French religious fanatics of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In the year 1251 an unknown man, called "Le Maître de Hongrie," began to preach the Crusade in the plains of Picardy. In a short time he gained numerous adherents, who, under the name of "Pastoureaux," or "Shepherds," committed many excesses at Paris, Rouen, Orleans, Tours, and Bourges. In the lastnamed city and its environs the Jews were maltreated, their books destroyed, and their goods stolen.
In the spring of 1320 another band of shepherds and peasants, strengthened by numbers of vagabonds and vagrants, overran Poitou and attacked the Jews. Assembling near Agen, on the banks of the Garonne, the Pastoureaux proceeded to Toulouse, killing all the Jews whom they met on their way. The governor of that city, indignant at these excesses, caused the arrest and imprisonment of some of the leaders; but the monks set them free during the night, making the mob believe that the release was caused by a miracle. All the Jews of Toulouse who had taken refuge in the strongholdof Château-Narbonnais were massacred, with the exception of those who received baptism. The Jews living in the cities on the banks of the Garonne sought an asylum in the Château of Verdun, where, to escape maltreatment at the hands of these madmen, one slew the other, except the last two, who cast themselves from the battlements to the ground. The Pastoureaux thus destroyed 110 Jewish communities in the south of France, among them those of Castel-Sarrasin, Agen, Albi, Gaillac, Condom, Bigorre, and Mont-de-Marsan. In vain did Pope John XXII. utter anathemas against this horde of fanatics; their ravages in the south continued, and ceased only with the death of their chief, who was mortally wounded before Montpellier.
The massacres subsequently spread to Spain. At Tudela and in Navarre all the Jews were put to the sword, while at Lerida, in Catalonia, seventy of them were murdered. Fortunately the King of Aragon soon checked the fury of the Pastoureaux, 2,000 of whom perished, while the remainder were put to flight.
- Bédarride, Les Juifs en France, p. 262;
- Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, p. 164;
- Dom Vaissète, Histoire Générale de Languedoc, iv. 185;
- Joseph ha-Kohen, 'Emeḳ ha Baka (transl. Julien Seé), pp. 70-73, 235;
- Grätz, Gesch. vii. 277-279;
- Malvezin, Histoire des Juifs de Bordeaux, pp. 45, 58;
- Ibn Verga, Shebeṭ Yehudah, § 5.