Chief town of the arrondissement of the same name in the department of Aisne, France. At Château-Thierry, as in general throughout Champagne, the seigniors of the country were favorably disposed toward the Jews. The counts of Champagne, however, acted thus in their own interest; for they considered the Jews as their own property—a property which was very productive. Thibaut, count of Champagne, and Philip Augustus, king of France, signed in 1198 an agreementby the terms of which they bound themselves to surrender to each other all Jews who might migrate from the domain of the one to that of the other. This agreement was renewed in 1201, after the death of Thibaut, between the king of France and the Countess Blanche (Brussel, "Usage Général des Fiefs en France," i. xi. 39). Cresselin, the richest Jew of Champagne, who, in order to escape from the arbitrary rule of the countess, had gone to Paris, was compelled to return to Champagne and to remain there on penalty of having all his outstanding debts canceled by Blanche (Brussel, l.c. ch. xxxix.; compare Depping, "Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age," p. 116). When in 1284 Philip the Fair took possession of Champagne, he demanded from the Jews of that province 25,000 livres as a congratulatory gift on his accession (ib.). In a document of the year 1298 mention is made of a fine of 50 livres imposed upon the Jew Soninus of Château-Thierry. Another document shows payments for right of residence between 1321 and 1323 by Jews of Château-Thierry: thus, 20 livres by Chièrefame Denix of "Chatel Thierri"; 60 and 68 livres by Deulesault of "Chasteltierri"; 100 livres by Vivant of "Chastel Thieri" (l.c. xix. 250, 252, 255).
As early as the thirteenth century Château-Thierry had become an important center of Talmudical learning. Mention may be made of the following scholars, who either came thence or lived there:
David the Pious, one of the celebrated French rabbis to whom R. Meïr ben Todros Abulafia of Toledo addressed, about 1204, his letter against the theory of the resurrection as propounded by Maimonides.
Samuel of Evreux, director of the school of Château-Thierry in 1225, was a remarkable Talmudist. His name is mentioned in the Tosafot Ḳid. 27b, 39a; Ned. 90b; 'Ab. Zarah 68a; Beẓah 14b; Tem. 19b; the Tosafot upon Soṭah are also ascribed to him (Zunz, "Z. G." p. 38). Zunz (l.c.) says that Samuel was the son of R. Yom-Ṭob of Evreux and the disciple of R. Isaac b. Abraham of Dampierre. Gross ("Gallia Judaica," p. 39), on the contrary, identifies him with R. Samuel ben Shneor, the correspondent of R. Jehiel of Paris, and Nathaniel, the elder, of Chinon.
R. Isaac and his son Bonne Vie are two scholars of this place only known through the reference to them in the Tosafot upon Beẓah. See Champagne.
- Rev. Etudes Juives, iii. 212; xv. 246; xix. 250, 252, 255;
- Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 39.