1066 Granada massacre

1066 Granada massacre

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The 1066 Granada massacre took place on 30 December 1066 (9 Tevet
Tevet
Tebet is the fourth month of the civil year and the tenth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It follows Kislev and precedes Shevat. It is a winter month of 29 days...

 4827) when a Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 mob stormed the royal palace in Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, which was at that time in Muslim-ruled al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

, assassinated the Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacre
Massacre
A massacre is an event with a heavy death toll.Massacre may also refer to:-Entertainment:*Massacre , a DC Comics villain*Massacre , a 1932 drama film starring Richard Barthelmess*Massacre, a 1956 Western starring Dane Clark...

d many of the Jewish population of the city.

Joseph ibn Naghrela


Joseph ibn Naghrela, or Joseph ha-Nagid ( Ribbi Yehosef ben Shemu'el hal-Lewi han-Nagid; Abu Hussein bin Naghrela) (15 September 1035 - 30 December 1066), was a vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 to the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 king Badis al-Muzaffar of Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, during the Moorish
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 rule of Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

, and the leader of the Jewish community there.

Life and career


Joseph was born in Granada, the eldest son of Rabbi Sh'muel ha-Nagid
Samuel ibn Naghrela
Samuel ibn Naghrela , also known as Samuel HaNagid , , was a Talmudic scholar, grammarian, philologist, poet, warrior, and statesman, who lived in Iberia at the time of the Moorish rule....

.

Some information about his childhood and upbringing is preserved in the collection of his father's Hebrew poetry
Hebrew poetry
Hebrew poetry is poetry written in the Hebrew language. It encompasses such things as:* Biblical poetry, the poetry found in the poetic books of the Hebrew Bible* Piyyut, religious Jewish liturgical poetry in Hebrew or Aramaic...

, which Joseph writes that he began copying at the age of eight and a half. For example, he tells how once (aged nine and a half, in the spring of 1045) he accompanied his father to battlefield, only to suffer from severe homesickness, about which he wrote a short poem.

His primary teacher was his father. On the basis of a letter to Rabbi Nissim Gaon attributed to him, in which Joseph refers to himself as R' Nissim's disciple, it is possible to infer that he also studied under R' Nissim at Kairwan. Joseph later married R' Nissim's daughter.

On R' Shmuel's death, Joseph succeeded him as vizier and rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

, directing at the same time an important yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

. Among his students were Rabbi Isaac ben Baruch ibn Albalia and Rabbi Isaac ibn Ghayyat.

Character


Rabbi Abraham ibn Daud
Abraham ibn Daud
Abraham ibn Daud was a Spanish-Jewish astronomer, historian, and philosopher; born at Toledo, Spain about 1110; died, according to common report, a martyr about 1180. He is sometimes known by the abbreviation Rabad I or Ravad I. His mother belonged to a family famed for its learning...

 describes Joseph in highly laudatory terms, saying of him that he lacked none of his father's good qualities, except that he was not quite as humble, having been brought up in luxury.

The 1906 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewish Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia originally published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901...

states that "Arabic chroniclers strangely relate that he believed neither in the faith of his fathers nor in any other faith. It may also be doubted that he openly declared the principles of Islam to be absurd. Arabic poets also praised his liberality."

Further, the Jewish Encyclopedia reports that Joseph "controlled" the King and "surrounded him with spies." He was also accused of several acts of violence, which drew upon him the hatred of the Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

, who were the ruling majority at Granada. The most bitter among his many enemies was Abu Ishak of Elvira, a fanatical Arabic poet who hoped to obtain an office at court and wrote a malicious poem against Joseph and his coreligionists. This poem made little impression upon the king, who trusted Joseph implicitly; but it created a great sensation among the Berbers. They spread a rumor to the effect that Joseph intended to kill Badis, deliver the realm into the hands of Al-Mutasim
Banu Sumadih
The Banu Sumadih were an 11th century Islamic dynasty that ruled the Moorish Taifa of Almería in Al-Andalus.-Dynasty:...

 of Almería
Almería (province)
-History:The rich customs and Fiestas of the denizens retain links deep into the past, unto the Moors, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Phoenicians.During the taifa era, it was ruled by the Moor Banu al-Amiri from 1012 to 1038, briefly annexed by Valencia , then given by Zaragoza to the Banu Sumadih...

 with whom the king was at war, then to kill Al-Mutasim and seize the throne himself.

Other sources report that Joseph attempted to ease the tension between the Berbers and the Arab population and prevent excesses against the local Arabs, which led to a civil war.

Massacre


On 30 December 1066 (9 Tevet
Tevet
Tebet is the fourth month of the civil year and the tenth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It follows Kislev and precedes Shevat. It is a winter month of 29 days...

 4827), Muslim mobs stormed the royal palace where Joseph had sought refuge, then crucified
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 him. In the ensuing massacre of the Jewish population, many of the Jews of Granada were murdered. The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia claims that "More than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day." However the 1971 edition does not give precise casualty figures.

Joseph's wife fled to Lucena with her son Azariah, where she was supported by the community. Azariah died in early youth.

According to historian Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, FBA is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University...

, the massacre is "usually ascribed to a reaction among the Muslim population against a powerful and ostentatious Jewish vizier."

Lewis writes:
Particularly instructive in this respect is an ancient anti-Semitic poem of Abu Ishaq, written in Granada in 1066. This poem, which is said to be instrumental in provoking the anti-Jewish outbreak of that year, contains these specific lines:
Do not consider it a breach of faith to kill them, the breach of faith would be to let them carry on.
They have violated our covenant with them, so how can you be held guilty against the violators?
How can they have any pact when we are obscure and they are prominent?
Now we are humble, beside them, as if we were wrong and they were right!



Lewis continues: "Diatribe
Diatribe
Diatribe is the name of a weekly column by Greek-Australian journalist, poet and lawyer Dean Kalimniou appearing in the Melbourne Greek language newspaper Neos Kosmos since 2001...

s such as Abu Ishaq's and massacres such as that in Granada in 1066 are of rare occurrence in Islamic history."

The episode has been characterized as a pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

. Walter Laqueur
Walter Laqueur
Walter Zeev Laqueur is an American historian and political commentator. He was born in Breslau, Germany , to a Jewish family. In 1938, Laqueur left Germany for the British Mandate of Palestine. His parents, who were unable to leave, became victims of the Holocaust...

 writes, "Jews could not as a rule attain public office (as usual there were exceptions), and there were occasional pogroms, such as in Granada in 1066."

Further reading