[ALEXANDER THE GREAT]. The Book of the Gests of Alexander of Macedon (the life of Alexander the Great). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Mediterranean, 15th-16th century]
4o (210 x 145 mm). 35 leaves, paginated 1-70. Black ink. Sephardic-Oriental [?] script. (First few leaves with minor defects and restorations, not affecting text, some dampstaining at the top, hampering readability of the first six to eight lines of certain pages.) Modern blind and gold-tooled red morocco, two modern paper flyleaves at back and front.
A version of the tale of the life of Alexander the Great. Published from this manuscript by W.J. van Bekkum, A Hebrew Alexander Romance according to MS London, Jews' College No. 145 (Leuven 1992). This unique version seems to be a compilation of two translations from the Arabic. The first part (fols. 1-10 in the manuscript) is similar to the translation added as an interpolation in the book Jossipon (Interpolation B in David Flusser's edition) and the rest is similar, but not identical, to the translation in MS Paris, Bibliothque Nationale, hb. 671, published by I. Levy, in Kovets al-Yad 2 (1886), and by I. Kazis, The Book of the Gests of Alexander of Macedon (Cambridge, Mass. 1962). According to Van Bekkum 'the London and Parisian version [...] are of common origin, but MS London appears to stay closer to the Latin original and may be a more reliable reflection of the Arabic intermediary than MS Paris'. In a colophon in this manuscript (p. 70) the translation is attributed to Samuel ibn Tibbon. D. Flusser, in Tarbiz 26 (1957) p. 168, doubts the authenticity of the translator's colophon. Cf. also Kazis, op.cit., p. 31-33, Flusser's edition of Jossipon (Jerusalem 1978), and Van Bekkum's edition, p. 123.
Daniel Itzig (stamped).
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 145, p. 45-46; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4806.