Chronicles of Bar Hebraeus

Gregory II Abu 'l-Faraj bar Ahron (1226–86), also known as Bar Hebraeus [Bar 'Ebroyo] was the Jacobite Maphrian from 1264 until his death in 1286. He was consecrated in 1246 as Bishop over the district of Gubos by Patriarch Ignatius III David (1222–52) and at this consecration took the name Gregory. He became friends with the Eastern Catholicos, Yahballaha III and recognized the value of Christian unity amongst the "Nestorian", Greek, Latin, and Armenian Christians.[1]  As a young man in Antioch and Tripoli, Bar 'Ebroyo was educated in a broad range of fields and industrious in his publications. He published works in the following genres: encyclopedia, philosophy, medicine, mathematics, science, theology, canon law, Biblical exegesis, grammar, chronicles, other miscellaneous works. For more on the works of Bar 'Ebroyo, see the list which Roger Pierce has produced here. For more on his life, see the transcription of W. Budge, "The Life of Barhebraeus" which comes from the introduction of his The Chronography of Gregory Abû'l Faraj, the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew Physician, Commonly Known as Bar Hebraeus: Being the First Part of his Political History of the Word: Translated from the Syriac (London, 1932).

The Chronicle of Bar 'Ebroyo (Chronicon Syriacum) is organized as a secular history of the world which does little more than summarize the immense work of Michael the Syrian. The Chronicon Syriacum supplements material missing from Michael the Syrian's Chronicle, but Bar Hebraeus' Chronicle displays its worth as an independent source for the events following the life of Mar Michael the Syrian. 

Bar Hebraeus' church history is in two parts and is called the Ecclesiastical Chronicle (Chronicon Ecclesiasticum). His first major section covers the territories of the Byzantine Empire and traces church history through the Patriarchs of Antioch (specifically the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs after Severus of Antioch). The second section moves eastward and recounts the history of the Eastern Maphrians beyond Byzantine control who were in Iraq and Persia. His information on the Eastern Maphrians represents a summary of the records of the cell of the Maphrian as well as local tradition, though his information on the Eastern Catholicoi is likely based upon the 12th century Arabic history of Mari ibn Sulaiman. [2] 

Both the Chronicon Syriacum and the Ecclesiastical Chronicle were brought to a close in the 15th century. For more on the continuators of Bar Hebraeus, see our Chronicles and Historiography page. The contents below under the heading of the Chronicum Syriacum provide hyperlinks to each major section and minor section of the Syriac text edited by Bedjan. If one page has multiple entries (e.g. "Seth, Enosh, Cain, Mahalala'el, Jared") then the entries will share one hyperlink on the same bullet-point to avoid confusion. The standard edition used by scholars is typically that of Bedjan; Budge published an English translation of Bedjan's edition and (somewhat confusingly), also published a photolithographic reproduction of a manuscript of the Chronicon Syriacum which was not the same as that of Bedjan.  Budge's English translation is a rather rare volume in its original printed edition.  And, although Budge's translation has been transcribed, not all of it has been made available and therefore if (ET) is mentioned in the series header, then the English translation is available for that entire section. If the entire English translation is unavailable, the header will indicate this (e.g. ET for pages 95–105). The individual minor sections will indicate whether or not the English translation is available.

The Ecclesiastical Chronicle has been analyzed below according to its two major sections. Each major and minor heading contains a hyperlink to the 3 volumes of J.-B. Abbeloos and T.J. Lamy (Paris, 1872–1877). The names of people are numbered only when they are numbered in the text of Abbeloos and Lamy. Once the churches break into separate heirarchies the ecclesiastical affiliation is included in brackets. Each minor break under the name of the ecclesiastical ruler represents the summary of the content of each paragraph in that section (indicated by indentation in the text of Abbeloos and Lamy). No English translation of the Ecclesiastical Chronicle exists in the public domain, but the new edition translation by David Wilmshurst promises to become the standard text for the field. [3]  Wilmshurst's translation is based upon the Syriac text of Abbeloos and Lamy because as of yet, no critical edition of the Ecclesiastical Chronicle has been produced. 




Editions and translations

P. Bedjan, ed., Gregorii Barhebræi Chronicon Syriacum e codd. mss. emendatum ac punctis vocalibus adnotationibusque locupletatum (Paris, 1890).

W. Budge, trans., The Chronography of Gregory Abû'l Faraj, the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew Physician, Commonly Known as Bar Hebraeus: Being the First Part of his Political History of the Word: Translated from the Syriac (London, 1932), Vol. 1.

Budge’s English translation is not yet available in the public domain, but it has been partially transcribed

See Brock's discussion here and here.


E. Pococke, ed., Specimen historiae Arabum (Oxford, 1650).

J. White, Specimen historiae arabum; auctore Edvardo Pocockio. Accessit Historia veterum arabum ex Abu’l Feda: Cura Antonii I. Sylvestre de Sacy (Oxford, 1806).

P. Bruns and G.W. Kirsch, eds., Bar-Hebraei Chronicon Syriacum, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1789).





J.-B. Abbeloos and T.J. Lamy, eds. and trans., Gregorii Barhebræi Chronicon ecclesiasticum, 3 vols. (Paris, 1872–1877). Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3.

See Brock's discussion here and here.



**After Severus of Antioch, the Patriarch will be Syriac Orthodox unless otherwise noted.




[1]  D. Wilmshurst, Bar Hebraeus, The Ecclesiastical Chronicle: An English Translation (Piscataway, N.J.: 2016), ix-xi.

[2]  Ibid., xvii

[3]  D. Wilmshurst, Bar Hebraeus, The Ecclesiastical Chronicle: An English Translation (Piscataway, N.J.: 2016).