Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eating locusts, biblical Hebrew philology and species identification in the 18th century Middle East

I came across an interesting book originally published in the early 1790s, called Collection of Late Voyages and Travels (1797, 2nd ed.). It contains selections of travel accounts in the Middle East. The excerpts below are from a German traveler called Carsten Niebuhr. The translation is by Robert Heron; the travels took place in the early 1760s.

Here are some interesting extracts.

Concerning eating locusts and the identity of the שלו:

"Haleb," by the way, is Aleppo.

Concerning manna:

Concerning the meaning of the unclear Biblical Hebrew word תחש (related):

I wonder if the "Jew from Italy" is Samuel Romanelli.

1 comment:

  1. Shemuel Romanelli was born in 1756 and died in 1814. He was in England in the 1780s and from there he traveled to France, Germany, Holland and between 1786 and 1790 he was in Morocco, the farthest point he reached in his travels.
    From Morocco he went back to Italy. Between 1793 and 1798 he was in Vienna and then in Trieste in 1799 when he published his Grammatica ragionata etc.
    We know he was briefly in France in 1807, but then he died in Casale Monferrato in 1814.
    Due to the chronology of the travel book you mention (you say in the 1760s) it cannot be that Shemuel Romanelli was the Jew from Italy the author mentions.
    Unless he met him in Germany in the 1780s.
    But Romanelli was not the only Italian Jew there.



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