Samuel ha-Nagid


Samuel ha-Nagid

▪ Spanish-Jewish scholar and statesman
Arabic  Ismail Ibn Nagrelʿa  
born 993, Córdoba, Spain
died 1055/56, Granada

      Talmudic scholar, grammarian, philologist, poet, warrior, and statesman who for two decades was the power behind the throne of the caliphate of Granada.

      As a youth Samuel received a thorough education in all branches of Jewish and Islāmic knowledge and mastered Arabic calligraphy, a rare achievement among Jews. When Córdoba was sacked in 1013 by the Berbers, a north African people believing in Islām, Samuel fled to Málaga, at that time part of the Muslim kingdom of Granada.

      Samuel's unusual linguistic and calligraphic skills caught the attention of the Granadan vizier, who employed him as his private secretary. He soon became an invaluable political adviser to the vizier, who, at his death, commended Samuel to the caliph Ḥabbūs. The caliph made Samuel the new vizier, and as such he assumed direction of Granada's diplomatic and military affairs.

      Ḥabbūs died in 1037. Although his elder, pleasure-loving son then assumed the throne, Samuel was the caliph in fact if not in actuality. He steered Granada through years of continuous warfare and actively participated in all major campaigns. His influence became so great that he was even able to arrange for his son Joseph to succeed him as vizier.

      Samuel was also nagid (Hebrew: “chief ”) of Granadan Jewry. As such, he appointed all the judges and headed the Talmudic academy. He is generally believed to be the author of Mevo ha-Talmud (“Introduction to the Talmud”), a long-lived Talmudic manual. He also wrote a concordance to the Bible, encouraged learning in all fields, and became a respected, even revered figure among both Arabs and Jews.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SAMUEL HA-NAGID — (Ismail ibn Nagrelʿa; 993–1055 or 1056), vizier of granada , statesman, poet, scholar, and military commander. The meteoric rise and political and military career of Samuel ha Nagid marks the highest achievement of a Jew in medieval Muslim Spain …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Samuel ha-Nagid — (also known as Ismail ibn Nagrela) (993–1055 or 1056)    Spanish statesman and scholar. In the Moslem court of Granada, Samuel ha Nagid was for thirty years in command of both domestic and foreign affairs. Originally a merchant from Córdoba,… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Samuel ibn Nagrela (Ha-Nagid; Ibn Nagdela; Ibn Nagrela; Samuel ha-Nagid) — (933 1055)    Spanish statesman, scholar and military commander. Born in Cordoba, he was forced to flee the city in 1013 and opened a spice shop in Malaga. He joined the staff of King Habbus, the Berber ruler of Granada, and was later appointed… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • NAGID — (Heb. נָגִיד, pl. נְגִידִים; Ar. raʾīs al yahūd), the head of the Jewish community in Islamic countries (except under   abbasid rule where Jewry was led by the exilarchs ). In the Middle Ages, beginning with the tenth century, there were negidim… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • SAMUEL BEN HANANIAH — (12th century), nagid of Egyptian Jewry. Samuel, who was known by the Arabs as Abu Manṣūr, was descended from a family of scholars. He himself was well versed in Jewish learning. Like his father, he was a physician and was one of the physicians… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Nagid — Nagid, (Hebrew: נגיד‎), is a Hebrew term meaning a prince or leader. This title was often applied to the religious leader in Sephardic communities of the Middle Ages, generally in Egypt. Among the individuals bearing this title are the following …   Wikipedia

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