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From Aden to India: Specimens of the Correspondence of India Traders of the Twelfth Century Author(s): S. D.

Goitein Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 23, No. 1/2 (Apr., 1980), pp. 43-66 Published by: BRILL Stable URL: . Accessed: 08/03/2012 06:12
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Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. XXIII, Parts I and II

of of of IndiaTraders the Twelfth Specimens the Correspondence Century

S. D. GOITEIN of to Since the appearance my article,"From the Mediterranean on Documents theTradeto India,SouthArabia, EastAfrica and India: in XXIX (i954), fromthe EleventhandTwelfthCenturies," Speculum, would be 18A-197,it was expectedthat a corpusof such documents soon. Fortunately, fulfillment this hope is now in the the of published of had why offing.However,an explanation a quarter a century to pass could be realized in order. is beforethis expectation The documentsconcernedwere preservedin the so-calledCairo of Geniza,a treasure-trove Judeo-Arabic mostly fragmanuscripts, with one another.Moreover mentaryand completelydisconnected in but libraries, England, alsoin France, todayin many theyaredispersed U.S.A., Russia,Austria,Hungary,and other countries In orderto 1). find out which of them belongedto the topic "Indiatrade"in the concerned widestsense of the word one had to visit all the libraries all the documentary Genizamaterial and to read they possessed.By of the "IndiaBook," as the planned a very considerable part 1958 wasshortlyreferred hadbeenwritten. thattime,however, to, By corpus it also had become evident that the India trade,as reflectedin the Geniza,was only a branchof that greatexchangeof goods between worlds of the Mediterranean which was in the Islamicand Christian full bloom as from the eleventhcentury.A study of the society for was whichthe importof Oriental products only one of manyactivities, to with Meditermy 2). appeared be imperative Naturally, occupation
I) For a first orientation on the nature of these manuscriptssee the article GeniZa in the Encyclopaedia Islam2,II, 987-989. More in the books quoted in the subsequent of notes. : Society TheJewishCommunities theArab World z) S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean of in as Portrayed the Documentsof the Cairo Genira, University of California Press,

which is indicated in the English text by parentheses encompassing parts of the words alluded to in the original only by their initials. vol. welcome. the list of Geniza documents included in my "India Book. which were in hand when I sat down to write the first version of the corpus dedicatedto the India trade3). GOITEIN raneansociety delayedthe work on the "IndiaBook. But experiencehas taught despite their shortness. A Tentative Bibliography Geniza Documents. They are often written in abbreviatedform.such as holidays." It had. while preparing his volume. 4) Sixteen other letters from the "India Book" are translatedin S. notes. D. are presented in translation and in Arabic transcript4). and are addressed to a merchant stationary in India. 3) Shaul Shaked. 1967. two letters." Paris-The Hague. as the manuscript marks indicate. The letters are written in Hebrew charactersand contain also a few Hebrew words. 1973. Since these two letters emanated from the office of a wakil a tujadr.Princeton. In the following. III. The Family.particularly me that even a small scrap of paper may sometimes contain a valuable bit of informationfor socioeconomic history 5). if I am not mistaken. pieced together from seven Geniza fragments. 62-71. but must wait for the completion of the India Book. is well progressed.who was also superintendentof a port. I.44 S. dealing with the individual. In the English references to Jewish matters. since the relevant mattersfound in the latter must be worked into vol. and. England. 5) I use this opportunity to express again my appreciationand gratitude to the former and present directors(librarians) staffof the UniversityLibraryCambridge and for the unfailing support given to my work throughout the years. others in bound volumes. his physical environment and spiritual world. 1978.words translatedfrom Hebrew are italicized. The fourth and concluding volume. 335-338. Berkeleyand Los Angeles. the advantage that about 15o new items were added to the original or stock of 2 50o so.PP. but. however. they are. Economic Foundations. especially at the beginning and end. in titles and blessings. Translatedfrom Arabic. of 1964.thesewords are rendered in Arabic translation. who had. Goitein. some between glasses."The Mediterranean Mind. are preserved in six different sections. see below. IV. 1971. . naturally. representativeof merchants. As far as necessary. 308 items. Lettersof MedievalJewish the Traders. especiallyits last chapter. and again others in various series of boxes. D." as it stood in 1963. The Community. II. 175-229. 299-304. All the seven happento be found in the Taylor-Schechter Collection of the University Library Cambridge. At the writing of these lines it comprises about 400.

representative of the merchantsand superintendentof the port of Aden. z2o-2o6. He is represented in the Geniza with a great number of items written by. 4. and "Nagid of the Land of Yemen. and other activities of the persons involved in that trade. pp. He operateda brass factory. My collection of papers from the Cairo Geniza connected with the trade on the India route comprises about 400 items to date. The senderof our letters was Madmin b. Paul Benichou. while the balanceare letters and documents illustrating the personal. he returnedto his native ambiancein order to marryhis daughterinto his own family. The two letters translatedbelow give a good idea of the economic 6) Ben Yijifwas his family name. is done in the introductory part of the corpus. like his father. 7) Translatedin Letters(see n.naturally. head of the Jewish communities of that country. As his letter of September I1. that is. Under the form Benichou this name is still common among North African Jews. as was customaryin those days. 181-185. derived from that of a Berber tribe.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 45 The commentaries accompanying the translations are essentially philological. 1149. of which 245 deal with the trade proper. communal. Hasanb. The general historical and socioeconomic evaluation of the documents translated. 8) About him see Letters. in which also local Jews and others were employed. the middleman between the Jews of the Mediterraneanarea and those active in India 8). written in Aden on his way home shows. a learned Tunisian Jew. Bunddir. Pera1hyd Yijii 6). whose mercantileand industrialactivities on the Malabarcoast of India can be tracedduring the years 11 32 through I1149. pp. made the name known in France. or addressedto. and probablyalso to give his little son the opportunityfor a better education7). probably one under whose protection the family once had lived.He might have visited India before. . the author of Moralesdu GrandeSitcle (6th edition. they are intended to establish the exact meaning of the text and to explain any detail with which the readermight not be expected to be familiar." that is. above). Ben The addresseeof these letters was Abrahamb. I948). He was also a shipowner and.or of whose significancehe might be unaware. him.

sugar. The reader. India had famous copper mines. Copper and lead were sent to him from the West.II:. V . spices. fol. a commodity not handled by Jews in the Mediterranean. the West sent gold coins of various currenciesand all those daily commodities which Westernersout in India needed or desired: Spanishand Egyptian textiles. GOITEIN merchantsojourningin India. and state of preservation the paper. fol.9 ~flU ~. and lead was found also east of India. of course. for one reason or another. size. but obviously the supply was not sufficient for a flourishing brass industry. will interest him most.46 S. and.The type. will linger at those parts which.but taking pride of place in the India trade. such as pepper and ginger. of course. This article wishes to give the reader an inkling of the problems of of research. as well as the style and quality of the script are not negligible details. 14 24. TS 6 J 4. L +4?k1 ' 4-j" L>. and betel nuts. color. TS 18 J 2. I 23. the products of his brassfactory. and dates. D. writing paper not to be had in India at all. and social aspects demand our careful attention. (5%. He exported concernsof a Mediterranean iron. raisins. and household goods of differentdescriptions. r 3\ 0J (:rz)~. financial.but factorswhich must be taken into accountwhen we go about to piece together the disparatefragments found in the Geniza. Besides this. 7 Ir4. The linguistic. technical.

L VY ~ -. . .:. i..saLo.? j Joi~J UjCu~9 -d J1 E 1A . J>-'PCjJoj u L1...* 1 T VA J a tOuT U: 1. V.~ 6t 1a Z. fol.LJ "J d 4 Jlq LjA c~Jj 2L -J .i~ gbtqa '?Fv ' II 27a. A.r pl 7 . f ~ $ cL lt . j~z~- C I t-i C-0 C lau I A 4 1 3~k 1U 3yu v CJ 3r <--5 j& iLLL j -l-.b 1 I. xL4J .3. JJat .FROM ADEN TO INDIA 47 . TS NS J..

'. verso. VA A-.3b V- u3J~ill O N s"e-) te A .J-41 t.~~~a~Jl 4 e:. u U -41?-I 1 L5 .-. GOITEIN ..J Louo ~Lt Jiilu ~ Iji.I L) J-6. o* jU a 1.t swpj. Io < J:?.: . TS 24.U ~.48 27a. ajj 4 4 1 . b 4.o..L.uii CvI Ia '" ir I9 -~LU3(! ~~' IWb jU3 A) .. address S.? g!?tf t~ I -. L.e.Y I A 4 JrU f IA (5jJI Jj.) 41Lfp 3 j pv. IV o LS &.z .e J IC. h ) ?Ji)a3O -I 3J J Zr j *1 4JLA I i o^.66 yal 3ri~ V ~. oPR . r.} I (J [iC1 J 0 j al ] L53" . 5LCJ.J ofC tyl LA 0-..6~ Ij\ Ac~ .X..6 <fs y. yS St ! 26.cilc . D.

.>1t 3 o 1 . .w~J JU3 ) ~ji! . JL3 "a. 4 .5 y U A V IaUsAtII Jy I verso ezUJi1~1o) (14 <.)3 L*bJ~ 4N TA aYTA J- o V CIJ:A?.t?Ck IAj SCL utol tiJvU oi .il cjj31byp\ it J52LI tt---J i1p1 Cy bLe )1 .FROM ADEN TO INDIA - 49 . J1 1 J 1 I2 V.0 3 ( verso iT (L~ J >L~~P1 iALLs_ o)~ rUi u .J ja i Js 4.~k . 2A11 JA9I1 0.-y i ..)a .J a~ LP . tA tv V 35 .J ..A y V "r"'** Ar9 -U 1ZZI .i 4 i v ~ A .J .

7 25. 24. TS eS.. Only the which the postscript on the verso of number 24 was written by anotherhand. and kt'by.e.314 TS I8 J 2 fol.8 cm. GOITEIN i USU J L$:j 4ji1t. "myreason. 26..JO S. but the paper was torn in such a way that the first five words of line five are in number 24. approximately zz cm.3 cm. stands wrote Number made atnumber 24 recto of this letter. to Abraham Ben Yfiy. therefore.8 + 36 cm. England. The paper is light gray and of medium thickness. Itto kt. 18-37. are the numbers given to the relevant Geniza on texts in my book Documents from theCairoGeniZa theIndiaTrade theHigh Middle of the "India Book" (in preparation). Line 35 of number 23 is identical with the first line of number 24. D. Malabar Coast. while the last word in the line is on the lower left hand corner of number 23. corresponding to number 24. 25.. Ages. = 43.first the of numbepostscripts the margins of number 32. its width 10.. The numbers 23. India 23. Cambridge. 3. the same hand which wrote that to number 99 in very cursive style." i. lower half of this copy has been preserved. 'tVi Two copiesof a letter by Maadmun. It is well preserved. except that the ink on the opposite side can be seen through the paper in places. 24. etc. "my letter.1J . missing here). andline wrote that to number 19 in a very cursive style... This same scribealso wrote numbers he 23 and least two copies were written by the clerk who also wrote number in 99.e. and the word therefore. The length of the page is 7. Aden.verso. 9) TS = Taylor-Schechter Collection in the University Library. i-i8 (to the word only two words are 11. However.416 Numbers 23 and 24 together form one complete letter. . recto. 11. It stands to reason.. 6 and Number 2z is written on paper of exactly the same type and dimensions. i. TS_ )6J4fol.

fromDiu (ibid. Requestto ask threeIndianacquaintances. for example. 2. 11. "to wrap over the mouth of a small flask" (Mishna. 32. : Translation A. (I) Your be above adversaries. why Madmainadded the postscripton the verso of this scribe's copy. (2) To our worthym(aster)and t(eacher) all your enemies Abraham. 11. Announcement Madmfin prepared fit out a ship to sail from Aden in partnershipwith the aforementioned (ibid. while the draftwas sent in another boat as a replacementin the case that the official text was lost. 11. and coconutsetc. Greetings(ibid. to send pepperand iron from Mangalore. It is thus clear that it was copied from an original which Madmanhimself had written.29-25). in referenceto 'erasedpaper'). Madmian. C.m(ay God remember f(avorably).. that was to G..FROM ADEN TO INDIA 5I that this was the hand of the sender. Sabbath. him) . and not on the original itself. The answer is that the calligraphiccopy served as the officialtext of the letter.10-23). and 33-34.. It is surprising that the receiver of the letter kept two copies of it during all the yearshe lived in India and did not dispose of them until he came to Cairo. (Arabictext not provided): Postscript F. E.1-5. The marketfor iron in Aden (ibid. From this we may conclude that he kept the paper. The recto of numbers 23-24 is written in a very ornate style in such a way that the sheet is filled exactly. : Contents theletter of of A.I-10).. B. Hindusand one two Muslimor Jew. 11. It is even more strange when we see that number 25 has no more room for further writing. The same handwriting is to be found in numbers 27.35-37).. number 24. if not for reference.23-29).the son of o(ur honored). 23.11. or "to stop up the mouth of his flask" 8. in reference to a cancelled legal document). the deacon (number 24. List of gifts sent to Ben Yijii with 'Abd al-Masih. (BabaMetZia13a. 29. (number 11. The question then arises. and hands shall high your (sic) shall be cut off.himself. D. 1-12). verso. No. Acknowledgment Ben Yijfi'sletterand shipment 23.for uses other than writing.13-18). Acknowledgment of a shipmentsent by Ben Yijfi to the merchant Abu 'l-Khair and business dealingsof the latter (ibid.

(18) and is fit to be worn by prominent men. the like of which (21) no one has.unbleached Dabiqi scarf. I have also sent you (a gift) from me: (i6) a new. because (34) there is none at all left in the city. the)g(arden E(den). May God unite (4) us under the most joyful circumstances. I learned that you sent the two locks and the two thousand (8) white and red betel nuts.52 S.and in the best of(5) spirits. m(ayhe rest in H. (35) Please take notice of this. of) (4) The letter of my lord. six in number. With him. 1. B. 1. D.for he controlsthis andis ableto effect it. first-rate. (23) Everything you sent to Abu 'l-Khair arrived. He requestedme to ask you to look after his interests (27) and send his remaining (28) iron and cardamon. and for Bamah. 2) in order. C. I read (24. 1. . (1i ) with 'Abd al-Masih. (i3) We wrappedthem in canvas and your name is written (14) on it in Arabic and Hebrew. large paper-(2o) government paper. (7) my lord. (I7) which has a pretty band on each side. (24) and he has taken delivery of all of it. the son of asan. I have sent you a bundle of (12) Berberamats. 5) and your affairs(24. (I) also (sent) with him (19) two sets of fine. (37) the most bountiful well-being. I have already(9) received this and I thank you for attending (io) to it. Please accept for yourself the best of (36) wishes.and the entire balanceto his credit. (25) He bought Egyptian linen and went up into the (26) Highlands. i) and understood it. See that you receive all this from him. E. GOITEIN and g(reat) andh(oly)m(aster) t(eacher) Y?ji m(ayhe restin the)g(arden (3) of) E(den) (from)yourfriend Madmin. In addition. arrived. if (6) God will. and asked Him to give you more of every good thing. From what you mentioned. for whichI thanked God very much. and I was happy to learn that you were well (23. And Peace. As for iron. (29) Send him all this on the first boat (30) which sails from India. this (31) year it sold (well) in Aden-all (32) kinds of iron--and in the coming year (33) there will also be a good market.the deacon. (I sent) with him two rubd'iyydtof (z2) sugar and raisins. and for your son Suriir. the most illustrious elder. D.

taking some coir (coconut fine all fiber).writtenin the samedirectionas the postscriptbelow: His servant elder.. Ibrdhim Ishii.(7) and that the raqs(shining. (i 2z)mango(?).in (4) this comingyearits Inform will and value. (i) The most illustrious b. tell them(3) of my longingfor them.writtenon number versoon the reverse 24 side. and do not be remiss. G.raisinsand (other)goods. they can.I would send them (i6) gold.(thatis) the priceper bahdr. in Address Hebrewscript. t(eacher) m(ayhe rest Yzyj.for you take the place of (18) a letter of mineto them. (13) If they are equippinga ship in Aden.oppositethe beginningof the letter: and Your Madm~Zin. in the)g(arden E(den). the Israelite. If therewere (i ) a this ship sailingfrom Mangalore shouldset out at the for first opportunity (11) al-Dyyb[Diu]. which twenty was in the city. themin my namethat as for pepper.because these aresellingwell. m(ay) t(eacher) (2) m(ay) Godremember f(avorably). Be sure to informthem (17) of all this.and ginger.iron.glitteringiron). (6) dinars. (9) and to sendin it any available pepper. is completelyexhausted. (i) Toourworthy friend m(aster) thesonof IHasan. (i) Pleasegive S~is Siti and Kinbdti[andIshl. sugar. b. be (5) thirtydinars.AndPeace. of) . I will share(in it) with them. F. herestin the) him g(arden thesonof o(urmaster) and of) E(den). more. Abraham.(8) (Tell them also) to a if dispatch ship from Mangalore. in Address Arabicscript. aloeswood.] (2) and Ishlq and the Binyin my best regards. and coconuts. (io) cubeb.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 53 Verso Madmfin's (in hand). a bahdrwill be (worth)not less than andas for refurbished iron. and they want me (14) to take part. Madmiin his mayGod preserve high al-Ha[san] position.

' and it seems that it here refers to some kind of decoratedfringes. Isaiah 41:8. both here and in the Hebrew address. 1. I1 'Abd al-Masih the deacon-shammds. verso. so did ecclesiasticalofficers of the ChristianChurch-here probably of the Syrian Church of India. are found at the beginning of other letters from that period. etc.54 S. silsilah.. where "your hand(in the singular) . No." usually said at the beginning of letters. without the waw.the terms "Arabic"and "Hebrew" refer not only to the script."may He crush your enemies. 18:"24.tov[a]) 3 Your friend-spelled 'hbk. The word is once specified in these papers (34. 14 "In Arabic and Hebrew"-as the two addresses in this letter demonstrate.23-27.--Micah 5:8. 24 7 Locks-see number 26. 8 Betel nuts-a common Indian export commodity. below. for example. 19 Sets-Ar. 17 Band-Ar. often in the Bible. which usually means 'chain. See numbers z6. 1. 6. In Yemenite usage. I Kings 5: 5." This biblical verse and similar ones. Just as Jewish rabbis and Muslim qadis dabbled in trade. verso. 23 I Yourhandsshall be high.The same gift was also sent in letter 29. 11.. . dast. z The abbreviationZ"l is generallyknown as a blessing for the dead.' also has the sense of 'collar. D. but to the language as well. While traveling from Aden to India. these letters stand for Z(dkhir) and are used as a blessing for the living. This replaces Arabic wa-kabata a'ddhu.This word. he acted as an agent for two Jews. 14. 1(e. Proverbs Hasan-in the Arabic addresswith the article.. 46. 28. 1. GOITEIN Commentary No. Esther 5:10. 1z Mats which were brought to Aden from the African port of Berbera. below. which designates a number of objects of the same description.

1346/1927-8. Barth6lemy p. is shortened to dast. of course. when connected to a following word. 44Ia." according to the meaning of the Arabic root frh. This too would give the rubd'ia weight of about io kg. e. schaftsgebiet.63-64). I73a. the rub!'i has four Tumdniof 2. informed. accordingto A. I am The Yemenite Qadah(cf." The same word in Modern Egyptian designates"a quire of paper. 98. of andDozy. as in number 55. p. Ta'rikh al-Yemen. and once (54.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 55 in connection with Chinesecups) as a set of six. Ar. 24 Abu 'l-Khair-This name occurs frequently in these documents.Cairo.1923. 1. the rubi'i is I/8 of a Qada. 26 .Bamah-the slave and house-steward of Ben Yiji.which means "Joy in the Lord. the capitalof Yemen. Grohmann."cf.387 kg. Siidarabien II." which in Yemen. 1. To the highlands of centralYemen. 32. apply here. In San'a'." which does not. 239.h. als Wirt21 Rubd'iyyat-According to A. He is perhapsto be identifiedwith Abu 'l-Khairal-Barqi(199. Spiro.' correspondsto the Hebrew name Perahyd. Cairo. 6. 36 Surair-This Arabic name. dast shama'. In contemporary Egyptian and Yemenite Arabic dastais "a dozen. dast is "a set of 400 leaves of paper. Glaserand other 19th century in South Arabia. Paperwas also sent in single sheets. Peraihyiwas the name of this Surtir'sgrandfather. 1. 15.-Franc. who relies on E. Supplimentl.. which means 'Joy. travelers which would make 9. 4) is the equivalent of two modern oil tins. p. where fifteen sheets of large Talhi paper are mentioned.g. All kinds of iron-Five differenttypes of iron are mentioned in 32 these documents. Dict. Arabic-English Dictionary Egypt.448 kg. page 200. 24. 11. Dialectes de Syrie."a dozen candles. al-Wdsi'i. The sending of paperas gifts or merchandiseto India is mentionedvery frequently in our documents. 1. referringto paper) as a set of twelve.

1943. as derived from p.36 Verso S. peninsulaof Gujariton Ii Diu. becauseit simplymeans . andatmiuka.Ishiq can be the for nameof a Jew or a Muslim. wouldbe tradedas fiber Bericht India. Steingass. i. D. see 0. goods ordered they are exportcommodities.. (the z Ish-i-The name Yiji was also pronounced and written as Yishi. Professor somewhich might be pronounced Basham suggestednavdmuaka. 13 Equipping--Ar.2 p. Spies.e. L.whethertextileswould be mentioned couldnot betweencoir and coconutsand wonderwhethernw'shk stand for nagZak. 33. Fine aloeswood. of was a greatemporium tradein the LateMiddleAges. Basham).Binyan is the usualdesignation an Indianmerchant. 322. The name has the article a "island" knownto the Arabicspeaking certainly (dipa). p. meaning MiddleEasterners.I take it as Persianagarbib. buyingor buildinga ship and fittingit out. a compound nava. 1-2 with slightvariations.I doubt. seems. or as Ishi. Mango or as a preserve. however. . 8.SugarandraisinsHere sent in generally appear smallquantities as gifts for children. thinglikenkadshuk. s1. by Indianmerchants. 12 clearlyspelledthus in both copies. see F. fine of new. 1.. informationby ProfessorA. Sanskritaguru(modern agar. and 62.e. in 27): as Arabic The Address sameaddress.Persian-English Dictionary.-The first two namesare Indian. 1. The item nw'shk also has not been tracedthus far. muslin.'krbh. cloth.jahdZ. an island south of the Saurashtra end of the Gulf of Cambay the northwestern (northof Bombay). Ibn Fadlallah al-Omari's mango. see to gold coins. Leipzig. see number 27 in the Hebrew address. 90.has not been found by me elsewhere. I. (Other)goods-i. pickles cf. it 16 Gold-the reference. GOITEIN SdisSiti etc.

was left blank on the verso of 27c.D. 1148/9 A.66 TS NS J.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 57 of of Fragments twocopies a letter to fromMadmfin BenY/ij 26 27a TS 24. He did. z6 is a copy. This would seem to imply that they cut their paper to different sizes. It concludes with the second word of line 35 of number 26. but it differs in possess others from his hand. from which he copied.3 cm. 5 TS Box K 25. The original was written by Madman carefullyand in a more pleasant hand than is usual for him. of the original. 13 27c No. Number z7b begins with the last word in line 5 of number z6.. involving the beginning of words. 1147/8 A.5 cm. i. 1146/7 A. and for another year which is difficultto read. while paper always was in demand for all kinds of purposes. which is mentioned several times in these documents. through agencyof the shipowner . was often torn away as not needed. Thus Madmin was not forced to cut short. A space of 12 cm. On the lower edge of the verso of 26 the receiver of the letter. plus 29. The paper is different in number z7a-c. and that it was not bought alreadycut in sheets suitable for writing purposes. as he sometimes did for lack of space. on the edge of number 5 i. lighter. It appears more brownish. Acknowledgment of a letter and a shipmentof pepper from Ben the Rimisht. 52 cm.. z252z 27b TS 13 J 7. There is no deviation from the original.5 cm. use many more diacriticalmarks than his master.e. albeit without any consistency.D. The same man wrote a calendar for 1461. Its length is 11 cm.5 cm. Yijfi. matches numbers 27a-c. at the bottom.. width (11. Its width is io cm. a calendarfor the year 1458 of the Era of the Documents. The clerk worked with great exactitude.D. and smoother than the paper of the other fragments originating from Madmiin's office which have been identified up till now. fol. written by the clerk who wrote numbers z3-z4. and we No. in his own hand. The address has since the custom was to write the addresson the been preservedonly in number z27a. We may assume that these accounts were enteredin Madmiin'sledger.e. Abraham b. The writer undoubtedly had accounts before him. reverse side of the sheet.).. fol. see above.e. i. at the top and 9. a total of 66 cm. are found in two places only.. which is written by Madmoin. Contents theletter: of Aa. 26 is written on the same grayish paper as numbers 23-25.. 1149/5o A. usually containing only polite phrases. Deletions. and the beginning. of the length of the sheet are preserved..e. plus 25. i.D. however. for the year 1459. opposite the beginning.The fifth line of number z27a the firstline of number 26. most probably it is for the year 1460. frgt. wrote. i..anddetailed Yijfi.

or gold piece. should be kept in mind that a bahdr It contains 300rotl. 11.per rotl34/300 dinar. leaving -2 ii bahir. the price and the freight 40-50). and of purchasesof copper. The shipment gifts. which onesusedin tradein Adenin thisperiod. Details of various expenditureson behalf of Ben Yijii. . The purchase of copper for Ben Yiji. 255 rotl. Malikidinars. andbest wishes. Ab. Bb. C. afterthe transferof part of the shipment to whomever designated.bahar. from which 45 rotl were removed. The completion of Ben Yiji's account (verso.third. in as is evidentfrom variousreferences the Indiapapers. GOITEIN accounting of what was received for the goods sold. thedeductionexpenses of after I. Acknowledgment of various shipments. Acknowledgment of a shipment of iron through the agency of the shipowner Ibn Abu 'l-Kati'ib.or half of a dinar. finally. is divisibleinto to 24 qirits. after the deduction of expenses (number 27a. lead. sent A. D.5o-verso 17). charges in three differentships (11. the circumstances the require. The price: per bahar-34 dinars. and detailed accounting of what was receivedfor the goods sold. and other commodities (11.naturally.fourth. D. 11. 16-39). of gifts from Ben Yija. whicharecombined an eight.all the accountscontained in thisletterhavebeenreduced a table.The dinarsare. and after the deduction of expenses (number 26. The balancein favor of Ben Yija. Pepper.and that the dinar. and. Ac. 1. of In orderto lighten the reader's burden.18-19). 15).but hadhere a highervalue. sixth. Ba.The detailswill be explained to in the commentary.58 S. I-number 26.namely. Thesaleof the prices goods byBenYjfi andthe obtained. or pounds. morethanone thirdof the Fatimid hadthe worthof somewhat dinar. 1.

17 dinars dinars per rotl 17/300oo Totalreceived:238 +-(i65 x 17/300 = 9.) The expenditureson this shipment: "Tithes" (i.35 rounded to 9 1/4) out 247 1/4 dinars on Variousexpenditures this shipment z7 1/4 dinars in from the Balance favor of Ben Yijai iron shipment 220 dinars in Totalbalance favorof Ben Yijii = 220 + 315 dinars= 53 dinars 5 B. Shipmentsgoods requested to and items of BenYij/for theaforementioned sum of on I.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 59 9/1o.) Hidesfor packingthem. rotl 255 5 Amountleft for sale: 14 bahdr.e. 5 bahdr copper. Iron-20 bahr. Otherpurchases expenses: 4 I/2 dinars Freightchargesfor the copper .andthe cost of packing i I/2 dinars Exit tolls in Aden 4 i/8 dinars and II.and expenditures them 415 dinars(Malik.I89 rot1 Amountgiven to the merchant Khalaf 2 bahdr. customs) 82 1/4 dinars 4 1/6 dinars Expenses in receiving the goods Baskets and porters i/6 + I I/4 dinars 28 Total: 374 dinars + (34 x z55/300) -28 87 5/6 dinars Balancein favor of Ben Yijaifrom the 87 /6 peppershipment 315 dinars II.165rotl Price: per bahdr. 120 rotl o Amountgiven to the merchant Joseph 3 bahar. rounded out to 5/6 = 402 5/6 dinars (Malik.. 75 rot1 Total: bahdr.

four (io) hundred and three dinars. (thus). . GOITEIN dinars 8 dinars 2 i/2 + i/4 dinars 2 dinars i dinar 5 dinars 6 dinars 28 I/2 + 1/12 dinars I dinar 47 dinars 7 dinars 535 11/24. rounded out to I/4 + i/8 + 1/12 = 11/24. D. that with these shipments his account with Ben Yijiofor that year is settled. 1. minus onesixth. 1. has arrived.(8) This has arrived (26. The (full) value is. I have entreated God (to grant you) more of every good thing. the most illustrious elder. 535 1/3 dinars (iMlaliki) the 1/3 dinar is not considered by Majdmn. 3) some pepperin the ship of the NikhodS (7) Rimisht (26. (5) (26. I) in his mercy. i) The letter of my lord. 4)-twelve bahir of small measure. It was (3) a most gladdening letter and a most delightful message. 1. 6)-as you mention in your letterforty (7)-five rotl. 5) and your servant went to pick it up. From this is to be deducted (26. I was happy to learn of your and well-being (4) and your prosperous circumstances. 2 Registrationfee to the captainfor the shipments of iron and pepper Copperbars Dates An Abyssinian hide Mats A carpet Various items of clothing Lead Freight charges for the lead 20o Egyptian Mithqil. 2) in your esteemed letter (6) that you sent (26. I noted from what you mentioned (26. may he guard your life and humble those who envy you. may God make permanent(2) your well-being. which equal 7 Maliki dinars Translation Aa. leaving you eleven (8) bahir and two hundred and fifty-five rotl. who states However.6o S. the price being (8) thirty-threedinars (per bahir). (27a. 1. 1. 1.

(35) the price being seventeen dinars(per bahdr)." the expenses. weighing (42) five bahdr. the custom's (Ii) duty).r to be deducted: for the elder Joseph b. (43) (Total) value: four hundredand fifteen dinars. at a cost of eighty-three (dinars per bahdr). (45) The cost of hides and packing.three bahdrand one hundred and eight (31) rotl. the cost of obtaining the goods. In reply. (29) From this is bah. four Ba. four and one-sixth dinars. (14) a total of eightyeight dinars minus one-sixth. (I5) leaving three hundred and fifteen dinars(in your favor). two bahdr(32) and one-quarter-a total of five bahar and two hundred (33) and fiftyfive rotl. to (25) pay the price (of it). Ac. if this were not true. ( 3) the cost of baskets and a porter. eighty-two (i2) and one quarter dinars. (27) The iron I received from you in Aden is about twenty (28) and one hundred and twenty rotl of small measure. I held him to be under obligation (24).(44) The number of pieces in each bag is twenty-three.e. according to the sale value in Aden. (26) He is to pay my lord this in India. Ishiq. the sum total coming to you is approximatelyfive hundred(40) and thirty-five dinars. one and one-half dinars. he stated that (2i) the Bdnydn(the Indian merchant)whom you asked to take charge of the iron (22) delivered no more than this to him. Exit tolls (46) from the port (of Aden).one and one-quarterand one-sixth dinars. twenty-(38)sevendinars. his son.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 6I From this (sum) is to be deducted the "tithe" (i. saying that the rest of (23) the iron was in the highlands and had not yet arrived. only gave me (20) seventeen bahdr of large measure. Ab. (30o)Abraham.Total value: two hundred (36) and forty-seven and one-quarterdinars. . for Khalaf b. Therefore.leaving two hundred (39) and twenty dinars. Your servantbought you (41) three bags of copper (?sufr). leaving you four-(34)teen bahdrand one hundred and sixtyfive rotl. (16) You mentioned that you sent some refurbishediron in the ship of the Ndkhodd(17) Abu 'l-Hasanb. Abu 'l-Katd'ib(x18)--twentyone bahdr-but (i9) the Nikhodi AbTi'Abd Allah. From this is to be deducted (37) the "tithes. and the (cost of) the porter.

white (27) and the red ones.(8) a zodiac carpet. (4) 115 rotl. worth two and one-halfand one-quarter dinars.a basketof dates. two dinars. (I) Also. lead.worth five dinars. weighing (12) two hundredand forty-fiverotl.a maqta' worthsix dinars-(io) all this with kerchiefs. cloth. GOITEIN and one-eighth dinars. D. Therealso arrivedwhat you were kind enough(to send). Therealso arrived "eggs"whichyou sentin the shipof (21) Abu 'l-Katd'ib.which (24) you sent to your servant. (Also) charged to you. (i8) The totalsum:five hundred thirty-five and dinars and (19) one third. The betel nuts also arrived.62 S.(I4) freightchargesfor the piece of lead. ship'scaptain. (5) ten (6) Berbera mats which are in a package(7) which is markedin Hebrewand Arabic.(17) twenty EgyptianMithqil (i6) worth forty-seven Thatpursecontains(also)seven Malikidinars.(3) worth eight dinars.I sent you (47) this in the ship of the Ndkhodd Rdmisht-(48) one bag-in the ship of al-Muqaddam-one bag-and in the ship of (49) Nambiyar (ani?)-one bag-a total of three bags.the price(perbahdr) (I3)eightandone-half being 35 dinars.and this was receivedby the eldersJoseph (22) Ibn and Khalaf.the cost of an Abyssinian one dinar. Your servant has sent you (20) with Abai Ghalib.This settlesmy lord'saccount. No 26.along the lines of the divisionwhich you indicated(23) in your letter. the ship's . Bc.Abdi the has Ghdlib. (26) But the betel nuts were extremely mediocre. one dinar.(9) andtwo Mandri the ship's captain. Freight charges for ( o) this (were) four and one-half dinars. the registrationfee with the (5i) boat's captainfor the pepper and the iron. D. two dinars. verso rotl of copperbars.(zo) the C. with him also a pursein whichthereare dinars(Maliki).(i i) He also has with him a piece of Abfi Ghdlib. there are chargedto you twenty-five (2) twenty-eight piecesin number.the priceof hide. worth twentydinarsandtwo qirdt.namelyfour (28) locksand two bowls. Bb. andthis is on the balance (2 ) my account withyourexcellency from of both the last year.

"and in place of "Yisha" in 1. his epitaph. contains exactlythe same words with the addition of "the Israelite. pp. and two brazilwood boxes with raisins. p. see also the Arabhistorian al-Athir. M. cf. Tornberg.. 2: Ishu. relating the foundation of a hospice. Riepertoire.and a package with (3i) three sets of Egyptian Talhi paper of the best obtainablequality. my lord Abraham (2) Ben Yishai-May God preserve your well-being. Ibn sub pp. 1967. pp. two large brazilwood boxes with (30) sugar. Sha'bdn. egyptienne. 27a The Hebrew Address: (i) The illustriouselder. Nakhod-Rdmisht--The ships of this great merchant are frequently mentioned in these papers. XI. cf.In 532/1138.5-9). one. Ripertoire arabe. Gaston Wiet." April. Commentary No. dated 5z29/1135. Two inscriptionsof this Rdmishthave been preserved at Mecca. 43. If you have any (34) need or service (to be done) I would be happy to take care of them. d'histoire Cairo I955. And Peace. p. Journalof the RoyalAsiatic Society. Io-14. my lord.Number chronologique d'epigraphie 3075 (vol. Your servantMa~dman b. VIII.written in the direction of the message. 2I8-9). 26 3 ship-owner (Persian). and the second. "Les marchands S. 534/April 1140. he provided for the covering value of 00oo.One of his agentsbrought of backfrom Cantonin a singlevoyagemerchandise the fabulous dinars. "Rdmisht of Sirdf. anno 532 (ed. The Arabic address. al-HJasan Bunddr b. 11. (33) and may you think well of me in your secret of the Ka'ba with Chinese silk. a Merchant Millionaire of the Twelfth Century. (35) May you have abundantwell-being.from Number 3099 (vol.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 63 captain." Cahiers .Vol. VIII. d'dpices etc. Please accept this. 85. Stern. 196-7).

. of Aden. 336. 13 The baskets are mentioned elsewhere. also in Number 28. however. in 1097/8. It seems that pepper and similar commodities were in need of ventilation.64 S. about . see S. another cousin of Madmuin. 3 above. measure = 20zo The ratio is about 1. io) This refersto the voyage to India of Joseph Lebdi of Tripoli. Cost of obtaining the goods-4 1/6 dinars for goods worth 402 5/6 12 dinars. of India. prominentmerchant. Bundir. his dealings with Hasan b. D.20zorotl) of small measure. that this is a polite way of referringto the fee of the Representativeof the Merchants. 17. L6fgren. GOITEIN 4 Of small measure--the relationshipbetween the small and the large measure is clarified by this document. 1. 50. 47 Rimisht-See 1. approximatelyone percent: apparentlya government tax.ioo rotl). Goitein.a cousin of Madmuin. that is. and Number 58. 1. 1095/6. 23 of Yemen. Madm-in. 11. as above. cf. Khalaf b. 46 Port of Aden: al-furdah. It seems. or any indicationas to who received them. 1. 1. Libya. According to these references.330%. and 29 Joseph B.z:1.namely.This payment. above. D.20. that is 1/4810). p. or in another ship of the same merchant. io. 1. 17 bahir (5. 23.17-19. both here and in 11. of large bahir and i20 rotl (= 6. Ish1q.a philanthropic 3' notable. 24. and not. z6. Either the ship which brought merchandise from India took merchandiseon the returntrip. p. Leiden 1968. and his subsequentlawsuits in from that mentionedin 4.the customs house of Aden. 27-28. 17 and z8. 1. for example in 20. whereMadmiin's not much different father received one qirdt out of every two dinars of the price of each piece. 18. and were transferredfrom the containersin which they had been brought from India to the baskets. Abraham. of course. Uppsala 1950. Studies IslamicHistoryandInstitutions. The Highlands. Aden in Mittelalter. 5-7 There is no explanationfor the deduction of 45 rotl from I2 bahdr.

D. decorated this costly carpet. it was the officialtitle of the heads of the EasternJewish communiII.London. The ships of Ibn al-Muqaddam are mentioned also in 56. A city near Saragossa. 12. From the fact that the value of the pepper and the iron together. A Mediterranean Society. 5. 5 . Vocabulary p.also perhapsbroughtfrom there. It is not specified ii whether this captaincommandedone of the three ships mentioned above. 11. English-Arabic (Aden Colloquial). a 8 The zodiac. the ship's captain-v. 1893. word found in Aden to this day. Abii Gh~lib. but since the owners of the other two boats bear Indiannames. see S. 11. or another ship. before the various deductions. Stace. was approximately8o00 dinars. So Registrationcharges-satmi. 1. 1. Goitein. All merchandisecarriedin a ship was registered.Ydqat. recto. near the city of Sidiinah (Yiqfit. 9 Mandri-Mandrah is the name of a locality in south-west Muslim Spain. Lead-needed in the manufactureof copper vessels with which Ben Yiji dealt. the word Muqaddammay refer to the holder of an Indian office.9. p. we see that the registration fee was about I/2% of the value of the merchandise. 648).v.ibid. above." Also heard by me. 18-19. burfij. V. 29. of bearsthis name. see E. 26.1.47-49. Geographical Dictionary. The term designated both the list and the fee. Ar.A kerchief the sametype was sent io from Aden to India according to 67. infra. It is not impossible that the reference here is to a Jewish shipowner. pp. verso a 3 Basket--qawsarah. 17 s. 17. "basket for dates. common ornamenton the floors of churches and synagogues in Byzantine times. These woven goods were named after that district or were Spain. 6 Berbera mats-see 24.FROM ADEN TO INDIA 65 48 Muqaddam-a general term designating a person wielding power. and after the arrival of the ship the captainreceived a set fee for this list. 68-75. ties.

2. This wood was one of the main dyeing stuffs. "Kighad. zo "Eggs"-either a type of cardamon. 1. i. IV.e. b. sappanwood. as we see here. 1. . i9 One third-Madmin discounts this one third. D. As was shown. GOITEIN 15 The Egyptian Mithqil (or dinar) is here worth only 2. who died in 828. made from baqqam. served also as materialfor implements. 11. 32. 1. see Enc. P.or a form in which iron was shipped. in the analysis of the account above. 67. 29. In the final publicationof the Geniza materialon the India trade it is planned to edit the Arabic texts in a separatevolume and to print the comments beneath the translations.39-40.66 S. 31 Talhi paper-named after Talhka Tihir." It is interestingthat the name of a commodityremained constant for over three hundred years. he rounded off small amounts also to the disadvantageof Ben Yijii.35 Maliki dinars. 66.but..S.v. s. Isl. just as z8. 6. 419. ruler of Kharasin in north-east Persia. or 29 Brazilwood boxes. below. Arrived-the merchandisewas delivered to the Representativeof the Merchantswho distributedit to those by whom they had been ordered. however. see recto.