The universal history known as the Chronicle of Michael the Great (also known as Michael the Syrian), covering the creation until 1195 AD, is the largest medieval chronicle known. Cited by historians in a variety of contexts, it is considered one of the most important primary sources on the history of the Middle East, especially the period spanning from the immergence of Islam until the Crusades. As a further mark of its importance, some of the Chronicle’s sources are lost and Michael’s text is the only surviving witness of their contents.
The original Syriac text was unknown to European scholarship until the end of the nineteenth century when a unique manuscript, dated 1598, was discovered in Edessa. An Arabic version was made by John Shuqayr, Metropolitan of Damascus, in 1759 and survives only in a few manuscripts, two are preserved in the Sadad Codex (the first volume of this set, edited by Silwanos Boutros Issa Al-Nemeh) and the Jerusalem Codex (the second volume of this set, edited by George A. Kiraz). Scholars interested in the Arabic recensions of the Chronicle may now purchase three of the preserved versions in this set.
George A. Kiraz is the founder and director of Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, and the president of Gorgias Press. He earned an MSt in Syriac Studies from Oxford University, and an MPhil and PhD from Cambridge University. He has an extensive list of publications in Syriac studies.