Letter: T-S 13J18.27

Letter T-S 13J18.27



Abū ʿAlī b. ʿImrān, Alexandria, writes to the son of his dead sister, to Abū Mūsā Hārūn b. al-Muʿallim Yaʿaqov, Fusṭāṭ, the shop of Abū Naṣr al-Tilmīdh. See T-S 8J17.22, same writer, same recipient. "The troubles caused by agnates—but endured with resignation—are vividly brought home in a letter from Alexandria, addressed to the sons of a dead sister in the capital. The writer must have had a number of children, for he reports the death of the youngest, a boy, only in passing, adding drily: "May God preserve the rest." Two aged sisters lived with him, together with an orphan boy from a niece whose recent death is also reported. Another niece staying with him had a suitor whom she could not marry because she was a divorcee and had not received the legal documents (barā'a) needed for the new marriage, probably proving that she did not possess anything from the property of her former husband. The main purpose of the letter to the nephews was to secure the missing papers (perhaps one of them had been married to the unhappy woman). As though that were not enough: two sisters of those nephews lived in a house belonging to their family in Alexandria. The house was ill-omened (mayshūm), probably because someone had been killed there, or had died an unnatural or premature death. No one came to visit the girls, and they lived in complete solitude, "the most miserable creatures in the entire city with no one to care for them." The writer was prepared to invite these nieces to stay with him, but their brother would not permit them to move, probably in order to have someone to look after the property. Having already been ill for five months, during which time he was able to go out to the bazaar only once, the writer had entrusted one of the sons of his dead sister, Ḥassūn, with some of his business, but he had completely wrecked it. "The complaint is to God alone" (for what can one do against a close relative?). Several other relatives are mentioned in the letter in a rather sarcastic vein." Med Soc III A 3, n.2 (p.34).

T-S 13J18.27 1r




T-S 13J18.27 1v

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