Letter: ENA 1822a.60

Letter ENA 1822a.60



Note in Arabic script from Bū Saʿd Ibn al-Dayyān(?) to a woman. The words כשני עדים כשרים נאמנת are written in Hebrew. Goitein's translation (Med Soc III, p. 457 n. 12): "My lady, Sitt Ṣalaf visited me and reported to me what you have said to her. Now, my lady, I have children; so if you deem fit that he (or: it) should be left in my engagement agreement (or: possession), it is fine with me; but if you transfer him (or: it) for me to someone else, you would do me a great favor. I am also trustworthy etc. in this matter. So, if you will do this for me, your action will be highly appreciated." The mysterious "he (or: it)" could have been a male slave who had become the property of the widow with children in payment of what was due her after the death of her husband. For reasons of propriety he was admitted to the household of "the Lady," who suggested to include him in the dowry the widow would bring into her new marriage. But she preferred cash, since a male slave was high-priced, but of little practical value to her and her children. The transfer of the proprietorship of a slave was a delicate matter; therefore the widow emphasizes that in her first marriage she had been granted complete trustworthiness and no one could contest her property rights. Whatever the story behind this little note may have been, the emphasis on the privilege of "trustworthiness" is noteworthy. Sitt Ṣalaf, "Lady Inaccessible," appears also in Med. Soc, II, 432, sec. 162 = T-S Misc.25.129 (thirteenth century), but our note seems to belong to the eleventh century. There is also a Sitt Ṣalaf greeted in T-S NS 264.99.

ENA 1822a.60 1




ENA 1822a.60 2

Image Permissions Statement
  • ENA 1822a.60: Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL)