Archiv für die Kategorie ‘Mittelalter’

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The Middle Ages (500 – 1500): Lernziele und Aufgabenstellungen


  • Ich verstehe den Unterschied zwischen Sklaverei (slavery) und Leibeigenschaft bzw. Hörigkeit (= serfdom) und kann einen Grund nennen, warum die Sklaverei in Europa stark zurückging.


  • Ich kann erklären, in welcher Hinsicht sich die Position der leibeigenen bzw. hörigen Bauern (serfs) gegenüber ihren Herren (lords) verbessert hat, verglichen mit der Position der Sklaven gegenüber ihren Sklavenhaltern.


  1. Die Ketzerei (heresy) und die Sozialgeschichte des Mittelalters


  • Ich kann anhand eines Beispiels (z.B. die Katharer, „cathars“) erklären, inwiefern die häretischen Bewegungen nicht nur Bewegungen für eine religiöse Erneuerung waren, sondern auch soziale Bewegungen.


  • Ich kann erklären, inwiefern die häretischen Bewegungen die weltliche – also die politische und ökonomische Macht der Katholischen Kirche – in Frage stellten.


  • Ich verstehe, wie die Katholische Kirche mithilfe der “Heiligen Inquisition” versuchte, die häretischen Bewegungen zu bekämpfen.





  1. Wahlaufgabe B: Social Relations between Men and Women


  • Ich weiß über die soziale und ökonomische Stellung der Frau in der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft, die von der Subsistenzlandwirtschaft geprägt war, bescheid.


  • Ich kenne Berufsfelder, in denen Frauen in mittelalterlichen Städten tätig waren.


  1. Wahlaufgabe A: The Politization of Sexuality


French philosopher Michael Foucault wrote in his book „History of Sexuality” about the late Middle Ages and the early Modern Period: „Sexuality was invested with a new significance. It became a subject for confession, where the minutest details of one’s most intimate bodily functions became a topic for discussion.“


  • Ich kann einige wichtige Aspekte des Prozesses erklären, der im europäischen Mittelalter dazu führte, dass die Sexualität zu einer wichtigen politischen Angelegenheit gemacht wurde.


  • Ich kann Gründe dafür nennen, weshalb sich die Haltung der Regierenden und der Kirche zur Prostitution im Spätmittelalter verändert hat.


I.             From Slavery to Serfdom

The end of slavery in most parts of the former Roman Empire marks the most significant difference between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Slavery was replaced by serfdom (= die Hörigkeit oder die Leibeigenschaft).  Serfdom developed in Europe, between the 4th and 7th centuries A.D., in response to the breakdown of the slave system, on which the economy of imperial Rome had been built. It came to be the dominant class relation in (most parts of) medieval Europe until the late Middle Ages.

Here are some explanations for the break-down of ancient slavery:

  • Growing resistance among slaves against their slave-holders: By the 4th century A.D., in the Roman territories – and later in the new Germanic states (like the Kingdom of the Franks in former Gaul/Gallia) – the masters had to grant the slaves the right to have a plot of land and a family of their own. This process was necessary in order to stem the slaves‘ revolts, and pre­vent their flight to the „bush“ where maroon communities like the „Bacaude“ were forming at the mar­gins of the Roman Empire.[1]
  • The Arabs‘ expansion since the 7th century: Some historians have seen the promising of freedom to the slaves as one explanation for the success of the Arabs. A contemporary source reads: „For as soon as the Arab leaders promised freedom to the slaves who followed them, they attracted so many of them that within a few years they made themselves lords of all the East. Rumors of freedom inflamed the hearts of slaves in Europe, whereupon they took up arms.“ Until 700 A.D., large numbers of slaves fled captivity, when the Arabs conquered Northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula. Little by little, this seems to have been a motivation for European (Christian) slave-holders to free the slaves.



Feudalism is the term that refers to the economic and political system in medieval Europe. Feudalism is characterized by the fact that economic power and political power are closely connected. As a mode of production or an economic system it is characterized by serfdom.

Feudalism is based on the assumption that the ultimate tenure (= Besitztitel) of land was in the hands of the king. The king as the „paramount superior“ (= oberster Lehensherr) granted „fiefs“ (= Lehen) to his „vassals“ (= Gefolgsleute, Lehensnehmer). „Fiefs“ consisted of land and a bundle of rights and obligations:

  • the right to bear a title like duke (= Herzog), count (= Graf) etc.
  • the right (and the obligation) to exercise justice (= Rechtsprechung)
  • the right to collect taxes and fees (= Abgaben) as well as duties and labour service (= corvée, Frondienste)
  • the obligation to provide military service or payments to the crown (= the king)

Vassals could be the clergy (= Klerus), that is people representing the church (like bishops or abbots of monestaries) as well as laymen (= weltlicher Adel). The king’s vassals in turn granted „fiefs“, again consisting of land as well as rights and obligations to minor vassals. They were thus „sub-letting“ the right to collect taxes, fees and duties as well as the right to exact labor services (= corvée, Frondienste) from the peasants living on the granted piece of land (= the manor). The so called lords of the manor (= Grundherren) could be knights with their main obligation to provide military service or payments to the grantor (= Lehensherr).

The sphere of the political (= the relationships of political power or „the state“) and the sphere of the economic were closely intermingled in the feudal system. At the bottom of the pyramid of power were the serfs. At the same time as slavery was being transformed to serfdom, the lords of the manor (= Grundherren) began to subjugate the free peas­ants (= Bauern) who – during the time of the Germanic invasions – turned to the lords for protection at the cost of their independence. Thus, serfdom homogenized (= vereinheitlichen) the conditions of former slaves and former free farmers placing all the peasantry in a subordinate condition, so that for the early Middle Ages, „peasant“ (rusticus, villanus = „villain“) would be synonymous with „serf“ (= Leibeigener, Höriger).

Contrary to the schoolbook portrait of feudal society as a static world, in which each estate (= Stand) accepted its designated place in the social order, the picture that emerges from a study of the records of manorial courts (= Gutsherrengerichte) is rather that of relentless class struggle. At times, this reached moments of great tension, when the villagers attacked their lord’s castle. Most frequently, however, it consisted of an endless litigation (= Rechtsstreit), by which the serfs tried to limit the abuses of the lords, fix their „burdens,“ and reduce the many tributes which they owed them. The main objective of the serfs was to keep hold of their surplus-labor and products and broaden the sphere of their economic and juridical rights.


Slaves and Serfs






I.)  Slaves…







II.)  Serfs…








a.        … could be bought and sold at a market.


b.       … had no access to the means of production (= Land, Vieh, Saatgut, Pflüge etc.)


c.        … had direct access to the means of production.


d.       … had access to a plot of land and to the commons (= die Allmende).

e.       … were able to support themselves with self grown food.

f.         … were working and living under the unconditional rule of the lord/master: gang-labor, atrocious punishments like iron collars, burnings etc.


g.        …  lived in a village and were collectively obliged to work a couple of days per week on the master’s/lord’s land (= Corvée or Fronarbeit).


h.       …  were not allowed to move to another village or town without the permission of their master/lord.


i.         … lived in the „ergastula“, „subterranean prisons“ where the people slept in chains.


j.         … had no private life, no personal freedom and no family.


k.        … had a private family life: they were allowed to marry and have children.


l.         …. were able to negotiate the extent of their obligations. In the case of a conflict they most often refused the work collectively.



II.           Die Ketzerei („Heresy“) und die Sozialgeschichte des Mittelalters

Movie: „The Name of the Rose“

The trials conducted by the Inquisition in the 1327 in the Trento region (Northern Italy) against those who had given hospitality to the heretics – when their local leader, Fra Dolcino, had passed through the area thirty years earlier – are portrayed in the movie „The Name of the Rose“ (based on a novel written by Umberto Ecco).

Einige der wichtigsten Charaktere:

  • Das Mädchen (die Rose)
  • Abbo von Fossanova (Abt)
  • Adelmus von Otranto (Illustrator)
  • Adson von Melk (Novize und Chronist der Ereignisse)
  • Alinardus von Grottaferrata (alter Mönch)
  • Bernard Gui (Inquisitor)
  • Berengar von Arundel (Verführer)
  • Fra Dolcino (Ketzer)
  • Jorge von Burgos (blinder Seher)
  • Malachias von Hildesheim (Bibliothekar)
  • Nicolas von Morimond (Handwerker)
  • Remigius von Varagine (Kellermeister, ehemaliger Ketzer = Dolcianer)
  • Severin von St. Emmerram (Kräuter- und Giftforscher)
  • Ubertin von Casale (Mystiker, Franziskaner, unbeliebt beim Papst wegen Forderung nach Armut des Klerus)
  • Venantius von Salvemec (Aristotelesexperte)
  • William von Baskerville (Franziskanerpater, Adson von Melks Meister)


Holy Inquisition – The Catholic Church’s answer to the heretic movements

The term „heresy“ (Häresie) – from Greek αἵρεσις – originally meant „choice“. „Heresy“ is any belief or theory that is strongly opposed to established beliefs held by the officials of the (catholic) church.

Around the year 1100, the Catholic Church had become a despotic power. It governed with an iron fist and filled its coffers by numerous means of extortion. Things degenerated to the point that the clergy would not bury the dead, baptize or grant absolution from sin unless it received some compensation. The invention of Purgatory (Fegefeuer) in the 12th century had been an additional source of profit through the sales of indulgences (Ablassbriefe). Religious offices could be bought as well.

At the root of popular heresy (Häresie) was the belief that God no longer spoke through the clergy, because of its greed and corruption. Taking the lead from the New Testament the heretics presented themselves as the „true church.“

The heretic movements of the Cathars (= „Ketzer“, from „Katharoi“ = pure), the Waldenses (= Waldenser), and others not only reinterpreted the religious tradition. Heresy was the most important social movement of the Middle Ages.

Heretics denounced…

  • social hierarchies
  • the exploitation of the serfs by the church and the feudal lords
  • the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few powerful men

They played a crucial role in the peasants‘ struggle against exploitation by their feudal lords and they expressed resistance to the growing money-economy. Many heretics shared the ideal of apostolic poverty and the desire to return to the simple communal life that had characterized early Christians. The Waldenses were owning, like the apostles, all things in common.

The heretics taught…

  • that Christ had no property
  • that – if the Church wanted to regain its spiritual power – it should divest itself from its possessions
  • that the exterior forms of worship – buildings, images, symbols – should be discarded because only inner belief mattered.
  • that the people need not to pay the tithes (= Zehent = Steuerabgaben an die Kirche) to the church.

Its recruits came from all walks of life: the peasantry, the lower ranks of the clergy (who identified with the poor and brought to their struggles the language of the Gospel), the town burghers, and even the lesser nobility. Members of the sects could benefit from a wide support network made of schools and safe-houses. Indeed, the heretic movement was the first international organization of the oppressed, such was the reach of the sects and the links they established among themselves.

This explains the ferocity with which the heretics were persecuted not only by the Church, but also by the secular authorities, who realized that the heretic appeal to the „true religion“ had subversive implications and questioned the foundations of their power. The Pope called Crusades against the heretics in the regions of Toulouse and Montpellier around 1215, as they were called to „liberate“ the Holy Land from the infidels (= Ungläubige). The Crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars from the French town of Albi) was the first – but not the last – Crusade against Europeans.  But the unleashing of crusades against the heretics could not undermine the „popularity of the heretic evil.“ Church sources read: „There is not one commune, in which heresy does not have its supporters, its defenders and believers.“ Thus, in 1233, the Pope instituted a special tribunal with the function of eradicating heresy: the Holy Inquisition. The use of torture against heretics was authorized with the consensus of the main theologians of the time. Proven heretics and their protectors were to burned at the stake (= Scheiterhaufen). The house where a heretic was discovered was to be destroyed, and the land upon which it was built confiscated.

The heretics were also known for their abhorrence for war – including the Crusades – as well as their condemnation of capital punishment. The latter provoked the Church’s first explicit pronouncement in support of the death penalty. By 1210 the Church had labeled the demand for the abolition of the death penalty a heretical error.





  1. Arbeite in den Darstellungen (Material 1, Material 2 und Material 3) die wesentlichen Aussagen betreffend die Machtstrukturen, die politische Ordnung, die soziale Geschichte und die Gesellschaft des Mittelalters heraus!
  2. Vergleiche die Aussagen in den drei Darstellungen (Material 1, Material 2 und Material 3) miteinander und arbeite dabei die wesentlichen Unterschiede zwischen den Darstellungen heraus! Welche unterschiedlichen „Bilder“ des Mittelalters werden entworfen?
  3. Interpretiere die Quelle (Material 5) in Hinblick auf die unterschiedlichen „Bilder“ der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft. Beurteile, welches „Bild“ des Mittelalters sich anhand der Quelle (de-)konstruieren lässt.
  4. Rekonstruiere anhand der Quelle (Material 4) das Vehältnis zwischen der Bauernschaft und ihrem Grundherren, Abbot Walter of Henley. Interpretiere die Quelle in Hinblick auf die unterschiedlichen „Bilder“ der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft und beurteile, welches „Bild“ des Mittelalters sich anhand der Quelle rekonstruieren lässt.




Die Einteilung der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft in die klassischen drei Stände – Geistlichkeit, Ritterschaft und Bauern – gehört, wie die Quellenstellen belegen, bereits von Beginn an zum Selbstverständnis der damaligen Menschen. Man glaubte, dass diese Ordnung von Gott eingerichtet sei. Deshalb durfte sie nicht verändert werden. Die Menschen fügten sich daher in ihren Stand.

Quelle: „Das Haus Gottes, das man eines wähnt, ist dreigeteilt. Hier auf Erden beten die einen, andere kämpfen, und noch andere arbeiten. Diese drei gehören zusammen und ertragen nicht, entzweit zu sein. Auf der Arbeit des einen beruhen die Werke der beiden anderen, und alle lassen jeweils allen ihre Hilfe zuteil werden.“ (Bischof Adalbaro von Laon, um 1030)

[Aus: Zeitbilder 2, S. 114 und Zeitbilder 5&6, S. 71]



It is obvious that work demanded [by the lords of the manor] was often work grudgingly given, and often work badly done. We have only to glance through manorial documents to see that this was so. To take the first few pages of the Abbots Langley rolls: Men were fined for not coming to the harvest, or for not producing a sufficient number of men; they came late and when they did come perfomed the work badly or in an idle fashion. Sometimes not one but a whole group failed to appear and so left the lord’s crop ungarnered (ungeerntet). Others even when they came made themselves very unpleasant. Hugh le Waterleder, despite his name, cursed the lord’s servants when they summoned him to carry water. Roger Cook, when told to carry wheat, at first would not come, and when he did, flung his first load on the tithe heap, and his second on the ground, so that all the sheaves (Bündel) were broken, and the carts had to pass over them to get into the grange (Gehöft).

[Aus:     H.S. Bennett, Life on the English Manor (London 1938), p. 112]



By the mid 13th century, the evidence speaks for a „massive withdrawal“ of labor. The tenants would neither go nor send their children to work on the land of the lords when summoned (dazu aufgerufen) at harvest time. To these forms of open confrontation we must add the manifold, everyday forms of resistance, for which subjugated peasants have been famous in all times and places, like foot dragging (Bummelei), going to the fields too late, so that the crops would spoil, or they worked sloppily, taking long breaks and generally maintaining an insubordinate attitude. […] In one scene of Piers Plowman (1370), William Langland’s allegorical poem, the laborers, who had been busy in the morning, passed the afternoon sitting and singing and, in another one, idle people flocked in at harvest time seeking „no deed to do, but to drink and to sleep“.

An adequate account of class relations in the medieval village must include these „everyday forms of resistance,“ stubbornly carried on over the years and testifying to the difficulty of enforcing the medieval „social contract.“

[Aus: Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (New York 2004), p. 26-27]



Abbot Walter of Henley [13th century England]: „Let the bailiff (= Gutsverwalter) and the messor (= Aufseher), be all the time with the ploughmen, to see that they do their work well and thoroughly, and at the end of the day see how much they have done …. And because customary (gemeine) servants neglect their work it is necessary to guard against their fraud (Betrug); further it is necessary that they are overseen often; and beside the bailiff must oversee all, that they work well and if they do not do well, let them be reproved (gescholten).“

[Zitiert nach: H.S. Bennett, Life on the English Manor (London 1938), p. 112-113]



„We are made in the image of God, but we are treated like beasts! Ah, ye good people, matters goes not well to pass in England, nor shall do till everything be common, and that there be no villains nor gentlemen, but that we may be united together, and that the lords be no greater masters than we be.“


[John Ball, a Lollard priest who played an important role in the English peasant rising in 1381, zitiert nach: Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (New York 2004), p. 35]



Aufgaben 1 und 2

Bild des Mittelalters – Material 1

Darstellung des Mittelalter als eine Epoche, die charakterisiert ist durch

  • eine statische feudale Gesellschaft
  • eine stabile politische Ordnung, die von Gott eingerichtet ist, die selbstverständlich ist und deshalb von den Menschen fraglos akzeptiert wird Aufgaben 1 und 2

Bild des Mittelalters – Materialien 2 und 3

Diese beiden Darstellungen erwecken Zweifel, dass die ständische mittelalterliche politische und soziale Ordnung zum Selbstverständnis aller damaligen Menschen zu gehörte.

Vielmehr gibt es Hinweise darauf, dass eine bedeutende Anzahl höriger Bauern die mittelalterliche politische, soziale und wirtschaftlichen Herrschafts- und Machtstrukturen als ungerecht empfunden hat.

Die Unterordnung der Bauern unter die Herrschaft der adeligen Grundherren ist nicht lückenlos vorhanden.

Das zeigt sich …



V.        Wahlaufgabe B: Social Relations between Men and Women

Dependence on men was limited by the fact that over the authority of their husbands and fathers prevailed that of the lords, who tried to control many aspects of their lives, from work to marriage. It was the lord who was – in some areas – even claiming the „ius primae noctis“ – the right to sleep with a serf’s wife on her wedding night.

Since work on the servile farm was organized on a subsistence basis, all work contributed to the family’s sustenance. Women worked in the fields and milked the cows, in addition to raising children, cooking, washing, spinning, and keeping an herb garden. Women’s domestic activities were not devalued, as they were later, in a money-economy, when housework would cease to be viewed as „real work.“ As most of the work that female serfs performed was done in cooperation with other women, the sexual division of labor, far from being a source of isolation,  was the basis for an intense female sociality and solidarity. This enabled women to stand up to men, despite the fact that the Church preached women’s submission to men.

By the 13th century, women were leading the movement away from the countryside to the towns. Most of the women in towns were holding low-paid jobs as maids or retail traders. But while usually the poorest members of urban society, women gained access to many occupations that later would be considered male jobs. In England, seventy-two out of eighty-five guilds included women among their members. Women worked as smiths, butchers, bakers, hat-makers and ale-brewers (= Bierbrauerinnen). Some guilds, including silk-making, were dominated by them. By the 14th century, women were also becoming schoolteachers as well as doctors and surgeons. Sixteen female doctors – among them several Jewish women – were hired in the 14th century by the municipality (= Stadtverwaltung) of Frankfurt which, like other city administrations, offered its population a system of public health-care. Female doctors, as well as midwives (= Hebammen), were dominant in obstetrics (= Geburtshilfe). After the Caesarian cut (= Kaiserschnitt) was introduced in the 13th century, female obstetrics were the only ones who practiced it.

One of the most significant aspects of the heretic movement is the high status it assigned to women. Not surprisingly, women are present in the history of heresy as in no other aspect of medieval life. In the Church women were nothing, but in the heretic movement they were considered equal; they had the same rights as men, and could enjoy a social life and mobility (wandering, preaching) that almost nowhere else was available to them in the Middle Ages. In the heretical sects, women had the right to administer the sacraments, preach and baptize. It is reported that Waldes split from the church because his bishop refused to allow women to preach, and it is said of the Cathars that they worshipped a female figure, the Lady of Thought, that influenced Dante’s conception of Beatrice. The heretics also allowed women and men to share the same dwellings, even if they were not married, since they did not fear that this would necessarily lead to promiscuous behavior. Heretical women and men often lived freely together, like brothers and sisters, as in the agapic communities of the early Christians.

Female heretics came from the most humble ranks of the serfs, and they constituted a true women’s movement developing within the frame of the different heretic groups. Women also formed their own communities. A typical case was that of the Beguines, laywomen from the urban middle class who lived together (especially in Germany and Flanders), supporting themselves with their labor, outside of male control and without submitting to monastic rule. Beguines were finally condemned on suspicion of heresy in 1312, likely because of the clergy’s intolerance of women who escaped male control. Female heretics are thus present in the records of the Inquisition; of some we know that they were burned, of others that they were „walled in“.



Bild rechts: Women convicted of heresy.

IV.       Wahlaufgabe B: The Politization of Sexuality- The Church and celibacy

From a very early period – after Christianity became a state religion in the 4th century – the Church recognized the power that sexual desire gave women over men. The clergy tried to break the power of women by expelling women from any moment of the liturgy and by trying to usurp women’s life-giving powers by adopting a feminine dress.

With the Penitentials, the handbooks that were issued since the 7th century, the Church attempted to make sexuality an object of shame and to impose a true sexual catechism by prescribing the positions permitted during intercourse (actually only one was allowed). In this process, „sexuality was invested with a new significance. It became a subject for confession, where the minutest details of one’s most intimate bodily functions became a topic for discussion“ as the French philosopher Michael Foucault wrote in his book „History of Sexuality.“ The sexual supervision escalated in the 12th century when the Lateran Councils banned the common practice of clerical marriage. The banning of clerical marriage (= celibacy, das Zölibat) was motivated by the desire of the Church to defend its property, which was threatened by too many subdivisions. At the same time, the Church also intensified its attack on „sodomy,“ targeting at once gay people and non-procreative sex. For the first time it condemned homosexuality for being „against nature.“ With the adoption of this repressive legislation, sexuality was completely politicized. Married couples were ordered to avoid sex during the Easter, Pentacost and Christmas seasons, on every Sunday of the year, on feast days prior to receiving communion and during their wife’s menstrual periods.

Some heretics scorned the importance which the Church assigned to chastity. Some attributed a mystical value to the sexual act, even treating it like a sacrament (“Christeria”), and preached that practicing sex was the best means to achieve a state of innocence. The unorthodox sexual choices of the heretics must also be seen, then, as an attempt the heretics made to wrench their bodies from the grip of the clergy.

Another aspect of sexual politics that the authorities pursued to diffuse workers‘ protest was the institutionalization of prostitution implemented through the opening of municipal brothels soon proliferating throughout Europe. Enabled by the contemporary high-wage regime, state-managed prostitution was seen as a useful remedy for the turbulence of proletarian youth, who in „la Grande Maison“ – as the state-brothel was called in France – could enjoy a privilege previously reserved for wealthy men. The municipal brothel was also considered a remedy against homosexuality, which in several European towns like Padua and Florence was widely and publicly practiced, but in the aftermath of the Black Death was beginning to be feared as a cause of depopulation. Male homosexuality was thought to obscure the difference between the sexes and thus all difference and decorum. The decline in the legitimate population was thought to be the result of an insufficient number of marriages.

Thus, between 1350-1450, publicly managed, tax-financed brothels were opened in every town in Italy and France, in numbers far superior to those reached in the 19th century. Amiens alone had 53 brothels in 1453. In addition, all the restrictions and penalties against prostitution were eliminated. Prostitutes were no longer bound to any particular dress codes or the wearing of distinguishing marks, because prostitution was officially recognized as a public service. Even the Church came to see prostitution as a legitimate activity. Thus, the proliferation of public brothels was accompanied by a campaign against homosexuals that spread even to Florence, where homosexuality was an important part of the social fabric attracting males of all ages and social rank. Signs of a change in Florence was the setting up of a watchdog commission in 1403, devoted to the extirpation (= Ausmerzung) of homosexuality: the Office of Decency (Anständigkeit). But significantly, the main step which the office took was to make preparations for the opening of new public brothel in 1418.



The Black Death & the English Peasant Rising 1381

The Black Death

A turning point in the course of medieval history was the „Black Death“. This apocalyptic plague destroyed, on an average, between 30% and 40% of the European population between 1347 and 1352. This unprecedented demographic collapse profoundly changed Europe’s social and political life. In the aftermath of the „Black Death,“ social hierarchies were turned upside down because of the leveling effects of the widespread morbidity. Confronted with the possibility of sudden death, people no longer cared to work, but tried to have the best of times, feasting for as long as they could without thought of the future.

The most important consequence of the plague was the intensification of the labor crisis generated by the class conflict. The decimation of the work-force made labor extremely scarce and critically increased its cost, thus shifting the power relation to the advantage of the lower classes. When land had been scarce, the peasants could be controlled by the threat of expulsion. But after the population was decimated and land became abundant, the peasants could now freely move and find new land to cultivate. This stiffened the people’s determination to break the shackles of feudal rule.

A symptom of this new development was the growth of rent strikes. As the manorial records laconically registered, the peasants „refused to pay“. They also declared that they „will not follow the customs any longer“ and ignored the orders of the lords to work for them, to repair their houses, etc. By the end of the 14th century the refusal of rent and services had become a collective phenomenon. Entire villages jointly organized to stop paying taxes and tallage and no longer recognized the commuted services (in Geldleistungen umgewandelte Frondienste).


The Lollards & the English Peasant Rising 1381

Peasants and urban workers had already been united in the heretic movements for a common cause. This commonality (Gemeinsamkeit) of interests can be accounted for on several grounds. First, in the Middle Ages, a tight relation existed between town and countryside. Many burghers (people living in towns) were ex-serfs who had moved or fled to the town in the hope of a better life, and, while exercising their arts, continued to work the land, particularly at harvest time.

With the labour crisis following the Black Death came a new valorization of rural and urban work. The Lollards in England reminded their followers that „nobles have beautiful houses, we have only work and hardships. But it is from our work that everything comes.“  Undoubtedly, the appeal to the „value of work“ – a novelty in a society dominated by a military class – functioned primarily as a reminder of the arbitrariness of feudal power.

In response to the increased cost of labor and the collapse of the feudal rent, attempts were made to increase the exploitation of work through the restoration of labor services.  But such measures only sharpened the class conflict. In England, it was an attempt by the nobility to contain the cost of labor by means of a Labor Statute limiting the maximum wage that caused the Peasant Rising of 1381. This ended with thousands of peasants, lead by the Lollard priest John Ball, marching to London. The English rebels did not content themselves with demanding some restrictions to feudal rule. Their demand was nothing less than: „The old law must be abolished.“ Their aim was to put an end to the power of the lords and to feudal rule as such. And indeed, although the revolt had been militarily defeated and its leaders brutally executed, by the beginning of the 15th century, in England at least, serfdom had almost completely disappeared.













Unterschiedliche Darstellungen zum selben Thema vergleichen: Krisen im Spätmittelalter


Das Spätmittelalter (1250 – 1500): Kirche und Gesellschaft in der Krise


  1. AUFGABE: Vergleiche die beiden Darstellungen (TEXT 1 = GO!6, Seite 27-29 und TEXT 2 = The Black Death and the English Peasant Rising) miteinander und arbeite Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen den Darstellungen heraus!


Entscheide, ob die Aussagen richtig oder falsch sind!

  • Beachte, dass die Inhalte der Texte in „eigenen Worten“ zusammengefasst sind. Es geht daher um die sinngemäße Richtigkeit, nicht um die wortwörtliche Wiedergabe der Inhalte.
  • Beachte, dass eventuell vorhandene erläuternde Informationen zu Inhalten der Texte, sofern diese korrekt sind, nicht als falsch gelten.
  • Beachte, dass die Einschätzung einer Aussage als falsch bedeutet, dass diese beispielsweise bei einer Geschichteprüfung einen Punkteabzug bedeuten würde!


-> Text 1


1.     Der Text geht davon aus, dass die Sorge um das Heil der Menschen eine untergeordnete Aufgabe der christlichen Kirche seit ihren Anfängen war. Richtig




2.     Die Eliten der mittelalterlichen Kirche waren an politischer Macht und wirtschaftlichem Reichtum interessiert. Richtig




3.     Die Spannung zwischen dem Machtstreben der Päpste und den Bewegungen, welche dieses Streben ablehnten, wird mithilfe einer Bildquelle illustriert und am Beispiel Franz von Assissis erklärt. Richtig




4.     Der Höhepunkt der weltlichen, (= politischen) Macht der Päpste im Mittelalter war erreicht, als diese ihre Vorherrschaft im Investiturstreit (Wer darf die Bischöfe ernennen?) gegenüber den deutschen Kaisern nach dem Canossagang durchgesetzt hatten. Richtig




5.     Im 14. Jahrhundert brach der schöne französische König Philipp IV. die weltliche Macht des Papstes. Richtig




6.     Bis 1378 war der Sitz des Papstes nach Avignon in Frankreich verlegt, die Päpste standen unter der Kontrolle der französischen Könige. Richtig




7.     Auch das Konzil von Konstanz am Bodensee (1414 – 1418) konnte die jahrzehntelang dauernde Phase, in denen sich Päpste und Gegenpäpste bekämpft hatten, nicht beenden. Richtig




8.     Spätmittelalterliche KritikerInnen sprachen sich gegen die Geldgier der katholischen Kirche aus. Richtig




9.     Einer der kritisierten Missstände war die sogenannte Simonie. Die katholische Kirche verkaufte hohe Ämter (z.B. Bischof, Abt) an die Höchstbietenden gegen Geld. Richtig




10. Mit dem Erwerb von Ablassbriefen sollten sich die Gläubigen gegen die Bezahlung einer Geldsumme an die Kirche von der Bestrafung für ihre Sünden nach dem Tod freikaufen können. Richtig





-> Vergleich: Text 1 vs. Text 2


1.       Beide Texte stellen die Lollarden (Lollards) und den Bauernaufstand (Peasant Rising) in England 1381 als ein konkretes Beispiel für eine oppositionelle Bewegung im Spätmittelalter vor. Richtig




2.       In Text 1 werden Kritikpunkte an der katholischen Kirche vorgestellt, die Professor John Wiclif (1330 – 1384) aus England formuliert hat, wobei viele dieser Themen später bei Martin Luther (im 16. Jhd.) wieder eine Rolle spielten. Diese Informationen fehlen in Text 2. Richtig




3.       John Wiclif war ein Gegner des Papsttums, er lehnte die Heiligenverehrung ab und war gegen die Vorstellung der leiblichen  Anwesenheit von Christus bei der heiligen Messe. Richtig




4.       John Wiclif begann damit, die Bibel ins Englische zu übersetzen. Richtig




5.       In Text 1 wird der von Wiclifs Kritikpunkten beeinflusste Prager Hochsschullehrer Jan Hus behandelt, der am 6. Juli 1415 als Ketzer verbrannt wurde. Auch dies fehlt in Text 2. Richtig




6.       Jan Hus predigte in der Landessprache, also Tschechisch. Richtig




7.       Die Kritik am Streben der Kirche nach wirtschaftlichem Reichtum spielte für Jan Hus keine große Rolle. Richtig




8.       Die einzigen Informationen, die in Text 1 über die Bewegung der Hussiten genannt werden, sind: Ihre Heere machten Ober- und Niederösterreich unsicher, sie konnten durch das Zugeständnis des Laienkelchs beruhigt werden. Richtig




9.       Text 1 und Text 2 liefern unterschiedliche Erklärungen für die Ursachen des Bauernaufstand in England von 1381. Richtig




10.    Text 1 streicht die Bedeutung der Lehren von John Wiclif als Ursache für den Bauernaufstand von 1381 heraus. Richtig




11.    Text 2 konzentriert sich auf den Bauernaufstand als einen Klassenkonflikt (= sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Konflikt) in England. Richtig




12.    Text 2 erklärt im Unterschied zu Text 1 den Bauernaufstand  von 1381 als eine Bewegung der Bauern (gemeinsam mit den ArbeiterInnen in den Städten) gegen die wirtschaftliche Ausbeutung und gegen die schlechte Behandlung durch die adeligen Herren. Richtig




13.    Als Beispiel für den Klassenkonflikt wird (in Text 2) das „Labour Statute“ genannt, mit dem der Adel versuchte, Mindestlöhne für ArbeiterInnen festzuschreiben. Richtig




14.    Das „Labour Statute“ wurde von den armen Bauern und ArbeiterInnen begrüßt. Richtig




15.    Text 2 erklärt, dass die Lollarden den Wert und die Bedeutung der Arbeit unterstrichen und  die Macht der Adeligen in Frage stellten. Richtig




16.    Text 2 erklärt, dass die Lollarden der Ansicht waren, dass die schönen Häuser und der Reichtum der Adeligen von der Arbeit der BäuerInnen und ArbeiterInnen hergestellt werden. Richtig




17.    In Text 2 spielen die in Text 1 vorgestellten Kritikpunkte Wiclifs z.B. an der Heiligenverehrung oder an der Ohrenbeichte usw. keine Rolle. Richtig




18.    Im Gegensatz zu Text 1 spielen religiöse Inhalte und Vorstellungen der Lollarden in Text 2 keine Rolle. Richtig




19.    Obwohl in Text 2 Wiclifs Kritikpunkte nicht dargestellt werden, so wird am Beispiel des Priesters John Ball die Bedeutung der religiösen Glaubensinhalte für die Bewegung der Lollarden dennoch berücksichtigt. Richtig





  1. AUFGABE: Erörtere und beurteile die Darstellung der Krisen im Spätmittelalter in den beiden Darstellungen! (TEXT 1 = GO!6, Seite 27-29 und TEXT 2 = The Lollards and the English Peasant Rising)


Entscheide, wie zutreffend du die die folgenden Aussagen findest!

  Trifft       voll zu Trifft über-wiegend zu Trifft eher nicht zu Trifft nicht zu
1.       Text 1 stellt die Krisen des Spätmittelalters umfangreicher dar, während sich Text 2 auf die Bewegung der Lollarden und den Bauernaufstand von 1381 konzentriert.
2.       Text 1 stellt die geschichtlichen Ereignisse und die Ansichten der verschiedenen geschichtlichen AkteurInnen neutral dar.
3.       Text 1 stellt die Ereignisse nicht einfach nur dar, sondern nimmt Stellung dafür, dass die Kritikpunkte an der Kirche im Spätmittelalter berechtigt waren.
4.       Text 2 stellt die geschichtlichen Ereignisse und die Ansichten der verschiedenen geschichtlichen AkteurInnen neutral dar.
5.       Text 2 stellt die Positionen und Ansichten der Lollarden nicht nur dar, sondern nimmt Stellung und erklärt, dass die Forderungen der Lollarden berechtigt waren.
6.       Text 1 erklärt die Ursachen für den Bauernaufstand von 1381 besser.
7.       Text 2 erklärt die Ursachen für den Bauernaufstand von 1381 besser.
8.       Die Lollarden vertraten extremistische politische Ziele, die abzulehnen sind.
9.       Die Lollarden vertraten zwar anstrebenswerte Ziele und Forderungen, wie z.B. mehr soziale Gerechtigkeit und die Gleichheit aller Menschen. Ihre gewalttätige Revolte ist dennoch abzulehnen.
10.    Die Lollarden vertraten anstrebenswerte Ziele und Forderungen, wie z.B. mehr soziale Gerechtigkeit und die Gleichheit aller Menschen. Die Herrschaft der Adeligen sützte ich auf (Waffen-) Gewalt, weshalb die Lollarden keine andere Wahl hatten, als mit Gewalt für ihre Ziele zu kämpfen.
GO!6 S. 27-29

Franz von Assisi

Weltliche Macht des Papstes nimmt gegen Ende des MA (Mittelalters) ab

Streben nach wirtschaftlicher Macht:

·           Ämterverkauf (Simonie): Abt, Bischof

·           Ablasshandel: Vergebung von Sünden gegen Geldzahlung

·           Nepotismus: Freunderlwirtschaft

John Wiclif

Gegner der Macht des Papstes

Theologische Kritikpunkte (vgl. Luther):

Gegen Heiligenverehrung

Bibelübersetzung in die Landessprache

Jan Hus und die Hussiten:

Böhmen (Tschechien) im 15. Jhd.

Verbrannt als Ketzer am 6. Juli 1415

Bei beiden gemeinsam


Kirchenkritische Bewegungen




Bei beiden gemeinsam


Bauernaufstand im 14. Jahrhundert in England


The Lollards


The Black Death and the English Peasant Rising

Black Death kills one third of the European Population – Labour crisis intensified.

Radikale Vorstellung über die Gleichheit aller Menschen

Größeres Selbstbewusstsein der „serfs“ gegenüber Adeligen:


Weigern sich, Frondienst zu leisten:




  1. Rekonstruiere anhand der Quellen (Material 1-3) das Vehältnis zwischen der Bauernschaft und ihren Interpretiere die Quellen in Hinblick auf die spätmittelalterlichen Krisen in Kirche, Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft! [-> Herrschaftsformen zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart]


Material 1: The Lollard priest John Ball

John Ball (1338 – 15 July 1381) was an English Lollard priest who took a prominent part in the Peasants‘ Revolt of 1381. His utterances brought him into conflict with Simon of SudburyArchbishop of Canterbury. He appears to have been excommunicated in 1366. From then on it was forbidden for anyone to hear him preach. Ball was thrown in prison on several occasions. Shortly after the Peasants‘ Revolt began in spring 1381, Ball was released by the Kentish rebels from his prison. John Balls open-air sermons (Predigten) included the following:

„When Adam delved (grub, pflügte) and Eve span, who was then the gentleman? Nobles have beautiful houses, we have only work and hardships. But it is from our work that everything comes. From the beginning all men were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen (Knechte) from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort (ermahne) you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke (Joch) of bondage (Knechtschaft), and recover liberty.

We are made in the image of God, but we are treated like beasts! Ah, ye good people, matters goes not well to pass in England, nor shall do till everything be common, and that there be no villains (unfreie Dorfbewohner, vergleichbar mit Hörigen) nor gentlemen, but that we may be united together, and that the lords be no greater masters than we be!“


Material 2: The Abbot (Abt) Langley’s Rolls

It is obvious that work demanded [by the lords of the manor] was often work grudgingly (widerwillig) given, and often work badly done. We have only to glance through manorial documents (Aufzeichnungen der Grundherren) to see that this was so. To take the first few pages of the Abbot Langley’s rolls: Men were fined for not coming to the harvest, […] they came late and when they did come perfomed the work badly or in an idle fashion. Sometimes not one but a whole group failed to appear and so left the lord’s crop ungarnered (ungeerntet). Others even when they came made themselves very unpleasant. […] Roger Cook, when told to carry wheat, at first would not come, and when he did, flung his first load on the tithe heap, and his second on the ground, so that all the sheaves (Bündel) were broken, and the carts had to pass over them to get into the grange (Gehöft).

Lord of the manor = Grundherr

[Aus: H.S. Bennett, Life on the English Manor (London 1938), p. 112]


Material 3: The Piers Plowman

By the mid 13th century, the evidence speaks for a „massive withdrawal“ of labor. The tenants would neither go nor send their children to work on the land of the lords when summoned (dazu aufgerufen) at harvest time. To these forms of open confrontation we must add the manifold, everyday forms of resistance, for which peasants have been famous in all times and places, like foot dragging (Bummelei), going to the fields too late, so that the crops would spoil, or they worked sloppily (nachlässig), taking long breaks and generally maintaining an insubordinate attitude (Verweigerung der Unterordnung). […] In one scene of Piers Plowman (1370), William Langland’s allegorical poem, the laborers, who had been busy in the morning, passed the afternoon sitting and singing and, in another one, idle people flocked in at harvest time seeking „no deed to do, but to drink and to sleep“.

An adequate account of class relations in the medieval village must include these everyday forms of resistance, stubbornly carried on over the years and testifying to the difficulty of enforcing the medieval „social contract.“

[Aus: Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (New York 2004), p. 26-27]


The Commons

The experience of self-reliance which the peasants gained from having access to land also had a political and ideological potential. In time, the serfs began to look at the land they occupied as their own, and to view as intolerable the restrictions that the noblemen imposed on their freedom. „Land to the tillers“ – the demand that has echoed from the Mexican and Russian revolutions to the contemporary struggles against land privatization – is a battle cry which the medieval serfs would have certainly recognized as their own. But the strength of the „villains“ (from villanus, that is a peasant in the satus of serfdom, = Hörige) stemmed from the fact that access to land was a reality for them.

With the use of land also came the use of the „commons“ (die Allmende, das Gemeindeland) – mainly the non-cultivated lands, including meadows, wild pastures (Weideland, Almende), forests, woods, lakes and rivers, which the serfs considered a collective property, i.e. commons. „We can go to the woods and take what we want, take fish from the fish pond, and game (Wild) from the forests; we’ll have our will in the woods, the waters and the meadows“ as the serfs declared in a mid 12th-century English chronicle.

The commons provided crucial resources for the peasant economy (wood for fuel, timber for building and producing charcoal, fishponds, grazing grounds for animals) and fostered community cohesion and cooperation.  In Northern Italy and in Switzerland, control over these resources even provided the basis for the development of communal self-administrations.

So important were the „commons“ for the rural population of the Middle Ages that their memory can even be used today, projecting the vision of a world where goods can be shared. The concept of the „commons“ are used today for projecting a society where solidarity, rather than the desire for gaining profits, can be the substance of social relations.

Auch heute sprechen sich viele Menschen gegen eine Privatisierung von „Commons“ aus. Dazu werden materielle Güter wie z.B. Wasser oder kulturelle Güter wie Wissen gezählt. Diese sollen zum Wohle aller vorhanden sein  und nicht für den Profit einiger weniger dienen.


The Commutation of labor services

Politically, the first outcome of the servile struggles was the concession to many villages (particularly in England, Northern Italy and France) of „privileges“ and „charters“ (= Satzungen). More autonomy in the running of the village community was granted, providing, at times, for true forms of local self-government.. They granted the „liberty“ to sell goods at the local market and. Between 1177 and 1350, in Loraine (= Lothringen, heute in Ostfrankreich) alone, 280 charters were conceded.

However, the most important resolution of the master-serf conflict was the commutation (= Umwandlung) of labor services (Frondienste) in many parts of Europe with money payments (money rents, money taxes). With this momentous development, serfdom practically ended in many parts of Europe. But the commutation of labor services functioned as a means of social division and contributed to the disintegration of the feudal village as well.

To the well-to-do peasants, commutation was a great step on the road to economic and personal independence. Possessing large tracts of land, they could earn enough money to pay the rent and to employ other laborers. The lords lessened their control over their tenants (= former serfs) when they no longer depended directly on their work. But the majority of poorer peasants – who possessed only a few acres of land barely sufficient for their survival – lost even the little they had. Compelled to pay their dues in money, they went into chronic debt, borrowing against future harvests, a process that eventually caused many to lose their land. As a result, by the 13th century, when commutations spread throughout Western Europe, social divisions in the rural areas deepened, and part of the peasantry underwent a process of proletarianization. Thirteenth-century documents contain information about an increasing number of „gardeners,“ landless or almost landless peasants who earned their living by hiring out their services.

English silver penny from around 1300 A.D.


The „Near West“ – The Islam World

For most of the Middle Ages, the economic nerve center of the world economy was the world of Islam. To get a sense of comparative economic development, consider the table to the left hand. Europeans have long been in the habit of thinking of Islam as the very definition of „the East,“ and, as it were, of „the other.“ It’s easy to forget that, from the perspective of the Indian and Chinese tradition, the difference between Christianity and Islam is almost negligible. Medieval Islamic philosophers studying Aristotle and Plato were trying to square religious tradition beginning with Abraham and Moses with categories of Greek philosophy and scientific rationalism. For that cause, it is much more sensible to see Judaism, Christianity and Islam as three different manifestations of the same great Western intellectual tradition.

For the Chinese, the world of Islam surely was the „Near West“ as compared to Europe, which was the „Far West.“ The prevailing Islamic attitude toward law, government and economic matters was the exact opposite of that prevalent in China. Chinese Confucians were suspicious of governance through strict codes of law, preferring to rely on the inherent sense of justice of the cultivated scholar assumed to also be a government official.

  Population Revenue Rev. per Head
Millions Tons of Silver Grams of Silver
Persia,  BC 350 17 697 41
Egypt,  BC 200 7 384 55
Rome,  1 AD 50 825 17
Rome, 150 AD 50 1,050 21
Byzantium, 850 AD 10 150 15
Abbasid Caliphate, 850 26 1,260 48
China,  850 AD 50 2,145 43
France, 1221 AD 8.5 20.3 2.4
England, 1203 AD 2.5 11.5 4.6

Medieval Islam, on the other hand, enthusiastically embraced law, but tended to view government as an unfortunate necessity. In part it was because of the peculiar alliance between merchants and common people that became aligned against the Arab military leaders, the small layer of people with the political and military power. The Arab military leaders who, after Mohammed’s death in 632 AD, conquered the Sassanian empire and established the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad, always continued to see themselves as people of the desert, and never felt entirely part of the urban civilizations they had come to rule. The various schools of Islamic law created their own educational institutions and their own system of religious justice, embedded in society and independent from the state. The „ulema“, the legal scholars and teachers, were to become the principal agents in the conversion of the bulk of the population to Islam. They contributed to the creation of a „wall“ between civil society, organized around the twin poles of mosque and bazaar, on the one side, and the state and the government on the other. The legal system created by the „ulema“ ensured that it was effectively impossible for Muslims – or for that matter Christians or Jewish subjects of the Caliphate – to be reduced slavery. Slavery through debt or the sale of children were forbidden.




Slaves have no access to the means of production and no accsess to the means of their own reproduction (= Land, Vieh, Saatgut, Pflüge, etc.)


Slaves are working and living under the unconditional rule of the slave-owner: gang-labor, atrocious punishments: iron collars, burnings


Slaves are being treated like „chattel“, bought and sold on the slave market. Limited supply of new slaves can lead to rising prices for new slaves


Life in the ergastula: no private social life, no personal freedom, no family




















Serfs have direct access to the means of their own reproduction. They have access to a plot of land and to the commons. Thus they are able to support themselves with food, wood etc.

Serfs were bound to do work (= Fronarbeit or corvée) on the lords‘ land (the manor – das Herrengut). But they had an increased autonomy, as they could always support themselves with self grown food. Thus they could not easily be forced to bend because of the fear of starvation. They were able to negotiate the extent of their obligations.

The peasants‘ struggle was most often a collective one. As all the villains of a village were obliged to provide work for the lord, in the case of conflict, they most often refused the work collectively. Given the difficulty of recruiting new labourers in a fairly closed economy, it was very difficult for the lord to throw recalcitrant serfs off the land. This is why, on the feudal manor, the exploitation of labor most often depended on the direct use of force.

Private family life is made possible, serfs can marry and have children, but they must get permission from their lord to leave the village or to marry to another village.


Wage labourers have no access to the means of production and they have no or only very limited access to the means of their own reproduction.


Having no access to the means of their reproduction they have to sell their manpower to an employer and receive a wage in return. They are dependent on the wage income in order to be able to survive, to pay the rent, buy food etc.


Competition for jobs with other (unemployed, „cheaper“) workers: Organized labour (trade unions) tries to limit the competition between workers by collectively bargaining for minimum wages and maximum working hours (8 hour day), as well as unemployment benefits etc. The success of OR the failure of this „class struggle“ can result in very different class relations between labour and capital in different places and times.


Personally and socially free people within the limits of the modern nation state. The migration regime limits access to the labour market for non-citizens.





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>>> Jüdisches Leben in Wien seit dem Mittelalter als PDF zum Download

>>> AUFGABENSTELLUNGEN Politische Unterdrückungsmechanismen – Ausgrenzung bestimmter Ethnien: Antisemitismus und Novemberpogrom als PDF


STATION 1: Das Jordan Haus – Judenplatz 2

Wer aufmerksam durch Wien geht, insbesondere durch die Leopolsstadt und die Innere Stadt, bemerkt zahlreiche Zeichen vergangenen und aktuellen jüdischen Lebens, aber auch jüdischen Leidens, in der Stadt.

Hinrichtung von Juden in Wien 1421Der Name „Jordan-Haus“ leitet sich vom ersten Hauseigentümer Georg Jordan ab, der dieses Gebäude im Jahr 1497 an der Stelle eines älteren Baus errichten ließ. Auffallend ist das vermutlich auch um 1500 entstandene Relief mit der Darstellung der Taufe Jesu im Fluss Jordan mit der Inschrift:

„Durch die Fluten des Jordan wurden die Leiber von Schmutz und Übel gereinigt. Alles weicht, was verborgen ist und sündhaft. So erhob sich 1421 die Flamme des Hasses, wütete durch die ganze Stadt und sühnte die furchtbaren Verbrechen der Hebräerhunde. Wie damals die Welt durch die Sintflut gereinigt wurde, so sind durch das Wüten des Feuers alle Strafen verbüßt.“

Die erste Vertreibung und Ermordung der Wiener Juden (die erste Gesera) im Jahr 1421 wird hier als Sühne für die „furchtbaren Verbrechen“ der Juden dargestellt und gerechtfertigt. Unter den „furchtbaren Verbrechen“, die jahrhundertelang in Europa den Juden zum Vorwurf gemacht worden sind zählen der Gottesmord, die Ermordung christlicher Kinder sowie die Hostienschändung. Mit der ersten Gesera kam die „erste Epoche“ der Juden in Wien zu einem Ende.

Grob gesprochen gab es bis zur Shoah während des Zweiten Weltkriegs drei große „Epochen“ der jüdischen Gemeinde in Wien. Die erste Epoche war die mittelalterliche Gemeinde in der Gegend rund um den heutigen Judenplatz von der zweiten Hälfte des 13. Jahrhunderts bis zur ersten Gesera 1421. Die zweite „Epoche“ war die Wiederansiedlung von Juden seit dem 16. Jahrhundert, wobei die Juden seit 1624 ein Getto auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Leopoldstadt westlich der Taborstraße zugewiesen bekamen. Mit dem Vorwurf der Spionage für die vorrückenden Türken wurde die zweite generelle Vertreibung aller Juden durch König Leopold I im Jahr 1670 begründet. Nur noch einzelne, der Wirtschaft und dem Staat nützliche Juden wurden in Wien „toleriert“, so der Hoflieferant Samuel Oppenheimer.

Mit dem sogenannten „Toleranzpatent“ von Joseph II gab es zwar keine staatsbürgerliche Gleichstellung der Juden, es wurden aber einige besonders diskriminierende Bestimmungen beseitigt wie die Verpflichtung, Bärte zu tragen. Seit dem späten 18. Jahrhundert stieg die Zahl der Juden in Wien wieder an, vor allem durch Zuwanderung aus Böhmen, Mähren und Ungarn, später aus Galizien. Einige der berühmtesten Wiener des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts stammten aus jüdischen Familien, so die in Wien geborenen Schriftsteller Joseph Roth und Arthur Schnitzler, der Hollywood-Regisseur Billy Wilder sowie der aus Mähren (heute Tschechien) eingewanderte Begründer der Psychoanalyse, Sigmund Freud. Im 19. Jahrhundert wurde auch die heute berühmteste Wiener Brauerei von der jüdischen Familie Kuffner betrieben. Diese dritte Epoche fand mit der Emigration bzw. der Vernichtung der rund 180.000 in Wien lebenden Juden während des Zweiten Weltkriegs ein Ende. Nur wenige überlebende Juden kamen nach dem 2 WK wieder nach Wien, heute hat die Kultusgemeinde rund 7.000 Mitglieder.

STATION 2: Museum Judenplatz – Judenplatz 8

Die erste größere Zuwanderung von Juden nach Wien war in der zweiten Hälfte des 13. Jahrhunderts, und das war in mehrerlei Hinsicht kein Zufall. Es war die Zeit, zu der jüdische Bewohner_innen in England durch den König von England vermehrter Verfolgung ausgesetzt waren und im Jahr 1290 endgültig aus England vertrieben wurden. AMoneylenders and trading minorities in the Middle Ages.

In Frankreich wiederum gab es im 13. Jahrhundert eine große soziale und religiöse Oppositionsbewegung von „Häretikern“. Die einflussreichste dieser häretischen Bewegungen, die Katharer (von denen sich der Begriff „Ketzer“ ableitet), waren auch besonders dadurch charakterisiert, dass sie anderen Religionen wie dem Judentum mit großer Toleranz begegneten. Das südlichen Frankreich, wo die Katharer großen Einfluss hatten, war für viele Jüdinnen und Juden ein sicherer Hafen und ein Zufluchtsort zu einer Zeit, als Anit-Judaismus in Westeuropa zunahm. Hier enstand im 13. Jahrhundert die „Kabbala“, die mystische Denkschule der Juden.

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