Khamis bar Qardaḥe [Ch. of E.] (13th cent.?)

E. Syr. poet, possibly priest in or near Arbela, Khamis appears to have been a younger contemporary of Bar ʿEbroyo, to whose poem ‘On Divine Wisdom’ (memrā zawgānāyā ‘couple, doubled or rhymed memrā’) Khamis added a couplet for each distich. Other later poets, as Ishoʿyahb bar Mqadam and Yawsep II, continued to add verses to this poem. Like Gewargis Warda, who was probably his contemporary, Khamis is not included in the ‘Catalogue’ of ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha. Only a few specimens of the vast poetic production which was included under his name have been published.

Various collections of ʿonyāthā (sing. ʿonithā ) attributed to Khamis are preserved in mss. from the 14th to the 19th cent., often in combination with ʿonyāthā attributed to Gewargis Warda or other hymnographers. They are penitential hymns, hymns for various feasts of the liturgical year, and martyrological hymns in praise of Ishoʿsabran (see Ishoʿyahb III of Adiabene). Some collections contain poems on rather profane themes: satire on the ignorance of the people in Arbela, polemical attack on an apostate deacon, allegorical and pedagogical matters (e.g., on the silk-worm, memrā of the letters of the alphabet), and more than two hundred epigrams (tarʿe d-mušḥāthā) on various subjects (religion, wisdom, love, everyday objects, and flowers). The latter were much appreciated by Baumstark who presented them as most vivid examples of the poetic skill of the author.

Turgāme by Khamis (poetic commentaries on the Gospel, usually composed in rhymed couplets of twelve-syllable lines) are transmitted together with works by ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha belonging to the same genre, which has a liturgical function comparable to that of the Latin sequence. The attribution to Khamis of a number of religious or profane soghyāthā (see poetry) is particularly uncertain.

Khamis’s hymns enjoyed great popularity and parts of them were translated into Azeri Turkish and Sureth.

    Primary Sources

    • P.  Bedjan, Breviarium Chaldaicum (1886–87), vol. 1, 334–37. (Christmas hymn ʿal šrārā galyā; 17th-cent. Modern Syr. translation in A. Mengozzi, A Story in a Truthful Language [CSCO 590; 2002], 114–5)
    • G.  Cardahi, Liber thesauri de arte poetica Syrorum (1875), 59 (a turgāmā), 60 (a hymn for Ascension Day), 62 and 122 (soghyāthā).
    • H.  Hilgenfeld, Ausgewählte Gesänge des Giwargis Warda von Arbel (1904), no. 6. (against an apostate deacon, there attributed to Gewargis Warda as in a Berlin ms.)
    • Ktābonā d-partute (Urmia, 1898; repr. The Book of Crumbs, 2006), 94–7. (a penitential hymn)
    • J. E. Manna, Morceaux choisis de littérature araméenne (Mosul, 1901), vol. 2, 324–40. (On the silk worm, On the ignorance of the people in Arbela, In praise of love, On the death of his son)
    • H.  Mösinger, Monumenta syriaca (1878), vol. 2, 168–71. (Christmas hymn ʿal bethlḥem; see also A.  Baumstark, ‘Zwei syrische Weihnachtslieder’, OC 1 [1911], 193–203, and a Modern Syr. translation of the 19th cent. in A. Mengozzi, ‘La versione neoaramaica di un inno siriaco per Natale’, in Loquentes linguis. Linguistic and Oriental Studies in Honour of Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti [2006], 489–98)
    • Sh. I.  Khadbshaba, Khamis bar Qardaḥe: Memre w-mušḥātā (2002).

    Secondary Sources

    • U.  Marazzi, ‘Sull’importanza dei testi osmanlï in caratteri siriaci’, in Studia Turcologica memoriae Alexii Bombaci dicata (1982), 339–65. (a list of mss. containing interlinear translation in Azeri-Turkish, written in Syr. script)
    • D. G. K. Taylor, ‘ “Your sweet saliva is the living wine”: Drink, desire, and devotion in the Syriac wine songs of Khāmis bar Qardāḥē’, in The Syriac Renaissance, ed. H. Teule et al. (ECS 9; 2010), 31-52.

How to Cite This Entry

Alessandro Mengozzi , “Khamis bar Qardaḥe,” in Khamis bar Qardaḥe, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Alessandro Mengozzi , “Khamis bar Qardaḥe,” in Khamis bar Qardaḥe, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Mengozzi, Alessandro. “Khamis bar Qardaḥe.” In Khamis bar Qardaḥe. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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