Funerary stele

Paris, 1281

Limestone, 113 x 55.5 x 10 cm

On permanent loan from the Musée de Cluny ‒ Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris

Funerary stele, Paris, 1281

Funerary stele, Paris, 1281

In 1849, excavations in rue Pierre-Sarrazin in Paris unearthed more than seventy fragments of Jewish funerary steles with Hebrew inscriptions dating from the 12th and 13th centuries.

They come from one of the two known Jewish cemeteries on Paris’s Left Bank in the Middle Ages. This cemetery was closed in 1306 after the expulsion of the Jews from the Kingdom of France but exceptionally many steles remained in situ.

The gravestone of Master Salomon, son of Master Judah, is the only stele to have survived intact. Although the identity of this man who died in 1281 is not otherwise known, his title indicates that he was one of the spiritual leaders of the Jewish community in Paris in the second half of the 13th century, affected by the Disputation of Paris (also known as the Trial of the Talmud) in 1240 and the increasing severity of canonical and royal legislation against the Jews.

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