Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Heritage Civilization and the Jews
About the Series Historical Timeline Resources Lesson Plans Episodes
sidecurve1 The Crucible of Europe
Interactive Presentation
Interactive Atlas
Historical Documents
Video Resources
  Jews Ordered To Wear Badges

In the 12th century Christians began to regain control of Spain, and a large numbers of Jews came under the rule of Christian kings.

In the 1260s, during the reign of Alfonso X of Castile and Léon (1221-1284), a legal code was written known as the Siete Partidas, designed to regulate relations between Christians and Jews. Although not fully enforced until after 1348, this code, a passage of which appears here, required Jews to wear distinctive badges. The practice eventually spread through most of Europe.

Many errors and offensive acts occur between Christian men and Jewish women and between Christian women and Jewish men as a consequence of their living together in cities and dressing alike. In order to obviate the errors and evils that might result from this situation, we consider it proper and decree that all Jewish men and women living in our kingdom wear some sort of mark upon their heads so that all may clearly discern who is a Jew or a Jewess. And if a Jew is discovered not wearing a mark, we order that he pay ten gold maravedis for each such infraction. And if he cannot pay the fine, he shall publicly receive ten lashes.