Abulfaragius, Gregory

, commonly called IbnHaklma, son to Aaron a Christian physician, was born in 1226, in the city of Malatia. near the source of the Euphrates in Armenia. He is said by some to have followed the profession of his father, and practised with great success, numbers of people coming from the most remote parts to ask his advice; but others doubt this account. However, he would hardly have been known at this time, had his knowledge been confined to physic; but he applied himself to the study of the Greek, Syriac, and Arabic languages, as well as philosophy and divinity; and he wrote a history, which does honour to his memory. It is written in Arabic, and divided into dynasties. It consists of ten parts, being an epitome of universal history from the creation of the world to his own time. Dr. Pococke published it, with a Latin translation in 1663, Oxford, 2 vols. 4to, and added, by way of supplement, a short continuation relating to the history of the Eastern princes. Dr. Pococke had published in 1650, an abridgment of the ninth dynasty, as a “Specimen Histories Arabian.

Abulfaragius was ordained bishop of Guba at 20 years of age, by Ignatius, the patriarch of the Jacobites. In 1247 he was promoted to the see of Lacabena, and some years after to that of Aleppo. About the year 1266 he was elected primate of the Jacobites in the East. As Abulfaragius lived in the 13th century, an age famous for miracles, it would seem strange if some had not been wrought | by him, or in his behalf: he himself mentions two. One happened in Easter holidays, when he was consecrating the chrism or holy ointment; which, though before consecration it did not fill the vessel in which it was contained, yet increased so much after, that it would have run over, had they not immediately poured it into another. The other happened in 1285. The church of St. Barnagore having been destroyed by some robbers, Abulfaragius built a new one, with a monastery, in a more secure place, and dedicated it to the same saint; and as he desired the relics of the saint should be kept in the new church, he sent some persons to dig them out of the ruins of the old one: but they not finding the relics, the saint appeared to some Christians, and told them, if the primate himself did not come, they would never be found. Abulfaragius, hearing of this, would not believe it; and feigning to be sick, shut himself up in his cell from Friday till the Sunday evening; when a glorified boy appeared to him, and told him, the relics were deposited under the altar of the old church. Upon this the primate went immediately with his brother and two bishops in quest of those holy remains, which they found according to the boy’s direction.

The Eastern nations are generally extravagant in their applause of men of learning; and have bestowed the highest encomiums and titles upon Abulfafagius, as, the prince of the learned, the most excellent of those who most excel, the example of his times, the phoenix of his age, the glory of wise men, &c. Our historian, Gibbon, esteems him “eminent both in his life and death. In his life he was an elegant writer of the Syriac and Arabic tongues, a poet, physician, and a moderate divine. la his death, his funeral was attended by his rival the Nestorian patriarch, with a train of Greeks and Armenians, Who forgot their disputes, and mingled their tears over the grave of an enemy.” His death took place in 1286. 1

1 Cave Hist. Lit. Fabr. Bibl. Grose. —Bayle in Gen. Dict. Herbelot Bibl. Orient Asseman. Biblioth. Orient.