The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 1)

In the name of God, One, Pre-Eternal, Everlasting, without beginning or end, to whom we resort.

1. Let us begin, with the help of the Most High God and the goodness of His assistance, to write the Book of History, compiled critically and with verification, the work of Patriarch Eutychius, called Sa‘īd ibn Batrīq.

God, powerful and exalted, created the world, with everything in it, and Adam and Eve, in six days.  The creation of Adam took place on the sixth day.  God blessed the seventh day, because on it He completed the work of creation, and led Adam and Eve into Paradise.  He ordered that they could eat of all the trees except for the tree of knowledge, of which He forbade them to eat.  The devil tempted Eve, and Eve disobeyed the order of the Most High God by eating the fruit picked from the tree and making Adam eat it.  Because they disobeyed their Lord, [God] drove them from the garden, in the ninth hour of Friday, and exiled them to a mountain in India.  He made them live on the earth and commanded them to reproduce so that they would multiply and fill the earth.  Adam lay then with Eve who became pregnant and gave birth to a boy and a girl.  Adam called the boy Cain and the girl Azrūn.  Eve conceived again, and gave birth to a boy and a girl, and the boy Adam called Abel and the girl he called Uwayn, which in Greek means “Lafūra”.[1]  When the two boys grew up, Adam said to Eve: “Let Cain take Uwayn, who was delivered along with Abel, and Abel take Azrūn, who was delivered along with Cain.”  Cain then said to Eve, his mother, “I will take my sister; let Abel take his”, because Azrūn was more beautiful than Uwayn.  On hearing these words, Adam was very distressed and said: “It is against the commandment to take the sister who was brought forth with you”.  Cain worked the land, and Abel was a keeper of sheep.  Adam said to them: “Take the fruit of the land and some kids, go up on top of this holy mountain and offer your sacrifice.  Then you may take your wives.”  Cain brought the fruit of his land as a good and pure sacrifice to God, and Abel took the firstborn of his flock as a good and pure sacrifice to God.  While they were intent on getting to the top of the mountain, the devil entered into the heart of Cain and incited him to kill his brother Abel because of his sister Azrūn.  So God did not accept the sacrifice of Cain.  For when they offered their sacrifices, God accepted Abel’s offering but disdained that of Cain.  Great was the anger and great was the hatred of Cain against Abel and he envied his brother.  As they were descending the mountain, Cain attacked Abel and struck him on the head with a stone and killed him.  Adam and Eve were very distressed and mourned the death of Abel for a hundred years.  God cursed Cain and his descendants.  Cain was in fear and terror, and wandered all the days of his life.  God sent him forth, still unmarried, to Nūd.[2]  Cain took with him his sister Azrūn and lived there.  Then Adam lay with Eve, who conceived – Adam was then already two hundred and thirty years old – and gave birth to a boy and [Adam] called him Shīt.[3]  Shīt was pleasant faced, a giant, with a perfect complexion like his father, and was the father of the giants who lived before the flood.  Adam gave to Shīt in marriage the sister of Cain, Uwayn, who bore him Anush.  To Anush was born Qinan.  Adam had many more children later.  Feeling close to death, Adam called to him his son Shīt, Anush, son of Shīt, Qinan, the son of Anush, son of Shīt, and Mahlali’il, son of Qinan, and gave them instructions saying: “This command will apply to all your children.  When I die, embalm my body with myrrh, frankincense and cinnamon and lay me down in the Cave of Treasures.  When your children leave the area near paradise, let them take with them my body and bury me at the centre of the earth, because there will be my salvation and the salvation of my descendants”.[4]  Adam lived in total nine hundred and thirty years.  He died on Friday, the fourteenth month, 6th Nisan, i.e. Barmūdah, in the ninth hour, in the same hour in which he had been cast out of paradise.  When Adam died, his son Shīt embalmed him, as he had commanded him to do, he brought the body to the top of the mountain, as he had said, and hid him in the Cave of Treasures.  They wept over him for one hundred and forty days.

  1. [1]Eutychius is drawing upon material from the Arabic text of The Cave of Treasures, but this gives different names to the daughters of Adam.  Josephus, Antiquities book 1, chapter 2, states that Adam had three daughters, but does not name them.  Pirone does not explain “lafura”.
  2. [2]Gen.4:16.  The Cave of Treasures calls the place al-Aksūriyā.  Josephus I 2:2 says Cain founded a city called Nud and lived there.
  3. [3]I.e. Seth.  Much of what follows is from The Cave of Treasures or a related source, which is trying to align the events of Adam’s life to prefigure those of Christ.
  4. [4]I.e. at Jerusalem, where Christ will be crucified.

12 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 1)

  1. Let’s just add in the details from that Google Books Preview here, in case it disappears off the web. The book is rather wonderful on all this apocryphal stuff.

    The book is Albertus Frederik Johannes Klijn, “Seth: In Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Literature”, Brill, 1977. On p.37-38 we read:

    The various texts contain a range of ideas concerning Seth’s brothers and sisters. A common theme is that several children were born successively. This is a tradition which goes back to the Book of Jubilees, according to which Adam and Eve’s children were in turn Cain, Abel, Awan, Seth and Azura. This idea was taken over by many of the Greek writers. Referring to Jubilees, Epiphanius for instance, wrote about two sisters called Asouam and Azoura.19 The same sisters are found in Malalas, who influenced the Byzantine chronographers of a later date.20

    In Jubilees too, we read that Cain took Asouam as his wife and
    Seth Azoura.21 Although Malalas stated that Cain married Azoura
    and Seth Asouam, an idea which was again generally taken over by
    the Byzantine chronographers,22 Syncellus corrected this to agree …

    As we have already said, the birth of twins is recorded in the Hebrew and Aramaic Jewish literature but nothing is said about the names of Adam’s daughters. The only exception is a late tradition in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, where three sons and three daughters are mentioned by name: “Cain and his twin wife Qalmana, Abel and his twin wife Deborah, and Seth and his twin wife Noba”.24

    The birth of twins is also recorded in the Syriac writings. According to the Cave of Treasures, Cain was born with his sister Lebuda (…) and Abel with his sister Kelimath (…).25 The same idea occurs in the Book of the Bee.26 This tradition is also known to the author of the Book of Adam, which refers to the simultaneous birth of Cain and Luva (i.e. Lebuda) on the one hand and Abel and Aklejam (i.e. Kelimath) on the other.27

    Eutychius tried to combine the two traditions by saying that Cain was born with Azrun and Abel with Owain. These names are recognizably those of the Book of Jubilees, but the theme of simultaneous births was taken from the tradition found in the Cave of Treasures. According to Eutychius Owain was called Laphura in Greek, which shows that this author was familiar with a tradition, according to which one of the sisters was called Lebuda.28

    The tradition found in the Cave of Treasures and similar works does not tell us very much about Seth’s marriage. The subject was not discussed because Seth was of outstanding purity. According to the Cave of Treasures, Adam asked Cain to marry Kelimath and Abel Lebuda, but Cain wished to marry his twin sister Lebuda, which was one of the reasons for killing his brother.29 In this passage, nothing is said about Seth’s marriage. Only much later in this text, in a separate genealogy, do we read that Seth married Kelimath, Abel’s twin sister.30 In the Book of Adam, we read that Seth married Lea,31 Abel’s sister. The name Lea is met with here for the first time, but it can be identified with Luva, who is previously mentioned in this writing as Cain’s twin sister. Eutychius writes that Seth married Owain, who was, as we have already said, Abel’s twin sister.32

    19. Panarion 39, 6, 4, p.76. …
    24. Chron. of Jerahmeel XXVII, p.54.
    25. Cave of Treasures, p.8.
    26. Book of the Bee, ch. XVIII, p.25.
    27. Book of Adam, p.67 and 68, see also ed. Dillmann p.139, n.52. See also the Arabic text Kitab al-Magall, in Apocrypha Arabica in Studia Sinaitica VIII, ed. M. Dunlop Gibson, London, 1901, p.11. Here Cain is born with Lusia and Abel with Aclima.
    28. Eutychius in: MPG 111, c. 910C
    29. Cave of Treasures p.8, also Kitab al-Magall p.11 and Testament of Adam fr. II 3, ed. M. Kmosko in Patr. Syriaca I II, Paris 1907, c. 1343-1344.

    32. Eutychius, c. 911B.

  2. Hello! I thought to share some links that could be interesting for you.
    Robert Hoyland has made available for free reading and downloading all his publications.
    Check this out:
    http://nyu.academia.edu/RobertHoyland
    In particular these two:
    http://www.academia.edu/19790779/Theophilus_of_Edessas_Chronicle
    http://www.academia.edu/24689593/Agapius_on_the_reigns_of_Muawiya_and_Abd_al-Malik
    The second one gives a transcription and English translation of the pages from the Laurenziana manuscript that were missing in Vassiliev and Cheikho’s editions.
    To conclude Bartolomeo Pirone has published an Italian translation of Agapius, available for purchase here:
    http://www.edizioniterrasanta.it/etx/showPage.jsp?wi_number=34724
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/8862401647
    Best regards, Ezio

  3. Gosh! Thank you! This is great news about Hoyland, and especially the bit of Agapius that is new.

    How interesting that Pirone is still alive and publishing, and has translated Agapius! I had no idea. In one way, I really ought to write to him, if he has an email address that I can find. I wonder where he is based.

    I’m rather tied up at the moment, but again I will look into all of this. Thank you so much.

  4. Let me dispel your astonishment about Pirone by giving you a more complete picture of the situation.

    Bartolomeo Pirone was born May 30th 1943 in a Catholic family of Sparanise (Caserta), he began learning the Arabic language at 12, in 1971-1975 he became a Doctor of Theology and got a M.A. in Oriental Languages and Civilizations at Università degli Studi “L’Orientale” of Naples. He published his dissertation ad lauream in 1977 with the title “Relazioni letterarie fra scritti coranici e documenti del giudaismo preislamico” or, for those who don’t understand Italian, “Literary relations between Koranic writings and documents of Pre-Islamic Judaism”. From 1980 until 1999 he taught Arabic Language and Literature both in Naples and Bari
    while today he has didactic duties at Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis and at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences “Ecclesia Mater”, both in Rome.

    During his long career he has collaborated with the Franciscan Centre of Christian Oriental Studies of Cairo (http://www.christusrex.org/www1/ofm/fccos/FCCOSmenu.html), with Gruppo di Ricerca Arabo-Cristiana (http://www.grac.it/home/) and with Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana of Milan (http://www.ambrosiana.eu/cms/). Next to the pure and simple teaching activities, Bartolomeo Pirone has continued a slow but systematic research particularly on unpublished manuscripts, publishing the results in books, monographs and articles.

    His current specific interests, without neglecting the specific context of true Arabic literature itself, are aimed at identifying and seeking manuscripts relating to the Arab-Christian literature of the X-XV centuries in his close relations with the Islamic and literary world of the time.

    The different works already published, in whole or in part, pay particular attention to the historical evolution of Arabic language as a “lingua franca” that often has been an immediate and comprehensive way of communication between the different communities in the Arab, Islamic and Christian context. It’s for this reason that most of the work concerns more directly the philological, philosophical, apologetic, theological, hagiographic and historical appearance of this particular literature around which are centralizing the interests of several contemporary scholars.

    Just to dispell every doubt about the health of Pirone, check out this: http://www.fratesole.com/2015/08/prof-pirone-bartolomeo/.
    Pirone will spend ten days in Iran as a field guide and, considering he is 73, I think and hope he will live comfortably for another thirty years! (In particular because I dream one day he will tackle Al-Makin!)

    Here you can find a bibliography up to 2008 : http://www.pisai.it/media/142929/bibliografia-pirone.pdf

    To find out what he published until today just make a search with his full name here : http://www.sbn.it/opacsbn/opac/iccu/free.jsp
    That’s the Catalogue of National Library Service of Italy.

    To conclude, if you want to contact Pirone directly check this two links and you will find two diffent emails:

    http://www.pul.it/it/member/pirone-bartolomeo/ (Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis)

    http://www.ecclesiamater.org/Docente.aspx?name=pirone.bartolomeo (Higher Institute of Religious Sciences “Ecclesia Mater” of Rome)

    (Edited: rp)

  5. Dear Ezio, thank you so much! (I had to edit slightly) Pirone is clearly doing really useful work. I doubt that anyone much in the English-speaking world knows anything about this; it’s hard even to access Italian literature in the US, you know? I ought to write a proper blog post on all of this. And yes … wouldn’t it be wonderful if he had a go at al-Makin!

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