Abstract: The article deals with the influence of the severe famines of the later Middle Ages on Christian-Jewish relations. It focuses on the rising costs and food shortages that haunted large parts of Europe in the 15th century, particularly during the grave famine of the 1430s. Because of the catastrophic effects of these shortages on a society in which large parts of the population had no or only little access to their own food supplies, measures had to be taken by royal courts or – in the case of the empire – by city councils. In such times of major crisis all economic means to influence the supply situation were used. This also included the contacts with Jewish merchants – especially in the Mediterranean world – and, of course, moneylenders – a rarely considered but highly interesting field of research, since the first half of the 15th century brought extreme and in a way »new« tendencies of exclusion such as the decisions of the schismatic pope Benedict XIII. (1415), which were partly put into effect on the Iberian peninsula, or the Council of Bale (1434).
© De Gruyter 2014