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DAPIERA, SOLOMON BEN MESHULLAM or DA PIERA ():

Neo-Hebraic poet of North Spain; died after 1417. He was a relative of Meshullam ben Solomon Dapiera, who flourished, probably in southern France, in the earlier part of the thirteenth century, and who, in several extensive poems, declared against the "Moreh Nebukim" of Maimonides. Before the troubles which came upon him and the Jews in Spain generally, Dapiera seems to have been rich, and charitable to the needy. Forced to leave his native place, he took refuge in Saragossa at the house of Benveniste ben Labi, the Mæcenas of Hebrew scholars, where he became tutor to Benveniste's two sons, with one of whom, Don Vidal Joseph ibn Labi, he exchanged many letters and poems. Through the recommendation of his host, to whom he was not related, as Grätz avers, he became a favorite with Don Meïr Alguadez.

While in Saragossa, Dapiera filled the position of scribe to the congregation; letters are extant written by him in its name. He, however, did not remain there, but again took up the wanderer's staff. In 1417 he was in Monzon, where he made the acquaintance of a young poet, En-Samuel Bonastruc. Despite certain mannerisms, Dapiera may be ranked among the first Hebrew poets of his time. He showed great skill in rimed prose and artistic versification, and the criticism which Grätz passed upon him as a poet is now known to be undeserved. Under the title "Imre No'ash" (Speeches of a Desperate One) he compiled a comprehensive dictionary of rimes in three parts, two of which dealt with homonyms and synonyms. It is probable that the "Maskiyyot Kesef," edited by Mordecai Tama (Amsterdam, 1765), is a part of the "Imre No'ash" ("Literaturblatt des Orients," ix. 343; Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 2386).

Dapiera was a prolific poet and writer; more than forty piyyuṭim issued from his pen; and the manuscript Or., fol. 1059, in the Berlin Royal Library, contains versified panegyrics sent by him to such men as Moses Abbas, Samuel al-Rabi, Don Bonfos, Astruc Ramuk, Astruc Crescas, Don Solomon al-Constantini, Maẓliaḥ of Majorca, as well as to Christian scholars. Many of his letters are still extant; one of them, to the above-mentioned Maẓliaḥ of Majorca, was published by Edelman in his "Dibre Ḥefeẓ" (p. 27). H. Brody has published in his "Beiträge zu Salomo Da-Pieras Leben und Wirken" (Berlin, 1893) a number of Dapiera's letters and poems. Solomon ben Meshullam Dapiera must not be confounded with Solomon ben Immanuel Dapiera, who probably died shortly before 1363, and who, under the title "Batte ha-Nefesh" (Smelling-Flask), translated from Arabic into Hebrew the didactic poem "Al-Saba'niyyah" by Abu 'Imran Moses Ṭobi, to which he wrote a commentary (see Hirschfeld in the "Report of the Judith Montefiore College," 1894, p. 8).

Bibliography:
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 2385;
  • idem, in Hebr. Bibl. xiv. 78 et seq., xvi. 86 et seq., xvii. 129 et seq.;
  • idem, Verzeich. der Hebr. Handschr. der Königl. Bibl. zu Berlin, i. 37;
  • idem, Die Hebr. Handschr. der Königl. Hofund Staatsbibl. in München. cod. 57, 3;
  • idem, Hebr. Uebers. p. 932;
  • Grätz, Gesch. viii. 151;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, p. 145;
  • Brody, as above; compare Monatsschrift, 1895, p. 423;
  • Jew. Quart. Rev. vi. 182;
  • Zeit. für Hebräische Bibliographie, ii. 46.
G. M. K. G.
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