I’m going through the Martyrdom of Elian in Georgian, the text of which was published, with Latin translation, by Gérard Garitte in Analecta Bollandiana 79 (1961): 412-446 (reprinted in his Scripta Disiecta 1941-1977, vol. 1, pp. 347-381), and I’ve come across a phrase (§ 6.6) that has intrigued me. After the story’s bad guy, the judge and chief (მთავარი, მსაჯული) Maximos, interrogates the saint, Maximos writes out the sentence and then breaks the pen that he wrote the judgement with, the purpose of this being to certify what had been written.
და დაწერა ესე განბჭობაჲ მის ზედა, და შემუსრა კალამი იგი საწამებელად
And he wrote the judgement about him and shattered the pen (kalami) as certification.
Does anyone know of references (in any language) to similar acts, whether in hagiography or otherwise?
In the Armenian synaxarion for 6 K’ałoc’ (= December 14), there is a short commemoration of the three martyr-saints Thyrsus, Leucius, and Callinicus, whose deaths are set in the time of Diocletian. (See BHG 1845-1846; no entry in BHO.) Due to its brevity, its simplicity, and its stock hagiographic and martyrological language, I thought readers of Armenian, especially beginning students, might appreciate a focus on the text. The tortures and means of killing, even though succinctly described, are as gruesome as is typical. Among the never-ceasing wonders of Wikipedia, there is a page for Death by sawing! Many instances of this terrible, gory act are listed for various times and places and with various doers of the deed, but Thyrsus is not among those named as having suffered this fate.
Sawing Isaiah in half. Image from here.
Here is the synaxarion text from PO 18: 44-45 (here at archive.org), with some vocabulary (in order of appearance), and an English translation.
Յայսմ աւուր կատարեցան սրով սուրբ վկայքն Քրիստոսի Թերսոս, Լեւկիոս եւ Կալինիկոս վասն վկայութեանն Քրիստոսի Աստուծոյ մերոյ, յաւուրս Դիոկղետիանոսի ամբարիշտ արքային։ Սուրբն Թերսոս յետ բազում չարչարանաց ի մամուլս հիւսանց սղոցեալ կատարեցաւ։ Եւ զսուրբն Լեւկիոս կախեցին զփայտէ եւ քերեցին զամենայն մարմինն եւ ապա հատին զգլուխն։ Իսկ սուրբն Կալինիկոս քուրմ էր կռոց եւ հաւատացեալ ի Քրիստոս՝ կատարեցաւ սրով յԱպամիա քաղաքին, ի փառս Աստուծոյ։
- կատարեմ, -եցի to finish, end, crown
- սուր, սրոյ sword
- վկայութիւն testimony, witness
- ամբարիշտ ungodly, impious
- արքայ, -ից king, emperor
- յետ (+ gen.) after
- չարչարանք, -նաց torture(s)
- մամուլ, -մլոց press
- հիւսն, -սանց carpenter
- սղոցեմ, -եցի to saw
- կախիմ, -եցայ to hang
- փայտ, -ից wood, tree
- քերեմ, -եցի to flay, lacerate
- հատանեմ, հատի to cut
- քուրմ, քրմաց pagan priest (cf. Syriac kumrā)
- կուռք, կռոց idols
- հավատամ, -տացի to believe
- փառք, -ռաց glory, praise
On this day the holy martyrs of Christ, Thyrsus, Leucius, and Callinicus, were martyred [lit. crowned] by the sword for a witness to Christ, our God, in the days of Diocletian, the ungodly emperor. Saint Thyrsus, after many tortures, was sawn on a carpenter’s press and martyred. Saint Leucius they hung on a tree, flayed his whole body, and then cut off his head. As for Saint Callinicus, he had been a priest of idols, but [then] believed in Christ; he was martyred by the sword in the city of Apamea to the glory of God.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been at work on a little document presenting the Christmas story in Old Georgian. From a philological perspective, and from the perspective of language pedagogy, the Gospels stand out as a special group of texts, because in many languages we have multiple translations or revisions of earlier translations. In addition, of course, there is the fact that a number of passages exist in more or less similar versions across the four Gospels. All that to say, the Gospels offer students of this or that language and those interested in the variety of ways a text may appear in different translations an excellent opportunity for study. (Other genres where similar benefits accrue from the same kind of surviving multiple translations are philosophy and patristics.) The benefit derivable from a study like this to some extent depends on the format of its presentation. (For an excellent presentation of the Syriac Gospels, see George Kiraz’s Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels, 4 vols.) A digital presentation of the requisite texts certainly offers promising possibilities, but at least strictly for the texts, a conventional 2-D display with one layer, whether on paper or on screen, can be very valuable for those who read it closely.
From here (unidentified ms).
It is this conventional single surface and single layer presentation that I have followed here. Since we’re in the Christmas season now, it’s a fitting time to read over any relevant texts, whether for language practice or some other reason. In the New Testament, the Christmas story, of course, is found in Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-12 and in Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-20. It is only the last section that I have included here. In this document (xmas_story_old_georgian) I’ve given that text verse-by-verse first in Greek as a kind of anchor point, then in Georgian in each of the Adiši, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite redactions, all of which are freely available online thanks to TITUS/Armazi. Following the text in these versions, comes an almost comprehensive lexicon and full verbal concordance, hopefully to make the document a more useful reader for students and because lexical tools for Old Georgian in English are quite meager, and any addition to that small list of instrumenta will, I think, have value. (I have similar documents, too, for the Temptation and Transfiguration pericopes, and outside of the Gospels, some other passages from the rest of the Bible, both OT and NT.)
I welcome any comments on the document, not only corrections, but also remarks on the layout, on the worth of a lexicon for such a small text selection, whether more grammatical information should be supplied (and if so, how much), &c.
As always, thanks for reading and best wishes in your studies!
Today (Old Style, Dec. 4) is the commemoration of Saint Barbara (and her companion Juliana). Greek, Armenian, and Syriac texts are listed at BHG 213-218 and BHO 132-134. In addition, there are truncated notices of the synaxarion in Arabic (ed. Basset, PO 3: 403-404) and Gǝʕǝz (ed. Grébaut, PO 15: 651-654, with the sälam on 674-675). This Georgian icon of the saint has the following inscription at the bottom in asomt’avruli: წმიდაო ქალწულ-მოწამეო ბ(არ)ბ(ა)რე ევ(ედრ)ე ღ(მერ)თსა ჩუენთჳს (“O holy virgin-martyr Babara, plead with God for us!”).
Well known is the metamorphosis (Verwandlung) of Kafka’s Gregor Samsa “zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer”, but in this hagiographic episode we have another metamorphosis, a change into beetles thanks the curse of a saint! Prior to the part of the narrative I want to focus on, mainly for its fantastic elements, Barbara’s father, who is not a Christian, has hired some craftsmen to make a bath — balani in Syriac, but a tall tower (πύργος ὑψηλός) in Greek — in her name with two windows, but his daughter, who is beautiful, of course, and a Christian, in her father’s absence orders the builders to add an extra window, so that when he returns he finds three windows, an obvious index to the Trinity. Below I give part of the next part of the story in English, translated from Syriac; the corresponding Greek text is in Joseph Viteau, Passions des saints Écaterine et Pierre d’Alexandrie, Barbara et Anysia, publiées d’après les manuscrits grecs de Paris et de Rome, avec un choix de variantes et une traduction latine (Paris, 1897), pp. 91, 93; the book is now at archive.org here. The Syriac text is available in two places. In 1900, Agnes Smith Lewis, in her still significant volumes on females saints in Syriac, gave it along with an English translation: Select Narratives of Holy Women, vol. 1 (Syr.) 104-105, vol. 2 (ET) 79-80. Unfortunately, her manuscript was illegible at a crucial part, and thus her translation is missing some words, but Bedjan’s previously published text (AMS III 348-349, which appeared in 1892) has it, and it is on the basis of his text that I give the translation below.
In lieu of typing out the Syriac text from Bedjan, here are the necessary images.
Here is my translation:
When the building was finished and the bath made, her evil father, Dioscorus, returned from his journey. He entered the bath to see it, and saw three windows there. He asked and said to the craftsmen, “You’ve installed three windows?” The craftsmen said to him, “It was your daughter that commanded us to do so.” So he turned to his daughter and said, “Did you command the craftsmen to open [sic!] three windows?” She answered and said to him, “Yes, father, well have I commanded, because there are three windows that give light to everyone who comes into the world, and just two are dark.” So her father took her and went down to the bath, and she said to him, “How much more splendidly these three windows give light than two!” Again the maidservant of Christ, Barbara, said to him, “Observe now, father, and see: here is the Father, here is the Son, and here is the Holy Spirit.”
When her father heard these things, he was filled with anger and great wrath, and he drew the sword that was hanging on him in order to kill her. But Saint Barbara prayed, and the crag that was near her opened up and received her within it and immediately put her out on the mountain that was there to receive her. Two shepherds, who were shepherding on that mountain, saw her fleeing, and when her father approached them, he questioned them whether they had seen his daughter. One of them, because he wanted her to be rescued, swore that he had not seen her, but the other one pointed his finger and showed her to her father. When the saint saw what he had done, she cursed him and immediately he and his sheep became beetles [ḥabšušyātā]: to this day these beetles congregate on the saint’s grave. As her father was going up the mountain after her, he found her and pulled her bitterly: he grabbed her by the hair of her head, drug her, brought her down from the mountain, brought her in and imprisoned her in a nasty room [ḥabšāh b-baytā ḥad šiṭā]. He closed and sealed [the door] in front of her with his ring, and he set guards over her, so that no one would be able to go in with her, until he went and informed Marcianus the governer about her, that he might eliminate her.
The whole text of the martyrdom has other happenings of interest, including some that have verbal echoes with parts of the text given above, but for now, in this part of the tale, we see a saint teleporting through rock, and a shepherd and his flock transmogrified into beetles. In the Greek version, the sheep do indeed become beetles, as here, but the informer shepherd himself becomes a stone instead: καὶ εὐθέως ἐγένοντο τὰ πρόβατα αὐτοῦ κανθαρίδες καὶ προσμένουσιν τῷ τιμίῳ αὐτῆς λειψάνῳ, αὐτὸς δὲ ἐγένετο λίθος, καὶ ἔστιν ἕως τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας. Notably, the synaxarion texts in Arabic and Gǝʕǝz lack the part about the shepherds, and thus the beetles! But since we’re here, I’ll append the sälam from Gǝʕǝz:
ሰላም ፡ ለበርባራ ፡ ዘአግሀደት ፡ ሃይማኖታ።
እንዘ ፡ ታርኢ ፡ ሥላሴ ፡ በውስተ ፡ መስኮተ ፡ ቤታ።
ኢያፍርሃ ፡ መጥባሕት ፡ ወሞሰርተ ፡ ሐፂን ፡ ኢያሕመመታ።
ሰላም ፡ ሰላም ፡ ለዩልያና ፡ ካልእታ።
እንተ ፡ ሰቀልዋ ፡ በ፪ኤ ፡ አጥባታ፨
Greetings to Barbara, who publicly announced her faith,
Showing the Trinity in the window of her house.
The sword does not frighten her, the iron saw does not harm her.
Greetings, greetings to Juliana, her companion,
Whom they hung up by her breasts.
It’s been too long since an update to “Old Georgian phrases and sentences”, so here is a seasonably fitting selection, Luke 2:7, given below in Greek and in three Georgian versions (Adiši, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite [the last two actually identical]).
καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.
და შვა ძე იგი თჳსი პირმშოჲ და შეგრაგნა იგი და შთააწვინა ბაგასა, რამეთუ არა იყო მათდა ადგილ სავანესა მას.
Pre-Athonite and Athonite
და შვა ძჱ იგი მისი პირმშოჲ და შეხჳა იგი სახუეველითა და მიიწვინა იგი ბაგასა, რამეთუ არა იყო მათა ადგილ სავანესა მას.
Starting with the Adiši version, the vocabulary is:
- შობა to bear (aor 3s)
- ძეჲ son
- პირმშოჲ firstborn
- შეგრაგნა to wrap up (aor 3s)
- შთაწვინა to lay down (aor 3s)
- ბაგაჲ manger
- -და to, for
- ადგილი place
- სავანეჲ housing, habitation
And the additional items for the other (identical) versions, differing from the Adiši version for ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν, are:
- შეხუევა to wrap up (aor 3s)
- სახუეველი cover, wrapper, blanket (NB cognate acc.)
- მიწვენა to lay down (aor 3s)
I hope to have something to post in a few days for the whole Xmas story from Luke in Old Georgian, so stay tuned!
Among the others that bear the same epithet, Luke the Stylite is hardly the most well known. There is actually no reference for him either in BHO or in the BHG (an older edition) available to me as I write this. He is, however, celebrated on Kihak 17 (Dec 13), the day of his translation a couple of days following his death, in the Arabic synaxarion published by Basset (PO 3: 474-475), and I give an English translation of it here.
On this day we celebrate the translation of the body of St. Luke the Stylite. He was from the country of Persia. Then he was enlisted and became a commander [ʔamīr] over one hundred troops. After that, he left his command and everything else and strove to become a monk [qaṣada ‘l-rahbana]. He dwelt in a certain monastery of the east, where he stayed for some time. Then, when he had succeeded in becoming a monk, thanks to his merit, he was made a priest over the monastery. At the time of his dedication, he wore a suit of iron the size of his “seat” [b-qadri qaʕdatihi]. He persisted in fasting from that day, and he would fast for six consecutive days and break his fast on the seventh with a small piece of eucharistic bread [qurbāna ṣaġīra] and some green vegetables after having celebrated the eucharist and offering [baʕda quddāsihi wa-qurbānihi]. He ascended a pillar, on which he stayed for three years. Then he heard the voice of an angel calling him by his name and commanding him to come down. [The angel] showed him a cross of fire, so he went down and followed the voice, with the cross going before him until he reached a certain mountain, where he remained for a time. The people would come to see him and profit from his teaching. After that, he persisted in silence and put stones in his mouth, so that he could not speak to anyone. Then God revealed to him that he should go near Constantinople, so he went to a village nearby it. He ascended a pillar, remained on it for forty-five years, and strove in spiritual warfare [ǧāhada ǧihādan rūḥāniyyan]. God gave him favorable prophecy and the gift of miracles, and he would cure all the sick who came to see him. When God willed his rest from the toils of this world, he went to rest on the fifteenth of the month of Kīhak, and the one who had been attending him went and informed the patriarch and the clergy of his departure, so the patriarch took the clergy, the crosses, and the censers, and they went to his place, prayed over him, and carried him to Constantinople two days later, which was the seventeenth of Kīhak. Then they put him in the church [al-haykal] and concluded the prayer over him two days later, and the believers were blessed in him. Then they put him in a basin [? ǧurn] beneath the bodies of the saints, and from his body, God showed signs, miracles, benefits, and healings to everyone who came to see him in faith. May his prayers be with us!
From p. 13 of the English edition mentioned at left.
Lately I stumbled upon an Arabic translation of John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) classic work of English religious literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress, on Google Books, in Arabic called Kitāb siyāḥat al-masīḥī. I don’t know the translator, but the date of the translation seems to be 1868. Now there is a copy here at archive.org; one of many English editions is available here.
To give an idea of the Arabic version, here are a few passages from the beginning of the book, with page numbers for the Arabic copy. The first paragraph is particularly fine.
As I walk’d through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?
بينما انا عابر في تيه هذا العالم وجدت كهفًا في مكان فاستظلت به. ثم اخذتني سنة النوم فنمت واذا برجل قد ترآءى لي في الحلم لابسًا رثّة ووجهه منحرف عن بيته وعلى ظهره حمل ثقيل وفي يده كتاب قد فتحه وطفق يقرأ فيه. وعند ذلك بكى مرتعدًا ولم يقدر ان يضبط نفسه فصرخ مولولًا وقال ماذا اعمل
So I saw in my Dream that the Man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his Wife and Children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return, but the Man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, Life! Life! Eternal Life! So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the Plain.
قال صاحب الرؤيا ثم رايت ذلك الرجل وكان يقال له المسيحي قد اخذ في الركض وما ابعد الا قليلًا عن داره حتى راته زوجته واولاده فصاحوا به يريدون ان يردّوه فسدّ اذنيه واشتدّ في عدوه وهو يقول الحيوة الحيوة حيوة الابد ولم يلتفت الى ورائه بل هرب الى وسط تلك البقعة
Chr. I seek an Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Obst. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your Book; will you go back with us or no?
Chr. No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the Plow.
Obst. Come then, Neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these craz’d-headed coxcombs, that, when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
قال اني اطلب ميراثًا لا يبلى ولا يتدنس ولا يضمحلّ وهو مذخور في السماء بامن ليعطى في المقت المعيَّن لمن يطلبه باجتهاد. وان كنت في ريب من ذلك فافحص عنه في كتابي هذا تجده.
فقال اسكت ودعنا من كتابك اترجع معنا ام لا
قال كلّا لاني وضعت يدي على المحرث
فقال المعاند لصاحبه اذن نرجع وحدنا لانه يوجد جماعة من هولاء المجانين الذين اذا تخيّلوا سيـٔا يكونون عند انفسهم احكم من سبعة رجال متفلسفين
I can better conceive of them with my Mind, than speak of them with my Tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my Book.
قال المسيحي ان تصوّرها بالفكر ايسر عليّ من وصفها باللسان ولكن لاجل اهتمامك في معرفتها اقرأ لك شرحها في كتابي