By Yitzhak Baer
Original yr of publication: 1961
One of the century's nice classics of Jewish historiography, A heritage of the Jews in Christian Spain lines the commercial, social, criminal, and political lifetime of the Spanish Jewish neighborhood from the eleventh-century re-conquest of Iberia from Muslim rule to the expulsion of 1492. The drama of the Spanish Jewry's upward push and fall has made that neighborhood the phenomenal representation of the fight of Jews to keep up themselves as an identifiable staff inside Christian society. the most startling points of this quantity is its description of the cultural lifetime of the Spanish Jews and the way it used to be transformed through the affects exerted upon it by means of the tradition of our surroundings. this primary quantity of the two-volume set takes the tale all the way down to the center of the 13th century in Castile.
About the Author
Professor Yitzhak (Fritz) Baer spent a long time discovering within the Spanish documents. He released hundreds of thousands of files referring to the main points of Jewish lifestyles within the Iberian Peninsula and at the dating of the Jews to their Christian rulers and friends. Later, after settling in what's now Israel as Professor of background on the Hebrew college, he wrote his precis of the interval, that's now made to be had in translation from the Hebrew.
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Additional info for A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, Volume I: from the Age of Reconquest to the Fourteenth Century
Their victorious march was twice halted by a counterattack of Mohammedan tribes—the Almoravides in the eighties of the eleventh century, and the Almohades in the forties of the twelfth—who crossed over from North Africa and forced political unity and religious fanaticism upon the Arabs of Andalusia. The Almohades succeeded in completely stopping the Christian advance, which was not resumed until the early part of the thirteenth century. But the map of Spain had already undergone some fundamental changes during the first two or three generations of the struggle.
They themselves formed only a thin ruling stratum. The Mozarabic Christians retained their language and customs, and their influence gave Arabic culture in Spain its individual character. The Christians and Jews who remained loyal to their faith enjoyed national and religious autonomy. Jews and Christians filled various offices at the court of the caliph and in the state administration, as they did in the caliphate of Bagdad. The Mohammedan rulers needed Jewish and Christian officials, since the Moslem tribesmen proved neither qualified nor trustworthy.
In Najera a royal privilege of the early eleventh century set the wergild of a Jew at no higher than that of a knight (infanzon) or a priest. Other localities received similar privileges. Upon the death of King Sancho the Great, in 1035, the inhabitants of Castrojeriz overran the royal mansion in the nearby town of Mercatello, in the vicinity of Burgos, and killed four officials of the crown and sixty Jews, destroying the Jewish settlement in the vicinity of the royal palace. The other residents of the place were not harmed, but were merely compelled to move to Castrojeriz.