Back to James of Edessa

I’ve gone back to my occasional task of transcribing the 7th century Chronicle of James of Edessa, to put it on the web.  This is a continuation of the Chronicle of Eusebius, and is important for early Islamic history.  It is in tabular form, which is why it isn’t already online.  Let me tell you, formatting the dratted thing in HTML is NOT amusing.

The text survives in some badly damaged leaves in the British Library (from the Nitrian desert in Egypt) plus quotations in Michael the Syrian.  The publication was frankly bad; first E.W.Brooks published a first stab at it, in Syriac and English.  But he didn’t format the English in tabular form.  Then he tried again in CSCO 5/6, in Syriac and in Latin.  This time the Latin was in tabular form, but he still couldn’t read chunks of it.  And he supplemented it, rightly or wrongly, from Michael.

Still, after a very stressful couple of weeks it is quite soothing to do!  At the moment I h ave reached the reign of Theodosius II, ca. 450;  Olympiad 307, according  to James.

2 Responses to “Back to James of Edessa”


  1. Tom Schmidt

    This is great work Roger, I look forward to reading it.

  2. Roger Pearse

    No you don’t, trust me! — it will make your eyes go all wibbly. That’s because the page layout is really, really strange.

    Thanks for the encouragment all the same! It’s tedious to transcribe, but really needs to be up there. About 20 pages to go. There’s also an introduction, which Brooks never translated into English, only into Latin. Apparently it’s taken from Michael, so a French version exists. I’ll look at that when the heavy lifting is done.



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