Summary and Remarks
Despite the lack of a colophon for our manuscript, its scribe was identified by Schwarz as David bar Elijah Nezer Zahav on the basis of palaeographical comparison with the script in another manuscript copied by David Nezer Zahav in Specchia in 1415 (Vienna, Österreichicshe Nationalbibliothek, Cod. hebr. 30). One of the owner's inscriptions (fol. 111), inserted into the last astronomical table and missed by Schwarz, supports his suggestion. In this inscription Yaakov Levi de Aragon informs us that the manuscript belongs to ("of" or even "by") David son of Elijah [Nezer Zahav] (or it is also possible to read as: [it was written] for David…), the physician and the leader of the Lecce Congregation. It was completed in1438 inLecceby Yaakov Levi himself (he completed the astronomical tables from fol. 103v, continuing the quire which David started). Later, in 1456, still in Lecce Daniel Aziz, probably the owner of our manuscript in those years exchanged it for another manuscript in front of few witnesses. The inscription concerning this exchange was also written by Yaakov Levi, who also signed it as one of the witnesses.
The first astronomical text in our manuscript is in fact just the third article of the first part of a larger work called Livyat Hen. Livyat Hen was composed by Provencal philosopher Levi ben Abraham ben Hayyim in the late 13th century as a philosophical work touching upon many different fields. Levi ben Abraham divided his work into two main parts which he called "pillars" corresponding to the two pillars of Solomon's Temple, Yakhin and Boaz. The first pillar, Yakhin, is a kind of encyclopedia of sciences consisting of five articles, among which (the third article) is our astronomical text called Mishpatei ha-Tekhunah [Astronomy]. The second one, Boaz, is composed of two articles concerning Judaism. The second part was preserved relatively well in two versions (Sirat, Liwyat Hen, pp. 167-177); only the third article from the first part (our astronomical text) was preserved. This article appears in few manuscripts, almost all of them from 14th – 15th centuries (see: Freudenthal, Sur la partie astronomique du Liwyat Hen, pp. 107-108).
The second text of our manuscript Orah Selulah by Yitzhak ben Shlomo Alhadib deals with astronomical calculations connected to the calendar. Yitzhak ben Shlomo ben Tzadik Alhadib was born in Castilia in the middle of the 14th century and immigrated to Sicily in 1396, where he composed most of his works. The Orah Selulah consisting of 8 "gates" (chapters) is based on two astrological works: one is "Shesh Kanafaim" (Six Wings) by Emmanuel ben Yaakov tov Elem (1365) and the second is "Luhot be-Hohmat ha-Thuna" (Astronomical Tables) by Yaakov ben David Yom Tov (Poel) (1361) (see: Reanan, Yitzhak Alhadib, p. 16). At the end of his work Alhadib added astronomical tables based on Al-Battani, Al-Kammad and others. The table of the cycles in our manuscript opens with the 273rd 19-year cycle which corresponds to the years 1427-1446, allowing establishing the terminus post quem for the manuscript's production as 1427.
Concerning the scribe of our manuscript, as it was mentioned above, we know about one more manuscript copied by the same scribe, David Nezer Zahav (Cod. hebr. 30). His father Elijah [Zebi] ben David [Ibn Muallem] Nezer Zahav (see: Zuckermann, Catalogue, p. 5, no. 37) produced six manuscripts, the earliest one in Vlona in Albania in 1385 (Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2367) and the rest in Lecce in Southeastern Italy in 1386 (Torino, Biblioteca nazionale, A. VI. 41. The manuscript was burned. For details see: Palaeographical Project, Y 31), in 1400 (Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2373), in 1414 (Breslau, Jüdisch-theologisches Seminar, 37. The manuscript was burned. For details see: Zuckermann, Catalogue, p. 5, no. 37), in 1415 (Breslau, Jüdisch-theologisches Seminar, 60), in 1425 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Mich. 336). According to the colophons of these manuscripts we can see that till 1414 Elijah Nezer Zahav copied manuscripts for himself, whereas from 1414 (Breslau, Jüdisch-theologisches Seminar, 37 and 60) he copied them for his son David the physician. Probably around 1414-1415 David really started to practice as a physician in Specchia (town in the Italian province of Lecce) and later he moved to Lecce. The subjects of the manuscripts copied by the father and the son are related to Torah, Halakha, Kabbalah, astronomy and of course medicine, because of David's profession (we do not know if Elijah was also physician).
Medicine and astronomy (or astrology) were closely connected in Medieval Europe and that is probably why two manuscripts in this group, one copied by Elijah for his son David (Breslau, Jüdisch-theologisches Seminar, 37) and the second one (our manuscript) – by David himself for his own use (?) are dedicated to astronomy.
Most of the manuscripts of Elijah and David Nezer Zahav are decorated with marginal text illustration, executed by these two scribes. In our manuscript there are just few illustrations, but the medical manuscriptVienna, Cod. hebr. 30, also by David Nezer Zahav, is richly illuminated in the style similar to that of our manuscript.
Concerning the provenance of the family Nezer Zahav we do not know a lot. From the earliest manuscript copied by Elijah Nezer Zahav we know that in 1385 he was in Vlona, Albania(Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2367). One year later he moved to Lecceand copied another manuscript there (Torino, Biblioteca nazionale, A. VI. 41). The rest of his manuscripts were produced in Lecce(the latest in 1415), as well as our manuscript by his son David. Thus, we can not determine if this family was originally Romaniotes or Apulian (Pugliese) from Albania who escaped from there, probably because of the invasion of Ottomans (Egro, Albanian Lands, pp. 86-87) or if it was Apulian family living in Vlona temporarily.
 Mordechai ben Elijah was scribe from Provence, as he states in Catalonian Mahzor copied by him in 1456 (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Mich. 318). From this year till 1464 this scribe worked in Italy.
 Miscellany including Commentary on Torah, Halakhic works and Responses.
 "Musar ve-Sodot" by Moshe di Leon.
 Zikhron Tov (Exegesis) by Nathan ben Shmuel Ha-Rofe.
 Commentary on Ibn Ezra, "Six Wings" by Emmanuel ben Yaakov tov Elem and astrological tables.
 Commentary on Torah by Yehoshua Ibn Shuib.
 Commentary on the commentary on Ibn Ezra by Ezra ben Shlomo Gattigno.
 Many medical treatments in Medieval Europe were done in accordance with the disposition of the stars, because of the belief in their influence on the human body (Shatzmiller, Jews, Medicine and Medieval Society, pp. 37-38).
Material: Parchment and paper (see: Quires) + paper flyleaves:
I + 112 + I leaves
Watermarks of the paper leaves
Watermark of a bell resembling a very similar watermark which appears in another ms. Göttweig Monastery (near Vienna) Codex 314. dated 1410-1413.
Full page: 210 x140 mm
Text space: 150 x 80-90 mm
Tables (mostly): 160-175 x100 mm
The text is written by the main scribe, David Nezer Zahav. The astrological tables from fol. 103v are written by Yaakov Levi (see: Remarks).
David Nezer Zahav copied the text in semi-cursive Sephardi script in brown ink. The astrological tables by Yaakov Levi are also written in semi-cursive Sephardi script in brown ink.
Number of columns:
The text is written in one column.
Number of lines
The text is written in various numbers of lines, mainly 35-46 lines per page.
Ruling by stylus and plummet for the first treatise (e.g. fols. 65-70); plummet for the second treatise (e.g. fols. 99-100); brown ink (fols. 102-111) and red ink (fols. 100v-101v) for tables.
The ruling for the text is for the frame only: 1+1 vertical lines and 1+1 for top and bottom horizontal lines.
The pricking is noticeable in all four margins.
8 quires of 16 leaves each except for first two leaves (fols. 1-2) which are single paper leaves, VII (16-1) (fol. 84 is single leaf) and VIII (16-1) (fol. 100 is single leaf).
The leaves are mostly paper leaves, but the outer bifolia and sometimes the inner bifolia of the quires are made of parchment. The parchment leaves are: bifolia 3/18, 10/11, 19/34, 26/27, 35/50, 51/66, 67/82, 83/97.
In the third article of the first part of Livyat Hen (fols. 3v-93) the catchwords guide the order of the quires and are written horizontally at the end of each quire in the lower left-hand margin in semi-cursive script. One of them is decorated (fol. 66v, see: Decoration program).
In the text of Orah Selulah the catchwords guide the order of pages (fols. 98v-99v) and they are written in the middle of the lower margin of each page in semi-cursive script.
Fol. 47, ??
?? Binding of the Library from 1754.
The decoration is executed by the scribe in brown ink:
I. Marginal illustrations: a seated man in a fish's mouth and a seated ferocious dog with an inscription (fol. 54v)
II. Decorated catchword: a horse facing a dog (fol. 66v)
III. A hand with a pointing finger to the text (e.g. fols. 36v, 50, 67, 93)