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FIRUZ-SHABUR:

City of Babylonia; the "Sipphara" of Ptolemy and the Βηρσαβῶρα of Zosimus; situated a few miles South of Nehardea; built by Shabur I. about 250 C.E. In Berakot 59b it is called . "Formerly one who saw the Euphrates at the bridge of Babylon recited the blessing; but now, since the Persians have changed the course of the river, he does not recite the blessing until he sees it from Be-Shabur." It was the largest city of Babylonia after Ctesiphon. During the war between Julian the Apostate and Shabur II., Firuz-Shabur, which contained many Jewish inhabitants, was besieged and burned. Later, about 581, under Hormizd IV., the academies of Sura and Pumbedita were closed, and a new one was opened at Firuz-Shabur, under Arab rule. According to Sherira Gaon, the best-known school was that of his ancestor, Rab Mari, son of Rab Dimi . But under Yezdegerd III. the Academy of Pumbedita was reopened, and Rab Hanan of Iskia, the chief of the school of Firuz-Shabur, left the latter for Pumbedita. R. Hanan was succeeded by Rab Mari. The schools continued till Ali, the fourth calif, took Firuz-Shabur, in 656. The Jews of Firuz-Shabur sided with Ali, and R. Sherira mentions the fact that Mar Isaac, the chief of the school there, came with 90,000 Jews to meet the conqueror, and was received in a friendly manner.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., iv. 252, 347; v. 11;
  • Neubauer, G. T. pp. 336, 351;
  • Berliner, Beiträge zur Geographie und Ethnographie Babyloniens im Talmud und Midrasch, p. 60, Berlin, 1883;
  • Fürst, Die Juden in Asien, pp. 6 et seq., Leipsic, 1849;
  • Sherira Gaon's Iggeret, in Neubauer's Mediœval Jewish Chronicles, i. 35-187.
G. M. Sel.
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