ABRAHAM SOLOMON OF SAINT MAXIMIN:
By: Richard Gottheil
Physician, who flourished in the fifteenth century, being in high favor with René of Anjou, count of Provence. Cæsar of Nostradamus, himself of Jewish origin, in "L'Histoire et Chronologie de Provence," p. 618 (Lyons, 1624), says:
"There was in the city of Saint Maximin a Hebrew, very learned and widely known in medicine, a celebrated philosopher named Abraham Solomon, who, despite the fact that he was a Jew, stood in high favor with the grandees of his day, especially with René of Anjou. As the king desired to keep him in his service, he was excused from paying the taxes usually levied upon the Jews."
This is not surprising on the part of René, who devoted a great part of his life to art, and especially to the collection of the poetry of the Provençal troubadours, being himself an author of some renown. Abraham was not the only Jewish physician in the service of the count. According to Nostradamus (p. 621), it was through his Jewish physicians that he became aware of the miserable condition in which the Provençal Jews lived, and he did what he could to ameliorate it.
Abraham probably belonged to the Abigdor family, and has been identified as the Abraham Abigdor (1433-48) mentioned in a list of physicians at Marseilles during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ("Rev. Ét. Juives," vii. 294). Here Abraham Solomon really means Abraham ben Solomon, the word "ben" being often omitted in such names. There is reason to believe that his father may have been Solomon ben Abraham Abigdor, a translator of some repute.
- Gross, in Monatsschrift, xxix. 410;
- Steinschneider, Hebr. Uebers. p. 643;
- Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, p. 335, Paris, 1839;
- Nübling, Die Judengemeinden des Mittelalters, p. 86.