Imagens das páginas

was no less famed For his high learning, and his large treatise on the precepts of the law under the title of Shealtotb, or Questions: but having unfortunately quarrelled with Samuel, the then chief or prince of the captivity, he had the double mortification to fee himself excluded from the title of Gaon; and soon after, upon the death of that chief, to see his own servant Nithronius raised to that dignity. Acha, unable to brook the affront, went and died in Judea, and left Nithronius to enjoy his principality; which he did during the space of thirteen years b (P). About this time the Jews of Per- A.C. 760 fia and Arabia had also the'mortification to fee an edict pub- Jaaffar\j lislied against them by the Imam Jaaffar, surnamed Zadic, edia aor the Just; by which those, who turned Moslems, be-gainst the came sole heirs of their whole family: and this induced great Jews, numbers of Jewish and other children to apostatize, in order to get possession of such estates, as they could otherwise have no title toc.

ALMANZOR was succeeded by Al Mohdi f, in whose A.C.770, reign appeared the infamous Hakem, or, as the Arabian histo- Mohdi rian calls him d, Almakancus, an impiou6 impostor, whom some Khalif. have supposed to have been a Jew, but without any foundation; for which reason we should hardly have mentioned him, but that he had, in spite of his impious tenets, some of them which seemed to be of Jewish extract, and found means

* Gantz Tzemach, p. 124, & seq. c Abulfarag. ubi sup. d'Herbelot. Bib. Orient, t See vol. ii. p. 305. d Ibid, p. 146.

Judah, the Soran professor, epi- good grounds ; since he became

tomized it; and gave it the ti- the reviver and chief of the Sad

tie of Helcotb Peffiicboth, or De- ducean sect, which was thought

cided Lectures (30). Howe- to<have been long since buried

ver, Keiara had the surname of under the ruins of Jerusalem.

Great Light, as well as R. Marl, But it took, it seems, not only

his cotemporary, that of Meor new Jife, but new vigour under

Henaim, the Light of the Eyes, that chief, and became formi

on account of their having lost dable to that of the Pharisees

their sight. (31). Those critics, who have

(P) About this time flourish- stiled Anatius the founder of the

ed the famed R. Ananus, who Carditic sect, are certainly mis

was likewise excluded the title taken, since, as we have seen in

of Gaon, though a man of great both parts of the Jetvijb histo

lcarning, on account of some ry, they were of much oldee.

material error they suspected in' date, his doctrine, and not without

\ys\ Dt bit-vid Bartolot, Biblitt. rabbin. & W»lf, Bibliot. Heir, (ji) U. Hid. CaUta •Tzcmacb David, f. 115, Q sej.


to draw a great number of disciples after him, by some seeming prodigies with which he amused them. But Mohdi sent some forces against him, which so closely besieged him in one of his fortnesles, that he first poisoned all his disciples, and then flung himself into the fire, according to the last mentioned author; or, according to others, into a vessel of Aquafortis, Aaron which consumed all but his hair. Al Mohdi was succeeded by Khalif, his brother Aaron, surnamed the Just, and a great lover of A.C. 786. learned men; and so considerable a prince, that Charlemagne sent him an embassy, consisting of the two counts, Sigifmond and Laufred, and Isaac, a Jew, who was to be the chief manager of that commission. Audiors vary about the purport and success of ite; which being foreign to our present purpose, we shall refer to the history of those two monarchs; and only observe, that Isaac was made choice of by that emperor, on account of the credit which the Jews were in at the Khalif's court. However, as he loved to encourage learned men, without any partial regard to their religion f, and seldom travelled without having an hundred of them in his retinue, the Jews endeavoured to ingratiate themselves with him chiefly by that means, that is, by silling their academies with the most celebrated professors. Amin He was succeeded by his son Amin Al Mufa Al Hadi, or,

.Khalif, as Ehnakin calls him, Abumufa, about the beginning of the 9th A.C. 808. century f; but this proved so weak a prince, and so addicted to his pleasures, that his brother Mamun soon found an opportunity to dethrone him; and being a great encourager of learning, caused all the best Jewish books to be translated into Arabic. This step was not at all relished by his subjects, who were ready to revolt upon it; but that never hindered him from distinguishing learned men of all nations; among whom was a celebrated Jewish astronomer, who had been in high repute A.C. 831. ever-fince the khalifat of Almanzor ; but was now esteemed at this court as a phenix of learning; and as such, highly beloved by Mamun; during whose reign the Jewish academies of Sora and Pimdebita swarmed with men of letters ( Q_J.


e De hac vid. Du, hist, deFrance, lib. iv. AvenTin. Annal. Bojor. 1, iv. f Sakcalens. de gest. Carol. Magn. lib. ii. Eiginard, vit. Car. Magn. p. 7, & al. •}• See vol. ii. p. 390.

{QJ Rabbi Gantz hath given then flourished at those two acaus a long catalogue of the Gaoni, demies (32); but, as it consists and other learned 'Jews, that chiefly of their names, it were

{3:) Gatitx Tiumutb David, f. 12;, &fij.

•f It was about this time also, that the famed impostor Moojsa} or Moses, the son of Amran, as he called himself, began to appear, and pretended to be that great lawgiver of the Jews newly risen from the dead.

M A MUN was succeeded by his brother Al Motasem, p. , who, among other of his victories, defeated a famed impos- under\i/~ tor named Babeck, who cried down all other religions but theck his own, which chiefly consisted in pleasure and jollity; and A.C. 844. was become so powerful, that he waged war against Jews, Christians, and Moslems; and was with difficulty overcome by the united forces of that Khalif. His successor, named Al Wathek, and, by some, Wathek-Billah *, became a bitter enemy to the Jews on two accounts: 1st, Because they had been guilty of some great frauds in the management of the finances, which had been committed to their care in his predecessor's reign. And, 2d, Because they would not receive the Koran; for which they were heavily taxed, and forced to pay very large fines into his treasury. Motavel, or Mot awake I, who sue- UnderMo* ceeded him, proved still more severe against them; and not only tavel, obliged them to wear a leathern girdle by way of distinction, A.C. 846. and, on the same account, forbad them to ride on any but asses or mules, and the use of iron stirrups, but he also stripped them of all their honours, titles, and places; which shews, that they had enjoyed some considerable ones in former reigns g. And what was still worse, his edict spread itself not only through his empire, but into the neighbouring states; and this mark of infamy hath, more or less, subsisted ever-since in ■ those countries that are under the Turks (R); and we may


* De hoc vid. vol. ii. p. 412, & seq.. & p. 424. s D'he.rBelot, Bibl. Orient, p. 640.

of little use to insert them. He carried the election; so that this

tells us however, of a disaster family filled both chairs for a

that happened at that of Sora, considerable time, and with great

about the beginning of the ninth credit. The father and the son,

century; >vjz, its being two the uncle and the nephew, were

whole years without a professor; chiefs of both academies. But,

which was not so much owing upon their demise, the great

to the want of encouragement, prosperity they enjoyed, soon

as to the divisions and feuds that made them fall into their old

then reigned among those doc- dissensions, as we shall fee in

tors, and thwarted their elec- the next note.
tions of proper persons to fill ( R ) They brought, at the

the chair. For that of Pundeb)ta fame time, another misfortune

was filled by the famed R. Abu- upon themselves, by ths; revival

*»■■ This last, at length, sent of their old academic jars. X.

his son CthenZedek thither, who Menachew, the son of Joseph,


add, in several parts of Europe, and under Christian princes

to this day. -Mot awakes % successors, whose reigns werestiort

and violent, followed the fame severe methods against the

Jews; so that they bought those little remains of liberty at

the expence of very heavy taxes; and it was in the reign of

Mohamed, the last of them, who was a weak and effeminate

Ahmet'/ prince, that Ahmet, then governor of Egypt, revolted, and

revolt, founded a new dynasty there; by which that province was

A.C. 869. dismembered from the empire of the Khalifs about the end

of the ninth century * (S).

We come now to the Jews in the west, that is in the empire, in Spain, Italy, France, and other parts of Europe, during the eighth and ninth centuries. We begin With the empire, which was at this time miserably torn by the civil

* See before vol. ii. p. 477, &481.

who presided alone in that of
Pundebita, and saw himself
threatened with the concurrence
of a colleague, which the Jews
were going to force upon him,
so strenuously opposed it, that
the dispute ran to a great height.
However, after much wran-
gling, and ill blood on both
fides, he gained his point; and
his rival, named Mattathias, was
set aside. Menahtm did not sur-
vive his disgrace above two
years} and left the chair to
him, who enjoyed it a much
longer time. These feuds were
the more unseasonable at these
times, because the Khalifs were
now no longer such encouragers
of learning as their predecessors
had been; so that both, joined
together, occasioned a general
decay of it in those two places,
which was not soon nor easily

• (S) A little while before that
Khalifs death.which happened,
A. C. 891, was discovered on a
down in Syria, called the Doivn
ef the man run mad for U<ve. a
tomb, in which were seven bo-

(33) Chronic. MbaffiJ. ad on. Hegira, 175, b.tsi, A. C. 879. Vii D'H»Ulf. Eihliot. Orient, f. 638. (34) Vid. B^nagt, ut. Jus. lii.ixc. 2. $ «''.

2 "' dissensions

dies; among which was that of a youth whose face and lipswere still as lively as if he had been in health; and near it a stone, on which was an inscription ingraved, which no-body could read. Mobamed, desirous to know the contents of it, tried in vain the skill of the most learned Jews and Christians; they} all found it impossible to be deciphered (33).

In his reign arose likewise a famous Jenvijh astronomer in Arabia, named Abulmanajfar, who pretended to foretel strange events by the course of the planets, not excepting those which chiefly related to religion (34). He pretended, that the Jeioijb law had its birth under the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn; and that the fame configuration would usher in anti-christianism. He foretold likewise, that it would be fatal to Christianity, an. 1460; but the event hath proved him a false prophet, and his science an idle dream. He died, an. 886.

dissentions between the Iconoclasts, and the image worshippers, and in which the Jews were accused to have had a con- Accused of flderable hand, if they were not the first movers of it. We causing the have given an account of that, and of its bloody effects, in a edia former part of this history f, and shall examine here only what «g''»st tie is laid to the charge of the Jews, with relation to their being imag"~ the first promoters of it, and which appearing to us very doubtful and apocryphal, we shall remit to the margin, with some short but necessary remarks on the whole story (T).

t Anc. Hist, vol. xvii. p. 41, & scq.

(T) The Jews, we are told (35), having cheated Jezyid in the east, with the promise of a long reign, and being obliged to leave those parts, came from thence thro' Cilicia into Isauria, a province of Asia-minor, over against the island of Cybrus, where they set themselves down by a fountain, to refresh themselves from the fatigue and heat of the day. A youth of that country came soon after and fat among them, who used to travel about and sell trinkets to thejtowns and villages adjacent. Tire Jews having viewed him more intensely, foretold to him

that was his native place, at the
time of the Jews coming thi-
ther, seeing Justinian had con-
veyed him and his family into
Tbrace before that time, and
before he was of .age sufficient
to carry on the pretended ped-
ling trade about his country.
Neither was it the prediction of
the Jews, but the orders of that
emperor which got him into his
service, seeing he had been in-
listed amongst his guards, Ah.
705: and, lastly, what seems
most effectual to destroy the
probability of this story, especi-
ally of the Jews prediction to
him, is the persecution he raised

that he should become emperor; yagainst them, upon his coming and only begged as a reward to the throne, as will be seen

for their prediction, that when he was come to the crown, he would take from the Christians all their images, as contrary to the second commandment. And hence it came to pass, that when he came to mount the throne, under the title of Leo Ifaurus, he waged such a violent war against the image worshipers

We might here with Mr Bastiage observe several remarks on the improbability of this whole story; but as they are obvious to every thinking reader, it will be sufficient to remind him that • Leo could not be in Isauria, tho'

(35) Tbtopbm. ann.sub.jl. C. 615. £. 336. Ztnar inn, tern, iii, Cidrin unit, in Leon Ijaur.

presently ; for had there been
any such thing, would they not
have complained of his ingrati-
tude and injustice? But all this
story seems contrived to make
one imagine that Leo could not
conceive such a violent dislike
to images, unless some such ene-
mies to Christianity had inspired
him with it; whereas the Jews
were so far from wishing them
abolished, that the more they
were multiplied in the churches,
the greater occasion of triumph
it gave them over the Christi-

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »