Rosanes, Solomon Abraham

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ROSANES, SOLOMON ABRAHAM (1862–1938), historian. He was born in Ruschuk (Ruse), Bulgaria. While still in his teens he began to engage in money changing, and in 1878 he was attacked by robbers and seriously injured. After his recovery, acting upon a vow he had taken, he devoted himself to writing, but had to combine his studies with business as his father died and he had to support his family. During his many business trips, he managed to pursue research in libraries and archives in various localities. During World War i, he settled in Sofia, where he served as librarian of the Jewish community and resided until his death. Rosanes contributed to Hebrew, Ladino, Romanian, and Bulgarian publications, writing chiefly on the history of the Jews in the Balkans. His works include a genealogy of the Rosanes family (French, 1885); Shekel Yisrael, a treatise on ancient Jewish coins; and a history of the Jewish community of Ruschuk (Ladino, 1914). His major work was Korot ha-Yehudim be-Turkyah ve-Arẓot ha-Kedem ("A History of the Jews in Turkey and in the Orient," 6 vols., 1930–45), of great importance because of the wealth of source material it contains. Part of it appeared under its original title, Divrei Yemei Yisrael be-Togarmah (1907–14). Rosanes, who knew many languages, also wrote Safah Aḥat u-Devarim Aḥadim (1928–29), a study on the beginnings of human speech, in which he propounded the view that all languages had developed from a pre-biblical Hebrew.


M.D. Gaon, Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 2 (1937), 638–42; Z. Harkavy, in: Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah, 2 (1963), 249–56; E. Eškenazi, in: Bulgarska akademiya na naukite, 13 (1963), 113–21.

[Tovia Preschel]