Ibn Waqar

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IBN WAQAR , family living in Castile, Spain, in the 13th and 14th centuries. Its most renowned members were isaac and abraham, physicians in the service of King Sancho iv of Castile (1284–95). They acted as stewards of the palace, and with the regent, Don Juan Manuel, witnessed the king's testament in the presence of a cleric. Isaac also served the king as alfaquim (secretary). After the town of Elche had been captured from the Muslims, he received estates there and acted as intermediary between the courts of Aragon and Castile on administrative matters concerning the town. In his old age, the infante advised his son to continue to employ a physician from the family of Don Isaac as he had never found such another trustworthy man or skillful physician. Isaac and Abraham were loyal friends of Todros b. Judah ha-Levi *Abulafia, the author of Gan ha-Meshalim ve-ha-Ḥidot. Another member of the family, joseph, translated into Hebrew al-Taṣīf, the work of the physician al-Zahrāwī. Isaac's son judah also served as physician to the regent Don Juan Manuel. Empowered by the regent and after consulting *Asher b. Jehiel, he introduced the hearing of criminal cases by Jewish courts. On several occasions he meted out severe corporal punishment (1320). This was done with the intention of raising the dignity of Jewish law, since among Christians such punishment was customary and Judah feared that respect for Jewish law would suffer if similar methods were not adopted by Jewish courts.

samuel of Toledo was a physician, astronomer, and director of the mint in the service of Alfonso xi of Castile (1312–50). He obtained the concession to the royal mint, which previously had been held by trusted members of the Estates, in 1330. The Christian public accused Samuel of having inflated prices by issuing debased coinage, and claimed that he and his colleagues had purchased all the merchandise in the kingdom at a high price and exported it abroad in order to acquire silver for minting. It was also alleged that Samuel had sought to lease all the revenues of the southern frontier region (the "Frontera") but that Don Joseph de *Écija had offered the king a higher sum. In order to injure his rival, Samuel advised the king to prohibit all exports by Muslims to the kingdom of Granada. As a result the customs revenues from the region diminished. The restriction infringed the commercial agreement between Granada and Castile and, according to a Christian source, was the origin of the war between the two countries. The sultan of Morocco hastened to the aid of Granada and besieged Gibraltar. In 1332 he invaded the Spanish mainland. Nevertheless Samuel retained his position and it was only in 1336 that he and Joseph de Écija fell from royal favor. They were imprisoned and delivered to Gonzalo Martínez de Oviedo, who was elevated to their positions. On his orders, both were tortured to death in prison. Samuel's remains were not given up for burial for a whole year. According to Steinschneider, Samuel may be the author of "Royal Castilian Medicine by Practical Methods" in Arabic. He is possibly also the "Jewish physician of the king and the great astrologer" who attended the queen and saved her life when she gave birth to Don Pedro (1333). Joseph ben Abraham *Ibn Waqar (14th century) was a kabbalist.

joseph, physician to Henry ii of Castile (1369–79), traveled to Granada on a diplomatic mission. He wrote an epitome of the history of the Spanish kings and gave it to a Muslim scholar of Granadan origin to assist him in his work on Spanish history. joseph ben isaac ben moses prepared astronomical charts in Arabic for determining the geographical extent of Toledo (1357–58), which he himself translated into Hebrew (1395–96; Ms. Munich 230).


Baer, Spain, index, s.v.first names; Sefarad, index to vols. 1–15 (1957); Graetz, Gesch, 7 (1900), 288ff.; Scholem, in: ks, 20 (1944), 153ff.

[Zvi Avneri]

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Ibn Waqar

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