Primary Texts on History of Relations

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HENRY IV, HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR, "Settlement Charter in the German States" (February 19, 1090)

[From Alexis Rubin, Scattered Among the Nations, pp. 31-33.]

In the name of the Holy and undivided Trinity, Henry, by divine mercy third august emperor of the Romans, to all the bishops, abbots, dukes, counts, and all subjects of the laws of our kingdom:

Let it be known that certain Jews, Judah b. Kalonymus, David b. Meshullam, Moses b. Yekutiel, and their associated, came before us at Speyer and requested that we take and hold them under our protection, along with their descendants and all those who seem to hope for security through them. May all our faithful know that this has been done. Therefore through the intervention and petition of Huozmann, bishop of Speyer, we have ordered that this authoritative writ of ours be granted and given to them. Hence by the royal declaration of our majesty, we order and command that:

  1. Henceforth no one who is invested in our kingdom with any dignity or power, neither small nor great, neither free man nor serf, shall presume to attack or assail them on any illicit grounds.

  2. Nor shall anyone dare to take from them any of their property, which they possess by hereditary right, whether in land or in houses or in gardens or in vineyards or in fields or in slaves or in other property both movable and immovable. If indeed anyone shall perpetrate violence against them in disregard of this edict, he shall be forced to pay to the treasury of the bishop one pound of gold; also he shall repay doubly the item which he took from them.

  3. They may have the free right to exchange their goods in just trading with all men and to travel freely and peacefully within the bounds of our kingdom in order to carry on their business and trade, to buy, and to sell. No one may exact from them tolls or demand any public or private levy.

  4. Guests are not to be lodged in their homes without their consent. No one may requisition from them a horse for a royal or episcopal journey or for the service of a royal expedition.

  5. If a stolen item be found in their possession and if the Jew claims that he bought it, he shall substantiate by an oath according to his law how much he paid and how much he would accept, and in that way he shall return the item to him to whom it belonged.

  6. No one shall presume to baptize their sons or daughters against their will. If anyone baptize them against their will or when they have been carried off by stealth or seized forcibly, he shall pay twelve pounds to the royal or episcopal treasury. If certain of them wish freely to be baptized, they shall be held three days, so that it be clearly known if indeed they repudiate their law because of Christian faith or by virtue of some injury which they have suffered. Just as they leave behind their ancestral law, so also are they to leave behind their possessions.

  7. No one shall divert their pagan slaves from their service, baptizing them under the pretext of Christian faith. If anyone does this, he shall pay a ban, i.e., three pounds of silver, enforced by the judicial authority. Moreover he shall return the slave to his master without delay. The slave must abide by all the commands of his master, except for the observance of the Christian faith, with whose sacraments he has been imbued.

  8. It is permissible to have Christians do their work, except on festivals and Sundays.

  9. It is not, however, permissible for them to buy a Christian slave.

  10. If a Christian has a dispute or contention against a Jew concerning any matter or vice versa, each may carry out justice and prove his case according to his law.

  11. No one may force a Jew to judgment by hot irons or boiling water or frigid water or turn them over for stripes or place them in prison. Rather he shall swear by his law after forty days. Nor may he be convicted by any witnesses on any issue. Anyone who wishes so to force them against this edict shall be forced to pay a ban, i.e., three pounds of silver.

  12. If anyone shall wound a Jew, but not mortally, he shall pay one pound of gold. If it be a slave that killed or wounded him, his master shall both pay the impost stipulated and shall hand over the slave for punishment. If, suffering from indigence, he be unable to pay the prescribed amount, the same penalty will be levied by means of which the assassin of the Jew Vivus was punished at the time of Emperor Henry my father, viz., his eyes will be put out and his right hand cut off.

  13. If the Jews have a dispute or a case among themselves to be decided, they shall be judged and convicted by their peers and by none other. If any wicked one among them wishes to hide the truth of an internal affair, he shall be forced, according to their law, by him who stands in charge of the synagogue by appointment of the bishop to confess the truth of the matter in question. If difficult issues or disputes are raised among them or against them, they shall be referred to the presence of the bishop-their peace being preserved in the meantime-so that they might be settled by his judgment.

  14. Moreover, they may have the right to sell their wine and their dyes and their medicines to Christians. As we have stated, no one shall demand from them a money levy or transport services or any exaction public or private.

In order that the authority of this concession remain inviolate for all times, we have ordered that this charter be written and sealed with the impression of our seal.