The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 19m – Abbasids part 12

The last chapter!  Continuing the reign of al-Muqtadir, the reign of al-Qāhir, the start of the reign of ar-Rādī, and the end of the Annals.  It ends with a solicitation of money – “O munificent king”! 

9. Al-Muqtadir withdrew his favour from his minister Hāmid b. al-‘Abbās and had him killed in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal of the year 321 [of the Hegira].[1]  He released Ali b. Ahmad (sic!) b. al-Furāt and appointed him as his minister, nine days before the end of the month of Rabī ‘al-ākhar of the year 311 [of the Hegira], for the third time. The Muslims of ar-Ramlah rioted, and destroyed two churches of the Melchites, namely the church of St. Cosmas and the church of St. Cyril.  They also damaged the churches of Ascalon and Caesarea, in the month of ğumādā al-ākhar of the year 311.  The Christians complained to al-Muqtadir, to allow them to [re]build what had been destroyed.  Then the Muslims of Tinnis rose up and demolished a church of the Melchites from Homs at Tinnis, called “Būthawr’s Church”, in the month of Rağab.  Afterwards, Christians [re]built the church of Tinnis, but before they had finished the Muslims rioted for a second time and destroyed what they had built, setting it on fire.  The sultan then gave his support to Christians so that they could complete the [re]building of the church.  Al-Muqtadir withdrew his favour from his minister Ali b. Muhammad b. Al-Furāt and had him killed together with his son Muhassin in the month of Rabi` al-awwal of year 312.  Al-Muqtadir appointed as his minister ‘Abd Allah in the month of ğumādā al-ākhar of the year 314 [of the Hegira].

10. The Muslims of Damascus rioted and destroyed the Church of the Catholics dedicated to the Blessed Mary.  It was a majestic, beautiful and beautiful church, for the construction of which two hundred thousand dinars were spent.  They looted all the vessels, ornaments, and drapes that were there.  They also looted the monasteries, especially the convent of nuns which was beside the church.  They demolished many churches of the Melchites and pulled down the Nestorian church, in the middle of the month of Ragab of the year 312 [of the Hegira].

11.  ‘Ali b. ‘Isà was at Mecca.  The minister Abd Allah wrote to him, that he should go to Egypt to see close up how things went.  ‘Ali b. Isa entered Egypt at the beginning of the month of Ragab.  He summoned the monks and bishops, and demanded that they pay the poll-tax for all the monks, the sick and the poor, and for all the monasteries who were in Lower Egypt, as well as for the bishops and monks who were in Dayr Mīnā.  A group of monks then went to Iraq to al-Muqtadir and begged him to come to their rescue.  [Al-Muqtadir] then wrote that no poll-tax was required from them, and that things would return to be as they always were.  He then dismissed the minister Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Khāqān and appointed as his minister Abū’l-‘Abbās Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad b. Al-Khasib in the year 313 [of the Hegira].

12. Nicholas, patriarch of Constantinople, died after holding office for thirty-three years.  After him there was made patriarch of Constantinople Stephen.[2]  He was a eunuch. He held office for three years and died.

13. A huge star appeared in the land of Egypt, whose rays were brilliant and very fast-moving, and behind it a sparkling tail, and an impressive flame of considerable size and strongly reddish colour.  It ranged from north to east, nearly three hundred rods long,[3] and nearly two wide, like a snake.  This happened at sunset, on Wednesday, 5th of the month of Rabi` al-ākhar of the year 313 [of the Hegira].  It lasted three hours, then went out.

14. The minister Abu’l Abbas ibn al-Khasib was dismissed and Ali ibn Isà b. al-Garrah was appointed minister. Then [al-Muqtadir] dismissed him and appointed as minister Abū ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali on the Thursday of the middle of the month of Rabi` al-ākhar of the year 316 [of the Hegira].  At Baghdad, the officers rose up against al-Muqtadir and decided to kill him.  They were Abū’l-Hayğā, Nazūk, and others.  Al-Muqtadir, fearing for his own life, abdicated on the Saturday of the middle of the month of al-Muharram of the year 317 [of the Hegira].  Al-Muqtadir’s brother, Muhammad b. Ahmad, was enthroned in his place.  He sat on the throne for only the Sabbath and Sunday, for on Monday, the servants gathered, better known as the al-Masāffiyyah[4], killed Nāzūk and Abū’l-Hayğā, returned the Caliphate to al-Muqtadir, removed Muhammad ibn Ahmad and sent him back to his home with all honours.  In Egypt there was such an indescribable invasion of grasshoppers that they prevented, by their multitude, the sun’s rays falling on the earth.  The Egyptians had never seen similar grasshoppers.  The grasshoppers devastated their vineyards, all the fruit trees, the palms and the leeks, and the gardens and the vineyards were reduced to complete devastation.  This took place in the month of Rabi` al-awwal of the year 327 [of the Hegira]. (In another text it says “of 317”.)

15. In Yamāmah[5] and in Bahrain, there arose a rebel called Sulayman ibn Hasan, better known as Abū Sa’id al-Gānābi (268), who marched on Basra, conquered it, and destroyed it, making a great massacre of the inhabitants.  From there he moved to Kūfa, occupied it, and killed the population, taking away a great booty.  Then he went on and camped near Baghdad, in a place called “Tell ‘Arqūf”.  There were many battles between him and the soldiers of al-Muqtadir, but, unable to get what he wanted, he returned to Kūfa in the year 313 [of the Hegira].  Then he filled with earth, in order to block them, the water wells that were scattered along the road leading to Mecca and the lowlands.  The people of Baghdad and Khurāsān saw themselves thus forced to forgo the pilgrimage, for fear of him, while those of Egypt and Syria continued to make it.  It was the 7th of the month of Dhū’l-higga of 317 [of the Hegira] and many people were intent on doing their pilgrimage, when al-Gannābi with his men fell upon Mecca and entered it.  Around the Ka’bah, in the mosque and in the markets, he killed such a multitude of people as to fill with corpses the well of Zamzam.[6] Even the valleys, the streets, the houses and the deserts were full of corpses.  Of those who had escaped escape, some were killed by the desert Arabs who deprived them of what they had, others fled to Jedda and took to sea.  Al-Gannabi[7] was insatiable of these incalculable riches and furnishings, and he laid his hands on all the gold and silver that was inside the Ka’bah.  On the door of the Ka’bah there were silver plates: he prised them off and took them.  In a corner of the Ka’bah, outside, there was a black stone that people worshiped and kissed, imploring blessings from God: he removed it and took possession of it. He stayed at Mecca for seven days, stripping it of everything he found.  Then he returned to his country, making pilgrimage impossible [to Mecca].

16. Elias, Patriarch of Antioch, died, on Saturday, 13th of the month of gumādà al-ākhar of the year 317 [of the Hegira].  He had held office for twenty-eight years.  Muhammad ibn ‘Ali b. Muqla was dismissed as minister on a Tuesday, eleven days before the end of the month of gumādā al-awwal and there was appointed as minister Sulaymān ibn al-Hasan b. Makhlad on Thursday, thirteen days before the end of the month of ğumādà al-awwal, of the year 318 [of the Hegira].  He was dismissed eight days before the end of the rağab month of year 317 (sic!).[8]  There was made minister ‘Ubayd Allah b. Muhammad al-Kaddāni on Saturday, six days before the end of the month of Ragab of the year 319 [of the Hegira] and he was dismissed.  There was appointed as minister al-Hasan ibn al-Qasim b. ‘Ubayd ad-Dīn Sulaymān b. Wahb on Saturday, three days before the end of the month of Shawwāl of the year 319 [of the Hegira] and he was nicknamed ‘Amīd ad-dawla b. Wali ad-dawla.  He was dismissed and there was appointed as minister Abū’l-Fadl b. Ga‘far b. al-Furāt b. Khayzurānah, on Sunday, three days before the end of the month of Rabi al-ākhar of the year 320 [of the Hegira].  His genealogy was derived from his mother, because it was his mother who was called Khayzurānah.

17. As for the Rūm, Christopher, son of Domitius, died and Domitius embraced the monastic life.  Constantine alone remained in the government of the empire. Stephen, patriarch of Constantinople, died after having held office for three years. There was made patriarch of Constantinople Atrānfinūs.[9]  Christodoulus, Patriarch of Alexandria, died on Wednesday, eleven days before the end of the month of Dhul-qa’da of 320[10], or November 25, 649 of the era of Diocletian.  He was buried at Fustāt-Misr.  He had held office for twenty-six years and six months.  He was buried in the church of [St] Michael.  The officers who were stationed in Baghdad rose up against al-Muqtadir, along with the eunuch Mu’nis and provoked rioting against him.  [Al-Muqtadir] went out against them to fight against them, but they killed him and with his head, hoisted on top of a spear, they went around the city.  It was the Wednesday, two days before the end of the month of shawwāl of the year 320 [of the Hegira].  His caliphate lasted twenty-four years, eleven months and fifteen days.  His minister was al-Fadl b. Ga’far b. al-Furat.

18. The Patriarch of Constantinople [Tryphon] died after having held office for three years.  There was made patriarch Dumniyūs, his own son, called Brufilaqta.[11]  He was an eunuch and he was twenty-two years old.

CALIPHATE OF AL-QĀHIR (320-322/932-934).

1. The bay’ah was given to al-Qāhir bi’llāh Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Mu‘tadid on Thursday, the last day of the month of Shawwāl of the year 320 [of the Hegira]. He named as his minister Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Muqla.

2. In the first year of his caliphate, there was made patriarch of Alexandria Sa‘id ibn Batrīq[12], the physician, a native of of Fustāt-Misr, and later called Anba Eutychius, on Thursday 13th of the month of Safar of the lunar year 321.

CALIPHATE OF AR-RĀDĪ [BI’LLĀH] (322-329/934-940).

1. The bay’ah was given to ar-Rādī, i.e. Abū’l-`Abbās Muhammad b. Al-Muqtadir, on Wednesday 6 ğumādā al-awwal of 322 [of the Hegira].  He named as his minister Muhammad b. Muqla.

2. In the first year of his caliphate there was made patriarch of Antioch anba Theodosius, i.e. Stephen, the scribe who was in Baghdad with the eunuch Mu’nis, in the month of Ramadan of the year 323 [of the Hegira].  On the 3rd of the month of dhū’l-qada of that year, there was a frightening earthquake in Egypt and a confused movement of falling stars.

3. Muhammad ibn Tu‘g[13] fled to Barqah with a group of officers and people. Then they gathered and returned to Alexandria while those in the city fled to the Gulf of Rosetta.  Ibn Tughğ sent an army with his brother Abu’z-Zafar at the head.  He repulsed them in the year 304 [of the Hegira][14], killing some of them and making some of them prisoners.  The people then returned to Alexandria.[15]

4. Ar-Rādī withdrew his favor from his minister Muhammad b. Ali and appointed as his minister ‘Abd ar-Rahmān b. ‘Isa in the year 324 [of the Hegira].

5. On Palm Sunday of the year 325 [of the Hegira] the Muslims made an uprising against the church of Jerusalem, focusing on the southern gates of the church of Constantine and the portico.[16]  The patriarch was from Ascalona, ​​had two sons and two daughters and was called Christopher.[17]  The fire occurred in the first Easter of his period of patriarchy.  [The Muslims] also attacked the Place of the Skull and the Place of the Resurrection.[18]  In year 325 [of the Hegira] ar-Rādī removed his favour from ‘Abd ar-Rahmān b. ‘Īsā and dismissed him, appointing as his minister al-Fadl b. Ga’far.  In the year 326 [of the Hegira] there was a satisfactory truce between the Rum [and the Muslims].  That same year Theophilus, patriarch of Constantinople, sent his own message to the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch asking them to mention their name in their prayers and in their masses, as this was no longer done from the time of the Umayyads.  They welcomed his request.

6. Here ends the book of Sa`īd ibn Batrīq the doctor, namely Eutychius the Melchite, who became patriarch of the city of Alexandria in the year 321 of the Islamic Hegira at the age of sixty lunar years.  But if you want to know the date of the beginning of this book and from when it is composed, start your calculations from this date, i.e. from the day when Sa’id ibn Batriq became patriarch, i.e. from the 8th of the month of Safar of  the year 321 of the Islamic Hegira.  May God keep us in good health!

The book has been completed with the help of God Most High, O munificent King.

  1. [1]This should be 311 AH, as the next sentence makes clear.
  2. [2]Stephen II, who held off from 29 June 925 to 18 July 927.
  3. [3]The Italian word for “rods” is “aste”.  I have no idea how long this is supposed to be.
  4. [4]A special group of palace slaves.
  5. [5]In central Arabia
  6. [6]A well in the mosque area south of the Kaaba, 72 feet deep.
  7. [7]Jedda is “Gedda” in the Italian; perhaps al-Gannabi should be al-Jannabi?
  8. [8]Should be 319.
  9. [9]Tryphon, who held office 927-31 AD.
  10. [10]I.e. 22-23 November, 932 AD.
  11. [11]Theophilus, 933-56 AD.
  12. [12]I.e. Eutychius himself, who held office 7 Feb. 933-11 May 940.
  13. [13]This is Muhammad b. Tughg al-Ikhshīd, founder of the Ikhshid dynasty who controlled Egypt for three decades.
  14. [14]Should read 334.
  15. [15]This paragraph doesn’t make sense, as far as I can see.  The Italian is: “Muhammad ibn Tu‘g (284) fuggì a Barqah assieme ad un gruppo di comandanti e al popolo. Poi si riunirono e fecero ritorno ad Alessandria mentre quelli che si trovavano in città fuggirono verso il golfo di Rosetta. Ibn Tughğ mandò un esercito con a capo il fratello Abū’z-Zafar. Costui li sgominò nell’anno 304 /dell’ègira/ (285), in parte uccidendoli e in parte facendoli prigionieri. La popolazione fece così ritorno ad Alessandria.”
  16. [16]Pirone: Recorded in PG 111, 1155-6: “The Muslims set fire to the basilica of Constantine while the patriarch was officiating.  The episode is commemorated in the Jerusalem calendar on March 24th.
  17. [17]Probably Christodoulos is meant here.  If so, this means that Eutychius omits the reign of Athanasius I, his predecessor.
  18. [18]Cf. PG 111, 1083.

4 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 19m – Abbasids part 12

  1. Interesting. The nearly successful usurpation of Romanos Lekapenos and how he almost sidelined Porphyrogennitos and put his sons on the throne of Constantinople Eutychios does not seem to know even though it is a near contemporary event.

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