Letter: ENA 4020.8

Letter ENA 4020.8

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Letter from Makārim b. Mūsā Ibn Nufayʿ, in ʿAydhāb, to (his son-in-law?) the ḥaver Yeshuʿa b. Yoshiyya(?) the descendant of Shemaʿya Gaʾon, in Fustat. In Judaeo-Arabic. Dating: Shortly after ca. 1141 CE, since it mentions a receipt for the capitation tax for the year [5]35 AH. The sender has arrived safely in ʿAydhāb in the middle of Ramaḍān. He has booked passage to Aden in one cabin (bilīj, originally a Malayan word) in the ship of al-Dībajī together with Nahray (b. ʿAllān, cf. BL OR 5566D.6) and (Makhlūf b. Mūsā) Ibn al-Yatīm. They have taken care of their business and intend to travel onward after the holiday. He mentions: a piece of copper to be sold; that the large Bible codex should be kept safe from the mice; that the gallnuts should be sold; and that the bottles (qamāqim) should be sold if they can fetch a certain price, but otherwise they should be given to Bū Naṣr to make rose water in them. He leaves instructions for taking care of his capitation tax: "as for the capitation tax, there remain with / owed to me 3 (dinars) with Hiba from before. I received from him the receipt (al-barāʾa) for a dinar and change (dīnār wa-kasar, cf. the same expression about the capitation tax in T-S 13J25.6). It is now with Thābit but lacking a registration mark (ʿalāma). And for the year [5]35, 1 dinar and 2 qirats and 1 dirham. If you neglect this for me, I am lost. 'If you see them smoking, you (should?) think they're cooking.'" (The significance of this proverb in this context is not clear.) He has sent 33 dirhams of a Yemeni commodity (חב קרץ?) with the bearer of the letter; the addressee should sell it little by little. Greetings to the addressee, an old man, and Shemaʿya; to the sender's sister and mother, to his paternal uncle and his son Zayn and his wife, to his maternal aunt and her son, to Suʿūd, and to Thābit and his brother. Thābit should be reminded to press the wine for the sender. They should all take care of 'the old woman.' Greetings to Sayyid al-Kull b. Naḥmān (known from several other documents, e.g., T-S 12.527) and to Barhūn, and then a final urging not to forget the capitation tax. On verso, apart from the address, there are two medical prescriptions unrelated to the letter, one in Arabic script (complete) and one in Judaeo-Arabic. (Information in part from Goitein, Med Soc V, p. 575 note 140, from the several citations in India Book II, and from Friedman, Dictionary, p. 133 s.v. דכ׳ן.) ASE

ENA 4020.8 1

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Transcription

ENA 4020.8 2

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  • ENA 4020.8: Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL) CC-Zero / Public Domain