Gabriel Qamṣa (d. ca. 1300) [Ch. of E.]

Metropolitan bp. of Mosul and poet. Gabriel is famous for a long ʿonitha , which according to the title he wrote when he was a monk in the Monastery of Beth Qoqa. It has Sabrishoʿ (late 6th – early 7th cent.), the founder of this monastery, as its main subject, but the author speaks about him only after having given a long overview of salvation history. This begins with creation and extends to the birth of Christ and the life of apostles and saints (including several Egyptian saints). Partly in twelve- and partly in eight-syllable rhymed verses, the poem has a convoluted style and abounds in Greek words. While it has failed to charm modern scholars (Baumstark: ‘eine monströse ʿOnithā’; Fiey: ‘désespérément vague et très prolixe’), the number of mss. that preserve it is an indication of its popularity. A few other, much shorter poems are preserved as well. Assemani assumes Gabriel’s authorship for an introductory piece that precedes the ‘Revelation of Paul’ in ms. Vat. Syr. 180 (which also contains the long ʿonitha) without, however, providing evidence. In his capacity as Metropolitan bp. of Mosul Gabriel took part in the election of Cath. Yahbalaha III in 1281. No further details about his life (nor about his name, which means ‘locust’) are known. Gabriel’s work has remained unpublished, except for a specimen in Cardahi’s Liber thesauri.


  • Baumstark, Literatur, 323.
  • G.  Cardahi, Liber thesauri de arte poetica Syrorum (1875), 107–13.
  • Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, vol. 1, 132–3.
  • Wright, A short history of Syriac literature, 284–5.

| Gabriel Qamṣa |


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
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