‘I swear that I shall not break my fast by day’

A woman pleads with her husband to return home after he chose to move out in a dispute over having to live with her family and pay them rent. To avoid a charge of ‘abandonment’, the husband has been returning on Sabbaths for brief conjugal visits. The woman threatens to start a hunger strike (but only during the daytime) if her husband does not move back home. On the back of the letter he writes ‘If you don’t break your fast, I won’t come back Sabbaths or any other day!’

Egypt, 12th century

Judaeo-Arabic, paper

Lewis-Gibson Ar.2.51

Extended captions