Under Reconstruction!


(VII) Img. ID: 208443 Fugger's Venetian Yesod Olam, Fol. 1, Venice, 1551 edit  
Category: Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

General Document

2 Name/Title Fugger's Venetian Yesod Olam | Unknown
3a Object Astronomical literature
3b Object Detail Fol. 1
4a Artist/ Maker Ezra of Fano (Unknown)
5 Date 1551
5a Activity Dates
5b Reconstruction Dates
6 Period Unknown
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Italy | Veneto | Venice
8 Community Unknown |
9 Collection Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod.hebr. 35 (Steinschneider 1895, No. 35)
9a Documentation / Research project Unknown
10 Location Unknown|
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style Venecian Workshop, 1548-1552|
13 Iconographical Subject Opening page, decorated |
14 Category
17 Photographer Unknown
18 Photograph Date
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19a Scan No. M000131
20 Description
21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
Bible including the masorah magna and masorah parva. Masoratic lists (fols. 5v-10), surrounded by frames of verses from the Bible. Pentateuch (fols. 11v-119v): Genesis (fols. 11v-37v), Exodus (fols. 37v-60), Leviticus (fols. 60-76), Numbers (fols. 76-98v), Deuteronomy (fols. 98v-119v) Prophets (fols. 121v-312): Joshua (fols. 121v-135), Judges (fols. 135-148v), Samuel (fols. 148v-180), Kings (fols. 180v-214), Isaiah (fols. 214v-237), Jeremiah (fols. 237-266v), Ezekiel (fols. 266v-292v), Twelve Minor Prophets (fols. 292v-312). Hagiographia (fols. 313v-433v): Chronicles (fols. 313v-346v), Psalms (fols. 347-377), Job (fols. 377v-388v), Proverbs (fols. 389-398v), Ruth (fols. 399-400v), Song of Songs (fols. 400v-402), Ecclesiastes (fol. 402v-406), Lamentations (fols. 406-408), Esther (fols. 408v-412v), Daniel (fols. 412v-420v), Ezra-Nehemiah (fols. 420v-433v).
24 Codicology

Sheepskin, II+438+II leaves (fly leaves of paper)





Full page: 260 x (212-217)mm


Text space: 170 x140 mm 

Text space including masorah magna and parva: (213-220) x (170-175)mm


Column width:63 mm


Intercolumnar space:15 mm




Two scribes:

Scribe A

Main text


Scribe B

Masorator and perhaps also vocalizer.




Main text written in square Sephardi script in brown ink.

Masorah written in micrography in square Sephardi script in light brown ink




Number of lines

Main text written in 31 lines in 2 columns





Ruling by stylus on hair side, 2+2+2 vertical and 2+31+3 horizontal lines for the text and the masorah magna. 




Discernable in the upper and lower margins.



48 quires. 

29 quires are composed of 10 leaves each and 14 quires are composed of 8 leaves each (quires III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XXXVI).  Except for quires I4, II6, XVI6, XXXV12, XLV12-4(4 last folios were cut off).



Remnants of catchwords for quires are evident on many versos (e.g., fols. 58v, 106v, 208v, 260v and 290v, 360v).  Several catchwords do not correspond to the quire structure as they appear on folios other than the last verso of the quire, and may have been written by a different hand than that of the main scribe in order to serve as a catchword for the leaf (e.g., fols. 107v, 138v, 142v, 208v).


Hebrew numeration

Discernable on the top recto of most folios.  Later foliation in ink and pencil which does not correspond to the Hebrew numeration. There are two types of Hebrew numeration:

A) For leaves, in Hebrew alphabetic numbers, in the left corner of the upper margins of each recto (seldom cut out), starting with the first leaf of quire II (i.e. of the beginning of the Bible text), which according to the later Arabic-ciphers numeration in ink and the current foliation in pencil is fol. 11 (e.g., fol. 11v is marked "aleph" (א) fol. 12 is marked "bet" (ב), fol. 13 is marked "gimmel" ג) ) and so forth.  The pages indicated in the list of contents found in the masoratic lists on fols. 5v-10 follow this Hebrew numeration.

B) For quires, in Hebrew letters, Discernable on some folios, in the left corner of the inner margin of the last verso of each quire, and in the right corner of the upper margin of the first rectos.(e.g., fols. 27, 43, 50, 51).


Blank leaves

Fols. 1-2, 2v-4v (were originally blank but today contain a Latin text written in the 17th or 18th century), 5, 10v-11, 120-121, 312v-313, 434-438v are blank (fol. 438v now includes later inscriptions).



24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
25a Material Structure
25b Material Decoration
25c Material Bonding
25d Material Inscription
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors
25k Construction Material

26 Measurements
26a Height
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program

The decoration was executed by one artist, most probably one of the scribes, in one stage.

A. Massoratic lists (fols. 5v-10) written in a varying number of columns, surrounded by excerpts of verses from the Bible, written in large square Sephardi script in brown ink, forming a frame around the lists.

B. Many pen-work decorated parashah (e.g., fols. 21, 29v, 31v, 34, 56, 58v, 65v, 68v, 70, 73v), sidrah (e.g., fol. 24) and half-book signs (e.g., fols. 24, 68, 87, 109, 141v, 404, 407v).  The parashah sign includes the abbreviation of the word "Pericope" ( פרש ), and the sidrah sign includes the letter "samech" (ס ), both written in square script in brown ink.  The half-book signs have an inscription within, reading: the "numbers of verses of half the book" (חצי הספר) (e.g., fols. 24, 68, 87, 109, 141v, 404, 407v) or "half the letters of the Pentateuch" (חצי התורה באותיות) (fol. 65v).

The signs are either framed by a cartouche (e.g., fols. 21, 29v, 31v, 56, 65) or decorated above by small simple motifs (e.g., fols.)

C. Decorated masorah magna, shaped in simple designs appearing in the upper or lower margins of the page, mostly forming a zig-zag at the end of lines and continuing vertically into the outer margin (e.g., fols. 50, 149, 174) or a small triangle shape underneath the last text line of the page (e.g., fols. 179, 334v).  On two facing pages (fols. 313v-314) (Need photograph) the masorah also forms three smalll circles on the top and bottom of the pages.


36 Summary and Remarks

The Vienna Sephardi Bible is a complete Bible, copied in square Sephardi script in two columns by a main scribe who wrote the entire text of the Bible, and a second scribe who copied the text of the masorah magna and masorah parva

The decoration program of the manuscript includes several pages of masoratic lists, preceding the text of the Bible, surrounded by verses and excerpts taken from many books of the Bible, written in large square Sephardi script, forming a frame around the lists.  The manuscript also includes decorated parashah signs and sidrah signs, set in the margins or between the text columns. According to the custom of Palestine, a triennial cycle was followed in the reading of the Pentateuch in the synagogue on Sabbath, with the Pentateuch divided into 153, 155 or 167 Sedarim (sections) and the reading completed in three years.  However, according to the custom of Babylon and other communities outside Palestine, an annual cycle was followed and as such the Pentateuch was divided into 54 parashot (pericopes). In our manuscript we find indications for both divisions according to both customs.    The signs are either framed by a cartouche or decorated above by small simple motifs.  The sidrah signs are composed of the letter "samech" (ס ) written in square script in brown ink and are decorated in a similar manner to the parashah signs.  Another type of decoration in our manuscript is to be found in the writing of the masorah.  The masorah magna, which appears on two lines in the upper margins, and three lines in the lower margins, is sometimes shaped to form simple designs.  The masorah parva, written in the margins of the page and in between the text columns is sometimes surrounded by simple geometric shapes or cartouches. 

These types of decorations are all common features found in other Sephardi Bibles of the 14th and 15th century.    The ones found in our Vienna manuscript can be compared for example to those found in ???? (need comparison from Karl).

It is interesting to note that the order of the books of the Latter Prophets in the Vienna Sephardi Bible follows the order found in many manuscripts of the Middle Ages, which is also the order found in modern Bibles.  The order of the books of Hagiographia however, which widely varies in manuscripts produced in the Middle Ages, follows in the case of the Vienna Sephardi Bible the same order found in several other manuscripts of the Middle Ages (e.g., the Sephardi Pentateuch and Hagiographia of the 14th century, Jewish National and University Library, Cod. Hebr. 80221), but differs from modern Bibles.

Another interesting feature, found in the Vienna Sephardi Bible is that the end of several of the books of Prophets and Hagiographa are written without punctuation.  These are the opening words to the final verse of this section when it is read as the haftarah in the synagogue on Sabbath.  They are, according to tradition, repeated twice, once by the reader and once by the community (e.g., fol. 406 where the opening words of the next to last verse of the portion of the book of Ecclesiastes "…the conclusion of the whole matter" (סוף דבר), are written again after the portion, without punctuation. For other examples, see e.g., fols. 237, 408).

Our manuscript also contains several folios (fols. 2v-4v) which were originally left blank, but now contain later inscriptions in Latin, describing the manuscript, the order of books, the masorah parva and magna and the writing modes employed in the writing of the manuscript.  The page numbers in this text, relating to the different books of the Bible, does not follow the modern foliation, but rather corresponds to the earlier foliation, which marks fol. 11v, on which begins the text of Genesis, as the first folio.  It would seem that the Latin description of the page numbers is based on the masoratic lists found on fol. 8 which indicate that Genesis is to be found on folio "aleph" (א).

The manuscript contains three later inscriptions, written on fol. 438v, which was originally a blank page.  From these inscriptions one may deduce that the manuscript was written before the year 1504, which is the earliest date mentioned in the inscriptions.

Need to ask Karl how he knows that the Latin text is by M. Denis (appears in his documentation), and also for pictures of the two comparisons he brings.

Need to establish how we are dating the manuscript 14th century or the second half of the 15th century???!!!!


38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
• Fol. 438v includes three later entries written in Hebrew by a single person, from the top to the middle of the page:
1. The first entry records the birth of his son, Jacob, on the date of Thursday, the second day of the month of Heshvan, 5265 to the Creation of the world (10.10.1504), in the week of the pericope of Noah:
בסימן טוב ובשעת רצון נולד לי בני חביבי הנעים יעקב יצו' יום חמישי/ ? שני ימים לחדש חשון שנת חמשת אלפים ומאתים וששים וחמשה/ לבריאת עולם בפרשת תולדות נח ויסגור ה' בעדו ה' ברחמיו יגדלהו/ וישמרהו ויגיעהו לתורה ולחופה ולמעשים טובים אמן כן יהי רצון.
2. The second entry records the death of the above-mentioned son Jacob, at the age of two, in the year 5266 to the Creation of the world (June or July of the year 1506):
על טוב ועל רע אודה את ה' על כי נאסף בני חביבי הנז' יעקב שתי שנים אחר/ שנולד בשנת הרס"ו בחדש תמוז. יהי רצון שיהא קרבן כפרה לעוונותי אמן/, כמו שאמר איוב ה' נתן וה' לקח יהי שם ה' מבורך.
3. The third entry records the birth of another son by the same name, Jacob, on the Sabbath, the 7th of the month of Heshvan. The final word which would indicate the specific year of birth is almost illegible, but perhaps may be the number nine, marking the year as 5269 (1508). However, it must be noted that if this is indeed the case, the 7th of Heshvan did not come out on a Sabbath in the year 1508 as indicated in the inscription but rather on a Sunday. It is possible that the scribe made a mistake in this case. The scribe also mentions that the pericope read on this Sabbath was that of Lekh Lekha:
בסימן טוב ובשעת ברכה ובמזל טוב וביום טוב נולד לי בני חביבי יעקב [ישמרהו האל] אמן ביום שבת שבעה ימים לחדש חשון שנת חמשת אלפים ומאתים וששים [ותשעה?] / לבריאת עולם בפרשת והקימותי את בריתי אתו לזרעו אחריו לברית עולם [וה'] ברחמיו ישמרהו ויחייהו ויגדלהו ויגיעהו לתורה ולחופה ולמעשים טובים אמן [ויקוים]/ בו מקרא שכתוב לא ימוש ספר התורה הזאת מפיך ומפי זרעך ומפי זרע [זרעך?]/ אמר ה' מעתה ועד עולם אמן כן יהי רצון סלה סלה אמן.
• Fol. 1, A later inscription in Hebrew, written in almost illegible handwriting:
לעולם יכתב אדם שמו על ספרו שמא יבוא אחר מן השוק ויאמר שלי זה
Translation: A person should always write his name in his book, so that another will not come "from the marketplace" and claim it belongs to him.
• Fol. 1, upper right corner is written: N˚151.
• Fol. 1v, in the centre of the upper part of the page is written N˚8, with two lines crossed over the writing. Below this is written N˚66.
• Fols. 2v-4v, which were originally left blank today contain later Latin inscriptions of the 17th-18th centuries covering on the entire two pages from left to right. The Latin text describes the manuscript, the order of books, the masorah parva and magna and the writing modes employed in the copying of the manuscript. M. Denis? Ask Karl!!!
• According to Schwartz, the manuscript was housed in the Bibliotheque Imperiale in Paris between the years 1809-1814. The manuscript contains two seals of the Bibliotheque Imperiale stamped on fols. 2, 434v.
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
Sarna, Nahum, M., Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 4 (B), Jerusalem, 1972, Entry: Bible, cols. 827-830. Jacobs, Louis, Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 15, Jerusalem, 1972, Entry: Torah, Reading of, col. 1247. Schwartz, A. Z., hebräischen Hss., Leipzig, 1925, pp. 2-3, no. 2
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin September,.2005 49a
50 Researcher Estherlee Kanon August ,2005 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head Double-click 53a
54 Editor 54a
55 Donor 55a