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Abstract

The period in European history frequently dubbed the long twelfth century saw increased social persecution against those who were deemed outsiders by the Christian elite. Much of the standard historiography of the period emphasizes that the era was culturally and intellectually vibrant. However, clerical elites unified against social “others” within this context in the process of protecting their position in a changing Latin Christian society. Jews were deprived of their allodial tenures and forced to adopt undesirable occupations, lepers were made into objects of aversion, and those of supposedly unwholesome sexual orientations, particularly homosexuals, were ostracized. This culture of contempt coalesced in pogroms, other institutionalized killing of outsiders, and the formulation of damaging stereotypes that have impact up to the present day.

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