CHAMPAGNE (, ):
A former province of France, now known as the departments of Marne, Haute-Marne, Aube, and Ardennes, with part of Seine-et-Marne, Yonne, Aisne, and Meuse. Jews settled in Champagne as early as the Gallo-Roman epoch. They depended on the protection of the counts governing the country, this protection, however, being dearly bought. Often the Jews of Champagne moved into adjacent countries, being unable to pay the heavy taxes imposed upon them. To avoid this loss to the treasury and to get "their Jews" back, the counts of Champagne concluded treaties of extradition with the neighboring countries. Such a treaty was concluded in 1198 between Count Thibaud IV. and Philippe Auguste, and was renewed in 1201 by Countess Blanche, the widow of Thibaud. The latter claimed the extradition of a wealthy Jew named Cresselin, who sought refuge at Paris from the extortions of the countess.
In 1284 Champagne was incorporated into the kingdom of France, and the fate of the Jews of this province became that of all the French Jews. In taking possession of Champagne Philip the Fair imposed upon the Jews of the province the payment of 25,000 livres as a gift for the "happy event."
Champagne was renowned in the twelfth century for its Talmudical schools at Troyes, Ramerupt, Dampierre, and other places. It was the native country of Rashi, Jacob Tam, and many other Talmudical celebrities. Its religious customs are often cited in the ritual laws.
At the present day (1902) the greater part of the ancient Champagne belongs to the consistorial district of Lille.
- Brussel, Usage Général des Fiefs en France, i., book 2, ch. xxxix.;
- Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen-Age, p. 176;
- Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, vi. 210;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 599.