Could a Caliph Be Virtuous? Selected Aspects of the Image of Muslim Rulers in the "Chronography" of Theophanes the Confessor
Błażej CecotaUniversity of Jan Kochanowski in Kielce, Filia w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim , Poland
The Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor is one of the few Byzantine historiographical works in which so much space is devoted to the Islamic world and the first ruling caliphate. Of course, most references to Muslims concern mostly military issues – numerous Muslim invasions on Byzantine lands that were happening almost since the beginning of Islam. Also important was the way Theophanes treated Islam itself as a religion – as heresy. Therefore, it is hard to expect that the descriptions of the caliphs can be considered positive. In most of them, we find rather “evidence” of the greed, stupidity, or propensity to violence, which were to characterize the caliphs. Nevertheless, in the context of the answer to the question posed in the title – whether the caliph could be virtuous – it is worth taking a closer look at the image of the two rulers in the Chronography – Mu‘awiya and ‘Abd al-Malik. This text is dedicated to the first of these rulers.
Keywords:Byzantium, Caliphate, historiography, byzantine historiography, Theophanes the Confessor, Mu'awiya, Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan
Classical Arabic Stories. An Anthology, ed. S.Kh. Jayyusi, New York 2010.
Khalifa ibn Khayyat’s History on the Umayyad Dynasty (660–750), tr. and ed. C. Wurtzel, Liverpool 2015.
Theophanis Chronographia, еd. C.G. de Boor, Lipsiae 1883, tr. The Chronicle of Theophanes. An English translation of Anni Mundi 6095-6305 (A.D. 602-813), tr. and ed. H. Turtledove, Philadelphia 1982; The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor. Byzantine and Near Eastern history A.D. 284-813, tr. and ed. C. Mango – R. Scott – G. Greatrex, Oxford 1997.
The Seventh Century in the West-Syrian Chronicles, tr. and ed. A. Palmer, Liverpool 1993.
Alajmi A. – Keshk Kh., Umayyad Ideology and the Recurrence of the Past (Ideología omeya y el recurso al pasado), “Anaquel de Estudios Árabes” 24 (2013) p. 7-21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_ANQE.2013.v24.42624
Alroey G., Mesopotamia – ‘The Promised Land’. The Jewish Territorial Organization Project in the Bilād Al-Rāfidayn and the Question of Palestine, 1899-1917, “Middle Eastern Studies” 50/6 (2014) p. 911-935. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2014.933418
Bechmann U., Genesis 12 and the Abraham-Paradigm Concerning the Promised Land, “The Ecumenical Review” 68/1 (2016) p. 62-80. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/erev.12199
Bewley A.A., Mu‘awiya. Restorer of the Muslim Faith, London 2002.
Bosworth E., Yazīd b. Abī Sufyān, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. P. Bearman – Th. Bianquis – C.E. Bosworth – E. van Donzel – W.P. Heinrichs, in: https://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/yazid-b-abi-sufyan-SIM_8004 (accessed: 10.07.2022).
Bozkaya K., Bizans Tarih Yazıcılığı (Başlangıçtan XI Yüzyıla Kadar), Edirne 2017 (Tez Danışmanı, Trakya Üniversitesini).
Canard M., Les relations politiques et sociales entre Byzance et les Arabes, “Dumbarton Oaks Papers” 18 (1964) p. 35-56. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1291205
Cecota B., Islam, the Arabs and Umayyad Rulers According to Theophanes the Confessor’s Chronography, “Studia Ceranea” 2 (2012) p. 97-111. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/2084-140X.02.09
Crone P., „Shūrā” as an Elective Institution, “Quaderni di Studi Arabi” 19 (2001) p. 3-39.
Fil’shtinskiy I.M., Khalifat pod vlast’yu dinastii Omeyyadov (661-750), Moskva 2005.
Grunebaum von G.E., Parallelism, Convergence and Influence in the Relations of Arab and Byzantine Philosophy, Literature and Piety, “Dumbarton Oaks Papers” 18 (1964) p. 91-111. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1291208
Hakim A., Muḥammad’s Authority and Leadership Reestablished: The Prophet and ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb, “Revue de l’histoire des religions” 226/2 (2009) p. 181-200. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/rhr.7231
Hakim A., ʿUmar b. al-Ḫaṭṭāb, calife par la grâce de Dieu, “Arabica” 54/3 (2007) p. 317-361. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/157005807781540228
Hakim A., ʿUmar b. al-Ḫaṭṭāb: l’autorité religieuse et morale, “Arabica” 55/1 (2008) p. 1-34. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/157005808X289296
Hawting G.R., The First Dynasty of Islam. The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750, London – New York 2000.
Heilo O., Seeing Eye to Eye: Islamic Universalism in the Roman and Byzantine Worlds, 7th to 10th Centuries, Die Universität Wien 2010 (PhD Thesis).
Humphreys S., Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan. From Arabia to Empire, London 2006.
Kaegi W., Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquest, Cambridge 1992. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511470615
Kaiser W.C. Jr., The Promised Land. A Biblical-Historical View, “Bibliotheca Sacra” 138 (1981) p. 302-312.
Kennedy H., The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates. The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century, London – New York 1986.
Keshk K., The Historians’ Muʻāwiya: The Depiction of Muʻāwiya in the Early Islamic Sources, Saarbrücken 2008.
Kompa A., Gnesioi filoi. The Search for George Syncellus and Theophanes the Confessor’s Own Words and the Authorship of Their Oeuvre, “Studia Ceranea” 5 (2015) p. 155-230. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/2084-140X.05.06
Kompa A., In search of Syncellus’ and Theophanes’ own words: the authorship of the Chronographia revisited, in: Studies in Theophanes, ed. M. Jankowiak – F. Montinaro, TM 19, Paris 2015, p. 73-92.
Madelung W., The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate, Cambridge 1997. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511582042
Marsham A., Rituals of Islamic Monarchy: Accession and Succession in the First Muslim Empire, Edinburgh 2009. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9780748630776
McHugo J., A Concise History of Sunnis and Sh’is, Washington 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvvnh42
Pellat Ch., Le culte de Mu’āwiya au IIIe siècle de l’hégire, “Studia Islamica” 6 (1956) p. 53-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1594993
Pennell R., What is the significance of the tittle ‘Amīr al-mu’minīn’?, “The Journal of North African Studies” 21/4 (2016) p. 623-644. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13629387.2016.1157482
Shaginyan A.K., Armeniya i strany Yuzhnogo Kavkaza v usloviyakh vizantiysko-iranskoy i arabskoy vlasti, Sankt-Peterburg 2011.
Shahin A.A., An Interpretation of the Title Khalīfat Allāh in Light of Pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions and Early Islamic Documents, in: Re-defining a Space of Encounter. Islam and Mediterranean: Identity, Alterity and Interactions: Proceedings of the 28th Congress of the Union Europeenne des Arabisants et Islamisants, Palermo 2016, ed. A. Pellitteri – M. Grazia Sciortino – D. Sicari – N. Elsakaan, Leuven – Paris – Bristol 2019, p. 335-344. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1q26qjg.31
Shahin A.A., In Defense of Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān: Treatises and Monographs on Muʿāwiya from the Eighth to the Nineteenth Centuries, in: The Lineaments of Islam: Studies in Honor of Fred McGraw Donner, ed. P.M. Cobb, Leiden – Boston 2012, p. 177-208. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004231948_010
Shboul A.M.H., Byzantium and the Arabs: The Image of the Byzantines as Mirrored in Arabic Literature, in: Byzantine Papers Proceedings of the First Australian Byzantine Studies Conference Canberra, 17-19 May 1978, ed. E. Jeffreys – M. Jeffreys – A. Moffat, Leiden – Boston 2017, p. 43-68. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004344570_005
Sheinfeld Sh., The Euphrates as Temporal Marker in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, “Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Period” 47/1 (2016) p. 104-118. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15700631-12340437
Treadgold W., The Life and Wider Significance of George Syncellus, in: Studies in Theophanes, ed. M. Jankowiak – F. Montinaro, TM 19, Paris 2015, p. 9-30.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
- Pursuant to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights of February 4, 1994, the Author of the publication grants the Publisher of the journal "Vox Patrum" a non-exclusive and free license to use the Work submitted for publication for an indefinite period of time on an unlimited territory in the following fields of use:
a) in the field of recording and reproducing the work - producing copies of the work using a specific technique, including printing, reprographic, magnetic recording and digital technology;
b) within the scope of trading in the original or copies on which the work has been recorded - marketing, lending or renting the original or copies;
c) in the scope of disseminating the work in a manner other than specified in point b - public performance, exhibition, display, reproduction, broadcasting and rebroadcasting, as well as making the work available to the public, so that everyone can have access to it at a place and time chosen by them.
- Moreover, the Author allows the Publisher free of charge to use and dispose of the compilations of the Works.
- The publisher may grant sub-licenses.
- Third parties may use the Works and other materials containing or based on the Works in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (also known as CC-BY-NC 4.0) license pattern.