Abraham Zacuto was a Sephardi Jewish astronomer, astrologer, mathematician, rabbi and historian who served as Royal Astronomer in the 15th century to King. After the Spanish exile, Zacuto settled at Lisbon, where he was soon appointed court astronomer and historiographer to John II. He retained his office under D. ZACUTO, ABRAHAM BEN SAMUEL (–c. ), astronomer and historian. His ancestors were French Jewish exiles who had come to Castile in

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Joseph was a colleague and an adviser of Columbus. Zacuto compared various manuscripts and printed zacutl to present the reader with correct versions. In Zacuto was in Damascus. Caciques native chiefs were hostile and did not want to provide him and his people with food so they were on the edge of starvation. God in His great mercy to His pious ones will provide me and my offspring’s posterity to worship His blessed Name. He translated the explanation of R. There are very few transliterated not translated words in the text, as we tried to make this book accessible to an English reader.

Abraham Luzitanus, was a great physician and a wise man. H corresponds to Heh, while A corresponds to Alef. Abrham, Cat Bod, —8; M. He fled first to Tunisand later moved to Jerusalem. The bulk of Zacuto family remained entrenched in Portugal. Zacuto was a great expert of the Talmud, the compendium of Jewish tradition which he learned from R.

Revista de la Academia de Ciencias de Madrid2763—; R. The Book of Lineage was a life-long work of R. As he entered, he opened the R. He may have studied and taught astronomy at the University of Salamanca. Zacuto also instructed the sailors in the use of his improved astrolabe. That is why R.

Despite the reassessment of modernity, the Book of Yohassin remains an important step on the road from the mist of tales and legends to the light of scientific exploration. Rabbi Zacuto knew his Talmud by heart, and he wrote for equally endowed sages. The Portuguese astronomer and cartographer Jose Visinho considered himself his disciple, translated and published his book and helped him to find a proper place in Portugal. As a result, he became part of a society of scholars who prepared navigation tables for Portuguese sailors.


An astronomer of wide-spread reputation, he was appointed professor at the university of his native city, and later at that of Saragossa. For non-Jewish names, the spelling of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was preferred wherever available.

He was not above belief in demons and other superstitions. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As the quadrant could not be used to look directly at the sun, Portuguese navigators began using the astrolabe on board an old land-based instrument to measure the height of the sun indirectly.

Instead of attempting uniformity and abundant but misleading lucidity zzcuto would zackto us to employing up to five kinds of quote marks we tried to achieve a user-friendly translation blurring somewhat vague distinction between a direct and indirect quotation. The cool style of Zacuto and his allegiance to the faith of Israel were equally foreign to him and to sub sequent secular Jewish historians. He also reported that certain Jewish women could prophecy in his presence.

Zacuto was born in SalamancaSpain in Columbus acquiesced, the eclipse passed and since then the Caciques respected him and provided with all he needed, says the legend.


Vicinho’s version is the only Spanish incunabulum published in Portugal. Though Filippowski planned to produce a companion volume of sources to the book, it was never published. The Zacuto’s tables provided him with a way out as they indicated there would soon on February 29, be a lunar eclipse. In Tunis, his son Samuel married into a prominent local Jewish family, and Abraham Zacuto regained some of zacutk peace of mind.

It became true, as we know. He was a true Renaissance man, open to facts and new ideas as well as attached to tradition. But let us return to our Rabbi Abraham Zacuto. Abraham Zacuto’s tables with marginalia of Columbus is extant in the Colombian library in Portugal.



Abraham Zacuto compiled his great work on astronomy by orders of the Bishop of Salamanca. Zacuto had established his wish to make his death pilgrimage at a Passover gathering. The contemporary scholar Gaspar Correa quoted in his book the following opinion of R.

Some of them were so delightful that it was difficult to stop. The Hebrew medieval historical literature is rather lean and mean. Zacuto wrote some chapters in Portugal before the Expulsion, while other chapters were composed in Tunisia. His life is surrounded by legend as befits a Judaeo-Iberian sage, and it is quite difficult for us to separate the hard facts from the embellishments.

School period Add photo. After their conquest of the last Moorish kingdom of Granada, the Royal rulers of recently united Spain decided to convert their Jewish subjects, to finish off in one stroke the hundred years drive for Christianisation of Spanish Jews. Shesheth [Barfat], the author of famous responsa of that name. When the Jews of Spain were expelled from the country inZacuto took refuge in Portugal, where he served as court astronomer to the king, Joao II.

Abraham Zacuto – Wikipedia

As for titles, we use R. Soon Columbus set sail to America, bearing the Zacuto tables with him. Israel, BT Chagigahchapter This belief caused him to leave safe Tunis and wander the roads on the Empire — he went to Constantinople, to Damascus and eventually to Jerusalem in ; he lived in a theological college Yeshiva on Mt Zion, and died in It is also a primary source dealing with appearance of the Zohar in Spain.