The earliest existing codification of the prayerbook is the Siddur (order) drawn up by Amram Gaon of Sura about 850.
Half a century later the famous Gaon Seadiah, also of Sura, issued his Siddur, in which the rubrical matter is in Arabic. Besides the Siddur, or order for Sabbaths and general use, there is the Mahzor (cycle) for festivals and fasts.
The office of Gaon lasted for something over 400 years, beginning about A.D.
They begin with Mar Rab Sheshna (7th century) and continue to Hai Gaon, who died in 1038, and are full of historical and literary interest.
Besides the Responsa, but closely related to them, we have the lesser Halakhoth of Yehudai Gaon of Sura (8th century) and the great Halakhoth of Simeon Qayyara of Sura (not Gaon) in the 9th century.
In a different department there is the first Talmud lexicon (`Arukh) now lost, by Zemah ben Paltoi, Gaon of Pumbeditha in the 9th century.
Mahommedan Babylonia (Persia) was the home of the gaonate, the central authority of religious Judaism, whose power transcended that of the secular exilarchate, for it influenced the synagogue far and wide, while the exilarchate was local.
The schismatic Qaraites initiated or rather necessitated a new Hebrew philology, which later on produced Qimhi, the gaon Saadiah founded a Jewish philosophy, the statesman Hasdai introduced a new Jewish culture - and all this under Mahommedan rule.
Homage was paid to him by the rabbinical heads of the colleges (each of whom was called Gaon, q.v.); rich gifts were presented; he visited the synagogue in state, where a costly canopy had been erected over his seat.
ELIJAH WILNA, or Elijah Ben Solomon, best known as the Gaon Elijah Of Wilna (1720-1797), a noted Talmudist who hovered between the new and the old schools of thought.
It is first quoted under the title of the Targum of Onkelos by Gaon Sar Shalom (d.
875), a famous gaon or head of the Jewish Academy of Sura (Persia) in the 9th century.
Arabia, Palestine or Media; who journeyed in Egypt, Mesopotamia, North Africa, and Spain; who spent several years at Kairawan in Tunis; who died on a visit to Cordova, and whose authority, as to the lost tribes, is supported by a great Hebrew doctor of his own time, Zemah Gaon, the rector of the Academy at Sura (A.D.
He is said to have composed poems at the age of sixteen, and elegies by him are extant on Hai Gaon (died in 1038) and Jekuthiel (died in 1039), each of which was written probably soon after the death of the person commemorated.