Agapius of Hierapolis

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This is an article about the 10th-century Arabic Christian historian. For other uses, see Agapius (disambiguation).

Mahbūb ibn-Qūṣṭānṭīn (anglicised as Agapius son of Constantine) (d.941-2 AD) was a 10th-century Arabic Christian writer, best known for his lengthy Kitab al-'Unwan (Book of headings or History). He was the Melkite bishop of Manbij (Mabbug, Hierapolis Bambyce).

He was a contemporary of the annalist Eutychius (=Said al-Bitriq), also a Melchite. His history commences with the foundation of the world and runs up to his own times. The portion dealing with the Arabic period is extant only in a single manuscript and breaks off in the second year of the Caliphate of al-Mahdi (160AH = 776-7 AD).

For the early history of Christianity, Agapius made use uncritically of apocryphal and legendary materials. For the following secular and ecclesiastical history, he relied on Syriac sources, in particular the World Chronicle of the Maronite historian Theophilus of Edessa (d. 785) for the end of the Ummayad period and the beginning of the Abbasids. He made use of Eusebius's Church History only through an intermediary compilation of short extracts. This he supplements from other sources. He gives an otherwise unknown fragment of Papias; and a list of Eastern Metropolitans. He uses the lost History of Bardaisan, but many of his sources remain unknown.

The History has been published with a French translation in the Patrologia Orientalis series and with a Latin translation in the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium series.

Testimonium Flavianum[edit]

His history contains an interesting version of the Testimonium Flavianum.

External links[edit]

  • English translation of the whole work.
  • PO5 containing part 1 of his history in Arabic and French
  • PO7 containing part 2 of his history.
  • PO8 containing part 3 of his history.
  • PO11 containing part 4 of his history.


  • Georg Graf, Geschichte der arabischen christlichen Literatur, volume 2. Lists manuscripts of the work.