Could a Caliph Be Virtuous? Selected Aspects of the Image of Muslim Rulers in the "Chronography" of Theophanes the Confessor

Błażej Cecota

University 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.


Byzantium, Caliphate, historiography, byzantine historiography, Theophanes the Confessor, Mu'awiya, Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan

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Cecota, B. (2022). Could a Caliph Be Virtuous? Selected Aspects of the Image of Muslim Rulers in the "Chronography" of Theophanes the Confessor. Vox Patrum, 84, 79–92.

Błażej Cecota
University of Jan Kochanowski in Kielce, Filia w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim


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