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Book Notes: Die Mittelalterliche Jüdische Kultur in Erfurt vol. 1. Der Schatzfund: Archäologie – Kunstgeschichte - Siedlungsgeschichte, Sven Ostritz (ed.)

Joe Hillaby

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 Book Notes Die Mittelalterliche J?dische Kultur in Erfurt vol 1. Der Schatzfund: Arch?ologie - Kunstgeschichte - Siedlungsgeschichte, Sven Ostritz, editor (Th?ringisches Landesamt f?r Denkmalpflege und Arch?ologie 2010), isbn 978-3-941171-20-6, pp. 376, 49 ? Many of the Society's members will have visited the 'Treasures of the Black Death' exhibition held at the Wallace Collection, February to May 2009. This is the first of five volumes published on the treasure found at 43-44 Michaelisstrasse, Erfurt, in 1997-8. It is introduced by a short account of the Erfurt Jewry in the Middle Ages, followed by an overview of the archaeology of the site. Maria St?rzebecher provides a detailed consideration of the finds, linked to a catalogue of 77 objects and groups of objects of goldsmiths' work. A comparison with similar finds in Germany, Colmar and elsewhere places the Erfurt work in context. The final section deals with the Erfurt Jewry, its topography and history. Each section has a comprehensive bibliography. Other volumes, some already published, are devoted to: analysis, produc? tion methods and reconstruction of the Erfurt hoard; coins and gold; the Erfurt old synagogue; and the proceedings of the colloquium held in November 2009. Documentary evidence provides details of interesting links between the material culture of the English and Erfurt medieval Jewries. The catalogue includes 21 items relating to belts and their decoration. Fig. 25 provides four colour reconstructions. Following the death of H?mo of Hereford in 1231, his family faced a relief, death duty, of 6000 marks, ?4000, one-third the value of Hamo's chattels and bonds, exceeded only by that of Leo of York, at 7000 marks. His son Moses, hard-pressed to meet his financial obligations, pawned a leather belt, decorated with 'large members of silver and gold and otherwise beautifully and fittingly wrought', to a Hereford burgess. Henry III, a connoisseur in such matters, ordered his officers to reimburse the purchaser 'for that belt which we have kept in our possession'. The king learned that Moses' wife, Sara, had another such belt, embellished with dec? oration representing 'the twelve months', probably the occupations of the months. When Sara proved reluctant to hand over the belt, the sheriff was ordered that she be kept in prison 'until she has surrendered that belt... when you will send it to us'. The royal request is surprising. A 1255 list of Henry's treasure included 'twelve girdles of silk and leather with bars of silver gilt'. 223</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes Th?ringisches Landesamt and all concerned are to be congratulated on this exemplary and prompt first volume of this ambitious project. We look forward to the completion of the series. Joe Hillaby</page></plain_text>

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