Isaac of Norwich
or Isaac ben Eliav
was a Jewish
of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. He was among the Jews imprisoned by King John of England
in 1210. It is possible that at this time a house of his in London fell into the hands of the king and was afterward (1214) transferred to the Earl of Derby
. He was by far the most important Jewish money-lender
in the early years of Henry III
, the majority of the items of a day-book of that place now preserved at Westminster Abbey
referring to his transactions. In the "Shetarot" Isaac is referred to as "Nadib
" or "Mæcenas
". He appears to have died before 1247. A caricature of him appears in an issue of the Exchequer
, 17, Hen. III. (1233), which represents him as being tortured by a demon
and expresses the contemporary Christian view of his rapaciousness. The accompanying caricature represents Isaac as three-faced, probably in allusion to the wide extent of his dealings. He is crowned with a coronet, and surveys a scene in which another Jew, Mosse Mok
, and a Jewess named Abigail, are being tortured by demons, seemingly under his direction. The scene appears to be taken from a miracle-play
, the drapery representing the stage, and the architectural adornment the cloister
of a church, such plays generally being performed in churches.
- "Select Pleas of the Jewish Exchequer," ed. Riggs, p. 3.
- "Rotuli Cartarum," p. 3, London, 1837.
- Jacobs and......