Letter: Bodl. MS heb. c 72/18

Letter Bodl. MS heb. c 72/18


Input date

In PGP since 2021


Letter from Yiṣḥaq bayt ʿAṭṭān, in Syracuse, to Moshe b. Yehuda, in Alexandria. In Judaeo-Arabic. Dating: Last quarter of the 15th century. Contains a colorful tale of the writer's voyage. His ship was taking on too much water, so they had to stop in Rhodes. He and his party stayed there for a couple months before resuming the journey. They landed in מדון/MDWN, probably Methoni (aka Modone) in Messenia, to do business in bread and wine. The locals were about to steal the boat, so they took off in a hurry and abandoned their companion R. Ṣuriel who was still in town. Then the purpose of the letter: it is a letter of introduction ("a benefit for you and for him") for the Catalan Messer Bernard Lo Azina (לו אזינה), "a good Christian," who is bringing 500 kosher cheeses the writer saw him purchase, along with a hekhsher letter from the local judge. There are several curious linguistic aspects, too, including באש for "in order to."