Who Was Natan of Rome? Jews of Italy Pt. V

Who knew that writing a dictionary was so important? (For those of you born after 1985: a dictionary is an actual paper book full of words and their meanings). Natan ben Yehiel of Rome (c. 1035-1110) left the world a remarkable scholarly achievement in the form of the massive Arukh, a Talmudic dictionary that defined terms in Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Persian, and even Slavic languages. We know little about his life other than a cryptic poem he attached to his magnum opus and the testimony of an 18th century Rabbi–but what little we know is fascinating.

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