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The statements of the Coptic Synaxarinm, occasionally quoted in the notes to the present edition of Abu Salih, are not guaranteed as being always historically accurate. For instance, the Emperor Diocletian is usually represented, without reference to his colleagues in viii PREFACE. Moreover, it is often impossible to ' translate, because the sense cannot be completed/ The French scholar here seems to overstate the case. made by the authorities of the National Library, the editor is able to say that, while it is true that no less than twenty-two leaves are wanting at the beginning of the book, the rest of the leaves are bound in their proper order, according to the Coptic ciphers, which are still visible, as M. In the days of Kuhtan, the son of Falik, the father of the Arabs, men made likenesses of all that were renowned for virtue, and of good repute, and famous for valour and beauty of form, and worshipped their images. Amelineau states ; with the single exception of the leaf which formed the thirtieth folio of the MS. The reader, therefore, will understand that there is a lacuna between fol. § Abu Naitur 1 , the fourth son of Noah, learnt, through the inspi- ration of God, the science of the sphere 2 , and -the art of reckoning it by years, months, days, and hours, and the like. Many of the Muslims, as well as the Christians, accepted the tradition that Moses was born there; see Yakut, Geogr. 3 This was a well-known town, two days to the south of Al-Fustat, in the pro- vince of Al-Itfihiyah. Professor Margoliouth has also had the goodness to look through both the copy of the text and the translation, and to elucidate many points of difficulty. Alfred Butler, whose book on the Coptic Churches forms the only work of importance existing on that subject; has generously consented to aid in the interpretation of an obscure author by his knowledge of Coptic history and archaeology ; and his contributions to the work are by no means limited to the notes which bear his initials. and among other defects does not express the J of the article before the 'solar letters,' or the shortening of the long final vowel in y\ and other words before the article, or the Hamzah except in the middle of a word ; nor are the nuances in the pronunciation of the vowels indicated ; but perhaps no other system is preferable to this. Many legends are related of Nimrod, the 'Enemy of God/ by the Arab historians, and he is alluded to in the Koran, following Jewish tradition, as the persecutor of Abraham. Among the former were Moses and Aaron his brother, and Miriam their sister, who were born at Askar 3 , in the region of Egypt.
The present edition is based upon a copy made by the editor from the original, which he afterwards had the advantage of comparing with another copy most liberally placed at his disposal by M. On the other hand, he seems to have an exaggerated idea of the difficulties presented by the MS. 'It is very badly written in point of language,' he says, ' and most of the diacritical points are wanting ; yet I have translated ' the whole of it, in spite of the difficulties which it presents. is incomplete in several parts, and has been badly ' bound together. has erased the Coptic 'numerical figures at the top of each leaf, in order, no doubt, that 'the absence of part of the MS. Nevertheless, 'the figures are still visible, and enable me to conclude that a con- PREFACE. is wanting, and that the leaves are not ' arranged in their proper order. 57 § The first worshippers of idols were the people of Egypt and Babylon, and the Franks and the people of the sea-coast. His nationality, on the other hand, may be inferred, not only from the title, but also from the internal evidence of the book, for the lengthy description of the Armenian churches, and of the affairs of the Armenian patriarch, would tend to show that the writer had a special connexion with the Armenian nation ; and, although he often speaks as though his sympathies and interests were bound up with those of the Copts, we must remember that this very Armenian patriarch, of whom we have spoken, was consecrated in the presence of Gabriel, the seventieth patriarch of the Copts (Renaudot, Hist. 1 ^ 1^^" ^— ^J-- ^ C^*^ ,j1 O^ili Ul Ojji JJ19 ^o iii U .^-1)1 c i^o (J 1 -*-* w VS JUj t_ SUjj J Wji dkj^ia. ^9 Ij S ^.* ' 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn c Abd Allah ibn c Abd al-Hakam says : I learnt from Hisham THE FAFFUM. ^11 l P»\y ^ A^-li ^0 ^3 i) ^J,9 j Jb «j| ts JJij kjil ill I4I J^fl J ^Jlj 1j A ^ L^^ W^" J ^ (^^J"* &c. 55 that the Fayyum was known as the Waste Ground ; it was an outlet for the waters of Upper Egypt.
Slir Mjtota (Dxirnifttsta THE Churches and Monasteries of Egypt AND Some Neighbouring Countries ATTRIBUTED TO ABU SALIH, THE ARMENIAN A EDITED AND TRANSLATED BY B. The existence of the work has long been known to scholars through the references made to 'Abu Selah/ and the passages quoted from him by Eusebe Renaudot and Etienne Quatremere. Amelineau, in his Geographie de I ligypte a lepoqne copte^ has made some little use of the history of Abu Salih, although he has by no means extracted all the information which the book affords on the subject of Egyptian geography. Amelineau seems to be fully aware of the value of the work of Abu Salih, at least in certain portions. Haji Khalfah remarks upon the use made by Ptolemy in the Almagest of the work of Chaldaean astronomers; Lex. For this reason men said that a diadem descended upon him from heaven/ Eutychius, Annates (ed.