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Açan, Moses De Tarrega

AÇAN, MOSES DE TARREGA (Zaragua?; c. 1300), Catalan poet. Moses Açan, whose true name was probably Moses Nathan (Naçan), is known for his verse treatise in Catalan on chess. The introduction begins with an account of the Creation, stressing man's obligation to worship God the Creator. It ends with an explanation of the rules of chess and a condemnation of other games, especially card playing. The work was translated into Castilian by a Jew or Jewish convert in 1350; a manuscript copy was preserved in El Escorial. He seems to be also the author of a collection of 58 short poems of ethical content, Toẓa'ot Ḥayyim, published by Menahem ben Yehuda de Lonzano in 1618. Their originality and literary value are not very high. In the acrostic he calls himself Moses Ben-Netanel Bar-Solomon. He could also be identical with one of the notable Jews of the Crown of Aragon who signed the takkanot in Barcelona on 1354.

The author has been also identified with the Moses b. Joseph Açan who at Cuenca in 1271 warned King Alfonso X of a conspiracy of the Castilian nobles led by the Infante Felipe, but this identification is unfounded.


J. Amador de los Ríos, Estudios sobre los Judíos de España (1848), 289 ff.; Kayserling, Bibl, 8. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Baer, Die Juden in christlichen Spanien (1929), 306, 339, 359; Schirmann, Sefarad, 541–43; Schirmann-Fleischer, The History of Hebrew Poetry in Christian Spain and Southern France (1997), 569–70; V. Keats, Chess among the Jews, 3 (1995), 65–70.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.