Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Tag

Saint Christopher the Dog-headed (Armenian & Georgian; Old English)   2 comments

Some time ago I shared some excerpts in English translation from the Syriac version of the Martyrdom of Christopher. One of my favorite aspects of hagiographic study is the fact that so many texts are available in some form or other in more than one language (an aspect investigated by Paul Peeters and others): translators active in the languages of the Christian east spared little effort in effectively broadcasting these versions across the lands of the eastern Mediterranean, in Africa as far as Nubia and Ethiopia, at least, and along the Silk Road further east (in Syriac, Sogdian, and other languages). An incomplete picture of this translation activity can be seen in the outdated but still essential Bibliotheca hagiographica orientalis (1910), incomplete because of its age, because it reflects only published (as opposed to manuscript) resources, and because not all languages were included, the almost complete absence of Georgian being especially noteworthy. (See the bibliography I am compiling here.) These translated texts offer readers a lot to compare, whether in terms of content — how are the versions different or the same, for example, and why? — or in terms of specific linguistic categories, i.e. within the study of translation technique. Editions and studies of hagiographic text materials often take place along the lines of a single language (whether the original or a translation), less frequently with texts in two languages, but a great many hagiographic texts offer the possibility and promise of multilingual synoptic editions.

That said, nothing so grand here and now: without going into detail about the possible textual relationships of the versions of this story, here is only a short look at an Armenian and Georgian version of the martyrdom-tale, with a bit on Old English at the end. What follows is a single paragraph from the beginning about the saint’s appearance, origins, and first impulse towards martyrdom; the text is from Kekelidze’s edition of the Christopher tale (§ 2) from manuscript Tbilisi A-95, which is thankfully available electronically at TITUS here, along with bitonal, and unfortunately quite small, images of the manuscript itself. Even a quick comparison with the published Greek text (ed. G. van Hooff in the very first issue of AB [1882], this part on pp. 122-123) shows that an exact alignment of the two is impossible, and so, too, with the Armenian (here in Վարք եւ վկայաբանւթիւնք, vol. 2; “dog-headed” in Armenian is շանագլուխ, in case you’re wondering). Here are the beginnings of the aforementioned Armenian and Georgian texts with English translation and, for students of those languages, some lexical and grammatical notes. For comparison, note these synaxarion-readings: Arm. in PO 21: 429-433; Arab. in PO 16: 278-280; Gǝʿǝz in PO 46: 490-493.

Armenian

Եւ էր այր մի Շանագլուխ, գտեալ զնա կոմսի մի ի պատերազնի, եւ ած զնա առ թագաւորն եւ զինուորեցոյց զնա ընդ զօրս իւր. որոյ անուն էր Մարգարիտ։ Եւ տեսեալ զգործս ամպարըշտութեանն՝ խռովէր, եւ շարժեալ սիրտ նորա ի շնորհաց սուրբ Հոգւոյն՝ աղաչէր զԱստուած լինել ձեռնտու եւ օգնական յամենայնի, զի համարձակեսցի խօսել զբանն կենաց նովին բարբառով եւ լեզուաւ, եւ ոչ էր տեղեակ լեզուին։

There was a dog-headed man, whom a count, after having found him in battle, brought him to the king and enlisted him in his army, the name of which was Margarit [Greek ἐν τῷ νουμέρῳ τῶν μαρμαριτῶν]. Having seen the works of wickedness [there], [the dog-headed man] was troubled, and his heart having been moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he would ask God to be favorable and assisting in everything, that he might be permitted to speak the word of life with the same language and speech, and he was not skilled in speech.

  • գտեալ root ptcp գտանեմ to find
  • կոմէս, կոմսի count (< Gr.)
  • պատերազն, -ի, -ունք, -աց war, battle, fight, combat
  • ած aor 3sg ածեմ, ածի to lead, bring
  • զինուորեցոյց aor 3sg զինուորեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to enlist, train as a soldier, arm (analogous to ցուցանեմ to show [aor 1sg ցուցի, 3sg եցոյց], ուսուցանեմ to teach [aor 1sg ուսուցի, 3sg ուսոյց]) (for the root, cf. ultimately Middle Persian zēn, also Aramaic zēnā/zaynā, “weapon”)
  • զօր, -ու, -աց army
  • տեսեալ root ptcp տեսանեմ, տեսի to see
  • գործ, -ոյ work, thing, matter, action
  • ամպարըշտութիւն (ամբարշտութիւն) impiety, ungodliness, wickedness
  • խռովէր impf 3sg խռովեմ, -եցի to trouble, vex, disturb (here passive)
  • շարժեալ root ptcp շարժեմ, -եցի to move, agitate
  • սիրտ, սրտից heart
  • շնորհ, -ի, -ք, -աց grace, favor, pardon, mercy
  • աղաչէր impf 3sg աղաչեմ, -եցի to implore, ask
  • լինել inf. լինիմ to become
  • ձեռնտու helping, aiding, favorable
  • օգնական assisting, aiding
  • համարձակեսցի aor subj m/p 3sg համարձակեմ, -եցի to embolden; permit, allow
  • խօսել inf խօսիմ, -եցայ to speak, talk
  • բան, -ից speech, word, discourse
  • կեանք, կենաց life
  • նովին inst sg նոյն the same, the very
  • բարբառ, -ոյ speech, voice, language, dialect; cry; sound
  • լեզու, -ի/-ոյ, -աց tongue, language, speech
  • տեղեակ skilled, expert, well-versed

Georgian

იყო ვინმე კაცი მდაბალი და მოშიში ღმრთისაჲ. უცხოთესლთა ნათესავი, და ძაღლის-თავი იყო იგი. რამეთუ იყო იგი სოფლისაგან კაცის-მჭამელთაჲსა ტყუედ მოყვანებული გუნდისა ერთისაგან; და იქცეოდა იგი წინაშე მეფისა, და ნაქმევსა პირისა მისისასა შესცხრებიან. ხოლო ხედვიდა იგი დაჭრასა მას ქრისტიანეთასა და დევნასა ეკლესიათასა. და რამეთუ არა იცოდა მან ჩუენებრი სიტყუაჲ, ამისთჳს ფრიად და მწრაფლ მას-ცა ეგულებოდა მარტჳლობაჲ და ღუაწლი ქრისტჱსათჳს.

There was a certain man, humble and God-fearing, of barbarian stock, and he was dog-headed, since he was from the region of cannibals, brought as a prisoner from a troop. He would spend time before the king, and they enjoyed looking on the appearance of his face. But he noticed with concern the injury being done to the Christians and the persecution of the churches. Since he did not know speech like ours, for this reason he was greatly and quickly desiring martyrdom and a struggle for Christ.

  • მდაბალი humble
  • უცხოთესლი barbarian
  • ნათესავი relative, related
  • ძაღლი dog
  • მჭამელი eating (კაცის-მჭამელი man-eating, cannibal)
  • ტყუეჲ prisoner
  • მოყვანებული brought
  • გუნდი troop (cf. Middle Persian gund, Armenian գունդ, Aramaic gundā; see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 104-105, and more briefly, Fraenkel, Die aramäischen Fremdwörter im Arabischen, 238-239)
  • ი-ქც-ე-ოდ-ა impf 3sg ქცევა to go, move, walk around
  • ნაქმევი form, appearance
  • პირი face, mouth
  • შე-ს-ცხრ-ებ-ი-ან pres 3pl O3 შეცხრომა to take pleasure in, look on fondly
  • ხედ-ვ-იდ-ა impf 3sg ხედვა to see, care for, look after
  • დაჭრაჲ cutting, hurting
  • დევნაჲ persecution
  • იცოდა impf 3sg “to know”. An irregular verb, it takes, not only in the aor (3sg იცნა), but also in the impf (as here), subjects in the ergative and objects in the nominative. (This particular irregularity, manifest as such in assuming იცოდა is Series I — it thus being peculiar in having an ergative subject — points to this verb’s complex history, one in which the ending -ოდა has caused a Series II form to be taken as Series I [imperfect].)
  • მწრაფლ quick
  • ე-გულებ-ოდ-ა impf 3sg (indirect verb) გულება to wish, want
  • მარტჳლობაჲ martyrdom (also მარტჳრობაჲ < μάρτυς)
  • ღუაწლი struggle

Old English

Finally, and for fun, here is mention of dog-headed people, this time in Egypt, in The Wonders of the East in the famous Old English manuscript, Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 100r (see here), presented essentially as in the manuscript, with a few vocabulary items.

Eac swẏlce þær beoð cende
healf hundingas ða syndon
hatene conopenas hẏ hab-
bað horses mana & eoferes
tuxas & hunda heafda & heo-
ra oruð bið swẏlce fẏres leg
þas land beoð neah ðæm bur-
gu(m) þe beoð eallum worldwe-
lum gefylled þ(æt) is on þa suðhealfe egẏpta-
na landes.

  • cennan give birth
  • healf-hunding cynocephalus
  • syndon = sind are
  • hātan to call, name
  • eofor wild board (cf. L. aper)
  • tux = tusc (NB the variability of cs [x] and sc)
  • oroþ breath
  • līg, lēg flame
  • weorld-wela worldly wealth
BL, Cotton Vitell. A XV, f. 100r

BL, Cotton Vitell. A XV, f. 100r

Note that immediately preceding this text is a life of Saint Christopher (ff. 94r-98r; mod. ET here), but it is acephalous (pun intended), and Christopher’s dog-head is not mentioned, it seems, but in the Old English Martyrology (April 28; pp. 66-69 in Herzfeld’s ed.), we find the description on Christopher as above (and as in Syriac), and with vocabulary similar to that of the passage in The Wonders of the East. Herzfeld’s text and modern ET):

…of þære þeode þær men habbað hunda heofod ond of þære eorðan on þære æton men hi selfe. he hæfde hundes heofod, ond his loccas wæron ofer gemet side, ond his eagan scinon swa leohte swa morgensteorra, ond his teð wæron swa scearpe swa eofores tuxas. he wæs gode geleaffull on his heortan, ac he ne mihte sprecan swa mon.

…from the nation where men have the head of a dog and from the country where men devour each other. He had the head of a dog, his locks were exceedingly thick, his eyes shone as brightly as the morning star, and his teeth were as sharp as a boar’s tusk. In his heart he believed in God, but he could not speak like a man.

A treasury of Arabic (Garšūnī) hagiography: Saint Mark’s, Jerusalem, № 199   Leave a comment

The first Garšūnī manuscript that I remember studying closely is SMMJ 199, a huge manuscript copied in 1733-1734 and now divided into two parts due to its size. Altogether, it is 750 folios long, with 90 distinct longer or shorter hagiographic pieces. Fortunately the colophon has also survived. This colophon, with a few Syriac elements, but mostly in Garšūnī and Arabic, tells us not only the completion date, but the beginning date, where it was copied (and translated), and about its textual basis. It was copied and translated at Dayr al-Zaʿfarān from a Syriac manuscript dated 1490 AG (= 1178/9 CE) “into the Garšūnī language” by the scribe of this manuscript himself, Bišāra of Aleppo.

SMMJ 199B, f. 750v

SMMJ 199B, f. 750v

Among the later notes to the manuscript is one on f. 367v by Yulius, Metr. of Malabar dated 1933.

SMMJ 199a, f. 367v

SMMJ 199a, f. 367v

According to notes on f. 751 of SMMJ 199 B, the manuscript was purchased in Aleppo and donated to Saint Mark’s in 1874.

William Macomber’s catalog of the manuscript for the BYU microfilm project is available here, and the earlier record by Graf is in Oriens Christianus n.s. 3 (1913): 311-327. I am finishing up the new record of the manuscript for HMML’s own catalog now, but here is an alphabetical index that I made some time ago (also in PDF here: SMMJ_199_index). A few more images from the manuscript follow the index.

The stories are alphabetized by the names of the saints (or the miraculous events) themselves. The parenthetical reference to Graf is to vol. 1 of his Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1944)

A
Aaron, 187a-195b (Graf 523)
ʿAbd Al-Maṣīḥ, 651b-657a (Graf 523)
Abel, see below under Martyrs
Abḥai, 513a-524a (Graf 523)
Abraham, 401a-409a (Graf 523)
Abraham of Qidun, 174b-182a (Graf 523)
Abraham of Kashkar, 310a-311b (Graf 523)
Addai, 545b-547a (Graf 524)
Agrippas, see under Lawrence & Agrippas
Andronicus & Athanasia his wife, 153b-156a (Graf 404)
Antonius, 4b-33b (Graf 312)
Arcadius, son of Xenophon, see under Xenophon
Archelides, 138a-142b (Graf 498)
Athanasia, see under Andronicus
Athanasius, 446b-452a (Graf 315)
Awgen, 323a-340a (Graf 525)
Awtil, 166b-171a (Graf 524)

B
Bacchus, see under Sergius & Bacchus
Barbara & Juliana, 714b-716a (Graf 499ff.)
Barsawma, 226a-265b (Graf 524)
Miracles of Basil, 462a-469b (Graf 328)
Basilia, see under Eugenia
Bayt Al-Šuhadāʾ, 313a-323a (Graf 525)
Bishoi, 67a-81a (Graf 539)

C
Children of the rulers of Rome & Antioch, 150b-153b
Christopher the Barbarian, 642a-646b (Graf 500)
Clement of Rome, 440b-443a (Graf 304)
The Invention of the Cross, 412a-414b (Graf 244)
Cyprian & Justa, 494a-498a (Graf 517)
Cyriacus & his mother Julitta, 646b-648b (Graf 500)

D
Daniel of Scetis, 156a-159a (Graf 403)
Daniel & the Virgins, 675a-677b (Graf 403)
Daniel of Ǧabal Galaš, 266a-272a
Dimet, 171b-174b (Graf 525)
Dionysius, see under Peter & Paul
Dometius, see under Maximus

E
Ephrem the Syrian, 453b-462a (Graf 433)
Eugenia, her family, & Basilia, 723a-729b (Graf 501)
Eulogius the stonecutter, 156a-159a (Graf 403)
Eulogius the Egyptian, 390b-400a (Graf 526)
Euphrosune, 689a-693a (Graf 501)
Eupraxia, 677b-684a (Graf 518)
Eustathius, see under Placidus
Evagrius, 362a-363b (Graf 399)

F
Faith, Hope, & Love, & their mother Wisdom, 719a-723a (Graf 513ff.)
Febronia, 729b-737a (Graf 502)
The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, 570b-574a (Graf 510)

G
George, 578b-582a (Graf 502-504)
Gerasimus, 308a-310a (Graf 408)
Gregory the Illuminator, 484a-494a (Graf 310, 518)
Gregory Thaumaturgus, 479b-484a (Graf 309)

H
Habib, 635b-638b (Graf 526)
Hagna, 718a-719a (Graf 526)
Hilaria, 684b-689a (Graf 526)
The Himyarites, 624b-631b (Graf 516)

I
Ignatius, 437b-439b (Graf 305)
The Image of Christ made by the Jews in Tiberias, 366a-379b (Graf 245)
Invention (of the Cross), see above under Cross
Isaiah of Aleppo, 349b-356a (Graf 528)
Isaiah of Scete, 363b-366a (Graf 403)

J
Jacob, 582a-585b (Graf 504ff.)
Jacob the Anchorite, 272a-277a (Graf 527)
Jacob Baradaeus, 527a-533a
Jacob of Nisibis, 452a-453b (Graf 527)
Jacob the Recluse, 379b-390a (Graf 527)
Jacob of Sarug, 526b-527a (Graf 452)
John the Anchorite, 409a-412a (Graf 527)
John the Baptist, 434a-437b (Graf 506-508)
John Chrysostom, 469b-479b (Graf 353ff)
John of Edessa, see under Paul of Cnidus
John the Evangelist, 422b-434a (Graf 261ff.)
John of Kfar Sanya, 590a-599a (Graf 527)
John of Tella, 533a-545b (Graf 528)
John of the Well, 290b-294a (Graf 527)
John, son of the emperor (John of the Golden Gospel), 142a-146a (Graf 505)
John the Short, 81a-98a (Graf 534)
John, son of Xenophon, see under Xenophon
Juliana, see under Barbara & Juliana
Julianus, 182a-187a (Graf 367)
Justa, see under Cyprian

L
Lawrence & Agrippas, 612b-624b (Graf 528)

M
Macarius, 33b-52a (Graf 395)
Malchus, 340a-349b (Graf 528)
Malchus of Clysma, 280a-282b (Graf 529)
Mamas, his father Theodotus, & his wife Rufina, 648b-651b (Graf 520)
Mari(n)a, 693a-694a (Graf 508)
Mary the martyr, 716a-718a (Graf 528)
Mary the Egyptian, 698b-703a (Graf 508)
Mark of Ǧabal Tarmaq, 110b-114a (Graf 512)
Mark the Merchant, 286b-290a
Martinianus, 277a-278a (Graf 510)
The Holy Martyrs, beginning with Abel, 564b-566b (Graf 528)
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 414b-420b (Graf 249-251)
Maximus & Dometius, sons of Emperor Valentinus, 52a-67a (Graf 536)

N
Nicholas, also known as Zakhe, 511a-513a (Graf 511)

O
Onesima & other women, 669a-672a (Graf 529)
Another on Onesima (the same martyr as above), 672a-675a (Graf 529)

P
Pantaleon, 604a-609b (Graf 521)
Pappus, 638b-642a (Graf 529)
Paul of Alexandria, 1b-4b (Graf 512)
Paul (the Apostle), see under Peter & Paul
Paul of Cnidus & John of Edessa, 506a-511a (Graf 529)
Pelagia, 703a-709b (Graf 529)
Peter, 443b-446b (Graf 309)
Peter & Paul, Dionysius’ Letter on the Apostles, 420b-422b (Graf 270)
Pethion, 657a-662a (Graf 529ff)
Petra, 311b-313a (Graf 530)
Pistis, Elpis, Agape, & Sophia, see under Faith et alii
Placidus, also known as Eustathius, 566b-570b (Graf 502)
Plotinus, 498a-506a (Graf 530)

R
Rechab, the sons of, (Rechabites) 282b-286b (Graf 214)
Reuben (Rubil), 162b-166a (Graf 530)
Risha, 146a-150b (in two parts) (Graf 498)
Romanus, 609b-612b (Graf 530)
Rufina, see under Mamas et alii

S
Saba of Alexandria, 278a-280a (Graf 530)
Seleucus, see under Stratonike
Serapion, 114a-132b (Graf 530)
Sergius & Bacchus, 585b-590a (Graf 512)
The Seven Martyrs of Samosata, 599a-604a
The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, 574a-578b (Graf 512ff.)
Severus (Letter), 524b-526b (Graf 419)
Shenoute, 98a-110b (Graf 463)
Shmona & Gurya, 631b-635b (Graf 530)
Simeon of Kfar ʿĀbdīn, 159a-162b (Graf 530)
Simeon Stylites, 196a-226a (Graf 513)
Simeon the Fool (Salos), 294a-308a (Graf 409)
Stratonike and her fiance Seleucus, 737a-750a (Graf 530)
Susanna, 695b-698a (Graf 530)

T
Thecla & other female martyrs, 709b-714a (Graf 514)
Theodore, martyred in Euchaita, 662a-669a (Graf 514)
Theodotus, father of Mamas, see under Mamas et alii
Theodotus of Amida, 547a-564b

V
A Certain Virgin, 694a-695b
Another Virgin, 698a-698b

X
Xenophon & his sons, John & Arcadius, 132b-137b (Graf 515)

Y
Yareth, 356b-362a (Graf 531)

Z
Zakhe, see under Nicholas

Example of the mise en page. SMMJ 199A, f. 52r.

Example of the mise en page. SMMJ 199A, f. 52r.

Scribal note on Mar Malkē. SMMJ 199A, f. 349v.

Scribal note on Mar Malkē. SMMJ 199A, f. 349v.

SMMJ 199A, f. 290v, John of the Well

SMMJ 199A, f. 290v, John of the Well

SMMJ 199B, f. 698v, Mary the Egyptian

SMMJ 199B, f. 698v, Mary the Egyptian

SMMJ 199B, f. 703r, Pelagia

SMMJ 199B, f. 703r, Pelagia

Three sälam-verses (Gǝʿǝz hagiography)   Leave a comment

It occurred to me that it’s been a while since we’ve looked at any Gǝʿǝz texts, so here are few lines with vocabulary and English translation for some saints (chosen relatively randomly). These are sälam-verses, the five-line rhyming poems that occur in the Ethiopian synaxarion.

Faith, Hope, and Charity/Pistis, Elpis, and Agape PO 9:450

These famous female martyr-saints named after the virtues are often, but not here, named with Wisdom/Sophia (BHO 1082-1085; cf. here).

ሰላም ፡ ሰላም ፡ ደናግል ፡ ሠላስ፤

ጲስ ፡ ጢስ ፡ አላጲስ ፡ ወአጋጲስ፨

አመ ፡ ኮና ፡ ስምዓ ፡ በእንተ ፡ ኢየሱስ ፡ ክርስቶስ፨

ኢያውዓየ ፡ ሥጋሆን ፡ ነበልባለ ፡ እሳት ፡ መብዕስ፨

ወኢያድመነ ፡ ላህዮን ፡ ጢስ፨

Greetings, greetings, three virgins,

Pistis, Elpis, and Agape!

When they became martyrs for Jesus Christ,

The harmful flame of fire did not consume them,

And the smoke did not cloud their beauty.

  • አውዐየ፡ to burn, consume (the form here i- + awʿayä > iyawʿayä [see Dillmann § 48.6, p. 92])
  • ነበልባል፡ flame
  • መብዕስ፡ (i.e. መብእስ፡) harmful, tormenting, severe
  • አድመነ፡ (also አደመነ፡) to cloud, cover with a cloud (i- + admänä > iyadmänä)
  • ላህይ፡ (i.e. ላሕይ፡) beauty
  • ጢስ፡ smoke

Matthew/Mattai/Matewos PO 9: 268

The sälam is straightforward in its details, but it is a good example of how the Gǝʿǝz word order can be moved around in this literary form. This Matewos celebrated here is associated with the conversion of the sibling saints Behnam and Sara.

ሰላም ፡ ለማቴዎስ ፡ ነቢረ ፡ ገዳም ፡ ዘአንኃ፨

አምሳለ ፡ በግዕ ፡ ጸጕረ ፡ እስከ ፡ ተሞጥሐ፨

ከመ ፡ ያርኢ ፡ ጽድቆ ፡ ወተአምሪሁ ፡ ስቡሐ፨

ሐፀበ ፡ በማየ ፡ ጥምቀት ፡ አባለ ፡ መርምህናም ፡ ርሱሐ፨

ወአባለ ፡ ሳራ ፡ እምለምጽ ፡ በህየ ፡ አንጽሐ፨

Greetings to Matewos, who dwelt in the desert a long time,

To the point that he clothed himself in fleece like a sheep!

To show glorious his uprightness and miracles

He washed the filthy flesh of Mar Behnam in the water of baptism

And there cleansed of leprosy the flesh of Sara.

  • አንኀ፡ (also አኖኀ፡, C √nwḫ) to do for a long time
  • በግዕ፡ sheep
  • ጸጕር፡ hair, fleece
  • ተሞጥሐ፡ to clothe o.s., wear
  • ሐፀበ፡ (ኀፀበ፡) to wash away
  • አባል፡ flesh, limb, body part
  • ርሱሕ፡ dirty, defiled, impure (antonym: ንጹሕ፡, from which root we have a verb below)
  • ለምጽ፡ leprosy
  • አንጽሐ፡ to cleanse, purify

Bikabes (spelled ቢከብስ፡ or ቢካቦስ፡) PO 9:499-501

The saint, a soldier, is said to come from Ašmūn Ṭanāh. His Christianity was revealed to a ruler. With others he confesses his Christianity before this ruler, who then gives them a chance to renounce their faith and to sacrifice to the gods: they don’t, and tortures ensue, which the saint survives.

ወለቅዱስሰ ፡ አባ ፡ ቢከብስ ፡ ኰነኖ ፡ ኵንኔ ፡ ዓቢየ ፡ ወብዙኃ ፡ ወሞቅሖ ፡ በሐጺን ፡ ወወደዮ ፡ ውስተ ፡ መንኰራኵራት ፡ ወሰቀሎ ፡ ቍልቍሊተ ፡ ወመተሮ ፡ መለያልያቲሁ።

As for Abba Bikabes, he tortured him severely and much: he chained him with iron, put on the torture wheels, hung him upside down, and cut his limbs.

  • መንኰራኵር፡ (pl. መንኵራኵር፡ and as above) (torture) wheel (see here)
  • ሰቀለ፡ to hang, crucify
  • ቍልቍሊተ፡ upside down
  • መተረ፡ to cut
  • መሌሊት፡ (pl. መለያልይ፡ and as above) limb, body part

Next, the ruler puts these Christians into a boat headed to Baramuni* for 27 days in which they had naught to eat or drink, followed by further tortures, which this time bring an end to the saint. A rich man takes the saint’s body, prepares it for burial, and sends it to Ašmūn Ṭanāh, where a church is built in his name. The sälam at the end is as follows:

ሰላም ፡ ለአባ ፡ ቢካቦስ ፡ ዘኮኖሙ ፡ ተባያጼ፨

ለ፺ወ፭ሰማዕታተ ፡ ክርስቶስ ፡ እንበለ ፡ ግጋፄ፨

ጣዖተ ፡ አሕዛብ ፡ ይዝልፍ ፡ ወንጉሦሙ ፡ ዓማፄ፨

ለዘ ፡ ጥቡዕ ፡ ኢመጽኦ ፡ ድንጋፄ፨

እንዘ ፡ ይመትሩ ፡ ሥጋሁ ፡ በማኅፄ፨

Greetings to Abba Bikabes, who became a companion

To the ninety-five martyrs of Christ without fear,

Reviling the idols of the peoples and their lawless king!

No terror came upon the steadfast [saint]

As they cut his flesh with an axe.

  • ተባያጺ፡ companion
  • ግጋጼ፡ fear
  • ዘለፈ፡ to revile, refute, disprove
  • ዓማፂ፡ unjust, lawless, wicked
  • ጥቡዕ፡ steadfast, eager, bold
  • ደንጋፄ፡ terror, dread, amazement
  • ማኅፄ፡ (i.e. ማሕጼ፡) axe

*For both toponyms mentioned here see Amélineau, Géographie, p. 88; (and note the story for John of Ašmūn Ṭanāh there; cf. p. 170 and 457).

Jerome’s Life of Paul the Hermit in Syriac (and a colophon on Dayr al-suryān)   1 comment

In some Christian traditions, today is the commemoration of Jerome, so I thought of a Syriac text connected with Jerome that I cataloged some time ago. In CFMM 261, pp. 3-13, there is Jerome’s Life of Paul the Hermit, the Latin text of which is in PL 23, cols., 17-30 (ET here). See BHO 909-916 for Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, and Gǝʕǝz versions. The Syriac text* has been published in Bedjan’s Acta martyrum et sanctorum 5: 561-572 (here at archive.org), and the text also appears in The Book of Paradise (ed. Budge, vol. 2, pp. 242-251; online here). The beginning of the CFMM text is missing, but the identification of the work is sure, not least thanks to the end of the work (see below). I have not closely compared the printed editions with this witness from CFMM, but, unsurprisingly, even a quick look reveals some differences. Only considering the end of the work we see that CFMM 261 has six lines that are absent from the texts of Bedjan and Budge.

*Bedjan’s edition of this text is based on these two manuscripts: Paris syr. 317 (Chabot, “Notice sur les manuscrits syriaques de la Bibliothèque nationale acquis depuis 1874, JA IX, 8 (1896): 264-265; Nau, “Notices des manuscripts syriaques, éthiopiens et mandéens, entrés à la Bibliothèque nationale de Paris depuis l’édition des catalogues,” ROC 16 (1911):  287) and BL add. 12173 (Wright, Cat., pp. 1070-1072).

CFMM 261 (olim Dayr al-Zaʿfarān 116; cf. Dolabani, Dayr al-Zaʿfarān catalog, pt. II, pp. 86-88) has an original part, along with some later additions on pp. 441-464. The original colophon (see below, with translation), coming at the end of quire 22, pp. 439-440, is incomplete and lacks a name and date, while the date of the later part (1757/8) is on p. 464. The original part is perhaps of the 16th century. A careful comparison is necessary, but the contents of CFMM 261 and the list of stories in the colophon are very close to the original contents of BL add. 14732 (Wright, Cat., pp. 1141-1146). As the scribe says in the colophon, he found his exemplar for this manuscript among the Syriac books of Dayr al-Suryān, which ceased to have a major Syriac presence in the early seventeenth century (L. Van Rompay in GEDSH 386-387).

Here are the last two pages of Jerome’s Life of Paul the Hermit in the CFMM manuscript.

CFMM 261, pp. 12-13

CFMM 261, pp. 12-13

And now the colophon, which will be of interest to readers well beyond those concerned especially with Jerome, together with an English translation.

CFMM 261, p. 439

CFMM 261, p. 439

Ended, completed, lined, and concluded are these confused and mixed up lines, altered [for the worse] in every way, inasmuch as I am not a scribe, but for lack of scribes, for necessity, I was compelled to corrupt these pages, because I was sojourning [or in exile] in the d[esert] of Scetis, in our monastery of the Syrians, and when I went up the large tower that is in the holy monastery and saw the Syriac books that were in it, countless and numberless in their quantity, I saw a large book that had stories of all the holy fathers, as for my consolation. So I took it to my cell and was greatly consoled by it. I read the stories, but not all of them, and according to the power that the Lord gave us — me and my spiritual father, the monk and priest Šams al-Dīn — we left the city of Egypt [meṣrēn] and brought with us a few pages [qallil waraqē], and as we read these stories of holy people, at the beginning of the book was written the story of our lady, the Theotokos, Mary, and after that, the story of Paul, the story of Antony, chief of monks,

CFMM 261, p. 440

CFMM 261, p. 440

and all the perfect fathers, one after another according to their times, leaders of monasteries, cells, and deserts. I selected a few of the stories, according to my ability and according to the demand of my spiritual father, and these are the stories that I copied:

  1. first, Paul, [the fi]rst and the firstborn of solitaries, ascetics, and mourners,
  2. Paul the simple, the disciple of Anba Antony,
  3. Paul the bishop,
  4. John the priest,
  5. the holy, blessed and exalted martyr Anba Moses the Ethiopian, monk and master among ascetics,
  6. the holy, god-clothed master among ascetics, Anba Paul, concerning his labors and exhaustion,
  7. the holy, god-clothed, and blessed Anba John Kama [ⲕⲁⲙⲉ],
  8. the holy Mary of Egypt [igupṭāyā meṣrāytā],
  9. on the life of the blessed Evagrius,
  10. the holy John, bishop of Tella,
  11. the holy Šāhdōst, catholicos, together with those who were with him,
  12. the blessed Ephrem the teacher and pride of the Syrians,
  13. the holy and blessed Symeon, who was called a fool [Salos] on account of Christ,
  14. John, his spiritual brother,
  15. the martyrdom of the holy Cyprian and Justina, his holy daughter

Bibliography

Here is one resource specifically on Jerome and Syriac, with two more general excellent studies:

Adam Kamesar, Greek Scholarship and The Hebrew Bible: A Study of the Quaestiones Hebraicae in Genesim, Oxford Classical Monographs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

Daniel King, “Vir Quadrilinguis? Syriac in Jerome and Jerome in Syriac,” in Andrew Cain and Josef M. Lössl, eds., Jerome of Stridon: His Life, Writings, and Legacy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 209-223.

Stefan Rebenich, Jerome, The Early Church Fathers (London:  Routledge, 2002).

 

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 31   Leave a comment

Today’s text comes from Gregory of Nyssa’s De opificio hominis (CPG 3154), ch. 22; for this specific part, the Greek is in PG 44, col. 204, and the Georgian version in Ilia Abuladze, უძველესი რედაკციები ბასილი კესარიელის «ექუსთა დღეთაჲსა» და გრიგოლ ნოსელის თარგმანებისა «კაცისა აგებულებისათჳს» (Tbilisi, 1964), 195.13-20. Of manuscripts available online, the Greek will be found in BL Harley 5576 (images online here), this passage at f. 67r, beginning about halfway down in line 18. Note, too, that part of this passage from Gregory is quoted (without attribution) in Pseudo-Zonaras, Lexicon (cf. Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship, § 3.2.19), s.v. Γήϊνον, following the definition Ἀδὰμ ἑρμηνεύεται.

Below I’ll give the Greek and Georgian version together, but first let’s look at 1 Cor 15:47 in Greek and Georgian, since this verse is the background to Gregory’s discussion. The Greek in Nestle-Aland reads ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. (NB χοϊκός derived from ὁ χοῦς soil, dust.) There are two notable readings:

  • ἄνθρωπος πνευματικός in the famous P46, this part (f. 59r) in the Chester Beatty papyrus collection in Dublin: image here, line 7 from bottom)
  • ἄνθρωπος ὁ κύριος, the nomen sacrum marked to be read in the margin in Sinaiticus, f. 273v, col. b., line 8; image here (there are a number of other witnesses, too)

Now for the Georgian. The Epistles of Paul are known in two recensions, referred to as AB and CD, and for this verse each reflects one of the above Greek variants. (Vocabulary: მიწაჲ earth, ground; ზეცაჲ heaven)

AB პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორჱ იგი კაცი ზეცით გამო სულიერი. (სულიერი reflects πνευματικός)

CD პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორე იგი კაცი უფალი ზეცით. (უფალი reflects κύριος)

Now we turn to Gregory’s text. I mentioned the Harley Greek manuscript above, and I urge you to have a look at the handwriting there, especially those who are less experienced reading Greek manuscripts: you can compare it to the text that Migne gives, in comparison with which there are just two differences, namely Ἀδὰμ λέγεται (PG transp.) and ἐκ χοϊκῆς (PG ἐκ γῆς), with θεός and ἄνθρωπος (including derivatives) abbreviated.

BL Harley 5576, f. 67r: οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες

BL Harley 5576, f. 67r: οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες

Here are three sentences from Gregory’s work, given separately in Greek and in Georgian, with a few notes for Georgian vocabulary and grammar. In addition to the apparent omission in the second sentence, I would especially point out with regard to the translation, “they say” in Greek is “we heard” in the Georgian version, and the former’s “those who know the language of the Hebrews” is rather “the Pharisees, the Jews” in the latter. The verse from 1 Cor 15 is explicitly quoted in the Georgian version. More might be said, of course!

Ἡ μὲν οὖν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει θεωρουμένη, τὸ τέλος ἔσχεν.

ხოლო ხატებაჲ იგი ღმრთისაჲ, ხილული ყოველსა შინა ბუნებასა კაცობრივსა, განსრულებულ არს,

  • ხატებაჲ similarity, likeness (cf. ხატი image)
  • ხილული seen, visible (for this word, S-F 1569b has “geöffnet (Augen), sehend”, but the mng. here [and elsewhere] is clearly like that of ხილვული “gesehen”, S-F 1569a)
  • ბუნებაჲ nature
  • კაცობრივი human (adj.)
  • განსრულებული completed, ended

Ὁ δὲ Ἀδὰμ οὔπω ἐγένετο· τὸ γὰρ γήϊνον πλάσμα κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται Ἀδάμ, καθώς φασιν οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες.

არამედ ადამი ჯერეთ არღა არს, რამეთუ ადამ გამოითარგმნების ქუეყანიერი, ვითარ-იგი გუესმა ფარისეველთა მათგან ჰურიათა,

[Geo. has nothing for τὸ … γήϊνον πλάσμα]

  • ჯერეთ still, yet
  • გამო-ი-თარგმნ-ებ-ი-ს 3sg pres. pass. გამოთარგმანება to translate (here seemingly for all of κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται)
  • ქუეყანიერი earthy, from the earth (< ქუეყანაჲ earth, ground)
  • გუ-ე-სმ-ა 1pl aor სმენა to hear (conj. IV verb; see OGPS 13) (cf. Adishi Lk 4:23, 22:71; Jn 12:34 for ἠκούσαμεν)
  • ფარისეველი Pharisee
  • ჰურიაჲ Jew

Διὸ καὶ ὁ Ἀπόστολος διαφερόντως τὴν πάτριον τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν πεπαιδευμένος φωνήν, τὸν ἐκ γῆς ἄνθρωπον χοϊκὸν ὀνομάζει, οἱονεὶ μεταβαλὼν τὴν τοῦ Ἀδὰμ κλῆσιν εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα φωνήν.

და მოციქული, რამეთუ წურთილ იყო მოძღურებასა მას ჰურიაებრსა და მიწევნულ სიტყუასა მათსა ფრიად, ამისთჳს სახელ-სდვა კაცსა მას და თქუა: პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწაჲ.

  • მოციქული apostle
  • წურთილი taught, instructed, experienced (participle adj. < წურთა to teach)
  • მოძღურებაჲ doctrine, teaching
  • ჰურიაებრი Jewish
  • მიწევნული knowing
  • სახელ-ს-დვ-ა 3s aor სახელის-დება to name (სახელი name + დება to lay, put). Cf. ხოლო მოგუნი ფედ სახელ სდებენ but the Magi call it “Ped” (Cave of Treasures § 27.20 [Kourcikidzé, La caverne des trésors. Version géorgienne (CSCO 527)]); სახელ-სდვა თჳსად he named them with his own name (Garitte, Narratio de rebus Armeniae (CSCO 132), p. 270).

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 23 (Euphemianus and Alexis)   Leave a comment

The passage below comes from near the end of the story of Euphemianus and his son Alexis (aka The Man of God), in K. Kekelidze, Keimena, tom. 1, pp. 161-165; for other languages, cf. BHG 51, BHO 36-44, GCAL I:497-498, and CSCO 298-299. In Kekelidze’s edition, the title runs [Ⴇ~ⴀ ⴋⴐⴚⴑⴀ ႨႪ:] ⴚⴞⴍⴐⴄⴁⴀⴢ ⴄⴅⴔⴄⴋⴈⴀⴌⴄⴑⴈ ⴃⴀ ⴛⴈⴑⴀ ⴋⴈⴑⴈⴑⴀ ⴀⴊⴄⴕⴑⴈⴑⴈ, that is, for March 17, ცხორებაჲ ევფემიანესი და ძისა მისისა ალექსისი, The Life of Euphemianus and his Son Alexis. I give the Greek (from Pereira’s edition in AB 19 [1900], 243-253 [BHG 51]) for convenient comparison, the Georgian text from Kekelidze, my English translation of that, and the same Georgian text broken down into sentences with vocabulary. It will be immediately evident that the Greek and Georgian texts do not match exactly. (In this and other passages is evident a feature of the Greek version that Pereira notes as follows [p. 245, n. 1]: “Les mots d’origine latine, dont nous signalerons en note les plus marquants, sont assez nombreux dans notre texte pour faire croire, sinon que notre légende est traduite du latin, du moins que son auteur était familiarisé avec la langue latine.”)

Ἐγένετο δὲ ὁ καιρὸς τοῦ ἐξελθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐκ τοῦ σώματος, καὶ ἡνίκα ηὐδόκησεν ὁ Κύριος παραλαβεῖν τὴν παραθήκην αὐτοῦ ἐξ αὐτοῦ, εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν παῖδα τὸν ὑπηρετοῦντα αὐτῷ· Ἀδελφέ, φέρε μοι χαρτίον καὶ μελάνην καὶ κάλαμον, Καὶ ἔγραψεν πάντα τὸν βίον αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ μυστήρια, ἃ εἶχεν μεταξὺ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἃ ἐλάλησεν τῇ νύμφῇ ἐν τῷ γάμῷ, καὶ ὡς ἀπέδωκεν τὸ δακτύλιον αὐτοῦ τὸ χρυσοῦν καὶ τὴν ῥένδαν ἐντετυλιγμένην εἰς πράνδεον καὶ πορφυροῦν, καὶ πάντα τὸν βίον αὐτοῦ ἔγραψεν, ὅπως γνωρίσωσιν αὐτὸν ὅτι αὐτός ἔστιν ὁ υἱὸς αὐτῶν. (Pereira, p. 249)

და იყო ოდეს მოიწია ჟამი მისი ზეცით წოდებისაჲ ო~ლისა მიერ. ჰქ~ა მსახურსა მას თჳსს: ძმაო ჩემო. წარვედ და მომართუ მე ქარტაჲ და მელანი და კალამი და მან მოართუა. ხოლო ალექსი დაწერა ყ~ლი რ~ი რაჲ იყო საქმჱ მისი და ნიშანი ოდეს იგი მისცა ცოლსა სარტყელი და ბეჭედი შარითა წახუეული რ~ი საიდუმლოჲ იყო ყ~ლთა-გან. და იპყრა იადგარი იგი ჴელსა მარჯუენესა: და ეგრეთ შეისუენა ნეტარმან ალექსიმ დღესა კჳრიაკესა჻ (Kekelidze, end of § 6, p. 163)

When the time for his call in heaven from the Lord came, he [Alexis] said to his servant, “My brother, go and bring me paper, ink, and pen,” and he brought it. Then Alexis wrote what his whole story had been and when [as] a sign to his wife [he had given] the belt and the ring wrapped in fine linen, which was a secret from them all, and he grasped the hymnbook [iadgari] in his right hand, and thus the blessed Alexis died on a Sunday.

და იყო ოდეს მოიწია ჟამი მისი ზეცით წოდებისაჲ ო~ლისა მიერ.

  • მოწევნა to approach, come near, arrive
  • ჟამი time
  • ზეცაჲ heaven
  • წოდებაჲ call

ჰქ~ა მსახურსა მას თჳსს:

  • მსახური servant

ძმაო ჩემო. წარვედ და მომართუ მე ქარტაჲ და მელანი და კალამი და მან მოართუა.

  • წარსლვა to go away
  • მორთუმა to bring
  • ქარტაჲ paper
  • მელანი ink
  • კალამი pen

ხოლო ალექსი დაწერა ყ~ლი რ~ი რაჲ იყო საქმჱ მისი და ნიშანი ოდეს იგი მისცა ცოლსა სარტყელი და ბეჭედი შარითა წახუეული რ~ი საიდუმლოჲ იყო ყ~ლთა-გან.

  • ნიშანი sign, mark
  • სარტყელი belt
  • ბეჭედი ring
  • შარი costly linen
  • წახუეული wrapped up (cf. წარხუევა to wrap up)
  • საიდუმლოჲ secret

და იპყრა იადგარი იგი ჴელსა მარჯუენესა:

  • პყრობა to grasp
  • იადგარი hymn-book
  • მარჯუენეჲ right (hand)

და ეგრეთ შეისუენა ნეტარმან ალექსიმ დღესა კჳრიაკესა჻

  • შესუენება to die

As an appendix, for one parallel among several possible (i.e. the text in other languages), here is the same part of the tale in a Gǝʕǝz version (CSCO 298, pp. 145-146, ed. E. Cerulli), with my translation:

ወሶበ ፡ ርእየ ፡ ቅዱስ ፡ ዘንተ ፡ ራእየ ፡ ተፈሥሐ ፡ ወተኀሥየ ፡ ፈድፋደ ፡ ወይቤሎ ፡ ለውእቱ ፡ ገብር ፡ ዘይትለአኮ ፡ አምጽእ ፡ ሊተ ፡ ክርታሰ ፡ ወማየ ፡ ሕመተ ፡ ወእምይእዜ ፡ ተዐርፍ ፡ እምፃማ ፡ ዚአየ። ወአንከረ ፡ ውእቱ ፡ ገብር ፡ እምነገሩ ፡ ወአምጽአ ፡ ሎቱ ፡ ክርታሰ ፡ ወማየ ፡ ሕመተ። ወጸሐፈ ፡ ቅዱስ ፡ ሙሴ ፡ ብእሴ ፡ እግዚአብሔር ፡ ኵሎ ፡ ገድሎ ፡ እምጥንቱ ፡ እስከ ፡ ተፍጻሜቱ። ወበራብዕ ፡ ዕለት ፡ ነሥአ ፡ ውእቱ ፡ ክርታሰ ፡ ዘጸሐፈ ፡ በእዴሁ ፡ ወአዕረፈ ፡ በዕለተ ፡ እሑድ። ወዓርገት ፡ ነፍሱ ፡ ውስተ ፡ ሰማያት። ወተቀበልዎ ፡ መላእክት ፡ ጻድቃን ፡ ወሰማዕት ፡ ነቢያት ፡ ወሐዋርያት ፡ እንዘ ፡ ይብሉ፤ ሃሌ ፡ ሉያ ፡ ፍርቃን ፡ ለአምላክነ። ወቦአ ፡ ውስተ ፡ ሰማያት።

When the saint saw this vision, he rejoiced and was very glad, and he said to his servant who was assisting him, “Bring me paper and ink, and henceforth shall you rest from labor in my [service].” The servant was surprised at his words and brought him paper and ink. Then the saint, Moses the Man of God, wrote all of his combat from beginning to end. On the fourth day, he took in his hand the paper he had written and he died [lit. rested] on a Sunday. His soul went up to heaven and the angels, the just, the martyrs, the prophets, and the apostles received it, saying, “Halleluia, salvation to our God!” And he entered heaven.

Epiphany, from the Armenian synaxarion   1 comment

Merely for today’s date, here are some selections from the Armenian synaxarion for Jan 6 (K’ałoc’ 29), with Bayan’s French translation, these lines being found in PO 18 (page numbers indicated below). Both the adoration of the magi and Jesus’ baptism are commemorated in this reading, and a close connection is made between the two. I have broken the selections down into simple phrases with the translation immediately beside the original, for the ease of students of classical Armenian, who will, I hope, find these lines to be fruitful reading material.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Adoration_of_the_Magi_%28Menologion_of_Basil_II%29.jpg/800px-Adoration_of_the_Magi_%28Menologion_of_Basil_II%29.jpg

From the Menologion of Basil II.

18.194

Եւ իբրեւ մոգքն՝ ի վեր առեալ ւ մսրոյ անտի, ի գիրկս ունէր զնա։ Lorsque les mages arrivèrent, (Marie) le souleva de la crèche et prit l’enfant dans ses bras.

Եւ մտեալ մոգուցն երկիր պագին նմա, Les mages entrèrent, se prosternant, l’adorent;

եւ բացեալ զգանձս իւրեանց մատուցանէին նմա պատարագս, ոսկի իբրեւ թագաւորի, puis, ouvrant leurs trésors, ils lui offrirent en présent de l’or, comme à un roi;

եւ կնդրուկ որպէս Աստուծոյ, de l’encens comme à Dieu;

եւ զմուռ որպէս հանդերձեալ մեռանելոյ։ et de la myrrhe comme à qui est appelé à mourir.

Եւ հրաման առեալ ի հրեշտակէն որ յայտնեաց զխորամանգութիւնն Հերովդէի, ընդ այլ ճանապարհ գնացիսն յաշխարհ իւրեանց։ Et ayant été avertis par l’ange qui leur dévoila la ruse d’Hérode, ils regagnèrent leur pays par un autre chemin (Mt 2:12).

18.195

Եւ յետ երեսուն ամի, ի սոյն աւուր Յունվարի ամսոյ ի Զ, յաւուր կիւրակէի, գայ Յիսուս ի մկրտութիւն ի Յորդանան առ Յովհաննէս, Trente ans après, en ce même jour du 6 Janvier, un jour de dimanche, Jésus vint au Jourdain pour être baptisé par Jean;

զի ծնաւ ընդ երէկս հինգշաբաթին ի լուսանալ ուրբաթին, յորում արուր ստեղծաւ Ադամ. il est né en effet un jeudi soir, à l’heure où pointait le vendredi, jour où fut crée Adam;

եւ աւետարանեցաւ ի չորեքշանաթի եւ մկրտեցաւ ի կիւրակէի յաւուր արարչութեան եւ յարութեանն։ il fut annoncé le mercredi, et fut baptisé le dimanche, jour de la création et de la résurrection.

18.196

Արդ եւ մեք ուրախացեալք ի Ծննդեան եւ Յայտնութեան Քրիստոսի Աստուցոյ մերոյ, Or, nous aussi, réjouis par la Nativité de l’Épiphanie du Christ, notre Dieu,

ընդ հրեշտակսն փառաւորեսցուք glorifions avec les anges,

եւ ընդ հովիւսն բարեբանեսցուք rendons grâce avec les bergers,

եւ ընդ մոգուցն երկրպագեսցուք, adorons avec les mages,

եւ մատուսցուք նմա պատարագ օրհնութեան՝ զհաւատս, զանուշահոտ վարս, զմեռելութիւն ախտից. et offrons-lui nos présents de bénédictions, la foi, une conduite agréable, la mortification des passions.

ընդ Յովհաննու խայտասցուք եւ զարհուրեսցուք. գառն Աստուծոյ եւ բարձող մեղաց զնա քարոզեսցուք։ Avec Jean tressaillons de joie et tremblons de crainte; prêchons l’agneau de Dieu, celui qui remet nos péchés.

“Satan” upside down in an Arabic manuscript   Leave a comment

I’ve mentioned here before the writing upside down of names as a means of cursing, dissociation, or the like (here, here, and cf. here). Today, while cataloging an Arabic manuscript from Mardin — CCM 17, 18th century, which contains accounts of miracles of Mary and other saints — I found another example, this time with “Satan”, and notably, in Arabic script, not Syriac, as was the case with the other examples I’ve pointed out. In this image, you can see al-šayṭān upside down in lines 2, 5, and 7.

CCM 17, f. 47r.

CCM 17, f. 47r.

The Christmas story (Luke 2) in Old Georgian   3 comments

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).

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!

An episode from the Martyrdom of Barbara   1 comment

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!”).

From here.

From here.

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.

bedjan_ams_III_348 bedjan_ams_III_349

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.”

[p. 349]

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.

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