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1230 JOHN ASEN II (Czar of the Bulgars) (Eastern Europe)

Defeated Theodore Ducas Angelus of Epirus (N.W. Greece). Theodore, who had initiated many anti-Jewish laws and stolen Jewish property, was given over to two Jews to "put out his eyes". When they, having pity on him, refused to do so, they were thrown off a cliff.


Decided to combine the manufacturing of silk and the dying trades and to give them over to a number of Jewish families. Both these trades were for many years almost the exclusive activities of Jews in Sicily, Naples, and other parts of Italy.


Instituted the papal inquisition. The inquisitional court was set up to look into the large scale heresies (i.e. Cathari and Waldenses) which arose during the 11th and 12th centuries. Until that time, most treatment of heretics was dealt with locally, usually by burning. The name "Inquisition" is derived from the Latin verb "inquiro" (inquire into), and at lest at the beginning, inquisitors traveled from town to town looking into individual cases and pronouncing judgment. According to Gregory's decree any heretic who confessed and repented only received imprisonment with penance. The heretic who persisted received capital punishment. The inquisitors - or judges - of this medieval Inquisition were recruited almost exclusively from the Franciscan and Dominican orders. There were three inquisitions. The first started in 1231. The second, which was against Conversos, started in 1478. It was known as the Spanish Inquisition (also see 1461). The third, which started in 1542, was for the most part was against the protestants, and was known as the Roman inquisition.

1233 HOUSE OF CONVERTS (England)

Was established in England as a refuge for baptized Jews. A special tax was imposed on the Jewish community to pay for its establishment and maintenance.

1233 MAIMONIDES (France)

Works were burned in Paris. Maimonides' opponents, led by Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi and Solomon ben Abraham of Montpellier, joined with the Dominicans. This alliance was soon regretted when the Dominicans turned on them and demanded the burning of all Jewish books, especially the Talmud.


In his Decretals, ( official letters of response) The pope condemned the Jews to perpetual servitude based on the doctrine of perpetua servitus iudaeorum. This would result in official second class status for Jews.


After appointing a commission to investigate the truth of "blood accusations", he adopted the Jews' unanimous denial of any such crime.

1235 DEATH OF DAVID KIMHI (The Radak)(France-Spain)

The most famous member of the Kimhi family of translators. He played an important role in the controversy over Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed publicly defending him and his philosophy. Kimhi was himself the author an important grammatical work Mikhlol and of a biblical commentary known as the Radak.

1235 - 1311 SOLOMON BEN ABRAHAM ADERET (The Rashba) (Barcelona, Spain)

Rabbinical scholar and community leader. Ibn Aderet knew Latin as well as both Roman and Spanish law. While opposed to Maimonides' rationalist philosophy, he defended him and his publications. He wrote a refutation to the anti Jewish polemics of Ibn Hazm (994-1064) which were often quoted by Christian theologians and another to Raymond Martini(1270) . His most famous work was Hiddushei HaRashba on the Talmud , which is still in wide use today .He also replied to over three thousands of question (mostly of a practical nature) put to him by communities in Germany, Eretz Israel, Sicily, Morocco, Portugal and Spain itself. His students included Yomtov ben Abraham (1250), Rabbeinu Bahya (1255) and ShemTov ibn Gaon ( 1283).

1235 January 2, LAUDA - TAUBERBISCHOFSHEIM (Germany)

A Christian body was found between these two cities. For three days, the Jewish communities in both towns were attacked by mobs. Eight Jewish leaders from both towns were put on trial, tortured, convicted and executed.

1235 December 28, RITUAL MURDER CHARGE (Fulda, Germany)

Resulted in a massacre of 32 Jews. The following year, Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen established an investigation at Hagenau to confirm or disprove the charges. After hearing various experts, including Jewish converts to Christianity, he declared that since Jews are prohibited from eating animal blood, they would surely be banned from using human blood. He forbade anyone to accuse Jews of ritual murder", Privilegium e sententia in favorem iudaeorum . Pope Innocent IV also condemned the accusations as unfounded.

1236 EMPEROR FREDERICK II OF HOHENSTAUFEN (1194-1250) (Holy Roman Empire)

Declared Jews of Germany servi camerae nostre (servants of our treasury) or Kammerknechtschaft. The simple legal meaning of this was that Jews and all their possessions belonged to the King and was partly instituted by Frederick I in 1157. This also supposedly assured them protection. Jewish rights and their assets were now the actual property of the king, to be bought, sold, or traded. This concept, mostly economic but also theological, spread to France England and Spain.

C. 1236 - C. 1304 JACOB BEN MACHIR IBN TIBBON, (France)

Astronomer and physician. Also known as Don Profiat Tibbon, and Profatius Judaeus, his works were quoted by among others, Copernicus. Ben Machir translated many classic texts of Greek mathematical and astronomical works from Arabic to Hebrew. He wrote two original works; the first Roba' Yisrael described an astronomical instrument called the quadrant (quadrans novus) including how to build one. The second Luchot was a book on planetary motions and astronomical tables. His first book was translated several times into Latin.

1236 February 29, NARBONNE (France)

An attack on the Jewish quarter occurred after a Jew accidentally killed a Gentile in an argument. The governor of the city, Don Amyeric, forcibly re-established order. The house and library of Rabbi Meir ben Isaac were pillaged, but no one was killed.

1236 July 10, ANJOU AND POITOU (France)

Over a period of 6 days Crusading monks and knights trampled three thousand Jews to death, burned torah scrolls and destroyed the community.

1237 - 1241 Winter MONGOL (Tartar) INVASION (Germany)

Across Russia, Eastern Europe and parts of Germany Batu (son of Genghis) Khan led what was known as the Golden Horde. In their wake, many communities (Jewish and Christian) were destroyed. This coincided with the beginning of the 6th millennium according to the Jewish calendar which lead to speculation of the arriving of the messiah. In some German communities (Frankfort) the Mongols were thought to be remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes and accused the Jews of helping the invaders.

1239 March 6, EDICT OF VALENCIA (Spain)

King James I validated the "privileges"/charter of the Jews of Aragon. The Jewish courts (Bet Din) were authorized to try all cases except capital offenses. He furthermore forbade all harassment except for financial debts, and only if these could be proven.

1239 June 20, POPE GREGORY IX

Published his bull Si vera sunt, “ If it is true” which was addressed to the kings and prelates of France and Spain. In it Gregory (1145-1241) ordered the confiscation, inspection, and burning of the Talmud, or any other Jewish book which might be construed as blasphemy. Over the next three centuries this Bull would serve to encourage the repeated burnings of the Talmud, and other Jewish books.

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