By: Richard Gottheil
A prænomen used frequently by Jews in southern France and eastern Spain; used to this day as a family name in France. It is derived from the Provençal astruc, "happy" (compare benastruc and malastruc, and the Spanish astrugo, from the Latin aster, a star). In the dialect of Languedoc, Astruk signified "born under a favorable star" (Genin, "Récréations Philologiques," ii. 79, Paris, 1856). This confirms the supposition of Dukes that the name represents the Hebrew ("good luck"); and a MS. which formerly belonged to the Almanzi collection was written by a "Rabbi , who is called Astruc bar Jacob" (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." v. 47). Even in its Roman form, Asterius ("Αστερις, 'Αστέρια), it occurs not only on Christian inscriptions of Spain (Hübner, "Inscript. Hispan. Christian. Supplem." Berlin, MCM., p. 70) and of Gaul (Le Blaut, "Inscript. Cret. de la Gaule," ii. 445), but also on the Jewish catacombs of Rome (Garucchi, "Cimitero degli Antichi Ebrei," 1862, p. 24; Schürer, "Gemeindeverfassung der Juden in Rom," 1879, p. 14; Berliner, "Gesch. der Juden in Rom," i. 74). In a Latin-Jewish inscription the name of "Claudia Aster" of Jerusalem occurs (Mommsen, "Inscr. Neapol. Lat." No. 6467). A certain Bonastruc Abigedor translates his name into "Fortunio Avigdor" in MS. 2232 of the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Neubauer, "Catalogue," col. 770; compare Steinschneider, "Hebr. Uebers." pp. 965, 977). In Hebrew MSS. the name is written (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." l.c.), , and and ("Ecrivains Juifs," p. 549); in non-Hebrew documents, Astruch ("Revue Etudes Juives," iv. 68), Astrug (ib.), Astruz (Zunz, "Zur Gesch." p. 473), Astrugo (Jacobs, "Sources," Index, s.v.), Astrugon (Gross, "Gallia Judaica," p. 342), Asdrach ("Revue," iv. 6), Nastruch (Kayserling, "Juden in Navarra," p. 161), Strug ("Jew. Quart. Rev." viii. 493), Struch (Kayserling, l.c. p. 161), and Struchus ("Revue Etudes Juives," xl. 170). In a document of the year 1661 relating to certain Jews in Mannheim, "Abraham and Moïse Astroucg" occur (Löwenstein, "Gesch. der Juden in der Kurpfalz," p. 80; compare Kalman Astruc in the Worms Memorbuch, ed. Berliner, p. 48). The name occurs in Italian in the form Astruccio (Vogelstein and Rieger, "Gesch. der Juden in Rom," ii. 438). The feminine form of the name is Astruga ("Revue Etudes Juives," xxxix. 265). In composite names we have the forms Bon Astruc (compare Bonenfant, Bonfil, Bonisac, etc.) and Sen Astruc.
Among the martyrs of Cologne in 1096, the name of a certain Astorio () occurs, which may possibly be a form of the Latin Asterius (Salfeld, "Nürnberger Memorbuch," p. 110). It is doubtful whether the name Estori ha-Parḥi (lived in Provence and Palestine, fourteenth century) ought to be cited in this connection (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." xv. 108; "Hebr. Uebers." 977, note 45).
The earliest mention of the name Astruc seems to be that of Mal-Astrug (i.e., Miles Astrug) of Marseilles in the year 1040. A document of the year 1231 mentions a Solomon "filius Astruc" of Megueil. Abba Mari ben Abraham (d. about 1240) was called Don Astruc des Gabbai (Gross, "Gallia Judaica," p. 103). Judah ben Astruc is mentioned in a Barcelona document of the year 1287 as interpreter of King Alfonso of Murcia. In 1435 a Rabbi Astruch, "Maître de la Synagogue," was burned at Palma in the Balearic Islands.
During the Middle Ages the Astruc family seems to have lived chiefly in the comtat of Avignon. When in 1550 permission was given the Portuguese Jews to settle in Guienne, the Astrucs were among the first to avail themselves of the privilege. The earliest ancestor of the modern Astruc family in Bordeaux was Israel bar Josuan Astruc, about the year 1660. The sketch-pedigree given on page 253, in which, however, some of the branches have not been indicated, will show the descent of the family.
- Körting, Lat.-Romanisches Wörterbuch, p. 78, 1891;
- Zunz, Namen der Juden, p. 42;
- Dukes, Salomon ben Gabirol, p. 61;
- Kayserling, Die Juden in Navarra, p. 161;
- Brüll, Jahrbücher, i. 95;
- Steinschneider, Hebr. Bibl. xii. 60, xv. 108;
- Löb, in Revue Etudes Juives, iv. 68;
- Salfeld, Das Martyrologium des Nürnberger Memorbuches, p. 387;
- Jacobs, Sources of Spanish-Jewish History, Index, s.v.;
- Cardozo de Bettencourt, Notes Historiques et Généalogiques sur la Famille Astruc, Paris, 1895.