Mahbub ibn Qustantin/Agapius

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[pp. 120-121]

MAḤBŪB IBN QUSTANTĪN / AGAPIUS

(before 950 A.D.)

Melkite bishop of Manbig, author of a World Chronicle.

K. al-'Unwān

Ed.: Cheickho, CSCO. Scriptores arabici III 5, 1912; Vasiliev, PO V 4, 557-692; VII 4, 557-591; VIII 3, 397-550.

T.: PO A:0


The Second Climate is called Diastates in Greek. It includes the country of Kūsh, that is al-Ḥabashah. The duration of the day is 13-and-a-half hours. (PO V, p. 607).

In this Climate, there are wild beasts, birds and lions (huwām) big and dreadful, yet not so much as those of the First Climate. The inhabitants too, in features, colour and size, are not so ugly as those of the First Climate. There are aromatic plants (ʿaqāqīr) and many precious stones, good for polishing, if they are used according to their nature and properties. Among the inhabitants there are some who are skilled witches and know the secrets and properties (ʿalāmāt) of the aromatic plants and the stones; but they are less skilled in this field of knowledge than the inhabitants of the First Climate. (PO V, pp. 610 - 611).

Emperor Justinian in the fourth year of his reign [431 A.D.] issued an edict prohibiting pagans in the Greek empire from persisting in their own religion; they had either to become Christians, or, if they refused, to be killed and their properties to be confiscated. Many of them were converted. (PO VIII, p. 427).

[p. 121] In the fifth year of Heraclius [616 A.D.], the Persians moving from Caesarae, marched on Jerusalem and took it, and in the eight year of Heraclius, they took Alexandria with the neighbouring countries and went as far as Nubia. (PO VIII, p. 451).

When Marwān learned what 'Abdalla ibn 'Alī had done ill to the body of al-Walīd[1] and that the inhabitants of Damascus had sworn allegiance to Abū-l-'Abbās, he gave up all hope [of victory] and thought only to escape. He fled to Miṣr with a small number of his family, and thence, following the route upstream the Nile arrived to the frontiers of Nubia. But he had to do with Sālih ibn ‘Alī, who had gone ahead of his brother 'Abdalla. 'Abdalla had been delayed under the walls of Damascus, and after he took the town, he stayed there for some time; but Sālih ibn 'Alī, as soon as he arrived in Egypt, sent one of his men, named 'Āmir ibn Ismā'īl, with a troop to arrest Marwān ibn Muḥammad. He found Marwān camping on the Nile [bank]. He attacked Marwān. During the night, Marwān, abandoned by his partisans, sought refuge on a hill nearby. He stopped fighting only when he fell and was killed. His two sons, 'Abdalla and 'Ubaidallah, escaped in disguise among other people ... who were on the Nile.

... 'Abdalla parted from 'Ubaidallah, [to go] towards Mecca. 'Ubaidallah continued his march ... and died.

'Āmir ibn Ismā'īl seized the treasure of Marwān and went back to Sālih ibn 'Alī, who was then at Miṣr. He gave order that the corpse of Marwān be crucified, except the head, which was embalmed, and he later took it to Abū-l- 'Abbās, his cousin, (PO VIII, p. 528)

  1. The last Omayyad governor of Damascus.