9. Firuz died after reigning for twenty-seven years. Then the two sons of Firuz, i.e. Qabād and Balābis, contested for the kingdom. Balābis got the better of Qabād and drove him off, far away from him. Qabād repaired to Khurasan to ask Khāqān, king of the Turks, to help him against his brother.
10. Balābis reigned well, and he built a city, and called it Balāsūr. He reigned four years and died. This happened in the tenth year of the reign of Zeno, king of the Rum. When Qabād went to Khurasan he had with him Zarmihr, son of Sukhrān. Together they stayed at a remarkably large house, but did not reveal who they were. Then Qabād told Zarmihr: “Find me a woman of noble lineage. I have a keen desire for women and I would not lie with a nobody, maybe low-class, because if she were to give birth, this would be a disgrace for us.” The owner of the house where he was staying had a daughter still unmarried. Zarmihr then approached the mother and spoke to her, spoke to her father and then also having presented them in good stead as he was asking, the two gave their assent. The woman slept with Qabād and became pregnant. When the time came to go away, [Qabād] commanded that she should be given a gift. Her mother had asked her questions about the [financial] condition of Qabād and she had told of having seen leggings brocaded with gold. The mother understood that he belonged to the royal house and was glad. Qabād came to Khāqān and said: “I am the son of the king of Persia. After the death of my father, my brother resisted me and seized the kingdom.” [Khāqān] promised to help him to regain the kingdom. For four years [Qabād] stayed with him, waiting for him to decide to give him the promised aid. Then [Khāqān] gave him a strong army and Qabād departed and came to Abarsahr. [Here] he took up residence in the same house in which he had stayed and asked about the woman: She met him, holding the hand of a child of three years old. Qabād said: “Who is this child?” She replied: “He is your son.” Zarmihr told him that she was the daughter of the landlord. [Qabād] was happy with this, and he took her along with the child whom he called Bābūdakht. Arriving at Ctesiphon, Qabād found that his brother was dead and he took possession of the kingdom.
11. Qabād, son of Firuz, reigned forty-three years. This happened in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Zeno, king of the Rum. Qabād entrusted the administration of the kingdom to Sūkhrān and his son, Zarmihr. He founded, between al-Ahwaz and Faris, a town called Qabād-Khurrah, namely ar-Ragan, in which he placed the deportees of Hamadan. He founded a city on the border of the territory of al-Mahat called Harawān, and another near Azdashīr-Khurrah, called Qabād-Khurrah, and then he founded many [others], built villages, dug rivers, opened canals and built arched bridges.
12. Zeno, king of Rum, died after a reign of seventeen years. This happened in the fifth year of the reign of Qabād, son of Firuz, king of the Persians. After him Anastasius reigned over Rum for twenty-seven years. He was a Jacobite, an opponent of the doctrine of the Melkites. He was from the city of Hamah. He ordered the [re]building of the city of Hamah and furnished it with walls. The construction of the walls took two years. He had reigned for ten years when the people of the East were affected by a severe drought and an invasion of locusts. Qabād, king of the Persians, invaded Amida and destroyed it, and he sent a large army against Alexandria, and the surroundings of Alexandria were set on fire. Between the men of Qabād, king of the Persians, and the men of Anastasius, king of Rum, there were fierce wars and many deaths. Alexandria was ruled, in the name of King Anastasius, by a governor named Istat. As a consequence of all this, there fell upon Alexandria and Egypt a severe famine, to the point that people were dying of hunger, and Alexandria and Egypt were reduced to ruins by the pestilence, and the plague mowed down the population.
13. There lived in Alexandria, a wealthy Jew named Urib, who had become a Christian. He buried the abandoned corpses, and on Easter Sunday lavished abundant alms in the church of Arqādah. Three hundred men died in the rush and the crowds.
In the sixth year of the reign of Anastasius, king of Rum, John the monk was made patriarch of Alexandria. He was a Jacobite. He held the office for nine years and died. In the fifteenth year of his reign another John was made patriarch of Alexandria. He was a Jacobite. He held the office for eleven years and died. In the twenty-sixth year of his reign Dioscorus was made patriarch of Alexandria. He was a Jacobite. He held the office for only one year and died. In the twenty-seventh year of his reign Timothy was made patriarch of Alexandria. He was a Jacobite. He held the office for two years and was deposed. In the fourth year of his reign Timothy was made patriarch of Constantinople. He held the office for four years and died. In the ninth year of his reign Timothy was made patriarch of Constantinople. He held the office for six years and died. In the fifteenth year of his reign John of Cappadocia was made patriarch of Constantinople. He held the office for nine years and died. In the twenty-fourth year of his reign Anthimus was made patriarch of Constantinople. He was a Jacobite. He held the office for five years and was deposed. In the fourth year of his reign Pelagius was made patriarch of Rome. He held the office for four years and died. In the eighth year of his reign Anastasius was made patriarch of Rome. He held the office for a year and died. In the ninth year of his reign Symmachus was made patriarch of Rome. He held the office for fourteen years and died. In the fourth year of his reign Flavian was made patriarch of Antioch. He held the seat for fourteen years and was deposed.
King Anastasius had abjured the doctrine of the Melkites and had become a Jacobite. Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, then wrote a letter to him on the validity of the doctrine of the Melkites and to tell him that anyone contradicting them was to be considered excommunicated. He sent it to the superiors of the monasteries, including Theodosius, the founder of the monastery of ad-Dawākis, Chariton, founder of the Old Laura, Saba, founder of the New Laura, which excelled over all the Lauras, the superior of the Old Laura, i.e. of the Laura of Chariton, and a group of superiors of monks and of priests, along with a letter in which he said: “I have sent you a group of the servants of God, and of the superiors of the monks of our desert including the distinguished Saba. He has transformed the desert into cities filling them with people and is the star of Palestine.” When the monks came to Constantinople, they asked to be received by King Anastasius. The king gave them a hearing and they went into to him. Saba was wearing a worn robe, and after a delay the chamberlains would not let him in. After reading the letter from Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, the king Anastasius told the monks: “Which of you is Saba, who gets so much praise in the letter?” They looked at each other and they knew that he was not among them. They sent to look for him, and he came in to the king, who told him to approach and made him sit next to him, asking him news about Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Saba replied that both the city as its inhabitants fared well. Then he expounded the doctrine of the Melkites, showed him the merits and asserted that he had considered excommunicated anyone who objected. Finally he said: “We ask you not to disturb the church, because as long as the church will have peace, there will be peace among ourselves. Not pander therefore to the doctrine of heretics.” The king gave him willingly what he asked, gave gifts to the monks and ordered them to return to Jerusalem. He wrote to Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in response to his letter, and ordered Saba to remain with him. So the monks returned to Jerusalem, while Saba was retained [with the king]. The following year, Saba asked the king whether he could leave. He granted this and handed him two thousand dinars, saying: “Use this money to build monasteries.” Saba then went to Jerusalem.
- Pirone: ‘In another text it says “Macedonius”‘.↩