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"AARON, SON OF THE DEVIL":

The name given to a portrait or caricature of an English Jew of the year 1277, drawn on a forest-roll of the county of Essex, in connection with a number of fines imposed on some Jews and Christians who pursued a doe that had escaped from the hounds near the city of Colchester. This was an offense against the forest laws of the time, and a fine had to be paid by a Jew who had evaded arrest and who, when he returned, was probably the subject of the caricature.

"Aaron, Son of the Devil."

This caricature is the earliest dated portrait of a Jew, and shows marked Jewish traits. The Jew wears a cowl, a sign that he had no outdoor work to perform and that he belonged to the professional classes; on his upper garments is fixed the English form of a Jewish badge, which was in the shape of the two tables of the Law, in saffron taffeta, six fingerbreadths long and three broad. This differs from all the other forms of the badge, which was generally in the shape of a quoit.

Bibliography:
  • Jacobs, Jewish Ideals, pp. 229-233;
  • W. Rye, History of Norfolk, 1887, p. 52;
  • J. R. Green, Short History of the English People, illus. ed., 1892, i. 393.
J.
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