The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (Contd)

Let’s continue with chapter 9 of this Arabic Christian work:

5. As for those who wonder why the patriarch of Alexandria is called “Bābā”, we answer: “Bābā” means “grandfather”.  But from the time when Ananias was made patriarch of Alexandria by the Evangelist Mark to the time of Demetrius, patriarch of Alexandria, who was the eleventh patriarch [of that place], there was never, in the province of Egypt, a bishop and the patriarchs who preceded him had never consecrated bishops.  But when he became patriarch, Demetrius consecrated three bishops and it was he, in truth, who was the first patriarch of Alexandria to consecrate bishops.  At his death there was made patriarch of Alexandria Heraclas, who consecrated twenty bishops.  One of these bishops, named Eumenius, transgressed the law, and the news came to the patriarch Heraclas who immediately convened a group of bishops, went to the city [where was] Eumenius, and made some inquiries about him; and he pondered the case thoroughly and worked out the truth.  It was then that, hearing the people call the bishops “Ab” [or “father”], the patriarch thought: “If we call the bishop “Ab” and the bishops themselves call the patriarch “Ab”, then we call the patriarch “Bābā”, or “grandfather”, for he is the father of fathers.”  The Patriarch of Alexandria was so called, from the time of Heraclas, “Bābā”, or “grandfather”.  Ananias, patriarch of Alexandria, whom the evangelist Mark had made the patriarch of that time,  remained in office for twenty-two years and died.  The evangelist Mark went to Barqah (8), exhorting the people to embrace the faith in Christ, Son of God.

6. Claudius Caesar died, and there reigned after him, in Rome, his son Nero Caesar for thirteen years. He was the first to procure serious evils and misfortunes for the Christians.  He was an extremely bad man and of wicked habits.  At the time of Nero Caesar, Peter, chief of the Apostles, wrote in the city of Rome the Gospel of Mark, at the hands of the latter, in Latin, and attributed it to Mark.

It was also at the time of this king that Luke wrote his gospel in Greek for a Roman nobleman named Theophilus and it was also he who wrote the “Praxis”, i.e. “The Acts of the Apostles” (9).  The evangelist Luke was the companion of the Apostle Paul, and remained with him for a long time. We know this because the apostle Paul says in his letter: “The doctor Luke greets you” (10).  Nero Caesar took Peter, crucified him with his head down, and had him put to death, because Peter had asked him: “If you want to crucify me, crucify me with my head down, because my death is not the same as that of Christ, my Lord, who was crucified in the upright position” (11).  Then [Nero] beheaded Paul.  Peter was put to deathtwenty-two years after Christ, our Lord, was put to death.  After Peter, Linus was made patriarch of Rome(12).  He held the office for twelve years and died. He was the first to be made patriarch of Rome.  The evangelist Mark preached to the people the faith in Christ, Son of God, in Alexandria and Barqah for seven years.  In the first year of the reign of the aforementioned Nero Caesar, Mark was put to death in Alexandria, and his body was set on fire (13).  In the twelfth year of the reign of Nero Caesar Ignatius was made Patriarch of Antioch.  He held the seat for thirty-two and was put to death.

7. Qistus, governor of Jerusalem, died and the city was without any authority or sovereign to govern it.  The Jews then arose and rioted and killed James, son of Joseph, known as the “brother of the Lord”, stoning him to death (14).  Then they harassed a group of disciples and expelled them from the city.  The Christians abandoned Jerusalem, crossed the Jordan and settled in those places (15).  Informed of this fact, Nero Caesar sent word to the commander stationed in the East, named Vespasian, to rally his troops and go to Judea with orders to kill all the inhabitants, sparing none, and to destroy the houses.  Having heard these things, the Jews gathered together and those who among them were wealthy offered their goods to build three citadels around the city.  They equipped them with towers, fortified them, and castellated them. Vespasian arrived in Judea after spreading destruction in every town of Galilee and burning it.  But against Jerusalem he could not do anything, because it was well fortified and strengthened.  He spent a year besieging it.  The Jews made nocturnal sorties, in secret, and spread death among the Roman soldiers.

2 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (Contd)

  1. Hi Roger,

    Thanks very much for putting this online. Fascinating stuff!

    The Coptic historians, who were probably rather more isolated from the intellectual life of the Abbasid caliphate than their Jacobite and Nestorian counterparts, seem not to have had quite such a grasp on factual reality as their Syrian cousins, at least as far as the Roman Empire is concerned. For example, it is interesting to see that Eutychius links the Jewish War to the exodus of the Christians from Judaea. Didn’t the Christians leave Judaea BECAUSE of the outbreak of the Jewish rebellion? I have not come across this (false) connection elsewhere.

    On a minor matter, Eutychius seems not to have known, or not to have thought it worth recording, why Peter was crucified upside down. According to Bar Hebraeus (Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, i. 35), here writing well within the mainstream Christian tradition, ‘Paul was beheaded with a sword, while Peter, at his own request, was crucified upside down, so that he might kiss the ground on which his Master had placed his feet.’ I am surprised that Eutychius missed this particular trick.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement! I will do more Eutychius.

    Yes, Eutychius has the facts about the exodus of Christians back to front. One has to wonder what sources he had available. Greek ones, no doubt; but as you say, he doesn’t seem to quite understand them.

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