Kingdom of Hungary Early Medieval

Jews migrate to Hungary
1096 Oct 1

Jews migrate to Hungary


The contemporaneous Cosmas of Prague wrote that "some of the Jews" who had been persecuted by the crusaders in Bohemia arrived in Hungary and "secretly took their wealth away with them". Although Cosmas does not specify their number, László Mezey and other historians say that the Jews represented a large influx. Coloman issued a number of decrees and separate statutes—Capitula de Iudeis—regulating the position of Jews in Hungary. For instance, he forbade them from holding Christian slaves and residing "outside episcopal sees". Historian Nora Berend writes that the "defence of purity of Christians by interdictions against mingling with Jews plays a very minor role" in Coloman's legislation in comparison with late 12th-century canon law. Whereas he did not try to convert the Jews, he issued decrees aimed at the conversion of his Muslim subjects. For instance, he prescribed that if a Muslim "has a guest, or anyone invited to dinner, both he and his table companions shall eat only pork for meat" in order to prevent Muslims from observing their dietary laws.