Initial Jewish settlement of western Europe occurred in the later Roman Empire, in Italy, France and Germany. There appears to have been a fresh wave of immigration from c. 800–1000, establishing new communities and refreshing existing settlements. The impetus for this may have been bursts of persecution: Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes (969–76) ordered the forcible conversion of Jews to Christianity, and the Fatimid invasion of Apulia (925) caused a dispersal of the Jewish population. Nevertheless, the 10th century was a ‘Golden Age’ of tolerance for Jews in the emirate of Cordova, and the Carolingians also valued their financial and commercial skills. The Radhanite Jewish merchants were centred on the Rhone valley, and thrived on facilitating Muslim/Christian commerce. By the end of the 11th century there was a deterioration in circumstances. The First Crusade saw a wave of anti-Jewish atrocities. including the Rhineland massacres (1096), and the Alomoravids perpetrated the Granada massacre (1066).
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