The following biography of the Prophet Muhammad lacks an original title in its handwritten manuscript form, but it is conventionally dubbed Adelphus' Life of Muhammad, in reference to the sign-off at the end of the text as well as the 'Adelphus' (which translates as 'brother' in Greek) addressed in the text by an unidentified Greek man who narrates the life of the Prophet. In the introduction to the critical edition of the text produced in Bernhard Bischoff's Anecdota Novissima, it is suggested that the work was composed around the middle of the twelfth century CE.
Like Embrico of Mainz's work on the life of Muhammad, this text tends towards the end of the spectrum furthest removed from the traditional accounts of the Prophet's life. However, unlike Embrico of Mainz's poem, this work is composed in prose form, though it also has occasional lines of poetry. For example:
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discipulum dictis tandem compellit amicis
In summary, the plot is as follows: Muhammad (dubbed 'Machomet' in this biography) is portrayed as a pig-herd (Latin: porcarius) who became a disciple of the Christian heretic Nestorius, who was banished into the remote forests of the Mount Lebanon region. The two developed a close relationship and reinforced each other's heretical and evil ideas. Nestorius inquired from Machomet about the nature of his people and encouraged him to preach the new doctrine, but Machomet instead urged at first that they should come to Nestorius and learn. At the same time, Machomet argued that for the crowd to believe in the doctrine, they would need to see some kind of sign/miracle. Hence, Machomet suggested a trick whereby the crowd would become thirsty over the course of three days, and so Nestorius would provide them with water, ostensibly a sign from God but actually supplied by Machomet.
While this initiative was successful, Machomet then proposed that in the future, Nestorius should not have the people come to him but rather he should entrust Machomet with preaching, and he should supplicate his God to provide divinely-revealed scripture. Alone with Nestorius, Machomet suggested pinning a scripture to the horns of a thirsty calf that would be set loose from confinement. This scripture would then be portrayed as divine revelation. Machomet then went to address the people by a spring, and then the calf was released and stopped by the spring to drink, and the people believed Machomet's words that the scripture on its horns was divine revelation. However, the people revered Nestorius with more authority, and so Machomet killed Nestorius out of envy but was able to pin the murder on another disciple who was then executed. As the murder occurred following an occasion of drinking wine, Machomet then decreed the prohibition on wine.
The king of the Arabs ('the Hagarenes') then died, and Machomet married his widowed queen and thus became the new king. He expanded the domain and then forcibly converted those who did not willingly believe in the new doctrine. In the end, however, Machomet was torn apart and largely eaten by a flock of wild pigs while out hunting one day, and so it was henceforth decreed that eating pork was to be prohibited.
The work has some parallels with other medieval Christian works that feature biographies of the Prophet. Like the ninth century Prophetic Chronicle, this work explains that the name of the Saracens for the Arabs is the result of the Arabs' supposed claim to be descendants of Sarah (Abraham's wife), but actually since Ishmael their forefather was the son of Hagar, they should be called Hagarenes. We also have the transposition of Muhammad to the wrong century (Nestorius the heretic lived in the fifth century CE), the story of a raging calf (similar to that of the monstrous bull in Embrico of Mainz's poem), Muhammad's marriage to a widow, the devouring of Muhammad by pigs and the resulting prohibition on pork (also in Embrico of Mainz's poem), and the supposed veneration of Muhammad as God (also in Embrico of Mainz's poem).
I would like to dedicate this translation and commentary to Llewelyn Morgan, a rather monstrous professor of Classics at Oxford University. You can follow his musings on the world on Twitter and his blog discussing Latin literature and translation. As I read the occasional turns of phrase in this work derived from Virgil, Juvenal, Ovid and Horace, I could not help thinking of you, Llewelyn.
The edition of the text I have used for this translation, as noted above, comes from Anecdota Novissima by Bernhard Bischoff. This edition of the text also provided references to Biblical texts and allusions to Latin literature that I have highlighted in the endnotes.
The Greeks either the inventors or writer of almost all arts, whose urbane facetiousness led from the old leathern bottle into a new vessel[i] swells with very much Latin page, have left nothing brought out so fabulously, in which not the pure truth is to be found as though covered, if it is curiously investigated with that light, which the Latin vigilance would strike from their flint-stone. Indeed from the opinion of these Greeks, by which they are accustomed to dispute with the Sarracens, this, which by the duty of the pen I have arranged to commend into the present, I have gathered as though I am one of the curious cyclical writers.[ii] So I have gathered on this occasion.
While frequently I had heard the Sarracens invoking a certain horrendous monster Machomet,[iii] with the sound of their voice, in as much as they practise Bacchanalian rites, and adoring him instead of God, and when struck as I was with vehement wonder I had arrived at Antiochia[iv] while returning from Jerusalem, I met with a certain Greek sciolist of both the Latin and Saracen tongue regarding this sort of thing. And I inquired with all caution that I could as to what I should believe and from where that monster had arisen. And his prompt loquacity did not fail me, increased as it had been by the natural and domestic hatred against the Saracens. For there is eternal enmity between the sacredness of faith and paganism, between the temple of God and the idol, and he who was born from a slave girl persecutes the one who was born from a free woman.[v] What therefore? The Greek man, with great avidity of speaking, as his business had been deferred in the meantime, began to explain the studiously the things which I was asking in wonder, using these words:
"First, oh Adelfus, it behoves to know removed from all ambiguity that those people, who glorify themselves with this name, are not in truth called Saracens, nor are they as such. For they are Agarenes[vi] and are rightly called as such. For that, if the history is traced from Abraham all the way to us, is known by everyone. Indeed there is the separation of the sons of Abraham, that is Isaac, who indeed is called Saracen because he proceeded from Sara, and from him the 12 patriarch fathers- the sons of Israhel[vii]- are Saracen by paternal right and name: there is no one who does not know this. Therefore it is left that no one should doubt that Ismahel the son of Agar is Agarene and those who proceeded from him, are Agarenes and are rightly called as such. Indeed those, about whom we have begun to speak, are not according to the flesh or according to the spirit sons of a free woman but of a slave girl. Therefore in the present collation of discourse, which you demand from me, I consider it sufficient to call them Agarenes, and not Saracens. So much for these things; from here I will fulfil what you ask concerning the horrendous monster Machomet.
The first apostle Peter- the princeps of this Antiochene seat, who is most worthy of glorious veneration- left this land beloved to him, abundantly fertile as it was with the seed of the Holy Spirit as he himself seeded it, and per the requirement of the common interest of the Church, with which he always was wholly fervent, he approached the capital of the Church of the world and the capital of the cities and master Rome, and carried away to heaven the most glorious trophy of martyrdom that had been pre-assigned by the Master. After these things happened, the enemy of the human race, envying the unity of the holy faith and the holy religion, scattered cockles among the wheat,[viii] from which the most evil root of all evils came forth and bloomed, that is the multiform heresy that is both nefarious and varied, both staining and stained, one root but innumerable branches, one beast but many heads. Hence the blessed Paul, prophesying, says: 'After my departure rapacious wolves, heavy wolves will enter among you.'[ix] From there also it is sung in prophesy in the Songs of Songs: 'Seize for me the little foxes, which are destroying the vineyards.'[x] Among the innumerable branches of this root, among the cockles of the enemy, among the destroying foxes, among the heavy wolves has emerged before our memory in this Church a sprout destroying hope of fruits, a little fox that has destroyed and taken away the vineyard of Christ. There has appeared a wolf, tearing apart the sheep of the Lord, more monstrous than every atrocity, indeed armed with his new heresy: Nestorius the heretic. If he did not extend knowledge beyond the world, beyond measure, beyond that which one must know,[xi] if he contained himself within the limit of observing the faith, if he did not exhibit blasphemy to the unviolated Trinity which also must not be violated, we know and profess, a not small place of praise would lie open for him in the Church. But now, as he was from evil since he wanted more than what is just, let each person understand that we begrudge not praise for him but his error. As the pronouncement of this heresy lacks reason, I deem it better that you henceforth ignore it rather than dispute anything from there. For often it happens that it proves an impediment if it is known, because it is of no impediment, but rather is of benefit if it is not known. Therefore, those who at that time presided over controlling the Church, after they understood that the aforementioned Nestorius was an avowed wolf who had cast off the sheep's clothing,[xii] and they discovered in secret and public that having been corrupted he in no way wanted to recover his senses, they determined by common decree that a limb of this sort should be made anathema and cast forth from the body of the Church, especially as bad company corrupts good morals[xiii] and the vine takes the sickly colour from the other vine and the whole flock falls by the disease of one and the mange of a pig.[xiv] And so with the long counsel held, Nestorius was relegated to exile, that is in the parts of the Agarenes, in the most dense wood of Mount Libanus,[xv] into the place of horror and into the place of vast solitude,[xvi] which seemed rather removed from the frequenting of men, so that either along he should be led by repentance and return to the path of salvation, or in the same place there he should die alone. Indeed as he lay hidden in this horrific wilderness through a number of years, contemplating nothing of his own thought, and he had no partner or supporter of his wickedness for much time, behold the enemy of the human race, grieving that the man would die alone, the one whom he had captured, prepared accomplices of iniquity and sharers in his perdition by the skill, by which he besieges all. So the man, as though seven rather wicked spirits were taken up, said to himself: 'I will return into the home from where I went out.'[xvii] Thus arose the most recent things of that man, more wicked than those before. Thus our adversary fund how the seed, which he had seeded in Nestorius, could multiple and grow into the perdition of many.
But when a certain pig-herd had wandered rather far away in the same wood, grazing his pigs, he came to the habitation of Nestorius, by mishap and- what is more true- by the leading of a malign spirit. As each of the two found the other alone, they rejoiced in each other's presence. The pig-herd began to inquire diligently from Nestorius, asking who he was and from where he was and how he had come into that place. When Nestorius, hiding his own fault, as he was accustomed in such matters, had explained this matter through astute digression, defending his own cause, he made a request of the pig-herd and sent him away, so that he would come frequently to him. The pig-herd promised he would do this with great enthusiasm and true to his promise fulfilled it wickedly and thus in a brief time through use and frequency he rendered companions, whom he made equal in the wickedness of his acts. For that pig-herdsman was a man of most wicked art, cunning mind, a man of the skill of necrology, a pupil of the diabolical doctrine, a mage over all,
Whom neither the harmful herb nor the hidden voice cheated.[xviii]
Behold, if equal matches equal, like is joined with like. See how easily in such things our ambusher did what he wanted. For when they had sat together frequently and each of the two from many had brought together through discourse many things concerning their own affairs, Nestorius noticed that the pig-herd of somewhat ingenuity was so docile and full of affection and a young man very much capable of the whole discipline. As I said, he noticed, and he began to encourage very much that he should learn literature from him. The affectation and encouragement of Nestorius pleased the young man and through all wakefulness he could and through all assiduity he took up the learning of letters, but nonetheless he did not cease from caring for pigs. Soon enough, wondrously, over the course of up to three years he gained proficiency in literature, so that not only did he not yield to his master in these things, which he had learnt from him, but also he increased his prior error much more through his own invention. And so the art of the two men mixed and distorted the Old and New Testaments in such a way that, what Nestorius could in no way adjust to his own damned intellect, the pig-herd- that is, Machomet- claimed for his own sense by both subversion and interpretation per the most damned rite of his own land. Thus indeed the figment, invention, art and interpretation of each of the two men were strengthened by the other's error. They were wondrous to each other, the former because he held by use, the latter because he learned anew, the former because previously he contended in a sophisticated manner in the Church, the latter because he invented newly in a diabolical manner, the former because he was cast out, the latter because he was taken up, the former because he was solitary, the latter because he was a pig-herd, the former through heresy, the latter through learning. Therefore by these customs, by these arts how easily they merged:[xix] those people who harmed themselves forever and many to come, preachers of a new error, the initiators of a most wicked rite, those who caused the stumbling of innumerable souls.
For while Nestorius was inquiring rather often from Machomet about the faith of his people and he had perceived that the Agarenes were neither Christians nor idolaters, but surrounded by a certain unknown cult considered all that was pleasing to be lawful to themselves, and deemed everything they saw as equally godly, equally holy, he considered that they would easily yield to his doctrine, as the truth of no worship had solidified them. And his opinion did not cheat him. Through his effort he considered to join Machomet as a companion for himself for this plan:
At last he compelled the disciple through friendly words:[xx]
'The matter, time, and very much necessary account seem to demand, that, oh son, you should bring forth into the at of public administration that which you had learnt from me and had augmented in great part by your own ingenuity. Therefore make an eternal name for yourself, seize the duty of preaching among your own people, declare the word of truth, correct the ignorant, so that with your teaching they may know what must be believed and what must be done, and with your leadership they may be compelled to return to the way. You do not lack the wisdom to accomplish this, nor interpreting discourse, nor eloquence, nor the great experience of your fatherland's tongue. Also the rest of the things have been attributed to you: it is not as if[xxi] you do not have gravity of person and the dignity of descent and the prosperity of riches?
Illuminate your kin and be a light to your parents!
And there will not be lacking for you whatever our art and favour is capable of.'
To him Machomet replied: 'Thanks, father, I bring to your pious devotion now, and in the future no age will prevent me from doing so,[xxii] as you choose such a name for me. But you know, that the haughtiness of men disdains to hear the likes of me and the doctrine of foreigners is often heard with greater authority than that of the domestic people. For I learnt in your school, that no prophet has been accepted in his country.[xxiii] Therefore no one of my people would welcome my teaching, first on account of haughtiness, then also on account of envy. Indeed that which you impose on me is heavier than I can bear alone. Therefore, as you have considered kindly for my people, you yourself undertake, you yourself begin, you yourself send the hand, begin to preach, begin to teach; in you is the gravity of doctrine, the dignity of the person, the authority of the one teaching. What you say, you are believed, and faith will be applied to your words. And so to you, father, to you the more worthy name which you choose for me will accumulate. Nonetheless, make use of me, as far as is possible within me, as a most devoted messenger and assistant. Indeed I hope that from the nearest cities all around, by my instinct, my admonitions and the fame of such a man I will lead several to your doctrine to be heard. And I am not ignorant of the fact that after they hear you, they will seek a sign from you, without which they will not be easily converted to you. There let this be seen in advance with all caution, lest anything incautious be found among you by these people. I will prepare two of the largest leathern bottles I can, which, on the day before the crowds gather to you, filled with water will be buried in a more secluded part of the room of your land, so that, when the crowds hearing you through a period of three days are vexed by thirst, on the third day they will be restored through as though by the power of God. For in this sign the great authority of your doctrine will proceed from the strengthened part.'
For then the argumentative invention of this counsel pleased Nestorius. It pleased, I say, and he urged Machomet to make an effort more hurriedly for these things. And Machomet did not delay. For there is the spirit, by which he was agitated, without delay and rest. Moreover, approaching the cities and neighbouring places all around, from there he spoke to many and he raised men of mixed age; he mentioned that he had found a holy man sent from heaven for their salvation and he persuaded them by all the art by which he knew, so that they should go with him to see and hear the man. And this happened. So roused by the fame of such a great man, some out of human curiosity, others out of hope, if I should, of changing conduct for the better, others by some mobility of mind, more still desirous of new things hurried to Nestorius' room, intending to die by the new doctrine, by the new cult, by the new both wicked as it was new. Oh how perdition was hurriedly sought, oh how there was a running with blind foot to danger, oh how the torturous traps are presented, oh how there was a falling into a deep snare, oh how the heathens were deceived by double, manifold, all error!
Whither do you rush intending to die,[xxiv] whither does blind error seize you,
Driven by your disasters, whither do you rush intending to die?
Do you not know that your most new affairs will be worse than those before?[xxv] Consider, what and how much you owe to this citizen, who has blessed you with this gift.
At last therefore they reached the room of Nestorius. When they were received with joy and delight, through three continual days they intently listened from the morning until evening to the doctrine of Nestorius. Nor was lacking the cunning craftsman, who busied to implant within their hearts what they had externally. Therefore the doctrine of Nestorius seemed to them to be very sweet and strengthened with all authority and so effective for their salvation, that it was to be sought above all things with great affection. And so on the third day, as their provisions which they had brought with them from home became lacking, and they were being burned above all by thirst as the place was deserted and arid- they began to shout to Nestorius, that through invocation of his God he should provide them water to drink. What therefore? He promised that he on the next day would give them water in abundance, but he said in one day and night God would have to be supplicated over this. Indeed thirsty and hardly waiting for the day they came at the crack of dawn demanding water. So, feigning fatigue within, as though he were recently raising himself from prayer, he received vessels of individuals through the window and from the leathern bottles, which he had hidden for this purpose, he secretly poured sufficient water for all, and they indeed, believing it was given by divine intervention, avidly and joyfully drank it both out of reverence and out of thirst. In short they had that furtive sign both out of great admiration and out of the greatest firmament of his doctrine. Oh again and again a heathen people more blind than all darkness, why with such quick mind did you believe this furtive sign? Why not at least did you demand it open and uncovered? Certainly, certainly, not secretly, but openly did the stick of Moses strike out a spring from the rock and thus he ministered to the thirsty people.[xxvi] Certainly, who is to doubt that those things which escape light are the works of darkness?[xxvii] Indeed the most wretched crowd, deceived and doomed in this manner, became initiated into this cult but not still not wholly surrendered, they demanded from Nestorius the permission to return to their own affairs.
Hearing this, Machomet addressed his master with such advice:[xxviii]
'For these people, who flowed to you, far away, father, is their habitation from here, indeed in the space of three or more days, and it is a laborious way, then with the difficulty of the desert, then also with the aridity of the place. Therefore do not trouble them further with the labour of coming to you again. If it pleases, impose for me the duty of performing your embassy to them from here on. And I do not consider it onerous to obey your command, then as you have bound me to yourself with your benefits, then indeed, whatever turns out for them, I want to have turned out for me, whatever they will believe, I will believe, and whatever they will worship, I will worship. Therefore it remains that, those who intend to lay aside their conduct and are to be initiated by the new conduct and the new rite, should be instituted with a greater authority for this purpose than a human one. Therefore supplicate your God, so that the faith, which you build among us with human words, may reach us, written by His nod and His signs from heaven. For the people of the Hebrews did not provide their hearts to Moses speaking but rather letters written with the finger of God.'[xxix]
All assented to these words: both Nestorius and the crowd, which had gathered, saying that it otherwise did not want to renounce the culture of the fatherland and adhere to the new law, except by the authority which Machomet mentioned.
By these words, by this consensus each person went back to his own affairs;
Alone Machomet remained with him alone.
Not unknown to Nestorius. For he considered that he was not abandoning his master, for the purpose of discussing by what art he might satisfy his counsel.
'I have,' he said, 'oh father Nestorius, I have a plan sufficient for the things begin, useful, necessary and to be approved as far as has seemed to me, which I may bring forth to your elect. Let there may be your labour and caution, or rather let mine be with you, if you order, as quickly as you can, to set out explicitly and discretely and write in the elaborated order of a letter what must be done, what must be avoided, moreover how one should live through all things, how one should believe, and what must be adored. This scripture you will bind on the horns of a calf, which is to be shut in for two days so that it should not drink, and is to be sent out on the third day. You will see from there what follows.'
While it had pleased Nestorius- for he was present to the art, which that man had devised- to obey his counsel, he did not delay and with the letter seized rather quickly, Nestorius and Machomet wrote in common the norm of the most doomed living for the Agarenes who were doomed and were to be doomed: this norm which they still preserve. What this man could not do through heresy, that man added through learning.
Therefore after the completed perverse precepts were written together as one by the skills of the two, the day and place were set in advance with adroitness, by which Machomet should perform the master's embassy among his opinions. Set in advance, I say, was the place for the gathering, approximately one day's journey away from the room of Nestorius, where there was a lucid spring so necessary for the flowing crowd and very fertile for the grazing of cattle. What more? There came the day decided by both, and there rushed to meet Machomet a crowd of Agarenes,[xxx] intending to heart what he was reporting from the master and through himself. And as he dragged forth the day with many discourses, and held the crowd through several digressions, behold as the Sun was turning from the centre to the ninth hour, they looked at a calf sent out by Nestorius running at a distance so thirsty- for there it had known the spring. While all stood stupefied, Machomet alone knew what it was-
He stood intrepid and addressed his friends.[xxxi]
'Behold, we already hold what we have desired, we already see what we have expected; the place of all doubting has been taken away. The calf, which you see running, has come as a messenger of God; bearing on its horns the writings, by which we may live, and the speed of the one running indicates to us the great will of the one sending.'
As he said these things and other such things, by which he rendered their hearts stupefied at this- as he wished- and attentive and well-inclined- for he easily persuaded them- already the calf had come over the spring and satisfying its thirst, by the impulse of which it was carried- it lay at the bank on its knees, and with the unaccustomed appearance of its horns seen from afar it shuddered at individual touches under the wave. And so they surrounded and seized the calf with great effort and took away the scripture from its horns and read it, and placing those things that were contained in it as requiring to be preserved on their part with their own veneration, indeed as things sent from heaven, and they had no further doubt regarding this doctrine.
Although Machomet was held as distinguished and great among them, Nestorius was much more distinguished and much greater. So many of the Agarenes rushed to him and began to adhere to his teaching. Indeed there came to be mixed in for this evil the offshoots of all evils: namely, envy and haughtiness. For Machomet began to envy Nestorius' fame and desired for himself alone the name and honour of magisterium. He attained this with such art. And so on a certain night, while Nestorius and his disciples lay buried in sleep and wine,[xxxii] Machomet quietly arose, took a knife from the sheath of a certain fellow disciple sleeping, killed the master, and put back the bloody knife into the sheath from where he took it away, and thus proceeded to sleep. And when in the morning the perpetrator of such a great crime was sought, by Machomet's pronouncement and counsel, there was a search among all and the one in whose presence was found the bloody iron, was hanged by a noose, although innocent, and ended his life. And so Machomet was chosen by the disciples in the place of Nestorius, and as he had sought, the fame, which was previously of the two men, came into Machomet alone. Therefore he decreed as the status of law, that no one of the Agarenes should use wine, because through drunkenness such things were perpetrated against Nestorius. But he had done this, so that he should dissimulate his own blame all the more. Nonetheless up to this day that law is preserved among them.
Not long after the king of the Agarenes from Babilonia died, and since he had no son, he let his wife become heir of the kingdom. And soon enough, Machomet, roused by the spirit, by which he was wholly driven, and I mean here the spirit of confusion and haughtiness, relied on his own skill and began to consider how he might marry the queen and gain control of the kingdom. Therefore he found a certain assistant for his wickedness, whom he instructed cautiously as to what he should say and directed to address the queen. As he was permitted to have a secret address with the queen, he said: 'For a long time, oh queen, I had neglected to bring to you a vision that I had seen. But admonished rather harshly for the third time, I dare not to keep quiet to you the things I had seen and the things I had heard, but I wish that you should listen with placid heart. Has fame not brought anything to you concerning a certain Machomet, by whose merits and labour a new and particular sect has been brought to our people? For many of our people have gone away after him.[xxxiii] Indeed you have been ordered by heaven to have this man as your husband and the consort of your kingdom. Also from him you will have a son who will have command over the whole world.' Having received such words, the queen at first was dumbfounded; for she doubted if he was reporting true things.
At last as the mind of the woman is easy in both parts, she said" 'I had heard about this Machomet, but, as he was isolated from men in solitude and began to be freely devoted to some unknown god of his, I am not sure, whether he wishes to care further about such things.' And at the same time, she ordered for him to be led into her presence. When he had reached the place and the queen had a conversation with him concerning marriage. That chameleon said: 'I have known that you are the wife destined for me from heaven, but I should wish, if it were right, to oppose things destined, if I did not have the hope of promised offspring. Indeed he who tries to prevent from happening that which is to come, errs within.'
By this skill he gained the royal wife and was also elevated with royal honour, of course such that his mishap would be graver, the higher the step he ascended. Therefore after he gained sufficient strength in the kingdom, he increased and carried forth the aforementioned sect by his skills and compelled by force all to follow it: those whom he could not convince to do so out of their own will. And so he became so wondrous among his own people, that it was decided to invoke instead of God. For so strong was his learning.
Finally, when the land could hardly sustain any longer his wickedness, the one who causes the stumbling of souls, whom he always served, foresaw a demise befitting his life and an end worthy for himself. For after he seemed to have made a perpetual name for himself, as he turned the whole kingdom to his error, when he was going out into the wood one day to hunt and had wandered by chance far away from his own people, he suddenly fell into a flock of pigs, by whom he was torn apart limb by limb and he was eaten within such that, nothing of him remained except his right arm. Hence it was decreed among all the Agarenes that henceforth no one should ever make use of pigs, and this law is still preserved most whole among them, because their king- their teacher and prophet- was consumed by pigs.
And deservedly was the king to be consumed by pigs,
He who was very often as a young man accustomed to graze pigs.
This is Machomet, who is honoured as teacher by the Agarenes, is called a king and prophet and is adored as God."
Let Machomet suffice to have said these things to the Agarenes from Nestorius, just as the Greek reported to me. But whoever thinks these things false, let him cease to rebuke me, since he more truly ought to impute it either to his ignorance or the invention of the Greeks.
Ends the composition by Adelphus.
[i] Cf. Matthew 9:17 and Luke 5:37.
[ii] The allusion is to the poets of the Epic Cycle, which narrated the origins, events and aftermath of the Trojan War. Cf. Horace Ars Poetica 136-137:
nec sic incipies, ut scriptor cyclicus olim:
'Fortunam Priami cantabo et nobile bellum'
'And you will not begin, as the cyclical writer once did:
'I will sing of the fortune of Priam and the noble war.'
[iii] Cf. Vergil Aeneid 3:658
monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum
'A horrendous monster, hideous, huge, from whom light has been taken away'.
[v] Cf. Galatians 4:29.
[vi] Hagarenes: i.e. people of Hagar.
[vii] Israel: i.e. Jacob.
[viii] Cf. Matthew 13:24 ff.
[ix] Acts 20:29.
[x] Song of Songs 2:15.
[xi] Cf. Ecclesiastes 7:17:
neque plus sapias quam necesse est
'And do not know more than is necessary.'
[xii] Cf. Matthew 7:15, where Christ warns of the wolves in sheep's clothing.
[xiii] Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:33.
[xiv] Cf. Juvenal Satires 2:79 ff.
[...] dedit hanc contagio labem
et dabit in plures, sicut grex totus in agris
unius scabie cadit et porrigine porci
uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva.
'The contagion has given this stain and will give it in more, just as the whole flock in the fields falls by the disease of one and by the mange of a pig, and the distinguished vine takes the sickly colour from another vine.'
[xv] Mount Lebanon.
[xvi] Cf. Deuteronomy 32:10.
[xvii] Matthew 12:44 and Luke 11:24.
[xviii] Cf. Horace Epode 5:
atqui nec herba nec latens in asperis
radix fefellit me locis.
'And neither the herb nor the root hidden in harsh places has cheated me.'
[xix] Cf. Sallust Bellum Catalinae 6:
urbem Romam, sicuti ego accepi, condidere atque habuere initio Troiani, qui Aenea duce profugi sedibus incertis vagabantur, cumque iis Aborigines, genus hominum agreste, sine legibus, sine imperio, liberum atque solutum. hi postquam in una moenia covenere, dispari genere, dissimili lingua, alii alio more viventes, incredible memoratu est, quam facile coaluerint: ita brevi multitudo dispersa atque vaga concordia civitas facta erat.
'The city of Rome, as I have accepted, was founded and held in the beginning by the Trojans, who with Aeneas as their leader wandered about as fugitives through uncertain residences. And with them the Aborigines, a rustic race of men, without laws, without empire, free and released. After these people came together into one city, despite their different descent and dissimilar tongue and each living by different customs, it is incredible to note how easily they merged: thus in a short time the dispersed and wandering multitude had become a city-state through harmony.'
[xx] Cf. Aeneid 2:370 ff.
primus se Danaum magna comitante caterva
Androgeos offert nobis, socia agmina credens
inscius, atque ultro verbis compellat amicis
'The first of the Danaeans to offer himself to us with a great accompanying battalion was Androgeos, believing, in his ignorance, that we were allied columns of men, and of his own free will addressed us with friendly words.'
[xxi] Latin idiom: 'quid si non...'; see discussion by Maurice Pope.
[xxii] Cf. Seneca the Younger: De Brevitate Vitae 15:
at iis, quae consecravit sapientia, nocere non potest; nulla abolebit aetas
'But those things, which wisdom has consecrated, [oldness] cannot harm; no age will abolish them.'
[xxiii] Cf. Luke 4:24.
[xxiv] Cf. Aeneid 10:809 ff.
[...] sic obrutus undique telis
Aeneas nubem belli, dum detonet omnis,
sustinet et Lausum increpitat Lausoque minatur:
'quo moriture ruis maioraque viribus audes?'
'Thus overwhelmed from all sides by the missiles
Aeneas endured the cloud of war, until it should wholly cease thundering,
And he rebuked Lausus and threatened Lausus:
'Whither do you rush, you who intend to die, and do you dare greater things by your strength?"
[xxv] Cf. Matthew 12:45 and Luke 11:26.
[xxvi] Cf. Exodus 17:6.
[xxvii] Cf. Romans 13:12.
[xxviii] The Latin line here reads:
talibus alloquitur monitis Machometa magistrum
cf. Ovid Metamorphoses 11:283-4.
talibus adloquitur: mediae quoque commoda plebi
nostra patent, Peleu, nec inhospita regna tenemus.
'He addressed him with such words: 'Also our benefits lie open to the middle of the common people, Peleus, and we do not hold inhospitable realms.'
[xxix] Cf. Exodus 31:18.
[xxx] Cf. Metamorphoses 15:729-730:
huc omnis populi passim matrumque patrumque
obvia turba ruit [...]
'Hither rushed from all sides the crowd of the whole people and of mothers and fathers, intending to meet [him].'
[xxxi] Cf. Aeneid 2:370 ff., as noted earlier.
[xxxii] Cf. Aeneid 2:265:
invadunt urbem somno vinoque sepultam
'They invaded the city buried in sleep and wine.'
[xxxiii] Cf. John 6:67.