Syriac Sasanian Sources


J. Labourt, Le christianisme dans l'empire perse (1904).

W.A. Wigram, An Introduction to the History of the Assyrian Church 100–640 AD (1910).

J.M. Fiey, Jalons pour une histoire de l'eglise en Iraq (CSCO Subsidia 36, 1970).

W.G. Young, Patriarch, Shah, and Caliph (1974).

S. Gero, Barsauma of Nisibis and Persian Christianity in the Fifth Century (CSCO Subsidia 63, 1981).

M.L. Chaumont, La christianisation de l'empire iranien des origines aux grandes persecutions du IVe siecle (CSCO Subsidia 80, 1988).

(For briefer introductions, see J.P. Asmussen, "Christians in Iran", Cambridge History of Iran III.2 (1983), 924–48, 1355–7; S.P. Brock "Christians in the Sasanid Empire: A Case of Divided Loyalties", reprinted in Syriac Perspectives on Late Antiquity (1984), ch.VI; G. Widengren, "The Nestorian Church in Sasanian and Early Post-Sasanian Iran", in L. Lanciotti (ed.), "Incontro di religioni in Asia tra il III e X secolo d.C." (Florence, 1984), 1–30); A.V. Williams, "Zoroastrians and Christians in Sasanian Iran", Bulletin of the John Rylands Library Manchester 78 (1996), 37–53.)


On Sources

S.P. Brock, "Syriac Sources for Seventh-Century History"', reprinted in Syriac Perspectives on Late Antiquity (1984).

———, "Syriac Historical Writing: A Survey of the Main Sources", reprinted in Studies in Syriac Christianity (1992).

M. Morony, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest (1984), "Resources": 537–654, esp. 561f, 620–32.

P. Nagel, "Grundzuge syrischer Geschichtsschreibung", Berliner Byzantinische Arbeiten 55 (1990), 245–59.

J.R. Russell, "Christianity in Pre-Islamic Persia: Literary Sources", Encyclopaedia Iranica 5 (1992), 523–8.

G. Widengren, "Sources of Parthian and Sasanian History", Cambridge History of Iran III.2 (1982), 1261–83, esp. 1276–8.



Chronicle of SeertPatrologia Orientalis (PO) 4, 5, 7, 13 (+ French translation); index to part I: PO 5, 335–42; to part II: Fiey in MUSJ 42 (1966), 201–18.

Chronicle of Karka d-Bet Slokh: see Fiey, Analecta Bollandiana 82 (1964), 189–222.

Khuzistan Chronicle: ed. + Latin translation, I. Guidi, Chronica Minora I (CSCO 1/1 and 2/2; German translation by T. Noldeke, SbAkWissWien B.128 (1893), + commentary. (Arabic tr. P.Haddad, 1976).

Chronicle of Arbela: ed. + French translation, A. Mingana, Sources syriaques (1907; + German translation, P. Kawerau, CSCO Scr.Syri 199–200 (1985); Latin translation in Orientalia Christiana 8 (1927), 146–204. Cp. Assfalg, Oriens Christianus 1966, and Fiey, L’Orient Syrien 1967.


Church Histories

Barhadbeshabba `Arbaya: ed. + French translation, F. Nau, PO 9 (part II) and 23 (part I).

Barhebraeus: ed. + Latin translation, J.B. Abbeloos and T. Lamy (1872–7).


Monastic Histories

Isho`dnah, Liber Castitatis: ed. + French translation, J.B. Chabot (1896).

Thomas of Marga, Liber Superiorum: ed. + English translation, E.A.W. Budge, The Book of Governors (1893). Arabic translation, A. Abouna (1966).




P. Peeters, "Le passionaire d'Adiabene", Analecta Bollandiana 43 (1925), 261–326.

I. Ortiz de Urbina, Patrologia Syriaca (2nd ed. 1965), 194–8 (Martyres Persiae).

P. Devos, "Les martyrs persans à travers leurs actes syriaques", Atti del Convegno sul Tema La Persia e il Mondo Greco-Romano (1966), 213–25.

G. Wiessner, "Untersuchungen zur syrischen Literaturgeschichte I: Zur Martyrerüberlieferung aus der Christenverfolgung Schapurs II", AbAkWissGottingen III.67 (1967), reviewed in JTS ns 19 (1968), 300–9.

P. Gignoux, "Titres et fonctions religieuses sasanides d'après les sources syriaques hagiographiques", Acta Antiqua Acad.Hung. 28 (1980) 191–203 [also in J.Harmatta (ed.), From Hecataeus to al-Huwarizmi (Budapest, 1984)].

———, "Sur quelques relations entre chrétiens et mazdens d'après les sources syriaques", Studia Iranica 28 (1999), 83–94.

J. Rist, "Die Verfolgung der christen im spatantiken Sasanidenreich: Ursachen, Verlauf, und Folgen", Oriens Christianus 80 (1996), 17–42.

R.W. Burgess, "The Dates of the Martyrdom of Simeon bar Sabba`e...", Analecta Bollandiana 117 (1999), 9–47.

R. Mercier, "The Dates in the Syriac Martyr Acts", Analecta Bollandiana 117 (1999), 47–66.

Selections in Translation

Simeon bar Sabba`e: ed. + Latin translation, M. Kmosko, Patrologia Syriaca 2 (2 versions).

Kardagh: ed. + Latin translation, J.B. Abbeloos, Analecta Bollandiana 9 (1890); cp also G. Wiessner, in W. Eilers (ed.), Festgabe deutscher Iranisten zur 2500 Jahrfeier Irans (Stuttgart, 1971), 141–55.

G. Hoffmann, Auszuge aus syrischen Akten persischer Martyrer (1880).

O. Braun, Ausgewahlte Akten persischer Martyrer (1915).

S.P. Brock and S.A. Harvey, Holy Women of the Syrian Orient (1987).

———, "A Martyr at the Sasanid Court under Vahran II: Candida", Analecta Bollandiana 96 (1978), 167–8 [Reprinted, Syriac Perspectives on Late Antiquity (1984)].



Life of Ahudemmeh: ed. + French translation, PO 3.

Life of Marutha: ed. + French translation, PO 3.

Lives of Rabban Hormizd and Rabban Bar Idta: ed. + English translation, E.A.W. Budge, The Histories of R. Hormizd the Persian and R. bar Ida (1902).



Barhadbeshabba of Halwan, History of the Foundation of the Schools: ed. + French translation, PO 4.

Statutes of School of Nisibis: ed. + English translation, A. Voobus, (1962); cp Voobus, History of the School of Nisibis (CSCO Subs.26, 1965); M. Wolska, La topographie chrétienne de Cosmas Indicopleustes (1962), 63–84 ("Cosmas et l'école de Nisibe"); G. Reinink, in J.W. Drijvers and A. Macdonald (eds), Centres of Learning ..(1995), 77–89.

Synods of Church of the East: ed. + French translation, J.B. Chabot, Synodicon Orientale (1902); cp W. Selb, Orientalisches Kirchenrecht, I SbOstAkWissWien, phil.-hist.Kl.388 (1981); S. Brock, Studies in Syriac Christianity (1992), ch.XII.

Monastic Rules: ed. + English translation, A. Vööbus, Syriac and Arabic Documents Regarding Legislation Relative to Syrian Asceticism (1960).



J.M. Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne I-III (Beirut 1965–8).

———, Communautés syriaques en Iran et Iraq des origines à 1552 (1979).


(Further bibliography can be found by consulting the Classified bibliographies for Syriac studies in Parole de l'Orient 4 (1973) [for 1960–1970]; 10 (1980/1) [for 1971–80]; 14 (1987) [for 1981–5]; 17 (1992) [for 1986–90]), or, combined, as Syriac Studies: A Classified Bibliography 1960–1990 (Kaslik 1996); and [for 1991–1995] Parole de l’Orient 23 (1998).