Communities of Violence: Persecution of the Minorities in the Middle Ages by David Nirenberg

Decent Essays

The book, communities of violence: Persecution of the minorities in the middle ages, written by David Nirenberg, examines violence between the Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Lepers, primarily in the Crown of Aragon. Nirenberg focuses on the history during narrow time period of the first half of the 14th century. Through analyzing the history during this period, Nirenberg makes the argument that persecution of minority groups were politically or economically motivated and not completely driven by hatred or prejudices. David Nirenberg talks about two types of violence, “cataclysmic violence” and “systematic violence”. The first part of the book discusses “cataclysmic” violence, while the second part of the book focuses on “systematic violence.” During 1320-1321, as a result of the Shepherd’s crusade, Jews and Lepers experienced strong violence in France. Also, the Lepers were accused of poisoning the wells with a substance that would transmit the leper’s disease to non-lepers as well. These accusations brought more violence and deaths toward the Leper population. Furthermore, some Jews were accused of poisoning the wells as well; therefore they experienced greater violence and attacks from the shepherds. David Nirenberg has an interesting theory as to why the Jews and Lepers experienced this violence. He acknowledges that prejudice and hatred did play a role in these violent attacks, but they did not explain the whole story behind these attacks. He believes that politics

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