Expelled from France
In 1181, one
year after coming to power at age fifteen, King Philip Augustus
(Philip II) of France imprisoned the wealthiest Jews of Paris and
released them only when paid a huge ransom. The following year he
expelled all Jews from his domains and confiscated their property.
This document is a contemporary account of his actions.
in the midst of a war against Richard the Lion-Heart, and finding
himself in need of funds, Philip once again allowed Jews to settle
in his kingdom, but he extorted from them all the money he could.
In the year of our Lord's incarnation 1182, in the month
of April, which is called by the Jews Nisan, an edict went
forth from the most serene king, Philip Augustus, that all
the Jews of his kingdom should be prepared to go forth by
the coming Feast of Saint John the Baptist [June 24]. And
then the king gave them leave to sell each his movable goods
before the time fixed, that is, the Feast of Saint John
the Baptist. But their real estate, that is house, fields,
vineyards, barns, wine presses, and such like, he reserved
for himself and his successors, the kings of France.
When the faithless Jews heard this edict, some of them were
born again of water and the Holy Spirit and converted to
the Lord . . . Others were blinded by their ancient error
and persisted in their perfidy. They sought to win with
gifts and golden promises the great of the land, counts,
barons, archbishops, bishops, that through their influence
and advice, and through the promise of infinite wealth,
they might turn the king's mind from his firm intention.