Did Chaucer invent the Jewish blood libel?

Oct 2012
In the Canterbury Tales, the Prioress's Tale, Chaucer relates the Jewish blood libel, of Jews killing an innocent Christian child. Did he invent this story, or did it predate him?


Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
See also 'Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln' 1255 Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln - Wikipedia These are just instances in England.
Yes but William of Norwich is the first claimed victim of Jewish ritual murder in all of Europe. He is also, unlike some of the other alleged victims, considered certain to have actually lived and died, even though his cause of death is unknown. So it is possible that if a time traveler prevented the death of William of Norwich, and thus the accusation against the Jews, he might prevent the idea of Jewish ritual murder from spreading in Christian Europe and prevent other accusations against the Jews and many massacres of Jews.
Last edited:
Jan 2016
Atlanta, GA
The blood libel actually predates the Middle Ages:

“every seven years the Jews captured a stranger, brought him to the temple in Jerusalem, and sacrificed him, cutting his flesh into bits” (written in the first century BCE by Apion)

This was rebuked by the historian Flavius Josephus in the first century CE.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk