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An example could be the case of Baron. Ishaq ben Barun was an Iberian Jewish scholar of the second half of the eleventh century and the first quarter of the twelfth. He died at the latest in His Muazana was composed probably before and was entitled The book of comparison between the Hebrew and the Arabic languages. It is particularly interesting because it is not limited to comparative lexicography but includes a comparative approach to the grammar of these Semitic languages.

He was not a marginal member of the Jewish communities of Spain, although today he seems to be unknown to students of Africanus ' comparative approach to Semitic languages. He was a member of the circles of the best connected celebrities of the Jewish communities of eleventh-twelfth century Spain. Whether explicitly mentioned by title; mentioned by author without the tite of the work; or not mentioned at all but revealed by modern scholarship as sources of his thought, the Iberian habits of reading are no longer a nebulous area of speculations.

Barun ' is only one of such scholars who took it for granted that Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic were not to be studied in isolation Had these attitudes to language changed radically after Las Navas de Tolosa? Research today no longer continues in the old attitudes [Bacher, Hirschfeld] of refusing to recognize the evidence from late medieval Spain i.

The recent attention to late medieval philology in the case of Profayt Duran is an example. His disciples included members of the Zarc family. The work, based on Shorashim, reminds us that the Zarc family is a case of late medieval families of Iberian exiles attracted to philological work in the Iberian Jewish traditional mode To be sure, a great deal remains to be done, particularly in the area of understanding questions of difference, originality and cultural significance. Similarly, there is no doubt that there is a tradition which is being followed in fifteenth century Spain.

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A case in point, where [like those of Ibn Yaish or the Zarc family] the manuscripts had lain unedited for long, and they were ignored by the conventional histories of grammar, is that of the Seadyah ibn Danan from Granada. He was the author of a number of philological and lexicographic works.

He wrote his dictionary in Arabic in Hebrew characters and his language seems to reflect Andalusian Arabic. He also wrote on Aramaic but the relevant manuscript section is apparently illegible today. In some cases [five] he creates a graphic figure of the words he is discussing; only one of a number of visible signs of unconventional innovation. He finished his dictionary in Granada in But in , the work was still of interest in Granada as it was being copied, possibly by a disciple, on the 23 of Av He was thus continuing, by his and his school ' s choices, in a specific aspect of the tradition of Hebrew Arabic comparative linguistic study of early Al Andalus, Southern Spain.

Africanus ' comparative philological interests -like those which led to his readings of al-Ghazali- do have certain conexts in fifteenth century Iberia. Within the framework of Renaissance and humanist studies, O. Zhiri 45 recently formulated a question or rather, a research task for Al-Gharnati students It concerns mainly the history of reading Al-Gharnati in France.

As in the earlier influential case of English readings of Al-Gharnati [e. And yet Al-Gharnati cannot really be transformed into a subject of English or French studies without a great deal of argument. But they may lead one to think — more relevantly — in terms of communities of readers amongst other Iberian exiles. Amongst the sixteenth century readers of Africanus was Samuel Usque. Written in the Portuguese vernacular, it deals with the question of language.

That is to say that the book presents itself as directed at, and written from, a formally organized Jewish community of Iberian exiles. A main factor here is the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal in the ' s and ' s. Long ago, two main general features were noticed in the book: The reading of Leo Africanus comes in a passage which shows traces of Varthema also The passage comes in a section where the shepherd Ycabeo addresses the shepherds Zicareo and Numeo, after having led their cattle to a luxuriant plain that lies beneath a slope.

There, while resting beneath a green poplar and watching the sheep as they graze, Ycabeo narrates a series of misfortunes. After articulating a list of sins, Ycabeo, nevertheless, considers the punishment excessive, as it is not paralleled in other cases of sinful peoples, such as pagan Rome [p. The source-passage in Africanus may well be the following in the manuscript The invocation of Leo Africanus in Usque ' s third Dialoge echoes that in [p. That itself is subdivided into smaller geographic features [Temple, festivals, waters of Jordan, fountain of Idumea].

This procedure is followed in the next paragraph, where Europe is similary dissected [Italy, France, Germany, England, Spain. O Africa, mountainous rugged and scorched, pregnant with the finest gold, cloaked with sweet and handsome palms and sprinkled with milk and honey you keep your chidren happy with buried wealth and the savory foods of nature. Usque ' s citation from Africanus in the third Dialogue is, thus, a return to the comparison between the nations and the people of Israel in the opening of the book, i.

It has been so successfully integrated into the general structure and style that it is somewhat besides the point to argue that like a preacher, he uses literature known to his readers to corroborate his thesis. The use of a list from a table of contents [in Leo Africanus] which had little to do with history and theology, to produce such seamless poetic prose is the noteworthy aspect.

It also throws into question the definitive quality of studies on Usque by reopening the possibility of a secondary or intermediate source. This is of interest not only because of his use of Africanus. It is also of interest because it appears to be one of the innovative features of Usque ' s Consolations. These aspects have various parallels which have long since been noticed, studied and used for putative source studies. What are the possible cultural tradition within which we can inscribe Usque ' s decisions to invest in reading and assimilating creatively such geographic materials as those in al-Gharnati ' s work?

The procedure of amplificatio or dilatatio by apostrophe was recommended already in the medieval rhetorical manuals. The ennumeration of toponyms also deserves some comment, as poetic geography is a frequent feature of Usque ' s book. Africa, for example, is mentioned a number of times as has been seen. Leaving aside Petrarch ' s use of toponyms and geographic matter in his Africa , he also invested in geography in his more frequently read and influential work in the vernacular.

As in so many other cases [e. The enumeration of toponyms in Iberian poetry in Hebrew, while apparently unstudied, is not completely unevidenced. Almost at random one thinks of the Mashal Ha-Qadmoni: Ishaq ben Shelomoh Ibn Sahula. Don Vidal Benveniste, in the fourteenth- fifteenth centuries, shows more marked affinities with this practice as he begins his rhymed prose composition with the mention of toponyms: Also in the fifteenth century, Mattityahu begins his Ahituw The progression to more complex literary geographies in Post-Petrarchan poetry seems probable.

Nevertheless, for an Iberian exile in Italy such as al-Gharnati or Usque, other explanations are also possible. Another Iberian in Italy, writing before Usque, was Antonio de Guevara, whose Epistolas familiares had an extensive readership as may be gathered from its editorial history. One composition is entitled: It is printed after an epistle dated Valladolid, January 26, Mas ha ya mas de mil y quinientos anos que no teneys Rey a quien obedecer sacerdote a quien vos encomendar templo a do orar sacrificios que ofrecer profetas a quien creer ni aun ciudad a do os amparar De manera que solo el nombre teneys de Iudios y la libertad de esclauos.

No ay gente en el mundo por barbara que sea que no tenga algun lugar a do se acoja y algun caudillo que los defienda como lo tenian los Garamantas en Asia los Mastageras cabe la India y aun los Negros en Etiopia sino soys vosotros tristes cuytados que a do quiera soys cautivos The adaptation of al-Gharnati by Usque is thus not merely a bibliographical curiosity but touches on one of the mainstream trends in post-Petrarchan modernity: A privileged genre in the representations of space is, of course, the travel narrative.

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It is one of the main concerns in scholarship on travel books. It has been raised frequently in the case of such sections in the work of Leo Africanus as may be confronted with other evidence. But such independent evidence is limited, and the question therefore arises as to what is the status of the other sections of the narrative, those for which we have no external, independent, parallel sources: Zemon Davis, for example, asserts that Africanus.

Indeed, men had an erection and young women lost their virginity just by passing over the plant Al-Wazzan had his doubts, saying that the story was made up to conceal the penetration of a real penis In Ramusio ' s edition of the Descrittione the story is, in fact, the culmination of the whole book:. Ne voglio tacer ancora quello che dicono tutti gli abitatori del monte Atlante, che si hanno truovate molte gioveni, di quelle cha vanno pascendo gli animali per questo monte, che hanno perso la loro virginita non per altro accidente se non per aver orinato sopra detta radice: Evidently, most readers find that such passages are unmediated reflections of experienced reality.

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Is this the only possibility? In a genre widely cultivated in medieval Europe, Marian miracles, there is a type, indexed by A. This is his miracle number 4, and has more than 20 occurrences listed. What is relevant for our purposes here is that one of these miracle collections was the source for the thirteenth century Spanish version. It occurs in Castile, La Rioja, in one of the central works in its vernacular literature and the first with a known author: The historical question concerns the status of the sources.

There is no need to posit a lost textual vorlage for the Descrittione. As early as Menendez Pelayo, attention was paid to oral transmission and culture. One example would be the case of. Thus we find an example in the Coplas collected by Duran:. The Sephardi oral tradition preserved a number of versions of such songs in Judeo-Spanish. What this means for us is that the Al-Gharnati text contains the various themes or motifs which are familiar from oral and textual Iberian traditions; the [implied] foot, the herb, a name for the herb.

What is particularly noteworthy is the jocular, skeptical attitude in Al-Gharnati. That too is traditional in the Iberian evidence. One of the features of Al-Gharnati ' s vision of Africa in his travel narrative has to do with the difference between town and country and, in the case of towns, with his attention to walls, to inscriptions in general and to inscriptions on walls in particular and their significance. Petrarch, horrified by the misery of the people of Rome, writes about its former greatness and contrasts it with its present decadence.

His numerous followers include Cola di Rienzo or Poggio, who share this general preoccupation with ruins. In Du Bellay, the pilgrim who searches for Rome in Rome will only find the tomb of its walls and hills; only the Tiber remains, no longer watering but crying.

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Baltasar de Castiglione ' s famous lines of , two years after the Sack, read:. In an Iberian early modern context, there is the question of the antecedents to famous ruin poems. There is, perhaps —in the refusal to see Rome as the main site for contemplation of ruins and in the contrary emphasis on Rome as responsible for ruins— a polemical riposte by Al Gharnati. And yet, the pathos is present and reminiscent of the Petrarchan tradition and its eary modern tributaries [Castiglione, Du Bellay, Quevedo and a multitude of others].

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The chapter in which these discussions are framed is not explicitly linked to ruins. It is a chapter on alphabets: Another possibility is to recall other Iberian traditions. In Jewish culture the ruins of the Temple and its Wall are, of course, a central feature and, as in Africa, a reminder of Roman destruction. He was shown them before The treatise in which he discusses them is not a description of Spain and its monuments, nor is it a poem on ruins, but a grammatical, rhetorical or Hebrew poetics textbook. The interest of the inscriptions is related to the question of measured or metrical Hebrew poetry and its antiquity and whether the Bible is a literary text.

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Their study spawned a long line of translations, citations and discussions which affected the thought on, and attitudes towards, the status of literature in Europe in the early modern period It still reverberated as late as the nineteenth century, at least before Neubauer was able to decipher and read a medieval Hispano-Hebraic inscription rather than a biblical one This is the grave of Adoniram, the servant of King Solomon, who came to collect the tribute, and died on the day The sepulcher of Adoniram, the servant of King Solomon Ibn Habib ' s text, however, precedes Africanus ' meditations.

It was written —as in the case of Al-Gharnati— as a consequence of travel. The two authors were Iberians in Italy. While Africanus searched for lost letters, Ibn Habib could be described as searching for the lost vowels which form the basis of the Hebrew metrical prosodic system. It is their doing that he was accepted and received with some relative warmth. Without them, and without such fundamental attitudes, it would seem, his creative work would not have materialized. One could discuss imaginatively their motivations [economical, political, missionary, apologetics, etc.

So is the factor of innovation. This implies attention to the image such individuals had of language, of innovation, attention to the sources and where to look for them. Studied some decades ago 70 , they seem to have left little mark on Africanus ' studies. In the fifteenth century, Enrique de Villena represents the need to find a means of expressing the difference from antiquity felt by hispanophones, when he introduces into the language the concept of modernity c. In the realm of the law, the Cortes of ask for new laws, reviving Alfonso X favourable attitude to ius novum.

The setting of Al-Gharnati ' s reception is, of course, post-Petrarchan Italy. As Ottavio di Camillo has emphasized, in a letter written from Vaucluse to Giovanni Anchiseo, Petrarch mentions that he had asked correspondents in Spain to search for ancient texts. Di Camillo also invokes, at the opening of his study of humanism in Spain 71 , the assertion of Oskar Paul Kristeller —in the framework of the European diffusion of Italian Humanism— about the great quantity of quattrocento manuscripts he had found in Spanish libraries and archives. The image of the Iberian peninsula as storehouse of learning, knowledge or remains of the past, becomes clear.

The image of Al-Gharnati could hardly have been unaffected by this. Africanus would be working on the results of this Spanish venture in This could easily be confused with the question of whether Viterbo was concerned with the first translation of the Quran or not. Frequently we find that the originality lies in gestures and directions which are not amenable to such clear cut, bookselling or bibliographical standards.

It is the case in other areas too. The understanding of the translations of Aramaic-texts into Hebrew by Fargi-Mithridates i. The Sermo de passione Domini may be briefly mentioned because its date is relatively early —Good Friday — and it shows the interest of its public in the philological innovations in the field of Semitic [and possibly of African languages cf. The public in question that of Flavius Mithridates ' Sermo is the papacy and curia in Rome. The question of African languages Chaldean is raised there. That is also the public of Leo Africanus decades later.

The comprehension of the Roman reception of the convert Africanus in may, thus, benefit from attention to the reception of the convert Mithridates in In ' s Rome, the stages of the field of the study of say, Yiddish and that of, say, Syriac are not identical. Nevertheless, both coincide chronologically and topographically because of the coincidence of Aegidius da Viterbo ' s patronage of both Levita who lived at his house for thirteen years after and bar Abraham To be sure, the reconstructions of the conversations between Al-Gharnati and Levita are speculative.

The notion that all massoretic studies one of Levita ' s most publicized interests per se have some kind of heterodox or radical quality, which forms the basis for this argument of affinity between Levita and Al-Gharnati, may be laid to rest. They are some of the most traditional and conventional aspects of reading in Jewish communities. But the underlying common ground in Renaissance philology does seem to exist The personal contacts are also accepted. No one doubts that, like Levita the Yiddishist, Africanus also had contacts with Egidio da Viterbo in those very years and place.

This brings us to the problematic nature of the modernity of such interests among the clients or scholars in receipt of patronage in Al-Gharnati ' s circles. In some cases, this is directly linked to the relations between catalogues and literary, linguistic or philological surveys. Misidentifications and lack of identifications in catalogues mean that manuscripts are not studied and therefore they are not discussed in the ensuing literary histories and surveys which must therefore be constantly revised.

One of her main examples is that of a discovery based on the deficiencies of E. Adler ' s Catalogue Here one should note that Adler himself recognized and excused these, invoking the First World War. The fact that patronage is reflected in the field of Yiddisch as it was in the other fields mentioned above leads to the folowing statements about work such as that of Africanus ' contemporary, Levita:. Schon das bisher Gesagte duerfte keinen Zweifel daran lassen, das wir einviertel Jahrhunderte italo-jiddischer Literatur blutete nicht vom geistigen Klima der italienischen Renaissance trennen koennen-wobei ich in dem Begriff Renaissance bewust die Breite und Unscharfe voraussetze, die er durch Burckhardtsche Akzentuirungen und nachburckhardtsche Umakzentuirungen allmaehlich gewonnen hat [p.

This comparison is not obvious: Da Viterbo, as mentioned, returned from Spain at the same time as Al-Gharnati was being converted and his projects there had included a translation of the Quran. Its Spanish character had to do with historical reality: It is also a reenactment of fifteenth century Segovian setting of priorities It could also be linked to da Viterbo ' s apparent belief that Spain was particularly apt for such philological work, but it transcended that. What needs emphasis is that in Spain, the translation of Arabic texts —e.

Leaving aside the Poema de Yusuf , the Historia de los amores de Paris y Viana 81 was of interest to the mudejar reading public of [Hispano-Arabic] aljamiado texts no less than to the public of Yiddish texts In brief, the association of modernity with Italy leads to the search for a context heavily biased towards Italy. The empirical evidence, however, suggests that, in the case of language studies, interest in the remains of the past, attention to other religions, cultures and lands, such hermetic borders are no longer tenable.

This means that, again, the Iberian context leads to questioning the conventional oppositions between medieval and modern. Attention to the evidence on networks, circles or contacts adduced above is by no means necessary only in the case of Africanus ' patron- Aegidio Da Viterbo. It is also necessary to understand other less repeatedly discussed patrons of Africanus, such as Carvajal. Such attention is particularly comprehensible given the intensity of patronage studies today.

Carvajal was the kind of person who would place faith on birth, family and biography as a factor in knowledge and career. He was a clearly evidenced patron of Al Gharnati and there are some aspects of his circles which may, therefore, be of interest to students of Leo Africanus, his protege. To be sure, Bataillon 83 had already raised the question of conversos ' role in the messianic atmosphere which was the background of Carvajal and da Viterbo, but he also discussed the contradictions between reform [inspired by the Hebrew prophets?

The notion that Spaniards are motivated by a medieval? The question of innovation and access to languages gives us an alternative perspective which is possibly less contradictory. But is there any evidence to suggest such cultural, linguistic motivations in the behaviour of al-Gharnati ' s patron —i. In this search for evidence one may recall the character of these circles. The Iberian converso Gratia Dei, like the convert Africanus and the Maronite Syriac scholar, all had some special linguistic ability.

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  • All three were documented in Carvajal ' s circles. In addition, more attention might be paid to the contents of the work dedicated to Carvajal by Joannes Baptista de Gratia Dei: Liber de confutatione Hebraicae sectae 84 Indeed, the work, published c. The visions of Carvajal ' s life which center careerism, apocalyptics and politics —both secular and ecclesiastic— do not prepare us for this. Then, again, while no one has doubted the historicity of Carvajal ' s relation with Africanus, the results of recent research on Carvajal are not prominent in Africanus studies.

    That is why it may be useful to recall that the discoveries of recent decades support our emphases on the more intellectual, theological, but also language-related aspects of his profile. Firstly, one may attend to a comensal of Carvajal: To understand what this means, one simply needs to recall or reread Don Quixote , where, in ch. Torralba had been born [? He spent more than a decade in Rome.

    From our perspective here we should like to emphasize only a few points. The manuscript ' s testimonies make it abundantly clear that the angel was not circumscribed to one activity. And they went every one straight forward: His teacher, before he obtained his bachelor ' s degree in , was one of the most noted fifteenth century theologians, Pedro de Osma. The relations between teacher and disciple were far from perfunctory: Pedro de Osma names him as his replacement during absences from and onwards.

    This is particularly the case in the c. But the interest in language and rhetoric in the diplomat ' s culture is also a component. It contained a travel narrative which became very popular [c. He mentions his wish to edit a contemporary history of France. We can interpret these new data as illuminating, again, the activities and interests of Al-Gharnati ' s Iberian patron.

    He selects books which deal with travel to the Orient; he is particularly aware of the question of reading public and language; he searches and selects translators, organizes translations. All of this takes place about seven years before Africanus arrives in Rome. A number of other humanists refer to his patronage or write dedications to Carvajal: Given the renewed awareness of the significance of patronage in creativity, attention to Carvajal helps to understand Al-Gharnati. Adgar , , Le Gracial , ed. Pierre Kunstmann , Ottowa: B isaha , N. Available for download now. Only 1 left in stock more on the way.

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