Kamniel, Abu al-Hasan Meir ibn

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KAMNIEL, ABU AL-HASAN MEIR IBN , physician in Seville who was invited by the Almoravide ruler Ali b. Yūsuf ibn Tāshfin (1106–43) to serve at his court in *Marrakesh. Ibn Kamniel was a friend of *Judah Halevi, who dedicated some of his poems to him. At the court in Marrakesh he met Solomon ibn al-Muʿallim, also a physician and poet, and a friend of Judah Halevi and Abraham *Ibn Ezra, who both praised Ibn al-Muʿallim in their poems. According to Ibn *Aknin, Ibn al-Muʿallim expounded verses to the ruler from Song of Songs according to their plain meaning, thereby arousing Ibn Kamniel's anger. At the time these Jewish physicians met in Marrakesh, which was the capital of the Almoravide empire and Ibn Tāshfin's residence, it was generally not permitted for Jews to live in the city. Therefore, Ibn Tāshfin's invitation to the two Jewish physicians from Spain to serve at his court must have been with good reason, particularly when his policies were not friendly toward Jews. It is known that there were competent Arab physicians in North Africa at the time. In sending for the Jewish physicians Ibn Tāshfin may have desired to establish a medical school in Marrakesh which could compete with that in Fez. Be that as it may, these physicians seem to have built the nucleus for a small Jewish community in Marrakesh which was destroyed by the *Almohads in the middle of the 12th century.


Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 264, 386 n. 83 (includes bibliography); Dinur, Golah, 2 pt. 1 (19652), 335 no. 14; M. Maimonides, Treatise on Asthma, ed. by S. Muntner (1963), 43.

[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg]