[Previous] [Main Index] [Next]

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 3

              

               Be Sure to Read the First Two Parts Before Tackling This One

         WHAT LANGUAGES DID THE JEWS SPEAK IN THE DISASPORA

         TWO LANGUAGES BESIDES THE ONES THEIR NON-JEWISH NEIGHBORS USED

Start With Yiddish Once More (Repeated from Part 2 of This Series)

Yiddish was strictly spoken By Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, and not by Sephardic Jews (Jews from Spain and Portugal who expelled them in the 1490s.

Sidebar Clarification: 

Until the 1490s, Spain had by far the largest Jewish community in all of Europe.  The Portuguese, nice compassionate Catholics who confessed weekly and hoped for salvation, came up with a more ingenious scheme than the manic Catholic zealots  in Spain for Jewish-expulsion.  To wit: if their small Jewish community wouldn't convert, the parents and other elders could leave peacefully, only pronto ---but, an added hitch, their children would have to remain in Portugal and be raised as good kindhearted Catholics under rigid Church-control.  Naturally, the parents could remain in Portugal by choice, but they would be instantly killed if they didn't convert.

Ever wonder why there were never any Protestants alive in Spain or Portugal during or after the Reformation in the 16th and early 17th centuries.  Guess! (More will follow later about the ways Jews were treated in both Catholic and Muslim Iberia for 700 years until the start of the 16th century --- and later in Spanish-controlled Mexico and New Mexico, with the Spanish Inquisition happy to follow Converso-Catholics and, if found to be Crypto-Jews, even more happy to literally put-the- nail deep into them.) 

Yiddish, recall from the previous buggy post, was developed and spread quickly among the Jews in the Balkans, the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, and Czarist Russia. Its origins seem to go back to the 10th or 11th centuries, by which time the small communities of Jews who engaged in long-land exports and imports needed to have a common language.  At base a German derivation, the language drew about 3/4 of its vocabulary from various German dialects. The rest of Yiddish words were taken from the Hebrew bible and local European areas where Ashkenazi lived.

Note finally that Yiddish, like any language --- say, Chinese or Arabic --- can be converted in writing into any other language with a large vocabulary. Hence Yiddish could be written in Europe in Hebrew or in the Roman Alphabet or Slavic native languages where Jews lived. The Holocaust brought an end to the use of Yiddish in Central and Eastern Europe, and for those still living in fairly large numbers in Russia ---but nowhere else in the former Soviet regime, where they were all essentially murdered --- it had already disappeared in the Communist era and nailed dead with the large emigration out of post-Soviet Russia to Israel, the USA, and in much smaller numbers elsewhere.

                                      ENTER LADINO

SEPHARDIC  JEWS

What, then, did Sephardic Jews who lived originally in Iberia or other South Europe countries speak as a common language? It's called Ladino, a hybrid of medieval Spanish combined with Hebrew words.

The language probably arose earlier than Yiddish . . . what with most Jews in Europe living in Spain until 1492 in either the Christian or Muslim areas. 

By that year, if you included the small population of Portugal --- only 10 million inhabitants now (with Spain about 40 million now) --- there were about 350,000 Jews living in the whole Iberian Peninsula until their expulsion or forced conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1492.  So why did Ladino arise?  It originated in Iberia and spread elsewhere because of the long-distance exports and imports by Jewish merchants of goods and money throughout Southern Europe as well as in North Africa and the Middle East.  Ladino was also used in daily business by Jews across the Muslim-Christian divide and among different regional Arab and Spanish dialects.

Generally speaking, until 1492 --- when the Christian conquistadors destroyed the last Muslim stronghold in Iberia and the fanatical Catholic team of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella became the rulers of Spain --- Jews were treated more or less decently in both the Christian and Muslim areas.  It wasn't always peachy-nice, you understand, even in the more tolerant Muslim areas.  Thus in 1066, a huge Muslim mob stormed the Royal Palace where they killed the Jewish vizier  --- an Arab term for any high-level adviser to the rulers --- and moved on to the Jewish quarters and killed about 4000 Jews. 

It was a sign of the change in Mooorish Spain as the Berbers ---fierce tribal nomads who clung to a hard-core puritanical Islam --- prepared in Morocco and Tunisia to invade Arab Spain and take control of it. (More on this later.)

JEWISH ACHIEVEMENTS IN CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM IBERIA

In both Christian and Muslim kingdoms, Jews played a large role as doctors, merchants, farmers, financiers, craftsmen, tax-collectors, scholars,and high-level advisers to the ruling Kings and other big-shots.  Yes, from time to time, there were street riots and ghastly pogroms  --- more so  and more destruction in the Christian kingdoms starting in the 14th century --- but for the most part the Arch-Bishops and both Muslim and Christian rulers tried to protect them (out of their own self-interest.)  Yes, self-interest. 

 The Jews, you see, were considered by the rulers in both Moorish and Christian kingdoms as too valuable to let them be slaughtered by jealous mobs and some fanatical clerics in both religions.  After all, who would replace the dead Jewish-achievers? 

Good replacements, to be blunt, would have been frequently hard.  Unlike the vast majority of Christian males in Iberia and the rest of Europe, most of them illiterate way into the modern age, all Jewish boys were formally educated in Spain and elsewhere . . . just as they had been in their homeland country (ancient Israel) for a dozen centuries  and in the rest of the Middle East until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed off most of the Jews in Judea.  That was, recall, in the mid-2nd Century C.E.   Forced into the Diaspora, the surviving Jews scattered themselves around the Middle East and North Africa as well as in Iberia and elsewhere in Europe.  But they also had their Torah, the Jewish Bible, and Jewish males were obligated to learn how to read it.  Hence the formal education for Jewish boys that started when they were 6 years old. 

The majority of Jewish males remained better educated compared to both Christians and Muslims until the late 19th century in Northern Europe and way into the 20th century in Southern Europe.  Despite the great intellectual work of Muslim scholars and scientists in the Early and High Middle Ages (roughly down to 1300-1400 C.E.), there weren't that many well-educated Muslims and so the same comparisons between Jews and Christians applied to the Muslims.  Note here that Jewish boys everywhere in Europe during the Roman Empire rule and through the Middle Ages into the Modern Era were also supposed to learn not just Hebrew for reading, but also two other languages: in Spain, of course, Spanish and also Ladino. (And education for Jewish girls and women in the Middle Ages?  Click here for a very readable account (search, once on that web-site, for Education.)

     

                    JIHADI BERBERS END SPAIN'S GOLDEN AGE

THE DECLINE OF ISLAM'S GLITTERING CIVILIZATION IN IBERA

All the admirable scientific, philosophical, and mathematical achievements in Muslim Iberia and parts of the Middle East (especially around Baghdad) began to erode in Iberia starting in the 11th century.  The reason?  Two waves of Berber militaries out of North Africa invaded Arab-ruled Southern Iberia. The second wave was in the 13th century. Berbers, like Bedouins in the Arabian Peninsula, are tribal nomads in origin who lived in the desert areas of their countries. Once converted to Islam, they practiced a zealous hyper-controlling form of Sharia Law.  They were scattered all over North Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean, and they were fierce deadly warriors. (As for Baghdad, its glittering city and intellectual life were destroyed in 1258 by fiendish Mongol nomads out of Mongolia and elsewhere. (More later)

Click on Continue

These days, in Morocco, Algeria, and elsewhere in North Africa into Mali and farther south, most of the Berbers have moved to larger towns and cities, where they still practice the use of their own language. Of course, if they go to school, they learn Arab as a second language. They and the coastal- and urban-Arabs have been at arm's-length for 1400 years . . . their mutual dislike and suspicions of one another stretching back to their defeat by Arabs in the 7th century C.E.  Their brand of Islam has traditionally been very stark and rigidly puritanical and uncompromising in a Dark-Age manner.

Want a good analogy?

Think of ISIS's death-cult jihadi-efforts to return to a purified, totally controlling Sharia law in all spheres of life: not just in religion, but in politics, economics, family life, female submission, the legal systems, and obligations to spread such Islam world-wide.  With, needless to say, torture and death to those who won't convert or who are dubbed guilty of heretical kinds of Islam . . . including all the live-and-let-live semi-Westernized Arabs and other Muslims who look Satanic to such manical religious fanatics.

WHY DID THE BERBERS INVADE SPAIN AGAIN?

In the original Muslim invasion of Iberia in 711 C.E., most of the conquerors were Berbers and not Arabs. The majority of these desert-peoples returned to North Africa, leaving the Muslim areas of Spain divided into competing Arab Kingdoms. So what happened three centuries later to bring the Berbers, swords and other weapons polished, back to Spain. The first wave of Berber were out of Morocco, led by the Almoravid dynasty there  who had the full loyalty of their warrior tribesmen.  That was in 1085, almost 400 years after the Arab-led militaries conquered much of Spain. 

Why invade the Arab Kingdoms? 

The Almoravids' religious beliefs for one thing.   Those beliefs collided with the life-styles of the more hedonistic and prosperous joy-living Arabs.  With their imposition of rigorously uncompromising Sharia-law, no compromises allowed, the Golden Age of Moorish Spain would soon be over. For another thing, the Arab Kingdoms were beginning to lose battles and territory to the Christian Reconquista militaries --- not least because the leaders of the Arab Kingdoms (more or less like Arab states today) didn't trust one another's motives and led to a certain kind of half-smothered anarchy that prevented cooperative warfare against the zealous, well-armed Spanish Knights and their ranks. 

The second wave of Berbers was led by the Almohad dynasty, also Moroccan-spun.  And they were, if anything, even more religiously  coocoo fanatics than their Almoravid rivals.  That new wave was in 1147.  The Almohad' aggressive fast-moving  military pushed back the recent Christian conquests that occurred during the last years of Arab-led Kingdoms of Southern Spain in the 11th century and eventually during the short reign of the Almoravids.  The Almohads even captured Seville and made it their capitol of Muslim Spain, only to be pitted against an ever more determined and equally half-crazed religious militaries on the Christian side in the next 350 years.  And loose out.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN AGE OF MUSLIM SPAIN?

Until the Berbers' takeover of Muslim Spain in the late 11th century, the Arab Moors (as they were called by the Christians) had built an impressive civilization in culture, architecture, art, and scientific and philosophical works that far outshined the Christian areas at the time, not just in Spain, mind you, but elsewhere in Southern and Northern Europe.  Among their achievements: there were  remarkable cities with paved streets, beautiful houses and other buildings, effective water and sewer systems, intellectual cooperation and  think-tanks, admirable medical advances, and so on.

Jews, it's worth noting again, played a fairly big role in all these developments.

 

Sidebar Clarification: The Decline Not Just of Spain's Golden Age, But Also Baghdad's Caliphate

These impressive intellectual Muslim advances, recall,  included the salvage of Greek philosophy and science as well as extensively tapping the noteworthy intellectual innovations of  the Persian Empire and Hindu India and, in turn, channeling them throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Iberia.  (The existing European numerical system, for instance, was noticeably influenced by the Muslim intermediaries of Indian mathematics, thus ending clumsy, horrific Roman nombers --- hence ending the horrific Roman numerics. )  By contrast, with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, Italy and the rest of Europe were being conquered by intellectually-challenged Viking-, Hun-, and Germanic-tribes who had no knowledge of the great Greek contributions to civilization's progress in the West, let alone those of Muslims, Persians, and Indians.

Until the Berber invasions, it's worth noting, the two biggest Muslim caliphates with marked influence in Muslim life were in Cordoba Spain and in Baghdad. Both rivaled in trying to outdo one another in glory and influence.

 And Baghdad's Equally Glittering Intellectual Life?

The Berber conquests in Southern Spain, along with the steady Reconquista growing victories, left Sunni Baghdad as the only progressive Caliphate site in Islam, where its impressive influence all over the Middle East and Egypt seemed intact. Oh!Oh! In the mid-13th century, Baghdad itself was overrun, sacked, and largely destroyed by Mongol invaders who left a Mongol-prefect as more or less the ruler of the revived city that never recovered its glorious past either.

In effect, then, with the end of the Golden Ages in Spain and Baghdad, the once admirable and dramatic scientific, medical, and philosophical creativity of the Muslims passed into history. Since the 11th century, according to the UN Report on Arab Development (2002) --- written by a small and impressive number of Muslim scholars and top bureaucrats --- Spain alone (with 40 million people) translated in 2001 more foreign books into Spanish than Islam with 1.4 billion people have done in the last 9 centuries!

Put tersely, all of Islam became a back water in all future intellectual developments, scientific and what have you, compared especially to China and more so compared to Europe from the Renaissance on. It is still that way today.

More Sidebar Clarifications: The Intellectually Challenged Tribal Invaders in Europe

 The Vikings were originally one of the invading Germanic Tribes that invaded almost all of Europe during the 4th and 5th centuries C.E., only they stayed in the Baltic Sea area of present-day Scandinavia until they began in the late 8th century to invade, plunder, and often settling in Britain, France, Netherlands, and Southern Italy. 

  • The various Germanic-Tribes were all originally nomadic peoples out of the Central-Asian Steppe plains. They spoke different versions of a family of  similar Indo-European languages.  Those languages, originally about 450 in number, differed considerably.
  • The most notoriously aggressive and kill-crazy of these nomadic tribal peoples were the Huns, led by Attila-the-Hun --- his diverse tribal-groups originally out of northern East-Asia and consisting a variety of Turkish and what would later be known as Manchurian and Mongolian peoples.  In the late 4th century C.E., they began moving westward and northward from their long-term wanderings in the Caspian Sea area to conquer most of Europe, especially in the region of Attila himself (434-453).  Their empire, at its height just before Attila's death, ran from modern-day Russia's Volga river, to the Baltic countries, to Eastern and Central Europe and soon afterwards even to most of Western and Southern Europe. They also had a jolly time sacking Rome itself.  To invade and conquer such vast areas of Europe, understand, the Huns had to fight not just the Roman Empires of the East and West, but the various  Germanic-tribes---themselves fierce warriors---who had occupied the different regions of Europe earlier on. 
  • By the mid-5th century, remember, the Western Roman Empire was collapsing everywhere in Europe.  Only the Eastern Roman Empire, Greek-speaking and later dubbed the Byzantine Empire, managed to fight off the Huns' invasion of their Empire that advanced right to Constantinople. Eventually, soon after Attila's death in 453, his Hun Empire quickly fell apart --- the Huns extraordinary horsemen and berserker soldiers, but largely illiterate, horrible bureaucrats, and at odds with one another. 
  • Many of the Huns moved all the way back into Central and Eastern Asia.  Others joined the Germanic tribes or scattered themselves among the original homo-sapien clans and tribes who lived in Europe long before the invasions of the Roman Empire as well as the Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vikings, Orkney, and Franks --- the most important of the more than 300 German-tribes who invaded and eventually settle down all over Europe.

                    C ATHOLIC SPAIN, HOUNDED CONVERSOS, AND THE EXILE OF JEWS

RIGID CATHOLICISM WRECKS SPAIN'S INTELLECTUAL LIFE

By the late 14th century, the Conquistadors had managed to conquer more and more of the small Muslim principalities, few of them willing to cooperate against the Catholic militaries. The last Muslim city that was conquered was Granada in the south of Spain in 1490 or so. That was bad news for Jews (and Muslims). The surviving Muslim population at least had nearby Muslim countries to move back to.  Not so the Jews.  They hadn't any homeland for 15 centuries, ever since they were forced out of Judea (and much of the rest of Jewish Palestine) by the Romans in the mid-2nd century. 

And so, with the ultimatum of Ferdinand and Isabella --- either convert to Catholicism, move out of Spain, or be killed --- most of the 300,000 Jews left in Spain in 1492 were forced into emigration.  (What had happened to the other 100,000 or so Jews who existed in Christian Spain, say, in 1200, when the Muslims still held the south of the country?  Vicious pogroms full of mass-murder killed off tens of thousands starting in the 14th century --- when even the Kings of the various kingdoms were usually trying to protect them.  Under enormous pressure and fearing for their lives and sources of incomes, tens of thousands more Jews converted to Roman Catholicism starting in the late 13th and 14th centuries. Known formally as Conversos ---with Marranos a word of hatred applied by the Spanish (meaning something like Pig- or Ass-like) ---they were increasingly subject to the notorious Spanish Inquisition starting in the 1470s.

The Inquisition's aims here?

As the Conversos were no longer confined to ghettos and limited professions as Jews were, they moved up quickly in all the professions and businesses as well as in bureaucratic ranks and the Catholic Church hierarchy. That engaged the wrath of numerous Catholic elites with ancient roots in Spain (and Portugal). Increasingly, rumors spread of the Conversos' covert practice of Judaism. That would bring the wrath down of the Inquisition. Some of the tortured Conversos would confess they were covert Jews if the Inquisitors promised to excuse them for such confessions. Most didn't. In fairly large numbers --- how many is controversial in scholarly work on the Spanish Inquisition --- the others were burnt at the stake in mass manner.

JEWS EXPELLED

Note that the Inquisition didn't bother with the Jews. Not that the surrounding hatred against them throughout most of Catholic Spain diminished --- just the contrary. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella, the rulers of all of Spain, expelled Jews from Spain; 10 years later the Portuguese did the same. Muslims were also expelled if they didn't convert to Catholicism, and many in the final struggles with the Conquistadors were killed, but the Muslims at least had Muslim countries to flee to.

The Jews, of course, had no homeland to go to. Nor was there any homeland to protect them from Jew-haters until the state of Israel was created in 1948.

In the late 16th century, Protestant-Netherlands welcomed many refugee Jews who had fled Iberia, but tried to remain in West Europe.  Poland, about the same time, welcomed even more Jewish refugees. More important succor, though, came when the Ottoman Empire rulers --- who had fully destroyed the last vestiges of the Byzantine Empire in 1452 ---welcomed the Sephardic Jews and helped them to settle in their economically poor European satellite countries in East and South Europe.  Why did these countries help the Jewish refugees? 

The motives in Poland and Ottoman Turkey were strictly economic and financial.  The rulers were convinced --- they said this publicly --- that when enough Jews arrived in their backward regions or satellite countries, those countries would thrive and grow rich.   even more friendly in their invitations. The Dutch Calvinist-Protestants had a religious motive.  Unlike the German and Scandinavian Lutherans --- the Reformation starting in the 1520s in Germany with Luther's challenge to the Papacy --- these Calvinist Dutch identified with Jews of the Old Testament as their forbears.

BACK TO THE CONVERSOS IN CATHOLIC SPAIN

Many Conversos --- hounded by the Inquisition, and increasingly hated by apprehensive and jealous  Catholic clerics, bureaucrats, medical doctors, and businessmen who couldn't keep pace with "Jewish" abilities and the Conversos' rapid rise in the Catholic hierarchy and secular occupations --- fled to Mexico or to a smaller extent elsewhere in Latin America.  They were trying to to escape both the tighten-the-screws and give-them-the-rack  Inquisitors and the rapid Spanish non-stop tumbles in intellectual and scientific work. But it wasn't just the impact of the Inquisition on intellectual decline.  Led by the new zealous Jesuit priesthood, the Counter-Reformation in Catholic Iberia cut off  Spanish ability to keep pace with the great scientific, philosophical, medical, and economic progress and innovations in Protestant Northern Europe and Catholic France over the next few centuries.  in particular, the more the Inquisitors tried to ferret out Converso scholars and scientists in Spain, the more Spanish universities and scientific establishments declined in quality and for that matter in accepted European innovations in knowledge of all sorts. 

(In Portugal-conquered Brazil, priests would board all ships entering the country to ferret out any Protestants, Jews, or Muslims and send them packing [or swimming] back home.  These clerical-visits went on for about four decades even after Portugal, like Spain, lost control over their Latin American colonies.  Finally, in the 1860s, the government in Brazil --- alarmed by its economic and intellectual backwardness --- ended the barriers that had prevented far better educated and hard-working Protestants and Jews from East Europe.  They settled mainly in southern Brazil and turned it into the flourishing parts of Brazilian agriculture and industry.)

What happed to the Conversos, whether actually faithful Catholic converts or covert-Jews (or a mixture)  in Mexico for 5 centuries after 1492?

 

Guess what?  The Inquisition --- determined to protect Spanish Catholicism from any taints of Jewish (or Protestant)  influences --- followed the Converesos to the New World.  To escape those busy-body doctrinaire fanatics, there occurred a considerable ongoing flight of Conversos out of Mexico proper (with today's boundaries) to what is now New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, southern Utah, and California from the the 16th century on.  The farther away from the Inquisition, the more even the "faithful" Conversos interacted more and more with covert-Jews and carried out a number of ancient Jewish practices secretly at home: such as putting their best linen on the table for the Friday sabbath, lighting candles, and reciting in Ladino (extinct and illegal in Spain itself after 1492) certain Jewish prayers they or their parents and grand-parents had passed on to them. 

Sidebar Clarification

Most of the Converso-Catholics and -Covert-Jews in California and the Southwestern states just mentioned went into ranching, agriculture, the crafts, and business and finance.  In a few decades, most prospered and flourished  When the USA-Mexican war broke out in 1846 over the boundaries and Mexican rule over these areas, there seemed to be about 50,000 Spanish-speaking Mexicans living in them.  With the American victory in 1849, some of them packed up and moved back to Mexico, preferring life there to American rule and citizenship.  Not, though, the Conversos.  They adapted quickly to American law, politics, and business, and most have continued to flourish in their lives in the new US statehood.

Take a moment now to Consider this:  In the last two decades or so, a lot of the Catholic Conversos' descendants always wondered why they and their parents and grandparents practiced odd non-Catholic rituals --- such as putting their best linen on the dinner table Friday nights or wearing certain pendants around their necks or citing some strange-sounding prayers that weren't Spanish or English.  Digging around --- not least by some scholars --- many of those descendants nowadays have recently decided to convert back to Judaism, even if some of them still adhere to Catholicism as well.

 

And now, ladies and gentleman, bear with me a moment to answer this query:

Was Elvis Presley a Jew ---the descendant of a Converso family generations ago Hard to know. He was wearing some trinket or pendant around his neck that had ancient Hebrew terms and designs when he died. 

Or is Elvis still alive, hiding out in a deep deep secretive basement in Argentina with James Dean and a repentant Adolf and contrite trio of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao . . .with all six of them having ultra-speedy direct underground transportation to the even deeper and more secretive Catacombs beneath Wall Street and Britain's stock-markets, along with those hidden equally below gentile-eyes in Moscow, Beijing, Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo. 

Where --- joined by John Lennon, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and the Road-Runner and Wiley Coyote duo --- they all report as a disciplined advisery-commission monthly to the Protocols-of-Zion leadership, AKA Jewish-World-Conspiracy. Offering, after long discussions with one another throughout every month --- Adolf forcing himself in these taunt late-night exchanges to not give his Hitler salute and start screaming bloody murder --- their diabolic suggestions how to continue Jewish rule over the world. 

Yep, boys and girls, you heard right --- over the entire world  just as no one less than  Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia insisted in his welcoming speech at the ruling leaders of 58 Islamic countries at the 10 Organization of Islamic Conference Summit in late 2003.  Yep, Jews rule the world he stated, but secretively and satanically by manipulating powerful Proxy Countries (unnamed) to do all the dirty work.  These ultra-clever Jews are, he also insisted, Islam's enemy.  And not just enemy, all 15 million of them vs. 1.6 billion; but also the cause why 58 Muslim countries are so backward economically, scientifically, intellectually, and militarily.  With, to boot, the reasons so many of the 1.6 billion Muslims (today, in 2003 only 1.3 billion) feel so humiliated and depressed. 

         SHIFT YOUR MINDS NOW TO ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE FOR 1000 YEARS

1). CRUSADERS AS HAPPY JEW-KILLERS

With the analysis in mind of Jews, the Conversos, the Spanish Inquisition, the half-crazed dark-age Berber conquests of Southern Spain --- and the end of the Golden Age of Moorish Spain thanks to these nomadic jihadis --- consider now the longer history of European Jew-baiting, Jew-expulsions, and -massacres on a vast scale of Jews.

Why 1095 C.E. as the starting point? 

That was the year of the First Crusade aimed ostensibly at "freeing" the Holy Land under Muslim control (courtesy of Muslim conquest of the Byzantine Empire's rule in the Levant) --- the Crusaders' motivated by a combination of religious fervor, quests for loot, and the desire of murderous Knights eager to slay the infidels.  Oh-Oh!  The most immediate and vulnerable Christian enemies were small Jewish communities in France and especially in the German states, with no Muslim communities left anywhere to attack in Western Europe at the time except in Iberia and southern Italy. Then too, you see, marching Knights and semi-stupid ranks filled with peasants and untrained street types from small cities would have balked at joining the Conquistadors in assaulting the large Muslim principalities in Spain: it wouldn't have been just a bad diversion, it could also be painful --- what with the well-prepared Muslim militaries in their principalities.  

And so . . . well, why not attack the Jews, the vicious blood-be-on-them-forever killers of the Crusader's Savior?  A good-idea, no?  And far safer than fighting Muslim militaries in Iberia.  What followed were lots of merry wholesale slaughters of the Jews' communities in France and above all in the German-speaking areas of the Rhineland and Danube river-areas . . .  as the brave ready-to-fight-anyone Knights and the mob-trash Crusaders in their ranks marched toward Italy and other Mediterranean ports  to ships for the Holy Land.

2) SO MUCH FOR THE FIRST CRUSADE: THE NEXT JOYFUL KILL-THE-JEWS CRUSADES 

In the Second Crusade (1147) it was now the turn of the French Jews to be slaughtered.  The Third Crusade (1188) found the King of France (Philip Augustus) especially anxious to kill off even more Jews on his way to join Frederick I, the Holy Roman Emperor, and King Richard 1 (the Lionhearted), to save Christendom from the Muslims. The surviving Jews had something of a respite in those same countries until they were attacked by the so-called Shepherd's Crusades of 1251 and 1320.

 

TO BE CONTINUED AND ENDED IN PART 4 OF THIS SERIES