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E01211: In 503, after the unsuccessful siege of the city of Edessa (Mesopotamia), the troops of the Persian king Kavadh I (r. 488-531) destroy the martyria-churches of *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023) and of the 'Confessors' (*Shmona and Gurya, *Habbib, martyrs of Edessa, ob. 309-312) located outside the city. Record in the Syriac Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite (6th c.).

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posted on 2016-03-16, 00:00 authored by sminov
Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite 62

ܘܡܢ ܕܚܙܘ ܕܠܐ ܠܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܡܫܟܚܝܢ ܠܡܥܠ܇ ܘܠܐ ܠܐܢܫ̈ܐ ܥܖ̈ܛܠܝܐ ܕܚܠܝܛܝܢ ܒܝܢܬܗܘܢ ܠܡܗܪܘ܇ ܐܪܡܝܘ ܢܘܪܐ ܒܝܬ ܡܪܝ ܣܪܓܝܤ ܘܒܝܬ ܡܘܕ̈ܝܢܐ. ܘܒܟܠܗܝܢ ܕܝܖ̈ܬܐ ܕܐܫܬܚܪ. ܘܒܥܕܬܐ ܕܢܓܒܬ. ܠܗܕܐ ܓܝܪ ܫܒܩܘܗ̇ ܗܘܘ ܒܢ̈ܝ ܡܕܝܢܬܐ.

'When they saw that they could neither get into the city nor injure the unarmed men caught up in their midst, they set alight the church of Mar Sergius, the church of the Confessors, and all the monasteries which (the Edessenes) had left intact, as well as the church in Negbath, for the citizens had also left it.'

Ed. Chabot 1927-1949, v. 1, p. 291; trans. by Trombley and Watt 2000, p. 81.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311 : S00023 Shmona and Gurya, martyrs in Edessa, ob. 309/10 : S00081 Habbib, martyr in Edessa, ob. 310/12 : S00090

Saint Name in Source

ܣܪܓܝܤ ܡܘܕ̈ܝܢܐ ܡܘܕ̈ܝܢܐ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Syriac

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Edessa Edessa Edessa Ἔδεσσα Edessa

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Destruction/desecration of saint's shrine

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Foreigners (including Barbarians)


The Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite is a historiographical work that deals for the most part with the events in the city of Edessa and the neighbouring region during the period 494-506. It is an original Syriac composition, most likely produced not long after the year 506 by a Syriac-speaking citizen of Edessa. In its present form, it is preserved as a part of a larger historiographic work, the Chronicle of Zuqnin (known also as the Chronicle of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Mahre), an 8th c. West-Syrian composition. Syriac text: Martin 1876, 1-82; Wright 1882, 1-92; Chabot 1927-1933, v. 1, 235-317; English translation: Wright 1882, 1-84; Trombley and Watt 2000; French translation: Martin 1876, ix-lxxxvi; German translation: Luther 1997. For general information, see Trombley and Watt 2000, xi-lv; Luther 1997, 1-32; Watt 1999.


The Chronicle reports that in the autumn of the year 503, after unsuccessfully besieging Edessa, the troops of the Persian king Kavadh I (r. 488-531) burned down two martyria-churches that were located in the vicinity of the city, ithat of *Sergios (martyr in Syria, ob. 303-311) and that of the 'Confessors' (*Shmona and Gurya, *Habbib, martyrs in Edessa, ob. 309-312). The church of Sergios, built during the episcopate of Hiba (435-457) (see E01231), was located outside the eastern gate of the city (for its possible location, see Segal 1970, Plan I). The church of the 'Confessors' was built by bishop Abraham in 345/6 (see E00072). The events described took place during the so-called Anastasian War, the military conflict between the Roman and Sasanian empires during the years 502-506 (for more information on it, see Greatrex 1998, 73-138). The chronicler may have been an eyewitness of the events described: there is no reason to doubt this information.


Main editions and translations: Chabot, J.B., Incerti auctoris Chronicon Pseudo-Dionysianum vulgo dictum. 2 vols (CSCO 91, 104, Syr. III.1-2 [43, 53]; Paris: Typographeo Reipublicae, 1927, 1933). English translation: Trombley, F.R., and Watt, J.W., The Chronicle of Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite (Translated Texts for Historians 32; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000). Others editions and translations: Luther, A., Die syrische Chronik des Josua Stylites (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 49; Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997). Martin, J.-P.P., Chronique de Josué le Stylite écrite vers l’an 515 (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 6.1; Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus, 1876). Wright, W., The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite Composed in Syriac A.D. 507 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1882). Further reading: Greatrex, G., Rome and Persia at War, 502–532 (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1998). Segal, J.B., Edessa, ‘The Blessed City’ (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970). Watt, J.W., “Greek Historiography and the “Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite”,” in: G.J. Reinink and A.C. Klugkist (eds.), After Bardaisan: Studies on Continuity and Change in Syriac Christianity in Honour of Professor Han J.W. Drijvers (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 89; Louvain: Peeters, 1999), 317-327.

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