Letter: DK 231.3 (alt: XI)

Letter DK 231.3 (alt: XI)


Input date

In PGP since 2017


Detailed letter from Yiṣḥaq b. Simḥa Naysābūrī, Alexandria, to Abū l-ʿAlā Sā'id (i.e. ʿŪllā) b. Yosef ha-Levi the Trustee of the rabbinical court of Fustat in Fustat. (Gil's ID based on handwriting.) Dating: ca.1120 CE. The main topic of the letter is a great disaster that befell the writer and many other merchants. Of a convoy of five ships, three, carrying a load to the value of about 200,000 dinars, were lost. In the ship carrying the writer's goods, there were ten Jews, prominent in their home town (most probably Tripoli), who, in addition to merchandise to the value of 7,000 dinars, lost all their money, belongings and even clothing. The writer's cargo amounted to 500 d., of which 320 d. were his own and the rest on commission. One of the Jewish travellers, Abū l-Faḍl b. Abū l-Yumn al-Dimashqī, known to the addressee from a previous visit to Fustat, perished. As the writer obviously was hit hard by that disaster, he asks his friend to take steps to coerce merchants owing him money—Siman Tav (not Tov), Abū Manṣūr, and Jaʿfarī—to fulfill their obligations. In addition, the letter deals with many other business affairs. In a postscript, the writer reports that the banker (ṣārafī, to be pronounced ṣayrafī) Abū l-Maʿālī died bankrupt, owing people about a thousand dinars, to Jews alone about 600, and to the writer 27d. Many other names mentioned. Main merchandise: silk and other textiles, corals, but also wax and millstones. Information from Goitein's attached notes.