Eusebius in Armenian

We all know that many interesting works are preserved in Classical Armenian translation.  Eusebius’ Church History exists in an Armenian version; book 1 of his Chronicle is only preserved in Armenian.  But what else exists?

I’ve often mentioned that I have translators at work on Eusebius’ Gospel differences and their solutions (Quaestiones ad Stephanum, ad Marinum).  Today I received a translation of a chunk of this work from a Coptic catena, much to my delight.

But what about Armenian?  What exists?  What catenae exist?  What catalogues of unpublished manuscripts?  Is there any possibility that this work Eusebius exists whole somewhere?  Or new fragments in a catena?

I realise that I have no idea.  If anyone can point me in the direction of finding out, I would be most grateful!


Robert Bedrosian does Eusebius’ Chronicle into English

I’ve just had a note from the excellent Robert Bedrosian.  It seems that he has translated Eusebius of Caesarea’s Chronicle book 1 directly from the Armenian into English!  It’s here.  Andrew Smith of translated it from Petermann’s Latin into English, but this is the first translation from the original langauge.  And… he’s made it public domain, so anyone can use it.

Robert has also scanned most of the Budge translation into English of Bar-Hebraeus Chronicon Syriacum (the secular history).

Robert’s site is much less well known than it deserves to be.  It’s impossible to get people to translate Classical Armenian into English, even for money (I’ve tried!).  Yet here is a great selection of primary Armenian sources, all free, all online, all of the highest historical interest.

More later when I have a chance to actually look at this!


Chunk 2 of Eusebius’ Chronicle now up and ready for translation!

I referred in a previous post to the idea of translating collaboratively book 1 of the Chronicle of Eusebius into English, and setting it up so that anyone could just contribute stuff — no approvals, passwords, etc.

I’ve now put online the entries for the second chunk, starting with more material from Alexander Polyhistor using Berossus.

I’ve made it editable so that anyone can enter stuff. Each sentence is separately editable. There’s no passwords or logons involved. Anyone can edit anything by just pressing the edit button.

If you know any Latin at all, or German, why not buzz over to this page and contribute a sentence or two?


The Testimonium Flavianum in Michael the Syrian, Jacob of Edessa and Eusebius’ Chronicle

The Chronicle of Eusebius ended with the Vicennalia of Constantine; that is clear from Jerome’s translation/expansion of it in Latin. From Michael the Syrian we learn that Jacob of Edessa commenced his Syriac continuation at the same point.

Looking at Michael’s text, it is clear that the Testimonium Flavianum quoted in it comes from the same material as the mention of Phlegon; that is, presumably from Eusebius Chronicle via some Syriac translation.

I think that we can presume that, like other works of Eusebius, the Chronicle was translated into Syriac early. Indeed that Jacob in the 7th century uses the same end point as Jerome in the fourth says that he was working with a translation made fairly early, as he then has to supplement it with material from Socrates and Theodoret! A later translation would probably have been from a revised edition of the Chronicle such as that of Annanias or Panodorus, or betray the signs of reediting that the Armenian translation does (itself a 5th century product). Both books must have been translated, judging from the presence of material from book 1 at the start of Michael the Syrian.

But the Testimonium never formed part of the Chronicle, so must be an addition, and probably after the text had been translated into Syriac. It seems unlikely that Josephus Antiquities was translated. But we do know that Eusebius Church History was, since it is extant in that language. What, then, is the version of the TF in that text?

Most people are familiar with the TF in Michael because it was published by Shlomo Pines when he published the version in Agapius. But although a printed edition of the Syriac Eusebius HE exists, no translation exists. The same applies to the Armenian text of the HE.

One interesting feature of Michael’s quotation is that it agrees with Jerome’s Latin version “He was thought to be the Christ”. If this did not come from Josephus, does it mean that the HE in Eusebius originally read thus?


How the Chronicle of Eusebius was rediscovered

Since 1998 Dr. Armenuhi Drost-Abgarjan has been working on a new edition of the Armenian text of Eusebius Chronicle, with German translation *. She kindly sent me an off-print of an article about this. It looks as if the prefaces of both the Latin edition of Petermann (1875-6) and the German one of Karst (1911) are mistaken about a lot of things to do with the manuscripts.

The manuscript of this work was discovered in 1782 in the Eastern Armenian town of Šamaxi by a certain George Dpir Ter Yovhannisean (1737-1811), who was acting as liason man between the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople and the exiled Armenian Mechitarist monks in Venice. This is the ‘Lector George’ of Petermann.

It seems that while staying in the town, after a hearty meal at which the Madras wine flowed freely, he got up in the night feeling thirsty and went in search of the water jug. He found it, and found that a manuscript with a strong leather binding was being used as the lid. This was the ms. of the Chronicle, and has been dated in the past to the 12th century.

The ms. then went to Jerusalem; Constantinople; and then to the library of the monastery at Echmiadzin. After the Soviets took over Armenia, mss. were removed from monasteries to central libraries, and in 1939 the ms. was in Yerevan, in the Matenadaran manuscript institute, under the shelfmark Codex Maten. 1904.

In 1793 Dpir copied this manuscript himself, and sent his copy to the Mechitarists. It arrived at Christmas 1794, and is no. 931 in their library.

A further copy exists, made in Tokat in 1696, which is now in Venice as codex no. 302. The sigla in the editions, unfortunately, reflect confusion about what mss. exist.

Adolf von Harnack arranged for a photographic copy to be made of the original ms. by his pupil, Karapet Ter-Mekerttschian, who had discovered and published Irenaeus Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. This copy has been in Berlin, in the “Archiv der Berliner Akademie der Wissenschaften” for almost a century, and was used by Karst. However the differences between this and the only published edition, that of Aucher, are very small.

Dr. Drost-Abgarjan has located a florilegium on paper (Codex Maten. 2679, s.IX) containing extracts from many historical works, which includes portions of the Chronicle. This will allow some lacunae to be filled up. She has also located various quotations in later Armenian authors, which will be used for the new edition. The new material will be published first; then the new edition.

* Armenuhi Drost-Abgarjan, Ein neuer Fund zur armenischen Version der Eusebios-Chronik, in “Julius Africanus und die christliche Weltchronistik” (Ed. Wallraff) (2006) pp.255-262. I hope to translate this and place it online.


Obtaining a copy of the Armenian text of Eusebius’ Chronicle

Aucher’s 1818 editio princeps is in two volumes, corresponding to the two books of the Chronicle. Cambridge University Library have got back to me with some prices. For a photocopy of the 400 pages of vol. 1 they want ca. $160; for both vols ca. $300. “Bi-tonal scans as PDF files” are $420 and $790 (!).

Nor are CUL just being greedy compared to other libraries, and indeed they are one of the more reasonable ones. Most UK libraries see such requests only as opportunities for profit for what the market will bear; although, of course, those who run those libraries tend to make special arrangements for themselves, at a very special price, as I found out happens at the British Library.

Again, we owe such gratitude to Google Books for freeing us all from this dungeon of high charges and inaccessibility.

So it’s decision time. Clearly I won’t buy PDF’s from them — I can make them myself for nothing from the photocopies. Nor can I afford both volumes. But I might buy a copy of vol.1. It really would be nice to have access to this, when arguments about names arise. I shall look at Thomson’s grammar of Classical Armenian this weekend and decide then.


More thoughts on the Armenian of Eusebius

There is supposed to be a new edition of the Armenian text of Eusebius’ Chronicle, to appear in the Berlin GCS series. Richard Burgess communicated this information to the LT-ANTIQ list a year or two back. If so, this would alter matters again, as a printed Classical Armenian (=’Grabar’) text could be scanned. I am told that the support for Grabar in Abbyy Finereader 8.0 Pro (which I have) is very good, thereby avoiding the need to get Aucher retyped. Perhaps the right choice is to defer dealing with the Armenian, and to proceed with the Latin and German.


Working with the Armenian text of Eusebius – or not

I am beginning to wonder whether I have been too ambitious in attempting to work with the Armenian text of Eusebius Chronicle. It seems remarkably difficult just to obtain the raw materials. The English Grammar by R.M.Thomson is out of print and unobtainable second hand for less than $100; my attempts to borrow it from the library have gone nowhere.

There is no critical text. My attempts to obtain a photocopy of Aucher’s 1818 text, requested in March, have vanished into a black hole. This will involve $200 when or if it is possible and yet more delay.

Then it will be necessary to get it typed up. My only quote for this at 7 euros per page for 400 pages amounts to $4,000 – an impossible sum. An attempt to locate people in Armenia who would do it got no reply.

Then it would be necessary to get the text morphologised, because none of us known Armenian. This at least seems possible, as J.J.Weitenberg will help me.

Then it will be necessary to split up the text into sections, to align with the Latin and German. This will be very lengthy, given that I don’t know Armenian.

And after all that, will anyone use it? Or will they just use the Latin and German?

I must admit that I am being tempted to just abandon the Armenian angle. I’m about half-way through lining up the columns of Latin and German.


More Classical Armenian

While following up Rick Brannan’s comment on my last post, and searching for Bedrossian’s dictionary, I came across a marvellous site: the Leiden Armenian Lexical Database. This contains an electronic version of Bedrossian, as well as several other dictionaries, plus some Armenian texts which have been fully morphologised. The whole site is maintained by Jos Weitenberg, as far as I can see.

This doesn’t remove the need for some printed material, but obviously is a huge leap forward. I think that I will try to contact these people and see if there is some scope to digitise Eusebius’ Chronicle book 1 in the Armenian version! That would seem to offer possibilities of synergy to both sides, particularly if a few of us could contribute a bit of money.