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I would like to specifically know what the definitions of attiphath yishma'elim were among the Geonim. The opinions of the Rishonim on the subject seem to be convoluted (i.e. no one really knew what it was). So did the Geonim know? Do they describe it?

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I don't know whether or not the Geonim described it, but my guess is that they didn't for the same reason that descriptions by ashkenazi acharonim are "convoluted," i.e. they lived with it, saw it every day, and probably wore it themselves so it didn't require definition the same way we don't find k'zayis measured as fractions of an egg in countries that had olives. –  Yitzchak Dec 11 '13 at 14:54
@Yitzchak The Gemara discusses the amount of tefachim in ammos, even though they had both. –  Shmuel Brin Dec 11 '13 at 18:32
But they don't discuss the ammah in inches i.e. they had a frame of reference for the subject at hand. The Nodeh B'Yehuda discussing olives or the Minchas Eluzar discussing atiphas yishmaelim don't. –  Yitzchak Dec 11 '13 at 18:43
@ShmuelBrin Because one was set by the other. Olives and eggs have no formal relation; you just go look outside at each. –  Double AA Dec 15 '13 at 22:57
@Yitzchak See ^^^. You are not correct about why they didn't mention olives as fractions of eggs. –  Double AA Dec 15 '13 at 22:58

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