Ahimaaz ben Paltiel

views updated


AHIMAAZ BEN PALTIEL (b. 1017), chronicler and poet of Capua, south Italy. In 1054 when he removed to Oria, the place of origin of his family, he compiled Megillat Yuḥasin ("The Scroll of Genealogies"), also known as Megillat Aḥima'aẓ ("The Ahimaaz Scroll" or the "Chronicle of Ahimaaz"). It describes in rhymed prose the genealogy of his family from the ninth century to his own time. The Ahimaaz family counted among its members prominent personalities, who had been

leaders of their generations in the different communities of Italy, as well as in North Africa, e.g., Shephatiah, Amittai b. Shephatiah, Paltiel. They actively participated in some of the most important events in these countries. Megillat Aḥima'az is consequently a significant Jewish historical source covering several periods and countries. Apart from historical data, it includes legends and fantastic tales and, despite some inaccuracies, it is a reliable historical document. The one known manuscript is in the library of Toledo Cathedral, where it was discovered by A. Neubauer in 1895. It has since been edited several times; the edition by B. Klar appeared in 1944 (second edition, M. Spitzer, 1974). Ahimaaz also composed a poem in honor of the nagid*Paltiel (included in the Scroll) and a number of piyyutim. A photograph of the manuscript was published in 1964 in Jerusalem. In 1965, the text of the manuscript was published with a concordance: Megillat Aḥima'aẓ Me'ubbedet u-Muggeshet ke-Ḥomer le-Millon, edited by R. Mirkin with the assistance of I. Yeivin and G.B. Tsarfati. There is an English translation by M. Salzman (1924, 1966) and an Italian one by C. Colafemmina (2001).


B. Klar (ed.), Megillat Aḥima'aẓ (1944), 139–56, postscript; Klar, in: Sinai, 22 (1947/48), 243–8; Kaufmann, Schriften, 3 (1915), 1–55 (appeared in mgwj, 40 (1896), 462 ff.); Waxman, Literature, 1 (1960), 425–7; Roth, Dark Ages, 104, 251; Neubauer, Chronicles, index. s.v.Aḥima'aẓ.add. bibliography: Bonfil, Tradue Mondi (1996), 67–133.

[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann]