19. Kuruş, 1797/98 CE

These accounts are from a bookseller who sold copies of Dibrei Shelomoh and Shabbat Musar– the latter was a renowned work on ethical living by Rabbi Eliyyahu ha-Kohen (d. 1729 CE) [1]. The accounts on the verso do not mention the book titles sold, however, they are demonstrative of coinage types that became central to transactions in Geniza documents across the eighteenth century. Firstly, we find mention of the kuruş, which emerged as a new unit of silver coinage in the reformed monetary system of the Ottoman empire in 1690– although scholars still debate whether the first kuruş was minted in that year or in 1703 CE. Lastly, the Ottoman hundred-para (or yüzlük) appears in the booksellers' accounts with a plural ending influenced by Judaeo-Spanish (yüzles).

[1] Eliyyahu ha-Kohen, Shabbat Musar (Istanbul: 1712). The ethical work was first published in Hebrew and reached a vast audience through subsequent translations into Yiddish, Judaeo-Spanish, and Judaeo-Arabic. The first book title Dibrei Shelomoh was commonly used across the early modern period to the extent that it is not possible to identify the exact edition/author. For the wide range of works bearing this title, see: https://hebrewbooks.org/.

"Accounts of a Bookseller," JTS ENA 2713.53r, 1797/98 CE, Judaeo-Arabic and Hebrew.

Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL)

1 Payment from Marāḥī in high[-quality] 66 abū ṭāqas each | תסלים ביד מראחי עיליה ٦٦ סו אבו טקאס כל

2 of them worth four kurūş and two Egyptian pieces, also a payment of 52 | מטבע מהם ארבעה קרוש ומצריתן איצא תסלים ٥٢

3 yüzles each of them worth two and a half kurūş and six fiḍḍa, | נב יוזליס כל מטבע מהם בקרשין ונוץ וסיתיה פצה

4 and in our calculations for our dear Se[ñor] Moshe __[?] he paid 36 | ואיצא חסבנא ענו לאהובנו שי׳ משה ס[?] ٣٦ איצא דפעו אלו

5 to Shaykh Moshe, may His Rock keep him and grant him life, 109 grossos… | ...אל שיך משה יצ׳׳ו מאה ותשעה גרושש

(ed. Matthew Dudley)

Kuruş from the Princeton Numismatic Collection (Coin: 16602)

Denomination: 5 kuruş

Metal: Silver

Region: Ottoman

Date: 1829 to 1830

Obverse Figure Description: Tughra, within two wreaths

Obverse Symbol: crown with dot in wreath

Reverse Figure Description: within two wreaths

Reverse Symbol: regnal year above legend

Size: 40 mm

Die Axis: 12

Weight: 14.83 grams

Shape: round

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