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A Handbook and Reader of Ottoman Arabic

Esther-Miriam Wagner

II. Reader

17. A Christian mercantile letter from the Prize papers collections (1759)1

Esther-Miriam Wagner et Mohamed Ahmed

Texte intégral



  • 1 The letter is part of the box HCA 32/212 in the National Archives. In the analyses for the Prize Pa (...)


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  1. With the help of God
  2. To be sent to Cairo, to the hands of the dear brother Ḵawāja Dimitri Ḵayr
  3. in well-being
  4. b m


1(5) To the Excellency, my dear brother Ḵawāja Dimitri the honourable, may God prolong his life. (6) After (expressing) our intense longing for you, it will not have escaped your notice that previously we sent you a letter with the ship of captain Panofisk (7) Raguzī in answer to your letters. God willing, (the letter) found you well. We informed you about the arrival of the four bales (8) of safflower and two bales of yellow wax and six packets of coffee that you sent on our account via Damietta. When (9) you inform us about the price including expenses, we will register it for you. Also, we told you that Antwān made (10) a list of the income and expenditures as set down in the records, and he sent it to you with Panofisk. Then (11) we informed you about the missing bale of safflower and two bales of cloth. We wrote to Yūsuf (12) Faranjī to check our records in Alexandria and to see if they were lost in the ships which were lost (13) or whether there was a mistake. You should urgently inform us about this so that he does not forget about it. When you have inspected the (14) aforementioned list, you should close the account. You should inform us of its correctness and send us an annulled list (15) so that we can see the extent of it, and close the account, because it has taken so much time. There is nothing left but a revision (16) from your side to our side and vice versa. Now, we hope that this will be the end of the account that Antwān sent to (17) you and there is no disparity. We informed you that we did not receive letters from ʿAbūd Šalabī, we do not (18) know what his desire for these stones that you sent is. So please

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19. Your sincere friend
20. Yūsuf
21. Baktī
22. m

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23. Year 1759 (written) on
24. 16th of the Second
25. Kānūn

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2(26) My brother, when this letter reaches you, you should send (27) a letter to him and inform him to send us a reply and to tell us (28) what he wants, because we spent two good half-dinars on the preparation (29) of these stones and on setting them, which has been delaying us. (30) Also we informed you to send us the final account calculation (31) of our deceased brother, which was (for the period) before your brother Ḵawāja (32) Yūsuf’s (account) so that we would know how much is it, and to cut off your account from the one of our deceased (33) brother. Then, the ship of captain Andropoly Korniz arrived in our area (34) from Alexandria, with it came to us your dear honourable (35) letter dated to 15th Tishreen Awwal. We have read it and understood (36) all of what you had explained. We thanked God for your well-being. We knew about (37) the arrival of our letter at yours with the Swedish ship hired by Antwān (38) and the mentioned […] who had the intention of heading to Damietta to load rice. Well, this is not (39) confirmed, because the rice ship that came from Damietta was stored entirely (40) at the (government) corn stores, and there is no outright sale option, only two or three baskets are available

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3(41) at a price 14 and 14,25. We learned about the prices and the conditions (of merchandises) in your area during the time of Hajj, may God (42) give his mercy. You informed us that there is one barrel of tin plating left with you. Now, you should get rid of it (literally: sell it out with profit or loss). (43) Also, there is some cardamom left with you. We informed our cousin to sell it. (44) If you are asking about the news in our area, it is as usual. The coffee price is 23 and the safflower (45) is depreciated, and its price went down to 10,25. There is enough available, and there is no demand for it from abroad. The gum arabic is (46) priced at 8 and 8.25. All types of clothes sales are dead. Afterwards, we will prepare for you (47) a list of the net of all merchandises that arrived from your side. Concerning the silk, we sold (48) five hundred libra from it; the rest is sitting (on the shelves). We wish that we could manage to sell it. (49) The prices of the Beiruti silk is 16, and the Tripolitan is 16 and 17, and the Bāyāsī (50) is at 14, and the Cypriot is at 12. The rest of the prices are unchanged; you should know this (51) for now, this is all the news we have. We wish that you do not cut us off from news about your health. Whatever (52) you need and desire, please let us know (we will do it) with pleasure. Send our many greetings (53) to your brothers and their dear children, and to our brothers and all the beloved. People (54) from here are sending you greetings. The children of our brother are kissing your hands. May God prolong your (55) life. Peace.


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tāʾtāʾ marbūṭa.

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tāʾtāʾ marbūṭatāʾ marbūṭatāʾ.

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1 The letter is part of the box HCA 32/212 in the National Archives. In the analyses for the Prize Papers project, this letter was given the provisional NAL 45.6, as the letters had not yet been catalogued by the National Archives.


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