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The Legend of Mar Qardagh


Éditeur : University of California Date & Lieu : 2006, London
Préface : Pages : 366
Traduction : ISBN : 0-520-24578-4
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 150x230 mm
Code FIKP : Liv.Ang.4621Thème : Religion

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The Legend of Mar Qardagh


The Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Antique Iraq

The Syriac Christian legend that lies at the heart of this book was composed during the final decades of the Sasanian Empire, which spanned the period 224–642. Its anonymous author was probably a contemporary of the late Sasanian ruler, Khusro II (590–628). The legend’s hero, Mar (i.e., “Saint”) Qardagh, was believed to have lived some two hundred and fifty years earlier, during the reign of Shapur II (309–379), who appointed Mar Qardagh to serve as the viceroy and margrave (pa•1nê1 and marzb1n) of the region extending from the frontier city of Nisibis to the Diyala River in central Iraq. While the story of Mar Qardagh’s “heroic deeds” preserves few, if any, reliable details about the fourth century, the legend presents an extraordinary window into the cultural world of seventh-century Iraq. To adapt a phrase from Freya Stark, the story of Mar Qardagh enables one to “breathe” the climate of northern Iraq on the eve of the Islamic conquest.1 Translated from Syriac into English here for the first time, the History of Mar Qardagh presents a hero of epic proportions, whose characteristics confound simple classification. During the several stages of his career, Qardagh hunts like a Persian king, argues like a Greek philosopher, and renounces his Zoroastrian family to live with monks high in the mountains west of Lake Urmiye. His heroism thus encompasses and combines cultural traditions that modern scholars typically study in isolation. Taking the Qardagh legend as its foundation, this book explores the articulation and convergence of these diverse traditions in the Christian culture of the late Sasanian Empire...



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