Archive for the ‘Michael the Great’ Category

A taʿlīq Arabic colophon in a Garšūnī manuscript   2 comments

Colophons do not necessarily match in language the texts that they conclude, so that we sometimes have a Garšūnī colophon at the end of a Syriac text, or vice versa (as in an earlier place in the manuscript mentioned below). Garšūnī and Arabic are not, of course, distinct languages, but given that the medium in view here is graphic, the clearly distinct writing systems employed for them may matter in a way approaching that which exists between different languages properly speaking. In addition, at least some scribes that used Garšūnī were careful to note the difference, as I pointed out recently.

Here, mainly for the handwriting, is an Arabic colophon at the end of a Garšūnī manuscript: Saint Mark’s Monastery, Jerusalem, № 169, which mostly contains homilies in Garšūnī. (At the beginning there is an excerpt, in Syriac, from the Chronicle of Michael the Great, book 11 of chapter 20, on the Council of Manazkert convened in 726 by Catholicos Yovhannēs Ōjnec’i the Philosopher with Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Athanasios III. Neither Michael nor the title Chronicle are specifically mentioned here, however.)

The kind of Arabic script most often found in the collections I have cataloged is naskh. Less commonly we see ruqʿa, and rarer still is the slanted taʿlīq or one of its derivations, so the handwriting here is of some interest merely for that reason. The script here is characterized by each word being written on a down-slanting line (sometimes with the last letter written above the preceding parts of the word), loosely placed diacritical marks, and some horizontal and rounded lines being notably extended. Perhaps others would like to try their hand at reading it. My transcription (save for one part in the first line that has proven undecipherable to me so far) follows below. By the way, the year is given as 1092 AG, but this must be a mistake for 2092 AG (= 1780/1 CE), so the full date as given below would be May 1, 1781; a purchase note at the end of the manuscript is dated 2102 AG (= 1790/1 CE). The scribe, also named earlier in this manuscript in a Syriac colophon, is called Anīs, who is from Gargar, but this manuscript was written outside Diyarbakır/Āmid.

SMMJ 169, f. 145r

SMMJ 169, f. 145r

كتب بداخل مدينة آمد في قلاية البطريركية الايغناطيوسية ادام الله سعادتها ؟ ؟ الينا المعظم المغبوط المكرم مار ايغناطيوس

بطريرك انطاكية بيد احقر عبيد الله واحوجهم الراهب الهارب وانيس باسم قسيس في سنة اثنان تسعين والف للاسكندر اليوناني

في يوم عيد القديس مار ميخايل

اول يوم شهر ايار

رحم الله من ترحم على الكاتب الحقير

وعلى والديه واخوته

 

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Some digitized Armenian manuscripts   Leave a comment

Readers of this blog are well aware of how the availability, greater or lesser, of digital images of manuscripts continues to make the study of manuscripts a much more likely possibility for students, scholars, and other readers. Thankfully, more and more libraries that are free to do so have made some or all of their own manuscripts freely available. Some recent searching led to these below for Armenian, and I thought others might appreciate having them listed together in one place. This is certainly not a complete list! If you know of others, please give a link in the comments.

Baltimore

From the Walters Art Museum:

Beirut

Near East School of Theology no. 869 (I think): at the WDL here (NB the ms and the metadata do not correspond)

Berlin

Chicago

University of Chicago, Goodspeed collection (see here)

(Lviv)

Gospels copied in Lviv, 1198/9 (Lemberg Gospels), images available here. Some basic info here.

Paris

  • BnF Arm. 65 (hymnbook) here
  • BnF Arm 291 (Ps.-Callisthenes, Hist. Alexander) here

Tübingen

Ma XIII 93 (Michael the Great, et varia) here

Washington, DC

LOC, Verin Noravank Gospels, 1487 at the WDL here

A note in a 13th-cent. manuscript on Dionysios bar Ṣalibi   Leave a comment

Saint Mark’s Monastery, Jerusalem, 48 is a big manuscript — 26.1x18x13.5 cm and about 600 folios — containing Dionysios bar Ṣalibi’s commentary on the Gospels, and a notable copy because it comes from only a century after the author’s death: the colophon (f. 588v) has the date Nisan 23, 1582 AG (= 1271 CE). Before the text itself begins on f. 1v, there is on the previous page a note in Garšūnī:

SMMJ 41, f. 1r

SMMJ 41, f. 1r

The note is not in the same hand of the manuscript’s scribe, and there is no explicit indication of its date, but it bears no marks of being recent. Here is a quickly done translation into English:

We found the date of this holy, venerated father, Mār Dionysios (that is Yaʿqub) bar Ṣalibi, recorded in the Chronicon [Ecclesiasticum] of St. Gregory Bar ʿEbrāyā, the fact that he was ordained bishop over Marʿaš by Athanasios the patriarch (that is, Yešuʿ b. Qaṭra). The ordination of Patriarch Athanasios was in the year 1450 AG (1138/9 CE), and the ordination of St. Dionysios bar Ṣalibi as bishop was in the year 1462 [AG, = 1150/1 CE]. This St. Dionysios was present at the ordination of St. Mār Michael the Great, Patriarch of Antioch, whose ordination was in the year 1478 AG [1166/7 CE] in the Monastery of Mār Barṣawmā. The eternal rest of St. Dionysios bar Ṣalibi was in Tešrin II [November] 1483 AG [= 1171 CE], and he was buried in the Church of the Virgin in Diyarbakır.

If you wish, you can read more about Dionysios bar Ṣalibi in:

  • Michael the Great’s Chronicle, Edessa-Aleppo Codex, ff. 349v-350v (outer columns; = pp. 701-703 in the Gorgias Press facsimile)
  • Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Chronicon [Ecclesiasticum] I 511-513, 559-561
  • Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis II 156-211
  • S.P. Brock, in GEDSH 126-127

The note above, which acknowledges Bar ʿEbrāyā as a source, apparently by an early reader, is a good example showing how manuscripts are not static objects serving merely as text-receptacles, but unique witnesses not only to this or that version of a particular text, but also to the scribes who copied them, their readers from generation to generation, and the communities that have curated them.

UPDATE: Thanks to Gabriel Rabo for pointing out a mistake in my translation due to eyeskip. It has now been corrected.

Michael the Great on the Conversion of the Georgians   2 comments

Below is an English translation of Michael the Great‘s (d. 1199) short section on the conversion of the Iberians/Georgians. In the main he follows the narrative as in Rufinus‘ continuation of EusebiusEcclesiastical History and in Socrates, but not exactly. Neither Michael nor his historiographic predecessors give the name Nino to the female missionary-hero of the story, but in hagiographic tradition she is the one who brings Christianity to Georgia and performs the miracles related in the story.

I am in the course of preparing a study on this passage with commentary and full comparison of the known versions of the story, but for now, here is a bare and rough English translation. (Here are both the Syriac text and the translation in PDF.) As always, comments and questions are welcome.

Also during the time of Constantine, Georgia (Iberia) believed in Christ thus.
A certain pious woman was taken captive by [the people of] outer Georgia, which is near the Euxenian sea (they are far away from the Iberians of Spain). It happened that the son of their kingling got sick, and his mother cared for him with all manner of their customs, but to no avail. She then asked that captive woman for his healing, since she had seen her holy life, and the woman set him down on her hair blanket and said, “May Christ, who healed many, heal this child!” And immediately he got better.
After this, the king’s wife herself got sick, and she took refuge with the captive woman and came to her, and thus at that hour she was healed. When it became known, she taught all of them belief in the Christ of God. The king sent her gifts of honor, and she did not accept, but said, “This is a gift of honor: that the king should profess and trust in Christ,” but he did not accept. Some days thereafter he went out to hunt, and clouds and storm were upon them, and they were close to dying, and there was no avail. He took refuge with the god of the captive woman, together with his word; the cloud vanished and it was calm weather.
So when he returned he gathered all the people and commanded that they confess in Christ and that a temple be built. They began with the pattern that the holy woman had shown them, and when a great marble column was stuck by the influence of demons and they were unable to erect it, the woman prayed and it hung in the air by itself, and as they were looking at it with wonder and praise, it stood up on the pedestal where they had wished to erect it. (This miracle is known to this day.) Then the Georgians sent to Constantine the Emperor and took a bishop, priest(s), and clergy. Thus they believed and were baptized.

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