John of Biclar

From MedNub
Jump to: navigation, search

[pp. 27-28]

JOHN OF BICLAR

(born 540 A.D.) about 590 A.D.

John of Biclar, was born in Lusitania, in 540 A.D., of catholic Gothic parents. He was exiled by King Leovigild to Constantinople, where he eye-witnessed the coming of a delegation from Maqurra to emperor Justin II. [555-578 A.D.]. He went back to Spain in 586 A.D., founded a monastery at Biclar, near Tarragona, and became bishop of Gerona in 590 A.D. In his Chronicon, he recorded events which took place in 567-587 A.D. "John of Biclar's statements, based on personal observation or on trustworthy testimonies, are reliable because of his well-known impartiality." (G. Madoz, Enciclopedia Catt.. s.v.)

T.: Mon. Germ. Hist., Auct. Antiquissimi, t. XI, Johannis Abb. Biclarensis Chronicon. Berlin 1898, pp. 207 - 220. / L:0


In the third year of emperor Justin [568 A.D.], the Garamantes sent a delegation expressing their wish to live under the peace of the Roman empire and to embrace the Christian religion. They were soon granted both requests. (MGH Auct.Ant. t XI, p. 212)[1]

In the seventh year of Emperor Justin [573 A.D.], which is the fifth of king Leovigild, delegates of the people of the Maccuritae arrived at Constantinople. They brought to Emperor Justin presents consisting of elephant tusks, [p. 28] a giraffe, and stated their friendship with the Romans (sibi cum Romanis amicitias collocant).[2] (MGH Auct.Ant. XI, p. 213).


  1. "Christian faith", as meant by the Biclarensis, was the dyophysite confession, as pointed out by Monneret de Villard, Storia della Nubia Cristiana, Roma, 1938, p. 66.
  2. Monneret claimed that the good relations then existing between the Maccuritae and Byzantium would have been established only by pro-Chalcedonian missionaries from Byzantium

Bibliographic updates and remarks

Bibliographic updates and remarks by R. Seignobos (17 Jan 2014)

John of Biclar

Ioannis Biclarensis

ca. 540- ca. 620

On the author : G. Dunphy (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, Leiden, Brill, 2010, vol. 2, s.v. « John of Biclar » (J. Wreglesworth).

Editions :

Critical edition with historical commentary (in Spanish) : J. Campos (éd.), Juan de Biclaro, Obispo de Gerona: su vida y su obra, Madrid, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifícas, 1960, pp. 77-100.

Critical edition with historical commentary (in English, by R. Collins) : C. Cardelle De Hartmann (ed.), Victor Tunnunensis: « Chronicon » cum reliquiis ex « Consularibus Caesaraugustanis » et Iohannes Biclarensis « Chronicon », Turnhout, Brepols, 2001 [Corpus christianorum. Series Latina CLXXIII A], pp. 59-83.

Translations :

English translation : K.B. Wolf (trad.), Conquerors and chroniclers of early medieval Spain, Liverpool, Liverpool university press, 1990, pp. 57-77.

Further references :

External links :

MGH edition[1]

Campos' edition[2]

Latin text of the chronicle (without indication of the edition used) with French translation[3]

Remarks : strangely enough, Vantini has reproduced the account concerning the conversion of the Garamantes while omitting, for an unknown reason, the report on the conversion of the Maccuritae, which is mentioned just below in the editions. The identity of the Maccuritae has long been a matter of debates but it is now generally agreed that the ethnonym referred to the inhabitants of the Nubian kingdom of Makouria[1]. The original latin texts of both passages mentioning the Maccuritae, taken from the most recent edition by Cardelle De Hartmann[2], read as follows :

Maccuritarum gens his temporibus Christi fidem recepit (p. 61)

Legati gentis Maccuritarum Constantinopolim ueniunt, dentes elephantinos et cameleopardam Iustino principi munera offerentes sibi cum Romanis amicicias [sic] collocant. (p. 65)

Concordance :

MGH Auct.Ant. t XI, p. 212 = J. Campos, p. 79 = C. Cardelle De Hartmann, p. 61.

MGH Auct.Ant. t XI, p. 213 = J. Campos, p. 83 = C. Cardelle De Hartmann, p. 65.


  1. Recent discussion in Y. Modéran, Les Maures et l’Afrique romaine: IVe-VIIe siècle, Rome, École française de Rome, 2003, pp. 670-672.
  2. Note that this edition does not bring any significant change to the older MGH one, at least as far as this passage is concerned.