A Fragment of the Syriac Translation of Aristotle’s Poetics Preserved by Jacob Bar Shakko

  • Yury Arzhanov Austrian Academy of Sciences, Hollandstr. 10-13, 1020 Vienna, Austria


The fragment of the Syriac translation of Aristotle’s Poetics preserved by Jacob (Severus) Bar Shakko (d. 1241) comprises Poet. VI 1449b24–1450a10. In spite of its small size, it serves as an important witness both to the Greek text of the Poetics, and to the reception of this work in the Christian Orient and, later on, in the Muslim world. The fragment derives from a translation, which most likely appeared in West Syriac circles in the 7th/8th centuries AD and later served as the basis for the Arabic translation of the Poetics made by Abū Bishr Mattā ibn Yūnus in the 10th century. The present article includes a new edition of the Syriac text preserved by Bar Shakko, which is based on the collation of six manuscripts and is accompanied by an English translation. The article also provides a detailed analysis of the Syriac fragment as compared to the transmitted Greek text of the Poetics, on the one hand, and to the Arabic translation of it by Abū Bishr, on the other. This comparison allows an assumption that the Syriac version is most likely based on a Greek manuscript, which may have contained glosses and scholia. A Greek and Syriac glossary is attached at the end of the article.

Ключевые слова:

Aristotle’s Poetics, Syriac translation from the Greek, Arabic translations from the Syriac


Данные скачивания пока недоступны.


Abbeloos J. B., Lamy Th.J. (eds). Gregorii Barhebræi Chronicon Ecclesiasticum. 3 vols. Paris — Louvain, Maisonneuve — Peeters, 1872–1877.

Baumstark A. Geschichte der syrischen Literatur, mit Ausschluss der christlich-palästinensischen Texte. Bonn, Weber, 1922.

Baumstark A. Aristoteles bei den Syrern vom V.–VIII. Jahrhundert. 1. Band: Syrisch-arabische Biographieen des Aristoteles. Syrische Commentare zur Εἰσαγωγή des Porphyrios. Leipzig, Teubner, 1900.

Bendrat J. Der Dialog über die Rhetorik des Jakob bar Shakko, in: Paul de Lagarde und die syrische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen, Göttinger Arbeitskreis für syrische Kirchengeschichte, 1968, 19–26.

Bergsträsser G. Rec. Tkatsch 1928. Der Islam 1932, 20, 48–62.

Berti V. Libri e biblioteche cristiane nell’Iraq dell’VIII secolo: Una testimonianza dell’epistolario del patriarca siro-orientale Timoteo I (727–823), in: C. D’Ancona (ed.) The Libraries of the Neoplatonists. Leiden — Boston, Brill, 2007, 307–317.

Berti V. Vita e studi di Timoteo I († 823), patriarca cristiano di Baghdad: Ricerche sull’epistolario e sulle fonti contigue. Paris, Association pοur l᾽Avancement des Études Iraniennes, 2009.

Braun O. Briefe des Katholikos Timotheos I. Oriens Christianus 1902, 2/1, 1–32.

Brock S. Two Letters of the Patriarch Timothy from the Late Eighth Century on Translations from Greek. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 1999, 9, 233–246.

Bruns P. Aristoteles-Rezeption und Entstehung einer syrischen Scholastik, in: P. Bruns (ed.) Von Athen nach Bagdad: Zur Rezeption griechischer Philosophie von der Spätantike bis zum Islam. Bonn, Borengässer, 2003, 29–39.

Duval R. Notice sur la Rhétorique d’Antoine de Tagrit, in: C. Bezold (ed.) Orientalische Studien: Theodor Nöldeke zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (2. März 1906) gewidmet von Freunden und Schülern. Gieszen, A. Töpelmann,1906, 479–486.

Edzard L., Köhnken A. A. New Look at the Greek, Syriac, and Arabic Versions of Aristotle’s Poetics, in: L. Edzard and J. Watson (eds) Grammar as a Window onto Arabic Humanism: A Collection of Articles in Honour of Michael G. Carter. Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2006, 222–264.

Endress G. ‘One-Volume Libraries’ and the Traditions of Learning in Medieval Arabic Islamic Culture, in: M. Friedrich and C. Schwarke (eds) One-Volume Libraries: Composite and Multiple-Text Manuscripts. Berlin — Boston, De Gruyter, 2016, 171–205.

Flügel G. (ed.) Kitâb al-Fihrist. Vol. 1. Leipzig, Vogel, 1871.

Furlani G. La logica del Libro dei Dialoghi di Severo bar Shakkô. Atti del Reale Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti 1926–1927, IX/11 (86/2), 289–348.

Goshen-Gottstein M. H. Syriac Manuscripts in the Harvard College Library: A Catalogue. Missoula, MT, Scholars Press, 1979.

Gutas D. Theophrastus On First Principles (Known as his Metaphysics). Leiden — Boston, Brill, 2010.

Havard C. A. Jacob bar Šakkô, On the Faculties of the Soul, in: R. Lavenant (ed.) VI Symposium Syriacum, 1992: University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity, 30 August — 2 September 1992. Roma, Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1994, 259–268.

Heimgartner M. Der ostsyrische Patriarch Timotheos I. (780–823) und der Aristotelismus: Die aristotelische Logik und Dialektik als Verständigungsbasis zwischen den Religionen, in: M. Tamcke (ed.) Orientalische Christen und Europa: Kulturbegegnung zwischen Interferenz, Partizipation und Antizipation. Wiesbaden, 2012, 11–22.

Heimgartner M. (ed.) Die Briefe 42–58 des ostsyrischen Patriarchen Timotheos I. : Textedition. CSCO 644, Syr. 248. Louvain, Peeters, 2012.

Heimgartner M. (transl.) Die Briefe 42–58 des ostsyrischen Patriarchen Timotheos I. : Einleitung, Übersetzung und Anmerkungen. CSCO 645, Syr. 249. Louvain, Peeters, 2012.

Hein C. Definition und Einteilung der Philosophie: Von der spätantiken Einleitungsliteratur zur arabischen Enzyklopädie. Frankfurt am Main, Lang, 1985.

Heinrichs W. Arabische Dichtung und griechische Poetik: Ḥāzim al-Qartāǧannīs Grundlegung der Poetik mit Hilfe aristotelischer Begriffe. Beirut — Wiesbaden, F. Steiner in Komm., 1969.

Hugonnard-Roche H. L’intermédiaire syriaque dans la transmission de la philosophie grecque à l’arabe: Le cas de l’Organon d’Aristote. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 1991, 2/1, 187–209.

Hugonnard-Roche H. La Poétique: Tradition syriaque et arabe; (Ps. Aristote) de Plantis, in: R. Goulet (ed.) Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques: Supplément, Paris, CNRS, 2003, 208–218, 283–294, 499–505.

Hugonnard-Roche H. Le corpus philosophique syriaque aux VIe–VIIe siècles, in: C. D’Ancona (ed.) The Libraries of the Neoplatonists. Leiden, Brill, 2007, 279–291.

Hugonnard-Roche H. La logique d’Aristote du grec au syriaque: Études sur la transmission des textes de l’Organon et leur interprétation philosophique. Paris, Vrin, 2004.

Hugonnard-Roche H. Une ancienne «édition» arabe de l’Organon d’Aristote: Problèmes de traduction et de transmission, in: J. Hamesse (ed.) Les problèmes posés par l’édition critique des textes anciens et médiévaux. Louvain-la-neuve, Institut d’études médiévales, 1992, 139–157.

Kutsch W. Zur Geschichte der syrisch-arabischen Übersetzungsliteratur. Orientalia 1937, NS 6, 68–82.

Loopstra J. The Patristic “Masora”: A Study of Patristic Collections in Syriac Handbooks from the Near East. CSCO 689, Syr. 265. Louvain, Peeters, 2020.

Margoliouth D. Analecta Orientalia ad poeticam Aristoteleam. London, D. Nutt, 1887.

Margoliouth D. The Discussion between Abu Bishr Matta and Abu Sa‘id al-Sirafi on the Merits of Logic and Grammar. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1905, 37/1, 79–129.

Martin J.-P. De la métrique chez les Syriens. Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1879.

Merx A. Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros. Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1889.

Nau F. Littérature cosmographique syriaque inédite: Notice sur le Livre des Trésors de Jacques de Bartela, évêque de Tagrit. Journal Asiatique 1896, IX/7, 286–331.

Nöldeke Th. Compendious Syriac Grammar. Transl. by J. A. Crichton. Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns, 2001.

Payne Smith R. Thesaurus Syriacus. 2 vols. Oxford, Clarendon, 1879–1901.

Payne Smith R. Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae. Pars sexta: Codices syriacos, carshunicos, mendaeos, complectens. Oxford, Clarendon, 1864.

Peters F. E. Aristoteles Arabus: The Oriental Translations and Commentaries on the Aristotelian Corpus. Leiden, Brill, 1968.

Pognon H. Une version syriaque des aphorismes d’Hippocrate. Leipzig, Hinrichs, 1903.

Pozdnev M. An Interpolation Family in the Poetics. Philologia Classica 2020, 15 (2), 173–190.

Rassi S. From Greco-Syrian to Syro-Arabic Thought: The Philosophical Writings of Dionysius bar Ṣalībī and Jacob bar Šakkō, in: E. Fiori and H. Hugonnard-Roche (eds) La philosophie en syriaque. Études syriaques 16. Paris, Geuthner, 2019, 329–379.

Rigolio A. Aristotle’s Poetics in Syriac and in Arabic Translations: Readings of ‘Tragedy’. Christianskij Vostok 2013, NS 6 [12], 140–149.

Ruska J. Das Quadrivium aus Severus bar Šakkûs’s Buch der Dialoge. Leipzig, W. Drugulin, 1896.

Ruska J. Studien zu Severus bar Šakkû’s ‘Buch der Dialoge’. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 1897, 12, 8–41, 145–161.

Schrier O. J. The Name and Function of Jacob Bar Shakko: Notes on the History of the Monastery of Mar Mattay, in: R. Lavenant (ed.) V Symposium Syriacum, 1988: Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, 29-31 août 1988. OCA 236. Roma, Pont. Inst. Stud. Orientalium, 1990, 215–228.

Schrier O. J. The Syriac and Arabic versions of Aristotle’s Poetics, in: G. Endress and R. Kruk (eds). The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic Hellenism. Leiden, CNWS, 1998, 259–278.

Schrier O. J. Review of Tarán, Gutas 2012. Mnemosyne 2016, 69, 319–336.

Sokoloff M. (ed.) A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum, Winona Lake — Piscataway, Eisenbrauns — Gorgias Press, 2009.

Sprengling M. Antonius Rhetor on Versification, with an Introduction and Two Appendices. American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 1916, 32/3, 145–216.

Sprengling M. Severus bar Shakko’s Poetics, Part II. American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 1916, 32/4, 293–308.

Takahashi H. Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Qazwīnī and Bar Shakko. The Harp 2006, 19, 365–380.

Tannous J. The Making of the Medieval Middle East: Religion, Society, and Simple Believers. Princeton — Oxford, Princeton UP, 2018.

Tarán L., Gutas D. (eds.) Aristotle Poetics: Editio Maior of the Greek Text with Historical Introductions and Philological Commentaries. Leiden — Boston, Brill, 2012.

Teule H. Jacob bar Šakko, the Book of Treasures and the Syrian Renaissance, in: J. P. Monferrer-Sala (ed.) Eastern Crossroads: Essays on Medieval Christian Legacy. Piscataway, Gorgias Press, 2007, 143–154.

Tkatsch J. Die arabische Übersetzung der Poetik des Aristoteles und die Grundlage der Kritik des griechischen Textes. 1. Band. AAWW, Philologisch-historische Klasse, Wien — Leipzig, 1928.

Tkatsch J. Die arabische Übersetzung der Poetik des Aristoteles und die Grundlage der Kritik des griechischen Textes. 2. Band. Aus dem Nachlass herausgegeben von A. Gudeman und Th. Seif. AAWW, Philologisch-historische Klasse, Wien — Leipzig, Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky A. G. 1932.

Vosté J. M. Deux manuscrits des “Dialogues” de Jacques bar Šakko. Le Muséon 1929, 42, 157–167.

Walzer R. New Light on the Arabic Translations of Aristoteles. Oriens 1953, 6, 91–142.

Watt J. W. Grammar, Rhetoric and the Enkyklios Paideia in Syriac. Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 1993, 143/1, 45–71.

Watt J. W. The Curriculum of Aristotelian Philosophy among the Syrians. Studia graeco-arabica 2017, 7, 171–192.

Watt J. W. The Syriac Aristotelian Tradition and the Syro-Arabic Baghdad Philosophers, in: D. Janos (ed.) Ideas in Motion in Baghdad and Beyond: Philosophical and Theological Exchanges between Christians and Muslims in the Third/Ninth and Fourth/Tenth Centuries. Leiden — Boston, Brill, 2015, 7–43.

Wilmshurst D. Bar Hebraeus The Ecclesiastical Chronicle: An English Translation. Piscataway, Gorgias Press, 2016.

Wright W. Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum, acquired since the Year 1838. 3 vols. London, Gilbert and Rivington, 1870–1872.

Как цитировать
Arzhanov, Y. (2021). A Fragment of the Syriac Translation of Aristotle’s Poetics Preserved by Jacob Bar Shakko. Philologia Classica, 16(1), 117-137. https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu20.2021.111
Antiquitas perennis