Quilon Syrian copper plates

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Quilon Syrian copper plates (849 AD) (six plates)

Kollam/Quilon Syrian copper plates, also known as Kollam Tarisappalli copper plates, or Kottayam inscription of Sthanu Ravi, or Tabula Quilonensis record a royal grant issued by the chieftain of Kollam (Ayyan Adikal) to a Syrian Christian merchant magnate (Mar Sapir Iso) in Kerala.[1] The royal charter is engraved in old Malayalam in Vattezhuthu (with some Grantha characters) on six copper plates.[1] The document is one of the important historical inscriptions of Kerala, the date of which has been accurately determined.[2]

The charter is dated to the 5th regnal year of the Chera/Perumal ruler Sthanu Ravi "Kulasekhara" (i. e., 849 AD).[2] The sixth plate contains a number of signatures of the witnesses to the grant in Arabic (Kufic script), Middle Persian (cursive Pahlavi script) and Judeo-Persian (standard square Hebrew script).[3] Until recently (2013) it was believed that six plates formed two separate grants (dated c. 849 and c. 883 AD) issued by Kerala rulers to the Syrian Christian merchants.[4]

One part (4 plates) of the copper plates is kept at the Devalokam Aramana of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church while the other (2 small plates) is at Poolatheen Aramana (Thiruvalla) of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church.

Mar Sabor and Mar Proth

Summarised prescription[2][edit]

Venad (Kollam) insignia from Syrian copper plates - plate 5
  • Fifth regnal year of king Sthanu Ravi (old Malayalam: Ko Tanu Ravi).[5]
    • The grant was made in the presence of prince Vijayaraga, the Chera/Perumal representative to Venad, Venad chieftain Ayyan Adikal Tiruvatikal and the junior chieftain Rama Tiruvatikal.[5]
    • The grant was made in the presence of important officers of the chiefdom (the adhikarar, the prakrithi, the punnathala padi, and the pulakkudi padi) and the representatives of merchant guilds anjuvannam and manigramam.
    • The Six Hundred of Venad, the Nair militia of the chiefdom, was jointly entrusted with the protection of the corporation (and also ordered to look after the Church of Tarisa)
  • Mechant Mar Sapir Iso, the founder the Kollam trading corporation ("nagara"), built the "Church of Tarisa" at Kollam (on land donated by Ayyan Adikal).[5] Sapir Iso had recruited two merchant guilds (the anjuvannam and the manigramam) as the tenants of the corporation.
  • The charter granted Sapir Iso several titles, rights and aristocratic privileges.
  • The charter granted plots of land and serfs to the church and the corporation.
    • The charter granted Sapir Iso personnel like agricultural laborers (the vellalars), carpenters (the thachar), toddy tappers (the ezhavar) and salt-makers (the eruviyar) - some arrangements were also made regarding their protection and maintenance.
  • The grants also throws light on the system of taxation that prevailed in the port of Kollam, as several taxes such as a profession tax, sales tax and vehicle tax are mentioned.


Quilon Syrian copper plates (849 AD, plate 1)

Witnesses to grant[edit]

The vertical plate contains a number of signatures of the witnesses to the grant in Arabic (Kufic script), Middle Persian (cursive Pahlavi script) and Judeo-Persian (standard square Hebrew script).[3]

Quilon Syrian copper plates (Plate 6)

Arabic signatures ― Kufic script

  • Maymun, son of Ibrahim
  • Muhammad, son of Manih
  • Sulh, son of Ali
  • Uthman, son of al-Marzuban
  • Muhammad, son of Yahya
  • Amr, son of Ibrahm
  • Ibrahim, son of al-Tayy
  • Bakr, son of Mansur
  • al-Qasim, son of Hamid
  • Mansur, son of Isa
  • Ismail, son of Yaqub

Middle Persian signatures ― Pahlavi script

  • Farrox, son of Narseh, son of Sahraban
  • Yohanan, son of Masya, son of Wehzad
  • Sahdost, son of Mardweh, son of Farroxig
  • Senmihr, son of Bayweh
  • Sina, son of Yakub
  • son of Mardweh
  • Mareo, son of Yohanan
  • Farrbay, son of Windad-Ohrmazd
  • Mard-Farroz, son of Boysad
  • Azadmard, son of Ahla

Judeo-Persian signatures ― Hebrew script

  • Hasan Ali
  • Sahaq
  • Samael
  • Abraham Quwami
  • Kurus Yahiya

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Narayanan, M. G. S., “Further Studies in the Jewish Copper Plates of Cochin.” Indian Historical Review, vol. 29, no. 1–2, Jan. 2002, pp. 66–76.
  2. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 277, 278 and 295.
  3. ^ a b C. G. Cereti, “The Pahlavi Signatures on the Quilon Copper Plates (Tabula Quilonensis)”, in W. Sundermann, A. Hintze, and F. de Blois (eds.), Exegisti Monumenta: Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims- Williams (Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 2009), 31– 50.
  4. ^ Varier, Raghava M. R. and Kesavan Veluthat, 2013. Tarissāppaḷḷippaṭṭayam, Thiruvananthapuram: National Book Stall [Malayalam].
  5. ^ a b c Narayanan, M. G. S. Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013. 435 and 37.

See also[edit]

  • Varier, Raghava M. R. and Kesavan Veluthat, 2013. Tarissāppaḷḷippaṭṭayam, Thiruvananthapuram: National Book Stall [Malayalam].
  • Kesavan Veluthat, The Early Medieval in South India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 2009.
  • M. G. S. Narayanan, Perumāḷs of Kerala. Thrissur (Kerala): CosmoBooks, 2013.