Archive for the ‘manuscripts’ Tag

A scribe addressing a reader’s spiritual condition   Leave a comment

Here is a colophon from a manuscript I cataloged last week (CFMM 155, p. 378). It shares common features and vocabulary with other Syriac colophons, but the direct address to the reader, not merely to ask for prayer, but also to suggest that the reader, too, needs rescuing is less common. We often find something like “Whoever prays for the scribe’s forgiveness will also be forgiven,” but the phrasing we find in this colophon is not as common.

CFMM 155, p. 378

CFMM 155, p. 378

Brother, reader! I ask you in the love of Jesus to say, “God, save from the wiles of the rebellious slanderer the weak and frail one who has written, and forgive his sins in your compassion.” Perhaps you, too, should be saved from the snares of the deceitful one and be made worthy of the rank of perfection. Through the prayers of Mary the Godbearer and all the saints! Yes and yes, amen, amen.

Here are a few notes and vocabulary words for students:

  • pāgoʿā reader (see the note on the root pgʿ in this post)
  • ḥubbā Išoʿ should presumably be ḥubbā d-Išoʿ
  • pṣy D to save; first paṣṣay(hy) D impv 2ms + 3ms, then tetpaṣṣē Dt impf 2ms
  • mḥil weak
  • tāḥub weak
  • ākel-qarṣā crumb-eater, i.e. slanderer, from an old Aramaic (< Akkadian) idiom ekal qarṣē “to eat the crumbs (of)” > “to slander” (see S.A. Kaufman, Akkadian Influences on Aramaic, p. 63) (cf. διάβολος < διαβάλλω)
  • ṣenʿtā plot (for ṣenʿātēh d-ākel-qarṣā cf. Eph 6:11 τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου)
  • mārod rebellious
  • paḥḥā trap, snare
  • nkil deceitful
  • šwy Gt to be equal, to be made worthy, deserve
  • dargā level, rank
  • gmirutā perfection
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A 15th-century Syriac scribal note   2 comments

Here is a simple scribal note on a page of manuscript 152 of the Church of the Forty Martyrs, Mardin (CFMM), a book dated 1780 AG (= 1468/9 CE) and containing mēmrē attributed to Isaac, Ephrem, and Jacob. On p. 59, where the date is given, in addition to the name Gabriel, which also occurs in this note, we see the name Abraham as another partner in producing the manuscript, which was copied at the Monastery of Samuel.

CFMM 152, p. 145

CFMM 152, p. 145

Here’s the Syriac and an English translation, followed by a few notes for students.

d-pāgaʿ w-qārē nšammar ṣlotā l-Gabriʾēl da-npal b-hālēn ḥaššē wa-ktab hānā ptāḥā a(y)k da-l-ʿuhdānā w-meṭṭul reggat ṣlotā d-ḥussāyā da-ḥṭāhē

Whoever comes upon and reads [this note], let him send a prayer for Gabriel, who has fallen into these sufferings and has written this page-spread as a memorial and due to a longing for a prayer for the forgiveness of [his] sins.

A few notes on the passage:

  • The verb pgaʿ, semantically similar to Greek ἐντυγχάνειν, often means “to read” and is commonly paired with qrā in notes and colophons.
  • šmr D + ṣlotā means “to direct, send, utter a prayer”.
  • ḥaššē may not refer to any specific pains or illness. Scribes are generally all too happy to remind their readers that it was in difficult circumstances — of environment, body, mind, etc. — that they wielded their pens!
  • ptāḥā means “the opening” (ptaḥ to open), that is, the two-page spread of an open book.
  • The purpose, commonly mentioned in notes and colophons, of Gabriel’s copying this book is to remind readers to pray for his sins.

Some Judeo-Persian manuscripts at the BnF   1 comment

Previously I have highlighted some Georgian manuscripts that the Bibliothèque nationale de France has graciously made freely available online. Here is a list of Judeo-Persian manuscripts from the BnF that I have been able to find at Gallica. (If I happen to have missed one, please let me know.) They mostly come from the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries, some of them with colophons. While these manuscripts obviously fall outside of the delimiter “eastern Christian” that guides most of the posts appearing here, I know that at least some readers of the blog have, just as I do, broader interests than that delimiter allows. Most of the texts here are biblical; for details about published biblical texts in Persian (Judeo-Persian and otherwise), see my hitherto incomplete bibliography here.

These manuscripts often have a verse in Hebrew followed immediately by a Persian translation. For the Catalogues des manuscrits hébreux et samaritains de la Bibliothèque Impériale (Munk, Derenbourg, Franck, and Zotenberg) see at Gallica here and archive.org here. The few remarks I give below rely on this volume.

Un grand merci à la BnF de partager ces manuscrits!

70 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9002771d (catalog)

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

71 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90027700 (catalog)

  • The Persian text of №s 70-71 is said to follow Targum Onqelos closely.

90 Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064442x (catalog)

  • Probably the same scribe as №s 70-71.

97 Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (to 10:3), with David Kimḥi’s commentary http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064631t (catalog)

100 Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644470 (catalog)

  • Different from the version in № 97. Like some of the other JP translations, this one follows Onqelos more than the MT.

101 Minor Prophets, Lamentations http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644151 (catalog)

  • The margins have some of the Persian in Perso-Arabic script.

116 Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064448d (catalog)

117 Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064446k (catalog)

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

118 Job, Lamentations, Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644544 (catalog)

120 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064420b (catalog)

121 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644188 (catalog)

127 Esther, benedictions, and a Purim song (Heb and Pers) http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064444r (catalog)

129 Daniel http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90645658 (catalog)

130 Tobit, Judith, Bel and the Dragon, Megillat Antiochos[1] http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064465x (catalog)

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

The colophon (f. 58r) reads as follows:

نبشتة (!) شد این کتاب در موضع لار سال هزار و نوه صد ودوازده

נבשתה שוד אין כתאב דר מוצׄע לאר סאל הזאר ונוה צד ודואזדה

nevešte šod in ketāb dar mawẓiʿ-e Lār sāl-e hezār o noh sad o davāzdah

This book was written in the village of Lār in the year 1912 [AG, = 1600/1].

[1] The Aramaic text, for whatever it’s worth (Kaufman’s comments here), is available at the CAL site sub Late Jewish Literary Aramaic, text 81406.

Notes on some manuscripts of the Mar Behnam Monastery   Leave a comment

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).

MBM 1

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. 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.

MBM 1, f. 275v, with marginal note on Dt 25:5 explaining ybm as a Hebrew word.

MBM 20

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 Maximilian Enger, Ioannis Apostoli de transitu beatae Mariae Virginis liber (Elberfeld, 1854) available 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.

MBM 20, f. 24v. End of bk 2, start of bk 3 of the Six Books.

MBM 120

Another copy of Eliya of Nisibis, Book of the Translator, on which see my article in JSS 58 (2013): 297-322 (available here).

MBM 141

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.

MBM 144

Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Metrical Grammar, d. 1492/3 on 78v. Clear script, but not very pretty.

MBM 146

Bar ʿEbrāyā, Book of Rays. Lots of marginalia in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī.

MBM 152

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, spine.

MBM 152, marbled endpapers.

MBM 152, marbled endpapers.

MBM 172

The Six Books Dormition, Garšūnī, from books 5-6, 16th cent. (?).

MBM 207
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)

MBM 209

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.

MBM 209, f. 197v. The Story of Hindbād and Sindbād the Sailor.

MBM 250

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.

MBM 250, f. 1v. Beg. of Ḥunayn’s Arabic translation of the Summary of Galen’s On the Kinds of Urine.

MBM 270

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.

MBM 270, f. 5v. John of Damascus, Arabic.

MBM 342

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).

MBM 364

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

MBM 365

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

MBM 365, f. 79r, the beginning of the Saying and Questions of Saint Simʿān

MBM 367

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.

MBM 367, f. 1v. Mt 10:19-23 with the beginning of the commentary.

MBM 368

Garšūnī (very nice, clear script). Memre and other texts on theological, monastic, and spiritual subjects.

MBM 386

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

MBM 388

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)

MBM 390

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

MBM 469

Ecclesiasticus, Garšūnī, with some Turkish-Arabic/Garsh equivalents at beginning.

MBM 469, f. 1v. Turkish words with Arabic/Garšūnī equivalents.

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.

MBM 485

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.

MBM 485, f. 6v. Mt 18:15-17, 20:1-3.

MBM 489

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.

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.

MBM 489, f. 77r = p. 131. The beginning of the Syriac Le Cid.

MBM 509

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.

MBM 509, f. 34v.

MBM 514

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.

MBM 514, p. 4.

And the same in Italian:

MBM 514, p. 5.

MBM 514, p. 5.

Trisagion in Turkish (Syriac script)   Leave a comment

I have written before on the page from CCM 10 that has the Trisagion in various languages, all in Syriac script. Let’s take a look specifically at the Turkish part now:

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters

The readings of this one are more obvious than the Georgian part we looked at before. Here is a possible transcription:

arı Taŋrı, arı güçlü, arı ölmez

rahmet bizüm ʾwsnʾ eyle!

Notes

arı pure, clean (a homonym means bee, wasp). For “holy” in Isa 6:3, Ali Bey has kuddûs, and the same seems to be the norm in related places (e.g. Rev 4:8), too, in Ali Bey’s version and later translations. (For Ottoman translations of the Bible, see here.)

Taŋrı God (< sky). Here spelled tgry. The ŋ in this word (mod. Tanrı) was written in Ottoman with the ڭ (where so marked) or with نڭ. For the earlier history of the word see G. Clauson, An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish, pp. 523-524; Turkish and Mongolian Studies, pp. 9-10, 220, 223. It appears in other Turkic languages, too, such as Tatar тәңре. From a Turkic language the word came into Mongolian (sky, heaven, deity; in addition to the above references, cf. N. Poppe, Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies, p. 45). The word is listed, of course, in Kāšġarī’s famous work on Turkic languages; see vol. 3: 278-279 of edition available here (PDF); no other edition is available to me now, but for a Russian translation, see № 6418 in the Z.-A. Auezova’s 2005 work (Мах̣мӯд ал-Ка̄шг̣арӣ, Дӣва̄н Луг̣а̄т ат-Турк). (Clauson and others — such as K. Shiratori, Über die Sprache des Hiung-nu Stammes und der Tung-hu Stämme, pp. 3-4 — point to an early occurrence of the word in Chinese garb in the 漢書 Hàn Shū: the form is 撐犁, modern chēng lí < t’ʿäng liei < tʿäng liǝr. The passage is in the last part of the Hàn Shū, the biographies, chapter (94) 匈奴傳上, § 10, available here.) Whether or not there is a real connection, the Turkic word does immediately bring to mind Sumerian diĝir (which we might just as well spell diŋir).

güçlü strong, powerful, mighty. Note in the Syriac script that ç is indicated by a gāmal with an Arabic ǧīm beneath it.

ölmez immortal, undying (the root of ölmek to die + neg. suffix -mAz)

bizüm 1pl pron gen. We might expect the dative bize, but the phrase here (lit. do our mercy) is not altogether unclear; but see the note to the following word. Analogous phrases in Ottoman versions of the Bible do have the dative:

  • Ps 123:3 Ali Bey ʿināyet eyle bize
  • Ps 123:3 Turabi Effendi merhamet eyle bize
  • Lk 18:38 Ali Bey (with 1sg) baŋa merhamet eyle

ʾwsnʾ I’m not immediately sure how to take this word. Possibly a mistake for üstüne upon, a postposition with bizüm for object?

eyle impv of the auxiliary verb eylemek to do, make, here with rahmet: to have mercy, be merciful

Two meteorological reports from the sixteenth century   1 comment

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.

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.

The Jerusalem manuscript of Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric   3 comments

This is just a short note on a manuscript I cataloged this morning. It’s not a new find, but rather a confirmation of the existence and the whereabouts of a significant copy of Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric. In the introduction to his edition of the fifth book of the Rhetoric (CSCO 480), John Watt, who has written extensively on the topic of rhetoric in Syriac (see the bibliography below), mentions a manuscript of the work known to have been at Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem (cf. Baumstark in OC 3 (1913): 132 [no. 32*]), and not a late copy: he gives 14th/15th/16th century, but he had apparently not seen the manuscript. He says of it that its location “since 1949 is also unknown” (p. xi).

Thanks to HMML’s digitization of the collection at Saint Mark’s, the manuscript’s whereabouts can be confirmed, and images of this important copy are now easily accessible. As for the date, Baumstark suggests 15th or 16th century, and the data reported by Watt also includes the previous century. To me, 16th century seems too late an estimate; I would tentatively settle on the 15th. The manuscript contains most of the text of Antony’s Rhetoric, although the first two folios are later replacements, and the end of the fifth book is missing. Here are a few samples:

SMMJ 230, pp. 255-256, end of book 2 and beg. of book 3 (and end of quire 13, beg. of quire 14)

SMMJ 230, pp. 255-256, end of book 2 and beg. of book 3 (and end of quire 13, beg. of quire 14)

SMMJ 230, pp. 289-290, from book 4

SMMJ 230, pp. 289-290, from book 4

SMMJ 230, pp. 383-384, from book 5

SMMJ 230, pp. 383-384, from book 5, and with ink noticeably more faded

Bibliography (from The Compr. Bib. on Syriac Christianity)

Breydy, Michel, ”Précisions historiques autour des œuvres d’Antoine de Tagrit et des manuscrits de St. Marc de Jérusalem”, Pages 15-52 in Erkenntnisse und Meinungen II. Edited by Wiessner, Gernot. Göttinger Orientforschungen, I. Reihe: Syriaca 17. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1978.

Corcella, Aldo, ”Due citazioni dalle Etiopiche di Eliodoro nella Retorica di Antonio di Tagrīt”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 74:2 (2008): 389-416.

Duval, Rubens, ”Notice sur la Rhétorique d’Antoine de Tagrit”, Pages 479-486 in Orientalische Studien: Theodor Nöldeke zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (2. März 1906) gewidmet von Freunden und Schülern. Edited by Bezold, Carl. Gieszen: Alfred Töpelmann, 1906.

Eliyo Sewan d-Beth Qermaz,, ed. The Book of the Rhetoric by Anthony Rhitor of Tagrit. Stockholm: Forfatteres Bokmaskin, 2000.

Eskenasy, Pauline Ellen, ”Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric Book One: Introduction, Partial Translation, and Commentary”. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1991.

Köbert, Raimund, ”Bemerkungen zu den syrischen Zitaten aus Homer und Platon im 5. Buch der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit und zum syrischen Peri askeseos angeblich von Plutarch”, Orientalia 40 (1971): 438-447.

Raguse, Hartmut, ”Syrische Homerzitate in der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit”, Pages 162-175 in Paul de Lagarde und die syrische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis für syrische Kirchengeschichte, 1968.

Rahmani, Ignatius Ephraem, ed. Studia Syriaca, seu collectio documentorum hactenus ineditorum ex codicibus Syriacis. Monte Libano: Typis Patriarchalibus in Seminario Scharfensi, 1904-1909.

Rücker, Adolf, ”Das fünfte Buch der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit”, Oriens Christianus 31 (1934): 13-22.

Seven d-Beth Qermez, E., ed. Antony Rhitor of Tagrit. The Book of Rhetoric. Södertälje: Författares Bokmaskin, 2000.

Sprengling, Martin, ”Antonius Rhetor on Versification, with an Introduction and Two Appendices”, American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 32:3 (1916): 145-216.

Strothmann, Werner, ”Die Schrift des Anton von Tagrit über die Rhetorik”, Pages 199-216 in Paul de Lagarde und die syrische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis für syrische Kirchengeschichte, 1968.

Watt, John W., ”Antony of Tagrit as a Student of Syriac Poetry”, Le Muséon 98:3-4 (1985): 261-279.

Watt, John W., ed. The Fifth Book of the Rhetoric of Antony of Tagrit. CSCO 480-481, Syr. 203-204. Leuven: Peeters, 1986.

Watt, John W., ”Antony of Tagrit on Rhetorical Figures”, Pages 317-325 in IV Symposium Syriacum, 1984: Literary Genres in Syriac Literature (Groningen – Oosterhesselen 10-12 September). Edited by Drijvers, Han J.W. and Lavenant, René and Molenberg, Corrie and Reinink, Gerrit J.. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 229. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, 1987.

Watt, John W., ”Syriac Panegyric in Theory and Practice: Antony of Tagrit and Eli of Qartamin”, Le Muséon 102:3-4 (1989): 271-298.

Watt, John W., ”Grammar, Rhetoric and the Enkyklios Paideia in Syriac”, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 143:1 (1993): 45-71.

Watt, John W., ”The Syriac Reception of Platonic and Aristotelian Rhetoric”, ARAM 5 (1993): 579-601.

Watt, John W., ”Syriac Rhetorical Theory and the Syriac Tradition of Aristotle’s Rhetoric”, Pages 243-260 in Peripatetic Rhetoric after Aristotle. Edited by Fortenbaugh, William W. and Mirhady, D.C.. Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities 4. New Brunswick: 1994.

Watt, John W., ”The Philosopher-King in the “Rhetoric” of Antony of Tagrit”, Pages 245-258 in VI Symposium Syriacum, 1992: University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity, 30 August – 2 September 1992. Edited by Lavenant, René. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 247. Roma: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1994.

Watt, John W., ”Eastward and Westward Transmission of Classical Rhetoric”, Pages 63-75 in Centres of Learning: Learning and Location in Pre-Modern Europe and the Near East. Edited by Drijvers, Jan Willem and MacDonald, Alaisdair A.. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 61. Leiden / New York / Köln: Brill, 1995.

Watt, John W., ”From Themistius to al-Farabi: Platonic Political Philosophy and Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the East”, Rhetorica 13:1 (1995): 17-41.

Watt, John W., ”From Synesius to al-Farabi: Philosophy, Religion, and Rhetoric in the Christian Orient”, Pages 265-277 in Symposium Syriacum VII: Uppsala University, Department of Asian and African Languages, 11–14 August 1996. Edited by Lavenant, René. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 256. Roma: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1998.

Watt, John W., ”The Recovery of an Old Text: Scribes, Scholars, Collectors and the Rhetoric of Antony of Tagrit”, The Harp 16 (2003): 285-295.

Watt, John W., ”Guarding the Syriac Language in an Arabic Environment: Antony of Tagrit on the Use of Grammar in Rhetoric”, Pages 133-150 in Syriac Polemics: Studies in Honour of Gerrit Jan Reinink. Edited by van Bekkum, Wout Jac. and Drijvers, Jan Willem and Klugkist, Alex C.. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 170. Leuven: Peeters, 2007.

Watt, John W., ”Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in Syriac”, Pages 141-154 in Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in the Greek, Roman, Syriac and Arabic Worlds. Edited by Woerther, Frédérique. Europaea Memoria I.66. Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann, 2009.

Watt, John W., Rhetoric and Philosophy from Greek into Syriac. Variorum Collected Studies 960. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2010.

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