Post-classical history

Mainz Anonymous

An anonymous account by a Jewish author, which is probably the most contemporaneous of the three Hebrew narratives of the First Crusade (1096-1099).

The text, which is incomplete in the only extant manuscript (MS Darmstadt, Hessische Landes- und Hochschul- bibliothek, Cod. Orientalis 25), carefully charts the unfolding events of the anti-Jewish pogroms by the so-called People’s Crusades in Speyer, Worms, and Mainz. It describes the warning letters from French Jews to Mainz Jewry, the sought-for help from bishops and secular authorities, Jewish armed resistance, and the killings and forced baptisms. It includes vivid portrayals of self-martyrdom by many Jews in Worms and Mainz in sanctification of God’s name (kid- dush ha-Shem).

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