The poem below is one of Heimweh. The poetess credited with the poem, whether rightly or wrongly, is Maysūn bint Baḥdal b. Unayf al-Kalbiyya, the mother of Yazīd I and wife of Muʿāwiya, and she is said to have sung these lines after her husband brought her to Syria (al-Šām) from the desert home of her family. She came from a tribe predominantly Christian. (See the brief article about her by Lammens in EI² 6: 924. On her father, Baḥdal, see EI² 1: 919-920.) After the Arabic text, an English translation follows, together with a list of some vocabulary.
The poem’s rhyme-letter (rawī) is f, which is preceded by ī or ū, these two vowels being considered as rhyming (Wright, Grammar of the Arabic Language, vol. 2, § 196b). The text of the poem is given in Nöldeke-Müller, Delectus veterum carminum arabicorum, Porta Linguarum Orientalium 13 (Berlin, 1890), p. 25, and in Heinrich Thorbecke’s edition of Al-Ḥarīrī’s (EI² 3: 221-222) Durrat al-ġawwāṣ fī awhām al-ḫawwāṣ (Leipzig, 1871), pp. 41-42. (Nöldeke and Müller dedicated their Delectus to the memory of the recently departed Thorbecke.) The images below are from the latter book.
Aye, dearer to me is a tent where the winds roar than a lofty palace.
Dearer to me is a rough woolen cloak with a happy heart than clothes of well-spun wool.
Dearer to me is a morsel of food at the side of the tent than a cake to eat.
Dearer to me are the sounds of winds in every mountain path than the tap of the tambourine.
Dearer to me is a dog barking at my night visitors than a familiar cat.
Dearer to me is a young, unyielding camel following a litter than an active mule.
And dearer to me is a thin generous man from among my cousins than a strong lavishly fed man.
Vocabulary and notes:
- ḫafaqa i to beat; (of wind) to roar
- qaṣr citadel, palace (on which see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 240)
- munīf lofty, sublime, projecting
- ʿabāʾa cloak made of coarse wool
- qarra a i to be cool; with ʿayn eye, to be joyful, happy (Lane 2499c)
- šaff a garment of fine wool
- kusayra (dimin.) a small piece of something
- kisr side (of a tent). Note in this line the jinās, the use of two words of the same root but different meaning (see Arberry, Arabic Poetry, 21-23).
- raġīf cake
- faǧǧ wide path in the mountains
- naqr beat, crack, tap
- duff tambourine
- ṭāriq, pl. ṭurrāq someone who comes at night
- dūn here, before, opposite (Lane 938c)
- alūf familiar, sociable
- bakr young camel
- ṣaʿb difficult, unyielding
- baġl mule
- zafūf agile, active, quick
- ẓaʿīna a woman’s litter carried by camels
- ḫirq liberal, generous, bountiful
- naḥīf thin, slight, meager
- ʿilǧ “strong, sturdy man” (Lane)
- ʿalīf fatted, stuffed, fed
In a recent post, I mentioned Bar Bahlul’s source “the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans”. Among other entries in his lexicon where he cites that source, here is another:
Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072
Tmirā I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. I think it is tatmīr, that is, seasoned, salted meat.
Here is an image from a manuscript of the Lexicon, SMMJ 229 (dated 2101 AG = 1789/90 CE), f. 311v:
SMMJ 229, f. 311v
This is not a particularly special copy of the Lexicon; it’s just one I had immediately at hand. It is, not surprisingly, slightly different from Duval’s text, including the variants he gives. Note that the Persian word at the end is misspelled in this copy.
Payne Smith (col. 4461) defines tmirā as caro dactylis condita (“meat seasoned with dates”), with Bar Bahlul cited, along with some variation in another manuscript, including alongside tatmīr the word تنجمير. I don’t know anything certain about this additional word (rel. to Persian tanjidan, “to twist together, squeeze, press”?).
The word tatmīr is a II maṣdar of the root t-m-r, which has to do with dates. The Arabic noun is tamr (dried) dates (do not confuse with ṯamar fruit), and probably from Arabic Gǝʿǝz has ተምር፡; cf. Heb. tāmār, JPA t(w)mrh, Syr. tmartā, pl. tamrē. (Another Aramaic word for date-palm is deqlā.) The Arabic D-stem/II verb tammara means “to dry” (dates, meat) (Lane 317). While the noun tamr means “dates”, the verb tammara does not necessarily have to do with drying dates, but can also refer to cutting meat into strips and drying it. Words for tatmīr in the dictionary Lisān al-ʿarab are taqdīd, taybīs, taǧfīf, tanšīf; we find the description taqṭīʿu ‘l-laḥmi ṣiġāran ka-‘l-tamri wa-taǧfīfuhu wa-tanšīfuhu (“cutting meat into small pieces like dates, drying it, and drying it out”) and further, an yaqṭaʿa al-laḥma ṣiġāran wa-yuǧaffifa (“he cuts meat into small pieces and dries it”). All this makes it doubtful that the word above in Bar Bahlul’s lexicon really has anything to do with dates. Why not simply “dried, seasoned meat”?
As for the passive participle mubazzar, b-z-r is often “to sow”, but may also be used for the “sowing” of seeds, spices, etc. in cooking, so: “to season” (Lane 199). Finally, the last word is Persian namak-sud “salted” (Persian [< Middle Persian] namak salt + sudan to rub [also in Mid.Pers.)
Below is Lk 12:27 in the Adishi text. A comparison with this verse as it appears in the xanmeti manuscript A-844, the Pre-Athonite version, and the Athonite version reveals only minor differences, two of which are mentioned below.
κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα πῶς αὐξάνει· οὐ κοπιᾷ οὐδὲ νήθει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.
განიცადენით შროშანნი, ვითარ-იგი აღორძნდის: არცა შურებინ, არცა სთავნ. ხოლო გეტყჳ თქუენ, რამეთუ არცა სოლომონ ყოველსა დიდებასა მისსა შეიმოსა, ვითარცა ერთი ამათგანი.
- გან-ი-ცად-ენ-ი-თ aor impv 2pl განცდა to see, look at
- შროშანი lily (cf. Armenian շուշան [this verse begins Հայեցարուք ընդ շուշանն], Syr. šuša(n)tā, etc.)
- აღორძნ-დ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg აღორძინება to grow
- შურ-ებ-ი-ნ pres iter 3sg შურება to hurry; suffer (the other versions have შურების pres 3sg)
- სთავ-ნ pres iter 3sg სთვა to spin (the other versions have სთავს pres 3sg)
- გ-ე-ტყ-ჳ pres 1sg O2 სიტყუა to say
- შე-ი-მოს-ა aor 3sg შემოსა to clothe, put on
Here are three exclamatory sentences, one from the Sinai Mravaltavi (Polycephalion) and two from the Georgian version of Chrysostom’s homilies on Matthew, all with similar vocabulary.
ჵ ახალი და დიდებული საქმჱ! Sinai Mravaltavi, 39 (p. 219.17; f. 208r)
O new and excellent thing!
ჵ, ახალი იგი და დიდებული საკჳრველი! Chrysostom, Hom. Mt., hom. 75 (p. 302.27), [on Mt 24:15]
Ὤ καινῶν καὶ παραδόξων πραγμάτων! PG 58.699 (NB singular in Georgian, plural in Greek)
O that new and excellent marvel!
ეჰა, საკჳრველი ახალი და დიდებული, და ჭეშმარიტად სასწაული დიდისა ძლევისაჲ! Chrysostom, Hom. Mt., hom. 87 (p. 433.29-30)
(I do not immediately see anything corresponding to this in the Greek of PG 58.)
Look! A new and excellent marvel, and truly a sign of great power!
- ახალი new
- დიდებული excellent, fabulous, great, fantastic, terrific, superb
- ჭეშმარიტად truly
- საკჳრველი wonderful, astonishing
- სასწაული wonder, sign
- ძლევაჲ power
Among the few manuscripts of the Chaldean Church of St. Joseph in Tehran is a late (1896), huge codex (№ 5) with 71 memre of Narsai. A typewritten note by Ph. Gignoux (dated Mar 23, 1966) accompanies the book, saying that it is a copy of BL Or 5463 (on which see Margoliouth, Descriptive List, pp. 49-50), which is dated 1893 and was copied in Urmi. (In his edition of the homilies of Narsai on creation, Gignoux calls this manuscript Téhéran № 1 and uses the siglum F; see PO 34: 520 .) At the beginning of the book is a very interesting note in Syriac that was written some time after 1965.
Tehran, Chaldean Church of St. Joseph, № 5, p. [iii]
Transliteration (with vowels):
zebnet l-aṣṣaḥtā hādē d-mēmrē d-narsay ʿam ʿesrā ṣḥāḥē (ʾ)ḥrānē ktibay idā menhon ḥdattā mšamlaytā d-dārā da-tlāt-ʿsar w-hākwāt orāytā d-yattir qallil d-hu kad hu zabnā. d-šaddret enon l-bēt arkē d-watiqan l-appay šnat 1965 l-māran men gabrā ihudāyā ba-šmā d-sulaymān ahron [hārūn?] d-ḥānutēh simā (h)wāt qallil l-ʿel men l-qublā d-izgaddutā d-england da-b-plaṭṭiā d-ferdawsi b-tehran mdi(n)tā
✝ yoḥannān simʿān ʿisāy
miṭropoliṭa d-kaldāyē d-tehran [transp.]
I bought this copy of the homilies of Narsai together with ten other manuscripts — including a complete New Testament of the thirteenth century, and similarly an Old Testament, more or less of the same time, which I sent to the Vatican Library — about the year 1965 AD from a Jewish man named Solomon Aaron, whose shop is situated a little up and across from the English embassy on Ferdowsi Avenue in Tehran.
Yoḥannān Simʿān ʿIsāy
Metropolitan of the Chaldeans of Tehran
[Thanks to Grigory Kessel for the suggestion that watiqan refers to the Vatican Library.]
For some photos along Ferdowsi Avenue, including an old picture of the British embassy, see here. It is unknown exactly where the bookseller’s shop was located, but both the church and the embassy are easily discovered on the map:
As rightly locating multi-volume sets at archive.org and other repositories of scanned books is sometimes maddening, here’s a list of the volumes of the Leiden ed. of Al-Ṭabari, edited by M. de Goeje et al., that I’ve been able to find at archive.org.
On the History, see EI² 10: 13-14. The continuation, the Ṣila of ʿArīb b. Saʿd al-Qurṭubī, was also edited by De Goeje: Arîb Tabari Continuatus (Brill, 1897) at https://archive.org/details/ilattrkhalabar00agoog. (There were other continuations, too.) NB De Goeje’s Selections from the Annals of Tabari in (1902) Brill’s Semitic Study Series (https://archive.org/details/selectionsfroman00abaruoft).
A few words on the Persian adaptation, very important due to its age and manuscript attestation. The Persian adaptation is the work of the Sāmānid vizier Abū ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Balʿamī (EI² 1: 984-985). The Persian text was published in Lucknow 1874, of which I can find no version online, and there have been more recent editions published in Iran (see esp. Daniel’s article). From Persian the text was translated into Turkish. Incidentally, the beginning of a manuscript of the Persian text is at http://www.wdl.org/en/item/6828/. Here are a few resources:
- Zotenberg’s French translation of the Persian text, 1, 2, 3, 4)
, is at archive.org (vol.
- Rieu, Cat. Pers. BL, I. 69
- (briefly) p. xxii of the Intro. volume to the De Goeje’s Leiden ed.
- G. Lazard, La langue des plus anciens monuments de la prose persane (Paris, 1963), 38-41.
- E.L. Daniel, “Manuscripts and Editions of Balʿamī’s Tarjamah-i tārīkh-i Ṭabarī,” JRAS (1990): 282-308.
- Andrew Peacock, Mediaeval Islamic Historiography and Political Legitimacy: Bal’amī’s Tārīkhnāma (Routledge, 2007)
Title page to the Leiden edition.
I 1879-1881 Barth https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal01abaruoft
II 1881-1882 Barth and Nöldeke https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal02abaruoft
III 1881-1882 Barth and Nöldeke https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal03abaruoft)
IV 1890 De Jong and Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02goejgoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal04abaruoft)
V 1893 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri02guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01unkngoog, https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal05abaruoft)
VI 1898 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00goejgoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal06abaruoft)
X 1896 Prym https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri04unkngoog
I 1881-1883 Thorbecke, Fraenkel, and Guidi https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal07abaruoft)
II 1883-1885 Guidi https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri03unkngoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal08abaruoft)
III 1885-1889 Guidi, Müller, and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal09abaruoft
I 1879-1880 Houtsma and Guyard https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal10abaruoft
II 1881 Guyard and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal11abaruoft
III 1883-1884 Rosen and De Goeje https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal12abaruoft
IV 1890 De Goeje https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00bargoog (another at https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01goejgoog, https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal13abaruoft)
1901 Intro., Gloss., etc. https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri01guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal15abaruoft)
1901 Indices https://archive.org/details/annalesquosscri00guyagoog (another at https://archive.org/details/tarkhalrusulwaal14abaruoft)
It’s probable that I’ve missed some of those that are available, and as I find or am informed of others, I’ll update this list.
In the colophon to SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r — this part of the manuscript was originally earlier in this codex, but it has been partly split up and rebound — the scribe has recorded a little about the tradition of Saint Mark’s Monastery. (The ms is № 21* in the catalog of Baumstark et al.) Students of Arabic and/or Garšūnī might appreciate it as a reading exercise, and for others, a tentative English translation is given below.
SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r
I first give a transcription of the Garšūnī text itself, followed by a transliteration into Arabic letters. In the former, where some of the marks of non-standard literary Arabic will be noted, I have strictly followed the manuscript, but in the latter I have added a few diacritics. (The Garšūnī text is complete, but for the Arabic and the ET I stopped with the tradition of the monastery and have left off the common colophon part.)
ܩܕ ܟܬܒ ܦܝ ܣܢܗ̈ ܒܩܟܚ ܝܘܢܐܢܝܗ ܦܝ ܕܝܪ ܐܠܩܕܝܣ ܐܠܒܫܝܪ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝܗ ܘܟܐܢ ܩܕܝܡܐ ܒܝܬܗ. ܘܦܝ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܕܝܪ ܟܐܢ ܡܓܡܥ ܠܐܪܣܠ ܟܘܦ ܡܢ ܐܠܝܗܘܕ ܘܐܟܝܪܐ ܒܥܕ ܐܠܨܠܒܘܬ ܐܬܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܣܟܢܬ ܦܝܗ ܘܒܥܕܗ ܒܛܪܣ ܐܠܪܣܘܠ ܪܣܡܗ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܥܠܝ ܐܣܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܐܘܠ ܒܕܐܝܗ ܟܢܐܝܣ ܦܝ ܩܕܣ ܐܠܫܪܝܦ ܘܠܐܓܠ ܕܠܟ
ܝܩܘܠܘܐ ܒܝܬ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܥܠܝܗܐ ܐܫܪܦ ܐܠܣܠܐܡ ܘܐܠܩܘܠ ܐܢܗܐ ܐܥܬܡܕܬ ܦܝ ܔܪܢ ܐܠܡܘܛܘܥ ܦܝ ܐܠܟܢܝܣܗ ܘܗܕܗ ܗܝ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܗܐ ܘܐܠܝ ܐܠܐܢ ܝܩܘܠܘܢ ܐܠܛܘܐܝܦ ܐܢܗܐ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܗ̈ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܒܪܟܗ̈ ܨܠܐܬܗ ܘܨܠܐܗ̈ ܔܡܝܥ ܐܠܪܣܠ ܘܐܠܡܒܫܪܝܢ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܬܟܘܢ ܡܥ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܐܠܚܩܝܪ ܐܠܕܠܝܠ ܦܝ ܚܝܐܬܗ ܘܡܡܐܬܗ ܘܪܘܚܐܢܝܗ ܐܠܓܡܝܥ ܬܪܐܦܩܗ ܦܝ ܐܢܬܩܐܠܗ ܡܢ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܥܐܠܡ ܐܡܝܢ ܘܐܡܝܢ ܘܢܣܐܠ ܟܠ ܐܒܐ ܘܐܟܐ ܡܥ ܡܢ ܝܩܪܐ ܦܝ ܗܕܗ ܐܠܚܪܘܦ ܐܠܕܡܝܡܗ ܝܬܪܚܡ ܥܠܝ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܘܟܠܡܢ ܝܬܚܪܡ ܝܓܕ ܐܠܪܚܡܗ ܒܨܠܘܐܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ
Transliterated into Arabic letters
قد كتب في سنة ٢١٢٨ يونانية في دير القديس البشير مار مرقوس الانجيليه (!) وكان قديمًا بيته. وفي هذا الدير كان مجمع الرسل خوفًا من اليهود واخيرًا بعد الصلبوت أتَتْ ستنا مريم العذراء وسكنَتْ فيه وبعده بطرس الرسول رسمه كنيسة على اسم العذراء اول بداية كنائس في قدس الشريف ولاجل ذلك
يقولوا بيت مار مرقوس الانجيلي كنيسة ستنا مريم العذراء عليها اشرف السلام والقول انّها اعتمدت في جُرْن الموضوع في الكنيسة وهذه هي معموديتها وإلى الآن يقولون الطوائف انّها معمودية العذراء
[This] was written in the year 2128 AG [=1809/10 CE] at the Monastery of Saint Mark the Evangelist. It was formerly his house. There was a gathering of apostles there in fear of the Jews, and later, after the crucifixion, our Lady the Virgin came and lived in it. After that, the apostle Peter consecrated it as a church in the name of the Virgin at the beginning of the churches in Jerusalem, and because of this they say, “the House of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the Church of our Lady Mary the Virgin,” on whom be the most exalted peace! It is said that she was baptized in the font there in the church, and this is her baptismal font. Even now the different denominations say that it is the baptismal font of the Virgin. …
For further information on the monastery, one can start with the entry on it in GEDSH, 269-270, by G.A. Kiraz.