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66. Seal of Aaron Alnacoua (or Al-Nakawa)

Aharon Alnakouah

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: unknown.

Bibliography: Bermejo, 1935; Cantera y Burgos and Millás Valherosa, 1956, No. 256.

Ramón Bermejo wrote in 1935 that he had seen a seal from Toledo stamped with the date 1391 and inscribed in Hebrew as indicated above. The seal was reported to be owned by a Toledan who bought it from a visitor from Algeria claiming to be a descendant of the ancient Jewish family from Toledo by the name of Alnacoua, also called Al-Nakawa.

The Al-Nakawa family of Toledo was a distinguished one and indeed founded a synagogue there in the fourteenth century. Israel ben Joseph Al-Nakawa, author of Menorat ha Moor (Candlestick of Light), a mixture of Haggadic and Halachic material, is tremendously important because he quotes from a whole range of rabbinical writings, including some since lost. He was also renowned in his time as a poet. At the Sefardí Museum, attached to El Tránsito Synagogue in Toledo, this writer saw a sepulchral stone inscribed in Hebrew “[____] ben Yosef Alnacouah,” the last name spelled precisely as above. It would seem to be his gravestone.

Israel ben Joseph Al-Nakawa died in 1391, the date said to be inscribed on this seal. Jewish seals were not engraved with dates, nor would a Jew in this period have cut in his personal seal a date calculated according to Christian chronology. The overwhelming probability is that this unlocatable seal was a product of local commercial ingenuity.*


*This writer, when serving as curator of coins and medals at The Jewish Museum in New York City, was once offered a “genuine” coin issued by Bar Kochba as “King of the Jews” and dated 134!

*This writer, when serving as curator of coins and medals at The Jewish Museum in New York City, was once offered a “genuine” coin issued by Bar Kochba as “King of the Jews” and dated 134!

Israel ben Joseph Al-Nakawa died in 1391, the date said to be inscribed on this seal. Jewish seals were not engraved with dates, nor would a Jew in this period have cut in his personal seal a date calculated according to Christian chronology. The overwhelming probability is that this unlocatable seal was a product of local commercial ingenuity.*

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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