This essay examines similarities between the Hebrew chronicle of Shlomo bar Shimshon and the Latin chronicle of Albert of Aachen. Both sources describe the massacre of Rhineland Jews during the First Crusade and the subsequent defeat of the Crusaders by the Hungarians and the Bulgarians. On the basis of similarities in structure, content, and language between these two accounts, I argue that Shlomo chose to integrate at least one Christian source into his narrative. At the same time, I assert that it is unlikely that Shlomo’s Hebrew account was translated directly from Albert’s Latin chronicle. I present evidence indicating that the information conveyed in the Latin text reached the Jewish chronicler via vernacular channels, either oral or written.
From Halakhic innovation to blood libels, from the establishment of new mendicant orders to the institutionalization of Islamicate bureaucracy, and from the development of the inquisitorial process to the rise of yeshivas, universities, and madrasas, the long thirteenth century saw a profusion of political, cultural, and intellectual changes in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. These were informed by, and in turn informed, the religious communities from which they arose. In city streets and government buildings, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived, worked, and disputed with one another, sharing and shaping their respective cultures in the process. The interaction born of these relationships between minority and majority cultures, from love and friendship to hostility and violence, can be described as a complex and irreducible "entanglement." The contributors to Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century argue that this admixture of persecution and cooperation was at the foundation of Jewish experience in the Middle Ages.
Natural Materials of the Holy Land and the Visual Translation of Place, 500-1500,focuses on the unique ways that natural materials carry the spirit of place. Since early Christianity, wood, earth, water and stone were taken from loca sancta to signify them elsewhere. Academic discourse has indiscriminately grouped material tokens from holy places and their containers with architectural and topographical emulations, two-dimensional images and bodily relics. However, unlike textual or visual representations, natural materials do not describe or interpret the Holy Land; they are part of it. Tangible and timeless, they realize the meaning of their place of origin in new locations.
What makes earth, stones or bottled water transported from holy sites sacred? How do they become pars pro toto, signifying the whole from which they were taken? This book will examine natural media used for translating loca sancta, the processes of their sanctification and how, although inherently abstract, they become charged with meaning. It will address their metamorphosis, natural or induced; how they change the environment to which they are transported; their capacity to translate a static and distant site elsewhere; the effect of their relocation on users/viewers; and how their containers and staging are used to communicate their substance.
This article reexamines the idea prevalent in existing historiography that Jews were accused of well poisoning before 1321. It argues that the historians who studied the origins of such accusations were misled by sources written in the early modern period to think that Jews were charged with well poisoning as early as the eleventh century. However, a careful analysis of the sources reveals that there is little reliable evidence that such cases happened before the fourteenth century, much less on a large scale. Thus, the conclusions of the article call for a new chronology of well-poisoning charges made against Jews, starting closer to the fourteenth century.
Just north of the cathedral, the baptistery, and the leaning bell tower of Pisa is a building known by the name ‘Camposanto’. The structure, begun in 1278, has been the subject of extensive study, both on its own and in conjunction with the cathedral, the campanile, and the baptistery of Pisa. Nevertheless, a central aspect of the Camposanto’s history—a legend according to which it was founded on earth brought in 1188 by the Pisan archbishop Ubaldo from Jerusalem—has not been analysed. This legend, which thus far has only been treated as anecdotal back- ground in discussions of the Camposanto, is the focus of this article.