מכתב: T-S AS 156.237 + T-S AS 156.238

מכתב T-S AS 156.237 + T-S AS 156.238

תגים

תאריך קלט

נמצא בPGP מאז 2018

תיאור

Letter from ʿAllān b. Ḥassūn, Aden, after his return from a difficult voyage to the southern coast of India, to ʿArūs b. Yosef. Before its second arrival at Kūlam, the ship evidently had two nākhudās on board, 'Alī Nāwak, who disembarked at Fāknūr, and a second nākhudā who subsequently died at sea, and who had evidently been the one responsible for navigation. After his death, the ship remained without a "head" and without charts (as well as something else, which cannot be deciphered due to a lacuna). The plan was to go back via Aden, but some kind of social unrest meant that everyone in the town where they were fled, and 'Alī Nāwak wanted to flee as well, presumably without taking them along. But the writer prevented this from happening by telling someone in a position to prevent it (details obscured by a lacuna) and they secretly loaded the ship in the middle of the night (this assumes that ʿAlī Nāwak was sleeping on the ship) and all fled together to Fāknūr. 'Alī Nāwak disembarked and remained there and everyone else wanted to continue on to Kūlam — but then the captain had a stroke and died. They threw his body overboard (as one does at sea — he had been ill while in town) and then somehow made it to Kulām with neither charts nor a captain. Then a captain (kārdār) arrived and took matters into hand and put 'Alī Nāwak in his place. Interestingly, this new captain and ʿAlī Nāwak sign documents that Goitein interprets as "confirming their obligations" but might merely be proper bills of lading, a feature of these voyages known from other documents. (Information from Goitein and Friedman, India Traders, pp. 127–28) Full translation in Goitein, "Portrait of a Medieval India Trader: Three Letters from the Cairo Geniza," BSOAS 1987, 455–56, 459–63. MR

T-S AS 156.237 1r

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תיעתוק

תרגום

S. D. Goitein, "Portrait of a Medieval India Trader: Three Letters from the Cairo Geniza," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 50, no. 3 (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 449-464.

T-S AS 156.237 recto

  1. [Your servant took notice of... and your yearning] for him, a feeling shared by me. [May God ordain that]

  2. prosperity and health prevail in your court and grant in his grace that I be united with you. As to what you have m[entioned]

  3. in your kind letter about your longing to meet me, I have an even larger part and a greater 

  4. share of this. In God all matters are united. The reason for writing this letter is to tell your excellency what

  5. happened to me on this voyage. In my p[revious] letters to your excellency I informed you

  6. about my travel to Sindabur. God granted me safety, I finally arrived in al-M[alībā?]r and

  7. bought what God, the exalted, made available, to the extent reported in my previous letters.

  8. We intended, on our way home, to travel to Aden, but riots and bloodshed occurred,

  9. and [who]ever was in the town fled. The [shipmas]ter, namely, 'All Nawak, wan[ted] also to flee, but I discovered this 

T-S AS 156.238 1r

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T-S AS 156.238 recto

  1. [and informed X. about it], but he did not believe me. We loaded the
  2. textiles and the iron during the night, for he (Nawak) had the power to keep us back [by refusing to sail]. Finally, we all fled to Faknur. I had left
  3. some of the pepper and many of the smaller items with Jacob Ibn Thābit. We arrived
  4. in Faknur, where ʿAlī Nawak disembarked and remained, while we went on in the same ship to Kulam and stayed there for some time.
  5. When the night of ... arrived, we loaded and set sail, 35 days before New Year.
  6. The captain had been ill while still in town, but we sailed for ten days.
  7. When we encountered a large pusht (a reef, or another underwater obstacle), water being five fathoms high, and did not know whether this was the Fal (the northern end of the Laccadive Islands) or not,
  8. God granted us safety, but the captain had a stroke and died. We threw his body overboard into the sea. So the boat remained
  9. without a commander and a . . ., and we had no charts. A crowd
  10. in the ship was afraid the ship would be lost, if it landed in an Arab country. However, if we returned to
  11. India, there too the same might happen. They got the upper hand and returned us to Kulam. We gave up hope of saving our goods.
  12. After twenty days we arrived in Kulam, the place we feared. But God granted us
  13. delivery immediately. The .. ., the .. ., and the manager came on board and took
  14. the ship from us, confirming its rights to its proprietor, being afraid of ʿAlī Nawak.
  15. They provided us with water and wood. Two captains travelled with us, after they had signed documents (confirming their obligations) towards us,

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  1. and we set sail. We arrived in Aden in the shortest possible time, prior to all others. I sold the
  2. iron for a good price, 20 dinars a bahār. I had with me 72 bahār and 50 separate pieces, 30 mann
  3. saqat and 40 mann clove. After customs I had obtained 1,500 dinars
  4. [and] a lot in other currencies. I had planned to travel home, but learned that a bahdr of pepper cost 35 dinars (in Aden). I could not
  5. tarry so long until I could buy pepper in Aden (for a reasonable price). Having sought God's guidance,
  6. I decided to travel to Faknūr in the same boat in which we had arrived, for it had been blessed for me.
  7. I rented from them storage space for 150 bahārs, 100 for pepper and 50 for various other goods. For the 100 bahār for pepper,
  8. I paid 90 mithqals of Adenese coinage. Sheikh ʿAlī Ibn al-Kūfī and
  9. Sheikh Bundār had stipulated with them (the captains) for me that I would not pay them a dirhem until I had bought the pepper myself.
  10. I sent with Sheikh Abu 'l-Karam and Sheikh Abu 'l-Surūr three loads of brazilwood and with them 27

  11. less a quarter Maliki dinars for the custom duties and . . . made of lālas, 50 red furjiyyas (robes open in the front) in mats,

  12. and ... a necklace made of Sīlī (Ceylon?) beads. Please take note of this. Also with Sheikh Abu 'l-Husayn Zayd

  13. Ibn Abū Manṣūr, the Alexandrian, ten lālas robes. Take note. Accept my

  14. greetings. And greetings to the family [the writer's wife], to Sheikh Abū Isḥaq and to Abū Naṣr

  15. ... and all those you care about. 

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  1. Sheikh ... 

  2. ...., May your well being increase and never diminish.

  3. The date of this letter is Wednesday, 29th Ab. 

  4. To the illustrious Sheikh, my lord ʿArūs, son of Joseph (may he) r(est in) E(den)
  5. May God prolong his life and make his honoured position and welfare permanent.

4. His servant, may he become his ransom, ʿAllā[l] (or: ʿAllā[n]), son of Ḥassūn (may his) e(nd be) g(ood). 

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  • T-S AS 156.237: Provided by Cambridge University Library. Zooming image © Cambridge University Library, All rights reserved. This image may be used in accord with fair use and fair dealing provisions, including teaching and research. If you wish to reproduce it within publications or on the public web, please contact genizah@lib.cam.ac.uk.
  • T-S AS 156.238: Provided by Cambridge University Library. Zooming image © Cambridge University Library, All rights reserved. This image may be used in accord with fair use and fair dealing provisions, including teaching and research. If you wish to reproduce it within publications or on the public web, please contact genizah@lib.cam.ac.uk.