Jonah 1:5-6 (ed. Blake and Brière, PO 29, text findable online at TITUS here [biblical books listed in the frame on the right])
5 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ναυτικοὶ καὶ ἀνεβόων ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκβολὴν ἐποιήσαντο τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τοῦ κουφισθῆναι ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν· Ιωνας δὲ κατέβη εἰς τὴν κοίλην τοῦ πλοίου καὶ ἐκάθευδεν καὶ ἔρρεγχεν.
5 და შეეშინა მენავეთა მათ,
და ღაღადებდა კაცად-კაცადი ღმრთისა მიმართ თჳსისა,
და გარდაღურიდეს ჭურჭელსა ნავით ზღუად, რაჲთა აღუმცირონ მათ <გან>,
ხოლო იონა შთავიდა უბესა მის ნავისასა, და ეძინა, და ხურინვიდა.
- შეშინება to be afraid (indirect verb)
- მენავეჲ sailor
- ღაღადება to cry out
- კაცად-კაცადი each one
- გარდაღურა to throw out, away
- ჭურჭელი vessel, possession, thing, ware
- ნავი boat, ship
- ზღუაჲ sea
- აღმცირება to lighten
- შთასლვა to go down
- უბეჲ inside part (cf. Aramaic ʕubbā [and Arabic ʕubb?])
- ს-ძინავს (aor. ეძინა, as here; n.act. is ძილი!) to sleep (indirect verb)
- ხურინვა to snore
6 καὶ προσῆλθεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ πρωρεὺς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί σὺ ῥέγχεις; ἀνάστα καὶ ἐπικαλοῦ τὸν θεόν σου, ὅπως διασώσῃ ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα.
6 <და> მოუჴდა <მას> ნავის-მხერვალი იგი
და ჰრქუა მას; რაჲსა ხურინავ შენ,
აღდეგ და ხადოდე ღმერთსა შენსა,
გჳჴსნნეს ხოლო თუ ღმერთმან, და არა წარვწყმდეთ.
- მოჴდომა to come to (not to be confused with მოჴდა to take away, &c.)
- ნავის-მხერვალი helmsman
- აღდგომა to get up
- ხადა to call
- ჴსნა to save (გჳ-ჴსნ-ნეს aor. conj. 3s with 1p d.o.)
- ხოლო თუ = ὅπως (and note the placement)
- წარწყმედა to perish
I have spoken here before of my love of chrestomathies, with which especially earlier decades and centuries were perhaps fuller than more recent times. (I don’t know how old the word “chrestomathia” and its forms in different languages is, but the earliest use in English that the OED gives is only from 1832. We may note that, at least in English, the word has been extended to refer not only to books useful for learning another language, but simply to a collection of passages by a specific author, as in A Mencken Chrestomathy.) Chrestomathies may — and I really do not know — strike hardcore adherents to the latest and greatest advice of foreign language pedagogy as quaint and sorely outdated, my own view is that readers along these lines — text selections, vocabulary, more or less notes on points of grammar — can be of palpable value to students of less commonly taught languages, especially for those studying without regular recourse to a teacher. Since I’m talking about reading texts, I have in mind mainly written language and the preparation of students for reading, but that does not, of course, exclude speaking and hearing: those activities are just not the focus.
I have gone through seventy-one chrestomathies from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries in several languages (Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac, Georgian, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Old English, Middle English, Middle High German, Latin, Greek, Akkadian, Sumerian, Ugaritic, Aramaic dialects, &c.). The data (not absolutely complete) is available in this file: chrestomathy_data. By far the commonest arrangement is to have all the texts of the chrestomathy together, with or without grammatical or historical annotations, and then the glossary separately, and in alphabetical order, at the end of the book (or in another volume). Notable exceptions to this rule are some volumes in Brill’s old Semitic Study Series, Clyde Pharr’s Aeneid reader, and the JACT’s Greek Anthology, which contain a more or less comprehensive running vocabulary either on the page (the last two) or separately from the text (the Brill series). Some chrestomathies have no notes or vocabulary. These can be useful for languages that have hard-to-access texts editions or when the editor wants to include hitherto unpublished texts, but the addition of lexical and grammatical helps would even in those cases add definite value to the work for students.
In addition to these printed chrestomathies, there are some similar electronic publications, such as those at Early Indo-European Online from The University of Texas at Austin, which give a few reading texts for a number of IE languages: the texts are broken down into lines, each word is immediately glossed, and an ET is supplied, with a full separate glossary for each language.
From a Greek reader I have been putting together off and on.
Over the years, I have made chrestomathy texts in various languages, either for myself or for other students, and more are in the works. (Most are unpublished, but here is one for an Arabic text from a few years ago.) I have used different formats for text, notes, and vocabulary, and I’m still not decided on what the best arrangement is.
This little post is not a full disquisition on the subject of chrestomathies. I just want to pose a question about the vocabulary items supplied to a given text in a chrestomathy: should defined words be in the form of a running vocabulary, perhaps on the page facing the text or directly below the text, or should all of the vocabulary be gathered together at the end like a conventional glossary or lexicon? What do you think, dear and learned readers?
For some brief Friday fun, here’s part of a colophon that shows a little playful cleverness from a scribe. The manuscript CCM 58 (olim Mardin 7), a New Testament manuscript dated July 2053 AG (= 1742 CE) and copied in Alqosh, has a long colophon, including the following few colorful (literally and figuratively) lines near the end, at the bottom of one page and the top of the next:
CCM 58, f. 227v
CCM 58, f. 228r
Lord, may the payment of the five twins that have toiled, worked, labored, and planted good seed in a white field with a reed from the forest not be refused, but may they be saved from the fire of Gehenna! Yes, and amen!
The “five twins” are the scribe’s ten fingers, the “good seed” is the writing, the “white field” is the paper, and the “reed” is the pen. At least some of this imagery is not unique to this manuscript. In any case we have a memorable way of thinking about a scribe’s labor.
First, a general note: I’m under no illusion that a great host of people care about these little posts on Old Georgian, but for those few of you that may, please let me know if you find them to be of any use. How might they be made better?
Now to the main object. The first chapter (and other parts) of Qohelet/Ecclesiastes never gets old, and several verses are good for learning basic vocabulary, etc. Here is Eccl. 1:8, Greek and Georgian (Oški/Jerusalem).
πάντες οἱ λόγοι ἔγκοποι·
οὐ δυνήσεται ἀνὴρ τοῦ λαλεῖν,
καὶ οὐκ ἐμπλησθήσεται ὀφθαλμὸς τοῦ ὁρᾶν,
καὶ οὐ πληρωθήσεται οὖς ἀπὸ ἀκροάσεως.
ყოველნივე სიტყუანი შრომით,
ვერშემძლებელ არს კაცი სიტყუად,
და ვერცა თუალი განძღეს ხილვად,
და არცა აღივსოს ყური სმენითა.
- შრომითი tiresome, difficult
- ვერშემძლებელი incapable
- განძღომა to be satisfied
- აღვსება to fill (here passively, or with self-interest [middle], with the CV -ი- [სათავისო/sataviso in Georgian])
Today is the birthday of Lord Byron (1788-1824), well-known, of course, as an English poet, but less so as a student of Armenian. Many of us know
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
but far fewer know of his efforts to learn Armenian. I first learned of the latter from a quotation at the beginning of Matthias Bedrossian’s New Dictionary, Armenian-English (Venice, 1875-1879, p. x). But we have more evidence, still directly from Byron himself, in the form of the posthumously appearing Lord Byron’s Armenian Exercises and Poetry (Venice, 1870), including letters, translation from Armenian into English (“to exercise himself in the arm. language”, 21), and a selection of Byron’s poetry with Armenian translation. The Armenian-English translations are from an “Armenian history”, something by Nerses Lambronac’i, and 3 Corinthians. The history is not further identified in the text, but it turns out to be that of Movsēs Xorenac’i, book 1, chs. 8-9, save the last two paragraphs, a discovery relatively easy to make thanks to the TITUS text database. The whole volume is beautifully typeset with Armenian and English pages facing each other.
Byron arrived in Venice in 1816 and found himself impressed with the monastery San Lazzaro degli Armeni “which appears to unite all the advantages of the monastic institution, without any of its vices” (4). There he studied Armenian. From a letter of Dec. 5, 1816 (10-13):
By way of divertisement, I am studying daily, at an Armenian monastery, the Armenian language. I found that my mind wanted something craggy to break upon; and this — as the most difficult thing I could discover here for an amusement — I have chosen, to torture me into attention. It is a rich language, however, and would amply repay any one the trouble of learning it. I try, and shall go on; — but I answer for nothing, least of all for my intentions or my success. There are some very curious Mss. in the monastery, as well as books; translations also from Greek originals, now lost, and from Persian and Syriac etc.; besides works of their own people.
And in a letter of the previous day (14-17), he says:
I wrote to you at some length last week, and have little to add, except that I have begun, and am proceeding in a study of the Armenian language, which I acquire, as well as I can, at the Armenian convent, where I go every day to take lessons of a learned friar, and have gained some singular and not useless information with regard to the literature and customs of that oriental people. They have an establishment here — a church and convent of ninety monks, very learned and accomplished men, some of them. They have also a press, and make great efforts for the enlightening of their nation. I find the languages (which is twin, the literal and the vulgar) difficult, but not invincible (at least I hope not). I shall go on. I found it necessary to twist my mind round some severer study, and this, as being the hardest I could devise here, will
be a file for the serpent.
So while we may recite some Byron in English today, we can commemorate him, too, by studying Armenian, and by persevering: “I shall go on,” he says, and “I try, and shall go on; — but I answer for nothing, least of all for my intentions or my success.”
Ibn Sīnā (see also here, here, from the Enc. Iranica here, and specifically for metaphysics, here) stands among the most well known and most influential of philosophers who have written in Arabic, and his influence was hardly confined to the intellectual worlds where Arabic or Persian were the means of communication. From the twelfth and thirteenth centuries he was read in Latin — several volumes of the Latin witness to Ibn Sīnā have appeared since 1972 in editions by Simone van Riet (Brill) — and reflections of his work can be found in the writers of the Syriac Renaissance of the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, especially in the voluminous work of Bar ʕebrāyā. Alongside the Qānūn fī ‘l-ṭibb may be mentioned especially his encyclopedic Kitāb al-šifāʔ, Dāneš-nāma (or Dānišnāma-i ʕalāʔī, in Persian, for the prince ʕalāʔ al-Dawla see here), and the Kitāb al-išārāt wa-‘l-tanbīhāt; the last mentioned work was translated into Syriac by Bar ʕebrāyā and there are two late copies with parallel Garšūnī and Syriac available at HMML: CFMM 550 and MGMT 20 (both twentieth century). John bar Maʕdani (d. 1263), a contemporary of Bar ʕebrāyā, penned two poems on the soul, one (or both) of which goes by the name of “The Bird” (pāraḥtā). I have recently cataloged an East Syriac manuscript of the sixteenth century that contains these two poems (and another, “On the Way of the Perfect”): it was copied in Gāzartā and completed on Aug. 10, 1866 AG/962 AH (= 1555 CE). The scribe, named Yawsep, rightly notes in the margin at the beginning of both of these poems that Bar Maʕdani is following Ibn Sīnā on this theme. The latter had written “a treatise, the Bird, an allegory in which he describes his attainment of the knowledge of the truth” (risālat al-ṭayr. marmūza yaṣif fīhā tawaṣṣula-hu ilá ʕilm al-ḥaqq; see Gohlman, pp. 98-99). Here is the marginal note to the first poem, that to the second being much less legible:
CCM 24, f. 112v, marginal note
Bar Sini [sic], the Muslim [hāgārāyā] philosopher, made a treatise [Syr. eggartā = Arb. risāla], the thought of which he somewhere directs to the subject at hand.
Here are the rubric and first lines of Bar Maʕdani’s first poem on the soul from this manuscript:
CCM 24, f. 112v.
Achena, M. and Henri Massé. Le livre de science (Danishnama-yi ‘Ala’i) I: Logique, Métaphysique II: science naturelle, mathématique. Paris, 1986.
Anawati, G. La Métaphysique du Shifa’ I-IV et V-X. Paris, 1978-86.
Furlani, Giuseppe. “Avicenna, Barhebreo, Cartesio.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 14 (1933): 21-30.
________. ”La psicologia di Barhebreo secondo il libro La Crema della Sapienza.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 13 (1931-1932): 24-52.
________. “La versione siriaca del Kitâb al-išârât wat-tanbîhât di Avicenna.” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 21 (1945): 89-101.
Goichon, A.-M. “Ibn Sīnā.” In Encylopaedia of Islam, 2d ed., vol. 3, 941-947.
________. Lexique de la langue philosophique d’Avicenne. Paris, 1938.
________. Livre de directives et remarques (al-Isharat wa’l-Tanbihat). 2 vols. Paris, 1951.
Gohlman, William E. The Life of Ibn Sina: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation. Albany, 1974.
Gutas, Dimitri. Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition. Leiden/Boston, 1988.
Hasse, Dag. Avicenna’s De Anima in the Latin West. London, 2000.
Heath, Peter. Allegory and Philosophy in Avicenna (Ibn Sînâ). Philadelphia, 1992.
Inati, Shams. Ibn Sina on Mysticism (al-Isharat wa’l-Tanbihat namat IX). London, 1998.
________. Remarks and Admonitions Part One: Logic (al-Isharat wa’l-Tanbihat: mantiq). Toronto, 1984.
Janssens, Jules. Bibliography of Works on Ibn Sina. 2 vols. Leiden, 1991-1999.
Janssens, Jules and Daniel de Smet, eds. Avicenna and His Heritage. Leuven, 2001.
Joosse, Nanne Peter. A Syriac Encyclopaedia of Aristotelian Philosophy: Barhebraeus (13th c.), Butyrum Sapientiae, Books of Ethics, Economy, and Politics. Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus 16. Leiden/Boston, 2004.
Mcginnis, Jon. Avicenna, The Physics of The Healing. 2 vols. Provo, 2009.
Marmura, Michael. The Metaphysics of Avicenna (al-Ilahiyyat min Kitab al-Shifa’). Provo, 2004.
________. “Plotting the Course of Avicenna’s Thought.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 111 (1991): 333-42.
Michot, Yahya. “La pandémie avicennienne.” Arabica 40 (1993): 287-344.
Morewedge, Parviz. The Metaphysica of Avicenna (Ilahiyyat-i Danishnama-yi ‘Ala’i). New York, 1972.
Rahman, F. Avicenna’s De Anima (Fi’l-Nafs). London, 1954.
Rashed, Roshdi and Jean Jolivet, eds. Études sur Avicenne. Paris, 1984.
Reisman, D. and Ahmed al-Rahim, eds. Before and After Avicenna. Leiden/Boston, 2003.
N. G. Siraisi, Avicenna in Renaissance Italy: The Canon and Medical Teaching in Italian Universities after 1500. Princeton, 1987.
Takahashi, Hidemi. Aristotelian Meteorology in Syriac: Barhebraeus, Butyrum Sapientiae, Books of Mineralogy and Meteorology. Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus 15. Leiden/Boston, 2004.
________. “The Reception of Ibn Sīnā in Syriac: The Case of Gregory Barhebraeus.”, In Before and After Avicenna (see above), 249-281.
Teule, Herman G.B.”Renaissance, Syriac.” GEDSH 350-351.
________. “The Transmission of Islamic Culture to the World of Syriac Christianity: Barhebreaus’ Translation of Avicenna’s kitâb al-išârât wa l-tanbîhât. First Soundings.” In J.J. van Ginkel, H.L. Murre-van den Berg, and T.M. van Lint, eds. Redefining Christian Identity: Cultural Interaction in the Middle East since the Rise of Islam. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 134. Leuven: Peeters, 2005. Pages 167-184.
________. “Yuḥanon bar Maʿdani.” GEDSH 444.
Watt, John W. Aristotelian Rhetoric in Syriac: Barhebraeus, Butyrum Sapientiae, Book of Rhetoric. Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus 18. Leiden/Boston, 2005.
________, “Graeco-Syriac Tradition and Arabic Philosophy in Bar Hebraeus.” In H.G.B. Teule, C.F. Tauwinkl, R.B. ter Haar Romeny, and J.J. van Ginkel, eds. The Syriac Renaissance. Eastern Christian Studies 9. Leuven/Paris/Walpole, Mass., 2010. Pages 123-133.
I had the pleasure last summer of meeting Amsalu Tefera during the EMML @ 40 conference, which took place at HMML to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Ethiopian Manuscript Microfilm Library (EMML). The proceedings of that conference will, we hope, be published before year’s end. At the conference, Amsalu read a paper on the Gǝʕǝz hagiographic witness to a relatively little known saint of Egypt by the name of Sarabamon. We look forward to the fuller work on Sarabamon in Amsalu’s paper to appear in the aforementioned volume, but he has very recently offered a short guest post at Alin Suciu’s blog.
Not surprisingly, the synaxarion in Arabic also offers a witness to Sarabamon (on Hatūr 28 = November 24; PO 3: 273-277), and when I mentioned it to Amsalu, he kindly encouraged me to offer a translation of it here. While not much more than a mere draft, here it is (PDF, with a few notes, here sarabamon_arabic_synax):
On this day the holy Sarābāmūn the bishop, bishop of Nikiu, was martyred. He was of the family of Stephen [Istīfānūs], of the tribe of Judah, from Jerusalem. The name of his father was Abraham [Ibrāhīm] b. Levi [Lāwī] b. Joseph [Yūsuf], brother of Simon [Simʿān], the maternal uncle of Stephen. At his birth, they named him Simʿān after his grandfather. When his parents died, he wanted to become a Christian, then an angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to the bishop, Anbā John [Yūḥannā]. When [Simon] reached him, [Anbā John] told him of the secret of the incarnation of the Lord Christ, but he did not dare to baptize him in Jerusalem because of his fear of the Jewish people and he remained uncertain as to what he should do. Then the Lady [Mary], the bearer of God, appeared to him, and she told him that he should go to Alexandria to [p. 274] Patriarch Anbā Theonas [Tāʾunā]. The angel of the Lord accompanied him in the appearance of a person until he reached Alexandria, the angel having previously told the patriarch his situation. The patriarch rejoiced in him, preached to him, and baptized him. He [Simʿān] then became a monk in the Zuǧāǧ monastery. Then, when Patriarch Anbā Theonas went to rest [i.e., died, tanayyaḥa], and they installed Peter [Buṭrus] in his place, he [Peter] summoned him to assist him with the patriarchal duties, and thereafter he ordained [karrazahu = karrasahu] him as bishop over Nikiu.
The church rejoiced in him greatly and the Lord manifested at his hands many signs and miracles. Near his city were ancient Egyptian temples [barābī], in which they would worship the idols [al-awṯān, and he did not stop asking of the Lord Christ that they be obliterated and destroyed. The water rose and covered them, and he uprooted the worship of the idols from his see completely. He put a stop to the blasphemy of Arius, who made the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit out to be a single substance [aqnūm].
One day, as he was stopped at the altar, he saw a fiery man saying to him, “You, entrusted with the people of God, why have you neglected [p. 275] the priest of the nearby church? For Satan has inclined his heart to the considering of the weak elements, the choosing of days and hours, geomancy [ḍarb al-raml], the taking of omens, and magic. He says that the Nile will come to such-and-such a number of cubits, and he has accrued a lot of money, and we spiritual angels want to destroy those who do these dirty deeds on the earth, but the king of truth, Jesus Christ, does not allow us to, saying, ‘Grant them respite: perhaps they will repent. Now they have the books of the prophets, apostles, and the gospels to forbid them all these things.’ And now I advise you: If you wish to get rid of his sin, no longer allow him to enter to the altar, for when he does, I will cut him in two. But let him stay with the believers, so long as he does not act as priest.” Then the bishop fell down due to the deep fear that had seized him, but the angel of the Lord stood him up and said to him, “If the Lord God did not love you, and if your prayer was not received by him like the incense of Melchizedek, king of Salem, and if you had not destroyed the ancient temples, he would not have sent me to you.” Then he departed from him, and [Sarābāmūn] remained all that day like someone drunk, with inattentive mind. And he sent after the priest and he told him all that the angel of the Lord had told him, and he said, “My son, if you want to save your soul, and me with you, no longer act as priest, lest you destroy [p. 276] your soul and body in hell.”
Then, since Diocletian was an infidel, and they told him that the holy Sarābāmūn was destroying the worship of the idols, he commanded his presence before him. When he reached Alexandria with the envoys, Patriarch Anbā Peter and a group of priests came to him in prison and greeted, and they saw his face like [the face] of the angel of the Lord. When he came to the emperor, he [Diocletian] tortured him with various tortures, but the Lord Christ was keeping him without pain, and a large group believed because of him. Then, since the emperor feared that, if he continued to torture him, then they would believe even more, he sent him to Upper Egypt [al-ṣaʕīd], to Arianus the governor and to the city of Antinoë, for him to torture him and to take off his head, but it happened that Arianus the governor was then in Alexandria. When he boarded the boat with him — they were heading to Upper Egypt — and the boat reached Nikiu, his town, they were unable to move it from its place. Then, when they disembarked [p. 277] with the saint into the town’s river, they cut off his head. He obtained the crown of martyrdom, and his people took him in great honor and carried him to the church.
May his prayer and his blessing be with us, amen!