Letter: T-S 8J20.17

Letter T-S 8J20.17


Input date

In PGP since 2017


Letter from Marduk b. Musa from Alexandria to Nahray b. Nissim, Fustat. In the handwriting of Avraham b. Faraḥ. Dated 5 Elul, early or mid-August. Reports on the sailing of ships from al-Mahdiyya heading eastward, which must have been among the last departures for the east, since the sailing season ended in mid-September. The letter mentions that the ships that left al-Mahdiyya before the qārib of al-Mufaḍḍal al-Ḥayfī had not yet arrived in Alexandria, either because they were different vessels and travelled at a different speed, or because they took a different course and encountered different weather and wind. The letter mentions three members of the al-Tāhartī family who also travelled in a qārib, that of Ibn al-Manajjā, which left before that of al-Mufaḍḍal al-Hayfī but had not yet arrived. Four members of the al-Tāhartī family were making the journey from al-Mahdiyya to Alexandria in one summer and in ships in the same convoy of ships, which suggests some major, joint, coordinated ventures. The letter is in the distinctive handwriting of Ibrāhīm b. Faraḥ al-Iskandarānī, wakīl al-tujjār, who not only sent letters to Nahray on his own behalf but also served as scribe on behalf of various other merchants who had dealings with Nahray. On many letters, there are indications that Ibrāhīm b. Faraḥ, as representative of the merchants, ran a sort of postal agency from Alexandria to Fustat and other Egyptian locations.

T-S 8J20.17 1r



S. D. Goitein, unpublished editions (Nahray‎ b. Nissim archive).


  1. בסם אללה אלעטים
  2. כתאבי יאסיידי ומולאי אטאל אללה בקאך ואדאם עזך ותאיידך וסלאמתך
  3. מן אלמסתקר לה כלון מן אלול ואל חאל סלאמה ונעמה ואלחמד ללה רב אלעאלמין
  4. ולמא כאן פי יומנא האדא וצל קארב אלמפצל אלחיפי מן אלמהדיה ווצל
  5. פיה אבי יחיי בן אלסכא אלמהדוי ודכר אן אקלע קבלה ה מראכב אללה יאתי
  6. בהא [סאלמה] אן שא אללה יתפק בקית אלמראכב עלי אלאקלאע אללה יכתב
  7. סלאמה אלגמיע ולם אגד לך מעה כתאב לאן אקלע גירה קבלה דכר
  8. אן צאחבך פי כל נעמה וסיידי אבי אסחק ברהון וואלדה וברהון אבן אסמאיל
  9. פי קארב בן (בו ?) אלמנגי רכבו ומא ענדי כתבך אלי מעהם ווצל כתאב אלי
  10. סיידי אבי אסחק ברהון בן צאלח והו מע אלכתב ואנא אחבס לך פי גמיע
  11. מא יצל אליך אן שא אללה ומא ענדי מא אכתב לך בה ומא יתגדד מן
  12. אלאכבאר כתבת בה וכיר יכון אן שא אללה קראת עליך אתם סלם
  13. ואנא מחבך ברוך אכצך באתם אלסלם וכתבת כתאב אלי סיידי אבי אל
  14. פרג נסים נסכה כתאב וצל אליה פאריד אלחפץ בה ואנפאדה
  15. אליה ותדכרה פי כתבך אן שא אללה לאעלם וצולה אליה ואלאכבאר

Recto - right margin

  1. אכבאר צאלחה
  2. וללה אלחמד עלי
  3. דלך ותדכר אל
  4. אכסייא אן חבס
  5. אחד רזמה
  6. ואללה וחסבי
  7. אל.. דלך
  8. תקתי באללה
  9. בכפאיתה


A. L. Udovitch and Marina Rustow, Unpublished translations.


  1. In the name of God the almighty.
  2. I am writing, my lord and master — may God lengthen your existence and preserve your glory, support and wellbeing —
  3. from my usual place on the 5th day of Elul in good health and prosperity, praise be to God, lord of the universe.
  4. On this very day, the boat of al-Mufaḍḍal al-Ḥayfī arrived from al-Mahdiyya carrying
  5. Abū Yaḥyā b. al-Sakā al-Mahdawī. He reported that five ships had set sail from al-Mahdiyya, may God bring
  6. them [safely]. If God wills, the remaining ships will succeed in setting sail from al-Mahdiyya, may God decree
  7. the all of their safety. He (Abū Yaḥyā) did not have any letters for you, since others had set sail before him. He reported
  8. that your col­league is prospering and that my lord Abū Isḥaq Barhūn, his father and Barhūn b. Ismāʿīl
  9. are travelling in the boat (qārib) of Ibn al-Munajjā. I do not have the letters for you that they are car­rying with them. A letter has arrived for
  10. my lord Abū Isḥaq Barhūn b. Ṣāliḥ, and I have put it together with the other letters. I will hold everything
  11. that arrives for you, God willing. I have nothing (further) to write to you about. If there should be any further
  12. news, I will write to you. Let (the news) be good, if God wills. I send you my best regards.
  13. I, your good friend Barukh, send you my best regards. I have written a letter to my lord Abū l-
  14. Faraj Nissim that is a copy of a letter that arrived for him. I would like it to be held until it can be sent
  15. to him. Mention this fact in your letters to me, if God wills, so that I know it has reached you. The news

Recto - right margin

  1. is very encouraging,
  2. praise be to God for
  3. this. You mentioned the
  4. cloaks (aksiyya), that
  5. someone had withheld the bundle (rizma). ...
  6. My sufficiency and trust is God in his omnipotence.

T-S 8J20.17 1v



  1. לסיידי ומולאי אבי יחיי נהראי בן נסים נע               מן מרדכי בן מוסי נע
  2. אטאל אללה בקאה ואדאם עזה ותאיידה               מסתקרה אן שא אללה דרגה כתאב נסים
  3. בן בנאיה

Verso - address

  1. To my lord and master Abū Yaḥyā Nahray b. Nissim, may his resting place be Eden,

  2. may God lengthen his existence and preserve his glory and support.

1. From Mordekhai b. Mūsā, may his resting place be Eden.

2. To be delivered, God willing, to his usual abode. Enclosed is a letter of Nissim

3. b. Benaya.

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