13. Ducat, 16th-Century CE

In this brief legal testimony Yosef Ashraqī acknowledges that he owes a debt of forty gold Venetian flowers (פרחים זהב בנאדקה) to his wife, who is left unnamed, and he commits to repay this sum at the end of the following month. Although the debt acknowledgment is undated, the scribal hand reflects the legal script that was common in Rabbanite documents of the sixteenth century. The Hebrew term peraḥīm (“flowers”) is frequently used in early modern Geniza documents to refer to various gold coins that were at parity with the Venetian ducat such as the Ottoman sulṭānī or the Florentine florin. When the Venetian standard was specifically intended, the term peraḥ could be modified with the adjective bunduqī (pl. banādiqa), as in this document (l. 3). The Venetian ducat was produced over the course of six centuries from 1284-1797CE.

"Acknowledgment of Debt," Moss. VII.4.3r, 16th-century, Hebrew.

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1 Before us the undersigned witnesses the honorable R. | בפנינו אנו עדים חתומי מטה הודה כמה׳׳ר

2 Yosef Ashraqī, may His Rock keep him and grant him life, acknowledged that he owes a debt to his wife of 40 | יוסף אשרקי יצ׳׳ו שהוא חייב לאשתו מ

3 gold Venetian flowers (ducats) that she loaned him and he received | פרחים זהב בנאדקה שהילוה אותו וקיבל

4 by an oath to the aforementioned that he will return them at the end of the month of | בשבועה אמורה שיתנים לסוף חודש

5 Iyyar which will come upon us in peace. We made a legal acquisition from him with an item which is fit | אייר הבא עלינו לשלום וקנינו מינה במנא דכשר

6 to make a legal acquisition with. ʿImmanuel b. Yosef Ashraqī, may His Rock keep him and grant him life, | למיקניא ביה עמנואל בכר יוסף אשרקי יצ׳׳ו

7 Sasson Zikrī | ששון זכרי

(eds. Matthew Dudley and Alan Elbaum)

Ducat from the Princeton Numismatic Collection (Coin: 4269)

Denomination: ducat

Metal: Gold

Date: 1414 to 1423

Obverse Figure Description: Two figures, standing, facing each other

Reverse Figure Description: Christ, standing, face foreward, in mandorla

Provenance: New Focea Hoard; 1990; No. 6

Size: 21 mm

Die Axis: 12

Weight: 3.508 grams

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