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Pope Innocent III:
The Keeping of Slaves by the Jews, 1204


Despite the opposition of the Church, the Jews, under the protection of western monarchs, still possessed Christian serfs in the thirteenth century.

Letter of the Pope to King Philip Augustus of France:

Moreover, although it has been decreed by the Lateran Council that Jews should not be allowed to have Christian slaves in their houses, either under pretext of nursing their children, or as servants, or for any other reason whatsoever, but that those who presume to live with them should be excommunicated, yet they do not hesitate to have Christian servants and nurses, upon whom they sometimes practice abominations such as it rather becomes you to punish than us to point out.


Source:

J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, (Paris, 1855), Vol. CCXV, pp. 501-503; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 301-302.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@fordham.edu