Ibn Warraq: Jews and the Crusades (Part 7)
Posted by Robert on February 3, 2013 10:06 AM
2.3 Narrative of the Massacres of 1096.
We now need to get to the narrative of the actual massacres. After the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095, various bands of undisciplined cruasaders descended on the towns of the Rhineland, led by individuals about whom, for the most part, we know little. One leader was Duke Emicho von Leiringen, a petty lord of the Rhineland, who was well aware of the possibilities of exploiting the religious fervor of the masses for his own profit. “He persuaded his followers to begin their Crusade on 3 May with an attack on the Jewish community at Spier [Speyer], close to his home. It was not a very impressive attack. The Bishop of Spier, whose sympathies were won by a handsome present, placed the Jews under his protection. Only twelve were taken by the Crusaders and slain after their refusal to embrace Christianity; and one Jewess committed suicide to preserve her virtue. The bishop saved the rest and even managed to capture several of the murderers, whose hands were cut off in punishment.” 
Emich and his troops arrived in Worms on 18 May. A rumour went round that the Jews had captured and drowned a Christian and then had used the water where his corpse was kept to poison the city wells. Emich and his men attacked the Jewish quarter and killed every Jew they captured. The bishop opened his palace to the fleeing Jews but Emich’s men broke in and slaughtered, on May 20, all the Jews, about five hundred. Our primary source, the Hebrew Chronicle of Solomon bar Simson, which dates from about 1140, calculates eight hundred as the total number slain over the two days. Here is Solomon bar Simson’s vivid, but horrific account : “On the twenty-third of Iyar  they attacked the community of Worms. The community was then divided into two groups; some remained in their homes and others fled to the local bishop seeking refuge. Those who remained in their homes were set upon by the steppe-wolves who pillaged men, women, and infants, children and old people. They pulled down the stairways and destroyed the houses, looting and plundering; and they took the Torah Scroll, trampled it in the mud, and tore and burned it. They enemy devoured the children of Israel with open maw.
“Seven days later, on the New Moon of Sivan -- the very day on which the Children of Israel arrived at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah -- those Jews who were still in the court of the bishop were subjected to great anguish. The enemy dealt them the same cruelty as the first group and put them to the sword. The Jews, inspired by the valor of their brethren, similarly chose to be slain in order to sanctify the Name before the eyes of all, and exposed their throats for their heads to be severed for the glory of the Creator. There were also those who took their own lives, thus fulfilling the verse: ‘The mother was dashed in pieces with her children’. [Hosea 10:14]
 Steven Runciman , op.cit.,p.139.
 Shlomo Eidelberg, (editor and translator). The Jews and the Crusades. The Hebrew Chronicles of the First and Second Crusades, New Jersey: KTAV Publishing house, Inc., 1996, p.23.
 Iyar (Hebrew: אִייָר or אִיָּר, Standard Iyyar Tiberian ʾIyyār; from Akkadian ayyaru, meaning "Rosette; blossom") is the eighth month of the civil year (which starts on 1 Tishrei) and the second month of the ecclesiastical year (which starts on 1 Nisan) on the Hebrew calendar. The name is Babylonian in origin. It is a spring month of 29 days. Iyar usually falls in April–June on the Gregorian calendar. [From Wikipedia]
To be continued.
Article printed from Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/02/ibn-warraq-jews-and-the-crusades-part-7.htmlURLs in this post: