Lonely Man of Cake

February 13, 2007

On Blood and Libels

Filed under: Academia,Diaspora,History,Judaism,Religion,Toaff — lonelymanofcake @ 11:22 am

The women there girded their loins with strength and slew their sons and their daughters and then themselves. Many men, too, plucked up courage and killed their wives, their sons, their infants. The tender and delicate mother slaughtered the babe she had played with, all of them, men and women arose and slaughtered one another…A father turning to his son or brother, a brother to his sister, a woman to her son or daughter neighbor to a neighbor or a friend, a groom to a bride, a fiancé to fiancee, would kill and would be killed, and blood touched blood. The blood of the men mingled with their wives, the blood of the fathers with their children’s, the blood of the brothers with the sisters, the blood of the teachers with their disciples, the blood of the grooms with their brides, the blood of the leaders with the cantors, the blood of the judges with their scribes, and the blood of infants and sucklings with their mothers.

This is Jewish-Ashkenazic literature; a Hebrew narrative composed in the aftermath of the Crusades of 1096.

We’ll discuss the historicity and implications of these passages for the Toaff controversy in a subsequent post.



  1. You refer to the “crusades of 1096” (plural) but actually The First Crusade (singular) got started in 1095 and culminated with the takeover of Jerusalem in July 1099. Since you are a student of history, best to stick to the right terminology.

    Comment by Jehuda — February 14, 2007 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  2. I guess you’re right, though the overarching “First Crusade” included the “Crusade of 1096”, which itself was comprised of a number of campaigns within Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Crusade,_1096).

    As for being a student of history, I professed in a previous comment that I’m not a medievalist; I just happen to take interest in certain episodes, the Crusade(s) among them. Whatever the case, the nominal issue is really peripheral to the whole Toaff controversy. We got bigger fish to fry.

    Comment by lonelymanofcake — February 14, 2007 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

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