The Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle stands out for being an early Latin language text that partly describes the rise of Islam and some of the early Muslim conquests. The original text is included in a collection of writings called Corpus Scriptorum Muzarabicorum ("Corpus of Mozarabic Writings") compiled by Juan Gil.
The term 'Mozarabs' (adjective: Mozarabic) is used to refer to the Iberian Christians who lived under Muslim rule in Spain. The term is derived from the Arabic musta'rab ("one who becomes Arabized"), and it is used in this context because many Iberian Christians who lived under Muslim rule learned the Arabic language and were able to compose writings in the language. However, Iberian Romance languages that evolved from the spoken forms of Latin remained the main vernaculars for the Iberian Christians living under Muslim rule. Further, Latin retained its status as the main higher language of literature.
In terms of content, the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle consists of three strands: (i) Visigothic rule in Spain, (ii) Byzantine affairs and (iii) the rise of Islam. These strands are of course interconnected as the Muslims conquered substantial portions of Byzantine territory and ended Visigothic rule in Spain. However, as far as covering internal affairs is concerned, the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle is highly uneven. For instance, there are few details on the Visigothic kings.
Corpus Scriptorum Muzarabicorum, which includes the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle.
Of most interest to the historian is the content on the rise of Islam and what it can tell us about the anonymous author. In fact, it is the earliest surviving Latin text that mentions the Prophet Muhammad by name. Interestingly, in its account of Muhammad, the text differs somewhat from the standard Islamic history accounts. Whereas Muhammad is normally said to have died in 632 CE prior to the beginning of the Muslim conquests, the text portrays him as the leader of Saracen (Arab/Muslim) armies invading Syria and Mesopotamia, with the seat of an empire established in Damascus prior to his death. The text, however, is not hostile to Muhammad and Islam. In fact it strikes a rather sympathetic tone overall.
Perhaps even more interesting is the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle's account of Islamic history following the Prophet's death. No mention is made of Ali, who was the Prophet's cousin and is traditionally deemed to have been the fourth of the Rashidun caliphs. Instead, the account transitions straight from the assassination of Othman (the third of the Rashidun caliphs) to Mu'awiya (the first Umayyad caliph). As for Yazid bin Mu'awiya (the second Umayyad caliph), he is portrayed in panegyric terms as a beloved ruler who rejected glory for the sake of royal honour. No mention is made at all of the Battle of Karbala' in which the Prophet's grandson Hussein was killed- an event for which Yazid is widely condemned among Muslims.
So who might the author have been? One line of speculation is that the author was an Iberian convert to Islam. In my view, this hypothesis is unlikely, because the author does not endorse the Muslim belief that Muhammad is the apostle of God but rather describes that belief from an external standpoint:
"They treat him with such great honour and reverence that they affirm that he is the apostle and prophet of God in all their sacraments and writings."
Indeed, the author has very little to say about the details of the Prophet's life that have become so familiar from the traditional Islamic accounts, such as the nature of the message he preached, his migration from Mecca to Medina, his conflict with his own tribe the Quraysh and his eventual triumphant return to Mecca. This further suggests that the author is not a Muslim.
Similarly, it should be noted that an external standpoint is used in the brief reference to Muslim beliefs about Abraham and Mecca.
It is more likely that the author was an Iberian who had found favour with the Umayyad authorities in Spain or perhaps wanted to curry favour with them. This theory would definitely explain the sympathetic account of Yazid bin Mu'awiya.
Regarding chronology, we should note that the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle begins with the end of the rule of the Visigothic king Recarredus (601 CE). As has been noted by others, the work's composition cannot date earlier than 741 CE, as it states that the Byzantine emperor Leo III ruled for 24 years (717-741 CE), and he is the last Byzantine emperor mentioned in the account. The final sentence of the work mentions the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid II (Al-Walid bin Yazid), who ruled in the period 743-744 CE. However, in that sentence the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle does not say that his reign has finished, only that it had been decreed that he should succeed to the Caliphate. It is also worth noting that Al-Walid II was a great-grandson of Marwan I. According to the author, a great-grandson of Marwan I is ruling "in our times." This point suggests that the work was composed in the reign of Al-Walid II.
I have translated the Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle in full below together with my reference notes and comments.
Reccaredus died[i] after 15 years of rule.[ii]
Era 639: after Reccaredus his son Liuua, in fact born from a non-noble mother, was put in charge of the Goths and ruled for two years.[iii]
Era 641: Uuittericus ruled the kingdom for 7 years.[iv] He had seized it from Liuua through a coup. But as he had operated by the sword, he died by the sword. Indeed the death of the innocent Liuua the son of the Reccaredus was not unavenged against him. Amid the lunch banquet he was killed by his own men.
Era 642: Foca (of the Romans[v] 56). He was put in charge of the kingdom through a coup. He remained in charge for 8 years.[vi] The Persians,[vii] having left their own homes, were successful against the Romans. With the Romans driven back, they subdued Syria, Arabia and Egypt.
Era 648: After Uuitericus, Gundemarus was put in charge of the Goths for two years.[viii]
Era 649 (of the Romans 56): Eraclius was crowned emperor.[ix] He had rebelled against Foca out of Africa[x] on account of the [love] for the very noble virgin Flavia.[xi] She had been betrothed to him in Africa and deported by order of the princeps[xii] Foca from the borders of Libya to Constantinople. The aforementioned princeps- spurred on by such a cause- armed and united the forces of the entire West, and fought a naval battle against the state with one thousand and more ships. He made Nicita (the master of soldiers of the Romans)[xiii] leader of the combined land army. In turn, the following pact was struck: that whoso of them should first reach Constantinople, to him should be handed administration of the whole empire. Thus Eraclius, departing from Africa, reached the royal city more quickly by sailing. He subdued him,[xiv] somewhat resisting, by means of warfare. And so the Byzantines offered the captured Foca to Eraclius to be slaughtered.
Of the Romans 57. Eraclius was made princeps by the Senate[xv] after the killing of Foca. He ruled for 30 years.
And Nicita the master of soldiers reached Egypt through the deserts with much toil. Attacking with much courage and strenuousness, he slaughtered the Persians in battle and restored the provinces of Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Judaea and Mesopotamia to imperial control by the finest fighting.
Era 650: Sisebutus was made king of the Goths. He ruled for 8 years.[xvi]
The Persians, breaking out from their homes again, disturbed the provinces neighbouring them by means of surprise incursions. Also the son of Cosdroas[xvii] the king of the Persians, fleeing his father, offered himself to the Roman princeps, hoping to defend himself by the arms of Rome and promising to hand over his father's kingdom to the Augustus.[xviii]
After bringing together the strength of the state, Eraclius set out for Persia. And Cosdroas, informed of this news, set out to confront him with the whole army of Persia and indeed huge contingents of auxiliaries of the neighbouring peoples. After routing and killing the forces of the Persians, Eraclius took by storm and captured all the way up to the city of Susa (the capital and head of the Persians' kingdom). And he destroyed the cities, villages and towns of all the regions and reformed the area as a province of the Roman empire. Having removed the Persians' authority and destroyed their kingdom, he returned happily to the new Rome[xix] with great glory.
In the seventh year of the aforementioned princeps,[xx] hostile Saracen rebels of the Roman provinces began causing disturbances, more secretly than by public incursions. Theodorus,[xxi] the brother[xxii] of Eraclius the Augustus, engaged in many battles against them. Having heard the news, Eraclius advised his brother that in no way should he be in conflict with such people, because he was no less familiar with knowledge of the discipline of astrology, and if anything should turn out by chance, he was not ignorant in any way.[xxiii]
A huge multitude of the Saracens brought together invaded the provinces of Syria, Arabia and Mesopotamia. Holding the principate[xxiv] over them was a man by the name of Mahmet,[xxv] born of the noblest tribe of that people:[xxvi] he was a rather knowledgeable man and a foreseer of some things to come.
Era 658: Suintila undertook the worthy reins of governance in the kingdom of the Goths.[xxvii]
Eraclius gave instructions through all the provinces and even islands of his empire, so that whatever Roman legions were placed as garrisons in diverse places of the land, should arrive at the Syrian city of Damascus to overcome the enemy.
Theodorus gave a battle with the many soldiers of the Romans at the town of Gabatha.[xxviii] But such were the terror and might of the enemy for the Roman legions that afterwards scarcely any were left alive to bear the news. In this struggle also Theodorus the brother of the Augustus was killed. The Saracens were certain that such a great mass of Roman nobles had been laid low and they had shaken off fear of the Roman name. They thus firmly took possession of the provinces that they had invaded a little while ago, and they established a kingdom at Damascus, the most splendid city of Syria.[xxix]
The aforementioned princeps of the Saracens Mahmet died after ruling his kingdom for ten years. They treat him with such great honour and reverence that they affirm that he is the apostle and prophet of God in all their sacraments and writings. In his place Habubeccar of the Saracens,[xxx] who arose from the same place as his predecessor, was elected by his own people. Leading a very great expedition into the Persian lands, he devastated the cities and towns, while capturing some of the fortifications.
Eraclius abandoned the mortal world through dropsy.
Habubeccar, indeed nearly three years after he became leader, died. After his death, Hamer undertook the reins of the kingdom of the Saracens for 10 years.[xxxi]
Era 678. Of the Romans 58. Constantinus the son of Eraclius undertook the scepters of the Roman empire within the year, despite the Senate's opposition.[xxxii]
Hamer of the Saracens directed the cohorts of his nation to wage war on all the nearby eastern and western nations in the most enterprising manner. He subjected Alexandria- also the oldest and most flourishing civil metropolis of Egypt- to the censuary yoke[xxxiii] after the Roman garrisons were cast down, which were found in the same place. And the aforementioned Hamer, leader of the Ismailites,[xxxiv] ordered for the town of Babilo to be founded[xxxv] as well as garrisons which still stand even now, to protect against the Roman realm. And while his helping armies were bringing the triumph of victory from all parts whether West or East, after ten years of his rule he was killed by a certain slave while attending prayers.
Of the Romans 59: Constans the son of Constantinus undertook the reins of administration of the state after his father died. He ruled for 27 years.[xxxvi]
For the Saracens, Etheman assumed the leadership of his people and ruled for 12 years.[xxxvii] This man joined to the control of the Saracens and subjected to their command Libya Marmoricis[xxxviii] and Pentapolis,[xxxix] as well as Kazania[xl] and even Aethiopia, which lie beyond Egypt in the expanses of desert. And he made very many cities of the Persians tributaries. After accomplishing these things, Etheman was killed in their civil war.
But soon Moabia obtained his seat and ruled for 25 years.[xli] For five of these years he waged civil wars with his own people. For 20 years indeed he made all the peoples of the Ismailites obedient with the greatest happiness.[xlii] Constans the Augustus unsuccessfully fought against him despite gathering 1000 and more ships. He scarcely managed to escape with few. Through his commander also called Habedella,[xliii] who for a time held leadership of the battle command, many successes were attained in the West. He came to Tripoli. He also assailed through war Cuida and Helemptie,[xliv] and after many desolations and vanquishing and devastation, he accepted the provinces into trust. Still thirsty for blood, he arrived in Africa. Therefore preparations for battles were made, and the line of the Moors[xlv] was put to flight and all the nobility of Africa with count Gregory[xlvi] were wiped out in killing. Also the reputed Habedella, returning with large largess with all his cohorts, reached Egypt, as Moabia was acting in the tenth year of his rule.
Constans the Augustus, who ran through the state in kindling of fire, was killed at the renowned city of Syracuse in Sicily by a plot of his ministers, having ruled for 27 years. But Constantinus the elder of his sons undertook the care of administering the Roman empire.
Of the Romans 60: Constantinus heard that his father was killed at Syracuse[xlvii] by the sedition of his own men. He was crowned emperor and ruled for years.[xlviii]
Moabia the king of the Saracens directed 100,000 of his men, who might attend in obedience to his son Yzit[xlix] (to whom he had also decreed the kingdom), to assault the city of Constantinople. But as they surrounded it for the whole springtime and could not bear the toil of hunger and pestilence, they abandoned the city and captured very many towns.[l] Loaded with booty, they returned to Damascus and the king, by whom they had been directed, after a period of healing of two years. So Moabia died after he filled out twenty years of his principate and lived five of them as a civilian.
After he died, Yzit his son ruled for three years. He was a most pleasant man and considered most graciously in the eyes of all the nations subjected to his rule. He never sought any glory for the sake of royal honour for himself (as is the custom of men), but rather he lived as a civilian in common with all. Few or no successes were accomplished in his times in the armies directed by him.
After three years he put an end to his reign and left as a successor to him his son Moabia,[li] similar in his father's customs. Once he attained power, he donated a third of the tribute of money to all the provinces of his kingdom.[lii] And he himself, before he could remain for a half a year in rule, departed from this light.
Of the Romans 61. Iustinianus was put in charge of the kingdom by the senate. He ruled for 10 years before the first dispossession and for 10 years after receiving the kingdom.
After the younger Moabia died, the armies of all the provinces chose two leaders for themselves: one called Abdella,[liii] the other Maroan,[liv] the grandson of whose son holds the principate of theirs until our times. But Abdella before nearly two years had passed was elected princeps by the consent of all, while Maroan, on account of cruelty on the part of Abdella himself, was driven from the borders of Almidina[lv] with all his children and indeed his relatives and was ordered to be in exile at Damascus. But some time afterwards, with some from the army agreeing and God overlooking, he was brought to the kingdom. Waging indescribable and numerous battles for the second year continuously against each other, an innumerable multitude of men fell from both armies with mutual battles stirred up among themselves. And as they observed that their strength in turn with the excess fighting was being sapped more and more, Maroan, the king of one part, sent envoys in supplication to Constantinus the Augustus and demanded that peace be granted to him. On these conditions a peace of nine years was granted to him: that he should restore safe and sound the captives and fugitives who were in all the provinces of the Saracens to their own homes. In addition, the king of the Saracens should give to the Augustus emperor a quantity of 1000 solidi of gold of integral weight, one girl, an Arabian mule and fine silk on a daily basis without intermission for the continual cycle of 9 years. Indeed before Maroan died, he divided the provinces of the Ismailites among his sons: that is, he left the regions of Persis, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Osdroena, Arabia and Syria to his firstborn Habdelmele to rule.[lvi] He left Egypt and the parts of further Aethiopia, Tripolei and Africa and the adjacent provinces all the way to the Gaditanan straits to his son Habdellaziz.[lvii] He gave command of the armies and navies to his son Mahmet, so that once the peace ended after nine years he might be devoted to expeditions against the Roman realm and all the neighbouring nations. Thus with all things diligently and prudently fulfilled and with one year of fighting finished, he restored the debt of human nature and, as he himself had ordered, he left Habdelemele his eldest son as successor.
Of the Romans 62. With Iustinianus[lviii] overthrown in a coup, Leo was crowned king. He ruled for three years.[lix]
After him, of the Romans 63. Absimarus was put in charge in that manner. He ruled for eight years.[lx]
Habdelmele, assuming the apex of his kingdom, ruled for 20 years. In the first year of his rule, he directed all the experience and virtue of the mind of his army against Habdella (whom his father had attacked so many times in various wars) all the way finally to Macca- as they consider it, the home of Abraham, which lies in the desert between Ur of the Chaldeans and Carra the city of Mesopotamia. With the attack put in motion, king Habdella was killed by the leader of the army called Tahihie[lxi] appointed by king Habdemele. And the decapitated head of the aforementioned Habdella was presented to Habdelmele the son of king Maroan at Damascus by Aiaie the leader of the army.[lxii] Thus, in the sixth year of the rule of the aforementioned princeps,[lxiii] with domestic wars having been put to an end in all areas, he attacked the borders of external peoples in the shrewdest manner. For he made the provinces of many people, states, villages, towns and castles tributaries to his command. And as his previously mentioned brother (to whom his father had handed power from the borders of Egypt all the way to the Gaditan strait and had ordered to be a successor of the kingdom after him) had been overcome in a fatal accident, he decreed that the kingdom was all the same to be handed over to his own children. Of course he handed over to Hulit his firstborn son the kingdom after himself,[lxiv] and he also ordered his brother called Zoleiman[lxv] to be his follower. And thus by making orders out of utility, as he had learnt from his father, he set things in order for his children and after filling out the year of his rule in security he departed from this light.
Iustinianus, having been helped by the force and virtue of the Chazars, returned to Constantinople residing in his own kingdom, with those who had rebelled against him some time ago having been overcome.[lxvi]
Hulit succeeded to wield the scepters of the kingdom according to what his father had set forth. He ruled for nine years, a man of total prudence in setting forth the armies, and though lacking divine favour, it was such that he broke the courage of almost all the nearest peoples. Among all things he made the Roman realm weak through assiduous devastation. He also brought together under his rule the nearby islands. He thoroughly tamed the borders of India by devastation. Also in the western parts he attacked and conquered through the commander of his army called Musa[lxvii] the kingdom of the Goths that had been fortified by old hardness in the regions of Spain. Having overthrown the kingdom, he made them tributaries. Thus having successfully conducted all matters he died after the forces of all peoples were provided and presented to him.
Of the Romans 64: Philippicus the usurper[lxviii] invaded the kingdom after Iustianianus was killed in a revolt that had been stirred up. After this 65. Anastasius was crowned.[lxix] And then 66. Artemius, also known as Theodosius[lxx] was put in charge of the kingdom. These men ruled civilly for five years.
Among the Arabs, after Hulit died, his blood brother Zoleiman ruled in the kingdom for three years as per what his father had laid out. This man, hostile to the Roman realm, sent his brother called Mazalema, born from the same mother, to destroy the Roman realm with 100,000 armed men having been selected to go with him. He soon reached and struck the borders of Asia. He then attacked by warfare and destroyed by fire and sword the most ancient and flourishing city of Asia: Pergamum, which was misled by trickery. He decreed that the survivors should be distributed to the army. And from here he approached the royal city and surrounded it with a siege for two years but accomplished nothing.[lxxi] Seeing that he was in danger rather than bringing about dangers, compelled by hunger, the sword and total indigence he returned not too happily to his own province now by the orders of another leader. Indeed the aforementioned leader Zoleiman had died at the end of the third year while waiting at the province of Antioch.
Of the Romans 67. While the Saracens were approaching the royal city in order to take it by storm, Leo, an expert of military discipline undertook the scepters of the state for 24 years by the Senate's acclamation.[lxxii]
The dead Zoleiman had left as successor of the Saracens in the kingdom the son of his uncle, (whom his grandfather had put in charge of the whole west from Egypt), called Amer.[lxxiii] He ruled for three years. And after him he had arranged to lead back his brother called Yzit into power.[lxxiv] Hamer also in matters of armies accomplished nothing sufficiently outstanding or anything adverse. But he was of such great benevolence and patience, that as much praise and honour are given to him by all (even external people), as has ever been brought to any living person assuming the reins of a kingdom. Indeed also this man withdrew from the place in which Zoleiman had died.
Yzit of the Saracens, succeeding in the kingdom, ruled for four years. Against this man armies of his own people, which were responsible for guarding the Persian lands, stirred up a rebellion and contrived civil wars. Ministering the councils among those people and remaining above them as the head of the crime was a Saracen called Yzit, who did not arise from that royal tribe.[lxxv] Yzit the king, having been informed of the rebellion, sent an expedition against them with his previously mentioned brother called Mazlema, born from the same mother.[lxxvi] And when both armies had come to blows in the Babylonian plains over the Tigris river, the aforementioned Yzit the leader of the rebellion was killed by the army of Yzit the king. And thus his army, having collapsed in flight, was crushed, such that, with scarcely a few escaping, they were glad merely to have survived, as mercy was granted by Mazlema the leader of the army. Also he waged many successful matters against the Roman realm. Finally in the western parts he was partially successful through the leaders of the army.
Also he made Gallia Narbonensis[lxxvii] his own through the leader of the army called Mazlema and he agitated the people of the Franks with frequent wars. And with inconsistent virtue the aforementioned leader of the army got all the way up to Toulouse, and surrounding it with siege he tried to take it by storm through different kinds of siege equipment. The peoples of the Franks, informed of this development, gathered around a leader of the same people called Eudon.[lxxviii] And thus gathered they reached Toulouse. At Toulouse both armies clashed in a grave battle. They killed Zema the leader of the army of the Saracens together with part of his army.[lxxix] They pursued the remainder of the army that collapsed through flight.
Therefore Yzit the leader of the Saracens, after ruling for four years, departed from this light, leaving the kingdom to his brother called Hescia.[lxxx] And after his brother he had decreed that a son of his own seed called Hulit would rule.[lxxxi]
[i] The original Latin uses the present tense here: moritur ('dies'). This is a literary device called the historic present and it is common in Latin narrative literature.
[ii] Visigothic king of Spain who reigned in the period 586-601 CE. The Visigoths were a Germanic people who gained control of much of Spain as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century CE.
[iii] Liuva II, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 601-603 CE.
[iv] Witteric, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 603-610 CE.
[v] i.e. the Byzantines, whose realm was originally the Eastern Roman Empire.
[vi] Phocas, Byzantine emperor in the period 602-610 CE.
[vii] i.e. The Sassanids.
[viii] Gundemar, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 610-612 CE.
[ix] Heraclius, one of the most well-known Byzantine figures among Muslims as he was the emperor during the career of the Prophet Muhammad. He was emperor in the period 610-641 CE.
[x] The Roman designation of Africa was centred on modern-day Tunisia (in particular the city of Carthage).
[xi] It should also be mentioned here that Heraclius' father was also involved in the revolt against Phocas.
[xii] A Roman title for emperor, derived from the concept of princeps senatus (see below for more details).
[xiii] Magister militum ('master of soldiers'): a late Roman designation for the senior commander of the army beneath the emperor.
[xiv] 'Him': i.e. Phocas
[xv] A senate developed in the Eastern Roman Empire, based in Constantinople.
[xvi] Sisebut: Visigothic king of Spain in the period 612-621 CE
[xvii] Cosdroas: Khosrow II, Sassanid emperor in the period 590-628 CE.
[xviii] 'Augustus': a traditional title of the Roman emperor, also used in relation to the Byzantine emperors, who, after all, considered themselves to be Romans, as noted above.
[xx] This would be in 617-618 CE. However, by traditional Islamic accounts, Muhammad was still in Mecca and did not establish the Muslim community as a significant force until 622 CE with the migration to what is now Medina. By these accounts, the Muslim clashes with the Byzantines did not come about until much later, with the first major recorded engagement being the Battle of Mu'tah in 629 CE.
[xxi] Byzantine general and brother of the emperor Heraclius. He was involved in clashes with the Muslims.
[xxii] The word used for 'brother' here is germanus, a late Latin preference as opposed to the more usual frater in classical Latin. The word germanus carried through to Spanish as hermano, but in French the word frater was carried through in the form of frère.
[xxiii] Note the original Latin here uses the indicative for the causal clauses, indicating a comment on the author's part rather than a continuation of Heraclius' speech as oratio obliqua.
[xxiv] The Latin term here is principatus. The principate was a Roman designation used to refer to the status of Emperor beginning with Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE). The designation of the status of emperor as such was partly intended to keep a distance from ideas of monarchy, as the term is tied to the concept of princeps senatus ('chief of the Senate'). Here the author applies the term as interpretatio Romana to Muhammad's leadership of the Muslims. The author also uses the term sometimes in reference to the institution of the Caliphate. Another designation for the caliph one finds in the text is Sarracenorum rex ("king of the Saracens"), with rex having a pure monarchical connotation.
[xxv] Muhammad. Note that I have preserved the original text's Latin transliterations of the name of Muhammad and other Arabic names for the sake of authenticity.
[xxvi] The Quraysh, according to traditional Islamic accounts.
[xxvii] Visigothic king of Spain in the period 621-631 CE.
[xxviii] Likely referring to the battle of Yarmouk in 636 CE, which paved the way for the Muslim conquest of the Levant.
[xxix] By the traditional accounts, the first Muslim conquest of Damascus was in 634/635 CE, after Muhammad's death. The Muslims subsequently withdrew and then re-entered after defeating the Byzantines at the battle of Yarmouk.
[xxx] Abu Bakr, the first of the Rashidun caliphs. No mention is made of the internal Ridda wars that occurred in Abu Bakr's reign according to traditional Islamic accounts. His reign as caliph lasted from 632-634 CE according to the traditional Islamic accounts.
[xxxi] Omar, the second of the Rashidun caliphs. He ruled in the period 634-644 CE.
[xxxii] Constantine III, Byzantine emperor for less than half a year in 641 CE.
[xxxiii] i.e. Conquered it. The Muslim capture of Alexandria took place in 641 CE.
[xxxiv] Ismailites: i.e. the Arabs/Saracens/Muslims here, since Arabs are said to be descendants of Ismail the son of Abraham.
[xxxv] The town of Kufa in Iraq.
[xxxvi] Constans II, Byzantine emperor in the period 641-668 CE.
[xxxvii] Othman, the third of the Rashidun caliphs. He ruled in the period 644-656 CE.
[xxxviii] A region corresponding to the modern Egyptian borders with Libya.
[xxxix] Cyrenaica region in eastern Libya.
[xl] Perhaps the southern regions of Libya.
[xli] Mu'awiya, the first Ummayad caliph. His reign as caliph by traditional Islamic accounts was in the period 661-680 CE. The Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle however counts the five previous years as part of his reign, omitting any mention of Ali, indicating the author's pro-Umayyad bias in recounting early Islamic history.
[xlii] Cf. The praise accorded to Mu'awiya's son Yazid as noted in the introduction.
[xliii] Abdullah bin Sa'ad, to be distinguished from Abdullah bin al-Zubayr who features later on in the chronicle. See more on the latter below. However, it is not clear that the chronicle clearly distinguishes the two men.
[xliv] Possibly Leptis Magna in Libya.
[xlv] i.e. The native Berbers, who were Christians and fighting on the side of the Byzantines.
[xlvi] Gregory the Patrician, killed in 647 CE.
[xlvii] A town in Sicily
[xlviii] Constantine IV, Byzantine emperor in the period 668-685 CE.
[xlix] Yazid bin Mu'awiya
[l] The First Arab Siege of Constantinople.
[li] Mu'awiya II, who ruled in the period 683-684 CE.
[lii] i.e. Remitted tribute.
[liii] Abdullah bin al-Zubayr, a non-Umayyad claimant to the Caliphate who was based in the Hejaz region.
[liv] Marwan I, who ruled as Umayyad caliph in the period 684-685 CE.
[lvi] Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, who ruled as Umayyad caliph in the period 685-705 CE.
[lvii] Abd al-Aziz bin Marwan, who served as governor of Egypt in the same period.
[lviii] Justinian II, who ruled as Byzantine emperor twice: 685-695 CE, and then 705-711 CE. The reference here is to his deposition in 695 CE.
[lix] Leontius, Byzantine emperor in the period 695-698 CE.
[lx] Tiberius III, Byzantine emperor in the period 698-705 CE.
[lxi] Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf, an Umayyad governor and general.
[lxii] Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf.
[lxiii] Cf. The comment on the use of the term principatus.
[lxiv] Al-Walid I, Umayyad caliph in the period 705-715 CE.
[lxv] Sulayman bin Abd al-Malik, Umayyad caliph in the period 715-717 CE.
[lxvi] The construction in the original Latin here is the accusative absolute, which emerges in late Latin as an alternative to the regular classical Latin construction of the ablative absolute. Compare the following two sentences of the same meaning:
centurione necato, puella discessit (ablative absolute)
centurionem necatum, puella discessit (accusative absolute)
"After the centurion was killed, the girl departed."
[lxvii] Musa bin Nusayr, an Umayyad general and governor who ended Visigothic rule in Spain.
[lxviii] Philippikos, Byzantine emperor in the period 711-713 CE.
[lxix] Anastasius II, Byzantine emperor in the period 713-715 CE.
[lxx] Theodosius III, Byzantine emperor in the period 715-717 CE.
[lxxi] The Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 717-718 CE.
[lxxii] Leo III, Byzantine emperor in the period 717-741 CE.
[lxxiii] Omar II, Umayyad caliph in the period 717-720 CE.
[lxxiv] Yazid II, Umayyad caliph in the period 720-724 CE.
[lxxv] Yazid bin al-Muhallab, who was opposed to Yazid II. The negative characterization of Yazid bin al-Muhallab fits the overall pro-Umayyad slant of the work.
[lxxvi] Maslama bin Abd al-Malik, an Umayyad general.
[lxxvii] A region from Roman times. It is centred on modern-day Narbonne in southern France.
[lxxviii] The Battle of Toulouse occurred in 721 CE. The Umayyad army was defeated by Odo of Aquitaine (here: Eudon).
[lxxix] Al-Samh bin Malik al-Khawlani.
[lxxx] Hisham bin Abd al-Malik, Umayyad caliph in the period 724-743 CE.
[lxxxi] Al-Walid II, Umayyad caliph in the period 743-74 CE.
[Revised: 22nd September 2019 CE].