Jeremiah Shamer, a book merchant, wrote this letter about the sale of religious books in both Arabic (top) and Modern Assyrian (also called Swadaya) (below).
The letter is part of a larger body of correspondence and poetry penned by the late Mr. Shamer, all of which speaks to the social, religious and economic life of Iraq's Assyrian Christians in the late 19th century.
The writer used riq’a, a form of Arabic that requires minimal lifting of pen from paper, perhaps because of time pressures around the sale. The Assyrian text features a similar fast style for the Syriac script.
- Article by:
- Dr Michael Erdman
- Curator favourites
Curator Michael Erdman explains what a letter from a 19th-century book merchant in Mosul, Iraq can tell us about the relationship between writing system and identity.