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ALROY, DAVID (12th century).

Self-declared messiah to the Jews of Babylonia who led a revolt against Persia in 1160; born in Chaftan, Kurdistan. With his large following, he planned to capture Jerusalem as the first step to redeeming the Jewish people. He began his campaign with an attack on the citadel of his native town, was defeated and died, possibly at the hand of his own father-in-law. For a while his memory was kept alive by the Menahemites (“The Consolers”), a Jewish sect which greatly revered him. Folk stories endowed his personality with great beauty and valor. In the 19th century, this legend-encrusted figure became the hero of Benjamin Disraeli‘s novel, David Alroy. (See also Messianism.)

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