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Treasures of the Black Death

Treasures of the Black Death


In the middle of the fourteenth century, Europe was devastated by an appalling epidemic which killed a third of its population. Accused of having spread the disease, Jewish communities faced terrible persecutions, which often led them to bury their most valuable goods. Two of these hoards, discovered at Colmar in 1863 and at Erfurt in 1998, are discussed and illustrated in this splendid catalogue, published to accompany an exhibition at the Wallace Collection London.

Comprising a great variety of jewelry, gold- and silversmiths’ work and coins, these two hoards constitute an exceptional source for the study of secular metalwork in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, very few examples of which have otherwise come down to us. They provide precious evidence of the economic activities and daily life of the medieval Jewish communities, but also of their precarious position within Christian Europe. In Erfurt over 1000 people were killed, the entire Jewish population. Some of the objects, because of their very personal character, are deeply poignant.

  • Edited by Christine Descatoire

    Edited by Christine Descatoire, with contributions by Marian Campbell, Christopher Cluse, Michel Dhénin, Timothy Husband, Johann M. Fritz, Oliver Meking, Jörg R. Müller, Mario Schlapke, Karin Sczech and Maria Stürzebecher


    280 x 245 mm, paperback

    112 pages, 100 colour illustrations
    ISBN: 978 0 900785 95 5

  • Exhibition

    The Wallace Collection (London)

    19 February–10 May 2009

  • In the press

    "Not so grim as the title indicates … fascinating objects." –Wall Street Journal 


    "Thrilling exhibition … there is a heartbreaking sense of ordinary lives interrupted, of time standing still in … quietly unforgettable." –Telegraph 


    "Priceless hoards of medieval jewellery." –BBC News 

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