The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 5)

The reign of Justinian continues, and after him Justin II.  We have two extracts from the lost Sassanid Persian chronicle that Eutychius has in Arabic translation.  The Persian chronicler was plainly very well-disposed towards the next Sassanid Persian king, Anūshirwān.

13. Qabād died.The years when Qabād reigned, together with the years in which Rāmāsf reigned, were around forty.  After him reigned his son Kisra, son of Qabād, called Anūshirwān.  He reigned for forty-seven years and six months.  This happened in the fourth year of the reign of Justinian, king of Rum.  Kisra ordered that the leaders of the Mazdeans should be expelled from his realm.  He confiscated the goods, which they had illegally seized, and returned them to their owners, preserving for himself the goods of those who had no heirs, and repaired what they had damaged and rebuilt what had been destroyed.  He interested himself in those whose houses and farms had beene extorted from them, and gave them back their own.  To those who had taken a woman by force he ordered them give her twice her dowry, unless, being fully satisfied, he took her as his wife.  And if she had a husband, he was to give him the equivalent of the dowry that the woman had at the time of the wedding.  If necessary he made him marry the woman.  What prompted him to set aside the punishment for those who had been guilty of crimes was the fact that he had at heart the good of the people and he did not like to treat anyone in a way that rendered them hostile.  He ordered a census of the families of nobles and aristocrats who, having lost those who supported them, had fallen into poverty; gave to their orphans and their widows what they needed,   to teach their children the arts for which they were fit and to give their daughters in marriage to rich people equal to them.  Also he showed interest in houses and land whose owners were no longer able to maintain them, for lack of means, and dug irrigation canals and waterways, so as to make the water flow in the rivers, and provided their owners the money needed to purchase seeds and livestock.  He went visiting the villages that had been destroyed and built formidable fortresses.  Then he chose ministers, prefects and judges and transferred them into the provinces.  He published the books of Azdashīr which contained the teachings which had inspired his own conduct, and urged the people to do the same, sending letters in this regard into all the provinces.  In the ninth year of his reign, in the twelfth year of the reign of Justinian, king of Rum, he went to Antioch at the head of his soldiers.  At Antioch he found the soldiers of Justinian, king of the Rum.  He fought against them and captured the city.  He then ordered a map of the city to be made, respecting the measure, the number of dwellings, in height and depth, of the streets and all that was there.  He sent a copy to his lieutenant of Ctesiphon, and ordered him to build him a city of the same shape and construction so that the eye would not notice any difference between it and Antioch.  The city was built, called ar-Rūmiyah, and he transfered the population of Antioch to live there.  When they arrived and passed the gate of the city, each family found a house very similar to the one left, and they all had the feeling of simply being returned to the Antioch that they had left.

14. In the thirtieth year of the reign of Justinian, king of Rum, there was made patriarch of Rome Pelagius.  He held the office for four years and died.  In the thirty-fifth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Rome, John.  He held the office for twelve years and died.  In the thirtieth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Antioch Anastasius the Great.  He had held the seat for six years when the inhabitants of Antioch accused him of fornication.  Anastasius fled, he took his clothes that he used to wear to celebrate mass and buried them.  In disguise he went to Jerusalem and took refuge in the Church of the Resurrection, where he had the task of lighting the candlesticks.  He remained as sacristan at the Church of the Resurrection, with the task of lighting the candlesticks, for twenty-four years, and no one ever knew that he was a patriarch.  In his place there was made Patriarch of Antioch Gregory.  He held the office for twenty-four years and died.  In the twenty-ninth year of the reign of Justinian there was made patriarch of Jerusalem, Macarius II.  He held the office for four years and died.  In the thirty-third year of his reign there was made Patriarch of Jerusalem John.  He held the office for ten years and he died.  In twenty-eighth year of his reign he was told that Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, had denied the truth and had become a Jacobite.  He deposed him, and made patriarch of Constantinople, in his place, John.  He held the office for seven years and died.  After Eutychius, the patriarch of Constantinople who had been removed, the ministers and generals of the king were commissioned to plead his case to the king, and to ask him to reinstate him in his office, because what had been said about him were simply lies.  The king then reinstated him in the patriarchal office and he ruled for four years until he died.  In the thirty-ninth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Constantinople John.  He held the office for thirteen years and died.  Also Apollinaris, Patriarch of Alexandria, was patriarch for nineteen years and died.  In his thirteenth year in office he had a place on the Fifth Council.  After him there was made patriarch of Alexandria John.  He was a Manichaean.  He held the office for three years and died.  In the thirty-seventh year of the reign of Justinian there was made patriarch of Alexandria Peter. He was a Jacobite.  He held the office for two years and died.  King Justinian was of the Orthodox faith, loving the good, hater of the doctrine of the Jacobites and a tenacious advocate of the doctrine of the Melkites.

15. The king Justinian died after a reign of thirty-nine years.  After him reigned over Rum, for thirteen years, Justin the Younger.  This happened in the thirty-seventh year of the reign of Kisra, son of Qabād, king of the Persians.  Justin the Younger was also of the Orthodox faith, a champion of good, hater of the doctrine of the Jacobites and Nestorians and lover of the doctrine of the Melkites.  In the first year of his reign there was made patriarch of Alexandria Athanasius.  He was a Manichaean.  He held the office for five years and he died.  In the sixth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Alexandria John the Just.  He held the office for eleven years and died.  In the eighth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Rome Benedict.  He held the office for four years and died.  In the twelfth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Rome Pelagius.  He held the office for six years and died.

16. As for Kisra, son of Qabād, king of the Persians, called Anūshirwān, he moved with his troops against the Hayātilah to avenge his grandfather Firuz.  As he was already related by marriage to the Khaqan, Kisra, son of Qabād, wrote him a letter to inform him of his coming, and to tell him that he would march over the Hayātilah territory before he arrived.  Then he swooped down on him and the king killed him.  Balkh and the lands of Khurasan who were around it went over to Anūshirwān, who encamped his hosts in Farghānah, and married the daughter of the Great Khaqan.  In Khurasan, Sayf b. Du Yazan the Himyarite, head of the Yemeni population, presented himself to him, and asked for help against the Abyssinians.  He sent with him one of his generals at the head of an army from Deylaman, and they occupied Yemen and settled there.  Wherever he sent his troops Anushirwān obtained huge success and victories which rendered the condition of his subjects  prosperous.  Feeling the approach of death, he invested his son Hurmuz with power and died.  Anushirwān reigned forty-seven years and six months.  After him reigned his son Hurmuz, son of Anushirwān, for eleven years and six months.  This happened in the twelfth year of the reign of Justin, king of Rum.

3 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 5)

  1. The synoptic Sasanian tradition has more on Khusro, especially his tax-reform. This reform is dealt with more thoroughly in the Shah Nameh poem and in Tabari’s Ta’rikh; Dinawari also notes it, but not well. Michael Jackson Bonner believes that much came from the (lost) long version of the Sirat Anushirwan. Eutychius appears not to have known it.

  2. More Michael Jackson Bonner, on the Hayâtilah: this is the Pahlavi way of referring to the Hephthali Huns. Many histories contemporary with Eutychius anachronistically called them Turks. Eutychius shares his Hayâtilah account with Dinawari, Mas’udi, Bal’ami, and Tha’libi. So for this portion, Eutychius relies on propaganda almost straight from Khusro’s court.

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