Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2022, Vol. 8. № 4 (32)


For citation: Baiduzh D. V., Medvedeva V. O. 2022. “The image of the Other: the distinctive sign of the Jews in medieval Germany (13th-16th centuries)”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanitites Research. Humanitates, vol. 8,no. 4 (32), pp. 110-133 

About the authors:

Dmitrii V. Baiduzh, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Department of History and Global Politics, University of Tyumen;

Victoriia O. Medvedeva, Master Student, Department of History and Global Politics, University of Tyumen;


This paper studies the special distinguishing sign of the Jews in the Germany during the 13th-16th centuries. Since early 12th c., Europe saw a large-scale process of rethinking the place of existing social groups and the emergence of new ones, clearly expressed by a set of iconic practices. The legitimization of the Jews’ emblems is its direct consequence. Using semiotic analysis, the authors consider visual signs in written and pictorial sources of various types as elements within the framework of a common sign system, as well as reveal the specifics of emblematic manifestations characteristic of Jewish identity. Most often, the signs were yellow and round. In Germany, the signs were used quite late relative to other European countries. In addition, Jews in Germany were in a better position because they depended on the emperor, and political decentralization had an impact on it. The authors conclude that the church prescription for Jews to wear specific signs was explained by the processes of streamlining the social organization of the Christian world. Finally, the authors state that the emblems were part of two strategies: the distinction between Jews and Christians, and the integration of Jews into the medieval urban space. In addition, the emblems could be a means of defamation or a positive, neutral sign.


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