The First Crusade: Unusual, Violent Victimization Of European Jews

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Ariel Lagares Prof. Nathan Melson December 4, 2014 History 314 The First Crusade entails the brutal, violent victimization of the Franco-German (Ashkenazic) Jews by the Western European Christians known as the Crusaders. Shmuel brings forth a vast amount of questions such as, “What were the reasons for these Christian men and women to victimize the European Jews?”, “How and why Urban’s speech played a role in the carnage?”, among others. He uses a wealth of contemporary Hebrew and Latin accounts such as the anonymous Annalista Saxo, Guilbert de Nogent, Robert the Monk and others, to further explain the questions of this stark event during the early Medieval Period for Jews and Christians. Shepkaru’s thesis can be described as Crusaders attacking the Jewish populace in their communities in places like Cologne, Worm and all throughout Rhineland as a…show more content…
Before delving into his arguments, Shepkaru repeated the most popular theories of modern historians like Robert Chazan, Jonathan Riley-Smith, and many others as to what were the root causes of the violence against the European Jews. Robert Chazan debates that the Crusaders were driven by “religious idealism” which was blended with a “distorted” version of Pope Urban II’s message; whereas, Jonathan Riley-Smith opines that the Crusaders were so blinded by “religious idealism” that they could not even identify the true enemy from a Muslim or Jew. Taken from Dana Munro and H.E.J Cowdrey, Shepkaru utilizes Pope Urban II’s speech as a backdrop for this scenario.

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