CFMM 167 and 165 (in that order) are two small notebooks from the late 19th or early 20th century. There is no explicit date, nor did the scribe give a name, but the writing is very clear. Included in the collection are some of Jacob of Serugh’s homilies against the Jews (№№ 1-5, 7, so numbered); this cycle of homilies was edited by Micheline Albert, Jacques de Saroug. Homélies contre les Juifs, PO 38. There are also a few other homilies, the most important of which are the first four copied in CFMM 167, all of which have never been published, although they are known from the Dam. Patr. manuscripts and from Assemani’s list of homilies in Bibliotheca Orientalis I: pp. 325-326, no. 174 = the second hom. below. (For a list of incipits of Jacob’s homilies, see Brock in vol. 6 of the Gorgias edition of Bedjan, The Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, , pp. 372-398.)
CFMM 167, p. 22
pp. 1-22 Memra on the Faith, 6
- Syriac title ܡܐܡܪܐ ܕܫܬܐ ܕܥܠ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ
- Incipit ܐܚ̈ܝ ܢܥܪܘܩ ܡܢ ܟܣܝ̈ܬܐ ܕܠܐ ܡܬܒܨ̈ܝܢ
pp. 22-56, Memra on the Faith, 7, in which he Talks about the Iron that Enters the Fire and does not Lose its Nature
- Syriac title ܡܐܡܪܐ ܕܫܒܥܐ ܕܥܠ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ ܕܒܗ ܐܡܪ ܥܠ ܦܪܙܠܐ ܕܥܐܠ ܠܢܘܪܐ ܘܠܐ ܡܘܒܕ ܟܝܢܗ
- Incipit ܒܪܐ ܕܒܡܘܬܗ ܐܚܝ ܠܡܝ̈ܬܐ ܘܙܕܩ ܚܝ̈ܐ
pp. 56-72, Memra on the Faith, in which He Teaches that the Way of Christ Cannot be Investigated
- Syriac title ܡܐܡܪܐ ܕܥܠ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ ܕܒܗ ܡܘܕܥ ܥܠ ܐܘܪܚܗ ܕܡܫܝܚܐ ܕܠܐ ܡܬܒܨܝܐ
- Incipit ܐܝܟ ܕܠܫܘܒܚܟ ܐܙܝܥ ܒܝ ܡܪܝ ܩܠܐ ܪܡܐ
pp. 72-68bis, Memra on the Faith, 10
- Syriac title ܡܐܡܪܐ ܕܥܣܪܐ ܕܥܠ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ
- Incipit ܢܫܠܘܢ ܣܦܪ̈ܐ ܡܢ ܥܘܩܒܗ ܕܒܪ ܐܠܗܐ
As a special treat, here is the cover of this manuscript, with a 19th-cent. image of the Golden Horn (Turkish Haliç) and the Unkapanı Bridge (see now Atatürk Bridge):
Front cover of CFMM 167
The Turkish beneath the French is roughly Haliç Dersaadet manzarından Unkapanı köprüsü. Dersaadet is one of the old names of Istanbul.
One of the pleasures of cataloging manuscripts is learning about authors and texts that are relatively little known. One such Syriac author is Athanasios (Abū Ġalib) of Ǧayḥān (Ceyhan). Two fifteenth-century manuscripts, CFMM 417 and 418, which I have recently cataloged, each contain different texts attributed to him. Barsoum surveys his life and work briefly in Scattered Pearls (pp. 441-442), and prior to that Vosté wrote an article on him; more recently Vööbus and Carmen Fotescu Tauwinkl have further reported on him. (See the bibliography below; I have not seen all of these resources.) According to Barsoum, he died in 1177 at over 80 years old. As far as I know, none of his work has been published.
The place name associated with this author is the Turkish Ceyhan. The Syriac spelling of the place in the Gazetteer has gyḥʾn, but in both of these manuscripts it is gyḥn. The former is probably an imitation of the Arabic-script spelling, while the form without ālap in the manuscripts still indicates ā in the second syllable by means of an assumed zqāpā.
Now for the CFMM texts.
CFMM 417, pp. 465-466
An untitled monastic selection. These two pages make up the whole of this short text. As you can see, it follows something from Isaac of Nineveh, and it precedes Ps.-Evagrius, On the Perfect and the Just (CPG 2465 = Hom. 14 of the Liber Graduum). The manuscript is dated March, 1785 AG (= 1474 CE).
CFMM, p. 465
CFMM 417, p. 466
CFMM 418, ff. 235v-243v
Excerpts “from his teaching”. Here are the first and last pages of the text. This longer text follows Isaac of Nineveh’s Letter on how Satan Takes Pains to Remove the Diligent from Silence (ff. 223v-235v, Eggartā ʿal hāy d-aykannā metparras Sāṭānā la-mbaṭṭālu la-ḥpiṭē men šelyā) and precedes some Profitable Sayings attributed to Isaac. This manuscript — written by more than one scribe, but at about the same time, it seems — is dated on f. 277v with the year 1482, but the 14- is to be read 17-, so we have 1782 AG (= 1470/1 CE; cf. Vööbus, Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Mēmrē-Dichtung des Jaʿqōb von Serūg, III 97).
CFMM 418, f. 235v
CFMM 418, f. 243v
Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “Abū Ghālib, an Unknown West Syrian Spiritual Author of the XIIth Century”, Parole de l’Orient 36 (2010): 277-284.
Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “A Spiritual Author in 12th Century Upper Mesopotamia: Abū Ghālib and his Treatise on Monastic Life”, Pages 75-93 in The Syriac Renaissance. Edited by Teule, Herman G.B. and Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu and ter Haar Romeny, Robert Bas and van Ginkel, Jan. Eastern Christian Studies 9. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2010.
Vööbus, Arthur, History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient: A Contribution to the History of Culture in the Near East, III, CSCO 500, Subs. 81. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1988, pp. 407-410.
Vööbus, Arthur, “Important Discoveries for the History of Syrian Mysticism: New Manuscript Sources for Athanasius Abû Ghalîb”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 35:4 (1976): 269-270.
Vosté, Jacques Marie, “Athanasios Aboughaleb, évêque de Gihân en Cilicie, écrivain ascétique du XIIe siècle”, Revue de l’Orient chrétien III, 6  (1927-1928): 432-438. Available here.
While cataloging the 15th-century manuscript CFMM 152 (on which see also here), I was struck by the long rubric of this mēmrā attributed to Ephrem.
CFMM 152, p. 156
(Students of Syriac may note the construct state before a preposition in ʿāmray b-ṭurē [Nöldeke, Gramm., § 206], as well as in the common epithet lbiš l-alāhā [Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum, 2d ed., 358a].)
Here with English glosses are the nouns in this rubric where monks may dwell. They can all be rocky areas, and there might be some semantic ambiguity and overlap with some of them.
- ṭurā mountain
- gdānpā ledge, crag
- šnāntā rock, crag, peak
- ṣeryā crack, fissure
- pqaʿtā crack (also valley)
- ḥlēlā crack
Brock’s list of incipits tells us that this mēmrā, possibly a genuine work of Ephrem, has been published by Beck in Sermones IV (CSCO 334-335 / Scr. Syr. 148-149, 1973), pp. 16-28. (Published earlier by Zingerle and Rahmani; there are two English translations, neither available to me at the moment.) The rubric in Beck’s ed. differs slightly from the one in this manuscript.
For comparison, here is another mēmrā attributed to Ephrem from a later manuscript, CFMM 157, p. 104. (see Beck, Sermones IV, pp. 1-16, for a published edition of the mēmrā).
CFMM 157, p. 104
This one has some of the same words, but the related addition terms are:
- mʿartā cave (pl. without fem. marker; see Nöldeke, Gramm., § 81)
- šqipā cliff
- pe/aʿrā cave
And so I leave you with these related Syriac terms, in case you wish to write a Syriac poem with events in rocky locales!
I have returned to the CFMM collection for some more cataloging work, and I am now continuing with a series of Syriac homiletic manuscripts, including especially the work of Jacob of Serug. Far into one of these manuscripts (CFMM 134), the following note in Arabic appears:
CFMM 134, p. 666
Here is an ET with a few comments:
Let the reader understand, be informed, and advise [those] near him and everyone that they should give glory to the Son of God, who receives the repentant, who saves his church from drowning in sins and from eternal damnation.
- Let the reader understand cf. Mk 13:14, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοεῖτω.
- al-muḫalliṣ might better be read without the article, in construct with kanīsatihi, but here the latter word is vocalized kanīsatahu (ACC, not GEN), and so the writer clearly had a verbal (“saving, one who saves [X]”), rather than nominal (“savior [of X]”), function in view for the participle al-muḫalliṣ.
- ġarīq here seems to = ġaraq.
- drowning in sins (or the like) is a common expression; another example is in this post.
Readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware of the recent reports of the destruction of the Monastery of Mar Behnam and Sara (see here, here, and elsewhere). The fate of the monastery’s manuscripts is now unknown. Not long ago, at least, HMML and the CNMO (Centre numérique des manuscrits orientaux) digitized the collection. A short-form catalog of these 500+ manuscripts has been prepared for HMML by Joshua Falconer, and I have taken a more detailed look at a select number of manuscripts in the collection. From this latter group I would like to highlight a few and share them with you. The texts mentioned below are biblical, hagiographic, apocryphal/parabiblical, historical, poetic, theological, medical, lexicographic, and grammatical. Here I merely give a few rough notes, nothing comprehensive, along with some images, but in any case the value and variety of these endangered manuscripts will, I hope, be obvious.
These manuscripts, together with those of the whole collection, are available for viewing and study through HMML (details for access online and otherwise here).
Syriac Pentateuch. Pages of old endpapers in Syriac, Garšūnī, and Arabic. Very many marginal comments deserving of further study to see how they fit within Syriac exegetical tradition. The comments are anchored to specific words in the text by signs such as +, x, ~, ÷. According to the original foliation, the first 31 folios are missing.
- Gen 1r-58v (beg miss; starts at 20:10)
- Ex 59r-129v
- Lev 129v-180v
- Num 181r-241r
- Deut 241r-283v (end miss; ends at 28:44)
MBM 1, f. 105v, with marginal note to Ex 28:37, with the Greek letter form of the tetragrammaton.
MBM 1, f. 275v, with marginal note on Dt 25:5 explaining ybm as a Hebrew word.
Syriac texts on Mary and the young Jesus. Folio(s) missing, and the remaining text is somewhat disheveled. In addition, some pages are worn or otherwise damaged. Colophon on 79v, but incomplete.
- The Book of the Upbringing of Jesus, i.e. the Syriac Infancy Gospel, 1r-12v. Beg. miss. See the published text of Wright, Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament, pp. 11-16 (Syr), available here.
- The Six Books Dormition 13r-79r (beg and end miss?). See Wright, “The Departure of my Lady from this World,” Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record 6 (1865): 417–48; 7: 110–60. (See also his Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature) and Agnes Smith Lewis, Apocrypha Syriaca, pp. 22-115 (Syr), 12-69 (ET); Arabic version, with LT,by vailable here. In this copy, the end of the second book is marked at 24v, and that of the fifth book on 30v. As indicated above, there are apparently some missing folios and disarranged text.
MBM 20, f. 24v. End of bk 2, start of bk 3 of the Six Books.
Another copy of Eliya of Nisibis, Book of the Translator, on which see my article in JSS 58 (2013): 297-322 (available here).
Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Metrical Grammar. Colophon on 99r: copied in the monastery of Symeon the Stylite, Nisan (April) 22, at the ninth hour in the evening of Mar Gewargis in the year 1901 AG = 1590 CE.
Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Metrical Grammar, d. 1492/3 on 78v. Clear script, but not very pretty.
Bar ʿEbrāyā, Book of Rays. Lots of marginalia in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī.
Bar Bahlul’s Lexicon, 18th cent. Beg. miss. Some folios numbered by original scribe in the outer margin with Syriac letters, often decorated. Nice writing. Beautiful marbled endpapers, impressed Syriac title on spine.
MBM 152, spine.
MBM 152, marbled endpapers.
The Six Books Dormition, Garšūnī, from books 5-6, 16th cent. (?).
Hagiography, &c., Garšūnī, 16th/17th cent. According to the original foliation, the first eleven folios are missing from the manuscript.
- 1r end of the Protoevangelium Jacobi (for the corresponding Syriac part, cf. pp. 21-22 in Smith Lewis’s ed. here). Here called “The Second Book, the Birth”.
- 1r-31v Vision of Theophilus, here called “The Third Book, on the Flight to Egypt…” Cf. GCAL I 229-232; Syriac and Arabic in M. Guidi, in Rendiconti della Accademia dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche, 26 (1917): 381-469 (here); Syriac, with ET, here.
- 31v-37v book 6, The Funeral Service (taǧnīz) of Mary
- 37v-39r Another ending, from another copy, of this book 6
- 39r-62r Miracle of Mary in the City of Euphemia
- 62r-72v Marina and Eugenius
- 72v-96r Behnam & Sara (new scribe at ff 83-84)
- 96r-104r Mart Shmoni and sons
- 104r-112v Euphemia (another scribe 112-114)
- 112v-124v Archellides
- 124v-131r Alexis, Man of God, son of Euphemianus
- 131v-141v John of the Golden Gospel
- 141v-147v Eugenia, Daughter of the King/Emperor (incom)
19th cent., Garšūnī, hagiography. Not very pretty writing, but includes some notable texts (not a complete list): Job the Righteous 3v, Jonah 14v, Story of the Three Friends 24r (?), Joseph 73r, Ahiqar 154v, Solomon 180v, and at the end, another Sindbad text 197v-end (see the previous posts here and here).
MBM 209, f. 197v. The Story of Hindbād and Sindbād the Sailor.
Medical, very nice ES Garšūnī. Includes Ḥunayn’s Arabic translation of the Summary of Galen’s On the Kinds of Urine (fī aṣnāf al-bawl), ff. 1v-8r; cf. here. For a longer Greek text, see Kuehn, Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia (Leipzig, 1821-33), vol. 19, pp. 574-601. These now separate folios seem originally to have been the eighth quire of another codex.
MBM 250, f. 1v. Beg. of Ḥunayn’s Arabic translation of the Summary of Galen’s On the Kinds of Urine.
John of Damascus, De fide Orthodoxa, Arabic (cf. Graf, GCAL II, p. 57, this ms not listed). Fine writing. 16th/17th cent.
MBM 270, f. 5v. John of Damascus, Arabic.
A late copy (19th cent.), but with a fine hand, of the Kitāb fiqh al-luġa, by Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Malik b. Muḥammad al-Ṯaʿālibī, a classified dictionary: e.g. § 17 animals (82), § 23 clothing (155), § 24 food (173), § 28 plants (205), § 29 Arabic and Persian (207, fīmā yaǧrá maǧrá al-muwāzana bayna al-ʿarabīya wa-‘l-fārisīya).
Syriac, 15th cent. (?). F. 10v has quire marker for end of № 11. The manuscript has several notes in different hands:
- 29v, a note with the year 1542 (AG? = 1230/1 CE); Ascension and Easter are mentioned
- 31v, note: “I had a spiritual brother named Ṣlibā MDYYʾ. He gave me this book.” (cf. 90v)
- 66v, note: “Whoever reads this book, let him pray for Gerwargis and ʿIšoʿ, the insignificant monks.”
- 90v, note: Ownership-note and prayer-request for, it seems, the monk Ṣlibonā (cf. 31v)
- 132v, longish note similar to the note on 168v
- 157r, note: “Theodore. Please pray, for the Lord’s sake.”
- 168v, note: “I found this spiritual book among the books of the church of the Theotokos that is in Beth Kudida [see PS 1691], and I did not know [whether] it belonged to the church or not.”
For at least some of the contents, cf. the Syriac Palladius, as indicated below.
- Mamllā of Mark the Solitary, Admonition on the Spiritual Law 1r-17r
Second memra 17r
Third memra 41v
Fourth memra 48r
- Letters of Ammonius 67r-78v (see here; cf. with Kmosko in PO 10 and further CPG 2380)
- “From the Teaching of Evagrius” 78v-100r
- Confession of Evagrius 100v
- Abraham of Nathpar 101r-117v
2nd memra 105r
3rd memra 109v
4th memra 110v
5th memra 115v
- Teachings of Abba Macarius 117v
- Letter (apparently of Macarius) 130r-130v
- Letter of Basil to Gregory his Brother 131r-139v
- Letter from a solitary to the brothers 139v-142r
- Sayings of Evagrius 142r-146v
- Gluttony 147v
- The Vice of Whoring (ʿal ḥaššā d-zānyutā) 147v
- Greed 148r
- Anger 149r
- Grief 149v
- On the Interruption of Thought (ʿal quṭṭāʿ reʿyānā) 149v
- Pride 150r
- From the Tradition (mašlmānutā) of Evagrius 151r
- On the Blessed Capiton (here spelled qypyṭn) 151r (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 223)
- The Blessed Eustathius 151v
- Mark the Mourner 151v
- A student of a great elder in Scetis 152r
- A student of another elder who sat alone in his cell 155v
- A student of a desert elder 156r
- (more short saint texts) 157v-161r
- Tahsia 161r-164r (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 173)
- An Elder named Zakarya 164r
- Gregory 168r
- Daniel of Ṣalaḥ 180v
- Philemon 180v (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 427)
- One of the Blessed Brothers 181r
- Pachomius, with various subtexts and miracles 182v
- Didymus 188v-190v
Arabic, 15th century (?). Second, but probably contemporaneous with the first, scribe begins at 80r.
- 1r-34r Pss 38:17-150 (end)
- 34r-79v maqāla 11 by Saint Simʿān, maqāla 12 by Simʿān, … maqāla 16 by Simʿān on 67r. There is some apparent disarray and missing folios: the end of this group of texts seems really to be 78v, but 79r has “Sayings and Questions of Abū ‘l-qiddīs Simʿān”
- 80r-114r Jn 7:20-21:25 (i.e. end of the Gospel)
MBM 365, f. 79r, the beginning of the Saying and Questions of Saint Simʿān
Two loose folios of an Arabic tafsīr of the Gospels, one of which has the quire marker for the original thirty-first quire (so numbered with Syriac letters). Perhaps 16th cent. From Mt 10, with commentary (qāla ‘l-mufassir), on 1v (image below); Lk 6:20 ff. on f. 2r.
MBM 367, f. 1v. Mt 10:19-23 with the beginning of the commentary.
Garšūnī (very nice, clear script). Memre and other texts on theological, monastic, and spiritual subjects.
17th cent., Garšūnī, hagiography. Note the Qartmin trilogy beginning on 105v.
- The Book of the Ten Viziers / Arabic version of the Persian Baḫtīār Nāma 1r (beg miss). (On this work, see W.L. Hanaway, Jr., in EIr here.) It is a frame story spread over several days with a boy (ġulām) telling smaller stories (sg. ḥadīṯ) to a king. As it now stands in the manuscript, it begins in the eighth day, ending on the eleventh. (ET of the Persian here by William Ouseley; ET by John Payne of an Arabic version with Alf layla wa-layla here, eighth day beg. on p. 125). Here are the subdivisions:
The Story of [the city of] Īlān Šāh and Abū Tamām 1v
Ninth day 7r
King Ibrāhīm and his son (on 9r, marginalia in Arabic: “this is an impossible thing!”)
Tenth day 14r
Story of Sulaymān 15v
Eleventh day, 29v
- Infancy Gospel of Jesus 33v-55r
- John of Dailam 55r-68v
- Behnām and Sara 68v-73v
- Mar Zakkay 73v-105r (at 105r it says Mar Malke)
- Mar Gabriel 105v-132r (much of f. 111 torn away; partly f. 127, too)
- Mar Samuel 132v- (folios miss. after ff. 141, 157)
- Mar Symeon -163v (begins where?)
- Memra of Ephrem on Andrew when he entered the land of the dogs 163v
- Miracle of Mary 170v
- Miracle of Mark of Jabal Tarmaq 172v
17th cent., ES Garšūnī, mostly hagiography. Colophon on 135v.
- Story of Susanna
- Ephrem on Elijah 14r
- Story of a Jewish Boy and what happened to him with some Christian children 31v (hands change at 34r)
- Story of some royal children 40v (some Syriac, hands change at 47r)
- Story of Tatos the martyr (f.), martyred in Rome 51r
- Story of a Mistreated Monk 58v
- Story of Arsānīs, King of Egypt 66v
- John of the Golden Gospel 70v (folio(s) missing after 70v)
- Elijah the Zealous 88v
- Andrew the Apostle 100v
- Text by Eliya Catholicos, Patriarch 111r
- Zosimus and the Story of the Rechabites 116r
- Story of the Apple 131r (several other copies at HMML: CFMM 350, pp. 717-722; CFMM 109, ff. 179v-182r; CFMM 110, 182v-185v; ZFRN 73, pp. 382-390 and more)
17th cent., WS Garšūnī, some folios missing, hagiographic, homiletic, &c.
- Ahiqar 1r (on 27r dated 2006 AG in Arabic script)
- Merchant of Tagrit and his Believing Wife 27v
- Chrysostom, On Receiving the Divine Mysteries 34r
- Chrysostom, On Repentance and Receiving the Divine Mysteries 44v (s.t. miss. after 51v)
- Ephrem, (beg. miss.) 52r ? (s.t. miss. after 67v)
- Jacob of Serug, On Repentance 69v (s.t. miss after 69v)
- Ephrem ? 94r
- From the Fathers, That everyone has a guardian angel 102v (hands change just b/f this)
- Story of Petra of Africa 110r (no other Arabic/Garšūnī at HMML; for Syriac, see CFMM 270, pp. 291-302)
- Zosimus and the Story of the Rechabites, 119v-132r
- Life of John the Baptist 132r
- Five Miracles of John the Baptist 150r
- Story of Macarius (end miss) 152v-153v
Ecclesiasticus, Garšūnī, with some Turkish-Arabic/Garsh equivalents at beginning.
MBM 469, f. 1v. Turkish words with Arabic/Garšūnī equivalents.
Here are the forms on this page, first in Turkish, then Arabic:
- ıslattı naqaʿa [he soaked]
- aramış fattaša [he searched]
- aradın fattašta [you searched]
- aradım fattaštu [I searched]
- aramışlar fattašū [they searched]
- işitti samiʿa [he heard]
- içti šariba [he drank] *The Turkish root here is written with š for ç, as in Kazakh; on the previous page the verb also appears and is spelled ʾyǧty, i.e. içti (Garšūnī ǧīm = Turkish c or ç.)
Note that for the forms of aramak [to search], the third person forms are past indefinite, while the first and second person forms are past definite.
From a Gospel lectionary, Syriac, Estrangela. Here is f. 6v, with Mt 18:15-17, 20:1-3.
MBM 485, f. 6v. Mt 18:15-17, 20:1-3.
French drama translated into Syriac by Abraham ʿIso in Baghdad, 1972-1974.
- [5r] title page
- [6r-7v] introduction
- pp. 5-122 Athalie by Racine
- pp. 125-244 Le Cid by Corneille
- pp. 247-380 Polyeucte by Corneille
- pp. 381-463 Esther by Racine
MBM 489, f. 74r = p. 125. Title page to the Syriac translation of Corneille’s Le Cid.
With the first page of the Syriac Le Cid cf. the original text here. Note that the Syriac translation is in rhyming couplets like the French.
MBM 489, f. 77r = p. 131. The beginning of the Syriac Le Cid.
19th cent., Arabic. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī. Starts with excerpt from Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa on him (cf. the end of the ms). On 14r begins the K. al-Ifāda wa-‘l-iʿtibār fī ‘l-umūr wa-‘l-mušāhada wa-‘l-ḥawādiṯ al-muʿāyana bi-arḍ Miṣr. See De Sacy’s annotated FT here.
Here is the part from ch. 4, on monuments (beg. 30r), about the burning of the library of Alexandria by ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ “with the permission of ʿUmar” and on the Pharos of Alex (bottom of 34v = de Sacy p. 183).
MBM 509, f. 34v.
Printed work. Mariano Ugolini. Vasco de Gama al Cabo das Tormentas, dodecasillabi siriaci con versione italiana. Rome, Tipografia Poliglotta, 1898. “Poesia letta in Roma nella solenne accademia per le feste centenarie della scoperta delle Indie, il giorno 21 Maggio 1898.” 6 pages. Bound with Rahmani’s Testamentum Domini.
Here are the first six lines:
MBM 514, p. 4.
And the same in Italian:
MBM 514, p. 5.
As anyone who frequents this blog knows, manuscripts can be much more than simple receptacles for the main texts that their scribes copied. When present, colophons, notes, &c., may make a manuscript even more valuable and interesting. Here is a case in point. On f. 241r of SMMJ 211, a fifteenth-century copy of Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Chronography (secular & eccles.), are two later meteorological reports from different hands, neither the scribe’s.
Notes in outer column of SMMJ 211, f. 241r.
The first note says roughly in English:
In the year 1814 (= 1502/3 CE) AG, in the month of Ḥzirān, there was a white meteor like the darkest night in the middle of the air for about an hour in the day, and everyone [lit. the whole world] saw it. And in the same year, on the feast of St. Jacob, on the 29th of the month of Tammuz, there was great and powerful thunder before midday, and with it were white clouds (ʿnānā), yet without a mist (ʿaymā) in the air, or rain, and this thunder continued roaring for about an hour of the day. They heard its sound throughout the region all the way to Gāzartā and the valley, and many people were frightened of its sound and fell on their faces. While the Lord shows us these signs for us to be repentant, our insolent and refractory heart neither repents nor is softened. May the Lord not repay us according to our evils, but according to the multitude of his mercy — amen — and his grace.
And from almost seven decades later, the second note (in less careful handwriting) says:
In the year 1882 AG (= 1570/1 CE) the clouds thickened and much rain appeared in Ṭur ʿĀbdin with terrible thunder, and intense lightning came down for six days in the month of Āb during the Feast of Booths in the villages, one of which is called Zāz, before the outer land of the Church of Mar Dimeṭ, and this lightning came down upon a house near that church with wood and straw inside it, and the house caught fire [with] all the firewood and straw.
(For the Church of Mar Dimet in Zaz, see a picture here.)
Update: Thanks to Thomas Carlson for the suggestion about PQʿTʾ (valley) in the first note, which I initially read as an unidentified place-name PWʿTʾ. The scribe writes waw and qop with little difference.