Other writers including Jacobs, who revised his figures upward later have calculated the English 38 Jews to have been as many as 16, Aaron of Lincoln was among the top European financiers of the twelfth century and probably the wealthiest person in England, at least in liquid assets, during the latter part of the century.
Aaron made loans at many economic and social levels. He loaned money to the Crown based on taxes due. He made loans to prominent landowners based on expected revenues from harvests and on armor and jewels, and issued mortgages on land and houses. Through foreclosure, he became the owner of real property in some twenty-five English counties. He lent money toward church construction: his loans assisted in building nine Cistercian abbeys and the cathedrals of Lincoln and Petersborough.
Among his debtors were the king of Scotland, the count of Brittany, the archbishop of Canterbury, and the earls of Arundel, Aumale, Leicester, and Northampton. When Aaron of Lincoln died in , Henry II confiscated his entire estate, which he was entided to do under feudal law but which was a prerogative very rarely exercised. In an odd twist of fortune, the gold and silver collected from Aaron was en route to France to fund the war be tween the two countries then in progress when the ship foundered and the entire treasure was lost.
Though many documents attest to the economic activities of Aaron of Lincoln, there is no evidence that he used a personal seal. Aaron of York —; York was the principal city in the north of England during the Middle Ages was to thirteenth-century English Jewry what Aaron of Lincoln had been to the twelfth century.
His times, however, were less propitious for the Jews, and this fact influenced his life, especially in later years.
Under Henry III, Aaron was archpresbyter of English Jewry—Presbyter Judeorum—from to this was not a spiritual office or a chief rabbinate but was held by a Jewish magnate officially appointed by the Crown such a person was often detested by the Jews themselves to follow Jewish activities and oversee the collection of revenues due to the king. Aaron of York did business in some fourteen English counties, at the head of a syndicate of Jewish lenders.
The records indicate that he was also an importer of wine from the Continent.
The details of his fortune are less well known, but he is recorded as having complained to Matthew Paris, the chronicler of the realm, that over a seven-year period he had been compelled to pay to the king thirty thousand marks of silver as well as two hundred gold marks to the queen. In a novel gimmick, Henry III, tired of awaiting the demise of the aged financier, decided to exact death taxes prematurely: as a result, Aaron of York was ruined before he actually died.
Aaron used a stone engraved with a classic face set in a ring to seal. Medieval Jewish Seals documents; one impression from is still extant see No. The Cahors moneylenders were admitted into England in the thirteenth century and, with the natural business advantage of being Christians, soon began to displace the Jewish usurers. Several important merchant firms of Siena, Lucca, Florence, and Piacenza became perma- nendy established in London immediately after the civil war in , as can be seen today in the name of Lombard Street, the banking section of London.
The result was that the Jewish community came under attack not only from this Christian competition but from the Crown. By there were only twenty-five English towns in which Jews could live and do business; in they were forbidden to own land. The final blow came in , when Edward I prohibited them from practicing usury. The Italian merchants and English barons had developed a technique to market wool, the chief English economic asset, without usury.
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The Italians would lend money to the English landowners, the loan to be repaid in wool priced low enough to give the lenders their profit without the formal payment of interest. This arrangement made the Jewish usurers unnecessary to the English economy. The expulsion of the Jews from England in was inevitable, as they no longer served any economic purpose. The Jews in Germany or, to be more exact, in the Holy Roman Empire were at their zenith of influence in the fourteenth century. Since most of their seals are known from the documents to which they are attached, rather than from the matrices, as in France and Spain, a clear picture of their financial activities emerges.
The introductory essays to the sections of this volume which discuss seals from the main Bavarian cities, the Rhineland, and Austria detail the Jewish influence there in terms of the seals used. In Bavaria, the cities of Augsburg and Regensburg were centers for small Jewish plutocracies. Similar small but very rich monied elites operated in the Rhineland. These ministers were intimately connected with the top moneylenders of Strasbourg, especially with Vivelin the Red No. Aaron No. Meyer of Siegburg was likewise prominent as a source of funds both for the city of Cologne and for its archbishop, Walram No.
Despite the wholesale massacres of Jews and confiscation of their property during the years of the Black Death in Germany, Jewish financial operations in certain areas increased rather than decreased after This 40 was especially true in Cologne, where Schaiff, followed by his son Aaron,. Business in Regensburg and Ulm to the south also revivified for a short period. Jacklin Jacob , whose money-lending syndicate operated from Ulm, had sons in the business living in Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Zurich, and Reutlingen and a son-in-law in Constance; he might be called a prototype for the later Mayer Anschel Rothschild.
Another syndicate of rich Jews at Regensburg rescued the bishopric from economic collapse in ; they also saved the city itself from bankruptcy in the same period. And farther northeast, Samuel or Smol of Derenburg No. In the mid fourteenth century Vienna became a most important Jewish monetary center, as many Rhineland Jews fled there with their remaining assets during the Black Death. David Steuss, the favorite banker of Duke Albert III, built up what is probably the best-documented Jewish fortune of the late fourteenth century—so great, indeed, that the duke, unable to repay the money borrowed, jailed Steuss and forced him to cede all rights to collection.
The German Jews mentioned here are less well known to historians than the rich Jews of England and France. There was continual anti- Semitic turmoil in German-speaking lands at this time, in which Jews were constandy subjected to harassment and expulsion, even in the oldest and best-established communities such as those of Strasbourg and Cologne. Jews of large fortunes almost invariably came under attack, either by fanatic mobs incited by debtors or by predatory rulers, through confisca tory action.
In response to this threat, Jewish capitalists deliberately sought anonymity, knowing their fate if reports of their wealth became current, and syndicate financing i. Rather than individuals, tiny plutocracies of Jews developed, most connected by blood as well as by business. The situation in Spain was different. The roster of Jews on the Iberian peninsula noted in politics and in economics is well recorded. Among these distinguished personalities, only Don Samuel Halevi Abulafia of Toledo, royal treasurer to King Pedro the Cruel of Castile, is reported to have owned a seal, and even in this case, there is some doubt see No.
A seal of the famous Catalonian rabbi "Except in certain areas of the German-speaking countries where registration, rather than sealing registration becoming almost standard practice after , was instituted for Jews. This change will be discussed in detail later. In Portugal and Italy, the Latin tradition of notarial attestation also reduced the importance of the seal. Jewish seals do appear in Italy, but they are a product of the early Renaissance and show the characteristics of that period.
In general, the greater the juridical function of a seal in a country, the greater the financial prominence of the owners is likely to be; in countries where the seal is no more than a reflection of private prestige, Jewish seal owners are not necessarily the persons of greatest prominence. England Jewish seals from England in the period preceding the expulsion of the Jews by the Crown in are very rare. No organized group of Jews resided in England before the arrival of William the Conqueror in Their readmittance was not officially sanctioned until , so that any seals known must date from the late eleventh, twelfth, or thirteenth century.
The hundred-year period in Jews were forbidden to lend money at interest is where we must look for signs of Jewish seals.
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Personal Seals Personal Seals i. II, No. Jacob of Oxford, as he was known in London, or Jacob of Lundres, as he was known in Oxford, was a significant figure in the Oxford Jewish commu nity of the thirteenth century.
Moses came from the Rhineland and was a descendant of the mystic and liturgical poet Simeon, called the Great, whose sister was the mother of Rashi, the outstanding French rabbinical scholar. Moses, who had become rich through moneylending, had two sons. The more noted of the two, Rabbi Yomtob, was the author of a book on Talmudic law.
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This second Moses had five distinguished sons, including Hagin, the leader or archpresbyter of English Jewry from to Our seal belonged to his son, Jacob. He invested heavily in houses, a common business practice at the time because of the need for boarding Oxford students of the religious orders. At one time or another he leased or had an interest in some twenty boarding houses or tenements, aside from others in London and York.
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Jacob enters English history as distinct from Anglo-Jewish medi eval history on Feb. Tor complete bibliographic information, see the Bibliography at the end of this volume. The document is sometimes dated because in Christian Europe during the Middle Ages the year did not begin in January but at Easter. Thus documents with dates from January 1 through Easter—Easter in was on April 17—must be dated in the following year to conform to our present system. England houses near the church of St.
The Latin contract, probably the most important Anglo-Jewish document from the medieval period, is still extant and is illustrated here. The agreement between Jacob the Jew and Walter de Merton was made before the full Court of Oxford, the document being witnessed by eleven Christians and four Jews. His seal is appended to the document twice.
Seal of Mildegode the Jew S. Bibliography: Jacobs and Wolf, , No.
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Her green oval seal shows a bird—perhaps a pheasant or a peacock, according to Cecil Roth—with a small reptile or scorpion in its beak, surrounded by the inscription. The meaning of this device is obscure.
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In style, Nos. Herbert Loewe describes it as a lion or griffin. A Latin document dated records the lease of a house in St. Jacob, presumed to be the son of Mildegode, has leased the property from St. John the Baptist Hospital, but though Jacob is the lessee mentioned, it is Mildegode who sealed. Jacob may have been born after the death of his father in and thus may still have been a minor at the time of this lease.
isrevasuto.tk As this document and the seal indicate, Jewish women often played an equal role with men in financial affairs. Some prominent women who had seals were Dulcie of the Portali, from southern France No. In fact, according to Monumenta Judaica Schilling, , p. However, these were probabiv not independent entrepreneurs but widows or women in business w'ith their husbands. England 3. Bonefay ben Barton or Briton or Breton Dimensions: 24 mm. For discussion, see No. These seals of a father and son are attached to the same document see die illustration and will therefore be discussed together here. The substance of the document is that Bonefay, a Jew of Nottingham, in association with his son Josce, leased to Roger Scott of Nottingham his house site, with buildings and appurtenances, in the parish of Saint Maty on the Wall in Nottingham.
The price was twenty-four marks sterling in fine, plus a silver obol half-denier due at each Michaelmas, with five silver deniers to be paid by the buyer to the royal exchequer. The document is written in Latin.
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