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"They Grew So Rich"

The following passage is taken from the Gesta Philippi Augusti, a contemporary Latin history of the reign of Philip Augustus (1180-1223) by a monk named Ricord.

The wealth and importance of the Jews in Paris is described in this passage, but their affluence gave them only limited political influence. The Jews formed a small, privileged, but politically vulnerable portion of medieval society.





At this time a great multitude of Jews had been dwelling in France for a long time past, for they had flocked there from diverse parts of the world, because peace abode among the French, and liberality. The Jews had heard how the kings of the French were prompt to act against their enemies and were very merciful toward their subjects. And therefore their elders and men wise in the law of Moses, who were called by the Jews didascali, made resolve to come to Paris.

When they had made a long sojourn there, they grew so rich that they claimed as their own almost half of the whole city , and had Christians in their houses as menservants and maidservants who were open 1">backsliders from the faith of Jesus Christ and judaized with the Jews . . .