Makhir of Narbonne

Makhir of Narbonne was a Babylonian-Jewish scholar, perhaps the Exilarch of the Jews of Babylon, certainly the leader of the Jewish community of Narbonne in southern Gaul at the end of the eighth century. His descendants were for many generations the nasi or leaders of that important community, and Carolingian client-kings in Septimania. According to a tradition preserved by Abraham ibn Daud in his Sefer ha-Qabbalah, written about 1161, Makhir was a descendant of the house of David. Ibn Daud wrote: Whatever Makhir's Babylon origins claimed by his descendants, the relation between Makhir and Charlemagne is legendary, the more famous king substituting for his father Pepin, king of the Franks, who in order to enlist the Jews of Narbonne in his efforts to keep the Ummayad Saracens at bay, granted wide-ranging powers in return for the surrender of Moorish Narbonne to him in 759. The monkish Annals of Aniane and the Chronicle of Moissac both attribute this action to the Gothic leaders of Narbonne, rising up and massacring the Saracen garrison.


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