The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 6 – part 2 and final

Well this hasn’t happened for a while!  But somehow I have just translated the entire remainder of the chapter of Eutychius’ Annals.  Not bad considering that I only set out to do a couple of sections at the end of a long week at work!

The material in this chapter is from the Old Testament.  But even so, traces of the Chronicle tables of Eusebius are visible: “there prophesied in this time X and Y”.

Part of the fun of reading this stuff is trying to make out the familiar names from the Arabic transliteration.  It’s also interesting to see the story afresh from the perhaps too-familiar words of our bible.  It struck me, as I wrote this, that the kings of Israel and Judah had good reason to be nervous about the prophets, an alternative source of authority in their kingdom.  At any moment one of them might do what Elisha does below, and anoint some ambitious man as a rival king, whereupon civil war would ensue.  If the rebel was defeated, no doubt the prophet would also be killed.  But it meant that no king could feel safe with a prophet working in the kingdom.  No wonder so many prophets lived an exciting life!

3. After him his son Yūrām reigned, aged thirty-two. He reigned for eight years over Judah, in Ūrashalīm. This took place in the fifth year of the reign of Yūrām, son of Akhāb, king of Israel.  There prophesied, in his day, Elisha, disciple of Iliyā, and ‘Ubidiyā.  Ibn-Hadād, king of Syria (8), became active again, gathered his soldiers and marched against Yūrām, king of Israel, in Samaria, to wage war on him.  Yūrām was afraid of him, but Elisha told him: “Do not fear.  Fortify yourself in your city because God will give you victory over your enemy”.  Yūrām then stayed in his city.  The soldiers of Damascus were as numerous as the sand of the sea and surrounded the city of Yūrām and all the territory of Samaria.  The Israelites were under siege for three years.  Then a famine fell on Samaria so badly that the people were reduced to feed on the flesh of the dead and pigeon droppings, and the head of a donkey was sold for eighty “dirhams” and a glass of pigeon droppings for five “dirhams” (9).  While Yūrām, king of Israel, was walking along the walls of the city, he came across a woman struggling with another woman.  One of the women begged the king for help, saying: “This woman said: ‘Slay your son today, so we can eat him so as not to starve.  Tomorrow, I will slaughter mine and eat him’. Yesterday I killed my son and we ate him, but today she took her son and hid him”(10).  On hearing this, the king shuddered, tore his clothes, and covered his head with dust. He then sent to tell the prophet Elisha: “Did you not say that God would give me the victory over my enemy? But when will this happen?” The prophet Elisha answered the messenger: “Tell the king: ‘Tomorrow, at this same hour, God will grant you the victory over your enemy. At the city gate of Samaria flour will be sold at a dirham for a waybah and barley at a dirham for two waybah'” (11).  The messenger replied to the prophet Elisha: “But such a thing is completely impossible”. Elisha answered: “Well instead it will be like this. You will see it [with your own eyes], but you will not eat it.”(12). There were four leper Israelis at the far end of the walls who agreed among themselves: “When night comes we will lower ourselves from the walls and we will go to the Syrian soldiers. They will either kill us or give us bread to eat” (13).  They did as they said and once they arrived among the soldiers they tried to rummage through the tents and the camps.  But there was nobody there.  This was because it was rumoured on that same night among the soldiers of Damascus that the king of Egypt, the king of Israel, the king of Judah and all the kings (14) had joined forces to assail them by surprise, during the night, and they had therefore fled, leaving behind them their camps, tents, baggage, their household goods and all that they had.  The lepers came back and informed the king of Israel so that he could send men on the trail of the Syrians.  They travelled quickly to the banks of the Jordan River but found no traces [of the Damascus soldiers].  The king then gave orders to open the gate of the city, people poured out and looted everything that was in the tents of the Syrians.  Flour was immediately sold for a dirham a waybah and barley at a dirham for two waybah (15).  As for the messenger who had accused the prophet Elisha of lying, when he saw all this he died at the gate of the city because of the great crowds and the crush.  After this Yūrām, king of Judah, went out against the Rūm who were in ash-Sharāh and massacred them (16). Yūrām, king of Judah, died and was buried in the city of David.

4. After him his son Ukhuziyā reigned over Judah, at Urashalim, for a single year at the age of twenty-two.  This took place in the twelfth year of the reign of Yūrām, son of Akhāb, king of Israel.  His mother was called ‘Athaliyā, and she was the sister of Akhāb, king of Israel, son of ‘Umri.  There prophesied, in his day, Elisha and Abūdiyā.  Yūrām, king of Israel, moved, together with Gazāyil, king of the tribes, against ar-Rāmah (17) to fight against the Syrians (18).  Yūrām, king of Israel, was wounded in war and returned to the city of Yizrā`īl for treatment.  Ukhuziyā, son of Yūrām, came to him to greet him.  The prophet Elisha called his disciple Yūnis, son of Mitthaī, i.e. an-Nūn (19), who had been swallowed by the fish, gave him a horn with oil inside and told him: “Go to the city of Rāmah of Kal‘ād and you will find a commander named Yāhū, son of Yimsi (20).  Anoint him with this ointment as king of Israel” (21).  Yūnis, disciple of Elisha, went and did as he had ordered him.  Yāhū gave the news to his men, gathered them and moved to the city of Yizrā‘il in search of Yūrām, king of Israel.  Yūrām, king of Israel, and Ukhuziyā, king of Judah, came out against him.  Yāhū shot a dart which struck Yūrām, king of Israel, in the heart, and he killed him and cut off his head.  Ukhuziyā, king of Judah, fled but Yāhū pursued him and covered him with wounds.  However he managed to escape, and he took refuge in Mighiddū (22) and died there.  When Ukhuziyā died, his servants took him to Ūrashalīm and he was buried in the city of David.

5. Then the mother of Ukhuziyā, named ‘Athaliyā, reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for seven years.  Yāhū wrote to the chiefs of Samaria [telling them]: “If you are willing to obey me, choose yourself a king from among the sons of Akhāb, king of Israel”. They answered him: “We have no other king but you”. He wrote to them again: “Then kill all the sons of Akhab, king of Israel” (23).  The sons of Akhāb and the sons of his sons were seventy. They killed them and sent their heads to Yāhū.  Yāhū then went to Samaria, and of the descendants of Akhāb he did not leave one, but put everyone of them to death.  As he was walking he came across forty-two men and asked them: “Who are you?” They said: “We are the brothers of Ukhuziyā, king of Judah” (24).  Then Yāhū cut off their heads, destroyed the temple of the idol Bā‘il in Samaria, and killed the priests and their leaders.  He reigned over the Israelites for twenty-eight years.  Izbil, wife of Akhāb, went out, after dressing up, to meet Yāhū.  But Yāhū had her killed; her body was left unburied for several days and the dogs devoured her.  Then [Yāhū] arranged to bury what was left of her body.  ‘Athaliyā, after having obtained the kingdom of Judah, after her son Ukhuziyā, in Ūrashalīm, had the sons of her son Ukhuziyā killed.  She then went after the family of David with the intent to exterminate it as it belonged to the tribe of Akhāb, king of Israel.  She wanted to wipe out the whole race of David.  She had a daughter, the sister of Ukhuziyā, named Yahūshāyi‘, the wife of Yahwādā‘, leader of the priests (25).  She managed to save from her mother a son of Ukhuziyā, named Yuwāsh, keeping him hidden for six years.  In the days of ‘Athaliyā there prophesied Elisha and ‘Ubidiyā.  ‘Athaliyā profaned Ūrashalīm with adultery, because she ordered women to prostitute themselves in public without any restraint and men to fornicate with women without being censured (26).  When Yuwāsh, son of Ukhuziyā, grew bigger, the priest Yahūnādā‘ (27) gathered the magnates of Judah, presented Yuwāsh, son of Ukhuziyā, to them, and proclaimed him king.  Hearing this, ‘Athaliya tore herclothes, went out to see him and was killed with a sword stroke.

6. Yuwāsh, son of Ukhuziyā, reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for forty years, from the age of six (28).  This took place in the seventh year of the reign of Yāhū, king of Israel.  The mother of Yuwāsh was called Sinbā and was originally from Bersabea (29).  In his time there prophesied Elisha, Uriyā, and Zakhariyā, son of the priest Yahūnādā` (30).  During his life he always behaved well in Judah until the priest Yahūnādā` died at the age of one hundred and thirty years.  Then Yuwāsh, king of Judah, gave himself over to the worship of idols.  The prophet Zakhariyā, son of the priest Yahūnādā`, tried to dissuade him from doing so, but the king had him stoned to death.  It was in this way that Yuwāsh rewarded the priest Yahūnādā` who had made him king, namely by killing his son Zakhariyā, the prophet.  Gazāyil, king of Syria, came out against him (31), and seized the city of Gatti (32) by taking possession of it.  He then set about going up to Ūrashalīm.  Yuwāsh was very afraid of him, took all the treasures that were in the temple and that his fathers Yūshāfāt, Yūrām and Ukhuziyā had accumulated there and sent them to Gazāyil, king of Syria, to ingratiate himself.  He departed, and left him alone.  Yāhū, king of Israel, died and was buried in Samaria.

7. After his son Akhāz (33) reigned in Samaria for seventeen years.  This happened in the twenty-third year of the reign of Yuwāsh, king of Judah.  Akhāz devoted himself to the worship of idols and Israel was subjugated by Gazāyil, king of Syria, and by Hadād, son of Gazāyil (34).  Of the men of Israel, so many were killed in the war that only ten thousand footmen and fifty horsemen remained at the side of Akhaz, king of Israel.  The prophet Elisha died and Gazayil, king of Syria, also died.  His son Hadād reigned after him.  Akhāz, king of Israel, fought again and defeated Hadād, son of Gazāyil, king of Syria, taking from him the countries which his father had taken over and re-establishing his sovereignty.  Akhaz, king of Israel, died and was buried in Samaria.

8. After him, his son Yuwāsh reigned over Samaria in Israel for sixteen years.  This occurred in the thirty-ninth year of the reign of Yuwāsh, king of Judah (35).  His conduct of life was worse than his father’s and he worshiped the idols. As for Yuwāsh, king of Judah, his servants attacked him and killed him. He was buried in the city of David.

After him his son Amasiyā reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for twenty-nine years.  This took place in the second year of the reign of Yuwāsh, king of Israel.  He had the servants who had killed his father arrested and had them killed. In his time there prophesied ‘Amūs, the Davidic prophet.  Yuwāsh, king of Israel, went up to Ūrashalīm.  Amasiyā, king of Judah, was afraid of him and fled to Bayt Shams, abandoning the city (36).  Yuwāsh, king of Israel, tore down four hundred cubits of the walls of the city of Ūrashalīm and looted all the gold and silver that was in the palace of Amasiyā, king of Judah, taking it with him to Samaria.  Yuwāsh, king of Israel, died and was buried in Samaria.

9. After him his son Rubu‘am reigned over Israel in Samaria, for forty-one years.  This occurred in the fifteenth year of the reign of Amasiyā, king of Judah.  After the death of Yuwāsh, king of Israel, Amasiyā returned from Bayt Shams to Ūrashalīm in Judea.  Shortly thereafter, Rubu‘ām, king of Israel, gathered his army and went up to Ūrashalīm.  Amasiyā, king of Judah, fled from him, sheltering in the city of Lāhish.  But [Rubu‘am] pursued him to Lāhish and killed him (37).  His servants took him to Ūrashalīm and he was buried in the city of David.  After him his son ‘Uziyā ruled over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for fifty-two years, at the age of sixteen.  This occurred in the fifteenth year (38) of the reign of Rubu‘ām, king of Israel.  In his time there prophesied ‘Amūs (39) and his son Sha’iyā (40) of the house of David, Yūsha‘, son of Yihādi of the tribe of Rubri (41) and Yūnis son of Matatay, i.e. Dhū’n-Nūn, of Kātihāfadh (42).  Rubu‘ām, king of Israel, died and was buried in Samaria.

10. After him, his son Zakhariyā reigned over Israel, in Samaria, for six months.  This took place in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of ‘Uziyā, king of Judah (43).  Shāllūm, son of Yābish, and Bil‘ām, two of his commanders, rebelled against him and killed him (44).  Shāllūm, son of Yābish, took possession of the kingdom. He reigned over Israel, in Samaria, for thirty days.  This took place in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of ‘Uziyā, king of Judah (45).  Then Menhakhim, son of Hadi, one of his commanders, rebelled and killed him and took possession of the kingdom. He reigned over Israel in Samaria for twenty years (46). This occurred in the thirty-first year of the reign of ‘Uziyā, king of Judah (47).  He went out against the city of Tirsā and stormed it, killing all the inhabitants and gutting their pregnant women.  Tula, king of Mossul (49) and Memphis, king of Israel, came out against him, and he gave them much gold and silver to ingratiate himself.  They then withdrew and left him alone.  Menhakhim, king of Israel, died and was buried in Samaria.

11. After him his son Fiqahiyā reigned in Israel, in Samaria, for two years.  This happened in the fiftieth year of the reign of ‘Uziyā, king of Judah.  Fāqih, son of Rimaliyā, who was one of his commanders, rebelled against him and killed him, seizing the kingdom.  This Fāqih, son of Rimaliyā, reigned over Israel in Samaria for twenty-eight years (49).  This happened in the fifty-second year of the reign of ‘Uziyā, king of Judah.  This ‘Uziyā committed all sorts of evil.  He dared even to enter the Holy of Holies, took the thurible from the priest’s hand and incensed the temple (50).  It was for this reason that ‘Uziyā contracted leprosy in the face, and yet he did not give up the kingdom because his son Yuwāthām administered and defended it (51).  ‘Uziyā, king of Judah, died and was buried in the city of David.

12. After him his son Yuwāthām reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for sixteen years, at the age of twenty-five.  This took place in the second year of the reign of Fāqih, king of Israel.  In his time there prophesied Isha‘iyā, Mīkhā al-Mūrashti (52) and Yū’īl, son of Fānū’īl (53). Tighlāt Filitsir, king of Mossul (54), came out [against him], occupied many cities of Israel and took possession of it.  Yuwāthām, king of Judah, died and was buried in Bethlehem, the city of David.  After him his son Akhāz ruled over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for sixteen years, at the age of twenty.  In his time, there prophesied Isha‘iyā, Yūsha‘ and Mīkhā. The high priest was Uriyā.  Rāzūn, king of Damascus (55), came out [against him] with Fāqih, king of Israel, went up to Ūrashalīm and besieged the city.  But they could not take it, and withdrew.  Rāzūn, king of Damascus, destroyed the city of Fām of Syria (56), drove out the Jews and installed the Rūm that still live there.  Akhaz, king of Judah, wrote to Salmān-Asar, king of Mosul (57), asking for his help and sending him all the gold, silver and precious stones that were in the temple.  The king of Mossul went after him with his soldiers, conquered Damascus, burned it, and killed King Rāzūn.  Akhaz, king of Judah, went to him and thanked him for what he had done.  A commander of Fāqih, named Hūshi`, son of Ila (58), rebelled against Fāqih, king of Israel, and killed him, seizing the kingdom.  Hūshi` reigned over Samaria for nine years.  This happened in the twelfth year of the reign of Akhaz, king of Judah.  Akhaz, king of Judah, died and was buried in the house of David.  After him his son Hiziqiyā reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, at the age of twenty-five, for twenty-nine years. This happened in the third year of the reign of Hūshi`, king of Israel.  In his time there prophesied Sha‘yā, Yūshā‘ and Mīkhā of the tribe of Ephraim.  In the fourth year of the reign of Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, i.e. in the seventh year of the reign of Hūshi`, king of Israel, Salmān-Asar, king of Mossul and al-Gazirah (59), went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years, until he took it.  He took Hūshi`, king of Israel, and had him put in prison, deporting ten tribes of Israel from the land of Samaria to Āmid (60), to Mossul and to Bābil.  Only the tribe of Judah and the house of David remained to reign and the tribe of Benjamin.  He then deported part of the populations of Bābil, Āmid and Mossul and made them live in the cities of Samaria instead of the Israelites.  Salmān-Asar, king of Mosul, left with them a priest named Lūn (61) to teach them the law.  Lūn taught them the Law that they still follow, and they were the fathers of the Samaritans and their sons are the Samaritans of today, because they separated from the Jews, denying the gift of prophecy to David and all the prophets, asserting that there was no prophet after the prophet Moses.  They elected their leader from the House of Harun and gave him the name of ar-ra’is.  Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, reigned over all the Israelites and over as many of them as remained in Samaria.  He had the idols torn down, the steles swept away, and the bronze serpent cut to pieces that Moses – peace be upon him – had forged in the desert and that the Israelites had revered and worshiped up to that time.  He had that shattered in pieces, and he began to fight against the foreign tribes and he confined them to Ghazza and to the city of Rafakh.  He then sent word to all the Israelites who were in Samaria and in the land of Judah to gather at Ūrashalīm to celebrate the passover.  They gathered and celebrated passover at Ūrashalīm.  Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, sacrificed two thousand calves and seven thousand sheep (62).  His commanders slaughtered a thousand calves and ten thousand sheep and celebrated a sumptuous and grandiose festival.

13. In the fourteenth year of the reign of Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, Sinnahārib, king of Mossul (63) went up to the land of Judah and occupied many cities.  Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, was afraid of him and sent word to him, at Lāhish: “Whatever you want to impose on me, I commit myself to give it to you, but please go away from me”. Sinnāhārīb, king of Mossul, wrote to him telling him: “Send me three hundred ‘qintār’ of gold and three hundred ‘qintār’ of silver” (64).  Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, sent him all the gold and silver that was in the temple, and he took down the golden doors of the temple and sent them to him.  That same night a cry was heard among the soldiers of Sinnāhārib, king of Mosul, and they killed one another.  Then Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, went out against them and killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand, and Sinnāhārib, king of Mossul, fled to Ninawā (65).  He had two sons, one named Anzarmālākh and the other Sarāsirā (66): they rebelled and killed him by the sword, then fleeing to the district of Qardā (67) in the Mossul region.  This king Hiziqiyā is the one whom God allowed to live for another fifteen years.  This is because he was close to dying and, having no children, he turned his face to the wall and wept bitterly in the presence of God.  God mercifully had compassion on him and sent an angel to let him know that God was extending his life by fifteen years.  Later he had a son whom he called Manassā.  It is said [well] that the one who told him: “God has prolonged your life by fifteen years” was the prophet Isha’iyā.  And it is true (68).  The son of Sinnāhārfb, named as-Sarğadūn, reigned over Mossul (69).  In the days of Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, there reigned over the Rūm Rūmiyūs, who founded a city calling it Rūmiyā, from his name. And in fact the Rūm were called Rūm just from the name of Rūmiyūs.  After that the king moved his residence to the city of Rūmiyā (70). Rūmiyūs reigned for thirty-six years.  Hiziqiyā, king of Judah, died and was buried in the house of David.

14. After him his son Manassā reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for fifty-five years, at the age of twelve.  In the third year of his reign (71) he made idols and the Israelites began to worship them.  The prophet Isaiah rebuked him, but he had him killed (72) by having him sawn in two and burning his body.  It is said that the prophet Isaiah, before being killed, was thirsty and invoked his Lord.  A spring of water opened before him and he drank from it.  [This would be] the spring of Silwān, whose interpretation is “sent”.  It is also said that when the pagans later inhabited Ūrashalīm, the spring had dried up, and it resumed flowing when the Israelites lived there [again].  The Israelites worshiped idols for fifty-four years.  Then the king of Bābil captured Manassā, king of Judah, and had him locked up in the cavity of a bronze calf (73) under which he set fire.  In the cavity of the calf Manassā raised prayers to God repenting of what he had done and imploring his Lord.  God forgave his sin and had compassion on him. The idol split in two and [Manassā] came out [alive].  God then sent him an angel who took him away to Ūrashalim.  Manassā, king of Judah, died and was buried in the garden of ‘Uziyā (74).  After him, his son Amnūn (75) reigned for two years, at the age of twenty-two.  He lived like his father, worshiping idols.  His servants attacked him in his house, killed him and buried him with his father in the garden of ‘Uziyā.  After him his son Yūsiyā reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for thirty-one years, at the age of eight.  In the second year of his reign (76), he broke down the idols and burnt them, and he also destroyed, by burning them, every temple dedicated to the idols in Samaria that the Israelites had built.  He had the priests of the idols killed and had them burned.  He then collected the bones of the dead who had worshiped the idols and burned them.  In the eighteenth year of his reign he celebrated the passover like no other, since the time of Yashū‘, son of Nūn, [= Joshua] had done.  There was then priest Hilqiyā, father of the prophet Irimiyā.  Hilqiyā found the book of the Law in the temple, read it, and arranged to celebrate passover according to what was said.  In his day there prophesied Khuldā, wife of Sallūm, custodian of the temple garments, the prophet Irimiyā and the prophet Sūfūniyā.  The prophet Irimiyā took the ark and hid it in a niche of a rock (77).  [In his day] there lived a false prophet named Hininā (78).

15. At the time of Yūsā, king of Judah, the pharaoh Nāhū (79), i.e. the lame, King of Egypt, went up against the king of Mosul, fought against him, overcame him and put him to flight, advancing to the Euphrates.  On his return Yūsā, king of Judah, met him with many gifts.  But after seeing him he had him killed.  His servants brought him from Mighiddū, i.e. Manbiğ (80), to Ūrashalīm, and buried him there. He was thirty-nine.

After him his son Yuwakhāz ruled over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for three months, at the age of twenty-three.  The pharaoh Nāhū went up to Ūrashalīm, took Yuwakhāz, king of Judah, and had him chained and deported to Egypt along with a large number of Jews.  The pharaoh imposed a tribute on all the inhabitants of Ūrashalīm, forcing them to pay him every year a hundred “qintār” of gold and one hundred “qintar” of silver (81).  Then the pharaoh Nāhū returned to Egypt. Yuwakhāz, king of Judah, died in Egypt.

16. After him his son Iliyāqim, son of Yūsiyā, also called Yuwāqim, reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for eleven years, at the age of twenty-five.(82) In his day there prophesied the prophet Irimiyā, Uriyā, son of Sima’yā, of Qaryat al-‘Inab (83), and Yūri (84), father of Hiziqiyā.  Yuwāqim, king of Judah, sent annually to pharaoh Nāhū, king of Egypt, as a ransom for himself and for his country, one hundred “qintār” of gold and one hundred “qintār” of silver.  In the fourth year of the reign of Yuwāqim, king of Judah, Bakhtanāsir reigned in Bābil (85).  In his time this Bakhtanāsir went up to Ūrashalīm and Yuwāqim, king of Judah, welcomed him and became his vassal for three years.  Bakhtanassar then returned to Bābil and Yuwāqim sent him every year the same quantity of gold and silver that he sent to Pharaoh Nāhū, because Bakhtanassar reigned from the Euphrates to the city of Rafakh.  Later Yuwāqim, king of Judah, broke the covenant and sent him nothing more.  Yuwāqim, king of Judah, died and was buried in the house of David.

17. After him his son Yahūnākhīm, called Akhiyā, reigned at Ūrashalīm for three months at the age of eighteen.  Having failed to send to Bakhtanassar the price of the ransom, Bakhtanassar in person came to Ūrashalīm at the head of his army and besieged it.  Yahūnākhīm went to meet him with his mother, his servants and the magnates of Israel and opened the gates of the city.  Bakhtanassar entered the city and took away from the temple all the gold and silver vessels together with the precious stones, as well as all the precious stones, all the gold and silver that were in the king’s palace, sending them to Bābil.  He then chained Yahūnākhīm, king of Judah, and took him with him to Bābil along with seven thousand of his men (86).  He also brought every strong man of Israel to Bābil.  There were among the prisoners Dāniyāl, still a young man, and the three young men Hanāniyā, ‘Azariyā and Misā’īl who were thrown into the furnace (87).  Only the defenseless and the needy remained in the city.  Bakhtanassar entrusted the government of Ūrashalīm to a brother of Yuwāqim, king of Judah, son of Yūshiyā, named Mataniyā.  Bakhtanassar called him Sidiqiyā and [he was] the maternal uncle of Yahūnākhīm, king of Judah.  He reigned eleven years in Ūrashalīm at the age of twenty-one.  In his time there prophesied Irimiyā, Habaqūq and Yūri (88).  In the ninth year of his reign, Sidiqiyā, king of Judah, ceased to send to Bakhtanassar the gold and silver that he used to send him.  Bakhtanassar was irritated and sent one of his commanders, named Yanūzardān (89), head of the king’s guards, to Ūrashalīm and held it in a state of siege for three years.  Most of the people died because of famine and Sidiqiyā, king of Judah, sheltered at night in a cave, known as the “cave of dogs” (90), which he himself had prepared.  Yanūzardān noticed this, pursued him to Rihā, captured him, and sent him to Bakhtanassar at Antākiyah (91).  Bakhtanassar had him blinded and then ordered all his children decapitated.  Yanūzardān made a great slaughter of the Jews, destroyed the temple and burned it, sowed the ruins of Ūrashalīm and set it on fire, bringing to Bābil all the gold, silver and copper that was in the temple.  Some of the Jews fled to Egypt and others to the desert and the valleys.  Those who remained were made captive and deported to Bābil.  Ūrashalīm was reduced to a mass of ruins and there was no one left.  The prophet Habaqūq fled to the territory of Isma‘īl and then descended into Egypt.  This happened in the nineteenth year of the reign of Bakhtanassar.

18. From the reign of David to the captivity of Bābil and to the destruction of Bayt al-Maqdis (92), four hundred and seventy-seven years had elapsed; from the departure of the sons of Israel from Egypt to the captivity of Bābil, a thousand and eighty-three years had elapsed;from Abraham to the captivity of Bābil, fifteen hundred and ninety years had elapsed; from Fāliq to the captivity of Bābil, two thousand and one hundred and thirty years had elapsed; from the flood to the captivity of Bābil, two thousand six hundred and sixty-two years had elapsed; from Adam to the captivity of Bābil, four thousand nine hundred and eighteen years had elapsed.


The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 6 – part 1

Let’s return to translating the history composed in Arabic in the 10th century AD by Eutychius, or Sa`id ibn Bitriq, the Melkite Patriarch of Alexandria.  Last time we finished off chapter 7.  I seem to be working backwards through the intensely tedious rewriting of Old Testament narratives; because the further we go back, the less historical value Eutychius has. So now we reach chapter 6  It’s fun to try to recognise the bible characters in the unfamiliar Arabic names!  But this section is pretty much straight out of the OT.

1. After him his son Ukhuziyā reigned in Samaria for two years.  This took place in the nineteenth year of the reign of Yūshāfāt, king of Judah (1).  His conduct was as evil as that of his father and he was devoted to the worship of idols under the guidance of his mother Izbil, who had killed Nābūthā.  Ukhuziyā, king of Israel, fell seriously ill.  He feared for his life and sent a messenger to the priests of the idols, to ask them whether he would be cured of his illness or not.  On the way, the messenger came upon the prophet Iliyā.  The prophet Iliyā said to the messenger:  ‘Say to the king: “You will die.”‘  The messenger returned to the king and informed him [of what had happened].  Then the king told him:  “Describe the man who met you”.  He replied:  “He was a thick-haired man and wore a tight leather belt around his waist”  The king said: “It is the prophet Iliyā”.  He then sent one of his commanders to him with fifty men.  Iliyā was sitting on the top of Mount al-Karmil.  The commander told him: “O prophet of God, come down because the king is calling you”.  Iliyā replied: “If I am the prophet of God, may a fire come down from heaven to devour you and those who are with you”.  A fire came down and devoured them.  Then the king sent another commander with fifty men. He said: “O prophet of God, come down, because the king is calling you”.  Iliyā replied: “If I am the prophet of God, may a fire come down from heaven to devour you and those who are with you.”  And in fact it happened just like that.  Then [the king] sent a third commander with fifty men who spoke to him like the first two spoke to him, and he and those who were with him suffered the same fate.  Finally the king himself went to him and Iliyā came down to him and said: “You will not heal from your sickness, but you will die because you have worshiped idols and for your bad conduct in the presence of God, powerful and exalted”.  In the days of Ukhuziyā, king of Israel, and Yūshāfāt, king of Judah, Iliyā was raised to heaven.  Ukhuziyā, king of Israel, died of his illness and was buried with his father.

2. After him his brother Yūrām, son of Akhāb, reigned over the children of Israel, in Samaria, for twelve years.  This took place in the twenty-second year of the reign of Yūshāfāt, king of Judah.  The Ammonites and the Amalekites went out against Yūshāfāt, king of Judah with a great army, and Yūshāfāt was afraid of them.  There was a great outcry at night among the soldiers of ‘Ammān and’ Amāliq, and they killed each other, while the survivors fled before Yūshāfāt.  Yūshāfāt’s men set about ransacking their camps, tents and household goods for three days.  Then Yūshāfāt returned to Ūrashalīm.  Later the king of Moab moved against Yūrām, king of Israel.  Yūrām sent to seek help from Yūshāfāt, king of Judah, against the king of Moab.  He also sent for help from the king of the Rūm who was then in ash-Sharāh[1].  The three kings joined forces and went out against the king of Moab, taking the desert road in order to take him from behind.  They walked in the desert for seven days.  They missed the drinking water and so risked dying of thirst.  The prophet Elisha was there with them, telling them:   “Tomorrow these valleys will be filled with streams and God will give you the victory over your enemy”.  It happened as the prophet had said.  God gave them victory over the enemy and made a great slaughter of the men of the king of Moab.  Seeing that he was defeated, the king of Moab entered the fortified tower, took his firstborn and slaughtered him on the walls of Moab, offering him as a burnt offering.  The Israelites were terrified before such a scene, they stopped fighting against him and withdrew.  Yūshāfāt, king of Judah, died and was buried in the city of David.

  1. [1]Edom, rather than Rome!

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 7 and final

Let’s do a bit more of Eutychius, just to keep in touch with it.  The scene begins at the funeral of Alexander the Great, most of which is fiction, and then proceeds down the list of the Ptolemaic kings.

18. When the philosophers had finished speaking, the wife of Alexander, Rushtak, daughter of Dāriyūsh, king of the Persians, who had been the most dear creature to Alexander, arose, and laid her hand on the coffin, and said: “I did not think, O king, that by conquering Dāriyūsh your own kingdom would be conquered.” Then she said to the philosophers: “If you’re afraid about what you’ve spoken about Alexander, you have the cup that he’s been drinking with, and each one of you is free to think as he wishes. But if you have spoken to give comfort and as a sign of mourning, be prepared to answer, and to make good arguments, otherwise you will enjoy what he enjoyed and so your works will be in accordance with your words because, of course, you are not sheltered.” Then Alexander’s mother came forward, put her cheek on the coffin and said, “You have comforted us enough. What I feared for Alexander has happened to him and now there is no kingdom for him or against him. Be great in your loyalty to earthly life and also defend [your] truth.  For my part, I have been pleased with your comfort. ” And so she ordered that he be buried.

19. Alexander reigned for sixteen years.  He lived in all for thirty-two years. Alexander had appointed a servant to each country.  (In another text it is said: “a prefect”.) He ordered them not to entertain relations by correspondence with anyone superior to them, but everyone was to write only to him, and no one, except him, was called a king.  On the death of Alexander, however, each of them took possession of his own province.  The kingdom of Ağam was divided.[1]  In the hands of the Iskāniyyūn there remained the kingdoms of Paris and of al-Ahwāz  and these were called “rules.”[2]

20. After Alexander there reigned in Alexandria and Egypt his brother named Philip, called Batlīmūs Arīdāwus, for seven years.[3] (In another text it is said:  “for forty years”.) After him ruled Ptolemy, called al-Iksandrus, and nicknamed “the conquerer of Ur” for twenty-seven years. (In another text it is said:  “for twenty-one years.”) In his twentieth year of reign he ordered seventy Jews taken from Ūrashalīm and brought them to Alexandria, ordering them to translate the Torah and the Books of Prophets from Hebrew to Greek, placing each of them in a dwelling, isolated from the others, to see what was the interpretation of each of them.  When they finished translating the books, he saw their interpretations.  The versions were identical, with no discrepancy.  He then gathered the books together, sealed them with his own seal and placed them in the temple of an idol called Sirābiyūn.[4]

21. Among the Seventy was a man named Simeon the Just, who took Christ our Lord [into his arms] in the temple. This Simeon, in explaining the Torah and translating the Prophets from Hebrew into Greek, found in every letter that he was transcribing, a prophecy about Christ our Lord, and in his heart he tried not to admit it by saying, “This is not possible!”  God therefore delayed his death, and he lived three hundred and fifty years until he saw Christ our Lord.  When he saw Him he said: “Now send your servant out in peace, O Lord, according to your word, for our eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for the benefit of all peoples.”

22. Ptolemy, the conqueror of Ur, died. After him ruled Ptolemy [I], called Lagus, for twenty-nine years.[5] He built a large hippodrome for horse racing in Alexandria, which was later burned down in the days of King Zeno.  After him, his son Ptolemy [II] reigned, called Philadelphus, for twenty-six years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [III], called Euergetes, for twenty-five years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [IV], named Philopator, for seventeen years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [V], Epiphanes, for twenty-four years. After him ruled Ptolemy [VI], known as Philometor, for twenty years.  In his time Syria and the land of Judah were subjugated by Antiyukhus, king of Rūm, who expelled the Jews from Syria, and slaughtered them with all sorts of violence and punishment.[6]  After him ruled his brother Ptolemy [VIII], also called Evergetes, for twenty-three years.[7]  In his time, Antiochus, King of the Rūm, founded Antakiya, who gave his own name. And so the city of Antiochus was called Antioch.  After him ruled Ptolemy [IX], Soter, for twenty years.  In its time the city of Sulukiyah was built.[8] After him ruled Ptolemy, also called Soter, for fifteen years.[9] After him ruled Ptolemy [X], called al-Iskandrus, and nicknamed Yasfis Philopator, for ten years.[10] (In another text it says “for twelve years”.)  After him ruled Ptolemy [XI], called Phusas, for eighteen days. (In another text it is said “for eight years”.)  After him ruled Ptolemy [XII] Diyunisiyus for twenty-nine years. After him, his daughter Iklawbatrah reigned, [the name] meaning “she who weeps on the rock,” for twenty-two years.[11] She built many great buildings in Alexandria and many wonderful things, introduced mosaic work, and built an imposing temple called “the Temple of Saturn.” When the Christians came, they transformed the temple into a church and called it ‘kanīsat Mīkā’īl’ (i.e. St. Michael’s Church), which is then what they call today ‘al-Qaysāriyyah’ and which was burnt down in the time when the Maghāribah entered into Alexandria with Mawlana al-Mansūr Abu’l Qasim, known under the name Abdallah and with Habāsah, when the caliph was al-Muqtadir Ja’far and Takin, his freeman, was prince of Egypt and Alexandria.[12]  [Cleopatra] build in the city of Ikhmīm[13] a hydrometer in order to keep under control the waters of the Nile of Egypt.  She then built another nilometer in the town of Ansinā.[14]

  1. [1]I.e. the kingdom of the non-Arabs.
  2. [2]Not sure about this: e furono chiamati “regoli”.  The kingdoms are Pars, old Persia, and Susiana.
  3. [3]I.e. Philip III Aridhaeus.
  4. [4]I.e. the Serapeum.
  5. [5]Eutychius has got confused here.  Ptolemy I, son of Lagus, was the first Ptolemy.
  6. [6]Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  Cf. 1 Maccabees.
  7. [7]Ptolemy VII, co-regent of Ptolemy VI, seems to be omitted.
  8. [8]I.e. Seleucia, near Babylon; but actually founded much earlier, just like Antioch.
  9. [9]Unknown to the Ptolemaic king-lists.
  10. [10]Ptolemy X Alexander.
  11. [11]The famous Cleopatra VII.
  12. [12]This is the Caesarium, converted into a church and burned down in 912 AD.
  13. [13]I.e. the Greek Chemnis or Panopolis.
  14. [14]Antinoe or Antinopolis.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 6

Let’s translate a bit more of the work of the Arabic Christian writer, Sa`id ibn Bitriq, also known as Eutychius.  The last section dealt with the reign of Alexander the Great, and his death and burial by his minister “Filimun”.  For the funeral, Eutychius now introduces material from the “Sayings” literature.  So this chapter is fiction.

Collections of moral sayings attributed to famous figures circulated in antiquity in several languages, including Greek and Syriac.  They were a popular, and therefore a vulgar form of literature.  The material also came into Arabic.  Some of this material was used for Christian purposes, to demonstrate that the Greek philosophers predicted the events of the life of Christ, paralleling the predictions in the Old Testament.  None of this material is historically reliable.  Sayings pass from one author to another in the mass of material.  A modern analogy would be a joke book, where material may be attributed to Oscar Wilde, or to Winston Churchill, even if in fact it is proverbial. 

I’ve footnoted the Italian where I was unsure of the inevitably concise meaning.

17. Fīlīmūn the philosopher said, “This is a day of great instruction.  For the evil that he did has come about, and he abandoned the good that preceded him.[1]  He who wishes to weep over him whose kingdom has come to an end, let him weep.

Aflātūn [Plato] the philosopher said: “O you who gained by force everything, you accumulated what has deceived and abandoned you, and left you only the trouble of it, while the pleasure will pass to another.”

Aristatālīs [Aristotle] the philosopher said: “Alexander went away full of eloquence and returned to us silent.”

Nārin the philosopher said: “Say to Alexander’s flock, ‘This is a day when the flock leads the shepherd to pasture.'”

And Nīlūn said: “Can anyone console us for our king, who has suffered no disgrace, and truly leave us consoled?”

And another said, “This is the way that we must travel.  Desire what lasts as much as that which is temporary.”

And another said, “Take this as an example.  Yesterday gold was for Alexander a treasure.  Today Alexander was buried in gold.”

And another said, “You join those who rejoiced over your death, like those whose death will please you will join you.”[2]

And the philosopher Lūtas said: “Do not marvel at him who did not teach us anything when he was alive, and now warns us by his death.”

And the philosopher Mitrūn said: “Yesterday, O man, we could listen but not speak. Can you hear what we are saying today?”

And the philosopher Sīsan said, “This man has killed many people in order not to die himself.  Yet he died.  How could he not have been able to get rid of death with death?”

And another said, “Alexander did not teach us with his words as much as he teaches us now with his silence.”

And philosopher Dimitar said, “O you whose anger was the cause of your death, why have you never been angry with death?”

And another said, “Your strongholds tremble with fear, O king, and you have reassured the strongholds of those who feared you.”

And another said, “How do people neglect you today, O king, and how interested they are in your coffin!”

And another said, “How true is death to his own, yet they will not see, and they block their ears!”[3]

And the philosopher Fīluqatūn said: “If this is the end of life, it is best for us to be indifferent from its inception.”

And another said: “O people, do not weep over someone who has ceased to weep, but each of you weep for yourselves.”

And another said, “Well, you who were accustomed to the vastness of the conquered countries, how can you now endure such a narrow place?”

And another said: “If someone only weeps at death when it happens, there is still death on every new day.”

And another said: “You who were exalted, you have now become humble, and if you were in an enviable position, you have now become worthy of pity.”

And another said, “Who is he now whose anger was terrible, and standing beside him was forbidden?  Why are you not angry that death is allotted to you, or that you were unable to resist the humiliation [of death]?”[4]

And another said, “It is easy to see the example of the death of kings, and from kings the warning of the death of the will.”

And another said, “Alexander never had a lesson more effective than that of his death.”

And another said, “Your voice was terrible and high your kingdom. But now your voice is gone and your kingdom has fallen.”

And another said, “You could give favours and I could not speak. Today, however, I can speak and you can not give favours.”

And another said, “If nobody was safe from you yesterday, there is no one today who is your subject.”

And another said, “Yesterday the shepherd had cared for his flock, but today the flock cares for its shepherd.”

And another said, “You’ve joined those who had a claim against you and you’ll definitely have to pay it off.  Maybe I could know what tolerance you show to acts of paying debt and of justice.”

And another said, “If you had had as much severity and serenity in the past as you show us today, you would have been a sage.”


  1. [1]Not sure that I correctly render this sentence: “ne è venuto fuori il male che gli stava alle spalle e l’ha abbandonato il bene che lo precedeva.”
  2. [2]The Italian is:  “Ti possa raggiungere chi si è rallegrato della tua morte come tu hai raggiunto coloro la cui morte ti rallegrò”.  I can’t really understand this.
  3. [3]“Come è verace la morte con i suoi, eppure essi tacciano di falsità i loro occhi e si otturano le orecchie!”
  4. [4]Perché non ti sei incollerito sì che la morte s’allontanasse da te o perché non hai opposto resistenza per cacciar via da te l’umiliazione /della morte/?

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 5

We continue the reign of Alexander the Great.  Eutychius believes that Cassander poisoned him.  It is interesting that the evil reputation of Cassander (not named here) persisted after 13 centuries.

16. Alexander won many victories, and among the Greeks, thirteen kings obeyed him.  He founded thirteen cities, some in the west and others in the east.  He waged so many wars and gained so many victories that no king was greater than him.  He founded a city and called it by his name, Alexandria.  He then moved the government from the city of Makidūniya to the city of Alexandria.  He raised the lighthouse of Alexandria and made it a guide for all those who sailed by sea to lead them to the route that went to Alexandria.  After the king had conquered and obtained the empire of the world, he went to Bābil where he was poisoned and died.  This is because Alūmafidā[1], his mother, had written a letter in which she complained about his lieutenant, who commanded Makidūniyah, and as Alexander was angry at him, he had thought of killing him.  But getting wind of this, he sent his son to Alexander with many gifts and presents and with deadly poison, advising him to conduct himself with every kind of gentle wisdom in order to poison Alexander.  The young man came to Alexander, bearing all the gifts he had with him.  He came across, among others, the cupbearer of Alexander, with whom the latter had previously clashed and beaten up.  So, nourishing a great grudge against Alexander, the cupbearer assisted the young man in his intentions. Then one of Alexander’s followers joined them, in their conspiracy.  Now it happened that Alexander gave a banquet to his friends, where everyone ate and drank. Alexander was sitting with his followers and his close friends, cheerful and happy among the diners.  When he asked for a drink, the cupbearer poured the poison into the king’s cup and handed it to him.  Drinking it, the king immediately knew that he would die, and he called a scribe and dictated a letter to his mother in these terms:

“From the servant of God, Alexander, conqueror and lord of the land of the earth yesterday and today his pledge,[2] to his affectionate and merciful mother Alūmafīdā whose nearness he is unable to enjoy. Sincere and great peace to you.  The road that I am now travelling, O my mother, is the same as those have travelled who have fallen asleep before me, and that you and those who survive me will travel.  In this world we are just like the day that chases away the day that came before it.  Do not regret this world for the fact that it deceives its creatures.  You have an example of what you know about King Philip who could not stay with you nor survive.  Arm yourself, then, with sound endurance and remove your anguish and look for solitude.  Order that none should come to you unless they have not seen misfortune, so that you may know better what it is and know better about your condition and you can better care for your own. What I go to is a better and more restful condition than the one in which I lived.  Do good by me and accept this in resignation and endurance so that sorrow does not overcome you.  This letter I send to you on the last day of this life and on the first of the other, with the hope that it will console you and be a source of blessing to  you.  Do not disappoint me and do not sadden my spirit. Peace to you”.

He then commanded his seal put to the letter and for it to be sent secretly to his mother.  He then ordered his minister Fīlīmūn to keep his death secret and to go immediately to Alexandria.  Then he died.  It is said that when Alexander came to Qūmus, he became seriously ill and that his illness grew worse and worse every day.  His mother had told him that a diviner had predicted, when he was born, that he would die in a place whose sky was golden and whose earth was iron.  As ill as he was, Alexander came to Shahrazūr. His illness had become more acute during the journey. Then he stopped, and they put under him two boards with a coating of iron, and he sat down, while a man gave him shade with a shield inlaid with gold.  On seeing this, Alexander remembered the words of his mother, called his minister, dictated a letter to his mother and died.  When his mother received the letter, she ordered a banquet, inviting people to join.  However, she placed custodians at the door, with the order that nobody should enter except those who had not been hit by some misfortune.  The gatekeepers therefore questioned those who came and if they were struck by a disaster they would not let him in.  By doing so they excluded everyone and there was no one who could take part in the banquet.  On seeing this, [Alūmafīdā] accepted her fate in good faith, became strong and was convinced that this was the common fate of the mortals. The minister Fīlīmūn laid the body of Alexander in a golden coffin as an honour. In another text it is said: “He filled it with honey and kept the death secret.” He then led the soldiers to Alexandria, carrying behind the coffin of the [king], and as soon as the death of Alexander was made public in front of the people,  he showed them the coffin and placed it in the centre of the court.  Then the minister Filīmūn ordered the wise men to keep up a funeral elegy, which was a comfort for the friends of the followers, and an education for all the people.



  1. [1]I.e. Olympias.
  2. [2]I really didn’t understand this: “Dal servo di Dio, Alessandro, conquistatore e signore dei paesi della terra ieri ed oggi suo pegno“.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 4

We continue with the story of Alexander.  The Abbasid caliphs, for whom Eutychius wrote, were basically Persians, and so the destruction of the Achaemenids by Alexander – who is treated as the king of the “Rum”! – was obviously sensitive territory.  Eutychius copes with this inconvenience by denying Alexander his military victory, and instead attributing the defeat of Darius to treachery.  One doubts that anyone was fooled, but the flattery doubtless benefited the author.

I notice that Google Translate continues to mistranslate the numerals.  I must recheck all the numbers of years from A to B.

14 And when he came to the king, the messenger told him what Alexander had done.  Then Alexander gathered together his compatriots and his men, and said to them, “There are three ways to accomplish things:  with great forethought, with the ability to realize them, and with the implementation of both with a firm intention. Whoever of you is of this opinion will get what he wants and, whoever shares this will join with me, but whoever is not of the same opinion should stay away from me.” They replied, “God has united these three things in our king, while we have some who own one and some who own another, but no one is able to effectively implement what he has.”  Alexander was fully satisfied with their words.  Then he made all the arrangements and went out against Dāriyūs.  They met at al-Gazirah[1] and the war was protracted on both sides for forty days.  Dāriyūs had five trenches dug, and he placed in each of them a general (“isbahid”) at the head of twelve thousand men and every man went out to fight every five days.  Dāriyūs then ordered his men to bring him two heads of Rūm every day.  And in fact, two heads of the Rūm or one only were delivered to him daily.  Alexander was saddened at that in his heart and his rage reached its peak. He then sent to Dāriyūs: “We are almost annihilating each other. I therefore propose a way that allows us and you to come out of this; that is, that you deploy your men with a gap, so that I can take the way through your troops on the side where you are, and so can go back to my country.  We, indeed, have no intention of fleeing in the face of deployed troops, because such a thing would be a dishonour that could never be washed away, a spot that could never be purified and an unforgivable ignominy.”  Dāriyūs replied, “We do not think it appropriate to give you what you ask for, or see the reason for it.”  When he saw this, Alexander was thoughtful, with his head in his hands, looking for a way out.  Then he said to his men: “O Rūm, this means we are feeble and with little strength to win.  If there is any one among you, or among the Persians, who can suggest some stratagem in this matter in order to get us out of such anguish, he will have half the realm of the Persians and the Rūm and half of what is at the junction [of the whole territory]”.  The words of Alexander were heard by Khisnisf and Adarshīst[2], the sons of Adarbakht, the captains of the guard of Dāriyūs.  In another text it is said “of the armies”.  When it came to arms, they fell on Dāriyūs with their swords and struck him to the ground. The Persians were put to flight, and many were killed on the field.  It happened then that Alexander came to Dāriyūs, and saw him in that state, and he dismounted from his horse, rested his head on his chest, washed his face, bended his wounds, kissed him and wept, said, “Praise God who has not given it to any of my men to kill you. What we now see was already written in the foreknowledge of God.  Ask whatever you want.  For my part I grant you the right to ask three things, but you will also allow me to ask for one.”  Dāriyūs said to him: “I want you not to overthrow the nobles and dignitaries of Fāris, and to guarantee their safety.  I want you to not destroy the temples of fire, and to care for their security.  I want you to do justice on those who killed me, and return him the same, because he will certainly betray your favour if he is released as he has already betrayed mine.”  Alexander assured him that he would do what he had asked, and said, “What I want from you is that you give me your daughter Rūshtaq, and that this is done through you and with your blessing.” Dāriyūs replied, “I grant her to you in marriage, provided that you entrust the kingdom, after you, to a son that you have from her.”  Alexander consented and Dāriyūs gave his daughter to him in marriage.  Then he died.  Alexander then ordered him to be buried, wrapping him in the most precious linen that the king possessed and commanded the soldiers, Greeks and Persians, to march with the weapons [in salute] before his coffin.  Alexander and his most prominent men followed the parade to the place of the burial.  Then Alexander said, “If it had been my task to reduce Dāriyūs to the state in which you saw him, I would have done it because he was in any case my enemy.  Great is therefore the service of he who has spared me such an action and I feel I must reward him.  Come before me, and I swear solemnly in the name of God, that I will exalt him and raise him up above all my men.”  Then Khisnisf and Adarshīst, sons of Adarbakht, went on to him, and said to him, “We are the leaders of the guard of Dāriyūs, who have spared you such an action.  Therefore, give us what you promised us.”  [Alexander] ordered them to be crucified on two great crosses, saying: “These two men deserved to get what I ordered for them, because of their broken promise and for having betrayed their king. If they have not been loyal to their king, they will not be to anyone else.  I gave them what I had promised them and raised them above all my men.”  He then ordered gifts to be made to the mother, wife and daughter of Dāriyūsh, to give them the appropriate clothes to their rank and surround them with all honour.  He then ordered that gifts and clothing should be given to the Persian generals and notables as appropriate to their rank, benefits and expectations and confirmed them in their offices.  For these things they loved him, and held him dear to them.  Then Alexander invited those who wished to follow him in the invasion of India.  They went with him, glad and ready to fight.

15. Alexander thus reigned over seven provinces. From the captivity of Babil to the reign of Alexander 263 years had passed; from the reign of David to that of Alexander, 740; from the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt to the reign of Alexander, 1,346; from Abraham to the reign of Alexander, 1,853; from Fāliq to the reign of Alexander, 2,394; from the flood to the reign of Alexander, 2,925; from Adam to the reign of Alexander, 5,181.  The teacher of Alexander was Aristātālis, the philosopher.  Also in the city of Athinah was a wise man named Diyūğānūs [3].




  1. [1]I.e. in Mesopotamia.
  2. [2]Arrian in the Anabasis III, 21, calls them “Satibarzan and Barsaente.”
  3. [3]Aristotle and Diogenes.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 3

Let us carry on with Eutychius.  We reach the times of Alexander.

10. After him reigned his son Qamīsūs for nine years.[1]  After him, Smardhiyūs the Magian reigned for a single year.  He was called the Magian because a Persian named Zarādast appeared in his days, under whose influence the religion of the Magi became official, and he instituted the worship at the temples of fire.  After him, Dārā I reigned for twenty years.[2]  After him reigned Artahshāst, nicknamed “Longimanus” for twenty-four years.

In his time there lived in Greece in the city of Quwā[3], the physician Buqrāt, master of medical art.[4]  Sa`īd ibn Batrīq the physician says: “It is true what Ğālinūs says in his commentary to “Kitāb Iman Buqrāt wa ‘ahdihī” [5] where he asserts: ‘The king of Persia sent messengers to Hippocrates with a lot of money, asking him to go to him.  But Hippocrates did not consent to his request and did not go to him because he did not consider it right to care for the Persian enemies of the Greeks.’ Hunayn ibn Ishāq reports, in his translation of this book from Greek into Arabic, that Galen has conveyed that Hippocrates did not go to Artakhshāsht nicknamed “Longimanus” because it was said that at the time of this king the Persians had been affected by the disease called ” Al-Mawāriq”.[6]  In another text it is said that it was an epizootic disease.[7] [The king] then sent the satrap of the city of Quwāsalah to give Hippocrates a hundred “qintār” of gold, and sent it to him with honors and signs of esteem, to heal the Persians from the illness that had struck them.  But Hippocrates refused because he did not feel right to help and care for the enemies of the Greeks.”

11. Artakhshāsht Longimanus died and after him Artakhshāsht the Great reigned for thirty years.  After him reigned Makidūniyūs for three years.  After him reigned Sa‘adaniyūs for three years.[8] After him, Dārā II, nicknamed an-Nākit[9], reigned for seventeen years.  After him, Artakhshāsht, one of the sons of his brother Kūrish II, reigned for twenty-two years.  The wise men and philosophers of his time living in Greece were Hiraqlus, Mālūs, Fīthāghūras, Suqrātis, Sīlūn the legislator, Zīnūn, Abindaflis.[10] After him reigned his son Artakhshāsht known as Akhūs[11] for twenty years. Akhus, king of the Persians, gathered the army and marched on Egypt. The king of Egypt went out, and occupied the land. The king of Egypt, who was then the Pharaoh Shānāq[12], fearing to fall into the hands of Akhūs, King of the Persians, and be tortured, cut off his hair, shaved his beard and fled in disguise to the town of Maqidūniyah.[13] Akhūsh, king of the Persians, built the citadel known as Qasr ash-Shama in Fustāt, Egypt. He also built an imposing temple for the house of fire known today under the name of the church of Mār Tādurus.”  The king of the town of Maqidūniyah was Philip, father of Alexander. Akhus, King of the Persians, died.  After him reigned his son Arsīs, nicknamed “an-Nākit” for eleven years.  The philosophers and wise men of his time living in the city of Athīnā and in Greece were Aflātūn, Kinsālūn, Dīmūkrātis, Abullūniyūs and Suqrāt.[14]

12. Arsīs, king of the Persians, died.  After him, his son Dāriyūs reigned for seven years until he was killed by Alexander, who had become king of the kings who were in Mossul, Bābil, Fāris and  Āmid.  The cause for which Alexander killed Dāriyūs, king of the Persians, was this.  When his father Philip died, Alexander succeeded him on the throne of Makidūniyah at the age of sixteen.  Dāriyūsh, king of Fāris, knowing that Alexander was reigning over the Rūm after his father, tried to subdue him and wrote a letter to him as follows: “It has come to my notice that you have taken to reign over the Rūm without my permission.  If you had followed your father’s judicious conduct and acted according to our agreements, it would have been better for you and your prosperity would be long.  But the inexperience of your youth has induced you to behave with foolishness, and fools also are those who are with you.  Desist from the state in which you are, and send the tribute for yourself and your country, acknowledge your mistake and do it soon, without delay, otherwise I will move against you with the men of Fāris, and with them I will trample your country, I will kill your men, and I will deprive you of your prosperity.  I send you something that, if you can count it, you will know how many are my men and my friends.  Peace [to you]”. And he sent to him by a messenger, a qafīr of sesame seeds.

13. The messenger of Dāriyūs presented himself to Alexander and handed him the letter and the sesame seeds.  Alexander summoned his generals and read them the letter of Dāriyūs.  Then he said to them, “If you are gathered together, and you unite, you will beat him, but if you are divided he will get the better of you.” One by one they expressed their opinion and Alexander answered them, saying, “I feel that we will conquer Dāriyūs. It is proof of this, that he compared his men to sesame, which is a insubstantial food, and one that is eaten without effort. I feel that his kingdom will be ours.”  His men said to him, “This is the will of God.” Then Alexander wrote a letter to Dāriyūs in these terms: “From him who has become king by the will of God, from Alexander, the servant of God and King of the Greeks, to the excellent Dāriyūs.  I understand the content of your letter, what you describe as a transgression to your order, and what you are threatening me, that if I do not abandon the state in which I am and delay to send what you order me to send you, you will move against me with your men of Fars.  But your heart has spoken what your hand can not take, nor your thinking reach, because, in truth, I will come out against you with the lions of the Greeks, and then I will let you know how matters stand at our meeting. I send you something to be able to anticipate the strong flavour of my men. Peace [to you]”. And he sent him a small bag of mustard.

  1. [1]Cambyses II, son of Cyrus.
  2. [2]Darius I.
  3. [3]Cos?
  4. [4]I.e. Hippocrates.
  5. [5]I.e. the Book of the Oath and Testament of Hippocrates.”  Cf. Strohmaier, G., “Hunayn ibn Ishāq et le Serment Hippocratique”, in: Arabica 21 (1974), pp. 318-323.
  6. [6]More commonly “mayrùq”, i.e. fungus or jaundice.
  7. [7]I.e. an epidemic among animals, often communicable to men.
  8. [8]Sogdianus.
  9. [9]Darius II Notus.
  10. [10]Heraclitus, Malus (?), Pythagoras, Socrates, Solon, Zeno, Empedocles.
  11. [11]Artaxerxes III Ochus.
  12. [12]This must be Nectanebo II.
  13. [13]I.e. to Macedonia.
  14. [14]Plato, Xenophon, Democrates, Apollonius, and Socrates.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 2

Let’s carry on with Old Testament narratives from the time of Daniel.  It would interesting to know if any Persian sources were used for any of this.

5. After him, his son Awīl Marūdakh[1] reigned for twenty-three years.  He released Yahūnākhīm, king of the Israelites, from prison, and put on him the garments of honour, and treated him with every respect, and set free all the prisoners of Israel.  In Egypt the prophet Irimiyah[2] was stoned to death and was buried.  It is said that when Alexander entered Egypt, he brought the body of the prophet Irimiya to Alexandria and buried it there.  Awīl Marūdakh died.

6.  After him, his son Baltāssar reigned for three years and was killed. After he had eaten and drunk with his companions, and having become drunk, he had brought in the gold and silver vessels of the temple that his grandfather Bakhtanassar had taken away from Ūrashalīm[3] and drank from them, ordering his companions to do likewise.  But while he slept in the room, behold he saw the fist of a hand move on the wall, and the fingers of the hand write.  He was greatly frightened, and gathered together the wise men of Bābil, to read the writing and explain it.  But they did not succeed.  They said to the king, “There is here an Israelite named Dāniyāl whom your grandfather Bakhtanassar highly honoured and held in great consideration.  He will read it to you, and explain this to you”.  The king then summoned Dāniyāl.  Dāniyāl read the writing and recited the writing as follows: “Mānī. Thākāl. Fārās”. Then he said: “Mānī means ‘God has made your kingdom perfect and great.’ Thākāl means ‘The kingdom, already perfect, is destined to end’ and Fārās means ‘Your kingdom will be divided between the Medes and the Persians'”.  The king gave a mantle of honour to Dāniyāl and put a gold collar on his neck.  That same night, King Baltāssar was killed.

7. Then Dāriyūsh, son of Asrīr, the Mede, that is, of the house of Mādānī, reigned after him for a single year.  He took Dāniyāl and appointed him chief of his soldiers.  But his generals were jealous, and sought to discredit him in the eyes of the king, saying, “Dāniyāl is marching against the king with the intent of killing him”.  The king then cast Dāniyāl into a pit full of hungry lions.  Then, on his own, the next day he removed Dāniyāl from the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king felt very afraid, and threw in the pit the generals who had slandered him, and they were all devoured by the lions.  The king reconfirmed Dāniyāl as chief of his soldiers, and supreme organizer of his army.

8.  On the death of Dāriyūsh, the kingdom passed into the hands of the Persians.  The first Persian to reign was Kūrish the Persian.[4]  He also appointed Dāniyāl as chief of the army.  There was in Bābil a huge bronze idol called Bīl.[5]  To this idol there was offered daily twelve “makkūk” [6] of flour, forty rams and six divine measures.  Every day the king prostrated himself and worshipped the idol.[7]  But Dāniyāl responded, saying, “The servants of the idol are those who eat what is given to them as a daily ration”.  The king then called the servants, threatened them and confirmed [what Dāniyāl had said to him].  The king then ordered the demolition of the idol and that the servants should be put to death.

There was also, in Bābil, a great snake that the people of the city worshiped.  Dāniyāl said to the king: “Give me permission, and I will kill it.”  Dāniyāl then took some sausage, some pitch, and some hair, kneaded them together and fed them to the serpent.  As soon as the snake ate this, it died. When the inhabitants of Bābil saw what Dāniyāl had done, they were angry and sought to discredit him in the king’s eyes, saying: “Dāniyāl wants to kill you”.  The king was irritated with him, and threw him into a pit full of hungry lions, where he remained for six days.  The lions were given food, daily, of two bulls, and two rams. But during those six days, no meat was given to the lions.  In the land of Judah, in a place called Tiqwa‘, there was the prophet Habaqūq.[8]  He was cooking lentils and prepared a soup in a bowl to feed the harvesters.  But an angel from heaven called to him and said to him, “Habaqūq, bring the food you have with you to Dāniyāl in Bāhil.  He has been in the pit of the lions for six days and has not eaten any food”.  Then the angel of God grabbed the prophet Habaqūq by his hair and brought him to Bābil with the food that he had.  [Habaqūq] appeared at the pit where Dāniyāl was, called to him, and said to him: “Dāniyāl, I am Habaqūq.  God has sent me to you with food for you to eat”.  Dāniyāl came out of the pit, ate and praised God, then went back down into the pit.  The angel then took Habaqūq and brought him back to the land of Judah.  Then the king repented of what he had done to Dāniyāl and ordered them to pull him out of the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king was surprised, and restored to Dāniyāl the post of chief of the army.  The reign of Kūrish the Persian lasted for three years.[9]  Then he died.

9. After him reigned Akhshūwīrus for twelve years.  After him reigned his son Kūrish, known as Dāriyūs, for thirty years.  In the first year of his reign, Dāniyāl the prophet died.  In the second year of his reign he ordered the Israelites to return to Ūrashalīm and to [re]build the city and the temple.  This was because Kūrish the Persian had married an Israelite named Malihāt, sister of Zurūbābil, and made her queen according to the Persian custom.  Kūrish loved her very much and when she asked him to return the Israelites to Ūrashalīm with her brother Zurūbābil, the king agreed.  So Kūrish ordered Zurūbābil to reign at Ūrashalīm.  In his days prophesied Anagua[10] and Zakariya, son of Hağliyah.  He was the Ra’s al-Ğālūth[11] and he was entrusted with the task of [re]building the temple.  There was with him Izra, son of Sirāyā, the priest, and a multitude of the Israelites.  From the captivity of Bābil to the [re]building of the Temple seventy years had passed.  The construction lasted four years.  Zurūbābil, son of Salātiyil, son of Akhiyah, known as Yahūnākhīm, king of Judah, whom Bakhtanassar had deported and put into prison, waited for the construction.  Zurūbābil reigned over the Israelites at Ūrashalīm.  One year after the temple was rebuilt, the priest, `Izrā, died.  He had been a priest before the arrival of Yūsha, son of the priest Yahūsādūq,[12] and seeing the Jews commit many errors against the Torah, he wrote for them the Torah that they currently have.  He reformed the dictates of their law and taught them their religion.  Kūrish-Dāriyūsh, king of Bābil, died.

  1. [1]Or Evil-Merodach, as our bibles memorably label him.
  2. [2]Jeremiah.
  3. [3]Jerusalem
  4. [4]Cyrus.
  5. [5]Baal.
  6. [6]A makkuk is about 55 litres of dry material.
  7. [7]I wonder if something is missing from the text after this sentence – it reads as if someone accused Daniel, who then replies.
  8. [8]The biblical account does not mention that Habakuk lived at Tecoa, modern Khirbet Tiqwa‘.
  9. [9]Much longer in reality; from 559-530 BC.
  10. [10]Haggai.
  11. [11]“27. The wording is obscure and very difficult to interpret.” – Pirone.  It looks like a title, like “Reis” i.e. “overseer”, to me.
  12. [12]The actions of Joshua son of Yozadak are referred to in the books of Esdras and Haggai.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 1

Let’s return to the start of chapter 7, in Old Testament times.  Compared to the last two chapters, this chapter is not very long.  So let’s have a crack at it.  Some of this story might be a little familiar…  Read the names aloud, and see if you recognise them.

1. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Bakhtanassar, i.e. in the year before the destruction of Bayt al-Maqdis, [the king] made an idol of gold sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and erected it in the centre of the city of Bābil, ordering all the people of his kingdom to worship it.  Anyone who refused to worship it would be burned in the furnace.  Bakhtanassar chose three young Israelites and named the first Sīdrākh, the second Mīsākh and the third ‘Abdanāghū.  These three young men refused to prostrate themselves in front of the idol and the king commanded them to be thrown into the furnace.  But God sent them an angel from heaven who extinguished the fire, and the fire was changed for them into coolness and health.  Seeing this, Bakhtanassar ordered them to be taken out of the furnace, scrutinized them thoroughly and found no traces of fire injuries either on their bodies or on their garments.  This increased his astonishment, and he was afraid, and honored them, invoking his power and making them heads of his household.

2. In the fourth year after the destruction of Bayt al-Maqdis, Bakhtanassar had a dream.  He therefore summoned the interpreters of dreams and the astrologers and said to them:  “Tell me about the dream I had and give me an explanation, otherwise I will kill you.”  They replied,  “How will we know what dream you had, if you do not tell us what you dreamed about, so that we can give it an interpretation?”  Bakhtanassar became angry and thought about having them beheaded.  The prophet Dāniyāl was still young when the deportation had taken place.  Bakhtanassar had taken him for himself, and had educated him in his house covering him with favours.  He then sent to call him.  Dāniyal said to him: “I will tell you the dream you had, and I will give you an interpretation.  The king saw a great idol, which looked like a beast.  Its head was of gold, its hands of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet of clay.  Then the king saw a huge boulder fall from a mountain, and batter and shatter the idol until nothing was left of it.  The boulder then became an imposing mountain and filled the earth.  This is what the king saw.  The interpretation is then the following.  You, O king, are the head of that idol, the gold.  After you will rule one less than you, the silver.  After him will rule a king less than him, the bronze.  After him will rule a king less than him, the iron.  After him will rule a king less than him, the clay.  Then after him will rule a great king whose kingdom will never end.  And just as you saw a boulder fall from the mountain alone and break the idol and fill the earth, so that king will reign over all the earth forever”.  Bakhtanassar then ordered them to give new clothes to Dāniyāl, to cover him with honour, preferred him to all the wise men of Bābīl, appointed him chief of his house and called him Baltāssar.

3. In the fifth year of the captivity of Bābil and the destruction of Ūrashalīm, Hizqiyāl, son of Yūzi, prophesied at Bābil, in the place called Karmila, Bārūkh, son of Nāriyā, and his brother Sirās, Dāniyāl of the house of David, Mardukhāf of the house of Benjamin, Hakāy, Zakhariyā, son of Bārāshiyā, Malākhīya, ‘Izrā e Nāhūm.  In Egypt there were Habaqūq, the tribe of Simeon, and the prophet Irimiyā.  In Bābil the Israelites worshiped idols, and the prophet Hizqiyāl reproached them for their conduct.  But the magnates of the Israelites attacked him and killed him.

4. In the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Bakhtanassar, he marched against Egypt, devastated it and killed its king, thus extending his kingdom over Egypt, Syria, the land of Judah, of the Rūm, of the Greeks, the Fāris, of Bābil and of Mossul.  Bakhtanassar reigned for forty-five years, nineteen of which were before the destruction of Ūrashalīm and the captivity of the Israelites, and twenty-six after the destruction of Ūrashalīm.  King Bakhtnassar died.


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.