Severus (Sawirus)

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[pp. 189-222]


(d. about l000 A.D.)

Deacon and secretary to the Patriarch of Alexandria, then bishop of Ashmunein. He wrote a biographical history of the Patriarchs of Alexandria beginning from Mark. His work was later continued by Michael, bishop of Tinnis and Mawhūb b. Mufrah (or Mufarrij), down to 1087 and then by others until 1740.

Graf 2, 300-306

Ed.: Ch.F. Seybold, CSCO III scr. ar. 9, 1904; B.T.A Evetts, PO I (1904), V (1909), X (1914) with Engl.transl. down to Patriarch Joseph (+ 849 A.D.); H.O.S. Burmester, [p. 190] Hist. of Patriarchs of the Egyptian Church, vols. II and III (from Khael II, 849-880); Soc.Arch.Copte, Cairo 1943-1958; Latin transl.: E. Renaudot, Historia Patriarcharum Alexandrinorum, Paris 1713.

T.: Evetts, Burmester and Renaudot A: and from Latin.

From the Life of Patriarch Benjamin the 38th Patriarch [622 - 661 A.D.]

When Heraclius saw this [the Arabs advancing into Palestine] he assembled all his troops from Egypt as far as the frontiers of Aswān and continued to pay to the Moslems the taxes which he had demanded for the purpose of using them for his own needs and the troops. They used to call the tax "bakt" (baqṭ) that is to say that it was a sum levied at so much a head. And this went on until Heraclius had paid to the Moslems the greater part of the money; and many people died through the troubles' which they had endured. (PO I, 493).

[N.B. Life of Patriarch Isaac [686-89 A.D.] See above: Abba Mīna [q.v.]]

From the Life of Simon I, the 42nd Patriarch [696-700 A.D.]

A priest from the people of al-Hind[1] came to Abba Simon and requested him to ordain a bishop for India. The Indians were not subject to the Moslems. But Simon said: 'I cannot appoint a bishop for you without the order of the emir governor of Miṣr[2]. Go and inform him about your request; if he will give me an order, I shall comply with your request and you will go back to your country accompanied [by a bishop] and with the peace [of [p. 191] the Lord]. Then the Indian left to report to the emir. Some Gaianites[3] joined him [on the way] and took him to Tadros, the head of the Phantasiasts, whom they had informed about the coming of the Indian from his country, Tadros said to him: - 'I shall grant your request.' then he took a man from Maryūt and ordained him bishop and also ordained two priests for him and sent them secretly to India. After twenty days of journey, they were arrested by those who guarded the routes on behalf of the Moslems and sent them to the great emir called Abdel Malik [the caliph, 684 - 705 A.D.]. The [Indian] priest escaped back to Miṣr; the other three were taken, with tied hands, to Abdel Malik. When the caliph was told that these were Egyptians, from Maryūt, and that they were going to a foreign country, he chopped their hands and feet and sent them back to Abdel ’Aziz at Miṣr. In addition he reprimanded the emir [saying]: ‘You are ignorant (jāhil); you are unaware of the things happening in your own territory, i.e. that the patriarch of the Christians who resides at Alexandria has sent to India information concerning Miṣr. On receipt of this letter, you will inflict on him 200 stripes and a 100,000 dinars fine, which you will send me, without delay, by the agency of the delegates who have come to you.' (Renaudot, pp. 290 - 291).

From the Life of Patriarch Mark II, the 49th Patriarch [799 - 819 A.D.].

In those days Harūn ar-Rashīd had died at Baghdad [809 A.D.] and his son Muḥammad, called Al-Amīn, sat in his father's place. The cause of offence was that Harūn [p. 192] ar-Rashīd, before his death, had assembled the chief personages of the empire and said to them: - 'After me, the Caliphate belongs to my son, the Lord al-Ma'mūn[4]. But when Muḥammad al-Amīn heard of this, he was filled with anger, gathering an army and made war upon his brothers. But Al-Ma’mūn killed al-Amīn, [813 A.D.] and sat upon the throne of the empire. When the strife broke out between the two brothers, a certain rebel[5] arose and assembled an innumerable army and kept the road between Egypt (Miṣr) and the East under his control. He robbed those who were Journeying to Miṣr, or Upper Egypt or Abyssinia or Nubia, of all their goods so that travel was interrupted on the roads and all the tracks through fear of him. This attack upon Egypt lasted long on account of the disturbed state of government of Baghdad. And the insurgents rose against the government in Egypt, and gathered the taxes for themselves. (PO 10, pp. 427 - 428).

From the Life of Patriarch Joseph [830 - 849 A.D.].

When the patriarch had recovered his strength a little, he took thought for the affairs of Abyssinia and Nubia, and sent a letter to the people of those countries, and enquired after them and their churches. But he did not succeed in communicating with them on account of hostility between their kings and the Muslim governors (wūlāt) of Egypt. And he prayed to God that there might be peace between them, so that he might attain his object, which was to restore the buildings under the jurisdiction of the father, Saint Mark the Evangelist. And [p. 193] God heard his prayer and answered his petition. Now this war had lasted fourteen years between them, until Ibrāhīm, brother of Al-Ma'mūn, began to reign. He set guards on the road to Abyssinia and Nubia. Now the king over the Nubians was Zacharias (Zakariāʾ). So Ibrāhīm sent, and said to him: - "If you will do what other kings have done before thee, then send the tribute for the past fourteen years. Otherwise we will make war upon thee." Now a deacon, named George, was the secretary of the governor (wālī) of Upper Egypt. So he wrote to the patriarch to make known to him what was contained in the letter of Ibrāhīm, the prince. And the patriarch, on hearing it, glorified God, and rejoiced, saying: - "This is an opportunity for me also to write to the kings of what concerns the Church." So he wrote a letter full of the grace of the Holy Ghost, as it behoved him; and he saluted and praised the kings, and informed them of the kindly treatment that he had received from the princes of the Muslims, since the Lord had seated him upon the glorious and holy throne. And he added: "I am unworthy of this post, but I was desirous of obtaining news of you. Only my sin prevented my communicating with you, on account of the wars which have been waged in the land of Egypt, and the rebellion of the Bashrudites[6] [sic!] against the commands of the prince, until he slew them, and laid their dwellings waste, and demolished their churches. But now we have found an opportunity by this correspondence of making known to you what has happened. Any now, my friends, you are bound to accomplish your duty to these princes. And if it were wrong that we should bid [p. 194] you do any of these things, then I have undergone punishment from my brethren, as Joseph, the son of Jacob, suffered from his brethren. And now you are bound to pray that there may be peace between you, O you that love God, and that peace may appear in the Church for your sake."

The epistle Abba Joseph dispatched to the governor (wālī) of the mines near Uswān, that he might forward it. And when this letter reached King Zacharias, and was read to him, he said: - "What shall I do concerning the prince's demand upon me? Who will collect for me the tribute (baqṭ) of fourteen years in human souls, that I may send them to him? For I cannot leave my capital, lest the savages (al-barbar) who are in rebellion against me should take possession of it. Now must I dispatch my son to the prince." So the king sent for his oldest son, whose name was George (Jirjah). And he had the trumpet blown, and appointed a herald who proclaimed that George should reign after him. Then he sent him to Miṣr, in company with the envoys who had come thence together with gifts which he had prepared.

And when George arrived at Miṣr, he was met by the blessed father Abba Joseph. On seeing the patriarch, George, son of King Zacharias, rejoiced greatly, and prostrated himself before him. Then the patriarch gave him his benediction, and informed him of some of the events that had taken place, in order to excuse himself for the delay in sending a letter to the kingdom of the Nubians. But George replied: - "Blessed is the Lord, who deals not with us after our sins. But it was our fault that hindered thee till this time, and it is thy holiness that has made me worthy to kiss thy holy hands, O thou Lamp, that enlightenest the orthodox throughout the world!”

[p. 195] Then George started upon the road to Baghdad. And he begged the patriarch to pray for him that God might bring him back in safety. On his arrival at Baghdad, the capital of the empire, the prince received him with joy and said to him: "God gives thee the tribute (baqṭ) of all the past years, in return for thy coming to my court and thy obedience to me." And George remained with him many days in honor. Afterwards the prince dismissed him with many gifts of gold and silver and garments, and dispatched a troop of soldiers with him, that they might conduct him to his own country in safety.

So he returned to Miṣr with great ceremony, holding a golden cross in his hand, while all the people welcomed him, according to the honor which the caliph had paid him. And George requested leave of the patriarch that he might transport into the governor’s palace (qasr al-malik) where he was lodging, a consecrated sanctuary, (haykal mukarraz) made of wood that could be taken to pieces and put together again. And there were with him bishops from his own country, who celebrated the Liturgy for him, so that the king's son (ibn al-malik) and all his companions made their communion there. And he gave orders that the wooden gong (nāqūs) should be struck on the roof of the palace at the time of the Liturgy, as it is done at the churches. And all men marveled thereat; and all the Christians rejoiced and glorified God for what he had shown forth through the prayers of this holy man, the patriarch. And in his days the said king's son set out and started upon his homeward journey. Therefore our father, the patriarch, proceeded with him, as far as a place called Būlāk, (Būlāq) with great state. And the father was thereby consoled for the trials which he had passed through.

[p. 196] Now who will not marvel when he hears these wonders namely that every patriarch who sits upon this holy throne directs his care towards three departments (aqsām) of business; the care for the synodical letter to the patriarch of Antioch; secondly our relations with the Abyssinians (al-ḥabasha) and the Nubians (an-nūba); and thirdly the carrying out of decrees issued by the governor of Egypt to the patriarch and bishops, that the affairs of the orthodox churches may be kept in good order? And God brought these three departments together for our father, the patriarch Abba Joseph, by the coming of the caliph Al-Ma'mūn from his country and the patriarch's interviews with him, and the arrival of his brother Dionysius, patriarch of Antioch [818-849 A.D.], with whom he held intercourse, and the coming of the son of the king of the Nubians, as we have related, and the prosperity of affairs, and his seeing the great glory in truth, as the prophet David says: - 'All nations shall worship before him.'

And God worked for him another wonder, so that he performed for him all that he had prayed for, in order that the see of the illustrious father, Saint Mark (Mārī Marqus) the Evangelist, might be glorified. May the blessings of his prayers preserve us. There was at that time a bishop named John, whom the father, Abba James [819-830 A.D.] had ordained for the land of the Abyssinians. Now the king of the Abyssinians had gone forth to war. Then the people became disaffected, and drove away that bishop, and appointed another of their own free choice, thus breaking the canon (qānūn) [i.e. the Arab/ Nicene Canons, q.v.]. And the aforesaid bishop returned to Egypt and took up his abode at the monastery of Baramus in Wādī Habib, because he had first become a monk there. But the Lord, who loves mankind, and desires to save them and restore them to the knowledge of the truth, [p. 197] did not allow that country and its inhabitants to remain in their disobedience, but he raised up against them the evangelical throne once more, that the Lord might show forth wonders in the following manner. For he sent down upon them and upon their cattle a plague with great mortality, and caused their king to be defeated by all who fought against him; and his followers were slain. So, when he came back from the war, great sadness fell upon him. And he did not know what had been done to the bishop, nor how he had been banished from their city. For it was the queen who had caused this mischief, acting as Eudoxia did in her time against John the Golden Mouth. As soon therefore as the king learned this, he hastened and wrote a letter to the good shepherd, Abba Joseph, saying to him: "I prostrate myself before the evangelical throne, upon which thy paternity has been counted worthy to sit, and by the grace of which my royal authority is confirmed. How the people of my country have strayed away from the light of the holy see, and have set their feet in a path full of thorns by driving away thy vicar. Therefore the Lord has sent down the punishment of that dead upon our heads, and has given us a taste of his vengeance through the death of men and cattle by the plaque. Moreover he has forbidden heaven to rain upon us. But now, our holy father, overlook our folly, and send us someone who will pray to God for us, and intercede for us, that we may be saved by the acceptable prayers."

When the father had read this letter, he rejoiced over the king's faith and quickly sent and summoned that bishop from the monastery of Baramus, and having encouraged and consoled him sent him back to the Abyssinians. And he dispatched an escort of trustworthy men with him on account of the dangers of the road, and gave him sufficient provision for the journey. And he dismissed [p. 198] the party, giving them his blessing that God might make their path easy. And God heard him; for they safely reached the friendly king, who rejoiced over them with all the natives of the land.

After this Satan, the enemy of peace, suggested an idea to some of the people of that country. Accordingly, they waited upon the king, and said to him: "We request thy majesty to command this bishop to be circumcised. For all the inhabitants of our country are circumcised except him." And the working of Satan was so powerful that the king approved this proposal, namely that the aged bishop should be taken and circumcised, or else that he should return to the place whence he had come. And when the bishop recollected the hardships of his journey, both when he departed and when he returned, and then of what he would experience again, he dreaded the difficulties of the road both by land and water. So he said: "I will submit to this, for the salvation of these souls, of which the Lord has appointed me, as shepherd without any merit of mine. Yet now Paul the apostle enjoins us, saying: - If any man is called without circumcision, let him not be circumcised." So when he made this concession to them, God manifested a miracle in him, as he wrote to our father the patriarch, Abba Joseph; namely, that when they took him to circumcise him, and stripped him, they found the mark of circumcision in him, as if he had been circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. And he swore in his letter that he knew nothing of this before that day. Thus the king and the people of the country were satisfied, and rejoiced greatly over this wonder, and accepted the bishop with joy.

When the letter containing an account of this matter reached the patriarch he rejoiced greatly over the return of those erring ones to their shepherd and over the miracle which had been manifested, saying: "Blessed is [p. 199] the Lord, who has turned the captivity of his people and saved them from the hand of the enemy, and has not left them in error for ever."

And because this good shepherd took so much care of his sheep and gave his life for them, he appointed many bishops, and sent them to all places under the see of Saint Mark the evangelist, which include Africa and the Five Cities (al-khams Mudun) and Al-Kairuwān and Tripoli and the land of Egypt and Abyssinia and Nubia. (PO 10, pp. 503 - 512).

After this Satan brought upon Abba Joseph another trial. For this father was merciful, and desired not the perdition of any man. So Satan put it into the heart of the unjust judge (qāḍī), who had become his instrument, that he should seize the Roman (ar-rūm) and Abyssinian (al-ḥabash) pages (ghulmān) of the patriarch, who were not yet of full age, and try to make Muslims of them. Now many people used to give information, one against another, for this cause concerning the pages belonging to their households, whom the judge thereupon took into custody and perverted to the religion of Islam, by means of persecution and intimidation. He also sometimes imprisoned their masters for a time, and when they bribed him, he set them free. Then he made curious inquiries concerning the Roman and Abyssinian pages of the patriarch, who had been sent as presents to him from Africa and the Five Cities and Abyssinia and Nubia. For he was told that the patriarch had pages at Alexandria, who were being taught in the school (fil-maktab yata’allamūna). So he sent his officers thither in the company of the deposed bishop of Miṣr, whose name was Banah, the interpretation of which is "Fire". The bishop went as far as the city of Alexandria, and entered the house wherein the pages were. And he took them and led them away like lambs to [p. 200] the slaughter, while they wept helplessly until they were brought into Miṣr, being eight in number. Then when the unjust judge saw them, he rejoiced, saying: "This is a matter which will disappoint and vex the patriarch." Next he said to our father: "It is not lawful for thee to resist the princes' command nor to trample upon their orders; and it is not lawful for thee to attempt to enslave these youths and make Christians of them." The patriarch answered: "I do not resist the prince’s command nor any good words, but only unjust orders". The judge said to him: "Then am I unjust in thy opinion?" He replied: "Thou knowest that none of thy predecessors forced any one like these, who are Christians and the sons of Christians, to become Muslims. For they were presented to the churches as gifts, and came from the king of the Abyssinians, or from the Nubians or Romans; and they were sent to me as a present, and given to me." But the judge, through Satan's power over him, would not listen; and, as David says, he was like the deaf asp that stops her ears, and will not hear the voice of the charmer. Therefore he gave orders that the youths should be brought in, while the patriarch was there, and intimidated them so that they acknowledged themselves Muslims before him in the patriarch's presence, although he tried to hold them to the Christian faith. (PO 10, pp. 527 - 529).

At that time the judge of Alexandria sent and summoned the holy father, Abba Joseph the patriarch, and the metropolitans with him. And when he appeared in the judge's presence, he said to him: "I am informed that thou hast pages, whom the judge, my master, commanded thee not to take to thyself again. Some of them are in [p. 201] thy house, and thou hast converted them to thy religion." Then the holy man answered and said to him: "I have none of these of whom thou speakest, nor have I beheld the face of one of them since that day." There upon the Judge ordered that the patriarch should be beaten upon his neck without mercy; and they belabored him soundly, and did not cease from beating him for a considerable time. In consequence of this his head was bowed, and he could not raise it for his weakness; and he did not open his mouth to utter a word, except when he said thus: "I thank thee, Lord Jesus Christ." But we, his children, wept bitterly for witnessing what was done to him by this wicked judge. Yet the patriarch did not despair of mercy, but was filled with courage. And so these metropolitans marvelled, and said: "Blessed be God, who has counted us worthy to behold as faithful a champion." And our blessed father repeated the words of the Lord concerning the unjust judge that the Lord would show forth vengeance in him, which should come upon him, as Luke says: 'God shall soon avenge his elect who pray to him day and night, though he is long suffering concerning them.'

After this the patriarch Joseph wrote to the patriarch John an answer to his synodical letter. (PO 10, pp. 536 - 537).

From the Life of Cosmas, the 58th Patriarch [901-913 A.D.].

He [Cosmas] consecrated a metropolitan (muṭrān) from among the monks, for the regions of Abyssinia (al-Ḥabashah) which is a vast country, namely, the kingdom of Saba (Sābā) from which the queen of the South came to Solomon (Sulaymān) the son of David (Dāwūd) the king. If the king of it wished to make a tour through it, he would take a whole year making the tour, Sundays excepted, [p. 202] until he returned to his place. It is a country bordering upon India (al-Hind) and the parts near to it. It is included in the see of my Lord Mark (Mārī Marqus) the Evangelist up to our own day.

When the said metropolitan (muṭrān) had come thither - his name was Peter (Butrus) - its [Abyssinia's] blessed king received him with joy. When the death of its king drew near, he [the king] summoned the metropolitan (muṭrān) and delivered to him the crown of the kingdom and his two sons and said to him: "Thou art the vicar of the king Christ, the great God, by Whose authority are all the kingdoms of the world. Behold, I have delivered to thee my kingdom and my two sons and I have committed them into thy hands so that thou mayest direct them by the will of the Lord, and upon the one of them whom thou shalt judge to be worthy, gentle and good, place the crown of the kingdom." Then the king went to his rest. The metropolitan (muṭrān) was a wise man and saw that the younger son was more accomplished than the elder one, and he placed upon him the crown and installed him as king. Lo, a monk from the monastery of Abba Anthony (Anbā Andūnah) was making a tour round the countries and was passing through the land, and with him a companion, who was making a tour with him, whose name was Victor (Buqtur). They both penetrated into the lands of Abyssinia and presented themselves to the metropolitan and demanded of him that he should give them dinars and endow them both with some of his money, but he did not give anything to them. Then Satan (ash-Shaitān) instructed them that one of the two of them should put on the garments of bishops and that the other should act as his disciple. They wrote counterfeit letters, as if from the patriarch, in which they said: "News has reached us that there has come to you an erring man, whose name is Peter, and that he has said about us that we sent him to you as metropo-[p. 203]-litan and this is not correct, and neither are the letters which [he has] with him from us nor have we consecrated him, but he has counterfeited [as if from us] what has reached you through his hands. He whom we really sent is the metropolitan (muṭrān) who shall come to you with our letters in his hands. On being informed of this, remove Peter (Butrus) from you and install this [man] Menas (Mīnā) in the see. News has also reached us that this Peter seated the younger son of the king on the throne and rejected the elder [one], and this is unjust, because the elder has more right to the kingdom than the younger." They both went with the letters to the elder son of the king who was alone in a solitary place, and a few people had followed him. When he learned of the contents of the counterfeit letters, he rejoiced exceedingly, and he gathered together to him the army and made known to them the letters and what was in them, and he found thereby a means to make war against his brother. The army joined him, and he vanquished him [his brother] and captured him and banished him and he banished the metropolitan also, and installed that monk Menas in his place. After a few days a difference arose between these two false monks, and Victor (Buqtur) plundered the cell of the archbishopric (maṭranah) and took all that was in it and became a fugitive and embraced al-Islam and wasted all that of which he had got possession in what was not pleasing to God.

When reports of Menas reached the patriarch and of what he had done in order to banish the metropolitan and to install himself in his place, he [Cosmas] grieved exceedingly and he wrote letters and anathematized and excommunicated him. When the king heard of this, he took Menas the false monk and slew him. Afterwards, the patriarch did not consecrate for them [the Abyssinians] a [p. 204] metropolitan (muṭrān) during the remainder of the days of his patriarchate, and neither did the patriarch who sat [upon the throne] after him until after five patriarchs, and [this] was Philotheus (Filātāūs). The biography will make this clear to us when we have need for the knowledge thereof, when we reach it with the help of God, since-it is not requisite that we should mention the rest of the account of this before we reach it. Then the king ordered that Peter (Butrus) the metropolitan (muṭrān) should be brought back to his see, but he found that he had already died in exile. His disciple, [however], had survived, and he prayed [to be allowed] to journey to Miṣr, but the king did not permit him [to do this], and said to him: "Thou shalt sit in the place of thy master." Then he asked the king to allow him to journey to Miṣr so that the patriarch might consecrate him metropolitan, and [that] he would return. He [the king] would not do this, but clothed him with the garments [of bishops] against his wishes and installed him without consecration. He remained up to the time of the father Philotheus (Filātāūs) the patriarch, till he became old and very aged, and he used to perform the acts of bishops. (Burmester II-, pp. 118 - 121; cf. our note 10).

From the Life of Menas, the 61st Patriarch [938-957 A.D.].

Miṣr at that time belonged to the Caliph (Khalīfah) of Baghdad. The Wālī of it [Egypt] [who was appointed] by him [the Caliph] was a man known as the Ikhshīd.[7] He was appointed three years before this father was made patriarch. Then he journeyed to Palestine (Filistīn) and died there. He left behind [him] two sons, one of them [p. 205] was Abū-l-Qāsim and the other [was] Abū-l-Ḥasan. They were appointed to the government (wilāyah) in the place of their father.

An insurgent made an insurrection against them; [he was] from the west and his name was Ḥanāniya and they fled away before him to Palestine, and he took possession of Miṣr. When they learned that his troops were in Miṣr only, they returned to fight against him and they routed him. They were both youths and with them there was a master (ustādh) [who had] belonged to their father, whose name was Kāfūr.[8] He was of Nubian (Nūbī) race, captured from the lands of Nubia (Nūbah), and his master had given him in his childhood to one who taught him writing and literature and all that he needed to know. When he [Kāfūr] grew up and he [his master] saw that he was distinguished and skilled, he delivered to him his kingdom and his two children. This [one] was like Joseph (Yūsuf) in Miṣr. When seven years had passed both the sons died, and the master (ustādh) Kāfūr succeeded them. (ibid. II, p. 128).

From the Life of Philotheus, the 63rd Patriarch [980 - 1003 A.D.].

In his [Philotheus’] days, the king of Abyssinia, (al-Ḥabashah) sent to the king of Nubia (an-Nūbah) a youth whose name was George (Jirjis), and made known to him how the Lord had chastened him, he and the inhabitants of his land. It was that a woman, a queen of Bānī al-Hamwīyah[9] had revolted against him and against his [p. 206] country. She took captive from it many people and burned many cities and destroyed churches and drove him [the king] from place to place. That which befell him was a retribution for what the king who [was] before him had done to the metropolitan (muṭrān) in the days of the father Abba Cosmas (Anba Quzmā), as we have explained earlier[10], through his falsification and his fraud. He [the king] said to him [George] in the letter which he sent to him: "I desire that thou shouldst help me and partake with me in the fatigue, for the sake of God and for the sake of the unity of the Faith, and that thou shouldst write a letter on thy part to the father, the patriarch, in Miṣr to beg him to absolve us and to absolve our lands and to pray for us, that God may remove from us and from our country this trial, and may grant to us that he [the patriarch] may consecrate for us a metropolitan (muṭrān) as was the custom of our fathers, and that he may pray for us, that God may remove His wrath from us. I have mentioned this to thee, O brother, for fear lest the Christian (Nasrāniyyah) religion pass away and cease among us, for lo, six patriarchs[11] have [p. 207] sat (on the throne) and have not paid attention to our lands, but they [the lands] are abandoned without a shepherd, and our bishops and our priests, are dead, and the churches are ruined, and we have learned that this trial has come down upon us as a just judgement in return for what we did with the metropolitan (muṭrān)." When the letter reached George (Jirjis), the king of Nubia (an-Nūba), and he had learned of their contents, he sent on his part letters and messengers to the patriarch Philotheus (Filātāūs), and he explained to him in them all that the king of Abyssinia (al-Ḥabashah) had mentioned to him, and he begged him to have compassion on his people. He acceded to his request, and he consecrated for them a monk from the Monastery of Abba Macarius (Abū Maqār), whose name was Daniel (Danyal), and he sent him to them as metropolitan (muṭrān).

They received him with joy, and God removed from them His wrath and put an end to the affair of the woman who had risen up against them. (Burmester II, pp. 171-172).

From the Life of Zakharias, the 64th Patriarch [1003 - 1031 A.D.].

In the evening of that day on which they consecrated him, Abraham (Ibrahīm) Ibn Bishr arrived with the decree (sijill) and accompanied by the two masters (ustādhain). When he arrived outside the city, one of his acquaintances met him and said: "A patriarch has already been consecrated." He said to him: "And who is he?" He said to him: "Zacharias (Zakhāryā) the priest who [was] in the Church of Michael (Mikāyīl) [known as] an-Nūbah." (ibid. II, p. 176).

He [al-Ḥākim] wrote a decree (sijill)[12] that whosoever of the Christians (Nasārā) in Miṣr wished to go to [p. 208] the lands of the Greeks (ar-Rūm) or to the lands of Abyssinia (al-Ḥabashah) and Nubia (an-Nūbah) or to other [lands] should not be prevented [from doing so] by anyone. Before this, they were prevented from [doing] it. (ibid. II, p. 196).

He [al-Ḥākim] marvelled and said to them [the monks]: "Unto where does his [the Patriarch's] judgement[13] extend?" They said to him: "His judgment is executed in the lands of Miṣr, Abyssinia (Ḥabashah), Nubia (Nūbah), the Pentapolis, Africa (Ifriqiyah) and other places. (ibid. II, p. 206).

He [John][14]) said to him: "O my master, the king, may the Lord preserve thy kingdom and thy authority: - He knows that I do not cease from prayer and supplication for thy powerful kingdom, as the Holy Scriptures command us, so that our life may be in quietness and peace. Thy authority has not the right to force anyone to forsake his religion, as we have two kings, namely, the king of Abyssinia (Ḥabashah) and the king of Nubia (Nūbah), and they do not force anyone of the people of your religion who is dwelling among them to change his faith. Now I beseech the Lord Christ to establish thy Kingdom without disturbance and to preserve all of us according as has been revealed to him." The interpreter interpreted all that he said except [about] the two kings, the Abyssinian (Ḥabashī) and the Nubian (Nūbī), for he added to this and he said: "We have two kings greater than thou." And this [was because] the bishop of Malaṭya had bribed the interpreter with money and had come to an agreement with him [p. 209] to turn the speech against him [John], whereby the king would be enraged against him [John], even though with a single word. (ibid. II, p. 218).

The father [the patriarch] went out walking, without a beast, to Tumbārah so that he might salute a Nubian (Nūbī) man, a monk, whose name was Shishīh,[15] and he [the patriarch] received his blessing before he blessed him [the monk], and he honoured him with much honour and humbled himself before him and venerated him. When he had departed from him, those who were with him, asked him and said to him: "What is the reason of thy respect for the state of this [one] and for humbling thyself before him, and for giving him precedence over thee in the blessing, thou, the patriarch of the land?" He said to them: "This [man] al-Ḥākim cast together with me to the lions after they [gaolers] had starved them, and the lions were obedient to him, and licked his feet before mine." (ibid. II, p. 228).

From the Life of Christodulos the 66th Patriarch [1046 - 1077 A.D.].

The first [trial] which came upon the father, the patriarch, [was] that a calumnious report was written about him to the wazīr al-Yazūrī that he [Christodulos] had forbidden the king of Nubia (an-Nūbah) to send the offering. Then the wazīr executed an order against him for a hundred dinars. He sent [it] by a Turkish (Turkī) youth [who] belonged to ‘Adad ad-Dawlah, who was in charge of (mutawālī) military affairs and travellers in the Rīf. His [name] was Durrī, and he journeyed to him [Christodulus] and he seized him, and he journeyed with him to [p. 210] Cairo (al-Qahirah) and he delivered him to 'Adad ad- Dawlah [who] honored him and lodged him in his house. He, namely, ’Adad ad-Dawlah, went to the wazīr and with him [was] Abū-l-Bishr, the physician of al-Azamīah, mentioned before, and they both spoke with him [the wazīr] about the affair of the patriarch Abba Christodulos (Anbā Akhristūdūlūs) and [said] that [there was] no truth in what was related about him. Then he commanded him [Christodulos] to be set free, and he [Christodulos] returned to Damrua. (ibid. II, pp. 263 - 264).

[in the following passage reference is made to a battle between the army ("the troops", al-'askar) of the Fatimite king al-Mustanṣir and Naṣr ad-Dawlah ibn Ḥamdān the commandant of the corps of Turks in the service of the king. The "troops" were formed mainly by "slaves", i.e. Nubians.]

Naṣr ad-Dawlah ibn Ḥamdān[16] and those who were with him reached Alexandria after having been routed, and he made alliance with Qais and his Lowatis (lawāt) but he displayed hypocrisy, and troops came out from Cairo (Miṣr) to seek him, and the chiefs of them [the troops] were Amīn al-Umana’ abu l-Yamīn Sawaris ibn Makrāwah ibn Zunbur, and he was invested with a robe of honour and was girt with a sword with golden ornamentation above the hilt, and he was surnamed "Master of the chiefs of the Sword and the pen", and the Ustādh 'Azīz ad-Dawlah, the [p. 211] superintendent of the slaves (Zimām al-‘Abīd), and Najāh al-Dawlah Baghrā, and Naṣr al-Juyūsh ibn Asad ad-Dawlah Baldakūsh and they arrived at Maḥallat al-Amīr. On account of these many chiefs in this army, they differed and their views did not agree, and none of them followed the opinion of the other, even if it were right, and so they did not succeed, and did not reach anything on account of their disagreement. Men separated from them on account of their bad advice and their corrupt management and their lack of agreement. The Banī Ḥamdān and those who [were] with them overcame them, and they routed them and made them prisoners, and they were in possession of all the lands of the Rīf both the Eastern and the Western, and they pillaged them and they devastated them and they slew their inhabitants. They violated women, and they slaughtered children [carried] on the bellies of their mothers and the backs of their fathers, and they pillaged the churches and ruined them, and they erased the faces of the pictures which remained in them. The Lewatis (al-Lawātiyyīn) took the father, the patriarch, Abba Christodoulus from his dwelling - place, and they plundered all that was in it, and they took very much money which he had. (ibid. II, pp. 278 - 279).

Some of them [Copts] excused themselves on account of the dearth and of what the people [endured] on account of it.

Then he [Christodoulus] arose in anger, and he said: "If ye refrain [from helping] me, I shall go to the qādī Sadaqah and to the Nubian (an-Nūbī), and to Banī Harīsa and to the Muslims (al-Muslimīn), and I shall borrow from them, and I shall ask for alms. (ibid. II, p. 279).

The father, the patriarch, appointed the aforesaid Poimen (Bimūm) bishop of the See of Armant in the place of him [Basil], and he consecrated a man whose name was Phoebammon (Bifām), bishop of the Oases (al-Wāh) and this [p. 212] [was] in Tūt [of the] year seven hundred and eighty-seven of the Martyrs [1070 A.D.]. He [Christodoulos] sent them both away in company with Abba George (Anbā Jirja), bishop of Batu, that he might enthrone both of them, and [then] go on with his letter to the king of Nubia (an-Nūba), entreating in it for something with which to assist him [Christodoulos] so that he might: spend it on what was arranged for him [to pay] to the Lewatis (al-Lawātiyyīn), and informing him [the king] about what had befallen him. When they reached Armant, they found its bishop alive [and that] he had not died, namely Abba Basil (Abbā Bāsīlīūs). (ibid. II, pp. 280 - 281).

When they [the two bishops] found the bishop [of Armant] alive, [and that] he had not died, Poimen (Bimūm) journeyed with Abba George (Anba Jirja), bishop of Batū, to the king of Nubia (an-Nūbah). When the two of them reached him, he honoured them both, and Abba George consecrated for the king a new church which he had built. The Holy Spirit descended upon one of the vessels in which [was] the water for the consecration. The king took it [the vessel] in his hand, and he went with it to the dwelling. He [George] consecrated in this church four sanctuaries (hayākil) on that day, and the king gave to him that which had brought him back to the patriarch Abba Christodoulos (Anbā Akhristūdūlūs) in Alexandria, and Poimen (Bimūm) [was] with him. (ibid. II, p. 282),

The deacon John (Yu’annis), the monk, one of the sons of the saintly Bessus (Bisūs), related to me that he was present on a certain day, [when] he [Bessus] [was] on the top of the keep (jaūsaq) praying, and eighteen Sudanese (as-Sūdān) men entered the monastery and took possession of it, and seized one of the monks and tortured him. The father Bessus (Bisūs) came down from the keep to them, and he grasped with his hand the neck of their leader and cast him out from the door of the monastery.

[p. 213] He continued to seize them one by one by the neck until he had cast them all out, and they [the monks] fastened the door. These Sudanese (as-Sūdān) swore that their eyesight had been blinded and that his [Bessus’] hand upon their necks was like a heavy stone. (ibid. II, p. 293).

A congregation of his [Bessus’] sons, the monks, at the Monastery of Abba Khame (Abū Kamā), among whom [was] Macarius (Maqārah) the Nubian (an-Nūbī), related to me that he had informed them about the killing of my brother Fahd two days before the news reached him that he had been killed. (ibid. II, p. 296).

It happened [when] the Amīr al-Juyūsh [was] on his journey to Upper Egypt (as-Ṣa’īd) to [fight] until he conquered it, [that] a man whose name [was] ‘Alī-al-Qiftī, falsely accused to him the patriarch, and said to him: "A metropolitan (muṭrān) whose name [was] Victor (Buqtur) who had been appointed by Christodoulos (Akhristūdūlūs) the patriarch, had demolished a mosque in the lands of Nubia (an-Nūbah), and that in the lands of Abyssinia (al-Ḥabashah) [there is] a metropolitan (muṭrān) whose name [is] Cyril (Qūrīl) and he has respect for the Muslims (al-Muslimīn) and loves them and honors them."

The Amīr al-Juyūsh dispatched from Upper Egypt (as-Ṣa’īd) a letter to his son al-Awhad in which he ordered him to arrest the patriarch. He arrested him and kept him prisoner with him, until a messenger whom the Amīr al-Juyūsh had sent to the king of Nubia (an-Nūbah), known as Ḥisām ad-Dawlah Jawāmird, arrived and made known to him the contrary of what 'Alī al-Qiftī had related to him. When he [the Amīr al-Juyūsh] returned to Cairo (al-Qāhirah), he caused the father, Abba Christodoulos (Anbā Akhristūdūlūs) the patriarch, to be brought to his council in honor and with respect, and he caused to be [p. 214] brought Ḥisām al-Dawlah Jawāmird and 'Alī al-Qiftī the aforesaid. Ḥisam al-Dawlah accused him ['Alī al-Qiftī] of falsehood with regard to what he had related to him [the Amīr al-Juyūsh]. He confessed and acknowledged his falsehood. (ibid. II, p.316).

There was arranged a journey of Mercurios (Marqūrah), the aforesaid bishop, known as al-Wa'wā to the lands of Nubia (an-Nūbah), as a messenger to the king from the patriarch, and [there was] with him a messenger from the Amīr al-Juyūsh to him [the king]. He [the Amir's messenger] [was] a noble man, surnamed Saif al-Dawlah, and he was known as as-Sarīf ar-Radī to summon an amīr, known as Kanz ad-Dawlah. He had acted with duplicity in the lands of the Upper Egypt and had spoiled them and plundered them, and he had ruled over them before the arrival of the Amir al-Juyush in Egypt (Miṣr). When he [Kanz ad-Dawlah] was informed of his [Saif ad-Dawlah's] journey to Upper Egypt, as we have said at the beginning, he fled from him to the land of Nubia (an-Nūbah). When the aforesaid bishop and the messenger who was with him had journeyed to the lands of Nubia with the letter from the patriarch, the king delivered him [Kanz ad-Dawlah] to them, and they escorted him back to Egypt (Miṣr), and the Amīr al-Juyūsh put him to death, and crucified him at the Iron Gate (Bāb al-Hadid) [which is] between Cairo (al-Qāhirah) and Miṣr. (ibid. II, pp. 317 - 318).

From the Life of Cyril, the 67th Patriarch [1077 - 1093 A.D.].

Abba Cyril (Aba Qīrillus) the patriarch,, was most of his time at the Church of Michael (Mikāyīl) on the Island of Cairo (Miṣr), in the place known as the Elect (al-Mukhtara), abiding in the Keep (jausaq) which was in it. He used to long to live in the Rīf. but he was not able [to do so] on account of the many messengers arriving from the lands of Abyssinia (al-Ḥabasha) and Nubia (an-[p. 215]-Nūba) and returning to them, and of the requirement of the Sultan that he [Cyril] should present himself to him at all times.

Solomon (Salamūn), king of Nubia (an-Nūba), relinquished the kingdom and retired from it, and he delivered it up to George (Jirja), the son of his sister, and he withdrew to worship and [to lead] the ascetic life. It was in the second year of the patriarch of Abba Cyril (Anbā Qīrillus) that Solomon (Salamūn), the aforesaid, went to a valley (wādī) known as Saint Onuphrius (Abū Nafr) to worship there in a church [dedicated] to his name. Between it and the borders of Nubia (an-Nūba) [it is] a journey of three days, and between it and Aswān [it is] a journey of ten days. The wālī of Aswān at that time was As’ad ad-Dawlah Shardakīn al-Kawwāsī. One of the brothers of Kanz ad-Dawlah came to him and said to him: "My lord, dost thou wish me to go to seize Solomon (Salamūn) who was king of Nubia (an-Nūba) and to bring him to thee?" He said: "Certainly". He took with him twenty men, and they rode good camels and they journey in secret until they reached the church in the valley of Abba Onuphrius (Abū Nafr), and they made an attack on it suddenly, and they seized the aforesaid Solomon (Salamūn) and they brought him to As'ad ad-Dawlah, and he dispatched him to Cairo (al-Qāhirah). When he reached it, all who [were] in it from among the amīrs and eminent people (muqaddamīn), met him with drums and flags and trumpets. When he entered Cairo, Amīr al-Juyūsh honored him and caused him to lodge in a beautiful mansion. He bore to him robes and furniture and vessels, and he [Solomon] remained in this condition for the space of a year, and then he went to his rest and he was buried in the Monastery of the Saint, my lord George (Mārī Girgis) at al-Khandaq.

[p. 216] The father Abba Cyril consecrated a metropolitan (muṭrān) for Abyssinia (al-Ḥabashah). He was a learned young man whose name [was] Severus (Sawīrus) the son of the sister of Victor (Buqtur) the deceased, metropolitan. He had been brought up there with his aforesaid uncle. He [Severus] made many promises to Amīr al-Juyūsh so that he approached Abba Cyril (Abā Qīrillus) [and asked him] to advance him, and he [Cyril] consecrated him. He [Severus] said that he would continue [to supply] him [Amīr al-Juyūsh] with presents from there, and would allow the kings to obey him. When he [Severus] had journeyed and had arrived in the lands of Abyssinia, Cyril (Qūrīl)[17] whom we have mentioned before, opposed him. The father Christodoulos (Akhristūdūlūs) had said to Amīr al-Juyūsh that he had not consecrated him (Qūrīl) and that he [was] an usurper of the priesthood, and that he had quarreled with him and had opposed him. Then this Cyril (Qūrīl) collected his wealth and journeyed to Dahlak, and there, was with him much money. The chief (sāhīb) of Dahlak arrested him, and he took his money and he dispatched him to Amīr al-Juyūsh. When he reached Cairo, he [Amīr al-Juyūsh] caused him to be brought to his Council. Then he enquired concerning him, and he was informed of the correctness of what had been said about him, and he imprisoned him in the Treasury of Flags (Khazānah al-Bunūd) for a time. Then he beheaded him in the year eight hundred and six of the Martyrs. [1090 A.D.] (ibid. II, pp. 327 - 329).

Then the patriarch of the Armenians (al-Arman) arrived in Cairo (Miṣr), and ... he confessed to him [Cyril of Alexandria] the Orthodox upright Faith which is our Faith, [we] the company of the Jacobites (Ya'āqibah), in [p. 217] the presence of a great multitude which was at the Ceil of our father, Abba Cyril (Anbā Qīrillus), the patriarch, on that day, and there was made known amongst all the people the genuineness of the agreement of the Copts (al-Qibt) and the Armenians (al-Arman) and the Syrians (as-Suryān) and the Abyssinians (al-Ḥabashah) and the Nubians (an-Nūba) on the Orthodox, upright Faith on which the saintly, virtuous fathers agreed, and with which Nestorious (Nastūr) and Leo (Lawūn) and the Council of Chalcedon (Khalkudūniah) disagreed, (ibid. II, pp. 345 -346).

The children of Baptism [Christians] experienced great fear on account of the domineering nature of Amīr al-Juyūsh and of what happened through him to the bishops, until God - praised be He - was gracious [unto us] through the arrival of a fine gift from Basil (Bāsil) king of Nubia (an-Nūbah), and with it the son of the king who was before him [Basil], and [who had] died, in order that the patriarch might make him [the son] bishop, for [it is] their custom, when the king dies, that his son is not made king in his stead, but the son of his [the king's] sister is made [king]. (ibid. II, pp. 349 - 350).

Amīr al-Juyūsh said to him: "If the Metropolitan (muṭrān) was arrested, how was he able to give to thee thy rights? Nevertheless, the king is [?] supreme lord in his lands." Then he turned to Rijāl the brother of the Metropolitan (muṭrān) and he said to him: "Thy brother accepted our conditions that he should build in the lands of Abyssinia four mosques, and he has not done [so]." Rijāl said to him: "O my lord, he built seven mosques in the places, where it was possible to build [them], and their case is well known, namely, [how] the Abyssinians (al-Ḥabashah) demolished them and wished to kill him [the Metropolitan], and that, when the news [p. 218] of this reached the king he arrested the Metropolitan and imprisoned him. (ibid. II, p. 350).

A certain good, trustworthy [person] related to me that the illustrious Amīr al-Juyūsh said in his letter to the king of Abyssinia: "If thou dost not do thus and thus, I shall demolish the churches which [are] in the land of Egypt (Miṣr)." He [the king] wrote to him a reply, saying, "If thou demolish a single stone of the churches, I shall carry to thee all the bricks (tōbi) and the stones of Mecca (Makkah), and I shall deliver all of them to thee, and if a single brick of it [Mecca] is missing, I shall send to thee its weight in gold." (ibid. II, p. 351).

From the Life of Gabriel II, the 70th Patriarch [1132 - 1146 A.D.].

There occurred in his days a great battle between the Sudanis (al-'abid as-Sūdān) and the soldiers at a place called Kum ad-Darb to the south of Cairo (Miṣr) in the region of Aṭfīḥ, and many people of the Sudanis (Sūdān) were slain. And the Amīr Ḥasan seized the father, the patriarch, Abba (Anbā) Gabriel (Ghabryāl) and he confiscated his [possessions], and he imprisoned him in the Treasury of the Flags, until the scribes paid to him from their female slaves and the merchants aided him with their money, so that there was borne to him a thousand dīnārs, and God delivered him from his hands. And when God saw his [Ḥasan's] oppression and his evil and his killing of the people and his taking by force of the property of the people, without [any] right, he raised up against him a body of the soldiers of the State (ajnad dawlati-hi). And they went to [the province of] al-Gharbiah to its wālī, and he was a Christian (Naṣrānī) man, an Armenian (Armanī) called Bahrām, and he was de-[p. 219]-signated as Tāj ad-Dawlah, and he was a chief of the Armenians (Arman), for he was of the race of their kings. Then he came to the Land of Egypt (Miṣr) with the Amīr al-Juyūsh Badr al-Jamālī, on his coming from Acre (Akka) in the days of al-Mustanṣir Billah. And he continued in the service of the State, and they advanced him and they made him wālī of provinces (wilāyāt); and he kept his religion, and he was exalted and respected by them, and they had a good opinion of him and love for him, and they made him wālī of [the province of] al-Gharbiah. And the soldiers went to him, and they cried to him for help, and they wished for him and besought him that he should be a wazīr and ruler over them. Then he entered with them into Cairo (al-Qāhirah), and they took him and made him a king without his choice. Then the amīr Ḥasan fled and he hid himself, and his father returned to his former state. And he made this amīr wazīr and he was a Christian (Nasrānī). And al-Hāfiz reigned as caliph on the day of his return to the caliphate (al-Khilāfah) in the months of the year five hundred and twenty-nine of the Lunar [Year] [1134 - 1135 A.D.]. (Burmester III, pp. 45 - 46).

And God performed at the hands of this patriarch wonders and miracles and good works, and I shall record some of them. And it is what took place in the lands of Ethiopia (al-Ḥabashah), and this [was] that the king of Ethiopia summoned Abba (Anbā) Michael (Mikhāyīl) - and his name before his consecration [as] Metropolitan (muṭrān) of Ethiopia [was] Habīb - and he sought from him that he should consecrate for him bishops in excess of the usual number according to the recognized custom established from ancient times, but he refused this. And he said: "I have not the power to do anything, except on the advice of the patriarch." And the king dispatched to the patriarch a letter asking him about this, and another letter to the king of Egypt which his messenger accompanied. [p. 220] And an order of the caliphate (khalīfah)[18] went out to the patriarch to comply with what he asked. And he excused himself and said to the caliph (al-Khalīfah): ‘O Sire, if the bishops for Ethiopia became more than this number, they will dare to consecrate an Archbishop, and they will free themselves from the obedience of the patriarch of Egypt (Miṣr), and they will dispense with them, and they will begin to appoint (patriarch) for themselves, and there will not remain for them any need of the patriarchs of Egypt (Miṣr), and they will not owe obedience to them, and this will drive them into enmity and hostility towards whomsoever borders their lands from among the Muslims (al-Muslimīn), and discipline will be relaxed among them. (ibid. III, pp. 56 - 57).

From the Life of John V., the 72nd Patriarch [1147 - 1157 A.D.].

And in the days of al-Hāfiz, Rudwān Ibn Walkhāsī made a hole in the place in which he was at the Castle.[19] And he went out through the hole, and he crossed over to al-Gīzah, and he collected a body of soldiers and Arabs (Al-‘Arab) and Moors (al-Maghāribah), and he entered Cairo (al-Qāhirah), and took possession of it and was supreme. And in the latter part of the day of his entry into it [Cairo], he was killed inside the Grey Mosque (al-Aqmar) which is at the Rukn al-Mukhallaq at the hands of the Sudanis (as-Sūdān) and those who agreed with them from among the soldiers. (ibid. III, pp. 69 - 70).

Then everyone of them fled for himself from the gates of Cairo. And they left behind their money and their houses and their families. And the Sudanis (as-Sūdān) [p. 221] pillaged them, and they dissolved as salt. And as for Majd al-Islām Ruzzīk, their wazīr, he took a small saddle - bag, [and] he put in one side of it jewellery and hyacinths (yakindas) and emeralds, and many things of this kind, and what would be the value of the land-tax (kharāj) of the Land of Egypt (Miṣr) for a year ... And he journeyed alone southward of Cairo (Miṣr), and he fell in with a band of Arabs (al-ʿArab), the headman of whom was called Jacob (Ya'qūb) Ibn al-Bīd. And his slaves (ʿabīd) took him and stripped him, and they took the horse and all that [was] on it, and they departed from him and they left him. And he remained alone in the desert naked and confused. (ibid. III, pp. 81 - 82).

And the hands of the Ghuzz[20] were stretched out against the inhabitants of Cairo (Miṣr) from among the Christians (an-Nasārā), the Sudanis (as-Sūdān), and the Armenians (al-Arman), and the Turks (al-Atrāk) of the Cairenes (al-Miṣriyyīn). And they used to kill them and to sell them, if they found some one to buy from them, if not they killed that person; and they robbed their possessions and they took their women folk. And they used to cry for sale a Christian (an-Nasrānī): "Who will buy an infidel?", and a Turk (at-Turkī) of Cairo (al-Miṣri): "Who will buy a dissolute Turk (Turkī) [who] spent the night in the bitter cold? "[21] and a negro (al-Aswad): "Who will buy a Sudanese (as-Suwīdān)?" And they used to sell them at a vile price, a Christian (an-Nasrānī) for twenty dirhams, and ten dirhams a Turk (at-Turkī), and five dirhams a negro (al-Aswad) ... And Asad ad-[p. 222] Dīn[22] continued to remain around Cairo (al-Qāhirah) and to blockade Shawār, until Shawār conveyed to the king Amaury (Marī), king of the Franks (al-Afranj), a great [sum] of money, so that he came with his army.

And when the Bedouins (al-ʿUrbān) informed Asad ad-Dīn Shirkūh of the approach of the Franks (al-Afranj) from the districts, he departed with his troops to Upper Egypt (aṣ-Ṣa’īd). And when the king Amaury (Marī) arrived at Bilbais, there was borne to him from the Caliph (al-Khalīfah) and the wazīr many things in the way of money and presents; and he rested at Bilbais for one month. Then he came to Cairo (al-Qāhirah), and he halted with his army around Cairo. Then the army of the Franks and Amaury their king, and the army of the Muslims (al-Muslimīn) and Shawār, their master, marched in search of Asad ad-Dīn Shirkūh and his army. And when they pursued him, he crossed over [the river] to the western side, and marched towards the Upper Ṣa'īd, and they overtook him at a spot called Al-Bābain, and they encountered him. (ibid. III, pp. 87 - 89).

And in the days of this patriarch, [John V] a letter arrived from the king of Ethiopia (al-Ḥabashah) for Al-'Ādil Ibn as-Salār requesting the consecration of a metropolitan (muṭrān). And there was with him a metropolitan (muṭrān) called Abba (Anbā) Michael (Mikhāyīl) and his name was Habīb al-Atfīhī. (ibid. III, p. 90).

  1. Not todays’ India, but most probably Nubia [or Ethiopia] which in the Upper Middle Age was vaguely called India.
  2. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Marwān, the brother of the then Caliph.
  3. Followers of Gainos (or Gaianus), a Patriarch of Alexandria who the Phantasiasts and opposed the Monophysites [Jacobites].
  4. Al-Amīn and al-Ma’mūn were half-brothers: the former had been governor of Egypt under ar-Rashīd, the latter was in Khorāsan.
  5. Several rebels rose in Egypt in that time originally siding al-Amīn against his brother al-Ma’mūn. One of them – who is probably the unnamed rebel here referred to – was Yazīd ibn al-Khattāb, who, with an army of al-Qays and Yaman Arabs, laid siege to Fusṭāṭ.
  6. Dionysius of Tell-Mahre, the Jacobite patriarch of Antioch paid a visit to Patriarch Joseph of Alexandria in 832 A.D. Both patriarchs were requested by the Caliph to advise the Bashrudites to end their rebellion. The rebels paid no heed to the advice and a bloody repression ensued.
  7. Mohammed b. Tughj al-Ikhshīd, governor of Egypt (935-946 A.D.).
  8. Kāfūr “al-Ikhshīdī” ruled alone from 960 to 966 A.D.
  9. As no place or people of this name is known in Ethiopia today, Conti Rossini suggested that “Damuta” (Damōt) should be read instead of “Hamūya”. The queen referred to here seems to be the one who historically was responsible for the rise of the Zagwe dynasty.
  10. Menas, an Egyptian monk on a tour in Ethiopia, introduced himself with counterfeit letters as the legitimate Metropolitan of Ethiopia sent by the Patriarch in place of the one already in office in Ethiopia. He also succeeded in deposing, by fraud, the then king of Ethiopia, who was the younger son of the deceased king, and in having the older son proclaimed in his place. After several years the fraud was discovered, the king expelled the false metropolitan and requested the Egyptian monk who had been companion of the former legitimate metropolitan, to take his place. The monk asked to go to Egypt to receive the legitimate ordination. The calamities and plague which struck the country were believed to be a sign of the divine wrath. (Hist. of the Patr. II, pp. 118-121; see above the Life of Cosmas).
  11. Viz. Cosmas III [+933 A.D.], Macarius [+953 A.D.], Theophanes [+956 A.D.], Minas II [+974 A.D.], Ephrem [+978 A.D.] and Philotheus [978-1002 A.D.].
  12. The decree was made about 1008 A.D., after the Christians, especially the Copts, had suffered heavy persecutions and vexations from al-Ḥākim (996-1021 A.D.).
  13. Ar. “Ḥukm”: authority, judgment etc.
  14. John II, ‘Abdūn, the 77th Patriarch of Antioch [1003-1022 A.D.], was taken to Constantinople where the Emperor, according to the “Lives”, tried to make him adhere to the Melkite conversion.
  15. The same episode is reported by Al-Makīn [q.v.] where the monk is called Sawsana an-nūbī.
  16. The fight between Nubian and Turkish troops in the service of al-Mustanṣir is described also by other historians, e.g. Maqrizi [q.v.]. The story related by the History of the Patriarchs seem to be the earliest account. It gives the name, titles and other details of the chief officers of the Nubian troops in Egypt. The word “ʿabīd” was then currently used in Egypt to indicate “Nubian troops” [cf. Abū Shāma, Ibn Muyassar, q.v.]…
  17. The original may be translated: “The king gave him [a sum], which he brought to the Patriarch” etc.
  18. Sic! In the “History of the Patriarchs”. It should be read “caliph”.
  19. In jail.
  20. Originally, the Turkish troops in Egypt; later on, the word “ghuzz” (“ghozz”) was vaguely applied to all bands of robbers.
  21. The Arabic original (turkī khalī’ bāt fī-s-saqīʾ) is rhymed.
  22. The uncle of Saladin, whom Nureddin sent to Egypt to support the Fatimid king against the advancing Crusaders.