ROMANO, LEONE (JUDAH B. MOSES B. DANIEL B. MOSES B. JEKUTHIEL or R. YEHUDAH HA-FILOSOF):
Italian scholar; born at Rome 1292; died there after 1350. Romano was a friend of the naturalist Benjamin b. Judah, together with whom he was the center of learning of the Roman community. He was a gifted thinker, a fine Latinist, and well versed in scholastic philosophy. By his writings and his translations of philosophical works he sought to make Christian scientific literature accessible to the Jews; he was also an energetic teacher. "He had many pupils: he drained the sea of ignorance, and illuminated the darkness of exile," says his cousin Immanuel b. Solomon, who, although many years older, had become his assiduous pupil.
Romano set himself to translate the more important philosophical works of medieval literature. By 1328 he had completed the "Liber de Causis," ascribed to Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas' "Treatise on Ideas." He then translated Averroes' commentary on Aristotle, and works by Albertus Magnus, Ægidius of Colonna, and Angelo da Camerino. He apparently translated passages that appealed to him, and from these compiled a book, with notes. He wrote also a Hebrew-Italian glossary of philosophical terms, with philosophical comments, explaining in this way the most important prayers, and passages from the Bible, especially the story of the Creation. He wrote, besides, a commentary on Maimonides' "Sefer ha-Madda'," under the title "Ben Porat," and a work on the theory of prophecy. Romano's works were frequently transcribed, and many copies are still extant.
He was highly esteemed by Christians, and is quoted by them as "Leone de Sere Daniel." King Robert of Naples called him to his court, and himself studied under the Italian scholar.
- Steinschneider, Giuda Romano, Rome, 1870;
- idem, Hebr. Uebers. §§ 300 et seq.:
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 440;
- Güdemann, Gesch. ii. 128.