Tamquam domino proprio: Contesting Ecclesiastical Lordship over Jews in Thirteenth-Century Castile

in Medieval Encounters
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Bishoprics and monasteries in many parts of Western Christendom possessed various combinations of jurisdictional and fiscal rights over Jewish communities. Prelates placed high value on their rights as the Jews’ temporal lords for the same reason secular rulers did: having Jews under one’s protection brought substantial benefits. Yet, with the growth of lay institutions—royal as well as communal—many of these prelates found their jurisdictional rights disputed by secular powers eager to wrest control over Jewish communities from the church. Anchoring the argument in two case studies from Northern Spain (Sahagun and Palencia, in Castile), the present study suggests that of far greater concern to local ecclesiastical leadership than any ideological program directed at the Jews was the growing competition for Jewish services and revenues between church authorities, royal governments, and municipal councils.

Tamquam domino proprio: Contesting Ecclesiastical Lordship over Jews in Thirteenth-Century Castile

in Medieval Encounters



  • 2

    Jeremy CohenThe Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press1982); Robert Chazan Daggers of Faith: Thirteenth-Century Christian Missionizing and Jewish Response (Berkeley CA: University of California Press 1989) and Barcelona and Beyond: The Disputation of 1263 and Its Aftermath (Berkeley CA: University of California Press 1992).

  • 4

    GrayzelThe Church and the Jews104-105.

  • 6

    Gavin Langmuir“Tanquam Servi’: The Change in Jewish Status in French Law about 1200,” Toward a Definition of Antisemitism (Berkeley CA: University of California Press 1990) 167-194; David Abulafia “ ‘Nam iudei servi regis sunt et semper fisco regio deputati’ see David Abulafia The Jews in the Municipal Fuero of Teruel (1176-1177)” in Jews Muslims and Christians In and Around the Crown of Aragon essays in Honour of Professor Elena Lourie ed. Harvey J. Hames (Leiden: Brill 2004) 97-123.

  • 7

    William Chester Jordan“Jews, Regalian Rights, and the Constitution in Medieval France,” AJS Review 23 no. 1 (1998) 1-16.

  • 8

    SimonsohnThe Apostolic See and the Jews402-461.

  • 9

    Robert ChazanChurch State and Jew in the Middle Ages (West Orange, NJ: Behrman House1980) 57-59; Werner Transier “Speyer: The Jewish Community in the Middle Ages” in The Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages (Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries). Proceedings of the International Symposium Held at Speyer 20-25 October 2002 ed. Christoph Cluse (Turnhout: Brepols 2004) 426.

  • 10

    ChazanChurch State and Jew61-62.

  • 12

    ChazanChurch State and Jew64; Kenneth Stow Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press 1992) 275.

  • 14

    Louis Stouff“Chrétiens et juifs dans l’Arles du bas Moyen Âge: leurs relations,” in Les Sociétés urbaines en France méridionale et en péninsule ibérique au Moyen Age: actes du colloque de Pau21-23 septembre 1988 (Paris: CNRS1991) 520.

  • 17

    Jordan“Jews Regalian Rights and the Constitution” 2-7; The French Monarchy and the Jews: From Philip Augustus to the Last Capetians (Philadelphia PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 1989). Jordan mentions the rights possessed by the monks of Saint-Florentin over the Jews at Bonneval near Chartres (The French Monarchy 162). See also Esther Benbassa and M.B. DeBevoise The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1999) 13: “Jews were . . . subject to ecclesiastical lords in Picardy and Champagne.” The archbishop of Sens claimed jurisdictional rights over Jews which became the subject of a dispute with the countess of Champagne. See Simonsohn The Apostolic See and the Jews 106-107.

  • 18

    JordanThe French Monarchy34 6.

  • 19

    A. Graboïs“L’Abbaye de Saint-Denis et les Juifs sous l’abbatiat de Suger,” Annales: Économies sociétés. Civilizations 24 (1969) 1187-1195.

  • 20

    Robert Stacey“Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century England: Some Dynamics of a Changing Relationship,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europeed. Michael Signer and John Van Engen (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press2001) 348. See also Robin Mundill The King’s Jews: Money Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England (London: Continuum 2010) 1-20.

  • 21

    Bruce O’BrienGod’s Peace and King’s Peace: The Laws of Edward the Confessor (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press1999) 184-185 197 248 (no. 203).

  • 22

    Stacey“Jews and Christians” 350.

  • 25

    David Abulafia“The Jews in the Municipal Fuero of Teruel” 98-99.

  • 27

    Manuel González Jiménez“Frontier and Settlement in the Kingdom of Castile (1085-1350),” in Medieval Frontier Societiesed. Robert Bartlett and Angus MacKay (Oxford: Clarendon Press1989) 52-54; Jean Gautier-Dalché Historia urbana de León y Castilla en la edad media (Madrid: Siglo XXI de España Editores 1979) 31-33. On the distinctions between Old Castile (or la Tierra de las Merindades) and las Comunidades de Villa y Tierra see Gonzalo Martínez Díez Las comunidades de villa y tierra de la Extremadura castellana (Madrid: Editora Nacional 1983) 9-22. On the thirteenth-century repartimientos see Thomas F. Glick “Reading the Repartimientos: Modeling Settlement in the Wake of Conquest” in Christians Muslims and Jews in Medieval and Early Modern Spain: Interaction and Cultural Change ed. Mark Meyerson and Edward English (Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press 2000) 20-39. On the Jews’ participation in repartimientos see Ray The Sephardic Frontier 20-22.

  • 30

    James F. Powers“The Early Reconquest Episcopate at Cuenca, 1177-1284,” The Catholic Historical Review 87 no. 1 (January 2001) 1-16 at 5 8.

  • 31

    Teofilo RuizCrisis and Continuity: Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press1994) 177; Gautier-Dalché Historia urbana 33.

  • 33

    Gautier-DalchéHistoria urbana214-221; José M. Fernández del Pozo “Razones económicas de un conflicto en el Camino de Santiago” in El Camino de Santiago: la hospitalidad monástica y las peregrinaciones ed. Horacio Santiago-Otero (Junta de Castilla y León 1992) 211-216. Bisson rejects the labeling of the revolts between 1111 and 1117 in Sahagún as “communal” and “anti-feudal” and sees the “growing pains” of a society dealing with the rise of new lordships as the root cause of this conflict and other crises in twelfth-century Europe. See Thomas Bisson The Crisis of the Twelfth Century: Power Lordship and the Origins of European Government (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 2009) 243-259.

  • 34

    Gautier-DalchéHistoria urbana242.

  • 36

    Gautier-DalchéHistoria urbana242.

  • 44

    BaerDie Juden4; José Amador de los Ríos Historia social política y religiosa de los judíos de España y Portugal (Madrid: Aguilar 1960) 99-100.

  • 46

    León TelloJudíos de Ávila6. At least such was the claim put forward by the monastery in 1311 and validated by Fernando IV a year later. In 1311 the monastery petitioned Infante Pedro the king’s brother complaining that it was being denied some of its privileges including 1/10 of the Jews’ pechos. Infante sided with the monastery as did Fernando IV. Madrid AHN Clero Palencia Aguilar de Campóo carp. 1666 No. 18 (deteriorated) and No. 19 (“. . . Por que uos mando acada unos de uos que ffagades al aljama delos judios de y de Aguilar que dan cada anno al abbat e al conuento ssobredicho de y de Aguilar todo el diezmo delos dineros del pecho [torn] an a dar bien e cumplidamientre en guisa queles non mengue ende ninguna cosa segunt sse contienen en las dichas [torn] assi commo el infante don Pedro mio hermano manda quelos dades por sus cartas. . . .”) See also Luciano Huidobro y Serna and Francisco Cantera “Los judíos en Aguilar de Campóo” Sefarad 14 (1954) 337; Baer Die Juden 117; León Tello Los judíos de Palencia 107-108.

  • 47

    José Manuel Nieto SoriaIglesia y poder real en Castilla: el episcopado (1250-1350) (Madrid: Universidad Complutense1988) 100.

  • 50

    Jordan“Jews Regalian Rights and the Constitution in Medieval France” 5-8.

  • 51

    Cf. Ray“The Jews Between Church and State” 165.

  • 52

    JordanThe French Monarchy and the Jews132-133.

  • 53

    Chazan“Anti-Usury Efforts” 57. Salo Baron mentions jurisdictional disputes between the French kings and local bishops in Béziers (1230 1278) and Carcassonne (1284). See Baron A Social and Religious History 10:84.

  • 54

    Alexander Patschovsky“The Relationship between the Jews of Germany and the King (11th-14th centuries): A European Comparison,” in England and Germany in the Middle Agesed. Alfred Haverkamp and Hanna Vollrath (Oxford: Oxford University Press1996) 201.

  • 55

    SimonsohnThe Apostolic See and the Jews105.

  • 56

    Charles Petit DutaillisThe French Communes in the Middle Ages (Amsterdam: North-Holland1978) 51.

  • 57

    SimonsohnThe Apostolic See and the Jews108; Baron A Social and Religious History 10:85.

  • 58

    Schmandt“Cologne” 371.

  • 59

    Transier“Speyer” 441; Bönnen “Worms” 453-454.

  • 61

    Ray“The Jews Between Church and State” 159-161; Peter Linehan The Spanish Church and the Papacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1971) 154-161; Joseph O’Callaghan Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain (Philadelphia PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 2003) 161.

  • 64

    Joseph O’CallaghanThe Learned King: The Reign of Alfonso X of Castile (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press1993) 205. Nieto Soria also notes the drop in royal subsidies to the Church in the latter part of Alfonso X’s reign; the leveling off of donations during the reigns of Sancho IV and Fernando IV and their virtual absence under Alfonso XI. See his Iglesia y poder real in Castilla 100-101.

  • 65

    In 1285Sancho confirmed the Las Huelgas monastery’s jurisdiction over the Jews settled in Dueñas. DMHB Vol. IV (1284-1306) (Burgos 1987) 67-70; as well as Alfonso X’s 1270 donation to Las Huelgas of the seven Jews of Briviesca. DMHB Vol. IV 70-72.

  • 68

    BaerDie Juden74-76. José Manuel Nieto Soria “Los judíos como conflicto jurisdiccional entre monarquia e iglesia en la Castilla de fines del siglo XIII: su casuistica” in Encuentro de las tres culturas: Actas del II Congreso internacional 3-6 Octobre 1983 (Toledo: Ayuntamiento de Toledo 1985) 247.

  • 76

    Evelio Martínez LiébanaEl dominio señorial del monasterio de San Benito de Sahagún en la baja edad media (siglos XIII-XV) (Ph.D. Dissertation: Universidad Complutense de Madrid1990) 611-617; Augusto Quintana Prieto “Guillermo de Taillante abad de Sahagún y cardinal de la iglesia romana” Anthologica annua 26 (1979) esp. pp. 15-30. The main source on the history of San Benito de Sahagún is a two-part chronicle written by the monks of Sahagún Crónicas anónimas de Sahagún recently edited and published by Antonio Ubierto Arteta (Zaragoza 1987). There is also Romualdo Escalona’s eighteenth-century Historia del Real Monasterio de Sahagún (Madrid 1782).

  • 78

    Justiniano Rodríguez“Judería de Sahagún,” Archivos Leoneses 7/14 (1953) esp. pp. 40-49.

  • 83

    See Galo Sanchez ed.Libro de los fueros de Castiella (Barcelona: Ediciones El Albir1981) 113-114.

  • 86

    Francisco HernándezLas rentas del rey140. See also Carlos Carrete Parrondo “El repartimiento de Huete de 1290” Sefarad 36 (1976) 130.

  • 93

    Emiliano Gonzalez Diez“Formacion y desarrollo del dominio señorial de la iglesia Palentina (1035-1351),” in Actas del I Congreso de historia de Palencia. Vol. II: Fuentes documentales y Edad Media (Palencia: Excma. Diputación Provincial de Palencia1985) 303-304; Gautier-Dalché Historia urbana 285-287.

  • 94

    Nieto SoriaIglesia y poder real en Castilla176-177.

  • 98

    Esteban RecioPalencia a Fines de la Edad Media158.

  • 101

    Esteban RecioPalencia a Fines de la Edad Media160-161.

  • 104

    Esteban RecioPalencia a Fines de la Edad Media161.

  • 107

    Esteban RecioPalencia a fines de la Edad Media162.

  • 109

    Nieto SoriaIglesia y poder real en Castilla179-180.

  • 111

    Esteban RecioPalencia a Fines de la Edad Media163-164.

  • 114

    Amador de los RíosHistoria de los judíos de España y Portugal295. His claim is probably based on an erroneous interpretation of one sentence in Fernando IV’s August 1296 letter to the bishop: “. . . Otorgo que por los priuilegios que yo di al concejo de Palencia et las mercedes queles fiz en razon delos judios et del perdonamiento dela Torre del Obispo que fue de maestre Andres que ellos quemaron et delos omnes del Obispo que y mataron . . .” (emphasis added). The letter refers to the members of the council not to the Jews. Palencia ACP No. 339.

  • 116

    BissonThe Crisis of the Twelfth Century5.


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