The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga AD 840 9781463208875

This narrative forms a history of the monasticism and asceticism of the Church of the East in the countries east of the

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The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga AD 840
 9781463208875

Table of contents :
PREFACE
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I
INTRODUCTION
THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS, SYRIAC TEXT
BOOK VI
BOOK V
BOOK IV
BOOK III
BOOK II
BOOK I

Citation preview

MAP ro ILLTTSTKATE THE HISTORIA MONAST

Lontlon

; Reyan Pnui , Tr*nch /Triihner &

R I A MONASTICA OY THOMAS OFMARGÀ.

Éasv frcm OreeTiwich

t Paul,

4-6

Trenfh. f1H'tbner ? jma on fol. 54 b (Book III. chap. 1) is the remark, »33 pi ^ A ? AnSo-A Jioroi A p ; on fol. 67« (Bk. III. chap. 8) is a verse of poetry (see the printed text p. 166); and on fol. 1 2 2 « (Book VI. chap. 7) is written on the margin J«o? „w. The following glosses occur: iausaiwe is explained by isia >40» (fol. 25«); JSoi. is explained by JfcJ. (fol. 25«); is explained by i^yo* (fol. 45 b); and and are explained by (fol. 178 &3 ^ojAj^uso ^ooudoass ¿»¿JtiSa ep ¿iii oilsoo^Ms G JOMO ^tyiM.0 li^aSsx fSvxs # jijcji.M ^oomt&x ^ss .Jxlaja ^e^tvkls c7i~od*jtii bNa ^os iSio ^AxNo ^¡s^ao tsue >.07 „aobya^b ioaaj ¿s*.o ¿SIX ^OTD ¿.to'iS? jts^VaS ^ {'¿exSaxo Mx oA ««asSo .¿»iooopa ftuJos SNa ^So .3«*tt3oers cjaa ¿Abo }»soo¿¡33 Ji.31 ja»^ oooj ^aioSaa soax JiM ttaxO

2ooj , 1-tSffl

For other versions of this History of the Martyrdom of Simeon bar-Sabbae, Archbishop and Catholicus of the Eastern Church see Wright, Catalogue of Syriac MSS. in the British Museum, p. 1133, col. 2. No. 60, and p. 1140, col. 2. No. 2; and compare Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis, torn. I. p. 2 if. 4. The History of Joseph, the son of Jacob, by Mar Basil. Fol. 176 a. Incomplete at the end. The MS. B is on paper, and is in my possession. It was written in 1888, and consists of 186 leaves, measuring 1 3 - in., by 9. Each page is occupied by one column of writing, generally containing 25 lines. The quires are nineteen in number, and are signed with letters. The volume is written in a fine, bold Nestorian hand, with numerous vowel-points. The headings of the chapters and their numbers are written in red ink. The volume contains the History of the Heads of the Monastery of Beth cAbhe. Foil. 1—185. The colophon reads:—

XX

TNTRODUCTION.

"[Here] endeth, by the help of our Lord and by the sustaining of His power, this book which is called the 'Book of Governors', that is, the histories and noble acts and excellent stories concerning the holy men and solitaries who have lived in the holy Monastery of Beth c Abhe, [containing] the separate chapters of the books which set forth all the histories, which was composed by the pious man of God and spiritual philosopher, Mar Thomas, Bishop of Marga. May his prayers, and those of his master Mar Jacob, and those of the saints whose triumphs he hath written down be a high wall [of defence] for all believers, but especially for the poor scribe, and for him that hath taken care for and hath paid for the copying of this spiritual work; and may the Lord God hold them worthy of the forgiveness of sins in the D a y of Judgment, Amen." "This book received ending and completion in the blessed month of Nisan, on the thirteenth day, on the fifth day of the week, on the eve of the sixth [day] of the fast which is called '[The fast] of Lazarus', 1 in the year one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight of the birth of Christ our Lord. A n d to

I. e., the Thursday evening before Palm Sunday. The Greek Church celebrated the raising of Lazarus on the Saturday evening before Palm Sunday, but the Nestorians celebrate it on the Friday. For the "Saturday of Lazarus," or the "Saturday of the Resurrection of Lazarus" see Wright, Catalogue of Syriac MSS. in the British Museum, p. 162, no. 37; p. 168, nos. 88, 89; p. 170, no. 27; and for the "Friday of Lazarus" icA? ¿ae^. see Wright, op. cit., p. 189, no. 49. Compare also Du Cange, Glossarium, coll. 781, 1314; Payne Smith, Thes., 1963; and especially Hoffmann's exhaustive note on this subject in Feige, Die Gcschichlc des Mar 'Abhdisho, Kiel, 1890, p. 57. 1

THE MSS. OF THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

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God, the Lord of the universe, the Strengthener of our feebleness; and Sustainer of our weakness, be praise and confession and worship for ever and ever, Amen." "It was written under [the shadow o f ] the Church of the triumphant martyr, the glorious man among the saints, the strenous athlete, Mar Cyriacus, 1 which is [situated in] the blessed village of Tell Kephe; 2 may its inhabitants be preserved from all harm by the prayers of him and his companions, yea and Amen." "The priest Phransis,3 the man who is priest in name only, the most despicable and contemptible of all the human race, the son of Shamo,4 the son of the deceased Phagho of the family of Beth-Dabbesh, the man of Tell Kephe, blackened and defiled these pages. It is not meet that his name should be mentioned in holy books because of the wickedness of his deeds and the abominableness of his manner of life, and he only maketh known his wretched name that he may pluck prayer for forgiveness from the mouth of pious readers. Prithee pray for him that he may be worthy 1

T h e Church of Mar Cyriacus is mentioned with that of the

Virgin by Sachau, Reise in Syr ten und Mcsopotamien, p. 359. 2

More correctly Tell Kef. When Rich visited this village he found the ruins of seven churches here (sec Narrative of a

Residence in Koordistan,

vol. ii. p. 103 ft), hut Sachau only

mentions the Church of Mar Cyriacus and the Church of Mart Maryam el-adra (Mary the Virgin). According to Sachau {Reise in Syrien, p. 359) the place contains seven hundred well-built houses. I visited Tell Kef in 1889 and 1890 and was very hospitably entreated by the priests. 3

Perhaps "Francis" or a form of the Persian name jeuad mentioned in Bk. ii. chap. 3 2 (Syriac text, p. 109, 1. 6). * Hoffmann thinks that Shamo may be a hypocoristicon¿jjjJI

for

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INTRODUCTION.

of mercy at the last day; that he may stand with open face before the tribunal of the Creator; and that he may be placed in order in the series of the priests of the Lord Jesus, Amen." "Blessed Le God for ever and ever, and may His holy name be glorified from generation to generation for ever and ever, world without end." The MS. C is on paper, and is in my possession. It was written in 1888, and consists of 3 1 6 paper leaves measuring 9*- in., by Each page is occupied by one column of writing, generally containing 19 lines. The quires are thirty-two in number, and are signed with letters. The volume is written in a small, clear Nestorian hand, with numerous vowel-points. T h e headings of the chapters and their numbers are written in red ink. The volume contains the History of the Heads of the Monastery of Beth cAbhe. Foil. 1 — 3 1 6 . The colophon reads:—"This book received ending and completion in the blessed month of the latter Kanon, on the twenty-third day, on the Sabbath, on the eve of the third Sunday of Epiphany, 1 upon which day they sing the "Come let us marvel", in the year one thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight of the birth of Christ our Lord. And to God, the Lord of the universe, the Strengthener of our feebleness, and the Sustainer of our weakness, be praise and confession and worship for ever and ever, Amen. O reader, my master, pray for the sinful scribe Phransis of Tell Kef who is indued with the grade of the priesthood of 1

The Gospel for the day is St. John 1. 29—40; see Brit. Mus. Egerton MS. No. 681, fol. 25 b, col. 2.

THE MSS. OF TIIE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

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Aaron. Blessed be God for ever, and praised be His holy name from generation to generation for ever and ever, world without end." The MS. Vat. belongs to the Library of the Vatican,1 for which it was acquired by Andrew Scandar, and bears the number C L X V . It was written in the latter half of the XVIIth century, and consists of 328 paper leaves, measuring about 8 in. by 6 in. Each page is occupied by one column of writing, generally containing 19 lines. The quires, which usually consist of five leaves, are thirty-two in number, and are signed with letters; the 22nd quire is signed instead of >3». The volume is written in a modern Nestorian hand, and generally speaking has few vowel-points. The volume contains the History of the Heads of the Monastery of Beth 'Abhe. Foil. 1—328. "This book was finished on the sixth day (Friday2) of the Week of Summer [Sundays], after the Sunday [in which they sing the "The life full of joys", in the blessed month Abh (July), in the year one thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four of the Greeks (=A. D. 1663)". The other principal MSS. of the Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga preserved in Europe are:— For a description of this MS. see Asscmani, Bibliotkccac Apostolicae Vaticanac, torn. iii. p. 33iff. 2 The ¿.»oil for the first Sunday of the Week of Summer Sundays began with the words oi^aaoa ¿.ox*; that for the second that for the third ¿«¿ox? Js-isa; that for the fourth »a» that for the fifth A A * that for the sixth iaaoai, ¿oSea jiio? and that for the seventh «oJ. See Brit. Mus. Egerton MS. No. 681, fol. 158^, col. 1. For the "seven Fridays of Summer" js^jja see B. 0., iii. ii. p. 383, No. 37. 1

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INTRODUCTION.

1. A paper MS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris consisting of 307 leaves; it is incomplete, and the end of the work from Book VI. chap. 6 is wanting. It was copied from MS. No. C L X V in the Vatican Library, and was collated with two other MSS. ( C C C L X X X I and CCCLXXXII) which contain the entire work of Thomas. See Zotenberg, Catalogue des MSS. Syriaques, p. 216, col. 2. No. 286. 2. The paper MSS. Nos. C C C L X X X I a n d C C C L X X X I I (A. 124, and A. 125) in the Vatican Library; the former contains the first four books of Thomas's History, and the latter the last two. See Mai, Scriptortim Veterum Nova Collectio, torn. v. pp. 47, 48. 3. A paper MS. which forms No. 179 of the collection acquired for Berlin by Dr. Sachau; it was copied for him in 1882.

THOMAS, BISHOP OF MARGA.

Thomas, better known as "Thomas of Marga", was the son of one Jacob, a native of the village of Beth Sharonaye* which was situated in the diocese of Salakh. This province was divided into two parts, Inner Salakh and Outer Salakh, and was under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Adiabene; Outer Salakh was also called Salakh dhe Narse, or Salakh dhe Babanes. Inner Salakh was separated from Adhorbaijan by Mar Maran-ammeh, and was placed under the jurisdiction 1

Probably identical with the village of Shirwan in the district of Shirwan; see Hoffmann, Auszüge, p. 220.

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THOMAS, BISHOP OF MARGA.

of the Bishop of Salakh, in the place of the province of Debhwar which he had taken from under his dominion.1 According to Thomas of Marga 2 we may safely assume that Inner Salakh lay on the border of Adhorbaijan, and that it was identical with Salak al-Audi; we are then also probably correct in placing the bishopric of Salakh in the territory round about Rawandiz, between Jebel el-Kandil and the mountains which divide Persia from Turkey, that is to say about thirty or forty miles N. E. of Hazza or Irbil (Arbela), and about eighty miles N. E . of Mosul, the town on the right bank of the Tigris exactly opposite the mounds of Kouyunjik and Nebi Yunus, which mark the site of Nineveh. The village of Beth Sharonaye, or Beth Sherwanaye, was situated in Inner Salakh, and together with Beth Newa, 3 Beth Wark, or Beth Warek. 4 Golai, 5 and other villages, formed the home of the Shahrighan, a class of wealthy hereditary, landed proprietors, "who, although they were nominally Christians, made confession that Christ was an ordinary man, and said, 'He was as one of the Prophets"'. 6 In ancient days there lived in this district a number of these noblemen who professed the religion of the Magians. Nowhere in the Book of Governors does Thomas give the family name of his father, and we cannot therefore decide whether he was descended from a Persian family or not; it is, however, both possible and probable that he was. There is no doubt that his father's ancestors dwelt among heathen, for Thomas tells us that they had a

See Vol. ii. p. 316. ^ See Vol. ii. p. 308. s See Vol. ii. p. 243. 1

2 4 6

See Hoffmann, Auszüge, p. 245. See Vol. ii. p. 309. See Vol. ii. p. 310. (