78 leaves (9 5/8 x 7 1/2 in.; 245 x 190 mm). Woodcut passepartout, mounted. collation: 1–98 106: 78 leaves, 1r blank; fol. 1 bound reversed, sheet 7.6 misbound between 7.3 and 7.4. Owners' stamps on f.2r. Some soiling and dampstaining. First two quires variously cropped, with some leaves strengthened, though not affecting text. Occasional Hebrew marginalia. Worming in final two quires affecting some text and resulting in some paper losses, lost text replaced in manuscript; final quire with remains of inexpert tape repairs. Twentieth-century beige linen.
This volume is an extremely rare copy of the Hebrew-Italian-Arabic dictionary, Makre Dardeke, written by Perez Trabot and arguably the most important biblical glossary, according to some scholars, surpassing even the Arukh of Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome. Using Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic and supplemented by the French and Provençal words used by Rashi and Kimhi, the impact of this work is still felt in modern translations. The Hebrew roots are printed at the right margin of each page. The text proper begins by giving the equivalent words in Italian and Arabic, and the Hebrew biblical sources are printed flush at the left margin, creating almost a third column.
The author, Perez Trabot, lived in Italy at the close of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century. In his introduction to this work he speaks of the banishment of the Jews from France. Using the terms Zarfati (French) or Katelani (Catalonian) self-referentially would seem to indicate that he had emigrated, probably after the expulsion of the Jews from France in 1395, to Catalonia, and thence to Italy. An acrostic poem in the prefatory matter contains a name that can be read either as Jehiel or as Yahya and likely alludes to an unknown editor.
Literature: Shimeon Brisman, A History and Guide to Judaic Encyclopedias and Lexicons (Cincinnati, 1987), p. 40
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