Jewish Persecution in First Crusade Essay

659 Words Oct 24th, 2012 3 Pages
The Jews were persecuted and slaughtered in the first crusade due to the religious rationale that the Crusaders were able to justify. The Jews were perceived as the murderers of Christ, low their involvement as bankers, and infidels for settling in with the Seldjuk culture. These major “vices” qualified the Jews to be slaughtered by the Crusaders through the Just War written St. Augustine of Hippo. St. Augustine of Hippo’s work on the Just War was a vastly important document in the rationalization of the Crusades and the victimization of the Jews. “Augustine of Hippo (d. 430) was one of the most influential early Christian theologians, helping to shape medieval thinking on a wide variety of topics.”[1] Augustine in his work on the …show more content…
Early massacres in the crusade involved the crusaders singling out the Jews as the murderers of Christ; the crusaders killed and looted the Jews as a means to finance their pilgrimage to Jerusalem in: Neuss, Xanten, Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Trier, Cologne.3 Two later massacres of the Jews occurred at Jerusalem and Antioch, where the Jewish people had remained after the Muslims had conquered in the seventh century. The Jewish people decided to stay under Muslim control for in the conquered districts the Muslims treated their tenants fairly, offering protection under the Islamic law as well as an extent of religious freedom.4 Those who made the crusade through Byzantium acted as heathens looting the wealth of the Jews on the way to Constantinople, throughout the Rhineland. “Frequently the argument that the Jews, as the enemies of Christ, deserved to be punished was merely a feeble attempt to conceal the real motive: greed.”3 The Jewish people were persecuted as the enemies of Christ. The real motivation behind the Crusaders blood lust can be found in their personal greed or perhaps they did not have a clear image of who the enemy was. The crimes of passion, the slaughtering and looting of the Jewish riches showed a real difference from Augustine’s justified war and what was really occurring. The Crusaders instead of

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