More from the Chronicle of Zuqnin

 The story continues:

In the year 1047 (735 736), `Attiq rebelled and embraced the sect of the Harourites.

When he rebelled and embraced the sect of the Harourites, he did as the Arabs used to do when they abandon their women and all they have. He went with twenty companions to Sigara. Hisham heard this, and commanded Qaliu and Zohair, generals of the cavalry at Sigara, to march against him and bring him to battle. These, after receiving the order, assembled a large army and went out in pursuit. They met him in the desert at Sigara itself. He asked them to wait until tomorrow to start the battle. As they had with them a large army and the rebels were few, they despised them even though thirst was felt in their camp, because water was lacking in the desert and, again, the light was fading.

 [31] `Attiq, who looked at them all with contempt, was a brave man as were his companions, and he had made this proposal to them by guile. When night fell and they had eaten and drank, they slept unsuspectingly, while `Attiq and his companions took their weapons, fell upon them in the first watch of the night and killed them all. The Lord turned the sword of each against his neighbour and each of the companions of `Attiq passed among them like the stonemasons and like those who drive the plough. With the exception of a few who mounted their steeds and fled, no one escaped; they all perished by the sword. The army chiefs themselves, Zohair and Qaliu, fell among the dead.

In the year 1052 (740-741), the Emperor of the Romans, Leo, died after a reign of twenty-five years and was succeeded by his son Constantine, who reigned thirty-five years.

At that time, Hisham, king of the Arabs, built a bridge over the Euphrates, opposite Callinicus.

In the year 1053 (741-742), one Sunday there was a great and terrible earthquake. All through the night of this Sunday, the noise it was producing was heard, sound like the bellowing of a bull. When the time came for Mass, all the people ran to the church. But the church of Maraq was overthrown by the violence and force of an earthquake which happened suddenly, and it crushed all the people who were assembled there; no one left alive, except the priest who was at that moment offering the sacrifice. The hill on which the church of Maraq was built shook with rumbles and noises for about thirty days.  [32] In the year 1054 (742-743), the great bridge over the Tigris, near Amida, was overthrown. The winter had been hard; heavy snow fell from the sky and had accumulated on the land for many days, so that all flesh was nearing its end. The animals and especially birds perished. Then came cold and rigorous weather, wind and rain for a long time; the snow melted and the ground was thoroughly soaked by the water as it was covered with melting snow. There were floods in all rivers, especially in the Tigris. On this river the banks broke and violent flooding resulted which destroyed many men and countries. It carried with it a lot of wood and the water pressure was so powerful that large trees piled up against the great bridge and heaped one upon another for five or six miles upstream. Thus, due to the violent impact of the timbers and the strength of the flood, the bridge broke and was overturned by the waters. It was not restored, because when Hisham, after gathering the workers and masons with everything needed to rebuild it, was hastening to rebuild it, he was surprised by death and left the work unfinished.

At the same time Edessa was also flooded. There was in fact a great and violent flooding in the river, which crosses the city and called the Daishan.  The waters came in abundance into the city, so that the storm drains in the eastern wall of the city were blocked. The waters did not manage to knock down the wall and flooded back, rising in an extraordinary way, they spread through the streets of the city and destroyed all the shops. Many houses collapsed; but because it happened during the day, nobody died in the flooding: the inhabitants had fled, abandoning their homes.  [33] The breach of the canal also caused great harm throughout the plain of Edessa and Harran.

In the year 1055 (743-744), Hisham, king of the Arabs, died, and after him, Walid [II] reigned eight months.

The tyrant Yezid, `Abbas and Ibrahim, who were brothers, and their parent `Abd al-Aziz, the son of Haddjadj, rose up against him and killed him with the sword near the town of Qore. Yezid [III] ruled after him for six months, but the country did not obey him and he was unable to send governors into Mesopotamia. On the death of Yezid, his brother Ibrahim took his place. That same year, discord arose throughout the country, because of the tyranny of `Abbas and his brother against Walid, whom they had put to death by the sword. As they reigned although royalty did not belong to them, the Arabs would not obey them, especially those in Mesopotamia. But everyone stayed at home and watched over his own affairs. Dissension and brigandage reigned throughout the country and nobody could leave home.

4 thoughts on “More from the Chronicle of Zuqnin

  1. All very interesting. As we are approaching now the reign of Marwan II (744-750 AD), the last Umayyad Caliph, and the beginning of the Abbasid Revolt and Dynasty, the events recorded by Zuqnin are mirrored by the Coptic Chronicler, Yo’annis Moses, who wrote that part of history in the History of the Coptic Church (which is wrongly attributed to Severus of Ashmunein). Egypt, with the whole of that part of the world, suffered tremendously by the years of instability in the decade preceding the collapse of the Umayyad Dynasty in 750 AD, and also in the years immediately after. These years witnessed the first Coptic Bashmourite revolt during the patriarchate of one of the great Coptic patriarchs, Michael I (743-766 AD).

    I would be interested in reading about Zuqnin’s verdict on the Abbasids and how he characterises their movement.

    Dioscorus Boles

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