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History of the Ancient Near East / Monographs X

CAMSEMUD 2007
PROCEEDINGS
OF THE 13TH ITALIAN MEETING
OF AFRO-ASIATIC LINGUISTICS
Held in Udine, May 21st24th, 2007

Edited by
FREDERICK MARIO FALES & GIULIA FRANCESCA GRASSI

S.A.R.G.O.N. Editrice e Libreria


Padova 2010

HANE / M Vol. X

History of the Ancient Near East / Monographs


Editor-in-Chief: Frederick Mario Fales
Editor: Giovanni B. Lanfranchi

ISBN 978-88-95672-05-2
4227-204540

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Padova 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS

F.M. Fales G.F. Grassi, Foreword ............................................................................. v


I. SAILING FROM THE ADRIATIC TO ASIA/AFRICA AND BACK
G.F. Grassi, Semitic Onomastics in Roman Aquileia ............................................... 1
F. Aspesi, A margine del sostrato linguistico labirintico egeo-cananaico ....... 33
F. Israel, Alpha, beta tra storiaarcheologia e fonetica, tra sintassi
ed epigrafia ...................................................................................................... 39
E. Braida, Il Romanzo del saggio Ahiqar: una proposta stemmatica ................... 49
F.A. Pennacchietti, Il tortuoso percorso dellantroponimo Asia tra omofoni
e sviste .............................................................................................................. 65
G. Cifoletti, Venezia e lespansione dellitaliano in Oriente:
problemi connessi con la storia della lingua franca del Mediterraneo ............. 69
II. GENERAL AND COMPARATIVE AFROASIATIC LINGUISTICS
G. Del Olmo Lete, Phonetic Distribution in Semitic Binary Articulation
Bases ................................................................................................................ 79
M. Franci, Estensione della radice nella comparazione egitto-semitica .............. 87
P. Marrassini, South Semitic Again ..................................................................... 103
G. Hudson, Klimovs Active-language Characteristics in Ethiopian Semitic ....... 111
O. Kapeliuk, Some Common Innovations in Neo-Semitic ................................... 123
H. Jungraithmayr, Mubi and Semitic Striking Parallels ................................. 133
A. Zaborski, Afar-Saho and the Position of Cushitic within Hamitosemitic/
Afroasiatic ...................................................................................................... 139
V. Blaek, On Application of Glottochronology to South Berber (Tuareg)
Languages ...................................................................................................... 149
A. Mettouchi, D. Caubet, M. Vanhove, M. Tosco, Bernard Comrie, Sh.
Izre el, CORPAFROAS. A Corpus for Spoken Afroasiatic Languages:
Morphosyntactic and Prosodic Analysis ........................................................ 177
III. NORTHWEST SEMITIC
A. Gianto, Guessing, Doubting, and Northwest Semitic YAQTUL-U ...................
F.M. Fales, New Light on Assyro-Aramaic Interference: The Assur
Ostracon .........................................................................................................
A. Faraj, An Incantation Bowl of Biblical Verses and a Syriac Incantation
Bowl for the Protection of a House ................................................................
I. Zatelli, Performative Utterances in the Later Phase of Ancient Hebrew:
the Case of Ben Sira ......................................................................................

181
189
205
213

S. Destefanis, I Proverbi di Ahiqar nella versione neoaramaica di Rubeyl


Muhattas. Unanalisi comparativa delle sue fonti ......................................... 221
R. Kim, Towards a Historical Phonology of Modern Aramaic: The Relative
Chronology of uroyo Sound Changes ........................................................... 229
IV. EGYPTIAN
H. Satzinger, Scratchy Sounds Getting Smooth: the Egyptian Velar Fricatives
and Their Palatalization .................................................................................
G. Takcs, The Etymology of Egyptian m .....................................................
F. Contardi, Egyptian Terms Used to Indicate the Act of Reading:
An Investigation about the Act of Reading in the Egyptian Society ...............
A. Roccati, Sono dei Re quelli specificati per nome (qw pw mtrw rnw) ..........

239
247
261
271

V. ARABIC
A.Gr. Belova, tudes tymologiques du lexique arabe prislamique:
correspondances smitiques et le cas de la spcification ............................... 275
J. Lentin, Sur quelques prformantes utilises dans la morphognse
de la racine: lexemple de larabe ................................................................. 281
A. Mengozzi, The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from
the Rabbula Codex ......................................................................................... 297
R. Contini, Travel Literature as a Linguistic Source: Another Look at
Doughtys Najdi Arabic Glossary....................................................................... 305
W.C. Young, T. Rockwood, Explaining Variation in Demonstrative
Morphology and Syntax in Peninsular Colloquial Arabic: An Argument
Based on Anaphoric and Exophoric Reference .............................................. 315
J. Guardi, Il mil nella linguistica araba moderna ........................................... 339
B. Air, Aspetti e tendenze degli studi di linguistica araba in Tunisia (1985
2005) .............................................................................................................. 349
VI. CHADIC
O. Stolbova, Chadic Lateral Fricatives (Reconstruction and Parallels in
Semitic, Cushitic and Egyptian) ..................................................................... 355
R. Leger, A. Suzzi Valli, The Lexeme eye in Chadic Reconsidered ................ 369
S. Baldi, R. Leger, North versus South. Typological Features of Southern
Bole-Tangale Languages ................................................................................ 375
VII. CUSHITIC
M. Tosco, Semelfactive Verbs, Plurative Nouns: On Number in Gawwada
(Cushitic).......................................................................................................... 385
VIII. BERBER
V. Brugnatelli, Problme de la ngation en berbre: propos de lorigine
dulac, ula, ula d ............................................................................................. 401

THE HISTORY OF GARSHUNI AS A WRITING SYSTEM:


EVIDENCE FROM THE RABBULA CODEX *

Alessandro Mengozzi

The term Garshuni originally referred to Arabic texts written in Syriac script. The etymology is
1
unknown. The presence of the sound /g/ makes a Syriac origin more probable than an Arabic one. The
variant /karshuni/ confirms this hypothesis, most probably deriving from a tentative rendering of /g/ in
Arabic script ( ;see also Samir 1982, 42, n. 35). The use of this term has been variously extended to label other cases of heterography usually involving the East-Syriac script: Armenian,
2
Kurdish, Malayalam, Persian or Turkish Garshuni.
The use of an alphabet of Aramaic origin to write other languages, whether genetically related or
not, coterritorial or remote, is well-known throughout the long history of Aramaic cultures. Official
3
Aramaic scribal tradition(s) emerged during the Neo-Assyrian period and the Achaemenid Empire
appears to have been responsible for the diffusion of Aramaic-derived scripts throughout its territory:
*

I am grateful to Pier Giorgio Borbone (Pisa), Riccardo Contini (Napoli), and Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti
(Torino) for their suggestions.
1
See the rich bibliography, from 1758 to 1978, proposed by Samir (1982, 42, n. 36). With Briquel-Chatonnet (2005, 465), we may add Duval (1881, 11-12), who thought that the term might be connected with Gershom (Gershon in Syriac; Exodus 2:22), son of Moises, and therefore to the legend of Moises inventor of
writing. Assemani (1758, xxiii-xxiv) quoted a tradition linking the term with a certain Carsciun, who was
thought to have been the first to use this system, but preferred to explain its origin with the Syriac (?) terms Garscion foreign, Garscionici or Garsciunici, understood by ordinary people as exotic, strange. A Lebanese
(Maronite) student informed me that in her Arabic dialect to speak garshuni means to speak in a difficult,
ancient, incomprehensible language and this is the only meaning she knows. On the Levantine idiom btak
karn? and the etymology of the term, see also del Ro Snchez (2004, 185-186).
2
Pennacchietti (1976) and Proverbio (2004) explicitely speak of Kurdish and Turkish Garshuni respectively. On March 31st, 2001, at the Syriac pannel of the 211th meeting of the American Oriental Society Writing
Syriac: From Stone to Bytes, prof. W. Heinrichs, Harvard, presented a paper on Turkish-Garshuni. Maggi (2003,
111-112) explains the analogical extension from Arabic Garshuni proper to Persian Garshuni. Marazzi (1982)
does not label as Garhuni Osmanl and Azeri texts written in the 14th-19th centuries in Syriac script. Orsatti
(2003) and Younansardaroud (2005) publish Persian and Azerbaijani Turkish texts respectively, but they do not
use the term Garshuni.
3
See Fales (2007), with further bibliographical references.

298

Alessandro Mengozzi

from the Semitic-speaking West (Square Hebrew, various local Aramaic alphabets and, later, NorthArabic script), through Iranian (Parthian, Pahlavi, Avestan, Old Sogdian; see Skjrv 1996), to Kharoshthi script in India (Salomon 1996, 378-379). Iranian Aramaic-derived alphabets were then adopted
and adapted by speakers of Turkic (Uyghur, Mongolian) or other languages (Manchu; see Kara 1996).
Manicheans and Syrians, and especially the missionary activities of the Church of the East in Asia,
continued this tradition and disseminated a number of alphabets, more or less directly derived from
Syriac: Manichean Parthian, Middle Persian and Sogdian, and Christian Soghdian (Skjrv 1996,
530-535), Manichean Uyghur (Kara 1996, 542).
Aramaic models were adopted to write languages which had no literary tradition, and this is also
the case for Garshuni, if we consider dialectal forms of Kurdish and Turkish. On the other hand,
Arabic, Armenian, Persian and Malayalam did have their own scripts, making it necessary to explain
why those languages were written in Garshuni in the various circumstances.
As far as Syriac script is concerned, Troupeau (1978) maintains that from the 10th century Syrians
of all churches and denominations, except the Melkites, experienced the use of their traditional alphabets to write texts in Arabic. According to Salibi (1959, 51), the use of Garshuni flourished among the
Lebanese Maronites and only later was adopted by other Syrian communities.
Recent studies are more inclined to present Garshuni as a typically West-Syriac phenomenon (Briquel Chatonnet 2005). Most Garshuni texts are written in sero, the Western variety of Syriac script,
being produced in the West-Syrian milieu. Especially Maronite scribes, expression of a profoundly
arabized West-Syrian community, wrote various kinds of texts, on various supports, in Garshuni. Many
manuscripts of Maronite collections of Lebanon or Cyprus were produced in Garshuni.
The system, however, was in use in East-Syrian circles too, as is shown by a number of late wit4
nesses of Mesopotamian origin (from the 17th century). As we have mentioned, it was mainly among
East-Syrians that Syriac script was used for writing various Eastern languages, in territories where
other languages were more attractive than Arabic.
In this paper, Garshuni refers to Arabic written in West-Syriac script, unless otherwise specified.
A number of methodological approaches historical, socio-cultural, and typological will be presented for the study of the Garshuni phenomenon. A very early dated sample of Garshuni will then be
published, with brief comments. It is a note of historical content, written in a very famous Syriac
5
manuscript, the Rabbula Codex.

Briquel Chatonnet (2005, 469) links the late use of Garshuni in the Church of the East with Roman
Catholic influence. Prof. Amir Harrak, Toronto, presented a paper entitled The Garshuni Incriptions of Iraq: Appearance, Style, and Development at the 23rd International Conference of the ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies (Chicago, 10-12 April 2007). The earliest instance he mentioned is a Qaraqosh inscription dated
1630/31 AD.
5
The Rabbula Codex (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) has been the object of several studies and publications and owes its fame mainly to the fact that it contains a section with precious miniatures. In the actual composition three different sections are clearly distinguishable: 1) The first and main section
(folios 20-292, in parchment) contains the four Gospels of the Peshitta version in a beautiful Estrangela script;
according to the colophon, a monk Rabbula completed it in 586 AD in the Monastery of Bet Zagba (probably in
Syria). 2) The second section (folios 15-19, paper of smaller sizes) contains an index of the pericopes to be read
on various occasions of the liturgical calendar. 3) In the third section (folios 1-14), the Eusebian canons are arranged in a richly decorated context, adorned with architectural structures and miniatures. For a thorough interdisciplinary examination of the Codex and bibliography, see Bernab 2008.

The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex

299

Cultural function of Garshuni


Arabic script and Garshuni are sometimes used alternately within the same manuscript or text, which
shows that recording the Arabic language in Syriac script answers ideological rather than practical
purposes. In principle, there is no practical need for Garshuni, that, as we shall see, requires a high degree of literacy in Arabic as well as a wide acquaintance with the grammar and lexicon of the language. On the contrary, Garshuni scribes need only to know the alphabet and calligraphic techniques
of the Syriac culture. However, the choice of an alphabet is never a purely technical matter and it
always has major social and cultural implications. Briquel Chatonnet (2005, 463-464) mentions the
symbolic significance of the traditional alphabet and, following Duval, insists on the magic and
aesthetic virtues attributed to it in the Syriac tradition.
In the case of Maronite Garshuni, however, a more relevant motivation may be found in the need to
assert and strengthen the cultural identity of a community, whose traditional language and culture are
6
challenged or even endangered by a dominant language. Especially cultural minorities are inclined to
attach symbolic cultural or markedly religious values to the national alphabet, not simply used
as a practical tool, but perceived as a cultural device to nourish the sense of belonging and defend the
identity of the community beyond time and space (see various Jewish languages written in Hebrew
script, e.g.: Judeo-Arabic, Yiddish, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, sometimes Ladino and Judeo-Spanish).
In the West-Syrian milieu, the emergence and development of Garshuni may be connected with the
dominance of Arabic, which severely limited the active use of the traditional language (Classical
Syriac and spoken varieties of Western Aramaic).

Garshuni as an Arabic writing system


The Garshuni system is pens en arabe, as Briquel Chatonnet (2005, 466) brilliantly expressed it. It
is an Arabic writing system in Syriac dress, as the use of Arabic diacritics and orthographic conventions clearly demonstrates.
Arabic diacritics are commonly used in Garshuni, in combination with Syriac characters. E.g.,
Arabic vowel signs occasionally occur and a geminate consonant may be noted with addah. The
double strokes of the tanwn can be used, especially to mark the adverbial accusative. Two dots on a
final <h> of the Syriac alphabet represent a t marbah, exactly as in Arabic script.
Garshuni scribes usually follow orthographic conventions which are characteristic of the Arabic
writing system. The <l> of the definite article is written even when it assimilates with the following
(so-called solar) consonants. Against the rule of the Syriac writing system, in Garshuni a final <y>
7
can represent a final /-/, like Arabic alif maqrah, and long // is generally marked with < >. Long
//s in words like h this and allh God are usually, though not always, left unmarked according
to Classical and Standard Arabic convention. A redundant and silent < > is added at the end of a 3rd pl.
m. form of the perfect.
Although Garshuni is an Arabic system, there are peculiarities due to the Syriac alphabet or the
variety of Arabic in which the texts are written.
The Syriac alphabet numbers less graphemes than Arabic and diacritics are not so widely used as in
Arabic and almost never consistently. Consequently, in Garshuni a number of Syriac graphemes may
represent two Arabic phonemes or two different Syriac graphemes may be used for the same Arabic
6

See del Ro Snchez (2004, 187). The expression dominant language is a hypallage. Linguistic codes
are never dominant in themselves. Social classes or ethnic groups dominate, often imposing their languages.
7
In the Garshuni texts of the Rabbula Codex it is not uncommon for short /a/ to be written as <>, in
toponyms as well as in other words.

300

Alessandro Mengozzi

phoneme: e.g., Syriac <> may be used for Arabic // or // ( or )and Syriac < > for Arabic / /, // or
// (, or ). One has to bear in mind that the pronunciation of these consonants is characterised
by a high degree of dialectal variation.
8
In the Garhuni notes of the Rabbula Codex, we do not find the Syriac diacritics used to mark the
occlusive (quy) or fricative (rukk) allophones of the beakefat consonants, and it is therefore
impossible to distinguish between // e // (both written <g>) o /k/ e // (both <k>). Vowel length is
not consistently specified, especially in the case of /a/ vs. //. The Garshuni t marbah is regularly
found when the word is in status constructus and it is to be read as [at]. This suggests a reading of the
texts without i rb, i.e., without case endings (and perhaps moods, as far as verbs are concerned),
since i rb would require a reading [t] of all occurrences of non-pausal t marbah, not only in the
9
status constructus. A number of anomalous spellings might reflect dialectal features.

Samirs historical outline of (Maronite) Garshuni


Briquel Chatonnet (2005, 467-468) describes Garshuni as a relatively late phenomenon (from the 15th
century), and mentions among the earliest dated attestations a compendium of Maronite theology
copied in 1470 in the Monastery of Qannubin, North Lebanon.
Samir (1982, 42-45) points out the urgency of describing the historical, geographic and confessional diffusion of Garshuni:
() quand et o a-t-on commenc crire larabe en caractres syriaques? Plus prcisment,
quelles sont les premires attestations de manuscrits garns? Cela nous donnerait un terminus a
quo pour la datation de manuscrits. ()
Peut-on () fixer le terminus ad quem de lusage du garn? Quels sont les plus rcents manuscrits arabes connus crits en caractres syriaques? () Quelle est la proportion de manuscrits
garns, par rapport aux manuscrits arabes, une poque et un pays donns? ()
Il faut regrouper les deux donnes, historiques et gographiques, et les combiner. On se demandera donc: dans telle rgion (et dans telle communaut chrtienne), partire de quelle date et jusqu quelle date a-t-on utilis lcriture garne? et dans quelle proportions?
The oldest Garshuni manuscripts he knows are the Vatican Borgia Arabic 135 (1384) and Vatican
Syriac 146 (1392). Considering the history of a text preserved in another early Garshuni manuscript
(Vatican Syriac 133, completed in 1402), Samir (1982, 43-44) suggests that among the Maronites
Arabic was initially written in Arabic script. Garshuni gained popularity only later, from the 15th
century on, when Arabic culture is considered to be in decline, but it never succeeded in replacing the
traditional Arabic writing completely. Up to the 14th century Arabic script was certainly prevalent and
it remained so even afterwards. With the so-called Arab Renaissance (al-nahah), initiated by Maronite intellectuals, in the 19th century Arabic script undermined the position of Garshuni, causing its
obsolescence.
Besides the historical, geographic and confessional distributions, a typological study of the Garshuni texts would also benefit our knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon. A first important
distinction must be made between short texts (colophones, notes, comments, glosses, items in lexical
lists) and whole literary texts or collections of texts copied in Garshuni. We should then further

8
9

See Mengozzi (2008) for sample texts and details.


On the loss of case vowel endings in Garshuni texts, see del Ro Snchez (2004, 190).

The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex

301

10

evaluate the official (colophones, notes with historical or notarial content) vs. occasional (scribal
comments or notes, glosses) character of the short texts and classify the literary texts according to
11
the genre: Bible, liturgy, hagiography, science, theology, historiography, etc.. The earliest attestations
of Garshuni, as we will see, seem to belong to the first group, being short notes written in the margins
of Syriac or Arabic manuscripts.
Text typology is probably relevant for an important methodological issue in the linguistic study of
Garshuni, namely the kind of Arabic in which texts were written. Del Ro Snchez (2004, 187) points
out that Garshuni scribes and readers appear to be familiar with quite a standard form of Arabic and
discusses the position of (Maronite) Garshuni language within Blaus theory of Middle Arabic, according to which this variety of Arabic is to be found precisely in the texts written by Jews and Christians,
loosely affected by the ideal of a pure arabiyyah for obvious cultural reasons. Most Garshuni texts are
later than those studied by Blau. They are often translations from Syriac or Greek and contain liturgical formulas written in a formal variety of Arabic (ibid., 189-190). A grammatical and dialectal description of Garshuni corpora is still a desideratum.

Early Garshuni texts


Briquel Chatonnet (and others, 2006) present an Arabic note, written in Syriac characters of the
Estrangela variety on the last page of the Syriac ms. 14644 of the British Library. It is a rather old
manuscript, perhaps written at the beginning of the 6th century and certainly carried from Iraq to Egypt
(Deir al-Suryan) in 932. The note records a recipe for the preparation of ink and seems to have been
copied from a Vorlage in Arabic script preserved on the same page and written some time before the
9th century. A precise dating of the note is not possible but the text could be a very early, though rather
12
isolated, instance of use of the Syriac alphabet for writing the Arabic language.
One of the earliest dated Garshuni texts known so far is however to be found on folio 7b of the
Rabbula Codex, to the left of the columns which contain a table of the Eusebean canons. An image,
symmetrical to the picture of Jesus healing the man with a shrivelled hand which is found to the right
of the columns on the same page, was erased to accommodate the historical note, written in an elegant
sero (West-Syriac script) and outlined with a jagged frame. The note is dated 1465 of the Seleucid
Era, 8th September (AD 1154) and it is the earliest of 35 Arabic notes, 12 written in Arabic script and
the others in Garshuni.
The Arabic notes are usually written in the margins or on white pages throughout the three sections
of the Rabbula Codex without any apparent order. They list land properties of the Monastery of Our
Lady of Qannubin, and describe their borders. Various kinds of transactions (purchasing of olive-trees,
carving and transport of a millstone) are registered as well as donations of olive-groves, vineyards,
orchards, money, liturgical robes and furnishings, according to the Islamic system of the waqf. For
ideological and practical reasons, the magnificent pages of the biblical Codex were used as archives of
notarial deeds. Important events in the life or the economy of the community were granted eternal
memory in the margins of the Holy Scriptures and such a monumental Codex guaranteed they would
be relatively safe and accessible.
10

Del Ro Snchez (2004, 186) observes that Garshuni began to be extensively used by the end of the 14th
century and precisely the colophones (of Syriac manuscripts, presumably) were the first texts written in Arabic,
but in Syriac script.
11
On the importance of Garshuni for our knowledge of Christian Arabic literature, see Samir (1982).
12
Following Vbus, Blau (1981, 42, n.1) assigns the manuscript to the 9th century and expresses doubts
about the antiquity of the Arabic and Garshuni notes in the page of the colophon. Briquel Chatonnet and others
(2006) start from the analysis of the manuscript given by van Esbroeck (1988) and do not quote Blau (1981).

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Alessandro Mengozzi

The last dated text (1521/22 AD) is a donation (waqf) to the Monastery of Our Lady of Qannubin,
See of the Maronite Patriarchs since 1440, and represents the terminus a quo for the acquisition of the
13
Codex by the Medicean-Laurentian Library in Florence.
The earliest dated note records the appointment of the monk Ish aya as the abbot of the Monastery
of St. John of Khuzbandu in Cyprus. The abbot was nominated by Butros [Peter] XXVII, who was Patriarch of the Maronites from 1121 to 1155 (Assemani 1742, 18) and resided at that time in the Monastery of Mayfuq. The appointment of the abbot had been requested in a written document, undersigned
by other monks of the Maronite Monastery in Cyprus.
We will first transcribe the text, accompanied with a literal translation, and then give a freer English
translation and the Latin translation by Assemani (1742, 18).
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.

In the year
1465
of the Greeks, on the eighth day
of the month of September he came
to me, to my presence, me Butros
Patriarch of the Maronites, seated
upon the throne of Antioch,
dwelling in the Monastery of [Our] Lady
of Mayfuq in the Ili valley
the son, monk Ishaia
of the Monastery of Quzkhaya (?) and I made him head
of the monks dwelling in
the St. John Monastery, monastery of Khuz
Bandu, on the island of Cyprus
according to what is stated by
the sons, the monks with signature
by their hands, being they the son,
the monk Gibrail, his fellow,
the monk Shimun, the monk
Habaquq and the monk
Michael. To the Lord
be the glory! Amen.

In the year 1465 of the Seleucid Era, on the eighth day of the month of September the monk
Ish aia of the Monastery of Quzkhaya came to my presence, me Butros, Patriarch of the Maronites, seated upon the throne of Antioch, dwelling in the Monastery of [Our] Lady of Mayfuq in the
Ili Valley, and I appointed him abbot of the St. John Monastery in Khuzbandu, on the island of
Cyprus, according to what is stated and personally signed by the monks Gibrail, his fellow,
Shim un, Habaquq and Michael. Glory be to the Lord! Amen.
Anno Graecorum millesimo quadringentesimo sexagesimo quinto (Christi 1154) die octava mensis Ailul (Septembris) venit ad me Petrum Patriarcham Antiochenum Maronitarum in Monasterio
13

See Mengozzi (2008) for an initial survey of the Arabic notes in the Rabbula Codex. Mrs. Emanuela
Braida (University of Pisa) will carry out a Ph.D. research project, focusing on the whole corpus of Garshuni and
Arabic notes in this and other similar manuscripts, once or presently kept in Maronite collections.

The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex

303

Maiphuc, in Valle Hailig commorantem, filius Isaias Monachus Monasterii Cuzaiae, et consecravi illum Abbatem Monachorum Monasterii Sancti Ioannis Cuzbandu in Insula Cypri, iuxta petitionem filiorum Monachorum eiusdem Monasterii, propria manu subscriptam, Gabrielis scilicet,
et socii eius Monachi Simeonis, et Monachi Abacuc, et Monachi Michaelis. Sit Deo gloria.
The Estrangela Garshuni text described by Briquel Chatonnet and others (2006) might represent an
early and isolated attempt to write Arabic in Syriac script. Our text in the Rabbula Codex demonstrates
that as early as the mid 12th century, a Maronite scribe and his Patriarch perceived Serto Garshuni as
convenient enough to be used in recording the patriarchal appointment of an abbot. A fine 6th-century
14
miniature was erased to accommodate the text and ensure it eternal memory.
For complete literary texts and manuscripts to be copied in Garshuni, we have to wait until the 14th
century. Or so we may conclude at the moment, awaiting new evidence to confirm or correct our preliminary outline of the history of Garshuni.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

J.S. Assemani 1719, Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae codicum manuscriptorum Catalogus. I, De Scriptoribus
Syris Orthodoxis, Romae 1719.
1742, Bibliothecae Mediceae Laurentianae et Palatinae codicum manuscriptorum orientalium catalogus,
Florentiae 1742.
1758, J.S. Assemani, Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae codicum manuscriptorum Catalogus. II, Codices
chaldaicos sive syriacos, Romae 1758.
J. Assfalg 1982, Arabische Handschriften in syrischer Schrift (Karn), in W. Fischer (ed.), Grundriss der
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14

The same Patriarch Butros wrote or ordered to write a similar note in Garshuni on the margins of a manuscript containing homilies by Jacob of Serugh. The note is dated 1452 of the Seleucid Era, 10th July (AD 1141),
and records the appointment of the monk Daniel as the abbot of the Monastery of St. John of Khuzbandu
(Assemani 1719, 307-308; Ghantuz Cubbe 2008, 196). I am grateful to Pier Giorgio Borbone for drawing my
attention to this information.

304

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