Jews and Christians in Teruel: The Fuero of Teruel, 1176 CE
The Fuero of Teruel was an urban charter granted to the city of Teruel in
1176 by Alfonso II of Aragon. It and the roughly contemporary and very similar Fuero
of Cuenca were much copied and thus had an impact far beyond the bounds of a single
The following is a small selection of the articles of the Fuero of Teruel dealing
with Jews (themselves a small subset of the Fuero).
85: Of the corredores of the council: It should also be known that the judge and
the alcaldes must appoint public brokers (corredores) to sell things. The sellers
and the brokers shall swear that they will be honest in all things, alike for poor as for
rich, whether they be Christians or Jews or even Moors.
319: Of the public bath: Following this are provisions about the public bath.
The [male] bathers may go to the communal bath on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturdays,
according to the law. Women may go to the bath on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jews and Moors
may go on Fridays, and on no other day by any means. . . . Moreover, if the Jews or Moors
bath on some other day than Fridays, each of the bathers shall pay a fine of 30 sueldos to
the judge and the alcaldes and the almotacaf by thirds with the plaintiff, if it should be
proven according to law. Moreover, if a man enters the bath or any bath house on the
women's days, he shall pay a fine of 30 sueldos, if it should be proven. If not, he shall
swear that he was accused falsely and be believed. Moreover, if a woman enter on the men's
days, as was said, she shall pay 30 sueldos [as was specified above]. . .
539: Of cases between Christians and Jews: Also, we order that if a Christian
and a Jew shall come to court over some matter, they shall appoint two citizens as judges,
of whom one should be a Christian and the other a Jew, as the law orders. And if it should
happen that their judgment does not please either of the two disputants, it shall be
appealed to four judges who are citizens of Teruel, of whom two shall be Christians and
the other two shall be Jews, and the case shall finish with those four judges, according
to the law. Whoever shall appeal [the judgment of] these four judges should know that he
will lose the case, as the law states. These judges shall examine and shall judge them
only in accord with that which the Fuero orders in Teruel. . .
540: Of the witnesses between Christian and Jew: But the witnesses between a
Christian and a Jew shall be a Christian and a Jewish citizen, and anything which may be
denied shall be believed and confirmed on the basis of their testimony. . . .
552: Of court cases between Jews and Christians: Court cases between Jews and
Christians shall take place at the gate of the Alcaceria [market, containing stores
belonging to the king and rented by Jewish merchants] and not in front of the synagogue.
The hour of the court hearing shall be after the morning mass is said in the Church of
Santa Maria until the third [hour]. When the third [hour] has sounded, the court will be
closed. And whoever does not wish to come to judgment shall lose his case.
555: Of agreements between Christians and Jews: Moreover, any agreement
made by a Christian and a Jew before witnesses shall be established and secure, except
agreements about interest. For interest may not increase [the debt] to more than twice
[the principal] in a year. According to this ratio, the Jew may demand a month's interest,
or any other period, whether short or long, during which the money is loaned at interest.
Once the loan has doubled, it may earn no more interest.
561: Of when there may be lawsuits between a Christian and a Jew: When the
Christians want to have lawsuits, and the Jews likewise, they shall have them according to
the law of Teruel, except for the Sabbath and their festivals, according to the law.
562: That in Teruel, only a Jew and a Christian [together] can testify
against a Jew: However, it should be known that in Teruel, only a Jewish and a Christian
citizen who are in this city can testify against a Jew. Moreover, only a Jewish and a
Christian citizen can testify against a Christian citizen, as was stated above. But the
witnesses for the Jew and the Christian need not respond to challenge [to judicial combat]
in any way.
568: Of a Jew, who has no share in his compensation for injury (caloña):
But it should be known that the Jew does not have any part of his caloña, whether
for injury or death, for it is entirely the Lord King's. For the Jews are siervos [serfs
or slaves] of the Lord King and always assigned to the royal treasury. . . .
© Translated here by Elka Klein from El Fuero de Teruel, ed. Max Gorosch
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Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and
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© Paul Halsall, September 1999