Deeds of the third year of the reign of Phillip Augustus, king of the Franks

15. In the year of the Lord's incarnation 1182, during the month of April which is called by the Jews Nisan, an edict came out from the most serene king Phillip Augustus that all Jews of his realm should prepare to leave by the feast of St. John the Baptist following. They were then given license by the king to sell all their household effects in the intervening time, that is before the feast of St. John's, with their possessions in the sense of houses, fields, vineyards, barns, (wine?)-presses and that kind of thing being reserved to himself and the future kings of the Franks. When they heard this, some of the perfidious Jews were reborn from the water with the Holy Spirit, and once converted to the Lord persevered in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. To these the king out of respect for the Christian religion restored and granted them in perpetual liberty all their possessions complete. Others blinded by their ancient error persisted in their perfidy and sought to entice the princes of the land, counts, barons, archbishops and bishops among them, with gifts and great promises, to see if they could by their advice and suggestions and the prom,ise of an infinite amount of money call the king's mind back from so firm a decision. But the compassionate and merciful Lord, who does not abandon those who place their hopes in Him and who humiliates those who presume upon his powers, so strengthened with the Holy Spirit the enlightened mind of the king, with an infusion of His grace, that neither prayers nor promises of temporal goods could soften it. I confess that one might appropriately adapt to this what we read concerning the Blessed Agatha: "Stones can more easily be softened, and iron converted to lead, than the mind of the most Christian king recalled from a divinely inspired decision" [Acta SS., 5 Febr., I. 615, col. 2. 4.].

On the princes' setback

16. When the infidel Jews saw that the princes, through whom they were accustomed to bend the will of other, previous kings easily to do their will, had suffered a setback, they wondered at king Phillip's magnanimity and firm constancy in the Lord. Stunned and almost stupefied by wonder, they cried out "Shema Yisrael", that is "Hear O Israel" and hurried to sell their furniture. For the time was approaching when they were bound by the king's command to get out of all France (de tota Francia), and this could on no grounds be put off longer. The Jews then had all they could do to fulfill the king's orders and sold off their movable property with amazing speed, for all their (landed) possessions devolved to the royal fisc. So having sold their things, the Jews had the expenses for the journey and left with their wives and sons and their whole following in the aforesaid year 1182, in the month of July, which the Jews call Tamuz, the third year of king Phillip Augustus' reign with the 17th year of his age having begun the previous August on the feast of St. Symphorian, the 11th kalends of September. And so the seventeenth year of the king's age ended the month following the Jews' expulsion, August. For they left in the month of July as said above, so only three weeks or twenty-one days remained to the end of the seventeenth year.

That Phillip the king "semper Augustus" had the Jews' synagogues dedicated to God as churches

17. Once the infidel Jews had been ejected and dispersed throughout the whole world, king Phillip "semper Augustus" quite aware of what he was doing completed with God's help the work begun in glory in even more glory. For he ordered that all the synagogues of the Jews be cleaned up and, against the will of all the princes, had the same synagogues dedicated to God as churches, with altars consecrated in them to the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the blessed mother of God and virgin Mary. These same "synagogues" were called schools by them, and the Jews gathered there daily for the sake of counterfeit prayer in the name of the fabricated religion, He decided after pious and honest consideration that, where the custom had been indeed, on the witness of Jerome on Isaiah, to blaspheme day in and day out against the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, God who alone performs great wonders should be praised by the clergy and the whole Christian people.

On the institution of prebends at Orleans

18. The knights of all France and the citizens and other burgesses, when they saw the king's miraculous works being done in their time by God's ordaining, and contemplated the native talent of the youthful king (adolescentem) and wondered at his works, they blessed God who gave such power to men. And if you pay careful attention, you will find in him those four glorious virtues which Moses said ought to be considered in the choice of a prince, power, fear of God, love of the truth and hatred of avarice [Ex., xviii. 21]. He is, I say saving peace of all [?], subtle in speech, just inhis judgements, acute in his answers, prudent in discussion, faithful to what he has done, strenuous in what must be done, vigorous against his enemies, kind to his subjects, outstanding in goodness and in every kind of moral worth. I summon in to illustrate all this (ad exemplum) the citizens of Orleans. Wishing to imitate their chief (caput), that is the king, they installed in the church which had previously been the synagogue of Orleans perpetual prebends to support oradained clergy in the celebration day and night of divine office for the king, for the whole Christian people, and for the condition (status) of the kingdom of the Franks. We have seen something similar done at Étampes in the church which used to be a synagogue. We learned from the "Deeds of the kings of the Franks" that such an ejection or expulsion of the Jews was done on another occasion ["Aimoin", IV. 22 = ? Aimoin de Fleury, Historia Francorum (c. 1004)].

The first expulsion of Jews which is placed last in this our history

19. For we have read in the "Deeds of the Franks" that, in the time of the most eloquent king of the Franks, Dagobert, Heraclius who then ruled over the empire of the Roman emperors was a man most wise on the liberal arts and especially in astronomy which flourished greatly at that time but was, as the number of the faithful increased, taken out from their midst and eliminated from (ab omni cetu) of the faithful as idolatry. This Heraclius wrote to Dagobert, most excellent king of the Franks, to expel (exterminaret) all the Jews from his realm, which was done. For the emperor had foreknowledge from signs in the stars which he had frequently studied that the empire of the Romans would be destroyed by the people of the circumcised. However what he interpreted of the Jews should certainly be differently understood through the Hagarene people whom we call Saracens, since his empire is known to have been taken and violently wasted by them later, and Methodius says that it will come again at the end of time (secundo futurum…in fine temporum). They are the Ismaelites who descended from Ishmael, and they are all circumcised, because we read that their father Ishmael, son of Abraham, was circumcised. For Methodius the martyr has left us a writing about them:- For it will be at the end of time, about the times of Antichrist, that they will leave once more and will obtain the earthly world for eight weeks of years (that is for 56 years). And on account of the pressures and tribulations which the Christians suffer, their journey will be called the narrow road (via angustie). They will kill the priests in the holy places and will sleep there with women and will tie up horses to the burial places of the saints, [Much of this seems to be cited from memory and so not verbatim from Methodius, Revelatio.] that is, they will stable them in churches next to the bodies of the holy martyrs, and this because of the wickedness of the Christians of that day. Josephus also said that the whole world would be their abode and also attest that the islands of the sea claim them. After this brief digression, we shall return if God wills it to deal with the deeds of the fourth year of the reign of Phillip Augustus king of the Franks.

 

[Oeuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton, ed. H. Francoise Delaborde, I (Libr. Renouard: Paris, 1882).
Translation © Paul R. Hyams 1998]