Letter: T-S AS 180.140

Letter T-S AS 180.140


Input date

In PGP since 2022


Jewish communal letter in Arabic script. Mostly in Arabic language, with at least one word in Hebrew (اليشوعا, v8). Opens with blessings for the caliph al-Mustanṣir (highly unusual, if not unique, for an intra-Jewish community letter like this one), then refers to deliverance from [...] and his companions, and then escalating the case (bringing a petition?) to the vizier (ḥaḍrat al-wizāra). Refers again to 'his companions,' who bribe and [...] until they obtain what they want. The details of the trouble are mostly undeciphered, but it's clear the senders are in great distress and urgently need help from the addressees (e.g., recto upper margin: "[yā] maʿāshir isrāʾīl allāh allāh thumma allāh allāh fī amrinā... khalliṣūnā... unẓurū fī amrinā..."). On verso, they explain that "the Rayyis is a captive in the house, and we are surrounded/besieged, we are distressed and there is no deliverance, may God deliver you (pl.). The latest report is that the decree (al-manshūr) is false and counterfeit (zūr wa-buhtān), and the decrees (al-sijillāt) are not for him(?)." (On the decree-terms "sijill" and "manshūr" and the relationship between them, see Rustow, "A petition to a woman at the Fatimid court," p. 9 note 25, and Rustow, Lost Archive, p. 267 note 55.) The sender swears by the Ten Commandments (ووحق العشر كلمات) and thanks God and the amīr Ḥusām al-Dawla, for without their benefactions, al-ʿAmmānī(?) would have rendered "his blood and our blood lawful (to shed). Yes, by God, by God, fast and pray, O tribes of Israel, and pray for our deliverance—may God deliver you from every distress. As long as he remains with us in the city/country, we will have no deliverance. . . may God [...] and hasten salvation (اليشوعا) for us and for you and fulfill His promise. . . ." The address is mostly too damaged to read but begins "your slaves, the community of [...]."