Defeating doom with history. Syriac historiography of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries

Start - End 
2010 - 2014 (completed)
Department of History



This research project focuses on the rich Syriac Christian historiographical tradition and more specifically on the peak of that tradition: the Syriac Renaissance of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. During this period, there is a renewed interest among the Syrian Orthodox community in their own language and the growing optimism that Syriac was equally capable in rendering scientific literature as Arabic. At that time, three monumental Syriac historiographical works were written: the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian (1116-1199), the Anonymous Chronicle to 1234 and the Chronicon Syriacum and Chronicon Ecclesiasticum of Gregory Abu 'l-Faraj Bar ‛Ebroyo (1226-1286).

It is the goal of this research project to prepare a first thorough analysis of this Anonymous Chronicle to 1234, which has been somewhat neglected up to this point. Passages from this work have been cited in various studies, regarding the Cave of Treasures, the Book of Jubilees, or the now-lost ninth-century Chronicle of Dionysius of Tell-Mahre, a common source of Michael's and the Anonymous Chronicler's. However, the Anonymous Chronicle to 1234 has never been studied in its entirety. A study of this work, its sources and its relation to the other Syriac historiographical achievements of this period will provide new insights into the structure of this anonymous chronicle and the methodology and intentions of its author.



Phd Student(s)