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Agapios of Hierapolis

AGAPIOS OF HIERAPOLIS

Bishop of Hierapolis in Syria (Manbij, northeast of Aleppo), whose Arabic name was Mahbūb ibn Qustantin, a contemporary of eutychios of alexandria (877940), whom he outlived by some years. His general history, Kitāb al-Unwān (Book of the Title), for which he is known, is quite independent of the Annals of Eutychios. It covered the period from the beginning of the world to a.d. 941 or 942. The original text is no longer extant, however, beyond the year 776 or 777, the second year of the caliphate of al-Mahdī. For the ancient history of Christianity Agapios uses, without criticism, a great deal of the apocryphal and popular legendary literature. For later ecclesiastical and profane history, he uses the Syrian sources, including the Maronite chronographer Theophilos of Edessa (785), whose World Chronicle was amply exploited by Agapios in explaining the downfall of the dynasty of the umayyads and the rise of the abbĀsids. He knew also the Church History of Eusebius of Caesarea, which he uses indirectly by short citations. His special merit lies, however, in his sometimes unidentifiable source materials, offering at times historical details no longer preserved in other extant sources. Most important are his list of the Eastern metropolitans, and his references to the famous text of Papias of Hierapolis in Phrygia (whom he does not cite by name) concerning the four Gospels. Agapios is michael i the syrian's source on Bardesanes.

Bibliography: agapios of hierapolis, Kitāb al-Unwān, ed. and French tr. a. vasiliev, Patrologia orientalis 5:565691; 7:459591; 8:399547. c. karalevsky, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 1:899900. g. graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur 2:3941.

[l. malouf]

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