Sureth poetic genre. Probably deriving from the Semitic root *drk ‘to tread, step on’, the term seems to be related to the Mesopotamian Aramaic word <ʾdrktʾ> ‘song, hymn’. The spelling dureg (from Classical Syriac *drg ‘to step forward’) is common in Urmi Neo-Aramaic. Kurdish etymologies have also been proposed: du- ‘two’ + rêk ‘in good order’ > ‘couplet’; Arabic *dwr ‘be circular’ + Kurdish -ek (see the Dehok Jewish Neo-Aramaic equivalent, meaning ‘round bread’) > ‘cyclic poem’. In the mss., dorekthā (pl. dorekyāthā) is used as an equivalent of Classical Syriac memrā, soghithā, or ʿonithā. Although the first authors (Israel of Alqosh and Yawsep of Telkepe) were not Catholic, ms. collections of dorekyāthā have been preserved by the Chald. communities of Northern Iraq and from the 19th cent. onwards the genre has been cultivated predominantly by Chald. poets. The 19th-cent. dorekthā On the Virgin Mary (1st line B-šemmā d-bābā u-bronā ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son’), attributed to the Sureth poet David Kora or to the French Dominican J.  Rhétoré, has become a kind of national hymn for the Chaldeans of the plain of Mosul. The dorekyāthā are usually structured in stanzas of 3, 4, or 6 lines, and their form suits the requirements of an oral transmission perfectly. Melodies are sometimes mentioned at the beginning of the text. Rhythmical repetition creates rather lengthy texts which are, however, easy to memorize and listener-friendly. Contents range from paraenetic exegesis to hagiography. From the 18th cent. onwards, Sureth poets followed the path of late E.-Syr. masters such as Gewargis Warda in writing on disasters which befell Syrian communities: pestilences, famines, wars. For this reason the term dorekthā has sometimes been translated as ‘complaint’.

See Fig. 44.


  • A.  Mengozzi, ‘The Neo-Aramaic manuscripts of the British Library: Notes on the study of the Durekyāthā as a Neo-Syriac genre’, LM 112 (1999), 459–94.
  • A.  Mengozzi, A Story in a Truthful Language (CSCO 590; 2002), 67–9. (incl. further references)

| Dorekthā |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
URI   TEI/XML   Purchase  

Resources related to 5 other topics in this article.

Show Other Resources