Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Articles, Library, Tribute to Dr. Matti Moosa | Comments Off on THE SYRIAC CHRONICLE OF MICHAEL THE GREAT


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The Chronicle of Michael Rabo is perhaps the only voluminous Syriac manuscript surviving from the twelfth century, and is offered here for the first time in the English language. Michael Rabo was a Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church from 1166 to 1199 and in his Chronicle, he systematically arranged and compiled Greek, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic historical sources encompassing events from the creation of the world to his own time.

From this spectacular array of sources, the reader is offered deep insight into the history of the many issues and conflicts political, geographical and theological that prevailed throughout the Middle East and surrounding regions. Of special historical note is the warfare between the Byzantine Roman and Sassanid Persian Empires, the factious contentions within the Syrian Orthodox Church which led to its split after the Council of Chalcedon, and the rise of the Muslim Arabs and their influence on the region. In the last chapter, Michael Rabo as an eyewitness describes the arrival of the Crusaders to the East and their warfare with the Turks over the domination of Antioch, Edessa and Jerusalem. Of particular importance is Michael Rabo’s portrayal of the treatment of the native Christian Syrians and Armenians who were caught amidst the struggle between the Crusaders, Muslim Arabs and Turks. Also, a peculiar feature of Michael’s Chronicle is the numerous accounts of strange natural phenomena of celestial objects, earthquakes, famine and plagues which devastated many cities and places in the East Roman Empire.

With its extensive range of historical epochs and events, The Chronicle of Michael Rabo should be of great interest to church historians, theologians and to historians of the Byzantine and Persian Empires, as well as social scientists and those interested in historical astronomy and meteorology.

Matti Moosa, a native of Mosul, Iraq, and an American citizen since 1965, holds a Law degree from Baghdad Law School, Iraq, a United Nations Diploma of Merit from the University of Wales in Swansea, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Middle Eastern history and culture from Columbia University in New York City. His publications include The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction, 1983, 2nd ed., (1997) The Maronites in History (1986), translated into Arabic under the title Al-Mawarina fi al-Tarikh (Damascus, 2004), Extremist Shiites: the Ghulat Sects (1988); The Early Novels of Naguib Mahfouz: Images of Modern Egypt (1994); The Crusades: Conflict between Christendom and Islam (2008) and many other translated books. He has also contributed numerous articles on Middle Eastern history and culture to leading periodicals.

Available in Hardback, 827 pages.