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Diffusion of Translated Latin Sources in al-Andalus

Even if they are put down in writing, family memories usually do not reach very far back. Arabic-Islamic historiographers who wanted to delve deeper into Visi- gothic history needed access to Latin historiography produced under or shortly after Visigothic rule. This access was provided, at the latest from the ninth century onwards, thanks to a process of linguistic Arabization, reflected not only in the increasing number of Andalusian Christians capable of speaking and reading Arabic,84 but also in the Arabic translation of important Latin sources on Visigothic history and their subsequent disclosure on the part of Arabic-Islamic scholars.

Already mentioned several times, the most important work in this regard is the kitab Hurushiyush, the restructured, interpolated, and extended version of the His- toriae adversus paganos, the late antique universal history written by Orosius of Braga (d. c.417). This work consists of a reworked Arabic translation of the restructured Latin original studded with translated excerpts taken from other Latin works.85 Among these are the cosmography of Julius Honorius8fi and, even more important in this context, the Chronica Maiora, the Etymologiae, as well as the Historia Gothorum of Isidore of Seville (d. 636).8? The ‘erudite Isidore, bishop of Seville’ (Ishidhur al-alim, usquf Ishbiliya) is mentioned in the part of the translation’s fragmentary table of contents that summarizes the contents of the seventh book.[1] [2] Isidore only recorded Visigothic history until the reign of Suinthila (ruled 621-31). Since the table of contents also claims to list Gothic kings up to the times of Roderic (d. 711),8® the author-translator(s) of the kitab Hurushiyush must have also drawn on Hispano-Latin sources produced after Isidore’s death. Unfortunately, the only extant manuscript ends with a description of the Goths’ situation in the wake of the Battle of Adrianople around 378, i.e. long before their settlement on the Iberian Peninsula.[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] Since the rest of the seventh book is lost, the identity of these post-Isidorian sources is disputed.®1

Dating the kitab Hurushiyush is equally difficult. Discussing contradictory references to the translation in the works of Ibn Juljul and Ibn Khaldun,®2 Giorgio Levi della Vida consigned the translation to the middle of the tenth century and the entourage of the future Umayyad caliph al-H akam II (ruled 355-66/961-76).®3 Only recently, Mayte Penelas interpreted the translation as an expression of ‘Mozarab’ self-assertion in the face of Islamization and Arabization. She proposed that it was translated at the end of the ninth century by Hafs b. Albar al-Qut!®4 who rendered Jerome’s Latin Psalter into Arabic either at the end of the ninth or at the end of the tenth century.®5 Penelas’ alternative hypothesis merits consideration but remains hypothetical, as she herself confirms.®6

Knowing when the kitab Hurushiyush was translated, is not without relevance to understanding its relationship to the most important Arabic-Islamic work on the peninsula’s pre-Islamic history written in tenth-century al-Andalus, the History of the Rulers ofal-Andalus (akhbar muluk al-Andalus) by Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Raz! (d. 344/955).®7 Unfortunately, this work can only be reconstructed approximately, either by drawing on citations in later works of Arabic-Islamic scholarship, or by discussing the proximity of later Portuguese and Castilian versions to the lost original.[11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] The Portuguese version forms part of the Cronica Geral de Espanha de 1344," while the Castilian version is entitled Cronica del moro Rasis.1" Both texts, as well as other extant Romance versions, are based on a translation commissioned by the Portuguese king Don Dionfs in around 1300 and executed by a certain Gil Perez with the help of a certain Muhammad.101 Scholars have invested much effort into comparing later Arabic citations or later Romance versions of al-Razi’s history with various texts that he may have used. These include pre-Islamic Latin texts written by Orosius and Isidore of Seville, 102 even Eutropius and Jerome, 103 but also post-Islamic Latin texts such as the Continuatio hispana or Chronica muzara- bica from the eighth century,^ and, of course, the kitab Humshiyush.1" Because it seems to be a Latinized version of an earlier Arabic chronicle that features some parallels to the later Portuguese and Castilian versions of al-Razl’s chronicle, the late eleventh- or twelfth-century Historia Pseudo-Isidoriana also received much attention.106

Given this complex constellation of sources and the difficulty of producing sound evidence in a discussion intent on reconstructing the sources of a lost text, it seems impossible to arrive at conclusions. Concerning the relationship between the kitab Hurushiyush and the original al-Razi, for example, results are far from definite. According to Joaquin Vallve Bermejo, al-Razi had an excellent command of Romance and Latin and was himself involved in the translation of Latin sources, including the kitab HurushiyushDiego Catalan speculated that the author of the kitab Hurushiyush produced a Mozarab history of al-Andalus that served as a source to both the original al-Razi and the Historia Pseudo-Isidoriana.108 Luis Molina believed that al-Razi drew directly on the kitab Hurushiyush,1" while

Mayte Penelas claimed that al-Razi combined information taken from the kitab Hurushiyush with data from another source.[23] [24] [25] [26] [27] In view of this imbroglio of different opinions, it is difficult to reconstruct what al-Razi knew about Visigothic history in the tenth century.

However, in the discussion about the content of al-Razl’s history and its relation to earlier, contemporary, and later texts, certain points seem to be beyond doubt, namely that al-Razi had a fervent interest in the peninsula’s pre-Islamic history, and that he drew on non-Muslim sources. Al-Razis interest in the region’s history is confirmed by his son ‘Isa,m himself an eminent historiographer of the tenth century, who is quoted as a well-informed authority on the Iberian Peninsula’s Roman history by Ibn H ayyan.112 Later scholars who cite Ahm ad al-Razi, such as al-H^imyarl, also claim that he made use of non-Islamic sources from al-Andalus.n3 We can thus start from the assumption that al-Razi knew something about the peninsula’s pre-Islamic past. To understand what he knew about the Visigoths, one could either conjecture by drawing on the later Romance versions or turn to citations in later Arabic-Islamic scholarship.

The fourteenth-century Cronica del moro Rasis contains an almost complete list of Visigothic kings that reaches back to the late fourth century and ends in 710. The rulers’ names are so deformed that they cannot be clearly recognized as words of either Latin or Arabic origin. Each translation from Latin via Arabic and Portuguese to Castilian must have distorted the original names by adding further orthographical variants resulting from the use of two different alphabets and various pronunciations (see table in Appendix at the end of this chapter).n4 Since we cannot rule out that elements were added or deleted during transmission, we cannot be sure if the list of Visigothic kings included in the Cronica del moro Rasis really constitutes a reproduction of al-Razl’s Arabic original or, rather, if it has to be regarded as an interpolated and extended version of this or a similar list. We can only be sure that it reflects the knowledge available to the fourteenth-century Christian author-translator who claimed that he had taken it from al-Razl.

Evariste Levi-Provenqal, in turn, made the effort of reconstructing the original work’s geographical introduction by matching fragments of al-Razl’s history as transmitted in later Arabic-Islamic geographical writings with corresponding passages in the Portuguese version of a chapter that forms part of the Cronica Geralde

Espanha de 1344.ш The resulting French (sic!) reconstruction of al-Razl’s geographical introduction contains one passage of relevance. It states that the Visigothic king Leovigild (ruled 568-86) founded the city of Reccopolis in honour of his son Reccared (ruled 586-601).[28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] The origins of this information can be traced back to the Visigothic chronicle written by John of Biclaro at the end of the sixth century,n7 a chronicle that did not experience a very wide diffusion.n8 Parts of this passage can also be found in four Arabic-Islamic works from the eleventh, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. Yaqut (d. 626/1229) mentions the city’s name (Raqawbal), but fails to name the rulers involved in its construction, and limits himself to claiming that the city is ‘of ancient build’ (qadimat al-bind)}lc> Al-Bakr! (d. 487/1094), Ibn al-Athir (d. 630/1233), and al-Himyarl (13th-l4th cent.), in turn, describe the foundation of the city as mentioned above.None of these later authors refers to al-Razi explicitly in connection with the city, but cites al-Razi in other contexts.121

Thus, there is a strong case for assuming that al-Razi had knowledge about certain aspects of Visigothic history that preceded the Muslim invasion. It even seems possible that he had a rather well-founded notion if not a firm command of Visigothic history. After all, al-Razi was not the only Arabic-Islamic scholar from tenth-century al-Andalus who had access to Latin-based material about the peninsulas pre-Islamic history.

  • [1] Ibid., p. 16 (AR), pp. 47—66, 99—119 (introduccion); Penelas, ‘Islamization’ (2006), p. 106.
  • [2] kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, fol. 6v/8, p. 16 (AR).
  • [3] Ibid., fol. 102v/254, p. 377 (AR).
  • [4] Levi della Vida, ‘Traduzione’ (1954), pp. 267—8, as well as the editors of the Cronica del moroRasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, p. lix with n. 166, opt for the Continuatio Hispana, also known asChronica Muzarabica or Chronicle of754. Catalan and de Andres compared the data in this chroniclewith Ibn Khaldun’s chapter on the Visigoths in his univeral history, which is based explicitly on thekitab Hurushiyush. However, Ibn Khaldun only provides a very basic list of Visigothic kings, whichhardly allows parallels to be found with the much more elaborate chronicle. Molina, ‘Orosio’ (1984),p. 91, in turn, believes in the existence of a Libro de los Profetas enviados a los reyes used by the translators. Unfortunately, the editor of the kitab Hurushiyush, Mayte Penelas, pp. 44, 64—5 (introduccion),offers no opinion on the subject.
  • [5] 92 Ibn Khaldun, tarikh, ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 2, p. 101; vol. 2, p. 234; Ibn Abi Usaybi'a,‘uyun al-anba, ed. Muller, vol. 2, p. 47. See Chapter 3.2.2.
  • [6] Levi della Vida, ‘Traduzione’ (1954), pp. 260—2; discussed by Badawi, Urusyus (1982), pp. 10—14;and Molina, ‘Orosio’ (1984), pp. 66—71. Cf. Penelas, ‘Traducciones’ (2009), pp. 223—51.
  • [7] 94 Penelas, ‘Author’ (2001), pp. 113—35; kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, pp. 27—42 (introduccion);cf. Daiber, ‘Weltgeschichte’ (2011), pp. 191—9.
  • [8] Hafs b. Albar, Psautier Mozarabe, ed./trans. Urvoy, p. iv: ‘La derniere section de l’urjuza donneune datation en abjad (= par lettres), qui peut etre lue comme 989 mais egalement, selon une traditionmaghrebine, comme 889’; ibid., pp. xiv-xvii.
  • [9] 96 kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, pp. 41—2 (introduccion).
  • [10] Molina, ‘Orosio’ (1984), pp. 70—1.
  • [11] On this relationship see de Gayangos, ‘Memoria’ (1852), pp. 21—100; Pons Boigues, Historia-dores (1898/1972), p. 64; Molina, ‘Procedencia’ (1982—83), pp. 133—9; Matesanz Gascon, Omeyas(2004); Garcia Sanjuan, Conquista (2013), pp. 214—16. Not all scholars have accepted that there existsa direct relationship between the later Romance texts and the lost akhbar muluk al-Andalus, see GarciaMoreno, ‘Witiza’ (2011), p. 23.
  • [12] Cronica Geral de Espanha de 1344, ed. Lindley Cintra, vol. 2, pp. 39—75.
  • [13] 1°° Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres. 1°1 Ibid., p. xxv (introduccion).
  • [14] 1°2 Sanchez-Albornoz, Fuentes (1942); Sanchez-Albornoz, ‘Isidoro’ (1946), pp. 73—113; Vallve
  • [15] Bermejo, ‘Fuentes’ (1967), pp. 241—60; kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, pp. 67, 70—1 (introduccion).
  • [16] Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, pp. xxx-xxxi.
  • [17] Sanchez-Albornoz, ‘Cronica’ (1934), pp. 229-65.
  • [18] Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, pp. xliii-lx; kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas,pp. 67-71 (introduccion).
  • [19] Ю6 Sanchez-Albornoz, ‘Isidoro’ (1946), pp. 73-113; Menendez Pidal, ‘Cronica’ (1954), pp. 5-15;Cronica del Moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, pp. xxxii-xhii; Gautier-Dalche, ‘Notes’ (1984),pp. 13-32; kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, pp. 67-70 (introduccion); Cardelle de Hartmann, ‘Transmission’ (1999), p. 25; Cardelle de Hartmann, ‘Blick’ (2011), p. 41.
  • [20] ю7 Vallve Bermejo, ‘Fuentes’ (1967), pp. 243^, 244, 247: ‘Entre los autores clasicos utilizados ytraducidos literalmente por al-Razi y sus recopiladores cabe citar en primer lugar a Orosio y SanIsidoro . . .’, p. 254.
  • [21] Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, p. lxi: ‘cabrfa . . . suponer que tanto la com-pilacion mozarabe dedicada a la historia universal (el Hurushyush) como la compilacion mozarabededicada a la historia de al-Andalus (el prototipo de al-Razi y la Pseudo-Isidoriana) fueron obra de unmismo autor: el cadi de los cristianos de Cordoba.’
  • [22] Molina, ‘Orosio’ (1984), pp. 80-1: ‘Ahmad al-Razi. . ., en nuestra opinion, se basa directa-mente en el Hurushyush y no existe una fuente intermedia.’
  • [23] kitab Hurushiyush, ed. Penelas, p. 67 (introduccion): ‘en cuanto a al-Razi, es probable queutilizase la traduccion pero, en este caso, tuvo que servirse ademas de otra fuente al menos . . . ’, pp. 67-71.
  • [24] Ibn Hayyan, al-muqtabis II-2, ed. Makkl, p. 269; Vallve Bermejo, ‘Fuentes’ (1967), p. 243;Garcia Sanjuan, Conquista (2013), p. 214.
  • [25] Ibn Hayyan, al-muqtabis V, ed. Chalmeta and Corriente, p. 272.
  • [26] al-Himyari, al-rawd al-mitar, ed. Abbas, lemma ‘al-Andalus’, p. 33: ‘qala al-Razi: awwal mansakana al-Andalus bad al-tufan ala ma yadhkiruhu ‘ulama ‘ajamiha . . .’, i.e. ‘al-Raz! said: ‘The firstpeople to inhabit al-Andalus after the deluge, according to what its non-Arab scholars say . . .’; cf. Vallve Bermejo, ‘Fuentes’ (1967), p. 243.
  • [27] 114 Cf. the Appendix which lists the anthroponyms provided by the Cronica del moro Rasis, ed.Catalan and de Andres, pp. 208-77. Compare these with the names listed by Ibn Khaldun, tarikh,ed. Zakkar and Shahada, vol. 2, pp. 281-3.
  • [28] Levi-Proven^al, ‘Description’ (1953), pp. 52—3.
  • [29] Ibid., p. 80: ‘La ville de Racupel se trouve entre Santaver et Zorita. Elle fut fondee par Leovigildpour son fils, qui se nommait Racupel: aussi donna-t-il le nom de celui-ci a cette ville.’ See ns 4—5 forthe Arabic references.
  • [30] Iohannes Biclarensis, Chronica, ed. Mommsen, a. 578, § 4, p. 215: ‘Leovegildus rex . . . civi-tatem in Celtiberia ex nomine filii condidit, quae Recopolis nuncupatur.’ On al-Razl’s possible use ofthis chronicle, see Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and de Andres, pp. xxx-xxxi.
  • [31] The city Reccopolis received such little notice in Latin historiography that scholarship was onlyready to believe in its existence after finding numismatic and archaeological evidence. Cf. Ripoll, ‘Rec-copolis’ (2003), pp. 204—8; Collins, Spain (2004), pp. 55—6. The city is mentioned in the HistoriaPseudo-Isidoriana, and several Arabic-Islamic sources. Cf. Cronica del moro Rasis, ed. Catalan and deAndres, p. 254 ns 15—16.
  • [32] 119 Yaqut, mujam, ed. Wustenfeld, vol. 2, lemma ‘Raqawbil’, p. 802.
  • [33] Ibn al-Athir, al-kdmil, ed. Tornberg, vol. 4, AH 92, p. 442 (Leiden), p. 559 (Beirut); al-Himyari,al-rawd al-mi'tdr, ed. Abbas, lemma ‘Tulaytula’, p. 394. Since al-Himyar! quotes al-Bakri(d. 487/1094) extensively, the latter’s editors have used al-Himyarl to reconstruct the lost parts ofal-Bakri’s text, cf. al-Bakri, al-masdlik, ed. van Leeuwen and Ferre, § 1522, p. 908 n. 1522 (1).
  • [34] Ibid., § 1263, p. 753, § 1499, p. 896, cites al-Raz! in connection with the Islamic history ofal-Andalus and its geography. Al-Himyarl, al-rawd al-mi'tdr, ed. Abbas, lemma ‘al-Andalus’, p. 33,cites al-Raz! as transmitting what he had gathered about the history of al-Andalus before the delugefrom ‘its foreign scholars’ ( culama djamihd); Sanchez-Albornoz, ‘Rasis’ (1939), pp. 5—59.
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