What struck me most about reading the Siege of Jerusalem was the abundance of violence. This explicitly discussed violence is often connected with the anti-Semitic theme prevalent in the text. As the introduction points out, the author seems to stray multiple times between referring to the Jews as “noble” and pitying them, or reflecting upon how these “faithless people” were “spineless in a fight, and false of belief” (Siege of Jerusalem 13). I was slightly confused by the cause for this straying between sentiments. The introduction states that this reflects the varying medieval Christian views of Jews, but based on the fact that one author is believed to have written the work I would assume there would be a more consistent view of the Jewish people.
The graphic violence described in the text is another aspect that would appear quite controversial. One description that I found particularly telling of this violence occurs during battle when “he takes aim at the elephants, which were so abhorrent, And cuts out the entrails with well-sharpened spears: Intestines burst forth so that a hundred ground-clearers Would be hard- pressed to bury what remained in the field” (Siege of Jerusalem 14). This is certainly not the only occurrence of violence in the text, but perhaps one that resonated most due to my love of elephants. The violence seems to be intended to enhance the anti-Semitism of the text.