Malalas

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[pp. 4-5]

MALALAS

(about 570-580 A.D.)

John Malalas, a Syrian-born monophysite writer, is identified by some critics with John the Scholastic, Patriarch of Constantinople (563-572). He wrote a Chronography, of which one Greek incomplete MS has survived. Very old translations into Slavonic and other languages as well as borrowings from Chronicles by an ancient writer may help to fill the gaps.

Ed.: L. Dindorf, Joannis Malalae Chronographia.

Corpus Script. Historiae Byzantinae, Leipzig 1831, (re-produced in P G 97, 99) is insufficient. More valuable are the critical editions, IX-XII, by Schenk von Stauffenberg, Stuttgart 1931, and M. Spinka, Chronographv of John Malalas. VIII-XVIII, transl. from the ancient Slavonic text, Chicago 1940.

T.: Dindorf G:4


[p.5]

[The story of the victory of the Aksumite king followed by his 'conversion to Christianity’ - which Malalas probably drew from Greek-Syriac sources - was later copied in the Chronicle of John of Nikiou [q.v.]. However, we find "Nubian" written instead of "Aksumite king".]

At the same time,<ref>Malalas possibly wrote his Chronography before John of Ephesus' Eccles. History, or about the same time. He names the Ethiopian king Andas ('Amda, Amida), who, according to both the ancient and modern historians is not to be identified with Elesbaas – Caleb.</ref>a war broke out between the Aksumite and the Ameritae Indians (Ameritōn), on the following grounds. The king of the Ameritae (Omēritae) is closer to Egypt than the king of the Auxumitae, who reigns over the inner regions. Some Roman merchants, on their way to Aksum (Auxuma) and to the inner kingdoms of the Indians, passed through the lands of the Ameritai (Omēritae). In fact, there are seven kingdoms of Indians (Indōn) and Ethiopians (Aithiópōn), of which three belong to the Indians, the other four, which face to the east along the coast of the ocean, were under the Ethiopians. Dimnos, king of the Ameritae, assailed the Roman merchants who were on transit through his kingdom for commerce, killed them and carried away all their belongings. "Actually, he said, the Jews, who live in the territory of the Roman Christians, are vexed, and many are killed every year." Since then it was forbidden to carry out trade. The king of the Auxumitae, writing to the king of the Ameritae, warned him: "You have acted very badly, he said, in killing the Christian Roman merchants; you have also harmed my kingdom". This was a source of hatred between them, which later ended in a war. Under these circumstances, the king of the Auxumitae on his way to the war, bound himself with a promise saying: "If I succeed in vanquishing Dimnos, the king of the Ameritai, I shall become a Christian. For, it is for the sake of Christians that I am waging the war." The king of the Auxumitai was victorious, seized [the king of the Ameritai] and slew him, defeated his army and occupied all his lands and kingdoms. After the victory, he sent two envoys accompanied by two hundred other prominent people to Alexandria. Through them he made a petition to Justinian asking that he appointed a bishop and clerics to teach him the elements of Religion and the mysteries, after which he could be baptised. He also requested that all the territory of the Indians be taken under the empire of the Romans. The emperor, informed by Licinius, the Augustal of Alexandria, wrote back ordering that they might choose for themselves the bishop whom they wanted. The envoys of the Indians chose John, the Paramonarius of the Church of St. John in Alexandria, who was pious, unmarried, and about 62 years old. The envoys, having chosen thus a bishop and other clerics, took them to India, to their own king Anda.

(L. Dindorf, pp. 433—434).

<references/>

Bibliographic updates and remarks

Bibliographic updates and remarks by R. Seignobos (10 Feb 2014)


John Malalas

Ἰωάννης Μαλάλας


On the author : EAe, s.v. ; B. Croke, "Malalas, the man and his work", [in:] E. Jeffreys, B. Croke, R. Scott (eds.), Studies in John Malalas, Sydney, 1990, pp. 1-25.

Editions : the latest edition was published in 2000 by J. Thurn but, according to some scholars, it is not always as reliable as one would have expected[1] : J. Thurn (ed.), Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, Berlin, New York 2000 [= Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae, 35], pp. 362-363.

Translations :

English translation : E.M. Jeffreys, M.J. Jeffreys, R. Scott (trans.), The Chronicle of John Malalas, Canberra, Humanities Research Centre Australian national university, 1986.

German translation : Weltchronik, trad. H. Thurn, M. Meier, Stuttgart, A. Hiersemann, 2009, pp. 448-450.

A French commented translation is ongoing[2]

Further references : E. Jeffreys, B. Croke, R. Scott, Studies in John Malalas, see above ; J. Beaucamp (ed.), Recherches sur la Chronique de Jean Malalas, Paris, Association des amis du Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2004 ; S. Agusta-Boularot, J. Beaucamp, A.-M. Bernardi et alii (eds.), Recherches sur la Chronique de Jean Malalas, Paris, Association des amis du Centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance, 2006.

External links : the older but still reliable and widely used edition by Dindorf is available on Internet Archive[3].

Remarks : as stated by Vantini himself, this extract was only included in the collection because of its reuse in the later chronicle composed by John of Nikiu (seventh cent.), where the Aksumites has been replaced by Nubians (Nōbā). The reason for this change of designation is unclear but is perhaps connected to the chaotic transmission of John of Nikiu’s chronicle, which is only known to us through a late ge’ez translation.

Concordance :

Dindorf, pp. 433-434 = Thurn, 2000, pp. 362-363.