GASCONY , a duchy under English rule from 1152 to 1453, and later (with Guyenne) a province of the kingdom of France. There have been Jews in Gascony from at least the fourth century, especially in *Bordeaux. From 1242 or earlier the English ruler appointed special judges over the Jews, who were particularly numerous in *Agen and its vicinity. A first expulsion order was issued in 1289, even before the expulsion from England itself. Debts owing to the Jews were confiscated and collected at half their value for the king's treasury. Royal agents were appointed to seize the Jews and their belongings. However, the expulsion order was not vigorously enforced or rapidly became obsolete, for in 1292 there were again Jews in Gascony; the king ordered their expulsion once more. In 1305 they returned and must this time have obtained official authorization since in 1308 a judge was again in charge of Jewish affairs. A further expulsion order followed in 1310, which was repeated in 1313 and 1316. However, there were Jews in Gascony in 1320, when they were massacred by the *Pastoureaux. Some Jews were still found in Bordeaux until at least 1362. Jews bearing the surname of Gascon may have originated from there. Marrano refugees from Spain took refuge in this region from the close of the 15th century. Through them the Bordeaux community later became important again.
Gross, Gal Jud, 144–5; E. Gaullieur, in: rej, 11 (1885), 78–100; I. Rosenthal, in: paajr, 26 (1957), 127–34; Ch. Bemond and Y. Renouard (eds.), Rôles Gascons, 2 (1900), nos. 1067, 1128, 1181, 1192; 3 (1906), nos. 2054, 4786; 4 (1962), nos. 246, 488, 489, 490, 1127, 1138, 1233, 1670; Ch. Samaran, La Gascogne dans… Trésor des Chartes (1966), nos. 43, 44, 428; H.G. Richardson, English Jewry under Angevin Kings (1960), 225–7, 232–3.
Gascons were traditionally said to be braggarts and boasters as well as impetuous (D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers is a Gascon). Gasconade is a poetic and literary term for extravagant boasting, and comes ultimately from French gasconner ‘talk like a Gascon, brag’.