Letter: T-S Ar.34.286

Letter T-S Ar.34.286

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In PGP since 2019

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Letter addressed to Abū l-Faraj Yosef b. Yaʿaqov (Ibn ʿAwkal) and his two sons Hilāl/Hillel and Binyamin. In Judaeo-Arabic. Dated: Rabīʿ I 407 AH, which is 1016 CE (this is the date of the arrival of the letter, recorded in Arabic script next to the address). The name of the sender is faded, but may be legible with effort. The sender has recently lost his only son in a particularly traumatic way (at sea?). There is no grave to visit and feel consoled, and there was no period of illness during which his father could care for him (this part is not completely clear, ll.4–5). "It is now a month and a half that my weeping [is greater?] than the waves of the sea." The bottom part of recto and the upper part of verso are torn away. At some point he turns to business matters and mentions various sums of money. This letter is uncited in the literature. Cf. CUL Or.1080 J154 for another letter addressed to Ibn ʿAwkal and his two sons from 8 years earlier. (Evidently Ibn ʿAwkal's other two sons Abū Sahl Menashshe and Abū Saʿīd Khalaf were not born until after 1016?). For information on Ibn ʿAwkal and his family, see Stillman, "The Eleventh Century Merchant House of Ibn ʿAwkal (A Geniza Study)," JESHO 16 (1973), 15–88.