbins, and used their books of prayer in his private devotions,
and even, it is said, would not permit a Spanish translation of the
Old Testament to be introduced into his dominions, because of the
value he set on that made by David Kimchi. His confessor Raimond
is believed to have been in a great measure the cause of his kindly
feeling towards the Jews, being wise enough to know that if the Jews
were to be converted, the best chance of accomplishing it was by
the exercise of mildness and charity.[116] Regulations were passed
in the earlier years of the century,[117] with a view of preventing
the excessive usury exacted of Christians by Jews; but they are not
of a kind to be greatly complained of. The Jews are not to lend at
a higher rate of interest than 20 per cent., they are not to charge
compound interest, and the interest is never to exceed the sum lent.
The Jew, before advancing the loan, is to swear in a public court,
on the law of Moses and the Decalogue, that he will adhere to the
law. A Jew who lends on illegal terms is to lose the amount of the
loan. A decree made by the Cortes at Barcelona, in 1228, however,
deals a more serious blow to the Jews. It enacts that if there is no
documentary evidence of a debt, the oath of a Jew is not to be held
sufficient to establish it. We may not approve of these regulations,
but they cannot be regarded as grievously oppressive.

It was perhaps through James’s influence with Ferdinand of Castile
that the attempt to rouse popular feeling against the Jews in
Saragossa, A.D. 1248, proved a failure. A report was circulated, that
a chorister, named Dominic, belonging to the cathedral, had been
stolen by the Jews and crucified. The crime was discovered through
the appearance of a miraculous light over the chorister’s grave. The
body was disinterred and carried into the cathedral, where it was
treated as that of a martyr and saint. The usual amount of obloquy
and insult to the Jews resulted; but no steps were taken by the
authorities, and no excesses permitted.

In 1263, James, who in his later years is said to have been greatly
under the influence of the Dominicans, ordered a public disputation
upon the relative merits of Judaism and Christianity to be held
at Barcelona. The advocate on the side of the Christians was one
Pablo, a Jewish convert; on that of the Jews, the renowned Rabbi
Nachmanides. The inevitable result followed—both parties claimed the
victory. It was at all events so far favourable to the Jews, that
it excited the alarm of Pope Clement IV., who urged James to drive
the Jews out of his realm, as being dangerous to the faith of the
Christians. But the king took no further step than that of levying a
tax on them, to defray the expenses of the Christian advocate, Pablo,
who was sent on a kind of tour through the great Spanish cities, with
authority to hold conferences with the Jews wherever he pleased.
Nachmanides, the Jewish champion, possibly dreading Clement’s
hostility, soon afterwards migrated from Spain to the Holy Land.

The Jews had two other protectors in Ferdinand III. of Castile
(already mentioned), commonly known as Saint Ferdinand, and his son
Alphonso, called in history ‘the Wise.’ Ferdinand, who reigned from
1217 to 1252, uniformly treated the Jews with justice and leniency.
When his son captured Seville from the Moors in 1248, he set apart,
doubtless by his father’s direction, three parishes (those of
Santa Maria, Saint Bartholomew, and Santa Cruz) for the residence
of the Jews, as well as three Mahometan mosques, which they might
convert into synagogues. Under these princes the celebrated college
at Cordova was transferred to Toledo; which henceforth became the
principal school of Jewish learning in Spain.

Alphonso was the author of the code of laws known as _Las Siete
Partidas_, which, though it contains much that an after age must
needs condemn as unjust,[118] has also many wise and equitable
enactments, such as we could hardly have looked for in the
legislation of that age. Thus it orders ‘that no force shall be used
to make Jews turn Christians, but rather good example, kindness,
and the maxims of the Holy Scriptures.’ Again, ‘that synagogues
are buildings where God’s name is praised, therefore Christians
shall not presume to destroy or plunder them.’ ‘No Christians are
to cause molestations to Jews while engaged at their prayers.’
Again, ‘Saturday is a day whereon Jews observe their Sabbath. As
they are bound by their religion to observe that day, no person is
to summon them, or bring them to judgment thereon. If any sentence
should be passed upon them on that day, it shall be null and void.’
No doubt there are, as has been already remarked, many oppressive
and indefensible laws in the same code, such as those which forbid
the Jews to hold any public post, or eat and drink, or join in
merry-makings with Christians, or use the same baths with them, or
administer to them any medicine, for fear it should be poisoned, and
the like. But these are all in the prevalent temper and spirit of the
day; and our only surprise is, that the same fountain should in this
manner send forth sweet as well as bitter water.

A few years afterwards (A.D. 1255) an equally malignant attempt
was made to destroy the Jews. Three persons belonging to Osuna, in
Andalusia, threw a corpse into the house of a Jew; then, pretending
to find it there by chance, they brought the usual charge of murder
against the owner of the house. The story was speedily circulated
through the city, and roused the populace to fury. Many Jews were
killed in the streets; many more took refuge in the houses of
Christian friends. It was the season of the Passover, during which
the Jews refuse to eat any but unleavened bread; and not finding this
in the houses of their Christian friends, many were in danger of
starvation. At Palma also the same story was circulated, and caused
a similar outbreak. The Jews held a consultation, and resolved that
the only hope of preventing the mischief from spreading further lay
in sending to King Alphonso a deputation, requesting him to make
inquiry into the matter. But the news of this intention got abroad;
the deputies were pursued by their enemies, and had a narrow escape
of being murdered on their journey. They evaded their pursuers, but
to do so were forced to quit the high road and take shelter in a
wood. The consequence was, that when they reached the capital they
found that their enemies had already arrived, and had preferred their
accusation against them. They had, however, in King Alphonso not
only a just but an extremely sagacious judge; and their case was so
strong that it hardly needed the able advocacy of their delegate,
Rabbi Joseph, to ensure success. It was brought to light that one
Juan de Vera had owed money to the owner of the house in which the
corpse had been found, and that he was extremely anxious to be quit
of his debt without the disagreeable necessity of paying the money.
His accomplices confessed that, at his instigation, they had broken
open a tomb, from which they had abstracted the corpse which had been
found in the Jew’s house. The grave was again opened by the king’s
order, and found to be empty. The acquittal of the Jew followed; and
the king sent away the deputies in friendly sort, yet not without a
recommendation to them to reduce their rate of usury and abate the
costliness and ostentation of their mode of living; for that these
things provoked the enmity of the Christians towards them.

This is a remarkable tale, from the contrast it presents to the
numberless similar occurrences which the history of this and
succeeding centuries records. The calm judicial inquiry, in which
the evidence given on both sides was attentively listened to and
dispassionately sifted, stands out in strong relief against the
incoherent and contradictory charges, the refusal to listen to
explanation or argument, and the invincible prejudice displayed on
other occasions. But it may be doubted whether the most remarkable
fact is not the character of King Alphonso himself. It is wonderful
that a man so enlightened as he showed himself on many points[119]
could have adopted the monstrous bigotry he proclaimed on others. We
must, I suppose, conclude that, like the philosopher in Coleridge’s
‘Friend,’ he thought it better to roll in the mire of the common
prejudice of his fellow men, than remain isolated from them in
solitary cleanliness.

Interesting evidences of the numbers and wealth of the Jews are
to be found at this period. An assessment was made in 1286 of the
Jews in the three kingdoms of Sancho, the son of Alphonso X., two
years after his accession. It appeared that there were in Leon,
Castile, and Murcia, 700,000 male Jews above the age of sixteen.
The total number, therefore, including women and children, must
have exceeded two millions. The annual dues paid by them amounted
to 2,310,021 maravedis, nearly one hundred thousand pounds of our
money. Considering the enormous difference in value of the precious
metals in those times and our own, this proves that the wealth of the
Jews must have been extraordinarily great. It is proper, however, to
add that both the numbers of the Jews and the amount paid are given
somewhat differently by other writers.

In this century two Jewish impostors made their appearance, and
obtained great influence over their countrymen, though the falsehoods
they palmed off were different from those usually put forward by
adventurers of their class. The first of them, one Zechariah, did
not himself claim to be the Messiah, but to have discovered a new
mode of interpreting prophecy, which showed, beyond dispute, that He
was close at hand. A belief prevailed among the Jews, that if any man
could attain to a correct pronunciation of the presumedly ineffable
name of God, he would thereby acquire all knowledge and all power.
Zechariah professed to have done this, and on that ground claimed to
declare positively the day of the Messiah’s appearing. The Jews—a
large part of them, that is—credited his pretensions, and went on
the appointed day to their synagogue, clothed in white to receive
their Deliverer.[120] What became of the impostor does not seem to be

The second pretender professed to have obtained a complete copy of
the book Zohar,[121] of which only fragments were known to exist.
He was a Rabbi, named Moses de Leon, who, being unable to support
himself and his family by the income of his synagogue, devised this
mode of raising money. It seems to have been a considerable time
before it was discovered that the missing portions of the book were
supplied from his own imagination. The credulity of the Jews, in
general so astute, in this and similar matters, is very surprising.

In A.D. 1291, James II. succeeded to the throne of Aragon. He was
as anxious as his predecessor had been for the conversion of the
Jews, and issued several edicts with that design. He ordered that
the Jews should attend the lectures delivered by Dominican friars on
the points of difference between the Jewish and Christian faith, and
further, be required to answer, if they could, the arguments of their
instructors. If they refused to attend; probably—though this is not
recorded—also if they refused to embark in a controversy, in which
success would be more dangerous to them than defeat, they were to
suffer such corporal punishment as the friars should adjudge.

This, however, was all that was imposed. The young king refused to
repeal the righteous and merciful laws of his great-grandfather and
grandfather; and strict justice to the Jews remained the rule in
Spain until the thirteenth century came to its close.


[116] Raimond has been supposed by many to have been the author of
the famous _Pugio Fidei_, a severe attack on the Jews. But that book
did not appear till three centuries after his time, and was probably
the work of a Dominican of the same name.

[117] At Tarragona, A.D. 1233 and again 1234.

[118] There can be little doubt that Alphonso knew how far he could
venture in his efforts to uphold reason and justice, and where he
must yield to the deeply rooted prejudices of his people. Had he
attempted more, he would probably have failed to effect anything.

[119] He was pressed at the trial at Osuna to put the accused Jews to
the torture, in order to extract evidence which would satisfactorily
prove whether they had done the deed or not. Alphonso refused. He
said that he had, two years before, allowed two Jews to be racked
in order to discover whether they had stolen two golden goblets.
Under the torture they confessed the theft, and were executed for
it. Shortly afterwards the goblets were found in the possession
of a servant. ‘Therefore,’ said the king, ‘I will have no more
examinations by torture. It is evident that the confessions extracted
by them are worth nothing.’ No conclusion could be more sound. But
before another judge it would have been urged and believed that the
Jews, or their ally Satan, had hidden the goblets in a servant’s
chest, in order that a Christian might be unrighteously charged with
the crime of a Jew.

[120] As these occurrences were nothing in those times without a
miracle, it has been further declared that the Jews, when they
entered the synagogue, perceived that their white dresses were
covered with red crosses. This, however, is only the statement of a
monk, a convert from Judaism who wrote two hundred years afterwards.

[121] He is even believed by some to have forged the entire book, as
it now exists.

                             CHAPTER XX.

                     A.D. 1200-1300—_continued_.

                        THE JEWS IN ENGLAND.

Henry III. was a minor when the death of his father, A.D. 1216,
placed him on the throne. Pembroke and his colleagues, who governed
England in his name, began by treating the Jews with greater
mildness. They were released from prison; and twenty-four of the
principal men in every town where they resided[122] were appointed
to act as the protectors of their persons and possessions. They were
declared exempt from spiritual authority, and the property of the
sovereign alone; and the excommunications pronounced by their Rabbins
were to be enforced by law. They were ordered, however, to wear the
badge previously imposed, two strips of white cloth,[123] sewn on a
conspicuous part of their dress, which may, as Milman remarks, have
been intended to mark them as the royal property, and so save them
from injury; but which was nevertheless far more likely to make them
the objects of popular contumely.

In truth, though the kings might pretend to resent affronts and
wrongs offered to them, they were, and all men knew that they were,
unable to extend any real protection to them, even had they been
anxious to do so. All classes of men became, as time went on, more
and more determinedly set against them. The barons, on whose estates
they held heavy mortgages; the merchants, who found the trade of the
country, in spite of all their own efforts, getting into the hands
of the Jews; the common people, who resented Jewish riches, which
contrasted with their own grinding poverty; above all, the clergy,
to whose warnings and threatenings they would not listen—all these
bore a bitter grudge against them, which grew more bitter in every
succeeding generation. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury,
together with some of his suffragans, put forth a decree, A.D. 1222,
forbidding all Christian men, on pain of excommunication, to sell
the necessaries of life to the Jews.[124] The Crown then issued an
edict, which commanded all men, as loyal subjects of the king, to
refuse obedience to this order; a needless demonstration, as it
would have been impossible to enforce it. But the protection of the
king was merely nominal. When the wars in France engaged the public
attention in 1230, Henry demanded a third part of their movables to
be paid into his exchequer. Two years afterwards he claimed 18,000
marks of them; and again, four years after that, 10,000 marks. A Jew
assured Matthew of Paris that the king had exacted from him alone
30,000 marks of silver and 200 of gold. Other Jews fared no better.
Accusations were for ever being trumped up against them. On one
occasion they were charged with coining false money, at another,
with fraudulently affixing the royal seal to documents, and the
like. The Jews seldom took the trouble to defend themselves. Like the
aristocrats in France during the Reign of Terror, they knew that they
were already condemned when they were brought up for trial. All they
could do was to bribe the judges, or the king himself, as the case
might be, to pardon their imaginary trespasses.

In 1225, the old charge of stealing children, to crucify them at the
ensuing Passover, was again alleged. In this instance the child was
recovered before the act of crucifixion had taken place; and some
penalty—we are not told what—was inflicted. Some years afterwards,
in 1243, the Jews in London were charged with the same offence.
Though in this instance the child had not been stolen, but sold, it
was averred, by the parents, the murder had been committed, and the
corpse was (as usual) discovered by a miracle. A hue and cry was made
after the supposed murderers, but they could not be found.

In 1256, the novel spectacle of a Jewish Parliament presented itself,
and must have caused, one would think, a good deal of amusement to
every one except the unhappy members themselves. Writs were regularly
issued by the sheriffs, requiring the Jews in all the larger towns to
elect six representatives—it being especially stipulated that they
should be the richest men in the place—and two in those towns where
they were fewer in number. The speech from the throne at the opening
had the merit—not always secured in modern times—of being at all
events directly to the purpose. No time was wasted in idle oratory
or personal explanations. They were briefly informed that the king
required a certain sum of them, which they were to agree to pay, and
then they would be straightway prorogued and sent home to fetch it.
If it was not forthcoming very speedily, they were assured that their
goods would be seized and themselves imprisoned. There is a beautiful
simplicity about the entire proceeding, which it is refreshing to
read of in these artificial days.

It was not a very politic step, however. The nation began to consider
whether it would not be desirable to require that the Jews should be
taxed for the benefit, not of the sovereign, but of the nation. If
there was all this money to be had, why should it not go to relieve
the public burdens, which pressed so heavily on the people, rather
than into the pockets of the king only? In the ensuing years, the
sum of 8,000 marks was demanded, and taxes were exacted, not of the
Jewish men only, but of the women and children. In the three years
next following, demands were made to the amount of 60,000 marks,[125]
the king being abetted in his rapacity by some traitorous Jews, and
especially one Abraham of Wallingford.

But these exactions did exhaust the endurance even of the Jews. An
aged Rabbi, named Elias, was deputed to wait on the Earl of Cornwall
(to whom the king had made over the Jews for the sum of 5,000 marks),
and inform him that it was wholly out of their power to meet any
further demands; and if these should be made, they would rather quit
the country than submit to them. The earl received them kindly,
accepted a very small sum, and dismissed them. Probably he was
satisfied that it really was not in their power to pay more. But King
Henry next year recommenced his importunities, alleging the enormous
amount of his debts as a reason why he must persist.

Probably the condition of his finances explains the excessive
severity of his dealings with the Jews, who were accused at this
time of their old offence, but with circumstances of additional
horror.[126] At Lincoln a child, it was said, had been enticed into
the house of a Jew named Copin, where he had been kept on bread and
milk for ten days, and then crucified in the presence of all the
Jews in England, who had been summoned to Lincoln for this purpose!
There had been apparently a set rehearsal of our Lord’s crucifixion,
a Jew sitting in judgment as Pilate. The body had been buried,
but the earth refused to hide so hideous a crime, and cast up the
remains. The Jews thereon were obliged to throw them into a well,
where they were found by the child’s mother.[127]

Such was the tale. Copin, when dragged before Lord Lexington, made
a full confession of all that had been alleged, adding that it was
the regular practice of the Jews so to celebrate their Passover,
whenever they were able to secure the necessary victims. So fierce an
outcry was raised when this was made public, that the king revoked
the pardon granted by Lord Lexington, and Copin was hanged in chains.
But this was far from satisfying the popular demand for vengeance.
All the Jews in the land were declared guilty of complicity in the
murder. Ninety-one persons were committed for trial, of whom eighteen
were hanged, and twenty more imprisoned in the Tower to await the
same fate, though it does not appear that the sentence was carried
out. Hugh, as the child was called, was canonized; pilgrims from all
parts of the world visited his tomb, where miracles were worked;
and the church at Lincoln to which his remains were committed was
rendered rich and famous for centuries to come. _The Prioress’s
Tale_, written by Chaucer a hundred years afterwards, shows that
in his time the story still retained its hold on the memory of the
English people.

Earlier in Henry’s reign, attempts had been made to convert the
Jews to Christianity, and a house, called the _Domus Conversorum_,
was opened for the reception of converts, in Chancery Lane. But
it appears that few of these were made. To be sure, the condition
annexed to proselytism—that the proselyte should by that act forfeit
his whole property[128]—does not seem very well calculated to bring
about such a change. After a few years, however, even these efforts
seem to have been given up. Harder and harder measure was dealt to
the Jews. They were forbidden to have Christian nurses for their
children; they were not allowed to buy or eat meat during Lent; they
could not hold any religious disputations; their very prayers in
the synagogue must be uttered in a low tone, for fear that the ears
of Christians should be polluted by them! But, for all their harsh
usage, they were regarded as being unduly favoured by the king. When
the Barons’ War broke out, five hundred of the richest Jews in London
were seized, in order to extort a subsidy from them; the others were
pitilessly murdered. Similar scenes occurred in the other large
cities. After the battle of Lewes, their condition was in some degree
amended; but to the end of Henry’s reign the same system of merciless
pillage and cruelty continued with no real abatement.

In 1268 an occurrence took place at Oxford, which might have caused
as furious an ebullition of popular feeling as the supposed outrage
at Lincoln. As the chancellor and other officers of the University
were on their way to the shrine of St. Frideswide, a Jew rushed up,
seized the cross that was borne in front of the procession, and
trampled it under foot. He escaped before he could be seized. It is
wonderful that the act did not provoke a massacre. The presence of
Prince Edward, who chanced to be in Oxford, perhaps prevented it. He
ordered that the Jews should, as the penalty of their countryman’s
offence, erect a cross of white marble, with the images of the
Virgin and Child, on the spot where Merton College now stands.

The death of Henry followed a few years afterwards. It might have
been perhaps expected that Edward, one of the greatest and most
humane of our kings, would have reversed the iniquitous policy of his
father towards the Jews. But he did not. He passed a law forbidding
the Jews to lend money on usury on any pretext whatsoever. His
desire seems to have been the same as that of Louis IX. of France,
to oblige them to devote themselves to manual labour. But they, it
appears, had found a different occupation for themselves—clipping and
adulterating the current coin of the realm. Whether this accusation
was true or not, cannot be determined with any certainty. There is a
_prima facie_ likelihood about it. Ground down by exactions, unable
to pursue their own trade, or to work at any other, some of them at
all events might well be driven to such a mode of obtaining the bare
means of living. On the other hand, many were beyond question accused
and condemned who wee wholly innocent. The king was greatly disturbed
at the course things were taking. He could neither conscientiously
condemn nor defend the Jews. It is likely that he took his final
resolve of expelling them altogether from his dominions, as the most
obvious solution of a great and ever-increasing difficulty. When he
had once made up his mind on this point, he was determined enough
in his mode of carrying it out. He confiscated the whole of their
property, except such as they were able to remove, and ordered them
to quit England, on pain of death.

It might be thought that, considering what the condition of the
Jews in England for the last fifty years had been, the prospect of
quitting for ever the scene of their sufferings would have been
welcome rather than otherwise.[129] But such was not the case.
A man’s home is his home, after all; and the effect of hardship
and trial is often to endear the scenes of their occurrence more
deeply to the sufferers. We are told that the last few days before
the departure of the Jews witnessed scenes of the most distressing
description; that they clung to their old haunts with a lingering
affection which, one would think, must have moved the compassion
of all who beheld it, however deep the prejudices of race and
creed.[130] But the stern edict was not revoked. The festival of All
Saints—that day sacred beyond all others to mutual goodwill among all
the children of the great Father above—witnessed the consummation
of the wrongs of the Jewish people. They went forth into penury and
exile from the shores of England, and for nearly four hundred years
they returned no more.


[122] Some towns, as for example Southampton and Newcastle, had
petitioned that no Jews might be allowed to reside among them. The
request was granted, though it was not found to be any benefit to the
towns in question.

[123] This was altered by Edward I. to yellow.

[124] At the same synod he ordered a deacon of the Church, who had
turned Jew for the love of a Jewess, to be hanged.

[125] It appears to us that it must have been impossible for any
traders, however lucrative their business, to endure such large and
continued exactions. The enormous rate of interest levied by the
Jews, amounting to 50 per cent. and upwards, goes far to explain it.

[126] It has already been intimated that these charges were always
made at times when the kings of England chanced to be in especial
need of money. There is no evidence, that I am aware of, to show that
the present accusation was due to that cause. But it is impossible to
divest one’s mind of the suspicion. Henry’s extreme severity, at all
events, had probably some connection with his urgent need of money.

[127] Milman ingeniously suggests, in reference to these continually
repeated charges of kidnapping and crucifying children, that the
Jews might have brooded over the horrors imputed to them, until they
became so diseased in mind that they actually executed the acts so
persistently imputed to them. This is an ingenious suggestion, but
nothing more. The confessions wrung by torture from the miserable
Jews bear on the face of them the impress of fiction, and resemble
the acknowledgment of witchcraft obtained by similar means.

[128] This extraordinary law, which obtained in France also, is to
be explained by the fact that by becoming a Christian a Jew was no
longer subject to the exactions of the sovereign. And it was argued
that it was not reasonable that his conversion should be at the
king’s expense.

[129] Not long previously to their expulsion he had imprisoned every
Jew of any note, until they had paid him a subsidy of £12,000.

[130] It is remarkable, that although the historians of those times
describe the most heartrending sufferings endured by the Jews, there
is nowhere any expression of pity or horror in their narratives.

                             _PART II._

                    CENTURY TO THE PRESENT TIME.

                            CHAPTER XXI.

                           A.D. 1300-1400.

                         THE JEWS IN FRANCE.

The history of the Jews in France, in the thirteenth century, may
be regarded as terminating with their second expulsion from that
country by Philip the Fair. That king died in 1314, and was succeeded
by Louis X., called in history Hutin, or Mutin (the Turbulent).
One of the first acts of the new king was to recall the Jews, who
not only consented to return to a land where for generations past
they had experienced nothing but harsh and contemptuous usage, but
even to pay a heavy price for the privilege. Nothing gives us a
stronger idea of the utter helplessness and friendlessness of the
Hebrew people at this period than the readiness with which they
would accept any conditions whatever that seemed to promise them
protection for the moment against violent or lawless outrage. A
semblance of justice, indeed, was shown them: their synagogues were
restored to them, and their worship again permitted; they recovered
the privilege of burying their dead in their ancient graveyards. Nay,
such debts as were still owing to them—the greater portion having
been already paid over to the king, who had condescended to make
himself their trustee—they were allowed to claim before the public
tribunals, conditionally always on their paying two-thirds of it
into the royal treasury.[131] In the reign of Philip the Long, a few
years afterwards, something like fairness and even mercy seems to
have been shown them, possibly as a set-off to the king’s exaction
of 150,000 livres from them. They were allowed to lend on usury
to certain persons and on certain conditions; they might acquire
property in houses and land; and they were not required to wear their
distinguishing badge while travelling from one town to another.

About this time (A.D. 1319) a novel charge was preferred against
them, and which we might believe to have been at least founded on
fact, if it did not seem impossible that the Jews of those times
could have been guilty of such suicidal rashness. At Lunel they were
accused of travestying the Saviour’s passion—not (as was the ordinary
charge) by the crucifixion of a Christian boy—but by carrying a
crucifix in a public procession, reviling it as they went, dragging
it through mire and filth, and heaping reproaches upon it.[132] For
this offence they were tried, convicted, and punished.

But in 1321 a far more serious calamity befell them. It has been
recorded that during the captivity in the East of Louis IX. a
multitude of peasants assembled, and declared themselves commissioned
from on high to rescue their beloved sovereign from bondage, and
they had evidenced their zeal in the cause of Heaven by acts of
barbarity towards the Jews. There was no king to be rescued now;
but the Holy Land itself was in bondage, and there were vague
prophecies current among them that it could be reconquered only
by the mean and lowly. They were headed by a degraded priest and
mendicant friar, who affected special sanctity of life, and claimed
to work miracles in proof of their sacred mission. They were followed
by large multitudes, who ravaged the southern provinces of France,
and especially Languedoc, everywhere breaking open the prisons, and
swelling their ranks by enlisting the criminals whom they let loose.
They spared their Christian fellow-subjects as much as they could,
but displayed the most relentless barbarity towards the Jews, whom
they everywhere pillaged, outraged, and murdered. The Jews appealed
to the Pope and to the king. The former issued an anathema against
the insurgents, but it was altogether disregarded; the latter sent
a few horsemen to their aid, who, however, were utterly powerless
to help them. They fled in despair to the shelter of any fortified
places which would refuse admittance to the Shepherds. Five hundred
found a refuge in a castle at Verdun, on the Garonne, which the
governor allowed them to occupy. Their enemies followed and besieged
them. After a stout and desperate defence, finding themselves unable
to hold out any longer, they threw some of their children over the
walls, and then (as at Masada and at York) slew each other to a man.
When the besiegers broke in, they found no living enemy!

All over Languedoc, at Angouleme, and at Bordeaux, frightful
massacres of Jews took place. The excuse alleged for them was, that
the plunder of the Jews was necessary to the ‘armies of the Lord,’
in order to equip them properly for the recovery of Palestine. But,
terrible as were their sufferings from the violence of the fanatics,
what ensued was even more full of horror. The outbreak was followed,
as might have been anticipated, by an epidemic pestilence—the
natural result of the scarcity of wholesome food and the corruption
of so many human carcases. But the people, possessed as they were
by the worst form of religious mania, were easily persuaded by
their leaders that the malady was caused by the poisoning of wells
and rivers, which again was the work of the Jews. The Sieur de
Parthenay wrote word to the king that ‘a great leper, seized on his
land, had confessed to him that he had received from a rich Jew a
consignment of drugs, which were to be enclosed in bags and thrown
into the wells.’[133] The king returned in alarm from Poitou, which
he had been visiting, and ordered that all lepers should be arrested
and put to the question—that is, examined by torture. This mode of
inquiry elicited the usual results. The unhappy sufferers in their
agony confessed everything of which they had been suspected, however
monstrous or incredible it might be. It appeared that there had been
a conspiracy between the infidel kings of Tunis and Granada, the
Jews, and the lepers, Satan himself presiding at the conference. Woe
and misery were to be wrought on the Christians by the poisoning of
the water which they drank. The lepers were straightway ordered to be
burned, pregnant women alone being spared, and they only until the
time of their delivery. In the instance of the Jews not even this
mercy seems to have been shown: they were burned without distinction.
At Chignon a great trench was dug, fires were kindled in it, and 160
Jews burned alive—men and women together. Many women, with their
children in their arms, voluntarily threw themselves into the flames
to escape baptism. In the royal prison at Vitry forty Jews, who were
persuaded that no mercy would be shown them, resolved to die by their
own hands rather than by those of the uncircumcised. They therefore
fixed upon one of their own number, an aged man greatly honoured and
beloved, and requested him to become their executioner. He consented
to undertake the office, with the help of a youth whom he chose
for the purpose. When all but these two had been slain, the old man
ordered the youth to kill him also. He was obeyed; but the young man,
lacking the resolution to take his own life, attempted to escape from
the prison, when he was taken prisoner, and confessed what had taken

In the midst of these horrors Philip V. died (A.D. 1322), and his
successor, Charles IV., was pleased to pardon the hapless survivors
of this bloody persecution—conditionally, however, on the payment of
a large subsidy. When this had been received, the Jews were permitted
to leave their prisons, gather together what they could of their
effects, and leave the kingdom. It is evident, however, that the
whole Hebrew population could not have quitted the country; or, if
they did, they soon began to return unnoticed to it, for in 1348,
when a second visitation of the same terrible disease once more
desolated the land, we find that the old calumny was renewed, and
with the same merciless result, the sword of the law being let loose
to slay those whom the pestilence had spared. Indeed, it is evident
that, notwithstanding their multiplied miseries and wrongs, the Jews
were still anxious to obtain the permission of their persecutors to
reside among them, for we find them in 1360 bargaining with King John
(who had been defeated and captured by the Black Prince) to supply
him with the means of paying the ransom due from him, conditionally
on their being permitted to dwell in France without molestation for
the space of twenty years. A Jew named Manasseh (or Menecier, as he
was styled) conducted the bargain on the part of the Jews. The fee
for readmission to France was fixed at fourteen florins for each
adult; for children and servants, one florin. Similarly, the annual
fee for continued residence was seven florins and one florin. They
were to be exempted from all taxes except land-tax. They were to
be allowed to hold landed property, build synagogues, and possess
cemeteries, and to be exempted from baronial jurisdiction, being
placed directly under that of the king himself. They were also
exempted from what had been always felt by them a heavy burden—the
necessity of listening to controversial sermons, preached in the hope
of converting them.

It was not without difficulty that the regent, afterwards Charles V.,
called the Wise, enforced the observance of these conditions, as he
seems to have done in all good faith. Not long after his accession
the clergy in Languedoc published a sentence of excommunication
against all who should supply the Jews with fire or water, bread or
wine. But, on receiving an appeal against this severity, the king
issued his ordinance annulling the decree, as being alike unjust
to the Jews and dishonourable to the Church. He twice renewed
the compact with the Jews, once for six and once for ten years,
receiving for the renewal 3000 gold livres. It is evident that during
this interval of repose the wealth of the detested race had again
accumulated. In 1378 they lent Charles 20,000 livres, and engaged to
provide him with 200 more every week. But the usual result followed:
the people began to clamour at the heavy burdens laid upon them,
which they declared were imposed only for the purpose of ministering
to the greed and luxury of the usurers. In the September of 1380
Charles V. died, and was succeeded by his son, a minor twelve years
old. Soon after, a tumultuous outbreak took place in consequence of
the regent, the Duke of Anjou, having confirmed the privilege granted
to the Jews by the late king. All classes joined in it. The nobles,
who, as usual, were deeply indebted to the Hebrew usurers, called
out for their expulsion from the country, as the readiest mode of
clearing themselves of their liabilities; the people, instigated
probably by them, pillaged and destroyed the offices where the
registers of debts were kept, and further gratified their enmity to
the hateful race by plundering their houses of such valuables as they
could lay their hands on, and by tearing their children from them and
carrying them to the churches, where the clergy were always ready to
baptize them. The regent endeavoured to suppress the disturbance; he
issued a proclamation requiring all persons, on pain of death, to
restore the spoil of which they had possessed themselves. But we are
told that very few obeyed the order.

The regent persisted, however, in the policy he had adopted; and
during the earlier years of Charles VI.’s reign the Jews were treated
by the State with equity and mercy. But the evil lay too deep for any
legislation to remedy. The distress of the country increased, and
with it the difficulty of obtaining money. There was but one class
from which money could be obtained, the Jews—and they unwisely abused
the power thus put into their hands. Regardless of the angry passions
which they were rousing, they continued their ruinous rates of usury
until about fourteen years after the accession of Charles VI. Then
the storm burst suddenly upon them, and they were once more commanded
to quit the country. The step in question was taken in consequence
of the condition into which the unfortunate young monarch had now
sunk. His melancholy madness rendered him peculiarly liable to the
influence of the clergy, who were for ever representing to him the
guilt of standing between an accursed people and the vengeance of the
God whom they had offended. The queen was won over to side with the
persecuting party. The clergy, the nobles, and the people already
belonged to it. Nothing for a long time had stood between the Jews
and the sentence of banishment but the justice of the king. This
barrier was now removed, and the blow fell heavily and suddenly. They
were suffered to depart on milder terms than on previous occasions.
Leave was given them to recover all debts due to them, and to sell
their property as advantageously as they could. But they were allowed
only one month in which to wind up their affairs, and then they
crossed for the last time the frontiers of France.[134]


[131] It is noteworthy that this very scant and dubious measure
of justice is acknowledged by Rabbi Joshua in terms of great
thankfulness. ‘He allowed the Jews,’ says Joshua, ‘to live in his
kingdom, for they found favour in his eyes; and he accepted their

[132] It may be doubted whether this was not a simple attempt to
celebrate the Feast of Purim—_the_ feast in which they took such
special delight. Possibly the supposed crucifix was the figure of
Haman on his gallows. See Appendix V.

[133] The supposed composition of the drugs in question shows an
amount of ignorance, grossness of thought, and irreverence, which
it would be difficult to match in all history: ‘Fiebant de sanguine
humano et urinâ cum tribus herbis. Ponebatur etiam Corpus Christi, et
cum essent omnia desiccata usque ad pulverem terebantur.’

[134] No formal decree for their restoration was subsequently made,
but it is at least doubtful whether the exclusion was rigidly
enforced, even in the ages immediately following the decree of
banishment. In some places—as for instance Metz—they do not seem to
have been meddled with.

                            CHAPTER XXII.

                           A.D. 1300-1400.

                         THE JEWS IN ITALY.

The attentive reader cannot fail to have noticed how scant has been
the mention in these pages of the condition of the Jews in Italy.
Little has been recorded of them, except that under the rule of the
Lombard kings they were uniformly treated with humanity and justice,
and that some few of the popes had issued decrees, advising what in
these times we should regard as stern measures to be adopted for
their conversion, while others forbade any such severities to be
employed. But the silence of history respecting them is in itself
significant, showing that no social convulsions disturbed the order
of their daily lives, no flagrant wrongs and cruelties called out for
mention. This is, at first sight at least, surprising. Considering
that the clergy throughout what are called the Middle Ages were the
persistent adversaries of the Jews, and that Italy was the very
centre and source whence the clergy derived their inspiration, we
should certainly have expected that the Jews of that country would
experience the very extremity of intolerance and harshness. The fact
that they received milder treatment than their neighbours is due to a
variety of causes, which may be briefly touched on.

In the first place, the condition of Italy was different, during
those ages, from that of other European countries. The feudal system,
the source, as we have seen, of so many of the wrongs and miseries
of the Jews, was never so firmly established there as in the other
European countries, and it died out much earlier. The great free
cities exercised an authority of their own, independent of any feudal
superior, and in these the rights of the Jews were maintained almost
as inflexibly as those of the Christians. The continued strife
between Pope and Emperor, Guelf and Ghibelline, so largely engaged
the attention of the Italian nation as to allow them little leisure
to trouble themselves with the affairs of a people who were contented
to live in peace, and whose aid was often found extremely serviceable
by the dominant party. It is certain again, whatever may have been
the reason, that the fanatical spirit which was so easily roused, and
in such fatal excess, in France and Germany, languished and soon died
out on the Italian side of the Alps. The cry that the Holy Sepulchre
had again fallen into the possession of the infidels found but a
feeble echo in the streets of Naples,[135] Rome, and Florence; nor
do the people seem to have argued, as they did throughout France and
Germany, and even occasionally in Spain, that the outrages charged
upon the Mahometans of Palestine were to be expiated by the Jews of

Again, as a rule, though doubtless with many exceptions, the popes
were more merciful to them than were the sovereigns of any other
Christian land. Some pontiffs, as, for example, Gregory I., Innocents
II. and IV., Alexander IV., Nicolases III. and V., Martin V., and
others, showed them marked favour; while others, if they evinced
no partiality, at least discouraged persecution, disregarded idle
charges, and would allow no violence. Some doubtless issued harsh
decrees and curtailed the privileges granted by their predecessors,
but such oppression as John of England, Philip Augustus, and Philip
the Fair of France exhibited in their dealings with their Hebrew
subjects may fairly be said to have been unknown among them. This was
in most instances due to the fact that the popes, however low may
have been the moral standard of many among them, were as a rule men
of cultivation and intelligence, in whose ears the popular charges
against the Jews must needs have sounded as idle calumnies.[136] Many
among them also were wise enough—if it was only worldly wisdom—to
know that conversions effected by force were many degrees worse
than unconverted obstinacy, and on that ground forbade such to be

But there was another and a weightier reason for the immunity from
persecution enjoyed by the Jews; and that was, that they were not
the sole—in truth, not even the chief—usurers and money-lenders in
Italy. The Caorsini, as the Italian bankers were called (presumably
from their having first practised their calling in Cahors), were the
persons employed by the popes to collect their revenues, an office
almost everywhere else entrusted to the Jews. The Caorsini carried on
business, though only to a trifling extent, comparatively speaking,
in other lands, notably France and England. Henry III. would have
expelled them from England if they had not claimed the protection of
the Holy Father. It is probably to them that Bernard of Clairvaulx
refers when he speaks of usurers more exorbitant in their demands
than the Jews themselves. If indeed it is true that their practice
was to demand five per cent. per month (after the first month[138])
for their loans, this charge is justifiable enough. These Italian
usurers drove a trade in their native land, which, if it did not
monopolize the business of the country, at all events threw all
competition into the shade. They farmed the tribute and taxes of all
kinds levied by the popes on the Christian kingdoms of Europe. They
provided subsidies for crowned heads, advanced sums on mortgage
to the nobles, and loans to merchants and small traders, and were
popularly said to be worse Jews than the Hebrews themselves. There
were doubtless many Jewish merchants—and wealthy ones—in the great
Italian cities, who carried on an extensive and profitable business
in money-lending. But they were not, as in neighbouring lands, the
universal creditors, and therefore escaped the general detestation
entertained for their brethren elsewhere.

Indeed, the mere fact that the grandson of Peter Leonis, a converted
Jew, was not only allowed to mix in familiar intercourse with the
noblest families in Rome, but was actually raised to the papal chair
(A.D. 1130), under the title of Anacletus II., sufficiently shows
in how widely different a light the Jews were regarded in Italy and
other European countries. No doubt his Hebrew origin was continually
thrown in his teeth by his adversaries. But his election to the
pontificate is a fact beyond dispute.[139]

We may note also the different course pursued in Naples (A.D. 1260)
by the Italian rulers from that ordinarily adopted on such occasions
in other countries. At Trani, in the Neapolitan territory, the Jews
had been protected and favoured by Frederick II., to whom they had
rendered many signal services. On his death-bed he commended them
to the protection of the States, who, however, adopted the opinion,
common enough in those times, that the greatest service they could
do the Jews was by obliging them to turn Christians. To avoid the
persecution which was imminent, they agreed to change their faith,
conditionally on being allowed to intermarry with the noblest
families in the kingdom. A good deal of indignation was excited by
this permission, and this rose to a greater height when several
relapses took place. To punish them a monk at Trani buried a cross
in a dunghill, and then accused a Jew belonging to the city of the
sacrilege. A riot was the result, in which not only the supposed
criminal, but all his countrymen in the town, were murdered. The
outbreak extended to Naples, and similar scenes of bloodshed would
have ensued, if the authorities had not intervened. Alexander IV.,
the reigning pope, issued a proclamation requiring the rioters
to desist; the king and the nobles lent their authority, and the
_émeute_ was suppressed before much blood had been shed.

In the fourteenth century, which we have now more especially under
consideration, the first thing we have to note is, the proposal of
Pope Clement V., who in 1308, three years after his accession to
office, removed the seat of papal government to Avignon, where the
popes continued to exercise undisputed authority for a period of
seventy years. Clement V. is a ruler for whom little admiration or
respect can be obtained. Nevertheless, his suggestion—if it did not
amount to an order—that a Hebrew professorship should be established
in every European university, in order that the Church might gain a
complete knowledge of the Hebrew language and literature, and so be
enabled the more effectually to promote the conversion of the Jews,
deserves our notice and respect. The words may have proceeded out of
the mouth of iniquity and falsehood, but they are nevertheless the
words of righteousness and truth.

Clement’s successor, John XXII. (A.D. 1316), adopted a different
policy towards the Jews, having been incited to it, it is said, by
his sister, who accused them of having insulted a cross which was
being carried in a procession in which she herself, in company with
some bishops, was taking part. He straightway published an edict
banishing all Jews from the territories of the Church; but the edict
was revoked soon afterwards, Robert of Jerusalem having interceded in
their behalf, and a bribe of one hundred thousand florins paid to the
pope’s sister.

Clement VI. (A.D. 1342) bears a character in history for luxury and
dissipation which is hardly surpassed by the vilest of the occupants
of the papal chair; but his single good point—kindness of heart—was
exhibited in his endeavours to suppress the persecution of the Jews,
and the friendly shelter which he afforded to such of the unhappy
race as sought refuge in his dominions.

The absence from Rome of the popes during the seventy years which
elapsed between the settlement of Clement V. at Avignon, and the
appointment, in 1378, of an antipope in the person of Urban VI.,
renders the history of the Jews during this century unusually meagre.
But they appear to have lived unmolested in the various Italian
towns. They must have been on good terms with the pope’s legate at
Bologna, where they presented him with a copy of the Old Testament
Scriptures, said to have been written by Ezra himself. This is still
preserved, we are told, in the library of the Dominicans in that
city. They were protected also by the Venetian government, which
allowed them to settle as bankers in their city. They were careful,
however, to maintain a strict supervision over them, and in 1385
obliged them to live within the Ghetto, as the Jewish quarter in an
Italian city is usually styled.

Learning flourished in Italy among the Jews during this century. The
recently founded universities were thronged with Jewish students,
and classical literature was especially studied. There were several
scholars among them of great repute. Pre-eminently conspicuous are
Immanuel ben Solomon and Moses Rieti. The former of these, regarded
by the Jews as the greatest of their poets, and said to have been
the friend of Dante, wrote a work on Paradise and Hell which is an
imitation of the _Divina Commedia_ of the great Italian. He wrote
also religious poetry and several commentaries on the Old Testament


[135] In the Norman kingdom of Naples, where the feudal system had
a firmer hold than in any other part of Italy, the Jews were more
severely treated; but even there, as we shall see, persecution was
promptly and firmly checked.

[136] The absurd charges alleged against the Jews were not confined
to the crucifying of Christian boys, poisoning of rivers, and insults
offered to the consecrated wafer. In Innocent III.’s pontificate they
were accused of selling the milk of their women as common milk, in
order that Christian children might be brought up on it, and so (it
is presumed) imbibe Jewish opinions. It was said that they trampled
the grapes in the winepresses in linen stockings, drawing out the
best wine for themselves and leaving the refuse for the Christians,
in the hope that they would use it in the administration of the Holy

[137] It is a curious fact that the Jews sometimes received the
severest treatment from pontiffs whose characters stood high for both
justice and mercy, and sometimes were equitably and leniently dealt
with by those from whose general character nothing but intolerance
and harshness might have been expected. Innocent III. (A.D. 1198)
was one of the greatest and best of those who have filled the papal
chair—wise and far-sighted, just and merciful. Yet his language
respecting the Jews is in the highest degree harsh and intolerant.
He repeats the familiar charge that they are guilty of the blood of
the Redeemer, and as such are branded with the curse of Cain. He
denounces their employment by the State, even as collectors of the
taxes, and threatens the severest chastisement to those who show
them any favour. On the other hand, Innocent IV. (A.D. 1243), who
succeeded to the papacy some fifty years afterwards, an inflexible
and haughty bigot, issued a bull in favour of the Jews which is a
perfect marvel for its humanity and justice. He denounces the cruelty
and lawless violence with which they were treated. He treats with
merited scorn the monstrous charges of sacrificing Christian boys
in order to use their blood in the Paschal rites, and forbids such
charges to be received. Nay, he adds that if the accuser cannot
sustain his charge by the evidence of three Christians and three
Jews, he must himself undergo the punishment due to a murderer.
Sometimes the pontiff and his edicts accord. Martin V.’s acts (A.D.
1417) towards the Jews bear the stamp of his generous character. He
orders that all synagogues shall be protected, the Jewish worship
permitted, all privileges, customs, and institutions maintained,
unless any of these should be found subversive of public morality, or
insulting to the Catholic faith. No compulsion is to be used to bring
any Jew to baptism. No one is to disturb them in the celebration
of their festivals. He repeals the order issued by the Dominicans,
requiring them to hear controversial sermons. He gives them full
licence to trade. The nineteenth century, in the most enlightened
countries, has done little more for them.

[138] They charged no interest for the first month, thinking in that
way to escape the odium of usury.

[139] Bernard of Clairvaulx, a zealous partisan of the rival pope,
Innocent V., dilates on the outrage offered to Christ through the
occupation of the seat of St. Peter by ‘Judaica Soboles.’—_Bern.
Epist._ 134.

                           CHAPTER XXIII.

                           A.D. 1300-1400.


The history of the Jews in Germany throughout the fourteenth century
is one long series of wrongs and barbarities. Almost immediately
after its commencement, the disturbances at Nuremberg, which had been
suppressed by Duke Albert some ten or twelve years previously, broke
out afresh. In the course of these the mob, seizing on Mordecai, a
Rabbi of learning and high repute, publicly hanged him. In the next
generation, a man named Armleder, a publican by trade, incited an
outbreak among the peasants of Alsatia with such fatal effect that
more than 1500 Jews were slaughtered. In Swabia also great numbers
were murdered; while at Deckendorf we are informed that the whole of
the Hebrew inhabitants of the town were massacred, and their property
pillaged or destroyed. There appear to have been no special grounds
for these enormities. The whole atmosphere was, as it were, charged
with deadly vapours, and the slightest spark of discontent was enough
to cause a disastrous explosion. The authorities in some cases
sided with the rioters; in others they stood aloof, and allowed
them to work their pleasure; while in some few they interfered to
stay the mischief if they could, generally with but little success.
Great injury was also done to the Jews all over Germany, by the
censure passed on them by Pope Clement V. for their excessive usury.
Numberless lawsuits, we are told, were in consequence instituted
against them, in which their right to recover money lent on interest
by them was challenged. A few years subsequently the whole of the
Hebrew population of Hungary was expelled from the country by Louis
I., who displayed his intemperate zeal, not by that act only, but
by his attempts, in concert with Casimir of Poland, to force the
profession of Christianity on the Lithuanians.

But all those troubles, trying as they must have proved to the
unfortunate Jews, were as nothing when compared with the terrible
afflictions which that people were called upon to endure, in
consequence of the outbreak of the fearful pestilence known in
history by the name of the ‘Black Death.’ This appeared in Germany
1348, and was so fatal that the country was almost depopulated by it.
It was sudden and rapid in its effects. Tumours, mostly of a black
colour, made their appearance in the groin and axilla, accompanied by
spitting of blood. In three days, at longest, the crisis was reached,
and few survived it. The science of the day could not explain its
origin, any more than it could cure, or even palliate, its virulence.
In the absence of any reasonable explanation of the causes of the
outbreak, the terrified multitude caught at whatever was suggested
to them. It was first attributed to the indignation of Heaven at the
outrageous wickedness of the age; and large bodies of men banded
themselves together to make atonement for this by fasting and
penitential discipline. They formed into companies, men and women, of
all ranks and ages, naked to the waist, and marked with a red cross;
and in this state marched in procession through the chief cities,
scourging themselves as they went, and calling on all to follow them.

But a new and much more welcome theory was presently started—that
the pestilence which was slaying its thousands and tens of thousands
was due to the Jews. It is said that the Flagellants first suggested
this; but there is little reason for supposing so. The first idea in
the minds of uneducated men, when attacked by some malady of which
they have had no previous experience, is that they have been poisoned
or bewitched; the next, to fasten upon the person by whom the drug
has been administered or the spell wrought. Now, it was argued, if
this wickedness had been devised by any one, it must have been by
some inveterate enemy of Christian men; and who were such inveterate
enemies of Christian men as the Jews? They, in truth, and they only,
were capable of malice so subtle and deadly! Again, it was clear that
these operations had been carried on in some wholesale manner. The
criminals must have infected the air or poisoned the water. The idea,
once conceived, spread like wild fire. No inquiry was made; no proofs
were called for. What need of them? It was clear as the day that the
Jews had poisoned the wells and fountains! The supposed murderers
were everywhere pursued with the most merciless barbarity. Some were
dragged before the tribunals, where a form of trial was gone through.
Some were slaughtered by the mob without any investigation at all. It
mattered little which course was pursued. The result was invariably
the same.

The persecution seems to have commenced in the autumn of 1348, at
Chillon, in Geneva, where criminal proceedings were taken against
them, on the specific charge of having poisoned the wells. The same
inquiries took place in other towns, as Berne and Freiburg. Some
poison had been found in a well at Zoffingen—though by whom put in
there was no evidence to determine. But the usual mode of eliciting
evidence in those ages was resorted to, and with the customary
result. Balavignus, a Jewish physician resident at Thonon, having
been put on the rack, confessed that Rabbi Jacob, of Toledo, had
sent him, by a Jewish boy, some poison in the mummy of an egg. The
poison consisted of a powder, sewn up in a thin leathern pouch,
and it was accompanied by a letter commanding him, on penalty of
excommunication, to throw the powder into the principal wells of
Thonon, in order to destroy the people who lived there. In obedience
to this injunction he had distributed the poison in various places,
and more particularly had thrown it into a spring on the shore near
Thonon. He swore by the Law and the five Books of Moses that this
confession was true, and also implicated several other Jews as
accomplices. Another Jew, of Neustadt, named Banditono, was similarly
put to the torture, and confessed to having thrown a packet of
poison, given him by one of his brethren, into a well at Carulet,
and denounced other Jews, whom he named, as having done the same.
Eight others underwent the same treatment, and made confessions, all
nearly resembling the two above quoted, with the difference that some
admitted that the whole Jewish people, except those under seven years
of age, were privy to and participators in the plot. It is wonderful
that they did not implicate the infants in arms!

The persecution soon spread to neighbouring lands. At Basle the
populace obliged their magistrates to take an oath that they would
burn all the Jews in the town, and forbid any of their countrymen to
settle in their country for two hundred years to come. In compliance
with the order, all the Jews in the place were shut up in a wooden
building and burnt alive. At Bennefeld, in Alsace, a diet was held,
at which a similar decree was made. At Spires the Jews, driven to
despair, shut themselves up, together with their wives and children,
in their houses, which they then set on fire, and all perished in
the flames. In Mentz and Eslingen similar tragedies were enacted. In
the first-named city, when the Flagellants made their entrance, the
Jews began by repelling the violence offered them; but, perceiving
the impossibility of making any effectual resistance, they too
fired their dwellings and destroyed themselves and all belonging
to them. In Eslingen it was the synagogue, with the entire Hebrew
population of the place, that was consumed; and it is related
that mothers were seen to fling their children into the burning
pile, to prevent their undergoing compulsory baptism. At Strasburg
two thousand Jews were burned on a scaffold erected in their own
burial-ground. For months the same cruelties were perpetrated along
the Rhine and the contiguous cities. The history of these times is
one unvaried repetition of horrors, which it wearies the pen to
describe and sickens the heart to peruse. Everywhere there are the
same groundless and monstrous charges, the same blind and fanatic
fury, the same merciless and exterminating hate. And, worst of all,
these atrocities are committed in the name of Christ and His Gospel!
If we could conceive that the gates of hell had been broken open, and
its inmates had overrun the earth, the deeds we might have expected
of them were just what the rabble of these German cities actually
performed. They did not, however, wholly escape the consequences of
their own lawless cruelty. In many places the Jews, before inflicting
death upon themselves, turned their swords against their persecutors,
and inflicted severe retribution on them; while in Frankfort their
despairing rage caused the destruction of the town-hall and cathedral
and a large portion of the city.

It would not be just to omit the fact that several among the European
sovereigns condemned these proceedings, and did their best to check
them. Clement VI., a self-indulgent and easy-tempered man, whose
reign was a continued scene of slack and voluptuous living, was
nevertheless roused by the enormities of the wrongs which he saw
perpetrated on the helpless Jews, to exert himself to the best of his
power in arresting the popular frenzy and punishing the offenders.
Charles of Moravia, also, Duke Albert of Austria, and others, would
fain have saved them if they could. But the fury of the people would
not be restrained, and Albert was obliged to condemn five hundred
of them to the flames. In Lithuania alone were they permitted any
respite. Here they were protected by Casimir III., King of Poland,
known in history as the Great. He confirmed the privileges granted
them by his predecessor Boleslaus, and bestowed additional favours
on them. It is popularly believed that he was induced to show them
this consideration by his attachment to a beautiful Jewess named
Estherka.[140] It is at least certain that throughout his reign
the Jews in Poland escaped persecution, and large numbers of Jews
migrated to that country.

The history of the Jews in the Netherlands during the fourteenth
century very nearly resembles that of their German brethren. They had
settled long before in the Low Countries, where the trade had fallen
almost entirely into their hands. Their numbers were swelled by
fugitives from England and France, from which countries, as we have
seen, they had been forcibly expelled. They were treated sometimes
kindly, sometimes harshly, according to the caprice of the rulers and
the people. They were expelled from the duchy of Brabant in 1370, on
account of a charge of sacrilege, which was very frequently made in
mediæval times. It was said that they had stolen and then stabbed the
holy wafer at Brussels, which bled profusely. A banker of Enghien,
named Jonathan, was charged as the chief offender, on the evidence
of a woman, who confessed to having been an accomplice. All the
Jews suspected were put to torture, and afterwards torn with red-hot
pincers, and then burned.[141]

Such Jews as had taken refuge in Bohemia do not appear to have fared
much better than their brethren in other European countries. The
Emperor Wenceslaus, son of Charles IV., a lavish and dissipated
sovereign, anxious to recover the goodwill of his subjects, whom he
had alienated by his excesses, issued a decree discharging all his
nobles from any liabilities they might have incurred to the Jews. The
people thereupon, who had been afraid to meddle with them, because
they regarded them as living under royal protection, considering
that they had now lost the emperor’s favour, broke out into a riot
at Gotha, where they massacred large numbers of them. They were
presently joined by the peasants, and the outbreak extended to
other cities. At Spires the whole of the Jewish residents, with the
exception of some few small children, who were reserved for the font,
were put to the sword.

Soon afterwards the cry was raised again that the springs and
rivers had been poisoned; and the Jews were subjected to a second
persecution all over Germany, and in parts of Italy and France. We
are informed that the emperor was fully convinced of the falsehood
of the accusation—which, indeed, it is difficult to believe that any
person of sense and education could ever have credited. But it was
in vain to attempt to reason with the multitude; and, despairing of
obtaining peace or quiet in his kingdom so long as the Jews were
allowed to reside in it, he issued an order requiring them either
to accept Christianity or depart from the empire. The observation,
already made in the instance of other lands, naturally recurs to
us when we read his sentence. What punishment could it be to them
to leave a country where they had been so persistently and so
remorselessly wronged? Nevertheless, it is evident that it _was_ a
punishment, and a severe one to them. It is to their honour that few
of them accepted the alternative offered them, but went forth into
exile, with all its sorrows and privations, rather than forsake their
ancient faith.

The reader will not wonder that in an age of such unexampled misery,
few German Jews were distinguished for their literary success. Isaac
of Düren, Alexander Cohen of Cologne, Halevi of Mentz, Isserlein
of Marburg, and Lipman of Mulhouse, were among the most celebrated
writers of these unhappy times.


[140] _i.e._, Little Esther. Some historians have doubted this story.
They point out that Casimir’s demeanour towards the Jews was only of
a piece with his conduct towards the lower classes of his subjects
generally. He showed so great a regard for the rights of the despised
serfs that he was called ‘the Peasant King.’ Again, it is certain
that Casimir’s edict is dated 1343, and his connection with Estherka
did not begin till 1350. On the other hand, Casimir’s one weakness
was his passion for women, and the Polish historians say distinctly
that Estherka gained great privileges from him for her people.
Probably both explanations are correct. He granted the edict of 1343
from a sense of justice, and the monopolies of the Jews, later in his
reign, at Estherka’s entreaty.

[141] In 1820 a commemoration of this miracle took place in St.
Gudule, when eighteen pictures were painted for the church,
describing the entire action of the story, the tortures of the Jews
being minutely depicted.

                            CHAPTER XXIV.

                           A.D. 1300-1400.

                         THE JEWS IN SPAIN.

Up to this time, as has been already remarked, the Spanish Jews
had enjoyed a freedom from persecution which presents a favourable
contrast to the monstrous wrongs and cruelties which they underwent
in other lands. The fourteenth century witnessed the gathering of the
storm which, in that which ensued, was to burst with such deadly fury
on the devoted race; nor were they even now exempt from occasional
foretastes of its visitation. At its outset Ferdinand IV., known in
Spanish history as ‘the Summoned,’[142] a youth at that time under
age, occupied the throne, but the administration of affairs was in
the hands of his mother, the queen regent. It should be noted that,
although the Jews still retained the rights and privileges accorded
them by previous generations, they were fast becoming odious in the
eyes of all classes. The _haute noblesse_ were jealous of the court
favour which the Jews had so long enjoyed, and were seeking for an
opportunity to oust them from it; the lesser nobles were deeply
in their debt, and looked to a popular outbreak as the readiest
mode of ridding themselves of their encumbrances; the priesthood
were, as a rule, though with some noble exceptions, their bitter
enemies, continually denouncing them to the people, as the causes of
every national misfortune that befell them. This was partly due to
religious bigotry, partly to their jealousy of the greater wealth
and the superior medical skill of the Jews, which prevented them
from acquiring the money and the influence over the people which a
successful exercise of that profession would have ensured. As for
the people, they were largely under the influence of the clergy, and
readily believed the stories poured into their ears. Besides, the
spectacle of the riches and luxury in which the Jews lived provoked
at once their indignation and their rapacity. The train had been
laid, and it needed nothing but the application of the spark to fire

Ferdinand’s favourite minister was a Jew named Samuel, a man of
great ability, and, it is said, of a haughty, imperious temper. His
death was mysterious. An assassin, who was never discovered, entered
his house, A.D. 1305, at Seville, and stabbed him to the heart. It
was not difficult to guess at the motives or the instigators of the
deed; but nothing was brought to light. His successor seems also to
have been a Jew, for a league was formed among the grandees against
him. They presented a petition to the Cortes, assembled at Medina
del Campo, requesting that measures might be taken to restrain the
insolence of the Jews. An order was passed, accordingly, that they
should not in future be collectors of taxes.

This was soon followed up by other like attacks. In 1313, Rodrigo,
Bishop of St. Jago, held a provincial council at Zamora, at which
manifestoes were presented, which showed but too plainly how fast the
animosity against the Jews was ripening. Several of the constitutions
of the council breathe the same spirit. It was enacted that Jews,
henceforth, shall hold no post or dignity; and any Jews who hold them
shall resign such within thirty days. They shall not be admitted as
witnesses against Christians, nor claim, as hitherto, the benefit of
the laws. No Christian women shall be nurses to Jewish children. Jews
shall not attend Christians as physicians. They are prohibited from
inviting Christians to their feasts. They shall not associate with
Christians, lest they teach them their errors.

Some of these decrees were re-enacted at the Councils of Burgos
and Salamanca, in 1315 and 1322, where it was also ordered that
any Christians should be excommunicated who were present at Jewish
marriages; and any Jews who called themselves by Christian names
should be punishable as heretics!

In 1325, Alphonso XI., son of Ferdinand IV., was declared to be of
age. His first acts showed that, whatever might be the sentiments
of the nobles, the clergy, or the people, he was resolved to uphold
the Jews. He chose as his minister of finance, Joseph of Ecija, a
Jew of great administrative ability; and one of his first acts was
to declare null and void various bulls and prelates’ letters, which
had been obtained by persons owing debts to Jews, by which those
debts were cancelled. He also granted the Jews licence to acquire
landed property, though he limited the amount which they might
hold. But he could not overcome the popular animosity against them.
Don Joseph was presently accused of having, in concert with Count
Alvar Osorio, bewitched the king by giving him magical potions.
Osorio was sacrificed to these machinations; and Don Joseph, though
he escaped on that occasion, was not long afterwards charged with
keeping fraudulent accounts, and dismissed from his office. Probably,
however, the king deprived him of his situation as the only mode of
saving him from the malice of his enemies, for we find that he did
not withdraw his friendship from him.[143]

In 1348, the king was induced to sign an order for the banishment of
all Jews from his dominions, on account of an insult which they had
offered to the Host, as it was being carried in procession through
the streets. The order was cancelled, however, on the discovery being
made that the supposed insult was a mere accident, and the person
by whom it was thought to have been offered was a Christian. The
revocation provoked a riot, which was with difficulty put down by a
determined exercise of the royal authority.

This disturbance had hardly been quelled, when one more furious still
broke out, caused by the spread of the plague, which had originated
in Germany, into the Spanish peninsula. The cry was raised here,
too, that the Jews had poisoned the waters of the Tagus—a crime
impossible of commission! Nevertheless, on that indictment massacres
were perpetrated in several of the cities, especially in Toledo, and
15,000 Jews are said to have been murdered.

During the reign of Pedro, called the Cruel, who succeeded in A.D.
1350, the Jews recovered all, and more than all, their former
ascendency. Notwithstanding the prohibition of the law, Samuel Levi,
a Jew, became the royal treasurer. He it was who built the famous
synagogue at Toledo, which in its own peculiar style has no rival. He
was a man of rare ability, and his administrative genius soon filled
King Pedro’s coffers; but, unhappily for himself, it filled his own
also. A charge was brought against him of mal-administration of the
revenues; and, though it does not appear that this was proved, it
brought to light another and far more grievous offence—that of being
too wealthy. He was sent to prison where he was racked, to oblige him
to disclose the full extent of his riches, and he expired under the

But though the king sacrificed his favourite minister to his own
avarice, he did not withdraw his countenance from the Jews. They
continued, to all outward appearance, to prosper; but the public
hatred of them was ever on the increase, and the time approaching
nearer and nearer when a heavy reckoning would have to be paid. Lopes
de Ayala, the chancellor of the Count of Trastamara, afterwards
king, under the title of Henry II., expresses the general sentiment
of the Spanish people respecting them. He describes them as ‘the
blood-suckers of the afflicted people, as men who exact fifty per
cent., eighty, a hundred—.... Through them,’ he writes, ‘the land is
desolate; ... tears and groans affect not their hard hearts; their
ears are deaf to petitions for delay.’ Much of Pedro’s unpopularity
was due to the favour he showed to this people. He was himself
stigmatized as a Jew. It was affirmed that he was the child of a
Hebrew mother, who had been substituted for the true Infant of Spain.
The Jews stood bravely by him, and suffered heavily in consequence.
Many were slain for espousing his cause at Toledo, many more at
Nejara; and at Monteil, where the final struggle between Pedro and
Henry took place, the slaughter of Jews was enormous.

But Henry, when once seated on the throne (A.D. 1369), was too
politic a ruler to alienate such useful servants of the crown as the
Jews had proved themselves to be. He pursued the traditionary policy
towards them, interposing the shield of his protection between them
and the hostile people. To the remonstrances addressed to him by the
Cortes against their occupation of posts of dignity and importance,
or possessing the same rights and advantages enjoyed by Christians,
he simply replied that he considered it right that their ancient
status should continue.

Henry died A.D. 1379, and was succeeded by John I., who pursued
the policy of his father and grandfather, so far as the Jews were
concerned, refusing to listen to the angry remonstrances continually
addressed to him by the Cortes respecting them. Early in his reign
occurred the strange but successful plot of the Jews against their
countryman, Joseph Pichon, a man of wealth and influence, holding
the office of Crown Treasurer. They had apparently become jealous
of his favour with the king, and resolved on compassing his death.
They applied accordingly to John for a warrant to punish a convicted
unbeliever,[144] though without revealing his name. The king having
unsuspiciously signed it, they bribed the executioner to put the
sentence immediately into effect, and Pichon was seized and beheaded,
without having even been informed for what crime he was arraigned.
The king, when he discovered the trick that had been played on him,
was extremely indignant. He punished the immediate authors of the
crime with death, and deprived the Jews of the right of determining
their own causes.

The king’s influence was to some extent successful in restraining
the popular hatred of the Jews. But when he died, A.D. 1390, and was
succeeded by his son, Henry III., a lad eleven years old, there was
another popular outbreak. Ferdinand Martinez, Archdeacon of Ecija,
had, during the reign of John, been continually in the habit of
reviling the Jews, and stirring up the populace to attack them. The
late king had discountenanced his proceedings; but he was no sooner
removed than Martinez threw aside all restraint, and by his harangues
roused the smouldering hatred towards the Jews, which had long
possessed the people, into a fierce and destructive flame. The Jews’
quarter was attacked. Pillage, murder, violation, followed; four
thousand were slaughtered, the archdeacon heading the mob, and urging
them on to still greater atrocities. No steps were taken to punish
the perpetrators of this violence. The contagion soon spread to other
cities. In Cordova, in Valencia, in Burgos, in Toledo, in Barcelona,
in Pampeluna, and other towns of Aragon and Navarre, there were
similar massacres. As many as two hundred thousand Jews are said to
have been forced to receive baptism. Such as escaped with their lives
were stripped of all their possessions, and their houses plundered
and burned.

King Henry III., who, like many other sovereigns, was largely
dependent on the Jews for the maintenance of his revenues, was
reduced to great straits to support his household expenses. An
anecdote is related of him which, if true, curiously illustrates the
history of those times. He is said to have found his exchequer so low
one day as to be obliged to pawn his cloak to pay for his supper. He
was informed that in the palace of the archbishop an entertainment
was in progress, at which every delicacy was provided in profuse
abundance. He repaired thither in disguise, and learned not only that
the wealth of the revellers had been truly reported, but that it had
been amassed by fraud and peculation. The next day he sent for the
grandees of the court, and among them the archbishop, and inquired
of him, ‘How many kings have you known in Spain?’ The archbishop
answered, ‘Three—your grandfather, your father, and yourself.’ ‘Nay,’
rejoined Henry; ‘young as I am, I can remember at least twenty,
though there ought to have been only one. But it is time that I
put my rivals down, and reign alone.’ At the same moment a band of
soldiers, accompanied by an executioner, and carrying ropes and
gibbets, entered the apartment. The grandees threw themselves at his
feet, and entreated his mercy. He spared their lives, but required a
strict account of their management of his affairs, obliging them to
refund large sums which they had embezzled.

Many Spanish Jews were eminent in literature during this century.
Rabbi Abner, the physician, known as a Jewish writer previously to
his conversion, wrote afterwards an able refutation of Kimchi’s work
against Christianity. Solomon Levi, also a convert to the Gospel, is
known in history as the Bishop of Burgos, a learned and successful
writer. This also is the age of Don Santo de Cañon, the celebrated
troubadour, who, like the two before mentioned, renounced Judaism for


[142] Ferdinand had condemned to death two cavaliers named Carvajal,
on a charge of murder, refusing to hear their defence. Immediately
before their execution they summoned Ferdinand to answer for his
unjust sentence before the tribunal of God within a month. He died
exactly a month afterwards.

[143] A strange, almost incredible story is told of the fate of
Joseph. Gonzales, master of Calatrava, offered to pay 800 lbs. of
silver into the king’s treasury, conditionally on his making over to
him eight of the principal Jews of the kingdom, to be dealt with as
he pleased. The king consented. Gonzales seized Joseph, and Samuel,
the king’s physician, and put them to the torture, to compel them to
surrender the whole of their wealth. They died under the infliction;
but he obtained enormous sums from them and his other prisoners.
Gonzales was raised to great honour, and made Bishop of Alcantara. He
afterwards forfeited the king’s favour, was arrested as a traitor,
and beheaded.

[144] The probable explanation is, that they knew Pichon was
meditating a change of religion, the scandal of which they were
anxious to prevent.

                            CHAPTER XXV.

                           A.D. 1400-1500.

                   THE JEWS IN GERMANY AND ITALY.

The records of the Jews in Central Europe during this century are
unusually scanty. They had been—nominally, at all events—expelled
from various parts of it; and, though it is very probable that they
were permitted, through contempt or compassion, to linger on in their
old homes, yet they would be careful, as far as possible, to avoid
notice. In Poland alone they seem to have flourished in prosperity
and peace, and to have received large accessions of members from less
kindly disposed countries.

But we hear something, nevertheless, of them. In Guelderland they
were numerous, and lived securely under the protection of its rulers,
particularly in the cities of Zutphen, Doesborg, and Arnheim. In
the last-named city a Jew was even appointed the physician to the
town; and decrees were issued prohibiting, on severe penalties, any
ill-treatment of Jews in public or private. On the other hand, a
singular fact occurred during this century, which seems to manifest
the very opposite state of feeling. A noble lady of Guelderland
having married a Jew, was regarded as an adulteress for having so
done, and was burnt alive at Cologne for the offence. The Jews also
were driven out of the neighbouring city of Utrecht in 1444; nor were
they allowed to return to Holland until after the revolution of 1795.
Commercial jealousy was probably the cause of this expulsion.

In 1453 there were Jewish riots in various parts of Silesia, and
particularly in Breslau, where more than forty Jews were burnt. In
the following year Ladislaus, King of Hungary, allowed his subjects
to drive the Jews out of his dominions, seize on their houses and
lands, and cancel all debts due to them. The only conditions he
required of them, in return for this permission, was their making
good to him the tribute which had been paid by the Jews. These
outbreaks appear to have been caused (as was so frequently the case,
both in previous and subsequent generations) by the influence of
fanatical monks, who made the tour of Central Europe, denouncing the
Jews as the enemies of God and man, and calling on all Christian men
to avert the displeasure of Heaven by slaying and expelling them. A
preacher named Capistran in this manner raised commotions in Silesia,
and in Southern Germany Bernard produced the same disastrous effects.
In Styria, late in the century, the people petitioned Maximilian to
be permitted to drive the Jews out, as their Hungarian neighbours
had done in the previous generation. They alleged the old charge of
kidnapping and murdering children, and offered him 30,000 florins
as a compensation for the loss of the Jewish tribute. We read that
they were expelled accordingly in 1496. Similar expulsions took place
in Mentz, Nuremberg, and Trent. In the latter place the accidental
death of a child—attributed, as usual, to the Jews—was the cause of
their banishment. But the mania for the removal of the Jews from all
the countries of Europe—either because their presence was held to
be like that of leeches fastening on the human frame and draining
its life-blood, or because it was feared that the vengeance of
Heaven would visit all those who offered shelter or kindness to its
enemies—seems now to have taken the place of the thirst for their
blood which distinguished the ages immediately preceding. The idea
was quite as unreasonable and unjust, but a shade less horrible and

In Italy, as in previous generations, the Jews, if they did not
receive the full rights of humanity, were at least treated with
toleration, and even some degree of kindness. The demeanour of
the popes towards them was, as before, very capricious—varying,
in fact, with the religious convictions or state policy of each
succeeding pontiff. In 1417, when the schism of the double papacy
came to an end through the unanimous election of Martin V., the
Jews marched, according to ancient custom, in the papal procession,
with lighted torches, chanting Hebrew Psalms, and presenting to the
newly-made Pope a copy of the Pentateuch. Martin V. received it with
a benediction, and a prayer that the veil might be removed from
their eyes, so that they might rightly understand the Law. He then
issued a proclamation, in which they were dealt with mercifully and
justly. Their synagogues, their form of worship, their privileges,
usages, and institutions were to be respected, so only that they
offered no affront to the Christian faith. No forcible attempts were
to be made to baptize their children, and no one was to interrupt
their festivals. With Pope Eugenius IV., who succeeded in 1431, the
condition of things was changed. The stern and inflexible character,
so forcibly exhibited in his dealings with the Council of Basle
and the Eastern Church, was evinced also in his treatment of the
Jews. By a bull, issued in 1442, he deprived them of most of the
privileges which his predecessor had bestowed on them. He excluded
them from almost every profession, forbade them to eat and drink with
Christians, or to attend them medically in sickness, compelled them
to wear their distinguishing badge, and declared void any bequests
which Christians might make to them. His successor, the beneficent
Nicolas V., who was elected A.D. 1447, pursued a wiser course. He
published a decree forbidding compulsory baptisms, and warning all
persons to abstain from offering insults or injuries to the Jews.
During the rule of the remaining popes of the century, Calixtus III.,
Pius II., Paul II., Sixtus IV., Innocent VIII., and Alexander VI.,
the Jews seem to have been little interfered with. Odious as is the
character of the last-named pope, it must be recorded to his credit
that he afforded shelter to the wretched exiles whom the cruelty of
Ferdinand and the Inquisition had driven out of Spain, as we shall
presently record.

In the chief Italian cities also the Jews were, on the whole, well
treated. The Venetians, as we have seen, allowed them to open a bank
in their city; and they appear to have been the first who did so.
But it may be doubted whether any large amount of gratitude was due
to them on that account. It is tolerably clear that the Caorsini,
Lombards, and Florentines (as the native money-lenders were called),
who had hitherto engrossed the trade, exacted such enormous profits
that the change to the Jews must of necessity have been a commercial
advantage. It was doubtless on this account that their establishment
at Venice was speedily followed by their admission to Genoa,
Florence, Mantua, Verona, and Leghorn—in fact, into all the leading
Italian cities—their central seat of business being fixed at Rome.

But if the amount of interest they demanded was not so exorbitant
as that of the Caorsini, it was still enough to be a heavy burden
on all classes.[145] Towards the end of the century the celebrated
Bernardino di Feltre was stirred up to preach publicly against their
exactions, and the terms on which Christians stood with them, at
Piacenza. It is curious to read the language he employs, which is
a strange mixture of the most truly Christian and the most utterly
unchristian sentiment. He regards the Jews simply as if they had
been wicked men, towards whom Christian charity must be felt and
shown, but whom it is the duty of all Christian men to shun and
condemn. No Christian, he says, ought to employ a Jewish physician;
no Christian ought to be a guest at a Jewish feast—the risk of moral
contamination is too great! ‘Yet,’ he adds, ‘in defiance of these
obstacles, which the law, no less than duty, enjoins, Christians
had recently resorted in crowds to a Jewish marriage feast which
lasted eight days; and it was notorious that whenever Christians
were attacked by illness they resorted to a Jewish physician!’ The
mob, as might be expected, understood very little of his refined
distinctions. They interpreted his words as an exhortation to make
an attack on the Jews. They rose accordingly, and hanged and tore in
pieces all they met with.[146]

He employed, however, more reasonable means of rescuing his
countrymen from the clutches of the Hebrew usurer than these. He set
up banks, at which a lower rate of interest was required than that
demanded by the Jews, but at the same time sufficiently remunerative,
provided the debts contracted were faithfully discharged. These
he called Monte della Pieta. They met at first with very decided
success in the chief Italian cities, and particularly in Mantua,
Brescia, and Padua. In the last-named place they so engrossed the
money-lending business that the Jews were obliged to close their own
bank. There can be no doubt that the scheme was both commercially and
philanthropically wise. Yet, after all, it did not prosper. Possibly
the publicity of the dealings with Bernardino’s banks was not
acceptable to borrowers, who might wish the fact of their having been
obliged to borrow to be kept secret. Possibly those who would fain
have been customers were too deeply involved in debt to the Jews to
be able to break loose from them. Possibly it was the effect of long
habit, which men are ever unwilling to depart from. But, whatever may
have been the cause, the scheme, after a brief period of success,
began to languish, and in some places altogether failed.

It was revived later still in the century by the celebrated Girolamo
Savonarola, who professed his object to be the same as that of
Bernardino—rescuing his countrymen, and especially the poor, from the
ruinous exactions of the Jew money-lenders, whom he denounces in the
most unmeasured terms, as that ‘most wicked set, the enemies of God.’
Not contented with this harsh language, he obtained a decree of the
State, ordering them to quit Florence within the year.

It may not be amiss, at this point of history, to inquire how far
the severe language and harsh treatment with which even really good
men among the Christians of the Middle Ages were wont to assail the
Jews, had any reasonable justification or excuse. There were some
men, as we have seen, with whom the prejudices of their brother
Christians had little or no weight; who were capable of regarding
the Jews as the children of their Father in heaven, and as such
their brethren, though, doubtless, their erring brethren. They might
rightly, in such men’s eyes, be the subjects of entreaty, warning,
perhaps punishment, but never of hate or contempt. But they who were
thus raised above the convictions of their age were very few. And
there were others—men of the highest character, whose devotion to
God’s service and love for their fellow-men cannot be questioned—men
like Louis IX. of France, Peter of Clugny, Savonarola, Martin Luther,
Cardinal Borromeo—who regarded the Jews with horror and detestation,
as persons beyond the pale of charity, who were simply to be crushed
and trampled out.[147] How are we to account for men like these so
viewing them? Was the character of the Jews in the Middle Ages such
as really to merit a condemnation so unqualified? Is the portraiture
of the Jew given by our great dramatist[148] a true one? Shylock is
depicted as sordid, vindictive, without mercy and without natural
affection. Is he the genuine Hebrew of the sixteenth century, or the
mere embodiment of blind and inveterate prejudice?

What do travellers answer when asked whether the soil of the
Holy Land is waste and barren, unable to support even its sparse
population? They will tell us that it is naturally rich and fertile,
but has become unproductive by long neglect and abuse.[149] As it
has been with the land of the Jews, so it has been with themselves.
Their true national character is among the noblest—if it is not
the very noblest—that the world has seen. Whatever great qualities
humanity may possess, it is by men of this race that they have been
exhibited in their highest development. If we ask from what nation
has arisen the ablest legislator, the most far-seeing statesman,
the wisest philosopher, the most chivalrous warrior, the greatest
monarch, the most Heaven-inspired poet, we must answer, in every
instance, From the nation of the Jews. Nor is it to individuals
alone that this applies. What struggle for national independence was
ever more gallant than that of the Maccabees? Which among all the
countless nations, overthrown by the military genius of Rome, ever
resisted so long, or with such fatal effect, her illimitable power,
as the defenders of Jerusalem? But, no doubt, centuries of oppression
had their effect in deteriorating the nobler, and developing the
meaner, features of the Jewish character, until the Jews became at
last almost—though not quite—what their persecutors believed them to
be.[150] Shut out from every nobler pursuit, forbidden the career of
the statesman, the soldier, the artist, the author, or the physician,
except within the narrow bounds of their own despised race—they
were driven to the one sordid trade of money-getting, and compelled
even in that to practise the extremity of exaction and rigour, or
else—subject as they were to continual lawless plunder—they could
not have lived. If they were at any time disposed to show mercy, no
one believed it to be anything but a subtle scheme for securing some
worldly end. Treated systematically as the outcasts of humanity, what
wonder if they often really became so?


[145] It is stated that the Jewish money-lenders demanded thirty-two
and a-half per cent. on their loans, together with compound interest!

[146] The Jews were actually driven out of Ravenna in 1484, in
consequence of the agitation he stirred up against them.

[147] Peter of Clugny wrote: ‘If the Saracens are justly to be
detested, how much more are the Jews to be execrated and regarded
with hate!’ Louis IX. charged them with being in league with evil
spirits to injure and destroy men. It has been affirmed that Luther
treated the Jews with lenity and toleration. But, if he ever really
did evince this spirit towards them, it was only at the outset of his
career. Later on he was stern and merciless in his tone towards them.
‘Burn their synagogues and schools,’ were his words; ‘break into and
destroy their houses. Forbid their Rabbins, on pain of death, to
teach,’ etc.

[148] Shylock, it should be noted, whether a fair picture or not,
of the Jews of Shakspeare’s time, is at least a genuine character—a
real man. But the Barabbas of Marlowe’s _Jew of Malta_ and the Fagin
of Dickens’s _Oliver Twist_ are simply coarse and gross caricatures,
pandering to the vulgar taste of the day.

[149] Palestine is a land ‘rich in its soil, boundless in its
capabilities of production, glowing in the sunshine of an almost
perpetual summer—this enchanting land was indeed (what the patriarch
had described it) a field which the Lord had blessed.... But
Mohammedan sloth and despotism have converted it into a waste
rock and desert, with the exception of some few spots, which
remain to attest the veracity of the accounts formerly given of
it.’—Bannister’s _Holy Land_, pp. 37, 38.

[150] Every reader will remember the noble passage in _Ivanhoe_,
where Bois Guilbert taunts Rebecca with the degraded character
of her countrymen, and she answers him by appealing to their
former greatness. ‘Thou hast spoken of the Jew,’ she says, ‘as the
persecution of such as thou has made him. Read the ancient history
of the people of God, and tell me if those by whom Jehovah wrought
such marvels among the nations were then a people of misers and
usurers!’—_Ivanhoe_, chap. xvi.

                            CHAPTER XXVI.

                           A.D. 1400-1500.

                         THE JEWS IN SPAIN.

The scenes of violence and bloodshed which had been provoked by the
fanatic zeal of the Archdeacon of Ecija were a foretaste of the
fearful tragedy which was to take place in Spain in the ensuing
century. But it can hardly be said that he occasioned it. The evil
had long been gathering, and must have broken out, sooner or later,
in Spain. He may have precipitated it, but nothing more.

The main cause of the mischief was, beyond doubt, the improvidence
and want of steady industry among the people. In all business
transactions they were continually applying to the Jews, unable, as
it seemed, to buy or sell, to sow or reap, without resorting to them.
The result was the pauperizing of all classes of the community except
the Jews, who continued to heap up enormous wealth.[151] The people
would not believe that this was the result of their own improvidence,
and that there could be no remedy for it except in persistent
industry and prudence. They made repeated complaints of having been
overreached and defrauded; but, when the cases were inquired into in
a court of law, it was found that nothing could be proved against the
alleged offenders. This only fomented the growing discontent. To all
thoughtful observers it was evident that a popular convulsion could
not be far distant.

Henry III. died in 1406, and was succeeded by his son John II., an
infant not two years old. Early in his reign Vincentius Ferrer, a
Dominican, made his appearance as an itinerant preacher in Castile
and Aragon, calling on the Jews to renounce their ancient faith,
and accept that of Christ. He was a man of the most ardent zeal,
indefatigable energy, and burning eloquence; and the stern asceticism
of his life caused him to be regarded as a saint. His fierce
invectives against the impiety and obstinacy of the Jews exasperated
the people against them; and it very soon became evident that there
were for them two alternatives only—conversion or destruction.
Vincent went from town to town, carrying a crucifix in one hand and a
copy of the Mosaic Law in the other, followed everywhere by an armed
rabble, who maltreated and murdered all who refused to hearken. Many
of the Jews embraced, or pretended to embrace, Christianity. Many
more abandoned all their worldly possessions, and fled to Barbary;
some also to Portugal,[152] and other Christian States. Some would
neither abjure their faith nor fly, and their descendants underwent
the terrible consequences of their parents’ constancy. Ferrer is said
to have converted 35,000, or, according to others, 50,000 Jews. Even
a Hebrew authority places it at 20,000. How many of these converts
were real believers in Christ we shall have occasion subsequently to

In 1406 the old charge of insulting the Host was revived, though
with some variation in the circumstances. Some Jews were accused
of having bought the consecrated wafer from the sacristan of the
cathedral at Segovia. They threw it into a caldron of boiling water,
when it rose to the surface. Alarmed at the sight, they wrapped it in
a cloth, and gave it to a Dominican friar, who informed the bishop
of the occurrence. The bishop caused the Jews to be arrested and
tortured. Among them was Don Meir, the king’s physician. The torture
not only elicited a confession of the particular crime charged on the
sufferers, but of the murder of the late king by poison. Don Meir and
the others were drawn and quartered at Segovia; soon after which it
was discovered that the whole charge was a fabrication.

Another similar story is related about the same time. A nobleman, who
bore a bitter dislike to a bishop, bribed his cook to poison him.
The conspiracy was discovered, and the cook put on the rack; but he
would not confess the name of his suborner. By the advice of the
latter, the next time he was racked he declared it was the Jews who
had bribed him. This was instantly credited; and, as he had named no
particular persons as his accomplices, a great many Jews were put to
death on suspicion.

In 1412 the queen-regent Catherine promulgated a series of ordinances
against the Jews, equalling in severity anything that had been issued
before. They were not to be physicians or surgeons; they were not
to sell bread, wine, or any other provisions; they were to keep
no Christian servants; were not to eat and drink with Christians,
or attend Christian marriages or funerals; they were to live in
the Jewries or ghettoes only, and these were to be surrounded with
a high wall, having only one entrance-gate; they were to wear a
carefully prescribed dress of very common material; and any Jew or
Jewess who ventured to put on costly attire was liable to have the
whole stripped off their backs. They were not permitted to change
their place of residence, and were allowed neither to shave their
beards nor cut their hair! No Christian woman was to enter the Jewish
quarter, on pain of a heavy fine, if her character was respectable,
or of being whipped out of it, if it was not! Finally, they were not
to be smiths, carpenters, tailors, shoemakers, curriers, clothiers,
or to sell any of the goods made by these, except to Jews.

In 1413 the Antipope, Benedict XIII., convened an assembly at
Tortosa, for the purpose of presiding at a disputation between
certain chosen advocates of Judaism on one side, and of Christianity
on the other—the subjects of discussion being, whether the Messiah
had already come, and what was the value of the Jewish Talmud.
Considering who were to be the judges, it is no great wonder that
the Jews were anxious to decline the discussion. But this they were
not suffered to do. The Christian champions were Jerome of Santa Fe,
Beltran, Bishop of Barcelona, and Garcia Alvares—all of them able men
and converts from Judaism. Sixteen learned Talmudists appeared for
the Jews. Sixty-nine meetings were held; and it is almost unnecessary
once more to add that both parties claimed the victory. A bull
was issued by the Pope, commanding the burning of the Talmud, and
imposing fresh penalties on such Jews as remained unconverted. It
appears, however, that large numbers submitted to baptism.

In 1420 the young king assumed the regal authority, and held it till
1454. During his reign the Jews seem to have been, comparatively
speaking, unmolested; and, as was always the case under such
circumstances, to have regained both their wealth and their political
influence. In 1435 the Jews at Palma were charged with the old stock
offence of crucifying children, though this time the victim was a
Moor. They confessed, as usual, under torture, and, having agreed
to accept baptism, were pardoned. In Toledo, in 1441, the Infante
Henry, who was in rebellion against his father, being greatly in
want of money to pay his troops, was advised to plunder the houses
of the Jews—both those who adhered to their old creed and those
who had recently been converted—as the surest and most popular mode
of raising funds. He greatly approved of the counsel, and proceeded
straightway to follow it, notwithstanding the opposition of the
principal citizens and the clergy. The populace, we are told,
followed his example. In 1445 the Jews of the same city were accused
of having undermined the streets through which the procession of the
Host was to pass; and one of the customary massacres would have taken
place, if the authorities had not made inquiry and ascertained that
the charge was wholly without foundation. Again, at Tavora, some
youths, after one of their feasts, sallied forth into the streets,
and slew several Jews whom they met, their excuse being that they
thought the Jews were on the point of making an attack upon _them_.
A similar story to that propagated at Palma was also fabricated at
Valladolid of some Jews at Savona. But in no case did any of the
wholesale massacres take place by which the Spanish cities were
disgraced both in previous and after times.

In 1454 Henry IV. succeeded his father. His action at Toledo,
thirteen years before, in plundering the Jews, caused the idea to be
entertained that he would be unfavourable to them; but his conduct,
when he came to the throne, did not bear out the notion. A riot
having occurred in 1461 at Medina del Campo, in consequence of the
preaching of an enthusiastic monk; and a number of Jews having been
slain and their property pillaged, Henry put the outbreak down, and
executed due justice on the rioters. He also appointed a Jew, Gaon
by name, as his finance minister, and sent him to levy the taxes in
the Basque provinces. But this was regarded by the Basques as an
infringement of their constitutional rights. The Jew was assassinated
in the streets of Tolosa; and when the king sent to require the
surrender of the murderers, he received a defiant refusal, nor did he
venture to take any measures against them.

It was evident that the feeling against the Jews was once more
growing to the fatal height it had attained in other lands. In 1468
the Jews of Sepulveda, a town near Segovia, had, it was averred,
seized on a Christian infant, carried it to a sequestered spot, and
there, after barbarous ill-usage, crucified it. Their Rabbi, Solomon
Picho, was declared to have been the instigator of the deed. The
Bishop of Avila put the accused, sixteen in number, to the torture,
and having elicited the usual confession, caused some to be burned
and some hanged. But these severities did not satisfy the people of
Sepulveda, who required the extermination of the Jews. They rose
accordingly, and massacred all who did not save themselves by flight.
Similar insurrections took place in Cordova, Jaen, Toledo, Segovia,
and other cities.

The spirit thus evoked was allayed for a time—probably because
Henry not only lent it no help, but was in his heart favourably
inclined to the Jews. A deputation, composed of converts to
Christianity and those who still professed their ancient faith,
residing in Valladolid, waited on him, to ask his protection against
the oppression and injustice of the partisans of his sister Donna
Isabella, and were kindly received. Though no satisfaction was given
them for the wrongs they had undergone, injustice for the future was
restrained. When at a Cortes, held in 1469, a petition was presented
to him, praying him to forbid the Jews thenceforward to farm or
collect tithes, he paid no heed to it. But the spirit of persecution
was checked for a time only. In 1473 it broke out again, and deluged
all Andalusia with blood. A new feature was now manifested, likely
to produce the gravest consequences. The storm of persecution had
hitherto fallen on those only who persisted in refusing to adopt the
Christian faith. But persons were now included in it who had lately
become converts to the Church, and who were known by the title of
the ‘New Christians.’ Their fidelity to their new belief was greatly
suspected; and, it cannot be denied, with a good deal of reason. And,
besides, these New Christians were, after all, guilty of that gravest
of all Jewish offences—acquiring wealth at the expense of the old
Christians. The mobs in the Andalusian cities attacked old and new
Jews alike. In Jaen, the constable of the town, Franza by name, who
interfered to protect them, was assassinated while hearing mass in
the cathedral itself, and the pillage and murder went on unchecked.
The example was soon followed in Castile. In Segovia, in 1474, Don
Juan de Pachecho, wishing to provoke a rising for the execution of a
political intrigue, thought the most likely mode of succeeding was by
exciting an armed attack on the converted Jews, it being easy then to
divert the rabble to his purpose. The insurrection was put down by
the royal forces, but not before great numbers of the Jews had been

Henry died in the same year, 1474, and was succeeded by his sister
Isabella. Her title to the crown was doubtful, as there was a
daughter of Henry’s second queen, named Juana, who, if legitimate,
was the rightful heir. But the whole nation seemed to have concurred
in rejecting Juana’s claim; and, though her cause was taken up by
the King of Portugal, to whom she had given her hand, his complete
defeat at Toro extinguished her hopes for ever. Five years afterwards
Ferdinand succeeded to the crown of Aragon, and his union with
Isabella may be said to have created anew the long extinct monarchy
of Spain.

In the following year a Cortes was held at Toledo, and many laws
were enacted for the government of the now united kingdoms. Among
these was an ordinance, that not only should the Jews be compelled
to reside within the bounds of their own Jewry or ghetto, but also
that any Jew who should presume to live elsewhere should forfeit
all his property, and his person be at the disposal of the king.
In other respects the regulations passed were neither oppressive
nor unreasonable. Within the bounds of their ghetto, all privileges
which of late years they had been permitted to enjoy were allowed
them. But shortly after Ferdinand’s accession to the united throne of
Castile and Aragon, he introduced into his dominions a new engine for
the oppression of the Jews, the infamous Inquisition, the working
of which produced more momentous and terrible consequences than
he himself, in all likelihood, foresaw; which culminated, indeed,
not only in the misery and ruin of the Jews, but in the decay and
degradation of Spain herself.

This was the era of the famous Isaac Abarbanel, the favourite
minister of Alphonso V., of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and
of Ferdinand, King of Naples. He was distinguished, not only as a
statesman, but as an author. He wrote valuable commentaries on the
Pentateuch and the Prophets, as well as many other works. Jacob
Mantenu also, physician to Paul III., and the Latin translator of
Maimonides, belongs to this century.


[151] A similar state of things exists in South Russia to-day.

[152] Hearing, it may be, of this, Ferrer besought permission of the
King of Portugal to enter his dominions, as the messenger of Heaven.
The king replied, he was welcome to come, but he must first prove his
mission by putting on a crown of red-hot iron! Ferrer declined to
avail himself of this offer!

                           CHAPTER XXVII.

                           A.D. 1400-1500.

                   THE JEWS IN SPAIN—_continued_.

The Inquisition, introduced into Spain by Ferdinand, with the consent
of Isabella,[153] was not a new institution. It had been established
in France early in the thirteenth century, the object then being
to compel the return of the Albigenses to the orthodox faith. It
had worked terrible woe to that unhappy people; but two hundred and
fifty years afterwards the heresy had so nearly died out, that the
Inquisition would have died along with it, if it had not been that
the outcry respecting the New Christians, as they were called—that
is the recent converts to Christianity—once more set the hateful
machinery in operation. The height to which the persecution of the
Jews had risen in the fifteenth century had left them no alternative
but apostasy or death. It is no wonder that large numbers of the
Jews preferred the former. It is said that no less than thirty-five
thousand persons had been induced to accept baptism by the preaching
of Vincent Ferrer alone. For a time the clergy felt overwhelmed with
joy at this signal triumph; but after a while grave suspicions of
the sincerity of these new converts began to be felt. Outwardly, no
doubt, they conformed to the requirements of the Church; but it was
suspected that they still continued to observe in secret the Jewish

Three inquisitors were appointed, Torquemada, Juglar, and D’Avila;
and their first act was to put forth an edict, in which they declared
it to be the duty of all faithful Christians, without paying any
regard to rank or condition, to accuse to the tribunal any whom they
knew to be open professors but secret enemies of Christ. Any who did
not do so became themselves amenable to the law for their criminal
silence. To facilitate such accusations, a manifesto was issued, in
which various proofs were mentioned by which a ‘secret Jew’ might
be detected. We learn from it that a man might be accounted as a
concealed Jew if, among many similar evidences, he—

1. Put on clean clothes, or had a clean table-cloth on the Saturday,
or dispensed with a fire on the Friday night.

2. If he washed the blood from meat, or examined the knife before
slaying an animal.

3. If, on the Day of Atonement, he asked forgiveness of those whom he
had offended, or put his hands on his children’s heads to bless them,
without making the sign of the cross.

4. If he gave his children Jewish names.[154]

5. If he ate the same meat as Jews, or sat down to table with
them. If, when dying, he turned his face to the wall, or let any
one else turn it. If he washed a corpse with warm water. If he
spoke approvingly of the dead (such person being a Jew), or made
lamentation for him, or caused a body to be buried in virgin soil,

If it were not that these enactments were followed up by the most
barbarous and insatiable cruelties, it would be difficult to read
this extraordinary catalogue of offences without a smile. But all
disposition to mirth vanishes when we remember what ensued. Great
numbers of arrests, we are told, were made—the practice of keeping
the accuser’s name a profound secret rendering it easy to indulge
malevolence without the risk of exposure. The accused, not being told
the exact nature or details of the charges against them, were unable
to disprove them; and, not being confronted with the witnesses, could
not expose their falsehood. Both witnesses and accused, again, were
frequently put to the severest tortures, under the pressure of which
they made confessions which they were not allowed to retract. In
short, it was wholly impossible for any one to escape condemnation
when it was the wish or the interest of the inquisitors to condemn
him; and it is no wonder that the list of their victims should have
extended to a length so fearful.

Fearful indeed it is to read. During the eighteen years of
Torquemada’s inquisitorship, more than ten thousand persons were
burned alive; more than six thousand corpses, of persons found guilty
after their deaths, were dragged from their graves and fastened to
the stakes, along with the living victims; while nearly one hundred
thousand were stripped of all their possessions, and sentenced to
life-long imprisonment.[155]

All classes of men were shocked and alarmed at these dreadful
scenes. The Cortes appealed to the Pope, who made a feeble attempt
to interfere, but soon desisted; while, in Saragossa, a conspiracy
was organized, and Arbues d’Avila, one of the three inquisitors, was
assassinated in the cathedral. But this did not benefit the unhappy
Jews. Whether guilty or not of the act, all men considered them so,
and left them to what they regarded as the just penalty of their

Thus far the persecution had been directed entirely to the
_conversos_, or New Christians. Such of the Jews as had refused to
abandon their faith had been left uninjured; nor is it unlikely that
they considered this as being the just reward of their constancy.
But their turn was now to come. Ferdinand and Isabella, who had at
last succeeded in reducing the whole of Spain to their sovereignty,
resolved that thenceforth none should breathe the air of that land
who denied the Christian faith. In 1492 they issued the memorable
decree, commanding all Jews to renounce their creed or depart from
Spain. It was dated March 30th, and allowed them four months in which
to prepare for their departure. Any Jews who presumed to linger in
the country after the expiration of that date, or to return to it at
any future time, were to be liable to the penalty of death, and the
forfeiture of all their goods. Any persons who publicly or privately
sheltered or protected any of the proscribed race, after the 31st
of July, were to be punished by the confiscation of their entire

The blow fell like a thunderbolt on the unhappy people. It has been
several times remarked that, considering the irreconcilable enmity
entertained towards them, and the incessant wrongs they underwent,
it could have been no great privation to be exiled from lands which
contained none but bitter and merciless enemies. But they do not
understand human nature who would so argue. Man is like a creeping
plant, which puts out its tendrils to clasp the objects nearest to
it; and, though these may be rough bark or barren rock, it cannot
be torn away from them without resistance and pain. And if this was
applicable to the Jews in all countries, it was especially true as
regarded Spain. There, for centuries, they had dwelt, peaceful,
prosperous, and happy. While their brethren in other lands underwent
cruel insult and wrong, they had been protected against violence by
wise and just rulers. Only recently had the hand of violence been
raised against them; and they might surely hope that it might be
withdrawn ere long, when calmer reason again bore sway.

An attempt was made to induce the king to forego his purpose.
The celebrated Isaac Abarbanel[156] was at the time high in his
confidence and favour. He threw himself at Ferdinand’s feet, and
offered, in the name of his people, no less than 30,000 ducats, as
the price of their continuance in Spain. So large a sum tempted
Ferdinand, who was at all times avaricious, and was at that moment
greatly in need of money. He wavered, and might perhaps have revoked
his edict, if Torquemada, who had heard of the offer, had not burst
into the presence-chamber, holding a crucifix in his hand. ‘Behold,’
he cried, ‘Him whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver! Sell Him
again, if you will, and render an account of the bargain to God!’
Isabella also took part against the Jews. It may well be, that the
notion of being bribed to forego her duty roused an indignation which
she would not otherwise have felt. Any way, the offer was rejected,
and the miserable Jews had to set about making the best provision
they could against the approaching day of exile. They were allowed
to sell their landed property and houses, but only, of course, at an
enormous disadvantage. Bernaldes states that he saw Jews give a house
in exchange for an ass, and a vineyard for a small bale of cloth,
purchasers continually holding off from completing a bargain, which
they knew they must ultimately get on their own terms. They were
forbidden to carry away with them gold or silver; but we are told
that they contrived to secrete large quantities of it in the saddles
and halters of their horses. Some even swallowed it, and it is said,
in some instances, to the amount of thirty ducats! The rich Jews paid
the expenses of their poorer brethren,[157] practising towards each
other the greatest charity.

At the beginning of July, they set out on their mournful journey to
the seaports, old and young, rich and poor, a long and melancholy
_cortége_. The Rabbins, we are told, encouraged them, and engaged
musicians to play, and bade the boys and girls sing, so as to keep up
the spirits of the wayfarers. But the mirth must have been forced and
hollow. Their fathers could not sing the Lord’s song while compelled
to dwell in a strange land—how should they sing it when forced to
leave their own?

There is considerable difference in the estimate made by historians
of the numbers that went into exile. Mariana reckoned it at 800,000.
Others place it much lower; but at the least calculation it must have
reached some hundreds of thousands. An immense concourse assembled at
Barcelona, Valencia, Carthagena, Port Maria, and Gibraltar. Vessels
had been provided at all those ports, whence they were transported to
Italy, or various places on the coast of Africa. The miseries endured
during the voyage, and after the landing had been effected, exceed
all power of description. Some of the vessels took fire; others were
so overloaded that they sank. Many were wrecked on barren places
along the African shore, and died of cold and hunger. Some captains
purposely prolonged their voyages, in order that the provisions might
run short, and their passengers be obliged to purchase water and
food of them at any price they might choose to exact. On board one
vessel, a pestilential disease broke out. The captain landed all the
emigrants on a desert island, where many perished of famine. Another
party was forced to go ashore at an uninhabited spot, where a large
portion of them were devoured by wild beasts. Those who reached Fez,
in Morocco, were not allowed to enter the town, but were compelled
to encamp on the sands, suffering the most grievous privations, and
exposed to the brutal insults of the natives.[158] A Sallee pirate
allured a number of boys on board his vessel, promising to bestow
some provisions on them, and then carried them off before the faces
of their parents, who stood imploring and shrieking for mercy on the
shore, to sell them as slaves at a distant port.

Those that were conveyed to Italy were somewhat less harshly treated.
The captain of a vessel bound for Genoa, passing along the African
coast, saw a number of naked wretches, who apparently had been cast
by the sea upon it. On inquiry he found that these were a number of
Jewish exiles, who had been barbarously compelled to land there.
He took them on board, made them some clothes out of sailcloth,
and conveyed them to Genoa. There they were permitted to land; but
were met by priests carrying bread in one hand and a crucifix in
the other, nor would they bestow the former on them until they had
consented to accept the latter also. Nine crowded vessels reached the
Bay of Naples; but disease, caused by the hardships and privations
of the voyage, was raging amongst the passengers. The infection was
speedily communicated to the city, and 20,000 persons are reported
to have died in consequence. In Rome, even the selfish nature of
Alexander VI. was moved at the recital of their sufferings. He not
only gave them shelter in his own dominions, but wrote to all the
Italian States, desiring them to extend to the Jewish exiles the same
privileges which had been enjoyed by their resident brethren.[159]


[153] It was with great difficulty that this was obtained. Isabella,
though a dutiful daughter of the Church, had a superior intellect
and a tender heart; and both revolted against the proposed measure.
Torquemada, who had been her confessor, was obliged to appeal to a
promise she had made him, years before, to extirpate heresy, if she
ever could. Even then, her assent was most reluctantly given.

[154] By a previous law of Henry II., he had become punishable if he
gave his children _Christian_ names. It must have been a hard matter
to know what to call them.

[155] The wholesale butchery of the Autos da Fé, as these executions
were called, is one of their most shocking features. On the 4th of
November, 1481, three hundred Jews were burned in Seville, and in
other parts of the same province two thousand more. In Saragossa
the two surviving inquisitors avenged the assassination of their
colleague by two hundred deaths at the stake.

[156] Don Isaac Abarbanel was born at Lisbon in 1437, and early
gained the notice of Alphonso V. He was obliged to leave Portugal
suddenly in 1482, having been suspected of taking part in Bragazza’s
conspiracy against John II. He was kindly welcomed by Ferdinand and
Isabella, who made him their Minister of Finance. In 1492, he was
obliged to quit Spain along with his countrymen. He found refuge at
Naples, where he was employed by Ferdinand and Alphonso II. He shared
the exile of the latter monarch, and removed to Venice, where he died.

[157] The charge of sordid indifference to the sufferings of others
has always been made against the mediæval Jews; nor can it be denied
that there is truth in the allegation. But it was only towards the
Christians that this was displayed. To their own countrymen they
have in all ages been generous and charitable in the extreme. Be
it remembered what kind of charity had been shown _them_ by their
Christian brethren, and that _they_ had not been taught ‘to do good
unto them that persecute you.’ When the Jews at Rome were unwilling
to receive their exiled brethren of Spain, Alexander VI. expressed
the utmost surprise. ‘This is the first time,’ he said, ‘that I ever
heard of a Jew not having compassion for a Jew.’

[158] Some of the stories related of the atrocities perpetrated on
these miserable wretches are too shocking for repetition. They are
related by several historians, but I think it better, for the credit
of human nature, to suppress them.

[159] It must be noted, however, that, although Alexander showed
compassion to the fugitives, he made them pay a heavy price for his
protection of them, and also bestowed on Ferdinand the title of ‘the
Most Catholic,’ in requital of the banishment of the Jews from his

                           CHAPTER XXVIII.

                           A.D. 1400-1500.

                        THE JEWS IN PORTUGAL.

No mention has hitherto been made of the Jews dwelling in Portugal.
Little is said respecting them by historians; and the idea has in
consequence been entertained that they were few in number, and
had little influence in the affairs of the country. But that is a
mistake. They settled early in various parts of Portugal, and under
the rule of the first Portuguese kings bore an important part in its
concerns. In the reign of Sancho I., in 1190, a Jew, Don Solomon
Jachia, was made a field-marshal, and commanded the Portuguese army.
In 1248, Sancho II. appointed so many Jews to public offices that the
Pope of the day, Gregory IX., remonstrated with him on the subject,
and requested that Christians might be chosen for the various posts
of receivers and farmers of the revenue, which then were generally
occupied by Jews, to the oppression and injury of Christian men. We
are told that, in requital of the royal protection granted them, the
Jews furnished an anchor and a cable of sixty fathoms’ length to
every king’s vessel which left port.

The same favour was continued by subsequent monarchs. In 1289, the
clergy laid a complaint before Pope Nicolas IV. against King Dennis,
that he appointed Jews to the highest offices in the State; the
Chief Rabbi Judah being his High Treasurer and Minister of Finance.
The consequence was they stated, that he permitted his countrymen
to dispense with the payment of tithe due from them, and also to
lay aside their distinguishing badge. But the complaint seems to
have been without foundation. When, at Evora, in 1325 sumptuary laws
were enacted respecting dress, no exceptions were made in favour of
the Jews; and, unless a composition entered into with the Jews of
Braganza, accepting a fixed sum in lieu of the annual taxes, can be
regarded as such, no special favour was shown them.

Alphonso IV., in 1340, remitted the extraordinary impositions which,
from time to time, had been exacted of them, commuting them for a
sum which, though _per se_ large, was a great relief to them. His
successor, Ferdinand, in 1371 ordered that all the privileges which
had been granted by his predecessors to the Jews should be confirmed.
He had a Jew, Don Judah, for his treasurer. In 1389, John I., at
the suit of Moses, his physician, gave his sanction to the bull of
Clement VI., which had been confirmed by the newly elected Pope,
Boniface IX., granting the Jews licence to celebrate their feasts,
and practise the rites of their religion without interruption from
any. In short, up to the date of the accession of John II., in
1481, though laws were passed from time to time, imposing penalties
and restrictions on the Jews, which we in the present day should
consider harsh and unfair, there was nothing which amounted to

On the accession of John II., in 1481, he held a Cortes at Evora,
when great complaints were made of the luxury in which the Jews
indulged, and the display they made of their riches. They rode
splendidly caparisoned horses, wore silk doublets, carried
jewel-hilted swords, entered churches, where they made a mock of the
worship in progress; above all, refused to wear the badge by which
they were distinguished. Jewish artisans, too—cobblers, tinkers, and
the like—roamed about the country, making their way into houses,
while the men were engaged at work in the fields, and perverting the
women. The king replied to these various complaints, promising to
restrain the indulgence in splendid apparel, and to oblige the Jews
to wear their badge; but adding that, as regards other offences, if
it could be proved that they had committed them, the law would punish

In 1491, when the expulsion from Spain took place, large numbers of
the exiles found a refuge in Portugal. It was the most likely spot
for them to select. There was no long and perilous sea-voyage to
be encountered, and the similarity of language and customs of the
two countries made the change less harsh and painful. But though
John permitted the fugitives to find a shelter in his dominions, it
was only for a brief interval, and upon very stern conditions. He
required that all persons, excepting children at the breast, should
pay the sum of eight crusadoes (19_s._ 4_d._) each, in return for
which they received a certificate, entitling them to reside eight
months in the kingdom. At the expiration of that time, the king
engaged to provide vessels, on reasonable terms, to convey them to
any land they might select. Those who could not pay the crusadoes, or
lingered in Portugal after the prescribed time, were to become the
slaves of the king.[161] Upon these terms as many as 20,000 families,
amounting probably to more than 100,000 persons, crossed into
Portugal, with the intention probably of quitting its inhospitable
shores as speedily as possible. But the eight months passed, and
large numbers still lingered. Some were doubtless too poor to pay
for a passage, for which exorbitant prices were charged. The king
had, indeed, ordered that no more than a reasonable sum should be
asked, but his commands were slackly and carelessly carried out, and
complaint would have been worse than useless. Many were terrified by
the tales of barbarities practised on their countrymen by the savage
inhabitants of the African coast, and many had been enfeebled by the
pestilence which had broken out among them. No sooner had the eight
months expired than the penalty was enforced, and the whole of the
loiterers became the slaves of the king. Those who were young and
able-bodied were forcibly baptized, and then carried off to colonize
the island of St. Thomas, in the Gulf of Guinea, which had recently
become a Portuguese possession.

In 1495, John was succeeded by Emmanuel, known in history as ‘the
Fortunate.’ His succession appeared at first to promise the miserable
Jews some respite from their sufferings. He revoked the edict under
which such as had remained in the kingdom became slaves. He refused
a large sum of money which had been presented to him by some wealthy
Jews, and professed his determination of treating them with equity
and mercy.

Unhappily, the gleam of sunshine soon passed away, and was succeeded
by a fiercer tempest than any that had yet darkened their skies.
In an unhappy hour Emmanuel sued for the hand of the Infanta
Isabella, daughter of the Catholic sovereigns of Spain; and they
would not consent to the marriage, except on the condition that
their son-in-law should banish the Jews from Portugal, as they had
banished them from Spain. We may believe that there was a struggle
in his mind, for he was evidently inclined to be compassionate
towards the unfortunate race, which he had already befriended.
But what, after all, were a few thousands of wretched Jews, when
compared with the fulfilment of his hopes? Nay, he would win the
approval of his lady-love by doing even more than had been required
of him. He would win her favour at once, and that of Heaven also,
by his fulfilment of their wishes. He issued a proclamation from
Muja, ordering all the Jews still within his dominions to embrace
the Christian faith within the space of three months, or to depart
from Portugal. Three ports were at first named—Lisbon Oporto, and
Setubal—from any of which the Jews might embark; but subsequently
this order was revoked, and Lisbon was named as the only place of
embarkation. It is probable that Emmanuel expected, after the great
reluctance which the Jews had manifested, on a recent occasion, to
quit their present place of abode for unknown and unfriendly regions,
that the greater part, at all events, would choose baptism rather
than deportation. When he found that this was not the case, but that
great numbers were resolute to depart, and were making the needful
preparations for their voyage, he was greatly disconcerted. The glory
of making converts to the Church would be denied him, and he would
lose a vast number of wealthy and valuable subjects. He resolved not
to forego these advantages without at least making another effort to
secure them. He despatched a secret order that all children under
fourteen should be separated from their parents, and brought up in
the Christian faith. This was not to be carried into effect until
the day of embarkation came, so that there would be no time left for
disputing or evading the decrees. But the king’s intention was by
some error divulged; and, lest the Jews should contrive to defeat it,
it was put into immediate execution. Such scenes of horror ensued as
imagination cannot picture. It was the repetition, on a larger scale,
of the massacre at Bethlehem. Children were dragged forcibly from the
grasp of their parents; infants torn from their mothers’ breasts,
to undergo what they regarded as worse then death. Many, in the
distraction of their agony, flung their children into the wells and
rivers, or slew themselves with their own hands.[162] One miserable
mother threw herself at the feet of the king, as he was riding to
church—to _church_! Great God of Mercy, that men should dare to bring
such deeds into Thy very house, for Thine approval! She cried out
that six of her seven children had already been taken from her—would
he not spare her youngest to her? The courtiers mocked at her misery.
The king bade his attendants remove her from his path—‘the poor
bitch,’ as he expressed it, ‘robbed of her whelps!’—whether with her
petition granted or not, we are not told. But the people were not
so deaf to the common instincts of humanity as their monarch. They
assisted the Jews to conceal their children, and the inhuman command
was only partially carried out. Nevertheless, this last deadly blow
had gone further to break the hearts of the Jews than all their
previous sufferings. On condition of receiving back their children,
and that the Inquisition should not be introduced into Portugal for
twenty years to come,[163] many of those who had hitherto resisted
all attempts to proselytize them consented to receive baptism. The
more steadfast spirits, whom no amount of suffering could subdue,
were either shipped off to foreign lands or remained behind after the
appointed day, and became the slaves of Emmanuel.

It must not be supposed that these acts of bigotry and pitiless
cruelty were done with the universal consent of the Portuguese
people. The rabble, indeed, in every land can at all times be stirred
up to hunt down and oppress those who differ from themselves on
almost any subject, without reflection and without remorse; yet, even
among them, as we have seen, the natural feelings of compassion could
not be wholly stifled. But among the more educated and thoughtful
classes there were many who not only disapproved the act of their
sovereign, but openly expressed their dissatisfaction. Bishop Osorio
has plainly recorded the view which he and others took of it. ‘Some
of the king’s counsellors,’ he says, ‘were of opinion that the Jews
ought not to be driven away, since it was notorious that the Pope
himself permitted them to reside in his dominions. Other Christian
princes in Italy, following his example—as well as some in Germany,
Hungary, and other European States,—granted them the same liberty,
and allowed them to practise various trades and professions. As for
converting them to the Church, banishment would be less likely than
any other step to bring that about. The Jews would carry with them
their perverse dispositions. _Cœlum non animum mutant qui trans mare
currunt_—a change of residence would have no effect in producing a
change of conviction. Nay, to send them over to Africa would be to
destroy what hope at present existed of their conversion. Living
among Christians, they might be influenced by the Christian example
set them [alas! what kind of Christian example _had_ been set them?]
and adopt the true faith. But, mingling with blind and superstitious
Mahometans, how could they learn any good? Again, to put the matter
on wholly different grounds, it would be most injurious to the State
to send out of the land a people possessed of abundant wealth, which
would then enrich their enemies.’ But the words of Divine and human
wisdom alike failed to produce any effect on the infatuated king and
his advisers, and the fatal policy was persisted in.

During this century many learned and able writers belonging to the
Hebrew race have transmitted their names to posterity. Mention
has been made in the previous chapter of Isaac Abarbanel, divine,
philosopher, and historian, the most celebrated Jew of his age.
Contemporary with him were Isaac Aboab, author of commentaries,
essays, and sermons; David ben Solomon Jachia, grammarian, poet, and
Talmudist; Judah, Joseph, and Samuel Abarbanel, sons of the renowned
Isaac, the first-named also an author of repute; Solomon ben Virga,
the historian; David ben Joseph Jachia, philosopher, grammarian, and
poet; and many others.

During this century printing-presses were introduced into Portugal by
two Jews, Eliezer and Izarba, by whom some beautiful editions of the
Pentateuch and the Targum of Onkelos were produced. Hebrew presses
were also set up about the same time in many of the great Italian


[160] Thus, the Jews were compelled to live in their Jewry; they
could not have Christian servants; they were prohibited from entering
the houses of Christians, unless they were accompanied by two
Christians; they were not allowed to wear silk dresses; they were
not allowed to collect the revenue of the Church. But no one could
do them wrong without their obtaining redress; there was no hint of
confiscating their wealth; and they were free to practise any trade
or profession.

[161] Except smiths and armourers, who were permitted to remain in
the country if they chose.

[162] The corpses of these were publicly burnt, as a token of the
anger of Heaven against _their_ wickedness!

[163] The converts also stipulated that, when the Inquisition was set
up, its judicial proceedings should be so far modified that accused
persons should be confronted with the witnesses against them; and, in
case of condemnation, their entire property should not be taken from
their families.

                            CHAPTER XXIX.

                           A.D. 1500-1600.

                         THE JEWS IN ITALY.

The Jews had now been expelled from England, France, parts of
Germany and Central Europe, Russia, Spain, and Portugal.[164] They
were also shut out from Holland and the Low Countries, these being
subject to the control of the Empire. It does not appear that they
had ever established themselves in Sweden, Denmark, or Scotland, to
any great extent. In fact, the only European countries in which they
continued to reside in any considerable numbers, at this period,
were Italy, Poland, and Turkey. It was chiefly in the East and in
Northern Africa, under the rule of Mahometan princes, that they found
a refuge. We shall speak first of the residents in Europe during this
century, and then proceed to record the fortunes of their brethren
who had migrated to the East.

They were received, as we have seen, with more kindness than might
have been expected in Italy. Many of the Popes were far-sighted
enough to perceive that, by expelling the Jews from their dominions,
they were simply transferring capital and intelligence to other
countries.[165] Leo X., in 1513, checked the zeal of certain
preachers, who were inveighing against the Jewish usurers in Rome.
He had no mind to have popular tumults excited, which might oblige
him to drive out men whose residence in the city was so advantageous
to him. His successor, Clement VII., adopted a similar policy. When
he heard of the persecution in Portugal, A.D. 1523, undergone by the
New Christians (as those Jews were called who were recent converts
to the Church), he not only sent an invitation to them to come and
live in his dominions, but intimated that he should not inquire what
had happened to them previously in Portugal. It need not be said
that great numbers availed themselves of his offer. Paul III., 1539,
espoused their cause still more openly. He would not permit the
Inquisition to continue its persecuting and bloody work within the
Papal States. Whatever offences might have been charged against the
Jews in their own land, when they crossed the confines of his, a full
amnesty was granted them. Especially this was the case in the rising
city of Ancona. Entire freedom of trade was permitted, no inquiries
being made as to any man’s creed. There was complete equality of
taxation. No one was compelled to wear any distinguishing badge. We
are told that, in consequence of these measures, Ancona grew rapidly
in population and wealth. It was doubtless in consequence of this
special favour that Cardinal Sadolet complained, at Avignon, of the
extraordinary favour shown to the Israelites; and we learn that,
later in his reign, Paul issued a bull, annulling the decrees he
had made in their favour, and requiring that converts to the Church
should be separated from their relatives.

Ten years afterwards Julius III. confirmed the privileges which his
predecessors had granted; indeed, he went further. Considering that
the Reformation was making dangerous progress in Italy, he thought
it necessary to set up the Inquisition in Rome. But he especially
exempted the Jews of Ancona from its supervision. And, as regards the
other Jews in his dominions, he gave the most stringent directions
to his legates and cardinals to show the most complete toleration
to their religious opinions and observances. They were to make no
inquiry as to what they professed, or what they might formerly have
professed—this last promise being obviously intended to meet the case
of those Jewish exiles who, in their native country, had been induced
to make a nominal profession of Christianity, which they had now laid

His tolerant treatment of them, however, was subjected to a severe
trial. A Franciscan friar, one Corneglio of Montalcino, had become
a convert to Judaism, and forthwith was possessed with a spirit
of proselytism, which drove him openly to preach the falsehood of
Christianity in the very streets of Rome! He was seized, and inquiry
made as to the cause of his apostasy. Fortunately for the Jews, this
was alleged to be the study of the Talmud, not the personal influence
of any Jew. Of the Talmud, accordingly, the penalty was exacted. It
was ordered to be publicly burned in Rome and other Italian cities.
The Jews, who had lived in terror of a furious popular outbreak or a
stern papal decree, were allowed to escape scot free—an act of mercy
which is gratefully recorded by one of their Rabbins.

But it was different when Paul IV. succeeded to the pontificate, a
man of arrogant and impetuous character, who carried intolerance, it
might be said, to the highest pitch of which it is capable.[166] He
was as stern in his demeanour to the Jews as he was to the Reformers.
He renewed all the hostile edicts that had been in force against them
in the time of his predecessors. He prohibited them from holding
real property, and compelled them to sell what they were possessed
of within six months,—of course at a ruinous loss. He debarred them
from trading in corn, or any of the necessaries of life, though he
allowed them the privilege of dealing in old clothes, with which
traffic they have been so generally associated in the popular fancy.
He ordered all their synagogues but one to be destroyed. He was the
first to shut them up in the Ghetto, where, for centuries afterwards,
they were forced to live. He obliged them again to wear a distinctive
dress—the men yellow hats, the women yellow hoods—to abstain from
work on the Sunday, to keep from all intercourse with Christians, and
especially from attending them as physicians, and to pay a tax for
the instruction in the Christian faith of any Jews who were inclined
to embrace it.

His rule, however, only lasted for four years, and Pius IV., who
succeeded him in 1559, somewhat, though not very greatly, relaxed
the sternness of his predecessor’s policy. He maintained the
enforced residence within the Ghetto, but he enlarged and improved
it, and forbade the exorbitant rents which the owners of houses had
hitherto exacted. He removed several restrictions on their trade, and
permitted them to hold real property up to the value of 1500 ducats.
He allowed friendly intercourse between them and their Christian
fellow-subjects, and, though he would not dispense with the cap,
which was one of their distinguishing badges, he changed its colour
from yellow to the less remarkable one of black.

Pius V., 1566, a man of austere and sombre character, revived in a
great measure the harshness of Paul IV. He banished the Jews from
all the cities in his domains, except Rome and Ancona, and revived
most of the severities with which Pius IV. had dispensed. He seems
to have tolerated the presence of the Jews at all, only because by
that time it had come to be generally understood that to expel them
from any country was to destroy its commercial prosperity. There
was little change in their treatment when Gregory XIII. followed,
A.D. 1572. He promulgated a bull, which he caused to be fixed at the
entrance of the Ghetto, which prohibited the reading of the Talmud,
and required all Jews who were more than twelve years of age to
appear periodically, for the purpose of listening to sermons preached
for their special conversion. What effect these had in producing the
desired result, we are not informed.

In 1585, however, Sixtus V. assumed the pontificate—a man of
far higher character and more commanding mind than any of his
predecessors during the present century. His mode of dealing with
the Jews was at once humane and statesmanlike. He swept away with a
stroke of his pen the vexatious and frivolous restrictions which had
been imposed on them; he gave them free access to, and unrestrained
residence in, all the cities of his dominions; he allowed them to
carry on whatever trade they might prefer; he ordered the full
toleration of their religion; subjected them to the same civil
tribunals and the same taxes as their Christian fellow-subjects. He
also limited the amount of usury which they were permitted to exact
to eighteen per cent.

After his death, in 1590, there was a succession of Popes who vacated
the papal chair almost immediately after occupying it.[167] Clement
VIII., who was elected in 1592, confirmed the bull of Pius V., by
which they were banished out of all the papal cities except Rome and
Ancona; but to these he added Avignon, where they have since resided,
with full liberty of holding their religious belief and maintaining
their form of worship.

In the other Italian States their condition during this century
appears to have been quite as good—somewhat better, indeed, than
it was at Rome. In Florence they were kindly received, and so well
protected by the laws, that we are told it was a favourite saying in
that city, that ‘a man might as well insult the Grand Duke himself as
a Jew.’[168] In Venice they were equally in favour. They had already,
in the previous century, obtained permission to set up a bank in the
city, the Senate being aware of the commercial advantages obtained by
the residence of the Jews among them. They disapproved the step taken
by the Spanish and Portuguese kings, and themselves employed Jews
on missions of importance, as for instance Abarbanel, to negotiate
a treaty with Portugal; and in 1589, another Jew, Daniel Rodriguez,
to put down some troubles in Dalmatia, which he successfully
accomplished. In Livorno (Leghorn), which the Medici in the latter
part of this century took under their special protection, designing
it to become a great mart of European trade, a quarter was especially
assigned to the Spanish and Portuguese exiles, who flocked thither in
great numbers. It was, indeed, declared to be a Jewish colony, and
it has continued to flourish from that day to the present time. The
Spanish language is still spoken by the Hebrew population, and the
Mosaic ritual is maintained, says a modern writer, in great splendour.

At Ferrara, the Spanish and Portuguese emigrants were received with
the same favour, and the like privileges, which had been accorded by
other Italian princes. Their numbers were so great, that the duke
was induced, probably by popular clamour, to revive an old law,
requiring them to wear a small yellow circle on the breast. From the
same cause, popular pressure, he was obliged in 1551 to dismiss the
whole of the Hebrew population from his realm, in consequence of a
widespread, though it would seem unfounded, belief that they had
brought the plague into Ferrara. They were, however, soon permitted
to return. Many Jews also settled at Bologna, Cremona, Modena,
Mantua, Padua, and other large towns, where they were kindly received.

At Naples only of the Italian cities they were not permitted to
find a home. In the first instance, as the reader has learned,
a considerable number of the Spanish exiles had found refuge in
that city, where they had been received in a friendly manner. But
the invasion of Charles VIII. of France exposed them to fresh
persecution. Wearied out by their endless trials, they lost heart
at last, and consented to embrace the Christian faith. But, as in
the other instances, the conversion was only nominal, and the danger
had no sooner passed than the pseudo-converts returned to their
former profession. A few years subsequently Gonsalvo de Cordova took
possession of Naples in the name of the King of Spain. He raised
the question as to whether they ought not to be driven out of the
country, which had now become part of the Spanish dominions. But
the idea had now got possession of most people’s minds, that to
expel the Jews from any country was to do it serious injury. He
therefore proposed to introduce the Inquisition, which would retain
the Jews in the land, but compel them to keep to their newly made
profession. This, however, did not please the Neapolitans, who rose
in insurrection, and the government were fain to compromise the
matter by expelling the Jews; though it is affirmed by some of the
Jewish writers (as, for example, Orobio de Castro) that these stern
measures were adopted only so far as the Sephardim (or Spanish Jews)
were concerned.

In this century great numbers of Hebrew printing-presses were set up
in Italy, which were under the management of learned Jews. Among
these was the celebrated Abraham Usque, by whom the well-known Bible
of Ferrara, a Spanish version of the Old Testament, was printed.
Hebrew presses were also erected at Cremona, Leghorn, Padua, Genoa,
Rimini, and Verona, as well as the central city of Rome. The renowned
Daniel Bomberg of Antwerp established himself at Venice in 1516,
and his works attained great celebrity. He also published the first
complete edition of the Talmud, and the first Rabbinical Bible. To
this age also belongs Rabbi Joseph, the historian of the French
Crusades and the sufferings of the Jews in Castile, Asarja de Rossi,
and Abraham Portaleone.


[164] It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that they were not
to be met with in those countries. Even in England, though the law
forbade any settlement, Jews were occasionally to be found, whose
presence was tolerated. This was still more the case in France
and Germany; while in Spain and Portugal great numbers remained,
whose profession of Christianity was very widely known to be a mere
pretence. Of them we shall speak in the next chapter.

[165] Sultan Bajazet was shrewd enough to apprehend this. When he
heard of the banishment of the Jews by Ferdinand, he exclaimed: ‘A
wise king this, who impoverishes his own kingdom to enrich mine!’

[166] Paul IV. was the Pope whose overbearing dealings with Queen
Elizabeth precipitated the rupture with the English Church. He was
also the author of the well-known _Index_ of prohibited books.

[167] Urban VIII., Gregory XIV., and Innocent IX.

[168] A remarkable instance of the esteem in which they were held in
Florence is to be found in the quarrel between Florence and Milan in
1414. The Florentines, considering that they had cause of complaint
against the Duke of Milan, sent a Jewish banker, named Valori, as an
ambassador to him. The duke refused to receive a Jew as an envoy,
which the Florentines so highly resented that they declared war
against him.

                            CHAPTER XXX.

                           A.D. 1500-1600.


The Jews having been publicly expelled from Portugal and Spain, it
might be thought that there was an end of their history, so far as
those two countries are concerned. So, doubtless, there would have
been, had the expulsion been a complete one. But it was notorious
that, though they had been nominally driven out, great numbers
remained, who, though they called themselves Christians, were in
reality Jews, and nothing but Jews. Miserable as was the condition of
those whose sufferings have been described in the previous chapters,
it may be doubted whether those who stayed behind were not more
wretched still. True, they had escaped the dreaded severance from
home and country; they might still dwell among the familiar scenes of
youth and manhood; they had not undergone the horrors of the outward
voyage, and the landing among barbarous and inhospitable strangers.
But there was the self-reproach and shame of a false profession
of faith; there was the necessity of complying with forms and
observances which in their heart they hated; there was the continued
dread of detection and ruin. They knew themselves to be the objects
of continual suspicion, that keen and merciless eyes were ever upon
them, and that on the slightest evidence of any open recurrence to
the worship which they still secretly rendered, the fearful scenes,
still fresh in their memory, would be renewed.

It was not long before these anticipations were fulfilled. On Easter
Day, 1506, a fierce and sanguinary outbreak occurred in Lisbon,
which illustrates only too faithfully the state of public feeling
in that day towards the New Christians—which had now become the
customary designation of the Jews. Its immediate cause was an insult
offered to a famous miraculous crucifix, which had been brought out
of the cathedral into the great square. The plague had broken out
in the town, the season was unusually dry, and the pestilence was
aggravated by the want of water. It was hoped that through the aid
of the image some help might be sent from above. On a sudden, while
the eyes of all were anxiously fixed on it, the features of the
sculptured Christ were seen to smile. The people all broke out into
expressions of admiring thankfulness, except one man, who declared
that the smile had been caused by a stream of light let in by a lamp
through the back of the figure. He was one of the New Christians,
and the hollowness of his profession had already been suspected.
The Dominicans denounced him as an apostate, and he was instantly
struck down and slain. The mob followed up this deed of violence by
attacking and slaying all the countrymen of the offender whom they
encountered. The monks incited them to further excesses, promising
(it is said by a Jewish historian) that whoever should murder a Jew
would not have to pass more than one hundred days in purgatory, let
his offences be what they might. The rabble, thus incited, assailed,
gutted, and burned the houses of all the Jews in the town; men,
women, and children were everywhere massacred; those who had fled
into the churches for sanctuary were torn from the altars, dragged
out, and burned. For three days the carnage went on unchecked.
At the end of that time King Emmanuel, who had been absent at
Abrantes, returned to Lisbon. He sent a body of troops into the town
sufficient to quell the disturbance; the ringleaders of the outbreak
were arrested and hanged; and the magistrates, who had shown their
incompetency to deal with the emergency, removed from office. Such
of the New Christians as had escaped the murderous hands of the mob
again passed under the protection of the law. Yet they could not
but have felt like men dwelling near the crater of some volcanic
mountain, which might at any moment burst forth in torrents of
burning lava, and overwhelm them utterly; and it is worthy of notice
that, although the rioters were sternly punished for their lawless
violence, no reparation was made to the Jews—not even an expression
of regret was uttered for the unprovoked and cruel wrongs they had
undergone. It is passing strange that they should have still clung to
a land so unkindly, and still more strange that those who had quitted
it for other countries, where at least life and property were secure,
should have been anxious to return to it.

Yet this did occur. When Charles V., the grandson of Ferdinand and
Isabella, succeeded in 1519 to the throne of Spain, some of the
Jewish exiles sent a deputation to him, requesting permission to
reoccupy their ancient homes, free from the perpetual and pitiless
interference of the Inquisition. In requital of this service, if
he should be inclined to render it to them, they offered no less a
sum than 800,000 crowns of gold. Charles received them favourably,
and his council advised the acceptance of their offer. But Cardinal
Ximenes, who had succeeded Torquemada as Inquisitor General,
interfered, and sternly warned Charles that he could not comply with
the request without unfaithfulness to Christ. Charles yielded, as
his grandfather had yielded to Torquemada, and the petition of the
Jews was rejected. Under the same influence he refused the Portuguese
refugees permission to continue in Holland, whither many of them had
fled. All who had not resided for six years in that country were
obliged to quit it.

In 1521 John III. succeeded Emmanuel as King of Portugal. The
latter had promised the New Christians, on their consenting to
receive baptism, that the Inquisition should not be introduced into
Portugal.[169] But some of John’s advisers persuaded him that this
promise was not binding, for two reasons—first, because the New
Christians were notoriously unfaithful to their engagements; and
secondly, because he had no power to make such an agreement without
the consent of the Pope. To the Pope therefore John appealed for
leave to set up the Holy Tribunal. But Clement VII. and his cardinals
at once refused the petition, and ordered that all the New Christians
whom John had arrested should be set at liberty. When, in 1534, Paul
III. succeeded Clement, John renewed his petition. But Paul rejected
it as resolutely as his predecessor had done, pointing out that
Emmanuel’s promises ought in honour and good faith to be respected.

John, however, was not to be discouraged. Learning that the Emperor
Charles V. was on his way homeward, after his military success at
Tunis, he resolved to avail himself of the opportunity. Charles
would be entitled by the exploits he had performed to a triumph,
at which custom allowed him to ask any favour he pleased from the
Pope. He besought Charles therefore to make the establishment
of the Inquisition in Portugal the privileged request. Charles
assented,[170] and the Pope, though sorely unwilling, was obliged
to grant it. At the same time, however, he stipulated that all
the Portuguese Jews who had been imprisoned up to that time should
be released from prison, and receive a free pardon. This condition
the king refused to comply with; and the Pope had to exercise his
personal authority, placarding the pardons on the doors of the
churches, and sending his own officers to release the prisoners. The
Inquisition, however, was set up in Portugal; and the same results
attended the measure as had followed from it elsewhere, on all other
occasions. Many of the secret Jews, foreseeing these, fled to other
lands; where, if not actually safe from persecution, they would be at
all events less liable to it.

Not many years afterwards, Jews and New Christians were to be met
with in considerable numbers in various parts of the newly discovered
regions of America, both in the countries which had been taken
possession of by Spain and those which had fallen to the share of
Portugal. In Africa also, and all over Asia, they settled—sometimes a
scattered few, sometimes in larger communities. So numerous, indeed,
were the emigrants, and so injurious to the national welfare was
their departure found to be, that repeated edicts were issued by
the kings of Portugal, forbidding it on the severest penalties. The
simple method of detaining them, by making their residence in the
country agreeable, or even endurable, to them, does not seem to have
been thought of.

In Europe their chief place of retreat was Holland. While this was
under the government of Spain, they were as sternly excluded from it
as from every other portion of his Catholic Majesty’s dominions. But
when the long struggle for independence ended in the emancipation
of the Seven United Provinces, the Spanish and Portuguese emigrants
were favourably received there. In 1590, three Portuguese Jews, the
advanced guard, so to speak, of a numerous host which was to follow,
were hospitably entertained. From Embden in 1594 came ten more, who
had borne the Portuguese names of Lopes Homen and Pereira, but who,
as soon as they had settled in the Dutch capital, resumed their
original designation of Abendana. The first synagogue was built
there, in 1598. Notwithstanding the flight, however, of so many of
the so-called New Christians from Portugal, enough of them remained
behind to form a powerful party in the capital, which more than once,
during the latter part of the century, interfered with considerable
effect in the affairs of the State.

It remains that we say somewhat more respecting those Jews who
still continued, as we have said, to reside in Spain and Portugal.
A stranger, and at the same time a more instructive, history is
not to be found in the annals of the world. Bigotry has never been
so blind, so determined, so unscrupulous, as it was in Spain under
the iron rule of the Inquisition. Arbitrary power has never been
exercised more freely, more persistently, more pitilessly, than by
Torquemada and his successors. The eyes of the Inquisition were
everywhere—spying out men’s ways, not only in their discharge of
public duties, but following them, Argus-like, into the privacy of
their family intercourse—nay, into the solitude of their closets
and bedchambers. Their ears drank in men’s secret whispers, uttered
only in the hearing of their nearest intimates—their wives or their
children. They did not hesitate to inflict the most dreadful tortures
in order to elicit the information they desired. They spared, in
the prosecution of their task, neither the weakness of womanhood,
the tenderness of infancy, nor the infirmities of age. Yet they
could not penetrate the mystery of secret Judaism. Men obtained the
highest rank in the State, and filled the most important offices,
honoured and dreaded by all men, who nevertheless belonged to this
despised and proscribed race. The blood which was supposed so to
degrade the man in whose veins it ran was owned by the greatest and
noblest of the land—the marquis, the duke, and the prince, with their
high-sounding titles and their lengthy pedigrees. Towards the end of
the eighteenth century, it is related of the celebrated Portuguese
minister, Pombal, that the king, having proposed at a meeting of
the council that all who were of Jewish descent should be obliged
thenceforth to appear in yellow caps, attended at the next council
with three yellow caps in his hand. The king having inquired the
meaning of this procedure, he replied that it was intended to carry
out the proposition the king had made. ‘One cap,’ he observed, ‘is
for your majesty, one for the Grand Inquisitor, and the third for

Stranger still, but equally certain, is the fact that secret Jews
held posts of dignity, not in the State only, but the Church also.
There were convents full of Jewish monks and Jewish nuns. Priests
said mass at the altars, and received confessions, and pronounced
absolution, who regarded all these rites as false and impious. Nay,
secret Jews wielded the powers of the Holy Office itself. They saw
men dragged before them, and tortured and condemned them to the
stake, for holding precisely the same faith as themselves—pronounced,
it may be, the sentence with their own lips, and then went to their
homes to take part in the proscribed rites themselves. If anything
could prove more clearly than has been already proved, the folly, no
less than wickedness, of religious persecution, it would surely be
this strange and startling history.[171]

Nor ought we to quit this subject without remarking on the just and
stern retribution with which the nation has been visited that did
these things. At the beginning of the sixteenth century Spain was the
leading power in Europe, containing forty millions of inhabitants,
for which its rich and productive soil afforded ample subsistence.
The empire of the New World, which was, as it were, committed to her
care, poured wealth without limit into her lap. What is she now?
Abroad, her name carries little respect; she has sunk to a secondary
rank among the nations. Her voice is never heard in the settlement
of European interests. At home, her population has diminished to
little more than one-third of what it was four centuries before; her
commerce is paralysed; her government unsettled. The poverty and
ignorance of her people seem to be ever on the increase, and strife
and anarchy continually distract the land. Who can doubt that her
double sin—against the Indians of the New World, and the Jews of the
Old—has brought down this heavy judgment on her?


[169] In the account given at the time of their conversion (1497),
it is said that the Inquisition was not to be introduced ‘for twenty
years,’ viz., till 1517. But it is plain that there must have been
another promise for a longer period, though no record has been
preserved of it. The Pope, indeed, Paul III., plainly said as much.

[170] Charles, throughout his reign, was harsh and stern in his
dealings with the Jews. His private secretary, Solomon Maleho, who
had been an enforced convert to Christianity, afterwards returned to
his old belief, and tried to convert the Emperor to it. The latter
handed him over to the secular arm at Mantua, and he was burned at
the stake.

[171] For a vivid picture of the strange condition of society in
Spain at this period, the reader should study Miss Grace D’Aguilar’s
beautiful little tale, entitled _The Vale of Cedars_. See also some
striking details in Borrow’s _Bible in Spain_.

                            CHAPTER XXXI.

                           A.D. 1500-1600.


The condition of the Jews during the sixteenth century in those
parts of Germany and Central Europe where their presence was still
tolerated, does not materially differ from what it had been for many
previous generations. We hear of fewer outbreaks of lawless violence,
and the atrocities committed on them seem a shade less barbarous.
But the history is in the main such as the Christian chronicler must
record, and the Christian reader peruse, with feelings of shame and
sorrow. At Mecklenberg, just at the end of the previous century,
the oft-repeated, though never proved, accusation had been revived
of bribing a Christian priest to sell the consecrated Host; which
the Jews who purchased it immediately proceeded to stab, drawing
forth (it was alleged) the very blood of the Lord Jesus, whose body
it was. A grave and minute inquiry was set on foot. Thirty Jews,
together with the priest, were condemned to be burned at the stake
for the offence. Some Jewish women and children were implicated in
the charge. One of the former is related to have put two of her
daughters to death, in order to save them from the horrors that
awaited them, and to have been on the point of killing a third,
when she was snatched from her. Two years afterwards, another
charge was brought against some Hungarian Jews, or rather another
form of the same charge: this time the offence being murdering a
Christian in order to drink his blood.[172] The accused were put
to the torture—not so much, we learn, to elicit the fact whether
_they_ were guilty, as whether the whole Jewish people of Hungary
were not implicated in the crime. Monstrous as this may seem, it
was not the first time, by any means, that such a belief had been
entertained.[173] Possibly, indeed, it was hoped that under the
pressure of their agony the sufferers would confess that, or anything
else that they were required to admit, and so give a pretext for a
general massacre. If so, the attempt failed, for we find that only
those who had been accused of the crime suffered for it.

A few years afterwards, at Nuremberg, and again at Cologne,
expulsions of the Jews took place. In both cities, though a number
of charges were alleged against them, the real offence seems to have
been their commercial success, and the heavy load of debt contracted
to them by the citizens of the two towns. The shortest mode of paying
off the liabilities, it was found, lay in finding their creditors
guilty of some offence for which they were punishable by the
confiscation of their property, including, of course, all debts owing
to them. But these expulsions, however unjust, do not appear to have
been stained by the additional guilt of bloodshed.

In 1509, a Jew who had been converted to Christianity, Pfeffercorn
by name, filled with the zeal for which proselytes are always
remarkable, suggested to the Emperor Maximilian that all books
which upheld or set forth Jewish doctrine, and especially the
Talmud, the great repository of Jewish fable, should be everywhere
destroyed. He had already written more than one book, in which he
charged his countrymen not only with denying the truth of the New
Testament, but with departing from the commandments of the Old. He
accused them also of using imprecations against Christians, both in
public and private. These had so much effect upon Maximilian, that
he is reported to have been half inclined to grant his request.
He resolved, however, to appoint a commission of learned men to
examine and report on the matter. At the head of this was placed
Reuchlin[174] (otherwise Capnio), the most famous Hebrew scholar of
his day, and a man of large and liberal views. He advised the Emperor
that such of the Jewish books as contained blasphemies against our
Lord (as undoubtedly some of them did) had better be destroyed; but
those which simply treated of the tenets and ritual of the Jews ought
to be retained. He pointed out how impossible it was to suppress
books which a certain number of readers were resolved to preserve.
This would have been at any time difficult, but since the invention
of printing it had become morally impossible, as the Jews had now
begun to make free use of the printing-press.[175] We cannot wonder
much that a man of Pfeffercorn’s temper would not acquiesce in
a decision like this. He attacked Reuchlin in an angry pamphlet,
to which Reuchlin replied. The dispute was referred to the Pope,
and Hochstraten, a Dutch Inquisitor who had espoused Pfeffercorn’s
quarrel, repaired to Rome to advocate it; but the papal decision was
in favour of Reuchlin. The Jewish books were spared. Nevertheless, it
may be doubted whether the affair was favourable to them. The result
was to attract the attention of Christian scholars to these Jewish
attacks on Christianity, and replies were in consequence written,
which were probably more damaging to Judaism than any burning of
their books could have been.

Out of this controversy a number of sects seem to have arisen—at
least, they are first noticed by writers about this time, and they
disappear from history soon afterwards. Among these Seidelius
of Silesia, George de Novara, and Francis David are the most
remarkable.[176] They held opinions culled, some from Judaism, some
from Christianity, and differed widely from one another. They had the
usual fate of eclectics, being rejected and despised by both parties.

In 1516 the Jews had a narrow escape of being expelled from
Frankfort. An assembly, consisting of deputies from various
sovereigns and free towns, was held in that city, for the purpose of
organizing measures for their banishment. Fortunately for them, the
deputies could not agree among themselves. The Jews were, however,
driven out of Brandenburg. Lippold, physician to the elector of that
country, was charged with having poisoned his employer. He made a
confession under torture, and was executed; after which all his
countrymen were driven into exile.

Towards the middle of this century the Jews were for the first time
expelled from Prague. They had dwelt unmolested in that city from
time immemorial. No one knew when they had first settled there; but
tradition said it was in times when Bohemia was yet heathen; and
inscriptions on some of the older graves in their moss-grown cemetery
are quoted in proof of the fact. The very latest date assigned for
their arrival is the tenth century of Christianity. They had built
a noble synagogue, and had opened an academy, over which a renowned
Jewish doctor presided. But in the troubled times which followed the
burning of Huss and Jerome of Prague they continually fell under
the suspicion of one, or, it might be said, both parties, the Jews
being too cautious to ally themselves with either. This feeling grew
stronger when the Reformation itself had fairly engaged men’s minds.
Among the mutual jealousies and suspicions which had taken possession
of men’s minds, that of the secret plottings of the Jews in favour of
their antagonists, was one of constant occurrence. It chanced that
terrible conflagrations broke out in some of the larger cities, and
among others, in Prague. The Jews were instantly suspected of having
caused it. Being suspected was in those times very nearly the same
thing as being convicted of it. All those that escaped the flames
were banished from the city, with the exception of ten families, who
obtained permission to remain. The Emperor was not convinced of their
guilt, but the feeling that had been provoked was too strong for
him to cope with. He saw plainly that nothing but the death or the
banishment of Jews would satisfy the people, and he chose the more
merciful of the alternatives offered him. Towards the latter end of
the year the real incendiaries were discovered, and the Jews were
then permitted to return.

About eight years afterwards another outcry was raised, this time it
being affirmed that the Jews had been praying that disaster and ruin
might befall the Christians. Their books were seized as a punishment,
and carried off to Vienna, so that the Rabbins had to officiate in
the synagogues as well as they were able, reciting everything from
memory. We must suppose that this charge was disproved, as the other
had been, for the books were soon afterwards restored. Even this was
not the end of their troubles. Before the year was out, there came
another peremptory order for all the Jews, except the ten privileged
families, once more to leave the city and settle elsewhere in
Bohemia; and this time it does not appear that they were allowed to

Merseburg again—the capital now of one of the regencies of the
Prussian States, which consists almost entirely of cessions made by
Saxony in 1815—was another of the cities in which the Jews claimed
to have resided without interruption for nearly fourteen centuries.
Yet, so widespread had the feeling against them become, that they
were forced, in 1559, to quit this city also, notwithstanding that
the Emperor Ferdinand was willing to help them to the utmost of his
ability. He not only protected them, indeed, but granted them a
privilege which had been accorded to their ancestors in the East,
many centuries before—that of having their own special ruler, who was
known by the same title as that borne in the earliest Christian times
by the Patriarch of the East, viz., the ‘Prince of the Captivity.’

In Moravia, in 1574, a similar flame of persecution broke out. We
are not informed what were the precise charges, but no doubt they
were much the same that were alleged against almost all Jewish
congregations in Central Europe about this time. Many Jews, we
learn, were burnt at the stake, and many more put to death in other
ways. They appealed to the Emperor Ferdinand, who appears always to
have been willing to assist his Jewish subjects to the best of his
ability. He did interfere, and stopped the executions, but not before
many victims had been sacrificed.

In Franconia, six years afterwards, there was something of a similar
outbreak. In this instance the Jews were accused, as they were in
many other places, of having set on fire the town of Bamberg. But
here they escaped without undergoing any further severity than having
to make good the loss which those had suffered whose property had
been destroyed.

In Poland and the Ukraine a more merciful state of things prevailed.
In both these the Jews enjoyed entire freedom alike from pillage and
persecution. In the first-named country they were chiefly engaged
in trade, which they almost monopolized; in the latter, almost
exclusively in agriculture.

But in Russia proper the race of Israel continued to be, as tradition
declares it always to have been, harshly treated—such Israelites,
that is to say, as were still permitted to dwell in the country,
the Jews generally having been expelled from it, as the reader has
learned (A.D. 1113). Late, however, in the previous, and early in
the present century, during the last years of the long reign of Ivan
III., a most singular apostasy to Judaism is recorded to have taken
place, the truth of which we should certainly be inclined to doubt,
if it had not been so respectably attested. A Jew named Zacharias,
about A.D. 1490, began to attempt the conversion of certain Russian
priests to Judaism, and succeeded to an extraordinary extent in
the design. The converts adopted all the Jewish rites, except that
of circumcision; which they dispensed with, because, in event of
discovery, it would be a certain proof against them. The apostasy
spread rapidly and widely. Ecclesiastics occupying the highest
positions in the Church, even the Patriarch Zosimus himself, became
perverts. The conspiracy, if it may be so called, was at last
discovered, and a great number of these ‘secret Jews’ summoned before
the council and convicted. They were punished after a more merciful
manner than that adopted towards their brethren in Spain. They were
set on horseback, with their faces towards the tails of their steeds,
dressed after a bizarre fashion to resemble devils, and paraded
through the streets amid the jeers of the rabble. Zosimus was sent
back to the monastery of which he had been archimandrite. But, though
the evil was detected, it is doubtful whether it was extirpated. It
is said to have lingered in the Russian Church long afterwards.

Rabbi Joseph ben Meir is the great Jewish historian of this period.
He was born at Avignon in 1496, and wrote a _Universal History_, and
a _History of his own Times_. The latter, though its statements must
be taken with reserve, is regarded generally as a valuable book.
David Gans also, born 1541, was a renowned scholar and author. He
died in Prague, A.D. 1613.


[172] See Appendix V.

[173] In the reign of Henry III. in England, at the inquest held on
Hugh of Lincoln, A.D. 1255, it was declared that the whole of the
Jews in England were privy to, and guilty of, the crime.

[174] Johann Reuchlin was born at Pforzheim, December 28, 1455, of
poor parents. The sweetness of his voice attracted attention to
him, and he was sent to be educated at Paris. He began his career
as a teacher of classics at Basle, but soon abandoned this for the
profession of the law. In 1482 he had become known as a Hebrew
scholar, and he was noticed by the Emperor Frederick III. In 1498
he returned to Stuttgard, where his fame continued to increase; in
consequence of which Pfeffercorn’s proposals were submitted to him
by Maximilian. The most celebrated satire of the day, the _Epistola
Obscurorum Virorum_, was written to uphold his views, and had the
effect of completely crushing his adversaries. Reuchlin died at
Stuttgard, December, 1521.

[175] Some of the Jewish books were no doubt extremely offensive
to Christians, as, for example, the _Chisuk Emunah_ of Isaac ben
Abraham, a Polish Jew. The Portuguese Jews translated it into their
own language, and diffused it widely. The _Nitzachon_ again, ascribed
to Rabbi Lipman, of Mulhouse, was equally, if not more virulent. It
could hardly be expected that even the wisest and most far-seeing men
of the sixteenth century would tolerate these.

[176] Seidelius taught that Messiah, when He came, would come to the
Jews only, the Gentiles having neither part nor lot in Him. Francis
David acknowledged Jesus Christ, but held that it was sinful to pray
to Him. George de Novara claimed to believe Christian doctrine, but
denied that Messiah had come. He was burnt at the stake.

                           CHAPTER XXXII.

                           A.D. 1500-1600.

                    THE JEWS IN ASIA AND AFRICA.

We have now recorded the fortunes of the Jews, during the sixteenth
century, in all the countries of Europe where a domicile was allowed
them, as well as in Spain and Portugal, where, though banished by
law, they were still, under a nominal profession of Christianity,
permitted to linger. We have now once again to transfer our attention
to eastern and southern lands, in which, under Mahometan rule, they
found a more merciful refuge. Before doing so, however, it is proper
to repeat the remark already made, that, although legally forbidden,
during those centuries, to enter several of the European kingdoms, it
is far from certain that they were not to be found in them, and that
in no inconsiderable numbers, though doubtless they were careful to
keep out of sight as much as possible. Reference has been made to a
Spanish historian, who says that ‘many of the Spanish exiles fled to
England, establishing themselves in three of the largest towns—Dover,
York, and London—and that they built synagogues in the last-named
city, where they afterwards carried on a thriving trade.’ ‘From
1291 to 1655,’ writes a pamphleteer in 1753, ‘the Jews have run the
hazard, as they do in another country [doubtless Spain], where so
many of them have expired, and annually still expire in the flames;
but meeting all along with lenitives [merciful usage], they have made
true one of our English proverbs of claiming an ell’s longitude for
an inch’s allowance.’[177]

In France it is certain that they were tolerated, so long, probably,
as they did not make themselves conspicuous. Rabbi Joseph relates
that Henry II. allowed certain Jews from Mauritius to reside in the
French cities, and in 1550 granted them his protection and various
privileges. His father and his queen, Catherine de Medici, had
Jewish physicians, who were high in favour with their employers.
We are told that the Parliament of Paris condemned in severe terms
the inhuman conduct of the sovereigns of Spain and Portugal; and
that many of the Portuguese emigrants were suffered to establish
themselves at Bordeaux and Bayonne, where they have since resided
without molestation. The same, no doubt, was the case among the
German States; where, if the Jews were persecuted in one city, it was
comparatively easy to fly for shelter to another.

So likewise in Russia. The Jews have never been readmitted to the
provinces from which they were originally driven out. But Russia has
in modern times acquired by conquest extensive territories in which
there was a large Hebrew population. She did not carry her dislike
so far as to expel them from her new dominions, and has as many as
two millions of Jewish subjects. But her feelings towards them have
undergone but little change.

Doubtless many of the Spanish and Portuguese fugitives betook
themselves to one or other of the above-named countries. But it is
tolerably certain that the great mass chose the Mussulman kingdoms in
Asia and Africa as their future abiding-places. Whether it was due to
the scorn, the calm indifference, or the compassion, with which the
Mahometan princes regarded them, it is certain that they permitted
them the free exercise of their religion, and the full possession of
civil rights. In Persia and Media, even before the Spanish exodus,
they seem to have been very numerous, though the particulars recorded
respecting them are extremely scanty. During Timour’s wars, they
naturally suffered, among all the other inhabitants of Persia, from
the inroads of his savage soldiery, which took little account of the
difference of creed among those whom they attacked and conquered.
We are informed that their synagogues were wrecked, their schools
destroyed, and great numbers of them slain in the capture of cities.
These troubles had hardly subsided when the irruption of the fierce
Shah Ismail Sofi once more threw everything into disorder. His rapid
and signal success is said to have produced such an effect upon them,
that they were persuaded he must be the Messiah who was to come. The
idea was encouraged by the fact that Ismail had declared himself to
be a prophet sent from God to reform the corruptions of Islamism.
But he received their homage very coldly[178]—indeed, is said to
have treated them with less consideration than any others of his new

One of his successors, Shah Abbas, a generation or two afterwards,
brought about a severe persecution of the Jews in his dominions,
though in a very singular manner. He had issued a proclamation
granting great privileges to such strangers as should settle in
his dominions. The Jews immediately availed themselves of this,
and crowded in such numbers into the country that they speedily
engrossed the trade. This was no more than was their ordinary wont;
but Shah Abbas’s subjects were greatly aggrieved, and made bitter
complaints to the king. Thereupon he made a very minute inquiry into
their peculiar habits and opinions, possibly in order to find some
excuse for banishing them from the land. Learning that they had long
expected the arrival of their Messiah, and were still waiting for
Him, he insisted on it that they should name some time by which, if
He had not made His appearance, they should admit their belief to
be unfounded, and conform to Mahometanism. After long consultation
among themselves, they told Shah Abbas that they would agree to fix
seventy years as the prescribed limit—doubtless arguing that most
probably all concerned, but certainly Shah Abbas, would be dead
before the arrival of that day. The king received the reply with
gravity, and caused it to be formally registered, and deposited in
the archives of the kingdom. It is probable that the memory of it
died out even before the end of Shah Abbas’s reign. At all events,
when the appointed period approached, wars and commotions of one
kind or another occupied men’s minds, and no attention was paid to
the subject. But, more than a hundred years afterwards, Shah Abbas
II., in an unlucky hour, chanced to light upon his ancestor’s decree.
It was of course found that, although the seventy years had long
expired, and the expected Messiah had not made His appearance, the
Jews had not adopted the Moslem faith, nor were they disposed to do
so now. Here was a clear proof of their treachery and falsehood; and
the consequence was a massacre which is said to have lasted for three
years, those only escaping who abjured their religion, or fled into
Turkey on one side, or India on the other. After a while, however, it
was found that the supposed converts, though nominally Mahometans,
as their brethren in Spain had professed to be Christians, were in
reality Jews at heart. Wiser than Ferdinand and his successors, Shah
Abbas recalled his decree, and allowed the pretended Mussulmans to
return to their real creed.

But little is known of the Jews in the Eastern Empire during the
period preceding the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, in
1453. But, a generation or two after that event, large numbers
were to be found both in Constantinople itself and other parts of
the Sultan’s European dominions. The Spanish exiles who resorted
thither found a large number of synagogues already in existence,
served by a priesthood in no way inferior to what their own had been
at home. They did not, however, amalgamate with these, but built
new synagogues in Constantinople, Jerusalem, Damascus, Saloniki,
and other great cities, each of which long afterwards retained the
name of the original builders, one being called the synagogue of
Toledo, another of Lisbon, another of Aragon, and the like. The
Turkish government treated them with great liberality, allowing them
unrestricted freedom in establishing manufactures and transacting
commerce, permitting them also to hold landed property. Whatever
amount of their wealth had been stripped from them by their Spanish
persecutors, we may be sure, was now speedily recovered. Nor does
it appear that they were subjected to any excessive exactions. They
paid a certain amount of taxes, no doubt, and were occasionally
liable to arbitrary demands, from which no one in the East is secure;
but, on the whole, they were mercifully dealt with. Here too, as
in all other lands where they have resided, their great financial
and diplomatic ability was utilized by the Turkish rulers. Selim I.
(A.D. 1512) trusted much to his Jewish physician, Joseph Hamon. His
son, Solyman II., called ‘the Magnificent’ (A.D. 1520), similarly
employed Moses Hamon, the son of Joseph, who, by his influence with
his royal master, on one occasion saved the whole of his people
from massacre.[179] Solomon Ashkenasi was selected as the Sultan’s
agent to conduct a negotiation with the Venetian Republic. Joseph
Nasi obtained such favour with Selim II. (A.D. 1566) that he was
made Duke of Naxos, and was even designated King of Cyprus, though
that intention was never carried out. After the disastrous battle of
Lepanto, another Jew, Solomon Rophé, was sent to arrange a treaty of
peace with the Venetians.

The Spanish Jews, among their other effects, brought their
printing-presses into Turkey, where, by the favour of the Sultans,
they were set up. At Constantinople and at Saloniki they were soon in
active employment. The Old Testament Scriptures in Hebrew and Spanish
were printed and largely circulated, as well as many Jewish writings
which had hitherto remained in manuscript. At Saloniki a famous
college was established, at which there were said to be as many as
5000 students. There was also a valuable library, which unfortunately
was destroyed by fire in 1545.

The Holy Land is another country to which, as we might naturally
expect, refugees from other lands resorted. It had always been
regarded as a befitting thing for Jews of an advanced age to make
a pilgrimage thither, and die among the hallowed scenes of their
cherished traditions. With every persecution in European countries
the number of these increased; and at the beginning of the sixteenth
century Palestine was filled with swarms of Israelites, who, as a
rule, were poor and destitute, and suffered greatly from the rapacity
of Turkish officials. The Jewish communities in other parts of the
world regarded it as their duty to support these needy brethren, and
in larger cities collections were regularly made in the synagogues
for this purpose. As no attempt apparently was made to provide them
with the means of supporting themselves,—and possibly none could have
been made with success,—the distress was always considerable, and
after the Spanish exodus rose to a still greater height.

Another quarter to which large numbers of the expelled Jews migrated
was the northern coast of Africa. This was a region already familiar
to them. Egypt had, for a great length of time, been a favourite
place of abode with them, and this had more particularly been the
case since the time of Maimonides. Schools had been established in
Cairo, Damietta, and other Egyptian towns, to which great numbers of
students resorted. In the kingdom of Morocco, again, the banished
Jews settled in great numbers. This was, indeed, the nearest country
to Spain, Portugal excepted, and communications had for a long time
been kept up between the inhabitants of the two kingdoms. In Tripoli
also, Oran, Fez, Tunis, and Algiers, many Jewish families established
themselves. But they did not receive the same friendly welcome which
their brethren experienced in the East. They were allowed liberty of
conscience, no doubt, and the protection of the law; but that was all
the favour accorded them. The authorities laid heavy burdens on them,
and at times exacted large sums as subsidies, after a fashion which
greatly resembled the dealings of the English and French sovereigns
several centuries before. The lower orders looked on them with
fanatical prejudice, and they were obliged to wear black turbans, and
boots of a different colour from those of the natives of the country.
Yet their position, on the whole, was not unhappy. They were largely
employed in the iron-works among the mountains of Morocco, as well as
in building and agriculture.

One feature in their history deserves especial mention. In 1578, when
the ill-fated expedition of Sebastian of Portugal took place, large
numbers of Portuguese nobles and gentlemen were made prisoners, and
sold as slaves in the market-places of the chief towns of Morocco.
Many of these were bought by Portuguese Jews, who must have been
sorely tempted to requite the injuries themselves and their fathers
had received on these captives, who were wholly at their mercy. But
they took a nobler revenge. They not only exacted no ransom of them,
but allowed them to return to their homes, requiring of them no other
condition than that of passing their word of honour that they would,
on arriving in Portugal, remit to their former masters the sums that
had been paid for their redemption from slavery. History has recorded
few nobler actions.


[177] _Some Observations of a London Merchant about the Bill for
the Naturalization of the Jews_, A.D. 1753. The writer had probably
conversed with persons who remembered the state of things in England
before the readmission of the Jews. As regards the assertion of the
Spanish historian, therefore, there is very reasonable likelihood of
the Jews having been allowed to live without molestation in England
during the reigns of the Tudors. Indeed, as Disraeli has remarked,
if there had been no Jews in England, Sir E. Coke would hardly have
insisted so forcibly on their not being admissible as witnesses. But
the statement respecting the building and public use of synagogues
must be taken with reservation. The expulsion from Spain occurred a
little before the close of the fifteenth century. Scarcely more than
fifty years afterwards we find Cromwell’s divines declaring that ‘for
the Jews to have synagogues, or any public meetings for worship, was
not only evil, but scandalous to Christian churches.’ Surely they
could not have said this, if synagogues had so recently existed in
London, and worship been celebrated in them!

[178] This king seems to have had a dislike to excessive homage,
which was a rare feature in an Eastern prince. It is recorded of him
that on one occasion, after one of his great victories, his soldiers
saluted him with Oriental adulation, some declaring him to be a
prophet, others an angel, and others God Himself. Finding that he
could not dissuade them from their impiety, he ordered a deep pit to
be dug, and then, throwing one of his shoes into it, gave out that
the man who honoured him most was to fetch it out. Numbers instantly
threw themselves into the pit. He then gave orders to have the earth
thrown back again, burying the whole of his worshippers alive!
Doubtless none ever offered him adoration again.

[179] A Turk, having reason to suspect one of his neighbours of an
attempt to seduce his wife, assassinated him, and to escape suspicion
threw the corpse into the Jewish quarter. It was found there, and
occasioned a popular insurrection, in which the Jews would have been
murdered to a man, if Moses Hamon had not prevailed on Solyman to
order an inquiry, by which the truth was elicited.

                           CHAPTER XXXIII.

                           A.D. 1600-1700.


At the commencement of the seventeenth century the Reformation
may be regarded as an accomplished fact. The great flood of
controversy which had broken up the Church had begun to subside,
and whatever countries had been gained by the new opinions, or had
been retained by the old ones, remained in both instances firm to
their allegiance. It might have been expected that the great changes
which had been worked would largely affect the condition of the
Jews, and ultimately, no doubt, they did so; but for the time the
effects were scarcely discernible. No doubt, in Protestant countries
the clergy could no longer put in force the terrible engines of
persecution which had hitherto been ready to their hand; and this
was in itself an immense relief. Again, in lands which still owned
the supremacy of Rome, much of the virulence of the priesthood
against the Jews was of necessity abated. They had graver and more
absorbing occupation for their thoughts. In the momentous struggle
which was in progress the Jews were more or less overlooked. But
the bitterness of feeling towards them was scarcely, if at all,
diminished. The leaders of the Reformed movement themselves regarded
the Jews with but little favour. They could not, indeed, but abhor
the barbarities which had been employed against them by the rulers
of the Church; but they had little idea, so far as themselves were
concerned, of showing consideration towards the obstinate and
rebellious race which persisted in rejecting Christ.[180] This,
however, was not universally the case. Frank du Jon (Franciscus
Junius), the well-known Dutch Reformer, urged on his countrymen,
in earnest and emphatic language, the duty owing by all Christian
nations to their brethren the Jews, who were to be won by the spirit
of love to the fold of Christ. So did Isaac Vossius, Professor at
Amsterdam, who addressed a letter to the Jews, strongly indicative
of this temper. The Arminians of Holland again, and their allies,
evinced a most brotherly kindness towards such Jews as had taken
refuge in their country. The celebrated Hugo Grotius was especially
remarkable for the respect he entertained for the Rabbins and their
opinions. Indeed, though some of the leading Reformers occasionally
expressed themselves in a manner which was inconsistent with the wise
principles they professed, yet the general effect of their teaching
grew and strengthened as generations went on, and resulted at last in
a widespread and enlightened toleration.

It must also be remembered that the Jews themselves—for a long
time, at all events—showed no more inclination to embrace Gospel
truth, as set forth by the Reformers, than they had been in previous
generations to accept the tenets of the Romish Church. It was not,
indeed, to be expected that the deep mutual rancour which had been
the growth of so many generations—of savage cruelty on the one hand,
and sullen, inflexible hate on the other, could be removed by any
sudden change, even if its results had been far more beneficent. It
is far easier to provoke international animosities than to compose
them again. Let us remember how long, in this country, the bitter
dislike and contempt of the French nation, which Nelson and his
school did their best to encourage as the best safeguard of England
against successful invasion—let us remember, I say, how long it
lasted, after all possible danger of the dreaded results had passed
away. It cannot, indeed, be said to be dead even now, though three
generations have passed away since it was called forth. Remember also
that the mutual antipathy of the Englishman and the Frenchman could
not for a moment be compared, in respect of its bitterness, with that
which existed in those dark and miserable times between the Jew and
the Christian. Let us be thankful that a spirit of toleration and
mercy has been growing, however slowly, and still continues to grow,
and pray that our children may behold the ripe perfection of that
glorious harvest.

Not much is recorded of the Jews in Germany and the other countries
of Central Europe during the earlier portion of the seventeenth
century. There was a disturbance at Frankfort in 1614, which proved
disastrous to them, though it does not seem to have arisen from
religious bitterness. It will be remembered that, as nearly as
possible one hundred years before, there had been a proposal to exile
all the Jews in the town. That originated in commercial animosity,
and nothing but the mutual jealousies of the deputies present at
the meeting had prevented its being carried out. On the present
occasion a revolt of the trade guilds against the town authorities
had been successful, and the first act of the guilds was to expel
the Hebrew traders, of whose prosperity they were jealous. But two
years afterwards the sedition was suppressed, and the leader of the
_émeute_ put to death, whereupon the Jews were permitted to return.
A similar expulsion took place in Worms, when the fugitives found a
protector in the Elector Frederick.

In the year 1619 began the terrible ‘Thirty Years’ War,’ from which
all classes of men suffered heavily, and the Jews as much as any.
During the celebrated siege of Prague they rendered great service
to the Emperor. Rabbi Leo has written a history of the incidents
of that eventful period; in which he praises highly the conduct of
his countrymen, their zeal and courage throughout the siege, and
especially their piety, in assembling in their synagogues to implore
Heaven to grant their countrymen victory, and reciting a litany
composed expressly for the occasion by one of their Rabbins. He is
persuaded, indeed, that the preservation of the city was entirely
owing to their intercession.

If such was the case, it is to be feared that the Emperors Ferdinand
II. and III. did not evince the gratitude which would be due from
them. We learn that in 1630 the first-named took from them their
privilege of farming the revenues of the Hungarian kingdom. His
reason for doing so does not flatter them. He says it was because
‘they had neither conscience nor honesty, and were therefore unworthy
to enjoy it.’ They must, however, have regained it, since we find
that they were again deprived of it, in 1647, by his successors.

In 1650 a great meeting of Jews, at which three hundred Rabbins were
present, is said to have been held on the plain of Ageda, thirty
miles from Buda, to determine a question which, it appeared, was
agitating the minds of many—whether the Messiah had not already come.
The sole authority for the occurrence appears to be one Samuel Brett,
who published an account of it in London, A.D. 1655, five years after
the supposed assembly. Most historians reject the story as a mere
invention, designed partly to facilitate the conversion of the Jews,
partly to throw obloquy on the Church of Rome. Among those who refuse
it credit, is the celebrated Menasseh ben Israel, whose authority
carries great weight. Further, in the narrative itself, the imputing
by the Pharisees of the miracles of our Lord to the agency of magic,
reads like a plagiarism from Matt. xii. 24; as also their objections
to His mean origin, to a similar extract from Mark vi. 3.[181]

On the other hand, some authorities accept Brett’s statement as
genuine; and there are circumstances in it not easy to reconcile
with the notion of imposture. Thus, the author gives his name and
the particulars of his own life and career, which it would have been
easy to disprove, if they were fictitious; and, as the publication
of the story must have provoked a good deal of angry feeling, it is
at least strange that this was not done. But when Nathaniel Holmes
republished the history, as he did eleven years afterwards, he added
no hint that its authenticity had been so much as suspected. Nor
again, still later, did the compiler of the _Harleian Miscellany_,
who also reproduced it. Further, Brett states that the Jews, when
they broke up their meeting, resolved to hold another in three
years from that time—two years, that is, after the date of Brett’s
publication. An impostor, one would think, would not have inserted
this perfectly needless addition to his narrative, which could only
lead to his detection. The idea which the entire story gives is
rather exaggeration than imposture. Such a meeting as he describes
might really have taken place; but the numbers, the character of
the speakers, and the interest felt by the Jews generally in the
proceedings, have been greatly overstated. It will be better to give
Brett’s story with this caution appended to it.

He states that the first meeting took place at the time and for the
purpose already stated, the King of Hungary having first granted
permission. A vast number of learned Jews from all nations repaired
to the spot, and encamped in tents round a central pavilion, where
the council sat.

The first day was employed in examining the credentials of the
various Rabbins. On the second, Rabbi Zechariah, who had been
chosen president, proposed the main question, ‘Whether the Messiah
had already come, or were they still to await His advent?’ Some,
we are told, argued that He must have come. They had now suffered,
they said, for 1600 years the heaviest woes, nor did there seem any
prospect of these coming to an end. But why should God thus delay the
coming of the Deliverer? Neither they, nor their fathers for many
generations, had been guilty of idolatry, which alone would be an
adequate cause for withholding Him. But the sense of the assembly was
against this view. It was affirmed that He had not come, and that the
sins of the people had delayed His advent.

Next it was debated in what manner He would come; and here there was
no lack of unanimity. It was agreed that He would appear, according
to the old belief, as a conqueror, who would restore the kingdom to
Israel; that He would uphold the Mosaic law in all its integrity, and
that He would be born of a virgin. Some of those present then raised
the question whether Jesus the crucified might not be the Messiah.
But the Pharisees objected that Jesus had been a person of low birth
and condition, whereas the Messiah would appear surrounded by all
the accessories of earthly grandeur. A Rabbi named Abraham rejoined
that it was difficult to account for the miracles wrought by Jesus,
unless He was the Messiah. But Zebedee, a chief Pharisee, rejoined
that these miracles had been effected by magic. In this the Sadducees
present concurred, though they had hitherto opposed nearly all that
the Pharisees advanced.

The congress had lasted for six days, when some priests made their
appearance, who, at the request of the King of Hungary, had been
despatched from Rome. These at first only attempted to prove that
Jesus was the Messiah, and, while discoursing on this topic, seem
to have been heard with patience. But when, digressing from this,
they began to insist on the authority of the Church, and demand the
submission of the Jews to the Pope, the whole assembly broke out
into a tumultuous cry of ‘No Christ!’ ‘No God-man!’ ‘No intercession
of saints!’ ‘No worship of images!’ ‘No prayers to the Virgin!’ The
meeting broke up in disorder, coming to no conclusion. But it was
alleged that many Jews were shaken in their belief.

In another part of Europe—the part, indeed, in which the Jews had
hitherto enjoyed the most entire immunity from suffering—great
troubles befell them about this time, in consequence of the rebellion
of the Cossacks against the rule of the Poles. In the spring of
1648 massacres of Jews took place in the countries which lie to
the east of the Dnieper, in which thousands perished. Still larger
numbers were carried off as prisoners, and sold in Turkey. During
the interregnum following on the death of King Ladislaus, hordes of
barbarians overran the Ukraine, committing great havoc, from which
all the inhabitants suffered, but none, we are told, so much as the

In 1670 the Jews were banished from the Austrian dominions by the
Emperor Leopold, a weak and narrow-minded prince, who was easily
persuaded to adopt measures which he was as speedily obliged to
modify or reverse. He had granted, only a short time before, Rabbi
Zachariah permission to build a magnificent synagogue and schools for
the revival of learning. But the synagogue had hardly been finished
when it was turned into a Christian church by the Emperor, and the
whole of the Jews exiled from his dominions. The reason of this is
said to have been that the Empress attributed her barrenness to
the displeasure of Heaven at the toleration shown to the Jews. But
her death in her confinement, shortly afterwards, doubtless had a
counter-effect on the mind of the Emperor; and we are not surprised
to hear that the Jews were recalled, and re-established in their
possessions.[182] It was upon this occasion that the Jews expelled
from Vienna found a refuge in Berlin, where a thriving community grew

In this century many learned Jews and Christian Hebrew scholars
appeared, whose names are well known, even at the present day. Among
these the most distinguished were Rabbi Menasseh, of whom we shall
have occasion to speak presently, and the Christian writers Pocock,
Surenhusius, and Vitringa. But the most renowned Christian Hebraists
of this century were the two Buxtorfs. The elder, Johann, born at
Westphalia in 1564, and dying in Basle in 1629, is the author of the
famous Hebrew dictionary and grammar continually quoted by Hebrew
scholars. His son, also called Johann, born 1599, and dying in 1664,
finished the concordance which his father had commenced.


[180] It has already been observed that Martin Luther, though
sometimes he speaks of the Jews rather with considerate compassion
than anger, at other times, and especially later in his career, uses
the very bitterest language respecting them, as, for instance, in his
tract (published in 1543) on _The Jews and their Lies_, the title of
which, it may be remarked, is quite in accordance with its contents.
And again, in his exposition of Psalm xxii., written many years
earlier, he thus writes: ‘Doubt not, beloved in Christ, that after
the devil, you have no more bitter, venomous, violent enemy than the
Jew.’ He also enjoins the sternest and most violent measures to be
used against them. The great founder of Calvinism, again, though he
is less fiery and vehement in his denunciation of them, cannot be
said to regard them with any greater favour. He sees in them nothing
but the virulent, determined enemies of Christ, whom it would be
weakness, if not sin, to treat with any favour.

[181] It may be added that the very existence of the Sadducees, as a
sect, at this period of history, is an anachronism.

[182] A different explanation has been given of Leopold’s strange
changes in his treatment of the Jews. He is said to have shown them
favour at first, on account of his attachment to a beautiful Jewess.
But she was assassinated; and Leopold, at first believing the deed
to have been done by the Jews, banished them. Afterwards, being
convinced of his mistake, he allowed them to return.

                           CHAPTER XXXIV.

                           A.D. 1600-1700.


The reader has already learned that, towards the close of the
last century, many of the Portuguese exiles found a refuge from
persecution in Holland. In truth, of all the countries of Europe, at
this period of their history, none showed them such kindness as the
republic of the Low Countries. If the Reformation had done the race
of Israel no other service than that of opening to them this place
of shelter, they would still have been largely indebted to it. No
dream of the imagination could exceed the wretchedness of the Jews
in Spain and Portugal at the outset of the seventeenth century. They
had to choose between ruin, torture, and death on the one hand,—not
for themselves only, but for their wives and children also,—or the
surrender of their cherished faith, which was, in their eyes, the
surrender of all hope, here and hereafter. Their only escape from
these stern alternatives lay in a life-long duplicity and imposture,
which must needs degrade them in their own eyes to the very dust. Of
the three terrible issues thus offered them, we have seen that many
of them did choose this last; but our contempt is disarmed, and only
our pity is awakened, as we peruse their melancholy history. The
toleration, however, that prevailed in Holland afforded a means of
escape alike from the humiliation and the danger in which they were
living. As the century advanced, increasing numbers of New Christians
made their escape to the Low Countries, where they renounced the
false profession they had made, and returned openly to their ancient
worship. It has been already mentioned that in 1598 the first Jewish
synagogue was built in Amsterdam. Ten or twelve years afterwards the
numbers had so increased that a second became necessary, and in 1618
a third.

But it was not only the exiles from Spain and Portugal who crowded
into Holland as a harbour of refuge. From many parts of Germany
and the contiguous countries, whenever the flame of persecution
broke out, as it was ever apt to do on the slightest provocation,
the Jews, who had heard of the justice and favour shown to their
countrymen by the Dutch, came to partake of it themselves. From
Poland and Lithuania, again, thousands of Jews emigrated, driven
from their homes by the ravages committed by the Cossacks, who,
under Chelmnicki, had risen against their Polish masters. A large
proportion of these settled in the United Provinces. One company,
which consisted of three thousand, landed at Texel, and there were
many others almost as numerous. After some inquiry they were received
at Amsterdam, and permission given them to build a synagogue.

Thus the Jews of Holland were divided into two societies which
might be called the Spanish and the German synagogues.[183] Their
religious tenets were doubtless in complete harmony. But they had
different usages and historical traditions, and they are said to have
entertained mutual jealousies and enmities. Possibly the imposture of
Rabbi Zeigler, one of the numberless adventurers who have claimed to
be the Messiah, or His forerunner, may have done something to create
this severance. Zeigler professed to have seen the promised deliverer
at Strasburg, and assured his countrymen that, as soon as they had
declared their readiness to accept him, he would appear, destroy the
kingdom of Christ (as he called the supremacy of the Gentiles), and
extend his own from one end of the world to the other. The Messiah
was also to hold a council at Constance, which would last for twelve
years, and all religious difficulties would be composed at it. As the
Messiah did not appear, Zeigler’s followers were so far undeceived;
but the mischief which his imposture had occasioned lasted long

This epoch is remarkable for a demonstration of intolerant
bigotry—not, as heretofore, evinced by the Christians against the
Jews, but by the Jews against some of their own brethren. One would
certainly have thought that they had had such convincing proof of
the folly, to use no harsher term, of endeavouring to compel men
by the infliction of disgrace and suffering to adopt or renounce a
religious belief, that they would have abstained from such a course
themselves. Yet their dealings with the two celebrities of this age,
Uriel da Costa and Baruch Spinoza, exhibit an amount of harshness and
injustice which their own persecutors could hardly have exceeded.

Both these men were of Portuguese extraction, and belonged to
families which went by the name of New Christians. Both were
remarkable for great mental activity and an unusually speculative
turn of mind. This natural tendency was doubtless fostered by their
own early experience—the truth or falsehood of every dogma of their
belief having been, as it were, forced upon them as a matter of
logical inquiry. It required little knowledge of human nature to
understand that the opinions entertained by men like these could be
influenced only by calm reasoning and reflection. Yet a course was
pursued towards them which could only have been successful in the
instance of the weakest or the most timid of men.

Uriel da Costa had belonged to a family of Maranaos, or New
Christians, in Spain, where he had not only professed Christianity,
but had been ordained a priest. Like so many of his countrymen, he
had fled from Spain, and at Amsterdam threw off his pretended belief.
But his early experiences had taught him distrust; and he was not
disposed to acquiesce implicitly in the Rabbinical interpretation of
the Scriptures. After a protracted controversy he composed a work,
which he entitled _An Examination of Pharisaical Tradition_. The book
does not appear to have been published, or even printed, but was
circulated in manuscript among the members of the Jewish community.
An eminent Rabbi, Samuel da Silva, took up the controversy, and
published a reply to Da Costa’s work, which he called _A Treatise
on the Immortality of the Soul_. To this Uriel replied by a review
of his own essay, enlarged by a refutation of Da Silva’s argument.
This gave great offence, and severe measures were taken. He was
thrown into prison, on the charge of having denied the immortality
of the soul. He was with difficulty released, on condition of paying
a heavy fine, and suppressing the obnoxious writings. The effect of
this harshness was, not to silence, but rather to provoke him to
more determined antagonism. He was soon publicly excommunicated,
and became, both in opinion and practice, a pronounced Deist. But,
after fifteen years of suffering, wearied out by a controversy in
which he found himself forsaken by all his friends, he twice sought
a reconciliation with his synagogue. Now was the time when he might
have been won from his errors. Tenderness and mercy would probably
have had their effect on a nature which had much that was noble and
generous intermingled with its pride and virulence. But unhappily a
different course was pursued. On the second occasion he only obtained
readmission to communion by consenting to undergo a public scourging
in the synagogue,[184] the shame and degradation of which so
affected him that a few days afterwards he destroyed himself.

Da Costa’s history has doubtless its moral lesson and its melancholy
interest. But in neither particular can it compare with that of
Spinoza. In a work like this, neither a lengthened biography of this
man nor an analysis of his philosophy can be inserted. Nevertheless,
considering the vast influence which his peculiar opinions have had
on modern thought,[185] he cannot be dismissed without some notice.

He was born at Amsterdam in 1632. His father had emigrated from
Lisbon some years previously, driven thence by religious persecution.
Young Spinoza was instructed in Hebrew literature by Mosteira, Chief
Rabbi of his synagogue, and in Latin by Van Ende, a physician, for
whom he conceived a warm affection. He soon grew dissatisfied with
his teachers; and, his revolt from Rabbinical authority attracting
notice, remonstrances and threats followed. These failing of effect,
he was publicly excommunicated,[186] and his life attempted.
Thereupon he retired to Rhynsburg, where he supported himself by
grinding optical glasses. Afterwards he removed to Voorburg, and
again to the Hague. At all these places he led a quiet, studious,
very pure and beautiful life, keeping up a correspondence with some
of the greatest philosophers of the day, and more than once refusing
offers of advancement. No man was more highminded or unselfish. His
favourite pupil, De Vries, who knew that his own hours were numbered,
proposed to make Spinoza his heir. But De Vries had a brother living,
and Spinoza insisted that the money should be left to him. At his
father’s death his sisters claimed the whole property, on the ground
of Spinoza’s excommunication. Spinoza vindicated his right in a court
of law, but voluntarily gave up the property in dispute. He died, as
calmly as he had lived, of consumption, A.D. 1677, in the forty-fifth
year of his age.

No man has ever been more fiercely assailed or more enthusiastically
defended. He has been denounced as an Atheist, a Pantheist, a
blasphemer, and a fatalist. He has been upheld as a man eminently
holy, a devout lover of God and of Christ.[187] Strange as it may
seem, all these statements may be said to be true, though of course
in different senses of the terms employed. For his Atheism—he seems
to have been repelled, from the first, by the anthropomorphism of
the Scriptures. It was not merely that God was there represented as
possessed of an eye, a hand, etc., but as performing human actions,
and influenced by human feelings. This was, in his view, absolute
falsehood,[188] and the result was that he entirely rejected the
God of revelation, and with Him, of course, the whole scheme of
salvation as propounded in the Bible. Thus, then, he may be styled an
Atheist. But, on the other hand, he constructed a system in which he
affirmed that there exists but one substance, though with infinite
attributes, and that this substance is God, who is either absolutely
or in some modified form everything. The man who holds this cannot,
it may be said, be an Atheist.[189] He is, again, no Pantheist, for
he distinguishes between God and the universe;[190] yet the Christian
Pantheists, as they may be called, claim him as their own, if not
their founder. For the other charges, he no doubt affirms that, as
nothing can be done, either directly or indirectly, except by God,
all human acts, however wicked, may be said to be done by Him. This,
according to our ideas, is both blasphemy and fatalism. Yet Spinoza
attributes the _act_ only, not its moral wickedness, to God. When
pressed to say whether the atrocious murder of Agrippina by Nero was
due to God, he answered that it must be so due, so far as the act was
concerned. But no act is good or evil in itself, and it was Nero’s
evil mind, not God’s, that made the crime.[191] So with his fatalism.
When he denies that man can act otherwise than as God wills, he
appears to enunciate the plainest fatalism;[192] nor do I see how
any other conclusion can logically be drawn from his premisses. But
then Spinoza also teaches the beauty, the happiness, the necessity
of holiness, of moral culture and self-discipline—things not merely
inconsistent, but irreconcilable, with fatalism. He holds language
which an apostle might endorse. ‘Justice and charity,’ he writes,
‘are the one infallible sign of the catholic faith, the genuine
fruits of the Holy Spirit. Where they are found, there is Christ.
Where they are wanting, Christ is not. For by the Spirit of Christ
are we led to justice and charity.’ We are _led_—so, too, the
Scriptures teach—_led_, if we will follow; not blindly driven, as the
fatalist must believe.

On the whole, a wise man will hardly speak otherwise than with
respect and tenderness of Spinoza. No doubt, notwithstanding the
depth and acuteness of his intellect, in which respects he has never
probably been exceeded by any of human kind, his system is full
of inconsistencies, and has little practical value. How could it
be otherwise, when he has attempted that which Revelation itself
has with difficulty effected? But he was honest, patient, humble,
beneficent, as few men have been; and his desire to attain to truth
was earnest and unselfish. As in the case of pious heathens, like
Aurelius, we cannot be sure that Christianity was ever put before him
in its true aspect. The frivolities of the Talmud, the traditions of
the Inquisition, the Church of Roderic Borgia and his successors—were
none of them likely to lead him to Christ, as revealed in His blessed
Word. Let our sentence on him be, what every good man says of those
whom he respects, and yet from whom he is constrained to differ: ‘Cum
talis sis, utinam noster esses.’[193]

Besides the eminent writers of this century already mentioned, Da
Costa, Spinoza, Orobio da Castro, Thomas—or, as he is called by his
countrymen, Isaac—de Pinedo, one of the most eminent Greek scholars
of the day, deserves mention not only for his classical learning, but
for the unusually mild and charitable tone he uniformly employs when
speaking of the religion of Christ. To this date also belong David
Lara, the lexicographer; Benjamin Musafia, the naturalist; and Isaac
Uziel, Emanuel Gomez, and Enrique Enriquez, the poets.

In the earlier part of the century considerable numbers of Jews
sailed for the Brazils from the various ports of Holland, under the
leadership of two Rabbins, to found a Jewish colony. It throve and
attained a considerable amount of prosperity until, in 1654, the
Portuguese obtained possession of Brazil. Under these new masters,
free exercise of their religion was not allowed the Jews. They
therefore quitted the country, some returning to Holland, others
settling in Cayenne or Surinam.


[183] The Sephardim and the Ashkenazim, as indeed is the case in
other countries also.

[184] It is added that he was afterwards compelled to lie on the
ground, while the whole of the congregation walked over him.

[185] All the great modern thinkers speak with reverence of Spinoza,
with the single exception, perhaps, of Leibnitz. Lessing was one
of the first to recognise his profound ability. S. T. Coleridge
and Goethe express the greatest admiration for him, the latter
affirming that he was one of his three great teachers. Later, Herder,
Schleiermacher, Hegel, and others have spoken to the same effect.
But though his opinions have exercised a wide and most important
influence on the minds of others, he has established no school of
adherents to his own peculiar philosophy. It may be doubted whether
he ever made one genuine convert.

[186] The sentence of excommunication against him ran thus: ‘Cursed
be he by day, and cursed be he by night; cursed in going out, and
cursed in coming in. And we warn you, that none may speak with him
by word of mouth, nor by writing, nor show any favour to him, nor
be under one roof with him, nor come within four cubits of him, nor
read anything written or composed by him.’ And this sentence was
pronounced by men who had themselves experienced the enormities of
religious persecution!

[187] Some have declared him to have been actually a Christian. But
though certain passages in his writings may seem to favour that idea,
his unhesitating rejection of the doctrine of the Incarnation renders
it impossible.

[188] It should be here observed that the Scriptures do not teach
anthropomorphism of any kind as actually true, but as the only mode
by which man, in the bounded and darkened condition of his intellect,
during his present state of being, can apprehend God at all. The
Scriptures contain the most distinct denials of anthropomorphism,
considered otherwise than as metaphor. Thus, Exod. xxxiii. 20: ‘Thou
canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me, and live,’
_i.e._, ‘He must be wholly _out of the body_, in order to apprehend
Me’—apprehend Me, that is, with the eye of the spirit, not of the
body. See the use of the two words expressing bodily and spiritual
vision (John i. 18; John xvi. 16; Rev. iv. 2, etc.). Again, ‘God is
not a man, that He should lie,’ or ‘that He should repent’ (Num.
xxiii. 19). In the anthropomorphic images of Scripture, ‘God is seen
only through a glass, _darkly_,’ as St. Paul says.

[189] We have in more than one of his writings a distinct denial of
his Atheism. ‘His critics,’ he says, ‘do not know him, or they would
not so easily have persuaded themselves that he taught Atheism.’ See
also his Treatise, _De Deo et Homine_.

[190] ‘Those,’ he says also in the same epistle, ‘who would identify
matter with God _totâ errant viâ_.’

[191] It is again proper to remark that this theory is wholly
untenable. The operations of the human will are as much acts, as the
operations of the human hand. Nero, if Spinoza’s view were correct,
could be no more free mentally to conceive wickedness, contrary to
God’s will, than he was free manually to perpetrate it.

[192] There are, indeed, passages in his works where he denies, or
seems to deny, the free will of God Himself.

[193] ‘In Spinoza,’ says an eminent historian of the Jews, ‘were
to be found the seeds of a Pascal, if he could only have received
Christianity, of which, indeed, he always spoke with respect.’ But he
had no faith in it, and is only one more illustration of St. Paul’s
saying: ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’

                            CHAPTER XXXV.

                           A.D. 1600-1700.


Few words will suffice to relate what befell the Spanish and
Portuguese Jews during this century. Beyond the fact, already
recorded, of their oft-recurring migration from both countries to
the friendly shelter offered by Holland, there is little to tell.
Those who lingered behind, unable or unwilling to quit the land of
their birth, continued to practise the old deception, and, when
discovered or suspected, to undergo the same merciless severities as
their fathers had endured. There is no need to repeat the hideous
and monotonous tale of their sufferings. The awe and terror with
which the Inquisition was regarded were ever on the increase; until
notoriously not the common people, not the grandees and nobles
only, but the sovereigns themselves, became little better than its
instruments. Early in the century Philip III. is related to have been
present at the burning of a Jewish girl, and to have been unable to
repress some token of natural horror at the sight. This was noticed
by the Grand Inquisitor, who, not satisfied with reproving the
monarch for his weakness, ordered some of the coward blood to be
drawn from his veins, and burned by the public executioner! Later
in the century, in 1680, M. Villars, Louis XIV.’s ambassador at the
Court of Spain, describes an Auto da Fé which he witnessed at Madrid,
where twenty Jews were publicly burned, with attendant circumstances
of revolting barbarity. He relates how the king, Charles II., was
present, but occupied a lower seat than that assigned to the Grand

If we are curious to know what were the sufferings inflicted at the
examinations held in the dungeons of the Inquisition, we may learn
them from the narrative of Orobio, an eminent Portuguese philosopher
and physician. He was suspected of Judaism, and thrown into prison.
After some preliminary inquiries, having refused to confess, he was
carried, he tells us, into a subterranean vault, dimly lighted, where
two officials were seated—the judge and secretary of the Holy Office.
He was stripped, strong cords were tied to his hands and feet, the
other ends being passed through iron rings in the walls. These were
then drawn tight, so that he remained suspended by the cords, which
the executioner kept drawing tighter and tighter, until the surgeon
certified that further pressure would destroy life. The cords cut
into the flesh and made the blood burst from under the nails. He
was then told that this was only the beginning of his sufferings,
which would be increased in intensity until he confessed. This scene
was frequently repeated during three years, at the end of which
time, perceiving that his resolution was invincible, they healed
his wounds, and permitted him to depart. He fled to Toulouse, and
afterwards to Amsterdam, where he threw off his mask, and professed
himself a Jew.

Manasseh Ben Israel was another celebrated Portuguese Jew, who was
mainly instrumental in the restoration of the Jews to England,
from which they had been banished for more than three hundred
and fifty years. His father had escaped from the dungeons of the
Inquisition at Lisbon, and settled with his family at Amsterdam.
He was distinguished as a poet, a philosopher, a physician, and a
theologian. His high reputation doubtless was the reason why he was
chosen by the Jews at Amsterdam to proceed to England and endeavour
to obtain from Oliver Cromwell,—who at that time (A.D. 1656) swayed
the destinies of England,—permission for the Jews to return thither.
Manasseh presented an address, skilfully drawn, in which he argued
that, as regarded both the spiritual and temporal interests of
England, it would be to their advantage to grant readmission to
the Jews. He asserted that the restoration of Israel was close
at hand, and that they who showed kindness to the people of God
would be surely rewarded for it in that day. In a secular point of
view also, those nations had always been found to flourish most in
their undertakings who had sheltered the Jews. He also exploded
the calumnies, so often raised against his nation, of crucifying
children, and using Christian blood for ritual purposes.[194]

Cromwell received him favourably; but, aware probably of the
difficulties with which the question was beset, referred the matter
to an assembly of twenty-three persons, whom he appointed to consider
the question. Of these, seven were merchants, two lawyers, and the
remaining fourteen divines. He himself presided, and opened the
debate with an address which those who heard it declared to be one
of the ablest and most eloquent he had ever delivered. They had
first to consider, he said, whether the admission of the Jews would
be legal, and secondly, whether it would be expedient. The lawyers
present having at once decided that there would be no illegality, he
proceeded to the other question. But here there was much difference
of opinion. The citizens were divided as to the alleged commercial
advantages, while the theologians disputed so long and so hotly as to
the religious aspect of the question, that Cromwell grew weary, and
adjourned the consideration of the matter, so far as the council was
concerned, _sine die_. Meanwhile he connived at their resettlement,
granting them a kind of special protection. Nearly at the same time a
piece of land was granted them as a burial-ground, on a nominal lease
of 999 years. Whether this action on the part of the Protector gave
offence, or whether it was the effect of mere gossip, the wildest
and most ridiculous rumours were circulated on the subject. It was
said that the Jews had sent a deputation to England to ascertain
whether Cromwell was not himself the Messiah, and that they went
to Huntingdon to search out his pedigree; also, that they had made
an offer of £500,000, to purchase St. Paul’s Cathedral for their
synagogue, Henry Martin and Hugh Peters being the persons who were
to conduct this negotiation. It may be mentioned, in connection with
these strange rumours, that Harrington, in his _Oceana_ (A.D. 1656),
gravely proposes to relieve the Government of the difficulties which
the management of Ireland caused them by selling that island to the

It does not appear that any public measures were taken respecting
the Jews during the remainder of Cromwell’s government. We have
seen that, though their residence in England was a breach of a law
still in force, it was not likely that it would be very rigidly
insisted on, unless where persons were obnoxious on other grounds;
and Cromwell’s friendly feeling towards them would of course render
their position more secure. It is likely that they came back singly
or in small numbers, and were allowed to establish themselves without
molestation during the next few years. Then, in the sixth year after
the Restoration, some agitation having been raised respecting their
presence in England, formal permission was given them by Charles II.
to reside in Great Britain, together with liberty of commerce and
worship. It is not unlikely that this concession was made to gratify
Antonio Mendez, physician to the King of Spain, and his brother
Andrea, chamberlain to the Infanta Catherine of Portugal, Charles’s
queen. It is certain that the brothers about this time came to
England, where they settled, resuming their real name of De Costa.
Some years afterwards, during the reign of James II., the Jews
obtained a remission of the alien duty, which had been imposed on
their traffic. This was, however, again exacted in the ensuing reign.

At the accession of William III., when money was wanted for the
prosecution of the war in Ireland, it was proposed to require a
subsidy of one hundred thousand pounds from the Jews, taking a leaf
out of the book of the old Norman kings. But the times were changed.
The Jews protested, with an eye, doubtless, to similar exactions
to follow, that they would rather leave the country than comply;
and they could not now be shut up in prison, and put on the rack,
and suffer the daily extraction of their teeth until they paid it.
The statesmen of the day perceived that it was simple pillage, and
withdrew the proposal.

The days of barbarous and cruel violence had indeed passed away,
and happily for ever. It is perhaps a fortunate circumstance,—grave
as were the injuries resulting to both parties from it,—that the
Jews were absent from England for so long a period. The tradition
of persecution had, in consequence, long been broken off. In Spain,
in Portugal, in Germany, even in Holland and Italy, people still
living had themselves witnessed,—or had heard from their fathers,—the
imprisonments, the expulsions, and the massacres of the Jews on the
occasion of some religious excitement. But the fires of persecution
had been cold for centuries in England, and no one was inclined to
rekindle them now, even had it been possible to do so.[195]

In Italy, throughout the seventeenth century, the condition of the
Jews seems to have been fairly prosperous. Little is related of them,
and that is the best evidence that they were exempt from injustice
and persecution. Of the ten occupants of the papal chair during this
century, the only one who seems to have interfered much in their
affairs was Innocent XI., and his dealings with them, as we shall
presently see, were lenient and friendly. It is said that at the
outset of the century there were more than a hundred synagogues of
the Jews in the Italian cities. In those situated on the sea-coast
the commerce was, to a great extent, in the hands of the Hebrews, and
their wealth was continually on the increase. Jews also continued to
be employed in diplomatic missions by the Italian governments—by the
Republic of Venice, the Dukes of Ferrara, and even by the Emperor.
The same, indeed, was the case all over Europe. The kings of Denmark,
Sweden, and Prussia,—nay, even of Spain and Portugal, notwithstanding
their implacable persecution of the Jewish nation,—were in the habit
of employing Jews as their emissaries. Sir William Temple, who was
English ambassador at the Hague in 1668, expresses his astonishment
at this fact. The Baron de Belmont was the Spanish minister in
Holland during the whole of the latter half of the seventeenth
century, and Nunez da Costa held a similar office under the crown of
Portugal, though both these were notoriously Jews.

In literary eminence the Italian Jews of this century are said to
be inferior both to the generations which preceded and those which
followed them. This is attributed to the severe censorship of the
press, which is always unfavourable to literature. The famous Leo
of Modena, head of the synagogue of Venice, and author of many
works, both in Italian and Hebrew, on antiquities and theology, is
an instance of this. He was on the point, we are told, of making a
translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Italian, which would have
been beyond doubt a valuable work, but the Inquisition commanded him
to desist.

But if their writings were handled with severity, the same cannot be
said of their persons. It is mentioned, indeed, that in Rome, during
the pontificate of Innocent XI., they were in such favour with the
people that their synagogues were frequented by the latter, and in
such numbers that the Pope was obliged to threaten his subjects with
excommunication, and a fine of twenty crowns every time they resorted
to a place of Jewish worship.

The same pontiff was very earnest for their conversion. He built
seminaries where Jews might receive instruction in the Christian
faith, and houses where such as had become converts might be
maintained. He caused sermons to be preached, in which it was proved
from the Hebrew Scriptures that Jesus Christ was the Messiah whom
they expected. In order to encourage still further proselytes to
the Christian faith, some person of high rank, a nobleman or a
cardinal, stood godfather to them on the occasion of their baptism.
A handsome present in money also was made them: they were dressed
in white satin, and carried about Rome in fine coaches for a
fortnight afterwards, receiving everywhere the congratulations of the
spectators. At the same time it was very plainly intimated to them,
that if they relapsed into Judaism they would straightway be burnt

It is certainly strange that under such circumstances conversions
were not effected. Innocent evinced not only the controversial zeal
which many before and after him have shown, but also an amount of
real charity and goodwill which must, one would have thought, have
had a very potent influence with the Jews of that day. When the
Venetians, in 1685, after their successful war in the Morea, brought
back a large number both of Christian and Jewish captives, they
gave the former their freedom, but retained the latter in servitude.
Innocent, however, interfered, and insisted on their liberating
the Jews also. But we learn that, notwithstanding all his generous
exertions on their behalf, he failed in making any considerable
number of real converts. Cardinal Barberini who had spent large sums
and used great exertions in endeavouring to accomplish this work,
was compelled to own that the conversions had been for the most part
insincere. It is not, indeed, by such means as those employed that
converts can be made.

As regards the distinguished literary men of this period, it has
already been remarked that there were fewer of these than in previous
and subsequent generations; and, in the majority of European nations,
such as there were do not contrast favourably with either their
predecessors or successors. There were, however, writers of genius
and learning; among them Solomon Norzi, of Mantua, is the author of
a celebrated Massoretic work which, though it was not published till
a century after his death, has attained a great reputation. The two
Aboabs, both residents in Venice, were celebrated for their writings:
the former, Emmanuel by name, being the author of an able work on
tradition; the latter chiefly remarkable for his exposure of the
impious impostures of the pretended prophet, Sabbathai Sevi. Judah
da Modena produced many greatly admired works, and, in particular, a
Hebrew lexicon, and a _System of Artificial Memory_. Solomon Medigo,
physician to Prince Radziwill at Wilna, and Moses Luzzato, of Venice,
should also be mentioned.


[194] Manass. _Vindiciæ Judaicæ_. See Appendix V.

[195] Manasseh did not live to see the success of his efforts on
behalf of his countrymen. He died on his journey back to Holland, in

[196] Throughout this and the succeeding century, and, indeed, for
fully half of the present century, however much the stern rigour of
previous ages of persecution may have been relaxed, the condition of
the Jews was miserable in the extreme. They were strictly confined
to their Ghetto, the gates of which were closed regularly every
evening at eight o’clock, and such Jews as had not returned by that
time were obliged to remain outside all night. In front of a small
church standing near the entrance of the Ghetto was fixed a large
wooden crucifix, highly coloured and gilded, with the inscription,
‘All day long have I stretched forth Mine hands to a disobedient and
gainsaying people.’ Into this church the Jews at one time were driven
with scourges, by order of the popes, to listen to sermons preached
against their obstinacy and rebellion.

                           CHAPTER XXXVI.

                           A.D. 1600-1700.


The condition of the Jews in the East during this century does not
call for much remark; indeed, little has been recorded respecting
it. The treatment they received at the hands of the Mussulmans, both
princes and people, was curiously different from that which they
experienced from the Christian populations of Europe. The first named
did not regard the Jews with any particular favour or respect,—in
fact, the disdain they evinced for them was even greater than that
entertained by their Christian contemporaries,—but there was no
_active_ enmity. They looked on with scornful indifference while the
Israelites plied their busy trade, aware though they might be that
the wealth they accumulated was in a great measure drawn from their
own coffers. They would spit in contempt as they passed a Jewish
synagogue, but they would not raise a finger to cause its demolition
or prevent any number of worshippers from crowding into it. All over
Turkey, Arabia, and Persia, some Jews were to be found in every town,
where they were allowed to live and thrive, unless they broke some
law or offended some faithful Islamite. But if they did either of
these things, they were apt to experience scant ceremony and sharp

The reader has heard, in a previous chapter, of the massacre
perpetrated by Shah Abbas II., which appears to have occurred about
A.D. 1666. It is said to have lasted three years, and to have almost
exterminated the Jews in his dominions. It is, however, involved
in great obscurity, the dates given by different writers varying
considerably. But in this year, 1666, not the Jews of the East only,
but all over the world, were greatly excited by the appearance of the
most persistent and successful impostor that had arisen among them
from the time of Barchochebas. Sabbathai Sevi, a native of Smyrna,
and son of a poulterer in that city, was born in 1625. He was sent
to school, where he made such rapid progress that he was appointed
a Rabbi when he was only eighteen years of age. He early attracted
attention and had many followers, who believed in the pretensions
which, even then, he put forward, of being the expected Messiah. At
the age of twenty he married a woman of great beauty and rank; but
the marriage was only a nominal one, as he lived entirely apart from
her. He was compelled to give a divorce, and soon afterwards made a
second similar marriage, with the same result. He practised strict
asceticism, fasting six days in every week, and bathing continually
in the sea at midnight. At twenty-four, his reputation had increased
so greatly, that he ventured to put forth publicly his pretensions to
be thought the Messiah, and, in proof of these, ventured to pronounce
publicly the name of Jehovah, which is absolutely forbidden to the
Jews. The Rabbins were horror-struck at his impiety, and declared him
to be worthy of death. He was compelled to fly from Smyrna, and took
refuge in one city after another, until in Gaza he made an important
proselyte, the celebrated Nathan Benjamin. This man, a person of
position and influence, professed to have seen in a vision the Lord
Himself; who informed him that the promised Deliverer had come in the
person of Sabbathai Sevi, and that he, Nathan Benjamin, was the Elias
who was to herald his coming. The reader will remember that this
is the exact repetition of the imposture of Barchochebas and Rabbi
Akiba, fifteen hundred years before. Aided by this ally, Sabbathai
preached in Jerusalem, and resided for thirteen years in that city,
continuing to gain proselytes and bearing down all opposition.

The imposture was aided by the remarkable fact that, according to the
interpretation of some eminent Cabalists of a passage in the book
of the prophet Daniel, the Messiah would make His appearance about
the year 1675. One of Nathan Benjamin’s first steps, when he felt
himself strong enough to take it, was to assemble the Jews resident
in Jerusalem, and inform them that, by virtue of the authority
committed to him from on high, he abrogated the fast which would
otherwise be observed in the ensuing June, because the time of the
coming of the Messiah was a festal one, inconsistent with mourning
of any kind. He then brought Sabbathai out to them, who, he said, in
the ensuing November would go forth in power and destroy the Ottoman
empire. He encountered determined opposition from the wiser among
his countrymen, who perceived that his pretensions were not only
without foundation, but were likely to bring the gravest calamities
on the Jews everywhere throughout the Sultan’s dominions. They even
went so far as to try him as a rebel and an impostor, and condemn him
to death. His adherents, however, were too many and too powerful to
permit of this sentence being carried into effect, and he continued
to reside without molestation in the city.

After a period of thirteen years from the date of this announcement
of his pretensions, he made an expedition into Egypt, where he
married, for the third time, the daughter of a Polish Jew, who
professed to have received a revelation that she was the destined
bride of the Messiah. But the marriage, like the two former ones,
was only a marriage in name; and Sabbathai returned to Jerusalem,
where he resided for three years more, and then publicly proclaimed
himself in one of the synagogues as the Messiah. This once more
roused the indignation of the Rabbins, who pronounced against him the
sentence of excommunication. This sentence he found too strong for
him to struggle against, and he fled to his native city, Smyrna.

The report of his condemnation had preceded him; but he was
nevertheless welcomed in his native city with almost regal honour.
Every evening he paraded the streets, accompanied by a train of
followers, carrying banners, and singing hymns in his praise. All
resistance offered to him proved vain. A Jew of high rank, named
Anakia, attacked him in the market-place, branding him as an
impostor. But his fate did not encourage others to pursue the same
course. He returned to his home, and had scarcely entered it, when he
suddenly fell from his chair a corpse. The reader will not require to
be told that Sabbathai’s friends declared this to be God’s judgment
on the blasphemer!

His pretensions now rose higher.[197] He assumed the state of a
monarch. He divided the kingdoms of the earth among his partisans.
He named his two brothers sovereigns of Judah and Israel, while he
himself took the title of ‘the King of the Kings of the Earth.’
He ordered the name of the Sultan to be removed from the prayer
offered up for the sovereign in the Jewish liturgy, and his own to
be inserted in its place. Embassies arrived from foreign communities
charged with rich presents and assurances of devoted loyalty. These
were sometimes kept waiting two or three weeks for an audience. His
picture was exhibited in public, surmounted by a golden crown; and
multitudes of prophets of both sexes thronged the streets, declaring
in the name of Heaven his approaching triumph. Some of these are said
to have acquired in a moment a miraculous knowledge of Hebrew!

It was not in Smyrna only, or in its vicinity, that the madness
prevailed. In those European cities in which the largest number of
Jews were to be found,—Hamburg, and Frankfort, and Amsterdam,—all
other topics of interest were postponed, and business was broken
off to discuss the doings of the newly risen Prophet of Israel. The
excitement was not less in the East, where the husbandmen are related
to have refused to do their ordinary work in the fields, because the
Deliverer of Israel had come. If Sabbathai had been really a man
of ability and courage, there is no saying what he might not have
effected. It is probable, however, that the extraordinary amount
of success to which he had attained now embarrassed, rather than
gratified, him. He felt that he could neither recede nor stand still.
His partisans insisted on his passing over to Constantinople, and
advancing his pretensions in the face of the Sultan himself. He made
the voyage accordingly, attended by a vast number of his adherents,
and was received by the Jews of Constantinople with the utmost
enthusiasm. The Sultan was at the time of his arrival absent, but
Sabbathai demanded an audience of the grand vizier. The latter sent
immediately to his master for instructions, and delayed giving any
reply until he received them. The Sultan’s reply was, that Sabbathai
was to be arrested and kept in safe custody until his return. First
one, and then a second officer of janissaries were accordingly sent;
but in the presence of Sabbathai they were so overpowered by awe
that they dared not execute their office. Once more, if Sabbathai
had had boldness equal to the occasion, he might have made himself
master of Constantinople. But he surrendered himself of his own
accord, and was kept in a kind of honourable captivity in the castle
of Sestos, where, however, his followers were freely permitted to
visit him. He put out a manifesto ordering that the fast which was
always strictly observed on the anniversary of the destruction of
Jerusalem should be suspended, and the day celebrated as a festival,
it being the birthday of the Messiah. At this juncture there arrived
a learned Cabalist, Rabbi Nehemiah, the head of one of the synagogues
in Poland, who took up his abode in the castle as Sabbathai’s guest.
A few days’ intercourse satisfied him that Sabbathai was simply an
impostor, and as such he denounced him to his followers. Roused to
fury, the partisans of the prophet would have killed him on the spot;
but Nehemiah snatched a turban from the head of one of the Turks, and
declared himself a Mussulman. The janissaries instantly interfered
to protect him, and he was conveyed to Adrianople where he had an
interview with the Sultan. The latter now returned to the capital,
and summoned Sabbathai to his presence. The impostor in the hour of
trial entirely lost the hardihood which he had hitherto displayed,
and, when the Sultan demanded of him whether he was the Messiah,
could not summon courage to reply. The Sultan proposed to test his
pretensions by shooting three poisoned arrows at him. If these failed
to wound or injure him, his title should be at once acknowledged;
if the result should be different, death or the profession of
Mahometanism must be his sentence. Sabbathai did not hesitate.
Following the example of Nehemiah, he placed a turban on his head and
exclaimed—‘There is but one God, and Mahomet is His Prophet!’

It is most extraordinary that this apostasy, evidently the result
of mere cowardice and imposture, did not provoke the contempt alike
of the Turks and the Jews. But by the Sultan he was loaded with
honours, and the Jews did not withdraw their belief in his miraculous
pretensions. With unabated impudence he put out a declaration to the
effect that God had changed him from an Israelite to an Ishmaelite.
He quoted the example of Moses, who dwelt for a time among the
Ethiopians, and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, where it is said
that the Messiah was numbered among the transgressors. For a long
time he continued to maintain his double character of the deliverer
of the Jews and the devoted believer in Mahomet. Some even declared,
after the fashion of the Gnostics in the early Church, that the true
Sabbathai had been taken up into heaven, and it was only his likeness
or phantom that had undergone degradation and apostasy. Great
numbers of Jews, indeed, were induced, by his example, to become
Mahometans; and at length the injury to the Jewish community became
so great, that they exerted all the influence they could command
with the grand vizier, who caused Sabbathai to be arrested and
banished into Bosnia. There, in 1676, ten years after his apostasy to
Mahometanism, and in the fifty-first year of his age, he expired in
a castle near Belgrade. According to some, he died a natural death;
according to others, he was beheaded in prison. The latter is the
more likely supposition. Though he endeavoured to persuade the Jews
that, notwithstanding his profession of another faith, he was at
heart a Jew, they entirely distrusted him; and it is likely that the
assurances to which they would lend no credit nevertheless caused
suspicion and uneasiness among true followers of Mahomet. Thus it
would be the interest of both parties to cut short his career.

In the long catalogue of impostors who have succeeded for a time in
blinding the eyes of those to whom they pretended a mission, the case
of Sabbathai Sevi seems the most extraordinary.

There have been innumerable false Messiahs, from the days of Judas of
Galilee almost to our own time; and to each of these in turn the Jews
of their day accorded, for the time at least, a ready welcome, which,
in almost every instance, ultimately gave place to a total disbelief
in their pretensions. In the instance of this man alone, the faith
placed in him was not exchanged for contempt and distrust. Yet he
was certainly the one among all the pretenders to a Divine mission
who most deserved such ignominy. Judas,[198] Barchochebas, David
Alroy—however unfounded their claims to be the Messiah—at all events
persisted resolutely to the last, and died with the same watchword on
their lips that they had uttered during life. But though Sabbathai
openly avowed his own imposture, his followers continued to believe
in him. More than one prophet arose after his death, and obtained
credence by affirming that Sabbathai had been translated into heaven,
as Enoch and Elijah before him, and would, after a stated interval,
reappear on earth. Sabbathaism, as it was called, became the creed of
a powerful and numerous sect, of which we shall hear in the ensuing
century. It is said that even now it is not extinct. This example
is one proof out of many that human credulity exceeds all bounds of

Among those who continued to uphold Sabbathai after this fashion long
after his death, the most noted were Nehemiah Chajon and Abraham
Michael Cardoso. The plea urged by the latter in behalf of his
principal may safely be pronounced the most extravagant that has
ever been advanced. It was doubtless great wickedness, he said, to
apostatize to Islamism; but then it should be remembered that the
Messiah was not to come until mankind were all good or all bad. There
was no prospect of their all becoming good. So Sabbathai, by his
wickedness in accepting Mahomet, was helping on, like a true prophet,
the coming of the Messiah!


[197] He is said to have quoted Isaiah xiv. 14: ‘I will ascend above
the heights of the clouds,’ and to have appealed to his followers
to say whether they had not seen him so ascend; to which they made
answer that they had! It must be added, however, that, if he did
quote the passage in question as applicable to himself, he could
hardly have studied its context.

[198] Whether Judas himself ever claimed to be the Messiah is
doubtful. But a considerable section of his followers certainly
believed him to be such.

                           CHAPTER XXXVII.

                           A.D. 1700-1800.


We enter now on the eighteenth century, and are, as it were, in sight
of the history of our own times. The position in which we find the
Jews is in the main the same which they at present occupy. In Romish
countries they were still liable to sharp persecution, sometimes from
mob violence, sometimes from the action of the Church. The lands in
which the severest measures were enforced continued to be Spain and
Portugal, where the Inquisition was dominant throughout the entire
century, though its power gradually but very evidently diminished
as the years passed on. In the reign of Philip V., who succeeded
to the Spanish throne A.D. 1700, and held it till 1746, the first
direct blow was given to its authority. In the War of Succession,
which began at the outset of his reign, his French allies treated
the Inquisition with very scant respect. They broke open the prisons
of the Holy Office, released the prisoners, and even seized the
silver images in the Dominican chapels, melting them down to pay the
expenses of the campaign. The king took no part in the spoliation;
but when the Inquisitors appealed to him against the sacrilegious
violence of the French, he replied that he could not interfere with
the measures taken by his allies. He was a weak and sombre-tempered
young man, though not, it would seem, a religious bigot, and allowed
the clergy in the main to have their way. One _Auto da Fé_ was held
every year throughout his reign; and the number of victims is said
to have amounted to 14,000. There can be little doubt that the
greater part of these were ‘secret Jews.’ It is beyond dispute that
throughout this century, and long afterwards—even, it is said, to our
own times—secret Judaism continued to maintain its hold; and from
time to time discoveries were made, and executions followed.

In 1713 the English were confirmed in the possession of Gibraltar,
which had been wrested from Spain some ten years before. But it is
a singular fact that the Spaniards, even when yielding up their
stronghold to Great Britain, could not endure that the Jews should
be allowed to live in peace there; and one clause of the treaty
stipulated that ‘no Jew should be tolerated in that city.’[199]

Ferdinand VI. succeeded his father in 1746, and reigned till 1759.
He bears the character of a good and wise prince, and no public
_Auto da Fé_ took place in his time, though there appear to have
been a considerable number of petty local executions. Probably these
took place without his sanction, or even knowledge. He died without
issue, and was succeeded by his brother, Charles III. He again was
an able and vigorous sovereign, and the power of the Inquisition
still further diminished during his reign. Three years after his
accession he took the decided step of banishing the Grand Inquisitor
for encroaching on the privileges of the Crown. In 1770, and again
in 1784, he ordered that any procedure against offenders must be
approved by the king, and sufficient evidence adduced to justify
imprisonment. He was succeeded by his son, Charles IV., the weak
and miserable victim of Napoleon’s ambition. The Inquisition was
upheld during his reign, though it does not appear that any _Auto
da Fé_ took place. Very much the same is the history of the Jewish
persecution in Portugal, the power of the Inquisition, though greatly
limited, still subsisting to the very end of the century.

In Italy very nearly the same state of things continued as has
been described under the history of the previous century. On the
separation of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies from that of Spain,
Charles, who succeeded to the sovereignty, reversed the policy
which had been pursued by his predecessors, and invited the Jews
to settle for sixty years in his kingdom. He offered to confer
upon them rights and privileges which would have left them little
ground of complaint. They were to be allowed to hold lands, except
such as conferred feudal rights on their possessors. They were to
be permitted to trade with all parts of the world, exempt from any
special impost—on the same terms, in fact, as his Christian subjects.
They might practise all professions, that of the physician included,
and have Christian patients, if the latter desired it. They might
also follow any handicraft; they might serve in the army; they
might freely print and circulate their literature; they might have
Christians in their service. They were to be free also to build
synagogues and celebrate their religious rites; and the authority of
their clergy was to be upheld by the State. All men, in fine, were
forbidden, under severe penalties, to insult or wrong them; and all
attempts to proselytize their children were to be discouraged. We do
not wonder at hearing that Jews in great numbers, from all parts of
Europe, accepted King Charles’s invitation; neither can it move our
surprise to hear that his subjects were not inclined to acquiesce in
their sovereign’s enlightened views. The Pope of the day, Clement
XII., and his confessor, a man of great influence in the Church,
denounced the concessions made to the Jews; the clergy preached
inflammatory sermons from their pulpits, a Capuchin friar publicly
warned the king that, as the punishment of his guilty act, he would
die childless. The Jews could not face the storm. They knew that any
attempt to open shops, or bring their merchandise into Naples, would
be the signal for a riot, not improbably for a massacre. After a
brief sojourn in the city, they withdrew from it.

In 1775, Pius VI., the Pope whom Napoleon imprisoned and deposed,
revived some of the harsh laws against the Jews, whose condition,
for a long time past, had been growing more peaceful and assured.
He issued an edict by which Rabbinical literature was suppressed;
no Hebrew book, or even manuscript, might remain in the possession
of a Jew. He was required to keep himself rigidly within the limits
of his Ghetto; he was obliged again to wear his yellow badge; when
a corpse was buried, no funeral procession was allowed; no Jew
might employ a Christian midwife or wet-nurse; and, _vice versâ_, a
Christian might not employ Jews. The old enactment requiring Jews to
attend controversial sermons was again enforced; and the Rabbins were
obliged to draw up lists of their disciples, who were required to be
present. This seems to have been at the outset of Pius’s long reign.
The outbreak of the French Revolution, and the troubles which it
brought upon him, probably gave a new direction to his thoughts.

Turning to France, we find that the condition of the Jews during the
eighteenth century was very peculiar. It has been mentioned in a
previous chapter that, although nominally excluded from France, they
had long been suffered to dwell there under protections granted to
them by Henry II. and others. There were, indeed, three different
sections of Jews resident in France at this time—the Portuguese
Jews, to whom charters were granted by the French Parliament A.D.
1550. These were chiefly to be found in Bayonne, Bordeaux, and its
vicinity. They appear at first to have passed under the name of New
Christians, and as such, no doubt, were obliged to submit themselves
to the ordinances of the Church; but in the fierce strife which
ensued between the Catholics and Huguenots they escaped notice. It
is said that they contracted marriages according to their own rites,
and evaded the baptism of their children. There were, again, the
Jews of Avignon, who were either Italians or native Frenchmen. These
had been tolerated by the Popes during their residence there, and
probably no great notice had been taken of them since the removal
of the papal court. Again, after the conquest of Metz and Alsace, a
considerable number of German Jews became subjects of France. It is
likely that they by no means regretted the change of masters; for
only a few years before, the Parliament at Metz had burnt a number
of Jews on the old charge of murdering infants. Louis XIV. granted
the Jews of Alsace the same privileges possessed by Bordeaux and
other cities—that of free commerce, on condition of paying a certain
poll-tax, subsequently compounded for a lump sum. Nevertheless, all
over Lorraine and Alsace the Jews, during this century, were harshly
dealt with. Their usurious exactions rendered them odious to the
people, as indeed had been the case with their ancestors for many
generations. In Strasburg only a few Jewish families were allowed to
reside. In Lorraine the laws of Duke Leopold, made in 1724, continued
long in force. By these only 180 families were permitted to reside
and to carry on trade; and even these were required to live within
the Jewish quarters.

When the Edict of Nantes was revoked, and all the subjects of the
King of France were required to accept the ordinances of the Catholic
Church, the Jews in France were in some danger of persecution. But
the act seems never to have been carried out so far as they were
concerned. As before, the clergy were too busy in enforcing the law
against Huguenots to trouble themselves about a handful of Jews. But,
though they were kindly treated, it would be a mistake to suppose
that they were naturalized, as some writers have affirmed. It is said
that they offered the Regent Orleans two million livres in exchange
for the privilege of naturalization—a sum which that impecunious
potentate would have been well pleased to lay his hands on. But he
was afraid of the unpopularity he would incur by the act, and refused
the offer. The writer of the pamphlet respecting the Naturalization
Bill of 1753, quoted in a previous chapter, says: ‘It is a vulgar
error to suppose that the Jews in France were naturalized subjects;
and any Frenchman of whom you asked the question would laugh in your
face.’ It appears to have been only in certain cities that the Jews
were allowed to reside permanently. In Lyons they could only reside
three months consecutively. In Paris it is said their residence was
altogether prohibited.

Louis XV. appears to have treated them with kindness, and to have
discouraged a step which was made to abridge their privileges. He
also showed much favour to the celebrated Samuel Bernard, the famous
banker of his day, who afterwards became a convert to the Church.
As the century advanced, and Voltaire and the Encyclopædists began
to exercise a wide influence in France, it might have been expected
that they would have exerted it in favour of the Jews; who, although
they were no longer exposed to the terrible sufferings they had
undergone in previous generations, were still subject to a more
modified religious persecution—a thing utterly abhorrent to the
writers in question. But the Encyclopædists disliked the Jews almost
as much as the Christians. The Hebrew race had suffered cruelly in
previous ages, as being the enemies of the Gospel. But in the eyes
of the infidel writers they were almost as objectionable, as being
the living witnesses of its truth. No Dominican persecutor of the
fifteenth century would have viewed the Jews with more contempt and
hatred than does Voltaire, the advocate of religious tolerance.

In fact, it is obvious that the Jews had to undergo many hardships
in France during the reigns of Louis XIV. and XV. A few years after
the accession of Louis XVI., the mildness of whose temper had become
generally known, a petition was presented by the Jews to the king
and council, complaining of the heavy burdens laid upon them.
Besides the fees exacted for the royal protection, a capitation
tax was imposed upon them by the feudal superior on whose estate
they resided. The right of residence was only personal, and a fresh
sum had to be paid for every child that was born to them. Further,
a toll was paid by every Jew at the gate of every city which he
entered, as though he had been a horse or a sheep. There were besides
restrictions on their commerce, which weighed heavily upon them.

The appeal to Louis XVI. was not in vain. The obnoxious capitation
tax was abolished in 1784; and in 1788 a commission was appointed, of
which Malesherbes was the president, and the first act of the latter
was to put an end to the toll at the city gates.[200] Malesherbes
also set on foot measures for ameliorating generally the condition
of the Jews. He proposed to give a prize for the best essay on the
subject. This was gained by the celebrated Abbé Grégoire, whose
essay was very generally approved. Steps were taken to carry out
some of the improvements suggested. But before this could be done
the Revolution had begun, and liberty, equality, and fraternity for
all men had become the general cry in France. The Jews were not slow
to avail themselves of their opportunity, and sent in their petition
to the General Assembly to be admitted to the rights of equal
citizenship. The question was discussed in the National Assembly,
and was affirmed, though not until after considerable debate. On the
17th of September, 1791, the decree was passed by which Jews, without
exception or distinction, were admitted to the rights of French
citizenship. It was ratified also by the Constitution of 1795.


[199] This was soon set aside, being contrary to the spirit of
English law. The Jews established themselves in Gibraltar, and are
now a thriving population, with four synagogues.

[200] The tariff of tolls has been preserved, and has a curious
sound. For a Jew 12 deniers (about 1d.), a Jewess and child 9
deniers, a Jewess 6 deniers; for a dead Jew 5 sous, a dead Jewess 30

                          CHAPTER XXXVIII.

                           A.D. 1700-1800.


The condition of the Jews in Germany, Prussia, and Austria, at
the outset of the eighteenth century, was, if we may believe the
historians of the time, an unusually wretched one. The accounts
given by the eminent German Jew, J. M. Jost, of the sufferings of
his countrymen at that period, cannot fail to move the reader’s
compassion.[201] ‘They were,’ to use his own phrase, ‘a heap of
suffering.’ Insult and wrong had, indeed, for many an age, been their
portion—a fact to which every history of them that has been written
bears melancholy witness. In many countries of Europe, however,
the period succeeding the Reformation had brought some amelioration
of their condition. But in the countries which we have now under
consideration, the Jews had sunk, if it was possible, to a lower
position than they had occupied before. Their miseries had, in truth,
endured so long, that they had become almost insensible to them. The
favourite German proverb, which was current for many centuries, may
by itself serve to show the light in which they were regarded. ‘Happy
is that town,’ was the saying, ‘in which there is neither a Jew, a
tyrant, nor a leper.’

To begin with Prussia. We have seen how, in 1670, the Jews had
been driven by Leopold I. out of Vienna, and had found a refuge in
Prussia; which the humanity of Frederick William, who, on account
of his wisdom and piety, obtained the popular title of ‘the Great
Elector,’ had accorded them. His son, Frederick I., lay under
obligations to Gompertz and Elias, two Jews who had been of great
service to him in providing him with resources in carrying on the
war in which he was engaged. When the Jews had been driven out of
Austria, they employed these two men to plead their cause; and the
result was, that a certain number of Jewish families were allowed
to establish themselves in Berlin, Potsdam, and other cities of
the Electoral State. From this permission the whole history of the
Prussian Jews may be said to date. The action of the Elector produced
considerable discontent among his subjects; but the Elector was firm,
and a few years afterwards a special body of rules for the Jews of
the electorate was drawn up and put in force. It was, on the whole,
extremely favourable to them, though they were still excluded from
all public offices, and freedom to worship according to their own
creed was not allowed them. But soon afterwards, some Jews, who were
the court jewellers, obtained permission to hold religious services
in their own private houses. This was a step towards allowing a
synagogue to be built, in which public worship was offered; but the
ritual, we are told, underwent the strictest examination, to make
sure that it did not contain anything insulting to Christianity. In
1712, the king prohibited, under severe penalties, the influx of
wandering Jews into the country—a measure which, though it might
seem to be unfriendly to the Jewish people, was in reality of the
greatest benefit to the respectable portion of them. During Frederick
William’s reign also, a splendid synagogue—the finest, it was said,
in that day in all Germany—was built and opened under the royal
sanction, notwithstanding the outcry that the concession provoked.

In 1717, King Frederick died, and was succeeded by Frederick
William, the father and predecessor of Frederick the Great. He was a
sovereign of the most despotic character, though neither cruel nor
unjust. His characteristic qualities were displayed in his dealings
with the Jews. He continued the privileges granted to them by his
father—indeed, added some others. But, on the other hand, he imposed
upon them some rather arbitrary burdens, which, however, savour more
of eccentricity than harshness. Thus, if the king at his hunting
parties killed more wild boars or stags than he could consume at his
own table, the Jews were obliged to purchase what remained. It is
said that the Jews, unable to eat up the venison themselves, made
a present of it to the public hospitals. Again, on the occasion
of any event of importance in a family, such as succession to an
inheritance, the birth of an heir, the marriage of a son, etc.,
every Jew was obliged to make purchases to the amount of three
hundred thalers at the royal porcelain factory. Towards the end of
the century, during the reign of Frederick William II., they were
released from this obligation on paying down the lump sum of four
thousand thalers.

In 1740, Frederick William died, and his son, who bears in history
the name of ‘the Great,’ succeeded to the throne. His dealings
with the Jews were very peculiar. He had no predilection for them;
indeed, whatever personal feeling he entertained for them was of an
opposite character. The friend and pupil of Voltaire, he shared
that philosopher’s prejudice against them. They were no friends of
Christianity, to be sure; but they were the religious ancestors of
the Christians, the strongest witnesses of the truth of the Gospel,
and as such odious in his eyes. On the other hand, there was a
grim sense of justice discernible even in his strange legislation
respecting them; and, independently of this, he was shrewd enough
to see that persecution of them was by no means a profitable
policy. ‘No one ever got any good by injuring that nation,’ was
his observation on one occasion. Indeed, his legislation seems to
have been designed more for the purpose of preventing the increase
of their numbers, than for exacting severe imposts or restricting
their civil privileges. Thus, in 1750, the edict he issued for the
regulation of the Jews in his dominions draws a strict distinction
between the Jews that are tolerated by inheritance and those that
are personally tolerated—where the toleration, that is to say, does
not descend to the children of the person to whom it is granted. To
the latter class belonged all those who were not directly engaged
in trade, or did not hold any post or office in a synagogue. Among
those who were tolerated by inheritance, the privilege of domicile
descended to one child only. Subsequently, in consideration of the
payment of seventy thousand thalers, the privilege was extended to
a second child, though he could only enjoy it on producing evidence
that he was in possession of a property of one thousand thalers. A
foreign Jew could not settle in Prussia, unless he paid an exorbitant
price for his admission. If the widow of a protected Jew married
one who was not so protected, she was obliged to leave the country.
Besides these burdens, and of course the ordinary taxes paid by all
the king’s subjects, there were several imposts. There was a patent
of protection whenever a child was born, a tax upon every marriage,
and upon the election of every elder of a synagogue. The Jew was
also excluded from all civil offices, from agriculture, from keeping
an inn, a brewery, or a distillery, from setting up a manufactory
of any kind, or from practising the profession of a physician or a
surgeon. All Jewish servants who wished to marry were obliged to
leave the country. Finally, the Jews were interdicted from acquiring
house property, unless they had the express permission of the king.
In no case could a Jew possess more than forty houses.

In 1786, Frederick William II., the nephew of Frederick the Great,
succeeded to his uncle’s throne. He was a wise and merciful
sovereign, and he endeavoured to ameliorate the condition of the
Jews, partly by mitigating the rigour of existing laws, partly by
enacting new ones. Since his time, the state of things has gradually
but surely improved. But the legislation of those times, as an
intelligent writer has remarked, ‘bears the stamp of the fearfully
degraded state of the Jewish population, and of the oppressive,
exclusive, and repressive measures which were thought needful to the
interests of that portion of the community.’[202]

The position of the Jews in the Austrian dominions, in the early
part of the eighteenth century, was no better than in Prussia. The
Emperor Charles VII. entertained a dislike to them, which induced him
to listen readily to any enemy who traduced them. The same was the
case to perhaps a greater extent with the Empress Maria Theresa, his
daughter. A few years after her accession she decreed the banishment
of all the Jews in her dominions, amounting, it is believed, to
two hundred thousand persons. A considerable number did take their
departure; and the rest would have had to follow, if the intercession
of the English and Dutch Governments had not induced her to forego
her purpose. Subsequently she relaxed the severity of her dealings
with them. She not only permitted their residence, but allowed
them to follow certain trades, as, for example, dealing in jewels,
or opening shops as money-changers or manufacturers. They were
permitted to carry on their services in their synagogues, though they
were strictly confined to their houses on Sundays, especially during
the hours when Christian worship was going on.

When Joseph II. came into full possession of the imperial power, by
the death of his mother in 1780, one of his first acts was to publish
an edict of toleration, by which the status of the Jews was greatly
improved. All the old prohibitive regulations were annulled. The Jews
were at liberty to take up their abode in any town throughout the
Austrian dominions, and in the country also—though, in that case,
they were required to seek the Emperor’s permission. He also opened
to them the schools and universities throughout the empire, allowing
them to take degrees as doctors in medicine, civil law, and moral
philosophy; but he obliged them to open elementary schools of their
own for the preparation of their children to enter those belonging
to the State. He allowed them to follow any trade they fancied, with
the single exception of the manufacture of gunpowder. They were
free also to attend the public markets and fairs throughout the
country, to wear what apparel they pleased, to occupy any house in
any quarter of the towns, and use the public promenades as freely as
the other inhabitants. They might also enter the army—indeed, after
a while, they became liable to the conscription—and might be made
non-commissioned officers; but as, according to the military code of
Austria, none can hold commissions who are not of noble blood, they
could rise no higher. Lastly, their children were protected against
proselytism, it being unlawful to attempt inducing them to change
their religion until they had passed their fourteenth year. This
edict may be regarded as marking a new era in Jewish history; and
whatever amelioration may have taken place in European legislation,
so far as they are concerned, in reality dates from it.

In 1781 Councillor Dohm published his famous treatise ‘on the
amendment of the political position of the Jews.’ This writer
upholds the principle of bestowing liberty and equality of rights on
the Jews, of their free admission to schools and colleges belonging
to the State, of their unfettered practice of trades and professions,
and even of their participation in public offices of trust. But he
contends that the authority of the Rabbins over their congregations,
their infliction of discipline, and, under some circumstances, of
excommunication, must be upheld by the State. The publication of the
work excited a good deal of angry feeling among the German Jews.
The renowned Moses Mendelssohn, of whom we shall speak in the next
chapter, published a letter respecting it, in which he denounced the
spiritual tyranny of the Rabbins in indignant language, which had a
very wide and important effect on his countrymen.

In Russia, during this century, the position of the Jews was fully
as miserable as in any European country. It has been already pointed
out, that by the strict law of the land their presence was not
permitted at all. And in Muscovy proper the exclusion was enforced
with stern inflexibility. Under Peter the Great a few Jews were
admitted into other portions of his dominions, the Czar having
declared—so at least popular rumour affirms—that ‘he did not fear
the presence of any Jews, for his Russians were a match for the
craftiest among them.’ But during the reign of Elizabeth (A.D. 1545)
their residence in Russia was again proscribed. They had contrived to
secure the property of certain Siberian exiles, and invested it in
foreign countries. Later in the century the policy of the emperors
towards the Jews seems to have been to drive them out of the towns
into the rural districts, with the idea, so often entertained by
one theorist or another, of inducing them to discard commerce for
agriculture. In the Ukraine, and there only, apparently, they have
adopted that mode of life.[203]

Of the Jews in Poland, which for many ages has been the country in
all Europe where the Hebrew race has found the most secure home and
the most hospitable treatment, we have not yet spoken. Their history,
during the eighteenth century, is mainly the history of religious
adventurers and rival sects. It will be better to consider these in a
separate chapter.


[201] J. M. Jost, a German Jew, born A.D. 1793, died 1860, a
professor first at Berlin, and afterwards at Frankfort-on-the-Maine.
He is the author of the _History of the Israelites_, in nine volumes,
published in 1820-28, and of the _History of Judaism_, in three
volumes, which appeared later. Up to the time of the appearance of H.
Graetz’s great work, _The History of the Jews_, Jost’s was the most
trustworthy authority. ‘It is the mature work,’ writes Milman, ‘of
an indefatigable and eminently fair writer. Of course, as a Jew, he
presents the doctrines and usages of his race in a favourable light,
but he always fully deserves a respectful and candid hearing’ (Milm.
_Hist. Jews_, vol. ii. p. 476 n.).

[202] _Israel and the Gentiles_ (Da Costa, p. 519), a work I have
often consulted with profit.

[203] The readiness of the Jews of the Ukraine to employ themselves
in agriculture may be accounted for by the extreme fertility of the
soil. In natural productiveness no portion of Europe surpasses, and
few can be found to equal it. Wheat, oats, and barley are raised with
scarcely any exertion of labour, and the pasture-land is rich and
luxuriant. This may account for the singular difference of habits
which the Jews of these countries exhibit, as compared with their
countrymen everywhere else. It should be added that, as there is
little trade and few manufactures, many of them, at all events, must
live by agriculture or not at all.

                           CHAPTER XXXIX.

                           A.D. 1700-1800.


From the times of the Maccabees, if not earlier, to those of the
impostor Sabbathai Sevi, Rabbinism had prevailed in the Jewish
Church. The only opposition had come from the Karaites, of whom we
have already spoken, and they were but a small sect, commanding
little influence. Eminent Jews, again, such as Solomon Ben Abraham
of Montpellier, in the thirteenth century, or Nathanael Tribotti
of Rome, or the more renowned Maimonides, might put forward
opinions which the Rabbins condemned, proceeding sometimes to the
excommunication of the offending writers. But either the latter
submitted, or modified their opinions, or their judges reconsidered
their decisions; and Rabbinical theology continued in the main
unaltered. But the followers of Sabbathai Sevi formed themselves into
a distinct sect, calling themselves Jews indeed, and professing the
principal doctrines of the Jewish faith, but differing from it, at
the same time, in the most essential particulars.

His followers, as we have seen, were not alienated by his apostasy
or undeceived by his death. One prophet rose after another, who
formed his own theological system, resembling Sabbathaism in its
general outline, but having peculiar and distinctive features of its
own. Most of these secured, during their lifetime, at all events, a
large and enthusiastic following, while, in some instances, their
teaching was adopted as a rule of faith long after they had passed
away from earth. Among these prophets two of the most remarkable were
Malach and Hajun. These men were two Rabbins belonging, the one to a
Polish, the other to a German, synagogue, who, A.D. 1700, had made
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, there to announce the immediate coming
of the Messiah. Most of their companions died of want or fatigue on
the journey; and nearly all the survivors, following the example of
Sabbathai, went over to Islamism. But the two leaders, and especially
Hajun, zealously propagated their opinions, notwithstanding the most
determined opposition of the Rabbins of Jerusalem and Constantinople.
Among the doctrines preached by Hajun was that of a Trinity of Gods,
though the Three were perfect in their unity. This dogma—very nearly
coinciding, if not identical, with the Catholic doctrine of the
Trinity—he professed to find in the Book of Zohar.[204]

It is scarcely necessary to add that such teaching provoked the
animosity of the Rabbins to the utmost. In A.D. 1722 Hajun and his
followers were publicly excommunicated by all the synagogues, and
his influence in the East was almost entirely destroyed. In Central
Europe, however, he obtained some support. He ingratiated himself
with the Emperor Charles VI. by his denunciation of the Jews, and
many congregations in Bohemia and Moravia attached themselves to him.
Attempts were made to extend his influence into Holland, Hungary,
and other European countries, but with little success. A similar
movement was initiated shortly afterwards by Moses Luzzato; who, in
concert with a physician named Jethukiel, collected a congregation at
Wilna. He was excommunicated by the Rabbins, and repeatedly obliged
to retract his statements. He led a wandering, unsettled life, and at
last travelled to Jerusalem, where he ended his days in 1747.

Another and more important sect, appearing at least to derive its
origin from Sabbathaism, is that of the Chasidim, which established
itself chiefly in Poland, Galicia, and Russia. This is, according to
a well-known writer of the present day, the religion of nearly all
the Jews in Galicia, Hungary, Southern Russia, and Wallachia. Its
founder was one Israel Baal Schem, who first appeared in Podolia in
1740. He claimed to be the representative of God on earth, and as
such, his commands were to be obeyed with implicit submission. His
early history is full of fable, wild, extravagant tales being told of
it, which are unworthy of repetition. The orthodox Rabbins say he was
a man of mean rank and extraction, possessed of no real ability, and
who affected sanctity and mystery in order to impress his followers.
A certain supernatural power was invariably claimed by the students
of Cabbalism, but those assumed by Israel had apparently no limit.
He could absolve from all sin; he could cure all diseases by his
simple command; he could work the most stupendous miracles; he was
endowed with all knowledge, not only of the past, but of the future
also. The main drift of his teaching, which entirely rejected the
Talmud as a Rabbinical tradition, was the necessity of learning, by
continual contemplation and self-mortification, the true nature of
God, and also of entire submission to the Tzaddikhim, or priesthood.
We are told by Dr. M’Caul that they are in the habit of spending
every Sabbath with their Tzaddik, coming in for the purpose from
many miles round, bringing with them provisions for the meals of the
day, as well as presents for the Tzaddik. They consult him in all
difficulties, accepting his replies as inspired by Heaven; arrange
their private affairs, and compose their quarrels at his bidding. At
Israel Baal Schem’s death, his disciples insist that he was taken up
to heaven, there to dwell with the holy angels, and make effectual
intercession with Almighty God in behalf of every Jew who brings
up his children in accordance with the teaching of Chasidism, and
obeys the Tzaddik. He was succeeded in his authority by his three
grandsons, who were his chief disciples. But this of necessity broke
up the community into three distinct bodies, and further divisions
have since taken place, though the various synagogues of Chasidists
spread over the countries of Eastern Europe are on the whole at unity
with one another.

A few years later another strange development of Cabbalistic
Sabbathaism made its appearance, under the name of Zoharism. Jacob
Frank, its founder, is said to have been born in Poland, _circ._
A.D. 1722. In his youth he was a distiller of brandy, and he first
appeared as a religious teacher in Turkey, A.D. 1760. He was then
approaching his fortieth year. He followed the Chasidists in his
attacks on the Talmud and his devotion to the Book of Zohar. Such
fierce dissensions ensued that the Polish Government,—for it was
in Poland that he first put forth his theological dogmas,—found it
necessary to interfere. But Frank found a protector in the Bishop of
Kaminiek, who perceived, or thought he perceived, in Frank’s system
the elements of Catholic Christianity. Frank himself encouraged this
by submitting to Christian baptism, and publicly burning the Talmud.
He also declared his belief that God had appeared in human form for
the expiation of man’s transgression, and that He will hereafter
appear again, also in human form, for the final deliverance from the
power of evil. This sounded orthodox enough; but Frank was careful
not to say in whose person God had thus appeared on earth, and
whether, in fact, he accepted Jesus Christ, or Sabbathai Sevi, as the

But neither the Jews nor the Christians were content to leave matters
in this condition. The Rabbins, who regarded Frank with a mixture
of alarm and dislike, denounced him to the Polish Government as
an apostate to their community (and so legally liable to their
censure), and to the papal nuncio as an heretical Christian.
Neither of the parties appealed to were disposed to overlook the
accusation; and the Zoharites found themselves on the brink of a
twofold persecution. Frank himself was thrown into prison, and his
followers were scattered in all directions, most of them endeavouring
to seek a refuge in Turkey. On their way, while passing through
Moldavia, they received harsh usage from both the authorities and
the populace. Those that remained behind were obliged to profess
Christianity. Frank himself remained in prison, until the fortress
in which he was confined was captured, in 1777, by the Russians, who
set him at liberty. He then travelled through Poland, Moravia, and
Bohemia, everywhere levying large sums on the synagogues which still
continued to support him, until he reached Vienna, where he resided
for several years, under the protection of Maria Theresa. From thence
he journeyed to Brunn, in Moravia, and finally established himself at
Offenbach, in Hesse, where he resided until his death, in 1791.

A strange mystery attended his daily life, upon which no light has
ever been thrown. He was apparently without pecuniary resources, yet
he lived for many years—ten or twelve at the least—in a style which
could only have been maintained by the most lavish expenditure. He
had a retinue which might have vied with that of an Eastern prince,
of several hundred beautiful Jewish boys and girls; carts, said to
contain gold and silver, were continually brought to his place of
residence; when he went to perform his devotions, he was conveyed
in a chariot drawn by the finest horses that could be procured,
and a guard of ten or twelve Uhlans, wearing a splendid uniform of
green, scarlet, and gold, rode on either side of it. The service
was performed with a great display of magnificence, accompanied by
various strange ceremonies, the meaning of which has never been
explained. When he died, as he did some three years after his
settlement at Offenbach, he was buried with the utmost pomp and
splendour, as many as eight hundred persons attending his funeral;
and a costly cross was set up over his grave. But the secret of his
unbounded riches was interred with him. His family, it was found, had
been left entirely destitute. They appealed to his followers, who
had shown such devotion, but wholly in vain; and they relapsed into
absolute beggary. Such of his followers as survived him joined the
Roman Catholic Church of Poland. It is believed, however, that they
still cherish in secret some of their founder’s peculiar tenets.

Nearly about the same time another Jew appeared, very different in
character and opinions from Jacob Frank, but destined to exercise a
far wider and more permanent influence. Moses Mendelssohn was born of
humble parents in Dessau, A.D. 1729. His thirst for learning showed
itself from his childhood, and his early application to study is
said to have permanently injured his health. At the age of thirteen
he followed his favourite teacher, Rabbi Frankels, to Berlin, where,
after many years of labour, he obtained a tutorship in the family
of Herr Bernhardt, a silk manufacturer. Soon after he formed an
acquaintance with the philosopher Lessing,[205] and became known in
the literary world by the publication of his philosophical works, and
especially of _Phædon, or the Immortality of the Soul_, in imitation
of Plato. Other works followed, which increased his celebrity.
Having obtained the prize of the Berlin Academy for an essay on
the Evidence of Metaphysical Science, he was elected a member of
that society; but Frederick the Great struck his name off the list,
considering that a Jew was not worthy to belong to so august a body.
His writings nevertheless continued to attract popular admiration;
and the entire emancipation from the fetters of Rabbinism which they
displayed encouraged many of his friends to hope that he was already
a Christian in principle, and was on the high road to adopting it
as his profession. The celebrated Lavater addressed a letter to
him, urgently entreating him to take this step. But Mendelssohn
courteously but firmly refused, remaining nominally a member of
the Jewish synagogue to the day of his death, though he absolutely
refused to allow his spiritual pastors to impose any restrictions
on his private judgment. It seems to have been his principle to
minimize the differences between Christianity and Judaism, and, while
remaining a Jew in name, to be a Christian in spirit.

Mendelssohn’s name is greatly honoured and admired, but it may
be gravely questioned whether the course he pursued was either
defensible in itself or beneficial in its results. None of
his followers have been able to maintain the position he took
up. Some have adopted the genuine faith of Christ, some have
renounced distinctive religion altogether. It was remarkable
that all Mendelssohn’s descendants, including the famous
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the composer, became Christians. So did Louis
Borne, and Neander, the historian and the renowned poet, Heinrich

We must not pass over Mendelssohn’s three celebrated friends—Wessely,
the father of modern Hebrew poetry, David Friedlander, the founder
of the Jews’ Free School at Berlin, and Isaac Euchel, the translator
of the Jewish prayer-book. These men, though less distinguished than
their great contemporary, have exercised so large an influence on
their countrymen and co-religionists that they may be said to have
almost entirely changed the tone of Jewish thought and feeling.[206]
The synagogue service has also undergone considerable alteration.
The prayers and sacred poems have been abridged, and preaching very
generally introduced. Even the use of organs is not unusual. Indeed,
the old stereotyped service seems to have been exchanged for a ritual
according in minor matters with the sentiments and inclination of
each congregation.

In Russia, during this century, the condition of the Jews seems to
have varied according to the caprices alike of the rulers and the
people. They were admitted within the Muscovite kingdom by Peter the
Great; but in the reign of Elizabeth, A.D. 1745, their residence
was again forbidden, on the ground that they had been maintaining a
treasonable correspondence with some Siberian exiles. The expulsion
could not have been general, since only a few years later, in 1753,
the old charge of sacrificing children was again alleged against
them; an appeal was made to the reigning pope, Benedict XIV., and
his successor (Clement XIII.) undertook to make an investigation.
He accordingly commissioned Count Bruhl to inquire into the matter,
adding, to his honour, that he was to disregard all hearsay evidence,
and be satisfied with nothing short of proof. It needs not to add
that he did not obtain that. But the popular fury rose to such a
height that an imperial ukase was found necessary to control it. The
same charge has been repeated since, with the same total absence of
evidence, even in our time.


[204] ‘There be Three Lights in God: the Ancient Light, the Pure
Light, the Purified Light. These three make one God.’ For Book of
Zohar, see Appendix.

[205] Nathan the Jew, the hero of Lessing’s famous play, _Nathan der
Weiss_, was designed as a portrait of Mendelssohn.

[206] There were other distinguished men belonging to this age,
which, indeed, was unusually rife in literary talent. Joel Lowe,
professor at Breslau; Herr Homberg, superintendent of Jewish
education in Galicia; Aaron Wolfsohn, also professor at Breslau; and
Solomon Maimon, author of several philosophical works and his own

                             CHAPTER XL.

                           A.D. 1700-1800.

                        THE JEWS IN ENGLAND.

During this century no marked change of any kind took place in the
position of the English Jews, though their affairs several times
came before the notice of the legislature. They had obtained under
the Stuarts liberty to carry on their public worship, to practise
all trades and professions, and hold all property, except such as
was not permitted to aliens. None of these privileges were withdrawn
or modified during the eighteenth century. On the other hand, the
Jews were not naturalized, could not possess land, could not hold
any public office of whatsoever kind—were not, in any real sense,
English citizens. Yet it was evident they regarded themselves as
permanent settlers in the country. They began to build synagogues,
and to establish schools, hospitals, and other charitable foundations
for the benefit of their community. It should be noted that, as in
Holland, so in England also, there were two classes of Jews—the
German and Polish (called the Ashkenazim), and the Spanish and
Portuguese (the Sephardim).[207] These agree in their religious
opinions, but in other matters differ considerably from each other,
and it is said that intermarriages between them were for a long time
rare. The last-named were the first to erect a synagogue, which was
opened in 1662, in King Street, Aldgate. In 1676, a larger synagogue
had to be provided, and a third was built three years later. This
stands in Bevis Marks, and remains to this day, but little changed
in appearance. In 1703 the Jews’ Hospital was opened, which now
stands in Mile End Road. In 1730 a girls’ school was built by Isaac
da Costa, and called after his name; and in 1735 another school for
general education was set up and endowed by Ruez Lamego.

The German and Polish Jews did not settle in England for a generation
later. They were, on the whole, inferior in respect of culture and
education, as well as less wealthy, than their Spanish brethren.
They provided themselves with a place of worship about the beginning
of the last century. It was enlarged in 1722. The present Hamburg
synagogue was erected in 1726; and the Great Synagogue, in Duke
Street, in 1763.

The first legislation of the century respecting the Jews was in
1703, when an Act was carried obliging the Jews to make provision
for any members of their family who might become converts to
Christianity. This was passed in consequence of the action of a
wealthy Jew, whose daughter had been baptized; immediately after
which he turned her out of doors in a state of entire destitution.
Not long afterwards, the question of their naturalization began for
the first time to be agitated. A proposal was made to the Treasurer
Godolphin, in Queen Anne’s time, to purchase the town of Brentford
for their occupation, the purchase carrying with it the full rights
of citizenship. Godolphin was urged by influential persons to accept
it. But he foresaw the opposition which both the merchants and the
clergy would offer to it, and declined the proposal. A few years
afterwards a pamphlet was issued by the notorious John Toland,[208]
who has very generally been branded as an infidel, but who appears
to have been really guilty of nothing worse than eccentricity. He
urged the wisdom and justice of naturalizing the Jews. But John
Toland, one of whose works had been ordered to be burnt by the public
hangman, was not a very likely person to be listened to on such a
subject. It appears to have drawn forth a pamphlet, written in 1715,
deprecating in strong language the proposed naturalization. It is
curious to read this pamphlet, which may be seen at the British
Museum. The writer repeats with unabated acrimony the charges which
had been made for centuries against the Jews, but which the English
people had now happily ceased to act upon. It says the reasons why
Edward I. expelled them from England were, first, their crucifying
and torturing Christian children; secondly, their betraying the
secrets of the State to foreign enemies; thirdly, their tampering
with and debasing the coinage; fourthly, the hatred which they bore
to Christian men; and, lastly, their extortionate usuries. Of these,
the first two could hardly be expected to obtain any credit, and
must have been repeated merely for form’s sake, like the preamble of
a deed. The fourth, too, almost all men at that day would reject
as absurd in itself; because, if the Jews really entertained this
bitter hate against Englishmen, why should they be so anxious to
dwell among them? The third and fifth undoubtedly have some truth,
though the charge of debasing the coinage was never satisfactorily
proved, and at all events could not reasonably be charged on the Jews
of the eighteenth century. With the last we have more than once dealt
in this history. The idea, again, that the Jews are the enemies of
Heaven, and that showing favour to them is disloyalty to Almighty
God, already belonged only to the past. The writer’s real ground for
objecting is, no doubt, the injury supposed to be done to English
trade by the competition of the Jews, whose presence in England he
is anxious to prove does not increase the wealth of the community.
No Naturalization Bill was introduced, but in 1723 another step was
taken towards improving their condition. It was then enacted that
when any one of His Majesty’s subjects professing the Jewish religion
shall present himself to take the customary oath of abjuration of the
Pretender’s supposed rights in England, he shall be permitted to omit
the words ‘On the true faith of a Christian.’ This is the first time
that any regard for a Jew’s conscience or feelings was manifested
in any public document. In 1740 another Act of Parliament conceded
to foreign Jews who had served for two years on board a British
man-of-war the privilege of British citizenship.

In 1753 Mr. Pelham, at that time Premier, brought forward his
famous Act for the naturalization of the Jews. One reason for it is
said to have been the loyal services rendered by the Jews to the
Crown during the attempt of Charles Edward, in 1745, to regain the
throne.[209] The Bill was introduced into the House of Lords early
in the session, and passed without opposition,[210] almost without
remark. It provided for the naturalization of all Jews who had
resided in England for three years consecutively. But it should be
noted that it did not permit them to hold any public offices, not
even of the most petty character. They could not even be excisemen
or custom-house officers. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the extreme
moderation of the Bill, when it was brought into the Commons, an
angry debate ensued. Some members declared that to admit Jews to
the privilege of citizenship was an insult to the Christian faith.
The inspired Word, it was said, had declared that they should be
scattered over the face of the earth, having nowhere any fixed
abode; to give them a permanent home, therefore, was to fly in the
face of God and of prophecy. It would deluge the kingdom with Jew
usurers, brokers, and beggars. The Jews would buy up advowsons, and
so ruin the Church! Pelham answered, that the fears expressed were
idle and chimerical, that the Jews were too few and uninfluential
to work any of the mischief that had been predicted; and, as they
could not take any part in our religious services, or even enter
our churches, it was impossible they could injure the Church. As
for any supposed opposition to the will of God, if there had been
any such Divine decree as was represented, it would be impossible
for man to overthrow or even to modify it. The Bill passed by a
majority of ninety-five, only sixteen being found to vote against
it. But the Bill, though accepted by Parliament, excited out of
doors a perfect storm of indignation. The peers, and especially the
bishops,[211] were pursued by mobs with insult and rancour. The
common people filled the streets with cries of ‘No Jews—no wooden
shoes!’ ‘The wooden shoes’ were typical of the French peasants, who
ordinarily wore them. The popular _brocard_ ‘No wooden shoes’ thus
meant ‘Nothing French.’ There was no kind of connection between the
Jews and the French, but the rhyme between ‘Jews’ and ‘shoes’ hit the
popular fancy, and so the two cries were combined in one.

The members of the House of Commons were threatened with the loss
of their seats; and, as Parliament was near its last session, this
was no idle menace. As the autumn advanced, the agitation increased.
A clergyman named Tucker, who had written a pamphlet in defence of
the measure, was attacked and maltreated by the mob. The Bishop of
Norwich, Thomas Gooch, also an advocate of the measure, when he went
down to his diocese on his confirmation circuit, was everywhere
insulted. At Ipswich the boys whom he was about to confirm shouted
out to him that they wished to be circumcised; and on the door of one
of the churches a paper was found, announcing that the bishop would
confirm the Jews on the Saturday, and the Christians on the Sunday
next ensuing.

It was not by the mob only that these clamours were raised. The Lord
Mayor and Corporation of London, actuated, it is to be feared, by
commercial jealousy, publicly denounced the measure as an inroad on
the Constitution and an insult to the Christian religion, and the
country clergy everywhere preached the same from their pulpits.

The ministry found that they could not withstand the popular fury.
On the very first day of the ensuing session, immediately after the
Peers had agreed to the usual address to the Crown, the Duke of
Newcastle made an harangue, declaring that disaffected persons had
made use of the Act passed last session in favour of the Jews to
raise discontent among His Majesty’s subjects. As the Act itself was
of little importance, it had better be repealed. As little opposition
was offered to this proposal as to the original Bill. Some few did
indeed protest against this concession to mob clamour; amongst them
the Bishop of St. Asaph and Lord Temple. But in the Lower House both
parties seemed to vie with each other in expressing their aversion to
this unfortunate measure.

Even this ready compliance with the popular will did not allay the
ferment that had been excited. There was, it appeared, an Act in
existence, by virtue of which any Jew who had resided for seven years
in any of His Majesty’s American plantations might become a free
denizen of Great Britain. It was discovered that this was fraught
with almost as much danger to the interests of the English people as
the obnoxious measure which had just been removed from the statute
book. A member of the Lower House moved that a list of the Jews who
had availed themselves of the benefit of this Act since 1740 should
be laid on the table for the perusal of the members of the House. It
was found that, as claiming the privilege in question was attended
by a good deal of expense and trouble, very few Jews had availed
themselves of it. Nevertheless, as the _possibility_ still remained
that Jews in great numbers would at some future time take advantage
of the Act in question, and so deluge England with Jews, whose
presence would be in the highest degree prejudicial to the interests
and even the safety of Great Britain, Lord Harley asked for leave to
bring in a Bill to strike out of the Act its obnoxious clauses. But
at this point Government refused to concede any further to out-door
clamour. Lord Harley’s motion was seconded by Sir James Dashwood,
and supported by other influential persons. But Mr. Pitt made one
of his great speeches against it, and it was rejected by a decisive
majority. The whole affair is a curious instance of how easily the
English people may be stirred up to loud and clamorous indignation
upon the most trivial subjects, in which neither their safety nor
their convenience are in any way concerned;[212] though they cannot,
like their Continental neighbours, be induced to proceed to acts
of violence, unless where some real danger threatens them or some
important interest is at stake.

During the remainder of the century, and indeed for a large part
of that which followed, no new attempt was made to accomplish the
naturalization of the Jews. It was probably felt by their friends
that the angry and unreasonable prejudice which had been roused
by the proposed measure of 1753 would in all likelihood break out
as virulent as ever,[213] if a similar Bill should be brought
into Parliament. It is also a singular fact that many of the Jews
themselves were not anxious for the measure to pass, as they feared
that the conversion of many of their communion to the Christian faith
might follow from it.

But there were not wanting signs that the feeling towards the Jews
was gradually growing more considerate and kindly. In 1781, when the
island of St. Eustatia was captured by Rodney, a complaint was made
in Parliament that undue severity had been shown the Jews in seizing
their property, and transporting them from the island. General
Vaughan, who commanded the land forces, represented that he had shown
the Jews the greatest consideration, had caused their persons to be
respected, and, on finding that their property had been seized by
mistake, had immediately ordered it to be restored to them. No more
had been done for them than justice required; but the tone of both
parties, when speaking of the Jews, was strikingly different from
what it probably would have been had the occurrence taken place some
generations earlier.

Towards the close of the century, a body known as the Board of
Deputies was formed, which gave the Jews the means of expressing in
an official manner the wants and sentiments of the Jewish residents
in Great Britain. It was originally appointed for the purpose of
conveying to George III. the congratulations of the Jews in England
on his accession to the throne. Once established, it renewed its
meeting when occasion required, and has frequently played an
important part in Jewish affairs.


[207] Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer (Gen. x. 3), is traditionally
reported to have settled in Germany. Zarephath and Sephared (Obad.
20) in France and Spain. Hence the German and Spanish Jews have
been styled Ashkenazim and Sephardim. These being at one time the
principal countries in which the European Jews were found, have
caused the whole of the nation to be classed under one head or the

[208] John Toland, as he was called, though his true baptismal names
were James Julius, was born in Londonderry in 1669. His parents were
Roman Catholics, but he seems early to have rejected Romish teaching.
He studied successively at Glasgow, Leyden, and Oxford. At the
last-named university he seems to have obtained the reputation of a
freethinker; and his book, _Christianity not Mysterious_, excited a
ferment which there is little or nothing to justify. It was condemned
by the Irish Parliament, and burnt by the hangman. Leland ranks him
among Deistical writers; but he hardly seems to deserve, and is
certainly not worth, Leland’s censures.

[209] The Jews had given the Government valuable help. They lent a
large sum on very liberal terms, and agreed to take the Government
paper as long as gold continued to be scarce. Two Jews fitted out
vessels at their own cost, which they placed at the service of the
king. Great numbers of Jews also enrolled themselves in the volunteer
troops hastily raised by the ministry.

[210] Lord Lyttelton, the author of the _Life of Henry II._, is said
to have declared on this occasion that ‘the man who hated another
because he was not a Christian, was no Christian himself’—a sentiment
worthy of him.

[211] It is a singular fact that, although the bishops had nothing
to do with the promotion of this Bill, the principal odium of it was
cast upon them. It was held that they were bound in conscience to
prevent its passing, or at all events to do their best to prevent
it. William Romaine affirmed, in a pamphlet which attracted much
attention, that ‘the set of bishops then on the bench were the
only ones from the time of Christ who would have countenanced so
anti-Christian a measure.’ The general charge made against bishops is
that of intolerance. It is curious to observe that, if they ever are
in advance of the laity in tolerance, it is at once made the subject
of bitter reproach to them.

[212] It is a most curious illustration of this that, up to the
middle of the present century, although all bequests made by Jews to
their countrymen for charitable purposes, such as building hospitals,
endowing almshouses, etc., were held valid, and would be enforced, if
necessary, by the Court of Chancery, any provision for the education
of their children in their own faith was accounted void. A bequest
made about the middle of the century, by a Jew named De Pass, of
£1,200 for the purpose of building a college for Jews, was similarly
declared void by the Law Courts, because it tended to propagate a
false belief, and the money was given to the Foundling Hospital.

[213] During the No Popery riots of 1780, the Jews in Houndsditch,
fearing that the violence of the mob would be attracted to them, as
it had so often been on occasions of popular tumult, wrote up each
on his door front: ‘This is the house of a true Protestant.’ The
father of Grimaldi, the clown, is said to have exercised a still more
comprehensive caution, and to have inscribed on _his_ door, not ‘No
Popery,’ but ‘No Religion.’ Lord George Gordon, the leader of the
riots, consummated his erratic career by professing the Jewish faith,
in which he died.

                            CHAPTER XLI.

                           A.D. 1800-1885.

                  THE JEWS IN ENGLAND—_continued_.

It does not surprise us, as was remarked in the last chapter, that
no step was taken to amend the position of the Jews during the
latter half of the eighteenth or the first quarter of the nineteenth
century. For many years after the struggle of 1753 its memory was
fresh in men’s minds; and to have attempted its renewal would only
have called forth a more bitter expression of hostility. Then
the struggle with America, the horrors of the French Revolution,
the excitement of Napoleon’s wars, the trade riots and domestic
disturbances of the later years of the Regency engrossed men’s
minds, and they had neither leisure nor inclination to attend to the
grievances of the Jews. Even when, in George the Fourth’s reign,
questions of internal policy again became the topic of the day, the
disabilities of the Roman Catholics, a numerous and influential
portion of the nation, naturally took precedence of those of the
Jews. But when these had been removed, and the Test and Corporation
Act had, in 1829, been repealed, the Board of Deputies, already
referred to, felt that their opportunity had arrived. They applied
to the leading statesmen of the day, and among others to the Duke of
Wellington, pointing out that, as he had recently carried through
Parliament a Bill for the relief of the Roman Catholics, he was in
consistency bound to do the like for the relief of the Jews. But the
duke answered that such an attempt would raise so angry an outcry as
to render the success of the measure hopeless.

Nevertheless, something was done. The first step was taken in 1828,
when the restrictions were removed which had been imposed on the
admission of the Jews to the Stock Exchange. Up to that time only
twelve Jewish brokers had been allowed there, and the privilege of
entry had to be purchased by the payment of a large sum to the Lord
Mayor.[214] This was now abolished; and in 1830 Mr. Robert Grant,
afterwards Lord Advocate in the Grey Ministry, introduced into the
House of Commons a Bill for the removal of Jewish Disabilities. It
was rejected by the large majority of 163. The Reformed House of
Commons passed it three years afterwards, but it was thrown out in
the House of Lords.

Still the cause of the Jews progressed. In 1830 an Act was passed,
legalizing Jewish marriages, which the law, up to that time, had not
recognised. In 1832 they were admitted to the franchise, and became
free of the City. They were now allowed to open shops there, which
they had hitherto been prohibited from doing. In 1833 a Jew, Mr.
Goldsmid, was admitted as a barrister by the Society of Lincoln’s
Inn. In 1835 Mr. Salomons, also a Jew, was made Sheriff of Middlesex.
In 1837 Mr. Montefiore was knighted by the Queen; and in 1844 the
Jews were declared eligible to all municipal offices. Mr. Salomons
was made an Alderman in 1847, and Lord Mayor in 1856.

About this time a movement was set on foot in London for the
reformation of the Jewish Church there. It is stated that during the
first half of the present century the services in the synagogues
were ill-conducted and poorly attended. Attempts were made by some
zealous members of the community to bring about an improvement,
but for a long time with little success, until, in 1841, matters
came to a crisis. The reformers, among whom Sir Isaac Goldsmid was
conspicuous, withdrew from their brethren, and built what was called
the Reformed Synagogue, now situated in Upper Berkeley Street. The
object of the seceders was mainly to improve the existing liturgy,
partly by shortening it, partly by the removal of certain expressions
in the prayers which do not harmonize with the feelings of educated
Jews in the present day.[215] A good deal of angry feeling was called
forth on the occasion, and the excommunications of the seceders were
freely pronounced. After a few years, however, this began to subside,
and has now, we are told, vanished altogether. Both the Sephardim
and Ashkenazim, indeed, have made considerable alteration in their
liturgies in the course of the present century.

In 1847 an important step was taken by the leaders of the Jewish
emancipationists. At the general election in that year Baron Lionel
Rothschild offered himself as a candidate for the city of London, and
was returned. When the session of 1849 opened, Lord John Russell,
then Premier, brought in a Bill to omit from the Parliamentary oath
the words, ‘on the true faith of a Christian,’ which rendered it
impossible for a Jew to take it. The Bill was carried by a majority
of 66. It was then introduced into the House of Lords by the Earl of
Carlisle, who urged that the Jews were now the only persons excluded
from Parliament on account of their religious opinions. As uniformity
of belief on religious subjects had ceased to be required as the
condition of admission to the legislature, it was obviously unjust to
exclude Jews on that ground. The Bill was opposed by the Archbishop
of Canterbury, who argued that the measure was inconsistent with the
national profession of Christianity; also by the Bishop of Exeter,
who declared it to be a breach of the contract made between the
sovereign and the nation—that ‘the Crown should maintain the laws
of God, and the true profession of the Gospel.’ On the other side,
Archbishop Whately argued that the spirit of Christianity forbids us
to require the imposition of civil penalties on those who differ from
it. On a division the Bill was lost by a majority of 25.

An attempt of a different character was now made to obtain the object
desired. On the 26th of July, 1850, Baron Rothschild presented
himself before the Speaker to take the necessary oath; and when the
Clerk presented the New Testament, he said, ‘I desire to be sworn on
the Old Testament.’ Sir R. Inglis rose to oppose this suggestion;
the baron was ordered to withdraw, and a long debate ensued. The
opinion of the law officers of the Crown having been taken, the House
resolved that Baron Rothschild could not take the oath, except in the
ordinary manner prescribed by the law. It was agreed, however, that
another Bill should be introduced for the relief of the Jews in the
ensuing session.

This was accordingly done. The Bill was brought in and carried,
though by a reduced majority, and was then sent up to the Lords, by
whom it was, as before, thrown out. Its rejection was followed by a
second attempt, similar to that of Baron Rothschild in the preceding
year. Alderman Salomons, who had been returned for the borough of
Greenwich, presented himself at the table, and demanded to be sworn
on the Old Testament. He was ordered to withdraw, but refused to
do so, until given into the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. He
also voted in two or three divisions, although he had not taken the
oath. The House declared this procedure to be illegal, and an action
was brought against Alderman Salomons in the Court of Exchequer
to recover of him the penalty of £500, which he was said to have
incurred by voting in the House of Commons without having previously
taken the oath. Judgment was given for the plaintiff. Mr. Salomons
appealed, and the case was again heard before six of the judges, but
they confirmed the decision of the previous court.

From that time until 1858 Bills were repeatedly brought into the
Lower House, and passed by majorities, sometimes larger and sometimes
smaller, until the year above named, when, under a Conservative
Government, the Commons admitted the Jews by a resolution setting
aside the standing order of the House, and Baron Rothschild took his
seat as the first Jewish member. In 1860 a Bill was passed through
both Houses, allowing the Jews to omit from the Parliamentary oath
the words, ‘on the true faith of a Christian.’ To complete the
history of Jewish emancipation, it should here be added that in 1873
Sir George Jessel was made Master of the Rolls, being the first Jew
admitted to the English Bench; and in 1885 Sir N. Rothschild was
created a peer, the first who has entered the English House of Lords.
No Jew has as yet been a Cabinet Minister; but it is obvious that,
whenever it shall serve the interest of the party which has for the
time a predominance in the country to make a Jew Lord Chancellor, or
one of the Secretaries of State, or even Premier, there will be no
legal obstacle, and probably no opposition offered to such a measure.
The struggle, in fact, is over. The Jews are fully emancipated.

The history of this protracted strife is full of interest to
the student of Jewish history, because it illustrates in the
most forcible manner the difference of opinion in men’s minds
respecting the Jews, which has existed from the earliest ages of the
Church—which, indeed, still exists, notwithstanding the great change
in their condition which this present century has brought about. Many
sincere Christians still think that the nation, in admitting Jews
to the legislature, has been guilty of a breach of its duty in the
sight of God. There is, first of all, the belief that the Jews are
a people lying under the curse of God, and that to show any favour
to them is to rebel against this decree. We have seen what revolting
barbarities this idea led to during the Dark and Middle Ages. Its
nineteenth-century form—of standing aloof, and withholding civil
rights from them—is less shocking in its results, but equally false
in principle. God has doubtless His own purposes towards them, and
they are a standing miracle, an enduring evidence of the truth of His
prophetic word. But He has not commanded us to be the instruments of
what we may suppose to be His pleasure, and can do His work without
our help. Every faithful follower of St. Paul will regard the Jews
in the same light in which he regards them.[216] Every sincere
believer in the Lord will echo the same prayer[217] that He offered
for them. Again, there are those who, though they would repudiate
the notion above suggested, still think, with Archbishop Sumner,
that the admission of the Jew to the legislature is a repudiation
of our national Christianity; or, with Bishop Philpotts, that it
is a breach of the sovereign’s coronation oath. If this were so,
no faithful believer, no loyal citizen could uphold the measure.
But let us consider what this ‘admission to the legislature’ really
amounts to. A Jew who enters Parliament cannot, in consequence of
his entry, himself make or alter laws. He has only one voice out of
a thousand in any legislative enactment. It will be said that he
ought not to have any voice at all. But if so, he must not have the
elective suffrage; or he may help to return a member who represents
his opinions. Nay, even if he has not the suffrage, he may, by the
use of his money, his station, his personal character, his tongue as
a public speaker, his pen as a writer, exercise a powerful influence
in the settlement of public affairs, which is, in fact, legislation.
The only mode of preventing him from doing this would be to do as our
forefathers did in England, as Torquemada did in Spain—to forbid him
to dwell in the land at all. They were at least consistent, and could
be so in no other way.

Again, does the sovereign, by giving the royal assent to a Bill
for the removal of Jewish disabilities, violate the undertaking of
the coronation oath, ‘to maintain the laws of God, and the true
profession of the Gospel’? By the ‘laws of God’ we must, I presume,
understand ‘the _commandments_ of God’ to be meant. The phrase occurs
continually in Scripture in that, and no other, sense. But how is the
maintenance of these impaired by the admission to the legislature
of the Jew, who acknowledges these commandments as religiously as
does the Christian? Again, there is ‘the true profession of the
Gospel’—that is, I conclude, the profession of the Gospel, untainted
by heresy or falsehood. But the Jew would have no power of tainting
this, though he _were_ to become a member of Parliament. Parliament
does not determine theological controversies, sit in judgment on
heresies, does not admit candidates for orders, does not ordain or
consecrate. If the Jew were to be allowed, through his election to
the House of Commons, to meddle with any of these things, that would,
no doubt, be a very different matter, which all loyal Churchmen would
resist to the utmost. But notoriously the Jewish member of Parliament
neither possesses nor desires anything of the kind.[218]

There is, in truth, a confusion in some men’s minds between
‘God’s laws’ and Christian dogmas, which misleads them. As Head
of the State, the sovereign upholds the ‘laws of God’—of public
morality, that is to say—which are rightly so called, because
they are primarily of God’s ordering. These, all men, whatever be
their distinctive creed, are bound to support. As the Head of the
Church, again, the sovereign maintains Christian dogmas through the
ministrations of those who hold offices in that Church, and takes
cognisance of denials and perversions of the Faith. To these offices
there never has been any proposal to admit the Jews, nor is there the
least likelihood that such ever will be made.


[214] Sir Moses Montefiore paid £1,200 for his admission to the Stock

[215] In the twelfth prayer, used by the Jews for many centuries,
in their public worship, occurred the words: ‘Let there be no hope
for those who apostatize from the true religion, and let heretics,
however so many they be, perish in a moment. And let the kingdom of
pride (the Roman empire) be speedily rooted out and broken in our
days.’ In the liturgy of the Ashkenazim this prayer (which tradition
attributes to Gamaliel) now stands thus: ‘Let the slanderers have
no hope, all the wicked be annihilated speedily, and all tyrants be
cut off quickly.’ In that of the Sephardim the prayer runs: ‘Let
slanderers have no hope, and let all presumptuous apostates perish in
a moment. May Thine enemies and those that hate Thee be suddenly cut
off, and all those that act wickedly be suddenly consumed, broken,
and rooted out; and humble Thou them speedily in our days.’—Horne’s
_Introduction_, iii. 474.

[216] Romans x. 1.

[217] Luke xxiii. 34.

[218] Sir G. Jessel would not present to a living, which was in
his patronage as Master of the Rolls, on the very grounds here
alleged—that he had nothing to do, and ought to have nothing to do,
with the Christian Church. No doubt, in the present anomalous state
of things, questions relative to the Church might be brought before
Parliament with which no Jew could with any propriety interfere. But
if he is to be excluded on that ground, then all but genuine members
of the Church ought to be excluded also.

                            CHAPTER XLII.

                           A.D. 1800-1885.


We hear no more of the Jews in France, after the relief granted them
by the Republican Government, until 1806; when Napoleon, who by his
victory at Austerlitz had obtained almost undisputed supremacy in
Europe, was arranging his schemes for carrying out that darling dream
of his imagination, the Continental system. Few men were keener or
more far-sighted than Napoleon. It cannot be doubted that he saw the
great value which the cordial co-operation of the Jews would be to
him, if he could only obtain it. Their secret but widespread system
of mutual intercommunication,[219] their wealth, their intelligence,
their perfect mastery of the principles of commerce, would greatly
facilitate the designs he contemplated. It is probable that even
then he meditated the resuscitation of the Kingdom of Poland, as
a formidable opponent to Russia; and the vast number of Jews to
be found in those countries rendered their goodwill of the utmost
importance to the success of such a scheme. He convoked a meeting
of Jews in Paris, which, to gratify their national sentiment, he
called a Sanhedrin, and submitted to it twelve questions,[220]
mainly relating to their social life and position in France. It
had the effect, as he doubtless had anticipated, of drawing forth
an assurance of their appreciation of the privileges of French
citizenship, and their warm affection for their native land, as they
designated France. The Imperial Government professed itself satisfied
with the reply. A second Sanhedrin was summoned, at which foreign
Jews were invited to attend, and a kind of constitution framed, by
which it was hoped that the Jews everywhere throughout Europe would
be bound. It was ratified by an imperial edict, and was, on the
whole, extremely favourable to them. It took effect in France and
all countries to which Napoleon’s authority extended, though in some
parts, as Alsace, concessions were made to popular prejudice, and the
privileges of the Jews curtailed. The effect was soon seen in the
purchase of estates by Jewish proprietors, the employment of Jewish
capital in manufactures, and the participation of the Jews generally
in national schemes of foreign and domestic policy.[221] At the
Revolution of 1830 the most complete equality of citizenship was
granted them; and since that time there has been no alteration in the
laws of France, so far as they are concerned.

In Italy the condition of the Jews has varied very little during this
century, though public attention has been once or twice directed to
them. In most of the large cities, though they are regarded with a
species of tacit dislike, no open wrong is done them. In some, as,
for example, Florence, they are treated with strict justice, indeed,
it might be said with favour. Their rights are protected, and they
are allowed to pursue all trades and professions, except that of the
physician. At Rome, on the accession of Pio Nono, among the various
liberal measures adopted by him was one in favour of the Jews. At
that time they were strictly confined within the precincts of their
Ghetto; they were obliged every year to send a deputation of four
elders to ask permission to reside during that year at Rome, and they
were required to attend periodically to listen to sermons preached
for their conversion. All these obligations were annulled by the new
pontiff. On the 17th April, 1847, he went in solemn procession to the
Ghetto, and ordered the wall of partition between it and the rest of
the city to be thrown down.[222] He rescinded the regulations whereby
the Jews were compelled to sue for permission to dwell in Rome, and
to attend controversial sermons. He even substituted a star for a
cross, in an order of merit which he instituted, that he might not
offend their feelings. After the Revolution of 1848, however, the old
regulations were again enforced.

In the summer of the year 1858 public attention was again drawn to
the condition of the Jews in the Papal States. On the 23rd of June
in that year Signor Mortara, a cloth merchant of Bologna, received
a visit from the police; who, it appeared, had been sent by Padre
Felletti, Chief Inquisitor of Bologna. It was night, and Signor
Mortara’s seven children were all in bed. They were awakened; an
inquiry was made as to the names and ages of each; and the parents
were then informed that a maid-servant, who had been in their
service, had given evidence to the effect that six years before,
when one of their children, Edgar by name, had been dangerously ill,
she had secretly baptized him. The child was therefore a Christian,
and must be given up to the Catholic Church, to be bred up in that
faith. The mother screamed and fainted. The father appealed to the
Archbishop of Bologna and the Governor, but without effect. The child
was forcibly seized by the Carabineers, and sent to Rome.

Signor Mortara followed, and had an interview with Cardinal
Antonelli. The line he took does not seem to have been the one which
would naturally have suggested itself to an Englishman. He did not
represent that, even assuming the girl’s statement to be correct,
it would be a most monstrous perversion, alike of natural right and
Christian doctrine, to suppose that her act could be any sufficient
ground for removing a child from the care of its parents, to which
the Providence of God had entrusted it. Probably he knew, however,
that any such plea would be urged in vain, and that his only chance
of success lay in disproving that any such baptism as the servant
alleged had ever taken place. He therefore brought forward evidence
that the child had not had the dangerous illness which she declared
it to have had, and further, that the servant girl’s character
was so bad that her evidence was of no value. Antonelli was not
to be convinced. He did, indeed, so far relent as to allow the
parents occasionally to see their son; but the priests continually
interfered; and at last, finding probably that they made no progress
in reconciling the child to his new life as long as the father and
mother had access to him, they conveyed him away altogether.

The story excited a profound sensation throughout Europe. Several of
the Great Powers remonstrated with the Vatican, urging that the boy
ought to be restored to his parents. Their representations failing,
Sir Moses Montefiore, the well-known champion of Jewish rights,
undertook a journey to Rome, where he had an interview with Cardinal
Antonelli, and asked to be allowed to plead his suit personally with
the pope. His efforts were zealously seconded by Mr. Odo Russell,
the British Agent, but they proved futile nevertheless. Sir Moses
was informed that Pio Nono regarded the affair as one which had been
finally settled, and which he declined to reopen. The boy’s mother is
said to have died of grief. However that may be, it is certain that
no more shameful tale of persecution ever disgraced the annals of the
Papacy. It is a consolation to know that the establishment of the
Italian monarchy brought freedom and civil equality at last to the
Jewish people.[223]

In Germany, their history during this century is full of interest,
partly on account of the remarkable variations of policy exhibited
from time to time in the dealings of the German Government with
them, and partly from the conflict of opinion between the ancient
Rabbinical schools and what may be called the neology of modern
Judaism, which, originating as we have seen with Mendelssohn and
his contemporaries, derived afterwards much of its inspiration from
Strauss and other kindred writers.

After the fall of Napoleon, when Germany was reconstructed
professedly as nearly as possible on its ancient basis, one article
of the Federal Act of the Germanic States, promulgated in June, 1815,
secured to the Jews the possession of equal rights of citizenship
throughout Germany, conditionally only on their compliance with
the laws of the State in which they resided. But it is always
easier to frame a law than to ensure its observance, and this was
especially the case in Germany, which consisted of a great number of
federal States, in which there was a great difference of opinion on
many subjects, and especially as regarded the status of the Jews.
The principle of Jewish equality, social and political, with the
Christian inhabitants of every country, did make its way, but very
slowly, and several generations passed before it came to be fully

Nor was it only the _vis inertiæ_, so to speak, of public opinion
that had to be overcome. In some countries, at all events, there
was a positive reaction against the favour which had been shown by
Diets and Governments to the Jews. Even as early as 1815, Frankfort,
Lubeck, and Bremen made several enactments, revoking the civil
privileges which had been granted to the Jews. Commercial jealousy
does not seem to have been the main, or at all events the sole,
occasion of this change of policy. The Jews were attacked by men of
learning and ability, whom we might have expected to be superior to
the prejudices they displayed. The faults of their national character
were alleged against them—their exclusiveness, their inveterate
obstinacy, their greed of gain, and especially the bigotry of their
religious belief. This was no doubt offensive to the rationalizing
school, which was rising into eminence. Some of the German professors
insisted on their being regarded as always and everywhere aliens, who
could not be made to amalgamate with any other nation—who might exist
in great numbers _in_ any land, but would never be of it. The effect
of this agitation was, for the time, at all events, to throw back
the question of Jewish emancipation. They were excluded from holding
magisterial offices, professorships in the Universities, commissions
in the army. In some States the question of their expatriation
was mooted; it was even carried out at Lubeck, so far as the city
itself was concerned. In other places something of the old mediæval
outrages were renewed. At Hamburg and other towns the houses of the
Jews were pillaged and demolished. It is even said that in some
places the old cry of the monk Rodolph, ‘Hep, Hep,’ was again heard.

The revolutionary outbreak of 1830 in France spread into Germany; but
the extreme Liberal party did not now advocate, as before, the entire
social and political equality of the Jews with their fellow-citizens.
Hatred of dogmatic teaching seems to have overpowered every other
consideration; and as the dogmatism of the Jews has always been one
of their most marked characteristics, the Rationalist leaders, among
whom Bruno Bauer was conspicuous, clamoured for their suppression
as a religious community, and the withdrawal of civil rights and
privileges from them. The orthodox Jews did not lack able and
zealous champions; but, as has been already intimated, it was not
from Christians only that they encountered opposition. As some
nominal Christians in Germany, and certain others who could hardly
claim the title of Christian at all, had dealt with the historical
records and theological dogmas of the Gospel, so did nominal Jews
deal with those of Judaism. ‘In the Synagogue, as in the Church,’
says Da Costa,[224] ‘everything that was national and Israelitish,
all that was supernatural and beyond the reach of unassisted human
reason, was furiously attacked and rejected.’ It was not merely
that novelties were introduced into the ancient Hebrew liturgy and
synagogue service, that organs and music were imported, and sermons
preached in the German language, and new prayers interpolated, and
old prayers excluded, but the fundamental doctrines of their faith
were questioned and discredited. One party proposed to abolish the
Jewish Sabbath, substituting the Christian Sunday for it. Another
openly declared that they looked for and desired no Messiah to come.
Another more insidiously averred that they did indeed believe in
the future advent of the Hope of Israel, but He was not a Person,
but simply the representative of ever-advancing enlightenment and
benediction—one who always had been and ever would be coming, but who
would never come until the perfection of humanity had been reached.
But a theory like this would be more embarrassing to the Jew than
its counterpart was to the Christian. Rationalists might declare the
Incarnate God to have been a personified myth, an ideal Being, in
whose reputed words and acts Christian ideology found embodiment.
But there were His words, which no man could have spoken; and there
were His acts, which no man could have performed; there were His
predictions, which the history of the world since His day had made
good, and which nothing but Divine Wisdom could have uttered. The
Jews had nothing of this to sustain them, and it cannot surprise
us that many among them found no shelter in such a sea of doubt,
except in embracing the Christian creed. Hence, in all likelihood,
the number of conversions which are reported to have taken place in
Germany at this period. Da Costa reports them as having amounted to
five thousand in twenty years.

But orthodox Judaism made a resolute stand against the evil. Schools
and colleges were established in the great German cities, presided
over by learned and zealous teachers: nor is there any lack of
distinguished writers and able preachers among them. Among scholars,
Raport and Leopold Zunz were pre-eminent;[225] among historians,
Geiger and Graetz, the last-named the author of the most copious and
learned History of the Jews which has yet appeared. The German Jews
have also distinguished themselves in every department of science and
literature—in politics, in music, in metaphysics, in medicine, in the
_belles lettres_. Their free admission to all public offices, and the
full rights of citizenship, dates only from the reconstruction of the
German empire; but it is now fully, and we may hope finally, secured.


[219] Baron Rothschild, by his private agencies, was enabled to
inform the British Government of the escape of Napoleon from Elba,
and Wellington’s victory at Waterloo.

[220] These questions were: 1, 2, 3. Are polygamy, divorce, and
intermarriage with Christians allowed by Jewish law? 4, 5, 6. In what
light are Frenchmen regarded by Jews, and do the Jews feel themselves
bound by the laws of France? 7, 8, 9. In what manner, and by whom,
are the Rabbins elected, and what are their powers? 10, 11, 12. Are
there any professions forbidden to Jews? Is usury, with their own
people, and with strangers, permissible? The Jews answered: that
polygamy was forbidden; divorce allowed, if in accordance with the
law of the land; intermarriage legal, but not celebrated by any
religious rite; that the Jews regarded Frenchmen as their brethren,
and acknowledged French law; that any profession was lawful; that
the Rabbins were elected according to custom, and had no judicial
authority; that legal interest was permitted, but usury forbidden.

[221] In a return made in 1808, scarcely more than a year after
Napoleon’s edict, it is declared that there were then 80,000
Jews in France, of whom 1,232 were landed proprietors, 250 were
manufacturers, and 797 military men, among whom were officers of all
ranks, up to field-marshals.

[222] The Ghetto had been thrown open during the French possession of
Rome; but in 1815, when Italy returned to its old masters, the former
state of things was resumed.

[223] Since the complete consolidation of the Italian kingdom under
Victor Emmanuel, the Jews in all parts of Italy have enjoyed the
rights of citizenship without any restriction. They are free to
live wherever they like, follow any trades or professions, and are
entitled to hold the same offices and perform the same duties as all
other Italian citizens. The Ghettoes are everywhere abolished—that
is, every one who chooses is permitted to live in them, and no one
who does not choose is required to reside there.

[224] _Israel and the Gentiles_, p. 597.

[225] Zunz is the author of a masterly review of Jewish ethics, and
two works on the poetry of the mediæval Jews. He also wrote a notice
of the celebrated Rashi, and other works.

                           CHAPTER XLIII.

                           A.D. 1800-1885.


In Spain, until quite within the last few years, there was no
material change in the condition of the Jews from what it had been
during the eighteenth century. In 1808, when Spain fell under the
authority of Napoleon, the Inquisition was suppressed. It was revived
again when the country returned, in 1814, to the dominion of its
native sovereigns, but only to last for a few years, being finally
put down by the Cortes in 1820. The old intolerance, however, the
iron legislation of Ferdinand and Isabella, still continued virtually
in force. Jews, as such, could not reside with any safety in Spain,
until—as it has been before observed—quite recently, when the example
shown everywhere in civilized Europe has at last had its effect,
and the Jews have been permitted to return to a country for which,
notwithstanding the persecutions of many generations, they have ever
cherished a warm attachment. In 1881, the Spanish Ambassador at
Constantinople so far reversed the traditional policy of his country,
as to offer a shelter in Spain for some Jewish fugitives from
Russia; and in some of the principal Spanish towns Jewish worship is
now publicly celebrated.

The same is the case in Portugal. In 1821 the Cortes abolished the
Inquisition, restored the ancient rights possessed by the Jews
previously to the reign of King Emmanuel, and decreed that Jews might
everywhere settle in Portugal.

In Holland and Belgium there is perfect freedom and equality. This
dates from 1796, when the French gained possession of the country,
and introduced the same regulations which existed among themselves.
These were not at first entirely acceptable to the Jewish residents,
because, while on the one hand they removed many restrictions
hitherto imposed upon them, they also restrained the power of the
Rabbins, and required Jews to take part in all public duties and
burdens. But the rights of citizenship were found to be a boon more
than compensating these drawbacks; and there is now no distinction
between them and the native inhabitants of the countries in question.

In Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the number of Jews is insignificant,
and but little attention appears to be paid to them. In Switzerland
they were long treated with extreme harshness. French influence, so
efficient in other contiguous countries, did very little for them.
It is only within the last ten years that religious freedom has been
conceded to them by the State.

To pass to a more important country, Austria, the Jews, early in
this century, were somewhat severely dealt with. The successors of
their great patron and friend, Joseph II., annulled many of the
privileges he had granted them. Indeed, for the greater part of the
present century they have been subject to what must be regarded as
unreasonable restrictions. They were not allowed to rent or purchase
land, nor could they remove from one place to another without the
special permission of the Government, and a heavy capitation tax was
exacted of them. This, however, was reduced in 1848, and twenty years
afterwards they obtained from the Government the entire freedom
which they now enjoy. Several Jews, we are told, are now members of
the legislature.

These regulations have the force of law in Hungary as well as in
Austria proper; but neither the Government nor the people accord
them the perfect liberty and equality which the law professes to
secure. The antipathy to them all over Central Europe is well known.
In Hungary, within the last few years, this has been painfully
illustrated by the trial at Nyireghyaza, which for many weeks
attracted the attention of all Europe. As it illustrates, more
forcibly than any comment could do, the true status of the Hungarian
Jews, it will be proper to give an outline of the occurrence here.

In March, 1882, a young girl named Esther Solymosi suddenly
disappeared. She was discontented with her situation, and had
quarrelled with her mistress. A few weeks afterwards, a Jew named
Scharf, together with one or two other of his countrymen, was
charged with having murdered her, in order to use her blood for
ritual purposes. At first, the sole evidence was a Jewish child,
five years old, who said that he had seen his father and brother cut
the girl’s throat, and catch her blood in a basin. The brother, a
boy of fourteen, at first denied any knowledge of the transaction,
but afterwards retracted the denial. He now said that he had not
been present when the deed was done, but he had seen it through the
key-hole of the door of the tabernacle. There was no corroborative
evidence of his tale, and, in addition to the fact that it was in the
teeth of his first evidence, it was proved that it was impossible to
see through the key-hole of the door in the way he had described.

Six weeks afterwards a body, which was sworn to be that of Esther
Solymosi, was found in the river Theiss. It was dressed in her
clothes, and identified by means of a peculiar scar. It was pretended
that the body of another person had been dressed in Esther’s clothes,
in order to frustrate inquiry. But the case broke down, and the Jews
were fully acquitted. The verdict was accompanied by an official
declaration that the oft-repeated charge made against the Jews,
of using Christian blood in their services, is a baseless calumny.
But the popular outcry with which the acquittal was received shows
how deeply seated the prejudice of the Hungarian people on this
subject still is. The inquiry, in fact, revealed a mass of ignorance,
prejudice, and uncharity which would have been bad enough in the
twelfth century, but which in the nineteenth is almost incredible.
The lower classes, indeed, are, in most European countries,
still steeped in ignorance. But what are we to think of men of
education—mayors, commissioners of police, lawyers holding high
offices—who could believe that the Jews made use of Christian blood
in the performance of their religious rites? What are we to think of
a public prosecutor who could declare that the Jews wanted Christian
blood, and could not have wanted it except for ritual purposes? It is
an astonishing instance of how far inveterate prejudice can influence
the minds of even educated men.[226]

In Russia, as has been before remarked, the number of the Jews is
greater, and the treatment they experience more harsh, than in any
other country in the world. From Russia proper—‘Holy Russia,’ as it
is styled—they have been for many generations excluded, nor are they
by the law allowed to remain there now. The law is often evaded,
and great misery frequently results from it. Some idle or malicious
story gains currency, and stirs the populace to a fierce fanatical
outbreak, in which pillage, outrage, and massacre are perpetrated on
a large scale; or else the authorities are suddenly stirred up to a
real or pretended zeal for the vindication of the law, and thousands
of Jewish families are all at a moment required to emigrate from the
country. In 1846, the Czar Nicholas issued a new ukase, requiring
all Jews who dwelt within five-and-thirty miles of the German and
Austrian frontier to remove into the interior. The ground alleged
for this edict was, that large quantities of goods had been smuggled
across the frontier. The English Board of Deputies, among whom were
Montefiore and Rothschild, laid a statement before Lord Aberdeen,
then Foreign Minister, pointing out the terrible suffering and ruin
which this measure would occasion. Lord Aberdeen pleaded their cause
with the emperor, who was induced to suspend his ukase, at first for
three years, and after that again for four more. Finding that he
could not succeed in obtaining its entire revocation, Montefiore made
a personal expedition to St. Petersburg, where he was kindly received
by the Czar, and succeeded in inducing him to cancel the edict. Under
Alexander II. the grievances were in some degree alleviated. A few
have been allowed to leave the old over-crowded settlements, and
establish new commercial centres in other provinces of the empire.
But their condition is still extremely miserable. They are loaded
with special imposts, and subject to all manner of restrictions: they
are excluded from many professions, or are only enabled to follow
them by paying bribes to officials, who have them completely at
their mercy. Fanatical risings against them also are frequent, being
connived at, if not actually encouraged, by the authorities.

In Servia, their condition is somewhat better. Forcible emigrations
have occasionally occurred, but not to the same extent as in
neighbouring countries. Much the same is the case in Moldavia, where
they were allowed to follow most handicrafts. It is said that the
roofs and pinnacles and churches throughout the country are the work
of Jews, and almost every inn has a Jewish landlord. Of late years,
however, their privileges have been abridged, and they have been
subjected to a good deal of harsh usage.

In Roumania their treatment has been even worse. It may be doubted
whether even in Russia the Jews have undergone so many and such
undeserved wrongs. It will be remembered that Roumania is the most
recently established of all the European kingdoms, having been
recognised as an independent State by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.
One of the conditions of their admission to the list of European
sovereignties was embodied in Article 44 of the Treaty:—

‘In Roumania the difference of religious creeds shall not be alleged
against any person as a ground of exclusion from civil and political
rights, admission to public employments, and the exercise of
professions and industries in any locality whatsoever.’

But the congress had hardly been broken up, when the Roumanians
endeavoured to escape from the obligation thus laid upon them.
Instead of conferring the privilege of naturalization on the whole of
the Jews throughout the country by one sweeping measure, they granted
it only to such individuals as applied for it, and required of those
certain conditions with which it would be difficult for many Jews,
and impossible for many more, to comply.[227] The consequence has
been that although there are said to be more than two hundred and
fifty thousand Jews in Roumania, who have been for many generations
past resident in that country,[228] little more than a thousand
have been naturalized; and even in the instance of these, the
naturalization is only personal, the children of such persons being
reckoned as aliens. In 1884 no single Jew obtained the privilege. In
short, the condition on which Roumania was admitted by the Congress
of Berlin to rank as a sovereign State has been deliberately and
systematically evaded. This has, indeed, been pointed out to the
Roumanian Government by some of the Signatory Powers, but without

It must not be supposed that the withholding of naturalization is
merely a sentimental grievance. It entails disabilities of the
gravest character, debarring them from most professions and trades,
and hampering the Jews seriously in such as they are allowed to
follow. No Jew can be a government, a railway, or a sanitary
official, a director of a bank, a broker, a clerk, or a chemist. They
are excluded from all places of public education; in many places
the right of keeping inns has been withdrawn from them; there is
a continual agitation in progress to deprive them of the power of
carrying on the few trades still allowed them. Only in the year 1884
what was called the ‘Hawking Law’ was passed, by which hawkers were
liable to prosecution if they traded without a licence, and this
licence is invariably refused to Jews. Nor does the tale of their
wrongs end with their exclusion from all privileges of citizenship.
They are exposed to insults and wrongs of all kinds, for which there
is practically no redress; no court of law would venture to give an
impartial judgment in any suit between a Christian and a Jew.[229]
Any attempts to bring the question of their rights before the Senate
inevitably fail, permission even to discuss the question being
refused. The press, in most countries the advocate of toleration and
freedom, is here the bitterest and loudest supporter of injustice
and oppression. In fact, the worst intolerance of the worst periods
in France, Spain, and Germany is displayed in the Roumania of the
present day. It is surprising that the European Powers who imposed
their conditions on the Roumanian Government at the Berlin Congress
have not felt themselves bound in honour to see them loyally carried
out. It may surely be hoped that they will before long awake so far
to a sense of their responsibility as to do so.


[226] See Appendix V., Blood Accusation.

[227] They were required to present petitions, in which the applicant
stated the amount of the capital he possessed, and the profession or
calling which he followed. After the presentation, he was obliged to
reside for _ten years_ in the country, during which he must prove
himself a useful member of society. It is obvious that in these
stipulations there is ample opportunity for refusing naturalization
to any Jew whom the Government might dislike.

[228] They are chiefly Sephardim fugitives from Spain in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

[229] At Botouschani, in 1885, five Roumanians were charged with
murdering a Jew. The evidence was clear, but the defence was,
that a Christian could not be punished for killing a Jew; and a
verdict of acquittal was given, but coupled with an order to pay a
thousand francs to the Jew’s family for the murder. Quite recently
an illustrated newspaper issued a large engraving, of which the
murder of a Christian child by Jews—the old, shameless, worn-out, a
thousand-times-disproved, calumny—was the subject. It is impossible
to believe that the proprietors of the paper knew perfectly the
falsehood and calumny which they were circulating; but they knew that
the bitter hate entertained towards the Jews would ensure them a
remunerative sale.

                            CHAPTER XLIV.

                           A.D. 1800-1885.


The position of the Jews in Morocco is less secure than in most
Mahometan countries. They suffer from the fanaticism of the
Mahometans, who are a less humanized race than their Asiatic
brethren. Robbery and murder are perpetrated almost with impunity,
the protection of the law being almost a dead letter, so far as they
are concerned. As an evidence of their abject condition, it is said
that they are compelled to go bare-foot in most of the principal
cities. Beyond the bounds of Morocco large numbers of Jews lead
a nomad life, dwelling in tents, keeping flocks and herds, and
cultivating the land in their vicinity. Their condition in Cairo
and Alexandria is somewhat better, and there are many wealthy Jews
in these cities. But everywhere they are liable to the outbreaks
of blind fanatical fury to which reference has so often been made.
An instance of this occurred in 1863, which it is important to
notice, as showing only too plainly the condition of things in those
countries. A Spaniard had died suddenly at Saffi, and the Spanish
authorities required an examination into the circumstances of his
death. To avert suspicion from themselves, the Moors accused a Jewish
boy, who was in the dead man’s service, of poisoning him. He denied
the crime, but was scourged until he confessed it, and implicated
several other persons. A popular outbreak would have ensued if the
Morocco Jews had not appealed to Sir Moses Montefiore. He requested
the intervention of our Government, and made an expedition to
Morocco, where he not only succeeded in releasing several Jews, who
had been detained in prison on charges which could not be proved,
but obtained an audience of the Sultan of Morocco, who received
him with great distinction. He pointed out to the Sultan that the
Jews of Morocco were without any legal protection, and were in
consequence frequently subject to outrages for which they could
obtain no redress; and he entreated that equal justice might be
secured to them as to other inhabitants of the country. In a few days
an edict was issued, commanding that in future Jews, Christians,
and Mahometans should be treated with equal justice throughout the
Sultan’s dominions. Experience has shown that it is more easy to
obtain these concessions from Moslem sovereigns than to ensure their
due observance by subordinate officers. Still, there can be no doubt
that this is a great advance in the social condition of the Jews of

There are a good many Jews in Brazil and in the United States of
America. In the last-named country it needs not to be said that
they enjoy the most entire toleration. Jewish hospitals, Jewish
orphanages, free schools, almshouses, benevolent institutions of
all kinds, exist in the principal cities, in which also magnificent
synagogues are to be found. The authority of the Rabbins, however, is
not so great, as a rule, as it is in European countries. It is said
that there is great laxity in their ritual—some discarding Hebrew
altogether in their liturgies, some making the Sunday instead of
the Saturday their day of religious observance. Their increase of
population during the last few generations has been extraordinarily
rapid. Jews are found scattered in Mexico and in the great South
American cities, but not in any great numbers.

In the dominions of the Sultan, both the European and the Asiatic,
the position of the Jews during the present century has varied little
from what it was in those which preceded it. As has been already
remarked, they are more kindly and fairly treated than in other
Mahometan countries—the result, probably, of freer communication
with Europe. But here, too, they are liable to sudden outbursts of
religious fanaticism or commercial jealousy, and on these occasions
they suffer great injustice and cruelty. Two signal instances of this
occurred A.D. 1840.

In that year, a Greek boy in the island of Rhodes having suddenly
disappeared, a woman affirmed that she had seen him, shortly before,
in company with a Jew. It chanced to be near the time of the
Passover, and, strange as it may seem, some of the European consuls,
on no better evidence than this, raised the old slander that the boy
had been murdered, in order that his blood might be used for ritual
purposes. The Jew was arrested, and denied any knowledge of the boy.
He was thereupon put to the torture, under which his reason gave way,
and he uttered the names of several Jews, who were at once assumed to
be his accomplices. They were seized, and in their turn put on the
rack; the Jewish quarter was closed, and no food allowed to enter it;
and it is even said that an attempt was made to convey a dead body
into one of the houses, in order that it might be found there. The
story spread in all directions, and popular risings and outrages on
the Jews ensued.

The affair at Damascus was even more serious. Father Tomaso, a monk,
who for many years had practised medicine, suddenly disappeared. A
report was spread that he had been last seen in the Jewish quarter,
which was instantly invaded by a mob of Christians, who denounced the
Jews as his murderers. Count Menton, the French Consul, actuated, it
is believed, by political motives, took up the matter and insisted
on the punishment of the offenders, as he chose to consider the
Jews. He produced persons who swore that the monk had been seen to
enter the shop of a Jewish barber, from which he had never issued
forth again. The barber was seized and bastinadoed, until in his
agony he accused several of the richest Jews in the city as having
been concerned in the murder. They were subjected in their turn to
tortures, under which two of them died, and several more confessed
their complicity in the crime. A young Jew, who swore that he had
seen Father Tomaso enter the house of a Turkish merchant, on the
evening of his disappearance, was bastinadoed to death, in order to
induce him to retract his statement. The French Consul now laid the
confessions which had been extracted from the prisoners before the
Turkish Pacha, and insisted on their being immediately put to death.

Fortunately the Pacha thought it his safer course to apply to head
quarters for instructions, and thus sufficient time was given for
the report of what had occurred to reach England. There it created
a profound sensation. A large meeting of influential Jews was held
in London, at the house of Sir Moses Montefiore, who was deputed
to seek an interview with Lord Palmerston, at that time Foreign
Secretary. From him Sir Moses received all possible help; but it was
thought advisable that a special mission should be sent to the East
to represent the matter in its true light to the Turkish authorities.
Sir Moses himself undertook the office, and proceeded to Syria,
accompanied by M. Cremieux, a Jewish member of the French Chamber,
and several others. They learned that at Rhodes the prisoners had
been liberated, and the governor who had sanctioned the proceedings
dismissed from his office; but the Damascus affair was still
undetermined. Sir Moses obtained an interview with the Pacha of
Egypt, who endeavoured to compromise the matter by offering to pardon
all the prisoners who had been accused. But he was answered that
it was not justice to pardon innocent men. What was demanded was a
complete and honourable acquittal of the accused. This was presently
granted, and the prisoners discharged from custody. Subsequently
Sir Moses had an interview with the Sultan himself, on the 6th of
November in the same year, 1840, when he obtained from him—as he had
formerly done from the Sultan of Morocco—the celebrated firman, which
granted to the Jews, everywhere throughout the Turkish dominions, the
most complete protection.

In Persia, Bokhara, Yemen, and Central Asia, numerous colonies
of Jews exist, engaged as a rule in trade, but also occasionally
employed in agriculture. They are not as wealthy, apparently,
as their Western brethren. Many of them, indeed, are extremely
poor, earning their subsistence as day labourers. They speak and
write their own language only, though able to converse with the
inhabitants of the country. They live very much among themselves,
never intermarrying with strangers, and carry their differences to
the Rabbi of their synagogue, who, indeed, is the judge authorized
by the law for the settlement of their disputes. One cause of
their isolation is their fear of allowing their children to study
secular subjects, which they think would be likely to undermine the
foundations of their faith.

In the Holy Land, it was reported in 1881 that there were about
15,000 Jews in Jerusalem, about half its population. Whether that
is correct or not, it is certain that the number of Jews in that
city is steadily, though not rapidly, increasing, and has been on
the increase ever since the Crimean War. Whatever may be thought
about that war, one of its consequences was to open Palestine to
European settlers; and, as might have been expected, the Jews
availed themselves of the opportunity of obtaining for themselves
a home in the ancient land of their fathers. But very few of
those who have attempted this possessed the means of comfortably
establishing themselves. It has been remarked by one who knows the
Jews well, that they are contented to live elsewhere so long as
life goes prosperously with them. It is the poor, the unfortunate,
the persecuted, who seek a refuge there. Old people again, whose
children are out in the world, come to spend the remainder of their
days in religious exercises. A few Rabbins also devote themselves to
the work of looking after the various communities thus established.
The Montefiore Testimonial Committee has done something to assist
this immigration. It has established agricultural communities in
various places, notably beyond the western walls of Jerusalem, where
four thousand Jews are lodged in comfortable houses, especially built
for them. The population has trebled itself, according to trustworthy
information, since 1860.

But there are great drawbacks. The Jews are not naturally disposed to
manual labour, preferring, as they themselves say, to work with their
brains rather than their hands. There is also the temptation—which
always besets those who live, to some extent, on the charity of
others—to abuse the generosity of their benefactors, by doing no
work at all themselves. There is also the competition of the native
labourer, the fellah, who is used to the climate, and hard labour and
poor food, and who can live at about one-third of what is necessary
for the Jew. On the whole, it cannot be said that the lower classes
of Jews are prospering in the Holy Land.

There are, however, many synagogues both of Ashkenazim and Sephardim
Jews in Jerusalem, and Talmudical schools supported by large
contributions levied on Jews throughout the world. Schools also exist
at Hebron, Tiberias, Safed, Jaffa, and other towns. There are also
three Jewish hospitals in Jerusalem, as well as numerous almshouses.
All sects of Jews are represented in Jerusalem, Chasidim and
Karaites, as well as the orthodox adherents of the Rabbins. On the
whole, though there is no doubt that the condition of the Palestinian
Jews has been ameliorated of late years, it is still doubtful whether
any permanent improvement can be effected while the country continues
to be subject to Turkish misrule.

Here, then, we bring to an end this strangely varied, yet still more
strangely monotonous, narrative—not, as in the case of any other
ancient people, because its national history has come to an end, but
simply because we cannot read the future. Eighteen centuries have,
in all other instances, effected so vast a change in the condition
of a nation, that it is difficult to trace any identity between its
earlier and its later generations. Eighteen centuries ago our own
ancestors were savage tribes, living in wattled huts, staining their
naked bodies with woad, and practising barbarous and bloody rites.
In language, in religion, in mental and moral culture, in social
organization, they were so wholly different from ourselves that it
is difficult to discover any point of resemblance between the two.
But in all these respects, the Jew of the first century differs but
little from his descendant eighteen hundred years afterwards. He
speaks the same tongue, he holds the same creed, he observes the same
habits, or nearly the same habits, of life as his forefathers did
all that long period ago. And yet that long period is not half the
life of the Jewish people. It began in an age when the tradition of
the Flood was still fresh on earth; it is still in the fulness of
its life, when the eye of faith can distinguish, not very far off,
the dawning of the Judgment Day. How is this strange tale to end?
What is to be the last act of this amazing drama? Jerusalem has been
long trodden down of the Gentiles; the times of the Gentiles are
nearly fulfilled. What is to follow? Are the Jews to be restored,
as a distinct people, to the Land of Promise, and there accept Him
whom their fathers rejected as their King? There is no subject on
which speculation is more busy, or on which more confident judgments
are pronounced. But it is the voice of man that speaks, not of God.
One thing alone is sure. God has not cast away His people. Who can
read their history, and doubt that? But when, where, or how, He may
be pleased to take them again into favour, no man can foretell. Our
children will behold the solution of the riddle, and bless God for
His mercy. Let us, too, bless God, and wait in faith.

                              THE END.

                            _APPENDIX I._


It is always difficult to determine the number of Jews resident
either in the Holy Land or in any other country of the world. The
remark applies to ancient, even more than modern, times. It is not
only that the information afforded by writers is scanty, but that
the statements made by some historians differ greatly from those
supplied by others; while a good deal must be rejected as wholly
incredible. To take an instance, we are informed by the author of
the Book of Samuel,[230] that the military population of David’s
kingdom was 1,300,000. But in the parallel passage in the Book of
Chronicles[231] the number is stated to be nearly 300,000 more.
‘To attempt reconciling these discrepancies,’ says an intelligent
writer,[232] ‘would be wasted labour.’ During the reign of Rehoboam,
B.C. 975, the number of the men of Judah who drew the sword is
rated at 180,000.[233] But at the accession of his son, not twenty
years afterwards, it is 400,000.[234] Whether we are to attribute
these contradictions to corruptions of the text or to different
modes of calculation, signifies little to us. The two statements
are quite irreconcilable with one another. Josephus’s numbers,
again, are wholly untrustworthy. He reckons the sum of those who
returned with Zorobabel from Babylon, at the enormous figure of
4,628,000 and 47,000 women.[235] This is, of course, an absolute
impossibility; and we know, from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah,
that the real amount was 42,000.[236] It has been suggested that
Josephus’s text is corrupt in this passage. But if so, it may well be
assumed to be corrupt in other similar places also. Thus he affirms
that the numbers shut up in Jerusalem during the siege by Titus
was 2,700,000,[237] while the estimate of Tacitus is 600,000.[238]
Here again, though the reckoning of the Roman historian is probably
below the mark, he having omitted to allow for the unusual number
of residents at the time of the siege, yet that of Josephus must
be rejected as incredible.[239] The circumference of the walls of
Jerusalem is generally admitted to have been about four miles. The
space thus enclosed within the walls would be about equal to that
part of the area of London which extends from Tyburn Gate to the
British Museum in one direction, and from the Regent’s Park to
Whitehall in the other, drawing an imaginary circle, of which the
Regent’s Circus would be the centre. The portion thus enclosed—hardly
one tenth part of what lies within the bills of mortality—may contain
half a million persons. Allowing for the narrow streets of old
Jerusalem, we may reckon that the same area in that city would hold
100,000 more, thus very nearly verifying the statement of Tacitus. No
doubt, at the time of the Passover, vast numbers came from foreign
lands, and these found accommodation, as well as they could, in
Jerusalem itself, or in the environs. Many probably were lodged in
outlying villages, and many more, according to the common practice
in the East, slept in the open air. These would, of course, be
driven into Jerusalem by the approach of the Roman armies, and thus
the numbers at the beginning of the siege might have amounted to a
million or thereabouts. But the notion of nearly three millions being
crowded into the area above described is simply preposterous.

But if Josephus’s statistics on these two important points are to be
rejected as wholly untrustworthy, how are we to credit his assertions
in matters of very nearly the same kind? He tells us that Galilee in
his time contained more than two hundred towns and villages, no one
of which held less than 15,000 inhabitants.[240] If this were indeed
the case, that province, scarcely larger than one of the largest
of our English counties, must have had a population of fully three
millions, while that of the whole of Palestine would approach ten
millions. Few readers will be found to credit this.

At the same time more than one trustworthy writer affirms that
Palestine was a thickly populated country. The population to the
square mile is said to have been larger in it than in any other
portion of the Roman dominions. Diodorus,[241] Strabo,[242]
Tacitus,[243] and Dion Cassius[244] all concur in this; and
therefore, though we cannot accept Josephus’s statements as being
even approximately accurate, they may be admitted so far, as
establishing the numerous population of Palestine at the time of the
siege. Nor are we wholly without means of forming an estimate as to
its amount, independently altogether of the above-named writers. Thus
Hecatæus of Abdera (quoted by Joseph. Ap. i. 21) says that Jerusalem
in his time (A.D. 312) contained 120,000 inhabitants. Presuming the
average increase of population to have taken place, according to
this reckoning, Jerusalem at the time of the siege would contain
about 600,000—agreeing closely with Tacitus’s estimate. According
to Maccab. II., the city at the date of Antiochus Epiphanes, A.D.
180, had 160,000, or, according to others, 180,000. This would make
the number of residents at the outbreak of the civil war somewhat
less; but there would be no material difference. On the whole, we
may assume that, by dividing Josephus’s estimates by three, we
approximate to the real number. According to this, the census of the
Holy Land, A.D. 71, would be about three and a half millions, and
the total of persons besieged in the Holy City something under one

It is still more difficult to estimate the total of the Jews in
other countries of the world at this time. We may safely assume that
they could not have been fewer than the inhabitants of Palestine. We
have reason to believe that the bulk of the nation did not return
with Zorobabel. Those who remained behind in the foreign countries
to which they had been conveyed throve and multiplied in their
new homes. There are grounds for supposing that, at subsequent
periods, large emigrations from the Holy Land took place, probably
at the date of King Ahasuerus’s edict, more certainly during the
persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Roman invasion. We have
the clearest testimony of contemporaneous writers as to the extent
to which the Jews in our Lord’s time had spread into foreign lands,
forming everywhere a distinct people, as they do at the present day.
Mommsen quotes the statement of a writer of Julius Cæsar’s date, to
the effect that it would be dangerous for the Roman governor of his
province to offend the Jews, because, on his return to Rome, he might
encounter contumely from their countrymen there. Agrippa I. wrote
to the Emperor Caligula to the same effect, but more explicitly.
‘Jerusalem,’ he says, ‘is the metropolis, not of Judæa only, but of
very many lands, on account of the colonies which from time to time
it has sent out into the adjoining countries—Egypt, Phœnicia, Syria,
Cœlo-Syria, Pamphylia, Cilicia, Asia Minor, as far as Bithynia, and
the remotest parts of Pontus; likewise into Europe—Thessaly, Bœotia,
Macedonia, Ætolia, Attica, Argos, Corinth, and the Peloponnesus. Nor
are the Jewish settlements confined to the mainland. They are to be
found also in the more important islands, Eubœa, Cyprus, Crete. I
do not insist on the countries beyond the Euphrates; for with few
exceptions all of them, Babylon and the fertile regions round it,
have Jewish inhabitants.’[245] This testimony is confirmed by St.
Luke’s narrative of what occurred on the day of Pentecost immediately
following the crucifixion (Acts ii. 9, 10). It can hardly be doubted
that at the date of the commencement of this history, there were
fully as many Jews in other lands as there were in Palestine—the
whole nation numbering, at the lowest computation, not less than
seven millions.

Eighteen centuries have elapsed since that time, and the Jews are
still a distinct and peculiar people, intermarrying with other races
less than any other nation in the world. According to the rate[246]
at which population ordinarily increases, they ought to have doubled
their number more than seven times over, and to amount at the present
time to many hundreds of millions. The inherent vigour of the race
does not seem to be either intellectually or physically impaired.
It is reported by those who have studied the question, that their
health, in the various lands where they are sojourners, is at least
as good, indeed, distinctly better, than that of the populations
among which they reside. It becomes, then, an interesting and curious
question—what the amount of their numbers is in the present day.
Nor does the same difficulty we have experienced in endeavouring to
ascertain the exact sum of their population at the time of the fall
of Jerusalem, meet us when we enter on that. Statistics have been
given by trustworthy authorities, which are found, on examination, to
agree very nearly with one another. I propose to give them here in

To begin with Europe. Here the country in which they are most
numerous is Russia. In that, the official return for 1876 was
2,612,179. In Austria and Hungary it was 1,372,333; in the German
Empire, 520,575. In France their total does not exceed 60,000 or
80,000.[247] In England, the number is nearly the same. In Italy
the total is 53,000; in Holland, 68,000; in Moldavia, Servia, and
Roumania, about 300,000. In the remaining countries of Europe there
may be 20,000. These returns show a total of some hundreds of
thousands over 5,000,000 of Jews in Europe.

Proceeding to Asia, the Jews in the Turkish dominions (including
both Turkey in Europe and Turkey in Asia) amount to about 200,000.
In Persia, Bokhara, Samarcand, Central and Eastern Asia, it is more
difficult to ascertain their real numbers; but it is generally agreed
that these may be approximately estimated at 50,000. In Arabia, there
is a great difference of opinion, some affirming them to amount to
as many as 200,000, while more trustworthy authorities place the
total at one tenth that number. There are also the Jews of Syria and
the Holy Land, of which the census has already been given. On the
whole, the Asiatic Jews may be considered as amounting to 300,000, or
perhaps 400,000.

Turning next to Africa, the Jews of Egypt are estimated at 80,000;
those of Tripoli, 100,000; of Tunis, 50,000; of Algiers, 70,000; of
Morocco, 300,000. Thus the total of African Jews in the Northern
kingdoms somewhat exceeds half a million. If to these are added such
as are to be found in Central and Southern Africa, the entire sum may
amount to 600,000.

Lastly, in America and Australia there is said to be a Jewish
population somewhat exceeding that of Asia. Here their chief centres
are the United States, Canada, and Brazil.

From these returns, which, it may be assumed, are neither much in
excess nor much short of the actual amount, the total number of
professing Jews at the present time appears to be somewhat less
than seven millions—the very number which, so far as it is possible
to determine, was that of the Jewish people when the Lord became
incarnate upon earth. Can any man realize this astonishing fact, and
yet doubt the living miracle which the history of the Jews presents?

  ‘How many generations of mankind
    Have risen and fallen asleep,
  Yet it remains the same!’


[230] 2 Sam. xxiv. 9.

[231] 1 Chron. xxi. 5.

[232] Adam Clarke.

[233] 1 Kings xii. 21.

[234] 2 Chron. xiii. 3.

[235] Joseph., _Ant._ xi. 3, § 10.

[236] Ezra ii. 64; Nehem. vii. 66.

[237] Joseph., _Bell. Jud._ vi. 9, § 3.

[238] Tac. _Hist._ v. 13.

[239] This is the most probable explanation of the smallness of his
estimate of the numbers in the city during the siege. The ordinary
population would probably be about the amount he gives.

[240] Joseph., _Bell. Jud._ iii. 3, § 2.

[241] Diodor. Sic. xl. _Eclog._ 1.

[242] Strabo xvi. 2, § 28.

[243] Tacitus, _Hist._ v. 8.

[244] Dion Cass. lxix. 14. Dion makes the astonishing assertion that
Adrian destroyed nearly 1000 towns κῶμαι ὀνομαστοτόται in Palestine,
besides fortresses.

[245] Philo, _Legat. ad Gaium_, § 36.

[246] The increase of population is said by those who have made the
subject their study, to be 1/227 annually, or according to others,

[247] This is probably too low an estimate. In a census taken in
1808, there were 80,000 Jews in France; and there has been nothing to
check their increase. Their number is more probably 100,000.

                           _APPENDIX II._

                            THE TALMUDS.

The word Talmud has several meanings, which are most nearly rendered
by ‘study,’ or ‘learning.’ There are two books so called—the
Jerusalem and the Babylonian. Each of these is made up of two
parts—the Mishna, or repetition,—it being, as it were, a reissue of
the Mosaic law,—and the Gemara, or complement, the critical expansion
of the Mishna. The Mishna of both Talmuds is the same, the Gemaras
different: that of the Babylonian being the larger as well as the
more diversified. They are encyclopædias of the Jewish knowledge of
their day, and deal with civil and criminal, as well as moral and
religious questions, law, science, metaphysics, history, and general

The Mishna was compiled by Rabbi Judah, called Hakkadosh, or ‘the
Holy,’ who lived in the reign of Antoninus Pius. It is written in
very pure Hebrew. But as many things are introduced into it which
have foreign names, there is a frequent occurrence of Latin and Greek
phrases. The Gemara of the Jerusalem Talmud, which is believed to
have been completed about the end of the fourth century, is written
in what is called the Eastern Aramæan: that of the Babylonian, which
is at the least a century, and probably two centuries, later, in
Western Aramæan.

The origin of the Mishna is declared to be as follows. While Moses
was with God in Sinai, He communicated to him a twofold law, written
and oral.[248] The latter Moses repeated to Aaron, who delivered
it to Eleazar and Ithamar; they to the Seventy Elders; they to the
prophets; and the prophets to the synagogues. In this manner it
was passed on from generation to generation, to the time of the
great Jewish doctor Hillel, who lived shortly before the birth of
Christ. He digested the great mass of precepts under six heads,
still, however, without committing them to writing; which, it was
believed, would have been contrary to the intention of the Divine
Giver. Under the more formal shape which it had now assumed, the
Oral Law was passed on till the time of the destruction of Bethor,
and the final dispersion of the Hebrew people. Then, as we have
seen, Rabbi Judah Hakkadosh, perceiving that the restoration of the
Jews to their ancient status was not to be looked for, and fearing
that the consequence of this would be the total loss of the ‘Law
of the Mouth,’ as it was called,—conceiving also that the peculiar
circumstances of the case justified him in breaking the rule that
had been so long observed,—embodied the traditions in a volume which
might be preserved for ever, secure from addition or change.

His countrymen endorsed this belief, and accepted the Mishna with the
most profound respect. It had scarcely been issued, when commentaries
began to be written upon it by learned Rabbins; which, about the end
of the third century, were collected into a volume by Rabbi Jochanan
Ben Eliezer, and called the Gemara. The style in which this is
written is harsh, much inferior to that of the Mishna; and even the
best Hebraists are unable to expound satisfactorily some portions of
it. This obscurity was probably the reason why another Gemara was set
on foot by the Mesopotamian Jews, about a century after the issue of
the Jerusalem Talmud. The work was begun by Rabbi Asa or Asche, and
carried on to the time of Rabbi Jose, about A.D. 500. There is some
variety of opinion as to the date of its completion; but Laurence is
generally thought to have proved satisfactorily that it cannot be
later than the beginning of the sixth century. Christian commentators
commonly prefer the Jerusalem Talmud,[249] as containing less of
fabulous and frivolous matter; but the preference of the Jews is for
that of Babylon.

The Mishna is divided into six principal heads, or Orders, as they
are called. Each Order is divided into a variety of titles or
treatises, and these again into chapters and sections. The six Orders
are: I. Zeraim, or Seeds; II. Moed, or Festivals; III. Nashim, or
Women; IV. Nezikin, or Injuries; V. Kodashim, or Holy Things; and VI.
Taharoth, or Purifications.

The First Order is subdivided into eleven treatises:—

 1. Treats of the prayers and benedictions which are to precede and
 follow meals.

 2. Of the gleanings of vine and olive yards, alms, and first-fruits
 to be given to the poor.

 3. Of the purchased fruits of the earth, which may be lawfully used,
 if they have paid tithe, but are illegal if they have not paid.

 4. Of mixtures of various kinds of grain, and the wool of animals.

 5. Of the laws relating to the Sabbatic, or seventh, year.

 6. Of the first-fruits, given to the Priests.

 7. Of the tithes, given to the Levites.

 8. Of the second tithe, to be sent up to Jerusalem.

 9. Of the cake offered as a heave offering.

 10. Of the fruits of trees to be counted as uncircumcised for three

 11. Of first-fruits generally.

The Second Order contains thirteen treatises:—

 1. Of the Sabbath day.

 2. Of various Sabbatical rules.

 3. Of the Passover.

 4. Of the half shekel paid as tribute to the Sanctuary.

 5. Of the great Day of Atonement.

 6. Of the Feast of Tabernacles.

 7. Of Pentecost.

 8. Of certain things forbidden on Feast Days.

 9. Of the New Year.

 10. Of the Fasts and Days of Humiliation.

 11. Of the Feast of Purim. 12. Of the lesser Jewish Festivals.

 13. Of the three great Festivals.

The Third Order has seven titles:—

 1. Of the Law of Levitical Marriage.

 2. Of Marriage Contracts.

 3. Of Women’s Vows.

 4. Of the Vows of Nazarites.

 5. Of Writings of Divorcement.

 6. Of the Putting away of Wives.

 7. Of the Ceremony of Espousal.

The Fourth Order has nine sections:—

 1. Injuries inflicted by Violence, Wounds, etc.

 2. Leases, Hirings, Loans, Exchanges, etc.

 3. Succession to Property, Partnerships, Contracts, etc.

 4. The Sanhedrin.

 5. Stripes.

 6. Oaths.

 7. Witnesses, Evidence, also Idolatry.[250]

 8. Decrees of Judges and Apothegms of Wise Men.

 9. Record of Errors in the Decisions of Judges.

The Fifth runs to eleven treatises, which deal with:—

 1. Sacrifices.

 2. Oblations and Offerings.

 3. Things Profane.

 4. The First Born.

 5. Valuations of Males and Females.

 6. Exchange and Redemption.

 7. Atoning Sacrifices.

 8. Trespass Offerings.

 9. The Daily Sacrifice.

 10. Dimensions, Form, and Structure of the Sanctuary.

 11. Offerings of Birds.

The Sixth and last Order contains twelve heads, relating to:—

 1. Purifying of Vessels.

 2. Tents and Tabernacles, and Pollution by Corpses.

 3. Vestments and Uncleanness by Leprosy.

 4. The Ashes of the Heifer Purifying the Unclean.

 5. Purifications generally.

 6. Vessels containing Water.

 7. Separation for Legal Impurity.

 8. Legal Impurity generally.

 9. Regulations concerning Uncleanness.

 10. The Washing of Lepers.

 11. The Washing of Hands.

 12. Supplementary matters.

The Gemaras, it should be noted, are not so much commentaries on the
Mishna, as a series of disquisitions on passages in Holy Scripture,
or on the text of the Mishna, or possibly on some question of Jewish
law. Great subtlety of thought is displayed in these discussions.
Points of similarity are discovered between things which are, to
ordinary observation, wholly diverse, and points of difference
between things apparently quite identical. The ruling principle
of the writers seems to be, that in the sacred writings, and more
particularly in the Pentateuch, there is not a word, not a letter,
that has not its special use and significance. Where this is not
patent or easy of discovery, they hold that it is nevertheless
latent in the text, and will be brought out when events have taken
place, or opinions have been propounded, which were necessary to its
development—as what appears to be a mere speck in a photograph may
be enlarged until it is found to be in itself a complete picture.
These lengthy and abstruse speculations are frequently varied by
incidental anecdotes (called Haggadoth), which serve to illustrate
the writer’s meaning, by allegories, proverbs and parables, or
sometimes by the wildest Oriental legends, myths, and romantic tales.
Some of these are extremely touching and beautiful; others absurd,
frivolous, and extravagant, bordering occasionally on the profane,
if not the blasphemous. There is, in fact, a strange and bizarre
mixture of heterogeneous subjects. Eastern fancies are intermingled
with the speculations of the Greek and Roman moralists. A celebrated
writer has described the Talmud as ‘an extraordinary monument of
human industry, human wisdom, and human folly.’[251] The probable
explanation of this perversion of high intellect and patient study
is to be found in the fact that the writers, being excluded by the
peculiarity of their social and political position from handling the
topics on which literary men ordinarily employ their pens, they were
driven to busy themselves with the only subjects open to them. Hence
too, probably, the extraordinary respect paid to the Talmuds by the
Jewish people. They have ever regarded these books, and especially
the Babylonian Talmud, with the profoundest reverence and affection.
Indeed, they have been charged with bestowing more of their regard on
them than on their own inspired Scriptures. They have a proverb, that
‘They who study the Scriptures do a virtuous, but not an unmixedly
virtuous, act. They who study the Mishna perform a wholly virtuous
act, and merit a reward. But they who study the Gemara perform the
most virtuous of all acts.’ And again, ‘The Scriptures are water, the
Mishna wine, the Gemara spiced wine.’[252]

As regards the history of the Talmuds, it is a singular fact
that no notice is taken of either Mishna or Gemara by any of the
Fathers belonging to the first four centuries of Church history,
notwithstanding that they frequently handle the subject of Jewish
tradition. Even Tertullian, when specially writing on this subject,
while he speaks of the primal law given to Adam, and the laws of
the Two Tables committed to Moses, makes no mention of the Mishna.
Augustine, in the fifth century, does name the δευτέρωσις, or
Second Law; but even he speaks of it as containing the _unwritten_
traditions of the Jews, transmitted from one generation to another
by word of mouth. We can only suppose that, although the Mishna was
indeed completed before the end of the second century, the knowledge
of it was for a long time confined to the learned among the Jews,
and for a still longer time to the Hebrew nation generally. The same
was the case as regards the completed Jerusalem Talmud. There was,
in fact, no recognition of the work by Christians until the time of
the Emperor Justinian, who, about the middle of the sixth century,
issued a Novella, or edict, against it. He allowed the reading of
Scripture in the synagogues, but prohibited that of the Mishna, as
being ‘the mere invention of earthly men, who had nothing of Heaven
in them.’ From his time to the sixteenth century of Christianity,
popes and kings have put forth one manifesto after another, warning
men against its perusal, and ordering the book itself to be
suppressed, and even publicly destroyed. In 1286 Pope Honorius IV.
wrote to Archbishop Peckham, requiring him to forbid the perusal of
the Talmud as a ‘liber damnabilis,’ from which all of manner of evil
was certain to arise. Nor were the popes content with prescribing
it. In 1230 Gregory IX., following the example of his predecessor
Innocent, burned twenty cartloads of it. In 1553, during the Feast
of Tabernacles, all the copies that could anywhere be found were
committed to the flames by order of Julius III.; and a few years
subsequently, 12,000 volumes underwent the same fate by command of
Paul IV. During the last half of the sixteenth century the Talmud was
in this manner brought to the stake no less than six times, and was
burned, not by the single copy, but by the waggonload. The Hebrew
copyists of those times must have laboured hard to prevent the total
disappearance of the book. But the establishment of the printing
presses, and the declaration of Reuchlin, early in the sixteenth
century,[253] in its favour, in the course of a generation or two put
an end to the attempts to root out all traces of it.

The celebrated Maimonides, in the twelfth century, made an epitome
of the laws of the Talmud, which many prefer to the Talmud itself,
forasmuch as he omits the strange fables with which the original work
abounds, and preserves the really valuable matter. The name of his
book is Yad-ha-chazzak, or _The Strong Hand_. It is of great use to
those who wish to gain a knowledge of Jewish laws and ceremonies.


[248] The meaning of this is, that the development of the Law is
contained in the Law itself. There must have been from the first
difficulties in the interpretation of the Law. These were referred
to Moses. His decisions were traditionally preserved, and called the
Oral Law, this is figured by God’s delivering the Oral Law to Moses.
A Rabbinical fable further declares that God committed the Written
Law to Moses by day, and the Oral by night. This symbolizes, first,
that God’s law is the true measure of time, and secondly, that the
Written Law is to the Oral as the light to the darkness.

[249] The Jerusalem Talmud contains only four of the six Orders which
make up that of Babylon, and a portion of the fifth. Whenever, it
should be noted, ‘The Talmud’ is spoken of, without any intimation
_which_ Talmud is referred to, the expression must be understood to
mean that of Babylon.

[250] Here introduced because idolatry is sometimes the subject of
judicial proceedings.

[251] Against this, however, may be set the opinion of the
celebrated Buxtorf. He says, that ‘it contains excellent lessons in
jurisprudence, medicine, physics, ethics, politics, and astronomy;
admirable proverbs, and apothegms and shining gems of eloquence,
not less ornamental to the Hebrew tongue than are the flowers of
eloquence to the Greek and Latin languages. Nor would the knowledge
of Hebrew and Chaldee be complete without them.’

[252] Some persons might be inclined to remark on this saying, that
it is a great deal truer than its authors were aware of. Yet its
meaning has probably been misunderstood, and there is no intention
of disparaging Scripture. It may only mean, that the Mishna is the
knowledge of Scripture with more knowledge added, and the Gemara is
the knowledge of Scripture and Mishna combined with a yet further
addition of knowledge.

[253] See p. 269.

                           _APPENDIX III._


                            THE TARGUMS.

The Targums are expository paraphrases of the Books of the Old
Testament. They are written in Chaldee, which was more familiar to
the Jews after Ezra’s time than the Hebrew. It would appear that
after the return from Captivity it was the habit in the synagogue
worship to read out some portion of Scripture in the Hebrew, and then
give orally a Targum on the passage in question. But the _written_
Targums—viz., those of Jonathan, Onkelos, Jonathan son of Uzziel,
Jerusalem, and Joseph the Blind—were none of them composed, or at all
events committed to writing, much before the era of our Lord. They
come therefore within the scope of the present work.

The Targum of Jonathan is the most ancient, and is generally thought
to have been drawn up in its present form about thirty years before
the birth of Christ. That of Onkelos is somewhat later, and is
concerned with the Books of Moses only. It is greatly superior to
its predecessor in simplicity of language and purity of style. It is
quoted in the Mishna, but does not seem to have been known to the
early Christian Fathers.

The Targum of the younger Jonathan comments on the Books of the
Prophets only. It resembles that of Onkelos in purity of style, but
is less simple, and runs occasionally into allegory. It is believed
that additions have been made to it by doctors who lived long
subsequently to its author.

The Targum of Jerusalem deals with the Books of Moses, or rather with
a portion of them. It is little better than a fragment of an ancient
paraphrase of the Pentateuch.

The Targum of Joseph the Blind is on the Hagiographa, viz., the
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Esther, Job, and
Ruth. The style is very corrupt Chaldee, containing many foreign

There is no Targum on Daniel, Ezra, or Nehemiah, because these books
were already written in Aramaic. The Targums are of much value in
establishing the genuineness of the present Hebrew text, proving it
to be the same as it was when the Targums were written. They are
also useful in Jewish controversy, as showing the manner in which
the Jews, previously to the Christian era, interpreted the great
prophecies respecting the Messiah.


This word properly denotes tradition; and those persons are called
Massorites who determined the meaning of the Hebrew text by adding
pointed vowels to it. There are in the Hebrew language four vowels,
but these were found insufficient; and further, it was a frequent
practice in early times to omit these vowels, writing the consonants
only of the words. The consequence of this was, that the meaning of
a word was often ambiguous, its sense becoming different according
to the vowels inserted. Thus there is said to have been a dispute
between David and Joab as to the meaning of the word זנר (Deut.
xxv. 19). In one of his raids against the Amalekites, Joab slew the
men, but spared the women and children. David rebuked him for this,
alleging that the command was ‘to blot out the memory of,’ _i.e._,
to exterminate (זֵנֶר) the Amalekites. But Joab answered that the word
was זׇנׇר, ordering the slaughter of the males only.[254] In order to
put a stop to perplexities so caused, the Massorites[255] are said
to have added the points, or pointed vowels, of which there are
fourteen. These are placed below or above the consonants, supplying
the place of vowels, where these are wanting, and determining the
pronunciation, when present.

The Massorites not only added the vowel points, but numbered the
chapters, sections, verses, words, and even the letters of the sacred
text. Thus they have noted the fact that there are in the Book of
Genesis 1,534 verses, 20,713 words, and 78,100 letters. They have
also marked the central verse, word, and letter of the book. They
have done the same also in the instance of all the other Books of
the Old Testament. The object is to preserve the inspired text from
interpolation, mutilation, in fact, change of any kind, and also to
give facilities for reference. Much of their work has been censured
as ‘laborious trifling;’ but it has been of service to scholars

The age to be assigned to the Massorites is a matter of doubt. Some
have affirmed that Moses himself communicated to the elders this
method of elucidating and preserving inviolate the Sacred Writings.
Others ascribe the invention of the Massoretic vowels to Ezra, and
the Great Synagogue of his time. But neither of these opinions has
much to support it; and the most trustworthy authorities place them
in the fifth or sixth century of Christianity. The fact that there
were many variations in the sacred text long subsequently to the time
of Ezra, is clearly enough proved by the versions of the Septuagint
writers, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, none of which are in
entire accordance with one another. This could not have been the
case if, previously to the date of these translators, the Massorites
had completed their labours. Jerome states that the text was not
determined even in his time. The most approved view seems to be that
of Walton. He thinks that the work was begun early in the fifth
century, and came gradually more into notice, until it was completed,
_circa_ 1030 A.D. Maimonides appears to say that the final revision
was made by the famous scholar Rabbi Ben Asher. The Massorites, it
should be noted, have been charged with endeavouring to pass off
erroneous readings favourable to their own views, and, in order to
secure this object, preventing any recurrence to the original and
genuine text.


This word also denotes tradition, and originally included all the
interpretations of Scripture, which the Jews professed to have
received, in the first instance, from Moses, and in the second, from
Ezra. But subsequently it came to be used for an abstruse species
of science, by which certain passages of Holy Writ are mystically
explained. The Cabbala, in this sense, has many processes, of which
the three best known are Gematria, Notaricon, and Themurah.[256] The
first mentioned of these consists in assuming the letters of a Hebrew
word to denote ciphers, or arithmetical numbers, and then explaining
every word by the arithmetical value of the letters composing it.
Thus, for example, the letters of the word Jabo-Shiloh (Gen. xlix.
10), that is, ‘Shiloh shall come,’ when reckoned according to their
arithmetical valuation, make up the same number as does the Hebrew
word ‘Messiah.’ Hence the Cabbalists infer that Shiloh signifies the
same as Messiah.

Notaricon consists in taking every letter of a word as being in
itself a complete word, and the letters, when put together, as a
complete sentence. Thus, the first word of the Book of Genesis,
Bereshith, resolved into its component letters, is understood to mean
Bara, Rakia, Arez, Shamaion, Iam, Tehomoth, _i.e._, ‘He created the
firmament, the earth, the heavens, the sea, and the deep.’ Or again,
the initial letters of every word in a sentence may be formed into a
word, possessing, of course, a mystical meaning.

Themurah, is where the letters are transposed so as to form a new
word—sometimes by the process known to us as anagram, sometimes by
the substitution of one letter for another. The Cabbalists believed
that the Scriptures contained endless recondite meanings, which might
be brought to light by patient investigation. They were persuaded
that the sacred writers had some special secret reason for their
choice of every word they employed, and for its place in the verse,
chapter, and book in which it is found.

                          BOOK OF YETZIRA.

Though some of the Chasidim professed a reverence for the Talmud,
their system of theology is in reality antagonistic to it.[257] The
basis of their confession of faith is, not the Talmud, but the Book
of Zohar. This, together with the Yetzira, contains the fullest
exposition of their views.

The age of the Sepher-Yetzira, Book of Creation, is a matter of
dispute. By many it has been assigned to the seventh or eighth
century. More trustworthy authorities consider it to have been
composed greatly earlier. In the Talmud there is the mention of a
Sepher-Yetzira, a book older, apparently, than the Mishna itself.
If this is the same work as that now under consideration, it must
be referred to the first, or at latest the second, century of
Christianity. The language and style of the book are in accordance
with this notion, being those of the Apostolic age; and though there
are passages suggesting a later date than this, scholars are inclined
to coincide in the view of M. Adolph. Francke,[258] that the book
belongs to the Apostolic age.

                           BOOK OF ZOHAR.

The Sepher-Zohar, Book of Light,[259] is of the more importance,
because it is accounted the code and text-book of the theological
system, as adopted by the Chasidim. It takes the form of a commentary
on the Mosaic Books, and is extremely mystical and full of allegory.
Its contents are thus described by Surenhusius: ‘Veteris Ecclesiæ
judaicæ fundamenta, prout Templo Hierosolymano stante secundo
erant, non ex opere Talmudico, vel ab alio quodam auctore antiquo,
sed ex Zohare tantum sunt quærenda. Cum in opere Talmudico, leges
Ecclesiasticæ, forenses et politicæ exponantur, in Zohare autem
loca scripturæ sacræ ad Theologiæ capita reducantur, in quibus de
Existentiâ, de Attributis, de Epithetis, ac Nominibus Dei, itemque de
Messiâ, de Angelis, tam bonis quam malis, de animâ humanâ, ejusdemque
origine ac statu, atque, ut uno verbo dicam, de cognitione Dei nostri
per Messiam genuinum Filium, agitur.’

Its authorship and date are even more a matter of dispute than
those of the Yetzira. It is said by many to be the composition
of Simeon Jochaides (Simeon ben Yochai), who is believed to have
lived somewhere about the time of our Lord. Others, though they do
not consider Simeon to be the actual author, yet are of opinion
that it was written by one of his scholars, who embodied in it his
master’s teaching. The language in which it is written is that of the
Palestinian Jews in the times immediately preceding the composition
of the Talmud. ‘The ideas and expressions also,’ writes Etheridge,
‘belong to that date.’ It would be possible, however, perhaps not
very difficult, to simulate that style, if it was the object of the
composer to pass it off as the production of an early age; and it is
difficult to believe that some of the contents of the book could be
the work of any Jew of the date assigned. M. Francke’s opinion here
also is the safest to follow. He places it in the seventh century.
The notion, however, that the Zohar is simply the composition of
Moses de Léon, fully six hundred years afterwards, finds supporters
even at the present day.

It is in form, as has already been intimated, a commentary on the
Pentateuch; but in reality a heterogeneous mass of doctrine—the
Aristotelian, Neo-Platonic, and Rabbinical conceptions being
inextricably blended together. It professes to reveal great
mysteries; but the revelation is conveyed in language so enigmatical
and obscure that it is often difficult to arrive at any definite
meaning. It recognises God as the Infinite, having no beginning,
and no end of existence; and declares that He has revealed Himself
under ten forms, or rather emanations, to which the Zohar gives the
name of Sephiroth. These ten are Transcendency (the crown), Wisdom,
Knowledge, Mercy, Justice, Beauty, Triumph, Glory, Basis, Dominion.
In all these representations the Triune character of the Godhead is
exhibited.[260] Hence, in the confession of faith adopted by the
Zoharites, as the followers of Jacob Frank and others were called,
the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, as held by the Church Catholic,
was distinctly professed.


[254] This story may, or may not, be historical; but any way it
illustrates the use of the Massoretic points.

[255] The Massorites were an inferior description of Scribes, whose
profession it was to write out copies of the Hebrew Scriptures; also
to teach the people the true readings, as well as to comment on them.
They called their work ‘Massora,’ or tradition, because they believed
that God gave the Law on Sinai, imparting to Moses, at the same time,
the true interpretation.

[256] Graetz says of the Cabbala, that it is a fungous growth, which
since the thirteenth century has crept over the body of the Law.

[257] The Talmud is said to have been publicly burnt in Podolia,
A.D. 1755, by some Sabbathain Cabbalists. On the other side, the
Rabbinical Talmudists have repeatedly condemned the Cabbalism of the

[258] _La Cabbale_, par Adolph. Francke, Paris, 1843; a work of
extensive research and profound learning.

[259] Daniel xii. 3. The word is there rendered by our translators,
as ‘brightness.’

[260] It is proper to remark that Jewish controversialists deny
the existence of Trinitarian doctrine in the Book of Zohar. On the
contrary, they affirm that they were wont to twit the Cabbalists
with ‘believing in ten gods, whereas (said they) even the Christians
believed in only three.’

                           _APPENDIX IV._


Grave doubts have been advanced, by one writer or another, of what
may be called the ancient belief on this subject. It has been
questioned: I. Whether the attempt to rebuild the Temple ever was
really made; and II. whether, allowing the work to have been begun
and interrupted, its interruption was not due to natural causes only.

I. It is argued, chiefly by Lardner,[261] that Julian did no more
than project such an undertaking, which he never attempted to carry
into effect. In his letter addressed to the Jewish people, he tells
them, ‘_if_ he returned from his Persian expedition, he would rebuild
and inhabit with them the holy city of Jerusalem.’ But, as he never
returned, Lardner argues that he never made the promised attempt.
The same appears to be the tradition of the Jews.[262] Thus, David
Gans, in the fifteenth century, writes, ‘The work was prevented from
being accomplished, _for_ Julian never returned, but perished in
the Persian War;’ and similarly Cassel: ‘He made preparations for
restoring the Temple, but, after a brief reign, fell in battle.’ A
passage from one of Julian’s orations is, further, quoted by Lardner,
in which he says that, ‘he conceived the design of rebuilding the
Temple.’ But, as he does not add that he executed it, Lardner reasons
that he probably did not.

It is almost needless to say that these arguments carry very little
weight. The reader should note that Julian did not promise to rebuild
the _Temple_, on his return from Persia, but _Jerusalem_. As that
city was then standing, his meaning must have been, that he would
restore it to its pristine magnificence. This would be a long and
costly work, which might well require his personal presence. But he
might commit the rebuilding of the Temple, the design of which was
well known, to a deputy—an instalment, so to speak, of the greater
work to follow. Nor can it be reasonably argued, that, because a man
does not say that he put in force a design, _therefore_ he _did_ not
put it in force.[263]

Whatever weight Lardner’s reasoning might carry is lost altogether,
when we take into consideration the testimony of the contemporaneous
historians, and those of the age immediately following. The first
include Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom,
Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose, and Ammianus Marcellinus; the second,
Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. All these record the main facts,
viz., the repeated bursting forth of the fire, until the work was
abandoned from the impossibility of persisting. Each adds some minor
details, which do not affect the credibility of the occurrence
itself.[264] The most important witness is Ammianus Marcellinus, a
heathen and a personal friend of the Emperor. It will be better to
give his account of the matter in his own words. ‘The Emperor was
meditating,’ he writes,[265] ‘the restoration, at an unlimited
expense, of the Jewish Temple, and had committed the care of the
matter to Alypius of Antioch. When, then, Alypius was vigorously
prosecuting the work, and the governor of the province was rendering
him his help, frightful balls of fire breaking forth with continued
outbursts near the foundations, again and again consumed the workmen,
and rendered it impossible to approach the spot; and in this manner
the element more obstinately (_i.e._, more obstinately than even
the pertinacious persistence of the workmen) driving them away, the
attempt was abandoned.’

In the face of evidence like this, he must be a hardy advocate who
would maintain that the occurrence never took place.

But it may be contended that although it did take place, there was
nothing in it of a miraculous character. It may be alleged,—

(1) That there was simply an earthquake, to which the whole was due.

(2) That there may have been an explosion of foul air, caused by
the sudden opening of the vaults under the Temple. These had long
been closed, and the noxious vapours, coming into contact with the
workmen’s fires, exploded.

(3) That it is improbable that such a miracle _would_ be worked,
there being nothing in the rebuilding of the Temple which _called
for_ a miracle. Our Lord, no doubt, had declared that the Temple
should be utterly destroyed, but not that it should never be rebuilt.
Nor had Daniel (rightly understood), or any other prophet, ever said

(4) That the age in which the miracle is related to have taken place
is one in which miracles are spoken of as having been of almost daily
occurrence—some of them frivolous and childish to the last degree. In
these no reasonable man can place any faith; and there is nothing to
separate this miracle from them.

Let us consider these objections.

1. Earthquakes have always been of common occurrence in Palestine.
Nor is it denied that an earthquake took place on the present
occasion. But a simple earthquake will not account for the bursting
forth of the fiery balls, _as often as the labourers attempted to
resume the work_. No other earthquake ever exhibited these phenomena.

2. This explanation was, I believe, unknown to Warburton, Basnage,
Lardner, or Gibbon. It appears to have been first suggested in a
German magazine,[266] by the celebrated Michaelis, in the latter
half of the eighteenth century. But, on inquiry, it appears more
ingenious than probable. Who knows that the caverns under the Temple
_had_ been hermetically sealed for a long time previously to Julian’s
attempt? They were constantly opened at other times (as the story
told by Benjamin of Tudela evidences), and no such result followed.
The present was but one out of many occasions when foundations had
been dug and buildings erected in the same spot; but without any
explosion or fiery outburst. How was it that Solomon’s workmen, and
Zorobabel’s, and Adrian’s, and I know not how many more—how was it
that they escaped the fatal injuries that befell those of Julian?

Again, the phenomena related by Marcellinus and others do not accord
with the idea of an explosion of mephitic gases. These ignite
instantaneously, and burn till exhausted. They could not be described
by any writer as ‘_balls_ of fire’ breaking forth with continual
outbursts, as often as the labourers attempted to resume the work.
It is also evident that the fire did not break forth the moment the
ground was opened, but only when the whole foundation had been laid
and the masons had begun to build; for Chrysostom says that some of
the stones already laid were thrown down.

3. In dealing with this objection, we enter on new and more difficult
ground. It may be true, and I incline to believe it is so, that
the truth of Holy Writ was not, so to speak, imperilled by this
enterprise. If it had succeeded, I do not see that any saying of
Inspiration would have been thereby contravened.[267] But such
an occurrence would surely have been at variance with the Divine
purpose in setting up the Christian Church. Type and shadow were
to vanish when the reality and the substance came. The rebuilding
of the Jewish Temple would have been an unmeaning renewal of them.
Further, such strange anomalies as the reconstruction of the Holy
of Holies, with its veil unrent, and the renewal of the Temple
sacrifices, foreshadowing an event long past, would have disturbed
the faith of large numbers of professing members of the Church, as
well as deterred equally large numbers from entering its pale. It
is a difficult—it may be thought a presumptuous—thing to attempt
determining what would be a sufficient reason for expecting a
miracle. But if there ever has been an instance in the history of the
Christian Church when a miracle was, so to speak, demanded, it was
the one we have under consideration. Almighty God had been directly
challenged by the supreme human ruler of the earth, and in the sight
of all Christendom, to show the right. Do we wonder that, as at Mount
Carmel, He answered by fire?

4. These considerations make it easy to deal with the last of the
four objections. It may freely be granted that the age of Julian was
signalized by the endless recurrence of reported miracles—most of
which must be regarded with grave suspicion, while many others are
wholly unworthy of credit. Thus Gregory relates of Julian, that one
day when he was sacrificing, the entrails of the victim were found
to be impressed with the emblem of a cross within a circle.[268] On
another occasion, when he attempted to build a heathen temple over
the spot where a Christian had been buried, it fell down again as
soon as it was put up.[269] These are two instances, out of many, of
the idle tales current in that day. If the occurrence we have now
under consideration is to be classed with these, no one could wonder
at the unwillingness of men to lend it credit. But it stands entirely
apart from them. It was not worked at the command or through the
entreaty of any man. It was not manifested to prove the truth of any
disputed dogma, or the sanctity of any theological leader, or the
orthodoxy of any party in the Church. It was wrought by the finger of
God directly and visibly; and, unless we are prepared to affirm that
since the Apostolic age He has never openly interfered in the affairs
of men, we may reasonably believe that He interfered here.


[261] Lardner, V. iii. p. 603 ff.

[262] Cassel, I. § 53. Other Jewish writers, as Jost, admit the
occurrence, but deny the miracle.

[263] Lardner also insists much on the silence of Jerome, Prudentius,
and Orosius. If facts of history are to be doubted because some
historians of the time do not mention them how many would remain
which could be regarded as certain?

[264] Thus, Gregory says that the doors of a church were miraculously
closed against the fugitives, and a fiery flame issuing from it
destroyed them; that a circle and cross of fire were visible in the
heavens, and crosses of fire seen on the garments of the spectators.
Chrysostom states that the workmen had dug out the foundation, and
begun to build, when the flames burst forth. Socrates, that the
building tools and implements were consumed by fire, and were a
whole day burning, He adds, what is important, that the earthquake
occurred during the night, and the fires broke out on the following
day. Theodoret says that the earthquake threw down some of the stones
of the newly laid foundations, and shook some of the excavated earth
back into the hole out of which it had been dug. Chrysostom confirms
him in this.

[265] Ammian. Marcellin. XXIII. 1. It has been suggested that he took
his account without inquiry from Christian writers. So Gibbon, ch.
XXXIII. But that a heathen historian and devoted friend of Julian
should in this manner have recorded what was at once unfavourable to
his creed and painful to his feelings as a friend, is too improbable
to need refutation.

[266] _Magazin von Lichtenberg._ Quoted by the editor of Ammian.
Marcell. in his notes.

[267] Warburton argues that not only did our Lord never declare that
the Jewish Temple should not be rebuilt, but that He even implied
that it would be, when He said (St. Luke xxi. 24), ‘Jerusalem shall
be trodden down of the Gentiles, _until_ the times of the Gentiles be
fulfilled.’ But this is to mistake the meaning of the Greek phrase
Ἄχρις οὗ, ἔως οὗ. These denote a state of things up to a given point,
but determine nothing as to what will follow. See Chrysostom on St.
Matt. i. 25 etc.

[268] Greg. Naz. Orat. III.

[269] Chrysost. in Matth. Hom. IV.

                            _APPENDIX V._

                       THE BLOOD ACCUSATIONS.

Among the many accusations which have been advanced against the Jews,
there are three, which may be distinguished from the others as ‘Blood
Accusations,’ and which have been the causes of terrible suffering to
them. The first of these is the charge of crucifying boys, in parody
of the Saviour’s death upon the cross; the second, that of using
Christian blood in the preparation of the Paschal cakes; the third,
that of possessing themselves, by underhand means, of the consecrated
Host, for the purpose of insulting and stabbing it. It might seem
that this last was not a _blood_ accusation. But, as it was believed
that they cut and pierced the wafer, as being the very body of the
Lord, which indeed bled like any human body under their knives, it
may be classed with the other two. The first is the most ancient, and
the one which has been most pertinaciously adhered to; though the
other two have been continually repeated and accredited. Our present
object is to inquire when these charges were first made, and what
could have given rise to them.

As regards the time and origin of the notion respecting their
crucifixion of boys, I have at p. 73 suggested the probable source
of that accusation. Of all the Jewish feasts, the most mirthful,
or rather the most riotous, was the Feast of Purim; of which it
was said that ‘the Jews were wont to drink, until they could not
distinguish between the blessings pronounced on Mordecai and the
curses imprecated on Haman.’ At this feast, in the earlier centuries
of Christianity, it was customary to introduce the effigy of Haman
suspended on his gibbet; and the resemblance of this figure to a
crucified malefactor soon engaged the notice of the Jews. Hence jests
and innuendos against our Blessed Lord came to be a common topic
among the revellers; on which ground the Jews were forbidden by the
Christian emperors to celebrate this feast. Nor did the Jews confine
their insolence to words. On one occasion, at Inmestar, they seized a
Christian youth, whom they fastened to Haman’s gibbet, and scourged
so mercilessly that he died under their hands. This, of course,
provoked a fierce outburst of indignation and horror; and we can well
understand that the tradition of the outrage would spread far and
endure for many generations.

The second accusation—that of mixing Christian blood with the
Passover cakes, or, as some said, with the Paschal sacrifice itself,
does not appear to have been advanced until some time in the 13th
century, though the exact date cannot be determined. Now, it is at
least remarkable in connection with this charge, that it was first
made just about the time when the doctrine of Transubstantiation
was beginning to take forcible hold on men’s minds.[270] That
was declared for the first time to be a doctrine of the Catholic
faith, by a Lateran Council A.D. 1215. According to that belief,
the eucharistic wafer became, after consecration, the actual body
and blood of the Lord, so that men actually ate His flesh and drank
His blood. It may be assumed as tolerably certain that the Jews
would mock and deride this doctrine; which great numbers of pious
Christians found themselves unable to accept. Even if the Jews did
not openly satirize the Christians who upheld this extravagant
conception, their opinion about it would be notorious enough; nor
could the knowledge of what the Jews thought about it fail to
exasperate still further the bitterness with which the extreme
zealots of Ultramontanism already regarded them. It was an easy and
obvious addition to the old charge of crucifying a Christian in
mockery of the Saviour’s passion, to say that the Jews further mixed
the blood of their victim with the Paschal bread, in order to deride
the holy rite whereby Christians became partakers of His very body
and blood.

The Jews themselves allege other reasons for the circulation of
this slander. They declare the charge to have been first made in the
earliest ages of the Church, and to have been levelled, nominally
indeed at the Jews, but really at the Christians. A vague rumour of
the words spoken by Jesus at the Paschal Supper, when He delivered
the cup to the Apostles, ‘This is My blood,’ had spread among the
heathen, and given the idea that the Christians actually drank human
blood at their religious celebrations. It is true that the authors of
these accusations attribute the offence to the Israelites; but (say
the Jews, and so far certainly truly) the earlier heathen writers
continually confound the Christians with Jews, regarding the former
as simply an heretical Jewish sect. Further, it is alleged that the
calumny derived some support from the known practice of certain
heretical Christian sects, notably the Cataphrygians, who mixed with
the consecrated bread the blood of infants, which they extracted from
them by puncturing a vein. This, however, is nothing more than a
plausible theory. Granting that such reports gained currency in the
first or second century of Christianity, the Christians, against whom
they were really circulated, would know their monstrous falsehood,
and entirely disregard them. It is impossible to conceive that they
would have retorted such a charge on the Jews, or even countenanced
its circulation.

Again, it is said that there is an imperative order in the
Talmud,[271] that the Jews shall, at the Passover, drink a certain
quantity of ‘red wine,’ and that this ‘red wine’ was supposed to
mean really human blood, though the command was disguised under
a metaphor. But independently of the extravagance of such an
interpretation of very plain and simple words, the charge made
against the Jews was not that of _drinking_ Christian blood, but of
mixing it with the Passover bread. No one ever supposed that for any
of the four cups drunk at the Paschal Feast a cup of human blood was

If the idea above named has nothing but its likelihood to support it,
at all events it has that. And the third charge, brought not long
afterwards, of getting surreptitious possession of the consecrated
wafer in order to treat it with indignity, tends to strengthen
the likelihood. It is alleged that, not content with deriding the
doctrine of Transubstantiation, they were eager to insult the body of
the Lord itself. They would bribe with a large sum some official to
purloin the Host, and hand it over to them—when they would stab it
with their knives, and it would bleed, like any human body—they, it
was assumed, remaining wholly unmoved by the sight of so tremendous a
miracle, nay, only anxious, by multiplied evidence of it, to increase
their own condemnation in the sight of Heaven! It is beyond dispute
that these alleged marvels were quoted in support of the doctrine
of the Corporal Presence in the Eucharist. It is hardly too much
to assume that the charges against the Jews were coined—partly,
no doubt, in consequence of the bitter hate with which they were
regarded, but partly also to establish the certainty of the popular
dogma of the day.

I have not thought it necessary to advance any arguments to prove
the falsehood of these accusations. No competent tribunal by which
they have been tried has ever failed to declare them groundless.
Indeed, no person who has the most ordinary acquaintance with the
Mosaic ritual, but must be aware, not only of the falsehood, but of
the absurdity and the impossibility of the charges. The touch, nay
the mere contiguity, of a dead body, according to the Jewish law,
rendered all persons in its vicinity unclean, so that they could not
partake in, much less celebrate, religious rites until they were
purged from the pollution. How then could the blood of a murdered
person be used in the consecration of victims and offerings, which
its very presence would _ipso facto_ desecrate? If nothing short of
the most distinct statement on the subject will satisfy some minds,
they have even that. The words of Moses, Levit. vii. 26, 27, are, ‘Ye
shall eat _no manner_ of blood’ (πᾶν αἷμα σὐκ ἔδεσθε)—no blood, not
even of beast or bird, how much less, of man!


[270] ‘These accusations began only 600 years ago,’ writes De Virga
in the _Shebet Yehuda_ published in Amsterdam A.D. 1651. ‘They
commenced in the reign of Alphonso X. of Castile. In his time there
was a priest in Spain who in his sermons declared that the Israelites
could not sacrifice their Passover unless they had Christian blood to
use in the performance of the rite.’

[271] Hierosolym. Talmudis, Fol. II. 1. ‘Quæritur de mensurâ
poculorum, quæ ebiberunt ad Pascha, aliaque convivia sacra; et
qualitate vini. Præceptum est. ut vino rubido præstat officium.
Vinum rubrum requiritur in sacris.’ See Lightfoot, _Index Talmud.
Hierosolym._ Vol. X. p. 509 of his works.



  Abarbanel (Isaac), 234, 239, 249, 256.

  Abarbanel (the brothers), 249.

  Abasside Caliphs, 137.

  Abba-bar-Huna, 64 _n._

  Abbas I., Shah, 278.

     ” II. ” 279, 309.

  Abdalla, Caliph, 130.

     ” father of Mahomet, 89.

  Abdebrahim, 158.

  Abdel-Muman, Caliph, 144.

  Abderachman I., _or_ Abderraman, Caliph, 111, 127.

  Abderachman II., Caliph, 129.

  Abendana, 264.

  Aben-Ezra, 157.

  Aberdeen, Lord, 368.

  Abner, Rabbi, 218.

  Aboab, Emmanuel, 307.

     ” Isaac, 307.

  Abraham, the Patriarch, 17, 59, 91.

  Abraham, Rabbi, 288.

     ” Usque, 258.

     ” of Wallingford, 182.

  Abrantes, 261.

  Abu Beker, Caliph, 94, 95 _n._

   ” Giafar, 108.

  Abul Abbas, Caliph, 112.

  Acra, Mount, 29.

  Adonis, Worship of, 51.

  Adrian, Emperor, 42, 43, 47, 51.

  Adrianople, 313.

  Ælia Capitolina, 51.

  Æthiopia, 92, 115.

  Ætius, 92.

  Africa, 96.

  Ageda, Plain of, 286.

  Agobard, Bishop, 125.

  Agrippa I., King, 21.

     ” II. ” 25.

  Agrippina, 297.

  Ahmed Kader, Caliph, 130.

  Aila, 94.

  Aizhadin, 95.

  Akiba, Rabbi, 44-50.

  Alarcos, 145.

  Albert, D., of Austria, 203, 207.

  Albigenses, 171, 235.

  Albinus, Procurator, 24.

  Alcantara, Bishop of, 214 _n._

  Alexander, Tiber., Procur., 23, 26.

  Alexander II., Czar, 368.

     ” II., Pope, 132.

     ” IV. ” 197, 201.

     ” VI. ” 222, 240 _n._, 242.

  Alexandria, 22 _n._, 42, 76, 81, 96, 372.

  Alexandria, Library at, 95.

  Algiers, 281.

  Alkihoran, 128.

  All Saints’ Day, 186.

  Almamon, Caliph, 107 _n._

  Almohades, The, 144.

  Almozal, 161.

  Alphonso II., King of Naples, 239.

  Alphonso IV., King of Portugal, 244.

  Alphonso V., King of Portugal, 239 _n._

  Alphonso V., King of Spain, 234.

     ” VI. ” ” 133.

     ” VII. ” ” 145.

     ” VIII. ” ” 145.

     ” IX. ” ” 145.

     ” X. ” ” 173, 176 _n._

  Alphonso XI., King of Spain, 213.

  Alroy, El David, 155, 314.

  Alsatia, 168, 203, 206, 320, 357.

  Alvarez, Father, 119 _n._

     ” Garcia, 230.

  Al Wathek, Caliph, 110.

  Alypius, 68.

  Amaria, 155.

  Ambivius, Procurator, 20.

  Ambrose, Bishop, 72.

  Amina, 89.

  Ammianus Marcellinus, App. IV.

  Amru, 96.

  Amsterdam, 119, 292, 294, 301, 312.

  Anakia, 311.

  Ananus, High Priest, 30, 31 _n._

    ” of Babylon, 109.

  Anastasius, Emperor, 83.

  Ancona, 252, 255.

  Andalusia, 174, 232.

  Anencletus II., Pope, 200.

  Angoulême, 191.

  Anjou, Duke of, 194.

  Antioch, 26, 72 _n._

  Antiochus Epiphanes, 118.

      ” King of Commagene, 34 _n._

  Antipas, Herod, 21.

  Antipatris, 28.

  Antonelli, Cardinal, 359, 360.

  Antonia, Tower of, 30, 35.

  Antoninus, Emperor, 54.

  Antwerp, 258.

  Appollonius Tyaneus, 59.

  Aquitaine, 122.

  Arabia, 92, 98, 155.

  Arabian Nights, 115.

  Aragon, 171, 177, 217, 228, 233.

  Arbues D’Avila, 238.

  Arch of Titus, 39.

  Archelaus, 19.

  Arianism, 100.

  Arians, 73, 92, 100 _n._

  Aristobulus, 21.

  Aristotle, 159.

  Arles, 126.

  Armleder, 203.

  Arnheim, 219.

  Arnold, Archbishop, 142 _n._

  Artaxerxes, King, 85.

  Asa _or_ Asche, Rabbi, 85.

  Asaph, St., Bishop (Drummond), 345.

  Ascalon, 44, 162.

  Ashkenaz, 340 _n._

  Ashkenazim, 292 _n._, 340 _n._

  Assassins, 31.

  Augustus, Emperor, 20, 55.

  Aurelian, Emperor, 60.

  Aurelius, Emperor, 54, 298.

  Austerlitz, Battle of, 356.

  Austria, 169, 365.

  Averroes, 158.

  Avignon, 201, 252, 255, 274, 320.

  Avila, Bishop of, 232.

  Ayala, Lopes de, 215.

  Azores, 121.

  Azotus, 54.


  Baalbek, 95.

  Babylon, 40, 128.

  Babylonian Schools, 129.

  Baechoo, 116.

  Bagdad, 161, 162.

  Bajazet, Sultan, 252 _n._

  Balavignus, 205.

  Balsora, 116.

  Bamberg, 273.

  Banditono, 206.

  Bannister’s ‘Holy Land,’ 225 _n._

  Barabbas (Jew of Malta), 225 _n._

  Barbarini, Cardinal, 307.

  Barbary, 228.

  Barcelona, 138, 160, 217, 240.

      ” Cortes at, 172.

  Barchochebas, 44-50.

  Barons’ War, 184.

  Basle, Council at, 206.

  Basnage, 112, 123.

  Basques, The, 231.

  Bassorah, 161.

  Bauer, Bruno, 362.

  Bavaria, 141.

  Bayonne, 276, 319.

  Beausobre, 65 _n._

  Belgium, 365.

  Belgrade, 314.

  Belisarius, 84 _n._, 92, 94 _n._

  Belmont, Baron de, 305.

  Beltran, Bishop, 230.

  Benedict XIII., Pope, 230.

      ” XIV. ” 338.

      ” the Jew, 150.

  Beni Israel, The, 120.

  Benjamin of Tudela, 112, 115, 155 _n._, 157, 161.

  Bennefeld, 206.

  Berlin, 324, 336.

     ” Treaty of, 369.

  Bernaldes, 239.

  Bernard of Clairvaulx, 136 _n._, 142, 199, 200 _n._

  Bernard the Banker, 321.

     ” the Monk, 220.

  Bernardino di Feltre, 222.

  Berne, 205.

  Bernhardt, Herr, 336.

  Bethlehem, 51, 247.

  Bethor, _or_ Bither, 44, 49.

  Bezetha, 29, 30.

  Beziers, Jews of, 122 _n._, 127.

  Black Death, 204.

  Blanche of Castile, 164, 166.

  Blood Accusations, 73 _n._, 142, 183, 366, App. V.

  Bohemia, 146, 209.

  Bokhara, 376.

  Boleslaus of Poland, 208.

  Bologna, 202, 257, 358, 359.

  Bomberg, 258.

  Boniface IX., Pope, 244.

  Bordeaux, 191, 276, 319.

  Borgia, Roderic, 298.

  Borne, Louis, 337.

  Borromeo, Cardinal, 224.

  Borrow’s ‘Bible in Spain,’ 265 _n._

  Bosnia, 314.

  Bosra, 95.

  Botouschani, 370 _n._

  Brabant, 208.

  Braganza, 244.

  Bragaza, 239 _n._

  Brandenburgh, 271.

  Brazil, 299, 373.

  Bremen, 361.

  Brentford, 341.

  Brescia, 223.

  Breslau, 220, 337 _n._

  Brett, Samuel, 286, 287.

  Bristol, Jew of, 154.

  Brokers, Jewish, 349.

  Bruhl, Count, 338.

  Brunn, 335.

  Brussels, 208.

  Buda, 286.

  Bular, King, 111.

  Burgos, 217.

     ” Bishop of, 218.

     ” Council of, 213.

  Buxtorf, 200, App. II.


  Cabbala, Appendix III.

  Cabbalists, 109, 157.

  Cæsarea, 20, 24, 26, 44, 84.

  Cairo, 281, 372.

  Caligula, Emperor, 21, 22.

  Calixtus III., Pope, 222.

  Canon, Don Santo de, 218.

  Canterbury, Archb. of (Sumner), 351, 353.

  Canton, 116.

  Caorsini, The, 199.

  Capistran, 220.

  Capnio. _See_ Reuchlin.

  Cappadocia, 114.

  Captivity, Princes of, 41, 114.

  Caracalla, Emperor, 58.

  Cardoso, 315.

  Carlisle, Earl of, 351.

  Carthagena, 240.

  Carulet, 206.

  Carvajal, 211 _n._

  Casimir III., King of Poland, 204, 208.

  Cassius, Avidius, 54.

  Castile, 228.

  Catherine, Regent of Spain, 229.

      ” of Portugal, 303.

  Cavades, King of Persia, 85.

  Cayenne, 299.

  Census of Spanish Jews, 176.

  Chajon, Nehemiah, 315.

  Chanina, 85.

  Charlemagne, Emperor, 123.

  Charles the Bald, Emperor, 126.

     ” V., ” 261.

     ” VI., ” 332.

     ” VII., ” 327.

     ” II., King of England, 303.

     ” II., King of France, 127.

     ” III., ” ” 127.

     ” IV., ” ” 193.

     ” V., ” ” 194.

     ” VI., ” ” 195.

     ” VIII., ” ” 257.

     ” II., King of Spain, 301.

     ” III., ” ” 317.

     ” IV., ” ” 318.

  Charles Edward, 342.

     ” of Moravia, 207.

  Chasidim, 377.

  Chaucer, 183.

  Chelmnicki, 292.

  Chignon, 192.

  Chillon, 205.

  Chilperic, 83, 105.

  China, Jews of, 116.

    ” Cochin, Jews of, 119, 120.

  Chisuk Emuna, 270 _n._

  Chosroes, King of Persia, 91, 93, 115, 118.

  Chouts, 162.

  Claudius, Emperor, 23, 55.

  Clement IV., Pope.

     ” V., ” 201, 204.

     ” VI., ” 201, 207, 244.

     ” VII., ” 252.

     ” VIII., ” 255.

     ” XII., ” 318.

     ” XIII., ” 338.

  Clotaire I., King of France, 83.

     ” II., ” ” 105.

  Clugny, Peter of, 224.

  Cohen, Alexander, 210.

    ” Esther, 129.

  Coke, Sir E., 276 _n._

  Coleridge, S. T., 176, 295 _n._

  Cologne, 141, 220.

  Coloman, King of Hungary, 146.

  Colossus of Rhodes, 108 _n._

  Constans, Emperor, 67.

  Constantine, Copronymus, 107 _n._

       ” Emperor, 54, 66.

  Constantinople, 81, 107, 162, 279, 312, 332.

  Copin, 183.

  Coponius, Procurator, 20.

  Cordova, 105, 111, 112, 127, 158, 217, 232.

  Cordova, Gonsalvo de, 257.

  Corneglio, Father, 253.

  Cornwall, Earl of, 182.

  Cossacks, Rebellion of, 289.

  Costa Da, Historian, 362, 363.

     ” ” Isaac, 340.

     ” ” Uriel, 293.

  Cremieux, M., 375.

  Cremona, 257, 258.

  Crete, 76.

  Crimean War, 376.

  Cromwell, Oliver, 302, 303.

  Crusades, Causes of, 137.

  Ctesiphon, 94.

  Cufa, 94, 162.

  Cumanus, V., Procurator, 23.

  Cush, Land of, 115.

  Cuspius Fadus, Procurator, 23.

  Cyprus, 42.

  Cyrene, 40.

  Cyril of Alexandria, 76.


  Dagobert, King of France, 105.

  D’Aguilar, Miss, 265 _n._

  Damascus, 44, 95, 112, 279, 374.

  Damietta, 281.

  Daniel, 310.

  Dashwood, Sir J., 345.

  Da Silva, 294.

  David, Francis, 270.

  D’Avila, Arbues, 236.

  Decius, Emperor, 59.

  Deckendorf, 203.

  D’Enghien, Duke of, 143.

  Denmark, 365.

  Dennis, King of Portugal, 244.

  De Pass, 346 _n._

  Dessau, 336.

  De Vries, 296.

  Dickens, Charles, 225 _n._

  Dion Cassius, 50.

  Diospolis, 54.

  D’Israeli, Benjamin, 155.

      ” Isaac, 276 _n._

  Dnieper, River, 289

  Doesborg, 219.

  Dohm, Counsellor, 328.

  Domenge, Father, 117.

  Dominic, 172.

  Domitian, Emperor, 41.

  Domus, Conversorum, 183.

  Dover, 275.

  Dublin, Abp. of (Whately), 351.

  Du Jon, 284.

  Dunaan, King of Homer, 92.


  Ecbatana, 94.

  Ecija, Archdeacon of, 227.

  Edessa, 108 _n._

  Edward the Confessor, 133.

     ” I., King of England, 164, 166, 184, 185, 341.

  Egbert of York, 133.

  Egeria, 55.

  Egica, King of Goths, 10.

  Egypt, 40, 76, 94, 96.

  Egyptian Jew, 24.

  Elam, 114.

  Eleazar, 25, 30.

  Elias (Prussian Jew), 324.

    ” Rabbi, 182.

  Eliezer, 49.

     ” the Printer, 250.

  Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, 329, 338.

  Elnabar, 161.

  Elvira, Council of, 100.

  Embden, 263.

  Emesa, 95.

  Emmanuel, King of Portugal, 246, 261.

  Emmanuel, Victor, King of Italy, 360 _n._

  Encyclopædists, 321.

  Ende, Van. Physician, 295.

  Enghien, 208.

  Enriquez, 299.

  Epistola Obsc. Vir., 269 _n._

  Eslingen, 206.

  Esther, Book of, 118.

  Estherka, 208.

  Euchel, Isaac, 337.

  Eugenius III., Pope, 142.

      ” IV., ” 221.

  Eusebius, 52, 54, 58.

  Evora, 244.

  Exeter, Bishop of (Philpotts), 351, 353.

  Expulsion of Jews from Empire, 209.

  Expulsion of Jews from England, 186.

  Expulsion of Jews from France, 195.

  Expulsion of Jews from Portugal, 248.

  Expulsion of Jews from Russia, 147.

  Expulsion of Jews from Spain, 240.

  Ezra, 56, 57 _n._

    ” Book of, 118.


  Fadai, 93.

  Fadus, Cuspius, Procurator, 23.

  Farwah, 96.

  Felix, Procurator, 24.

  Felletti, Padre, 359.

  Ferdinand I., King of Spain, 132.

      ” III. ” ” 173.

      ” IV. ” ” 211.

      ” VI. ” ” 317.

      ” I., Emperor, 272.

      ” II. ” 286.

      ” III. ” 286.

      ” King of Aragon, 233.

      ” King of Portugal, 244.

  Fermosa, Rachel, 145.

  Ferrara, 256, 258.

     ” Duke of, 305.

  Ferrer, Vincentius, 228, 236.

  Festus, P., Procurator, 24.

  Feudal System, The, 134, 135.

  Fez, 281.

  Flaccus, Aquilius, 22 _n._

  Flagellants, The, 205.

  Fleisch, Raind, 169.

  Florence, 197, 222, 256.

  Florinda, 104 _n._

  Florus, Gessius, Procurator, 24, 25 _n._

  Fouché, 143.

  Franchise, Jews admitted to, 349.

  Franconia, 146.

  Frank, Jacob, 334, 335, 336.

  Frankels, Rabbi, 336.

  Frankfort, 285, 312, 361.

  Franza, 233.

  Frederick II., Emperor, 200, 286.

      ” III. ” 269 _n._

      ” William, Elector, 286, 324.

  Frederick William I., King of Prussia, 325.

  Frederick William II., King of Prussia, 325.

  Frederick (the Great) III., King of Prussia, 325, 336.

  Freiburg, 205.

  Frideswide, St., 184.

  Friedlander, David, 337.

  Fulvia, 20.


  Gabriol, Solomon, 138.

  Gadara, 28, 44 _n._

  Galba, Emperor, 29.

  Galicia, 333.

  Gallio, 57.

  Gallus, Cest., Prefect, 25, 27, 31 _n._

  Gamala, 20 _n._, 44 _n._

  Gamaliel I., II., III., IV., Presidents of Sanhedrin, 57 _n._

  Gamaliel IV., 77.

  Gans, David, 274.

  Gaon, _or_ Geon, 86 _n._

  Garcia, Alvares, 230.

  Garonne, 191.

  Gaubil, Father, 117.

  Gaulonitis, 20 _n._

  Gaza, 309.

  Geiger, 363.

  Geneva, 205.

  Gennath (Gate of Jerusalem), 30.

  Genoa, 82, 222, 241, 258.

  Geonim, 86.

  George III., King of England, 347.

  George IV., King of England, 348.

  Georgius, Prefect, 98.

  Gerasa, 31, _n._

  Germany, 146, 360, 370.

  Ghetto, 202, 229, 255, 306 _n._

  Ghibellines, 197.

  Giaffir, 110.

  Gibbon, Historian, 107, 159, 244 _n._, 255, 358.

  Gibraltar, 240, 317.

  Giles, St., Cripplegate, 134.

  Gischala, 28, 30.

  Godolphin, Lord, 340.

  Goethe, 295 _n._

  Golden Age of Judaism, 106.

  Goldsmid, Mr., 349.

  ” Sir Isaac, 350.

  Gomez, Emmanuel, 299.

  Gompertz, 324.

  Gonsalez of Calatrava, 214 _n._

  Gonsalvo de Cordova, 257.

  Gooch, Bishop of Norwich, 344.

  Gordon, Lord G., 346 _n._

  Goshen, 156.

  Gotesel, Priest, 146.

  Gozani, Father, 117.

  Graetz, Historian, 324, 363, App. III.

  Granada, 128, 132.

  ” King of, 192.

  Grant, Mr. R., 349.

  Gratus, Valer., Procurator, 20.

  Greece, 162.

  Grégoire, Abbé, 322.

  Gregory I., Pope, 82, 197.

  ” VII. ”, 145.

  ” IX. ”, 243.

  ” XIII. ”, 255.

  Grimaldi, 346 _n._

  Grotius, 284.

  Guadelete, River, 104.

  Gudule, St., 209.

  Guelderland, 219.

  Guelf, 197.

  Guinea, Gulf of, 246.


  Habenicht, Walter von, 140.

  Hachacham, 157.

  Hagenau, 168.

  Hague, The, 295, 305.

  Hai, 130.

  Hajun, 332.

  Halevi, 138, 210.

  Hallam, Historian, 123 _n._

  Hamadan, 94.

  Haman, 73, 118.

  Hamburgh, 312, 362.

  Hamon, Joseph, 280.

  Hanoch, Rabbi, 128, 129.

  Harleian Miscellany, 287.

  Harley, Lord, 346.

  Haroun Al Raschid, Caliph, 108.

  Harrington, 303.

  Heber, 17 _n._

  Hebron, 159, 377.

  Hegel, 295 _n._

  Hegesippus, 41.

  Heine, 337.

  Hela, 162.

  Heliogabalus, Emperor, 58.

  Henry IV., Emperor, 141.

  ” I., King of England, 148.

  ” II. ” ”, 148.

  ” III. ” ”, 199.

  ” II., King of France, 319.

  ” II., King of Spain, 215 (of Transtamara).

  ” III., King of Spain, 216, 217.

  ” IV., King of Spain, 231.

  Hep, Hep, 141, 362.

  Heracleonas, 99 _n._

  Heraclius, Emperor, 91, 93, 98, 101.

  Herder, 295 _n._

  Herodias, 21.

  Herodion, 38.

  Hierax of Alexandria, 77.

  Hillel I., II., III., 57 _n._

  Hippicus, Tower of, 29, 43.

  Hira, 94.

  Hiskiah, 130.

  Hochstraten, 270.

  Holland, 291, 300, 332, 365.

  Holmes, Nathaniel, 287.

  Holy Land, 162, 225, 281, 376.

  Homberg, Herr, 337 _n._

  Homen Lopes, 263.

  Homeritis, 92.

  Honorius, Emperor, 71, 81.

  Hormisdas, King of Persia, 65.

  Hosdai, Rabbi, 111.

  Hoshiel, Rabbi, 128.

  Hugh of Lincoln, 183.

  Huguenots, 320.

  Hungary, 146, 332, 333, 366.

  Huntingdon, 303.

  Huss, John, 271.

  Hypatia, 77.


  Idumeans, 28, 31.

  Immanuel Ben Solomon, 202.

  Impostors, Jewish, 154.

  India, 116.

  Inglis, Sir R., 351.

  Inmestar, 73.

  Innocent II., Pope, 197.

  ” III., ”, 198 _n._

  ” IV., ”, 197, 198.

  ” VIII., ”, 222.

  ” XI., ”, 305.

  Inquisition, 235, 301, 317, 318, 365.

  Ionia, 114.

  Irak, 94.

  Ireland, 303.

  Isaac of Duren, Rabbi, 210.

  ” The Five, 138.

  Isabella of Castile, 232, 238.

  ” Infanta, 246.

  Isidore, Bishop of Seville, 101.

  Ismail, Shah Sofi, 277.

  Israel, Baal Schem, 334.

  Isserlein, 210.

  Istakan, 94.

  Italy, 358.

  Ivan III., of Russia, 273.

  Izarba, 250.


  Jachia, Don David, 250.

  ” ” Solomon, 243.

  Jacob, Rabbi, 206.

  Jacob Hall, Oxford, 134.

  Jaen, 232, 233.

  Jaffa, 377.

  James I., King of Aragon, 171.

  ” II., ” ”, 177.

  ” II., King of England, 304.

  Jamnia, 41, 54, 56.

  Jarchi. _See_ Rashi.

  Jechiel, Rabbi, 166.

  Jerome, 52.

  ” of Prague, 271.

  ” of Santa Fé, 230.

  Jerusalem described, 29.

  ” present state, 376, 377.

  ” siege by Titus, 32-36.

  ” rebuilt by Adrian, 51.

  ” taken by Omar, 95.

  Jerusalem taken by Persians, 87.

  ” retaken by Heraclius, 87.

  Jessel, Sir G., 352, 354 _n._

  Jesuits in China, 116.


  ” son of Hanani, 32.

  ” son of Sirach, 117.

  Jethukiel, Phys., 333.

  Jochaides, Simon, 54.

  Jochanan, Rabbi, 57 _n._

  Jonathan, High Priest, 24.

  ” of Enghien, 208.

  John, King of England, 153, 198.

  ” ” France, 193.

  ” I., ” Spain, 216.

  ” II., ” ”, 228.

  ” I., ” Portugal, 244.

  ” II., ” ”, 245.

  ” XXII., Pope, 201.

  ” of Gischala, 30 _n._, 33, 37, 39.

  Joppa, 44 _n._

  Joseph II., Emperor of Austria, 328, 365.

  Joseph, King of Khozar, 111.

  ” Historian, 146 _n._

  ” of Ecija, 213.

  ” of Granada, 132.

  ” of Osuna, 175.

  ” Rabbi, 129.

  ” Spanish Minister, 132.

  Josephus, 17, 25 _n._, 28 _n._, 33, 39, 55, App. I.

  Joshua, Rabbi, 190.

  Jost, Historian, 64 _n._, 323.

  Jotapata, 28, 44 _n._

  Jovian, Emperor, 70.

  Judah, Hakkadosh II. and III., 57 _n._

  Judah, Chief Rabbi, 244.

  ” Don, 244.

  ” of Modena, 307.

  Judas, Gaulonite, 19, 25, 314.

  ” Maccabæus, 56.

  Jude, St., 41.

  Juglar, Inquisitor, 236.

  Julian, Count, 104.

  ” Emperor, 67, 68, 69.

  ” Samaritan, 83.

  Julius III., Pope, 253.

  Justin Emperor, 83.

  ” Martyr, 52 _n._

  Justinian, Emperor, 83, 84.

  Juvenal, 55.


  Kaaba, 89.

  Kadijah, 90.

  Kainoka, 93.

  Kalba Sabua, 46.

  Kaminiek, Bishop of, 334.

  Karaites, The, 109, 110 _n._, 331, 377.

  Kashgar, 116.

  Kenana, 93.

  Khaibar, 93.

  Khaled, 94.

  Khozar, 111, 112.

  Kimchi, David, 160, 172.

  Kimchis, The, 160.

  Kobad (Cavades), 85.

  Koraidha, 93.

  Koran, The, 91 _n._

  Koreish, The, 89.


  Lacedæmonians, 56.

  Ladislaus I., King of Hungary, 146.

  Ladislaus II., King of Hungary, 220.

  Lamego, Ruez, 340.

  Langton, Archbishop, 180.

  Languedoc, 105, 127, 191, 194.

  Lara, David, 299.

  Lavater, 337.

  Leghorn (Livorno), 222, 256, 258.

  Leibnitz, 295 _n._

  Leinengen, Landgrave of, 146.

  Leo X., Pope, 252.

  ” Rabbi, 286.

  ” of Modena, 305.

  ” the Isaurian, Emperor, 83, 99, 100.

  Leonis, Peter, 200.

  Leopold I., Emperor, 289, 324.

  ” Duke, 320.

  Lepanto, Battle of, 280.

  Lessing, 295 _n._, 336 _n._

  Levi, Samuel, 214.

  ” Solomon, Bishop of Burgos, 218.

  Lexington, Lord, 183.

  Lincoln, 150, 184.

  Lipman of Mulhouse, 210.

  Lippold, Physician, 271.

  Lisbon, 247, 260, 301.

  Lithuanians, 204.

  Lombard Hall, Oxford, 134.

  London, 157, 275.

  Loraine, 320.

  Lothair, King of France, 127.

  Louis le Deb., King of France, 124.

  ” II., III., IV., Kings of France, 127.

  Louis VIII., King of France, 163.

  ” IX., ” ” 224.

  ” XIV., ” ” 301, 320.

  Louis XV., XVI., ” ” 321.

  Lowe, Joel, 337 _n._

  Lubeck, 361.

  Lucena, 138.

  Luke, St., 40.

  Lunel, 190.

  Luther, 224, 284.

  Luzzato, Moses, 307, 333.

  Lyons, 125, 321.

  ” Council at, 165.

  ” Jews of, 165.

  Lysanias, 21.

  Lysias, Claudius, 57.

  Lyttelton, Lord, 343 _n._


  Maccabees, 118, 226, 331.

  McCaul, Dr., 333.

  Machærus, 38.

  Macon, Council at, 82.

  Madrid, 301.

  Magi, Religion of, 69 _n._, 90, 96.

  Magona, 75.

  Mahomet, 89-94.

  Mahrattas, 120.

  Maimon, Solomon, 337 _n._

  Maimonides, 157, 158, 159.

  Malabar, Jews of, 115 _n._, 119.

  Malach, 332.

  Malaga, 138.

  Malcho, 262 _n._

  Malesherbes, 322.

  Mammæa, 59.

  Mamun, 110.

  Manasseh (_or_ Menasseh) ben Israel, 287, 290, 301, 304 _n._

  Manasseh, Menecier, 193.

  Manes or Mani, 65.

  Mantenu, Jacob, 234.

  Mantua, 157, 222, 223, 257.

  Marcian, Emperor, 83.

  Marco Polo, 161.

  Mariana, Historian, 240.

  Maria Theresa, 327, 335.

  Marlowe, 225 _n._

  Martel, Charles, 122 _n._

  Martial, 55.

  Martin V., Pope, 197, 221.

  Martin, Henry, 303.

  Martina, 99 _n._

  Martinez, Ferdinand, 216, 217.

  Masada, 31 _n._, 38, 152.

  Massorites, 109, Appendix III.

  Master of Jews, 124.

  Matthew of Paris, 180.

  Matthias, High Priest, 31 _n._, 35.

  ” St., 115.

  Maundeville, Sir J., 161.

  Mauritius, Emperor, 86.

  ” Island, 276.

  Maximilian, Emperor, 220, 269.

  Maximus, Emperor, 72.

  Mayence _or_ Mentz, 141, 206, 220.

  Mecca, 90, 91.

  Mechlenberg, 267.

  Media, 114.

  Medici, Catherine de, 276.

  Medina, 91.

  ” del Campo, 212, 231.

  Meir, Impostor, 85.

  ” Physician, 229.

  ” Rabbi, 274.

  Melun, Council at, 164.

  Menahem, 25.

  Mendelssohn, Bartholdy, 337.

  ” Moses, 329, 336, 360.

  Mendez, Andrea, 303.

  ” Antonio, 303.

  Menton, Count, 374.

  Merseburg, 272.

  Mesopotamia, 42, 114.

  Metz, 320.

  Mexico, 374.

  Michael, Emperor, 107.

  ” St., Island, 121.

  Milan, 82.

  Milman, 75, 106, 115, 179, 324 _n._

  Minorca, 74.

  Mishna, 84.

  Modayne, 94.

  Modena, 257.

  Moldavia, 335, 368.

  Montalcino, 253.

  Montanists, 100.

  Montefiori, Sir Moses, 340, 360, 368, 373, 375.

  Montiel, 215.

  Moravia, 332.

  Moravian Impostor, 154.

  Mordecai, Rabbi, 203.

  Morea, The, 306.

  Moriah, Mount, 29, 43.

  Morocco, Jews in, 158, 281, 372, 376.

  Mortara, Signor, 358, 359.

  Moselle, River, 140.

  Moses of Crete, 76.

  ” Hall, Oxford, 134.

  ” Hamon, 280.

  ” Lawgiver, 91.

  ” de Leon, 177.

  ” Luzzato, 307, 333.

  ” Rabbi, 128.

  ” Rieti, 202.

  Mossey, of Wallingford, 134 _n._

  Mostanged, 161.

  Mosteira, Rabbi, 295.

  Motokavel, Sultan, 110.

  Muja, 247.

  Mulhouse, 210.

  Munich, 169.

  Muza, 104.

  ” Battle of, 94.

  Muzafia, Benjamin, 299.


  Nachmanides, 160.

  Nadir, 93.

  Nagra, 92.

  Nantes, Edict of, 320.

  Naples, 84 _n._, 197, 200.

  Napoleon, 319, 356, 357, 360, 364.

  Narbonne, Archbishop of, 127.

  ” Jews in, 124.

  Narses, 92.

  Nasi, Joseph, 280.

  Nathan, Benjamin, 309.

  ” Rabbi, 129.

  Navarre, 217.

  Neander, Historian, 337.

  Neapolitanus, Tribune, 25.

  Nehemiah, Rabbi, 313.

  Nejara, 215.

  Nelson, 285.

  Nerva, Emperor, 41, 42.

  Neustadt, 206.

  Newcastle, Duke of, 345.

  Nicephorus, Emperor, 107.

  Nicolas Czar, 367.

  ” a Jew, 166.

  ” III., Pope, 197.

  ” IV., ” 244.

  ” V., ” 221.

  Niger, 58.

  Nineveh, 161.

  Nitzachon, The, 270 _n._

  Noah, 91.

  Northampton, 148 _n._

  Norway, 365.

  Norwich, 149, 150.

  ” Bishop of (Gooch), 344.

  Norzi, Solomon, 307.

  Novara, G., 270.

  Nuremburg, 203, 220, 268.

  Nyireghyaza, 366.


  Oceana, 303.

  Offenbach, 335, 336.

  Omar, Caliph, 95, 108, 112.

  Ommiades, 95 _n._, 112.

  Onkelos, Targum of, 250, App. III.

  Oporto, 247.

  Oran, 281.

  Orestes, Prefect, 77.

  Origen, 56, 59.

  Orleans, 164.

  ” Regent, 320.

  Orobio di Castro, 299, 301.

  Orpheus, 59.

  Osorio, Bishop, 249.

  ” Count, 213.

  Osrhoene, 72.

  Osuna, 174, 176.

  Otho, Emperor, 29.

  Oxford, 123, 134, 184.


  Pablo, 160, 173.

  Pachecho, Juan de, 233.

  Padua, 223, 258.

  Palestine, 96, 157, 281.

  Pallas, 24.

  Palma, 230.

  Pampeluna, 217.

  Pamphylia, 114.

  Paris, Riots in, 164.

  Parker, Lord, 345.

  Parliament, Jewish, 181.

  Parthenay, Sieur de, 192.

  Parthia, 114.

  Patriarch of the West, 41.

  Patriarchs of Tiberias, 62, 77.

  ” ” suppressed, 78.

  Paul, St., 25 _n._, 55, 353.

  Paul II., Pope, 222.

  ” III., ”, 234, 262.

  ” IV., ”, 253.

  ” of Samosata, 60.

  Pedro III., King of Spain, 214.

  Pelham. Mr., 342, 343.

  Pella, 27 _n._

  Pelusium, 96.

  Peræa, 28.

  Pereira, 263.

  Persepolis, 94.

  Persia, 94, 116, 308, 376.

  Peru, Strange Building in, 121.

  Peter, Emperor of Russia, 329, 338.

  Peter the Hermit, 138, 140.

  Peters, Hugh, 303.

  Petronius, Prefect, 22.

  Pfeffercorn, 268.

  Pfortzheim, 269 _n._

  Phasaelus, Tower of, 43.

  Philip, the Arabian, Emperor, 59.

  ” Agrippa’s General, 26.

  ” II. (Augustus), King of France, 142, 163, 198.

  Philip III. (the Hardy), King of France, 166.

  Philip IV. (the Fair), King of France, 167.

  Philip V. (the Long), King of France, 190, 193, 198.

  Philip III., King of Spain, 300.

  ” V., ” ”, 316.

  Philo Judæus, 22 _n._, 55.

  Philpotts, Bishop of Exeter, 353.

  Phocas, Emperor, 98.

  Phrygia, 114.

  Piacenza, 222.

  Pichon, Joseph, 216.

  ” Solomon, 232.

  Pilatus, P., Procurator, 20.

  Pinedo, De, 298.

  Pitt, Mr., 346.

  Pius II., Pope, 222.

  ” IV., ”, 255.

  ” V., ”, 255.

  ” VI., ”, 319.

  ” IX., ”, 358, 360.

  Plato, 159.

  Ploermel, 164.

  Pocock, 290.

  Podolia, 33.

  Poitou, 192.

  Poland, 330, 333, 334, 335.

  Polycarp, 55 _n._

  Pombal, Don, 264.

  Pompey, 55.

  Pontoise, 142.

  Pontus, 114.

  Portaleoni, 258.

  Port Maria, 240.

  Portugal, 365.

  Potsdam, 324.

  Prague, 271, 286.

  Prester, John, 112.

  Princes of the Captivity, 63.

  Prioress’s Tale, 183.

  Prussia, 324, 326.

  ” Rhenish, 140.

  Psephinus, Tower of, 43.

  Pumbeditha, 64 _n._, 161.

  Purim, Feast of, 73, 190 _n._

  Pyrenees, 122.


  Quietus, Lucius, 42.


  Rachel Fermosa, 145.

  Radziwill, Prince, 307.

  Raport, 363.

  Rashi, Rabbi, 147.

  Ravenna, 223 _n._

  Raymond, Count of Toulouse, 163.

  Raymond, Monk, 172.

  Reccared, King of Goths, 100.

  Rehoboth, 161.

  Remigius, Bishop, 126.

  Resch-Glutha, 115.

  Resen, 162.

  Reuchlin, J., 269 _n._

  Rhodes, 108 _n._, 374.

  Rhynsberg, 295.

  Ricci, Father, 116.

  Richard I., King of England, 149, 152, 159.

  Richard of Pontoise, 142.

  Rieti, Rabbi Moses, 202.

  Rimini, 258.

  Robert of Jerusalem, 201.

  Roderic, King of the Goths, 104.

  Rodney, Admiral, 346.

  Rodolph, Monk, 141, 142.

  Rodrigo, Bishop, 212.

  Rodriguez, Daniel, 256.

  Romaine, W., 343 _n._

  Rome, 82, 197, 222, 258, 305.

  Rossi, Asarja, 258.

  Rothschild, Baron, 350, 356 _n._, 368.

  Rothschild, Sir N., 352.

  Rouen, 133.

  Roumania, 368, 369.

  Rufus, Procurator, 20.

  ” Ticinius, _or_ Turnus, 48.

  Russell, Lord J., 350.

  ” Mr. Odo, 360.

  Russia, 147, 277, 329, 333, 365.


  Saadi ben Joseph, 130.

  Sabbathai Sevi, 309-314.

  Sadoc, 20 _n._

  Sadolet, Cardinal, 252.

  Saladin, 158.

  Salamanca, Council at, 213.

  Salamons, Alderman, 349, 352.

  Saloniki, 280, 281.

  Samaritan Version, 117.

  Samuel, Levi, 214.

  ” Rabbi, 132.

  ” Spanish Minister, 212.

  Sancha, Donna, 132.

  Sancho, King of Castile, 176.

  ” I., King of Portugal, 245.

  ” II., ” ”, 243.

  Sanhedrin, 35, 41, 55, 57.

  ” President of, 57.

  ” in Paris, 357.

  Sapor, King of Persia, 64, 65, 67.

  Saragossa, 172, 237 _n._

  Sassanian Dynasty, 94.

  Savona, 231.

  Savonarola, 224.

  Scharf, 366.

  Scherira, 130.

  Schleirmacher, 295 _n._

  Scholastica, St., 123.

  Scott, Sir W., 152 _n._, 226 _n._

  Sebastian, King of Portugal, 282.

  Sebastople, 115 _n._

  Segovia, 229.

  Seidelius, 270.

  Seine, River, 144.

  Sejanus, 20.

  Selim I., II., 280.

  Sephardim, 292 _n._, 377.

  Sepphoris, 56.

  Septuagint Version, 117.

  Sepulveda, 232.

  Serenus, 112.

  Servia, 368.

  Sestos, 312.

  Setubal, 247.

  Severus, Alexander, Emperor, 59.

  ” Septimius, ”, 58.

  ” Bishop of Minorca, 74.

  ” Julius, 48.

  Seville, 101, 173, 237 _n._

  Shalmanesar, 109.

  Shemariah, Rabbi, 128.

  Shepherds, Rising of, 166, 190.

  Shunem, 162.

  Silesia, 320.

  Silva, 38.

  Simeon, Bishop of Ctesiphon, 67.

  ” Patriarch, 62, 57 _n._

  ” the son of Gamaliel, 57 _n._

  ” Stylites, 72 _n._

  Simon, Son of Gioras, 31 _n._ 33, 35, 37, 39.

  Simon, the Just, 57 _n._

  ” Zelotes, St., 115.

  Sisibut, King of Goths, 101.

  Sixtus, IV., Pope, 222.

  ” V., 255.

  Smyrna, 309, 312.

  Socrates, Historian, 76 _n._

  Solomon, Ashkenazim, 280.

  ” ben Abraham, 331.

  ” Medigo, 307.

  ” Rophe, 280.

  Solymosi, Esther, 366.

  Southampton, 179 _n._

  Spinoza, 293-298.

  Spires, 141, 206, 209.

  Stamford, 150.

  Stephen, King of England, 148, 149.

  Strasburg, 141, 293, 320.

  Strauss, 360.

  Stuttgard, 269 _n._

  Suabia, 203.

  Succession, War of, 316.

  Suetonius, 25 _n._

  Surenhusius, 290.

  Surinam, 299.

  Sweden, 365.

  Switzerland, 365.

  Sylvester, Pope, 65 _n._

  Syria, 94.


  Tabuc, 94.

  Tacitus, 55.

  Tagus, 214.

  Talmud, 84, 165, 255, 258, 269, App. II.

  Talmud, the Babylonian, 85.

  ” ” Jerusalem, 57.

  Tarichæa, 28.

  Tavora, 231.

  Temple burnt, 36.

  ” Attempt to Rebuild, 68, 69, App. IV.

  ” Lord, 345.

  ” Sir W., 305.

  Tertullian, 52 _n._

  Texel, 292.

  Theiss, River, 366.

  Thema, 162.

  Theodoric I., 82.

  Theodorus, 74.

  Theodosius I., Emperor, 72.

  ” II., ”, 72 _n._, 76, 83.

  Theresa Maria, 327, 335.

  Theudas, 23 _n._

  Thirty Years’ War, 286.

  Thomas, Father, 374.

  ” Island of, 246.

  ” St., 115.

  Thonon (Thun), 205.

  Tiberias, 56, 157, 162, 377.

  Tiberius, Emperor, 20.

  Tigris, River, 161.

  Timour, the Tartar, 277.

  Titus, Emperor, 26-41.

  Toland, John, 341.

  Toledo, 101, 206, 128, 145.

  ” Council at, 101, 102.

  Toro, 233.

  Torquemada, Thomas, 235 _n._, 264, 354.

  Tortosa, 230.

  Toulouse, 123, 301.

  ” Count of, 122.

  Tours, Battle of, 122.

  Trajan, Emperor, 42.

  Trani, 200.

  Trent, 220.

  Treves, 140.

  ” Bishop of, 141.

  Tribotti, Nathan, 331.

  Tripoli, 281.

  Tucker, Rev. Mr., 344.

  Tudela, Benjamin of. _See_ Benjamin.

  Tunis, 281.

  Turcomans, 111.

  Turkestan, 116.

  Turkey, 289, 334, 308.

  Turks, 137.

  Tyaneus, Apollonius, 59.

  Tyre, 162.

  Tyropæon, 29.

  Tzaddik, 325, 334.


  Ukraine, 289.

  United States, 373.

  Urban VI., Pope, 202.

  Ustazades, 67.

  Utrecht, 220.

  Uziel, Isaac, 299.


  Valencia, 217, 240.

  Valens, Emperor, 71.

  Valentinian, Emperor, 71.

  Valladolid, 231, 232.

  Valori, 256 _n._

  Vandals, 96.

  Van Ende, Physician, 295.

  Varanes (Behram), King of Persia, 86.

  Varus, 26.

  Vaughan, General, 347.

  Venice, 222, 258, 305.

  Vera, Juan de, 175.

  Verdun, 191.

  Verona, 222, 258.

  Vespasian, Emperor, 28, 29, 39.

  Vienna, 272, 290.

  ” Council at, 169.

  Villars, M., 301.

  Virga, Solomon ben, 250.

  Virgin Mary, 116.

  Visigoths, 100.

  Vitellius, Emperor, 29.

  ” Prefect, 21.

  Vitringa, 290.

  Vitry, 192.

  Voltaire, 321, 326.

  Vorburg, 295.

  Vossius, T., 284.


  Wallachia, 333.

  Walsingham, 166.

  Wamba, King of Goths, 103.

  ” ”, Languedoc, 105.

  Wathek, Al, 110.

  Wellington, Duke of, 349.

  Wenceslaus, Emperor, 209.

  Wessely, 337.

  Westphalia, 290.

  Whately, Archbishop, 351.

  William I., King of England, 133.

  ” II. ” ”, 133, 148.

  William III., King of England, 304.

  Wilna, 333.

  Witiza, King of Goths, 103, 104.

  Wolfsohn, 337 _n._

  Worms, 141, 286.


  Ximenes, Cardinal, 261.


  Yemen, 92, 376.

  Yermouk, 95.

  Yezdegird, King of Persia, 91, 94.

  York, 134, 150, 275.

  Yusef, Emir, 112.

  ” King, 133 _n._


  Zacchæus, 161.

  Zacchai, David, 129.

  Zacharias, Bishop of Jerusalem, 87.

  ” False Messiah, 177.

  ” Rabbi, 288.

  ” Russian Jew, 273.

  Zamora, Council at, 212.

  Zarephath, 340 _n._

  Zealots, 26, 30, 31.

  Zebedee, Pharisee, 288.

  Zedekias, Physician, 126.

  Zeigler, Rabbi, 292.

  Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, 60.

  Zion, Mount, 29.

  Zoffingen, 205.

  Zohar, Book of, 54, 332 _n._, Appendix III.

  Zonaras, 72.

  Zoroaster, 69 _n._

  Zosimus, 273.

  Zunz, Leopold, 363.

  Zutia, 85 _n._

  Zutphen, 219.

  Transcriber’s Notes

  pg 1 Changed spelling of Chrosroes 79 to: Chosroes
  pg 2 Changed spelling of Sepher-Yetsira to: Yetzira
  pg 392 Changed spelling of Sepher-Yetsira to: Sepher-Yetzira
  pg 19 Added word intelligent not be: not to be
  pg 19 Added period to: evasion of her claims
  pg 49 Combined words strong and holds to: into their strongholds
  pg 50 Changed comma to period at: tenanted the streets
  pg 57 Added period to: A.D 429
  pg 63 Changed comma to period after: demand his submission
  pg 71 Changed chapter heading dates from 365-429 to: 363-429
  pg 89 Changed spelling of illustrous to: illustrious tribe of the
  pg 109 Removed repeated word of from: Gospels, of of the length
  pg 110 Changed one of the Abbasside Caliphs to: Abasside
  pg 126 Added comma to: refused an audience
  pg 133 Changed Yusef, king of the Almorarides to: Almoravides
  pg 146 Added period to: with by the government
  pg 153 Changed conciliate their good-will to: goodwill
  pg 155 Changed comma to period after: Tale of Alroy
  pg 162 Fixed spacing for: difficult tor econcile to: to reconcile
  pg 172 Removed unnecessary comma from: A.D. 1233
  pg 200 Changed word eat to seat at: occupation of the eat
  pg 203 Added The Jews in to chapter heading
  pg 206 Changed privy to and articipators to: participators
  pg 207 Added period to: punishing the offenders
  pg 228 Added period to: other Christian States
  pg 238 Changed spelling of considering the irreconcileable to:
  pg 262 Changed spelling of: aterwards returned to his to: afterwards
  pg 291 Changed lay in a lifelong to: life-long
  pg 300 Changed spelling of: already rcorded to: recorded
  pg 302 Changed advantage to grant re-admission to: readmission
  pg 307 Added period to: attained a great reputation
  pg 314 Added period to: among the transgressors
  pg 337 Changed , to semicolon at: professor at Breslau
  pg 345 Added period to: this unfortunate measure
  pg 347 Added period to: part in Jewish affairs
  pg 357 Changed scarcely more that a year to: than
  pg 363 Changed spelling full rights of citzenship to: citizenship
  pg 367 Changed wanted it except or to: for
  pg 373 Changed free schools, alms-houses to: almshouses
  pg 383 Added period to: amount to 600,000
  pg 404 Changed spelling of: On one occassion to: occasion
  pg 407 Changed spelling of Bokkara to: Bokhara to match pg 376
  pg 407 Changed spelling of Alkikoran, 128 to: Alkihoran
  Added missing punctuation where needed in the Index
  Various accented and non-accented words left as written
  Added word The to various chapter headings

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The history of the Jews: From the war with Rome to the present time" ***