Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Taking of Antioch

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Oxford University Press

London 1932


In the month of KHAZIRAN (JUNE) of this year, BUNDUKDAR, the lord of EGYPT, sent armies against ANTIOCH the Great of SYRIA, and they took it with the sword because there was not in it a force sufficient for its defence; and moreover those who were therein had not understanding enough to surrender it in peace. Therefore the EGYPTIANS went into it, and they slew all the males therein, and they destroyed the famous churches, and they took captive women, and sons, and daughters, and they left it a heap of ruins and a desert place until this day.

And in the summer of this year MAR SAINT, that is HENAN ISHO, Bishop of GAZARTA, was seized, and there went forth a Pukdana that he was to be killed. And they killed him, not with the sword, but whilst he was lying down and meditating; they lifted up a huge stone and from behind his back smote him on the head, and put him to death. And they cut off his head, and hung it up above the gate of the city of GAZARTA. And this evil end came to him because he thrust himself into worldly affairs, and wished to become king; and he was accused of various kinds of disgraceful acts.

And at the time the EGYPTIAN sent the lord of the revenue, LION, the son of king HAITUM, to his father in honour, and he went to CILICIA in the month of TAMMUZ (JULY) of this year, and he became a comfort to his father and to all the Christians. And king HAITUM went to pay homage to the King of Kings, in BAGHDAD, and he gave thanks for the deliverance of his son, and he received a [526] Pukdana ordering his son to administer the kingdom; and he himself was to dwell in peace because he was an old man and was feeble. And the King of Kings commanded that when he came unto us we were to transfer to him the kingdom.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty of the GREEKS (A.D. 1269), on the seventeenth day of the month NISAN (APRIL), at the first hour of the night of the fourth day [of the week], a severe earthquake took place in CILICIA, and it destroyed the rock fortress of SERWAND, and that of ‘AMAOS, and that of the rock HARU’TA, and the great Monastery of the ARMENIANS, that is [the Monastery] of BALUT the king. And about eight thousand souls perished in this catastrophe. And in the month of TAMMUZ (JULY) the lord of the revenue, LION, the son of the king, went to do homage to the King of Kings; and he was received handsomely, and it was decided that he was to rule the kingdom of his father.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-one [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1270)] the lord of EGYPT went forth to PALESTINE, and he encamped in person against the fortress of ‘AKRAD, and he took it with the sword. Now he killed no man therein, but he allowed every man to dwell therein who wished to do so, and he who wished to depart he sent to TRIPOLI.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-two [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1271) ], in the autumn season, the believing king HAITUM died of a virulent abscess which broke out in his chest. And in the year the chief priests and the nobles assembled in the city of TARSUS, and they placed the crown on [the head of] his son LION. And they proclaimed him king on the day of the Feast of the Epiphany.

And in the days of the [Lenten] Fast the ISHMAELITES rushed out upon ‘ALA AD-DIN, the Master of the Diwan, when he was riding in BAGHDAD, and they stabbed him with knives, but did not injure him [fatally]. And they were seized, and their members were cut off. And the ARABS spread the report that they were Christians, and that they had been sent by the Catholicus. And the holy men, and the monks, and the chief men who were in BAGHDAD were seized and shut up in prison; and KUTLU BAG, the Amir of ‘ARBIL, seized and shut up the Catholicus and his holy men in prison. And they were in great tribulation during the whole of the Fast, until God helped [them], and a Pukdana came from the Camp, and they were released. And from that time the Catholicus went and dwelt in the city of ‘ESHNU, in ‘ADHORBIJAN.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-three [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1272)], the nobles of the GREEKS of CILICIA acted treacherously against the new king LION, and when the [people] perceived their treachery, they, seized BARON, their chief. And his companions heard [of it], and they fled to one of the fortresses, and they sent to BETH RHOMAYE [527] for them to come to their help and receive the fortress. Then the king made haste and encamped against the fortress, and the ARMENIANS who were therein seized the Greek nobles and handed them over to the king, and he destroyed them all. And he also destroyed BIHRAM in the fortress of the city of ‘ANAZARBA. For when those men fled to that fortress, the king sent the Greek Patriarch of ANTIOCH to them, and he swore that if they came down in peace he would do them no harm. But the Patriarch when he had gone to them said unto them that they were not to come down, and if [they did] he (i.e. the king) would destroy them. And he came back and said unto the king, ‘They would not hearken unto me and come down’. And the king perceived what had taken place through him. And having destroyed those men, he seized the Patriarch in order to send him to the king of CONSTANTINOPLE, so that the king might judge between them. The Patriarch having been handed over by the king to the soldiers that they might carry him to CONSTANTINOPLE, those who were to take him carried him to the city of ‘AYAS; and they pitched a tent for him by the side of the sea. And having gone into the city to buy food for themselves, they also occupied themselves with the drinking of wine until the evening. And the Patriarch sent a message to some Greek sailors who lived in that neighbourhood, and he summoned them to him, and wept before them, and he showed them how [the soldiers] were placing him by the sea of the ARMENIANS, not to carry him to CONSTANTINOPLE, but to effect his destruction. And being sorry for him, they carried him off in their little boat and took him to BETH RHOMAYE, to the TURKS.

At this time LION, the king of the ARMENIANS, gave his daughter by a handmaiden to the son of PARWANA, instead of his sister whom his father would not give to him, and a convenient friendship sprang up between them.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-four [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1273)], on the eighteenth day of the month of the LATTER KANON (JANUARY), on the night of the fourth day [of the week], there was a severe earthquake in the city of ‘ADHORBIJAN, more especially in the city of TABRIZ. And it overthrew the palaces and the mosques, and the capitals of the pillars fell down. Our church, however, did the Lord protect, and it never shook, and the performance of the service never stopped, and GREEKS, and ARMENIANS, and NESTORJANS, and all our own peoples gathered together therein. But the rest [528] of the people of the ARABS by the ten thousand pitched tents (or, habitations) in the gardens outside [the city], and they dwelt in them for about two months and then went into [the city again]. Now in this earthquake about two hundred and fifty Arab souls died.

And in the summer of this year the robber bands of SYRIA came from ‘AINTAB, and from BIRAH, to the country of KLAWDYA (CLAUDIA), from the side of the mountains. And passing like a flash of lightning through the country they came to the boundary of the lands, and they came back and made captives of the whole of the population, both women and a multitude of young men. And they went through it in that day without tarrying for the night, for they were afraid that the army of the MONGOLS would capture them.

In those days we made ready to go up to the Monastery of MAR BAR SAWMA, because we did not understand the calamity which had taken place until we arrived in the neighbourhood of the district, which we discovered to be like unto a vineyard which had been beaten flat by the hail And as we were sitting in the Monastery of SERGIUS there came from the monastery about fifty armed monks, and they took us and we went up to the monastery.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-five [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1274)], the King of Kings came down to BAGHDAD with a multitude of troops; now there was poverty and food was scarce therein, and the locust also had appeared. And during the days of the Fast of Forty Days this year, a Nestorian monk from the Monastery of MICHAEL, which is by the side of MAWSIL, being discovered in fornication with an Arab woman, abandoned his Faith and became a Muslim. And the Christian suffered great pain and grief [through this]. Then the monks of his monastery, together with the uncle of the monk who had become a Muslim, and who was himself an anchorite, being unable to endure the disgrace and ignominy, sent and informed TARPASHI, the captain of the soldiery of the MONGOLS. And he rose up and came to MAWSIL, and he seized the man who had become a Muslim with indignation, as if he would kill him. And the Arab peoples of MAWSIL perceived this, and were filled with indignation, and they gattlered together at the gate of the palace, a great mob, with staves and lamps. And they uttered imprecations on the head of the MONGOLS, and they threatened TARPASHI that if he would not set free the man who had become a Muslim, they would kill him and all those who were with him. And the MONGOL being afraid sent him away. And the ARABS took him, and set him upon a horse and marched him about throughout the city of MAWSIL, and [thus] the last sorrow was worse than the first.

And in those days when the Christians of the city of ‘ARBIL wished [529] to celebrate the Festival of Hosannas (Palm Sunday), and knowing that the ARABS were making ready to obstruct them, they sent and summoned to their help certain TATARS who were Christians and who were near them. And when they came they placed crosses on the heads of their spears, and the Metropolitan of the NESTORIANS, together with all his people, sallied forth with those TATARS riding in front of them. And when they approached the front of the fortress, the companies of ARABS grouped themselves together, and they were carrying stones and they stoned the TATARS and the’Christians, and their companies were scattered and each of the Christians fled to one side; and after this they remained for some days without daring to go forth. And this also afflicted the Christians in every place.

And in this year died KHWAJAH NASIR, the Persian philosopher. He was a man renowned and famous, and was pre-eminent in all the branches of science, and was especially learned in those dealing with mathematics. He constructed instruments for the observations of the stars, and the great brass spheres which were more wonderful than those which PTOLEMY set up in ALEXANDRIA, and he observed and defined the courses of the stars. And there were gathered together about him in MARAGHA, a city of ‘ADHORBIJAN, a numerous company of wise men from various countries. And since the councils of all the mosques and the houses of instruction (i.e. colleges) of BAGHDAD and ASSYRIA were under his direction he used to allot stipends to the teachers and to the pupils who were with him. About this time, having set out for BAGHDAD to visit various places, he died in BAGHDAD. And certain men have reported that he was blind. He wrote many books– explanations (or, commentaries) on rhetoric and natural and divine learning. He arranged EUCLID and MAGISTI very accurately. And there is also [attributed] to him a lexicographical work in PERSIAN in which he taught the meaning of the words of PLATO and ARISTOTLE on practical philosophy. For he held fast to the opinions of the early philosophers, and he combated vigorously in his writings those who contradicted them.

And in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-six [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1275)], in the month of the FIRST KANON (DECEMBER), certain evil-doing men in MAWSIL went and knocked at the door of a Jewish goldsmith in the night. And when he answered and said unto them, ‘What seek ye ?’ they said unto him, ‘We are young folk and we have come to thee that thou mayest give us money to buy food’. And he said unto them, [530] ‘How much do ye want?’ And they said, ‘Twenty zuze‘. And being afraid the JEW brought to them what they had demanded. And he told them to take the money through an opening in the door. And they said, ‘No, but open to us the door’. And when they had stood disputing about the matter for nearly an hour, their companions climbed up the walls to the roof, and they went down into the house and opened the door, and those others entered in. And they put the JEW to the torture until he had shown them all the treasure which he possessed. And when they thrust [their] hand(s] to kill him, his wife lifted up herself over him, and she began to entreat the thieves, saying, ‘Have pity on (or, spare) the youth of this man, and kill ye me instead of him ‘. Then those accursed men in their hardness of heart replied to her, ‘We will kill both him and thee’. And having killed her husband; they stabbed her with knives and left her half dead, and they took much treasure and departed. And when the day broke and the people came they found the JEW dead and his wife at her last gasp. And having related what had happened, she died at about the ninth hour.

At this time certain Arab fakirs, about thirty souls, came from the region of SYRIA to CILICIA that they might receive a blessing from the tomb of the Khalifah MAMUN, who was buried at TARSOS. And the expectation fell (or, it was suspected) that BUNDUKDAR, the lord of EGYPT, was among them, and that he was in disguise, and was going about to spy out other kingdoms. And the lord of CILICIA laid [his] hand upon them, and he took them and shut them up in a great fortress. And when the rumour flew to EGYPT, ambassadors began to come frequently in quest of those who had been shut up in prison. And thus the suspicion came to be well nigh confirmed, and king LION was unwilling to release them. And an army of EGYPTIANS was collected and it invaded CILICIA in the days of the Great Fast.

In the year fifteen hundred and eighty-six [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1275)], about five hundred horsemen and an army of the ARMENIANS engaged them in battle and put them to flight. And again a powerful army of about eight thousand men was collected, and they burst out upon the miserable country. And they arrived at ‘AYAS very early in the morning on the second day [of the week], on the Sabbath of Wonders, on the twenty-fifth day of the month of ‘ADAR (MARCH), [531] and they killed those whom they found therein. For many people in the little island which was near had fled there. But having escaped from the Egyptian Arabs. the Frankish highway robbers came upon them and looted all their possessions so thoroughly that they carried off even their cloaks; but they did not kill them. Then the EGYPTIANS came quickly from ‘AYAS to MOPSUESTIA on the third day [of the week], and they made a great slaughter therein and burnt it thoroughly. And they crossed the bridge and spread themselves about throughout the country. Some of them went to TARSOS, and on the day of the Sabbath of the festival of the ARABS they called to prayer in the tower thereof, and they went as far as CYRICUS, killing and plundering, and burning. Now some of them made their way as far as SIS, but they found no man therein, for they had all sought protection for themselves in the Citadel, and piece by piece they burnt it. Twenty-five monks were killed in the Monastery of PAKSIMAT, together with RABBAN SOLOMON, a glorious old man, and the syncellus of the deceased Patriarch MAR IGNATIUS. And they set fire to the monastery, and also the Monastery of GHUIKHATH, and the other monasteries of the ARMENIANS and GREEKS, and the little Monastery of our Patriarch which is in the suburbs of SIS, as if they had never left it. Then the Patriarch fled to the fortress of BAHGA, and there he remained in asylum until the wrath had passed.

Now these EGYPTiANS remained in the country until the Sabbath of the White had passed, and they went forth taking very much booty. And the number of the slain amounted to sixty thousand, and the women and the children who were led away into slavery are beyond count. And there were in the country about ten thousand TURKOMANS, and they also wrought great destruction of the [property of the] Christians. And when the EGYPTIANS sallied out the king killed them all, and enslaved their families, and looted all their possessions.

And in the [same] year BAIMOND (BOHAIMOD). the Prince of TRIPOLI, died, and his son reigned in his place. And the nobles sent and brought [532] SIR HARRI, the father of the lord of CYPRUS, an old man, and a man of understanding, and to him they committed the direction of the young man and the administration of the kingdom.

And at [this] time two brothers, the sons of SHAIKH ‘ADI, whom the KURDS of the country of MAWSIL hold to be a prophet, quarrelled with each other. And because one of them took to himself a wife from the MONGOLS. the other was afraid, and he took all his family and household, about four hundred souls, and fled to SYRIA, together with all the sheep, and oxen, and horses which they possessed. For the Christians were greatly terrified, and they were afraid of him, lest he should loot their goods in his passage and kill [them]. He, however, passed on and injured no man. But after he had gone, certain highway robbers came and took BETH TAKSHUR, a village in the country of NINEVEH. And the villagers fought strenuously against them in war, and they killed about ten of the robbers; and five men of the village were killed, and seven maidens and three young men were carried off.

And when the year fifteen hundred and eighty-seven [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1276 ) ] began, on the fifth day [of the week ], on the third day of the month of the FIRST TESHRIN (OCTOBER), a violent earthquake took place in the city of’ ARKESTIA, which is ‘ARGISH, and the strong walls and all the buildings thereof fell down, and a large number of its inhabitants perished. And the selfsame thing happened in the city of KHALAT, and the earthquake in the country thereof took place at the time of the ninth hour; there was great destruction there, but it was not as widespread as that which took place in ‘ARGISH. And in those days when the great caravan of Christian merchants was going from CILICIA to BETH RHOMAYE, three hundred horsemen of the TURKOMANS fell upon them, and they killed about eighty of the most famous Christian merchants in the neighbourhood of the city of HERAKLEIA, and they carried off the property which they had with them. Now, with one of the merchants who belonged to the family of ‘ISA, the son of HADIRI, there were one hundred and twenty thousand Tyrian dinars. And nothing escaped from the caravan except four Arab camels.

And in the winter of that year about seven myriad (i.e. seventy thousand) of troops of the MONGOLS gathered together, and they went to capture the fortress of BIRAH, but they were unable to do so because of the heavy snow which fell and the bitter cold which arrived. [533] And many of them were deprived of [their] horses, and they returned on foot without success. Now ‘ABATAI NAWIN the Great stood at their head, and even he, when he turned back and arrived in ASSYRIA, fell sick of an acute illness. And after the return of these troops the TURKOMANS waxed strong, and they mustered in great strength, and they were accompanied by about one thousand horsemen from the army of the EGYPTIANS. And they came from the side of MAR’ASH to go again into the rocky (or, mountainous) country of CILICIA. And when king LION perceived [this], he collected his army of ARMENIANS and set at its head BARON SINBAT, the Constable, his uncle, and others of the nobles. And they went and engaged the TURKOMANS in battle by the side of MAR’ASH on the Eve of the Sabbath (i.e. Friday), on the third day of the Holy Fast of Forty Days. And on that day BARON SINBAT himself, the uncle of the king, was killed, and others of the nobles, viz. the lord of KHARBIZAG (?), and thirteen other famous men, and three hundred horsemen. And of the TURKOMANS also very many were killed, and they returned, having been unable to enter the country .

And before these things happened, that is on the first Sabbath of this Fast, on the fourth day [of the week], on the nineteenth (or, seventeenth) day of the month of SHEBHAT (FEBRUARY), in the year fifteen hundred and eighty-seven [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1276)], hurricane winds blew in MAWSIL and ‘ARBIL and in the regions round about. And the wind was loaded with such great quantities of red sand that the air became densely charged [with it], and no man could see his neighbour from the third to the ninth hour. And terror fell upon men, and they thought that they would be wiped out by an air-flood, or by an earthquake, like the city of ‘ARGISH. And they went out and passed the night in the plain outside their houses, and the wind dropping they went back to their houses. And also on the first day of the Week of the Dead, which precedes the entrance of the Fast, the wind brought large quantities of sand, but not as much as on the former occasion.

And at [this] time the captain of the host of the fortress of ZAID, whose name was BISHAR, a wicked man and a shedder of blood, an old man, one hundred years old, made up his mind to flee to the EGYPTIANS. For he had in his heart a hatred of MAR SARKIS, the bishop of the ARMENIANS, in the city of ‘ARZENGAN, who was a great man and who was honoured by the king of the HUNS. He determined to kill him and then to go away. And, taking certain of [534] his free men with him, he went to the country of ‘ARZENGAN. He heard that the saint was in one of his monasteries preparing for the Feast of Hosannas (Palm Sunday), and he lay in wait for him on the road. And when the holy man rose up on the second day [of the week] of the Sabbath of the Passion to go into the city, his son who was great and famous, was also with him. And he said unto the holy man, his father, ‘Do thou go into the city, and I want to go and occupy myself in such and such a village, where they want to consecrate the church which they have built’. And his father gave him permission to go, and he was not to stay too long. And when they had separated from each other, three Turkish horsemen came and met the holy man, and they dismounted and went to kiss his hand. And they said unto him, ‘An ambassador hath come and he asketh for thee and thy son also to read the Yarlikh (i.e. a Mongol Patent or administrative order) which he hath with him’. And the holy man said, ‘My son hath gone to such and such a village, but behold. I will come’. And when they had journeyed on a little farther, there fell upon them about two hundred Turkish horsemen, and they killed the holy man and the thirty souls, elders, monks, and other slaves, who were with him, And they cut off. his head, and they took it and went and seized that village, and they surrounded the church wherein was the son of the holy man very carefully. And when they entered the church they could not find him because there was a heap [of grain] there, and he had hidden himself inside it. And when they wanted to depart, one of those accursed infidels said; ‘Let us set fire to this heap first, and then we will go forth’. And having set fire to it the young man came forth only half alive. And the TURKS said unto him, ‘Where is thy father?’ And he replied, ‘He hath gone into the city’. Then they cast down before him his [father’s] head. And when he saw [it] he shrieked and fell down on the head of his father. And then and there, as he fell down, they hacked him limb from limb.

And after these things that wicked old man BISHAR took his sons and and his company of soldiers and departed to the lord of EGYPT. And PARWANA, who was administrator of the kingdom of BETH RHOMAYE, fearing lest the MONGOLS should have their suspicions that his heart also inclined towards the EGYPTIANS, rose up and took the daughter of Sultan RUKN AD-DIN, and carried her to the service of the King of Kings. And he said, ‘I heard that the EGYPTIANS were ready to come and seize her, and therefore [535] I made haste and have brought her [here]’. And theTATARS thanked him for this. And he also said, ‘One of these Amirs of ours, that is BAR KHATIR, wisheth to take the young man GHAYATH AD-DIN, the lord of BETH RHOMAYE, and to flee to EGYPT. Therefore give me an army that I may go and take him quickly.’ And KUNGHURTAI, the younger brother of the King of Kings, having gone with him, they found BAR KHATIR and the young Sultan on the plain of PALESTINE, and that they wanted to flee to SYRIA. And having killed BAR KHATIR, [KUNGHURTAI] handed the Sultan over to PARWANA, and he seated him again on the throne of his kingdom. And thus PARWANA came to be a very great man with the TATARS, and he was greatly beloved by them because of sincerity of the love which he showed towards them.

At this time ‘A’LAM AD-DIN YA’KUB, a great merchant and a Christian, a native of BAR KAWTAH, a village in the country of ‘ARBlL, coming from doing homage to KUBLAI KHAN, died on the road in the country of KHORASAN. Then ‘ASHMUT, the ambassador who was appointed [to go] with him, who was himself a great man and an honourable man of the race of the IGHURAYE, and who led the ascetic (or, monastic) life, took his sons and brought them to do homage to the King of Kings, ‘ABAKA. And the King of Kings received them kindly, and he made MAS’UD, the eldest son, ruler over MAWSIL and ‘ARBlL; and ‘ASHMUT became the administrator of the Amir.

And in this year,.the year in which MAS’UD reigned, that is to say, the year fifteen hundred and eighty-seven [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1276)], the other son of Shaikh ‘ADI fled from the country of MAWSIL to EGYPT, and he also carried off with him the Mongol woman whom he had taken from the TATARS.