views updated May 29 2018


ANJOU (Heb. אניו), ancient province and former duchy in western France. In the Middle Ages the Jews of Anjou lived mainly in *Angers, the capital, and in Baugé, Saumur, Segré, and perhaps also in the hamlets called Rue-Juif, 3 mi. (5 km.) northeast of Saumur, and La Juiverie, 3 mi. (5 km.) west of Baugé. Near Fontevrault there was a "Jew's mill." The principal occupations of the Jews of Anjou, commerce and pawnbroking, are referred to in the customs tariffs of Saumur in 1162 and of Les Ponts-de-Cé near Fontevrault in 1177, and in the 13th-century custumal of Anjou. Records from the middle of the 11th century show that Joseph b. Samuel *Bonfils (Tov Elem) had the title "rabbi of the communities of Limousin and Anjou." Some rabbis of Anjou took part in a synod convened in the middle of the 12th century by Jacob b. Meir (Rabbenu *Tam) and *Samuel b. Meir. In 1236 many of the Jews of Anjou, *Poitou, and *Brittany were massacred during a wave of persecutions; others consented under threat of violence to convert to Christianity (see *anusim). In 1269 and later, Charles i, count of Anjou, exacted considerable sums of money from the Anjou communities, then numbering less than one thousand persons, represented by Moses, their "syndic and commissioner." On the whole, however, the position of the Jews in Anjou was favorable. They were exempted from wearing the Jewish *badge, permitted to live in any place with more than 120 households, to engage in commerce, and to give loans on interest, using deeds stamped with the court seal. However on Dec. 8, 1289, shortly after his accession, Charles ii ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Anjou and from Maine. It was alleged that they practiced usury in a scandalous manner, had sexual relationships with Christian women, and were turning Christians from their faith. In compensation for the loss of revenues involved, Charles levied an indemnity from the province. The Jews apparently returned to Anjou after 1359 (cf. custumal of 1385), in particular to Angers, staying there until the general expulsion of the Jews from France in 1394.


Gross, Gal Jud, 64ff; Brunschvicg, in: rej, 29 (1894), 229 ff.; P. Marchegay, Archives d'Anjou, 2 (1849), 263, 257; C.J. Beautemps-Beaupré, Coutumes… Anjou 1, pt. 1 (1877), 52, 151 ff., 335; Ibn Verga, Shevet Yehudah, ed. by A. Shohet and Y. Baer (1947), 148; A. de Bouard, Actes… Charles ier (1926), 25, 83 ff., 173 ff., 258 ff.; P. Rangeard, Histoire Universelle d'Angers, ed. by A. Lemarchand, 2 (1877), 183 ff.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]


views updated Jun 08 2018

Anjou. District around the city of Angers in France ruled by counts from the 10th cent. onwards. The counts of Anjou won control of neighbouring regions (Maine and Touraine) and played a crucial role in the politics of northern France. This led, in 1127, to Henry I marrying his daughter Matilda to the young count, Geoffrey ‘le Bel’—otherwise known as Geoffrey Plantagenet, allegedly because of his habit of wearing a sprig of broom (planta genista) in his cap. After Henry I's death, Geoffrey of Anjou conquered Normandy and bequeathed it, together with Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, to his elder son Henry in 1151. In 1154 Henry of Anjou became King Henry II of England and for the next fifty years Anjou remained the homeland of three successive kings of England: Henry II, Richard I, and John. Since Henry had married Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine, in 1152, this meant that a count of Anjou had become ruler of huge dominions stretching from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees: the Angevin empire. Henry II, Eleanor, and Richard were all buried in Fontevraud (in Anjou), but in 1203–5 John's incompetence allowed Philip Augustus of France to wrest Anjou as well as Normandy from the family's grasp. In 1259, by the treaty of Paris, Henry III reluctantly acknowledged that Anjou belonged to the king of France. Later, at the highpoint of their success in the Hundred Years War, the English briefly won control of Maine.

John Gillingham


views updated Jun 11 2018

Anjou Region and former province in w France, straddling the lower Loire valley. It was ruled by Henry II of England after his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Louis XI annexed it to the French crown in 1480. Known for its sauvignon wine, it ceased to be a province in 1790.


views updated May 14 2018

Anjou a former province of western France, on the Loire. It was an English possession from 1154, when it was inherited by Henry II as count of Anjou, until 1204, when it was lost to France by King John; it is the origin of the name Angevin for the dynasty of Plantagenet kings.