Eutychius: an interlude

My last chunk of the Annals of Sa`id ibn Bitriq, better known as Eutychius, the 10th century Melkite patriarch of Alexandria, took us up to the accession of Heraclius as Emperor of the East.  This concluded chapter 17, in Pirone’s Italian translation; and also concluded part 1 of the work.  A division into two halves is common in Arabic Christian chronicles; the second half beginning with the rise of Islam during the reign of Heraclius.

I’ve now translated ten chapters – 8-17 – of Eutychius, covering the period from the birth of Christ to the accession of Heraclius, a period of something over six centuries.  The earlier chapters will certainly be tedious, and of very limited historical value, which is why I wisely did not start with them.

Looking at Pirone, I see that the remainder of the work is divided strangely.  There are two chapters, 18 and 19.  Chapter 18 covers the Ummayad caliphs; chapter 19 covers the Abassid caliphs, as far as Eutychius own time.  Each chapter is about 90 pages, which is three times the maximum size so far.

Each of these two chapters is divided up into the reigns of each caliph.  Pirone restarts the paragraph numbering for each new ruler; but does not assign a numeral to each reign.  This does make it somewhat difficult to reference, and I do wonder where these systems of division and organisation come from.  No doubt I will find out.

What I will have to do, I think, is to assign numbers myself.  So the chunks will become “chapter 18.1”, covering the opening material; then “18.2”, covering the first Islamic ruler; and so on.  I dislike this, but it is clearly necessary as a way to control the material.  How odd that Pirone did not do this!

The second half of Eutychius was translated into Latin in the 17th century.  I perhaps should look at this, to see if there is any interesting system of division in it; but I would suspect not.

Another problem is accessing material that I have already translated.  The tag “Eutychius” now is attached to a lot of posts, and it is simply difficult to read through them all.  What I probably need to do is to create a page, with links to all the pieces.

Meanwhile, I shall press on with part 2.  I’m not quite sure how I will title each chunk, but we’ll see.


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