The Melkites in Fatimid Egypt and Syria (1021–1171)

in Medieval Encounters
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This paper examines the history of the Chalcedonian Melkites in the Fatimid state in the period after the reign of the caliph al-Ḥākim, i.e., from 1021 until the end of the Fatimid caliphate in 1171. For the eleventh century the focus will be on Palestine (before its conquest by the Crusaders). Although the evidence is very fragmentary, the attempt will be made to provide some insights on the development of the situation of the Melkite community under Fatimid rule, its ecclesiastical institutions, its connection with Byzantium, and its intellectual life.

The Melkites in Fatimid Egypt and Syria (1021–1171)

in Medieval Encounters

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References

1

See for example Heinz HalmDie Kalifen von Kairo. Die Fatimiden in Ägypten 973–1074 (Munich: Beck2003) especially 129–146; Bettina Krönung “Al-Ḥākim und die Zerstörung der Grabeskirche” in Konflikt und Bewältigung. Die Zerstörung der Grabeskirche zu Jerusalem im Jahre 1009 ed. Thomas Pratsch (Berlin and New York ny: De Gruyter 2011) 139–158 and the contribution of Paul Walker in this issue.

13

Lev“The Fatimids and Byzantium” 206. See also in general Jonathan Shepard “Holy Land Lost Lands Realpolitik. Imperial Byzantine Thinking about Syria and Palestine in the Later 10th and the 11th Centuries” Al-Qantara 33 (2012): 505–545.

17

Al-MuqaddasīKitāb aḥsan at-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm/Descriptio imperii moslemici auctore al-Mokaddasi (Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum 3), ed. Michael Jan de Goeje (Leiden: E.J. Brill1877) 167 and 183 where it is stated that the Muslims relied in the matter of the administration on the Christians because they did not want to bother themselves with adab (Description of Syria: including Palestine English trans. Guy Le Strange (London: Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society 1898) 37 77).

19

See Johannes Pahlitzsch“Ärzte ohne Grenzen: Melkitische, jüdische und samaritanische Ärzte in Ägypten und Syrien zur Zeit der Kreuzzüge,” in Gesundheit—Krankheit. Kulturtransfer medizinischen Wissens von der Spätantike bis in die Frühe Neuzeited. Kay Peter Jankrift and Florian Steger (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna: Böhlau2004) 101–119 (110–111); French trans.: “Médecins sans frontières. Médecins melkites juifs et samaritains en Égypte et en Syrie à l’époque des croisades” Trivium 8 (2011) online at http://trivium.revues.org/3962 posted 16 May 2011.

28

NasrallahHistoire du mouvement littéraire3:1126. For Anastasios of Caesarea see below n. 106. For the beginning of the year 1099 Antonios bishop of Ascalon and Ioannes the second priest of the church of Ascalon are mentioned in the colophon of the manuscript Sin. gr. 741–742; see Johannes Pahlitzsch Graeci und Suriani im Palästina der Kreuzfahrerzeit. Beiträge und Quellen zur Geschichte des griechisch-orthodoxen Patriarchats von Jerusalem (Berliner Historische Studien 33. Ordensstudien 15) (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 2001) 332–333 no. 10; for Tyre see 101–109. Klaus-Peter Todt “Griechisch-orthodoxe (Melkitische) Christen im zentralen und südlichen Syrien. Die Periode von der arabischen Eroberung bis zur Verlegung der Patriarchenresidenz nach Damaskus (635–1365)” Le Muséon 119 (2006): 33–88 (69) names also Ioakeim metropolitan of Damascus as an eleventh century bishop. This assumption is based on a note in cod. graecus 108 of the Sabas Monastery in the Judean desert with reference to Anastasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus Hierosolymitikē bibliothēkē ētoi katalogos tōn en tais bibliothēkais tou hagiōtatou apostolikou te kai katholikou orthodoxou Patriarchikou Thronou tōn Hierosolymōn kai pasēs Palaistinēs apokeimenōn hellēnikōn kōdikōn vol. 2 (St. Petersburg: Kirschbaum 1894; reprint Bruxelles: Culture & Civilisation 1963) 2:194. However the information given by Papadopoulos-Kerameus does not support Todt’s claim. The note referring to Ioakeim is not dated by Papadopoulos-Kerameus but has been written below a text that has been added in the thirteenth century. For further clarification it will be necessary to study the manuscript itself.

31

FelixByzanz und die islamische Welt80–81.

34

GilA History of Palestine486–489.

35

Kennedy“The Melkite Church” 331.

36

Pahlitzsch“Graeci und Suriani,” 46, and Moshe Gil, “Dhimmī Donations and Foundations for Jerusalem (638–1099),” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 27 (1984): 156–174with further examples.

42

Al-MaqrīzīIttiʿāẓ al-ḥunafāʾ3:39–40. In 1131 he was still referred to as head of the dīwān al-taḥqīq; see below n. 50. Gary Leiser “The Madrasa and the Islamization of the Middle East. The Case of Egypt” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 22 (1985): 29–47 (31).

43

For the date see Mark R. CohenJewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt: The Origins of the Office of Head of the Jews ca. 1065–1126 (Princeton Studies on the Near East) (Princeton: Princeton University Press1980) 281 note 31.

44

David Kaufmann“Beiträge zur Geschichte Ägyptens aus jüdischen Quellen,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 51 (1897): 436–452 (445–446); Jacob Mann The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine under the Fāṭimid Caliphs vol. 1 (London: Oxford University Press 1920; reprint New York ny: Ktav Publishing House 1970) 211–12 was the first to identify this Yūḥannā with Abū l-Barakāt; Cohen Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt 281.

53

Kaufmann“Beiträge zur Geschichte Ägyptens aus jüdischen Quellen” 446–445; Mann The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine 211–212; Cohen Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt 280–281.

62

DédéyanLes Arméniens entre Grecs musulmans et croisés2:910.

65

Canard“Un vizir chrétien à l’époque fatimide” 111; Dédéyan Les Arméniens entre Grecs musulmans et croisés 2:911 note 3.

68

See for this cheese trade David Jacoby“Byzantine Crete in the Navigation and Trade Networks of Venice and Genoa,” in Oriente e occidente tra medioevo ed età moderna. Studi in onore di Geo Pistarinoed. Laura Balletto (Genoa: G. Brigati1997) 517–540 (521 528–530 535–536); David Jacoby “Cretan Cheese: A Neglected Aspect of Venetian Medieval Trade” in Medieval and Renaissance Venice ed. Ellen Kittell and Thomas Madden (Urbana il: University of Illinois Press 1999) 49–68 (reprint in David Jacoby Commercial Exchange Across the Mediterranean: Byzantium the Crusader Levant Egypt and Italy (Aldershot and Burlington vt: Ashgate 2005)) dealing mainly with the period after the Fourth Crusade in 1204; Paulina Lewicka Food and Foodways of Medieval Cairenes: Aspects of Life in an Islamic Metropolis of the Eastern Mediterranean (Islamic History and Civilization 88) (Leiden: Brill 2011) 232–234. For the significance of cheese trade for the Jewish community see Shelomo Dov Goitein A Mediterranean Society. The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza vol. 4: Daily Life (Berkeley ca Los Angeles ca and London: 1983) 4:251–252.

70

Leiser“The Madrasa and the Islamization of the Middle East” 37.

72

Yaacov LevState and Society in Fatimid Egypt (Leiden: E.J. Brill1991) 180; Mark R. Cohen “What Was the Pact of ʿUmar? A Literary-Historical Study” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 23 (1999): 100–131; Milka Levy-Rubin Non-Muslims in the Early Islamic Empire: From Surrender to Coexistence (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) (Cambridge and New York ny: Cambridge University Press 2011) 59 171–172.

76

Donald S. Richards“A Fāṭimid Petition and ‘Small Decree’ from Sinai,” Israel Oriental Studies 3 (1973): 140–158; the edition and translation of this document are found at 141–143.

77

Richards“A Fāṭimid Petition and ‘Small Decree’ from Sinai” 143–145 146–147.

78

Samuel M. SternFāṭimid Decrees Original Documents from the Fāṭimid Chancery (London: Faber and Faber1964) 35–64.

81

Stern“Three Petitions” 188.

84

Ioannes KinnamosEpitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum (Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae 23), ed. August Meineke (Bonn: Weber1836) 210–211 (Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus by John Kinnamos English trans. Charles M. Brand (New York: Columbia University Press 1976) 160). Steven Runciman The Eastern Schism: A Study of the Papacy and the Eastern Churches During the xith and xiith Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1955) 91 note 2.

87

Terry G. Wilfong“The Non-Muslim Communities: Christian Communities,” in The Cambridge History of EgyptVol. 1: Islamic Egypt 640–1517 ed. Carl F. Petry (Cambridge and New York ny: Cambridge University Press 1998) 175–198 (186).

92

Jan AssmannDas kulturelle Gedächtnis. Schrift Erinnerung und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (Munich: C.H. Beck1992) 142–144 (English trans. as Cultural Memory and Early Civilization. Writing Remembrance and Political Imagination (Cambridge and New York ny: Cambridge University Press 2011) 123–124). Already Graf Ein Reformversuch 15 states: “Denn jedes ausgeprägte Volkstum zumal wenn es sich so intensiv in religiös-kultischen Formen auswirkt wie das ägyptische seit dem fernsten Altertum muß Eigenheiten aufweisen welche es in hellen Kontrast zu einem fremden bringt das sich neben ihm gleichfalls geltend machen will.”

106

Anastasios of Caesarea“Tēs nēsteias tēs hyperendoxou Theotokou,” in Patrologia Graecavol. 127 ed. Jean-Paul Migne (Paris 1864) col. 120–125 (124). Venance Grumel “Le jeûne de l’Assomption dans l’Église grecque” Echos d’Orient 32 (1933): 279–299. However his identification of Caesarea with Caesarea Philippi that was part of the patriarchate of Antioch is unlikely since we do not have any evidence that the see of Caesarea Philipi called Paneas or Paneias from the fourth century on was ever occupied after the seventh century ad. I am grateful to Klaus-Peter Todt for this information. See his “Griechisch-orthodoxe (Melkitische) Christen im zentralen und südlichen Syrien” 61–65 where he deals with the Metropolis of Tyre to which a bishop of Caesarea Philippi/Paneas would have belonged. For Petros iii and Ioannes iv see Bernardette Martin-Hisard “Le patriarche Pierre iii d’Antioche son pseudo-successeur Jean iv/Denys et le Géorgien Georges le Hagiorite” Nea Rhome 4 (2007): 177–215.

110

Ibn Abī UṣaybiʿaʿUyūn al-Anbāʾ2:121–122. Claude Cahen “Indigènes et Croisés. Quelques mots à propos d’un médecin d’Amaury et de Saladin” Syria 15 (1934): 351–360; Etan Kohlberg and Benjamin Z. Kedar “A Melkite Physician in Jerusalem and Ayyubid Damascus: Muwaffaq ad-Dīn Yaʿqūb ibn Siqlāb” in The Medieval Levant Studies in Memory of Eliyahu Ashtor (1914–1984) ed. Benjamin Z. Kedar and A. L. Udovitch [= Asian and African Studies 22 (1988)] 113–126 (114–115); Felix Klein-Franke “Health and Healing in Medieval Muslim Palestine” in Health and Disease in the Holy Land. Studies in the History and Sociology of Medicine from Ancient Times to the Present ed. Manfred Waserman and Samuel S. Kottek (Lewiston Queenston and Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press 1996) 103–134 (119–121); Pahlitzsch “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” 109–110.

111

Paul Magdalino“Occult Science and Imperial Power in Byzantine History and Historiography (9th–12th Centuries),” in The Occult Sciences in Byzantiumed. Paul Magdalino and Maria Mavroudi (Geneva: La Pomme d’or2006) 119–162 (142).

112

Anna KomneneAlexias (Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae 40, 1), ed. Diether Roderich Reinsch and Athanasios Kambylis (Berlin and New York: W. de Gruyter2001) vi cap. 7 paras 4–5 181–182 [Alexias German trans. Diether Roderich Reinsch (Cologne: DuMont 1996) 208–210]. Magdalino “Occult Science and Imperial Power” 143. For the increasing reception of Arabic scientific texts in Byzantium especially in the eleventh century see Dimitri Gutas “Arabic into Byzantine Greek: Introducing a Survey of the Translations” in Knotenpunkt Byzanz. Wissensformen und kulturelle Wechselbeziehungen (Miscellanea Mediaevalia 36) ed. Andreas Speer and Philipp Steinkrüger (Berlin and Boston ma: de Gruyter 2012) 246–262 who lists a number of astrological texts that were translated in the eleventh century from Arabic into Greek 256–257; Anne Tihon “Les textes astronomiques arabes importés à Byzance aux xie et xiie siècles” in Occident et Proche-Orient. Contacts scientifiques au temps des Croisades. Actes du colloque de Louvain-la-Neuve 24 et 25 mars 1997 ed. Isabelle Draelants Anne Tihon and Baudouin van den Abeele (Turnhout: Brepols 2000) 313–324.

114

Nancy P. Ševčenko“Manuscript Production on Mount Sinai from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century,” in Approaching the Holy Mountain. Art and Liturgy at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai (Cursor Mundi 11), ed. Sharon Gerstel and Robert S. Nelson (Turnhout: Brepols2011) 233–258.

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