Agapius the historian

Agapius the historian

:"This is an article about the 10th century Arabic Christian historian. For other uses, see Agapius (disambiguation).

Agapius son of Constantine (arabised as Mahbub ibn Qustantin) (d.941-2 AD) was a 10th century Arabic Christian writer, best known for his lengthy "Kitab al-'Unwan" ("Book of headings" or "History"). He was the Melkite bishop of Manbij (Mabbug, Hierapolis).

He was contemporary with the annalist Eutychius (=Said al-Bitriq), also a Melchite. His history commences with the foundation of the world and runs up to his own times. The portion dealing with the Arabic period is extant only in a single manuscript and breaks off in the second year of the Caliphate of Mahdi (160AH = 776-7 AD).

For the early history of Christianity, Agapius made use uncritically of apocryphal and legendary materials. For the following secular and ecclesiastical history, he relied on Syriac sources, in particular the World Chronicle of the Maronite Theophilus of Edessa (d. 785) for the end of the Ummayad period and the beginning of the Abbasids. He made use of Eusebius' Church history only through an intermediary compilation of short extracts. This he supplements from other sources. He gives an otherwise unknown fragment of Papias; and a list of Eastern Metropolitans. He uses the lost History of Bardaisan. But many of his sources must remain unknown.

The "History" has been published with a French translation in the Patrologia Orientalis series and with a Latin translation in the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium series.

Testimonium Flavianum

His history contains an interesting version of the Testimonium Flavianum.

External links

* PO5
* [ PO7] containing part 2 of his history in Arabic and French.
* [ PO8] containing part 3 of his history.
* [ PO11] containing part 4 of his history.


* Georg Graf, "Geschichte der arabischen christlichen Literatur", volume 2. Lists manuscripts of the work.

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